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The REAL HISTORY of the TRUE CHURCH

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The REAL HISTORY of the TRUE CHURCH  

Few indeed know the Bible reveals a great false church, deceiving millions, and a true Church of God, persecuted, yet enduring. Few know the real PURPOSE of the Church, who built it and why. Now we are warned of a forthcoming effort to deceive even this generation concerning who really built the present era of the true Church. Here is the plain truth.  

by Herbert W. Armstrong [The Plain Truth Magazine, April 1982]

FIRST of all, let the true FACT be stated that Jesus Christ built the true Church of God. It was founded by the resurrected living Christ, after his ascension to heaven. He has remained permanently the HEAD of it. The questions, then, are WHY was it built-what is its PURPOSE- by whom did Christ build it-and through whom has he built up the present era of the Church? What is the Church? WHY does it exist? What is its PURPOSE? People in the Western world take the church as an institution for granted-they know not why! A large segment of millions flock to services Sunday mornings. But WHY the Church? But WHY? Just what is the Church? Is it a building with a sharply sloping roof, with a steeple atop pointing heavenward, a cross on its facade? Do the members go to the church? Or does the local church assemble in a building or place? Winston Churchill said before the United States Congress during World War II, “There is a PURPOSE being worked out here below.” Does the Church have anything to do with that PURPOSE? To understand what the world does not understand, we need to consider the world into which Jesus came when he said, “I will build my church.” He came into the same world in which you and I live today. It’s the same world, though it has undergone significant changes in two directions. Its technology, its materialistic science and production have awesomely increased, while conversely the complexity of its social, regulatory, governmental, judiciary and educational systems has tremendously expanded. It has produced appalling evils, unsolvable problems, human discontent, unhappiness and suffering. But all that is merely the expansion of human systems already functioning. We cannot therefore understand the PURPOSE of the Church until we first understand the origin of civilization-the world into which Jesus came to build his Church. For indeed the Church is the Master Plan of the Eternal GOD for working out his PURPOSE here below. What was wrong that needed such a PURPOSE to be worked out? Not God’s Civilization This world has been blinded from the truth about its very civilization and how it started. Many people assume this is GOD’S civilization. Actually it all started in the dim recesses of prehistory. A super archangel, the cherub Lucifer (Isa. 14:12-15), invisible but immortal and extremely intelligent, was very high in rank in the government of the universe. He was one of two majestic cherubs whose wings overspread the very throne of the supreme Creator God in heaven (Ezek. 28:14-15). At the creation of the earth, Lucifer was set on earth’s throne to administer the government of God, in which he was adequately trained and experienced. Lucifer reigned over angels whose abode was then the newly created earth. But, while still on the inside of God’s universe-government, perfect in all his ways from his creation, Lucifer allowed vanity to corrupt him into covetousness, envy and rebellion. A spirit of competition entered him. He attempted to take over the government of the entire universe. He and his invading army of angels (II Pet. 2:4) swooped up to heaven in violent conquest to overthrow the Creator God from his throne over the universe. But they were cast back down to earth. Lucifer became Satan the devil, still on the throne of the earth, but no longer administering God’s government. His angels became demons. This angelic rebellion brought confusion, decay and darkness to the earth (Gen. 1:2). Then God (Ps. 104:30) in six days renewed the face of the earth (Gen. 1:3-25) for MAN (verse 26), created in God’s own image, after the God-kind-with God’s grand PURPOSE to be worked out here below of reproducing himself through MAN! That supreme PURPOSE provides that man shall be born, finally, into the very GOD Family! Yet the world seems never to have grasped that PURPOSE, or the incredible human potential! Man was created with human spirit (Job 32:8, I Cor. 2:11, Rom. 8:16), which imparts the power of intellect to the human brain. Except for this, human brain is like animal brain. Man was created with power of mind, in the form and shape of God, yet, even as dumb vertebrates, of matter from the ground with only temporary existence. Man, since rebellion entered his world, has been blinded as to what, and why he is-except for those to whom God has revealed this truth. Civilization Is Founded God is composed of Spirit. God is immortal, possessing life inherent-self-containing life. Man’s life is animal life-temporary physiochemical existence. But immortal, self-containing life was freely offered the first created man! That man was named Adam. But he was first made incomplete in two ways: he was of one gender only and to reproduce he needed another gender with him, so God made for him a wife, named Eve. Also his mind was incomplete, with the one human spirit. This gave him capability to acquire material knowledge-to deal with things. But God’s ultimate PURPOSE for him required a close relationship with his Maker, God, and also a workable, peaceful and happy relationship with fellowman. His mind therefore was incomplete as first created. For completion, another Spirit was needed-the Holy Spirit of God. All this wonderful truth seems to have been missing from humanly taught knowledge. It is revealed in the incident of the forbidden fruit, explained in the second and third chapters of Genesis. WHY has this been ignored-misunderstood- misrepresented? The entire founding of man’s civilization has lain hidden in this incident of the forbidden fruit. What if-yes, what if Adam had eaten of the tree of LIFE? The theologians and religionists seem never to have asked-or answered-that question. Before the first created man and woman were two symbolic trees. One was the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.” This tree produced the forbidden fruit. That tree (Adam did not eat an apple) represented knowledge. To take to himself this knowledge production (of good and evil-of right or wrong)-would result in death. The other tree was the tree of LIFE-immortal, inherent life. But it, too, represented KNOWLEDGE. How do we know? Because immortal LIFE is today offered to the called Christian. And how does he obtain it? Not all at once, instantaneously, but by first receiving the very Spirit Adam lacked-the Holy Spirit of God. When one receives the GIFT of God’s Holy Spirit, he becomes merely a begotten child of God. And the Spirit of God opens the mind to UNDERSTAND the spiritual Word of God-the Bible! Man needed spiritual knowledge for fellowship with his Maker, as well as for contact with fellowman. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of a sound mind-the Spirit by which the mind is enabled to comprehend-to UNDERSTAND-spiritual knowledge as revealed through God’s Word (I Cor. 2:9-14). Placed before the first created man, father of the human family, were two very special trees in the garden of Eden, symbolic of tremendous meaning. The man was required to make a choice. One symbolic tree represented LIFE – self-containing life inherent-immortality. The other, DEATH! The tree of LIFE symbolized the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, the begettal of eternal LIFE. The forbidden tree was called the tree of “the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.” When Adam disobeyed God and ate the fruit from that tree, he TOOK TO HIMSELF “the knowledge of good and evil”-that is, potential SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE! Understand at this point. God had created man with a mind capable of acquiring and utilizing material knowledge-the knowledge to work with matter-with things! This knowledge he could acquire on his own. But he had not been created with a mind that could discern, by itself, right from wrong-that is, SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE! The one human spirit created in man-and born in all humans since-can acquire physical, material knowledge. But it is unable of itself to discern spiritual knowledge. And spiritual knowledge can be imparted to the mind ONLY BY GOD! Adam, in taking to himself the “knowledge of good and evil”- that is, potential SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE-limited himself to material knowledge only. WHY? Because the one human spirit in man is not the faculty that sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels. The physical brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, smells through the nose. And human man is LIMITED IN KNOWLEDGE to that which may enter his brain through these five physical senses! Adam, father and progenitor of the human family, had chosen self-produced humanly acquired knowledge and death. He lived 930 years and he died. All his children subsequently died after a temporary physiochemical existence! And so, at that time, “the foundation of the world,” Christ, the Lamb of God was slain (Rev. 13:8). That is, it was set by God at the foundation of the world that in due time Christ should come and die to pay the penalty for human sin. It was also decreed that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). It was then that God shut up the “tree of LIFE”-that is, the Holy Spirit, from mankind until after Jesus Christ, the second Adam, had come and paid the penalty of human sin in man’s stead. How Civilization Was Built God did not shut himself off from man, however. God even appeared to or communicated with Cain, Adam’s first son and the first murderer. God called out the Hebrew slaves from Egypt and communicated with them en masse at Mt. Sinai. He gave them his spiritual law-but, not having the Holy Spirit they neither comprehended it nor obeyed it. Lacking the Holy Spirit of God, they neither understood spiritual truths nor obeyed them. However, God did make one necessary exception, for the ultimate foundation of his Church! He did reveal truths to his prophets, for the writing of the Holy Scriptures, the very written Word of God! Much of the Church of God is based on the writings of the prophets, and they, with the apostles, became the foundation of the Church, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). Now consider the building of this world’s civilization, and the world into which Christ came to build his Church. With the Holy Spirit shut off from man, the human family started building its own world, influenced and swayed and deceived by Satan. ALL have been deceived by Satan (Rev. 12:9). Perhaps man did not realize it. Satan is a spirit being, invisible to humans. Without the spiritual perception of God’s Spirit, man does not recognize spirit beings or truths as existent. Yet Satan has been the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) working in and deceiving humans in a manner not realized. Ideas are transmitted through the air by radio and television waves and ultimately appear in the form of audible words and visible pictures. Does it, then, seem strange or impossible that Satan has transmitted attitudes, impressions, motives and impulses inaudibly and invisibly into human minds whose human spirits are tuned automatically to Satan’s wavelength? It is thus that even infants under one year old, when the teaching of whom is neglected by human parents, are being instilled subconsciously, by satanic broadcast, with selfishness and resentment of authority. Satan doesn’t neglect them. So, as man began to expand in numbers on the earth, taking to himself the knowledge of relationships with others, man, swayed by Satan, began building his own system of society. He built his own concepts of human GOVERNMENTS, utterly contrary to the government of God. Through human-devised and Satan-swayed GOVERNMENT, humans began regulating human lives. Humans began and developed a system of EDUCATION by which an adult generation seeks to brainwash, instill, inject into the minds of coming generations their concepts, ideas, opinions and supposed knowledge. Humans developed their own system of economics, business, industry, commerce. They developed their own systems of RELIGION, created their own concepts of God-and to this day not one organized religion except God’s true Church knows WHO and WHAT God really is! Humans developed their own social customs and systems. Thus CIVILIZATION was produced actually by Satan, using humans as his pawns! God’s way of life is based on LOVE-outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others, and love above all toward God who IS LOVE! The world’s civilization was built on the contrary way of GET- of vanity, covetousness, envy, jealousy, competition, strife, violence, rebellion against authority. And that is the world into which Jesus Christ was born. Remember God’s ultimate PURPOSE is to reproduce himself in and through MAN-to create in MAN God’s own holy, righteous spiritual and perfect CHARACTER! But all mankind had gone astray. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way …” (Isa. 53:6)-contrary to the way of God’s CHARACTER. How, then, get humanity back? HOW carry out the divine PURPOSE? The Purpose of the Church How could God have offered salvation to the children of Adam and Eve? Satan had broadcast and inoculated their minds during infancy with the attitude of SELF-centered-ness. Before they were old enough for conversion (as Christians know it), they had already sinned, and incurred the DEATH penalty. None could be reconciled to God and receive his Holy Spirit until their death penalty had been paid for them! Therefore it was prearranged for the Word, who also was God, to be born of a human woman, to become Emmanuel (God with us), God in human flesh-both man and God. He, tempted in all points like the rest of us, never sinned. Though he did not incur the death penalty, he paid it-for YOU and for me-for all humanity! So, in God’s Master Plan for working out his PURPOSE, “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22) by a resurrection. Judgment was not yet passed on the deceived in Satan’s world. But it was appointed for men once to die, and after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). All who ever died shall be made alive by resurrection (I Cor. 15:22-24; Heb. 9:27). But HOW was Jesus Christ to become SAVIOR-to save all lost humanity? Just dying for us was not enough. God’s CHARACTER had to be built into us. God performed an act of creation in Adam. That was a PHYSICAL creation! It began with the first Adam. But the SPIRITUAL creation began with Jesus Christ. The true Christian will “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We become a NEW CREATION. So God’s spiritual creation is still in progress! Now WHY the Church? What is its PURPOSE? It is God’s means of working out his PURPOSE here below-his overall PURPOSE! That NEW CREATION – that SPIRITUAL CREATION-started with the Church of God! How the Church Was Started Notice now how Jesus started the Church. First, after being baptized himself-after being tempted in the supreme temptation by Satan, and overcoming Satan-Jesus started by CHOOSING 12 disciples. A disciple is a learner-a student being taught. Jesus was the teacher. Even these disciples were still carnal. Yet he said that when they received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit would bring to remembrance all that he had taught them-and then, with the Holy Spirit, they would UNDERSTAND! These disciples were not the Church. They and the prophets preceded and became the foundation of the Church. Jesus used these 12, taught in advance, to form the foundation and to teach and rule the Church. The disciples were not volunteers. They were chosen. Those in the Church are ALSO CHOSEN! Jesus said emphatically, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him …” (John 6:44). In the same way, God has chosen the CHURCH to become disciples- students-learners-starting not only a new Spirit-led life and way of living in themselves, but also to “grow in grace, and in the KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18). The repentant, believing Spirit-led Christian must BE TAUGHT SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE. He is being converted-that is, changed! From carnal to spiritualmindedness. From this world’s way of living to GOD’S WAY OF LIFE! As the disciples were a foundation for the Church, so the Church is a foundation for the KINGDOM OF GOD, to be reestablished on earth at Christ’s return in POWER and GLORY. He will reestablish the GOVERNMENT of God through the FAMILY OF GOD, then to become the KINGDOM OF GOD. The Church was assigned a dual commission: 1) to carry Christ’s Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD to the world for a witness (NOT to convert the world at this time); and 2) to “feed the flock”-instruct the Church as the members GROW in spiritual knowledge and character. At Christ’s glorified return to earth, the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and the living in Christ instantaneously changed from mortal, to immortal, and all shall rise to meet the returning Christ in the air and to reign and rule with him in the KINGDOM OF GOD! Satan shall then be removed for a thousand years. The Church will then BE the KINGDOM or FAMILY OF GOD. We shall be kings AND PRIESTS, reigning ON THE EARTH (Rev. 5:10). But, looking into our time today, what about the Church TODAY? By whom and THROUGH whom did Christ build up the present era? That modern history will be covered in a succeeding number.]]>

The Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a "charitable trust." It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH!

July 28, 1980 Dear Co-Workers and Brethren in Christ: Last night on TV Channel 4, Los Angeles, during the evening news, the newscaster held up, so the viewing audience could read the large-type headlines, my full-page ad. These full-page ads are appearing weekly in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other metropolitan newspapers over the United States. The newscaster, Jess Marlow of NBC, was interviewing the attorney general of California. The advertisement headline was addressed: “MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA.” Mr. Marlow asked the attorney general (as reported to me by telephone) WHY he had picked on the Worldwide Church of God in the state’s massive lawsuit to gain control, ownership and operation of all churches in California. The attorney general gave his stock answer to this question: his contention that “all charitable trusts ought to be supervised to protect the public.” There is no one else, he contends, to protect the public on how the public’s money is being handled. Therefore he says it is the duty of the attorney general to manage and supervise the expenditures of all funds of public charitable trusts. Mr. Marlow then asked if the attorney general thought expenditures for this advertising in the nation’s leading mass- circulation newspapers was mishandling public funds. The attorney general, I was told by telephone, was then a little confused and had no direct reply. I reply, first of all, the Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a “charitable trust.” It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH! Second, we do not handle the PUBLIC’S money! We never do — NEVER DID — solicit the public for money. We do not solicit or receive the public’s money. Therefore we are not responsible TO the public. We ask nothing from the public. We receive nothing from the public. We do not have, receive or handle and expend the PUBLIC money. Therefore we owe NOTHING to the public except love, and upstanding law-abiding individual citizenship and good neighborliness! WHAT IS a CHARITY — in the public sense? Webster’s dictionary defines it: “Charity: an institution engaged in relief of the poor; public provision for the relief of the needy.” WHAT IS a CHURCH? Jesus Christ said, “I will build my Church.” The CHURCH was built by JESUS CHRIST — not by the public! The first place the word “church” appears in the Bible is quoted above from Matthew 16:18. In Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the church daily.” It is that Body of believers to which THE LORD adds members! The Church is the spiritual organism (NOT a secular or political or public ORGANIZATION). The CHURCH is subject to Christ — not to the political attorney general of California! WHO is the HEAD of the Church? Your Bible says CHRIST is the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23) — not the California attorney general. The Church is SUBJECT UNTO CHRIST (Eph. 5:24) — NOT to the California attorney general! Jesus Christ built His CHURCH on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20). What is the function, PURPOSE, great commission of the Church? Jesus said, “Go ye into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). The CHURCH is NOT a public CHARITY or a “CHARITABLE TRUST.” The California attorney general — in a political and elective office by vote of the people of ONE STATE ONLY — contends he ought to own, possess, direct, manage the CHURCH — ALL CHURCHES IN CALIFORNIA — supervise their expenditures of money. Now suppose the California attorney general had been managing this Church and its Work from the foundation of the present era of it — now called the Worldwide Church of God. What would have happened? It started in Eugene and Lane County, Oregon. It started with 19 members — mostly new converts from a six-weeks’ six-nights-a- week series of services I held in a 36-seat one-room country schoolhouse 8 miles outside Eugene. But, had the California attorney general been managing and directing it and all financial expenditures, he would have delegated just as he tried to do on January 3, 1979 — the actual management and expenditure of funds to the Honorable ex-Judge Steven Wiseman — appointed receiver of the Worldwide Church of God. Immediately — January 7, 1934 — Jesus Christ opened the door of radio for me to start going into all the world proclaiming Christ’s Gospel ON RADIO. The cost was then $2.50 per weekly broadcast. But Judge Wiseman would have had to decide whether to spend that $2.50 per week. Now actually we in that fledgling church did not have the $2.50 per week to allocate. The very little membership in 1934, at the very depth of the century’s worst depression, was able to pledge only $1.35 per week for the broadcast. The other $1.15 per week had to be allocated ON SHEER FAITH. And it was contrary to our Church policy to REQUEST FUNDS ON THE AIR or in any way to solicit the public for that $1.15 per week! Now the Honorable Judge Wiseman was reared in the Jewish faith, certainly not to his discredit. However, those reared in Judaism KNOW NOTHING OF PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. That religion, respected though it is, has never accepted Jesus Christ nor His Gospel message! Would, then, the living Jesus Christ, the HEAD of this new fledgling rebirth of God’s Church, have entrusted decisions and management of His great commission to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and proclaim that Gospel to a man who by life-long religious training does not BELIEVE in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Work grew. By traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, I was able, almost 10 years later, to buy time on 50,000-watt Radio WHO. Would the attorney general’s receiver, Judge Wiseman, have approved and allowed that expenditure? We received requests for free literature from ALL 48 states of the continental United States from that station. The Work grew. In due time we were purchasing more wattage of radio time than any program on earth. Would that expenditure have been approved? Meanwhile, the income for this rapidly growing worldwide Work obeying Jesus Christ’s commission was increasing as its needed expenditures mounted. WHERE DID THAT MONEY COME FROM? We never solicited the public. We never charged for anything. We GAVE one of the world’s finest mass-circulation magazines (published in five languages), with NO SUBSCRIPTION PRICE — and we sold NO ADVERTISING! The Work growing WORLDWIDE was all GIVE! God did, as in the first century, continually “add to the Church such as should be saved.” And, as the Bible commands, these members paid their first tithe (10% of income) to GOD through His Church. That money is GOD’S money — not public money. In addition, a small percentage of listeners to the broadcast and subscribers to the “no-subscription-price” PLAIN TRUTH began — unsolicited — sending regularly tithes or freewill offerings. But these STARTED CONTRIBUTING VOLUNTARILY of their own free will! It was GOD’S MONEY — not public money. God had built this great worldwide Work through me as His chosen Apostle. I OBEYED HIS COMMAND TO GO INTO ALL THE WORLD WITH HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE. It was HIS money that came — without solicitation or charging — and I was accountable to HIM, not the California attorney general for the way HE directed it to be handled. We have through the years made continual reports to the Church of the operations of its Work, the expenditures of God’s money and direction of God’s Work. We have made full and regular reports, submitted to regular audit and examination and scrutiny of receipt and disbursement of funds of GOD’S MONEY to the Internal Revenue Service of the federal government, and to the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California, who usually have accepted the IRS audits as official. I just felt that our co-workers, members and occasional voluntary donors would be interested in this explanation of the financial operations of this large world-encompassing Work of GOD. All finances are handled by one of the finest, most advanced systems of accounting anywhere in the world. In addition to our own auditors and the federal IRS, we employ one of the largest and most reputable firms of certified public accountants in the nation, Arthur Andersen & Co., who regularly audit our books. It’s time the PEOPLE know the TRUTH about this political attack against the CHURCH in violation of the Constitution of the U.S.A. It’s true, we have to ASK GOD, in prayer, as Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” There is ALWAYS a NEED in this great Work of the GREAT GOD! But He does not supply tomorrow’s need — nor next year’s need — today. I know you will join me in prayer that GOD will supply current needs as He has done these past 53 years. For Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” He never has! With grateful love, in Jesus’ name, Herbert W. Armstrong]]>

The Unknown God

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“THE UNKNOWN GOD”  

The ignorant Greeks labeled the Creator: “The Unknown God” (Acts 17:23). They forgot WHO He is — because they had lost the meaning of His name! That name is important — what is it? What does it mean? Continue reading…

What Is Your Idol?

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WHAT IS YOUR IDOL?

Personal by Herbert W. Armstrong [Good News Magazine, August 1981]

