Listen to Sermon:
Sermon given by Herbert W. Armstrong March 4, 1982
March 4, 1982
By Herbert W Armstrong
What after all is the real meaning of the Passover? We take it every year. I forgot to count the number of years that this will be for me, I think it’s about fifty-six at least, maybe fifty-seven. I’ll have to count it again. Probably longer than any of you and it seems that we just take it year after year, and if we’re not careful we’ll just take it for granted like so many other things, as routine, without thinking of the meaning of it. But it’s one of the most important occasions in our lives. And it comes every year to remind us of the meaning of it every year. And I wonder are we all really ready for it. Well we have two weeks and three days to get ready if we’re not.
I’d like to read to you from 1 Corinthians 11, beginning with verse 22, or 27 rather, 27, 28, “wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread,” at the time of the Passover, “and drink of the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.” Now unworthily doesn’t mean that you are worthy to take it. It’s referring to the manner in which you do it, and the condition in which you are when you do it, as to whether you do it worthily or not.
But then it continues, “Let a man EXAMINE himself, and so let him eat of this bread and drink of this cup.”
Now verses 29 on to 30 the next two verses, refer to the meaning of the bread, the broken body of Jesus Christ. You and I have sinned, every one of you, have sinned. The trouble is a lot of people don’t stop to really confess and admit that. We seem to take it for granted; we’re just pretty good. We don’t realise how unworthy we really are ourselves. But it’s talking here about both the blood and the body of the Lord.
Now Jesus’ body was broken for us, for our healing. So we read in the next two verses here, the 29th and 30th, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily,” that is the manner in which you do it, “eateth and drinketh damnation to himself NOT DISCERNING THE LORD’S BODY.” Which was broken for us and for our healing. When we’re physically sick. “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Many have had some kind of a sickness or disease that they have died, and they sleep, that is the Bible language for the fact that they are dead. It represents death as being in a type of sleep.
When you’re asleep, unless you have a dream, you’re unconscious until you wake up, and even a dream you seem to be in some crazy circumstance. You wonder why and how it ever happened, and we dream some very funny and foolish things sometimes.
But Jesus’ blood was shed because of our spiritual sins the transgressions of His Spiritual Law. Now all sickness and disease is the result of sin, and a lot of you don’t realise that.
It doesn’t always mean that you have deliberately had a wrong attitude or wrong intention, and have deliberately sinned and caused it by your own wrong thoughts, motivations, and actions. It could be an accident. It could be a germ in some water you drank. It could be a contagious disease I suppose or something of that sort. But nevertheless, it is something that disrupted the natural rhythm of the laws of your body. The body was made to function in a certain way and sometimes I wonder how the heart keeps on beating so long. I know sometimes if I turn in my bed in sleeping over on the left side, on the pillow I will hear my heart thumping and I sometimes have to turn over on the other side to get away from hearing it. And it’s strange that that heart just keeps going, going, going.
Now of course we have to fuel ourselves with food and water from the ground, and we came from the ground ourselves. But nevertheless, as long as we have the fuel and we breathe the air, we breathe the air automatically and you don’t even think about it when you’re sleeping. It just, I guess the condition of the heart just keeps you automatically breathing, something does. But it’s a remarkable thing.
I often think, when we’re flying in the G2 across the ocean, what if something happened that the engine stopped. There’s no place to land out there, absolutely no place. Sometimes I think of that funny record that came out several years ago about the, let’s see, it was Mrs Ferguson’s Airplane Storm Door Company I believe it was. It’s just a comic thing. It was a, a little small plane, little small prop plane, economy class going to Hawaii and the captain gave an announcement after they had taken off. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.” This is not a case where he says we have both good news and bad news, but it sounded to me like it was mostly bad news but it was funny. And he said, “of course we believe that what the people want is economy.” So he said, “now we do have just one little bit of luxury, you people travelling first class have straps to hang on to, the rest of you don’t have any straps.” Everybody had to stand there were no seats. And someone then asked the captain; he asked for questions, someone asked him, “Well what if we should have to ditch. How long would we remain afloat?” “Oh well,” he said, “lady that’s hard to tell, but some of them just go down like a rock!” I have to think; I hope that that engine keeps going just like the human heart does.
And yet you don’t know what second your heart’s going to stop. You just don’t know. Did you ever think to be thankful to God that He keeps your heart just going, going, going, and going? And it just goes automatically; you don’t have to wind it up or anything, except by eating food and drinking water.
But the thing is that ALL HAVE SINNED and come short of the glory of God.
So there’s one thing I’d like to get straight. I often think of this and I think this is the time of year when we need to be thinking about it. DOES THE BLOOD OF CHRIST ALONE SAVE YOU, does that get you into the Kingdom of God?
Now Catholics and Protestants believe that if you are, quote “saved,” unquote, that you go to heaven when you die. Otherwise, I think that Catholics believe you go to purgatory, and after that you’ll go to hell if they don’t pray you out of it. But Protestants believe you go straight to hell, a fire that is burning, burning, burning, and you keep burning forever and ever but you never burn up. You’ll have to go through that torture continuously forever. That’ll keep going just like your heart does for a lifetime, but this heart only pumps for a lifetime. The average age is about seventy; some of us live about twenty years longer as I have now, but not many. And no one that we have any record of ever lived the first thousand years. Methuselah lived nine hundred and, what was it sixty something, Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years. But they don’t live that long any more, and they haven’t not since the time of Abraham, shortly after the flood.
But they believe that all you have to do is accept Jesus Christ, and the blood of Christ saves you. Now the blood of Christ DOES NOT SAVE ANYBODY. You read of that in the fifth chapter of the book of Romans, I don’t want to take time to go into that this afternoon. But you will find there that, we’ll be saved by Christ but not by His shed blood. And we’re not saved by the death of Christ; we are RECONCILED to God the Father by the death of Christ. But we are to be SAVED by His resurrection, and through our own resurrection, made possible by His resurrection.
