Jesus Christ

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”!]]>

TO SAVE THE WORLD…ARE SUPERHEROES NEEDED?

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TO SAVE THIS WORLD….ARE SUPERHEROES NEEDED?

Hollywood movies such as the upcoming Avengers Infinity War, along with the recent blockbuster hits of Black Panther, Wonder Woman and Justice League, are just a few examples of how the plot of saving the world is gaining in popularity with audiences around the world.

Mankind seems to share in the belief that this current world, or civilization, is in need of SAVING. In movies, and television shows like the Flash, we see a growing popular genre portrayed by SAVIORS battling great odds, at the risk of this current world being destroyed. At the end though, this world is saved by the superheroes, and the current civilization continues on. In reality, the world is facing tremendous troubles and evils, not from an enemy from outer space, but rather within human nature itself. But let us review this plot with the Word of God to see if whether such a thing will happen, and how. Who will save mankind from total destruction? A human being empowered with super powers, overcoming great odds? Will mankind be able to save itself from it’s troubles? Will our enemy be from outer space, or terrestrial? The Holy Bible has much to say about our near future, and the plot is much more FANTASTIC that any movie coming out of Hollywood. FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD It’s like coming in to a movie when it’s about 90-95% finished. You don’t know what went before. You don’t know what events led up to what you’re seeing in the movie now. Consequently, you don’t understand what’s going on when you see the movie, if you didn’t see it from the beginning. The beginning always sets the foundation for the whole thing. So people try to look at this world that way, from what they see today. If you don’t go back and see what led up to it, you don’t understand the world. You don’t understand how it came to be this way. What was the foundation of this world? God’s purpose is to build a kingdom. That kingdom is something built, and it is likened to a building; and it’s compared to a building in the Scriptures. Like a building, it had to be built on a foundation. We read in Psalm 127 where David wrote: Psalm 127:1 Except the [Eternal] build the house, they labour in vain that build it. There the world is likened to a house that is built; and except God builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. Now God did purpose to build a house. That house is a kingdom. That house is a great nation. That house was a great civilization. And He chose to build it out of matter, out of dirt. So He formed a man out of dirt, out of the dust of the ground. He intended to build the house from that man. Now, the man wasn’t complete. He hadn’t completed even the foundation yet. Physically, the man was incomplete because God wanted him to reproduce and produce more people to build, so that the building would carry on and grow. The man, of course, couldn’t do it alone. So God took one of his ribs; and, out of Adam, He made a woman. He didn’t make the woman out of the ground, like He had Adam. She was made out of him. Woman came from man. Man came from the ground. God had purposed to build a Family. It was His Family; and His Family potentially began with Adam. It was all coming out of Adam, because Eve came out of Adam, and then Cain, and Abel, and Seth. Then they had other sons and daughters after that, who all came out of Adam and Eve. Then other children came out of them. So you trace it back, and ultimately every human being has come out of Adam; and we’re all the family of Adam. It was the potential Family of God. Satan kidnapped this family. And here we had the rather ludicrous and ridiculous idea, or situation, that the kidnapped person actually believed in the kidnapper and the kidnapper’s way of life a whole lot more than the potential Father. God is the potential Father, and He intended them to become His children; but they had to receive Life from Him. They had to first QUALIFY. In other words, God is the perfect spiritual character, and man was given a chance to receive the Spirit of God. First he had to make a decision. He had to want that. Wanting it, it was available to him; and God offered it to him freely. He would have received the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit of God he would have begun to receive the knowledge, and he would have received the LOVE of God shed abroad in his heart. He would have received the knowledge of the law of God, of the way of perfection in life and perfect character. But in order to perform that perfect character and produce it, it takes love. God did not build Adam, or create Adam, with that kind of love. That was like the icing of the cake, would have to come later. It could have come through His Holy Spirit if Adam had taken of the Tree of Life, which he did not do. He rejected it, so he could not have it; and it could not come to humans until the time of Jesus Christ.

SATAN THE KIDNAPPER

But Adam, instead of receiving the guidance of God, now received the guidance of Satan the kidnapper; and so the whole family did go. It was the potential Family of God; but it was kidnapped by Satan, and it has loved the way of the kidnapper. So a world was founded on Adam. He had made a decision. He was going to go the way he did, and he was influenced and led by Satan when he could have been led by God. He became Satan’s property, and it was Satan’s way of self — do your own thing, resent authority, selfishness, vanity — instead of cooperation, and serving, and helping, and togetherness. That became the foundation of the world. But the foundation was faulty, and so the superstructure was bound to be faulty. Now we turn back, and I’d like you to read Matthew the seventh chapter and verses 24 through 27. Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore [Jesus said] whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock [a solid foundation of a rock]. (25) And the rain descended, and the floods came [It was a heavy storm.], and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. It had a solid foundation. It had the right start, the right foundation. And every building starts from its foundation. You know, you don’t build the roof first, and then the top floor and others, and then build under them because what would hold up the roof and the top floor? You build the foundation first. Matthew 7:26-27 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [It was a big storm.], and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall [thereof]. Now, a house has been built. “Except the [Eternal] — or except God — build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Humanity has been laboring in vain 6,000 years building this house, this superstructure that we call the world, that we call this civilization. It is a world, it is a building, on a faulty foundation; and every thing has been wrong with that foundation. Not only was it an unsound foundation but it was started out on the wrong attitude, the wrong motive — self — from Satan; and it was influenced by Satan all the way through. Jesus came to save the situation, and I want to tell you how He came to save it; but first I want you to notice this. He came, and Satan tried to kill Him. Later he tried to deceive Him and to get Jesus to sin, and Jesus didn’t. And so, when Satan couldn’t do that and Jesus did found His Church, His Church was a building started on a solid foundation of a Rock; and Jesus Christ is that Rock. The foundation, as I’ll show you later, is the apostles and prophets; and Christ, the Rock, is the chief corner stone and the chief of the foundation. So Jesus came with the good news of another building altogether — the Kingdom of God. God was going to start a kingdom, but Satan kidnapped that kingdom. That kingdom has built a certain superstructure that we call the world, that we call civilization. It’s been built on a false foundation. Now, the Protestant churches have been deceived; and they’re trying to SAVE the world. They’re trying to save the superstructure. They’re not going back to repair the original foundation. No, there’s a Rock in the foundation that’s going to let the whole building crash; and they’re laboring in vain, because the Lord isn’t building their house. They’re trying to work on the superstructure and save that. God has no intention of saving that superstructure. That may be a surprise to you, but just listen. Jesus came and preached the good news of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is THE FAMILY OF GOD that will rule the world and become a nation. In other words, it too starts with the Church, and the Church is that Kingdom in embryo. The Church is also called a house, or a building, “fitly framed together.” It’s built on a Rock. Now what I want you to notice, Jesus preached this gospel. But, in Galatians the first chapter and verses 6 and 7, the apostle Paul said to the Churches up in Galatia: Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. What they were called to was this sure and safe foundation — the truth of God and the grace of Christ, who came to restore us back to the Father (God) from whom Satan the kidnapper has kidnapped us. Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel [Another message about what it’s all about.]: (7) which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of [Jesus] Christ. Again, I want you to turn … Well, Satan counterfeited with another gospel. He turned them to a different gospel altogether. Jesus did not come to try to save this superstructure. What He came for was to start another building altogether. God had started a potential building that could have been His building, but Adam rejected Him and turned to Satan and Satan’s way instead. Now God is going to let it CRASH! God is going to let this world COME DOWN! GOD IS NOT TRYING TO SAVE THIS WORLD, and this world is going to CRASH DOWN and go into extinction. Now those words are a little bit shocking, I think, to most people. Most religions think Jesus came to save this superstructure. That’s what they are trying to do. They don’t say, “Come out of the world.” They’re PART OF THIS WORLD. The Catholic church is part of this world. The Protestant churches — the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Lutherans, the Congregationalists, and so on — they’re all PART OF THIS WORLD. They’re the religious part, and they are preaching. They don’t realize it. They’re blinded. They’re deceived, and they don’t know it. I’m not saying they are maliciously, intentionally, wrong. They think they’re right! They’re just as honest in believing they’re right as you are in knowing that we’re right. But they are deceived, and they are trying to save this world.

