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The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved

Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

ALL MEN NEED TO BE SAVED.
God is offering salvation to all men. However, God has set ways and means to attain salvation. God does not want us to consider only what we want. Apparently, this is the flaw of many religions today – they follow their own selves only. And yet, they are still expecting for salvation. Let us instill in our minds that we can never be saved if we will only do whatever we think is righteous in our service to God. This is what St. Paul said in Romans 10:23, 1— “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” St. Paul prayed for the salvation of those who did not want to submit themselves to the righteousness of God, because they were not amongst the candidates for salvation. Why? Because they followed only their own righteousness! That is why, in our service to God, it is imperative that you set aside your own righteousness. This is, actually, one of Christ’s admonitions to those who want to serve Him. Luke 9:23 says-“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Did you see the foremost requisite set by Christ if you want to serve Him? It is self-denial! You have to deny yourself of so many things, you have to bear your cross daily, and you have to follow Him. That is why service to God means self-denial. You have to set aside your own beliefs, your own perceptions, and your own opinions. Such should not prevail in your service to God. All men have their own thinking; they have their own plans in life; they have their own priorities; they have their own principles; they have their own attitudes. But in our service to God, we should not let those things rule over us. Lamentation 3:35 says— “To turn aside the right of man before the face of the most High ...”

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

We must not insist on what we think is right. It is not our self-established righteousness that we must exercise. It would clash against God’s righteousness. Whatever man thinks is righteous is not always righteous to God. And for us to be in good terms with God, we should set aside our own righteousness like what St. Paul did. Philippians 3:9 says— “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.” But today, most religious organizations consider only their own righteousness. They implement and obey only their own laws instead of God’s. However, the laws of God should be obeyed by all, most especially by the pastor. There is a self-proclaimed “apostle” who asks his members to collect money from passers-by in the streets. But never has he done such thing. Perhaps, he is ashamed to do it. Nevertheless, he orders his members to do that shameful act. That is why, in religion and in our service to God, the very first thing that we must exercise is not our own caprices. Remember what the prayer which our Lord Jesus Christ taught us? “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven ...” It is the will of God that should prevail. And this is also the reason why when our Lord Jesus was about to suffer, His prayer to the Father was— “... O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is showing us that it should be the will of the Father that must prevail, and not ours. There is a great danger if what we will do are only the things that we consider righteous. Proverbs 14:12 says— “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Therefore, there are things that seem to be righteous for man. Let me give you an illustration. There was a lady who had three suitors. And one of them was an expert in employing flattering words. The girl’s parents were very much against that guy because of his lack of sincerity. But for the lady, that guy is the most deserving of all her suitors. As a result, after only

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

three months of marriage, she returned to her parents because the guy had abandoned her. This is the reason why the Bible warned us: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” So, if we want to be saved, we should not do only the things which we think are righteous. There are things which are righteous for man, but not for God. I Corinthians 10:23 says— “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” There are things which man perceives to be righteous for himself but little do they realize that they are not righteous for others. Isn’t it that for others, it is beneficial to steal because in doing so, they are gaining something? But is it beneficial to those whom they victimize? Real righteousness is not just righteous to one but to all. It is righteous in the eyes of God, it is also righteous for others and to oneself. But there are things which are righteous to oneself only but harmful to others. For example, let’s say that you are residing in a subdivision, and you decided to raise hogs. In itself, there is nothing wrong with raising hogs. It is a way of augmenting the financial needs of a family. In fact, there is no law that prohibits anybody from raising hogs. Besides, you are not letting them loiter anywhere. They are kept in a sty, or a pigpen. But, while it is true that you can contain the pigs in a sty, the fact remains that you cannot contain the putrid smell of their excrements within your territory. Your neighbors will surely smell it, and they will definitely complain. We once built a motor shop. For us, it was a righteous thing because we could earn money out of it. But for our neighbors, it was annoying because of the noise that we were producing as we pounded the metals. They couldn’t sleep. So, we just decided to close the shop. Not everything that is righteous to you would also be acceptable to others. If this is true with our dealing with our fellowmen, more so with our service to God. That is why, the foremost requisite to salvation is not to do what we think is righteous. What we need to consider is God’s righteousness. The same admonition was repeated by St. Paul in I Corinthians 6:12— “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

