God’s Advice to Mankind
“Hear this, all peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together…Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him—for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever—that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit.” (Ps. 49:1-2, 6-9)
People today preoccupy themselves with material things such as money, cars, and houses, or may pursue a successful career, seek recognition, or simply live to have fun. However, the word of God in Psalm 49 gives all the inhabitants of the earth important and wise advice. It says:
“Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names” (v. 11).
Yet all these are fleeting and will one day vanish. Can any amount of accomplishments or wealth save a man from certain death and make him live eternally? No,
“…wise men die; likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others” (v. 10).
God’s word shows very clearly that we cannot bring anything with us when we die:
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1. Tim 6:7).
Psalm 49 continues:
“Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve their sayings. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them… and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.” (Ps. 49:12-14).
All we have accomplished in this world will mean nothing when we die because we will be just “like the beasts that perish.”
Regardless of a person’s wealth or status, no one can escape death. The moment we are born, we are already destined to die! According to God’s righteousness, we must die because we all have sin: “The wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23).
What happens after death? The Bible says clearly, “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” (Heb. 9:27). When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, God will execute His righteous judgment. In that day “…anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). Is this how you would like to spend eternity? No reasonable person would want this! God does not want this for you either. He has provided a way out! The psalmist then says,
“God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me” (Ps. 49:15).
How can God redeem our soul from the power of the grave?
God’s Salvation Prepared for Us through Jesus Christ
There is only One who can save us from death, from the power of the grave: Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of man” (Phil. 2:7). He had “no beauty that we should desire Him” (Is. 53:2). In fact, He was “despised and rejected by men” (Is. 53:3). Out of His great love towards us and to fulfill all of God’s righteous requirements, Jesus Christ was crucified, shedding His precious innocent blood for our sins on our behalf. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). By His death on the cross He destroyed “him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). Because He was without sin, God “raised Him up [from the dead], having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:24). Jesus Christ conquered death and took away its power. Then He resurrected after three days! What a victory (1 Cor. 15:54)! Only Jesus Christ is able to save us from sin and death.
How Can I Be Saved?
God made it very simple for us to be saved even though what He accomplished was very profound: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Romans 10:9 says, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” When you believe in Him and confess His name, the Holy Spirit enters into your spirit and gives you God’s eternal life (John 3:16). You are born again! Then when you are baptized, you enter into Jesus Christ and are joined to Him in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:4-11). By faith in Him and baptism into Him, you enter into another realm – the kingdom of God (John 3:5) – so that you can begin to live by Him and grow in Him. Then when Jesus Christ comes again, your name will be found in the Book of Life!
Hebrews 3:7 tells us: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart.” Do not delay! By faith, accept God’s salvation for us through Jesus Christ. Psalm 49 ends with the charge:
“Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (for men will praise you when you do well for yourself), he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, is like the beasts that perish” (v. 16-20).
What a sad and foolish end for a man, who lives yet neither understands nor receives this wonderful salvation. Do not miss out! Be wise! Believe in the risen Christ today and be baptized without delay. Then you will experience the redemption of your soul and God’s eternal life.
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“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and reality; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and reality.” John 4:23-24
What is the True Worship to God?
Everywhere you go, you see signs advertising “Sunday Worship” for all types of religion with people coming regularly to worship God. Is that the worship that satisfies God? Is He satisfied with listening to a nice sermon, to receive money, or have His people prostrate themselves before Him? What is the true worship that God the Father is seeking from us?
God’s Commandment for Worship in the Age of the Old Covenant
In Deuteronomy 12, God commanded His people, the children of Israel, how to worship Him. He did not want them to worship Him the way the nations worship their gods (vv. 1-4). God instructed His people to worship Him in a specific and special way (vv. 5-8):
“But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—”
He chose Mount Zion in the city of Jerusalem (Psa. 132:13-14) to be the place of worship. He required them to bring the offerings (Lev. 1-7) to be His food (Lev. 3:11) for the worship. His appointed time for worship was at the time of the feasts, three times a year (Deut. 16:16; Lev. 23). God’s people needed to labor in the good land, their inheritance from God, to gain the firstfruits of the harvest to bring to God for the worship (Deut. 26:1-2).
The Father Is Seeking True Worshipers in the Age of the New Covenant
Jesus said in the Gospel of John 4:23-24:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and reality; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and reality.”
Today, God the Father is seeking true worshipers. As in the Old Covenant, He is very specific in your worship to Him. How does He want us to worship Him according to His word?
