The Church—God’s Called-Out Assembly
Based on a sermon by Simon Chin—Singapore
Normally, when people say they are “going to church,” they refer to the
physical church building. In the context of the Bible, however, the
church refers to an assembly of people called out by God. It comes from
the Greek root word ekklesia, which means “called out.”
We first see evidence of people being “called out” in the Old Testament:
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God,
and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a
special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face
of the earth.” (Deut 14:2)
Back then, God told the Israelites that they were a holy people, chosen
by God for Himself. There were many other nations at that time, such as
the Philistines and the Assyrians, but God did not choose them. God
chose the Israelites, and they became a people called out from the world
to belong to Him. They were a special treasure above everybody else.
This was amazing grace given to the people of God.
This unique status was also made apparent to the world. The king of Moab
tried to bribe a false prophet, Balaam, to curse the Israelites. But
Balaam could only speak what God told him to speak (Num 23:7–8). Balaam
thus ended up blessing the Israelites, referring to them as “a people
dwelling alone” (Num 23:9).
Clearly, this nation of God’s people is not a nation of the
In the context of the True Jesus Church today, we need to realize
that our church is not a church of the world; she is a called-out
assembly of God’s people. Since the church is not of the world, she
must dwell alone. When people ask what denomination the True Jesus
Church belongs to, we say that we do not belong to any. Being part
of a Christian denomination—the categorization of the churches of
the world—signals that we belong to the world. We do not belong to
the world but to God.
Redeemed by His Blood
Some skeptics may challenge our claim to be the church of the Lord. How
do we know we have really been called out by the Lord? Let us examine
how God called His people out in the New Testament.
In a vision (Rev 5:9–10), Elder John saw four living creatures and
twenty-four elders around the throne of the lamb, singing praises to
God. They sang that Jesus Christ was worthy to take the scroll and open
the seal. Christ was worthy because He was killed to redeem people to
God by His blood; this group of people was made a kingdom and priests to
In other words, this church of the Lord is an assembly of people called
out to the Lord by His precious blood. That is why the church is
so precious in His sight. We must never think that the church is just
any organization and that we belong to a mere organization. We are all
members of the church of Christ because Jesus has redeemed us with His
blood. We are very precious to Him.
Apostle Paul spent three years providing pastoral care to the church in
Ephesus. Just before his departure, he exhorted the elders there to
shepherd the church of God:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which
the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God
which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
“God” in this passage refers to Jesus. The church that belongs to God
consists of the believers, whom Jesus purchased with His own blood.
This is why the church is unique.
A common question is whether there is such a thing as the true
church. The answer is a resounding and definite “Yes!” Many churches
were established by men, not by the will of God. They were established
by the power of kings, priests or people who love the Lord. These
churches may be good churches, but the blood of Christ does not redeem
them because they are established by the hands of men. This is the
difference between the churches of the world and the church of God.
[A]nd 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.
Elder John tells us that the blood of Christ washes away our sins.
Believers then become the church of the Lord; a kingdom (the original
text reads “kingdom”) and priesthood dedicated to serving God. This
cleansing by the blood of Jesus is essential if we are to be part of
We thank God that this grace is given to the True Jesus Church. Baptism
in the name of Jesus Christ effectively washes away our sins because the
blood of Christ is present. Visions of blood during the baptisms
conducted by the True Jesus Church attest to this.
Significance of the True Church
The “true church” is not just a buzzword. It has great significance,
which we must understand.
(a) Called To Serve Him
Firstly, God chooses us to serve Him, the one true God.
For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth
(as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there
is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we
for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all
things, and through whom we live.
(1 Cor 8:5–6)
Many people in Corinth were idol-worshipers. But the blood of Christ
called out the Christians who lived among them. These believers could
tell the difference between Jesus, the true God, and the idols. Today we
have been called out just like them. Through Jesus, our Lord, are all
things; through Jesus we live. Hence we cannot serve another God. The
modern danger is not any physical idol, but is represented by the unseen
gods we give our love to. Such love belongs to the one true God, and Him
alone. But we often give this love to the world. The Scriptures say God
is a jealous God. This means that He treasures our love so much that He
does not want us to waste even the smallest ounce of it in loving the
world. Only when we completely belong to God, will we be set free from
the abominable things of the world.
Wickedness exists in this world because there are those who do not love
God. They have no qualms doing wicked things because they have no fear
of God. In contrast, those who know the one true God have the fear of
God. They know that this is their Father, and that through Him they have
life. Hence, they resolve to serve Him with all their heart, soul, and
mind. God is not someone whom we seek only during prayers or only when
we have problems and need a trouble-shooter.
Moses reminds us: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your
God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in
all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 10:12), and “The Lord
delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their
descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day” (Deut
Today, this is why we are called out to be God’s assembly. People of the
world do not understand this special and precious relationship—He is our
God, and we are His people. To many, faith is human-centric, i.e., God
“exists” to serve them! So the business people seek the deity of
commerce to bless them. Those who need wealth flock to the god of
prosperity to bless them. They worship God in order to be blessed.
