Are you attending "the church of your choice"? Is this just a matter of personal preference, or did Jesus Christ give clear guidelines for the Church that His people would attend?
Billions of people just "drift" into certain vital decisions that will affect their entire lives. Should you? One of those decisions is where you should attend church. Many, many people just follow their parents or friends into whatever church they happen to be in. Others try to look for the church with the "best parking lot," or the best youth program, or the "best choir."
If there is a real God—the Creator of the heavens and the earth who is right now intervening in human affairs to send His Son back to the earth as King of kings—then you and I had better be very careful where and how we try to worship that God! As most of you know, millions of people have been involved in horrifying religious wars over the various "splits" in the Catholic church and in the Protestant movement as well. They took the truth—as they understood it—seriously. Today, for most people, God is "way off" and not "real." So attending church is more of a "social thing" or a way to "meet the right people" in your business or profession to help you get ahead. However, Jesus Christ said: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23–24). Jesus also said: "Your word is truth" (John 17:17).
Can you worship God "in vain?" Jesus said so! He told the religious leaders of His day about the people they were leading: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8–9). Be honest! Does the church you presently attend follow the traditions of men?
When you go into a church service, do you hear a pretty complete explanation of important passages in the Bible describing the whole purpose of human existence, the reality of the God of heaven, the reality of His present intervention in human affairs and why Almighty God devoted about one-fourth of the Bible to prophecy? Do you? As the American and British-descended people are brought down and God continues to "break the pride of our power," it is vital that you worship God as you prepare for the Judgment Day!
Somewhere on this earth, God does have a true Church. That Church is teaching the full Truth of the Bible. It will be a Church where the whole purpose of human existence is explained and the vital prophecies of the Bible are also explained and made real to all who attend.
For Jesus also said: "I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The word "Hades" means the grave. So the grave and all the powers of hell will not be able to destroy Christ's Church down through the ages. The true Jesus Christ is the living Head and Ruler of His own Church. "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22–23).
If you are willing to expend the time and intellectual energy to check up and prove it, you will be able to find that Church today! For it is the Church that will be preaching the full Truth of the Bible. As the Apostle Paul told the elders of Ephesus: "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). So God's true Church will be composed of those who genuinely study the Bible and sincerely follow the very first instruction of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God'" (Luke 4:4).
It is obvious that Jesus was certainly including what we call the Old Testament in this statement—for there was no New Testament written at that time! The entire Bible was inspired by God and is written for us to study, to understand and to obey. The Apostle Paul was inspired to write: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17). The words contained in our own Bible are the words we should live by—not some other "books" written by men which are not part of the inspired manuscript God guided to be part of His Holy Bible. But Scripture is intended to give us reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. Most churches do not let the Bible correct them where they are wrong. They will go right on following the "traditions of men" even though these traditions are exposed over and over to have come directly out of paganism and are often directly contrary to the Bible!
Where do you stand? Will you have the faith and courage to "check-up" on this and act on what you find to be the Truth?
Nearly all scholars acknowledge that in Revelation 12, the true Church is pictured as the bride. She is being "persecuted" by the "dragon"—described in verse 9 as Satan the Devil. Although the zealous members are taken to a place of safety, in verse 17 God describes the devil as going to make war with the "remnant" of the true Church—those left behind.
In Revelation 14:12, God goes on to describe His faithful people: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." These are the people, God indicates, who will be protected from the soon-coming Great Tribulation and the horrifying plagues of God that immediately follow!
Does it make any difference how you worship God? Do you want to have His divine protection in the perilous times just ahead? Of course you can worship in the church of "your choice"—as the Sunday religious-page ads often say. Of course you can follow the ideas of your relatives, friends and associates! But will they "be there" to protect you during the coming world upheaval? More importantly, will they be there to "save" you in God's judgment?
Why not prove to yourself that the Bible is the inspired revelation, from the Creator, of basic spiritual knowledge otherwise inaccessible to mankind? Why not see what the word of God—the Bible—says about where God's true Church is today?
When Jesus Christ came in human flesh, He regularly met with fellow Jews in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Gospel of Luke tells us: "Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah" (Luke 4:14–17).
So it was Jesus' "custom" to worship on the seventh-day Sabbath with His fellow Jews. When it came His time—as an adult male Jew—to read God's word in the Sabbath services, He was handed the book of Isaiah. After reading a passage that, in fact, predicted His very ministry, Jesus "began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing'" (v. 21).
Jesus called the book of Isaiah "Scripture"—the very word of God! He taught, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Here, the Son of God validated what we call the "Old Testament" as Scripture—and He said we should live by that inspired Scripture! So all true Christians—genuine followers of Jesus Christ—must be willing to live by the inspired teachings of Scripture, as Jesus commanded.
The original, genuine Church was first and always focused on teaching and preaching the inspired word of God! At services, the ministers and elders explained and expounded the Bible—reading directly out of the Bible and showing its true explanations of the purpose of life, the laws of God and His plan for all of our lives. Church services seldom if ever emphasized history, philosophy or the "traditions of men."
Although church choirs and activities can certainly be enjoyable, Church services are truly helpful only insofar as they fully explain, exhort and inspire believers to truly believe and obey the words of the Bible and to let Christ live His life in them through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20). Socializing and friendship are wonderful features of the true Church of God. But much of that kind of human interaction can also be found in the Rotary Club or Lions Club or other social forums. Coming before the Creator to worship Him and learn His Truth is on an entirely different level!
Jesus told a Gentile woman who worshiped God in a "different" way: "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:21–24).
