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Beware of Complacence


One is often advised not to be complacent with his achievement, for example, in terms of worldly education, wealth, status or position.  In such a manner, complacence has only been taken in a mundane sense.

However, its meaning must go beyond this.  It is the intention of this article to highlight the adverse consequences of being complacent, in a spiritual dimension.  We can look at this with reference to three categories of people: (i) the nonbelievers, (ii) the non-True Jesus Church members, (iii) the True Jesus Church members.

1. To the non-believers

1.1. Those who do not believe in the almighty God are spiritually complacent

If we were to think and study with care and humility, we would discover that people who do not believe in God are spiritually complacent.  This fact can be exemplified by the following examples of quotations:

·         "I would be satisfied if I had a million pounds"- without realizing that one will not even bring a penny away when he departs from this world.

·         "I don't want to think too much about life.  Life just goes in cycles anyway.  I would be satisfied if I could live up to 70 years old" - not recognizing the availability of eternal life.

·         "I would be happy to leave this world as long as my children are grown up" - not knowing that he and his children need salvation.

·         "Everyone has to die one day.  Why should I worry too much about death" - not much different from other animals.

·         "My purpose of life is to travel around the world" - not realizing that, without God, his destination will definitely be in hell.

·         "As long as I do good in this world, I will end up in peace" - not knowing that a good person like Cornelius, still had to accept Jesus as his Savior, to receive the Holy Spirit and to be baptized, in order to gain salvation.

These quotations demonstrate that people who do not recognize God as the Creator of heaven and earth, seek satisfaction through mundane, temporary achievements and happiness and, are spiritually complacent.

1.2. People without God seek to satisfy themselves with worldly gains

Those who do not believe in God are seeking self- satisfaction through the "light" of the sun and moon.  This "light" refers to matters which are, according to human perspective, honorable, enjoyable, delightful and hopeful.  They include fame, status, power, wealth, education, enjoyment, pleasure, which, in physical terms, could mean well-salaried jobs, big houses, big cars, sumptuous meals, and even sinful pleasures.  Without these, they feel terrified, hopeless, disgraced and dismayed.  But believers are different.  For the city in which God's people dwell has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever (Rev 21:23; 22:5).

Non-believers are, therefore, trying hard to satisfy with what they can gain in this world.  Though deep within their hearts they are never content.  They have no desire for spiritual excellence.  Such spiritual complacence would inevitably lead them to eternal condemnation.  Jesus warns, "For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?" (Mt 16:26) Let us pray for those who are unable to see spiritually.  May the Lord open their spiritual mind, bestow upon them the spiritual vision to see the purpose of life, to recognize that life is short.  "Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities!  All is vanity.  What does man gain by all the toll at which he toils under the sun?" (Eccles 1:2-3) Indeed, man is born empty-handed and empty-handed he will go.  Therefore, let no one be spiritually complacent.  Every human being must believe in the Almighty God, see beyond this life and through the Lord Jesus Christ to gain salvation in the future.

2. To the non-True Jesus Church members who, in general, believe in God

2.1. Belief alone will not qualify one for salvation

Some people hold the view that as long as they believe in God and do good deeds, they will be saved.  If this were true, Jesus would not have to be nailed upon the cross to die for all sinners.  Neither should the angel need to instruct Cornelius to call for Peter to preach to him about Jesus and to receive both the Holy Spirit and water baptism (Acts 10: 2, 4, 44-48).  To just believe in God and expect salvation is both complacent and ignorant.  Cornelius was not complacent.  Otherwise, he would not have accepted Christ when Peter preached to him.

2.2. There is only one body of Christ

Some believe that it does not matter which denomination or church they associate with, they will be saved.  If this were the case, why should Eph 4:4-6 emphasize that there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father?  The church of God is of only one fold, one family.  The members of this spiritual household are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple (Eph 2:19-21).  This one spiritual family is the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God (Rev 21:2).  "Coming down out of heaven from God" means that the church is heavenly, established by the Holy Spirit, God Himself, not by any human being.  The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev 21:14).  All these testify that the one family of Christ must be built upon the faith according to the Lord, which was once for all delivered to the saints about two thousand years ago (Jude 3).

