How is the Work of God Accomplished Today?

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How is the Work of God Accomplished Today?

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Did you know that Jesus personally began a special work that has endured for almost 2,000 years? He immersed His physical life in firmly establishing that work. Once, because He had been too busy to eat, He told His disciples, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34). Later He established His Church to continue that sacred mission.

What is that "work," and how is it sustained in today's chaotic world?

The work of the Church has two primary aspects. First, the Church is commissioned to announce to humanity the incredible significance of Jesus Christ's second coming. Most people can see that our world is filled with problems that defy human solutions. But few people understand how the returning Jesus Christ will solve these dilemmas of mankind. He has commissioned His Church to make that knowledge available to a confused world.

Just before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told His apostles, "Go into all the world and preach the good news [His gospel] to all creation" (Mark 16:15; New International Version). Earlier He had told them that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).

The World's Best News

Do you have any idea why this good news—the gospel of the Kingdom of God—is so wonderful? Why it is so needed in this world today?

You need to know! Otherwise it will be impossible for you to understand the primary message of the Bible.

This gospel—the good news announcing the coming Kingdom of God—is the centerpiece of Christ's work. It was the focus of His ministry (Mark 1:14-15). It is an incredibly positive message filled with hope and purpose for humanity. It also explains why confusion and heartaches permeate the world.

At His return Jesus Christ will begin to fulfill the wonderful promises we read about in biblical prophecies—promises to solve the horrible human problems we face. Peter tells us that "the Lord is not slack concerning His promise ... but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). That is what the work of the Church is all about—teaching human beings the truth of God to make true repentance possible, along with the hope of a brighter future.

Jesus Christ will return to earth and begin teaching the nations the ways of God, leading them to repentance (Micah 4:1-2). As a result of His efforts, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (verse 3). Peace and security will finally blanket the entire earth.

No event in the history of mankind has ever been, nor ever will be, more important to its well-being than the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Church is to explain to the world just how essential His second coming is.

The Church, however, is also commissioned to thoroughly teach the ways of God to those who will heed the call to repentance. Jesus told His apostles to "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you ..." (Matthew 28:19-20).

It is not enough just to tell humanity that these wonderful times are coming—that Jesus will return and bring the world peace and stability. Work in preparation for His Kingdom must be accomplished now. Some will be nurtured and trained to aid Christ when He returns. That is a major part of the work given to the Church by Christ.

Notice how Jesus plans to use those who have been thoroughly taught and trained in the ways of God. "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21).

John says, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6). As Christ's assistants, trained in righteousness, they will instruct the world in the ways of God. "For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3). As a result, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).

That is why the work of the Church is so important today. Not only is it proclaiming to the world a message of hope for a brighter future and that Christ will return to set up His Kingdom and bring world peace, but it is also preparing those who will assist Christ in bringing righteousness to the earth. That is an awesome responsibility! (For more-detailed information write for our free booklets What Is Your Destiny? and The Gospel of the Kingdom.)

A Mission Based on Giving

Gospel means simply "good news." That is why this magazine is named The Good News. Through it we bring our readers information that contrasts the ways of "this present evil age" (Galatians 1:4) with the wonderful promise of "the world to come" (Hebrews 2:5).

Have you ever wondered how we are able to offer this magazine free or how our booklets can be published and distributed to the public, also without charge?

Our approach was laid out by Jesus and His apostles long ago. Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). Paul said, "I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge" (2 Corinthians 11:7). How was this possible? Paul had expenses. His travels cost money. Yet he never charged for his work in preaching the gospel.

The key lies in yet another responsibility that God gives to His people. Long ago, God called Abraham and promised him, "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). God gave Abraham blessings so He could use him in blessing the remainder of mankind. That is the way God works, and that is what has allowed His servants to freely disseminate His truth free of charge to those who will receive it.

God has always made sure that those who surrender their lives to Him, as Abraham did, would be able to bear the cost of carrying out the work they do on His behalf. Paul put it this way: "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).

God, by His very nature, gives. Those who are converted and become like Him also become a giving people. They want to serve others, and they want to participate in the work Christ has given to His Church. They take the commission given to the Church seriously.

Abraham practiced a principle that God later included in His law when He entered into a covenant with ancient Israel. When Abraham met with Melchizedek, the "priest of God Most High," Abraham "gave him a tenth of everything" (Genesis 14:18, 20, NIV).

Abraham's grandson, Jacob, continued this practice. "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me ... then the Lord shall be my God ... and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You' " (Genesis 28:20-22).

These men of God practiced the principle of tithing—giving God a tenth of their income. Later, when Jacob's descendants became the nation of Israel, God used tithing to finance the service of the priests, the nation's spiritual leaders. He told Israel, "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord" (Leviticus 27:30, NIV).

Jesus Supports Tithing

In the time of Jesus Christ, He commended the Pharisees' obedience to law concerning their practice of tithing. But their failure to apply the law's instruction to be considerate of others made them hypocrites. Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin" (Matthew 23:23, NIV). In this they were careful to obey.

Continuing in the same verse: "But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness." Here they were careless. "You should have practised the latter, without neglecting the former." Jesus expected them to keep all of God's instruction diligently.

Jesus believed and taught that tithing should not be neglected by obedient servants of God. He tells us clearly that tithing is a practice we should keep.

Today those who support the work given to the Church live by faith just as did the patriarchs of old. In fact, Paul speaks of the true disciples of Christ as "those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all" (Romans 4:16).

That is why they have the courage to support the work of God today. They believe in God's Word. They practice tithing because they have faith that God will supply their needs. They believe Jesus when He said, "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' ... But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-33). They know God will provide for their own needs if they become partners with Him in doing His work.

How the Work of the Church Expands

After preaching for 31/2 years Jesus was left with only a few who remained loyal after His crucifixion (Acts 1:15). But He had already clearly explained what they should do to expand their effectiveness. He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).

Jesus made it clear to His disciples that sending laborers into the harvest is God's work. Only God the Father can draw new laborers to repentance and give them the faith to become part of the work Jesus began. At the same time, Jesus assured them that God would do that very thing.

When Peter preached a powerful sermon showing that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 2:2-4, 14, 22-36), "those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41). In one day the labor force of the Church was dramatically expanded. After that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (verse 47).

Coworkers in the Mission of the Church

Not every laborer was formally ordained. Paul speaks of many who helped in various ways, including two women who struggled beside him "in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life" (Philippians 4:3, New Revised Standard Version).

These people supported Paul's efforts in many ways. For instance, Paul commends the Philippians for their generosity in supporting his spreading the gospel in other areas. He wrote: "For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need ... I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:16-19, NIV).

The offerings of these Christians supported the work of God that was being done through the apostle Paul.

So it is today. The ministry proclaims the truth of God both through the spoken word as well as the written media such as The Good News magazine. Others actively participate by several means, including their heartfelt prayers and contributing to meet the expenses of this vitally important part of the Church's mission.

It is the combined commitment of these laborers who have surrendered their lives to God in faith that allows the mission of the Church to continue almost 2,000 years after Jesus started it. It is because of their commitment that others can receive this Good News and other literature free of charge.

As "Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' " (Acts 20:35). His true disciples are convinced that He meant it when He said, "Freely you have received, free give." Christ is using the combined efforts of these dedicated coworkers to keep the mission He gave to His Church alive and functioning today.

So God's vital message to a sick and dying world continues to be proclaimed. GN