And greetings friends! This is Herbert W. Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow!
You know, I used to say, well, all of these churches can't be wrong, you can't tell me that they're all wrong, these are the churches of Christ — of course they are. Of course, they may be a little bit divided — one believes one thing and another another, along certain lines, but then does that make any difference? These are all really Christian churches — don't they all call themselves Christian? Aren't they all really Christian churches?
My friends, why is it then that you don't find anywhere today in any organized religion the same Gospel that Jesus Christ preached? Why do they believe contrary to that which Jesus Christ preached? Why is it that they think He was so wrong if Jesus Christ is the living head of these churches? Can the organization of which Christ is now the head think that Christ is so wrong? Why is it that they follow customs and practices that are diametrically contrary to those of which Christ set the example and the customs of which the Church started out at its inception under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of the Apostles?
Now, we've been going through the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — again, skimming through to see what Jesus Christ did preach, what example He did set, what He did teach those Apostles who at that time during His ministry as it is called were the Disciples. Now, a disciple is a student or a learner. They were going to school so to speak. Jesus Christ was the teacher. They were His students. He was teaching them. After they were taught then they were given the official designation of Apostles. And an apostle is in effect an ambassador carrying the authority of his government. And Jesus talked about a Government but you don't hear that in the churches today. Jesus talked about a Government, a Kingdom — the Kingdom of God. And His whole message, His whole Gospel concerned the Kingdom of God. Jesus went about doing two things: preaching the Kingdom of God and healing the sick and casting out demons of course which is along the line of healing the sick very closely akin to it and some time it's all the same thing. That is exactly what Jesus Christ commissioned His disciples to do during the, you might say, the practice period of their training, during His earthly three and a half years of ministry.
And then again that is exactly what He commissioned them to do after they graduated, shall we say, in modern language and after they had completed His course of instruction and after they were ready to go out, after they, on the Day of Pentecost of course had received the Power and been empowered with the very Spirit of God to do the Work for which they had been trained to which they had been called.
Now, we had come to the Sermon on the Mount and I had started to explain yesterday and then we got off on some other things that I just took the time to explain to you while we had that opportunity that Jesus seeing multitudes had gone up into a mountain. He had prayed all night to God and after a whole night's prayer, all night, losing sleep.
Now, Jesus did not abuse His body, He may have lost sleep once in a while, but you know, you can catch that up if you don't do it too often. However, if you're going to lose sleep all the time and make a habit of it, it becomes dissipation and that's not good, that's another thing. But Jesus Christ did not do that. But He had prayed all night to God and I think He got enough of the refreshing relaxation and that which is upbuilding and uplifting and refreshing and strengthening from that night of prayer that I think it more than made up for the physical loss from the sleep.
Anyway, His disciples had come to Him and He opened His mouth and taught them His disciples saying or as Luke has it "He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, Blessed are ye poor." Now, as I've mentioned before, before He had finished with what we call the Sermon on the Mount, apparently the multitudes had come up on the mountain, provided that's where He still was. You know it's not absolutely clear that He was still up on the mountain, is it, for that matter? But, anyhow, at the conclusion, there were people there. But always He spoke to the crowds or the people in parables as He said He did in order that they could not understand and to hide the meaning because it was not given to them to understand. But to His Disciples He said, "It is given to you to understand." He was teaching them to fit them, to prepare them to become His Apostles and so He was teaching them and they did understand. It was given to them to understand.
Now, beginning with verse thirteen, Matthew the seventh chapter, He said, "Enter ye in by the narrow gate." Now, this is the way He was teaching His own disciples. Was He wrong? This isn't the way we hear it today. As the fellow says, "T'aint the way that I heard it." Well, it isn't the way most of you hear it today. But Jesus said, "Enter in by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to..." what? Not to Heaven. He didn't say it leads to Heaven. He said that gate, that way that is easy, that is popular, the way the crowds are going, the way the millions of religious professing people and Christian professing people are going leads to destruction.
