Well greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
My friends, you wouldn't believe would you — I know most of you wouldn't from the teaching that we have just absorbed and come to believe — that it is possible for millions of people to really seek Jesus Christ; to really seek Him and to believe on Him and still be lost?
I'm going to show you by the very teaching of Jesus that that's exactly what is happening and that that's what the majority are actually doing. That is, who do seek Him at all and once again we're going to see why it is, or we're going to see the fact at least, if we don't see why, that many, in fact nearly everybody today, is believing exactly the opposite of the message that Jesus Christ brought and taught. Exactly the opposite of that which the Church did believe when it was inspired and led and filled by the Holy Spirit. Exactly the opposite of that which the apostle Paul taught to the Gentile churches and which they believed and proclaimed.
Astonishing though it is, that's true. Now here we are going through the book of John and going through the life of Jesus Christ to see what He taught. It's amazing, He taught exactly the opposite of what people believe today, but entirely differently in His custom, in the things that He did, the customs that He followed.
Now we're coming to the twenty-first verse of John eight; the eighth chapter of John and the twenty-first verse. This is the day after the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus had returned to the temple and many were still there and He had been teaching them. Remember that the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders and the rulers and the largest denomination of Christian, or not Christians but of a, Jewish people. At that time they were the largest church denomination however in Palestine. They were seeking any chance to put Jesus to death, and yet so many people thought He was the Messiah, that they were afraid and they had to get something to accuse Him of or they themselves would be deposed and discredited, and they hadn't found a way yet to do it; they were continually trying to.
Now Jesus had spoken in the treasury. Let's go back to the twentieth verse here just a moment; I think we ended about here in the preceding program anyway.
"These words spake Jesus in the treasury [there in the Temple], as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come." (John 8:20 KJV)
And that's the real reason why no man could lay hands on Him. God does things on time and the time had not come and God had an exact hour set when they were to take Him and they took Him when that hour came and Jesus surrendered and gave Himself over to it.
How Christianity Was Perverted But in the meantime they couldn't take Him, they didn't like what He taught; men have never liked what He taught. Men rejected it, and at first they rejected Him and the majority, but a number accepted Him and those that accepted Him also accepted what He taught at first. And they followed and practiced as He had done, they followed in His steps; He set an example and they followed it.
And so the majority did not like it, either in the Roman world or even in the Jewish world and so persecution began. And in the Roman world during the first two or three hundred years after the time of Christ the persecution was inflicted to the extent that millions were killed and a Sunday afternoon sport was to throw these Christians to the lions, in a den of lions, and they would watch the lions who had been kept hungry make a good meal off of them. And that was a Sunday afternoon sport.
And yet Christianity began to grow. Now in those days Christianity was becoming perverted but as it started out they believed the teaching of Christ as well as the name of Christ. Of course they began to twist it and pervert it and get their human ideas mixed in with it.
But after a while the pagans saw that they could not stamp out Christianity and so they began to come into Christianity and embrace it in a mass movement, fifth column movement, and to get on the inside and then they brought their pagan doctrines along with them and their pagan customs; and they became the majority; then they just merely excommunicated the minority that wanted to follow the teaching, the belief, the doctrines, and the customs of Christ and they continued to call it Christianity.
And so they accepted the name of Christ, the prestige of Christ, they went out proclaiming His name and from that day to this the world has been hearing a lot about Christ and the name of Christ is proclaimed; they say a great deal about Him but His Message they dropped long, long ago. And His customs they do not follow and yet He came to set us an example. That's why this world today is so unhappy. Jesus brought the way into happiness and into world peace and into prosperity and into everything we want but we won't find that way.
Man will not find that way; man wants to have Christ, he wants the results that come from doing the way of Christ while he does exactly the opposite way! Why is it we want to go directly away from peace; we want to go directly away from happiness and prosperity and yet have those things? That's a lot worse I think than trying to eat your cake and have it too. Well now, Jesus said to them; this is verse 21 in the eighth chapter of John. I hope you have your Bible open and read it with your own eyes.
"Jesus said unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins:" (John 8:21 KJV paraphrased).
Oh how that applies today. Many are seeking Him; many are believing on Him and yet as Jesus said: they shall die in their sins. Here were people seeking Him then, and He said, "You shall die in your sins."
Seeking Christ Is Not Enough Just seeking Christ is not enough; just seeking Him is not enough. I told you, and I went, I think I read it to you in the preceding program or else it was a couple of programs ago; couple of nights ago, or days perhaps. Isaiah showed us the way of salvation. And the scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation; the scriptures that Timothy knew as a lad, and that was the Old Testament scriptures and the Church of the New Testament is founded on the apostles and the prophets; Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). And one of those prophets on which the New Testament Church is founded is Isaiah.
