Well greetings friends, this is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
Now once again, why doesn't God remove every person who receives Christ, immediately to heaven the very instant that he is saved; IF we are fully completely finally saved when we accept Christ?
Now my friends, if it is true that that is the reward of the saved; if it is true that a man is saved and that's all there is to it; there is nothing more to a Christian life past that point, when he just says "I receive Christ, I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior" and he confesses Him before men. Or if he is baptized or sprinkled or whatever any particular group might believe in. If that is all that it takes for salvation, and if that is what salvation is; going to heaven and living in such a condition, then I want you to answer this. I want you to ask yourself very candidly and frankly and I want you to answer. Why then is it, that God does not just whisk him away instantly out of the troubles and all of the sufferings and the unhappiness of this world? And take him away to such a reward — take him away from all of his troubles right away?
Why is it that we read in the Bible, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous..." (Psalm 34:19)? Although it does say that the Eternal delivers them out of them all — same verse — but why must he live around here and go through it if he is already saved, if his salvation has been completed?
Then again, why is it you read in your Bible — and this is in your Bible: "...all who will live godly in Christ Jesus [that is those that are converted — those that have accepted Christ, if they are real Christians — all who will live godly in Christ Jesus] shall suffer persecution." (II Timothy 3:12)
They suffer, they are persecuted. Why? If their salvation is already completed; if that has nothing to do with their salvation — why is that the Christian's troubles begin when he is converted, more than he ever had before?
Then again: "...it is through much tribulation that we must enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)
Why is it? Yes, there is some suffering in this life, because my friends, it is a life of training, a life of overcoming a life of growing and developing — because God is creating something wonderful in you. And we have to get rid of these things that anger us and embitter us and sour us and all that sort of thing; till we can be made happy. Oh it is a happy life! It is an abundant life and I want to tell you it is worthwhile.
My friends, I have been showing you that the reward of the saved is not what people think. I have been showing you that if we are Christ's we are Abraham's children and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29). According to the promise made to Abraham. And that Jesus Christ came to confirm the promises made to the fathers — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Romans 15:8) And what was promised to Abraham and re-promised to the fathers Isaac and Jacob was this earth; as an everlasting possession (Genesis 48:4).
Now we find that they are going to inherit the Kingdom of God and that the Kingdom of God is an earth ruling kingdom right here on this earth. And at the second coming of Christ, He is going to say "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you" (Matthew 25:34). That is what is prepared, the Kingdom of God right here on this earth.
Then again, my friends, I have been showing you, that what God has in store for us, very few people dream of. Why, it has never remotely entered their consideration. Most people have thought that their reward is to get to go to a geographical location.
And in the preceding program, I was explaining that if it could be as beautiful as the Garden of Eden, which must have been so far more beautiful than anything on this earth, that there is no comparison. Or if it is going up to heaven, where there are beautiful mansions and all of the things that people dream about and think about. I've shown you my friends if you would go there in your present condition the way you are; when you rile up and get angry and bitter and resentful at, well at least your imagined offences from others. Usually it is when you can't just have your own way, of course, but you think other people have mistreated you. And when you harbor bitterness and resentment and let those things just embitter you and just well up in your heart; you wouldn't be happy in all the presence of all the holy angels and of the Holy God and all the righteous people up in heaven.
You know, my friends, we'd better reopen this whole thing and look at it again. We have been so deceived. WE HAVE BEEN SO MISLED. God help us to get our eyes open to what is the real truth.
I have been showing you, my friends, that God Almighty is reproducing Himself. That God said, "Let us make man [after] our image" (Genesis 1:26), and that "...as we have borne the image of the earthy..."(I Corinthians 15:49). And the first man was of the earth — earthy. To Adam God said, "dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return"(Genesis 3:19). That "we shall [if we are finally saved] bare the image of the heavenly" (I Corinthians 15:49). Like the second Adam who is the Lord from Heaven.
