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Our All for the Lord
You A Christian?
Is A Christian
God Trying to Convert the World Now?
See Your Calling, Brethren
Why Are You A Christian?
[June 1991 Newsletter]
II Corinthians 5:14, 15
Some become a Christian just to
escape eternal judgment. But God saves us and forgives our sins
"for His name's sake"(Psalms 25:11; 106:8). Then there are those
who become Christians in order to gain health and prosperity,
believing that faith in a "secret kingdom" and its power will
grant their reward. How sad! The height of Christian concern
should not be "what can God do for me" but rather "what can I do
to glorify God." Remember the words of Psalms 31:3—"For thy
name's sake lead me and guide me."
Evidently the church at Corinth
included many self-centered Christians. Paul had to chide them
in I Corinthians 4:8-14.
"You are already filled, you
have already become rich, you reign as kings without us; and I
would that you indeed had become kings so that we also might
reign with you... We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are
prudent in Christ; we are weak but you are strong, you are
distinguished, but we are despised. To this present hour we are
both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly
treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own
hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we
endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have
become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even
unto now. I do not write these things to shame you, but to
admonish you as my beloved children." (NAS)
The Apostle Paul expressed the
essence of the Christ-centered life in II Timothy 2:11,12, "It
is a faithful saying: if we be dead with him, we shall also live
with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him." The
Apostle Peter said, "Think it not strange concerning the fiery
trial which is to try you" (I Peter 4:12). In Matthew 10, Jesus
enumerates the trials, hardships and persecutions that his
faithful followers would suffer; then he says, "But he that
endureth to the end shall be saved."
The Secret Kingdom???
The time in which the Kingdom of
God shall "rule from the rivers to the ends of the earth" is, of
course, future. Yet, at Jesus' first advent it was declared,
"The Kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15). Some use Luke
17:21, "The Kingdom of God is within you" as proof of the secret
kingdom concept. However, the Greek text literally means, "The
King is in your midst." Since the faithful followers of Jesus
are to reign with him (Revelation 20:4,6), Jesus also called
them the "Kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 13). Matthew 11:12 shows
that "the Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence." Jesus and his
church are to be the kings (Revelation 20:6) in God's future
Kingdom. The sufferings of the Christian walk are the training
grounds for reigning in this future Kingdom (Hebrews 5:8,9; II
Unknown to the world,
Christ-centered Christians are now being trained for their
future work of reigning with Christ in his Kingdom. They are not
using prayer selfishly for physical and material prosperity.
Like the Apostles, they pray for strength to endure privation
knowing "that the trial of your faith being much more precious
than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried in the fire" (I
Peter 1:7). By bitter experiences they are developing
Christ-like love. "Love your enemies, bless them that hate you,
and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you."
The Purpose of the Kingdom
Most Christians have overlooked
the main purpose of the Kingdom. Jehovah's Witnesses,
Seventh-Day Adventists, born-again Christians, Mormons, etc.,
believe that all who do not accept Christ and/or the Gospel
before "The Great Tribulation" is over are lost eternally.
How sad that Christians try to
give God's love a narrowness that He will not own. God has not
been trying to convert the world. In Mark 4:11,12, Jesus showed
that he purposely hid the Gospel from many "lest at any time
they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven."
John 1:9 speaks of Jesus as the "Light which lighteth every man
that cometh into the world." Yet millions died before the time
of Christ never hearing the only "name (Jesus Christ) under
heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Despite all the missionary efforts since the time of Christ,
other millions died not hearing the message of salvation. God is
not trying to convert the world during the Christian Age. He is
only selecting a little flock (Luke 12:32).
Acts 15:14-17 shows that "God
for the first time did visit the Gentiles to take out of (not
convert) them a people for his name (Christ-centered Christians,
His Church)... After this I will return (second advent) and
build again the tabernacle of David (Christ's Kingdom)... that
the remainder of men might seek after the Lord." Jesus said in
John 5:28,29, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in
the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that
have done good, unto the resurrection of life (to reign with
Christ—Revelation 20:6); and they that have done evil (the vast
majority of mankind), unto the resurrection of krisis" (Greek
for judgment or trial). Christ and his church will enlighten the
"remainder of men" in the Kingdom—their crisis or probation,
"for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the
waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
This is the great "restitution"
(restoration) project foretold by all the Old Testament prophets
(Acts 3:19-21). This restoration of the willing of "the
remainder of men" (Acts 15:17; Revelation 22:17) to mental,
moral and physical perfection of life that was lost in Eden will
not be completed until the end of the 1000-year Kingdom of
Christ. For this reason Revelation 20:5 states, "The rest of the
dead* ("the remainder of men" of Acts 15:17) lived not again
until the 1000 years were finished." All not mentally, morally
and physically perfect are dead in God's sight. Thus Jesus said,
"Let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22). It will require
the balance of the 1000 years to bring the willing up the
highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) to perfect human life.
ancient manuscripts do not contain the words "the rest of the
The School of Christ
How do Christians develop the
love, justice, sympathy, understanding, etc., to qualify for a
share with Christ as kings, priests (blessers), judges
(Revelation 20:6; I Corinthians 6:2) in His Kingdom?
Christ-centered Christians learn Christ-like love through their
sufferings and privations (I Peter 1:7; II Peter 1:5,6; I
Corinthians 13:5,6). In that way, they will know just how to
help "the remainder of men" in their trial time for eternal
life. If you are a Christ-centered Christian, you might be
interested in the following ad:
WANTED: PECULIAR PEOPLE for
Not necessarily wise or noble,
successful or socially accepted. Physical infirmities and heavy
personal burdens can be an asset. The training for this position
requires a commitment of all your time, all your effort for the
rest of your life. Your instructor will insist upon absolute
obedience while causing you to lose friends, reputation and
personal fortune. These will be replaced by friends not of your
choosing, reputation not esteemed by society and personal
fortune not negotiable.
Your success or failure will be
measured by how carefully you follow the instruction manual—a
book which the greatest minds in the world cannot understand and
have dismissed as "foolishness." Your course will inspire many
hatreds, for which you will be obliged to offer a sacrificing
love in return; and the more of this love you master, the more
of its servant you will become. Wages offered during the
training period consist of a few promises—considered by most as
highly doubtful of fulfillment.
Anyone who faithfully completes
this course is guaranteed a position as an administrator in the
Kingdom of Christ which by Divine intervention will shortly
bless all the families of the earth.