I have just returned from Malaysia. I was able to ordain an evangelist for Indonesia/Malaysia assisting the Malaysian ministry. He is also to work with the ministry in India for Tamil Nadu as he speaks the Tamil language fluently and there are many Tamils in Malaysia, as well as Fiji and PNG. Another Malaysian minister is working with the Punjabi activities and other translators in Indian languages.
The team there is working very well with the Indo/Malay translation work and also the Mandarin Chinese is progressing nicely. We spoke with a group of Singaporeans over the period about baptism and establishing them with CCG there in Singapore. Pound for pound the Malaysian work is very dedicated and among our most efficient in this regard. I told the prospective new people to count the cost before baptism and explained the overview of God's plan.
One of the young couples there, who, to me, showed promise in their understanding, reportedly said later to one of our ministers and his wife that they had to now simply decide whether they wished to be in the First or the Second Resurrection. That is the real issue at stake. It is that simple but not many see it as clearly. However, one must count the cost. There is often a great cost to being in the faith but the reward is also great. We must love God and Christ greater than our own lives and be prepared to lay down our lives for the faith and each other. Love one another and serve your brothers loving them as yourselves.
I think it appropriate to look at what makes a church efficient and productive.
How can a small group be a light to the world? Christ says of the smallest of
the Churches, The Church of the Philadelphians:
I know your works. Behold I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut; I know that you have little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Behold I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you.
Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial, which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
I am coming soon; hold fast what you have so that no one may seize your crown.
He who conquers I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; no more [wrongly rendered "never" RSV] shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 3:7-13).
What then makes this Church of the Philadelphians great?
1. They have works, for faith without works is dead;
2. They have an open door. That is they have the means, however small it may be on each occasion, placed before them and no one can stop them from doing the work of God.
3. They have little power compared with the other churches of God but have used what little power they have in the most efficient way possible. In this way they kept the commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ, which sets them apart as the elect (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
4. They have not denied the name of the Christ carrying it before them even though they are placed under pressure to deny it in the last days.
5. Those of the false systems who claim to be Jews, both spiritual and physical, but lie because they do not keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ will be made to not only acknowledge the elect of this church but they will be made to prostrate themselves before them in obedience. In this way they will be instructed by this church and made to learn that it was this church that Christ loved. In this last few decades the Churches of God were tried and found wanting and only a few have clung to the faith once delivered and used the opportunity of the apostasy of the last days to not only hold to the faith but purify the faith to restore it to the true and pure testimony of Christ.
6. They have kept the words of the Christ of patient endurance. They have endured all things for his sake. In patience they have retained their love in the face of persecution and apostasy and for this reason they will be kept from the hour of trial which will come upon the whole world. Because they were faithful in the face of the apostasy of the church in the last days they will not face the greater problems that the unfaithful will see and suffer. This trial will come upon the whole world and will be such a time as the world has never seen, and never will see again.
7. Christ is coming soon and this church is told to hold fast in the face of their persecution or undermining by an apostate ministry and system. These people have power and they have a place designated for them in the household of God and that crown will be retained for them by their faith. It will not be allocated to another if they are faithful to the word of God and the testimony of Christ.
8. Those who conquer or overcome the adversary and the trials before them will be made pillars in the Temple of the One True God. That is, that small group will be made the key parts of the Temple in the power of the Holy Spirit.
9. Having been forced out of the apostate churches by apostate leaders, especially in the last days, they are given a promise that they will no more go out of the Temple.
10. These people have the name of God written on them and the name of the City of Christ's God and the New Name of Christ written on them. Thus in being given the name they will all be called Elohim and Yahovah and by the new name of Christ of Messiah or Lord. All will call them Lord and God and Yahovah as they act for God and Christ and the New Jerusalem, the mother of us all.
How does all thus come about? What distinguishes that group from others? What
are the two key factors involved? The two key factors are these:
1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy mind and all thy soul;
2. The second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. This church is called the Church of the Philadelphians because it is the church of those who practice brotherly love. They are those who lay down their lives for their brothers and have stood the test and not denied their God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.
What does it mean to lay down one's life for one's brother?
1. The first and obvious conclusion is to give ones life literally to protect your brother. However, this is rarely required or tested at present.
2. The other tests are in protecting your brother from harm. These tests are both physical and spiritual.
3. The greatest problems in the churches of God are induced by self-righteousness. The problems manifest themselves as attacks on the brethren.