Being humans, we have our own perceptions. And it is very possible that we think our perceptions are righteous. But St. Paul said, “… I will not be brought under the power of any.” Whose power was he referring to? The power of anything which is righteous for him! Because there is an authority under whom he must submit himself. It is not the power of what you think is righteous for you. It is neither the righteousness that is dictated by other people, nor the righteousness that your pastor, nor any other man, taught you. They are not the measuring sticks of real righteousness. And bear in mind that, it is only in God’s righteousness that we could learn real righteousness. Now let us find out, What is the foremost thing that a man need to become righteous, and therefore, worthy of salvation? Let us begin with the things that a man needs to live peacefully, safe from harm, and most of all, worthy in the sight of God. There are things that we need to understand, and these are what we are going to study. Let us evaluate ourselves first. Let us ask ourselves, as humans, what are the most important things to us? Luke 12:16-18 says— “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits. And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” This is the kind of thinking that a man has, especially if he wants to make himself very rich. He had a bountiful harvest and later he realized that his barn has become too small for his goods. So, he thought of destroying his barn, and build bigger one. This only proves that, the bigger the assets that a person has gained, the greater also is his desire to make it grow much, much bigger. Never does he think of sharing his excesses to others even if his barn is already full. Instead, of sharing his extra goods to others, he decided to build himself a bigger barn, which could accommodate all his harvests. And what was his next plan? Let us continue Luke 12:19-20 – “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided.” The rich are not really rich in the eyes of God. What did the man plan to do now that has plenty of goods in his barn, which could last many years? Take note, his stock is meant to last, not for just a year, but for many years. What did he plan to do? Relax, eat, drink, and be merry. What else will he do but eat and drink? In fact, he can even afford to buy all kinds of drinks, not just water. He’ll just engage himself in merriment. And all these things

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

are not good to his health. What would happen later? God would ask him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided.” What is the inevitable ending of this man who thinks of nothing but merrymaking, eating, and drinking? He is bound to have hypertension and heart attack. Why? He is no longer doing any physical exertion since he is always seated in banquet tables. He is always engaged in merrymaking, so, he does not cry anymore. You know, the uric acid is secreted if we perspire. The salt in our body stores a lot of water, which is damaging to the heart. But they could be secreted through perspiration. Whenever a person cries, the poisonous substances in his body are likewise secreted. That is why crying is also good to our health. But the moment a person begins to live in abundance, he begins to forget God. He no longer cries; he no longer sweats. He spends his time in eating, drinking, and relaxing. He is always merry. The following night, he’d have a heart attack. And if his wife is still young, there is a great possibility that she’ll remarry. So, she and her new husband will have a grand time to all the riches that he left behind – riches which he refused to share with his poor fellowman. In fact, sharing his riches with others did not even enter his mind. This is the reason why, we can say that, as far as man’s priorities are concerned, the top on his list is himself. Seldom will you find selfless people these days. Most of the people now are selfish and self-centered. They think of nothing but themselves. What is our proof that his self is, indeed, the priority of man? Ecclesiastes 2:24 says— “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.” Foods and drinks come from God. But man acquired them for himself alone. He feeds himself, but he does not want to feed others. He is drinking, but he does not want the others to drink also. He is happy, but does not want to share his happiness with others. While those things came from God, he is enjoying them all by himself. That is what the Bible said, "There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour." Let me ask you. Who among you does not want to eat, and drink, and be merry? What God said is true. All of us love to eat, to drink, and to be merry. These are the things that man loves doing. However, that preference in life will be changed if you decide to follow God. People who follow God are ready and willing to deprive themselves of food, luxury, and pleasures. He has learned how to fast. He has learned to deny himself of

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

food and all forms of worldly pleasures. A person who has learned to follow Christ denies himself of all the pleasures of the flesh. Christ said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself …” (Mat. 16:24) You know, that is not easy to do. It is not easy to deny oneself of food, especially if there is a wide assortment of food around you. But it is not that hard to deny oneself of food if there is really nothing to eat. You have no choice but to endure hunger, if that is the case. But it is, indeed, a remarkable gesture that you are able to fast while in the midst of so many foods. And that cannot be done by a person without faith. Eating, drinking, and merrymaking are the things that man wants to do. He wants nothing but relaxation and pleasure. In addition, man also wants to satisfy his sexual desires. The rich can afford to change his wife as often as he wants. He would go to Europe and womanize there. Next, he would go to Hong Kong to try other women there. These are some of the things that man desires. And they are all against the will of God. In fact, when our Lord Jesus Christ preached the word that came from the Father, He said in Matthew 4:4— “But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” “Bread” is not all that matters. Man does not live by bread alone. Our Lord Jesus said that the sustenance of life is not from bread alone. It is “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” What is lacking in the lives of many people is the word that comes from the mouth of God. The “word” that many religions follow today did not come from the mouth of God but from the mouth of the pastors. They live by the word of their pastor. They practice “love offering” because their pastor told them so. God did not say it. They make “prayer requests” but must give donations or contributions. There are no prayers with donation in the Bible. They also commemorate the “santa cena” or the “holy supper”, but they also collect contributions from their members. And what is worse, the members try to outdo each other in terms of the amount that they shall contribute. This is also but another “word” of the pastor. These are what many religions practice now, but they are lacking something very important. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Find out for yourself if the thing you live by is just a whim of your pastors. Find out if their doctrine that a person can kill for the sake of his faith is biblical. Christ did not teach anybody to kill for his faith. A person who has faith will not kill. Roman 12:19 says—