Now again, a lot of people think if they’re baptised they’re saved, and I’m afraid too many of us in this Church have believed that, and that’s one thing I hope to correct now, today. O yes I’m a baptised member. Well if you’re baptised that means you’re a Christian, you’re in the Church, Oh NO IT DOES NOT BRETHREN. I don’t care how many times you’ve been soused in water, and I don’t mean to ridicule the very sacred ordinance of baptism. But for many that’s all it is, just a sousing in water.
I’d like to read just a few scriptures along that line right now, before we pass on. Mark the seventh chapter, verse 6 on to 9, “Jesus said, this people honoureth me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. How be it in vain do they worship me.” They not only accept Christ, they not only BELIEVE in Christ, but they WORSHIP Him, and they do it in vain. “…in vain do they worship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men and making the commandments of God of none affect by your tradition.” Lets see, “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” And then He said unto them, “Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may hold to your own tradition.” I was thinking of another scripture right along that line.
We Must Repent:
Notice in Luke 13 now. Luke 13 and verses 3 and 5, Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay but except you REPENT you shall all likewise perish.” Now He repeated that for emphasis in verse 5, “I tell you NAY, but except you REPENT, you shall all likewise perish.” Regardless of how many times you’ve been baptised, if you have not REPENTED you shall all so likewise perish.
I was thinking of, and I’d like to turn to that just a moment, its in John. Lets see, in the eight chapter of John, I just happened to turn to it. “As Jesus spoke these words many believed on him.” Now here are people that believed on Christ. “Then said Jesus to the Jews which believed on him. If you continue in my word then you may be my disciples indeed.” And they began to dispute Him right away; they didn’t believe what He said. And so later Jesus said, “Why do you not understand my speech.” That is what I’m saying, my speech. “Even because you can not hear my word. You are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father will you do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there was no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own for he is a liar and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth you believe me not.” They believed ON Christ, but they did not BELIEVE Christ. They did not believe what He said.
So just accepting Christ, just believing on Christ doesn’t save you. You have to believe what He says, and YOU HAVE TO REPENT. Now there are the two conditions. One is repentance and the other is faith.
Now Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. You read in Mark verse one, chapter one, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Then in verses 14 and 15, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the GOSPEL.” What gospel? “The gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying the time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand, REPENT ye, and believe the gospel.” Repent and believe. “And except you REPENT.” And I think a lot of people don’t fully know what that means. They say, Oh, I’ve repented; yes, I know I’ve sinned. They haven’t really repented; because I think we do not understand what we mean by the word REPENT. Very few seem to understand it.
You are not Christ’s until you have the Holy Spirit of God, and you cannot have the Holy Spirit of God until you have repented.
If you turn now to Romans 8 and verse 9, which you ought to have memorized anyway, “But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have,” or woman either, “ have not the SPIRIT of Christ he is none of his.” Without the Holy Spirit in you, and more than being in you must be leading you, and you must be following, must be led by the Spirit of God. Because then you will read beginning in verse, well in verse 11, “But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken,” or make immortal, “your mortal body BY his spirit that dwelleth in you.”
The Holy Spirit of God is the impregnation of eternal life. Which you don’t have, you were not born with life. You were only born with a chemical temporary existence, just to exist a little while and then die. A lot of people die long before they’re seventy years of age. Many people are facing death all of the time. And people come and go, a generation comes and passes on and another generation comes along.
But now you notice verse 11, I just read that, verse 16. No verse 14, “For as many as are LED by the spirit of God.” Now the Holy Spirit of God won’t get hold of you and pull you. It won’t get behind you and push you. It doesn’t force you. It leads by opening your mind to understand the word of God.
Now the Holy Spirit itself does not teach you. It opens your mind to comprehend what is taught. Jesus came and taught people who didn’t understand. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit, they didn’t understand. Actually, the disciples were with Him three and a half years and they didn’t comprehend and understand what He told them, not all of it, not the spiritual part.
And He said that when the Holy Spirit came upon them, which it did on the day of Pentecost. Then He said that the Spirit of God would remind, and of course, even the spirit of man too would bring to their remembrance what things He had taught them. Then they would come to understand it, after the Holy Spirit came.
You see it is God who must teach you. And He teaches through Christ who is the Word of God. And Christ teaches through His apostles and others under them. But it all comes from God.
Now when Jesus was here He said he’d spoken nothing of Himself, He only spoke what the Father told Him to speak. And so all the teaching emanates originally from God Almighty, God the Father, not from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in you will open your mind to comprehend the Spiritual truth, the Spiritual knowledge.
So you read in 1 Corinthians 2, and beginning verse 9, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard,” that is, “nether has it entered into the mind of man,” the spiritual truths, the things that God has prepared for us.” Then the next verse says, the 10th verse, “But GOD has revealed them to us.” See it comes from God, but He reveals it by and through His SPIRIT. If you have the Holy Spirit, otherwise you WILL NOT comprehend the real Spiritual Truth.
Now many people will understand a certain amount of the Bible, because there’s so much of the Bible that is, well relating to ordinary materialistic or physical knowledge, as well as the Spiritual portion of it, and much of it is history, and they can understand a great deal of the history. But when it comes to the real deeper Spiritual teaching, the natural mind of man cannot comprehend.
Now it takes the words of the Bible, that came from Christ though to teach and not the Spirit without the Bible, and just having the Holy Spirit, you will never know any more. It is the Holy Spirit that opens the mind to comprehend. Now it’s just like the spirit in man, I’ve talked to you so much about the spirit IN MAN.