Now, He didn't say it led to burning forever and ever either. He never said that, my friends, at any time, contrary to what you probably have believed. Yes, He talked about a Gehenna Fire, which is translated into the English words of hellfire, and erroneously translated, at that. But, He was talking about a kind of fire that destroyed the bodies of animals and even of criminals and of the garbage and other junk and things that were thrown down off that ledge of the valley of Hinnom at the south gate of the city of Jerusalem. It destroyed and burned up all that, that was put in it. Now, here Jesus said it leads to destruction. He didn't say it leads to living in a hellfire burning of screaming torture forever but that it leads to destruction. And He said "many there be" and "many be they that enter in thereby..."
Now, notice, He didn't say the few are going the wrong way. He said the many are going the wrong way. And always in the teaching of Jesus, always in the prophecies of the Bible, always in the prophecies of the New Testament you find it is the many that are being deceived and you find that among the ministers and the preachers that it is the false prophets that are in the majority and it is the many false prophets. But nowhere, my friends, do you find the many are being really saved, that the many are preaching the Truth, that the many are the true ministers of Jesus Christ. You cannot find that in your Bible. And yet haven't we believed that these many, these popular denominations, that they're all the real true churches of Christ and all these ministers are the true ministers of Jesus Christ. They claim to be.
Well now, you know, you turn over here to second Corinthians, second Corinthians and the eleventh chapter and you read something here but do we believe the Bible when we read it, when we read these prophecies, when we read these warnings, these truths, do we believe them? Or do we think, "Well, it just couldn't be that way." Paul said here, "I fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds," he's speaking to the Church now at Corinth, "your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus..." In other words, the man that comes preaching to you, if the preacher that comes now preaches "another Jesus."
Oh, my friends, do they preach another Jesus today? Have you heard anyone today preach a Jesus that did not agree with His Father's commandments, that try to tell you, "You're not under the Law. Oh, no, the Law is a bad thing. You don't have to obey the Law." And they can take some of these passages of the Apostle Paul whose writings Peter said are hard to be understood which many that are unlearned, wrest or twist and distort as they do also the other scriptures to their own destruction. Have you ever heard a preacher tell you that Jesus nailed His Father's Commandments to the cross, that He did away with the Law, that Law is really bad and give you the impression that God's Law is not good. But the way that seems right to you, do what you want to do, that is the right thing. "God's Word is no good. God's Law is not good. God's Law is bad. Oh my, we don't want that. Why that would be a terrible thing if we were under the Law of God. But Jesus was kind and loving and Jesus did away with His Father's Commandments." Have you ever heard any preaching like that?
Look, that is another Jesus than the one you can read in your Bible. Do you know what you what you've been listening to? Do you know what you've been hearing? In the many that Jesus labels and the Apostles label and your Bible labels as false prophets you have been hearing them take little pieces here and little pieces there and distort them out of their context. And by twisting a little here and a little there, you can make it say anything you want to make it say and that's exactly what you've been listening to and believing it and you've been, most of you, swallowing that kind of thing hook, line and sinker and I want to tell you it's about time we wake up. You can make the Bible say anything by that method. If you take a little here and a little there and piece it together anyway you want to do it. You can really do that.
It's like the fellow that hated another man, he didn't have any love in his heart, but he surely could quote the scripture. And a lot of people that have lost all their love and have hatred can quote scripture. And this man disliked another man very much and so he wrote him a letter all quoting scripture. He didn't say a word of his own, he just quoted scripture. But took a little piece here and a little piece there, the way he wanted to put it together. So he...let me see if I can remember how that was. He quoted this, how Judas Iscariot went out and hanged himself. I'm not going to quote the exact words because I haven't looked it up and I never try to just quote from the Bible from memory because our memories play tricks on us and get mixed up. I like to turn and read it. So I'm not trying to quote this word for word. But how Judas went out and hanged himself, "Go thou and do likewise." Now, in another passage he found something taking it right in the middle, speaking about something else altogether said, "Go thou and do likewise." So he put the two together. "Judas went out and hanged himself, go thou and do likewise."
