POPE REDEFINES GNOSTICISM AND PELAGIANISM A recent article written by Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese titled: “Pope Francis warns of two paths to holiness” was published this month concerning “gnosticism” & “pelagianism”. This article states:

As a spiritual guide to those seeking to be better Christians, Pope Francis recognizes that many are tempted to follow the wrong paths to holiness. These are not bad people following the path of sin, but good people getting lost in the woods without a map. Francis believes that it is especially important to warn Christians of two false paths to holiness. In Chapter 2 of Gaudete et Exsultate, an apostolic exhortation released in March, Francis explains that these are not new temptations. Christians through the centuries have been so tempted, and spiritual writers have labeled these false paths Gnosticism and Pelagianism. These are old temptations repackaged for a new age.
In Gnosticism, perfection is measured by information and knowledge or by some special experience, not by one’s charity. The Gnostic takes pride in understanding everything, in having special knowledge. “Gnostics think that their explanations can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible,” explains Francis. “They absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking.” They “reduce Jesus’ teaching to a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything.”
Notice, Pope Francis is RE-defining what a Gnostic is. If someone, let’s say a man with God’s Holy Spirit, teaches what the Bible says and makes it easy to understand for the reader or listener(as Herbert W. Armstrong was used by Christ in doing), the Pope here is labeling such a man of God a “Gnostic”. If such a man of God says that Jesus’ teaching is “everything”, he is labeled by the Pope as “Gnostic”. This is RE-defining by the Pope.
Francis considers Gnosticism one of the most sinister ideologies because, “while unduly exalting knowledge or a specific experience, it considers its own vision of reality to be perfect.” Gnostics “domesticate mystery” and think they know everything.
I am reminded of “The Mystery of the Ages” book written by Herbert W. Armstrong. In this book, Mr. Armstrong goes to the Bible to make plain the “Seven Mysteries” that so many do not understand! It is an astounding book, unlike any other! Now, many dissenters have argued, that when they struggle to disprove the teachings of God’s apostle, that Mr. Armstrong and those of the Worldwide Church of God(called by enemies: “Armstrongites”) “think they know everything” and that “they think their teachings are perfect”. So who is the Pope, leader of the Catholic Church, speaking against? Things begin to add up as you progress through this article, and there is no doubt whom they are talking about and against.
“When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road,” according to Francis. “God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises,” explains Francis. “Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.”
God’s Word says: “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”(1 Peter 3:15). Pope Francis says that if someone has an answer, and wants everything to be clear and “sure” is sharing a character trait of a “Gnostic” So those like Peter and Paul, are like Gnostics? “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”(2 Tim. 2:19) “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”(2 Peter 1:10-11) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”( 2 Peter 1:19-21)
The Gnostics’ conviction that they alone have the truth leads them to claim that their way of understanding the truth authorizes them to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives.
“No one on earth has this truth but this Church.” (Herbert W. Armstrong, “Congress of Leading Ministers” Worldwide News Special Issue, March 6, 1981)   Study what the original apostles, and the apostle Paul wrote to the brethren concerning WHO had the truth and was preaching it.   “Mr. Armstrong, it becomes clearer with every passing month what an enormous debt we owe you!” (He owes it to GOD.)  “When I reflect on the precious truths of God’s Word – the knowledge of what man’s future is, the coming Kingdom of God, the spirit in man, the history of the angels, the origin of human nature, what God is, and on and on, then I am truly grateful that God has called me into HIS Church – the only church on this earth that has the truth.  “But, Mr. Armstrong, this Church- has the truth only because” Christ gave it to us through you. You are Christ’s chosen and ordained apostle, and it is through you that I have learned and understood all these things.” (Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong’s article: “How Did You Come To Know The Truth”, Good News Magazine Oct. 1979) The argument from the Pope sounds familiar as God’s apostle and the Worldwide Church of God has received similar accusations from dissidents and enemies. This is similar to the accusation of Korah and his 250 ministers against Moses and Aaron, the servants of God. “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?”(Numbers 16:3) His argument is “You think because you have the truth, and preach your “way of understanding” you have authority to govern the Church”. Notice the Pope is speaking against “the way” the apostles of Christ taught! THE WAY OF GOD IS A WAY OF LIFE! The unconverted Saul persecuted those who were walking in the “way” of God, until Jesus Christ struck him down on Damascus road and showed him what he was doing-persecuting Jesus Christ! What the Pope is saying is not far from Korah’s accusation! Notice, the Pope is saying that the Gnostic believes that “his understanding” is the basis for authority to govern the lives of others. And that is true of a Gnostic but not of God’s true Church. This is what is being mixed. The enemies of the Church accuse God’s apostle and God’s true Church of teaching “their way of understanding”, saying that there is “many ways” to Christ. Notice what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: “God’s Word alone is truth “That is why I have said the experience I was painfully subjected to in this six-months’ intensive study was UNIQUE in human life and conduct. I know of no world religious leader who arrived at his teachings in such manner. Perhaps that is why GOD’S INSPIRED WORD alone – as I proved – is TRUTH. Only GOD is infallibly correct! “I was brought, by the spring of 1927, to a complete MIND-SWEEPING – my mind swept clean of previous assumptions and beliefs – surrendered to the WORD OF GOD, which by then I had proved TRUE, and the SUPREME AUTHORITY. “More, I had been brought to realize my own inadequacy and nothingness. I had been brought to a real repentance – CONQUERED by the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD – and with a solid rock-based FAITH in Jesus Christ. I was baptized, and the infilling of God’s Spirit opened my mind to the Joy UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ – of knowing TRUTH and the warmth of God’s divine LOVE! “What I once hated I now LOVED. I found the greatest and most absorbing joy of my life in continuing to dig out those gold nuggets of TRUTH from God’s Word.”…”Seeking an obedient Church I knew now that when I found the one and only true Church, I would find a Church obedient to God – keeping His commandments – having the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the TRUTH of the Scriptures. “I had been much impressed by a description of the true Church, as it is to be found in our time just before the second coming of Christ. It is found in Revelation 12. It is the time when Satan is filled with wrath against God’s Church, “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). Satan is making war with “the remnant of her seed.” The remnant means the very last generation in this age. The Church is definitely described. It is those “…which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12: 17). “My intensive study had revealed one thing plainly: “The commandments of God” mean “Sabbath keeping” to most traditional denominations. They say, “The commandments are done away!” They reject “the commandments of God.” “That automatically ruled out all churches observing Sunday. So far as I could learn, it reduced the search to three small groups – the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Seventh-Day Baptists, and a little, almost unheard-of church called the Church of God, which maintained a small publishing-house headquarters at Stanberry, Mo. So I examined Seventh-Day Adventist teachings – just as I did those of many other denominations. I obtained their magazines, their booklets and pamphlets, their large book of Bible readings or Bible “home instructor.” “The true Church is the one that lives by EVERY WORD of God – the words of the BIBLE!” (Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, “HOW THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD CAME INTO BEING”, Good News Magazine November 6, 1978)
Francis, on the other hand, believes that “in the church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life.” Our understanding and expression of doctrine “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries.” He cites Pope John Paul II, who warned of the temptation on the part of those in the church who are more highly educated “to feel somehow superior to other members of the faithful.” Gnostics can think that because they know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, that they are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses.”
Now, doesn’t this sound familiar? When we come into contact with people propagating “different doctrines”, “heresies”, trying to sway members of the Church(while claiming to be Church members themselves), we confront what they say with God’s Word and with quotes from God’s apostle(who has authority from Christ). They often will accuse us, when we show them how their “strange teaching” is in fact wrong and heresy, of “feeling superior” and “filled with self-righteousness”. All we did was direct them to the instructions and teachings of God’s Word and God’s true apostle Herbert W. Armstrong. We don’t believe we are “superior” in knowing a truth that someone else doesn’t have. The very reason we share the truths that God’s apostle taught, is to help the other person(claiming to be a member of the Church). So this false accusation does ring familiar.