In Spirit and Reality
To be the true worshipers whom God the Father is seeking, we must be born of God the Spirit (John 1:12-13; 3:6) and experience Christ as the spiritual reality of all the offerings in the Holy Scriptures (Heb. 10:5-10). The Bible also instructs us how to worship God in 1 Peter 2:5:
“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
The worship today must be in spirit and reality.
The Place of Worship – the Church Today as the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy Temple
In the age of the New Covenant, God’s choice of worship is in the church, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22-23). We are not only His children, but also the living stones to be built up into a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5). The church is also the holy temple of the Lord and His dwelling place in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22). The place of worship to God cannot be earthly and common, made by man’s hands. God is the architect and builder (Heb. 11:10). Thus the place of worship must be chosen by God (Deut. 12:5).
The Offerings – Christ as the Spiritual Sacrifices
God also instructs us, as the holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5). Through His work on the cross, Christ is the fulfillment (Heb. 10:5-10) and the reality of all the offerings written in Leviticus chapters 1-7:
- Burnt offering – you take Christ as the One completely obedient and absolute to the Father (John 6:38), who enables you to obey God.
- Meal offering – Christ as the bread of life for you to eat (John 6:48-51), causing you to be transformed and strengthened to live His fine and perfect humanity.
- Peace offering – to fully reconcile you to God and have full peace with Him (Eph. 2:14-18)
- Sin offering – to release you from the dominion of sin (Rom. 6:9-11)
- Trespass offering – to forgive you of your offenses (1 John 1:9)
When we experience Christ as the spiritual offerings in our daily life, our lives will be changed into His likeness. These real experiences constitute the spiritual sacrifices which we offer to God our Father. What He wants in the worship is for us to offer Christ, as the spiritual sacrifices to Him.
The Feasts – the Lord’s Table
The appointed time of worship to bring the spiritual offerings to the Father is at the Lord’s Table, which replaces the feasts in the Old Testament. The Bible shows us that Christ is the reality of the seven feasts outlined in Leviticus 23:
- Feast of Passover – Christ as the Lamb of God has saved us from God’s eternal judgment (John 1:29) and has also delivered us from the present evil age (Gal. 1:4).
- Feast of Unleavened Bread – for us to eat Christ as the real bread from heaven to transform our living with His fine perfect humanity and for us to purge all the leaven (1 Cor. 5:6-8).
- Feast of Firstfruits – Christ resurrected to destroy the power of death (Heb. 2:14-15) in us and give us His resurrection life (1 Cor. 15:20-22, 45) to overcome death
- Feast of Weeks – Christ ascended to be Head over the church and the Holy Spirit poured out, for the building up of the church (Acts. 1:8)
He accomplished the first four feasts at His first coming, which we enjoy at the Lord’s Table meeting (1 Cor. 5:7-8) until He returns (Matt. 26:26-30; 1 Cor. 11:24-26). The last three feasts are related to His second coming:
- Feast of Trumpets – we sound the trumpet to gather and warn His people (Num. 10:1-10)
- Day of Atonement – we afflict our souls, to deny our soul life to follow Him (Matt. 16:24)
- Feast of Tabernacles – we are reminded that we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world and we should not love the world that is passing away (1 Pet. 2:11)
If we keep and enjoy the feasts listed above at the Lord’s Table, this will also prepare us for His second coming. It is God’s appointed time to have the festal gathering (Heb. 12:22-23) to worship Him.
Today, God the Father is still seeking such people to worship Him. The question we all need to ask is: am I a true worshiper that the Father is seeking? If you would like to know more and/or desire to give God the true worship, we invite you to join us at the Lord’s Table meeting held every Sunday morning (Acts 20:7). May God’s people keep and enjoy the feasts and offer spiritual sacrifices to God our Father.
To download a printable trifold brochure, please click HERE.
For the charts showing the dispensations of the kingdom of God, and the detail timeline of the second coming of Christ in which God deals with His people and the nations, please click here.
For the booklet format of the charts showing the dispensations of the kingdom of God, and the detail timeline of the second coming of Christ in which God deals with His people and the nations, please click here.
Welcome to God’s Family
What it really means to be a Christian
Praise the Lord that you have prayed to receive Christ as your Savior. Do you know that you now have eternal salvation and have entered into a wonderful relationship with Him?