  A UNITED STATES senator preached a sermon in a Methodist pulpit in Los Angeles, Calif. Of all things, imagine a well-known senator saying that patriotism is a false god to many people! And he was right. “Love of country can transcend the love of God,” he said, “and we must, in time of stress, avoid making patriotism a religion.” He said a number of other things I could have said, myself. Among the idols professing Christians worship, he cited prosperity, science, patriotism, peace – and some people actually make an idol of the Bible, strange as that may sound. Some, he said, worship the Bible for itself, NOT as containing TRUTHS necessary for salvation, and, I add, as a GUIDE to a WAY OF LIFE. What is your idol? What are you really dedicated to? Is it earning a living – making money? What absorbs your mind, your thoughts, your time – what are you really devoted to? Is it God – above all else? Or is it your hobby, your wife or husband, your children, your home, your sports – or amusements and entertainments? What do you keep your MIND on most of the time? What most occupies your INTEREST? Is it friends – society? Is it PEOPLE – Or is it THINGS? It surely couldn’t be GOD, could it? Probably not. And, if not, then it is an IDOL. You are breaking the First Commandment. You have this other god before Him. Just WHAT IS RELIGION? Is it merely an incidental interest, secondary to many other things, such as earning a living, your home, your family, your friends, hobbies, sports, entertainments? Possibly secondary to television or movies? Religion is your CONNECTION WITH GOD – your relationship with Him. Religion is realizing the PURPOSE of your life – the reason why God had you to be born – the reason you draw the breath of air and exist – the PURPOSE or end GOAL of your life, and HOW to live that life so as to arrive there. I have written of the seven laws of SUCCESS. You may have the free booklet on The Seven Laws of Success by writing our office nearest you. They are really the seven laws of LIFE. They are the seven laws of RELIGION. Yet most people do not know or practice or apply a single one of them. The first is to have the RIGHT GOAL. That GOAL – God’s PURPOSE for having put the breath of life in you – is that you be born of GOD, to share with Him the GLORY of creation, to inherit His divine NATURE, to be LIKE HIM – to do what He does, to accomplish what He accomplishes, enjoy what He ENJOYS – peace, happiness, joy, resplendent GLORY in LIFE EVERLASTING. No other goal could be as great. It is superlative. But what are you,now? Just a mass of matter, put together like a machine. Your present existence has to be constantly SUSTAINED. You have to keep drawing a breath of air into your lungs about every four or five seconds. You have to eat food on the average of at least three times every day. You have to take care of eliminating the impurities from food, and of bathing and cleansing your body. Maybe you don’t really have to “brush your teeth after every meal” as a certain toothpaste TV commercial keeps repeating like a phonograph record that got stuck. But you do have to maintain and sustain your physical anatomy to keep on existing – and even then you are aging and degenerating every day and every year – and the most certain thing in this existence we call “life” is that this machine process is going to run down – You ARE GOING TO DIE. Actually, we have to simply keep pumping life into ourselves constantly – daily – to continue existing – to continue consciousness. Yet most people keep on, day after day, year after year, pumping that existence into themselves, with NO MORE PURPOSE than to try to be comfortable, free from pain, and to be pleasing the five senses – with their minds on the passing physical and material things of the moment – things that are not lasting, and are soon gone. Unless God’s own CHARACTER is being formed and developed in your mind and your life, replacing the carnality that is there now, you shall have missed your GOAL. God’s PURPOSE is to CREATE within you, during this life, a new and perfect CHARACTER, so that you may be given eternal life – self-containing, inherent life. If you are converted – that is, if you do once establish actual contact with God – He supernaturally puts within you His HOLY SPIRIT. This impregnates you with HIS LIFE – begets you as His child, actually yet unborn. Actually, what many professing Christians call “being born again” should be termed “being begotten.” Technically, to be “born of God” means to be changed in composition from flesh and blood matter to SPIRIT – no longer mortal, no longer human. But it does put within you a NEW NATURE, entirely opposite to HUMAN NATURE with which you were first born. You are, as Scripture says, given “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE”(II Pet. 1:4). Of course the old human nature remains, and your mind makes the continual decisions whether to yield to the downward pull and appetites and established habits of human nature, or to resist it by yielding to the new divine nature – to BE LED BY GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT. This, then, BECOMES your very life! You can only succeed if your GOAL is kept constantly – continually – before your eyes. When you drive a car, if you take your eyes and attention off what is in front of you (and sometimes coming from the side or behind) even for two or three seconds, you may find yourself “coming to” in a hospital, dying and saying “It all happened so suddenly!” Driving carefully means BEING ALERT – being DILIGENT every second – KEEPING YOUR EYE and your mind and attention on the matter of DRIVING – not on conversation or other things. In the same manner, if you let other interests, material pursuits, steal first place in your mind and heart and interest, even for a few days, you are in danger of a SPIRITUAL SMASHUP that will let you wake up being plunged into the LAKE OF FIRE, which will mean eternal DEATH. That’s why God doesn’t want you to have these other gods BEFORE Him. For your own sake – in your own interest – you must keep Him enthroned and enshrined constantly ABOVE ALL. You must study His WORD in order to be instructed by Him. Instructed in what? Instructed in true KNOWLEDGE – knowledge of God’s PURPOSE for you – knowledge of and about God – and knowledge of HOW TO LIVE. Jesus Christ said you must actually LIVE BY the words of the Bible. It is your GUIDE TO LIVING – your INSTRUCTION BOOK the Maker sent along to instruct you HOW to OPERATE this mechanism that is YOU. More, you must study His Word – your BIBLE – to find what you now believe that is wrong, and what you are now DOING that is wrong – to be CORRECTED and reproved by it. You must study it to let it INSTRUCT you in the ways of God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS – His WAY OF LIFE. And then you must devote yourself to LIVING IT! Still, without regular and constant PRAYER, you cannot maintain CONTACT with God. And when that contact is broken, you are CUT OFF from Him – and His spiritual LIFE, LOVE and very NATURE ceases flowing into you. For, understand, these divine attributes of His Spirit DO FLOW! They are IN MOTION. They do not stagnate. You either GROW spiritually – in knowledge – in grace – in God’s character – or you deteriorate back toward becoming a mere physical animal, to die in ETERNAL PUNISHMENT in the lake of fire! But if God, and the things of God – His revealed knowledge – His law – His love – His WAY for you to live – are constantly foremost in your mind, your thoughts, your interest, then you are PRAYING ALWAYS – that is, in a constant SPIRIT OF PRAYER – a constant MENTAL ATTITUDE of prayer. The contact with God must be perpetual! This kind of Christian life – the only kind that truly is Christian – requires, as the Bible emphasizes repeatedly, zealous DILIGENCE. YOU must CONCENTRATE on it. You must be DEDICATED to it. It requires utter CONSECRATION. It requires total EARNESTNESS. Yes, it requires the application of the other six laws of SUCCESS – education, in which the Bible is the main textbook; good physical health; DRIVE, or concentrated DILIGENCE and EFFORT; resourcefulness; sticking to it – enduring; and continual contact with, and the guidance, help and power of, GOD. True spiritual mindedness is not a sticky sentimentalism. It is NOT a certain emotional mood. It is not the use of a certain religious phraseology, saying constantly, “Praise the Lord,” or, “Glory, hallelujah.” I have known many people whose TALK is so very “spiritual” – but whose hearts were as far from God as the prophet Isaiah described (Isa. 29:13). Jesus Christ was a perfectly SPIRITUAL man. But He did not go about using such mushy language. He was not a girlish, effeminate, sentimental or emotional weakling. He was a strong, virile, masterful, yet kind and gentle, MAN. He possessed LEADERSHIP, STRENGTH, PURPOSE, SUPREME STRONG WILL – and yet these masculine qualities of strength and power were perfectly blended with wisdom, judgment, knowledge, understanding, justice and also patience, compassion and mercy. He was filled with PEACE, LOVE, FAITH. And His WILL, strong as it was, was totally yielded and obedient to GOD. All this was the character of GOD. He is our PATTERN. We must imitate Him – copy Him. Look at the men of God in the Old Testament – Abraham, Noah, Joseph, David, Daniel, Elijah. They were all different from Christ in one respect – in which you and I must also be different – they had human weaknesses, and all did sin, yet these men all repented and strove to overcome. But they were all men of strong PURPOSE, strong WILL guided by God; all possessed leadership, but also love and faith and a consecrated OBEDIENCE to the will of GOD. But they were not effeminate, sentimental men indulging in an affected, put-on, religious-sounding way of talking. Look at the apostles Peter and Paul. They were the same. You don’t find any of this pseudo “spirituality” in them – yet they were truly SPIRITUAL men, devoted to obeying God and serving the needs of the people. But one thing to watch and guard against every second, in the way of attitude, is resentment, bitterness, hatred. Don’t let ANYTHING, no matter how unjust, make you sour and bitter. That is the deadliest mental and spiritual POISON. We must LOVE even our enemies who perpetrate the greatest outrages – though we do not condone their evils. If you ever think I’M wrong about anything, don’t get sour or bitter about it – let God correct and punish me – vengeance is His, you know. Resentment against me won’t either punish me or benefit you, but it could consign you to eternal punishment! Whether you believe it or not, I have come, by years of experience learning the HARD WAY, to have supreme faith that God will never neglect to correct or punish me wherever I deserve it! You may TRUST Him to do it! Remember what a GLORIOUS GOAL we have before us! How GRATEFUL we ought to be! How our hearts ought to be FLOODED with love and gratitude to the great God for His matchless LOVE toward us. I’m sure we don’t grasp what a supreme price He paid to make it possible. He wants us to be CHANGED – to overcome and root out this debasing, rotten carnality we all have in us – and to GROW into His righteousness, that we may SHARE His GLORY. And, you know, I believe God wants and longs to share the supreme GLORY that He has with you! Make it your supreme overall life VOCATION, and WORK HARD AT IT! The Japanese spy who stealthily and secretly obtained all the information the Japanese needed to bomb Pearl Harbor said that he was not a very brilliant man, and learning came hard to him, BUT HE WORKED HARD AT IT, relentlessly, with zeal, and with purpose, and with diligence. He SUCCEEDED – in terrible DESTRUCTION – in plunging the United States into World War II – and, finally, in the ignominious defeat of his own nation. Let us work hard at our calling and mission of being real Christians. We shall succeed, with God’s help – in final and eternal GLORY!]]>

Are You Worthy To Take The Passover?

Are You Worthy to Take the Passover?

What does the Passover mean to you? Do you really know why Jesus had to suffer and die — and what is required of us?

