Well greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow!
Well, my friends, is Jesus Christ alive today or did He die? You'll see little crucifixes and you will see pictures and everything of a dead Christ. Is Jesus Christ dead? Is He only a baby? Or is Jesus Christ, the resurrected Christ, on the job today where He has been for 1900 years for you and me and where we need His help. Where He is there to help, and to serve you and me, to give us the breaks we need, to show us the way we ought to go. To deliver us out of troubles when we get into them, financial troubles, sicknesses, other kinds of troubles, to protect us, to give us assurance. Yes, to give us security, the security that everybody wants, until there is nothing to worry about.
Now for quite a while we've been going through the one book that almost everybody seems to neglect in the Bible, the book that tells what Jesus Christ is doing now. What is He doing now? Is He on the job? Does He have something to do now? Jesus Christ said, "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word...of God." (Matthew 4:4) How many people believe that there is any real authority in the Word of God? How many people understand and realize that God Almighty not only created the heaven and the earth, not only created solid matter, and the water, and the air, but He also is the creator of force and of energy, and of the powers that exist? And He rules in His high heaven by controlling every force and every energy and acting on these things, so that God is the active Ruler.
Man was Given Free Choice Now in the very beginning to the very first man, God said to that man that there were certain things he should and should not do. But God didn't force the man to do anything. God made this man a free moral agent. He was made a free moral agent, he was made capable of disobeying God. Now in the very garden of Eden, God Almighty said to the first man, He took the man - verse fifteen, the second chapter of Genesis, way back in the beginning of your Bible. Maybe this is pretty ancient history by now but it's rather important because it has something to do with your life. It has something to do with the decisions you are making right now, the way you're living right now, so listen. Genesis 2:15:
"...the [Eternal] God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the [Eternal] God commanded the man, saying..." (Genesis 2:15-16)
Now here He was in authority, He was the Ruler, He was issuing commands. But I want you to notice that it was up to the man to voluntarily either decide to obey this command or reject it, and the man had full power to make his own decision. God didn't force the man to obey, but God commanded the man saying:
"...Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [you may, that is giving permission] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it..." (Genesis 2:15-17)
He did not give permission to take that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said you shall not, He denied him permission. Yet He didn't deny him the power to do it, because God had made the man a free moral agent. Now listen:
"But [He said] of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it [why?]: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17)
Because it wasn't good for the man. Now there's the love of God manifested first of all. But secondly, when He said, "...for in the day that thou eatest thereof..." (Genesis 2:17) that showed that the man was able to do it and had power to do it. He had power to disobey. He had power to do even what God had not allowed him to do, or had not permitted him to do. As a matter of fact, God did, in a sense allow it, because the man did it.
In the very next chapter you find how the man's wife did it first, and then she gave to him and he took and he did eat too, of the wrong fruit, of that that was denied, that belonged to God. It didn't belong to them. They had another god before the true God, they dishonored their only parent, they coveted that fruit, and they reached out and took it and stole it. And there were four of the Ten Commandments broken in that very first test.
The Choice of Life or Death Now God did not force them to obey in any manner at all. Now next if you will turn over to the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy. And you will notice here that God says, as He does in a number of places, but here we find it expressed in very plain language in the fifteenth verse:
"See," God says, to the people now. This was the only people that God had any relationship with, or that He talked to. God never did talk to the Gentiles in the Old Testament times, in fact He never has at any time, for that matter, Old Testament or New Testament. Except He sent ministers to preach to them to be converted, and to cease to be Gentiles and to become Israelites. Because, as Paul said to the Galatians; "...if you [you Gentile Galatians] are Christ's, then are you Abraham's children..." (Galatians 3: 29 paraphrased) In other words, you are Israelites. And as Paul said to the Ephesians: "You were born Gentiles, but at that time you were without God, you were without Christ, you were without hope, and without any salvation. But now, in Christ Jesus, [he said] you are no more foreigners from Israel, or strangers, but you're fellow citizens..." (Ephesians 2:12,19 paraphrased).