Your Sins are Forgiven by God
Before you asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior:
- You were a sinner without hope – “…for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)
- You were destined for death – “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23a)
- You faced God’s eternal judgment – “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15)
But God loved you and saved you by:
- Sending His only begotten Son – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
- Becoming your sacrifice – “…Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b)
- Paying your ransom (debt) – “…the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…” (1 Tim. 2:5b-6a)
- Raising Christ from the dead to justify you – God “raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Rom. 4:24b-25)
Without question, your sins have been forgiven by God.
You Have Been Born into God’s Family
Not only have your sins been forgiven, but you have received:
- Eternal life – “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23b)
- The Holy Spirit – “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22)
By receiving Christ as your life:
- Your spirit has been made alive – “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…” (Eph. 2:5)
- You became a child of God, born of God – “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
By receiving eternal life, which is God as the Spirit, into your human spirit, you have now been born of God, qualifying you to be His child in His family.
Assurance of Salvation
Once you have been born of the Spirit:
- Your salvation is eternal – “…and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:29b)
- The Spirit even is your witness – “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,…” (Rom. 8:16)
- You have love for the brothers – “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” (1 John 3:14)
Your salvation is sure and you can never be taken out of God’s family.
Baptism to Complete the Step
After you believe, the Lord says you need to be baptized, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved;…” (Mark 16:16). You are baptized into:
- The death of Christ – “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4)
- Christ – “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27)
- His Body, the church – “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” (1 Cor. 12:13a)
- The Triune God – “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19b)
Jesus too was baptized (Matt. 3:15-16). It is normal for us to be baptized immediately after receiving Christ as seen in the example in Acts 8:35-38.
Building a Relationship with the Lord
Now that you are in God’s family, it is crucial to build up a relationship with our living Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in you as:
- Your Helper who leads you – “He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16b-17)
- The Anointing (Christ) who teaches all things – “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)
How do you experience Jesus Christ?
- In the Spirit – “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
- By calling on the name of the Lord – “…for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” (Rom. 10:12b)
- Eating His word – “…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Pet. 2:2-3)
- Praying with His word – “take … the word of God; by means of all prayer… in the Spirit,…” (Eph. 6:17b-18a – Greek Interlinear)
Meeting with God’s Family
Your relationship is not only with Christ, but with your new family, the brothers and sisters, in the proper church which satisfies God according to His word. It is important to meet together as seen in Acts 2:46-47:
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Through the fellowship, you are encouraged to grow in Him and to be built up with the members in His church, God’s family.
Your Destiny in God’s Family
God desires you, as His child, to grow in Him with the goal of fulfilling His purpose. At Christ’s second coming, He wants us:
- To become kings and priests in His kingdom – “…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him,…” (Rev. 1:5-7a)
- To inherit God’s kingdom – “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” (Dan. 7:18)
Learn to experience the living Christ, to grow up in Him, to be built up together with the saints in the church, and to prepare for His soon return. Praise the Lord and welcome to God’s family!
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A Living Way to Read the Bible
Pray Reading God’s Word
How to Read the Holy Scriptures for One’s Own Edification
(An abridged version of a brief lecture by August Hermann Francke,
written in the 16th century as an introduction to the earliest edition of the Luther Translation of the Bible)
If a single-hearted man desires to read the Old and New Testaments in the Holy Scripture for his edification in God, he must, when coming before it, diligently guard himself against having a hidden wrong motive in his heart or having any unrighteous purpose for reading the Holy Scriptures. For the Scribes and Pharisees also read the Holy Scriptures and yet through their reading, nothing improved within them. They thought that by reading the Scriptures they had eternal life; but they would not come to Christ, that they might have life (John 5:39, 40). A wrong motive and an unrighteous purpose for reading the Holy Scriptures is … when one does it merely as an outward work, and presumes that he is standing firmly in his Christian faith, … and thinks that by so doing, he is presenting a special good work to the dearly beloved God – like many who thus comfort themselves with the fact that they are diligently reading God’s word, when in fact their mind and their whole life do not correspond to the word of God in the least – in the end, he only takes the Holy Scriptures to become a scribe, acquiring much knowledge, and thereby concealing underneath the self-love, honor-seeking, and many other evils of the Pharisees. Today, such is the intention of many scribes, who desire to be teachers of the law, yet they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm (1 Timothy 1:7). Yes, this is absolutely the perverted way of men, who engulf themselves in the Scriptures, giving heed to useless questions or lofty mysteries rather than laying the right foundation of repentance and of the faith. If someone has the aforementioned or similar wrong motives in his heart when reading the Scriptures, with all of his scriptural learning, he may still be condemned to the pit of hell, even if he could memorize the entire Bible.