While Gnostics take pride in their knowledge, Pelagians take pride in their personal efforts. Gnostics stress the intellect, while Pelagians stress the will.
Remember, one of the accusations against God’s apostle and God’s true Church, is that “they believe they only have the truth”, and God’s Church does. The Holy Spirit is only given to a relative few now. The rest of the world is blinded by Satan the Devil, unable to understand the spiritual knowledge of God. The few God has called today has been called to become teachers of “the way” of God in the World Tomorrow, after Christ has returned to establish the Government of God on this Earth. A thousand years after this establishing of the Government of God on this Earth, All who has ever lived will have their eyes opened to the TRUTH, and will be given a second chance to live the way of God. Those who seek their “own way”, contrary to scripture, contrary to God’s way, seek to accuse those who stay faithful and true to Christ and God’s Law, angry with them because they will not “compromise”.
Pelagians “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style,” reports Francis.
“Certain rules”? What is law? It is the “rules of conduct”. The laws of a basketball game are the “rules” of the game. Now, those who “observe certain rules”, or God’s law,  are added to the accusation.
While Pelagians speak of grace, it is often just an add-on to the all-powerful human will. “When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace,” writes Francis, “deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added.”
Rather, “in this life human weaknesses are not healed completely and once for all by grace,” Francis explains. “Grace, precisely because it builds on nature, does not make us superhuman all at once.” Not acknowledging our limitations “prevents grace from working more effectively within us,” he writes. “Unless we can acknowledge our concrete and limited situation, we will not be able to see the real and possible steps that the Lord demands of us at every moment, once we are attracted and empowered by his gift.” Francis reminds us that “The Church has repeatedly taught that we are justified not by our own works or efforts, but by the grace of the Lord, who always takes the initiative.” We cannot buy God’s friendship with our works, “it can only be a gift born of his loving initiative.”
James 2:17-26 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” What the Pope says is contrary to scripture.
This truth should affect the way we live. It invites us “to live in joyful gratitude for this completely unmerited gift” of his friendship. We can only celebrate this free gift if we realize that our earthly life and natural abilities are his gifts.
“This Truth” he speaks is contrary to scripture, and a “lie”. It does affect the way that they live. They believe that they are the friends of God, without obeying God. This is the Gnostic teaching of Simon Magus, the first Pope, of giving a “license to sin”. They believe the more this life gives you, God is giving you “His gifts”. So they take unto themselves, believing the more they “GET” & “RECEIVE” the more God loves them. This is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which was the belief that the more you “sinned” the greater God’s grace was in forgiving such sin. So their belief is, if you seek to GET more in this earthly life and receive more abilities, you receive God’s gifts, and God’s grace abounds greater in you.
Yet some Christians today seek justification through their own efforts. “The result is a self-centered and elitist complacency, bereft of true love,” writes Francis. “This finds expression in a variety of apparently unconnected ways of thinking and acting: an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages, a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige, a vanity about the ability to manage practical matters, and an excessive concern with programs of self-help and personal fulfilment.”
“An obsession with the law”? You mean, submitting to God’s Law in every aspect of our lives, and being careful and diligent in not breaking that law- you know…the Christian walk? Remember what Tkach and others accused God’s Church of being! “Obsessed with the law”. “fundamentalism” etc. A  “punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige”??? What does “punctilious” mean? It means: “showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.” What does “Liturgy” mean? From Wikipedia- “Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group, according to its beliefs, customs and traditions. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to and participation in, the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. Ritualization may be associated with life events such as birth, coming of age, marriage, sex and death. It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy. Methods of dress, preparation of food, application of cosmetics or other hygienic practices are all considered liturgical activities.” So according to the Pope, if someone pays great attention to Church doctrines they are “Pelagian”. If someone pays great attention to certain things, like on “makeup”, or proper dress, or length of hair,  they have a trait of “Pelagianism” the Pope says. Now, a Liturgy is essentially a ritualistic practice, used by and associated mainly with the Catholic Church. God’s true Church has had to deal with problems concerning proper dress, hair lengths of women and men, “make-up”, even smoking etc, and had to make official decisions on what is “proper” according to God and His Word. This argument from the Pope, strengthens those who opposed God’s apostle and God’s Church and their decision on these things, and is a false accusation against the Church of which the Catholic Church is in fact guilty of. Because if you argue what God’s Church teaches on these “doctrines & teachings”, then you’ll be accused of “paying greater attention to Church liturgy & doctrine & prestige(placing these teachings above other teachings)” and therefore a “Pelagian”, and therefore must be removed. I wonder who he is speaking against? Those who are staying faithful to God, Christ, His Truth which was preached by His apostle Herbert W. Armstrong.
Rather than spending their time and energy on these things, Christians should let themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love. If the church does not follow the promptings of the Spirit, it “can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few,” says Francis. “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savor.”
Don’t spend time and energy on these things says the Pope! Don’t HOLD FAST, let go, and LOVE LOVE LOVE! He talks about the Church being led and prompted by “the Spirit”. Which Spirit? We must discern the spirits! He says if you don’t allow yourself to be  SWAYED by this “spirit” he is speaking of, such teachings will be the possession of a select few, a museum piece to be looked at.(Remember, is an archive of the publications of God’s true Church and God’s true apostle. “museum”? You go to a museum to LEARN of past teachings. Who is he really speaking about? “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting.”, Francis says. There is that “certain rules”, or God’s Law again! And that WAY of life the Bible talks so much about! It’s becoming clearer about whom he is talking about!
This form of Pelagianism explains why groups, movements and communities so often “begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized or corrupt,” writes Francis. “Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channeled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace.”
Let’s put this in a more relatable way. The Worldwide Church of God was raised up, and look at how God was working through those who were led by God’s Holy Spirit! Look at the WORLDWIDE WORK that was done! AMAZING! Now, after Mr. Armstrong’s death, a different Church rose up among the membership of the Worldwide Church of God. They seized control of the WWC INC organization, and began installing NEW doctrines and teachings, contrary to God’s Word, heresies, and began building a NEW membership, kicking out and persecuting the true membership of the Worldwide Church of God. Soon, the recognizable work which showed so much “intense life in the Spirit”, became “corrupt”. This is the story against the Worldwide Church of God. These “splinter groups”, these COG churches are teaching their congregations the same thing. They teach “The Worldwide Church of God apostatized, left Christ, was destroyed!”  Sound familiar? It is the same thing Pope Francis is saying. Pope Francis says, “Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channeled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace.” So, if you or me consider that obeying God, keeping faithful and true to God and His truth as taught by His apostle and Church, is “everything”, we complicate the Gospel and become “enslaved to a blueprint that leave few openings”. You mean, if you don’t compromise you can’t be led astray or deceived!!! They are saying that if you don’t compromise with God’s Truth you are a slave, and they are “promising liberty” from such enslavement! The first time I heard about a “blueprint” concerning the Church, was from a minister of the UCG. He was teaching that God didn’t have “one blueprint” for His Government, but had several government structures He worked through. That is diabolical and demoniac and comes from Satan the great deceiver!
The way to avoid these wrong paths, says Francis, is by reminding ourselves of the primacy of the theological virtues, the center of which is charity. What truly counts, according to St. Paul, is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Or as Paul says elsewhere, “The one who loves another has fulfilled the law … for love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10).
Talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Francis reminds us how Jesus showed us the face of God “in every one of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenseless and those in need.” Loving our Lord and our neighbor is what Christianity is all about, a point missed by Gnostics and Pelagians alike.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! If you LOVE your neighbor, you “permit” their sin, and so in order to LOVE those who speak contrary to God’s Word and contrary to the doctrine we have learned from Christ through His apostles, WE HAVE TO PERMIT, ALLOW these people to continue inside God’s Church with these contrary and demoniac teachings! That is what this Pope and others who have left God’s Church are crying out! God says man of himself cannot love His neighbor as God loves. In order to Love your neighbor as God loves, you must FIRST obey God and show love towards God through obedience to His Law! Then God gives His love through His Holy Spirit, and with that love in us, we are then able to pass that love onto our neighbor, and love our neighbor and brethren as God loves. His twisting of Jesus’ teaching when He blessed the children, is a perversion, a half-truth. Yes, if you don’t show love towards the weak, the defenseless, the widow, the orphan, the children etc, not clothing the naked, the starving, those within need, you are doing the same against Christ. But this is in relation to what he has been talking prior to this. If you keep God’s Law, and are concerned with Church doctrine, and such, are won’t allow compromise to God’s Truth, Pope Francis is saying you don’t love your brethren or neighbors! That is straight from the Devil, mind you! Now, this article ends with this “directive”. I say “directive” because it appears to be an order the Pope  telling His fellow Jesuits and Catholics what must be done. They must DO this, and they believe they do God a service in doing this. Notice:
Francis ends Chapter 2 with a prayer: “May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness!” He asks each of us to reflect and discern how these aberrations may be present in our lives.
THAT IS AGAINST GOD’S TRUE CHURCH! He is issuing out an order to “set the Church free from these NEW forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism [He is redefining them]” He says such people are WEIGHING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOWN and BLOCKING HER PROGRESS! That shows God’s people have been doing a WONDERFUL JOB in staying FAITHFUL, and now the Pope is sending out an order to GET RID OF THEM! Since this directive, we personally have seen a greater initiative of attacks against this website and against us personally. Remember in Revelation 12. “And to the woman[The True Church of God who have been FAITHFUL] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent [the DEVIL] cast out of his mouth water [armies] as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. Satan issued out an order, worked through the military armies under his control, to GET RID OF GOD’S TRUE CHURCH- to “set the church free” from such people whom they say are weighing the Catholic Church down and blocking their progress! Remember, as Mr. Armstrong taught, this coming UNITED STATES OF EUROPE will STOP THE PHILADELPHIAN WORK! Could this be the orders being sent out from the Pope to do just that? Notice God’s Promise!  It is SURE TO HAPPEN! Yes we may see this happen very shortly! ARE YOU READY BRETHREN? Below are quotes from Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God on Gnosticism, and things being talked about above in the article about the Pope.
“Now in the actual history of the first two centuries of the professing church, we saw it was divided into many different sects, many denominations, in one division, the Gnostics alone, there were more than fifty divisions, fifty different sects. But now let’s look into the history of the true Church. Remember that the largest book of prophecy in the New Testament, the book of Revelation, the one great prophetic book in the New Testament pictures the church in the future and it shows TWO CHURCHES, not one. I’ve explained to you that the word church comes from the Greek word, since the New Testament was written in the Greek language, the Greek word ecclesia and it means a crowd, a group, an assembly of people, that’s all. There’s no sanctity in the word church. And so if you have a world church, of this world, that’s not the Church of God. Then there is the Church of God mentioned in the Bible. Now we find in the book of Revelation is a great world church pictured here, and it is not the Church of God at all. This is the FALSE church, the DECEIVING church, the FALLEN church, and this pictures what we saw beginning in the history that we’ve read to you, and I have read to you from various histories, various encyclopedias, but primarily from Gibbon’s Rome in the past several broadcasts.” -Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, World Tomorrow Radio                                                                Program titled: “I Will Build My Church”(True Church 4)  
“THE CONCEPT OF GNOSTICISM Simon Magus was the first Gnostic teacher of Christian times. The religious philosophy of Gnosticism became common during this time. Gnostics, from the Greek word Gnosis, which means “to know,” had a religion based on an esoteric form of knowledge. Gnostic religions existed well before the time of Christ, but during the first century A.D., they adopted many Christian titles and blended them with their existing religion. They taught that matter was evil and spirit good and that salvation was attained through secret knowledge. It is possible that the Apostles Paul, Peter and John were inspired to write some of their letters in response to the influence of this false teaching and pagan heresy. The Apostle Paul warned about gnosticism. Summarize Colossians 2:18-23 on the lines below. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Just how powerful these false groups were is demonstrated by what the Apostle John wrote in the 90s A.D. “I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not … and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (III John 9-10). Some of these false teachers had become so influential that they put God’s true people out of the Church. Yet they called themselves “Christian” and claimed to be ministers of Jesus Christ. In actuality, they were Gnostics who unobtrusively came into the Church of God, and subtly introduced the elements of Simon’s teachings. At approximately the same time, Jude wrote, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Jude also admonished the Church: “______ ye the words which were _____ before of the _______of our Lord _________ __________; How that they told you there should be _______ in the _______, who should _________ after their _______ ungodly ________”(verses 17-18). Paul wrote in A.D. 52: “Let no man deceive you by any means…. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (II Thessalonians 2:3,7). About a year later, Paul wrote the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Teachers, claiming to be sent from Christ, preached a “gospel.” But it was not the same Gospel Christ brought. It was not the same Gospel Peter, Paul, James, John and Jude taught. It was a false gospel that used Christian names but was not the same message. It blended the Babylonian mystery religion, Gnostic philosophy and Christian-sounding names into a false religion. It gained so much influence that by the 50s A.D., Paul had to warn against it. By the 90s A.D., John and Jude spoke out against it. By the second century A.D., it had more adherents than the true faith had. For more information about the Gospel message that Christ brought, write for our free booklet What Is the True Gospel? “                                                                       -Quote from “Youth Bible Lesson, Level 9, Lesson 9” Published by the Worldwide Church of God  
  “Early writers often referred to Simon as “the father of the Gnostics” and Gnostic writings mention that in order to become “all things to all men” he claimed to be God the Father, in Samaria; God the Son, in Judea; and God the Holy Spirit among the Gentile peoples. Simon, it seemed, really believed in a “holy trinity.”   Perhaps the most damaging and far reaching of Simon’s new “Christian” doctrines was that the grace or free pardon of God gave a person the license to continue in sin.   The epistle of Jude speaks of “certain men” who “crept in unawares” and turned “the grace of our God into lasciviousness …” (Jude 4). Simon had been dead for some time when this was written, but Jude almost certainly had in mind Simon’s followers when he wrote this, who were attempting to introduce this doctrine into the true church.   “At the head of all the sects, which disturbed the peace of the church, stand the Gnostics, who claimed ability to restore to mankind the lost knowledge of the true and supreme God… even in the first century, in various places, men infected with the Gnostic leprosy began to erect societies distinct from the other Christians.”5   William Cave gives further details concerning the progress of this insidious attempt to subvert the true Church:   “The first ringleader of this heretical crew was Simon Magus, who not being able to attain his ends of the apostles, by getting a power to confer miraculous gifts, whereby he designed to greatly and enrich himself, resolved to be revenged of them, scattered the most poisonous tares among the good wheat they had sown, bringing in the most pernicious principles; and as the natural consequence of that patronizing the most debauched villainous practices; and this under a pretense of still being Christians.   “But besides this, Simon and his followers made the gate yet wider, maintaining a universal license to sin; that men were free to do whatever they had a mind to; that to press the observance of good works was a bondage inconsistent with the liberty of the gospel; that so men did but believe in him and his dear Helen.”6   Helen was Simon’s mistress, and it was said that his relationship with her was used by his followers as an example, which they followed in their own grossly immoral lifestyles.   Justin Martyr says of her that “A certain Helen, also, is of this class, who had before been a public prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia, and at that time attached herself to Simon, and was called, the first idea that proceeded from him.”7   The second century writer Iranaeus adds that “they lived in all lust and filthiness, as indeed whoever will take the pains to peruse the account that is given of them, will find that they wallowed in the most horrible and unheard of bestialities.”   These obscene orgies of Simon and his followers soon attracted the attention of the Romans, who rarely took the trouble to distinguish between the true Christians and the false. Tacitus and other writers of the period relate that Christians brought to trial were often accused by the authorities of taking part in secret orgies.   Peter seems to have had this in mind when he wrote that “many will follow their impurities; on account of whom the way of truth will be reviled” (II Pet. 2:2).” -Quote from “Incredible History of God’s True Church                                                                                          by Ivor C. Fletcher(1984 Edition)  
