The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 19 : The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS

[Chapter 1-9] (Ephesians 1:23) What Is God’s Church?

(Ephesians 1:23)
“Which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
 
 
Today I would like to share the Word of Truth with you concerning God’s Church. Although I could stand here and speak endlessly about God’s Church, beginning with the Book of Genesis and covering practically the whole Bible, I would like to instead focus on the following passage to explain what God’s Church is and who the members of the Church really are: “Which [The Church] is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23).
 
 
Let’s Begin by Examining the Etymology of the Word “Church”
 
Let’s first examine what the word “Church” means. The etymological roots of the word “Church” go back to the Greek word “kuriakos,” which means “pertaining to the Lord.” As the word “kurios” means master or lord, and this Greek word “kuriakos” indicates “those pertaining to the Lord,” the word “Church” is a gathering that is devoted to Him. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “qahal” is used to denote the Church. In Greek, the word Church is usually written as “ekklesia.” This Greek word is similar to the Hebrew word “qahal,” which means “congregation,” and “ekkelsia” which literally denotes “called out from” because the Greek word “ek” refers to “out of” and “kaleo” means “to call.” This is what the word “Church” means in our brief examination of its etymological roots.
In general, the Greek word “ekklesia” is used to describe “the people of God who are called out from the world and consecrated from the rest.” In the New Testament, based on Paul’s teachings in particular, the Church is understood as a special concept that defines the body of Christ. I am just repeating what Bible concordances say about the Church. As mentioned, the origins of the word “Church” go back to the Greek word “kuriakos,” which means “belonging to the Lord.” In the New Testament the Greek word “ekklesia” (congregation) is used to denote the Church, and the equivalent Hebrew word in the Old Testament is “qahal.” In short, the word “Church” means the “called out assembly,” denoting “God’s people called out from the world and consecrated from the rest.” Therefore, we can define the Church as “the gathering of those who belong to the Lord,” or as “the assembly of those called out from the world.” God has called us out of the world to be distinct from the rest. In other words, the word “Church” means the gathering of those who are differentiated from the people of this world. That’s how we should understand the Church.
The Church is the body of Jesus Christ, just as it’s written in today’s Scripture passage, “Which [The Church] is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). It also means the gathering of those whom God has called out of the world to be distinguished from it. The Church is indeed the body of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that it is the fullness of Jesus Christ who fills all in all. This means that it is through the Church that God blesses everything and everyone.
Just as the Word of God says that the Church is “His body,” it is the gathering of those who have received the remission of sins, and therefore none other than the Church is the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is the King of this Kingdom of God, and we are His people and His vassals. You and I are the members of the Church who have been called out and distinguished by God.
 
 
How Did God Establish His Church?
 