2.3. One's faith is not built upon only a few Biblical verses

Many believers, denominations or churches base their faith upon only a few verses in Bible as the only prerequisites for salvation. For example, some base their faith upon only two verses: "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved" (Rom 10:9-10).  They grasp hold of these two verses alone to imply that one does not need to be baptized or to receive the Holy Spirit in order to be saved.  If this were the case, why should Paul emphasize the need for regeneration through baptism and the renewal of the Holy Spirit? (Tit 3:5) Why it is clearly stated, "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him?" (Rom 8:9) The Lord Jesus Himself declared, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:5).  These two verses (i.e. Rom 10:9-10) are of course true but they are not the complete message of salvation, only the beginning.  We must also know the background behind these verses.  They were directed towards the Roman believers who had already been baptized and most probably received the Holy Spirit, in times of persecution and, of course, directed to those believers today, who have been baptized with water and the Holy Spirit.

2.4. Receiving the Holy Spirit is audible, visible, countable and available now

Some believe that receiving the Holy Spirit is quiet, within the heart.  This is grievous spiritual complacence and indeed ignorance, which will lead to spiritual disasters.  If receiving the Holy Spirit is silent, how could we reconcile this with the Bible.  "The day of the Pentecost had come.  And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4).  "Having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear" (Acts 2:33).  "The Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues" (Acts 10:45-46).  When Paul came to Ephesus, he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believe?" "Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues.  There were about twelve of them in all" (Acts 19:1-7).  All these testimonies confirm that the receipt of the Holy Spirit is not silent!

Some advocate that receiving Holy Spirit was an event only in the time of the apostles.  This is "another gospel" and is due to a lack of knowledge about the complete truth of salvation.  There is not a place in the Bible which says that the receipt of the Holy Spirit is an out-of-date event.  On the contrary, it declares, "In the last days, God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh" (Acts 2:17).  This prophecy is now being fulfilled and can be witnessed by everyone in the True Jesus Church who has received the Holy Spirit.

2.5. There is only one baptism for the remission of sins

Since water baptism is indispensable for Salvation, it is vital to make sure that it is carried out exactly according to the Bible.  Some say God wouldn't mind how one is baptized; He is not that particular!  This is real perversion of the genuine truth.  The devil in the very beginning of human history had already begun to pervert the word of God.  God said to Adam, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you cat of it you shall die" (Gen 2:16-17).  But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die" (Gen 3:4).  The devil is more subtle than ever, especially in the end time, seeking every opportunity to lead us astray by changing God's word.  Throughout the history of Christendom, the devil has advocated many different modes of baptism which are not found in the Bible, and are therefore not effective for the remission of sins.  Let everyone beware that "The devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (Rev 12:12)

Apart from the "one" baptism in the Bible, other biblical teachings must be performed for one to be saved.  This one and true water baptism must include the following points: (i) One must believe in the Lord Jesus (Acts 18:8), repent of one's sins (Acts 2:38) and resolve to lead a holy life (Rom 6:11-1 4), (ii) One must be fully immersed in water (Mt 3:16; Mk 1:9-10; Acts 8:38), (iii) One must be baptized with the head bowed, in the likeness of the death of Jesus (Rom 6:5; Jn 19:30), (iv) One must be baptized in living water (Mt 3:16; Jn 3:23), (v) One must be baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5), (vi) The baptist must have received the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:21-23) and the true baptism.  There are many other concepts, practices and traditions which do not conform to Biblical teachings.  All those who claim to be Christians must return to the Bible, without any additions or subtraction.  In the Bible we find the following ten basic, indispensable beliefs, which are essential for salvation:

1.      Jesus was the Word who became flesh and died on the cross for the redemption of sinners, resurrected on the third day and ascended to Heaven.  He is the only Savior of mankind, the Ruler of the heavens and earth and the Only True God.

2.      The New and Old testaments of the Holy Bible are inspired by God, and are therefore the only authentic scriptures to testify the truth, as well as the standard guide for Christian living.

3.      The True Jesus Church, established by our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, is the revived True Church of the apostolic times.

4.      To be baptized in full immersion, with the head bowed, in living water, is a sacrament for the forgiveness of sin and regeneration.  Baptism must be performed in the holy name of the Lord Jesus by a baptist who has received the baptism of water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

5.      The receipt of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee for our inheritance of the kingdom of God.  Speaking in tongues is the indispensable evidence of having received the Holy Spirit.

6.      Foot Washing is a sacrament to be performed once in the name of the Lord Jesus after water baptism.  It enables one to have a part with the Lord and entails the teaching of love, holiness, humility, forgiveness and service in the Lord.

