Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Divine Drama Part 5, Why Suffering?

Sadly, most of the people that were members of The Worldwide Church of God, and are now in GCI, LCG, UCG, RCG, PCG, COG/Hulme or any of the hundreds of divided, spinters groups that were established since the break up of WCG, wanted to follow Jesus, without carrying a cross.  Yet, the Christian is commanded to take up his cross daily and follow Christ.

The cross, of course, is a symbol of suffering, but for true Christians it is also a reality that proves they truly belong to Christ.  Yet, the leaders of WCG feared persecution, and as a consequence, hid the cross behind The Plain Truth, Post Office Box 111, Pasadena California or Ambassador College.  And even if it was the Plain Truth, it would still have been wrong to hide the cross behind it, but it was far from the Plain Truth.

Now contrast the attitude and behaviour of the leaders of WCG with that of the Chosen Vessel. From the moment the great Apostle was called, he took up his cross.  In his Epistle to the Colossians, written from prison, he was inspired to write: "Who," or I, "now rojoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church"(Col.1:24).

Note the phrase, "fill up."  It means to complete or bring to fulfillment the balance of Christ's sufferings, which were left behind to be endured by his true followers, who take up their cross daily to follow him.  Also, in the great Apostle first Epistle to Timothy, note what this wonderful man wrote: "For this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting"(1 Tim.1:16).  

"In me first," means that Paul was a role model of suffering for Christ true followers: "for a pattern," is something to copy or to follow, in this case, as a way of life.  A perfect example of how to follow a pattern, was when God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle.  God admonished Moses thus: "for see, said he, that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you in the mount"(Heb.8:5).

Now, if Moses had deviated from the pattern God gave him, it would have been a grave act of rebellion.  Yet, the leaders of WCG ignored the pattern of suffering that God gave to his church.  In fact, I have reasons to believe they never knew of its existence, as most of them were and are completely ignorant of the wholesome teachings of the bible, but fully conversant with the intrigues of ambition, greed and the delusion power.

What sufferings did Christ leave behind for the Great Apostle to endure as a pattern to those, today, who daily take up their cross to follow Him into life everlasting?  Well, the best person to answer that question is the Great Apostle himself: "Are they ministers of Christ?  A question that all the ministers in all the divided churches ought to ask themselves. The narrative continues: (I speak as a fool) I am more.  How did the Chosen Vessel know that he was more of a minister than all those who were claiming to be ministers of Christ?

He knew it because he was able to say, "I bear in my body the marks of out the Lord Jesus"(Gal.6:17).  So he added: "in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes except one.  Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep.

In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own countryman, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness(2 Cor.11:23-27).

These were the suffering that were left behind by Christ for Paul to endure as a pattern to true Christians, and faithful ministers.  For Jesus was never in prison, or stoned, or shipwreck, or repeatedly beaten with rod, though he was scourged before his crucifixion, or  fought with a lion, as Paul did at Ephesus.

Now, the love of Christ constrains me (2 Cor.5:14) to ask, how many "ministers" in The Worldwide Church of God, GCI, UCG, LCG, PCG, RCG, COG/Hulme and all the other divided groups can identify with any of the sufferings of Paul?  If they can't echo the words of the Chosen Vessel thus: "I bear in my body the marks of our Lord Jesus," then, they are not ministers of Christ.

If you are a minister of Christ, tell us when you were imprisoned or beaten for defending the gospel?  On the contrary, you had a house, a car, a salary, the best caravans or hotels at the Feast and an expense account, so that you could live a comfortable lifestyle, while hiding the cross of Christ, and preaching heresy to God's faithful flock.  Therefore, you were and are a hireling.  

You hirelings have got some surprises coming, "for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether good or bad.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" (2Cor. 5:10-11).  He persuaded men not to hide the cross, and to stop living lives of greed, duplicity and deceit.

To be continued...

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