4. The first attack is in the form of gossip. In the church, gossip is a form of false witness and is murder of the character of a brother.
5. This gossip then follows into open attacks on the people doing the work of God.
In most cases we witness, of the problems in a church, it usually comes from the activities and actions of the self-righteous and the unconverted. It is true that we all sin. Those placed in charge of us have problems and we all make errors. However, they all deserve the love and respect of us all and we should all try to uplift one another and the first step is to openly discuss a problem and bring it to your brother.
Remember also that not all of us are called and many of us have unconverted spouses. Some of those people come to services and some do work for the church and help their spouses serve the brethren. Their actions should not be held to the account of their converted spouses. Those who are concerned, if that situation exists should inform them of the impact of their actions. The welfare of the converted spouse must be taken into account.
Also it must be remembered that no charge can be made against an elder of the church unless it is established by two witnesses. That excludes all hearsay. There are procedures for dealing with this. Elders must never attack from the pulpit as we have seen in other and apostate churches.
Also remember that the ministry serve the brethren and should be supported. I have seen churches attacked from within by people placed there to do exactly that and by those who wish to see us destroyed. Others simply do not understand the faith. They judge others and do not seek to serve them. They do not see a need and provide the help required. I have seen the elderly embarrassed by the selfishness of others. I have seen the quiet servers attacked by those who see their quiet serving as weakness and are unaware of the good they do because those doing it are silent about it. None of these attitudes is converted let alone Philadelphian Christian.
Because we are so scattered all over the world we should be doubly joyous when we are in a formed Church, no matter how small it is, and we should love one another as ourselves. If you think the minister is doing something wrong then help him overcome the problem by asking him what you can do to help.
If you withdraw from meeting with the brethren then you are placing your self outside of the body of Christ and are in contravention of the command of Scripture not to forsake your gathering together. No one can work for the faith doing that. Nor can they help others in the love of God. There is no love in self-righteousness. There is only hate and self-delusion. It is true that the people in the ministries of this world that are constantly berating others for sin really hate men. I have also seen women use gossip for control where they cannot control men directly. Such are not to be found among us. Hatred of anyone must be overcome. If we do not love one another whom we have seen how can we love God whom we have not seen?
The Philadelphian system must be pure in doctrine and faithful in practice. We must esteem others better than ourselves and help others where we can.
Ask yourselves this question: What am I doing to help the faith? Am I supporting those placed in the work? If your husband is a servant of the church ask yourself are you performing and keeping the laws of God. Are you bringing condemnation on him by your actions? Are you keeping the Sabbath, New Moons and Feasts of God correctly? The same goes for husbands whose wives have duties also. Remember that many have come from apostate organisations and carried those views over into the church of God. Remember you prepare for the Sabbath on Fridays and you keep the feasts of God with the brethren. Ministers must do what they can to prepare for their tasks with the Sabbaths of the Lord in mind.
If you are a small group and find yourselves with a task then do it with all your might. If you need help to accomplish it then ask for help. Keep those in charge of you informed. You might find yourself elected to the office one day and need their help.
Also remember that the churches of God are kept going by the elders who sacrifice on the Sabbath to perform their duties and are blameless. Make their job easier and support them because you are judged by how well you do your part of the work and how faithful you are in your conduct. If you do not help the church now when it is needed how can you be trusted with much responsibility later when your time comes?
Love God and love your brethren. You should be with your brethren on Sabbath worshipping God. If you are in reasonable distance and are not doing so then you are the problem and not anyone else. Do not bring railing accusations against others to excuse your own disobedience.
Help the sick, the widows and the fatherless as we are commanded. Sickness does not mean that someone is sinning. Because God has not actively intervened in an illness does not mean that the person is a sinner. That is a doctrine of the demons that seek to misuse the faith. Such a self-righteous view has no place in the Church of God. Provided a person is not seeking help from demons in their illness they are entitled to the love and help of those more fortunate. If you are well and self-righteous beware God does not deal with you. Likewise the poor are just that, poor, and no sin should be imputed to them for the fact. They may have given all to support the faith and done much more than those judging them. Many have been wiped out by circumstances outside of their control. Some have lost work keeping the Laws of God and are blameless and a better example often than those judging them.
If you say you love God show it by loving your brother within the commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.
Work for the faith for faith without works is dead. Love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us.
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