I ended my last blog asking this question: What is the leader of the true church, Jesus Christ, trying to tell us?
I think it is this. There is no religion, there’s only family. First let me address the first part of that sentence. I’m going to go to Wikipedia to show you what people other than myself have to say about this subject of religion.
The definition of religion is a controversial subject in religious studies with scholars failing to agree on any one definition. Oxford Dictionary defines religion as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. Others such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith, have tried to correct a perceived Judeo-Christian and Western bias in the definition and study of religion. Thinkers such as Daniel Dubuisson have doubted that the term religion has any meaning outside of western cultures, while others, such as Ernst Feil even doubt that it has any specific, universal meaning even there.
Wow, no religion! What’s your reaction to that statement? Does it offend you or do you agree? I ask that you not have a reaction at all. But instead let’s see if we can understand this subject from God’s prospective. You see, there is a superhuman controlling power and Jesus tells us this about Him at Matthew 23:9:
And don’t call anyone on earth ‘Father.’ You have one Father. He is in heaven.
I mean, that’s a very straight to the point statement from Jesus. That statement is telling us that we are a family of and from God. You have no need of a religion within a family. Be we spirit children or earthly children, we are all children of God, including Jesus Christ, the first born of this family of God, and …
The Leader of the True Church!
Everything that I have discussed with you from the beginning of my quest until now has been explaining what happened to God’s family, us. So if we look at us His family, from the prospective of a family with God being the father, things begin to take on a whole different view.
God knew before He created anyone that He wanted His family members to love Him because they wanted to, not because they had to. The only way He could this, was to give them all free will!
Now I ask you, what happens to a bunch of children in a home where they are given free will? Chaos: complete disorder and confusion. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “that doesn’t sound like a superhuman controlling power!” Maybe not to you. But if God is our Father, then what is a father to do? He gave each and every one of us the right to choose what kind of family member we are going to be.
When Satan, Adam and Eve chose self over other family members they split the family. That does not mean that the father is no longer in control of His family. But being a just father, He has waited before punishing the disobedient children until time has shown that selfish love will destroy the entire family if He does nothing.
What has our Father done to correct this decision made by those that chose selfish love? He gave us Jesus Christ – the leader of the true church – to show us the other side of the coin. Unselfish love. Jesus Christ is the head of the church! What is a church? Some think it is a building where parishioners go to worship God. The English word church came from the Greek word ecclesia, which means congregation. Again, I found that in Wikipedia.
Ecclesia (or Ekklesia) in Christian theology means both: a particular body of faithful people, and the whole body of the faithful. Latin ecclesia, from Greek ekklesia had an original meaning of “assembly, congregation, council”, literally “convocation”. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesia_(Church)
That means that Jesus is the leader of an assembly or congregation of beings, both spirit and human, even if the human is dead, that chose to show God they love Him by choosing to put Him and others first. Why is Jesus the leader of the true church? Because that is how he has lived his life in heaven before coming to earth. And to prove his unselfish love he gave up his position in heaven and came to earth and showed us how to be unselfish. He tells us at John 8:12:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
He is telling us and has shown us that there are only two ways to live. He states again in John 3:19:
“This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.”
Two ways, light or darkness. Again at Matthew 12:33-37 he says:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, because a tree is known by its fruit. You children of serpents! How can you say anything good when you are evil? The mouth speaks about what overflows from the heart. A good person brings good things out of a good treasure house, and an evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure house. I tell you, on Judgment Day people will give an account for every thoughtless [a] word they have uttered, because by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Of course Jesus is not talking about trees, he goes on to explain he is talking about people. And a judgement against those that have chosen love of self. He is the leader of a group of people that have lived their life by giving of themselves. And what of the others? He tells us this at Matthew 10:34:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
The members of God’s family that have chosen unselfish love can never have peace as long as selfish love exist. In fact Jesus tells of a future time of tribulation near the end of this world of selfishness at Matthew 24:21-22 and it reads:
“For there will be persecution such as the world has never before seen in all its history and will never see again. In fact, unless those days are shortened, all mankind will perish. But they will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen people.”
So for the greater good of His family, God must eliminate selfishness and those that follow it. But for right now I want to stay with the distinction that Jesus made between peoples of this family while he was here on earth.