“Fading Back Into Normalcy Under such circumstances something was bound to give. As the early apostles passed from the scene, the visible church began to accommodate itself to many of the Hellenistic philosophies and doctrines then in vogue. Some felt such a maneuver was essential for the future survival of Christianity. According to Arnold Toynbee: “Even Christianity might have found it hard to make headway in the Hellenic world if it had not, like its competitors, presented itself in Hellenic dress” (Hellenism, p. 277). Toynbee went on to say: “The Christian propagandists of the second century sought to commend Christianity to the educated minority of the Hellenic public by presenting it as the crown of all known philosophic systems. And this minority could not be won for Christianity without translating Christian beliefs into Hellenic philosophy’s technical terminology…” (ibid., p. 228). Edwin Hatch, author of The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity, also described this process: “It was impossible for Greeks, educated as they were with an education which penetrated their whole nature, to receive or to retain Christianity in its primitive simplicity” (p. 49). So the process of Hellenization began in earnest. Visible Christianity took on a completely different form as Greek elements flooded into the visible church. James Shiel explains what happened: “On their [the Greek’s] conversion many of them retained current preoccupation with the religious concept of ‘salvation,’ mingled with a host of similar concepts from the Oriental mystery religions. Salvation was to be achieved by perfect knowledge (gnosis). They insisted that there were hidden truths in the Scriptures which only the true Gnostic could discern” (op. cit., p. 51). The heavy influence of Greek philosophical concepts on Christianity was also apparent from the writings of the post-apostolic fathers. Origen, for instance, even urged that Hellenistic philosophy be used as a basic primer for Christianity: “I am therefore very desirous that you should accept such parts even of Greek philosophy as may serve for the ordinary elementary instruction of our schools, and be a kind of preparation for Christianity” (Philocalia of Origen, p. 57). Clement of Alexandria echoed these sentiments: “The philosophy of the Greeks, partial and particular though it is, contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human, which is engaged upon purely intellectual objects, even upon those spiritual objects which eye has not seen…. until they were made plain to us Christians by our Great Teacher…” (Shiel, op. cit., p. 3). Compromise and Defeat Visible Christianity was well on the way to becoming just another version of a modern, updated Oriental mystery religion. Elaborate ceremonies were instituted, an intellectual priestly caste began to assert itself, and esoteric doctrines were kept back from the multitudes. Many of the major tenets of competing pagan religions readily found a safe haven within the walls of a changing Christianity. Pagan divinities were transformed into Christian saints, martyrs and angels. The cult of the Oriental mother goddess was revitalized in the veneration of the Virgin Mary. And pagan temples were often transformed into “Christian” houses of worship. Hellenistic dualism centered around the concept of an immortal soul; and an evil, corrupt material creation loomed large in post-apostolic thinking. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas also drew deeply from these same philosophical wells. Augustine was probably the staunchest advocate of Greek otherworldly concepts since the Stoics. Writing in The City of God, he was quick to eulogize ascetic ideals: “For that vision of God is the beauty of a vision so great and is so infinitely desirable that Plotinus does not hesitate to say that he who enjoys all other blessings in abundance and has not this is supremely miserable” (book X, chapter 16). Aquinas, for instance, took a dim view of earthly pleasure. In his monumental Summa Theologica, he wrote: “The religious state requires the removal of whatever hinders man from devoting himself entirely to God’s service. Now the use of sexual union hinders the mind from giving itself wholly to the service of God” (p. 655). He continued: “First, as regards the practice of perfection, a man is required to remove from himself whatever may hinder his affections from tending wholly to God… Such hindrances are…. First, the attachment to external goods, which is removed by a vow of poverty; secondly, the concupiscence of sensible pleasures, chief among which are sexual pleasures, and these are removed by the vow of continence…” (p. 659).” -Quote from “The White Horse- False Religion”                                                                                         Published by the Worldwide Church of God  
“Eusebius claims they rejected the virgin birth and pre-existence of Christ, and the writings of Paul. But this was not true of all. The next age of God’s True Church-revived in the place where migrating Ebionites disappear – accepted these truths! Their very distinguishing name became Paulician! It was the elaborate theology of Catholicism and Gnosticism which most “Ebionites” rejected! The interminable arguments whether God is one Person or three-whether Jesus Christ was God or man (He was both-God in the Flesh)! And a false version of “Pauline” theology which claims the Law was abolished! (Using Paul’s name to put over false doctrine began early – II Thes. 2:2.) A rigid splinter group, also called Ebionite, was indeed antagonistic to Paul. It was composed of carnal-minded Jews who could plainly perceive Jesus was no ordinary man. But they could never forgive Paul for having put Gentiles on the level of Jews by offering them salvation. Irenaeus (about A. D. 180,in the area of modern France) wrote they used only the Gospel of Matthew. A third group labeled “Ebionites” had accepted some Gnostic doctrines. As the second century ended a considerable number had exchanged the simple creed of Jesus Christ for a strange blend of Christianity and Essenism. Some of these became Elchasaites, so called after their leader, a false prophet led astray by demon visions. About A. D. 220. Alciabides propagated their false doctrine at Rome. Quite possibly this was the real origin of the “pseudo-Clementine” Homilies (composed about 170 A.D.) and Recognitions – (written later, but based on the former) -whose perverted ramblings betray knowledge that Simon Magus, not Simon Peter, founded a church at Rome! All these were carnal-minded sects labeled by the same name in church history as God’s church. In every age the Church has its unconverted “members.” But there were a few faithful, who really constituted the Church. “                                                         -Quote from “Ambassador Bible Correspondence Course (58 Lesson version) Lesson 49”
“That VISIBLE organization calling itself “Christian” and ruling over the nations during the Middle Ages was not God’s Church. It was the church of Satan.   The True Church continued all those years, a tiny “little flock,” unnoticed by the world, almost unknown to later historians. It was composed of the few who were led by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14). Now understand, in this lesson, HOW God’s Church survived the Middle Ages.   1. Does the sure word of prophecy tell us some among — and pretending to be part of — God’s people would depart from the faith and accept doctrines taught by demons? I Tim. 4:1.   COMMENT: This is a prophecy for “the latter times” — not of Paul’s own day when the original apostacy occurred. In era after era of God’s Church, it is a repeated fact that after a few generations the local congregations are no longer generally composed of truly converted brethren, but of unconverted children and halfhearted believers of whom many go astray into error.   Such were those among the Paulicians in the eighth century who began to accept demon-inspired visions they called “the new prophecy.” Some were also in touch with Gnostic sects.   Why were such heretical sects found associated with (and often confused with) God’s people? Because God’s Church can only exist where there is a significant measure of religious freedom, including freedom for all kinds of heresy to exist also. For example, today, God’s Church is mainly in countries where no state religion is in absolute control.   Thus the Paulicians of the Pergamos Era of the True Church, and their Slavic-speaking brethren called Bogomils, included, at a later time, several groups with a medley of doctrine. All these false opinions migrated where religious freedom was allowed. And there, too, God’s Church found freedom to preach. This spirit of religious freedom spread into western Europe, where those who fell away from the truth became known as Cathars.   2. Why does God allow such heresies to tempt the weak of His people? I Cor. 11:19.   3. Do those who teach the doctrines of demons really know better — as a result of their association with God’s faithful? I Tim. 4:2.   4. What are the demon doctrines Paul mentions? I Tim. 4:3.   COMMENT: Cathar “PERFECTS” did not marry though their “HEARERS” did. The result, of course, was rampant fornication (I Cor. 6:18; 7:2). Neither would they eat meat, milk or eggs. In our day OTHER, and false, churches teach these same demon-inspired doctrines. “   -Quote from “Ambassador Bible Correspondence Course                                                                                      (58 Lesson Version) Lesson 51″  