 

By Allen L. Stout 

The Good News Magazine, March 1984 

  Paul wrote to Christians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (I Cor. 11:26-27). Paul was writing about the Passover, the annual memorial of the death of Jesus Christ, which God commands His people to observe. How few professing Christians understand! If you have not been aware of God’s annual festivals, write immediately for our free booklet Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which? Many have not fully comprehended the significance of Paul’s warning. Some, feeling they were not worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice, have not taken the Passover. Others have taken the Passover in a casual or ritualistic manner. It’s time we all understand! The Passover is the first of the Christian festivals commanded by God (Lev. 23:5). It is not to be taken lightly.   Purpose of the Passover   The Passover originally represented the turning point in the separation of Israel, God’s chosen people, from Egypt, which symbolized sin. The blood of the Passover lamb, sprinkled on the doorposts, distinguished those whom God was sparing (Ex. 12:13-14). The Passover for Christians today is a memorial, an annual reminder or renewal of our spiritual covenant with God. It reminds us not only of when God called ancient Israel out of Egypt, but, more important, of God calling us today out of sin. Let’s make the meaning of Passover clear by examining what the Bible says. What was required to free us from the bondage of sin? God’s sacrifice of His firstborn, Jesus — the blood of the Lamb. Why? Why couldn’t God just forgive our sins without a sacrifice? Why did Jesus have to give up His glory with God, take upon Himself the form of a servant, become a human being and suffer and die for our sins (Phil. 2:7-8)? Because there was no other way to save man from the consequence of sin.   God will not compromise His law   God can do all things, but God will not compromise His law (Matt. 19:26, 5:18). God’s law is perfect (Ps. 19:7). It would, if kept, produce and maintain a peaceful and happy society. Tragically, no human has kept God’s law perfectly — all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). The Bible likens sin to leaven — if sin is not disposed of, it grows and spreads rapidly (I Cor. 5:6). The whole world is suffering under the curse of sin (Gal. 3:10)! Death is the penalty for sin — breaking God’s law (Ezek. 18:4, 20, Rom. 6:23). God will not allow anyone into His holy Family and Kingdom who will compromise His law (Gal. 5:19-21, I Cor. 6:9-10, Rev. 22:14-15). God’s law requires that blood be shed for the remission of sin (Heb. 9:22). Thus blood had to be shed in order that the sins of every human might be forgiven, upon repentance.   The sacrifice of Jesus   The only way God could redeem humanity — all of us! — from the death penalty without compromising His law was to have our penalty paid. Enter Jesus Christ. Notice what God’s Word says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son … through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom. 5:8, 10-11). Our sins had separated us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). We had the death penalty hanging over us. But Jesus’ sacrifice paid the death penalty for sin in our stead (Rom. 3:24-25). Does Jesus’ death save us, then? Let’s see what the Bible tells us.   What is required of us?   What is our responsibility, given Jesus’ sacrifice, in God’s plan of salvation? Notice Acts 2:38: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus’ sacrifice does not redeem us from the death penalty until we have repented of breaking God’s law, turned from sin and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master. We must submit to God’s government over our lives and begin to live God’s way. Then what happens? Notice Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Jesus actually lives His life in us (verse 10). We strive to follow Jesus’ example as revealed in the Bible (I Pet. 2:21). We shall, then, be saved by Jesus Christ’s life (Rom. 5:10)! By obeying God’s law with the help of God’s Holy Spirit and by submitting to God’s government, we actually begin to take on God’s very nature. We gradually overcome sin — sin no longer has power over us. We are God’s servants rather than the servants of sin (Rom. 6:12-16). We have embarked upon a new way of life that leads to every blessing and joy for eternity. To turn back from it — to reject God’s way and Jesus’ sacrifice, which paid our death penalty — brings the death penalty on us again, this time with no chance for redemption (Heb. 10:26-29). Now what about observing the Passover?   Are you worthy?   God’s redeemed people are commanded to observe the Passover annually, in its New Testament symbolism, as a memorial of Jesus’ death and to picture what God has done in our lives (Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:14-20, John 13:2-5). And we are to do so in a “worthy” manner, as we have seen from I Corinthians 11:26-27. What, exactly, does it mean to be worthy? Paul warned, “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup” (I Cor. 11:28). What is your attitude? John wrote: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-17). As long as we live in this evil, Satan-ruled society, there will be tests and temptations to break God’s law. We are tempted through our own lusts (Jas. 1:14) to cheat, to lie in business, to boast, to swear, to gossip, to commit adultery (Matt. 5:28) and to put other things before God. And we as Christians — yes, as truly called and redeemed Christians — will slip occasionally and sin! But, as long as we are repentant, striving to overcome sin, God accepts us, applying Jesus’ sacrifice (I John 1:9). God continues to lead us. We live under grace (Eph. 2:8). No one is worthy of Christ’s sacrifice, but not to take the Passover is to deny Christ. To take the Passover in a worthy manner, we must repent of our evil desires and ways, come to hate the sin that Jesus had to suffer and die for and set our will not to compromise God’s law. “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned [judged] with the world” (I Cor. 11:29-32). Our goal, as Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:48, is to become perfect, as God the Father is perfect. Keeping the Passover and understanding all it pictures, as well as striving to keep all of God’s other laws, is vital to attaining that perfection. So, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:8, “Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”!]]>

The Worldwide Church of God- BEING MEASURED

The Worldwide Church of God is an UN-incorporated spiritual organism, made up of those who have been CALLED by God, and have RECEIVED the Holy Spirit of God through REPENTANCE, BELIEF OF THE GOSPEL and BAPTISM.
Over this Church is a spiritual “plum-line”, and God our Master builder is MEASURING THE CHURCH OF GOD, the SPIRITUAL TEMPLE OF CHRIST to see what belongs and what doesn’t! Inferior materials will be discarded, but the precious materials of the Temple who are FITLY JOINED with the foundation and cornerstone, will remain.
 
The Philadelphia Era of God’s Church(Rev.3:7-13) was raised up through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, a.k.a “The Worldwide Church of God”.
The Worldwide Church of God was the only Church of God Mr. Armstrong was a member of.
 
Now, Mr. Armstrong was raised up as an APOSTLE of Jesus Christ, and those of the Worldwide Church of God were placed under him. The membership of the Worldwide Church of God is the “seal” of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong’s apostleship, as the Church under the apostle Paul was his(1 Corinthians 9:2).
 
Those of the true body of Christ are doing exactly what is described by the early members of the Church in Acts 2!
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship…”(Acts 2:42) “And all that believed were together…”(Acts 2:44) NOT DIVIDED INTO A BUNCH OF BICKERING SECTS AND DENOMINATIONS!
 
In 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, and Ephesians 4:11-16, we are told that the entire body of Christ, the true Church of God, are COMPACTED TOGETHER, FITLY JOINED, with the apostles FIRST, under Jesus Christ our head!
 
If a man claims to be a minister of Jesus Christ, yet is not FITLY JOINED with Christ through the apostle, THEN THEY DO NOT QUALIFY TO BE A MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST!
 
If they are off teaching something DIFFERENT, telling you the opposite of what the true apostle taught, then their head is not Jesus Christ, but Satan the Devil MASQUERADING as Christ- the “another Jesus” that the apostle Paul warned of!(2 Corinthians 11:4)
 
The very purpose of the corporate organizations under Mr. Armstrong, was to enable the apostle to do the Work of God given to him by Christ, with the Church BACKING and SUPPORTING THE APOSTLE!
 
The very reason that Mr. Armstrong on the World Tomorrow programs was introduced by “The Worldwide Church of God”, and at the end of the program “sponsored by the Worldwide Church of God” was due to the fact the UN-incorporated Worldwide Church of God was supporting the apostle by sending God’s tithes and offerings to Mr. Armstrong to make such programs possible!
 
After Mr. Armstrong’s death, other men took control of the corporate entities, and those of the true Church continued with the apostle’s doctrines. Those who DID NOT, were not the true Church and they NO LONGER CONTINUED IN WHAT WAS TAUGHT!
Now some ministers took some of the teachings they were taught from Mr. Armstrong, and made themselves a new organization. And in order to set themselves up in a role or seat of authority, they had to depart slightly(at least) on what Christ had given them through the apostle.
Raymond McNair, an evangelist under Mr. Armstrong, when he started his organization “CHURCH OF GOD 21st CENTURY”, closed it down soon after, because he came to realize he was WRONG and in SIN AGAINST GOD for starting it up! He had gotten OFF THE TRACK! He was not the man chosen by God to lead the Church, he said! And so he closed the doors on his organization. What a man of God! He REPENTED, and soon after he died, his eternal crown and salvation secured.
 
So these new organizations were set up by ministers, to do a work “their way”. And in “their way”, they have chosen from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, rejecting GOD’S WAY OF LIFE and rejecting God’s supreme RULE over them!
If they were to come to realize their sins against God, as Mr. McNair did, they would have to GIVE UP their work, and REPENT, and get back to teaching EXACTLY what Mr. Armstrong taught, back to doing their part in the Work of God!(John 6:29)
 
As a branch may retain “nutrients” given to it from the mother tree, but while broken off, eventually withering and dying, so are those who have left(or was broken off from) the body of Christ to do their “own work”!
 