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Those who kill are not of God. And since they are not of God, definitely, they are of the devil. Those pastors, who give their members a license to kill, to hurt, and to harm other people, are disciples of the devil. Actually, there are even religious organizations today that cuddle hoodlums and killers for hire. Will you say that those people are living by the word of God? They live by the word of their pastors and ministers. That is why it is important that we realize that we must not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. If we will just seriously consider what the Bible says, we will find out that most of the things that man likes are all against the will of God. Very often, man’s preferences concern only the self – eating, drinking, merrymaking, and pleasure. Basically, man never finds satisfaction. As long as he lives, he will continually crave for more. His desire for women never ends. Even if he already had 10 women in his life, he would still look for the eleventh, or the twelfth. Let us read what the wisest king, who became a preacher of God, said. Ecclesiastes 1:8 says— “All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” See? “The eye is not satisfied with seeing.” A person watched a movie and found it beautiful. Before the lights were turned on, a teaser for the next film was shown. He also found it interesting, so he told himself, “I will watch it.” The ear, likewise, never finds contentment in listening. A person already has a stereo, but when it got out of style, he bought a portable component. He liked its sound quality. But when the digital laser disc came out, he also bought one. He keeps on buying whatever is the latest. The ear is willing to absorb everything. Man is never satisfied. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Basically, man never finds contentment and satisfaction. But not a Christian! God has taught the Christians to practice outstanding traits and values. A Christian, like St. Paul, knows how to be contented. Philippians 4:11, 18, 12-13 says— “Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. . . . But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.” A Christian finds contentment in whatever state he is. He is still happy despite the hardships that he is experiencing in life. Whether his stomach is full, or not, he is happy because he has learned the mystery of hunger and abundance. A Christian has a different outlook in life. Unlike those who do not know yet the Christian way of life, who do not find contentment and satisfaction in everything. The Bible said, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.” This is the reason why man keeps on working, striving for more. When he had 10 thousand, he wanted to make it 20 thousand. When he already had 20 thousand, he wanted 50 thousand. He had 50 thousand, but now he wanted 100 thousand. He got the 100 thousand, but this time, he wanted a million. When he became a millionaire, he wanted to be a billionaire. And when he already became a billionaire, he wanted to be a multi-billionaire, and so on, and so forth. Why are there people who became multi-billionaires? It is because they do not have contentment. They find no satisfaction with what they already have, so they clamored for more. Despite the fact that, even if they no longer work for the rest of their lives, they will not be able to spend their billion pesos. Actually, if placed in a bank, a billion pesos would earn, more or less, 400 million a year. And there are only 365 days in a year. Therefore, with one billion pesos, you will already earn more then one million pesos a day. How can you spend that one million in a day? But why is it that he who already has one billion wants more billions? He does not have contentment. For him, money is the most important thing in life, especially if he does not know God yet. And for us not to be blinded and misled by the cares of this world, let us consider the admonition of our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 21:34 says— “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Christ told us to take heed of ourselves, lest our hearts be overcharged. The worst thing that could happen to a person is, for his heart to be overcharged, or to overwork. After a day’s labor, our body may be drained of energy. According to elders, fatigue is not inherent in our body; it simply results from overworking, or too much physical exertion. But a person who is dead tired could readily fall asleep the moment his back

