It is only right and proper that members of the Church Of Christ remain in fellowship with the Church Administration so that they can reach spiritual maturity in order for them to receive the promised eternal inheritance.
WE FONDLY REMEMBER certain people especially during memorable occasions. Thus, the 31st of October cannot pass unnoticed by members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) across the globe because it is the date of birth of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ. Such occasion elicits a variety of positive emotions in the hearts of brethren—joy, pride, respect, gratitude, and inspiration.
But more than the heartfelt sentiments that linger in us is the firm belief in the vital role the Church Administration, led by the Executive Minister, fulfills in ensuring our salvation on Judgment Day. Hence, his birth anniversary gives us a good opportunity to reflect and examine if we have maintained proper fellowship with the Church Administration and to determine, through biblical precepts, how this fellowship can be made stronger.
Working for our edification
Through the authority given by God, the Church Administration works for our edification, as stated by Apostle Paul, one of those who administered the first-century Church Of Christ: “Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction” (II Cor. 13:10 New King James Version).
In view of this, the Executive Minister continues to fulfill the function to preach God’s commandments (Col. 1:25) entrusted by Him. Standing firm and holding fast those truths preached to us will make us stronger in the faith, thereby, ensuring our salvation:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” (I Cor. 15:1-2 nkjv)
Conversely, those who refuse to listen to those entrusted to preach the words of God will not escape punishment or will not be saved (Heb. 12:25). Also, the Church Administration continues to exhort us to be “blameless in holiness before our God” (I Thess. 3:13 NKJV) by renewing our lives because those who walk in crooked paths will perish—their paths are headed toward death (Prov. 5:5-6). The death that awaits those who live unrighteous or ungodly lives refers not only to the cessation of breath but also to the second death or the eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).
It is only right and proper, then, that the members of the Church Of Christ remain in fellowship with the Church Administration. They work so diligently so that we can reach spiritual maturity for us to receive the promised eternal inheritance.
Ensuring our feƖƖowship with God
The apostles have stated in unequivocal terms that one who has fellowship with the Church Administration also has fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ: “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3 NKJV).
It is imperative then that we maintain our fellowship with the Church Administration and even make it stronger. The Bible makes it clear how it can be done: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:17 New International Version).
It behooves us then to completely unite with, recognize, obey, and submit to the Church Administration placed by God in the Church Of Christ, given the significant blessing such endeavors entail: fellowship with God and with Christ.
Admonishing and teaching
The Church Administration teaches us the words of God both by means of preaching and by letter: “So then … stand firm and hold on to those truths which we taught you, both in our preaching and in our letter” (II Thess. 2:15 Good News Bible).
To this end, the Executive Minister painstakingly prepares the lessons for the congregational worship services to make sure that we receive the truths from the Bible. Also, we receive, from time to time, pastoral letters. Through both methods, we are guided on how to conduct our lives and fulfill our duties to God. Clearly, the Church Administration does not tire in “admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom” (Col. 1:28 NIV).
Therefore, true servants of God take very seriously every preaching done in the Church Of Christ, inasmuch as we are not being taught opinions or mere human knowledge but the words and the wisdom of God (I Thess. 2:13). Indeed, we should constantly obey, even if we are out of sight of the one who leads us and is not physically present with us (Phil. 2:12).
In addition, Brother Eduardo Manalo, just like Apostle Paul, reminds us to endure and remain faithful amid persecutions and hardships, making us worthy of entering God’s eternal kingdom: “We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering” (II Thess. 1:4-5 New Living Translation).
Sacrificing and suffering for our sake
Like previous Church presiding elders, Brother Eduardo Manalo continues to endure many sufferings for the sake of the brethren whom he teaches. However, these sufferings do not cause him to be discouraged nor disheartened; instead, he even rejoices in his sufferings, because all the afflictions he is experiencing, is for the sake of the Church (Col. 1:24). As Apostle Paul said, “I am ready not only to be bound but even to die … for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13 New Revised Standard Version).
This is what Brother Eduardo Manalo is doing for us: he is devoting his whole life for the sake of the Church—sacrificing and suffering and even offering his own life, if need be—firmly believing, just like Apostle Paul, that to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). And so, such service above self and personal aggrandizement should be imitated by Church members around the globe in the performance of their God-given duties and responsibilities.
Laboring for our saƖvation
So noble and holy is the purpose of the Church Administration behind its labors and sacrifices in performing its God-given tasks: to present us perfect in Christ. Apostle Paul attested to this: “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28-29 NIV).
Consequently, such spiritual perfection for which Brother Eduardo is laboring and sacrificing tremendously will make us worthy of receiving salvation, as Apostle Paul made it clear: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10 NKJV).
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.