We’re all born with a spirit, a human spirit. But that’s quite a different spirit than the Spirit of God. That is, or the spirit that is in humans, and I know of no way to designate it than just to call it a human spirit because it, it is not flesh as we are. But it is in us who are flesh, it is in our flesh, and it does empower the physical brain with comprehension of materialistic knowledge. For example, a cow has a brain just like you do. You can take it apart and look at it. It’s composed of the same thing your brain is, formed, and shaped just like your brain. Now your brain might be a little bigger, but an elephant’s brain is bigger than yours is, and it’s just as good as yours is and bigger, and shaped and formed exactly precisely like it and yet even an elephant can’t think. Can’t reason. Can’t come to comprehend physical knowledge. You stand by an elephant and try to teach the elephant some scientific facts about physics, chemistry, some of the laws of physics, some scientific knowledge; he doesn’t know what you’re talking about. He can’t, his brain won’t comprehend it even though you teach him.
You see it is the spirit in us that causes our brain to comprehend materialistic knowledge. Still that knowledge has to come either through the eye into the brain. Or the brain hears through the ear, or it tastes through the mouth, smells through the nose, and then the nervous through the sense of feel or touch, or through the nerves, knowledge is transmitted. But the spirit itself doesn’t transmit any knowledge to you. The knowledge has to come through, sight or hearing, smelling, tasting or feeling. No other way knowledge comes into your mind.
Now Spiritual knowledge comes by teaching from God, but it can’t be COMPREHENDED and it can’t be UNDERSTOOD except by the SPIRIT OF GOD IN YOU. With the spirit of MAN, the human spirit you can understand physical materialistic knowledge that a dog, a cow, a horse, an elephant cannot understand, cannot comprehend. If you are taught still someone must teach you and the knowledge must come through the senses of sight, or hearing, or smelling, or tasting, or feeling.
Taught by Christ – Via an Apostle:
Now likewise the Holy Spirit does not teach you. You must be taught by, from God by the Word of God and Christ is the Word of God. And the only way we have any knowledge, even the apostles, if I’m an apostle I can teach you, but where do I get the knowledge? Where did Paul get the knowledge, where did Peter, James, Andrew, where did the early apostles get the knowledge, from Christ. Well I get it from the same source, because Christ is the Word of God in person, the Bible is the SAME Word of God in writing. So, I got it from the Word of God, but I got it in writing and they got it through the ear, from what they heard by His teaching, but it all came through Christ. He was the one who taught, not the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit opened their minds to comprehend.
Brethren we have not understood that until within the last year. It’s a marvellous teaching that God has opened to us within the past year or so and I hope that we can all come to understand it. I certainly thank and praise God for giving us that wonderful knowledge.
Now the conditions to receiving the Spirit, as Jesus said, REPENT ye, and BELIEVE, the gospel, the message, the Truth. And the message comes from God; believe what He says in other words. Believe what He says.
Now lets turn to, turn now to Acts the second chapter, on the day of Pentecost. After Christ had ascended to heaven, He had been crucified. He had lived without sin. He never sinned. He did not have to repent because He had never sinned. But He paid the price of sin even though He didn’t pay it for Himself; He paid it for you and me. And He took your sins and mine on Himself and paid the penalty for us. Its just like, God is a great banker, and you owe the bank a lot of money. And Christ is the banker’s son. And you can’t pay what you owe the bank. But his son, the son of the banker, pays it for you and says, ‘well I paid that off for you so you don’t have to worry anymore about it, it’s all paid.’ That is you don’t have to worry about the past sin, but you’d better worry about whether you sin anymore in the future, from now on, because then, then you bring the penalty right back on yourself again if you do go on sinning any more.
Well on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on those that been taught by Christ, and on a total of one hundred and twenty people, more than just the original twelve there were about ten times that many, total of a hundred and twenty. And Peter preached the first really Spirit inspired sermon by a human man on that day. And there were thousands there who heard him. And after Peter had finished the speech it says in verse 37 of Acts the second chapter, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart.” It touched their hearts, emotions. They were really hit. It wasn’t just any old common ordinary thing. It was something that really hit them emotionally. They were touched in their heart, “And said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” What are we going to do now, now that we’ve heard what we did and heard how Christ had been crucified. “Then Peter said unto them, REPENT.” But so many people don’t know what he meant when he said repent.
“Repent and be baptised.” Now that follows repentance, “every one of you,” for the remission of sins, “in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Now there is no promise in the Bible that anyone will receive the Holy Spirit until after he has repented and been baptised, and being baptised is only an outward physical form, or ceremony, typifying, picturing, representing your real repentance and belief. You go down into the water; it’s a picture of death, the death of the old self and as a type of the death of Christ. Coming back up out of the water is a picture of the resurrection of Christ and your coming up to live a new and a different, a much-changed type of life, a different life-style. You’re going a different direction from this time on. You’re not going to be like the same person any longer. But some people haven’t ever undergone any change. They’re still just the same, they’ve just accepted a few additional instructions or teaching or doctrines that they’ve heard. And they’re so, they’re really so good, that they said well you know I want to be good, I want to do what’s right, and that, I see that’s true and that’s right so I’m so good I’m just going to accept it. HOW MANY OF YOU ARE LIKE THAT BRETHREN? You’ve just heard the Truth and you’re so good that you say, yes I, I, in my goodness I’m certainly going to accept that, because I’m so good I want to believe what’s right, I don’t want to do what’s wrong.
THAT WON’T SAVE YOU AND WON’T GET YOU THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I sometimes have to wonder, I’ve had to all through these years, if many of us understand just what it really means to repent.
I read about fifty, fifty-five years ago back about that time, about the time of my conversion, it might have been shortly after, of a story of a Methodist preacher. In fact, he was the Bishop that visited a church. He was, he was a Bishop you see, he was quite a celebrity coming to this small church. He’d come from a bigger city and was over a good many churches and he was preaching on repentance, but somehow, the people couldn’t understand, he wasn’t able to make them understand what he meant. And I think many of us perhaps do not understand just what we mean by repentance.