True Christians Forced Out   Although numerous deceivers, called Gnostics, left the Church, drawing away disciples after them, there was an even more dangerous apostasy which infiltrated the true Church.   In instructing the Evangelist Timothy, the apostle to the Gentiles instructed him to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts” — the congregations wanting to do what they please — “shall they heap to themselves teachers” — elect ministers who will preach what they want to hear — “…and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).   This was in the days of the apostles and evangelists. MANY who fellowshipped in the local congregations of the early Church, after about two generations, did not endure sound doctrine because they had not repented and received the Holy Spirit. They elected teachers who, for the sake of money, pleased their wishes by preaching fables — the enticing fables of mysticism and sun-worship that were engulfing the Roman Empire. The letters of Paul were twisted by them to give another meaning than intended (II Peter 3:15-16).   But instead of leaving the local congregations and forming their own sects, as some Gentiles did at first, the false preachers remained within the congregations and soon began to expel the true Christians.   In the letter of the Apostle John to Gaius, we read: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, AND CASTETH THEM OUT OF THE CHURCH” (III John 9 and 10).   The true Christians, who alone comprised the true Church, were being put out of the visible, organized congregations. They were the SCATTERED ones of whom John said: “Therefore the world knoweth us not” (I John 3:1). In the Western Roman Empire, where Paul died, the state of Christianity was even more advanced along the paths of error. The name Christian was being borne away by leaders who crept into the fellowship of the Church of God and who, in the name of Christ, deceived the MANY into following their false teachings. “ -Quote from “WHY SO MANY DENOMINATIONS?                                                                       by Herman Hoeh, Good News Magazine May 1985    
Who Taught Celibacy?  If early Christians were mainly married folk, where did the tradition of “Christian” celibacy come from? Who regarded sex as evil and marriage as merely the lesser of two sex evils? Scholars admit that the Judeo-Christian ethic of the Bible is a “naturalistic” mode of right sexual expression WITHIN MARRIAGE. This contrasts to pagan “dualism,” the belief that an evil body is inhabited by a righteous immortal soul, and that all works of the body (including sex) are to be rejected by the “soul.”  The Gnostics of Greece borrowed this concept of dualism from Egypt. The Gnostics had various conflicting beliefs about marriage, all negative. Some indulged in extramarital sex to the extreme, believing that this made marriage unnecessary. Others abstained from all forms of sex.  The Essenes of Qumram segregated men and women strictly, allowing no physical contact. Some mistakenly believe this sect was the ancestor of modern Christianity. Another philosophical sect of the first century housed men and women in a commune together, but they kept “hands off” to devote themselves totally to philosophy, unencumbered by “baser carnal drives” (Philo of Alexander, On the Contemplative Life).  The church fathers (few of whom were physical fathers!) were noted for their tormented sex lives. The doctrine of celibacy was actually an outcome of their personal repression. Origen (c. 220 A.D.) had severe hang-ups about sex, extreme guilt pangs, and he eventually castrated himself to avoid temptation — or perhaps to avoid fatherhood. Jerome (c. 400) led a monastic life, yet always stayed around women — whom he never touched apparently. He had wildly erotic dreams, the details of which he related to his women, glorying in how he had been “delivered.” Augustine of Hippo (c. 400) lived with a mistress early in life, later had extreme guilt pangs, and eventually heavily influenced church ideas on celibacy. Later doctrinaires, such as Thomas Aquinas, basically repeated these earlier church fathers in matters of sexual morality.  Amazingly enough, many of the Protestant “reformers” continued to teach the dualistic approach to sex and marriage, even though they allowed their ministers and laity to marry. Sexual intercourse was still considered at least partially “evil,” even within marriage.  But Christ and His Apostles NEVER taught celibacy, nor did they denigrate marriage. Enforced celibacy was a “doctrine of demons” to these apostles, and in God’s eyes it remains so. Nevertheless there are sometimes physical, psychological, environmental, and even religious reasons for postponing or refraining from marriage. Jesus referred to “eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” in Matthew 19:12.  Some few have the need AND the ability to abstain from marriage, but Paul added, “It is better to marry than to burn” with desire (I Cor. 7:9). In most cases, however, stubborn, purposeful denial of a pure, clean first marriage of a compatible couple who love each other, solely based on a “religious” belief in celibacy is a doctrine promulgated by a god who cannot marry, a sexless spirit named SATAN the devil.  Again, sex in marriage is NOT a sin. It is the wrong use of sex that is a sin. And to get married is right and good in the sight of God. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). “… And a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19:14).” -Quote from “Is Sex Sin” booklet, published by the Worldwide Church of God  
In such a world is it any wonder that the great minds doubt whether there is any real Higher Power working out His intelligent PURPOSE? Is it any wonder that some dim-brains gave the world a fresh shock with the ridiculous slogan “God is dead!” To state that God is dead is to confess there really was a God—and if God was, God still is—for unless He is the Eternal—the Ever-living—He never was GOD!   In the second and third centuries we had gnosticism—meaning “we know.” Today most educators, scientists and great minds are AGNOSTIC, meaning “we don’t know—we are IGNORANT”! And this IGNORANCE they glorify in the guise of “KNOWLEDGE”!   As a BASIS for knowledge—as a FOUNDATION for education, we start with two alternatives. Right here is the CHOICE between fact and fancy; between true knowledge and ignorance; between TRUTH and error. Is there a Higher Power with design working out intelligent PURPOSE, or are we mere accidents of the blind, unintelligent, purposeless force of nature, descended from a single-celled amoeba sparked to life by “spontaneous generation,” “electrochemical action,” or other unknown accidental process?   The only truly scientific method is to PROVE a proposition before accepting it as scientific FACT. But has either science or education PROVED the evolutionary theory? Emphatically they have not! By its very nature it is a theory not subject to proof. Has either science or education PROVED the nonexistence of a personal Supreme God, of supreme intelligence, wisdom, and POWER to create? Emphatically they have not! WHY, then, do so many great minds who profess knowledge and wisdom doubt or deny God’s existence? Simply because of something inherent in human nature—something of which they are ignorant—a spirit of vanity, coupled with hostility and rebellion against their Maker and His authority!   Is it, after all, rational or intellectual to willfully assume fables, unproved and unprovable, to be fact, while ridiculing provable truth, branding it folklore?   But what of the other two basic ALTERNATIVES as one’s approach to knowledge?   There is a Higher Power! And at Ambassador College this is not carelessly assumed, but definitely, rationally, scientifically PROVED! And there is PURPOSE! Humanity was put here for a PURPOSE of such transcendent magnitude that even the great minds, in their carnality, cannot grasp it! And there is A WAY to peace between individuals, groups and nations, but tragically none of this world’s leaders were taught it! There is A WAY to happiness and abundant well-being, but modern education does not teach it.   So it all boils down to this crucial point: There are the two alternatives as a starting point—a BASIS—a FOUNDATION for knowledge. This world and its education have adopted the fictional, false foundation. And this erroneous foundation is the concept which becomes its approach to knowledge. It got off on a false start. Hence it is axiomatic that this world and its leaders are not being taught the true values, but pursue the false. The world is left without knowledge of life’s PURPOSE and meaning and is devoid of right goals, in utter ignorance of THE WAY to every desired blessing!   What an indictment against a complicated, highly organized, monumental system of education that has become DECADENT!   This gigantic system is ready to topple! It will soon fall, along with the civilization it has spawned! But a better day is soon coming! The happy is soon to dawn! It will be a world of PEACE, of PLENTY, of HAPPINESS. “ -Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, “FOUNDATIONAL POLICY                                            RESTORED TO AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, Plain Truth Magazine                                            (September 1978 Issue)   GOD SPEED THE DAY WHEN IT WILL BE FINALLY SAID: BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN! The first Pope, was Simon Magus, who was a Gnostic! Today, Satan through the Pope redefines a Gnostic and Pelagian to mean God’s people and accuses God’s people of being something they are not! The successor to that man, is Pope Francis. Is it any wonder why the redefinition? And while Satan is accusing God’s true Church(as he always has done), and is stirring up a deceived mankind through RELIGION, those of God’s Church rejoice in its sufferings with Christ, and have FAITH that Christ will fulfill His promises which is written in the Holy Bible. IT IS SURER THAN SURE! We shall see the WORLD TOMORROW!]]>

