Brother Richie Juatco: It’s now understood that different people have different ways of showing love. If a person learns the particular ways of how someone expresses his or her love, then misunderstandings are avoided, and the relationship is stronger because communications are clear. Now, if there is anyone’s love we want to make sure that we’re clearly receiving, it’s none other than our Creator, our God. But how does God show His love and how can we identify those who are receiving it? How do we know God loves us?
Hello, I’m Brother Richie Juatco, and here with me in our Southern California studios in Anaheim, is Brother Joe Velasquez. Hi, Brother Joe!
Brother Joe Velasquez: Hi, Brother Richie!
Now, there might be some watching this program that are confident that they are experiencing the love of God. And their basis might be: “I’m healthy, my family’s peaceful and happy” or “I can’t complain, I have more than I need.” Or maybe, “I feel blessed because things are working out for me. I have no major problems. Does God love me? Of course He does.”
Brother Richie: Now, Brother Joe, the question we want to pose is, can these be the basis of determining God’s love? Is it possible to look at the conditions of people’s lives to determine if God loves them or not? Is that possible, Brother Joe?
Brother Joe: Well, Brother Richie, the Bible tells us, here, in the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:45, and this is what we can read:
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.
[Matthew 5:45 Good News Translation]
Brother Joe: And so, according to our Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot use the condition of a person’s life to determine if God loves him or not.
Brother Richie: Why not?
Brother Joe: Well, because He taught that God “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.”
Brother Richie: But some might think, if a person is flourishing or seemingly succeeding in all they do, couldn’t that be proof that God loves them or is blessing them?
Brother Joe: Well, Brother Richie, for the answer to that question, let’s turn to Psalms 92:7. This is the teaching of the Holy Bible, and this is what we can read:
though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be eternally destroyed.
[Psalm 92:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible]
Brother Joe: And so, here we can see that even the wicked or evildoers flourish.
Brother Richie: But, Brother Joe, if someone can flourish by being evil, well, what’s stopping them from choosing that way of life over?
Brother Joe: Well, Brother Richie, the Bible says that they will eventually be destroyed eternally, proving they do not have God’s love.
Brother Richie: Now, friends, this is important to understand because if not, then we would completely misinterpret God’s love.
What also is the danger of using material things, the success we see in others–for example: they’re always happy, they’re in good health, they’re problem free–which is what people in social media are always portraying–what is the risk of using that as a measurement of God’s love, Brother Joe?
Brother Joe: Well, Brother Richie, let’s read the answer, here, in Psalms 73:3 to 5, and this is what is stated:
because I was envious of arrogant people when I saw the prosperity that wicked people enjoy. They suffer no pain. Their bodies are healthy. They have no drudgery in their lives like ordinary people. They’re not plagued [with problems] like others.
[Psalm 73:3-5 God’s Word Translation]
Brother Joe: And so, Brother Richie, the danger of falsely measuring God’s love by prosperity is that it will make us envious of others. It will skew the truth of how God blesses those whom He truly loves.
Brother Richie: Well, what then should we realize about those God chooses to love?
Brother Joe: Well, let’s hear the answer stated here, Brother Richie, in James 2:5, and this is what is stated:
Listen, my dear friends! God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which he promised to those who love him.
[James 2:5 Good News Translation]
Brother Joe: And so the Bible teaches that, “God chose the poor people.” But what did He choose them for? It said, “to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which He promised…” So, clearly, these are the ones whom He loves, Brother Richie.
Brother Richie: Brother Joe, we need to clarify for our viewers that we are not saying that just because a person is poor, that does not mean that he is chosen or loved by God. We also want to make clear that there’s nothing wrong with being healthy, wealthy, [and] being comfortable. What we are learning is that these things are not the basis or evidence of God’s love.
Brother Joe: And so, Brother Richie, now that we’ve eliminated the misconception that God’s love can be interpreted by means of a person’s condition or situation in life, well, let’s find out then, how does God show His love? In other words, how do we know that God really loves us?