A NEW AND DIFFERENT WORLD

God is not trying to save this world. And you can’t find where Jesus Christ, when He was on earth, tried to save this world. Rather He called His disciples out from this world and said, “Come out of this world altogether. I’m going to start a new and a different world. We’re going to start a new building. We’re going to let this building crash! We’re going to start a NEW BUILDING altogether.” And it’s based on a foundation that was first a Rock, and then the disciples that He taught became apostles. The superstructure, the foundation of this building that God is building, is: Ephesians 2:20 … built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself [the Rock] being the chief cornerstone. A building built on a Rock. So God sent Jesus Christ into the world as the second Adam, starting all over where the first Adam could have but failed. Jesus came as the second Adam. Now, Jesus made the decision. In fact, He had the Spirit of God from birth because He was begotten by the Spirit of God and not by a human sperm cell. But He was tempted in all points, every way that Adam was and then some. Satan tried to kill Him. Then Satan tried to deceive Him. Satan didn’t succeed. Then Satan went after the Church; and he martyred the leaders of the Church, and they were put to death. Then he started a controversy as to whether the gospel should be the gospel of Christ (that Christ brought, His own gospel) or some different gospel that they would make up (a gospel of men) merely about Christ. There was a 100-year lapse in the history of the Church, and we have no record of what happened. But when the curtain lifts over that which had been drawn down over the history of the Church, 100 years later we find a church calling itself “Christian” that is as different as night is from day from the Church that Jesus started on the day of Pentecost through the apostles — built on Christ and the apostles. It was a totally different church, and that is what all the churches in this world have come on out of that. Men believe what they get from other people in the church. This Church, brethren, did not come that way. The original apostles were taught by Jesus Christ, and the apostle of this time was taught by Jesus Christ. Jesus in person is the personal Word of God. The Bible is the SAME Word of God, in writing. And God taught me by Jesus in writing, just as He taught the early apostles by Jesus in person; but it’s the same Word exactly. The churches have preserved it, believe it or not; but they don’t understand it because it’s written in code. They can’t break the code. They can’t understand what it says. Jesus came as the second Adam. He started an entire, NEW, different building all together — A DIFFERENT CIVILIZATION. Not reforming, not healing up this sick world; but starting a new world all together — from start to finish built on a new, separate, foundation. And He called His disciples OUT OF this world. They didn’t choose Him. They were not volunteers. He said, “You have not chosen Me, but I have called you OUT OF THIS WORLD;” and He taught them.

RECONCILED TO GOD THE FATHER

Now then, Jesus came to reconcile those who are called OUT of this world. They are no longer part of the world, and they are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. The world thinks you are saved by the blood of Christ. You read in the 5th chapter of the book of Romans, and you will see that we are not saved by Jesus’ blood. We are reconciled to God by the death of Christ, not saved by the death of Christ. Death can’t give you life. But we’ll be SAVED BY HIS LIFE, His resurrection! We are not saved by His death. We are saved by His Life. But His death reconciled us back to God from whom we’d been kidnapped. Now THE WORLD DOESN’T WANT TO GO BACK TO GOD; AND THE WORLD BELIEVES IN A FALSE JESUS. MOST OF THE CHURCHES PREACH ABOUT JESUS. THEY PREACH ABOUT CHRIST. THEY DON’T PREACH ABOUT GOD THE FATHER. You don’t hear very much about GOD. That’s why they say, “The law is done away.” The law is honoring God. It is GOD who established the Sabbath. It is GOD who said you are stealing when you take His tithe that is holy to Him. The things that are holy to God they’re not concerned about. They’re only concerned selfishly about the things that seem right to them, and that’s what the Protestant churches are teaching all the time. Well now, at the foundation of the world God had a plan; and our annual holy days picture that plan to us. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die [That’s from the foundation of the world.], but after this the judgment. Now the judgment will come by a resurrection. Next you go to I Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 22. I Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam ALL die … Adam died. He lived 930 years, then he died. His life ran out. We find men then lived to be about 500 years old. Then they lived to be about 120 years old. And finally, in the days of king David, he was 70 years and was “old and stricken with years.” Then he died, when he reached 70. And today that’s about the expectancy of life — 70 years. God has blessed some of us with a little longer life than that, but: I Corinthians 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL [the same “all”] be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits [by a resurrection from the dead, the firstborn among many brethren]; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming [will be resurrected out of their graves]. Those that are alive and remain at that time will changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, from mortal to immortal; and will rise to meet Christ in the air as He’s coming back to reign in the new world that He came to start. Not this same world at all! An entirely new and different building — a new world, a new civilization. The present world started on a foundation. God started another world on this foundation of Christ, but He’s not trying to save this world so that whosoever will in this world can just get saved; and the whole world is going to be saved one by one. Instead, Jesus said in John 6:44: John 6:44 No man can come to me … Now, there’s only one door to God. The main thing is to get back to God the Father. The Protestant churches and the Catholic church ignore God the Father. The Catholic church teaches you to go to Mary, and the Protestant churches teach you to go to Jesus. But, you see, the law came from God the Father. Christ came to restore us to God the Father and reconcile us to God. It’s God who has eternal life to give. God is the Father from whom the potential Family has been kidnapped. Jesus said: John 6:44 No man can come to me [And He’s the only door to get to God.], except the Father which hath sent me draw him. It’s a case of getting to the Father; and the Father has to choose and call you and draw you, or you can’t come to Christ.

