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   Well greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
   My friends, if someone would ask you, "What is a Christian?" how would you answer? Do you know just what a Christian is? We hear the general definition that a Christian is one who follows Christ. The most amazing thing that we could possibly get into today is to open up the New Testament and to see what Jesus actually preached, what He taught, and how He lived — and to see whether we are following Him or not.
   And I say to you that the world today is certainly not following Christ, but exactly the opposite.
   Now we were in the ninth chapter of John going through the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to see what it does say. Open up your own Bible. Get some surprises. See with your own eyes how far we have gotten in what we have been taught to believe is Christianity from that which is in the Bible. And it's printed in your own Bible.
   Open up your Bible to the ninth chapter of John {1}. And this is the day after the ending of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus had been in Jerusalem in the Temple for the Feast of Tabernacles and finally He had gone out of the Temple.
   And then we come to the first few verses here of the ninth chapter of John {1} and we have already covered the first four. And let's begin now with verse five. Jesus was talking to people. As He passed along He saw a man who had been blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him — I think we'd better read this from the first verse.
   "Rabbi, for whose sin — for his own, or his parents — was he born blind? And Jesus replied, Neither for his own sin, nor for his parents... "(John 9:1-2 Moffat translation) Now it was the result of sin someplace, but God was using this for a purpose. And it was not as a result of either his sin or his parents' sin at all. Now apparently there wouldn't have been any such thing as blindness if there hadn't been sins prior to that. It was some ancestor somewhere. But nevertheless there was a specific purpose in this particular and specific blindness.
   And so Jesus said; "It was to let the work of God be illustrated in him. While daylight lasts we must be busy with the work of him who sent me". (John 9:2-4 Moffatt) God's work.
   Did you ever notice that the work of God, or God's work, is mentioned in the Bible? And here it is and as you read it in the King James translation: Jesus said, "I must work the works of him that sent me." (John 9:4) And that is the work of God because it was the Father who sent Him and that is the work of God. Now Jesus carried on the work of God. And there is the work of God in the world today. A lot of people know exactly where it is, too, and from where it's going out.
   And Jesus said: "...while it is day [that is] I must work the works of him while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work." (John 9:4)
   And "the night that is coming when no man can work" is coming in our time and our generation. And I want to tell you it's coming in less than another twenty years — that much we know. We're not setting the date. We do know that we're very close to it and we do know now that we are actually within less than twenty years.

Light of the World

   Now Jesus said, continuing here, and I'm going to the Moffatt translation for a while and because this is just the account of an incident that happened and I think it's a little plainer in the Moffatt translation. I have an Authorized, or King James Version here, too which I will refer to occasionally as we go along — beginning with verse five:
   "When I am in the world [Jesus said] I am the light of the world." (John 9:5 Moffatt Translation)
   Well let's take that in the Authorized Version:
   "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:5 Authorized Version)
   But now He is not in the world anymore — except in Spirit. And who is, and what is, the light of the world now? I wonder if you understand it.
   Let's pause here just about a minute or so to get that as we go along. Do you realize what Jesus had said in the Sermon on the Mount to His own disciples that now were to become apostles and that represented His Church as it was to come to follow Him — to those that were the nucleus around which His Church was built, those who became the apostles, who were the very foundation for the Church, along with the prophets, and Christ being the chief cornerstone? Jesus said, in Matthew 5, and verse fourteen, in the Sermon on the Mount:
   To them He said, "Ye are the light of the world [Ye are the light of the world]. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; that it giveth light unto all that are in the house [now He said to them, and this is to the Church]. Let your light so shine before men [what is that light? Arguing about the scripture? No, not at all — listen], Let your light so shine before men, that they may see [what? Not that they may hear your arguments, but that they may see something. And I want you to notice what. Do you have your Bible open? Matthew the fifth chapter, the sixteenth verse] that they may see your good works." (Matthew 5:14-16)
   Today they tell you, "Why, there aren't any good works to a Christian religion. If you're going to be a Christian, you mustn't have any good works. Why, that would be earning your own way."
   My friends you can't earn your own way. Your good works won't save you, but if you will read that passage, and read all of it that:
   "...by grace are we saved, through faith, that not of yourselves [if even the saving faith is of God and a gift of God, then we read]: not of works lest any man should boast [but my friends don't stop there; read that next verse. You never hear them read the next verse; they read just that far and stop]. By grace are you saved, through faith [that's Ephesians second chapter and the eighth verse]; by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast." [That's verse 9; now read verse 10] for we are His workmanship created..." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
   Well let's turn and read it; I, you know I've made it a practice not to try to memorize scripture and to quote from memory. I've heard men do that all my life. And one time in some meetings I was holding I was pretty much of a 'green horn' as a minister in those days — I'll confess. I was just in almost the beginning of the really active ministry that God had called me to. But I was conducting services I remember up in, let me see, it was in Salem, Oregon with another man.
   And we had a guest preacher there one time. And you know he had been at least, I don't know whether he still was, but he had been in the same denomination that I had come up in from childhood — which I sort of drifted away from at age 18. And it was when I was 30 that God really finally struck me down and called me to His ministry after some years of preparation later.
   And anyway this old man — I never shall forget; it comes back to my mind every once in a while — he stood up and he preached a sermon for about an hour. And he didn't have any Bible. And yet I never heard so much Bible quoted in my life. He quoted from one end of the Bible to the other and all from memory.
   But I happened to know one or two of the passages and he misquoted them. He had tried to memorize it and I don't think I ever heard a man in my life that could quote as much scripture as that elderly gentleman. He was rather old, elderly gentleman — white-haired. And I would say that he must have been 75 years of age or more. And I never heard so much scripture quoted by one man. His whole sermon was just putting together a scripture here, there, and everywhere — and all from memory! But I noticed he misquoted one or two scriptures.