To answer this question, I would like to draw your attention to Matthew chapter 16. Let’s turn to Mathew 16:13-19 here:
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”
Here the Lord spoke clearly about the God-established Church. When Jesus reached the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13) To phrase this question in another way, Jesus Christ was asking His disciples, “I was born into this world as the Son of Man, but who do the people say that I am?” The disciples then answered Him and said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). Jesus then asked them again, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
Simon Peter then stepped forward and gave the Lord the most courageous and clearest answer of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). Here Jesus continued on to say to Peter that it was God the Father who had revealed this to him. He then went on to say in verses 18-19: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
When Jesus said here, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,” He was saying that He would build His Church on Peter’s faith. When Peter confessed his faith to Jesus and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus commended him for his faith and said to him, “This is not something that you have learned on your own, but it is what God the Father has revealed to you.” He then continued on to say to Peter, “On this rock, that is, through your faith, I will build My Church.”
Why did Jesus say this to Peter? The Lord was explaining here to show us how God had established His Church. In Jesus’ days, some people were saying that He was John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. In contrast to all this, Peter confessed to the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). After Peter made this confession, the Lord then said that He would build His Church through Peter, and He gave him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
God was able to build His Church through Peter. Peter’s faith was demonstrated most clearly by his confession, for he confessed his faith to the Lord by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Lord Jesus is indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. The Lord is not only God the Creator who made the universe, but He is also its King and its absolute Ruler. And the Lord is the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven, our Savior and our Prophet. Peter confessed that he believed in all these offices of Jesus, saying to Him, “You are my King, the Creator of the universe, its Ruler and its Savior. You have come to this earth as the Savior of the universe, and by offering Your body to God the Father, you have saved us all. You are the High Priest of the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven, and You are also the Prophet who speaks the Truth to us.” When Peter confessed his faith like this, Jesus commended him for this faith and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah” (Matthew 16:17). He then went on to say to Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18).
The Lord said here that He would build His Church on a rock. The name “Peter” means “rock.” That’s why Jesus said here, “On this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, for God to build His Church on this earth is to build His Kingdom, and God has established His Church to call out the people of this world, save them and move them to His Kingdom to expand it, and bless everything and everyone in the entire universe. The Lord said that He would build His Church on the confession of faith Peter had made. It is on account of Peter’s rock-solid faith that the Lord said that He would build His Church on such faith. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “On this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18).
Jesus also said to Peter, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). And here in today’s Scripture passage, it’s written that the Church “is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). Taken together, these passages mean that God forms His Church through those who have the same faith as Peter’s faith, and God blesses everything and everyone in the whole universe through His Kingdom.
It is on the faith of those who believe in Jesus Christ the Savior that God builds His Church. Where the Lord said to Peter, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19), the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven here refer to none other than Peter’s faith. Peter had confessed his faith by saying to the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and it’s this faith that God’s Church is preaching. In other words, through God’s Church, people can hear and believe with their hearts that the Lord is the Christ, the Creator of the universe, the King, the Savior, the High Priest, and the Prophet. And when we believe that the Lord is the Son of God, our Savior, our Master and our own God, He builds His Church on this faith of ours. Moreover, not only does the Lord build the Church on our faith, but He has also made it impossible for any power to prevail over this Church. Jesus said that no power of Satan on this earth can ever overcome the Church. God has made it impossible for anyone to prevail over the authority of His Church. The Lord Himself made it clear that absolutely nothing can ever prevail over God’s Church.
You and I also have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and the Lord said that He would build His Church on this faith of ours. The Lord is the Christ and the Son of the living God. And since we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our faith is the same faith that Peter had confessed. God said that He builds His Church through such believers, and He fills all in all through this Church, the Kingdom of God. This means that everyone is blessed through God’s Church. In other words, it’s through His Church that God bestows His spiritual blessings on everyone.
 
 
Nothing Can Ever Prevail over the Authority of God’s Church
 
The Lord said, “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it [the Church]” (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, no one can ever prevail over the faith of any righteous person who has become a member of the Church. Neither any repression nor any persecution coming from the gates of Hades can ever overcome the faith of the righteous. Even if the righteous are put to death, their faith in the righteousness of God can never be defeated. That’s because the Lord is the Head of the Church and we the righteous are His body. Did the Lord not overcome death by rising from the dead? Indeed, the Lord not only overcame all the evil wiles of the Devil, but He also cleansed away all the sins of everyone and bore all the condemnation of sin for the entire human race, and therefore those of us who believe in this Truth can never be defeated by the wicked.
What is God’s Church then? It is the Kingdom of God. That’s why Jesus said that the gates of Hades can never prevail over God’s Church. And that is also why the Lord said to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Therefore, no one can ever overcome the gathering of those who belong to the Lord, those whom the Lord has called out of the world to let them meet with God and abide in His Church. Absolutely no power of this world, nor any political authority, nor any law, nor any ethics, nor any religion, nor any force can ever prevail over the Church.
The Lord has given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to those whose faith is like Peter’s faith, just as He said here, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). In other words, to those who have the faith of the rock, the Lord has given to them keys to enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, God’s Church is the gathering of those who have these keys to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Today, as we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to send others to this Kingdom. So, whatever God’s Church, His servants, and any saints bind on this earth will also be bound in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever the Church binds is bound in Heaven also, and whatever the Church looses is loosed in Heaven as well. This is the power that God has given to His Church.
We are all grateful for this power that is both majestic and fearsome at the same time. When the Lord said that He would give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter, He was saying the following to him: “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on this earth will also be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on this earth will also be loosed in Heaven. Preach the faith that you have just confessed to Me now, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit that you believe in. Whoever listens to your words and believes in this true gospel will be saved to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does not accept your words and refuses to believe in this true gospel will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The authority of the Church is therefore exceedingly great.
However, even though God’s people have such amazing authority, many people are so ignorant that they often persecute the saints. But they should be careful not to bring calamities upon themselves. For instance, when the Church of Pocheon was trying to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit in that city, there were some people picketing around the Church and denouncing it. Apparently, this was done by some of the people who had left the Church. But I heard later on that one in this crowd saw his house burn down, another went mad, and another got involved in an automobile accident—these are what actually happened to them. Of course, we never wished any of these things to happen to them, but they had asked for God’s punishment by standing against His Church. Even though God’s Church had preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them, prayed for them, and cared for them deeply, they hated God’s Church and openly denounced it. They did not just hate the Church, but they also spread slanderous rumors around to vilify the Church. And these people were all struck down by unfortunate tragedies. This didn’t happen because we somehow wished it upon them. Far from it, it happened because God had said that He would punish anyone who denigrates His Church, and we are merely witnessing the fulfillment of this Word.
Our church in Seoul is located on the third floor of a building, and there is a bakery on the ground floor below. I heard that some of our ministers named this bakery “Jezebel’s Bakery.” As most of you probably know, Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab who had stood against God’s people and worshipped idols. You can then imagine just how much the shopkeeper of this bakery must have stood against the Church for our ministers to call it “Jezebel’s Bakery.” The owner of the bakery was so mean-spirited and had so little respect for the Church that she did everything possible to annoy us, even complaining about the parking space and refusing to share it with us. Do you know what happened to this bakery? It went bankrupt and the owner had to forfeit everything. If the past provides any lesson, it is that no one should stand against the Church, for even though all who have united their lives with the Church were blessed even more with the passing of time, all who hated and stood against the Church for no reason were ruined. God trampled on such people. This clearly shows us that no one can ever prevail over the power of the Church.
 