So there was a black gentleman in the back of the church building, and he, he finally raised up his hand. “If you please sir,” he said, “I believe I can explain what you all mean, if, if I might.” Well the Bishop said, “certainly, certainly go ahead if you can make it more plain or clear to the people.” “Well sir,” he said, “I, this is what I think you all mean.” And he started walking right down the aisle, down towards the platform, and he says, “I’m going to hell, I’m going to hell, I’m going to hell, I’m going to hell, I’m going to hell.” And he got down to just in front of the platform and then he turned around, and he started, he walked rapidly back, even a little faster now. And he said, “I’m going to heaven, I’m going to heaven, I’m going to heaven, I’m going to heaven.” And when he got back up there he said, “I think what you all meant, sir, is, we must turn around and go the other way.” And some of them began to understand it.
It meant YOU HAVE TO ADMIT YOU’VE BEEN GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION. YOU HAVE TO ADMIT YOU’VE BEEN WRONG. YOU’VE BELIEVED WRONG, YOU’VE LIVED WRONG, YOU’VE DONE WRONG; YOU ARE WRONG THROUGH AND THROUGH. And many of you have NEVER ADMITTED THAT.
I’VE COME TO KNOW EVEN MEN THAT HAVE RISEN UP IN THIS CHURCH TO THE RANK OF APOSTLE, well not apostle but of, evangelist, and apparently have NEVER ADMITTED THEY HAD BEEN WRONG. THEY ARE JUST SO GOOD THEY ACCEPTED THE TRUTH AND THEY’VE BEEN ACCEPTING IT. THEY BELIEVE AND ACCEPT THE DOCTRINE, and its in their own goodness and THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS – SELF – RIGHTEOUSNESS. And they haven’t got any more real salvation than a cat, a dog, or a cow.
A lot of people have come into this Church, and a lot have become ministers and have gone through Ambassador College. They’ve been taught, but they never had the Spirit of God and they NEVER REALLY COMPREHENDED THE SPIRITUAL TRUTH.
Now the Holy Spirit doesn’t teach you spiritual truth. It must be taught you, but the Holy Spirit enables your mind to understand it WHEN YOU ARE TAUGHT.
And I’m afraid some have not received the Holy Spirit even.
I want to speak on it this afternoon because, I won’t be here, I’m sorry, this year for the Passover. I’m going to have to be in Jerusalem. I’ve been there before on the Passover, I don’t know why it’s happened, at least three or four years already, I’ve been in Israel at the Passover time. And I’ve been there for, I know once at least, I took the Passover in Bricket Wood, and then on the preparation day after the Passover, I flew back over to Tel Aviv and was in Israel for the Holy Day. And I’ve been there for either the Passover, or the Holy Day after, about three or four times and it seems like that’s the way the schedule runs for this year once again.
Now we are commanded to repent and believe before we are baptised, because baptism is only the outward ceremony picturing your belief, and picturing the fact that you have repented, that the old life is gone, that you’re now, you’ve admitted how wrong you are, and now you’re starting a totally new type of life.
I would like to show you how the founder of the false church, the founder of the false church, was baptised, and he wasn’t converted, and I hope that you’re more converted than he was, because he was just not converted.
That’s in the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. Acts 8, beginning with verse 13, this was Simon the sorcerer, and this was the time when Phillip had gone up to Samaria, you know, and preached the Kingdom of God up there, preached Christ to them and the Kingdom of God. And so, well in verse 12, “When they believed Phillip,” now they believed, “preaching the things of the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. They were baptised both men and women.” Well I think it’s given to us to assume that they had repented, it does say they believed. “Then Simon,” this, now he was the head of the Babylonian Mystery religion there and they ALL looked up to him as a man of God, from the least of them to the greatest, in Samaria there. “Then Simon himself believed,” Now HE BELIEVED, HE BELIEVED Christ, HE BELIEVED THE TRUTH. I want you to notice that, he believed. “…also and when he was BAPTISED,” and he was baptised. How many of you have BELIEVED you’ve accepted the doctrine, YOU’VE BEEN BAPTISED. Well that happened to the founder of what the Bible calls Babylon and tells us to come out of it. I’m going to read you that in just a minute. “And when he was baptised he continued with Phillip and wondered beholding the miracles and the signs which were done.”
Now then, beginning with verse 20 on to verse 22. Peter and John came down and, they didn’t understand that they should lay hands on them for receiving the Holy Spirit, and they did not receive the Holy Spirit when they were baptised, until the apostles came down and laid their hands on them and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit. “But Peter said unto him,” now this Simon came and offered Peter money for the Holy Spirit. He had BELIEVED and he had been BAPTISED, and I want you to notice that. And now he came to Peter and said I will pay money so you will give me the Holy Spirit, because he didn’t get the Holy Spirit. “But Peter said unto him, thy money perish with thee because thou hast thought that the GIFT of God,” the Holy Spirit, the gift of God, “may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter.” You know, after Judas had dropped out and there were only eleven of the apostles left, they let the lot which meant it was God’s choice, fall on Matthias, and he became one of them, so he could have part in that apostleship. The part and lot referred to being an apostle. And Peter said to him, “you have neither part nor lot.” You see he wanted to be an apostle and he made himself an apostle, pretended he was anyway afterward. “You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. REPENT therefore,” Peter said to him. HE HAD NOT REPENTED, BUT HE HAD BELIEVED, HE HAD BEEN BAPTISED, brethren how about you? HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU KNOW WHAT REPENTANCE REALLY MEANS? Too many say, yeah, yeah I guess I was a sinner so I’m just gonna believe now. And in your own goodness you do, I don’t believe that you, I don’t believe that is repentance brethren. I know it wasn’t for me; I didn’t get it that way. I didn’t receive God’s Spirit that way.