Things of Beauty And I have been showing you too, that your real reward is not so much a geographical location, not so much a place as it is a condition. It is going to put you in an altogether different condition. So far as the place is concerned, I was just mentioning in the preceding program, the beauties of our Ambassador College Campus. How grateful we are to God for it.
One thing I didn't say — two things I didn't say that I want to mention now. Because I know that many of you are listening every night or every noon or every morning to this program and I think that the majority of my radio audience were listening to that program too. One thing is that this beautiful, marvelous campus that we are and able to enjoy, came to us not as our own doing, or through any efforts really or any superior wisdom or ability of ours — it was absolutely providential. We have to give God all the credit and glory, because it is just as if God gave it to us and in fact that is exactly what He did. Of course we have had to pay for the properties, but these very properties saved us more money that we were being forced Sto pay out before, that now we didn't have to pay out. So that actually it was the same as if we were paid for coming onto these properties and owning them. Now that is the way God can work for His own people. No wonder we feel grateful to Him.
Now one other thing I didn't mention — we were in Europe. And in Europe we went out to Fontainebleau, where Napoleon lived just out of Paris. That was the, well it was one of the great castles or palaces of Napoleon and we saw the place there where Napoleon had his office. We went through all of the quarters where he had lived. Of course they are all preserved and they take visitors through and I was especially intrigued and interested in his study where he did his work. It was not a great large room as I would suppose. There were plenty of great large rooms there alright, but this particular room was not such a great large room. Of course the ceilings, the walls of the room were very ornate. They had been fantastically beautiful and fabulous when Napoleon was there; that's true. We even saw the desk where he worked and the windows out of which he looked into the gardens.
And the scenery in the gardens that Napoleon looked on while he was doing his work — when I saw it, my friends, I had to realize it was not — it just was not to be compared to the beauty of the Ambassador College Campus that God has provided for me to look out on as I do my work.
Now another thing — we were in the Vatican and we were allowed to go all through the Vatican and back in where, and into the library where the public generally is not permitted to go. And it did take a special letter of request and of guarantee and of introduction from the United States Embassy to allow us to go in. And while we didn't, of course, see the Pope's private residence, or except from the outside. And I understand that it is just fabulously beautiful. We were not, of course, in his own quarters, or his living quarters. But nevertheless, we did see the Vatican Gardens; where the Pope can walk and where he can go. Now he is one of the really great figures of the world today. There is no question about it. And as such, incidentally, let me say; while I am certainly what they call non Catholic, nevertheless — your Bible says, my friends, that we must respect and honor a position of power. And so what I am saying, I am saying with due respect and honor.
But I did notice that even the Pope in Rome does not, in my judgment, have gardens to look out on as beautiful as God has provided me with here at Ambassador College. Now I merely felt that God has just blessed us, that is all. I felt rather humble about it and very grateful, that is all.
And even so, as I mentioned in the preceding program, the gardens we have here; the beautiful gardens that we saw in Versailles, just out of Paris a little way. Napoleon was there too, of course, and there we did find beautiful gardens. And I will say I don't know of any college in the United States of America that has a more beautiful campus, or more beautiful grounds than we have here at Ambassador College. I will say though that I saw college campuses at Cambridge, and of course Cambridge is a town, a city. There are a number of colleges there. It isn't just one — the university is composed of many different colleges. They are scattered all over the city of Cambridge.
There is one place where there are a group of I believe four or five colleges though — each one just adjoining the other. Right up together. And they have sort of a universal campus and they have a beautiful river running down through them; we don't anything just like that here. Perhaps they are more beautiful than ours, I don't know. I'm very grateful for what we have, I know that.
There are other campuses in the United States too that are very beautiful. I think I have mentioned it; the campus at Iowa State in Ames Iowa — I haven't been there now for several years, but it is a very spacious campus and has been very beautiful the last time I saw it. At Princeton when we went through Princeton — Princeton University in New Jersey — very beautiful campus. So some of them are very beautiful, but we have a very beautiful one too.
