Living Church of God Evangelist Richard Ames with a “Telly” Award for “Tomorrow’s World”
In the May-June 2008 edition of LCG’s Living Church News, Richard Ames asks and answers the questions, “Are you saved” and “Do you love Jesus”. Notice what he wrote:
An Awkward Question?
Has anyone ever asked you, “Are you saved?” How did you respond? When I was in high school, one of my friends asked me, “Dick, are you saved?” I replied, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, if you were to die tonight, do you believe you’ll go to heaven?”
I wanted to end the awkward conversation, so I said “yes” and my friend did not get an opportunity to “save” me. The problem was that I did not know the Truth at that time, and I was just oblivious. I thought everything was fine, until God called me several years later and showed me differently.
The truth is, we have been saved, we are being saved, and we shall be saved. We have been saved from the death penalty by accepting the shed blood of Christ (Titus 3:4–5). We are “among those who are being saved” (2 Corinthians 2:15). And we shall be saved by Christ’s life (Romans 5:10). Remember, “he that endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).
Another common question is, “Do you love Jesus?” Many of us in God’s Church can sometimes feel offended by this question, because it can sound so “Protestant,” and can remind us of the apostasy in our former association. But in general it is a good idea to give the questioner the benefit of the doubt, and you can probably answer helpfully after you discern the questioner’s attitude and approach.
There are several ways you could answer that question. One would be to ask your questioner, “Which Jesus are you talking about? Are you talking about the false ‘Jesus’ who is said to have done away with His Father’s commandments?” Most likely, though, you can hold that response in reserve. But it is a good exercise to ask yourself, “Do I love Jesus? What does it mean to love Jesus?”
We know that to love Jesus is to keep the commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3). I hope you are showing your love for Jesus by keeping the commandments! And I hope you do love your Savior, who gave His life for you, and who sits today at the Father’s right hand as your High Priest and intercessor!…
We can also reflect on Dr. Meredith’s favorite verse: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV). And we can be profoundly thankful for the love God showed by allowing His Son to die for us (John 3:16).
It is not unbiblical to express our deep emotional response to our Savior and His love for us. The Psalms express King David’s heartfelt love toward God. We should not be deceived by a false sentimental Jesus, but there is a right sentiment we should have for the true Jesus of the Bible, who will soon return as King of kings and Lord of lords. We should not let ourselves be pressured into some false or superficial declaration of “Praise the Lord” or that we “love Jesus.” But as you grow closer to God in your development as a Christian, I hope you can say, privately, to your Lord and Savior: “I love you” from a meaningful and genuine place in your heart.
Answer in Faith
When we answer someone, we must have an attitude of faith…
How would you answer the question, “Are you a Christian?” What, in fact, is a Christian? Most people in the world would simply say, “It is someone who accepts Christ.” But is that the Bible’s definition? Notice: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). In other words, unless Christ is in us—unless we let Him guide us to live His way—we are not Christians. Remember Christ’s admonition, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46). And: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
A true Christian, of course, will be found doing the Work that Christ commissioned the Church to accomplish. “Go therefore and 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)…
If we are to be able to give an answer for what we believe, we need to believe the true Gospel. Contrary to what some critics have charged, the Living Church of God has not changed what we believe about the Gospel. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Christ preached that Gospel, and it is also called the Gospel of Christ—since He is the King of the coming Kingdom of God. Some brethren may think it is wrong if we sometimes choose to express the truth of the Gospel in our own words, but in fact this is something we each need to do. We need to internalize doctrines and make sure they are truly our beliefs—beliefs we can understand and express to others. Not that we change things to suit our own ideas, but that we express the “trunk of the tree” unchanging truths in ways that are meaningful to us.
To give an answer, we need to seek God’s wisdom. That wisdom is the wisdom from above (James 3:17).
(Ames R. Always Be Ready to Give an Answer. Living Church News, May-June 2008, pp. 6-11).
While we in the Living Church of God are NOT Protestant, we do understand that the Bible teaches a lot about salvation and Jesus. And when we speak about preaching the whole gospel, that mean that we teach the gospel of the kingdom of God, including salvation through the acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Several articles of possibly related interest may include:
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? True religion should be based upon the true gospel.
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.