God's Workmanship

   Well that was sort of an object lesson to me. And I have tried to always turn to the Bible and I prefer to turn and read it right out of the Bible. And here it is:
   "...by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. And not of works, lest any man should boast [but don't stop; they always do. Why? Because they don't like the next verse, that's why. Verse 10 — here it is]. For we are his workmanship." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
   We are God's workmanship! Now notice that: we are HIS workmanship. Do you know what that means? We are merely the clay model. He is the Master Potter. We are merely the instrument. God is using us. God is putting His Spirit in us and we are His workmanship and He is working on us and He is forming and shaping and transforming us and making us over.
   You read in, for instance, Romans — the twelfth chapter of Romans, is it not?
   "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service [and now notice this verse]. And be not conformed to this world." (Romans 12:1-2)
   If there is anything that the people in this world want today it's to be conformed to the world. To conform is the greatest desire and ambition of most people.
   In one of the national magazines, a sort of a survey that had been taken on a number of college campuses and interviewing thousands of college students in many large college and university campuses all over the United States to see how does the modern college student feel and think and believe and what are his ideas and all that sort of thing. And the one outstanding thing that they all wanted above everything else was to conform: whatever was the style, whatever was the fad, whatever is the way the other 'lost sheep' want to go today — just like dumb sheep and without any brains whatsoever they just wanted to follow and conform.
   Now there is one Master Shepherd we ought to follow. And there are a lot of 'false wolves in sheep's clothing' that a lot of false sheep like to run after. We're going to see some more of that a little later as we go through this, if we get to it today.
   But anyway, "...be not conformed to this world, but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2)