BUILDINGS: THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD

So the Church now is, and is called, a building. Notice in Ephesians, in the 2nd chapter of Ephesians. I’d like to begin first in verse 1. Ephesians 2:1-2 And you [said to the Church at Ephesus, and they had been Gentiles originally. You … ] hath he quickened [or, made alive and given the spirit of immortality], who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world … You were part of this structure — this superstructure built on a false foundation. It is led by Satan, who has built a superstructure we call “the world.” And you were part of it. You were deceived by Satan. Ephesians 2:2 … according to the prince of the power of the air [who is Satan], the spirit that now WORKS [now is working] in the children of disobedience. And he was working in every one of us, brethren; but we’ve been called out, so he doesn’t work in us any longer. We are no longer part of this building. This building is going to CRASH! This building is coming down. If you are in a big building and it is going to topple over in an earthquake, if you can get out and away from that building maybe you can save your life. But you don’t want to stay in it or you’ll crash with it. This world is going to crash down! It’s a building that’s going to CRASH and CRUMBLE and BE DESTROYED. If you stay in it, you’re going to be destroyed with it. Jesus said, “COME OUT of this world and be separate.” He called us out of the world, and it is only those that are called. Now I took a sermon one time to devote considerable time going through actually dozens of passages all through the New Testament showing that all of those who get into the Church have been called, have been chosen by God. They are not volunteers. They are draftees. We have been conscripted. Well, now then, I wanted to go a little farther. Coming over next to Ephesians the 2nd chapter, beginning with verse 19: Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore you [who were Gentiles. He said to the Church at Ephesus:] are no more strangers and foreigners [because the true Church was Israel converted and receiving the Spirit of God], but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Now house — household — that is the family. It’s a family living in a house; and that house is built on a faulty foundation, and we are to come out of it. But the new Family is built on a new foundation, and it is new house. It’s the house of God. In the Bible, we find the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah are so often called “the house of Israel” and “the house of Judah.” The word “house” is used to designate a nation in many, many places in the Bible. Ephesians 2:20-21 And [you are] built on the foundation [Now notice the foundation here. And in the Church we are built on a NEW and DIFFERENT foundation. Not the foundation of Adam and Satan. Built on the foundation:] of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone [Just as I’ve been saying, we are built on a Rock. We are built on a solid foundation.]; (21) in whom ALL THE BUILDING [You see, we are a building. The Church and the world to come, the civilization, is a building. “In whom all the building … “] fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord [a spiritual temple]. And you, brethren — and I’d like to include myself with you — are that temple to which Christ is coming. Some people think the Jews are going to build a new temple for Christ. The Jews reject Christ. They’re not going to build the temple for Him to come to. But GOD IS BUILDING THAT TEMPLE! And you and me — we, individually — each are the temple of the Holy Spirit; and as a collective body we are the temple of God in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ the ROCK is the chief corner stone, or the foundation on which we are built. Ephesians 2:22 In whom you also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. It’s the building in which God will dwell, a habitation of God — an entirely new and different building, an entirely new civilization. Jesus taught the knowledge about the Kingdom of God. And so He taught us that this world is going to crash, and He is going to come as the King of kings, the Lord of lords, to start a new world. Jesus had to meet Satan head on. He conquered Satan, and He qualified to replace Satan on the throne of the earth. Satan is on the throne of the earth, and this says he has kidnapped the potential Family of God. It has been his world, and he’s on the throne of the world over all the governments of the different nations of the world; and Satan is the king over all of them. They are blinded and they don’t know it. He has blinded them so they don’t see the truth, as you read in II Corinthians; let me see, I think it’s 4 and verse 3.

BUILDING A NEW WORLD

Now in Matthew 24, they asked Jesus about the end of the world. This world is going to come down and crash. This building is going to crumble and be destroyed. He said that this same gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached would be proclaimed in all the world; and it was not for 1900 years. God has raised me up to proclaim that worldwide, and it has gone worldwide. Matthew 24:14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations [Not in all nations, but for a witness to them.]; and then shall the end come [The end of this world, the collapse of the world.]. It will be ended. It will be over. In verse 21 and 22 you find the final crash, being the Great Tribulation; and ALL HUMANITY would be destroyed — there wouldn’t be a man, woman, or child left alive from the nuclear war — except that God will for the Church’s sake (the elect’s sake that He has elected) shorten those days before everybody is made extinct. For our sake, the whole world will be … Not all of the world will be saved, but enough at least to start a new world; and we will be ruling over them. Now then, finally in Revelation the 3rd chapter and the 21st verse, Jesus said: Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh [That’s in the Church.] will I grant to sit with me in my throne [That’s in the new earth, after this earth has crumbled, and fallen, and crashed; and He’s come to start the new world, the new building.], even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne [that was in heaven]. And then in the 2nd chapter and verses 26 and 27 of Revelation: Revelation 2:26 He that overcometh [And we have to overcome, and we have to endure to the end. “He that overcometh:”], and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. We’re finally, after the world has crashed and Satan is gone, now we’re going to start a new government — a new world. And we are, say, the first floor or two of the next high-rise building built on the original foundation of Jesus Christ and the apostles and prophets. We’re going to build the rest of the superstructure. And, as Christ taught the apostles and they began to teach others, I’ve been teaching you people. You are being taught so you can teach others at this time, when you’re going to have POWER over the rest of the world. You’re going to rule them. You’re going to judge them. And you’re going to teach them the truth. And then they will be able to repent, and come and receive the Spirit of God, and take of the Tree of Life — which Adam rejected (the first Adam), and which the second Adam did take, and which we’ll ALL be taking at that time. Revelation 2:26-27 He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; (27) And he shall RULE them with a rod of iron … Other scriptures say we’re going to judge the world. We’re even going to judge angels. But this world God is not going to save. He’s going to save a lot of people out of it. Those in the world that are not called now, I read you the scriptures of how all who are not still alive have all died; and many more are going to die before Christ comes. In fact, I would say that more than two-thirds of all the people on the face of this earth. I would say that probably close to 3 BILLION people on the earth are going to die or be killed between now and the Second Coming of Christ, and that’s in our lifetime. TERRIBLE things are going to happen, and the world now is frightened. The world’s leaders are frightened and perplexed, and they don’t understand. They don’t have any solutions. They don’t know what to do. Brethren, God is using us as the solution. We’re going to not save this world. We’re going to build a new world. And those that are left alive, they will have been called out of this world because this world will have CRASHED and be dead. We’ll be starting a new world, there won’t be any devil around to deceive them. And then for 1,000 years — which we celebrate at the Feast of Tabernacles every year — we’re going to be saving the rest of the world, and judging them, and ruling over them IN GOD’S WORLD, living God’s way according to God’s law and through the Spirit of God. They will be given the Spirit of God, and then they will be given eternal and immortal life. That is, all who are willing. But they will have to repent. They will have to make a decision — every one of them. But there won’t be any Satan around to deceive and mislead them. They won’t be deceived.

