By John Larkins
God promised the Jews a Savior, indicating that although Moses gave them a structured organization for learning about and worshipping the one true God, this was not yet a path to salvation.
We see that after trying eternal life with God, Adam and Eve spoiled salvation by sin. From that point on, God gave men and women the choice, through their individual actions during the earthly life, to demonstrate for God if they wished to be saved or spend eternity in hell.
Perhaps of supreme importance, the great insult to God – man’s sin – had to be compensated. Adam and Eve were exiled and began the human population, all of whom were in the same predicament of awaiting ransom from Satan after death, unless they had committed no sins in their lives.
Jesus lovingly agreed to pay the ransom by actually becoming a human being. This tremendous act of love resulted in a rebellion in Heaven among angels who refused to worship Jesus if He agreed to also become a man of lower status than they were. Tradition has it that this caused many angels (perhaps a third) led by Satan to fall to earth, to become Hell. At this time there was no Church in which humans could be taught to worship the one true God and prepare themselves for judgement.
Once He reached maturity at the age of 30, one of the first things Jesus did was to select, recruit and instruct the teachers and organizers of His Church: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on ME hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life.” (John 6, 45-47). We later found out that the future Church would dispense the grace men need to be saved. In the “change of command” in Matthew 28, 19-20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
After Jesus went back to heaven in body, Acts 1, 14, says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brethren.” Jesus’s public teaching, much recorded in the gospels, was enhanced in private to the apostles. This was because Jesus knew that when He identified Himself as the Son of God, the Jewish authorities would try to have Him arrested and perhaps killed before His teaching mission was complete. So, when He instructed the apostles, Jesus said to “teach what I have taught you.”
Among the significant issues Jesus taught are (1) Conversion of the Jews meant they gave up the law of Moses: “You cannot put new wine in an old wineskin.” Today, conversion means turning from another religion to the Catholic faith. (2) Circumcision, the key act of submission to God’s authority, was replaced by sacramental baptism. (3) Sins are forgiven by the empowered apostles within the Church. (4) The sacrament of breaking of bread and wine (communion) sanctified in the Church, becomes the true body and blood of Jesus: “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life within you.” (5) Peter, as the first head of the earthly Church, was told, “Whatever you say on earth, is heard in heaven.” (6) Jesus also to Peter, “Whatever you loosen on earth is loosed in Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven.” Jesus remains, in spirit, within the Church. These gifts are the most glorious in history!
Since Jesus was resurrected and appointed the apostles to run His Church 1,500 years ago, where do the 100 local churches obtain their power? If they are not biblical, they have no holy Christmas, only good times.
John Larkins’ formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management.For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.