And greetings friends! This is Herbert W. Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow!
And now my friends, prepare yourselves to hear the most wonderful sermon ever preached, at least that's what people have always called it. The Sermon on the Mount has been called the most wonderful sermon ever preached but do you understand it, do you know what it says? Very few have ever understood it. They think it's wonderful.
You know it's a good deal like the prophet Ezekiel said and I've had so many people say that very thing to me so many many times: "Oh, what a wonderful sermon and how beautiful it was!" But they don't know a thing that was said. It doesn't mean anything to them. They didn't get it. They don't do anything about it. It didn't really take root in their lives. And the seed was apparently not planted and it certainly never sprouted. As the prophet Ezekiel said, that ". . . people come and sit before thee as my people . . .", they pretend to be God's people, ". . . and they hear the words that you preach to them . . . and behold thou art unto them as a musician that playeth on a very wonderful instrument and sings a wonderful song, they hear your words . . .", it's beautiful music to their ears, ". . . they hear your words but they do them not." Now, if we don't get something out of this that will actually make a change in our lives and add something that we didn't have before, we're wasting our time.
Let's see if there aren't things here that you never even saw or heard of before. You've heard about this sermon just like you've heard about Jesus Christ but do you know His message? Why have you never heard the true Gospel of Jesus Christ? Why is it that the people of this day and age don't know what Jesus preached? They don't seem to know the message. They don't know that Jesus Christ was preaching about world government and about the conditions in this world now today and what is going to happen in the immediate future and in the world tomorrow just ahead of us now. Yes, Jesus Christ was interested in world conditions. He was interested in what goes on in the world today. And He told us about how He Himself is going to straighten out these tangled affairs of men that have this world so perplexed, so struck with fear, and bring us peace at last. It's coming but it isn't coming the way most people think.
Now, we started but didn't get into this thing a broadcast or two ago, so let's go back and notice the prefaces. We were going through in the harmonies of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark and Luke and John and remember that all four writers were writing about the same thing — the life of Jesus Christ — the things that He said, the things that He did.
And so in time sequence we were in Luke the 6th chapter and I want to read this again. Beginning with verse 12: "It came to pass in those days, that Jesus went out into a mountain to pray . . ." Now, He didn't go into a public synagogue and pray before everybody to make a big showing and impress other people with what rhetorical and flowery prayer He could make. But He went out into the mountain away from all people where the only one to hear Him was His Father in Heaven. And you're going to see that in this very sermon He told you and me how to pray and it wasn't to pray publicly before others for others to hear but privately before God for the Eternal God our Father in Heaven to hear.
So He went out into this mountain to pray and He ". . . continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples: and he chose from them twelve, whom he also named apostles . . ." Now, they were to be His ambassadors. They were His emissaries bearing His authority sent to the peoples of this world representing Him and His Government — His Kingdom — the Kingdom of God. But His Kingdom is not of this world, that is, of this age, this time, this present pattern of things that men have set up as the civilization of this earth, now, today.
Now, He selected His twelve disciples — the ones that were to be the Apostles out of all the disciples who were following Him. And He had called each of them. And now He had to pray all night so that He could be close enough to God and have the wisdom, the understanding to know which ones God had selected, which ones He should chose and select. As I said before, they didn't come and say, "Now, we'd like a job. We think we'd like to work for you. We want to get into the ministry and we think you look like . . . We know that the Pharisees and the leaders of the synagogues are calling you a false prophet, but we think you're alright. Perhaps, they wouldn't hire us but maybe you would. Now, we'd like to get a job. How much will you pay us if we go to work for you and preach?" That's about the way people might talk today.
A minister came to me one time up in Oregon and he said, "Well, I've just gotten married." He said, "I've been inactive for several years." He was an ex-preacher and he said, "Do you know of a single pastorate open in this county." He said, "I want it in this county. My wife is pretty well to do, she has some money but you know I just have too much pride to let my wife support me and I've got to go to work again. You know where I can get a job?"
"Well," I said, "I just know of one church that doesn't have a pastor in it but I don't think you'd fit in there because that's a Christian Church and you're a Methodist."
He said, "Oh, now, that doesn't make a bit of difference." He said, "Well, I'll preach whatever they want me to. All they have to do is tell me what they want me to preach, I'll preach it, whatever they want but I've got to get a job and earn a living. I want to support my wife."
I tell you my friends, there're too many in that category today. My wife and I found years ago that if we were going to serve God and preach what God wants to hear instead of what the people want to hear, we would have to turn to God in living faith to support us and if He's the one we work for, He's the one we have to look for for the salary and income and we always have.
People said to me years ago, as I mentioned the other day, as one man said, "You're not going to get far, Mr. Armstrong, because you preach the Word of God and you know the Bible corrects people and reproves people and people don't like to be corrected and reproved. They just want to hear something that's nice and pleasant and you don't preach things like that. You upset people."