Now, you can call a fellow all kinds of names. In fact, you can turn to the place where Jesus called the Pharisees whitened sepulchers, liars, hypocrites and you can quote that and call a man any kind of name you want, you can tell him where to go to, you can tell him about anything you want and just quote it all out of the Bible. Now, please don't start to use the Bible like that and send me in some letters and tell me where to go and send a lot of nasty things into me because I hope that you don't hate me like that for telling you the truth, my friends.
But I have to tell you the truth because I'm serving not you, but God. Well, I'm serving you too if you could only understand it and it is a life of service but it's for your good and not necessarily what you want. Because I think we all want the result of good but we don't want the way to it, that's the trouble.
Now, here was another Jesus being preached. "Or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, that you might bear with him..." It showed that there would be false preachers preaching a different Jesus than the one in the Bible.
The Jesus in the Bible kept His Father's Commandments; He set us an example that we should follow His steps. He said he had spoken nothing of Himself; the Father that sent Him gave Him a commandment what to say and what to speak. He said if you would enter into life, if you want to be saved, if you want eternal life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS! How many ministers will preach that today? How many believe it today? They tell you to do just exactly the opposite. They turn the Bible upside down. And I tell you my friends, it's about time we woke up and realized what we've been accepting.
Down here it says that such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ and no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into what, not a devil, but an angel of light and he pretends to have light. He came to Adam in the Garden of Eden.
God had said to Adam, "You obey me. You do what I say." God commanded the man saying, that is written in the second chapter of Genesis, those exact words, God commanded the man saying, then He went on to tell what He said to the man. He gave the man a command what to do.
The Devil came around said, "Now, look, God's just not fair. God's Law is going to...why it's a hard stern thing that's going to make you unhappy. God is not your friend. God is against you and God gets happiness out of your misery and He's trying to put you under a law that will make you miserable. Now, look, you can see with your own mind, that that tree is good. And it's pleasant to the eyes isn't it? And it's desirable to make you wise. You'll be like a God when you take of it. God knows that, He knows better. Now, God deceived you. Now, look, use your own mind, use your own reason. Haven't you got a mind?"
Why, the Devil, must have said to Adam... (You know all that he said is not written in the scriptures.) He must of said, "Look around you. Look at all these wild animals and all the tame animals. Can they think? Can they take facts and reason from them? Can they draw conclusions? Can they form opinions, ideas and design or plan things and then go about and make them or execute what they have designed? Can they do what they want? Can they make decisions like that out of reasoning? Of course not. Why, you have the powers of God. Why don't you be like God and use your own reason and do the thing that you can see is right? You have ability to know what's right, why do you have to listen to that God?" That's the way the Devil undoubtedly must have talked to Adam.
Now, Eve is the one that took of the fruit first and it's when she saw. Now, she began to see with her own mind and her own eyes, she saw that that fruit was desired to make one wise. It was good for food; she didn't see anything bad about it. God must have been wrong. She took of it, which was stealing — it wasn't hers to take. She obeyed the Devil and had another God before the true God and disobeyed God. She took of it — that was stealing. She saw how good it was and how desired it was — that was lust. And she disobeyed her only parent. And she broke four of the Ten Commandments and she gave to Adam and he took and did the same thing, breaking four of the Ten Commandments which is sin — the original sin in the Garden of Eden.
And do you know that you're hearing that same old siren song today. And a lot of them say, "Now, look, use your own reason. God's Law is not fair. It's against you, it's contrary to you." And then they take a little out of Galatians or a little out of Romans here and there, but they don't read these other passages in Romans and Galatians that say exactly the opposite. Oh no, they leave those out. For instance, I'll just give you one or two in passing and I'm not going to take much time now because I want to hurry along.
Here in the second chapter of Romans the thirteenth verse: "Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." Did you know that's in your Bible?
Now, why do these fellows that try to tell you all the time that God's Law is such a bad for you and trying to lead you into more of this unhappiness, this misery that has beset this earth, this poverty, this squalor, these empty lives that you have all the fears and the worries that you carry instead of leading you into the way that would relieve you from all of that into the way of God? They tell you that if you're a doer of the Law, you can't be saved and they'll quote a passage which is referring to another thing altogether over in Galatians that'll tell you that you're under a curse, won't they?