For the reading of the Scriptures, prayer must come first …It is equally important to both read the Holy Scriptures with pure prayer and groaning and to offer praises and thanks to God. For this is the pure (or single-hearted) way, through which one can receive good edification. One may pause at every little verse in the Bible, as Luther said, and knock on every branch to see if perhaps a few little berries would fall down. In the beginning it may seem difficult, and the prayer may not flow immediately; but one should continue and knock on the next branch. If only one’s soul is hungry, the Spirit of God will not leave him unsatisfied… But whoever despairs right at the beginning and thinks that it is too difficult for him, thinking he could not read the Holy Scriptures, then it is his own fault that throughout his whole life, he would not have acquired the proper appetite and joy in the Holy Scriptures…
Through prayer the desire to read the Word will be aroused and multiply; and through reading of the word, one will be stirred up to prayer. Bernhardus once said that no one can suddenly come to the top of the ladder. It is through climbing and not through flying that one will reach the highest steps of the ladder. Therefore, let us climb up with our two feet, namely through reading the word and through praying. Reading the word teaches us and shows us our lack, whereas praying helps us to receive and obtain so much from God our Lord so that we will lack nothing. Reading the word shows us the right way, but it is the praying that leads us through the same right way. And in another place, he continued to say: Through prayer we receive enlightenment in our reading the word, and through reading the word, our prayer becomes burning. When praying and reading the word are joined together so that one controls the other, we have a sweet and loving conversation and interlocution with the Lord. Furthermore, without reading the word, prayer becomes cold and sluggish, and without prayer, the reading of the word becomes unfruitful and absolutely unprofitable… And as reading the word should be started with prayer and continued with prayer, one should also conclude the reading with prayer.”
“take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition…”
Ephesians 6:17-18a (Greek Interlinear)
To download a printable format, please click here.
Why do we meet as the church in Fountain Valley?
Simply stated, according to the Bible, God desires that we meet as the church in Fountain Valley. As Christians who love Jesus Christ, we should love what He loves and know what God desires: His church. To truly see His heart’s desire for ourselves, we must come back to the word of God in much prayer. Have you ever come to God’s word and asked the Lord to reveal His church to you, to show you how He wants to build His church? May we pray and ask the Lord to reveal His church to us.
What does the Bible Say?
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus Christ declares,
“I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus Christ, the One building His church, is uniquely qualified to define what the church is and how the church should be built up. And, no matter how hard God’s enemy, Satan, tries to frustrate the building up of the church, he will not prevent the Lord from accomplishing His purpose.
What is the church?
Some would say the church is a building, a religious organization, or even a social club. But what does the word of God say about the church? The book of Ephesians reveals that the church is the living body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), the kingdom of God (Eph. 2:19), the household (family) of God (Eph. 2:19), the spiritual house of the living God (Eph. 2:20-22), the one new man (Eph. 4:24), the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27) and the warrior (army) of Christ (Eph. 6:11-18). The church is ultimately the expression of God’s fullness (Eph. 1:23).
We are the church
The Bible also tells us how we become members of the church. We must first become genuine believers of Christ. John 1:12-13 says,
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
When we believe and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, we not only receive the forgiveness of sins, but also His eternal life. Through our baptism, by the one Spirit, we also are baptized into His one body (1 Cor. 12:13). Becoming a member of the body of Christ is not a matter of passing a test, joining a denomination, or following a religion; it is a matter of life and the Spirit. His divine life constitutes us to become His children, to be in God’s family, and His Spirit joins us into one body. Thus we are the church, God’s expression here on earth.
Oneness of the Christians
God also desires that we, as His believers, be one. Ephesians 4:1-3 says,
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
All the true believers are members of the one body of Christ. God wants this testimony of oneness expressed on this earth for all to see (John 17:21). Hebrews 10:25 shows that God desires us to express this oneness by meeting together: “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” But, practically speaking, how can all the Christians in the world meet together as the church?
The practical oneness of the church
In Acts, the epistles and the book of Revelation, we see a pattern of how God wants all the believers in Christ, called Christians (Acts 11:26), to meet. The church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1; 11:22), the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1), the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2), the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1), the church in Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7) are all examples of the following principle: All Christians living in the same city should meet together as the church in that city, as the one testimony of Christ in that city. According to the Bible, there should only be one expression of His church in one city. God’s way is so simple. Isn’t it wonderful?