A Renewed Mind

   And that mind is renewed by God through His Holy Spirit. And if we open up our minds and our hearts, if we repent, if we surrender to God, if we, then, with our minds, have faith in Christ and believe in Christ and in His gospel and we believe His gospel and we accept Him as personal Savior and we're baptized, God has promised to give us the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of a sound mind and which will open our minds to understanding that we never had before and will 'make over' our minds — renew our minds.
   And so, really, the Christian life is the renewing of the mind. It is a changing and a total renewing of the mind and getting away from being conformed to this world.
   And so in the average college and university campus today the one outstanding thing that they all are being taught and that they want above everything else is exactly the opposite of the way of Christianity. It is the very antithesis of the right way that people should go if they want to find happiness, if they want prosperity, if they want peace, if they want the joy of living, if they want full, abundant lives, if they want to really, as we say in the popular phrase today, 'to live graciously.' People want gracious living.
   Well there is just one kind of really gracious living. And a lot of people don't know what it is. It's full, abundant, happy living. And you can't have it being conformed to this world because this world doesn't know what it is and doesn't have any of it. This world has only its aches and pains, its heartaches, its empty lives, its retributions, its defeats and its failures — and its aches and pains and sufferings. This world is pretty well filled with those things. Do you want to be conformed with a world that is leading you in that direction?
   "...be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2)
   And that, of course, is through the Holy Spirit which, God says, is the Spirit of the sound mind, not of an imbecile mind — not of just a lot of emotion and a lot of working up and saying, "Praise the Lord," and a lot of things of that sort. That isn't the Holy Spirit.
   The Holy Spirit is "the love of God shed abroad in our hearts..." (Romans 5:5), — the very love that fulfils the law of God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of understanding. It opens up the Bible so you really understand the Word of God which is the soundest thought and the only right way that there is, or ever has been, in all this universe. And it changes your whole mind; it changes your whole attitude. It reverses your conception of values.
   And so what you formerly set great store to as being very important now becomes absolutely rot and of no value, but totally unimportant. And you have no time to waste on it. And the things that used to sort of seem foolish because they convicted you a little bit and you ran away from them — the right things and the true things that you tried to shy away from before — now you love them.
   Let me give you another test. A lot of people don't know whether they have a spiritual mind or not. Now in the first place if you want to know whether you are really spiritual: in the first place you are not spiritual unless you have totally surrendered to God, unless you look upon God as the Supreme Authority in your life, and the Word of God, by which He speaks to us, as the Supreme Authority over your thinking and your acting and your doing, unless you have yielded to study the Bible to live by every word of God — totally surrendered to God in the first place.
   And, in addition, unless you just love to pray and unless you find that prayer is such a blessing and such a delight and such a joy and such a happy occasion and you love to pray so much that you can hardly wait to get away from other things to get into a private place alone with God and get down on your knees and pray to Him — if you don't have that feeling you're not very spiritual.
   Now if you sort of dread prayer and you think, "Well, I must pray once in a while," but it is a very disinteresting and an unhappy idea and you hate to do it and you just have to force yourself once in a while and you pray a little bit, but you want to get away from that and get up off your knees and out of any place of prayer, if you ever get there, you want to get up out of it so fast that you can get back to some worldly amusement or entertainment — you want to go to that show, or you want to go out with the gang of people, or you want to do something like that and you just can't stand the prayer — it's so unhappy and maybe you're just appeasing some wrathful God up there — flattering His vanity so He won't punish you quite so much by it. Now if that's your attitude you're certainly not spiritual.
   And let me tell you one other test: if the Bible seems dry and dull and you just kind of hate to read it, but you do it as a duty once in a while, you're not spiritual!
   If your mind is spiritual and you have a spiritual mind, if you're a spiritual person, you love the Word of God above everything else! And the one thing you'd rather do, at least next to praying, or equal with it, is to get your Bible and really study it. And you're so interested in the truths that you're drinking out of it and the knowledge that you're finding and the truth that you're getting and it's such a blessing to you and it's such happiness and you get such joy out of it and end up following it and doing it that you can't wait to get that Bible and get away from other dreary things in this world and get to your Bible and really study your Bible!