DECIDING TO GO GOD’S WAY

If they make a wrong decision, their blood will be on their own head. They won’t be deceived. Today most people are deceived. God knows that, and He puts the blame where it belongs — on Satan the devil. That is, the primary blame. Then, after the Millennium, there’ll be the Great White Throne Judgment; and everybody that ever lived is going to come back to life. Those converted during the Millennium, plus us, will all be in the Family of God in this NEW BUILDING, THIS NEW STRUCTURE. And the old structure will have crumbled and been long forgotten. Then, every one of them is going to be just like Adam was in the beginning. They’re going to face the two trees, so to speak; but there won’t be any devil there to deceive them. We’ll be there to teach them, and every influence around them is going to be a godly influence to lead them God’s way. You know, personally I believe the overwhelming majority are going to respond and be saved when they are no longer deceived; but not all, otherwise the Bible wouldn’t say that there are going to be those who will become ashes under the soles of our feet. It’s not a universal salvation. No one can be saved except he makes the decision himself. It’s not only making the decision, it’s acting on that decision. Sin is the transgression of the law, not just the temptation and the desire. It is acting on that temptation. It’s when the desire comes, you meditate on it and you think, and finally you give in and say, “Well, I’ll go ahead and do it.” The doing is the sin! People are going to have to make their own decisions. They’re going to have to be doers as well as hearers. But finally it will be God’s building, built on a sound foundation. But this world, this building, is on its last legs. We talk about the end of the world. It’s drawing near. Be sure that you’re not caught in the destruction, when the building crumbles that you don’t fall down with it. Come out of it before that time, because we are going to have protection. Come under that protection and we have nothing to worry about, but all hope and glory lies ahead for all of us. The current popular genre in movies today are about mankind SAVING THIS CURRENT WORLD from being destroyed! The movies and television shows are portraying mankind, in it’s super human glory, battling a great being from outer space, from destroying this current world and civilization. We read about how mankind will try to FIGHT JESUS CHRIST with armies when He returns to establish the Kingdom of God, in the battle of Armageddon. They themselves are being deceived into thinking that they need to SAVE THIS WORLD, but they are simply unable to. Since the beginning it was DOOMED to fail! It’s foundation is faulty. But THANK GOD, that His plan did not end with this current house/civilization which has been built upon Satan’s “GET” way of life! He gave a choice to Adam, and he rejected God. Then it was decided for Christ to come, and to start a NEW CIVILIZATION, and those whom God has called today, is being CALLED OUT of this current world, to be part of this NEW CIVILIZATION- the Kingdom of God. We see a lot of movies and television shows portraying superheroes saving this world, but this plot is contrary to what the Bible says and is being used by the great deceiver Satan to deceive the people in eventually fighting JESUS CHRIST, the very creator who is trying to DELIVER MANKIND FROM THEIR KIDNAPPER- SATAN! The wonderful HOPE is that all of mankind WILL BE SAVED from the enemy who seeks our destruction! Not by super human beings, but by the very GOD who created them and who seeks their good. Those called today have been called to be part of that HOUSEHOLD OF GOD, called out of this doomed world. Jesus Christ will return soon with the Church of God, His bride, who will be joint-SAVIORS OF MANKIND, to save us from total annihilation. Satan our kidnapper will be finally removed and all of mankind will have a chance to live in happiness, prosperity, and in abundant living in THE WORLD TOMORROW. HOW WONDERFUL IS THE HOPE AND SALVATION OF MANKIND! * Most of this article was said taken from Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong’s sermon: “Foundation of a New World By Herbert W Armstrong given December 31, 1983”. If you would like to listen to this sermon, please click here.        ]]>

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.]]>

DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!

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DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!

Personal  by Herbert W. Armstrong [The Good News Magazine, May 1982]

