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 (Manna 85: TJC at 100 – Towards the Triumphant Church)
Where Do We Go From Here?
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Adapted from a sermon by Aun Quek Chin—Singapore

The year 2017 was the centenary of the True Jesus Church. In 1917, through the downpour of the Holy Spirit, God established the True Jesus Church in China. Very quickly, the gospel was preached throughout China, as well as to Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries. Today, though the growth and development of our churches vary from country to country, we are thankful that the True Jesus Church is now planted in more than sixty-five countries across six continents. We firmly believe that despite the obstructions and difficulties we face, God will guide us through the stormy waters and give us victory at the end. 


Although we know it is God’s will for the True Jesus Church to be victorious, it is our duty to self-reflect and consider how we should proceed as a church beyond our centenary. Which direction should we move towards? Which way is the right way? How do we break through all these challenges in our path? How do we renew ourselves and rejuvenate our faith? Here are five things we should do that will serve us well in our journey as a church, until we reach our destination.

Keep to the Old Ways

Some members may think that the church should change with the times. They observe that other churches are always teaching new messages and revising their stances on topical issues in order to stay relevant, whereas we in the True Jesus Church seem stuck in our old ways. In this age, it is indeed not a bad thing to be creative and innovative. In various fields, such as industry and education, society is pushing for new and better ways of thinking and doing things. In a church setting, we could adopt this approach by delivering sermons in a more engaging way, ensuring the message is relevant to members living in this modern age. But this mindset of innovation should only go so far. Let us examine what God said through the prophet Jeremiah:

            Thus says the LORD:

            Stand in the ways and see,

            And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,

            And walk in it;

            Then you will find rest for your souls.

            But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

            Also, I set watchmen over you, saying,

            Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’

            But they said, ‘We will not listen.’

            Therefore hear, you nations,

            And know, O congregation, what is among them.

            Hear, O earth!

            Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people—

            The fruit of their thoughts,

            Because they have not heeded My words

            Nor My law, but rejected it." (Jer 6:16–19)

Though people nowadays desire novelty and new ideas, God instructs His people to ask for the old paths, where the good way is. How do we know that the old path is truly the good way? Because our predecessors and the saints walked it before us and emerged victorious. Abraham is a prime example; he and his descendants believed in God’s word and walked in the tried and tested paths, according to God’s commands. In the end, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham, bringing his descendants out of Egypt and into Canaan as a great nation. God’s promises have never, and will never, change. If we follow in the footsteps of the saints, we will see these promises unfold as they did in times past. The question is, can we hold fast to the old paths?

In today’s context, to what do the old paths refer? They refer to the truth that was once and for all committed to the saints by the Lord Jesus; the truth comprises His teachings and the ways of the apostles that have been clearly recorded in the Bible.

As the world changes, so will our approach and methods within church work. For example, the church has made leaps and bounds using the internet ministry for evangelism and pastoral purposes. However, those who seek novel concepts and new biblical interpretations may have already started upon a new path; on closer examination of their beliefs, they may have already strayed far away from the one true God. Even after one hundred years, we must keep to the old paths that our predecessors walked.

Learn from the Acts of the Apostles

How do we know in which direction the church should proceed? We must use the Acts of the Apostles, also known as the Acts of the Church, as our compass. The focus of Acts is not on the apostles’ endeavors; rather, from the first chapter to the last, the book focuses on the establishment and development of the church.

 "The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."  (Acts 1:1–3)

Luke begins the Book of Acts by recounting how, for forty days, the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples and spoke about the kingdom of God. He ends his account with Paul “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him” (Acts 28:31).

At this point, Paul was under house arrest in Rome, with a soldier for protection. Yet, miraculously, he was allowed to receive guests in his rented house, and thus continue the work of preaching. Roman law permitted such an arrangement, so Paul’s opponents could not hinder him from spreading the gospel. Through these amazing circumstances, the church in Rome was established.

Though the worker of God was bound in chains, the word of God could never be bound; this is the conclusion that the Acts of the Apostles imprints on our minds. An entire book concerning the church of God was written so that we in this current generation can understand how the church was formed, and how she progressed despite tribulation. The church was challenged by heresies creeping in, members turning apostate, and persecution from all sides. But reading this history, one lesson is clear for the church today: we need not worry; the Holy Spirit Himself will comfort us and help us to flourish. All we must do is rely wholeheartedly on His guidance.

Hold Fast to Pure Teachings

There is an important question we should consider. Can the church today continue to hold fast to the pure teachings and the truth originally preached? The stance of the True Jesus Church has always been that we must be completely aligned with the Bible; we should seek to follow the blueprint of the early apostolic church—the image of the ideal church—as presented in the Book of Acts.

