It is such a privilege to worship God in truth. There are many Christians now days who tell people that they are worshiping God; however, not in truth but in fallacies. I am so happy that we are united in the truth of Jesus Christ.
What is God trying to accomplish through His church especially in these last days? If you travel to China, you will not find any really organized system of churches. The government’s religious department is their general conference. Many churches are shared by Sabbath keepers and Sunday keepers. As a matter of fact, all of those local churches are governed by their own members and they gather the offerings and use them as they see fit. Tithe money is gathered and then used at the discretion of the local members. It is very interesting that the finances that are gathered from their own pockets for the usage of God’s work is spent in a more proper manner than many of the churches here in the United States.
A large amount of money gathered in this country is usually used to decorate their own churches, to build mega churches, crystal churches with nice pews, furnish better carpets and to pay better money to their pastors. The monies are also used to buy Cadillacs, BMWs and Mercedes for their leaders. But in China, even though there is nonsystematic church organization, God’s money is used more efficiently.
What is the purpose of the church? We gather together in the church on Sabbath because we believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we believe in the Biblical Sabbath and we believe in many other Biblical truths. We are united in the truth in our hearts and minds and worship the same God. That qualifies you and me as a church. What is God trying to accomplish through us, especially now days?
We find something very interesting in Ephesians 5:25, 26. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
The water and the word are synonyms in this phrase. The Apostle Paul says that the washing of water symbolizes the Word of God. God called us from the world and gathered us as a church of God, in unity of the truth of the Word of God so that He can cleanse us and then we can reflect something. That is why Jesus Christ prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” There is only one way to cleanse us; only one way to prepare our character according to God’s pattern is through the cleansing of His Word.
When we accept Jesus Christ, we accept His truth. Accepting Him into our hearts as our Saviour is accepting His principles, His words. When we compare ourselves, our faults, our philosophies, our understandings and our characters with the Word of God, we find errors and shortcomings. We find our idols, our sins, our selfishness and our pride. We find things that are not in harmony with God’s character. So, what do we do? We forsake those things that we think are not in balance with God and we accept God’s principles and God’s truth. That is how we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, our Master, King and our High Priest. We accept Him as our Lord. He has gathered us as His church so He can cleanse us through His Word.
When I was in high school I went through a ceremony. There was a female high school and about 500 high school girls were sitting on the one side of the big stadium and I was sitting on the other side. There was a big game played out in the ground. All of a sudden I heard some beautiful music and drums and I began to see one huge picture right in front of my eyes. These 500 girls were each holding a piece of a picture— the nose, the eye or the ear, etc., and they all held their pieces up and they all fit together like a big puzzle. All of a sudden they lifted it up and it was one big picture of the president of South Korea at that time. It was fascinating and I was much impressed.
We reflect the image of Jesus Christ individually and yet as a church, there is no one individual who is able to reflect the perfectness of Jesus Christ. When we, as a church, are united in the truth, then certainly as a church we can reflect the image of Jesus Christ perfectly. Sister White has told us that when we receive the latter rain, we are going to go out to proclaim the seventh day Sabbath more fully. Later on she said that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Latter Rain, we will go out and reflect the image of Jesus Christ fully.
What is the Sabbath? Sabbath is the resting experience. So the rest still remained for the people of God. When Adam was created, the first thing he had done was to participate in God’s rest, rest in God’s creative power. God had just made the world with no imperfection. When God creates new hearts and new minds, we become quickened. No matter what I have done, when I sincerely place my heart on the altar and say, “Lord, I confess all of my nonsense. Forgive me and cleanse my heart with Thy truth. If there is anything in my heart that I am holding with reservations, please help me to understand and show me. I do not want to hold anything back from you. I am thine Lord.” As long as I understand and admit that I am wrong and that I am a sinner and confess my sins in entirety, not holding anything back, God will re-create me in perfectness. I believe that He will wash me with his Truth, His Word and that He can accept me as a perfect person.
The righteousness He is going to give me is going to be a perfect righteousness. I believe that before you and I become truly righteous, God has to plant the seed of righteousness within our hearts, which is the motivation and desire to become righteous. It is the heavenly manna, the bread of life coming from heaven. We cannot create it for it is part of God. That is why it is righteousness by faith. We can only receive it by faith. When Abraham and Sarah believed in God’s promise, a life was produced—Isaac, a living thing, a living thing, the righteousness of God, came out of their dead bodies.
As long as we are in sincere repentance and give ourselves entirely to God, He will re-create our hearts and His creation is perfect. That does not mean that I am perfectly matured yet. As far as maturity is concerned, even after you and I go to heaven we are going to keep on growing throughout eternity. We can be perfect in each stage of our life. When God makes us righteous, we can think righteous and plan righteous; we can treat each other righteously. He washes us with His powerful Word in which He created the worlds. I believe that same Word spoken by God through the Holy Spirit in the Bible has the power of creation. If we truly take it in and eat it and digest it we can glean the power and promises of God. His Word, the truth, can make you and me righteous and perfect.