True Christianity

   Do you know many Christians now? That's a Christian and one that really does follow Christ and do like He said. And He certainly didn't tell you anything about Christmas and New Years and things like that, either, or Easter. And neither did the early Church follow any of those things at all. The things they follow today are not the customs of Christ or the early Church or the apostles.
   And when you forsake the things of this world and the ways of this world and you're living the way of God, under the authority of God, and by every word of God, and you just love to study the Bible and you just love to pray!
   And, of course, you have your job and you have to take care of it. And in the Bible you read that you should and you should do with all your might whatever you set your hand to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10). You won't set your hand to do anything that isn't right in the first place. And you'll be so busy doing it and you'll do it with all your might, you'll do a good job in your work if you're in some physical work or some work that you use your mind in earning your living, some profession.
   Alright, in the first place, if it isn't honorable, you'll get out of it, unless you're under some kind of a contract, and then you'll get out of it as quickly as you can anyway. And when you do, you will do nothing that isn't absolutely compatible as an occupation, profession, or vocation, or whatever it is. But when you do it, you'll do it with your might and you'll realize that a thing worth doing at all is worth doing well and you'll do every job you can do the best you can do it.
   And you will think and you will use your mind on the job. You won't try to just think Bible thoughts — and I mean thinking over the problem or the particular subject that you're studying in the Bible and keep your mind on that — if your mind ought to be on your job. You'll put your mind on your job at that time, but as soon as you're off you'll find there are plenty of hours everyday for your Bible and your Bible study. And you'll just be anxious to get away from whatever you're doing and to get back to Bible study and to find a place to pray. And you'll find you'd rather talk to God in prayer than to talk to any other living human being on this earth — or any human being, perhaps I should say, instead of another one, because God is not another human being, of course — although He created all of us in His image.
   Now really when you get down to what a real spiritual person is, I don't believe you know very many spiritual persons. You know we've got a lot of false conceptions in this world and it's about time we began to wake up.
   Now we're to be renewed and not conformed to this world. Now back here to Ephesians the second chapter.
   "...we are his workmanship." (Ephesians 2:10) I want you to get that.
   Now Jesus was the instrument that God used. And He said that He was the light of the world. But He said to His disciples, "You are the light of the world" — and going to be. Why? Because when Jesus went to heaven, the same Spirit that was in Him, the same faith that was in Him with which He performed His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same righteousness that was within Him through the love of God shed abroad in His heart by the Holy Spirit — now, on the day of Pentecost — came in to Peter, and James and John and Andrew and Philip and the apostles. And they, now, had the same Spirit, the same power, the same ability to perform miracles, the same faith, and they had the same righteousness that had been in Jesus! They now became the body through whom God worked.
   God had worked through the body of Jesus. Now this was the body of Christ; this was the body through whom God worked — the body of the apostles, the body of the people of the saints. And so the human body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit and it becomes the body in whom and through whom God works.
   That's why we read in the New Testament that the Church is the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 4:12). Many people have read that — 'the body of Christ.' It doesn't mean a thing to them, just a lot of idle words.
   I want to tell you, my friends, that when God says that His Church, the true Church of God, of which Jesus Christ is the living Head, when He says it is the body of Christ, He means exactly what He says. He isn't using a lot of idle words and vacant language.
   And the Church is the body of Christ because it does the work of Christ. Jesus said, "I must do the work of him that sent me while it is day. I am the light of the world." (John 9:4-5 paraphrased)
   But to His apostles He had said, before they were apostles, "You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14)
   And after He went to heaven, the same Spirit, the same power that had been in Him came into them. While He was here on earth He was the light of the world. He was doing the work of the Father. And He said, "I can do nothing of myself, the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10 paraphrased)
   Now He was doing works. God was working out works in Him; therefore He was God's workmanship. I wonder if you get it. He was the instrumentality through whom God worked. But when He went to heaven the same Spirit, the same power, the same Spirit of knowledge and understanding came into Him of power and of faith and of love and everything that Jesus had used came in to the apostles.
   Now they became the light of the world; now they had to go out and do the work of God and carry on God's work on this earth. Now they were His workmanship that He was using in accomplishing His work.

Good Works Make Good Character

   And another thing: it isn't only just God's work of doing what God wants us to do, but we are His workmanship in the sense that He is…well, He's manufacturing something out of us. And we are merely the raw material. And it's His workmanship; He's making something of us. What He is making is holy, righteous, perfect characters out of us.
   And so He said, "Be ye holy, as your Father in heaven is holy." Without holiness none shall see the LORD when Christ comes.
   And then again He said, "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Unless we get to become God, and just as much God as Christ was God and as the Father is God, we can never be perfect. Only God can be perfect. And yet He told us that we are to become perfect.
   You're not perfect now. It's going to take you a little while, but you can become perfect because why? "Because we are His workmanship," and it's really the work of God in us through His Holy Spirit doing the work in us that He did do in Christ. And yet we are only the channels, the instruments that He uses.
   "...we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus [Yes we are a creation! God is the Creator; God is doing the creating! We are the created; we are being] created in Christ Jesus unto good works." (Ephesians 2:10)
   Don't try to cancel out good works. And when any preacher tells you that there are no good works you tell him, "Get behind me, Satan. You are one of the ministers of Satan masquerading as a minister of Christ." You tell him that and you'll be telling him the truth.
   "...we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before hath ordained that we [we Christians] should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
   What's the 'them?' — good works — we should walk in good works. But we're His workmanship and we're being created and it's God's and God's power in us. Jesus couldn't do anything of Himself — neither can you or me, or I. We can't do anything of ourselves. But Christ in us can do anything — God in us, through the power of His Spirit. Jesus said, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10)
   Oh these are wonderful truths if we can see them, but not many can see them. Is your mind open to see these things, my friends? Well if it is, God has called you and He's going to hold you accountable with what you do with it.