Today, some may argue that times have changed and the apostolic church is an outdated model. Indeed, methods of church administration will necessarily adapt to changing times, but the founding principles of the apostolic church remain timeless. The truth preached by the apostles cannot be altered by changing societal attitudes. After all, the apostles did not invent this truth, so it is not a product of their era. The apostles’ message is the faith that was once for all committed to them by the Lord Jesus; it is the unchanging truth that remains relevant throughout the ages. The instruction of Jesus in Matthew 28:20, “[teach] them to observe all things which I have commanded you—and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of age,” was not just directed to the disciples of that time, but also to all future believers.

If we are indeed believers of Christ and of the true church, then we should follow the instructions of the Lord Jesus as the apostles did. We should emulate the apostles, who sacrificed their all for the word of God and contended earnestly for the faith. When opposed by the rulers and elders of Israel, they boldly declared: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19b–20). In addition, they were very faithful in teaching the word of God, devoting themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Finally, they were willing to suffer for His ministry. Enduring physical violence, imprisonment, and the threat of death, they did not waver in their faith and held fast to Jesus’ teachings.

Today, in which direction should the church proceed? All we must do is follow in the direction set by the Acts of the Apostles.

Be Led by the Holy Spirit

The Acts of the Apostles is also known as the Acts of the Holy Spirit because it records how the Holy Spirit personally led the church. In Acts 2, we read how the Holy Spirit pricked the hearts of the Jews listening to Peter’s message, resulting in the baptism of about three thousand people. In Acts 3, because the Holy Spirit worked through Peter and John to heal a lame beggar, more than five thousand came to believe. This was how the church in Jerusalem was established.

Some wonder how the apostolic church could have flourished with just twelve apostles and seven deacons. Even by the standards of the time, they were not a very talented bunch; yet, because they were faithful to God, the Holy Spirit worked mightily through them. Though the ability to speak is necessary, the presence of the Holy Spirit is even more essential if the workers are to touch the hearts of listeners.

Before the events recorded in Acts 10, the Jews had been unable to accept that Gentiles could become the children of Abraham and receive God’s inheritance. The apostles understood, theoretically, that they were Abraham’s children not through circumcision but through belief in Jesus and baptism. But they did not have the courage to confirm their belief through action and bring the message to the Gentiles.

However, in Acts 10, the Holy Spirit led a breakthrough by inspiring Peter to go to the house of Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile. Peter himself was still doubtful, but as he preached to Cornelius and his family, he was reassured when God bestowed the Holy Spirit upon the Gentile listeners.

Later, when Peter was criticized for having gone to Cornelius' house, he testified that these Gentiles had received the same gift that they had at the beginning: they spoke in tongues. There was no way Peter could prevent them from being baptized. If it were not for the work of the Holy Spirit, how could there have been such a breakthrough? How could Peter have persuaded the stubborn Jews to open the door for the Gentiles?

 Today, many doors are difficult to open. One of the toughest doors to open is the hearts of men. Some open their hearts and then shut them again. They repent, then return to sin. They believe and then they leave. Though these are hard doors to pry open, we can only do our best to preach the gospel, and the Holy Spirit will lead us in our efforts. 

Acts 15 records an incident of another nature—one concerning the truth. Some Jewish believers still insisted on circumcising Gentile believers, causing a divide in the apostolic church. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this problem was given a final resolution (Acts 15:28–29).

 The church today will likewise be required to handle tricky questions and dilemmas when it comes to practicing the truth. When such situations occur, we must learn from the example of the incident in Acts 15 and wholly rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Treat Prayer as a Service

Last but not least, in order for us to progress after our centenary, let us not be ambivalent towards prayer. Some of us may be ill or elderly and unable to do much church work, but at the very least, we can pray. Then there are those who do much church work, but do not consider prayers to be a form of service. Paul emphasized the importance of supporting the workers through prayer, noting to the Corinthians:

[You also helped] together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. (2 Cor 1:11)

 How can we help the church and aid the church workers? Apart from offering our services and strength, we must also offer our prayers. When we pray with all our heart, it represents our total reliance on God’s guidance in the development of the church. Prayer can be accomplished by any believer and is a service we must not neglect.


God has led us thus far over the past century, and will continue to do so in the next if we play our part well. While having faith that God will cause His church to flourish, we must continue to walk in the old paths of the saints and rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. More importantly, we should pray that God preserves our own faith, so that we, as individuals, will not waver in our beliefs and can lead future generations to hold fast to the truth. The Holy Spirit will assuredly complete His work of perfecting the true church.

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Author: Aun Quek Chin
Publisher: True Jesus Church