How did you come to be here on earth? Did you just happen, an accident of blind, unintelligent, unknowing, lifeless EVOLUTION? Or were you put here and given life by an all-knowing, all-intelligent, purposeful, living, supreme God, who designed and created the human mind and body? Let me tell you and I can prove it, and so can you if you are willing – that the great Creator brought YOU into existence on this earth FOR A GREAT AND MIGHTY PURPOSE! You were born into a world that has developed a certain type civilization. The instant you were born you knew – NOTHING! But your eyes opened, you looked about and knowledge of what you saw began registering in your memory – began putting knowledge into your mind. Your ears heard sounds, and thus additional knowledge entered through the sense of hearing. Very elementary at first, but gradually, each bit of new knowledge, entering your mind through your senses of taste, smell, feel, sight and hearing, was added to what had previously been stored there. Gradually you came to know, and take up with, the customs, ways, generally accepted ideas and beliefs of this world. You accepted them, took them for granted without question. Some of them were good – many of them were BAD. But you took them for granted without realizing they were bad. Human nature, you see, wants to BE good – that is, to believe it is good – to be considered good. It just doesn’t want to DO good. Because GOOD is the WAY of God’s invisible, inexorable, spiritual LAW. That LAW is, simply, LOVE. It is love toward God in the form of trusting and willing OBEDIENCE to God’s every command and direction, knowing it is for our highest good. It is love toward God in the form of being GOD-centered – having the mind continually (consciously or subconsciously) in contact with God, relying on God, seeking guidance from God, worshipful in the sense of gratitude, obedience, faith and complete trust. It is love toward fellowMAN – in the sense of outgoing concern, equal to love and concern for self. Now NO MAN exercises that kind of love naturally. You simply were not born with that kind of love. You DON’T HAVE IT! That is, not unless you have received it from God through His GIFT of His Holy Spirit. THAT love – God’s love – that of His Holy Spirit – travels a certain road. It is the road that leads to peace, to happiness, to confident assurance, security, well-being, ENJOYMENT without kickbacks, prosperity – every good thing the heart desires. Everyone wants that result. That is to say, everyone wants to have the RESULT of doing good. But no one, it seems, naturally wants to GO that way to DO good. That WAY – doing good – is the WAY of God’s law. This world is not FULL of happiness, peace, joy and universal prosperity. It is pretty well filled with strife in the home, in business, in politics, in war between nations. It is pretty well filled with unhappiness, frustrations, insecurity. It is pretty well filled with crime and violence, with broken homes and unhappy, quarreling homes, with sickness and disease, with frustrations, failures, tragedies. Now God is not the author of all these troubles in the world. God has, FOR A GREAT PURPOSE, made humans free moral agents, and allotted 6,000 years for mankind to make a choice – whether to accept God’s government over him, to be ruled by God’s law of LOVE, or whether to set up his own ideas of man-made government, following what comes naturally – HUMAN NATURE. That 6,000 years is about up. When it is – a very few more years, perhaps less than 10 – God Almighty is going to step in, intervene supernaturally and in divine POWER abolish governments and ways of society – rule all nations with GOD’s laws – and BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO HUMANITY! HOW can that be done? It’s simple! There is A WAY of personal, group and organized living that will automatically produce that utopia. And there is A WAY that has, for 6,000 years, produced curses, war, strife and violence, frustration, failure – everything this world has. God is simply going to enforce, with divine power, HIS WAY. He is going to take over all governments, in a super WORLD GOVERNMENT ruled by the very CREATOR. It will rule by GOD’S LAWS – the WAY of love! Why do some people – even college professors and some who are intellectually inclined – become Communists? Because they see many things WRONG in this world – they want to BE right – they grasp communism as a last straw and only hope, under the delusion that THEY CAN HAVE A PART IN MAKING THIS A BETTER WORLD! They want to BE right – but they don’t want to DO right. So they grasp the straw that makes the lying and false PROMISES of producing the solution. But communism is only another IDEA OF MAN BASED ON HUMAN NATURE. It is a theoretical WAY that would destroy what little good there might be in this world’s society. It is the most false of false hopes. But YOU can have a part in actually bringing PEACE, happiness, joy and abundance to humanity. God Almighty is going to do it – whether or not you have a part in it! But He is not going to do it alone. He is going to take certain human beings, born in the very LIKENESS of God, who REPENT of their carnal human nature – who cry out to God to CHANGE that nature and give them the matchless supreme GIFT of His divine LOVE that will travel THE WAY toward peace, happiness and joy. These are they who, through real repentance of what they are as well as what they have done, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as in His resurrected LIFE and POWER, are forgiven their guilty past, given contact with God, changed, converted, receiving HIS HOLY SPIRIT, being begotten as HIS CHILDREN, receiving the DIVINE nature. In other words, they REPENT of human nature – they REPENT of hostility to authority, of resentment against God’s law. They SURRENDER unconditionally to GOD, and wholeheartedly WANT Him to rule in their lives. They CHANGE (through God’s power given by His grace) from rebellion to submission – from SELF-centeredness to GOD-centeredness. They let Jesus Christ (in Spirit) come into their lives and actually live their lives for them (Gal. 2:20). They change from THE WAY that has brought all the curses upon this unhappy world to THE WAY that will bring a brilliant, joyous UTOPIA to earth in a very few years when God sends the living Jesus Christ in all power and glory to RULE ALL NATIONS and bring the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW! This CHANGE is conversion. This is what it means to become a Christian. A Christian is NOT merely one who PROFESSES Christ. God’s own instruction to us – the Bible – says that if one has not received God’s Holy Spirit, he is NONE of His – he is NOT a Christian (Rom. 8:9). God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to them who OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). This implants within the mind the divine nature – it means a CHANGED MIND! But it does not remove the HUMAN nature. The mind governs whether the converted Christian now follows the pulls, the impulses, the desires of human nature, or whether he resists them and is LED BY the newly received divine nature. “As many as are LED BY the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). But one’s human nature cries out to be satisfied – does not like to be repressed. Just receiving God’s Spirit is not enough. One must be LED by God’s Spirit. His Spirit opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual truth, and the KNOWLEDGE of God’s law. It opens the mind to THE WAY one should follow. God’s Spirit also is the love of God – God’s own divine love – flooding into the human heart, and flowing on out in love to God and love to neighbor. One must therefore GROW in spiritual knowledge and in God’s grace (II Pet. 3:18). He must become a DOER of God’s law – actually LIVING in THE WAY of peace and happiness and joy. This means he must OVERCOME his own carnal nature, his old habits, the temptations of the world – HE MUST BE CHANGED! He must develop toward perfect spiritual and righteous CHARACTER. The real Christian is undergoing a life of TRAINING to become a RULER in God’s Kingdom – in the happy and peaceful WORLD TOMORROW. One cannot learn everything in a minute, a day or a year. One does not become perfect at one jump. It is a continuous PROCESS. No Christian becomes perfect at the very beginning. He does not overcome or root out all the sins, the wrong habits, all at once. He must do it little by little. But, “he that overcometh, and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end,” says Jesus Christ, “to him will I give power over THE NATIONS: AND HE SHALL RULE THEM” (Rev. 2:26-27). WHY do THE NATIONS of this earth need ruling by Christ and those trained under a Christian life? Because all the unhappiness – everything WRONG with this world – has come from living THE WAY of hostility to God’s law and God’s government. Because the only way this world can have PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS is to be forced to build a society based on THE WAY that produces these desired blessings. If you have started on THAT RIGHT WAY, don’t get discouraged because you have slipped and fallen down along the road a few times. Get up and KEEP GOING. Even if you have sinned and are truly sorry, you can repent and Christ is your High Priest to forgive. Read and study I John 1:7-10 and 2:1-2. This is written to converted CHRISTIANS. At the time of Christ’s coming, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and rise to meet the descending Christ in the air. At that instant those living who have been thus changed, begotten by God’s Spirit, will be changed in composition, from mortal to immortal – from matter to spirit – from human to divine. THEY are then to RULE with and under the all-powerful, living Christ, until ALL NATIONS beat their swords into plowshares and PEACE shines forth on this war-weary earth! Jesus Christ taught His followers to PRAY: “THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH” (Matt. 6:10)! How about it? Shall we pray that prayer? I DO!]]>

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]]>

An Important Reminder —How Leaven Pictures Sin By George M. Kackos

 (Source)

God offers Christians vital lessons through the Days of Unleavened Bread. What do these days picture, and how can they help you lead a happier life?

The apostles were jolted! First, the sound of a violent windstorm filled the house where they were meeting. Then, almost before they had time to think, glowing flames of fire began leaping upon them. Continue reading…

ARE We Back on the Track? – When We Lack Faith?

ARE We Back on the Track? – When We Lack Faith?

by Herbert W. Armstrong [Good News Magazine Oct/Nov 1981]