But here is the point — the Garden of Eden must have been so much more beautiful than any spot on this earth today. Perhaps there is no spot on earth today that is kept up in a more beautiful fashion than the gardens at Versailles in France, or than perhaps some of these campuses there at Cambridge, in England; very beautiful. It is a great privilege to be able to see things like that, it really is. And perhaps I can share it a little just by what verbal description I can give you. If it gives you a little feeling of satisfaction, I'm glad.
What God Has In Store For Us But, my friends, how much more beautiful must have been the Garden of Eden? But as I mentioned before, Adam and Eve weren't happy because they rebelled against God. And I don't care how beautiful your surroundings, I don't care what a fantastically fabulous castle you may live in, you aren't going to be happy there unless your heart is right; that is the thing. And listen what God has in store for us is something so much superior to anything that you ever imagined. It is so much superior to just going to heaven and living in castles in the air or in the clouds or in heaven, or however you have imagined — I don't know.
But what God has in store is what He is going to make of you! WHAT YOU CAN BECOME! A CHILD OF GOD — a begotten and then a BORN son of God, as Jesus is. I've read to you the description of Jesus Christ. Jesus said "My joy I leave with you" (John 15:11, 17:13). Jesus is just filled with joy and over here in Revelation in the very first chapter I've read it to you so many times. How Jesus' eyes were like a flame of fire, His countenance as the sun shining in its full strength. (Revelation 1:14, 16)
Jesus now is very God as He was and has been from eternity; and especially before He came to the earth, God in the human flesh — God with us. And God made flesh, as you read in John, the first chapter of John. "...the Word was made flesh..." (John 1:14), and He was made human flesh, of course. And you know, my friends, there are some people who do not believe that and if you want to know the definition of antichrist; there is more than one antichrist. There are many antichrists. A lot of people have wondered about that. We are told to try the spirits whether they be of God. (I John 4:1)
And here is the way to know, or at least certainly one way: "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God" (I John 4:2). And it is speaking of human flesh.
HE WAS MADE MORTAL, MADE OF THE HUMAN FLESH AS YOU READ IN HEBREWS SO THAT HE COULD DIE FOR YOU AND FOR ME — FOR THE VERY PURPOSE OF DEATH (Hebrews 2:14). "...and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is in the world." (I John 4:3)
And as he said here there are, along in this same vain here, there are many antichrists. There are many false prophets gone out into the world — in the first verse of the fourth chapter. And we are told not to believe everything that comes. (I John 4:1)
My friends, I can only ask you to apply the same test to me and to everybody else. Always have your Bible open when I come on the air. Open it and believe what you see in your Bible. Don't follow me. Don't follow your own preacher. Don't follow any speaker. Just follow God and follow your Bible.
But God does have ministers, and so does the devil have ministers. Now you can't put your trust in man and you must do as the Bereans did; "search the scriptures whether these things be so" (Acts 17:11 paraphrased)
Christ the Firstborn of Many Brethren But now let's get along. God has something in store for us. Jesus is made God and made a Son of God by a resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4.) Now by a resurrection and in His resurrection He is the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29). And my friends, He made the resurrection possible for you and for me and we are to be like Him for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2). We are to be made like unto His glorious body (Philippians 3:21). We are to share His glory with Him. We are to be co-heirs and co-inheritors with Him and He is the heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2) and so shall we be (Revelation 21:7).
My friends, you have never seemed to conceive what God has in store for those that love Him. "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard neither has entered the heart the mind of man what God has in store for us" (I Corinthians 2:9 paraphrased). It is so much more wonderful than what you have thought. I've said before, while God promises this earth to us — that's true and that was the promise to Abraham — but listen what is wrong with this earth?
Why, there is a curse upon it. The only thing that is wrong with this earth; it isn't anything that God has done. It is what man has done, because of the rebellion of man. Because their rebellion against the way of God. There is confusion here. "God is not the author of confusion" (I Corinthians 14:33).