I had to go through something that meant the DEATH of this old self. It was already dead and I didn’t know it. But I had to let it DIE. And let Christ put life in me through His Holy Spirit. I’ll come to that a little later.
But Peter said to him, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God that perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” He had a wrong motive of heart, but he had repented, I mean he had NOT repented but he had believed and he had been baptised.
Well who are the followers of that Simon today? He went out any way and he organised what became finally the biggest religion in this world, what is known today as Christianity. He was the real founder of what the world looks on as Christianity today, and you find it described in Revelation 17 and verse 5, and its in capital letters in my Bible, probably is in yours. Rev.17 verse 5, “And upon her,” she’s pictured as a great whore, a great mamma whore. “And upon her forehead,” and a church is always regarded in the female sense, because the True Church of God is the affianced bride of Christ to marry Christ at His second coming. But here was a false church, and she is a harlot, a WHORE, and she’s a mother of harlots. “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,” or the Babylonian Mystery religion having become great. “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Her daughters came out of her in protest, as a daughter comes out of her mother at birth. And the Protestants came out of the Roman Catholic Church in protest and that is called Christianity, and that was started by that same Simon, and he had the title of Peter. And he is the Simon Peter of the Roman Catholic Church.
Now Peter is often called, because “ee” is often pronounced as “ay,” and it would be pronounced Pater. Now Mater or Marter means mother and alumni graduates of the university look on their university as their alma Mater, or mother.
Jesus surnamed, now wait, not Peter but Simon, his name originally was Simon too, the sign of bar Jonah or of Jonah. And Jesus surnamed him and surname means gave him a TITLE, and the title is, look in the dictionary for surname, and you’ll find twice in the Bible it says that he was surnamed Peter, and surname is a title to designate your occupation. And that was the title that designated Religious Head, Religious Leader. And that’s what they call the papacy, the Pope today.
Well, now lets take a case history or two. Lets take the apostle Paul, and if I could turn to Acts the ninth chapter. We’ll go back to Acts again now, the ninth chapter, and beginning with verse one. I’d like to read the first sixteen verses. I want you to get this experience that Paul went through, and I want to give you some case histories, and see if you had an experience anything like this. His name originally was Saul, from the city or town of Tarsus. “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord went to the High Priest.” He had hatred, he was energized by it, and he was emotionally wrought up with hatred and vengeance against the Christians. He wanted to destroy them; he wanted to have them killed. So, “He went up to the High Priest and desired of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogue, that if he found any of this Way.” Now you see, this Way is the Way of Life. You repent of your old way of life and turn to God’s Way of Life. And what is God’s Way of Life? It’s the Way God has always lived.
You read of the first beginning of God in John one verses one, two, three, and four for example, and in verse five and so on, where God and the Word, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God.” The Word was a personage. “ The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” and became Jesus Christ, verse fourteen. But the Word was with another personage called GOD, and the WORD also was GOD. Well John can be with Smith, but John is also Smith, maybe John is Smith’s son or Smith’s father, one or the other. But Smith is the family name and in this case, God is the family name, and that’s why we coming into His Family, begotten children, IF we HAVE really been begotten and received the Holy Spirit, we’re begotten into the Family of God and that’s why we’re called the CHURCH of God.
Now in the Old Testament they were not the children of God, they were the children of Israel. They weren’t called the congregation or Church of God; they were called the congregation of Israel. And Israel was Jacob, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and that was the name of Jacob, Israel, a human man, they were his physical descendants. But we are already, if we have the Spirit of God, His Spirit witnesses with our spirit, we are now already begotten as the CHILDREN of God, so we bear the Family name, Church of God. We’re not Methodists, we’re not Presbyterians, we’re not Congregationalists, we’re not Roman Catholics. We’re the PEOPLE OF GOD. Brethren do you REALISE this.
Now notice, he wanted letters going up to the city of Damascus, which is today the oldest city in the world still existing. “To the synagogues that if he found any in this Way,” that is God’s Way of Life, the Christian Way that Christ had taught, “whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” to be punished. They were going to imprison them. “And as he journeyed,” now this breathing slaughter, wanting to kill them, “as he journeyed, he came near Damascus,” now he must have gotten close to the outskirts of Damascus, “And suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven, and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou me?” And he said, “Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” And he trembling, and astonished said, “Lord what wilt thou have me do?”
Something happened to him. He knew GOD had struck him down, and he was hit emotionally. He all of a sudden realised that he was actually persecuting GOD. And he was struck down blind. This was an emotional thing with him. But just emotion alone isn’t enough, it wasn’t really an emotion thing it was, a spiritual mental thing, but I mean it had an emotional context, content, because he really, it was a very serious thing with him. “He trembling and astonished, said, Lord what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Now he was given an order to see if he was going to obey.
“And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth. And when his eyes were opened,” you see he had been blind, “he saw no man.” He was blind, “but they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight,” blinded, “and neither did he eat nor drink.”
Now he went through quite an experience that shook him up. Believe me, this shook him up. This was no just easy thing, he just heard something, “Yeah, I’m so good I guess I’ll accept that.”
I wonder how many of you got into the Church that way. How many of you were struck down until it really shook you to the root, realising how WRONG you had been, admitting how WRONG you were through and through.
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias, and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold I am here Lord. And the Lord said unto him, “Arise and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias,” who Christ was now talking to, “coming in and putting his hands on him that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, and how much evil he has done to the saints at Jerusalem.” You know we’ve all been doing evil but have we recognised it? Have we realised how evil we have been? Some of us have been so GOOD; we’ve never had to REPENT. Some of you have been so good you never had to repent. Well brethren I did or I wouldn’t be up here teaching you today. “And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way for he is a chosen vessel unto me.” Oh, he didn’t volunteer at all, he wanted to go the other way, God called him God knocked him down, God CHOSE him.