Now, here's what God said then to His people, the only people that He ever talked to or that listened to Him at all, and they didn't listen very long:
"See, I have set before thee this day life and good [that's on the one hand], ...death and evil [on the other, in other words good leads to life and evil leads to death]; In that I command thee this day to love the [Eternal] thy God, to walk in his ways, ...to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live..." (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).
Why? Why does He want them to keep His statutes, His judgments? Because it's bad for us? Because God's way is not good? Because it's only going to harm us? Do you think Jesus Christ is a smart-alec young man that came to this earth, and saw how great a mistake His Father made in this law? And that God was a harsh, stern, cruel God, that only wanted to injure us and deny us every happiness and everything good, and that Jesus did away with His Father's law? Well a lot of people seem to believe that today. Listen:
"...to keep his commandments and...that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Eternal thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But [He said] if thine heart turn away [now that shows that they were allowed to turn away, they had ability and they had power to do it, they had to make the decision. But if thine heart turn away], so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;" (Deuteronomy 30: 16-17)
Notice they had power to do it. God made them with power to do it and with free volition, right of free choice. Otherwise there never could be the character that God put us here to build. God put you and me on this earth for a purpose my friends. And that purpose can only come by our coming of our own free volition and will to see the right way, and to make the right choice, and to enforce that right choice on our own selves by denying the self the wrong way, and by enforcing the right way on the self. Self discipline, that's character and right and righteous character, the right kind, my friends.
"But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto [thee] this day, that [you] shall surely perish..." (Deuteronomy 30: 17-18).
Now God was only warning them what was automatically going to follow because God's laws are inexorable, they are in motion. God's laws are living things and He said, "You will surely perish". Just automatically they would die because it's the way that's going to bring on death. And it's death for all eternity, it's eternal punishment. The punishment is death and it's for all eternity, eternal punishment.
"...[you] shall surely perish, and that [you] shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it [now next He says]. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death [on the one hand is life, on the other death], blessing and cursing [now the blessing, the right way, will produce blessings now, and life forever hereafter; the wrong way will produce curses on us now, and death for all eternity hereafter]: therefore [God says] choose..." (Deuteronomy 30:18-19)
Now you see the man has to make his own choice. God says CHOOSE. God will not make the choice. God has decreed, God is the Ruler my friends. But God has ruled, God has decided, God has decreed that you have to decide and make the choice whether you will let Him rule you or not.
Now if you voluntarily come under God's rule, if you've come to see how wrong you've been, if you come to see what a great sinner you have been, until you come to abhor yourself. Until you come to want God's way, until you want to be reconciled to Him, and have Him cleanse you, and fill you with His love and with His character, and put His law in your mind and in your heart. Then He is going to give you blessings, and He will give you blessings here and now and He will give you life eternal.
A Wrong Concept of God You know I've seen that work out over a long period of years my friends. It used to be before I came to really know God, I'd been brought up in what we call a Christian home. My mother and father brought me up the very best way that they knew, and in the way that they thought was right. You know I didn't see everything once upon a time that I do now, and if we're not growing, and growing in grace and knowledge, and if we're not improving all the time, there is something wrong.
But I'd been brought up in the standard common orthodox Christian home, well-meaning parents, devout and well-meaning. Oh, how I thank God that I had such a home and such an upbringing, such a rearing. But still I wasn't converted, I didn't understand. And I drifted away from Sunday School and church at about the age of eighteen like so many young fellows do about that age. And I never, well I won't say never, because I did once in a while darken the door of a church, but not very often.
I got into the line of work where I was travelling all over the country for a national magazine, and I know that now and then I would attend a church on Sunday. Just seemed to think I should once in a while. Of course it was more of a superstition than anything. Actually I felt that maybe it might please God if I did, and that maybe He'd give me a little better breaks in getting business, landing more contracts, making more money, more commissions the next week.