On one occasion while Jesus was teaching, his mother and his brothers from his earthly family were trying to get to him. And after being informed that they were there Jesus made this statement at Luke 8:19-21:
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Jesus wasn’t saying that his earthly family was not part of God’s larger family but he was making notice that within that larger family there are two groups of family members. Have you ever notice that even within our own families here on earth that the family unit is usually split in to, two different groups? Why? What is it that divides us? More often than not, it’s selfish love. Jesus when speaking to the Pharisees (people that claim to belong to God) gives us this clue at John 8:42-44:
“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8%3A42-44&version=NIV
Jesus is clearly stating that Satan became the father of those that follow selfish love. Everybody knows you cannot have two fathers in one family and in this case there is only one family, God’s! Those family members that cling to self cannot hear this simple message of others before yourself. How do I know this? Jesus said that those kinds of persons never “put it into practice.” Some may say that these types of people show love to their earthly family members and friends, but does that count? Let’s listen to what Jesus said at Matthew 5:44-48:
“But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
How can a human sinner, which the bible says all of us are (Romans 3:23) ever be perfect like our heavenly Father? By the example given above. Show unselfish love to all persons when you first meet them. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating, “Unselfish love is perfection.” Any act of unselfish love is a treasure to God even though we are imperfect beings. Jesus said, “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. 21 For your heart will always be where your riches are.”
When you decide to give to someone, that act of unselfish love places you on the side of God. Like Jesus said: “so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven.” You make the choice as to which side of the family you are going to be on, because you have free will. No one can make that choice but you. And we all make those choices every day of our lives.
Now I’m going to talk about the part of God’s family that will bring about an end to selfishness. Remember that Jesus said: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 25:31-33 says: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.” Who are these sheep? “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
These are the ones that listen to Jesus’s voice and follow his example of unselfish love. These are the ones that make it into the kingdom of God. But even within his sheep there are two groups or two kinds of people. I say this because at John 10:16 he plainly tells us that he has two folds of sheep-
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
A fold in this case is a pen for holding sheep, a sheepfold. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sheepfold
Jesus, the leader of the true church, is clearly stating that he has two pens of sheep or persons of unselfish love that in the future will become one group. Let’s explore the first flock, the ones that followed him while he was here on earth. These have to be the first group because it was to them that he was explaining that he had other sheep not of this group.
I know you are probably saying to yourself, “This guy is crazy!” I’ve gotten to my understanding of the scriptures by doing one thing, asking questions and then trying to piece together the information I found in the bible together. If you call that crazy, then I must be.
However, the bible again gives us a clue of these two different groups. Jesus at Matthew 11:11speaking of John the Baptist tells his listeners this: “I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.”
There has to be two groups if the greatest man who has ever lived on earth is lesser than the least one in the kingdom of the heavens. Jesus tells the twelve that he chose to come along with him on his earthly journey something I find very interesting at Matthew 19:27-28,
“Then Peter replied to him, “Look, we’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get out of it?” Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: When the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne in the world to come, you, my followers, will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+19%3A27-28&version=GW
Want more proof? The famous Lord’s Prayer that he taught to the people of his time and is still used by Christianity is stated something most people don’t ever pay attention to, and it is this,
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God’s kingdom at this time in our history is still in heaven because what is taking place on earth at this time is not God’s will. The earth is filled with selfishness. This kingdom of God from heaven is going to come to earth and destroy selfishness by the means of Jesus Christ the king of unselfish love. After that Jesus is to hand over the earth and the heavens back to God in the original form in which they were created.
“Then after Christ has destroyed all powers and forces, the end will come, and he will give the kingdom to God the Father.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15%3A24&version=CEV
This is the time when Jesus stated that the two folds of sheep would become one fold, when all selfishness has been destroyed in all spirit and human beings. Then the bible states this in Revelation’s 21:3-4,
“ I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See, the tent of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people.
God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be death anymore.
There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.”
I hope you have appreciated this discourse on Jesus Christ, the leader of the true church. Please join me next time where I will use the bible to explain the bride of Christ. If you are new to this blog, first of all, welcome! If you would like to follow this journey of understanding what the Bible is really telling us from the beginning, please click here.