Brother Richie: Well, for that, Brother Joe, we’re going to turn to what’s recorded in 1 John 4:9-10, and it says this:
This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. In sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins.
[1 John 4:9-10 New Century Version]
Brother Richie: So, the Bible says, “This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world…”
Brother Joe: Now, Brother Richie, how is God sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world God’s way of showing His love for us?
Brother Richie: Well, Brother Joe, the verse actually explains, “God’s love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins.”
Now, we learned in our other episodes that sin–and everyone has sinned (according to Romans 5:12) is the major problem that needs to be solved because it is the reason humanity has lost its relationship with God (that’s according to Isaiah 59:2). It is also the reason God is requiring payment from mankind (according to Romans 6:23), which is to be eternally punished, which we read earlier, Brother Joe. So, God giving people a way to take away our sins, truly, what the Bible says, “This is what real love is.” So, those who are experiencing God’s love, who are they? It says that they “have life through Him…” through Christ.
Brother Joe: But, Brother Richie, what kind of life is being mentioned here and how can we identify the recipients of God’s love?
Brother Richie: Well, we’ll turn to 1 John 5:11-12, to find out what is that life being mentioned in the previous verse reading. We’ll read, here, and this is what it says:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
[1 John 5:11-12 New International Version]
Brother Richie: So, the life (through Jesus Christ) that God is giving to those He loves is eternal life. Those that will receive this are people “who have the Son.”
So, according to the Bible, who has the Son? Who has Christ? Who is with Him? Notice, we specifically asked, “according to the Bible,” because if we use just any source, we’ll get a lot of different answers. So, Brother Joe, according to the Bible, who is with Christ?
Brother Joe: Well, Brother Richie, let us ask the Holy Bible. Here, in Ephesians 2:12-13, and this is what we can read:
that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
[Ephesians 2:12-13 New King James Version]
Brother Joe: So, here, the Apostle Paul is addressing those with Christ and reminding them of the time that they were without Christ. So what changed? How do they go from being without Christ to being with Him? Well, according to the Apostle Paul, “you who once were far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Brother Richie: Now, dear friends, we need to understand that the blood of Christ is the only way sins can be forgiven (that’s according to Hebrews 9:22). That is the only solution to mankind’s major problem–sin. Now, we can understand that God’s way of showing love is by giving people a way for their lost relationship with Him to be solved. God sent His Son so that people could have a way to be forgiven in order to return to Him. How does the Bible identify those brought near to God by the blood of Christ? Well, just as we heard, the Bible said you are “now in Christ Jesus…”
Brother Joe: And, Brother Richie, according to the Holy Bible, how can we be in Christ Jesus? What does that mean: being in Christ? And again, we are specifically asking what it means according to the Bible, not according to our own opinion. Because if we ask, what does that mean according to you, or them, or your heart, well, we wouldn’t get the biblical truth.
Brother Richie: That’s right, Brother Joe. Because different people have different definitions of what it means to be in Christ Jesus. Many people believe that they are “in Christ” simply because they accept Christ that’s their Savior. There are people who feel they are in Christ because they call themselves Christians, or they are in the body of believers, or have allowed Christ to be in their heart. Now, some go as far as to say, “all you need to do is believe and nothing else.”
Brother Joe: So again, Brother Richie, we need to ask: according to the Bible, how could we be in Christ Jesus? And what should we understand about Christ?
Brother Richie: Well, we will turn to what’s written in Colossians 1:18 that we can learn, what is it that we should understand about our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is it says:
And He is the head of the body, the church,
[Colossians 1:18 New King James Version]
Brother Richie: We need to understand that Christ is the head and His body is the Church. So, to be in Christ is to be in His Church. We also need to point out that the Bible is not mentioning multiple churches like we see today. According to the Bible, Christ’s one singular body is just one singular Church.
Brother Joe: But, Brother Richie, because there are many churches existing today–each with their own set of beliefs and faiths unique to them—yet at the same time, each is claiming that they are the church mentioned in the Bible. The obvious question to ask is what is the name of the Church that is the body of Christ?