And when all that confusion is put down; and Jesus came — He is going put the very last enemy down and that will be death (I Corinithians 15:26), and there won't be any more death. There won't be any more sorrow. There won't be any more crying (Revelation 21:4). And there won't be any lying, there won't be any murderers, there won't be any of these people that are well all shriveled up spiritually in their own meanness and their own resentment and their own bitterness; and all that sort of thing at others.
Why, we are told to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), my friends and you know we won't get all bitter. And again you read — there is one thing about keeping the commandments — I know those that don't; sometimes if they hate the commandments of God. Let's not say that those that don't — lot of people don't keep the commandments. They are perfectly sincere and they are good people, they just have never had their eyes open to it and they don't understand. But — and don't see it. But there are people that know better. And people that really won't; let's put it that way, that won't keep the commandments of God — and that, are even vicious about it. There are some, and some of them would be — make themselves self-appointed leaders even. And they get all bitter about it.
Well, now they don't have any peace of mind. You can just tell it as you listen to such people. They are all bitter and they are vicious. But did you ever read in your Bible; "Great peace have [all] they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." (Psalms 119:165)
They don't get offended and they are not all perturbed. They have peace of mind. Oh what a wonderful thing. That can come if you love God.
Now "sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). The commandments of God — a spiritual law. Well, yes there is some suffering in this life because, my friends, we are being made into and like the glorious image of Christ. That's the purpose of God. TO CHANGE US FROM WHAT WE ARE INTO THE CHARACTER OF GOD! AND IT IS A LIFELONG PROCESS, MY FRIENDS. AND WHEN YOU ARE CONVERTED, WHEN YOU REPENT OF YOUR sins and just professing Christ alone is not enough to save you. That is a part of it, but you must also REPENT of your transgressions against God. Otherwise the blood of Christ is of no avail to you.
Now if and when you really repent, and you really hunger and thirst for knowledge and for the way of God and the law of God and a connection with God and to be His child. And you come to Him by and through Jesus Christ. You receive His spirit and you are led by the spirit of God; then my friends, yes in some ways your troubles begin. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" (Psalms 34:19). But it is a life of training, a life of overcoming, a life of growing, and developing. Because God is creating something wonderful in you; and we have to get rid of these things that anger us and embitter us and sour us and all that sort of thing — until we can be made happy. Oh, it's a happy life, it's an abundant life and I want to tell you it is worthwhile.
The Real Reward Now, here is what Paul says — Romans 8:18; "...I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory [that] shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
My friends, it isn't so much where you are going to be, it is what you are going to be that counts. That is the real reward, my friends. What God will make of you, IF you will go to work on it, IF you want to be, if you hunger and thirst. Of course it all really comes from God and He will give you the power and strength that you lack.
Now then, I've mentioned how I've wondered if I could have remained a Christian, if I hadn't been kept in God's work. Yes I could, but I would had to have to kept my whole mind and heart and thought on the things of God. I would have to have put it first "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and then all these other things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33 paraphrased). I've been going through that the last several broadcasts.
Now then, you may think; "Well, who can stand then? Who can endure all of this thing; all this persecution that is going to come?" Jesus suffered and learned obedience by the things He suffered. And we are going to have to suffer with Him, if we are Christians. Because God has got to really just burn out all this old carnality and all of those things from our natures; and until we receive the nature of God and we are walking in the Spirit of God. And then you say; "Well, is it possible then for me to remain a Christian?" Yes it is.
Let me read you what I always turn to. It's the last two verses here of Jude. Jude, just before the Revelation; next to the last book in your Bible, the twenty-fourth verse;
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen" (Jude 24-25). Isn't that wonderful?
Listen, if you really want to enter into the Kingdom of God, to be a Christian now and to inherit your real reward of entering into the Kingdom of God; there is one who is able to keep you from falling. And you don't need to worry. "To him that is able to keep you from falling..." — but listen if you are not working at it, if it isn't a profession with you; you have been called to a life profession. It is a calling and you have got to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). You've got to be careful, you have got to realize, my friends, that you need to take heed.