"Well," I said, "at least I hope I make them think a little bit."
"Well," he said, "you won't get far."
And it wasn't long after that, we had to cut off the little salary we were getting at the time because we found the men who controlled that salary and the treasury funds of the church and paid it to us insisted that we had to do things contrary to the Bible and we had to preach the opposite of what it said. And when we didn't do it, we had to cut ourselves off and trust God in living faith, alone.
You know my friends if you'll ever learn that lesson you'll get a lot further in life. If you will do what God says and put yourselves in His hand and then trust Him with the result. Rely on Him and trust Him you'll find you will get a lot farther than the way people are going. People think that you wouldn't get far doing that and most people well, they just frankly lack the nerve. They lack that stiffening of the vertebrae to do that very thing. I know a lot of people that ought to be doing it today and they can't. They think, "No God just isn't fair and things don't look like they're breaking right." And they want to try to take things in their own hands according to their own human reason. They just can't trust God with the result and it doesn't look like God is fair if they have to do the things He said according to His Law. So they reason out according to human reason that they should break God's Law and do the thing that looks right to a human being. And they wonder why they're always so unhappy and things never break right for them. If you can put yourself in God's hands, if you can do what God says and obey Him and if you can trust Him with the result, you'll get far. You'll go a long, long way and everything will break right.
Well, Jesus spent this whole night in prayer after which He selected His own disciples that were to be the Apostles, the Twelve. He selected them. They did not select Him. And He selected those whose hearts He knew and He even foreknew actually about Judas Iscariot as it is mentioned later and that was even for a purpose.
Now, seeing the multitudes, we come to Matthew 5 now and verse 1: "And seeing the multitudes..." And, this follows in direct sequence in the actual activities and this was the very morning after He spent that whole night in prayer and after He had selected His apostles. Now, "... seeing the multitudes, He went up into the mountain..." Well, that was the night before — He spent that whole night in prayer. This is Matthew's account now. "And when he sat down..." — this is the next morning — "...his disciples came unto him:..." He spent that whole night in prayer. I don't think the disciples had yet come to the place where they would spend a whole night in prayer with Him. But it must have been morning when He came. "...and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying..." I want you to notice that He taught His disciples.
Now Luke's account is, "...he lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said, Blessed are ye poor..." This wasn't a sermon to the great crowd. He isn't talking my friends to the world. This is said to His disciples whom He chose to be apostles. This is for those who are the disciples who then and there represented all converted people today, and those who have surrendered to God and accepted Christ and have become God's own children begotten of Him through the Power of the Holy Spirit. That's who He was speaking to, He was speaking to those that were His disciples and those who should be His disciples thereafter as this is recorded for our reading and our learning today. So He said to His disciples, "...Blessed are", you, "ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God..." Now, let me explain once again, in Matthew the expression is used kingdom of heaven but never in Mark's gospel or in Luke's or in John's. Mark, Luke and John never used the expression kingdom of heaven and no other writer of the Bible and no other place in the Bible can you find that little phrase kingdom of heaven.
Now, where Matthew reports Jesus as having said kingdom of heaven, Mark and Luke and John wherever they mention the same words, mention it as kingdom of God. Actually it's all the same thing. It's not a Kingdom inside of God or inside of Heaven, it is the Kingdom that is owned by and ruled by God or by Heaven because Heaven is His throne. And so it is the heavenly Kingdom that is ruled by Heaven, governed from Heaven by the God of Heaven and that's exactly what it means. It explained that at some detail yesterday, I believe it was yesterday, so let's go along real rapidly now.
Now, in Matthew's account, "Blessed are the poor in spirit..." But He's speaking to them — "ye poor in spirit." — "yours is the kingdom of heaven." or the kingdom of God.
"Blessed are they that mourn...", these are the so called beatitudes now but I want you to get the meaning, "...for they shall be comforted." Always this is if we are putting our trust in God and relying on Him for the result, He will work it out. God has never promised how quickly He'll do what He promises. He has never explained to you how He'll do it or when. He'll do it His way and God does work in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. Nevertheless, when He promises a thing, He will do it. He says they shall be comforted. He didn't say how quickly. He didn't say what manner. He just said they shall be and it will happen if you trust Him.
"Blessed are the meek: they shall inherit the earth." You know I told you about that schoolteacher who had come to me and claimed the five dollars that I had offered for anyone that would give me any passage in the Bible of any hope or promise that anyone now living can ever go to Heaven, and she quoted this a little later here — "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake:" It's in verse 10 here in Matthew 5, verse 10: "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And I asked her if she knew the difference between of and in and it doesn't say the kingdom in heaven but of heaven just like the Bank of Morgan in New York City is not a bank inside of Mr. Morgan, it isn't anything he ate that's inside of him, it's the bank he owns, it belongs to him. And the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom that God owns, it belongs to Him. The Kingdom of Heaven is owned in Heaven, it belongs to Heaven but it isn't up in Heaven.