  Is it because there is no God in the homes of our families, that we rely on “the god of Ekron”?   I am shocked — saddened — discouraged — hurt! I am writing this in flight. We just took off from Orr, Minn., flying back to Pasadena. At the SEP camp I spoke to 728, including 280 brethren from surrounding churches. I was informed that the youths in camp habitually demand a doctor for every little thing. It seems they have been taught at home to rely on doctors rather than God. When it is suggested that they may be anointed by a minister of God, in prayer for God to heal, as God PROMISES in James 5:14-15, they will consent, but seem to regard it as a perfunctory ritual of no effectuality, and still demand a doctor who can make them well. Their faith is wholly in the human doctor, not in God. Apparently their parents have no faith that God can keep His promises, and have not relied on God for healing their children. Brethren, I was shocked. It was like being stabbed in the heart. We are the generation looking for the coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God. We are the Bride of Christ. We have to be READY for His coming, or the door to eternal life and salvation will be SLAMMED IN OUR FACES (Matt. 25:10-12)! Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”! Read again these solemn scriptures:”Christ . . . loved the church, and gave himself for it . . . That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). And, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The Church as a whole will be ready. But the passage in Matthew 25 shows those individuals in it – or who profess to be in it — and are lukewarm and lacking in faith in God’s Word will have the door slammed in their faces! Brethren, ARE YOU READY? I believe the Church as a whole is rapidly getting ready. But apparently some are not. God says, “WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM” (Heb. 11:6) Work up faith? But some will make the excuse, “I just can’t seem to work up enough faith.” What you mean is, “I don’t believe God will keep His promises — I don’t believe God’s Word, the Bible.” God says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus ministered as the Son of man. He said: “Of myself I can do nothing. The father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Jesus had, by the Spirit of God, the GIFT of healing, as mentioned in I Corinthians 12:9. Peter had it. Paul had it. Only a few had it. But to MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, God says: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (Jas. 5:14-15). God wants us to BELIEVE Him — believe what He says — believe He is able — believe it is His WILL to do what He promises — and believe He WILL do it! Do you have to “work up faith” to believe God is able – God will keep His PROMISES? A woman who called me to anoint and pray for her healing once said, “Well, I know God is able to heal me but I don’t know whether it is His will.” I read to her, “Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities” (Ps. 103:2-3) and I stopped there. “Do you believe that? Do you believe it is His WILL to forgive all your sins?” “Oh, yes,” she replied. “But WHY do you believe it?” I asked. “Because it says so in the Bible,” she answered. “Then do you think God lied in the other half of that verse, which says, `who healeth all thy diseases’?” How about you? Do YOU who read this believe God? Do you have to struggle and try to work up faith to believe God MEANS what He says, and will DO what He says? “Yes,” some will answer, “but what about times when people called the elders of the Church, who anointed and prayed for healing, and they were not healed?” But HOW DO YOU KNOW they were not healed? Well, they reply, because the pain was still there. They could still FEEL It. They could SEE that they were not healed. But, God answers, “We walk by FAITH, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). What one sees or feels has nothing to do with it. Jesus said, “According to your FAITH be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). A trying experience I had to learn this, personally, by a trying experience. I was visiting my parents’ home. In the evening my father was suddenly stricken. Another minister was with me. We anointed and prayed for him. He did not improve immediately so we continued to pray. We prayed without ceasing all night. I prayed in positive faith. I KNEW God would heal my father. Occasionally I opened the Bible, and each time I opened it to a scripture that seemed to imply God heard and he would be healed. My faith was actually strengthened through the night. Yet at 9:40 next morning my father died. It was a traumatic shock and blow to my faith. For a while I simply couldn’t understand it! I knew God had PROMISED. I had obeyed His command in James 5:14 in implicit FAITH. I had not doubted. I prayed for understanding. I turned to the “faith chapter” of the Bible — Hebrews 11. There I was reminded again, “Faith is the . . . evidence of things NOT SEEN”(verse 1). 1 could SEE that my father was not healed. But that was not the evidence proving whether he was healed. FAITH is the evidence — the PROOF — that God’s Word is good. Then, reading on, I saw again that God had made the PROMISES on which our salvation and eternal life depend to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The only PROOF we have of eternal life is GOD’S PROMISES according to His conditions. But Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all died IN FAITH, not (yet) having received the promises. But verse 40 shows God’s promises are SURE! They SHALL receive the promises in the resurrection. There I saw the TRUTH! God opened my eyes to see. God did not tell Abraham HOW or WHEN He would fulfill His promises. He will do it HOW and WHEN He wills, not when we will. My father will have the healing I prayed for in the resurrection. That will be the next split second of his consciousness. God keeps His promises This fact — that God keeps His promises HIs WAY and in His TIME — I realize, means a great test of faith to our people today. But faith is RELYING ON GOD’S WORD! Let me repeat that: FAITH is RELYING ON GOD’S WORD! Sometimes the things God expects of us by FAITH seem IMPOSSIBLE! Look at Abraham’s case. Abraham had wanted a son. He had yielded to temptation, and sired an illegitimate son by his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. He wanted God’s promises to Abraham to be carried out through Ishmael, Hagar’s son. But God refused. God keeps His promises GOD’S way. God’s way required a miracle. When Abraham was 99 years old and his wife Sarah was 90, God caused the barren Sarah at last to have a son. All God’s promises had to be fulfilled through this son Isaac. Then God put Abraham’s FAITH in God’s word to a severe TEST. God told Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Now most people would have used human reason. If Isaac were killed as a sacrifice, how could God keep His promises through a dead son? There was NO WAY except if God performed a MIRACLE to keep His word. But, impossible as it must have seemed to Abraham, he RELIED ON GOD’S WORD! HE OBEYED! At the very last second, God caused a ram to be caught by its horns in the bushes behind Abraham, and God told Abraham to offer the ram as a burnt offering instead of his son. WHAT A TEST OF FAITH! Believe God’s Word Yet God expects you and me today to BELIEVE HIs WORD — to RELY ON HIM to keep His promises! Jesus Christ was beaten with stripes terribly, suffering indescribable pain and agony, to pay the PENALTY of physical sin, so that you and I and our children may be HEALED. And by His stripes we are healed (I Pet. 2:24). Jesus’ suffering by being beaten with stripes was in vain unless God’s Word is good — unless we are healed! James 5:15 says the prayer of FAITH shall save the sick, and the Lord WILL HEAL. Yes, there are conditions to God’s promises. Jesus said, “According to your FAITH be it unto you.” He said to a young woman, “Thy FAITH hath made thee whole.” When you don’t believe, you do two things: 1) You nullify His promise by not performing His condition to healing and 2) you make God a liar — you don’t believe His Word! There is another condition: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22). You must be yielded to obedience to His commandments. And you must be doing what is pleasing in His sight — and that includes BELIEVING He will do what He promised. You MUST BELIEVE God will heal! You can believe another human person if he promises to do something for you. WHY can’t you believe God will do what He has promised — what Jesus suffered a terrible beating with stripes for, that you may be healed? WHY is it hard for you to believe God means what He says — that He WILL DO what He has promised? WHY can you believe a human doctor who is a sinner (for all have sinned) — and cannot believe God? WHY? Medicines can’t heal. Drugs can’t heal and always have side effects, which often are harmful. Surgeon’s knives can’t heal. A famous doctor said, “If all the medicines in the world were thrown into the ocean, it would be so much better for humanity, and so much worse for the fishes.” According to your faith But, brethren, “According to YOUR faith be it unto you.” If you can’t believe God when He speaks and promises, you simply have no hope of salvation and eternal life! These are the LAST DAYS! These are days of trying and testing. We are taking FINAL EXAMS to see whether we make it into God’s Kingdom. Must some of you FAIL? When I was in school, in the hours before final exams, I really “crammed.” I “crammed” desperately, for I had lagged somewhat during the school year. But by the last spurt of effort, I usually got close to 100 percent in final exams — and I passed after all. Fasting and prayer often will restore faith. It will bring faith from God if you never had it before. I fasted and prayed for two days once in a serious emergency when the lives of two members of my family were at stake. I spent the first hour in prayer. The second hour in Bible reading to try to see why I lacked faith. The third hour in contemplation, self-examination, trying to THINK where I was wrong and why my faith had weakened. The next hour again in prayer, then an hour in Bible study, an hour in contemplation and so on for two days, while fasting. At the end of that time, slightly less than two days, FIVE miracles happened, and a few days later a sixth I had not asked. We are all now in the time of final exams. Looking down into this very time, Jesus said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Brethren, are some of you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? King Ahaziah of Israel was severely injured and in sickness. But he sent for Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, for healing (II Kings 1:1-4). But God said through the prophet Elijah, “Isn’t it because there is not a God in Israel that you go to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” This Baal-zebub was known as “the god of flies” — the medical god of that day. So God said the king must die because of lack of faith. Is it because there is no God whose Word is good for healing, that some of You brethren rear your children relying on Baal-zebub in the form of the doctors of our day? Which God is in YOUR home? In which do you have FAITH? Brethren, let us be READY when Christ comes. Do your cramming to learn FAITH now, for the time is short. Let’s all make it into His Kingdom!]]>

What Is A Liberal?