Their works are DEAD or DYING WORKS. They may resemble the mother tree, with certain features prominent, they may even claim “they hold fast to the foundational doctrines” but the fact remains, if they are NOT faithfully teaching ALL of what Christ gave through His apostle, then they are not apart of the body of Christ, and they will die out spiritually if not repented of!
 
A tiny step away from the building, is still a step AWAY from the building, therefore you are no longer INSIDE the building!
 
So the Worldwide Church of God remains. Those who have been called by God, are continuing faithfully, and stedfastly in what was taught them from Christ through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. They are obeying Christ in Rev. 3:11.
 
There has been a GREAT FALLING AWAY(2 Thes. 2) from God’s Truth. This is still going on. Satan is causing those he deceives into thinking and calling what God says is good and honorable, evil and a thing to despise.
 
Those who once filled offices and roles within the true Church of God, are no longer there! They went out to form their own churches, or join a church they chose, to do their own work!
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us[the apostles]: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”(1 John 2:19)
 
But those of the Church who stay faithful, are STILL THERE under Christ, continuing with the apostles of Christ!
 
Some of our brethren have been deceived, and caught up in the traps of Satan!
 
THEY NEED TO REPENT QUICKLY, and “deliver themselves”(Zech 2:7) from such group and churches!
 
The true Church of God has always been persecuted for doing this!
 
The Worldwide Church of God is going through a purification.
 
Jesus Christ is still ruling the Worldwide Church of God.
 
We need to get “back on the track” today, before it is TOO LATE!
 
 
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GRACE- Do You Really Understand it?

GRACE

Do You Really Understand It?
  The word grace is part of every Christian’s vocabulary, yet for many the subject is confusing. Let’s let God’s Word give us a clear understanding.    

By Douglas G. Peitz

[Original Publication]

  Few people — even professing Christians! — really understand what grace is. And rather than searching the Bible for God’s teaching on the subject, they get bogged down in debate over whether grace does away with God’s law. Is grace, as many assume, merely unmerited pardon for sin — or is it much more? Why do we need grace, if we do? Does grace abrogate the need to keep God’s commandments? We need to know! Let’s go to the Bible and let God’s Word answer.   Grace in the New Testament     The New Testament Greek word translated “grace” is charis. Charis was a widely used word in the first century; its primary meaning is “that which gives pleasure or delight.” But, like the English word grace, charis held a variety of associated meanings not dealing with the grace of God toward man. Before we see what God’s grace is, let’s first look at these other uses. Luke, in describing Jesus’ childhood development, wrote, “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). In other words, God was well pleased with Jesus Christ. Obviously, charis is not used to mean unmerited pardon for sin in this case, since Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15, II Corinthians 5:21). In the book of Acts, Luke uses charis to express kindness, favor or goodwill toward another. God gave Joseph “favor [charis] and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt” (Acts 7:10). Also, the Church was given favor, or charis, with the people around Jerusalem (Acts 2:46-47). Charis can also express thankfulness. Paul said, “But thanks [charis] be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57). Finally, charis can be used to denote a gift or favor done as an act of goodwill: “Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him [Festus] against Paul; and they petitioned him, asking a favor [charis] against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem — while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him” (Acts 25:2-3).   God’s grace     Charis was used by the Greek world in all the above senses. But the New Testament writers applied this word in a new sense to describe what God is doing for humanity. They realized that God’s plan of salvation is so kind, so merciful, so unmerited and so thankworthy that it is the ultimate charis! God’s purpose is to reproduce Himself. Those whom God calls (John 6:44) are given the chance to repent and accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Then, upon being baptized, they are given God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), which enables them to develop godly character and ultimately be born into the very Family of God (I John 3:1-2). Charis is an all-encompassing word for this whole process of conversion that is being accomplished by God’s power.   Why grace is necessary   Why is grace essential to salvation (Ephesians 2:8)? And why are all efforts to earn salvation futile (verse 9)? There are two reasons. First, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) — sin being the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) — and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We have all earned the death penalty. And just as any government today realizes, the violation of law cannot go unpunished, or anarchy would ensue. No, a penalty must be paid, regardless of how sorry the criminal is or how good he promises to be in the future. Similarly, our regret and subsequent good behavior can never pay the penalty for sin, because the penalty is death. And God’s laws are enforced. God does not compromise with sin by allowing a way of life that leads to unhappiness, misery and death to go unpunished. The penalty for our sins must be paid. Second, not only have we sinned, but man by himself is incapable of overcoming sin. Paul said in Romans 8:7, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Our best efforts are futile unless God gives us the help we need. God’s grace toward us begins when God begins calling us. Unless God opens our minds, we cannot understand His purpose (John 6:44). Paul commented, “God … called me through His grace” (Galatians 1:15). The very fact that you can understand the truths of God as revealed in the Bible is because of God’s grace. But being called is just the beginning of grace. The process of conversion requires more than understanding. It requires change, or repentance. We must freely choose to obey God — and unless God shows us what to repent of and the importance of obeying Him, we cannot repent. “The goodness of God leads you to repentance,” Paul explained in Romans 2:4. But being sorry for sinning, and changing, is not enough. So God’s grace continues with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness” (Romans 3:23-25). Jesus Christ paid the penalty of sin, which is death, in our stead. Christ’s sacrifice is the supreme expression of divine grace. It is totally unmerited (Romans 5:6-8). Christ’s sacrifice frees us from the penalty of breaking God’s law. But it does not do away with the law! Think: Would God now allow the violation of laws that necessitated the death of His own Son? Of course not. Grace does not nullify God’s law. Rather, grace is necessary because God’s law is eternally binding. As Paul explained: “Shall we continue in sin [the transgression of God’s law — John 3:4] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) Continuing in sin would mock Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice.   Unmerited but not unconditional     Here is where many misunderstand. Grace is unmerited but it is not unconditional. There are two conditions: repentance and faith (Mark 1:5, Acts 2:38). Although we can never earn salvation, God does set certain requirements for receiving His grace. Let’s understand. Once God, by His grace, reveals to us the need to repent and humbly accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins, we must do our part. We must voluntarily yield ourselves to God, admitting where we have been wrong, and make the necessary changes. Then we must be baptized as an outward expression of our repentance and faith (Romans 6:3-6). Don’t misunderstand — God’s grace is free and unmerited, but if we refuse to change our lives — to obey God — He is under no obligation to bestow His grace upon us. God will not allow Christ’s sacrifice and His grace to be taken lightly. The process continues. Peter tells us we must now “grow in grace” (II Peter 3:18, Authorized Version). Grace is unmerited pardon for sin, but it is much more. For if grace were merely the unmerited forgiveness of sin, how could we grow in grace except by sinning more? No, we must, while coming under God’s grace, overcome sin. If you are truly under God’s grace, you will be striving diligently to obey God’s commandments. Paul said: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14). We are to develop godly character by growing and overcoming in order that we can ultimately be born into the very Family of God. But we cannot do this alone (Matthew 19:25-26). We need God’s Spirit. And His Spirit, by His grace toward us, is a gift (Acts 10:45, 11:17). God’s Spirit gives us the power we need to develop character. But we must work at it. Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10). To grow in grace is to overcome sin through coupling God’s Spirit with our own efforts. Without God’s help, overcoming sin would be impossible. Finally, after we have developed godly character through God’s Spirit, one final act of grace is bestowed upon us — eternal life! We deserved death, but will receive life eternal. As Paul said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The world is deceived into believing in a shallow, limited concept of God’s grace. True grace is more than the forgiveness of sin; it is the total process of salvation. Peter summed it up beautifully: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen…. I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand” (I Peter 5:10-12).]]>

Let God Fight Your Battles!