Man’s way to meet
Knowing God’s desire to build up the church in oneness, Satan has been hard at work trying to destroy this oneness. He does this by using man’s own thoughts and concepts to confuse God’s people. Over the past 2,000 years, the various ideas of man have caused Christians to become divided and go astray from God’s unique way. But, God clearly warns us not to divide ourselves based on spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 1:12-17; 3:3-7), culture, religion, or social class (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Col. 3:11). In fact, God categorizes dissension in the same class of sin as idolatry, hatred, jealousy, and heresy (Gal. 5:19-20). God desires oneness and hates division. Would you want to go against God’s word and be a part of division?
Sadly, today, there is so much division among Christians. Many Christians “choose” a “church group” based on their own preferences. This is contrary to God’s will and does not satisfy Him. In the Old Testament God already says, “You shall not at all do as we were doing here today – every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes,” (Deut. 12:8). In the New Testament, Jesus Christ also says “[a] house divided against itself will not stand,” (Matt. 12:25). Man’s opinion, no matter how seemingly logical, convenient or brilliant, is the source of division among Christians today. Don’t be fooled by Satan! Come out of all division and return to the oneness that God desires for His church.
How do we unite?
In all four gospels in the New Testament, Jesus Christ says,
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Do you love Jesus Christ so much that you would be willing to put aside your own preferences, traditions, and good ideas? Are you willing to ultimately deny your soul life and follow Him? The word of God reveals clearly that all Christians are part of the one church of God and that all the believers in one city should meet as the church in that city. This is how God desires us to express the oneness in a practical way. It is our desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in how He wants His church to be built. This is why we meet as the church in Fountain Valley.
How do I “join” the church?
Would you like to become a member of God’s family, do His will and be in His church? God has made it simple for you. First, be saved. Mark 16:16 says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Then, once you are saved, start to meet with the church in your city. That’s how simple it is to follow God’s will concerning His church.
If you are a born again Christian and have been baptized into Christ, and you live in Fountain Valley, spiritually you are a member of the Church in Fountain Valley. We welcome you to also practically meet with us on this unique biblical ground of oneness. If you live in another city, we invite you to come and experience the church life with us.
If you are not yet a Christian, do not wait or postpone your decision to receive Christ and be added to His church. Choose Him now. Open up your heart to Him and pray: “Lord Jesus, I repent of all my sins and receive you as my Savior and life. I want to become part of Your family, and be brought back to Your home in the church.”
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Jesus Christ is Indeed the Messiah
For centuries it has been debated on whether or not Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Many have come, and will come, claiming to be the Christ. How do we know who is truly the Messiah? We find the answer in the Bible, the holy Word of God.
The Bible, written over a time-span of 1,500 years, by over 40 writers, accurately details the coming of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures, given by inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16), prophesied clearly regarding His birthplace, being born of a virgin, where He would grow up, His physical appearance, how He would die, His resurrection, ascension, and ultimately, His second coming to bring in God’s kingdom to reign on the earth. In 2 Peter 1:21 we read, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Bible divinely prophesies about the coming of the Messiah and also documents how Jesus Christ fulfilled every requirement, proving that He is the Messiah.
The Prophecy Concerning the Messiah
Daniel, a major prophet in the Old Testament, prophesied:
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself,”
Written about 540 years prior to the coming of the Messiah, this prophecy declares what Jesus Christ will accomplish and when.
The Meaning of the Prophecy
Messiah means “the Anointed One”, and He is the liberator or savior of an oppressed people. Today, mankind is oppressed by sin. Man cannot save himself from sin and needs salvation. The world is filled with unrighteousness and injustice. People continually offend one another, making it impossible to achieve peace. Everyone is looking for someone who can solve all the problems of man. Daniel prophesied of such a One, the solution to all the problems. The Messiah is the man, Jesus Christ. He is the only Man who lived a perfect human life. As a righteous man, He was cruelly crucified. The shedding of His innocent blood took away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and thereby reconciled man back to God (Romans 6:10). He also became the life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45b) to free man from sin and death (Romans 8:2) and give man the ability to live a righteous life (Romans 8:4). The Messiah, as the Anointed One, fully liberated man from the oppression of sin.