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What Is a Liberal?

by Herbert W. Armstrong [Good News Magazine, March 1979 ]

  Jesus Christ says a house divided against itself cannot stand! A few “liberal” ministers have caused “division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.” God’s House has been divided. But NO LONGER!   GOD SAYS to His Church, through the apostle Paul, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). This passage continues saying the church at Corinth, precisely like today’s Church of God, was following various and differing men with differing doctrines. They, like many today, were forgetting that the HEAD of the Church is Jesus Christ —that Christ is ALIVE today! That HE really is leading us! Satan has been striking at God’s Church and Work from within and from without! And as in the Ephesian church, where Paul said “. . . of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). What happened in those churches in the first century has happened to us today. Those guilty of causing division are fighting God and shall be judged by Him! My son, Garner Ted, fell under the influence of certain liberals, with whom he surrounded himself. He had had some liberal leanings prior to that. There were those around him bent on changing the doctrines of God’s Church, watering down God’s TRUTH. I am learning now that my son was swayed under this liberal and secular-oriented influence. Because of his position of executive vice-president, and because he assumed authority beyond that delegated to him, those who were sound in the doctrines Christ had put into God’s Church, who had been taught directly by me in earlier days of the college, were demoted, shanghaied away from headquarters. Gradually, subtilely, systematically, while I was in other parts of the world carrying Christ’s Gospel message, doctrines were being watered down, the college was being made secular, God and Christ were being cast out and a conspiracy was in progress to get rid of Christ’s chosen apostle, unless he accommodated the conspirators by dying. Church teachings were being changed. The most resultful booklet of all, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, was attacked, greatly deleted and later put out of circulation—the same with a number of other basic and important booklets written by Christ’s apostle. This group of liberals assumed the authority of setting Church doctrine. The one who primarily wrote the Systematic Theology Project later wrote, “My only goal in coordinating the project was to bring doctrinal consistency, stability and unity to the ministry”—that is, unity in watered-down doctrines that older loyal ministers did not and never would accept! THAT WAS NOT UNITY—IT WAS DIVISION! But what do we mean—LIBERAL? Let’s understand what defines a liberal—and GOD’S WORD about it. What is the basic difference between Old Testament teaching and that of the New Testament? The same BASIC SPIRITUAL LAW was given to both Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church. But there was still a great difference. Notice how the apostle Paul defined this difference. “[God] Who also hath made us able ministers of the NEW testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (II Corinthians 3:6). It’s the same basic SPIRITUAL law. But without the Holy Spirit, the people of Old Testament Israel could keep the law of God only by the strict letter of the law—not by the SPIRIT or its obvious intent or principle involved. Years ago God showed me, by an incident, what He means by the spirit of the law. My elder daughter, Beverly, was in school, possibly the seventh or eighth grade or high school— I don’t remember the year. She was an avid and a rapid reader. One day her teacher sent me a note, saying Beverly was injuring her eyes and her progress in schoolwork by excessive reading. She had been bringing books of fiction—love stories—from the school library. She would read a whole book in two or three evenings at home. I spoke with my daughter and told her she must stop bringing the fiction books from the school library and stop her excessive reading—because her teacher had sent me a note saying it was interfering with her schoolwork. The very next evening I noticed Beverly reading a book, and she was almost halfway through it. “Is that another fiction book?” I asked. “Yes, Daddy,” she replied. “Didn’t I tell you to stop reading these fiction books?” “Yes, Daddy, but you said to stop bringing the books from the school library, and I obeyed you. I didn’t bring this book from the school library, I borrowed it from Helen.” She obeyed the strict letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit or obvious intent. Jesus gave some examples of the spirit of the law. He said: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill . . . But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment . . .” (Matthew 5:21-22). Speaking of the Old Testament observance of the law, Jesus said: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). The SPIRIT of the law The spiritual law of God is a general principle, which, in its spirit, covers EVERY act. God intends for us today to apply the principle to every act. It is summed up in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” The law of God is a WAY OF LIFE. It is all-encompassing, IN PRINCIPLE—that is, according to its spirit. It is an attitude. It may be summed up in ONE WORD: LOVE. That one word is a principle of life. It is the way of OUTFLOWING love toward God and man. It is the way of GIVE, instead of GET. It is then magnified into the two great laws—love toward GOD, and love toward neighbor. In turn this is magnified into 10 general principles—the first four of the Ten Commandments express the principle of love toward GOD, the last six the principle of love toward man. We are commanded to love God more than self—with all our hearts. We are told to love neighbor AS, or equal to, ourselves. A principle—not every specific detail In the Bible God does not write down every specific detail of the PRINCIPLE or SPIRIT of His Law! He expects us, with His Holy Spirit, to apply the principle to every circumstance, act or question. The whole duty of man is keeping God’s law IN THE SPIRIT— far more than the specific detailed letter. It is the ATTITUDE or the principle of the law. The law does not list every detail included in the duty of man. Reduced to its simplest overall denominator, the whole law is the one word, LOVE. HOW does God’s Church receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? Direct from God, through the channels of Jesus Christ as HEAD of the Church, and from Him through the apostles! NEVER by any others! NEVER by a group of ministers appointing themselves as a Doctrinal Committee! So it was in the first century. HOW did the Worldwide Church of God receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH CHRIST’S APOSTLE! True, I have practiced the biblical principle that “in multitude of counsel there is safety.” On many occasions some top-level ministers have contributed certain input that has helped me in setting doctrine. BUT EVERY DOCTRINE, BELIEF AND TEACHING IN THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD HAS COME FROM CHRIST THROUGH HIS CHOSEN APOSTLE! Now, for example, we have a teaching that smoking is a sin. HOW did the Church receive that belief? Let me tell you. Fifty-two years ago, at the time of my conversion and baptism, I had to decide that question. I had been smoking—believe it or not! But only lightly—about three cigarettes a day. But I had to decide whether it was right or wrong. Now Adam and Eve took TO THEMSELVES the knowledge of right and wrong. Only GOD can give us that knowledge. I knew that. I had to decide at the time, for myself, but I knew I must look to CHRIST, the Word of God, for the answer. Of course I knew the Bible contained no teaching specifically on smoking tobacco. But I had learned the truth of II Corinthians 3:3 that sin is violation of the principle or intended meaning of the law. So I asked myself: “Why do I smoke? To love or honor God?” Answer, NO! “To express love, or outgoing concern, for the welfare of other people?” Again, NO! I knew that some found second-hand tobacco smoke objectionable. “For my own good—health or otherwise?” Again, NO! For although I did not know, nor anybody else 52 years ago, that smoking was a cause of lung cancer, I did know the function of the lungs in filtering out impurities from the blood and expelling the impurities through the breath. And I knew that inhaling smoke only clogged up the lungs with added impurities and interfered with their normal functioning. On every count I found smoking was CONTRARY to the PRINCIPLE of GOD’S LAW! Therefore I knew it was a sin, and I stopped smoking and have not smoked for 52 years. Jesus Christ through me put