Let God Fight Your Battles! by Herbert W. Armstrong

Personal from HWA – Published in The Good News Magazine March 1985  

The world you live in today is a very troubled world. You not only have your own personal problems, but you also suffer from the deliberate OPPOSITION and ANTAGONISM of the world around you. It is time you considered how to conquer these troubles: ◘how to be FREE from them ◘how to let GOD fight your battles instead! One lesson not yet learned   First, understand this: If the WORLD today is not happy — if world conditions are in a chaotic state, if lives are empty and purposeless, if minds are filled with fears and worries, bodies wracked with sickness and disease — THERE IS A REASON! Conditions are exactly what we make them! Mortal HUMANS, groping in the darkness of confusion, have made conditions what they are. Humanity is REAPING what it has SOWN! Only the direct and all-powerful supernatural intervention of ALMIGHTY GOD can deliver this world from all its troubles. What the world doesn’t know is that God will not cause its present ways of wrong living to bring any human utopia. Rather, GOD ALMIGHTY WILL SOON HAVE TO STEP IN AND RULE OVER THE WORLD — bringing it INTO THE WAYS of His just laws, which alone can produce this happy TOMORROW! WE, TOO, AS GOD’S PEOPLE, HAVE LESSONS TO LEARN. Even though stubborn and rebellious mankind brings upon the world even DARKER days in the immediate future, REMEMBER — it’s DARKEST just before DAWN. Take hope in the SURE knowledge that the new world of GOD’S making and RULING — is VERY near today! But in the meantime, what about You and your own private life and problems? Let us consider some of your own private, personal TROUBLES. I know that you have them! And I want to tell you something — I want to tell you GOOD news. YOU are carrying, a lot of worries and fears and troubles that you don’t need to carry! Life is simply filled with private, personal battles. We have to battle fears and worries. Some-times it seems we have to battle PEOPLE who appear to be enemies – often it’s a husband, a wife or a mother-in-law — and whether you realize it or not, You also have to battle YOURSELF! It is like having to fight a host of ENEMIES — all these TROUBLES, these CIRCUMSTANCES, these adverse CONDITIONS, these TEMPTATIONS! But there is a way you may FREE yourself from these troubles that confront you. There is a WAY OUT! YOU can be FREE from fighting all of these enemies except just ONE — your own self – and you can receive a lot of HELP and KNOWLEDGE and POWER in doing that! Here’s where that help can be found! Jesus Christ is the deliverer   The eternal Creator-RULER of the universe — the God who gives you the very air you breathe — sent His own begotten SON, Jesus Christ, into this world more than 1,900 years ago to BRING YOU THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE from all your trials, your worries, your problems. WHY, then, do some of you not LISTEN to the way He taught us? And WHY do so many people think of Him as a dead Christ hanging on a cross? GOD ALMIGHTY RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD! Jesus Christ is our LIVING Savior and High Priest, just as the Creator is a LIVING RULER OF ALL THE UNIVERSE! Do YOU REALIZE THAT JESUS CHRIST, THE LIVING, RESURRECTED CHRIST, TO WHOM IS GIVEN ALL POWER, HAS A PRESENT MISSION TO PERFORM? Do you realize that His present mission is to FIGHT YOUR BATTLES FOR YOU — to DELIVER YOU — to FREE you from all your fears, your TROUBLES and even the circumstances that beset you? Thousands of you would come to me for help in your troubles if I had time to see and talk to you — you’d come with husband-and-wife troubles, funeral troubles — every kind of trouble. Yes, you’d come to me because I’m human – one you can see — whose voice you hear. But because I’m only human, I have not the ability, the strength nor the TIME to render such a personal ministry to so many in different parts of the world. Now think this over carefully, and ANSWER THIS! WHY do you fight your own battles, when HE — the LIVING Savior — is living in ALL POWER to fight them for you? He’s REAL. He’s DIVINE. WHY do some of you go on worrying, when HE is right there in ALL THE POWER OF THE DIVINE CREATOR to FREE you from all your worries? WHY? There is one of two reasons, Either you have not fully KNOWN of this great, all-encompassing DIVINE SOURCE OF POWER that you can call on at will — you have not REALIZED what ALL-CONQUERING HELP you can have — or else you have, through lack of faith or neglect, FAILED to CALL ON that supernatural HELP in your times of need! CAN I open your eyes to see that God is a God of LOVE — that God in all His supreme power wills above all things for you to PROSPER and BE IN HEALTH and to find the way to the HAPPY, FULL, ABUNDANT LIFE? That Jesus Christ is a LIVING SAVIOR, to whom you can go AT ALL TIMES — a Savior to save you from your present everyday fears and worries, adverse circumstances, troubles, sicknesses and trials, as well as to save you from eternal DEATH at the end? Notice what Scripture commands: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). God is interested in your life now   God’s salvation is NOT something you collect only after you die. IT IS A PRACTICAL, COMMONSENSE, USEFUL salvation that starts in your everyday life RIGHT HERE AND NOW! What needless pains some have been suffering. What NEEDLESS fears and worries you may have been carrying around. What WONDERFUL TIMES — what HAPPINESS you may have cheated yourself out of, just because you have not REALIZED and taken advantage of the very PRESENT and all-powerful HELP of your LIVING Savior! Actually what is happening is that you may have found yourself faced with foes far more powerful than you. These foes may come in forms of troubles, of unforeseen circumstances, of worries, of sicknesses or even of other persons. These foes NEED not make your life unhappy. Old Testament illustration   Did you ever really think through the full meaning of I Corinthians 10:11 that the incidents in the lives of God’s people of Old Testament times were written into the Bible for OUR LEARNING AND HELP? I want now to turn to the experience of a man who lived in that time. This man found that he could RELY on the almighty GOD. This man was faced with a FAR more terrifying trouble than has ever beset you. He found the HAPPY SOLUTION. His experience will show you what you can do, this very day! Once you UNDERSTAND, you will have to learn to TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD — TO CALL UPON GOD IN PRAYER — you will have to ASK GOD for what you need — and you may have to learn how to PRAY. GOD ALMIGHTY will actually intervene in your life and help you and fight YOUR battles for you. Remember, God is no respecter of persons. He will not do more for one than another. He will do as much for you as for any person who ever lived. He will do as much for you — if you obey Him and rely on Him — as for any ancient king of Israel or Judah! You may have a problem that completely overwhelms you. You may be at your wit’s end — you may not know where to turn or what to do! It may be a family problem, a personal problem, a financial problem, a problem of sickness or disease. But let me tell you now as Jesus Christ’s apostle of a man who came upon a situation probably far more terrifying than yours — one that would throw fright and terror into the stoutest heart. The solution this man used will solve YOUR problems — put an END to your troubles. The same God who heard and delivered him will hear and deliver you — IF you will obey Him and trust Him. The fact that this man was an ancient king makes no difference. God is no respecter of persons — He will do as much for you. God is the SAME today and tomorrow as He was yesterday. This man was King Hezekiah of the ancient kingdom of JUDAH. He was an ordinary human mortal, the same as YOU today. God intervenes for a man   The vast armies of Assyria were marching westward and southward to invade Judah. The Jews were greatly outnumbered. They had no army or power to stand up against such a powerful foe. They were HELPLESS. They faced certain defeat — just as You may feel HELPLESS in the face of your troubles today. If some of you try to solve your problem or overcome your bad habits or resist sin in nothing more than your OWN power and strength, you, too, will find yourself outnumbered, overpowered and doomed to defeat! You must learn, as this ancient king did, that GOD stands ready and willing to fight your battles for you. Read his experience in II Chronicles 32, from the Moffatt translation: “It was after this, after all this loyal service, that Sancherib king of Assyria invaded Judah, besieging the fortified towns and meaning to seize them. When Hezekiah saw that Sancherib had come determined to attack Jerusalem, he and his nobles and his chiefs agreed to stop the water of the fountains outside the town… . “Then, appointing officers over the citizens, he gathered them in the open space at the gate of the city, and encouraged them. ‘Be firm,’ he said, ‘be brave, be not daunted nor dismayed for the king of Assyria or for all his host; we have with us One greater than all he has; he has a mortal force, but we have with us the Eternal our God, to help us and to fight our battles’ ” (verses 1-3, 6-8). Continuing: “His officers said even worse things against God the Eternal and his servant Hezekiah. (Sancherib also wrote letters, insulting the Eternal the God of Israel and attacking him thus: ‘As the gods of the nations elsewhere in the world have failed to save their folk from me, so shall Hezekiah’s God fail to save his folk.’) The officers shouted aloud in Hebrew to the citizens of Jerusalem on the walls, to terrify them and scare them, that they might capture the city. They talked about the God of Jerusalem as one of the gods of the nations on earth, mere handmade idols” (verses 16-19). Now notice what the king of Judah did: “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz PRAYED