If you have been called, it’s because God called you. But some of you weren’t knocked down quite that bad. And some of you haven’t undergone any such experience that really shook you up like this.
“…chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles, and before kings, and the children of Israel.” He had to go before kings, “For I will show him what great things he must suffer for my names sake.” Paul had to suffer many things for Christ. Brethren I have had to suffer many things for Christ and when I gave myself to Him, fifty-five, fifty-six years ago, back in the very spring of 1927, I knew that Jesus said if they persecuted Him they would persecute us, and I knew I would be persecuted. I counted the cost, and when I gave myself over to Him, I did it knowing what I was going to have to suffer. And I have suffered it and I’m suffering it right now this minute in ways that most of you don’t understand at all, and I’m not going to reveal a lot of it to you.
“And Ananias went his way and entered into the house,” Lets see, I wanted to read, no that’s as far as I needed to read, I just wanted to read that far, to you to show you that experience that Paul went through. It was an EXPERIENCE this conversion that he went through. Now Paul wasn’t tortured physically. But the very knowledge it was God striking him down shook him up, and shook him in his mind spiritually, and suddenly he realised that he was WRONG, he was going the wrong way, he was doing the wrong things, he was EVIL and he was doing an evil thing, and he suddenly realised that. And his whole attitude and his intent in life changed. He had been persecuting in dynamic zeal, he was, you know some people just, oh, I don’t know, insipid that there’s no life in them it seems, they’re not dynamic, they’re not forceful, they just go along so easily. Paul was not like that; he was a real vigorous man. And now when God turned him around the other way he became a vigorous crusader for Christ. Maybe crusader is the wrong way because he wasn’t going out trying to get people saved anymore than Christ was. But his life was wrong he was going the wrong way, and he made a surrender.
Notice again in verse six, “He trembling and astonished, said Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” And he began to obey from that minute on. And his whole life changed, he turned around and started to go the other way, started to live a different kind of life altogether.
So, Paul didn’t become a Christian just in his own goodness. He was so good that he said well I’m going to accept Christ. No in his goodness he was breathing out slaughter to the Christians he wanted to see them slaughtered if he could. He had to realise how wrong he was.
Now how was I struck down? I’ve often said I was struck down in an entirely different way than Paul was. Well I was, I was struck down. The course I was living in was altogether different. When I was just a kid, sixteen years of age, I was suddenly inspired with ambition. A man that employed me on a summer vacation job told me that I was going to do great things in life. I was going to go places. He, he flattered me but he encouraged me and he gave me pats on the back and told me I was really going to do things. And I began to almost believe it I never believed anything like that before. And then I became ambitious at age sixteen.
But I knew that ambition meant a desire, plus the hard effort and the work to accomplish that desire and I knew it meant putting forth a great effort. Now what I became desirous of was all carnal and physical in this world. I wanted to be, I began to want to be considered when I was mature, and I was only sixteen then, but I wanted to be considered successful by successful men. It wasn’t that I wanted a lot of money. I wanted some of the things money would buy, that’s true, but I wasn’t thinking about just hoarding money anything like that. But I wanted to be looked on as successful by successful men. And I became filled with self- confidence. And I began while I was still in high school spending a lot of time in the public library studying other books beside the high school assignment, in philosophy and in business administration and other things of that sort that I’d find in the library, not fiction. I had been reading a lot fiction I read about Dick Merriwell and Frank Merriwell and all of those things and even Mick Carter. I don’t think any of you remember that far back that was before I was sixteen. But now I began to read serious things. I was filled with ambition.
And I became quite successful.
I made a self-analysis, an examination to avoid fitting the proverbial square peg in a round hole, to find where I belonged, where I could be a success in life. I chose the profession I was succeeding in, and by the time I was twenty-eight I was making what in today’s dollar value would be at least a quarter of a million dollars a year. Not very many young men of twenty-eight have gone that far. And I had been quite successful.
And then in 1920, I was struck down. In 1920, there was a temporary flash depression. It was a very serious depression following the end of World War One, which ended in 1918. And in 1920 it struck this country, and all of my clients that were responsible for my income, were firms like the J. I. Case people, and farm implement people, and like John Deer and company, the Avery company, a great adding machine company, and other companies like that and EVERY ONE of them went into the receivership and lost everything they had but, companies – Oh, Goodyear Tire and Rubber was another one of my clients at that time, they also failed. Now the company name was continued, but new management was put in, new, well new stocks were offered and new capital came in, new management was installed, and the companies came back up again but the same people that were in it lost everything they had. And my business was totally swept away from under my feet. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t bring on that depression.
Now in 1924, I took a trip that took eighteen days from De Moines Iowa out to Salem Oregon. There were no cross country highways in those days, it was just either mud roads in Iowa, dirt roads, some gravel roads when we got farther west, and we had blow off of tires and everything else, in a Ford Car. And we finally arrived out in Oregon; in well, we were eighteen days through that summer of 1924. Well I had begun to build another business in the advertising field, and I was doubling the business of all my clients. My work was eminently successful. And it had been hard to come back; I’d been struck down. Now I was regaining confidence again, and then all of a sudden something happened that all of my clients were stricken and could not expend money for local advertising any further. My business was suddenly swept away from me and I had every client all through Oregon and Washington in my field.
It took the life out of me.
I’d been ambitious. I wanted to succeed. Everything, and it just seemed, I said I was King Midas in reverse. You know everything King Midas touched turned into gold, everything I touched turned into nothing. I just thought I’m King Midas in reverse. And all the confidence had gone out of me. I was a whipped, beaten man. I was reduced to poverty.
That’s the time when you’ve heard me say that I had, I had been making a quarter of a million dollars a year before that.
