Study the Bible with a humble attitude.
Most gentiles who have never even
read the Bible nor heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ criticize the Christian
faith. There is an obvious lack of
humility in these people. They may have
the opportunity to hear the Truth, but they are not able to understand the
1900 years ago, there was an
Ethiopian eunuch, a Minister of Candace the Queen of Ethiopia,
who was in charge of the treasury, came one day to Jerusalem to worship. On his way back, he was reading about the
prophet Isaiah. Philip ran to him and
asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" Being a prestigious,
powerful and supposedly knowledgeable officer in the government, it was almost
an insult to be asked a question like this.
However, he did not mind at all.
He humbly replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" He
invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Then he ' asked Philip, "Who was the prophet Isaiah referring to,
himself or someone else?" Then Philip opened his mouth and told him the
good news of Jesus. Having heard about
the Savior Jesus, the Ethiopian asked that he be baptized (Act 8:26-39). This was the result of this Ethiopian eunuch
who was humble in his searching for the Truth.
It did not take him long to understand and to accept the Truth.
When Paul and Silas went to Berea to spread the
Gospel of Jesus Christ as described by Luke, "These Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the
word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things
were so. Many of them therefore believed
with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men" (Acts
17:10-12). The behavior and outcome of
the people of Berea
tells us that a wise person neither denies nor accepts the Truth easily. They will study the Bible daily,
judge what they have learned, then decide whether or not they are willing to
accept it. This is the result of
searching the Truth (Bible) with humbleness.
The more the Truth (Bible) is
studied, the more it is understood. The
more one understands the Truth, the more one will be delighted, so much so,
that one cannot stop searching (Ps 19:105, 147-148).
When Jesus was preaching the
Truth, He performed many miracles in different cities. However, the people in those cities hardened
their hearts and failed to repent. Jesus
reprimanded them and told them they would be punished. (Mt 11:20-24) Then Jesus
prayed to the Father, "I thank thee Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that
thou hast hidden these things from the vase and understanding and revealed them
to babes [i.e., humble people]; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious
will" (Mt 11:25-26). God reveals
the Truth to those who study the Bible with humble heart. This is the proper attitude to be adopted by
those who are eager to understand the Truth.
Meditate day and night upon the Truth.
In order to obtain the Truth, one
needs to find time for quiet meditation lest he be perplexed and lost. Confucius once said, "Learning without
thinking about what one has learned is in vain; thinking without learning makes
knowledge futile." Mencius also said, "The
most important function of the mind is to think. If you think, you will understand; otherwise
you will not understand." The same principle is applicable to the learning
of the Truth. In order to understand the
meaning of the Truth, one has to constantly think and meditate upon the Truth.
About two thousand years ago in
the city of Nazareth of Galilee,
there lived a virgin named Mary who was engaged to be married. One day an angel came to her and said,
"Hail, 0 Favored One, the Lord is with you!" Mary was surprised by
this greeting. The angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb
and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus..." (Lk
1:26-38).There were, of course, many virgins other than Mary in the
country. But God chose Mary to be the
mother of the Savior Jesus. Among the
many reasons as to why Mary pleased God and why she was chosen, was that she
was used to "considering in her mind" whatever happened to her. Because of this "considering in her
mind," the angel was able to inform her that she was to conceive and give
birth to the Savior Jesus.
About six months before this
happened, the angel had revealed to the priest, Zechariah, that his wife,
Elizabeth, would bear him a son and he should call this son John. This visitation to Zechariah was similar to
that of Mary. Zechariah, however, was
not only suspicious about what the angel had told him, but also stopped
"considering in his mind" concerning this matter. Therefore, the angel told him, "Because
you have not believed my word, you will be silent and unable to speak until the
day these things come to pass" (Lk
1:80-20). As we consider these two
incidents, we realize it was very precious for Mary to "consider in her
mind" what was to happen to her.
The next year, there were
shepherds in the field at Bethlehem,
keeping watch over their flocks by night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them and said, "To you is born this day in city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will
find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in. a manger." The
shepherds, having heard what had been fulfilled, spread the angel's words about
this babe among themselves. All those
who heard this wondered at what the shepherds had told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering
them in her heart (Lk 2:8-19).
It is written: "Blessed Is
the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and in H's law he meditates day
and night" (Ps 1:2). "Oh, how
I love thy law! It is my meditation all
the day. My eyes are awake before the
watches of the night that I may meditate upon thy promise" (Ps 119:7,
148). May we all develop in ourselves
the habit of meditating upon the Lord's words in order to understand the Truth
Do not hesitate to question.