Here it is "...let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). It is a life calling. You are told "...to make your calling and election sure" (II Peter 1:10). YES, YOU HAVE YOUR PART TO DO AND IF YOU DO THAT — IF YOU ARE DILIGENT; well you wouldn't be able alone, that's true. But then you can come to this scripture "...now unto him that is able to keep you from falling..." (Jude 24). But you have to be trying. You see it is a team work between you and God. Between you and your living Savior, who is now your High Priest — that is what it is.
How To Prevent Falling Alright, now what is the way; how to prevent falling? Of course, calling on God all the time who is able, but what is your part? Alright, I want to put this first. Now I mentioned this a broadcast or two back, because it is the least realized, it is the easiest neglected and yet it will keep you from doing the second thing to keep from falling. That is your part in God's work. God has given us a work to do. Yes, even though you are not called to full-time service as a minister at all, you may be laboring at secular work or a profession or a business a farm or something; still, my friends, you must put God first.
Remember in the Sermon on the Mount I read to you Matthew 6:24-33 a few nights ago, or mornings or noons ago on the Pacific Coast here? I read to you how you can't serve two masters. You can't serve God and mammon. You must seek first the Kingdom of God. Now I explained that, that still means you can be diligent at your job your profession your work. If your work is a kind where having your mind on it to make good means that you have to take your mind off of the Kingdom of God and put your work first; then you better get another kind of job or profession. That is all I have to say.
But I tell you that a Christian can have his work. He can earn his living and still put the Kingdom of God first and still do what he does with his might and do the best job he can on the job. IF YOU WORK FOR A MAN, WORK FOR HIM AND SERVE HIM WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART; that is the teaching of God. But you can still do that and put God first.
Now then, the Church is the body of Christ. And I have explained how God worked through the body of Jesus on this earth. He said "Of myself I can do nothing. The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the work" (John 5:30, 14:10 paraphrased). But Jesus went to heaven, then the same spirit that did all of the works in Jesus came down and entered into His disciples. And as fast as others were converted that same spirit entered them. Now there was a collective body of many members; one body, but many members as I read to you in I Corinthians 12 — the great church that God gave the great commission.
Jesus gave them the commission "Go [ye] into all the world, and preach the gospel..." (Mark 16:15) And Jesus said of our time now — when that true gospel had been submerged here for centuries — He has said "...this gospel of the kingdom [the same gospel He preached] shall go into all the world [be preached and published in all the world] as a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14)
My friends, that is the job of all of us collectively. EVERY ONE OF YOU HAS A PART IN THAT GREAT COMMISSION and God gave us that commission to keep us busy in His work; to keep our minds on His work, our hearts, our interest continually so that we can put His work and the Kingdom of God first in our life. What is the gospel? Getting the knowledge of the Kingdom of God out to other people and, my friends, you are hearing this only because there are a few thousand that are putting their prayers in the Kingdom of God. Their tithes and their offerings; free will and it has all started and it has all come without request from us.
And please do not construe this as any request, because it isn't. It's an explanation. Once in a great while I explain that fact and only once in a great while. We don't mention money on the air in the sense that it is any request whatsoever. And neither is this such to be construed as such, because it isn't. You know this is God's work and God's work must go His way, but God's people, my friends, must have their whole heart and their pocket book as well as their mind and their heart in the work of God.
And Jesus said "...where your treasure is there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). And because there are some who have their hearts in this work, I am enabled to send this gospel to you free, and to send you the literature that we promise and everything. Now without them, I could only speak to a very small group and so the body of Christ is the collective body of individuals in whom the power of God is working; the Spirit of God. And He has given us His work. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel.." (Mark 16:15). "This gospel of the kingdom shall [and is now] going into all the world as a witness. " (Matthew 24:14)
My friends, I have noticed that those who have their hearts in the work of God remain Christians. And they grow spiritually and they do manage to overcome. And those who neglect it and just have their minds on themselves — of course, you must overcome you must grow spiritually — but if you try to do that alone without this collective, this co-operative work of God, I've never known anyone yet that could do that and succeed.