Is the Church named AFTER "Doctrines"?

“We have just covered the truth that God set officials to serve on the human level under Christ, in the Church. Members do not elect them. Yet in the churches of this world some believe in government by the entire congregation—“democracy”—and call themselves “Congregational.” Others have organized themselves into government by ministers or presbytery and call themselves “Presbyterian.” Some follow Luther and call themselves “Lutheran.” Some follow Wesley, who was strong on “method,” and call themselves “Methodist.” Some learned God’s truth about baptizing and call their church after the name of that one doctrine, “Baptist.” One wanted complete universal world dominion, and called itself “Catholic,” which means “universal.” What is the name of the Church Jesus founded? “
“Notice that Paul did not call the true Church “Catholic” or “Protestant.” Nowhere is the true Church called after the name of a MAN or after the name of a doctrine.”

Michael Venish of the “Vigilant Church of God”, in his video “Our Commission” explaining the name of his church group “The Vigilant Church of God”.
“Oh by the way, “The Vigilant…” , the word “vigilant” means “keeping careful watch”. And that is EXACTLY what Jesus Christ and Herbert Armstrong said we should do!”
Nowhere in God’s Word is the Church named AFTER a doctrine! Yet men name their churches after doctrines. “Vigilant”, “continuing”, “United”, “Philadelphia”, “Restored”, “Living”, etc,etc.
Let’s not be deceived!

