The vitaƖ roƖe of the Church Administration in ensuring our saƖvation
It is only right and proper that the members of the Church Of Christ remain in fellowship with the Church Administration. They work so diligently so that we can reach spiritual maturity for us to receive the promised eternal inheritance.
By ROLAND A. AGUIRRE
WE FONDLY REMEMBER certain people especially during memorable occasions. Thus, the 31st of October cannot pass unnoticed by members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) across the globe because it is the date of birth of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ. Such occasion elicits a variety of positive emotions in the hearts of brethren—joy, pride, respect, gratitude, and inspiration.
But more than the heartfelt sentiments that linger in us is the firm belief in the vital role the Church Administration, led by the Executive Minister, fulfills in ensuring our salvation on Judgment Day. Hence, his birth anniversary gives us a good opportunity to reflect and examine if we have maintained proper fellowship with the Church Administration and to determine, through biblical precepts, how this fellowship can be made stronger.
Working for our edification
Through the authority given by God, the Church Administration works for our edification, as stated by Apostle Paul, one of those who administered the first-century Church Of Christ: “Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction” (II Cor. 13:10 New King James Version).
In view of this, the Executive Minister continues to fulfill the function to preach God’s commandments (Col. 1:25) entrusted by Him. Standing firm and holding fast those truths preached to us will make us stronger in the faith, thereby, ensuring our salvation:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” (I Cor. 15:1-2 NKJV)
Conversely, those who refuse to listen to those entrusted to preach the words of God will not escape punishment or will not be saved (Heb. 12:25). Also, the Church Administration continues to exhort us to be “blameless in holiness before our God” (I Thess. 3:13 NKJV) by renewing our lives because those who walk in crooked paths will perish—their paths are headed toward death (Prov. 5:5-6). The death that awaits those who live unrighteous or ungodly lives refers not only to the cessation of breath but also to the second death or the eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).
It is only right and proper, then, that the members of the Church Of Christ remain in fellowship with the Church Administration. They work so diligently so that we can reach spiritual maturity for us to receive the promised eternal inheritance.
Ensuring our feƖƖowship with God
The apostles have stated in unequivocal terms that one who has fellowship with the Church Administration also has fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ: “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3 NKJV).
It is imperative then that we maintain our fellowship with the Church Administration or make it stronger. The Bible makes it clear how it can be done: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:17 New International Version).
It behooves us then to completely unite with, recognize, obey, and submit to the Church Administration placed by God in the Church Of Christ, given the significant blessing such endeavors entail: fellowship with God and with Christ.
Admonishing and teaching
The Church Administration teaches us the words of God both by means of preaching and by letter: “So then … stand firm and hold on to those truths which we taught you, both in our preaching and in our letter” (II Thess. 2:15 Good News Bible).
To this end, the Executive Minister painstakingly prepares the lessons for the congregational worship services to make sure that we receive the truths from the Bible. Also, we receive, from time to time, pastoral letters. Through both methods, we are guided on how to conduct our lives and fulfill our duties to God. Clearly, the Church Administration does not tire in “admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom” (Col. 1:28 NIV).
Therefore, true servants of God take very seriously every preaching done in the Church Of Christ, inasmuch as we are not being taught opinions or mere human knowledge but the words and the wisdom of God (I Thess. 2:13). Indeed, we should constantly obey, even if the one who leads us is not physically present with us or even if we are out of his sight (Phil. 2:12).
In addition, Brother Eduardo Manalo, just like Apostle Paul, reminds us to endure and remain faithful amid persecutions and hardships, making us worthy of entering God’s eternal kingdom: “We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering” (II Thess. 1:4-5 New Living Translation).
Sacrificing and suffering for our sake
Like previous Church presiding elders, Brother Eduardo Manalo continues to endure many sufferings for the sake of the brethren whom he teaches. However, these sufferings do not cause him to be discouraged nor disheartened; instead, he even rejoices in his sufferings, because all the afflictions he is experiencing, is for the sake of the Church (Col. 1:24). As Apostle Paul said, “I am ready not only to be bound but even to die … for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13 New Revised Standard Version).
This is what Brother Eduardo Manalo is doing for us: he is devoting his whole life for the sake of the Church—sacrificing and suffering and even offering his own life, if need be—firmly believing, just like Apostle Paul, that to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). And so, such service above self and personal aggrandizement should be imitated by Church members around the globe in the performance of their God-given duties and responsibilities.
Laboring for our saƖvation
So noble and holy is the purpose of the Church Administration behind its labors and sacrifices in performing its God-given tasks: to present us perfect in Christ. Apostle Paul attested to this: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28-29 NIV).