Brother Richie: Well, since we want a biblical answer, we will turn to what is written in the Bible here in Acts 20, the verse is 28, it says:
Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.
[Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation]
Brother Richie: So, according to the Bible, the Church that is the body of Christ is called Church Of Christ. Now, it is vital to notice that the biblical Church Of Christ was purchased by Christ with His blood. Therefore, those that are “in Christ”–meaning those that are in the Church Of Christ—they are the ones that have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ because they benefited from God’s way of taking sins away, which in turn means they are the ones receiving God’s real love.
Brother Joe: Now, for those hearing this biblical truth for the first time, believe that it is God showing you how to be among those He loves. Remember that learning how someone expresses love is key to having a real relationship and avoiding misunderstandings.
Brother Richie: Now, it is also understandable that a person hearing this for the first time might feel hesitant to leave behind what they’ve been believing for years in order to join or enter the Church Of Christ. They might think, well, “even if I’m not in the Church, I still feel God’s love.” So, let’s find out, if one chooses not to join or enter the Church—now, we remember since we’ve all sinned—how does God relate with those outside the Church, Brother Joe?
Brother Joe: We really need to know the answer to that question, Brother Richie. And we can find it here in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, and this is what stated:
What business is it of mind to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
[1 Corinthians 5:12-13 New International Version]
Brother Joe: And so, the Bible makes clear that God will judge those outside the Church. And the judgment God already made for those that commit sin is to be eternally destroyed. So, here you can see, dear viewers, that there really is no gray-area or middle ground. God will either love a person or judge him based upon what he does.
Brother Richie: Now, although some may argue that they too feel God’s love because of the peace and seemingly worry-free life that they have, we have now learned that a person is not really loved by God, even if He only has one problem – but it’s a major problem—that he cannot solve, which is sin.
Brother Joe: Now, Brother Richie, if one chooses to enter the biblical Church Of Christ—realizing that this is God’s way of offering His love to us—what happens to the love that God offers us?
Brother Richie: Let’s turn to 1 John 4:16 to 17. Let’s find out. It says here:
And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world.
[1 John 14:16-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible]
Brother Richie: God’s love for us is perfected if we follow Him–our lives should be based on His laws and commandments. This is the way to receive the confidence of not being judged by God on Judgment Day. We are taught that God is love and that we should remain in Him.
On behalf of all of us at The Message, we would like to thank you for joining us in our study of God’s message.
Brother Joe: And we hope that you will continue to watch this and the other programs of the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ. Before we go, though, please do join us for a short prayer.
Dear God, most Merciful and Loving Father in heaven, we thank You from the bottom of our hearts for this wonderful opportunity that You have given to us to study Your words contained in the Holy Bible. We praise You, we glorify Your most Holy Name. We have learned not only the importance of having love for You, but even more important is that You would love each and every one of us, and we have also learned, dear God, that the manifestation of Your love is that You sent your only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We plead with You, oh, Dear Father, may we be counted among those who benefited from this wonderful blessing, we will be counted among Your true servants found inside the Church, which He purchased with His blood, and that is the true Church Of Christ in these last days. Make us worthy of this wonderful blessing, help us to be obedient to Your holy will, may we be the true beneficiaries of Your love for each and every one of us, that we might also be certain of receiving the blessed salvation come Judgment Day.
Jesus Christ, our Lord, we call upon you as well, thank You so much for your sacrificial death, we know that because of Your precious blood, we have the right to serve and worship our Almighty God. Make us worthy to always serve You and our Father in Heaven, and most importantly, to be able to enter into that eternal kingdom that You are preparing for each and every one of us.
Dear God, may you maintain, always, our firm connection with the Administration You have placed in Your holy Church. Bless our leaders at all times, that they may guide us always until we reach our salvation. It is our confidence that You have heard our prayers, You’ll forgive us for the sins that we may have done, You have blessed all those who have been able to watch this program, we humbly beg all of these things in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
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