Why, I used to pray, but mostly my prayers were just asking God to help me to make more money. They were selfish. I wanted the breaks. Oh, I knew that, I wanted to get the breaks in business and in various things. I was ambitious in this world all in material ways, they were quite material at that time, that's all I knew, because I hadn't come to really know God yet, and I didn't know His word at that time, I didn't understand it during those years.
I know very shortly after my wife and I were married my mother gave us a Bible. I didn't have a Bible for years. I hadn't even had a Bible. I travelled all over the country but I never thought of taking a Bible along, well that would have been excess baggage and would have weighed something you know and I'd had to lug it around, from the way I must have looked at it at that time. At least, well I wouldn't have thought anything ill of the Bible, but then the thing was, it just wasn't on my mind.
I was quite interested in going to movies every little while, I know that. Of course those were just way back in the beginning of the silent days, but we were getting out of the old nickelodeon times and were getting into some fairly good silent pictures. I know I'd do things like that once in a while. Although I spent most of my evenings in study, and improving myself because I was quite ambitious. But I was interested in worldly things and the worldly cares and the cares of this life and that sort of thing, that's what I was primarily interested in.
And so my mother gave us a Bible very shortly after we were married. I believe it was the first Christmas after we were married. Yeah, I think that was a Christmas present. Well mother believed that was the thing to do, so did we at that time, and consequently my wife and I felt we should read it through. She was a lot more consecrated than I. She had 'given her heart', as we say, to God, which means she had surrendered her will, and that was proved a little later when some things that were a little difficult to take up came to her, and she was willing to do it. Her will was surrendered but mine wasn't.
Well you know we read that Bible clear through, but do you know how we did it? I had her do the reading and read it out loud because we'd get through faster. Now I didn't understand a word of it anyhow, it was just like la, la, blah, blah blah or something like that. I didn't — it was like Greek or Hebrew. She might as well have read it in the original languages I wouldn't have understood it anyhow, either way and I didn't understand it.
But the main thing was, I felt that if we just would read the Bible, even though it was dry and dull and I didn't understand a word of it that, well I'd get better breaks in business and things would break better for me. It was a matter of luck you know, it was a superstition in plain words and God was some kind of a monster that maybe He was looking out for a chance to get me. Maybe He was going to try to reach down and hurt me if I didn't appease His vanity.
Maybe I believed a little bit like Herbert Spencer did, that God is only thinking of His own self, He's very selfish He wants us to praise Him, and to flatter Him because He loves that, that appeases His vanity. But He wants us to give up every good thing, He wants us to suffer, He wants us to be unhappy. And if we will do penance, and if we'll be miserable and unhappy enough, and give up all the good things, and the joys of life, then maybe God will let us come up to His high heaven when we die.
And like you might let your little puppy dog in the house, and let him sort of lie down at your feet as you sit in your comfortable lounging chair, and actually let him in your own home, and he can wag his little tail, and he can look up into your face, and it just makes him happy to see you. Of course he's way down there in that lowly level, and wagging his tail and groveling at your feet. But a lot of people think they'll get to look at Christ, and then they can lounge around up there in this fairy mansion playing on a harp in idleness and ease. Nothing to do for all eternity. That's about the average concept. Well, that's not a true picture at all. That's not a true picture at all, not at all.
God Only Wants Our Happiness I have found since my friends, that God has one interest, and there is one thing that makes Him happy and that's to see you made happy. God does not want you to suffer. God does not want you... Listen carefully, God does not want you to have to give up one pleasure, or one thing that you like and love and want to do, that is good for you. If it's good for you and if it's good for others and if it is uplifting and up-building, and will tend to develop you and build you up, and if it is righteous and right and good, God wants you to have it.
But God does want you to give up the things, that, well, are going to give you maybe a sensation tonight and a terrible headache, a sort of a hangover tomorrow morning. Because that headache and hangover isn't good and that's going to tear down your efficiency. God does not want you to dissipate. God does not want you to do the things that are going to harm and injure other people. God's law is:
"...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 19:19).