I had those righteous shoes you’ve heard me talk about; they had holey soles. One pair, that’s all I had, with holes in the soles. Yeah, and I had a suit for every day in the week, the one I wore was it. The only one I had and it was threadbare, hardly presentable any longer. It was winter up in Oregon. I had a hole that big in the hip of the only overcoat I had, and it was only a topcoat and it was a cold winter.
But I had finally been converted.
And then when I was in that condition I was challenged. And I had to begin studying the Bible, and I began to realise that everything I had been taught was wrong. And I let God erase everything I’d ever believed out of my mind.
I turned around and started to go the other way. I had been whipped, I had been beaten, and finally I was CONQUERED BY GOD.
I didn’t just get and receive Christ I GAVE myself to Him. Of course, I accepted Him, but you know what I mean. It was more than just getting something it was giving my whole life to Him. And I did it in poverty. I was beaten down. I had gone through an emotional BEATING, a terrible beating. And now I began to have a new kind of confidence. TOTALLY different, it was not self-confidence. I began to have the faith of Christ. I began to have a confidence that Christ, well like they had in the morning service this morning, the song – I Will Never Walk Alone. I knew I wouldn’t have to walk alone that Christ would be with me, if I would be with Him.
But I had to go His Way. I had to be CONQUERED by Him. I don’t believe anyone receives the Holy Spirit until the Human spirit has been conquered by God and His Spirit.
I often think of a spirited young colt. You try to get on him and he’ll try to throw you. You can’t do a thing with him. You’ve got to break him; he’s got to be CONQUERED. And then you do have a still spirited horse but he becomes of great value, but he has to be broken.
Do you know, God has to break our wills and break us and we have to be brought to the place 0f surrender to Him. How many of you have gone through such an experience? Or have you just in your own goodness seen the Truth and said, Oh yeah, that’s true, I’m gonna accept it. I’m so good that I just wanna accept it, and I’m gonna be a Christian from here on. I wonder if you have really received the Spirit of God. I wonder if you get it that easily. I didn’t. The apostle Paul didn’t. I didn’t and Paul didn’t. I had to be whipped. I had to be conquered.
I wrote something there I wanted. Well I had to confess and admit how wrong I had been, I, not only that I had done wrong but that I WAS WRONG. And I was wrong through and through. I had to come to a new attitude in life, a new purpose in life altogether something new and something altogether different.
Now I’d like to show you something about David. You know a lot of people would never understand how David could ever be called a man after God’s own heart. Well, how could he be called a man after God’s own heart? Look at the things he did. God wouldn’t let him build the Temple in Jerusalem when he asked God. God thought it was a good idea all right, and wanted it built but he said he wouldn’t let David build it because David was a man of war. He’d shed so much blood, in killing people in battle. And not only that but when God told him not to take a census of His nation he went ahead and did it anyway and disobeyed God deliberately. And God really whip-laid him and punished him for that. And another time he saw a woman taking a bath out of his window and I guess her window was open, she must have been next door somewhere from his palace.
Well he was the king; so he told some of his servants, bring that woman over here. And she became pregnant. And her husband was away from home in the war in the battle. And now David was in trouble. He’d got this other man’s wife pregnant. And David didn’t know what to do.
So he got word to the General of the Army and said send this man back home. And when he got there, he said you can stay home for a couple of nights with your wife before you go back. But he said, no, he said, I’m not going to enjoy going to bed with my wife when all the rest of my buddies down there are out there fighting, and they don’t get to be in a nice shelter of a beautiful home or anything like that. So he, he just slept outside. He didn’t even go in the house. Now David was really up against it he didn’t know what to do. He was like a rat in a corner, trapped. And he tried anyway to get out of it.
Now he did a worse thing yet. After he had committed adultery with another man’s wife. Now he sent a note by this same man to the General of the Army and said put him up in the forefront of the battle where he would get killed himself. And he was killed. David now became a murderer.
And God sent Nathan the prophet to tell him what he had done.
Now I want to show you what David went through, in the 51st Psalm. Here is a prayer of David when he woke up and finally realised what had happened. Most people would say that any man that’s done those things, he’s no good. God couldn’t use a man like that, and yet I think they must sit in judgement of God, calling a man like David a man after God’s own heart.
Well here’s why David’s a man after God’s own heart. Look at this prayer. He was crying out to God, he said, “Have mercy thou upon me Oh God according to thy loving kindness, according unto thy, unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Now he’s beginning to admit his transgressions. He’s admitting how wrong he was. “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquities,” MY iniquity, “cleanse me from MY sin,” now he’s confessing it. “For I acknowledge my transgression and my sin is ever before me.” And then, notice verse 10, I won’t read all of it, but just notice in this prayer. Verse 10 it says, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit in me.” He confessed his sins and David never did it again.
Brethren, every one of you has sinned. You may think you haven’t sinned as bad as some one else, and most people think if other people haven’t found it out, they’re alright just as long as no body knows it. Well let me tell you God knows every sin you’ve made. Every one of you has sinned and God knows all about it, every one, and you’d better be sure they’re forgiven before you take the Passover. Now maybe they already are forgiven, I don’t mean asking a million times over to forgive it, once they’re forgiven, they’re forgiven. But you’d better be sure they have been. And if they have, that’s wonderful. And I hope they have been already.
Notice now from Ephesians the second chapter. The very beginning of the second chapter, “And you hath he quickened,” or made alive, “who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Every one of us has been spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, trespasses against God and God’s Law. We were SPIRITUALLY DEAD. But now, if we have the Holy Spirit, if we have repented, if we have been conquered and received the Holy Spirit of God, that changes every thing. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air,” who is Satan and he’s a prince of the power of the air, “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience,” and every one of us is a child of disobedience and has been, and the Spirit of God has worked in us.