Passover Examinations

Passover Examinations

By Herbert W Armstrong

Given March 04,1982 DOWNLOAD AUDIO (Right click, select “Save Link As”)



In just two weeks and three days will come the Passover once again. 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 1Corintians 11, beginning with verse 27: I Corinthians 11:27  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: I Corinthians 11:28  But let a man EXAMINE himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that 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 has 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 realize 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: I Corinthians 11:29-30  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]. (30) 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 really 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 in 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. ALL sickness and disease is the result of sin, and a lot of you don’t realize 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. 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 little small plane, a 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.” 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 traveling 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!” [Audience laughs.] 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 “saved”, 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 baptized 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 baptized member.” Well, if you’re baptized, 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, verses 6 on to 9. Jesus said: Mark 7:6-9  This people honoureth me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (7) Howbeit 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. {1} [Let’s see.] (8) For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold to the tradition of men… (9) And he said unto them, Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. I was thinking of another scripture right along that line.

Notice in Luke 13 now. Luke 13 and verses 3 and 5, Jesus said: Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except you REPENT, you shall all likewise perish. Now, He repeated that for emphasis in verse 5. Luke 13:5  I tell you NAY: but, except you REPENT, you shall all likewise perish. Regardless of how many times you’ve been baptized, if you have not REPENTED, you shall also likewise perish. I was thinking of, and I’d like to turn to that just a moment, it’s in John. Let’s see. In the eight chapter of John, I just happened to turn to it. John 8:30-31  As [Jesus] spake these words, many believed on him. [Now here are people that believed on Christ.] (31)Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And they began to dispute Him right away. They didn’t believe what He said. And so later Jesus said: John 8:43-45 Why do you not understand my speech? [That is, what I’m saying: “My speech.”] Even because ye cannot hear my word. (44)Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will 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. (45) 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. 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: Mark 1:14-15  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the GOSPEL [What gospel? “The gospel…] of the kingdom of God, (15) and saying, The time is fulfilled, and 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: Romans 8:9  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  [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, it 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 11: Romans 8:11  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 bodies 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 notice verse 14: {2} Romans 8:14  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. 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.

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 I Corinthians 2, and beginning verse 9: “Eye has not seen nor ear heard,” that is, “neither 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 unto 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. 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, 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 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, 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 a 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 [system] 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. 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.

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 [that’s] the only way we have any knowledge, even the apostles. If I’m an apostle, I can teach you. But where did 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 marvelous 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. 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. It’s 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 120 people (more than just the original Twelve). There were about ten times that many, a total of 120. 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 his speech, it says in verse 37 of Acts the second chapter: Acts 2:37  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 hearts. Acts 2:37-38  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.] (38) Then Peter said unto them, REPENT [But so many people don’t know what he meant when he said repent. “Repent…] and be baptized [Now, that follows repentance.] every one of you 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 baptized. And being baptized 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 teachings, 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 don’t think that many of us have ever quite understood that yet, and we need to before we take the Passover. I sometimes have to wonder, and 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 a bishop, you see; and 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 finally raised up his hand. “If you please, sir,” he said, “I believe I can explain what you all mean, 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 and 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 in 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 [they] 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, 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. Well, you’d better be sure, brethren, before you take the Passover. 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 baptized because baptism is only the outward ceremony picturing your belief and picturing the fact that you have repented—that the old life is gone, 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 was baptized. And he wasn’t converted! 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: Acts 8:12-13  When they believed Phillip [Now, they believed.] preaching the things of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, 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… 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. Acts 8:13  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 baptized! 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.) Acts 8:13  And when he was baptized, 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. They did not receive the Holy Spirit when they were baptized—UNTIL the apostles came down, and laid their hands on them, and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:20  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.

Acts 8:20-21  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. (21) 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. Acts 8:21-22  You have neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. (22) 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 [Simon Magus]: Acts 8:22  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. He had a wrong motive of heart. He had NOT repented! {3} But he had believed, and he had been baptized.

Well, who are the followers of that Simon today? He went out anyway, and he organized 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, and probably is in yours). Rev.17 verse 5, “And upon HER”—she’s pictured as a great whore, a great mamma whore. Revelation 17:5  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. Revelation 17:5  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.

PETER is often called—because “e” is often pronounced as “a” and it would be pronounced—“PATER”. (Now “mater” 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 [Simon Peter, John 21:15]. His name originally was Simon too—“Simon bar Jonas”, or “the son of Jonas.” {4} Jesus surnamed him. And “surnamed” means gave him a TITLE. And the title is… (Look in the dictionary for surname.) 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 let’s take a case history or two. Let’s 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. Acts 9:1  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: Acts 9:1-2  …went up to the high priest, (2) and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way… Now you see, “this way” is a 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 1 (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. That’s why we coming into His Family [are] 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 realize this?

Now notice: He [Saul, or Paul] wanted letters going up to the city of Damascus, which is today the oldest city in the world still existing. Acts 9:2-6  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.] (3) And as he journeyed [Now he’s 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: (4) And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, Why persecutest thou me? (5) 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. (6) 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, realized 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. Acts 9:6-9  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.] (7) And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. (8) 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. (9) 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—realizing how WRONG you had been, admitting how WRONG you were through and through? Acts 9:10-13  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. (11) 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, (12) 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. (13) Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to the saints at Jerusalem. You know we’ve ALL been doing evil, but have we recognized it? Have we realized 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. Acts 9:14-15  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. (15) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way:  for he is a chosen vessel unto me.” Oh, [Paul] 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.

Acts 9:15-16  …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.] (16) For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s 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. Acts 9:17  And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house.

Let’s 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 realized 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 realized that. And his whole attitude and his intent in life changed. He had been persecuting in dynamic ZEAL! He was. You know some people are just (oh, I don’t know) so 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 realize 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 just 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 besides 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 I, which ended in 1918. 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 & Company, the Moline Plow Works, 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. And it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t bring on that Depression. In 1924, I took a trip that took eighteen days—from Des 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, or some gravel roads when we got farther west. And we had blow out of tires, and everything else, in a Ford. But 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 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 realize 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’ and ‘accept’ 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’ll 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 of 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 want to 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 here I wanted. Well, I had to confess and admit how wrong I had been. 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.  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, or 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. 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’ll 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. I want to show you what David went through. In the 51st Psalm, here was a prayer of David when he woke up and finally realized what had happened. Most people would say, “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 judgment of God’s calling a man like David a man after His 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: Psalm 51:1-3  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according 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.] (2) Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity [MY iniquity], and cleanse me from MY sin. [Now he’s confessing it.] (3) 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. In verse 10 it says: Psalm 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O 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 someone else. And most people think, if other people haven’t found it out, they’re all right just as long as nobody 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. Ephesians 2:2  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, in I John the first chapter: I John 1:3  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! 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: I John 1:9  If we[We Christians. 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: I John 2:1-2  My little children, these things write I unto you [those in the Church], that you sin not. And if any man [That is, a believer.] sin, we have an advocate {5} with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) 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 you 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’ve 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 it’s good to have us CHECK UP once and a while, and to remember that whenever we do make a mistake (maybe it was thoughtlessness, maybe it was deliberate even, but you’ve come to yourself and you come to realize 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 realize 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. Let’s 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; [but] 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 examine… Oh, there’s one more scripture. Well, I still have time. I want to read one more scripture. II 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 a 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. Examine yourselves before the Passover. Now, it says, I read to you, “let a man examine himself,” and then let him take of that Passover. Of course, there it’s speaking of how you take it 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 it seems like duty calls me away. I have to go to Amman, Jordan. And maybe someday you’ll realize 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.

