The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
There are so many denominations, how does one recognize the Church Jesus founded?
On the other hand, in the WORLD the very first great event Jesus foretold would be a deceptive COUNTERFEIT Christianity. "Take heed," said Jesus, "that no man deceive you. For many shall come IN MY NAME, SAYING I AM CHRIST; and shall deceive many!" (Mat. 24:4-5.) Notice carefully! These deceivers would come in Christ's name, saying Jesus IS the Christ. They would be calling themselves "Christian," but would in fact be the devil's representatives. It was NOT THE FEW who were to be deceived by them — but THE MANY! It was the FEW who were to become TRUE Christians! (Mat. 7:13-14.) That isn't what the world believes, is it? Probably that isn't what you have always heard, and come to assume. But it is WHAT JESUS CHRIST SAID! How deceived this world has become! Yes, MANY would come in Jesus' name, proclaiming that Jesus IS the Christ — preaching about Christ to the world — yet, actually DECEIVING THE WORLD! (Mat. 24:5.) Simply by preaching ABOUT the PERSON of Christ — extolling is virtues, worshipping Him, yet DENYING HIS MESSAGE — the GOSPEL OF HIS KINGDOM! What a CLEVER counterfeit! And most of those preaching in Christ's name are SINCERE — sincerely WRONG, themselves DECEIVED! It is SATAN who has deceived them! Satan has deceived the WHOLE WORLD!! (Rev. 12:9) He is the author of this confusion (I Cor. 14:33). It is SATAN who has made himself the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4) — and is thus worshipped as though he were God! This world DOESN'T KNOW THE TRUE GOD, strange as that may seem. This world believes that if one just "accepts Christ" — just "makes a decision for Christ" — just "worships Christ" — that is all that is necessary for salvation! That's what MANY preach today! But what did JESUS CHRIST teach? Did He say it was possible to WORSHIP Him, and STILL BE UNSAVED? Listen to His words: "In VAIN do they WORSHIP ME," said Christ, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men ... making the word of God of none effect through your tradition" (Mark 7:7, 13). Hard to believe, isn't it? You've probably been so drugged, so poisoned, so deceived, by this world's deceptions — SATAN'S COUNTERFEITS — that even the words of Christ are difficult to believe! Well, GOD HELP YOU TO BELIEVE CHRIST! It is one thing to believe ON Christ — that is, on His person. It is something altogether different to BELIEVE CHRIST — to BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS! Very few really understand what the true Church is. The Church is called the "body" of Christ because it is a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM whose LIVING, ACTIVE HEAD is Jesus Christ, in the same sense that the husband is head of the wife (Eph. 5:23, 31). How does one enter this TRUE Church of God? — this SPIRITUAL UNION? Notice: When God's spiritual New Testament Church was first founded on the Day of Pentecost, Peter gave the answer to this question. "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). The true Church is the collective body of individuals, called out from the ways of this present world, who have totally surrendered themselves to the rule of God, and who, through the Holy Spirit, become the begotten sons of God (Rom. 8:9). Jesus purchased THE TRUE CHURCH by shedding His blood for it (Acts 20:28). The TRUE Church is not some politically organized denomination which one JOINS or becomes a member, of in order to be "saved." Jesus did not die for some one religious denomination or another — called a church. Joining a local church congregation does not put you into God's true Church! Any church you can "join" is NOT God's Church! You CAN'T JOIN the true Church; only God can PUT YOU INTO IT BY HIS SPIRIT (I Cor. 12:13). God alone can make you a member of His Church — if you surrender your life to Him. God will give that Spirit only to those who are willing to "OBEY HIM"! (Acts 5:32.) When YOU receive God's Spirit — which is the spirit of a sound, sane mind (II Tim. 1:6-7), you become at that moment a newly begotten member of the body of Christ — which is the true Church of God! The receiving of God's Spirit and the MIND OF CHRIST (Phil. 2:5) upon REPENTANCE and BAPTISM PUTS YOU INTO, baptizes you into God's TRUE Church! "For by ONE SPIRIT are we all baptized into ONE BODY" (I Cor. 12:13). YOU can be part of God's true Church by earnestly repenting of your sins — disobedience to GOD'S LAWS — by asking God to cover your sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, by calling on God's true servants to baptize you, and by claiming God's promise of the gift of His Holy Spirit. In that way, and that way ONLY, does anyone enter into the true Church. Church attendance is not the most important thing! Church attendance does not, by itself, mean CHURCH MEMBERSHIP in God's sight! Some people view "church going" as an end in itself. But it most definitely IS NOT. God expressly forbids His people ever to join in with the worship of counterfeit church bodies — no matter how "close" to the truth they might seem! Only the genuine worship of God with His TRUE Church is acceptable to Him! You need to thoroughly EXAMINE YOURSELF. You NEED TO BE SURE! If YOU have TRULY REPENTED of YOUR sins and now realize the VITAL NECESSITY of personal contact with and guidance by JESUS CHRIST and His TRUE SERVANTS, write regarding baptism to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. Your eternal salvation is at stake! May God help you to heed this warning!