 
The Power of God’s Church Is Exceedingly Great
 
Jesus said, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). This passage means that whoever believes wholeheartedly in the gospel preached by God’s Church can be saved to enter Heaven. God’s Church preaches the gospel of the water and the Spirit to everyone. Whoever listens to this gospel and believes in it can receive the remission of sins, but whoever does not believe in this genuine gospel preached by God’s Church can never received the remission of their sins. So, it’s the Church that determines whether one has been saved from sin or not. If the Church says to some people that they have not been saved yet, and that they are still bound for hell, then they will surely end up in hell. Whoever the Church curses has no choice but to be cursed. That’s because the Lord said that He would not only build His Church on the rock of Peter’s faith, but that He would also give such an invincible authority to God’s Church.
It’s written in 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This means that God will accept into Heaven all who listen to and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that was preached by Peter, give them everlasting life, and make them members of His Church. In other words, whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit belongs to the Lord, and all such people will receive every heavenly blessing from the Lord. On the other hand, if anyone does not believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit that was preached by Peter, and because of their unbelief they will be condemned for the sins that still remain in their hearts. Moreover, such people can never receive any blessings from Heaven. That the power of God’s Church is great means that it fills all in all.
The Lord said that God’s Church is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. What this means is not just that God is everywhere, but it means that by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to everyone in this world who has drifted away from God because of sin, the Church enables all to receive the remission of their sins and to be born again, thereby renewing them both in body and spirit and blessing them all. That is why Jesus said that this world is blessed by God thanks to the gospel of the water and the Spirit which is preached by His Church and its benedictions.
Like this, through Peter we can realize on what kind of faith God’s Church was built. When the Lord said to Peter, “On this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18), He was saying that He would build God’s Church on Peter’s faith. This, in turn means that God builds His Church on the faith that you and I have in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And God preaches the gospel to the people of this world through you and me, who have now become members of the Church, and God blesses them through His Church. Therefore, it is through God’s Church that this world and the whole universe are blessed.
Through what institution does God work on this earth? What institution brings God’s blessings to this earth? It is none other than God’s Church. This is the absolute, forever unchanging truth.
Here in the Book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul is mainly speaking about God’s Church. Elsewhere in the Book of Galatians, he spoke about false faith, and he described the fallacy of physical circumcision and the truthfulness of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Old Testament’s practice of circumcision has today changed into prayers of repentance, and the Apostle Paul taught just how wrong this was and how it had misled so many Christians away from God’s Church and the true gospel. The Apostle Paul told us to abide firmly in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that he believed in.
And here in the Book of Ephesians, he is speaking of God’s Church, teaching us that even before the foundation of the world, God chose us and predestined us in Christ to save us, so that He would gather together all things that are in heaven and on earth. The Apostle Paul is saying that God the Father has made us His own children in Jesus Christ through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and that He has built His Church on this genuine faith of ours. This means that whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit belongs to God, to Christ, and to the Church. All of us must realize what God has done for us through His Church. We must realize clearly that God works through His Church. And we must grasp here that each and every blessing comes through God’s Church, and God’s will is also fulfilled through His Church.
So, even though I admit that I myself am powerless and inadequate, but because I believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord gave us, I have every confidence that the Lord is blessing me and working in my life through God’s Church. God has made His Church support the gospel ministry of the water and the Spirit, and He has turned us the believers into His workers to preach this gospel of salvation all over the world. God is bestowing these spiritual blessings from Heaven on all His servants, all His workers, and all His saints abiding in His Church. Having come into God’s Church by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have realized our wickedness, and we are thus following the Lord in obedience even though our acts are imperfect. Moreover, we believe that the Lord will infallibly reward us with great blessings. And we also believe that God will bless everything His Church does so long as it is not against His will, and that God will bless us both in body and spirit we who have united our hearts with God’s Church to faithfully carry out its work. That is why the power of God’s Church is so great.