The prophecy also describes when the Messiah would come. Daniel wrote “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks,” that is 69 weeks. In the context of this passage, 1 week equals 7 years, thus 69 weeks are 483 years. The Old Testament also counts 1 year as a prophetic year containing only 360 days (as opposed to the Gregorian calendar we use today which counts 365.25 days). Multiplying 483 years by 360 days results in a time period of 173,880 days. According to history during Daniel’s time, Israel was captured by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, and Jerusalem was destroyed. Years later, King Artaxerxes of Persia issued the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem as recorded in Nehemiah. Nehemiah 2:1 refers to the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year reign of King Artaxerxes which according to history occurred on March 5, 444 BC. From this historic date counting exactly 173,880 days later brings us to March 30, 33 AD. What significance does this date have?
Combining two passages in the New Testament, confirms March 30, 33 AD to be the day Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and was proclaimed king (Zechariah 9:9; John 12:12-16). The gospel of Luke, indirectly gave the year of 33 AD. According to Luke 3:1, Tiberius was in his 15th year reign at the same time Jesus was about 30 years of age. History states Tiberius became Ceasar the day Augustus died on August 19, 14 AD. The start of his 15th year would be August 19, 29 AD. Luke 3:23 said Jesus was approximately 30 years old when He began His ministry. His ministry ended 3.5 years later at His crucifixion in the year 33 AD. In the year 33 AD, the Passover occurred on April 3. The gospel of John tells us 6 days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany (John 12:1). John 12:12-15 shows us that the next day Jesus entered Jerusalem and was proclaimed King of Israel. This proves that the date He entered Jerusalem was March 30th, 5 days before the Passover. The gospels of Luke and John confirmed the only day Jesus Christ was proclaimed the King by the Jews to be March 30, 33 AD. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel to the exact date that Daniel said the Messiah, “the Prince”, would come.
There are many other prophecies in the Old testament detailing the coming of the Messiah, and the New Testament records the fulfillment of the prophecies through the Man, Jesus Christ. A few examples are the birthplace of Christ being in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1) and being born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 2). Only God could inspire the many authors to write the Bible so precisely. Also it was only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was uniquely qualified to be the Messiah as He fulfilled all the requirements of the prophecies.
God went to such great lengths to document His coming in the Scriptures and fulfill all the prophesies through His Son for one purpose: He wants to save you. Jesus Christ as the Messiah is now waiting to become your Savior today. He only asks you to believe in Him, to receive Him as your Savior, and to be baptized into Him (Romans 10:9; John 1:12; Mark 16:16). The Bible tells us the greatest sin is the sin of unbelief (John 16:8-9). The Bible made it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, your Savior. All you have to do is “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus Christ from among the dead, and you will be saved,” (Romans 10:9). Dear friend, do not delay, and receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, your Messiah, your Savior.
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The Son of God versus the Religion of Men
When Jesus Christ lived on this earth 2000 years ago, Judaism, a religion based on God’s word in the Old Testament, was well established. One would think that those belonging to Judaism would have fully welcomed the Messiah; but surprisingly they not only rejected Him, but persecuted and crucified Him. What went wrong?
When God gave the Holy Scriptures to His people, His intention was not for them to establish a religion, a system of worship with all the laws and ordinances, rituals, activities, and traditions. God wanted them to know and enjoy Him, and to establish a personal relationship and fellowship with Him. Unfortunately, God’s people turned the Scriptures into a religious system and were so zealous of their outward religious practices that they failed to recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the living God Himself, who came to be their Savior. Instead of welcoming the Messiah, they crucified Him on the basis of their religious laws. Jesus called the Pharisees of that time hypocrites because they appeared to be so lawful and good, yet they were completely corrupt inwardly.
Has it ever occurred to you that after 2000 years of Christian traditions, Christianity may be doing the same thing with Jesus Christ? Some Christians fulfill their duty by going to church once a week, singing in the choir, even doing charitable works and missionary activities. Yet how many really know and experience the living Christ in their every-day life? Christianity has become a religious institution, founded on God’s word in the New Testament, but now full of man’s own teachings and interpretations of the Bible, rituals, outward practices and traditions, resulting in countless conflicts and divisions throughout history. Man’s influence and divisive results are contrary to God’s living Word. They misrepresent the person and the glory of Jesus Christ and what He wants to accomplish today. It is not a surprise that so many are turned off, or even repelled by what they see today in organized Christianity. They identify Jesus Christ with the many hypocritical practices of historical Christianity and consequently reject Christ. But God is not offering you a system of theology with many outward practices and rules. He wants to give you His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be your Savior and life and to experience a new life in Christ.