When I was young I thought that my father did not love me. I was the only begotten son in my family and he did not want to spoil me and he knew how to discipline. Sometimes I thought that my father did not like me. He did not give me big allowance money; just a little. As I began growing up, I realized that he had many other obligations. In my ignorance I began to spread rumors about my old father. Oh, my father is a miser; he is tight with his money and then I began to realize that he was not. He was a good man and he was a merciful man who loved me so much, but I had spread wrong rumors among my friends against my own father. When I grew up my father was still giving me a monthly allowance and I said, “Dad, you don’t have to give it to me. You can give it to my sisters, as they need it more, or you can use it for electrical bills or other things needed.” As I began to grow up, I began to understand my father.
One day I was sleeping in my room and it was kind of cold and I felt chilly so I wanted to pull the comforter over my head and yet I could not. All of a sudden I felt warmth all over my body. I did not know what was going on but I felt so warm. I opened my eyes a little bit and I just realized that someone had pulled the comforter over my head and then was going out. I looked at his back and it was my dad. All of a sudden that morning I realized my father loved me—he did not hate me.
Friends, as we become more mature in the Holy Spirit in our Christian experiences and through hardships, trials and tests, we begin to understand more of the love of God. Then we understand that He allows all of these difficulties and pain and sufferings in our lives so that He can cleanse us so that He can perfect us and present us a glorious church. When we go through the sufferings, pain and tests, we learn to be obedient to God. Our God is merciful. He is a wonderful God. He has been wonderful to me. That does not mean that I have not gone through some valleys of trials and pain. Oh yes, I have gone through those valleys and then I began to realize that God has a tremendous purpose to make us pure and holy, individually, and then He is going to unite us in the truth. Truth is God and God is the truth. So through truth, through doctrines in the Word of God, the Bible, we are united. Then we are to reflect Jesus Christ perfectly as a team.
Ephesians 5:27 tells us “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” He is going to present His church to Himself first before anything else, holy and without blemish. When God creates us, we are perfect. When we give ourselves to Him in confession of sin, He creates us anew. We have a new life and new thoughts, new motivations and new feelings and emotions. Our moral character is made up of new thoughts and feelings combined (Testimonies, vol. 5, 310). He is going to present us as a glorious church.
What does it mean to be a glorious church? In I Timothy 3:15 it says, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
“The church of the living God” contains two things: the pillar and the ground (foundation) of the church. The church must have ground. Without a ground you cannot build a church. And even if you have the ground, without the pillars you cannot hold up. So it must have two things: the ground, which is the foundation and then the pillars, which is the truth. We need to be grounded in the truth and we need to support this church as pillars.
What is the sealing? The definition of sealing in the Spirit of Prophecy is the settling into the truth so that we will not be moved. That is talking about the foundation and the pillars. We are supposed to be grounded. Lay that foundation strong so that we can be set and built on the solid ground of truth and not be moved and become a strong church.
In I Timothy 3:16, God is going to do something with this church. What is it? The Apostle Paul illustrates the purpose of the church through the life of Jesus Christ. This is what it becomes, a glorious church. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” This is a glorious church. This means this church is going to be ascended and enraptured in glory when Jesus Christ comes and will return to Eden to the stage where Adam and Eve were created in the first place. You and I are going to be a glorious church. We are going to be translated alive. We have a great opportunity to become living saints, alive without tasting death. I have such joy in my heart every time I think of it.
Jesus Christ came in the form of human flesh. He went through the sufferings and conflicts and learned to become perfect, to become obedient. He experienced life the same way that you and I are going to and He overcame the situations and conditions as well. He learned to become obedient, the Son of His Father. Jesus came in the flesh and became righteous in His spirit. As stated in I Timothy 3:16, “He was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.”
The work of the church is to cooperate with God to become a glorious church. Individually and then in unity we should become a glorious church.
There is a controversial verse which is a conditional verse found between chapters 7 and 8 in the Book of Romans. In Roman 7:25, it says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” In other words, he said that in my mind I serve the law of God but in my flesh I serve the law of sin. I do not know how long you have been a true Christian in the Lord, believing the truth, sealed by the Holy Spirit and living by the truth or living God’s Word by faith. It does not matter how many years we have been sanctified by the truth, we cannot deny the fact that still there are times we feel the promptings of sin, promptings of our past habits, etc. That is not our desire or intention to have these promptings but they just come up.