And in Isaiah 55 he says, "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found..." (Isaiah 55:6 KJV). Well why is it then that many seek the Lord, or the Eternal, and many seek Christ today and yet they're going to die in their sins? Well I'll show you why; Isaiah tells you how to seek the Eternal:
"Seek ye the [Eternal] while he may be found, call upon him while he is near:" (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)
How? Now there's a colon after that which means the next words describe that and explain it and show what it means, and here it is: "Let the wicked [and we're all wicked, all have sinned], Let the wicked forsake his way ..." (Isaiah 55:7). That is each wicked man must forsake his own way; he must change his way; he must forsake the way he has been living and come to Christ and find Christ's way and find a different way. There it is.
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the [Eternal], and he [the Eternal] will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon". (Isaiah 55:7 KJV)
When will He pardon? If and when you forsake your way and your thoughts; and when you find the way of God and the thoughts of God and not until then. For God says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the [Eternal]. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV)
Now let me tell you my friends the one great thing wrong with all this world. Here is the cause of all wars; here is the cause of poverty; here is the cause of sickness and disease; here is the cause of empty lives; the cause of unhappiness and human suffering and anguish; its right here if you can see it. The world does not want the thoughts or the ways of God. The world loves its own ways and its own thoughts; and its own ways and its own thoughts are the very way; its thinking and its acting and doing are the ways that have brought on this world all of its misery and its unhappiness and its woe and anguish. And the world loves its own way; it loves its own thoughts and is unwilling to forsake them and give them up.
Now there's the whole thing in a nutshell right there. My friends if you never got anything more out of the Bible than just that; you'd find the way to salvation. Of course you have to have a little more than that because that merely tells you to seek and find the way of God and the thoughts of God and I guess you need all the rest of the Bible to show you what God's way is and God's thoughts and you find His thoughts in the Bible.
You know if we're converted we are people that have given up our own thoughts and there is a passage in the New Testament: I heard of an old preacher that had preached for forty or fifty years and in every sermon he preached a great deal and in every sermon he had one text he always opened his Bible and read the same text. And that is: "Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5 KJV). In other words come to have the mind of Christ; that means think His thoughts after Him, that means that if you think His thoughts and if you believe His message and His way you'll follow that way. And if you can do that you'll have salvation cause it's all wrapped up in that. That'll give you the whole recipe and everything that is necessary to do and everything that is necessary to believe; everything that is necessary to trust in; that's the whole thing.
Now here Jesus was saying, "...you shall seek me and shall die in your sins (John 8:21 KJV). Why? Because they seek Him while they cling to their thoughts and their ways; they are not willing to give up their own thoughts and their own ways.
Man Believes The Devil Not Christ This world my friends is a world of man's making but it is a world that has been made, while man did the making, man has yielded himself as an instrumentality of the Devil. He has been under the sway of that satanic influence and has refused to yield to the sway or the direction of God and the Spirit of God. When can we wake up and really see that?
That my friends is the foundation of the whole thing. All of these platitudes; all of the beautiful thoughts and the sentimentality and the emotional things of worshipping Christ and thinking about Christ and professing Christ; it's wonderful in itself, so far as it goes, and it's very necessary. But my friends, if it isn't mixed with obedience; if it isn't mixed with forsaking your thoughts and your ways; if it isn't mixed with finding the message that Jesus brought and believing that; Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom and saying, "...repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15 KJV). The gospel He preached which you don't hear preached today.
Well you do hear it on this program; thank God for that. But you don't hear it very much and what you hear on this program is utterly different from, I believe, anything else you're hearing. I hope you hear something more like it and if you do that's fine; just tell me about it and I'll rejoice with you. I would just love to see hundreds and thousands and thousands of others preaching the same gospel that Jesus brought and that He preached.
They preach about Him, they preach about His person, they use a lot of Bible terms and Bible language that's true. And have a message and the ideas and the thoughts and the ways and the customs of men. God deliver us from that because when I say that my friends I'm saying God deliver us from our miseries and our unhappiness' and our poverty and our aches and pains and suffering; and all of our fears and worries and lead us into the way that will bring us happiness and peace of mind and full, filled up happy abundant lives; which we can have and it only comes from the way and thinking and acting that God sent by of Jesus Christ.
Now He said; "...whither I go ye cannot come" (John 8:21 KJV). He went to heaven, and He said you cannot come there. Well now today everybody thinks that they can go there. They think if they seek Him that they're not going to die in their sins; they don't believe they're going to die at all, they believe they're immortal souls; He said you shall die. And He said; "...whither I go you cannot come" (John 8:21 KJV). But people don't believe that they believe exactly the opposite; they believe they can go to heaven and do when they die.