So, I turned immediately to verse 5 here and I said, "What do you make of this then, 'Blessed are the meek: they shall inherit the earth.'"
She was a little perplexed and she said, "Well, I don't know." She says, "I guess that if you're going to be meek then you get to stay on the earth, and if you get persecuted, you get to go to Heaven."
Well, I said, "That's a kind of a particular situation." Then I asked her if she thought she was qualified to be a schoolteacher and if she knew the difference between the meaning of the word of and the word in.
But now notice — "Blessed are the meek: they shall inherit the earth." I knew a man one time who was rather weak and I told him, I said, "Well, you don't need to be weak. You can be strong." I mean strong in purpose and in character and all that sort of thing. He was physically strong enough, I don't mean physically. But he just acted weak and his folks kept telling him that he was weak and he couldn't do anything and don't try. And I kept trying to tell him that he could if he thought he could. You ever read that book, well I forget the name of the author, Orison Swett Marden, something like that, was that the name of an old author of a book, books I used to read when I was a young man years ago? Anyway, the title of the book is — "He Can Who Thinks He Can". I procured a copy of that in a second-hand bookstore not too many years ago. It's around the college here someplace. I don't know who has it just now. It sort of been bandied around and I hope it's in the library — it should be. I'd like to read again myself. I read it years and years ago. But there's a lot of truth in that — we can if we think we can. Well, this man thought he was weak and his name was Claude. And he said that he had looked up the meaning of the name Claude and he says, "It means weak."
"Well," I said, "now that's a surprise to me. I'm going to look up the meaning of the name too." And when I looked it up I saw that the meaning of the name Claude was M, double E, K — meek, not W-E-A-K, weak, at all, and so I tried to tell him. But somehow he just got that little psychological impression in his mind and the autosuggestion of it and anything kept him thinking he was weak and so he always acted that way. Well, he should have been strong. Meek is not weak. Jesus Christ was meek but I want to tell you that so far as character is concerned and the kind of strength that counts, the spiritual strength, the mental strength, He was the strongest man who has ever lived on the face of the earth. But He was meek.
Every really great man is meek and humble. Anyone who struts around and brags and is proud is just like a peacock or a turkey. Turkeys can surely strut. And I have often wondered if there is room for any thinking whatsoever in a tiny little turkey mind. There isn't much room there. There certainly is not much brain inside of a turkey. But they act as if they just have the impression they're so very important. And they don't know enough to cross the road or get out of the way if an automobile is coming. They don't have any sense whatsoever. And I guess they are just for Thanksgiving dinner, that's about all. And a lot of people are like that. And when people strut and when they become very proud, they're not very big really. A big man is a meek and a humble man. He doesn't have to put on airs. And let me tell you my friends, the real confidence and faith you should have is faith in God and trusting Him with the result and that'll keep you humble but oh how it will always work out. There's power in it and you can accomplish very great things that way. Provided of course it's God in you accomplishing it and you have to be in His will to do it.
Now, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness..." But the trouble with that is people are hungering and thirsting after something that gives them a kick out of life and perhaps twitches their nerves a little bit and gives them a sensation and the physical nervous system of the body for the moment and something that is momentarily pleasing to pass away the time while they let their minds stagnate and their bodies lie idle, they don't want to do anything, so we have all these modern gadgets to save us labor and work. You know today, you read the advertising and the implication it is a disgrace to work. It's a disgrace to do any work. You must get more labor saving devices if you want to be in the big-shot class. Not very many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Now, Jesus said if they do: "...they shall be filled..." But do you know how most people are today? They're not filled, their lives are empty. They go around with empty lives. They're just bored to death. And they have to invent some kind of a pastime to take away the consciousness of their misery. They're so unhappy. Their life is so dull and so uninteresting that they have to invent some useless nonsensical kind of a pleasure to, well, it's like filling a starving stomach with a lot of husks instead of the real corn or the real food. And it isn't going to help and it isn't going to fill you and make life worthwhile.
Now, God intended life to be full and abundant, interesting every second until it's just dynamic and interesting and good to be alive. And there's only way it can be and that's to find God and God's way and God's Law which was set in motion to make life happy and to make it abundant and worthwhile.