My fellow believers, the gates of Hades cannot prevail over us the born-again (Mathew 16:18). Even if our bodies are put to death, we will live again. Through the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5-6), we will be brought back to life to live forever with Christ. In contrast, those who persecute us will be resurrected at the time of the second resurrection to be cast forever into the never-ending fire of hell. Never able to die, they will suffer for eternity. And it is none other the Lord’s authority that brings this about.
My fellow believers, when our Lord came to this earth, He bore our sins through His baptism, shed His blood to death on the Cross, and rose from the dead in three days. Just as the Lord was resurrected, so will every human being also be resurrected. Those of us who have been born again will live forever amid everlasting blessings, but everyone else―those who refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to those who persecute and stand against God’s Church―will be cursed by God for eternity. God can never tolerate such people who stand against and persecute His Church. There is no one on this planet earth who has ever stood against God’s Church and prevailed over it.
I am not sure if you had a chance to see the movie Quo Vadis. This movie is set against the backdrop of the rule of the Roman Emperor Nero and his heavy persecution of the saints. This Emperor Nero was not alone in repressing Christians; countless other Roman emperors also persecuted them. When we recite the Apostles’ Creed, we say, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate.” The man named Pilate appearing here in the Apostles’ Creed was the governor-general of Israel who was sent by the Roman Emperor.
Pilate presided over the trial of Jesus in his court, and even though he knew that Jesus was innocent, he rendered an unjust verdict because he was afraid of triggering a mass uprising among the Israelites. When the people of Israel demanded Pilate to crucify Jesus, he said to them at first, “How can I crucify Him when He is innocent?” The Jews then said to him, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). So Pilate gave into the demand of the Israelites and sentenced Jesus to death. But what happened to all those who had persecuted Jesus and the saints? The Jews who persecuted Jesus like this were all cursed to suffer for generations to come, just as the Roman emperors who persecuted Christians were also cursed. This is a historical fact that actually occurred in God’s Church. That’s why Jesus said that the gates of Hades can never prevail over God’s Church.
The people of the world stand against God’s Church only because they do not now its power; if they recognized the full extent of this power, they would have never stood against God’s Church. Jesus said to Peter, “On this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). By this, Jesus meant that He would build His Church on Peter’s rock-solid faith. Peter had confessed to the Lord, “You are the Christ,” (Matthew 16:16), and this confession means that Peter believed in the Lord as the Creator of this universe. And he also believed that Jesus Christ was the King, the High Priest, and the Prophet. The Lord had come to this earth with all these three offices. And through the Truth of the water and the Spirit, He has saved us from the sins of the world and completed our salvation. Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Master, and God our Shepherd who has delivered us from the sins of the world. We all believe that the Lord is our Savior, and it is on this faith of ours that God has built His Church and His Kingdom. God said that He would build His Church by gathering all those who belong to the Lord, and spread the gospel all over the world through this Church of God.
It’s on such faith that God’s Church was built. What power does God’s Church then have? The power of God’s Church is exceedingly great, both on this earth and in heaven, and in this present world and the next world alike. All of us ought to realize this and believe in it. Of course, I am not saying that we the believers have such material power, nor am I saying that we should seek after it, but my point is that God’s Church has the power to fill all in all. Because the Lord Himself is the Head of the Church, its Master and King, and He has this power, He blesses those who obey the Church’s instructions and punishes those who do not obey it.
What you should all realize here without any exception is that whatever God’s Church binds on this earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever it looses on this earth will be loosed in Heaven. Where is this authority found? It’s found in none other than God’s Church. The Lord had God’s Church in His mind when He spoke of such power. He was speaking about you and me who have become members of God’s Church by faith. However, if you fail to unite your heart with God’s Church to accept its decisions, strive to achieve its goals, and carry out its endeavors, then you cannot receive any blessings from God.
 