I want to read something I hadn’t thought of, but I think of just now, 1 John the first chapter. 1 John the first chapter, verse three, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Here we are having fellowship, here we are in a Church service, do you know that in Spirit both God the Father and Jesus Christ are right here in this auditorium this afternoon with us, and we’re having fellowship and communion with them this afternoon right now. I love that beautiful song that the choir sang in the morning service – You’ll Never Walk Alone. But two cannot walk together except they be agreed. And once we have really repented, once we have been conquered, you can’t walk with Christ if you don’t agree with Him. You can’t walk with God the Father, until you’ve repented, because in your sins you aren’t agreeing with Him. You’ve got to make a surrender. Now I mean a real surrender and that’s a changed life, a changed attitude, a changed goal in life, a changed purpose altogether. But then you’re going to sin again even after that, and you all have, since you’ve been converted I mean, every one of you has sinned more or less.
So we read here in the ninth verse, “If we,” we Christians now, this is talking about Christians, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” We’ve sinned, but we have not disagreed with Him, we didn’t mean to sin but we slipped up, we forgot, or maybe we got careless. Maybe we hadn’t continued in prayer as often as we should. Maybe we slipped up a little while. Maybe you’ve sinned since you were converted. But if we confess those sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
Now it goes right on in the next chapter, “My little children these things write I unto you,” that’s those in the Church, “that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate,” that is a believer, “with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only, but also for the whole world.” It shows that he meant if we in the Church sin He will forgive us. But don’t change your main attitude and your main purpose and you may still have the Holy Spirit, but if you do NOT repent, if you do NOT acknowledge it and then you continue on, pretty soon you’ll just be lost entirely.
I like to picture it this way. You’re in a thick wooded forest. Trees are so thick you can’t see even ten feet ahead of you, not as far as from me to the front row down there. I’ve been in a, over in the Big Sandy campus it used to be just that thick in woods and brush. You couldn’t even see ten or fifteen feet. But if you’re in a big forest, on a dark moonless night, no light, no moon, and there’s only one way out, and there is a light there and that light is going out and you follow that light. It’ll lead you right out. But if you don’t follow that light, and you go any other way; you’re not going to see very far and I tell you inside of a little time that light is lost, you won’t find it again. You don’t know which way to go now to find it. And you can’t tell which is east, west, north, or south, not at least until the next day. You’ll be lost in the woods.
Now, the Bible is a lamp under our feet, but that lamp must have oil in it. You read of that in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew. Where just before Christ’s coming, it’s really speaking of the Laodicean Church then. And half of the virgins, who had been Christians, had let the oil go out of their lamps. Their lamps are the Bible, but the oil is the Holy Spirit within THEM. Speaking of course in figurative or in symbolic language.
And I’ve noticed those who go out from among us. They go off on some one point, or maybe two points, and ALWAYS if they don’t repent, it is not long till they’ve gone off on another doctrine and then another, and then pretty soon they’ve just gone all together. And it’s too late.
Now if you make a mistake, if you sin, and you CONFESS your SINS, YOU’D BETTER DO IT QUICK AND DO IT IMMEDIATELY, and it isn’t too late. And He will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins, and to cleanse you of all unrighteous.
But brethren, some have gone out from this Body and this Church, and they didn’t confess their sins right away. And then they began to make another sin, and then another and they’d just given up altogether. They don’t believe any thing any more. They’ve gone farther, and farther, and farther away.
Now it’s good to have this Passover season come once a year. And its good to have us check up once and a while and to remember that when ever we do make a mistake, maybe it was thoughtlessness, maybe it was deliberate even, but you’ve come to yourself and you come to realise it, REPENT and repent quick. Don’t say I’m not worthy to repent, you’re never too unworthy to go to God and ask for forgiveness, and ask Him to get you back on the track.
This whole Church has been going wrong and we’ve had to get back on the track. Brethren, you have to keep yourself on the track privately and individually. I have to keep myself on the track. I know where I was beginning to get off a little bit. And maybe you didn’t realise I was getting myself back on the track while I’ve been getting you all back on it. You thought I was just so good I was getting you all back? Well don’t kid yourselves. I’m human too brethren. Well I’ve been trying to get ME back on the track too along with you.
Lets all get back. Because it isn’t going to be much longer until Christ is going to come, and I hope we’ll all be together so we can rise and be changed from mortal to immortal in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye and rise to meet Christ in the air as He comes. What a GLORIOUS time that CAN be.
Only if we really repent, if we ACKNOWLEDGE when we’re wrong, if we confess it, if we’re willing to CHANGE, I’ve had to even confess that I’d mislead the Church on some things. We’ve had to change. When I found I was wrong I CHANGED IT. I don’t have to prove that I can admit I’m wrong I’ve proved that. I’ve proved it before the whole Church more than once.
But the time has come to exam… Oh, there’s one more scripture well I still have time. I want to read one more scripture.
First Corinthians 13:5, no, Second Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith, prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is IN you, except you be reprobates?” It’s not too late. You wouldn’t be here this afternoon if you were already reprobate. It’s not too late.
I don’t know, maybe some of you have sinned maybe you’ve gotten off the track a little bit. You can get back on, and get back quick, and don’t delay, don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t let the sun go down until you’re back on.
Now, it says, I read to you, “let a man examine himself, and then let him take of that Passover.” Of course there its speaking of how you take it worthily, unworthily, rather than taking it worthily, but, we have to examine ourselves and we should before the Passover, and to know that we are back on the track ourselves walking with Christ as we should be.
So, I wish I could be here with you for this Passover but seems like duty calls me away. I have to go to Amman Jordan, and maybe someday you’ll realise how necessary it was that I go, and so I’ll pray that God be with all of you, and I would like to have your prayers continue for me and I’m sure that they will.
Thank you all.