Now, those that really hunger and thirst after righteousness, they're going to have it, they're going to be filled with it. And when you're filled with it, your life is not empty. You're not empty, you're filled. And what do you fill with? Something very good, very, very good — righteousness. That's right doing. And what is righteousness? There's a Bible definition for righteousness. Now, stop to think about it, back in the 119th Psalm, 172nd verse: "...all thy commandments are righteousness." The commandments of God, the way of God is righteousness. Now, you see what you have to have to be filled — the Commandments of God. And that's the way of God and that is the way that runs counter to the way men want. That isn't the way men like. That doesn't go according to human reason. A human carnal mind is enmity against God. It really thinks God is all wrong and it thinks there's a better way. It's always wanting to argue for a way that looks better to the human mind. And then these poor deluded people wonder why everything is going wrong. Oh, I know people like that and you can't do a thing with them. They're so cock sure that they're right. They're suffering, their lives are empty, they're full of fears for the future, their life is a burden but they're so stubborn, they won't, they just simply will not repent of that very thing that is causing them all their troubles, they're their own worst enemy, they can't see it.
Yes, "Blessed", now, "are the merciful..." A lot of people haven't very much mercy. Oh, we want God to have mercy though, don't we. It's a good thing He does that He's not like human beings that would take vengeance just without any mercy whatever. "Blessed are the merciful: they shall obtain mercy." If you want to get mercy and we're all coming to the place we're going to want a lot of it, I'll tell you that. Well, then you'd better be merciful, that's the only way you'll ever get it — be merciful to others.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Do you know where Jesus is getting all of this? Do you know that He was just quoting from the scriptures and the Old Testament scriptures at that because the New Testament hadn't been written? Now, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Turn back to Psalm 37:11 and you'll find that. "...they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: they shall be filled." Turn back to the 55th Psalm and you'll find it. And then obtaining mercy, the 18th Psalm, the 25th verse and Proverbs 11:17. Now, He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God." If you're really pure in heart. Oh, He was simply expounding the 24th Psalm, the third to the fifth verse, turn back there and you'll find it. And then again Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers..." Those that make for peace and know the way of peace. "...for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake...", we went into that a minute ago, "...theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And again you know you read in the New Testament that "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
"...all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Because...do you know why? If you live godly in Christ Jesus you're going the way of God's Law, you're living God's way and it's the way that'll make you happy, your life full and abundant but the world doesn't like that way. The world is at enmity against that way and when you live that way, I don't know why people persecute you, unless it's because it sort of puts them under a conviction and a sense of condemnation and they feel self condemned which is a certainly a sort of a mental and a spiritual inferiority complex. And then they try to ride over it and so in order to ride over it they have to condemn you and accuse you and put you down below them in the way they talk and in their attitude. That way, they can trample all over you and climb up on top of you and forget about the fact that they are really down under themselves. They kid themselves in plain language, they deceive themselves into believing they're alright. It merely comes from a sort of a spiritual inferiority complex.
Now, "...all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Do you? If you don't, you're not a real Christian according to the Bible.
Now, when people "...say all manner of evil against you falsely..." Of course, if they're speaking the truth that's another matter but when they say it falsely "...for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven..." Now, does that mean that you go up to Heaven to get it? When are you going to collect that reward? Your reward is in Heaven but where are you? You're down here. And your reward is up in Heaven. Do you go there to get it or does it come here to you? Over here in the 11th chapter of Revelation in verse 18 we read about the Second Coming of Christ. Verse 15, the seventh angel has sounded and it's announced: "...The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." The time of the Second Coming of Christ when He is coming. He said, "If I go to heaven, I will come again." And He's coming to reign and to rule over the earth. Now, verse 18 says, that at that time, "...the nations were angry, and thy wrath...", God's wrath, "...is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged...," that's the time then of the resurrection that the dead "...should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them that destroy the earth." There again in the 22nd chapter of Revelation, Jesus is speaking and Jesus here says that He is coming and His reward is with Him — "...behold, I come quickly...", at His Second Coming, "...and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." And that's where you get your reward — right here on the earth at the Second Coming of Christ and not now or not when you die. Listen if you want to know more about these things you want to read the Plain Truth.
Now, finally listen. You live today in the most tremendous times of all earth's history. You're going to live on into and through the supernatural world catastrophes bringing about the end of this world ushering in the Kingdom of God and the happier World Tomorrow. The very first business of your life ahead of everything else now ought to be the study of your Bible to come to really understand the Bible especially its prophecies. But you need help. At last you can take the Ambassador College Bible Course by correspondence right there in your own home. This Bible study correspondence course is now ready for your enrollment. And so listen. If you want to really understand your Bible. If you are willing to really set yourself to devote a half hour or more every day to the real study of your Bible with this wonderful course then we're ready to start sending you the lessons by mail. Now, just write and tell me that you want to enroll and be sure to mention the call letters of this station. And we have to decided to charge no tuition. We're going to send you this course by mail without charge, trusting God purely on faith to supply the need.