7.      Holy Communion is a sacrament to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus.  Partaking of the Holy Communion is to receive His body and His blood, to be in communion with Him, thus enabling one to receive eternal life and be raised on the last day.  Only one unleavened bread and grape juice should be used.

8.      Sabbath Day, the seventh day of the week (Saturday), is the holy blessed day of God, to be observed under grace, for the remembrance of His creation and salvation, with the hope of eternal rest in the kingdom of God.

9.      Salvation is given to us by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  However, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to pursue holiness, to fulfill the teachings of the Bible, to fear God and to love man.

10.  The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will take place on the last day when He descends from heaven to judge the world.  The righteous will receive eternal life and the wicked will be condemned.

Dear friends, please do not be complacent for the sake of your own salvation.  Examine the Bible yourselves and you will find that you still lack something vital in your faith.  Consequently, your salvation is in doubt.  May the Lord help you to find the truth, return to the Bible and hold firm to the perfect gospel of salvation.  You will discover something new in the True Jesus Church, which, however, is almost two thousand years old, "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude:3).  You must pray to God in humility to lead you into the complete truth of salvation.

3. To the True Jesus Church members

3.1. "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet 3:18)

After we have accepted the perfect gospel of salvation, we are on the way to grow spiritually.  Spiritual growth comes from spiritual bread.  "The angel of the Lord came again a second time, and touched Elijah and said, 'Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you.' And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God" (I Kings 19:7-8).  Likewise, we need to eat the words of God (Jer 15:16) in order to be strengthened to walk on the journey of faith and to reach the Kingdom of God eventually.

Without being deeply rooted upon the word of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, it would be difficult for us to fight against the false teachings of the evil one.  We might easily be led astray even after accepting the complete truth of salvation.  But, with the true knowledge of Christ, we will certainly fight a good fight.  Therefore, we should not be complacent in studying the Word of God further after we have been enlightened to accept the indispensable truths of salvation.

3.2. Be filled with the Holy Spirit

Being filled with Holy Spirit is not limited to merely speaking in tongues.  God has granted us His Spirit in order that we live according to His will, freed from sins of the flesh.  One who is truly filled with the Holy Spirit attains high spiritual cultivation and transformation.  His thoughts, words and deeds are to edify others and glorify God.  He is aware that the devil also knows his weaknesses so that he will not give ground or create any opportunities to sin against God.

With the power of the Holy Spirit, he is always a helping hand to those who are spiritually weak.  In times of adversity, others might fall but, he will definitely stand firm.  He will never falter or turn to a different "gospel" (Gal 1:6), for he has truly been enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is, therefore, a good and faithful shepherd.  Such a person is truly filled with the Holy Spirit and his life is of victory, hope and reward in the kingdom of God.

3.3. Share with others while it is possible

The Lord Jesus has led and guided us to dwell in this part of the world for a very important purpose.  That is to proclaim the perfect gospel of salvation to the inhabitants of the land we live in.  Let's pray to the almighty God that we do not fail to accomplish this mission entrusted upon all of us.  We have to always remind ourselves that we have high spiritual goals yet to be attained.  Especially we who were born and/or educated here must conscientiously take up the responsibility to proclaim the complete truth of salvation.  After Paul was shone by a great light from heaven, he said, "What shall I do, Lord?" The Lord revealed to him by saying, "Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem... Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles." Likewise, we have been sent by the Lord to bear testimony in this corner of the world.  Let’s brighten the corner where we are.

By the grace of God and power of the Holy Spirit, seven churches have been established in the UK.  But, let us not be complacent for only a few in this land have heard of and accepted the complete message of salvation.  Everyone must be motivated and constrained by the love of Christ in order to share with others the perfect gospel of salvation.  Only with this love, derived from Jesus, issued from our hearts that we can begin to have the urge to share with many more people the good tidings of salvation from God.  Love is a prerequisite to share and spiritual power is indispensable for preaching.  Let us remember: "It is not true that no one believes.  It is true that we have not preached enough."

May the Lord help us so that each individual would make a resolution to preach to someone once a week and to lead one to be baptized into the Lord once a year. O Lord, help us, so that we are not complacent in saving souls.

4. Conclusion

Complacence kills.  This is true in people who do not believe in God; only having hope in this world.  This applies to people who have not accepted the complete truth of salvation.  All those who have been enlightened by the true light and accepted the perfect gospel of salvation need to learn from Paul: "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:12-14).