Darkness of Sin

   Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). But when He was not in the world, He wasn't the light of the world anymore. What was the light of the world? Well just as He had said to His disciples, "Ye are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
   And you and me — we — now! You and I — we are the light of the world now, today, if there is any light in this world — the only light that the world has. You know what that means? It means this world is in darkness, the darkness of error, the darkness of going the wrong way.
   I don't like to use that word, 'sin.' That's got...somehow gotten to be in the minds of most people a sort of a sissy word of some kind. Sin means doing the things that make you unhappy! Sin means doing the things that make you suffer, and other people along with you! Let's recognize it for what it is. Sin is something that masquerades with a lot of glitter and glamour as is something attractive to a lot of foolish people that haven't got sense enough to see what it is!
   Most people think sin is the forbidden fruit that would be sweeter if only God was fair enough to let you do it. That's not right. Sin is the thing God hates because it's going to destroy you. Sin is that which destroys human beings and robs you of happiness and everything good that you want!
   Now as long as He was in the world, He was the light of the world. As long as He was in the world, He was doing the work of God. But when He left, WE'RE the light of the world and WE have to do the work of God!
   Now I've just gone over two verses and put a few other scriptures with it and you see when you magnify the Bible how much you can get out of any two little verses here and there. Most people would think if they'd read those two verses, "Well that's so dry no one could preach a sermon on that." I think you've heard enough to hold you for one day if you could just think it over right now and if you can put it to work in your life and if you take the looking glass that I've set up before you and look into it and see whether or not YOU are a Christian — whether or not YOU, YOURSELF, are spiritual.
   You sort of dread reading the Bible; you say, "Well I just can't understand it?" The thing for you to do is to surrender to God all the way and cry out to God for help and throw yourself on His mercy and do as you read in Isaiah 55:
   "Forsake your way, and forsake your thoughts and turn from them, and turn to God and his thoughts and ask him to have mercy on you — and he will." (Isaiah 55:7 paraphrased)
   And come to Him through Jesus Christ as Savior — and through the blood of Jesus Christ that will cleanse your past guilt and reconcile you to God.
   "Now when Jesus had thus spoken, he spat on the ground; he made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay." (John 9:6)
   Now don't get a wrong idea about it, my friends. The clay in this case is not the thing that restored the sight. You can spit on clay all you want to or have any doctor do it and just go out and do it in a natural carnal-minded manner — and apply that to a blind man born blind and it isn't going to restore his sight. Jesus did this for a purpose, but this is not the thing that did it.
   Jesus also commanded us to be baptized in water for the remission of sins. But the water doesn't remit your sins. It merely is the picture, or the type, and it is something that He has commanded. And we're to do it because He commanded because it portrays, or shows to us, what it means. And that's the thing we're really believing is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ which we're accepting and believing in. And so there was a reason for this.
   Again God said for His ministers, when they pray for the sick, God said He'll heal them. But He said, "...call the elders of the church and let them pray over them anointing them with oil." (James 5:14)
   The oil doesn't heal anybody; it isn't medicine at all. It is a type of the Holy Spirit — a symbol of the Spirit of God. And it's the Spirit of God that does the healing. That's merely a symbol and we merely show we're relying on the Spirit of God when we use oil, that's all. And we use the oil because that's the way God said to do — and because we're willing to do just what He said and not try to have our own way.
   Now there was a reason Jesus spat on the ground and He made clay of the spittle and He anointed the eyes of this blind man with clay.
   "And he said to him, Go [now He told him to do something. If this man had refused to obey, he wouldn't have gotten his healing. His going didn't heal him, but he was commanded to do it.] He said, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which by interpretation is, Sent.) [Jesus sent him]. He went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing." (John 9:7)
   He saw — why? Because he obeyed Christ and because he believed enough to do it. He believed enough in Jesus that he did what Christ said. And he proved his belief and his faith with his works of obedience. And now his sight was restored.
   "What things soever we ask of him because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." (I John 3:22 paraphrased)
   Not because we lean to our own understanding or like sheep we're conformed to this world and do the things other people say.
   Well now I hoped to get through about two chapters today. And I got through two verses, or did we get into the third, instead?
   I hope, my friends, that if you're not a Christian, you'll become one very quickly. It's up to you; you'd better take this thing to heart while you may.
   Listen, I haven't time to tell you about the 'Plain Truth' today. You want to follow what is prophesied to happen to the United States.
Footnote: {1} Throughout this particular section Mr. Armstrong references Mark 9 when he is actually reading John 9 and the account of the man blind from birth.

Broadcast Date: 1979
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