EXCERPT: How one falls away

Excerpt from “Satan, Deceive and Use Me…NEVER!!” by Herbert W Armstrong

One is walking along in a thickly wooded forest on a moonless pitch-dark night. But just ahead of him is an experienced guide with a lighted lantern. If he follows that lighted lantern, he will be led safely out of the woods. But if he turns aside a step or two and hesitates, the light continues on out of his sight. Then he isreally lost. If one turns aside from God’s truth on just one point, or one doctrine, and does not quickly repent, the light of God’s truth moves on. In his self-centered effort to find the light of truth, he now walks blindly in wrong directions. He takes more and more steps in the wrong direction. That is, he proceeds into more and more error, all the while losing more and more of what truth he had. God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is “a lamp unto our feet” to guide us out of the darkness of error and into the daylight brightness of TRUTH. The oil that produces the light in the lamp or lantern, causing it to light up to our understanding, is the Holy Spirit (of Psalms 119:105, Matthew 25:1-13). So comprehend the illustration. We all were lost in the dark woods of sin. On first realization of it, with repentance and belief, we received the first portion of God’s Holy Spirit. The Bible begins to light up. It is as many as are led by the Spirit of God that are the begotten sons of God . (Romans 8:14) The Spirit of God, by lighting up the Bible leads us a step at a time, into more and more truth. And a step at a time out of error and sin. But if and when you reject one point of truth, it is like stepping aside in the dark woods. You are no longer being led bythe Spirit of God opening the Bible to right understanding. The light – the Spirit of God – leaves you. God’s TRUTH marches on! It leaves you behind. You are in darkness again. Lost again in the darkness of sin! You stumble around in the thick dark woods trying to find the lighted lantern. But every step you now take is taking you farther away from the lighted lantern proceeding on the SURE path out of the woods. In other words, if you reject one point of truth, or take one step aside into one point of error – unless you repentimmediately and get back to the light – you will take more and more steps into erroneous beliefs, and one by one give up the points of TRUTH you had seen and accepted. Take the example of some ministers who left God’s Church. Some tried to incorporate new “churches” of their own. But they were not GOD’S churches. These men had all rejected one or more points of truth, or Church doctrine. They almost immediately began to add new points of false doctrine of their own – not of God. Soon they began rejecting points of TRUTH. Perhaps it was tithing. Perhaps healing. Perhaps voting in this world’s governments. Perhaps it was God’s Government in the Church. Soon they were rejecting God’s annual Holy Days and Feasts. Soon they were rejecting more and more of GOD’S TRUTH and turning to more and more FALSE doctrines and errors. THEY, PROFESSING TO FOLLOW CHRIST in their new way, WERE GOING FARTHER and FARTHER AWAY FROM HIM. They were going closer and closer to Satan and Satan‘s WAY. Now HOW DID IT ALL START? It started, in every case, by taking one step in Satan’s direction – compromising – becoming “liberal” – or resenting and rebelling against GOD’S GOVERNMENT in His Church – or letting a spirit of SELF enter in – it could be self- righteousness or self-centeredness in COVETING POWER. More than one has been led into spiritual darkness by coveting POWER in God’s Church. Unfortunately, conferring on leading ministers such rank or titles as “Evangelist,” or “Vice-President,” went to some heads, sparking a coveting of POWER in the Church. It almost seems strange – it was NOT in these men a lust or greed for more money – it was a coveting of POWER – of the TOP SEAT – of AUTHORITY – or of the resentment of authority over them.

Sermon: How Does God View Government Today?

Sermon: How Does God View Government Today?

Speaker: Mr. Dean R. Wilson

Date: Unknown – Possibly 1979

Summary: How Does God view Government Today? How Does He view Government within the Church? Outside the Church? What About Romans 13? What would happen if there is no Government?(Hint: He goes into why Splinter groups and explains plainly the different Church of God groups today) [su_audio url="" width="100%" autoplay="no" loop="no" class=""]



Those who try to excuse and accuse

You’ve probably had someone come to you and remind you that “Herbert W. Armstrong was human. He sinned.” I often found that the spirit that rules those who say that most often is not the Holy Spirit, but rather a foul spirit that wishes to accuse. Notice 1 John 3:7-8 “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning…” When you bring up the importance of what Christ gave to His apostle, God’s wonderful truth and sound doctrine, they often will try to redirect the conversation on how “Herbert W. Armstrong was a fallible human being. He sinned too”. I always found that dumb to say, because of course he was human, and of course he did sin. The re-direction made is not on the Work of God done through Mr. Armstrong but rather that the man of God had sinned. The accusation they are making, however, is against the Holy Spirit.  It’s their defense against why they are no longer walking in what was taught to them. Herbert W. Armstrong, as Christ’s chosen apostle obeyed God’s Commandments, therefore he was given a “good understanding”.(read Ps. 111:10) And like 1 John 1 reveals, the apostles gave the “Words of life” to the Church. That “good understanding” they received from Christ, was passed down. Notice Matt. 10 & Luke 10. They say “ here’s how I see it. Herbert W. Armstrong was wrong in several different things…he isn’t infallible.” They are speaking against the Holy Spirit, accusing that what came through God’s apostle isn’t sound! They want to prove to you, how you can’t trust what he taught. That comes from Satan the Devil. They want to call Christ a liar! So they accuse His apostle of being a liar! And they regulate the importance of the “words of life” that Mr.Armstrong taught the Church from Jesus Christ, down to a “maybe”. WHAT BLASPHEMY! Then they can get you to join them and their rebellion against God, if they can convince you of that! That’s Satan’s plan. The apostle John, in 1 John, was writing concerning deceivers! ” These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.”(1 John 2:26) 1 John 1:1 “concerning the Word of life” ” that which we[the apostles] have seen and heard we declare to you[the Church], that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”(verse 3) So if we reject what Christ gave through His apostle, we are cutting fellowship off from the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ! IT’S THAT IMPORTANT! 1 John 2:24-26 “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning[from the apostle of Christ]. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. ” or try to pull you away into DISBELIEF of what Christ gave through His apostle! So put those who come to you with this deception, who no longer are LOYAL to Christ and His apostle, who no longer walk in light but in darkness, OUT and view them as God views them. They are not led by the Holy Spirit, and are led by Satan and his demons, trying to DECEIVE YOU. Herbert W. Armstrong was a keeper of God’s commandments. He obeyed God. He had the Holy Spirit of God.He had a “good understanding”. And what he taught came from Jesus Christ, and we are admonished by Christ through his written word, to HOLD FAST to what we have been taught by Christ’s chosen apostle,and “abide in it”. Christ tells us what was taught came from Him, and that they are “the words of life”. And if we hold fast, and abide in what was taught, we will have eternal life promised to us! Those who do not abide in the doctrine given by Christ through His apostle is apostate and as it is written in 2 John, we are not to allow them into our homes, nor should we fellowship with such people. It’s that serious.]]>