God created man for His glory − not for a religion. From the very beginning He wanted man to become His sons by partaking of His divine life. The almighty and true God desires to be our Father and to have a living relationship with us. Unfortunately, man was deceived by the serpent, Satan, fell into sin, and turned away from God. Instead of becoming sons of God, man became like the serpent, sinful, whose end is condemnation and eternal death. Where there is sin, there is judgment; the sentence is eternal death!
Who can escape the judgment of the living and righteous God? Who can save his own soul? Do not be indifferent! Psalm 90:8 says: “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.” Our sins are not hidden from Him. His judgment will undoubtedly come. But the GOOD NEWS is that God loves you. He does not want you to perish. Listen to His Word: “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). God has never given up on man – He sent His only begotten Son as the “Lamb” of God as the sin offering to take away the sin of the world on the cross (John 1:29). God has never lost sight of His purpose to make us His sons and to bring us into glory. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, the righteous God judged Him on our behalf. Jesus died for you and me. Through His blood shed on the cross we all can receive full pardon of our sins! He gave Himself as a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6). On the third day after His death, He arose from the grave victoriously. God confirmed that the redemptive work of Christ was complete and fully acceptable to Him by raising Christ from the dead for our justification (Romans 4:25). Friend, this is the greatest truth in the universe! Jesus Christ lives today! In resurrection, He is now the Spirit who gives life (1 Corinthians 15:45).
Faith in Jesus Christ is not merely a superficial belief in Him as our Savior, but much more − it is a living experience of an inward relationship with Him. By this living faith and through baptism, a believer becomes united with Christ and receives His Spirit into his heart. Christ lives in him, becomes his life and is expressed in him in his daily living.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Based on the accomplished redemptive work of Christ, God will pardon all your sins and deliver you from eternal condemnation. At the same time you will receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ and be born again to become His child. God Himself will be your heavenly Father! This is not a religion but a reality.
Dear friend, do not delay! Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart! None of us know what may happen tomorrow. Remember, the God of love is not offering a religion, but His salvation and life in Christ Jesus to you today. Choose Him now, open up your heart to Him and pray: “Lord Jesus, I repent of all my sins and receive you as my Savior and life.”
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How long is Eternity?
In human life, all things have a definite end. There are 9 months of pregnancy before a child is born. On average a student might go through 17 years of schooling before they graduate. Careers typically last 40 years before retirement. And, ultimately, human life expectancy is about 87 years. In each case there is always a definite ending. All things are finite and will eventually come to an end.
But how long is eternity? According to the dictionary, eternity means having infinite duration without interruption, meaning it is forever and ever without end.
Man’s Eternal Destiny
According to the Bible, man has an eternal destiny. The Bible also tells us that man has only two possible eternal destinies. One destiny is to become kings and priests to God. Revelation 1:5-6 says,
“…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
The other destiny is to be tormented in the lake of fire forever and ever, as it says in Revelation 20:10, 15:
“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever…And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Which eternal destiny are you headed for? So far, you’ve spent 30 seconds of your life reading up to this point. Why not invest another 3 minutes to consider which eternal destiny you will choose?
God’s Eternal Plan for Man
God’s eternal plan is evident in the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1:26, God spoke:
“Let Us make man after Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God desired man to express Himself, and to exercise His dominion over the earth. This was God’s eternal plan for man. God had only one requirement for man. Genesis 2:16-17 says,
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’ ”
God wanted man to be dependent on Him by partaking only of the tree of life and not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Unfortunately, God’s enemy, Satan, deceived man by saying that man “will not surely die” from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:4). Thus, man disobeyed God and partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that time forward sin had entered man. Romans 5:12 says that,
“…through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
And further, Romans 6:23 tell us that,
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The penalty of sin is death. No matter how hard man tries, he cannot escape death. Man is ultimately destined for the eternal lake of fire.
God’s Eternal Solution
But God did not want man to end up in the eternal lake of fire, which was originally intended for His enemy, Satan. God loves man so much, yet God is also righteous. How could He save man and still fulfill His righteous requirements? God needed to send someone to die in man’s place. In Romans 5:8-9 we see that,
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
God became the man Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect human life on the earth. He was cruelly crucified as our perfect sacrifice. By dying and shedding His innocent blood for man, He became man’s substitute. Thus, our penalty is paid in full by Christ’s death on the cross (1 Timothy 2:5), and our sins are forgiven.