Believe Christ's Message All the way along my friends people believe just the opposite of what you read in the scripture that Jesus taught. "Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above [that meant He came from heaven, He was going back to heaven; that's where He was from]: ye are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8:21-22 KJV)
My friends if you are of this world you're not one of Christ's. Those who are of Christ are not of this world; they have to be in it. The great commission of Jesus Christ is go ye into the world and preach the gospel to it; but He didn't say be of it. And Jesus' last prayer for His Church was that while they had to remain in the world they would not be of the world (John 1:15-16 KJV paraphrased).
But I want to tell you that most of what is even called Christianity today my friends, if you look at it, I don't say this to attack anybody or anything of that sort at all. It's just a fact, we look out and see it exists and we deplore it and we wish it weren't that way and if someone doesn't raise his voice that the people can see it and have their eyes opened; what's going to happen? It's only bringing us aches and pains and suffering and heartache and unhappiness. Do we want that?
Now who is the god of this world and who is the God that's really worshipped? The God is the person that, or, the one that people obey. And if they obey the ideas, the ideology and the philosophy and the way and the teaching and the beliefs of Satan the Devil, I say they belong to the Devil and he is their god. But if they believe God and obey Him and keep His commandments, and believe the message that Jesus brought; and follow His practices and customs; think His thoughts; forsake their own and follow His ways then the true Creator God, the Ruler of the whole Universe is their God.
And I say to you that a lot of people need to look into the looking glass and see where they stand themselves and not criticize others so much and we need to open up our eyes, our ears, and our minds and our hearts; and open our minds to the truth and our hearts to the love and the Spirit of God.
Jesus said: "...I am not of this world [and if we're His disciples and His begotten children we are not of this world]. I said therefore unto you [He continued that]; ye shall die in your sins [because they were not forsaking their sins, they were not forsaking their thoughts or their ways]: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8: 23-24 KJV)
Now it is necessary that we believe that Christ is the Messiah; it is necessary to believe on Him but it is also necessary to believe His gospel: His message that He brought. The people of this world do want to believe on Him. Now let's hurry, I want you to see that people did believe on Him, which is necessary, and which is right; they went that far but didn't go the rest of the way and believe what He said. Now let's read on rapidly:
"Then said they unto him, Who art thou [He said; if ye don't believe that I am he ye shall die in your sins? Well they said], Who art thou? Jesus said unto them; even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world [He spoke to the world, He was not of the world, but He did speak to the world as he commissioned His ministers to be not of the world but to go into the world and speak to it and that's what Jesus did. And He said]; I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him." (John 8:25-26 KJV).
And my friends I speak to the world and now my voice is going around the world. And I speak what I have heard of Christ and the message of Christ. Christ brought the message He had heard from the Father. And if I speak the same message that I have heard of Christ I speak what He got from the Father. He that hath an ear I say let him open his ears and open his heart and his mind along with it. "They understood not that he spake to them of the Father" (John 8:27 KJV). God Almighty, the Father, the Father of a family; the God Family, and God is a family if you can understand it.
"Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man [He was speaking there of His crucifixion], then shall ye know that I am he [and actually the I am refers to His name — I Am — He is the Eternal; the God, the Creator — I Am], and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me I speak these things." (John 8:28 KJV)
And my friends as He taught us so should we speak and act and believe and think and do. Do we do it as He spoke? Or do we want to reject what He spoke; use our ideas, just avoid the things that hurt our consciences according to our thoughts and our believing while we cling to them and refuse to forsake them.
Can We Admit We're Wrong? The hardest thing for any human being to do is to forsake his thoughts and his ways; in other words, to admit he's wrong; to confess that he has been absolutely wrong; and to back down and to admit it is the hardest thing. Are you willing to do it? Are you?
Well as I speak to you I am speaking to perhaps another couple of million or more beside you, right at this moment. And I say to you that if you are one who really is willing to forsake your way and to admit it when you're wrong you stand out from the rest of them as one in at least a hundred thousand or more. Because ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine out of each hundred thousand of you, or something like that, are not willing to admit you're wrong. Why won't you admit it? The thing that is wrong about you; your wrong thinking, your wrong believing, your wrong doing is making you unhappy; it's hurting you, it's injuring you, and using you to injure others. Why are you so reluctant to admit it and to turn from it and to do the thing that's right, the thing that'll make you happy; that will cheer you up and make life a blessing and let the sun shine and God's face shine upon you and let you be a joy and a blessing to others. Why is that so difficult? What is it in human nature that you can't override and master, and say I will admit I've been wrong?