Well, what about this? Does this contradict it? My friends, can you just take the Bible as a contradiction and take the passages that say what you want them to say and ignore the others? Do you think you can do that? Do you know that this passage right here is going to face you in the Judgment Day just as much as the others. You're going to be judged by these words.
Listen. "For not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified." That is Romans the second chapter, the thirteenth verse. And my, why didn't we think it was Romans? Haven't we heard it was Romans that was supposed to have done away with all the Law of God.
Why, look back here in the first chapter and the twenty-eighth verse, "Even as they [speaking of these Gentiles] did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." Now, look what God gave over Gentiles to do: "Being filled with all unrighteousness..." Now, back in Psalms 119 verse 172 the definition of righteousness is "all thy Commandments are righteousness." So they were breaking God's Commandments. Filled with all unrighteousness would be breaking all of God's Commandments. "Fornication [which is breaking the Spirit of course of and just a first cousin to adultery, and breaking the Spirit of the Law against adultery] wickedness, covetousness ['thou shalt not covet': one of the Ten Commandments], maliciousness, full of envy, murder ['thou shalt do no murder' — 'thou shalt not kill': one of the Ten Commandments], disobedient to parents [the Commandments say, 'honor thy parents']..." Yes, there it is. "They which do commit such things are worthy of death." "Sin," my friends, "is the transgression of the Law.", I John 3:4. And the penalty of sin is death, not eternal life in hellfire. When will we wakeup and realize we've been taught exactly the opposite of what the Bible says and begin to believe the Bible.
Now, just turn over one page here and in the third chapter and the thirty-first verse of Romans you read this: "Do we then make void the law through faith?" Now, we're justified by faith, aren't we? Then doesn't that make the Law all void so we don't have to keep the Law anymore? Do we then make void the Law through faith?" Paul says, "God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Why don't they quote that to you? You never heard them quote that, did you? No, they won't quote that one; they quote other passages.
Now, here again in the fourth chapter and in the fifteenth verse: "where no Law is, there is no transgression." My friends, if that Law is done away, if there is no law, there is no transgression. And where no transgression is there's no sin, because sin is the transgression of the Law and if there's no law there's no transgression, then there's no sin. If there's no law, you don't need a Saviour. You know it's the Law that took Jesus' life. He didn't take the Law. The Law did away with Him, He didn't do away with it. He took over your sins, your transgressions of that Law and mine in our stead and the Law took His life in exchange for yours and mine. Because it's going to take yours and mine if you don't accept what He did for you and repent of your transgressions and begin to keep that Law of God.
Well, I can go on and on. Over here in the seventh chapter, Paul says himself, "Is the Law sin?" Why, certainly think so today, do you think so? Do you really believe the Law of God is sin? Paul says, "God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin..." He wouldn't have even known what was sin, what was right from what was wrong but by the Law. "For, I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." There you are.
Now, in verse twelve he says, "Wherefore the law..." Is it an awful thing? Is it an unholy thing, an unrighteous thing, an evil thing like you've been hearing today? Are there any preachers telling you that? I want to tell you if they are, they're the false preachers and I label them that in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ in whose name and by whose authority I speak. "Wherefore..." This is in your Bible — it's Romans the seventh chapter and the twelfth verse. "Wherefore, the law is holy..." Then it must be better than you are. Are you holy? Not unless you have the Spirit of God in you and even then you yourself are not holy. It's only the Spirit of God in you that's Holy and It makes you holy and you are holy only to the extent that you have the Holy Spirit of God in you and the Holy Spirit of God in you is the Love of God shed abroad in your heart that fulfills God's Law. And you do not have the Holy Spirit unless you're obedient to God's Law because God gives His Holy Spirit only to those that obey Him. Now, if you think you've got the Holy Spirit and you don't obey God, you've been just terribly deceived. You've got a different spirit and you'd better cry out to God for mercy and find out what spirit has been possessing you.
"For we know that the law is spiritual," Paul says, Romans 7:14, but what about you and me? How was Paul? Paul says, "I am carnal, sold under sin." Yes, you and I are so carnal. No wonder. Paul also says that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The carnal mind is enmity against God." It thinks God is all wrong. There are a lot of carnal minds out preaching today and God have mercy on them because I'm telling you the Truth.