In contrast, our faith is—and must be—God-centric. We serve Him because
we have been called out for this purpose. Understanding this is very
important; it enables us to be joyful as we serve God. Taking up the
cross and following Him is easy. We will not murmur when we hit a rough
spot. Everything we do for God, we will do with love. This is the grace
we receive from God when we serve Him. Those who serve Him sincerely and
fervently will draw closer to God and be further strengthened in their
(b) Called to Enjoy His Abidance
God’s Abidance and Sanctification
Secondly, God calls us out to abide in us. Through His abidance, we
become holy. God will not dwell with people of the world but only with
His people. God wants His people to come out of this world undefiled. He
will then receive them; He shall be their Father, and they, His
The church of the Lord comprises a people called out through the blood
of Christ so that they will be holy. To sanctify men, God uses the truth
and the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts, so that they can abide in
God and He with them, and the glory of God can be manifested. Therefore,
the church must be cleansed by the word of truth and the Holy Spirit in
order to become holy. When we are holy, the Holy One can then abide with
us and we with Him. The result of such a life is glory in God’s eyes and
Abide in the Truth
Also, believers in God’s true church must dwell in the truth:
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the
Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently
with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible
seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides
(1 Pet 1:22–23)
Since we are reborn, we are no longer our old selves. We are a new
people. In Christ, we are a new creation, and we become people with the
heart of God, with His holiness, filled with the word of the Lord. This
is the church of God. That is why she is called the pillar of truth.
Whatever the church does is according to the truth. Truth must rule over
Given this great importance of the truth, we must esteem learning the
word of God. We come to church for fellowship—with God. We need to truly
listen to the word of God and accept this word into our hearts. Many of
us are physically in church, but our hearts are not there. How then can
we have fellowship with God? How then can we be the called-out assembly?
Coming to church for the sole purpose of fellowship with men will keep
us from being born of the word of God. And if we are not born of the
word of God, we cannot be the church of God.
God chose us from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by
the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thess 2:13–14). Belief in the
truth is receiving the truth into our heart and becoming a new and holy
person in Christ. The Holy Spirit working in us helps us to bear fruit
for salvation. This is why the truth and the Holy Spirit are so
important. Neither money nor intelligence can gain us the truth and the
Spirit of God. Yet they are freely given to us by grace. If we are ready
to believe, submit, and be humble before Him, this grace of the truth
and the Holy Spirit will be given to us. Grace is given to those who
have faith. If we have this kind of readiness, and if we are baptized in
the blood of Christ, the grace of salvation will definitely result in
(c) Called to Do His Will
Thirdly, we must do God’s will.
[L]ooking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great
God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He
might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for
Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
When we are called out, we are redeemed by the blood of Christ and
purified to be Christ’s own special people. But we must also be zealous
for good works, i.e., not only must we do deeds of charity to love one
another, but we must also preach the gospel. This is why God chose us.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of
Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who
once were not a people but are now the people of
God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
(1 Pet 2:9–10)
We are different from everyone else—we are a chosen generation, a holy
nation, a royal priesthood, and His special people. This is grace given
to us—once we were not the people of God, but now we are the people of
God! Jesus tells us that we did not choose Him, but He chose us. Out of
all the nations in the world, God chose Israel, not because they enjoyed
any quantitative or qualitative superiority; it was purely His choice.
But with this special status comes responsibility. He has given us the
knowledge of the truth. It is thus our duty to proclaim His marvelous
light, to tell the world of this Savior who called us out of darkness
into His light.
Today, there are many—both Christian and non-Christian—who love God. But
not all of them were chosen by God, even if they are Christians. Whom
God chooses is His sovereign right as Creator and Lord of Life. We, as
chosen creatures and part of the minority, can only be grateful for such
indescribable grace. Let us not take this for granted but instead try to
be worthy of such marvelous grace and do our duty of preaching the
First, to walk in a way worthy of His grace requires us to remember at
all times that we are called to glorify the name of the Lord. Offering a
cup of water to the least of our brethren, sharing a quiet word of
encouragement or offering a simple prayer for our brothers and
sisters—this is a zealous act when done sincerely and lovingly for the
Lord. Those who love the Lord will naturally have a heart of mercy and
kindness towards others.
Second, we must preach the gospel in and out of season. As long as there
are people we can preach to, we should. This is how Paul preached the
gospel. He did not prejudge people as being “worthy” or “unworthy” to
receive God’s word. Thank God, we see many today who remember that they
have freely received the grace of being “called out”—preachers who
zealously relocate to very remote places to bring this grace to other
souls, and even members who take leave from work for a long period of
time to follow ministers in this good work. They do not passively wait
to be allocated work, but instead actively seek the opportunity to go.
They often do more than they are required to.
Conclusion: Do It In the Name of the Lord
As people called by the Lord’s name, whatever we do, let us do it in His
name and to His glory. When we do things out of the fear of God and
according to the truth, when we do so for God and not for us, then we
will not lose our reward.
If we have the opportunity to evangelize on overseas missionary trips,
be not afraid to launch out into the deep. Yet not everyone needs to go
on overseas ministry trips. If we do not have the opportunity to do so,
let us do good deeds within our local churches.
In all, seize every opportunity to build up the body of Christ. If we do
a beautiful thing unto the body of Christ, we will be like Mary
anointing Jesus with the fragrant ointment. God will remember, and we
will not lose our reward.