 
Realizing the Authority of God’s Church, You Must Live by Faith from Now On
 
Do you think that God’s Church is just gentle? Although you may think that God’s Church is very meek and gentle, its power is far greater than anyone’s. God’s Church is the body of Jesus Christ. If you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit preached by God’s Church, unite your heart with its endeavors, and pray together with the Church, then you will be blessed by God and made into His instrument of righteousness.
However, if you look down on God’s Church, you will be cursed in both body and spirit. It’s not because we wish anyone to be cursed that this happens. Far from it, we want all such people to repent and be saved from their sins. However, if they refuse to turn around and continue to stand against God instead, then they will be cursed by Him. So I admonish you all to realize clearly what kind of institution God’s Church.
God has built His Church and His Kingdom on those who have the same faith as Peter’s faith. God has established the Church by gathering those who have become His people by faith, and He has made them preach the gospel through this Church of God. Therefore, as we have become members of God’s Church, and we all believe in the gospel, we ought to unite our hearts with God’s work and serve the Lord together with the Church. God blesses such workers. He blessed them even more so that they would bear even more fruit. Moreover, God also blesses all who believe in the gospel preached by such workers and unite their hearts with them. This is the will of God.
Do you now understand what the Church is? A mere church building is not the real Church. Since no physical building itself is God’s Church, it has no significance. A building is just a gathering place; God’s Church is where those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and have come out of this world are gathered together to live with Jesus Christ in obedience to the will of God.
God’s Church is the institution that shares God’s blessings with everyone. If you want to receive God’s blessings, then you must abide in His Church. God’s Church is also the institution that judges this world. Whatever God’s Church says is right is right, and whatever God’s Church says is wrong is wrong.
Catholics claim that Peter was the first Pope, since the Lord said to him, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). This however is a profoundly mistaken notion. Peter was someone who had faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit just like you and me. He was a believer in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And he confessed to the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Elsewhere in 1 Peter 3:21, he also said, “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This passage captures the essence of Peter’s faith. Just as Peter confessed to the Lord, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), he was a servant of God who believed wholeheartedly that the baptism of Jesus had washed away all his sins. That is precisely why Peter confessed his faith to the Lord before His crucifixion and said to Him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). And it’s on account of Peter’s confession of faith that the Lord Jesus said to him, “I am building My Church on this rock, on this faith of yours. I am giving you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. These keys are now yours. Not only you, but also all who have become Jesus Christ’s disciples by faith have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
It is written here in Ephesians 1:23, “Which [The Church] is His body, the fullness of Him who fill all in all.” Whose body is God’s Church? It is the body of Jesus Christ. You and I are the body of Jesus Christ. What does God’s Church do to all things in this universe? The Bible says that the Church is “the fullness of Him who fill all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). This means that Jesus Christ fills all in all through you and me. In other words, it’s through God’s Church that Jesus Christ blesses everything and everyone, enabling human beings to be born again and become God’s own children to enjoy everlasting life. The institutional work of the Church is none other than preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, proclaiming the will of God, serving His gospel, and making it possible for everyone to be blessed by God. Such works are done by no one else but you and me, and that’s why we are so grateful to the Lord.
God has built His Church on all of us who have been born again like this by faith. Having thus called us to be His body, God works through us and blesses everyone through us.
 