into God’s Church the teaching that smoking is wrong—mild or not, nevertheless, it is sin! Now if I had decided that as some of our ministers wanted to decide doctrine, I would have said, “The Bible does not contain a specific LAW against smoking.” That is the way of the LIBERAL —who wants to water down the truth of God and go as far into this world—which means as far in Satan’s way—as possible and still get into God’s Kingdom. The liberal is one who has a DIFFERENT APPROACH to questions of human conduct than God, or those who have really been CONQUERED by God and are being led by God’s Holy Spirit. What is God’s attitude? What is God’s ATTITUDE? Does God really want to sin, but, because He has power of resistance, He uses willpower and does not ALLOW Himself to sin? Can you realize that SIN is absolutely ABHORRENT to God? God DOES NOT WANT TO SIN! He has no such desire! He HATES sin! He is not tempted to sin! God loves and desires righteousness and holiness. That’s what He LOVES, DESIRES AND DOES! Listen, my children in the living Christ! Do you really WANT to smoke—want to have birthday parties— want to go along with this world in its ways? Is that what you really want to do? Do you have to use self-resistance, self-discipline and willpower to prevent going along in this world’s ways? If so, you have not yet been really CONQUERED by the all-loving GOD! If so, you do not yet have the mind of Christ or His attitude or approach to problems or questions! IF so, you’d better begin TREMBLING at the Word of God! Or, do you really hunger and thirst for God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS? You can’t have both attitudes! You have one or the other! Which is it? Are you like Mrs. Emma Smith, one of the new converts in 1933 who formed the parent church of the Worldwide Church of God? She came to me one day saying her father had died and his will left her some money. “How much of this do I have to tithe?” she asked. “I don’t want to tithe any more than I have to to still get into God’s Kingdom.” The doctrine of Balaam She was, in principle and attitude, like Balaam, mentioned as an evil man in Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14. The story about Balaam is found in Numbers 22. Balaam was a liberal—only perhaps more so. The Israelites under Moses had finally encamped on the east side of the Jordan River in the vicinity of Moab and Ammon. They were just across the river from Jericho. Balak, king of the Moabites, was afraid, for the Israelites greatly outnumbered Moab. So he sent messengers to the sorcerer Balaam, a pater or pagan leader, apparently with bribe money, asking Balaam to remain overnight. He prayed to God, for he knew he could not do this evil unless God allowed. The point is, Balaam wanted the rewards of divination, which the messengers from Moab had brought. He wanted to go as far in the GET way of life, even for doing evil, as he could. But he knew his curse against Israel would be ineffective unless he had God’s permission. God said to Balaam, “. . . Thou shall not curse the people: for they are blessed” (Numbers 22:12). There is much more to the story, but the point I want to show here is the ATTITUDE of wanting to go as far in the way of evil as possible. In Jude 11, God says, “Woe unto them! for they . . . ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward . . .” And in Revelation to the church at Pergamos, Jesus said, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam . . .” (Revelation 2:14). Christ is now purging out of His Church those that “hold the doctrine of Balaam!” Balaam was a liberal. The liberal is going also in the way of Satan. Satan’s evil attitude “. . . there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Eternal, and Satan came also among them . . .” The Eternal asked Satan if he had considered God’s servant Job, “. . . that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man . . .” (Job 1:6-8). Satan argued that Job served God in SELF-interest, for God had given him all his material wealth. But if God would allow Satan to take all his possessions from him, Satan said Job would curse God. The Eternal answered, “. . . Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (verse 12). Satan destroyed all Job’s wealth and even his sons and daughters. But Satan caused other humans to do his evil. Yet Job maintained his own righteousness and refused to curse God. Satan tried again. Satan argued that a man would give all he had for his own life. But he contended that if God would allow him to do evil to Job’s person, Job would curse God. God allowed this, but said, “save his life.” Did you ever have a boil? I did—just once, many, many years ago. I shall never forget it. The pain was nearly unbearable. And that was only one boil. Job was covered with boils from head to foot! But still he did not curse God. In the end God spoke to Job. Job’s one great sin was one Satan could not ascertain. It was SELF-righteousness. When God spoke, opening Job’s eyes to his self-righteousness, Job repented deeply, and God restored to him two-fold for all he had allowed Satan to destroy. The point I want to make here is, Satan CANNOT go farther than God allows—but Satan wanted to inflict as much evil and destruction and harm as possible. It is Satan’s ATTITUDE that is his prime evil. He does not hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. He harbors only the deep-rooted desire to DO EVIL—TO GO CONTRARY TO GOD’S LAW OF LOVE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS! He wanted to go as far as he could in the evil way contrary to GOD’S WAY. That was in his heart. The liberal attitude The liberal among us today wants to GET! He wants to GET into God’s Kingdom, but he wants to go along with this world’s ways AS FAR AS GOD WILL ALLOW AND STILL LET HIM MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM! The liberal has deceived himself! I do not believe the liberal realizes his own attitude. He really wants to get into the Kingdom of God—he wants to RECEIVE the eternal rewards of happiness, joy and eternal life in security. But he still would like to hang on to some of this world’s ways. He doesn’t want to tithe, unless he can see beyond any of his arguments there is a specific LAW compelling him to tithe. He wants to be free to vote, at least in local elections. The argument was made to me that our Church people actually outnumbered others living in Big Sandy, Tex., BUT (what a big word is “BUT”) you see, if they did not vote, the minority would vote to incorporate the Ambassador College campus into the town of Big Sandy, and we’d have to pay big taxes. It never seemed to occur to the liberal mind that CHRIST will solve our problems, and we do not have to go contrary to HIS ATTITUDE! Like Mrs. Emma Smith, who was too new as a child in Christ and had not grown sufficiently as yet in His grace and knowledge —like Balaam—like Satan—the liberal wants to see how close he can come to the precipice without falling and losing his eternal life. Like Mother Eve, they use HUMAN REASON to justify straying partly away from the SPIRIT of God’s LAW. They want to keep the law in the strict letter, but not in the spirit! In his heart, the liberal would like to “go along” at least part way with this world. What is the mind of Christ? But God says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). What is the mind of Christ? What is His attitude—His approach to viewing and deciding all activities? Does He, as I asked before, really WANT TO sin, to think and act contrary to His Law, but because of His super power, restrain Himself? We know He has never sinned. But why? Is He sinless because He has such supernatural POWER to restrain Himself? A THOUSAND TIMES, NO! The living Christ has never sinned because He does not want to sin! What is His MIND, that should be also in us? It is a mind that HATES sin, that LOVES righteousness. It’s a matter of ATTITUDE! The liberal is not hungering and thirsting after RIGHTEOUSNESS! He WANTS to ease off a little on God’s Law, He wants to do only as much as he has to, to receive the reward of eternal life. He has not yet fully gotten rid of the GET attitude, and come into the GIVE attitude. It is Satan who deceives and puts into many human minds the desire to go as far into this world as he thinks God will allow—and into its ways of VANITY and INTELLECTUALISM (carnal, secular)—vanity of mind. Having the ATTITUDE of the “SPIRIT OF THE LAW” is the attitude of the mind of CHRIST!]]>

Passover Examinations

Passover Examinations

By Herbert W Armstrong

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

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[TRANSCRIPT]

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.
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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”!]]>