Now, look, Jesus said here, Matthew 7, verse 13, "Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be that enter in thereby. For..." Now, listen to this. Is this the popular way? Is this the millions that go to church real smugly thinking, "Now, I've done my duty, I've spent an hour in church." Most of the time hearing some beautiful music and nice beautiful ceremony — the people with their robes and all the beautiful pageantry and all that sort of thing and about a twenty-three, twenty-five minute sermon. Now, you can go about your own way the rest of the week and just do as you please. And isn't it going to be alright? Is that the way you've been looking at this thing, my friends? Isn't it about time we began to wake up? Isn't about time we began to look at this thing as it is and quit kidding ourselves?
"Narrow is the gate, and straightened is the way [And that means hard, rutty, difficult, not easy, that's what it means.] that leadeth unto life [L-I-F-E], and few there be that find it." Are the many being saved or are the many being lost? The many are going in the broad way the popular road that leads to destruction. That isn't what you hear, the way you hear it today, it isn't what you hear preached today, is it?
Now, what was the very next word? "Beware of false prophets..." But people say, "Oh, well, that just applies to the other fellow that doesn't mean me."
"Beware of false prophets, [How do they come, looking like devils? Do they put on some kind of uniform with horns on it and a tail and carry a pitchfork? No, it says:] which come to you in sheep's clothing [They come pretending to be the ministers of Christ just like these ministers of the Devil that I read to you about a moment ago in II Corinthians 11] but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. It just can't be done my friends.] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
If you find that you're in a corrupt group, they don't have God's truth. You know what the Bible says? It says don't even bid any such a person God speed, don't invite them into your home. It says don't have any company with them. "Oh, but we believe now that would be harsh. We must show love and we must fellowship them and be right around with them, mustn't we?" You see we want to use our own reason to bat right down and knock in the head everything God tells us. My friends, you'll have to begin to live by every word of God if you ever want to get into God's Kingdom and have His gift of Eternal Life. That's what you'll have to do.
"Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Now, that's whether it is a religious organization, a sect, a denomination, an individual person or what, that applies just the same. "Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom..."
"Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord,..." Oh, there are lots of people saying, "Lord, Lord." And how much they can say it. Sometimes they repeat it to the point of being religious profanity. Taking the name of God in vain, means using it to no good use or purpose.
"Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven..." But who will? Now, listen. Listen sharply. This is not what you're hearing today. Who will enter into the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven? "But he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." And haven't you heard that Jesus came to knock that in the head and do away with it? I'm showing you, my friends, that you've been hearing the exact opposite of what the Bible says.
Now, when people take a few little pieces of a scripture and twist it to knock all these other plain scriptures in the head, there's something awfully wrong someplace. And you're going to be judged by these words and there are many false prophets. Now, maybe I'm one of them. A lot of people will tell you I am. Maybe you better begin to check with your Bible and find out.
And maybe you better begin to do like the Bereans did. A lot of people said the Apostle Paul was a false prophet. The Bereans listened, but without prejudice. Will you listen to me without prejudice and get all that silly prejudice out of your minds and open your minds and be willing to have the Truth if I bring it to you. But then you prove all things like the Bible says and go home and search the scriptures daily whether these things be so and you believe what God tells you in your own Bible. But open up your heart and open up your mind to receive it and you believe what God shows you in your Bible. All I'm trying to do is point to you where it is. And I hope that some of you will see it. Yes, just saying "Lord, Lord" won't get you in. Jesus said that there are many worshipping Him in vain.
"Many will come in that day and say, Lord, Lord, didn't we preach in your name and by your name cast out demons..." and all that sort of thing and He says I'll profess to them, "I never knew you. Depart from me ye that work iniquity." And that means you that break the Commandments and don't like the Law of God in plain language.
And now finally my friends, let me remind you if you want to really understand your Bible, if you're willing to set yourself to devote a half hour or more every day to Bible study, you may enroll now for the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. We'll mail it to you. You can study it right in your own home. And we have decided to make no charge, no tuition, trusting God in faith.