If you wish to genuinely serve and worship the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ—if you truly want their blessing and protection during perilous times just ahead—you should earnestly, persistently and honestly try to find the Church that Jesus Christ built, of which He is the living Head (Ephesians 1:22), the Church that actually preaches and teaches His full Truth (Acts 28:30–31) and is doing His Work on earth today! You must be willing to sincerely and zealously "seek" the true God. You must be willing to serve and worship Him in the way He reveals in His inspired word!
Of course, it may be more "convenient" to go to the church of your family or friends, or to the closest neighborhood church. It may be more "fun" to attend a church with a big choir or lots of activities. Yet the Christ of the Bible earnestly warns us, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). So why go to a church where entire passages and books of the Bible are rarely, if ever, thoroughly explained and expounded in the worship services? Where people attending are not really having their lives, thoughts and actions changed by the powerful preaching of God's word? Where the one-fourth of the entire Bible that is inspired prophecy is rarely explained? Where the members gain virtually no understanding that we are now living in the "last days"? Where they are not shown the specific events to "watch" for that will precede Christ's return to this earth?
Why, indeed, would anyone want to waste their time in a place like that?
As end-time prophetic events speed up—as the prophesied droughts, earthquakes, disease epidemics and acts of terrorism begin to affect us more and more—are the clapping, singing people in some neighborhood church going to "save" you? Who can genuinely protect you and your loved ones if you are unwilling to seek and to worship the God of the Bible "in spirit and in Truth"?
Through Tomorrow's World magazine and this Work, you have been brought into contact with the true Church of God. If God is truly opening your mind, and if you have the courage to act on the Truth, I encourage you to "follow through." Check up on us even more. Prove what we are teaching out of the words of your own Bible. Our teaching can easily be validated and proved from the Bible itself—for it is the Truth.
I encourage you to call or write today and ask for more of our free literature. As you have probably noticed, all of our literature is absolutely free. If you really want to understand, there are two vital booklets I especially urge you to request. Restoring Original Christianity will open your eyes to what really happened to "mainstream" Christianity and what a true Christian should do. Where Is God's True Church Today? will clearly spell out—with specific proofs from the Bible—the vital identifying signs of God's true Church so you can recognize where that Church is today.
The organization that publishes Tomorrow's World strives to really follow the Bible. As you know, we in the Living Church of God try to follow all of the above truths with all our hearts. That is why we strive to powerfully proclaim to the whole world the end-time prophecies of the BIble. That is why we do all we can to specifically warn the Israelitish peoples of the coming Great Tribulation. With our Headquarters in Charlotte, NC, offices all around the globe, scores of local congregations with resident ministers, worldwide radio, television and Internet coverage and a growing publishing work including this very article and Tomorrow's World magazine, that message is going out with increasing power.
Now, you must decide what to do about this article. Perhaps it will merely be helpful to you to consider these obvious, biblical identifying "signs" of where God is working—where His true Church is today.
But if your interest goes beyond that—if God is calling you and if we can serve you personally—do not hesitate to write us at the address of our office nearest you. We can answer your questions by mail. Or, if you request it, a fully-trained representative of this Work will call on you in person at a time and place agreeable to you.
You must decide.
If you would like to visit with a minister or representative of this Work, then call our office nearest you as listed on the "Regional Offices" page near the front of this magazine. Or write or email our nearest office, if you prefer. Just state your desire for a visit and give your address and/or phone number so our representative may contact you. Be assured that no one will show up without previously scheduling a visit at a time and place agreeable to you. Our minister or representative will be there simply to answer your questions about the Bible or about this Work and the Living Church of God.
There will be no pressure for you to "join" anything and no solicitation of money for any purpose. But you will have the opportunity to talk with a true minister or representative of Almighty God and more thoroughly check us out in a personal way and ask about attending worship services or a Bible study if you wish. Often, our minister may suggest that you read more literature, prove the truths of the Bible to yourself more thoroughly and be more sure of your commitment before attending any meetings. For we want you to be sure. We are trying to serve you in your quest for eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
However, if God is truly opening your mind and "calling" you, we are sure that you will be delighted to meet with others who have been willing to genuinely give their lives to God and in service to their fellow man. You will find a group of happy people—often with little children—who bring their Bibles to services, and are like the Bereans, who "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10–11). There will usually—depending on the size of the group and the local situation—be singing of hymns, announcements of any activities, news of the Work, helpful sermons and a great deal of enthusiastic visiting and fellowshipping after the meetings.
May God help you to "prove all things: hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV). As the end of this age swiftly approaches, we should not forever sit around speculating and doing nothing! God rewards those who zealously act on the Truth and do all they can to get involved in serving Him and in serving their fellow human beings in God's service. As James was inspired to tell us: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). Again, be sure to request a free copy of our extremely helpful and thoroughly documented booklets, Restoring Original Christianity and Where Is God's True Church Today? My friends, you really need these vital booklets to prove to yourself where God is working! So take action! Contact us right now—before you forget—and request your free copies of these booklets!
God help you to understand and to get involved while you still have the opportunity! You may now be in your "comfort zone" in some other church fellowship. Or you may be among the millions of "nones"—those people who belong to no church and are often bored or simply "turned off" by the emptiness of "mainstream" religion. But—if God is calling you at this time—your Creator wants you to be an active part of His Church in genuinely preparing for His kingdom and powerfully warning our peoples of the coming Great Tribulation.
As the prophetic events this Work tells you about continue to occur and intensify, and as God opens your mind to the great Plan He is working out, be sure to act. May God grant you the understanding, the faith and the courage to take action!