over this and cried to heaven” (verse 20). They PRAYED for help. They did not know exactly HOW God would intervene. But they knew God would ACT! Here’s what happened: “Then the Eternal sent an angel who swept off all the gallant fighters, the leaders, and captains, in the camp of the king of Assyria, till he had to go home in disgrace. He [later] went into the temple of his god, and there his own offspring murdered him with their swords. So the Eternal rescued Hezekiah and the citizens of Jerusalem from Sancherib the king of Assyria as well as from all other foes, protecting them on every side”(verses 21-22). That experience was written into the very WORD OF GOD for your learning and to SHOW YOU THE WAY TODAY! Perhaps You are faced with a foe more powerful than you. It may be some TEMPTATION. It may be some circumstance or condition or trouble. Some serious WORRY. Then let me ask you, WHAT ARE YOU RELYING ON to withstand the siege of this trouble — to deliver you from it? Rely on God and His power What do some of you do when some fear, worry, trouble comes up against you? Do you not first FEAR AND WORRY, and then either try to RUN FROM this trouble or else try to meet it in your own power and strength — with your own thinking and planning and doing? Do YOU ever search your own heart and life to see if it is YOUR fault? In almost every in-law or marital trouble, for example, both are at fault. Did you never realize that the very CREATOR who caused you to be born — who gives you the life you have — who called you into His truth — is able and anxious to fight all these battles for you just as He did Hezekiah’s — if you will only turn to Him and ask Him for wisdom and guidance, RELY on Him and TRUST Him with the result? Two examples   I know of a lady who, when in her middle 20s, had a problem that was MOST SERIOUS in her life. Three times this girl had been disappointed in love. She had at last been tempted to marry a man she had no right to marry. She brought her problem to me, as God’s representative. I found she was looking ONLY AT PHYSICAL APPEARANCES. She reasoned that, so far as she could see, if she obeyed God and refused to marry this man, she might never be married. I counseled her to OBEY GOD — to stop looking at the material circumstances and using human reason to disobey God. I counseled her to do, first of all, WHAT GOD INSTRUCTS IN THE BIBLE, and then to TRUST HIM for the outcome. But that girl did not RELY ON GOD — she relied on her human reason. She obeyed impulse and temptation and married the man. He left her to commit adultery with another woman on their very wedding night. Her life became miserable, terribly unhappy. Then at another time, another similar case was brought to me. THIS young woman rejected the temptation — she obeyed God and RELIED ON THE ETERNAL to work out circumstances — she trusted HIM with the result. Her faith was tried and tested. God did not answer AT ONCE — but in due time, just the RIGHT man came into her life, they fell in love, they were married and GOD HAS BLESSED THEIR MARRIAGE WITH SUPREME HAPPINESS. The experience of King Jehoshaphat   Now I want to bring you one more case history — a REMARKABLE experience that will show you the way out of all your difficulties and troubles. If you will let GOD have HIS way in your life, then you will have begun to learn how to let Him fight your battles, solve your problems and deliver you from so many troubles you are suffering. Now, notice the experience written for OUR learning and help today: “It was after this that the Moabites and Ammonites, with some of the Meunim, made war on Jehoshaphat. Word came to Jehoshaphat that a huge host was moving against him from Edom, over the Dead Sea, and that they were already at Hazazon-tamar (or Engedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid” (II Chronicles 20:1-3, Moffatt). Is fear your usual reaction, too? But observe what the king of Judah did. “He resolved to have recourse to the Eternal, and proclaimed a fast all over Judah. So Judah assembled to seek help from the Eternal; people came from every town in Judah to worship the Eternal” (verses 3-4). Jehoshaphat did exactly what God wants you to do today when faced with any temptation or trouble — HE TOOK IT TO GOD IN PRAYER AND FASTING! And as he continued to ask God for help, he said (verses 6-10): “O Eternal, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven, and ruler of all realms on earth? Such power and might is thine that no one can resist thee. O our God, didst not thou evict the natives of this land before thy people Israel, giving the land to the offspring of Abraham thy friend, for all time? And they settled in it, they have built a sanctuary in it to thine honour, thinking that if evil befell them, the sword in judgment, or pestilence, or famine, they would stand in front of this temple and before thee (for in this temple is thy presence) and cry to thee in their distress, till thou didst hear and save them. “Now here are the Ammonites and Moabites and folk from mount Seir, whom thou didst not allow Israel to invade, when Israel came out of the land of Egypt — no, Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them!” There was no reason for these neighbors to be enemies. Sometimes your own neighbors become your enemies, too, don’t they? But notice what the king said to God: “Look how they reward us, coming to eject us from thy very own country which thou given us to be ours. O our God wilt thou not deal with them? We are helpless against this mighty host that is attacking us; we know not what to do, but we look to thee” (verses 11-12). God answers prayer   Now I want you to notice! Jehoshaphat cried out for God to come to their aid. Here is God’s answer (verses 14-17): “Jehaziel . . . was inspired by the spirit of the Eternal in the midst of the gathering to cry ‘Listen, all ye men of Judah, ye citizens of Jerusalem, and you, O king Jehoshaphat; the Eternal’s message to you is this: “FEAR NOT, falter not before this vast army; it is for God, not for you to fight them. March down against them to-morrow; they coming up by the ascent of Haziz,and you will come upon them at the end of the ravine in front of the desert of Jeruel. You will not need to do any fighting; take your position, stand still, and watch the victory of the Eternal,who is on your side, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not, falter not. Move out against them tomorrow, for the Eternal is on your side.” ‘ And notice that Jehoshaphat obeyed after God instructed him. Verses 20-23 declare: “Next morning they rose and moved into the open country round Tekoa. As they advanced, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen, men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! Take hold of the Eternal your God and you will keep hold of life; hold by his prophets, and you will prosper.’ “After this counsel to the nation, he appointed the Eternal’s singers to praise him in sacred vestments, marching in front of the army and chanting, Give thanks to the Eternal, for his kindness never fails. “As they began to sing and praise him, the Eternal set men in ambush against the Ammonites, the Moabites, and the folk from mount Seir, who had attacked Judah, and they were routed. The Ammonites and the Moabites turned on the natives of mount Seir, determined to wipe them out.” They turned against one another! That is how God answered Jehoshaphat. “And then, after destroying the natives of Seir, they all helped to kill one another. So when the men of Judah reached their post of attack looking over the open country, they saw the host were so many corpses stretched upon the ground; not a man had escaped” (verses 23-24). Jehoshaphat did not merely leave this trouble with God and then do nothing about it himself. First, he prayed and asked for wisdom, guidance and HELP. Then he DID WHAT GOD SAID. He had to do HIS PART but the BATTLE WAS GOD’S, and Jehoshaphat did not try to fight God’s battle. He merely did his own part. But he BELIEVED God, and RELIED on God. The point I want you to REMEMBER is that YOUR battles are not really yours, but GOD’S. If you look to Him, He makes them His battles, and HE fights them for you. How FUTILE for you to try to fight God’s battles for HIM. God says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). In the New Testament we read, “By GRACE are ye saved through FAITH” (Ephesians 2:8, Authorized Version). Yes, but the FAITH that saves us is a living faith that is practical — it WORKS — it really RELIES on God! So PUT IT TO PRACTICE! God does not promise us an EASY time during this life in this world. But He DOES promise to fight our battles for us to deliver us from EVERY trouble and affliction. WILL YOU LET HIM DO IT, AND LEARN HOW HAPPY YOUR LIFE MAY BECOME? GOD HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND!]]>

OPINION: S.T.P Implemeted in modern "Church of God" organizations.

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The Systematic Theology Project, or S.T.P that slipped it’s way into the hands of the ministers of the Worldwide Church of God during the 1970’s is being implemented into modern churches!
[NOTE: this is ANTI-STP not PRO-STP] A look into the modern “Church of God” organizations will shock older members of the Worldwide Church of God members!
Continue reading…

The Beautiful Analogy of Human Reproduction

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The Beautiful Analogy of Human Reproduction
written by Herbert W. Armstrong

[Original Publication]

Some of the teachings in the Bible are a little hard for the average thinking mind to understand.
James tells us to count it all joy when trials, ordeals, reverses beset us. Troubles a joy? That’s pretty hard to accept, isn’t it? And, for the average person, a lot harder to put into practice.
Few find any pleasure, let alone joy, in the obstacles and troubles they encounter. Yet this biblical teaching says we ought so to count them. There is a reason, although few understand it.   Continue reading…