In order to comprehend the Truth
more fully, one not only has to meditate on the Truth but also to question
constantly. It is useless if one listens
and does not think about what he hears.
If one thinks yet does not question, then what he comprehends is very
limited. Thinking and questioning are
like the two wings of a bird; none is dispensable.
When Jesus was twelve years old,
His parents took Him to Jerusalem
to the Feast of the Passover. When the
feast ended and they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, sitting among
the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. All who heard Him were amazed at His
understanding and His answers (Lk 2:41-47)
According to Jewish custom, boys
were to learn the laws of God when they were twelve years of age. When Jesus was sitting among the teachers
listening and asking questions, He wanted to learn the laws of God. Later when Jesus was tested by the Devil in
the wilderness, He quoted God's words three times to defeat the temptations of
the Devil. Jesus' familiarity with God's
words was due to His eagerness to learn to listen, and to ask when He was
young. He has set for us a good example
When Jesus was preaching the
Truth, there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
Jews. He came to Jesus by night. Jesus said to him, "Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old?" Jesus
told him that "born again" meant to be born of water and spirit. Nicodemus still could not understand. He asked again, "How can this be?"
Jesus explained further that He (Jesus) was the Savior of mankind and would
give eternal life to whoever believed in Him. (Jn
From this conversation, we
realize that Nicodemus was a man who was eager to learn. He came to see Jesus at night to learn teachings
from Jesus. Because of his eagerness to
ask, Jesus explained to him the Truth in greater detail. As for the Truth about being born again, as
explained by Jesus, we don't know how much Nicodemus understood. What we do know is that when the chief priests
and Pharisees were judging Jesus, Nicodemus stood up bravely against them and
spoke up for Jesus (Jn 7:45-5 1). After Jesus died, he "brought a mixture
of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound
weight" with which to bury Jesus (Jn 19:39).
Believe in the Truth.
It is written in the Bible,
"But they have not all heeded the gospel for Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has
believed what he has heard from us?"' So faith develops as a result of
listening to the preachings of the Word (Rom
10:16-17). One must begin by hearing the
Truth. In turn, this will lead to the
acceptance of the Truth.
As there are correct ways to hear
the Truth, there are also correct ways to believe the Truth. As mentioned above, the way to hear the Truth
is to study humbly, meditate continually and question constantly. There are three steps leading to the belief
in the Truth, namely, repent, be baptized for the remission of sins in the Name
of Jesus, and. receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
John the Baptist preached,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 3:1-2). Jesus also said, "The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom
of God is at hand, repent
and believe in the Gospel" (Mk 1:14-15).
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured upon the congregation. Peter bravely testified for the Lord telling
of His death, His resurrection and His ascension into heaven. After the congregation had heard Peter's
testimony, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter, "What shall we
do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of
you . . . " (Acts 2: 14-38) Repentance, therefore, is the first
prerequisite for salvation.
The Greek word of
"repent" is metanoia. It means to have a change of heart and
mind. That is to change oneself from a
sin-follower to a follower of God. A
person must confess all his previous wrongdoings and determine to turn away
from wickedness (Mt 3:6, Act 3:26). In a
positive sense, it means to turn oneself to God and perform moral deeds (Act
26:20; Tit 2:14). Paul wrote in Romans
6:13, 17 and 19 about repentance: "Though once the members of my body were
yielded to sin as instruments of wickedness, now I yield myself to the Truth
and members to God as instruments of righteousness."
When John the Baptist was
performing the baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4), many Jews went to him,
confessed their sins and accepted the baptism.
But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for
baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to
come? Bear fruit that befits repentance,
and do not presume to say to yourselves, . . . even now the axe is laid to the
root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut
down and thrown into the fire" (Mt 3:5-20). Repentance means more than confessing our
sins. It is imperative that we perform
good deeds in our daily lives. Only
those who repent are worthy of the Truth and be spared of God's anger.
About 1900 years ago, Philip went
down to a city of Samaria,
and proclaimed to the people the Christ.
And the multitude, with one accord, gave heed to what was said by Philip
when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. There was a man named Simon who had
previously practiced magic in the city who, when he saw the miracles performed
by Philip, was amazed. He accepted the
faith and was baptized into Christ. When
the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the
word of God, they went there and laid their hands on them and they received the
Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the
Holy Spirit was given through the laying of the apostles' hands, he offered
them money for this gift of God. The
motivation of Simon's belief in God was to take advantage of the situation and
make money instead of repentance. Thus he
was not worthy of the Truth. Peter
reprimanded him severely and said, "Your silver perish with you, because
you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter,
for your heart is not right before God. Repent
therefore of this wickedness of yours that the intent of your heart may be
forgiven you. For I see that you are in
the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." Fortunately, Simon
repented in time and requested Peter to pray for him. (Acts 8:5-24).