Consequently, such spiritual perfection for which Brother Eduardo is laboring and sacrificing tremendously will make us worthy of receiving salvation, as Apostle Paul made it clear: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10 NKJV).
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.
For more articles, visit www.pasugo.com.ph
Johor Bahru food donation drive benefits orphanage
By JEROME ADONIS P. COMAOAY
Date Posted: October 27, 2023
Through the said socio-civic activity, the brethren handed over vegetables, and eggs, among other food products, to the Pusat Kebajikan Grace Covenant (Grace Covenant Community Care), a non-profit organization.
“Being part of this meaningful activity warms our hearts, and shows our care for humanity. Even in tough times, we believe that helping those in need is part of our unwavering duty,” said Devin Metante, the district’s Buklod president. “The participants’ inspiring example urges everyone to lend a hand, knowing small acts of kindness matter. Through this food donation drive, Church members want to inspire others in the community to join in promoting compassion, so that together, we can create a brighter future by caring for those in need, spreading love and guidance wherever we may go.” — With reports from Kate Sebastian of INC News Section
Congregations in Southern Africa intensify propagation activities
By MARCK ANGELO R. DELOS REYES
Date Posted: October 21, 2023
Seven congregations in the Ecclesiastical District of Southern Africa each held an evangelical mission in the second half of September, further intensifying their efforts in the work of propagation in unity with the Church Administration.
These evangelistic activities were actively participated in by the brethren from the said congregations out of a sense of duty as faithful Christians, according to the district supervising minister, Brother Sheridohn R. Santos.
“The Church Administration can expect that all ministers, ministerial workers, Church officers and members in our district will continue to fulfill our Christian obligations, including the sharing of our faith, so that many people will be called to the Church, for the glory of God,” he said.
Six of the said seven congregations were in South Africa and one in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The Church Of Christ, through the Southern Africa District, also maintains a congregation each in Swaziland and Angola.
The Local Congregation of Kestell held their evangelical mission on September 15. The following day, the Manyatseng and Maseru Congregations conducted their propagational event. On the 18th was the evangelical mission of the Ficksburg Congregation. The Local Congregations of Dimbaza and Qwa Qwa had theirs simultaneously on September 22. On the 29th, brethren from the Ladybrand Congregation and their guests assembled at the house of worship for the evangelistic activity.
“We are conducting these evangelical missions in obedience to God’s will that all people come to the knowledge of the truth in order to be saved on Judgment Day,” said Brother Rolando Garcia II, Light Of Salvation district overseer.
During these propagational events, the officiating ministers and ministerial workers delivered a lesson based on biblical teachings regarding the utmost importance of joining the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ).
“People are searching for what they believe is good for them, especially when it comes to religion. So when the residents here in Africa listen to the teachings upheld by the Iglesia Ni Cristo, they are enlightened by the truth of God’s words. Thus, they decide to embrace His teachings because of their hope to receive salvation,” observed Brother Santos.
In preparation for these evangelical missions, members of each congregation handed out copies of Pasugo: God’s Message magazines by way of invitation. Some of them shared the link of the official websites of the Iglesia Ni Cristo to their prospective guests, thereby already introducing the Church and its basic doctrines.
The Church’s teachings the guests learned from the said media and especially from the Bible studies they attended drew their interest, according to interviewed guests.
“I’m interested to learn more about the Church Of Christ because I found it to be unique,” one of the guests of the Maseru Congregation by the name of Nthato Mokhati from Lesotho said. “It is difficult to find a church like this in our time, especially that other religions rely on miracles and other material things. I love that this Church teaches about salvation and living a holy life.”
Antonette Reyel, an overseas worker in Lesotho for more than 10 years, expressed, “So far, I think your Church is interesting. The study is based on the Bible. So I’m curious to learn more about God’s teachings in this Church.” — With reports from Brother Rolando Garcia II
Our most important appointment
God is already putting the finishing touches on the salvation work. We must make every opportunity count because the day of salvation is truly near.
By SIEGFRED T. GOLLAYAN
THINK ABOUT IT: What for you is the most important part of your day? What takes up much of your time and effort? Is it in taking care of your obligations? Is it in earning a living?
More often than not, we plan out our activities for the day, for the week, or even for the year—prioritizing important schedules and appointments—according to what we desire and hope to achieve. We do this also to have enough money to spend for our basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and education; to be physically healthy and fit; have a sound mind; be successful at work; enjoy a clean and safe environment, among others.
Do not waste precious hours
While we also keep ourselves busy with things that bring about happiness and contentment in our lives, we, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), are taught a very valuable lesson concerning spending our time, thus:
“The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” (Rom. 13:12-14 The Message)
We are instructed not to be preoccupied with the things of this world, because God is already putting the finishing touches on the salvation work. In other words, we must make every opportunity count because the day of salvation is truly near.