One quiet morning, not long ago, I was praying at home. Our house is a very quiet place in the country surrounded by many trees. I was praying to God during my studies and all of a sudden an urge or prompting came into my mind. It was some bad memories of someone that just came to me; I did not intend to think about that person but it just all of a sudden came into my mind. I then realized that without giving myself entirely to God every morning and every moment of every day, I am not perfect. Without the Holy Spirit present in my mind all day, I cannot present myself as a righteous offering, a temple of God where the Holy Spirit can reside. We need to understand that in our body we serve sin. This does not mean that we practice or commit sin, but it means that there is a trace of sinful records in our own bodies and in our own brains, yet in our minds we serve God. In our renewed minds and consciences our desire is to serve God. That is why we need to be delivered daily from our own bodies. That is why in Roman 8:1 it says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” If we follow after the flesh then we cannot overcome, but if we follow after the Spirit of God who resides in our hearts then we are able to serve the Lord. Sin is a habit and righteousness is a habit, which is why we need to make righteous habits. We are not talking about righteousness by works, but without the works nobody can be saved.
In I Timothy 3:16 it is talking about the mystery of godliness. God works perfectness and He works His righteousness. God works His mystery of creation through the gospel.
In Isaiah 60:1–4 it says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”
God is going to bring people toward His church if the church becomes the glorious church reflecting the image of Jesus Christ fully and preaching the Sabbath more fully. What does it mean more fully? Sabbath is an experience; it is not just resting on a certain day. We call ourselves Sabbath keepers because Sabbath is not just a day but an experience in God’s creation. Before God translates His church to heaven He will prove a point that His plan of salvation is so powerful it can change wicked human beings into a glorious church. He has to prove a point.
Salvation is turning the clay into a perfect human being reflecting the image of God. Through the plan of salvation God is using His creative work. That is the gospel. The gospel is not only forgiving our past; it is saving us from our current sin so that we are not going to be governed by our own fallen flesh, but we are going to be governed by the Holy Spirit.
Keeping the Sabbath is an experience. God creates His character within us. This begins with our confession and repentance so He can clean us through His Word. I recognize that I have been eating, drinking, dressing, behaving and speaking the wrong way and misrepresenting God. I have been misunderstanding God’s character and His ways so God is going to cleanse me, little by little into perfectness through the cleansing of His word. That is creation! When we stand before God, we, the remnant church, the remnant of the woman who keep God’s commandments, will have the testimony of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Jesus Christ is receiving visions and words directly from God. That is the testimony of Jesus Christ. That is the work of a prophet. The church is a prophet for the world which can only find the truth through the church. Church in a way is a prophet. We must have the testimony of Jesus Christ and we must have a direct relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.
We need to understand what it means to surrender. Sometimes we are so disappointed and in despair because we can’t do it. That is why we need to be cleansed by the Word of God. We need to learn the gospel as creation and we must be willing to receive the righteousness from Jesus Christ. We must humble ourselves and admit that we are but clay and that there is nothing we can do as far as righteousness is concerned. We need to submit ourselves to God as clay in the potter’s hand so that He can mold us anew.
One day Michelangelo brought in one big rock into his workroom and began to chip away at it. After two or three months his servants went into his workroom and they were astonished by beholding a beautiful statue of Moses. They said to Michelangelo, “Master, this is so beautiful, so brilliant. How did you do it? It was just a chunk of rock and now you have transformed it into this beautiful statue of Moses.” Michelangelo said, “All that I have done is to chip away the parts that did not belong to Moses.”
God is at work in your life and in mine chipping away through the knife of the gospel, through the knife of the Word of God. The two-edged sword pierces our thoughts and mind, cutting away those things that do not belong to the image of Jesus Christ. We need to cooperate with Jesus Christ every day.
I want Jesus to come soon so the sufferings, pains and trials in this world will cease. We need to become a glorious church of God so He can present us before the universe. Let us arise and shine because the glory of God has rested upon us. It is not something we have prepared by our own efforts, but God’s glory rested upon us. That is creation! Then we will be able to shine in the world; even our children are going to come to us.
Many children are turned off by their parents’ rigid religion, stubbornness, and legalistic mindset. God deals with us with such a freedom and liberty. He never forces anyone into heaven. How many are trying to force their children into heaven, into righteous behavior. It should be the work of righteousness. God’s gospel is very simple; it is creation. We need to pray for our children so that we can, in cooperation with God, create a spiritual environment without forcing them, but by wooing them like the Holy Spirit woos us every day. God’s glories are to rest upon us and we will become a glorious church and will shine to the world. That is the purpose of the church.
Colossians 1:26–28 says, “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
This mystery of God is being manifested through you and me to the church and the Gentiles will see the glory of God. This is the first angel’s message which says to, “Fear God and give glory to Him” [Revelation 14:7]. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” [Colossians 1:27], that creative power in us is our hope.
Pray to the Lord to re-create your heart. God is a wonderful God. Tell the Lord that you open your heart to Him and ask Him to come into your heart with His Spirit to help you. He will give you new thoughts, new emotions, new feelings and a willingness to follow His will. He is going to make us a glorious church.
Pastor David Kang is Director of Light for Life Ministry operating out of Hartwell, Georgia. His sermons are broadcast weekly on New York and Virginia Korean television stations. Pastor Kang also frequently travels to Asia where he trains pastors who often work “underground.” Pastor Kang may be contacted at: www.lightforlife.org.