You're wrong, you're wrong on so many things. And until you're willing to admit it you can't get right. And if you're hearing anything that is right on this program; and if you happen to be one of those that is not trying to judge this according to your denominational bias; but according to the Bible itself, and can say as so many are saying that they have not yet found anything contrary to the Bible on this program. That my friends is because God browbeat me and knocked me down in a different manner, but according to the same principle, a good deal, as He did the apostle Paul; and literally practically took the breath out of me. And certainly took food out of my stomach, and took all confidence out of me and everything of the kind until I was willing to make that surrender and begin to admit how wrong I was and I've had to continue to admit it; and I've had to confess it over the radio more than once. Thank God that I don't have to do that so often anymore because when you've done it you finally get nearer the truth all the time until you finally get right enough you don't have to keep admitting that all the time.
You know that's the beautiful thing about admitting you are wrong. Once you admit it and get right you don't have to do it again; you've gotten right and you can stay right and you don't have to admit that right is wrong because it isn't, its right. But you have to admit you've been wrong in the first place because everyone of us has been. I know I've gone through it just as much as any of you.
But have you admitted that you've been wrong? Have you continued to do it time after time after time until you get nearer and nearer the truth and that which is right? That's the only way you're ever going to find any real salvation; that's the purpose of your life is to do that very thing my friends. That's why you were put here on this earth and you're not fulfilling your purpose in life, your mission for which God Almighty the Creator put you here, unless and until you come to be willing to do it, that's the very first thing in salvation; repent, change your mind, admit you've been wrong, forsake your ways, your thoughts. Oh I'm hitting at nearly every one of you now because I know it's human nature.
You know, it was hard for me to do it. But, when I became willing I found the next time it wasn't so hard and after that it wasn't so hard. And it isn't a bit difficult now and anytime you can show me that I am wrong I'm perfectly willing to admit it. I'll admit that I may be a little slow in seeing it sometimes because I don't jump around at every new wind of doctrine that comes around. You can't be sound and get to the truth if you do that. Forsake one error and pick up another one isn't getting the truth. We need to be sound minded and the Holy Spirit is the spirit of a sound mind; not a flighty mind or a half-witted mind or anything of that sort.
"Then Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then ye shall know I am he, and that I can do nothing of myself; but as the Father has taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: for the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always [now notice, here's doing], I do those things that please him [do you my friends?]. As He spake these words many believed on him". (John 8:28-30 KJV paraphrased).
Why? Because He was good; many believe that today but they don't want to follow His example. Now they believed on Him. Now let's read on, here are many that believed on Him. Continue, verse 31:
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him [but they didn't believe His word, they didn't believe what He said, they didn't forsake their thoughts and their ideas, they didn't begin to follow Him, they just believed on Him. They believed He was the Messiah and that alone is not enough. Now let's read on and see], If ye continue [He said these words to them that believe on Him, as many of you do, but you don't follow Him. He said]: if ye continue in my word [that means do what I say then are ye my disciples indeed;" (John 8:31 KJV)
And if you don't do what He said — if you don't continue in His word, you're not His disciples, even though you believe. These people believed on Him and He said, if you do what I say, "...If you continue in my word then you are my disciples. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32 KJV paraphrased)
The Truth Makes Us Free There's that wonderful scripture in the Bible, you've all known it; "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free [how shall ye know the truth? If, there's a little two letter word 'if' ahead of it]; If you continue in my word, you shall know the truth..." (John 8:32 KJV paraphrased)
Again, "...a good understanding have of all they that do his commandments" (Psalm 111:10). Obedience to God; surrender of your will, of your way, of your thoughts; that is the beginning of understanding and you can't come to understand the Bible and you can't even find the truth that'll make you free until you're willing. Now then:
"They answered him [let's see if they believed Him, they believed on Him but they didn't believe what He said,] Then answered they, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free [Jesus wasn't talking about being in bondage to a man]? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin [they were in bondage to sin not to a man]. And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever [in other words the servant is not going to be heir and take the property, he's just there temporarily but the son will inherit the property]. And if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:33-36 paraphrased)
Later He said, "You are of your father the devil [in verse 44; and in verse 45], And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not" John 8:44-45 KJV paraphrased). That is in verse 45 to the very ones who believed on Him and on His name.
That's why He said, "...ye shall seek me [you can believe on me] and ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:21 KJV paraphrased). And it's the same today.
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 'The Ambassador College Bible Course,' by correspondence; right there in your own home. This Bible Correspondence Course is now ready for your enrollment. And so listen; if you want to really understand your Bible; if you're 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 you want to enroll.
And we have decided to charge no tuition, we are going to send you this course by mail without charge, trusting God purely on faith to supply the need.