For us not to waste but make good use of the precious daylight hours, we are instructed to never forget God’s teachings but store them in our hearts:
“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, for they will give you a long and satisfying life. Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation.” (Prov. 3:1-4 New Living Translation)
As such, let us spend our time wisely by obeying God’s commands. We are also advised to plan carefully what we do and avoid evil for our benefit:
“Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out right. Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don’t go one step off the right way.” (Prov. 4:26-27 Good News Bible)
Never a loss
Living in this world is indeed a big challenge for all. Regardless of our status in life, each of us goes through various problems—poverty, injustice, calamities, dreadful illnesses, and all kinds of difficulties. When faced with such problems, many are likely to prioritize the things that they think would help them in their plight. Sadly, there are those who fail in handling problems in these troubled times and consequently drift away from the right direction and, in effect, take the path toward destruction. However, for us, the key to God’s blessings is clear:
“The Lord your God will bless you in the land that he is giving you. Not one of your people will be poor if you obey him and carefully observe everything that I command you today.” (Deut. 15:4-5 GNB)
We must never think that the reason we are exhorted by the Church Administration to obey God’s commands is to burden us. Neither should we complain nor refuse when we are instructed to obey. Let us have faith that our obedience has a great bearing on our receiving God’s help and graces. Like the servant of God, Job, let us treasure the words of His mouth more than our necessary food (Job 23:12 New King James Version).
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself guaranteed that one is not at a losing end whatever and no matter how much he has sacrificed in obeying the will of God:
“Then Peter said, ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’ So He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life’.” (Luke 18:28-30 NKJV)
One who constantly obeys God’s commands will receive many times more in this life and even more in the life to come.
Our most important appointment
What are some of the commandments of God that we must pursue to receive His favor even though living in this world is very difficult? King David, a servant of God, tells us of his experience, thus:
“The danger of death was all around me; the waves of destruction rolled over me. The danger of death was around me, and the grave set its trap for me. In my trouble I called to the Lord; I called to my God for help. In his temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help.” (Ps. 18:4-6 GNB)
We can only imagine how difficult David’s situation was back then. And yet, did he give up? Did he stop obeying God? No. Instead, he went to the temple and there he communed with God—he worshiped and prayed to Him for help. And David testifies that God heard his voice and listened to his cry for help.
Hence, we must never neglect the worship service no matter how severe our problems are. Let us make use of the house of worship to pray to God and ask for His help. As servants of God, what are we certain of when we pray as we gather to worship Him? The Psalmist declared:
“He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me. … I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live.” (Ps. 23:3-4, 6 GNB)
Considering the value of praying to and communing with God during worship services, we can definitely say that our most important appointment is our appointment with Him. Our most important commitment is our meeting together, which is the congregational worship service, to worship Him.
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.
For more articles, visit www.pasugo.com.ph
Church extends aid to Maui residents
By JOSE PRIMO RIVERA JR.
Date Posted: October 6, 2023
Through the Ecclesiastical District of Hawaii-Pacific, the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) extended aid to the residents of Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii who were affected by the wildfire that devastated their community in early August 2023.
On August 23 and September 15, 2023, the district, led by supervising minister Brother Gem Baitan, conducted Care For Humanity events at Napili Park, Lahaina and at the Wailuku Congregation compound, respectively.
In unity with the Church Administration, brethren from all over the district took part in organizing the humanitarian effort, whose beneficiaries included fellow members from the local congregations of Lahaina and Wailuku.
Aside from essential foods, the care packages distributed to the beneficiaries included new sets of clothing, toiletries, portable lighting, and cooking set.
Danilo Saldua, head deacon of the Wailuku Congregation remarked that the outreach programs’ organizers “managed to put together everything that the residents need to help them recover.” He added, “We thank the Church Administration for always remembering us even if we are afar. Their care is not only for us members but extends to those yet to enter the Church.”
“The pain for our losses is still fresh. We couldn’t do anything to save what we had,” shared one of the beneficiaries from Lahaina, Erika Erickson. “Seeing your Church welcoming us, extending help for our needs, and your warm company really makes bearing with the past calamity better. I thank you so much. I hope for the continuous success of your works.”
Amid their harrowing experience, the Church members from Maui has remained fully trusting in what the Lord God could do for them. “Time and again, like what we witnessed, God never abandoned us. When we evacuated, I instructed my household to pray before we make our way to safer areas. We thank the Church Administration for their swift response for our safety and needs,” said Antonio Palacio from Lahaina. — With reports from Sean Adam of INC News Section