 
Haven’t You Opened Your Heart’s Spiritual Eyes Yet?
 
It’s written in Ephesians 1:11, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” We have become God’s children according to His will. God already planned our salvation in Christ even before the foundation of the world so that we would praise God’s glory. The Apostle Paul says that God has made us His children entirely out of His own volition, and He wants us all to realize this. God wants us His believers to know who He is, just as it’s written in Ephesians 1:17-19: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
What the Apostle Paul was trying to teach us in the above passage is that God wants us all to realize how He has accomplished our salvation and delivered us by His almighty power, how great is the glory we will enjoy in the Kingdom of Heaven, and how great are the riches of this glory. This is what the Apostle Paul was saying to the saints in the Ephesian Church and its servants. Paul also said that the mighty power of God the Father worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand. God the Father gave all power and authority to His Son to reign over each and every dominion, to be far above not only this world but all things to come. God the Father gave such power and authority to Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the Lord has fulfilled the salvation of the human race according to the will of God. Jesus Christ has saved us and made us God’s own children according to the Father’s will. And He has glorified all of us who believe in Christ. This is what the Apostle Paul is teaching us. The Lord said that He has filled all in all, and He wants us to realize this. All of us should therefore realize just how great our salvation is and how perfectly we have been saved.
  
 
Having Established His Church, God Works with Its Every Member
 
All dominions in the heavens and on the earth created by God obey Him. Although a few angels revolted against God in disobedience, Jesus Christ has now made all things kneel before God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in submission, for He came to this earth and made us God’s own children. And God has made Jesus Christ the Head of the Church above all things, saying that the Church is “His body, the fullness of Him who fill all in all” (Ephesians 1:23).
As God has placed His Church in this world, He works and rules through this Church of His. This means that God has granted us a gathering where He can work. This is what God is saying to us through the Bible. God has given us His Church, and this Church is the place to which God has called us out to be saved from sin, become His own children, and abide with Him. By establishing His Church and making Jesus Christ its Head, God has enabled us to live under the guidance of the Lord.
Just as most countries nowadays have some type of local government, local governance was also practiced in the Roman Empire. In other words, when Rome conquered a nation, it often established a semi-autonomous administrative organ to rule over the population in the conquered nation. In those days, citizens of Rome enjoyed many privileges and rights. Roman citizenship itself bestowed them with tremendous privileges.
In a similar vein, as we have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have been sealed as God’s children. And the Lord God has called us out of the power of darkness and moved us to the Kingdom of the Son of God. In short, we have become the citizens of the Kingdom of God. Having made us His own children, God has called us all to gather together in His Kingdom. This is God’s Church. God speaks and works in His Church. It’s through His Church that God works. God said that the Church is His body, He is its Head, and we the believers are its members. And God works through us the members of His Church. In other words, Jesus Christ the Head of the Church works through you and me in the Church, which is His body. That is how the Lord blesses everything and everyone. God has blessed us like this to partake in His glory. When we first believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God saw our faith, and that is why He sealed us as His children, and that is why God also rules over us all. God reigns over us as our King, intervening and working in our lives. As He rules over all things, He has enabled everyone to receive all the spiritual blessings He is offering through His Church, and none other than this is the very purpose for which God has established the Church.
What is God’s Church then? It is the gathering of those who have been called by God to be delivered and remitted from all their sins. God said that He works through the Church, which is His body.
When we turn to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, we can see clearly that God has granted this Church to no one else but us, for it’s written:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.’
‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.’”
What would happen if there were non-born again people mixed in together with God’s Church? The Lord would not work in such a Church; He would be too weary and too offended to work. Moreover, the first thing God does under such circumstances is to weed out all non-believers from the Church. That’s why God has removed many non-believers from our Church. It’s not we who drove them out of the Church, but it’s God who weeded them out. How could we the believers share any fellowship with such non-believers?
God’s Church is the gathering of the privileged people whom God has called out of the power of darkness, and who have become God’s own children by believing that He has saved them through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And God’s Church is where His work is carried out. God has blessed His Church to enjoy all the glory and splendor of Heaven and reign over its dominion. God the Father has made Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Head of His Church, so that the Father would bless all His children through His Church.
Having called all His children from the people of the world and saved them from sin, God said to them:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).
In other words, God said to us here, “I will walk among you. You shall come out from the world and be separate from it. I shall then receive you and become your Father, and you shall become My children.” This means that it is God Himself who builds His Kingdom, and He blesses this Kingdom by personally working on it. God also planned to fulfill all His will and bless all things through this Kingdom, and He has completed this plan.
 