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

touches the bed. As written in Ecclesiastes 5:12— “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” A person who has lots of money could not sleep soundly. He keeps on making an inventory of his riches; he keeps on counting his money. He is readily alarmed at the slightest movement and the faintest sound, so that he would immediately get hold of his gun. He does not have any peace of mind; he hardly sleeps. That is why the life of a laborer is better because he is able to sleep tightly. Whether he eats little, or he eats more, his sleep is still sound. But the rich could not fall asleep. Christ’s warning is— “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day shall come upon you unaware.” And worse is, if a person has become obsessed of surfeiting, drunkenness, and in the cares of this life. Death will come unexpectedly, and so with the Day of Judgment. So, we better take heed, otherwise, you’ll be ensnared and caught unaware. Nobody knows when you are going to die. It could be today. For all you know, you’ll never get the chance to see the morrow anymore. Neither let death nor Judgment Day come with you unaware, just because you’ve been too busy with your personal cares. There is something that God wants a person to give importance to. What could that thing be that God wants us to prioritize? Isn’t it that parents have outlined their plans for their children? They prioritize their schooling, from elementary to college. Some parents would even express readiness to die as soon as their children finish school. In other words, for many parents, their priority is their children’s education. Actually, there is nothing wrong with giving importance to the children’s education. But we would be able to realize that such should not be our primary concern in life if we would learn God’s righteousness. There are those whose ultimate concern is to build a house for their family. And once it is accomplished, they also express willingness to die. Other people, on the other hand, express their readiness to die right after shaking the hands of their acknowledged “messenger of God.” Apparently, most of the things that they consider important in life do not have any biblical significance. Seldom will you meet people who would say that they are ready to die after they had served God. God should be our top priority. If you want a peaceful life, if you want a life that is filled with hope, if you want to be spared from all sorts of wickedness, let us consider what God prescribed to be our major aspiration in life. And what should our primary goal be? Matthew 6:33 says—

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” What should we seek first? We should seek first the kingdom and the righteousness of God. It should be our primary goal. But it is just unfortunate that, to many people, this is what is lacking – God’s righteousness. Let us not trouble ourselves with matters which are not at hand yet. God will take care of these. Matthew 6:31 says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” Why should we be worried about those things? Matthew 6:32, 26, 33 says— “(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Behold the fowls of the air: for they saw not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The things that are added are but a surplus. They are not what mattered most. To whom such things are added is the more important one. Those things will be added to you if you already have righteousness, and if you already found the Kingdom of God. “Seek ye first the kingdom and the righteousness of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” What should we have to seek first? We should seek first the kingdom and the righteousness of God. That should also be the first thing that you ought to teach to your children before you send them to school. Teach them how to pray. Before eating, let them pray, “Thank you Lord for the food you’ve given us. I thank you in the name of Jesus.” Before going to bed at night, let them pray, “Lord, please take care of us this evening. Protect us from all harms. Thank you in the name of Jesus.” If you teach them how to pray, before they reach the age of 5 or 6, before they go to school, they already know God. Don’t forget, “Seek ye first the kingdom and righteousness of God.” But this is what many have forgotten. Seeking God’s righteousness has become the last of their priorities. Their top priority is to earn money, to study, to earn a degree, to get married, and to raise a family. For many, marriage is the fulfillment of everything, as though a person is not fulfilled if he is not married. No wonder they, indeed, spend time and money in

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

looking for a wife, or a husband. I know of a very rich man who, after reaching past his prime, he has remained a bachelor because he was looking for a beautiful wife. But finally, he found one who was then working in a dress shop. He told her to resign from her work; he gave her everything that she and her family needed. Then, he married her. However, on their second day of marriage, he returned her to her parents because she was without a sex organ. Why do you think did it happen to him? It is because he gave greater importance to matters of this world only. He did not seek God first. Put God on top of your list of priorities, and He sees that you are really in need of a wife, He’ll give you one. Look at Adam. He did not ask for a wife, but God gave him Eve. He simply slept, and when he woke up, Eve was already there. He did not look for her. God gave him Eve. As written in Proverbs 19:14 says— “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Where does a prudent wife come from? from cabarets? No! from a beauty contest? No! Was she chosen by your parents for you? Was she given to you in exchange of a dowry? Did your parents and her parents prearranged your marriage? What God says is clear— “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Seek God first – His righteousness and His kingdom. And everything that you need shall be added to you. God is a God who cannot lie. He will surely fulfill his promise. He will not break His word. So, why are you apprehensive that He will not fulfill His promise? Make Him your first. More than anything else, you have to seek first God’s righteousness, and not your pastor’s. Unfortunately, many consider only their pastor’s righteousness, and set aside God’s. But the admonition is clear— “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” What is our basis that we, indeed, have to seek for God first? Matthew 22:37-38 says— “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Will there be anything more important than that? None! “Thou shalt

The Foremost Thing that We Need to Do in Order to be Saved
Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano

love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Therefore, it is not your wife that you ought to love with all your heart. It’s not your parents either. And it’s neither your children, nor your siblings, nor your friends, but GOD.