When Paul was preaching in Ephesus many people ca me
confessing their practices of magic. A
number of them brought their books and burned them in the sight of all; and
they counted the value of the books and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of
silver (Acts 19:18-19). The fact that
the money amounted to fifty thousand days' worth of wage indicated that much
witchcraft was performed in the city.
However, the people performing the witchcraft repented and burned their
books. This episode attests to the fact
that they indeed were determined to repent.
Once Jesus went to Jericho and there he met
a man named Zacchaeus, chief tax collector. He was rich but he was lonely, for he had
defrauded many people of their money. He
was rich in a material way but poor in spirit.
The luxury of his life failed to produce in him any satisfaction. What he needed was spiritual happiness. He wanted to see for himself who Jesus was,
but could not. Because of the crowd and
his small stature he climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him. Jesus was a righteous man but Zacchaeus was a sinner hated by all. However, much to his surprise, Jesus looked
up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house
today." So he made haste and came down, and received Jesus joyfully. Zacchaeus said to
the Lord, "Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have
defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to
him, "Today salvation has come to this house. (Lk
were to keep his promise, he would become impoverished. He was a rich man and
was used to the luxurious life he led.
Yet he was willing to become poor and suffer because he had received
salvation and had seen the glory of heaven.
His heart was fully satisfied and his repentance genuine.
My dear friends, would you be
willing to surrender yourself totally to Jesus, repent of your sins with all
your heart, and enter the kingdom
Many churches believe that
baptism is no more than a formality in becoming a Christian and has little to
do with salvation. However, there are
many instances in the Bible which prove that salvation and baptism are
About five thousand years ago,
God caused a flood upon the whole earth.
Noah followed the command of God, built an Ark,
and took his whole household into the Ark
to save his family. According to the
Bible, Noah and his family were saved by the Ark.
In I Peter 3:20 we are informed
that they were saved through water. Peter emphasizes the word "water" to
show the saving of Noah and his household actually prefigures that of salvation
through baptism. "Baptism which
corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal
of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (I Pet 3:21).
Why are baptism and salvation
Jesus told Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
"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). "To be
born again of water" is to be baptized and fulfills the act of being born
anew. Paul said that baptism is the
"washing of regeneration" and is one of the ways by which God saves
souls (Tit 3:5). Most churches believe
that "to repent" is to' be born again. However, there are five places in the Bible
where "born again" is mentioned (Jn 3:3,
7-1 Tit 3:5; 1 Pet 1:3, 23) yet there is no scripture that states repentance is
the same as being born again. Needless
to say, whoever desires to be born again has to repent. Being "born again" is not completed
at the time of repentance. Instead, it
is done at the end of the baptism. The
order is repentance, baptism, born again.
Our God is a Holy God (I Pet 1: 16). He dwells in holy places. We are sinners; none is righteous (Gal 3:22;
Rom 3:23, 9-10). Therefore, unless we
are forgiven of our sins and become holy, we cannot see God (Heb 12:14). It is clearly written in the Bible that
baptism can wash away our sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16). Being cleansed is the necessary condition
leading to salvation. How can baptism
wash away our sins? When- Jesus was
crucified on the cross, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and
at once there came out blood and water (Jn
19:34). We are baptized with water and
blood (there is blood in the water), and the Holy Spirit is the witness (I Jn 5:6-7). The blood
of the Lord is the power that cleanses us from our sins (Eph 1:7, 1 Pet
1:18-19) and was poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28). Therefore, baptism in the Name of Jesus has
the power to forgive us our sins. Most
churches use Acts 3:19 to deny that baptism has this power and claim that as
long as one repents one will be Cleansed of his sins (Arts 3:19). It is obvious that one who is to believe in
God and ask for forgiveness of his sins must repent. However, the forgiveness of sins is effective
only when one is baptized in the name of Jesus, not when one repents only. The order should be - repent, be baptized in
the name of Jesus, receive the forgiveness of sins.