 
Therefore, the Righteous Cannot Share Fellowship with Any Unbelievers
 
God said in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18:
“‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.’
‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.’”
God also said in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” These passages make it clear that we should never work with any unbelievers to carry out God’s work. God also went on to say in 2 Corinthians 14-16: “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” This means that we have become distinct from everyone else in this world. It means that the righteous are completely different from any sinners. In other words, the children of God who have received the remission of their sins are completely distinct from those who are not God’s children. Moreover, not only are we different from unbelievers, but we should never work with them either. After all, how can anyone who is approved by God the Father ever carry out His work with someone who does not have this heavenly approval? Although there are many Christians in this world, because most of them do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we the righteous cannot share any fellowship with such Christian sinners. Even though some of them understand the gospel of the water and the Spirit fully, they do not believe in this gospel with all their hearts, and so we can neither join our hands with them nor work with such people.
Why must we do this? It is to obey the will of the Lord. If we have ever joined hands with anyone who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then we must immediately withdraw from all such people, come out from among them, lead our lives of faith by ourselves, and serve the Lord separate from them. We have to do this because only then does the Lord work in us. Whenever the Lord works, He invariably works with the born-again alone, and that is why we must have no fellowship with any unbelievers. Only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are chosen by the Lord. The basis upon which the Lord approves us as His Church, His people, and His servants is whether or not we have been saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. This is so because the Lord works only in the gathering of the born-again.
How can righteousness abide with lawlessness? How can anyone leading a righteous life share any fellowship with someone practicing lawlessness? How can we ever join our hands with anyone who does not live according to the will of God? We can never be with such people.
That is why we have separated ourselves from worldly churches. It is for God to work in our lives that His Church has been separated and removed from the world. God’s Church goes its own way, never joining hands with any worldly gatherings. All who are born again get together only with their fellow born-again believers to worship God, listen to His Word, and praise Him.
Any and all hymns of praise should also be written by someone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It does not matter whether the lyrics and the scores are beautiful or not. What matters is that the hymns are written by someone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That is why we sing only the hymns written by our fellow saints who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Some of you may think it’s because I am too stubborn that I insist on removing ourselves completely from all elements of worldly churches, but that’s not the case. This must be done because it’s absolutely indispensable for us to be separate from all the gatherings of sinners.
The Church is the body of Jesus Christ just as it is written in the Bible. Jesus Christ is our Head and we are His body. We are therefore ruled and commanded by Him. We are also His people. All of us are tied to Him. That is why God’s Church must be separate from the world. In order for the Lord to dwell in us and the Spirit of God to work in our lives, God’s Church must be separate from all worldly churches. And this must be done for us to obey the Lord’s Word also. Only then does the Lord work through God’s Church and us. And it’s when we separated ourselves from the world like this that the Lord works in our lives and continues to do so to this very day.
 