Not only that, Christ also resurrected to become the life-giving Spirit to give us eternal life and make us His children. John 1:12 says,
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
His goal is not only to forgive us, but also to make us His children. God desires us to grow up in Him and become kings and priests in His kingdom forever and ever, ultimately fulfilling His eternal purpose.
Changing Your Destiny
God has made it simple for us to be saved. Romans 10:9-10, 13 says,
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ”
It’s a simple decision that will affect your eternal destiny. 1 Thessalonians. 5:9 says,
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,…”
Which would you choose? God’s eternal wrath, or salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ? Friend, do not wait or postpone your decision to receive Christ. Choose Him now. Open up your heart to Him and pray: “Lord Jesus, I repent of all my sins and receive You as my Savior and life.”
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No Time for God – God’s Invitation for You
Time for Ourselves
The King’s Invitation
Jesus knew that the Jews would reject Him as shown in verses 1-3:
“And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,’ and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.”
Our God, the King, has invited firstly the Jews and then the nations to the marriage feast of His Son, Jesus Christ. His servants have extended the invitation, but many are not willing to come.
The King’s Love and Patience
The parable continues with verse 4:
“Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”
Our God has prepared everything for us to come and enjoy the wedding feast. Even though we are sinners, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our sin and trespass offering (the fatted cattle), by being crucified (killed) on the cross for us in order to save and justify us. Actually, God Himself became a man, Jesus (meaning “Jehovah saves”). He is the only one qualified to be our sin offering because He is the only one without sin. When He was crucified on the cross, the shedding of His innocent blood fulfilled all God’s righteous requirements to forgive us of all our sins and our debt to God was paid in full. By faith in Jesus Christ, we can therefore come before God to enjoy salvation and all the riches of Jesus Christ as a feast!
No Time for God
Unfortunately, many rejected God’s invitation in ignorance. The parable continues with verse 5:
“But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.
The gospel of Luke added:
“But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come,’” (Luke 14:18-20).
The worst is that some even persecuted the servants of God and killed them (verses 6-7):
“And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” (This portion specifically refers to the Jews, who rejected Jesus Christ and persecuted His apostles. In the year 70AD, God sent the Roman armies under Titus to destroy them and the city of Jerusalem.)
Many of us have seemingly legitimate reasons not to receive God’s wonderful invitation. We have our education and career to pursue. We are busy taking care of our family. There are many good, noble and honorable goals we want to fulfill. But many do not realize the seriousness of ignoring God’s invitation to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Rejection will lead them to face the wrath of God’s judgment for eternity.
The Invitation Extended to All Nations
After the Jews rejected Jesus Christ, the gospel of salvation by grace was preached to the Gentile world in verses 8 to 11:
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
God, being rich in mercy, is inviting you today. Will you receive the invitation? Do not repeat the same mistake as those who rejected the great salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The Wedding Garment
Not only did God prepare the wedding feast, but He also prepared the wedding garment as stated in verses 11-13:
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Not only was Jesus Christ our sin offering, but He also became our “garment of salvation” and “robe of righteousness” for us to put on (Isaiah 61:10). As the Spirit, He desires to live in us and to clothe us. In Galatians 3:27, it is written:
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Through faith in Christ, He becomes your life within you. And through baptism, He becomes your righteousness to cover you. Fallen man’s righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). With our own righteousness, we cannot stand before God. Praise God, He has made Christ to be our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30) through faith and baptism into Him. Why not take Christ? Rejecting such a great salvation has serious consequences!
The Bride of Christ
Who then is the Bride of Christ? At the end of the Bible, Revelation 19:7-9 says,
“‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’”
The bride of Christ today is His church, comprised of everyone who truly received Jesus Christ as their Savior. After being saved, His life within us will change us day by day to transform us into His glorious image. Isn’t God marvelous? He not only prepared a wonderful feast and provided us with the best wedding garment, but He also constitutes us to become the church, the bride of Jesus Christ. How can we not have time for our wonderful God?
Accepting God’s Invitation
Friend, do not postpone your decision to receive God’s invitation. Make time for God right now. Open up your heart to Him and pray: “Lord Jesus, I want to receive Your invitation. I repent of all my sins and receive You as my Savior and my life. Lord, prepare me for the coming wedding feast at Your return.”
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