of God belongs to the
righteous, and only the righteous are qualified to enter (Mt 13:43,
25:46). There is power in the baptism,
not only to forgive sins, but to make one righteous as well (I Cor 6: 11). To be
made righteous is to be reckoned as righteous (Rom 4:5) and be treated as
righteous. In other words, this means
that our sins have been laid on Jesus (Is 53:6, If Cor
5:21). It also means that in Him (Jesus)
we become the righteousness of God (Rom 4:25; 2 Cor
5:21). Those who are baptized are not
only sinless, they are now righteous. It
is also written in the Bible that those who are baptized into Christ have put
on Christ (Gal 3:17). "Put on
Christ" means to put on Christ as a garment. Christ is righteous (Lk
23:47), therefore, whoever "puts on" Christ will be made
righteous. Furthermore, Christ is the
Son of God (Rom 1:3-4), therefore whoever puts on Christ will become the son of
God." . . . You are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are
Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Gal 3:28-29). The form
of baptism is very important. Only the
correct baptism is effective for one to be born again, to receive the
forgiveness of sins, for being made righteous, and for the putting on of Christ
- all of which lead to salvation. If the
method of baptism is in error, it is as though one has not been baptized at
What is the correct form of baptism?
term baptism means "soaking," so one should be immersed in
water. According to the Bible, when
Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan,
He entered the water first then went up from the water (Mt 3:16). If He had not received the
"dipping" ceremony, why did He go into the water? It is also written that John the Baptist
chose a river which had much water (Jn 3:23), If John
did not perform the "dipping" ceremony, why did he choose a place
with plenty of water? When Philip
baptized the Eunuch from Ethiopia,
it is written in the Bible, "Philip and the eunuch both went down into the
water and Philip baptized him. And then
they came up out of the water . . . " (Acts 8:38-39) If Philip performed
the "sprinkling" ceremony, why did both of them go into the
water? According to written documents,
the Prince from Ethiopia
came to the U.S.
in 1923 and said, "We have not changed what Philip preached. We receive the immersion baptism, we keep the
Sabbath on Saturday and there are 36 million people in our country who keep the
Sabbath." This report indicates that the ancient church did perform the
immersion baptism, as prescribed in the Bible.
During the immersion baptism, the one being
baptized should face downward. This is
the proper posture of a sinner who confesses his sins to God and begs for
forgiveness (Ezra 9:6, Ps 40:12; Lk 18: 13-14). When Jesus died on the cross, He bowed His
head and gave up His Spirit (Jn 19:30), One who is to
be baptized should bow his head as Jesus did at His death in order to be united
with Jesus in His death (Rom 6:5).
Baptism means to be baptized unto His death, be buried with Him, and to
resurrect with Him (Rom 6:3-5; Col
2:12). To bow one's head means to die
with Christ; to be immersed in the water is to b, buried with Christ; and to
come up from the water means to be resurrected with Christ. To die with Christ is to be crucified on the
cross, thereby destroying the sinful body Which is no
longer enslaved by sin (Rom 6:67). To be buried with the Lord means to be freed
from the punishment of the law- To be resurrected with the Lord is to have a
new life in Christ- The old sins are taken away. Some churches perform the immersion baptism
in which the one to be baptized faces upward instead of downward. Some other churches perform the sprinkling
baptism instead of the immersion baptism.
All these are in error according to the Bible. Nowhere in the ceremony they perform
indicates the meaning of dying, being buried and resurrecting with the
Lord. The baptism performed by the True
Jesus Church is in full accordance with the teachings of the Bible.
The minister who performs the sacrament of
baptism baptizes the believers in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in the
name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. According to the book of the Acts, baptism
performed during the Apostles' time was done in the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts
2:38, 10:48) or in the Name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16, 19:5). It was never performed in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Churches that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit found their rationale in Matthew 28:19.
But the 11 name " in that verse is
singular. The Name is Jesus. Jesus is the Word that became flesh and is
the Savior (Jn 1:14).
The Word was God (Jn 1:1). The birth of Jesus
is the manifestation of God in the flesh (I Tim 3:16). The Son and the Father are one (Jn 10:30). The Spirit of the Father dwells in the Son (Jn 14:8-9). The Holy
Spirit is the Spirit of the Father (Mt 10:20), the Spirit of the Son (Gal 4:6),
the Spirit of God (Mt 3:16) and is the Spirit of Jesus (Act 16:7, Rom
8:9). John 17:12 states, "I kept
them in thy Name of the Lord Jesus instead of in the name of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit. As for the churches
that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the I name
I is not explicitly indicated, thus creating confusion as to what the
"name" really is.
Only those who have received the Holy Spirit are
qualified to perform baptism. The power
to forgive sins is in the blood of the Lord in the water during baptism, and
the Holy Spirit is the witness (I Jn 5:6-7, Jn 19:34). If the
person performing baptism has not himself received the Holy Spirit, there is no
witness of the Lord's blood in the water.
Moreover, the power of forgiveness belongs to God. No one can forgive the sins of others, only
God (Mk 2.7). The person who performs
baptism must have received the Holy Spirit, which is the power that forgives
sin (Jn 20:21-23).
(TO BE CONTINUED)