 
God’s Church Must Be a Place Where the Holy Spirit Can Work
 
The foolish consider God’s Church too lightly in their ignorance, thinking that anyone can minister in God’s Church. But the reality is far different. Not just anyone can minister in God’s Church. You may think that if there is a church building and there are people praising God there, worshipping Him, preaching sermons, and praying, then this is a church; but this is not necessarily God’s Church. To constitute God’s Church, the first requirement is that it must be a gathering of saints who have been saved from their sin according to the will of God, and its leader must be someone approved by God as His servant. Not only is God’s servant indispensable, but there must also be God’s redeemed children. The place where these people are gathered together to study the Word of God, preach it, listen to it, pray to God, follow Jesus Christ, and to live by faith according to the will of God—this is God’s Church. It’s through such a gathering that God works and fulfills His will, and this is God’s Church.
Ours is such a gathering, holding our worship services and prayer meetings with our fellow born-again believers, and praising God and working together to serve Him. This is God’s Church. God’s Church is the gathering of those who have received the remission of their sins according to the will of God—that is, it is the gathering of those who have received the remission of sins by realizing and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and who have discerned the will of God to live by faith. None other than such a gathering is God’s Church. Just because there is a building with a cross on its rooftop, this is not the Church. Such a place is neither the Kingdom of God, nor are its members God’s people. To be exact, it is nothing more than a religious organization, a place where sinners have come together just to seek their mutual interests according to their own human devices and means, and where their own human willpower and good deeds are encouraged as a way to reach their salvation.
God has personally established His Church through His redeemed servants. And having made us His own children, God wants us to realize every revelation of Heaven. As His children, God wants us all to truly get to know Jesus Christ, and to have every wisdom and understanding regarding God. God wants us to realize how He works in our lives through Jesus Christ, and how great His power is. Therefore, because we believe in this God, we must come out of the world and be separate from it, serve the gospel of Truth, follow the Lord, defend our faith, and keep this gospel Truth pure so that the Lord may work in our lives. You and I must preach the gospel exactly as it is, believe in it in its purist form, and defend its integrity. It’s then that the Lord works in our lives and becomes our Head to rule over us and guide us. That is why the Church is so amazingly important and indispensable to all of us.
What is God’s Church? Simply put, it is God’s Kingdom. There is a phrase in the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Thy kingdom come.” This means that the Lord comes to and works in God’s Church. The Lord works in our hearts through God’s Church, and He intervenes and works in everything that the Church does. Gathered in this Church are the saints who work to the Lord’s pleasure by placing all their trust in Him, and it is these saints whom the Lord protects and blesses.
On the other hand, the Lord weeds out from His Church those who have not been born again, and who have not united their hearts with the Lord’s. Why does He do this? He does it so that we would bear more fruit. God actually has done so in our Church. Indeed, God has not only saved us, but He has also gathered us together and made us members of the Church. He has called us all out of the world to be gathered together. God has thereby become our Head and our King, and we have become His body and His subjects. And through this Church, God has made us preach His gospel to everyone, and He has made it possible for all to be blessed. Therefore, as we carry on with our lives, all of us must have a clear understanding of the Church’s duty and its calling.
It is through His Church that God blesses everyone in the world. It is through the Church that God blesses His workers, His people, and everyone else. God said, “Which [The Church] is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). He made it clear that He invariably works through the Church. God works through His Church, through you and me who are the members of this Church of God. You must realize clearly here that God never works through anyone who has not been born again. It’s only through His Church that God reveals and shows what He has done for us and what He will do in the future. He never works through anyone who has not been born again, but only through those who are fit in His eyes—that is, those who have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There are some people who are fit in God’s sight no matter how inadequate they may seem in human eyes, and it’s precisely through such people that God works.
What is the very first thing that God did to build His Church? He made us His children first. It’s absolutely indispensable for all of us to grasp this clearly. The Church did not come into existence before God’s children sprang forth, but rather, God first made us His children, and then gathered us together and built the Church, His Kingdom. Jehovah’s Witnesses, one of the worldly religious groups, claim that only they constitute Jehovah’s Kingdom, but the real Kingdom of the Lord God is right here, the gathering place of the born-again spiritual believers whose hearts are sinless. And wherever these people are gathered together to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has blotted out all our sins—this is the real Kingdom of Jehovah. In short, God Himself has established His Church as His Kingdom. This Church established by God is none other than His Kingdom. Indeed, wherever the saved are gathered together, whether in Korea or anywhere else in the world, this is the very Kingdom of God. Therefore, for us to unite ourselves with the Church is to be united with God, and to unite our hearts with the servants of God is to become one with God Himself.
My fellow believers, all of us love the gospel of the water and the Spirit and we all have devoted our lives to this true gospel, it is only fitting for us to unite our hearts together and help one another in our lives. It’s only appropriate for us to live like this because we are one family and one body of Jesus Christ. God saved us first to build His Church, which is His Kingdom on this earth. He saved us before anyone else through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We believe in this Truth unwaveringly, and we thank God for making us His very own people. We also believe that even at this very moment, God is protecting us and helping us so that we would all faithfully carry out each and every task the Lord has entrusted to us. I thank God for granting His Church to all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Hallelujah!