You know God doesn't even deny you the right to love your own self. What God says is love your neighbor as you love yourself. He doesn't even deny you the chance of loving your own self and isn't that wonderful? Yes it's alright to love yourself provided you love your neighbor just as much. Now you can go quite a long way along that line and that's perfectly right. But God gets His greatest happiness and pleasure out of seeing us made happy. God says He wishes: "...above all things [through John He says this], that thou mayest prosper and be in health..." (III John 1:2)
God doesn't want you to be poor. Why it's nothing to brag about, being poor. It may not be a disgrace to be poor, all depends on circumstances. If you're poor because you're shiftless and indifferent, dowdy and slipshod and because you have not put forth any effort and because you have not tried, then I want to say under those conditions, it's a disgrace for you to be poor.
If you are poor because of circumstance, because of things outside of your control, then it certainly is no disgrace. And we should all be humble enough to just not look on those things. Success doesn't consist in the amount of money you've made or what you've acquired. No, success depends a whole lot more on how much have you given? How much have you helped others? How much have you done to contribute to the good and the happiness of the lives of others? Do you ever think of that? Are you really concerned about how much good you can do or only what you can get for yourself?
Well, God wants us to go His way that it may be well with us, that we may live long on this life. So He said: "...therefore choose [but He said choose] life" (Deuteronomy 30:19), the way of blessings, the way of life eternal when you'll be blessed all that way.
Now, my friends, I began trying that and I've been putting it to the test ever since, and I want to tell you God has blessed me and our family. He has blessed us with every blessing within the power of the Eternal Great Creator to give. Why, I tell you what He has done, He's bestowed on us a good deal of what you read here in Ephesians the first chapter, in the Moffatt translation where it's so beautifully worded, beginning with the third verse:
"Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing within the heavenly sphere!" (Ephesians 1:3 Moffatt translation)
That is within even the great, almighty, unlimited power of God to bestow. And He has blessed us just that way. We've had material blessings, oh we've had plenty of trials, we've had plenty of tests of faith, but we've had blessings too.
And the thing that I have noticed my friends, I have a great many co-workers with me now in this work of God, a great many co-workers. And I have noticed that all of those that are active with us, so far as I know, and I don't really know the private lives of our thousands of co-workers that are active in another way but not right here on our campus, that are supporting this work with their tithes and their offerings. I don't know their private lives, but those who are here with us, you know I know this is true, that every one who has been here with their hearts in this work and has been loyal to the work of God has been blessed spiritually and materially as they had never been blessed before in their lives. And I don't think there is one single exception.
Now there have been one or two that have gone away soured and embittered who have made a great mistake. They have misapplied and twisted truth and fact, that have been deceived or else they have deliberately done it, but in every one of those cases they have come under a curse and they have not been happy. So far as I know in every case history that I am familiar with, that has happened. Now I tell you some of them I know have come under some tremendous curses and things have certainly gone wrong in their lives. But every one of us here have had those great blessings.
The Purpose of Christ's Church You know that reminds me, my friends, I mention our co-workers quite often. You know I have been going through this book of Hebrews showing you what Christ's job is now, that Jesus Christ is on the job now. Well do you know that the chief of our co-workers is Jesus Christ Himself. Now those of us who are co-workers are co-workers WITH Christ, not just in Christ and not just for Christ but IN and WITH Christ. We are co-workers with Him and He is one of our co-workers. Jesus Christ is not only one of the co-workers in this work, He is the Head co-worker Do you know why? Because Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church. Jesus Christ said:
"...I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus Christ was sent to this earth for a purpose. He was sent here to first qualify to become a king. He was born to be a king and to be the future king of this world and He had to qualify to rule the entire world and to usher in a new and a different world, the world tomorrow.
He's going to bring about the end of this world, of this age, this time, this pattern of society, this WAY of things that's brought every wail of woe and of every bit of agony and human suffering that has ever hit the human race. God doesn't want you to suffer. God doesn't want us to be unhappy but we have chosen the way that has made us unhappy. Man has not made the right choice. God has decreed we must choose, and mankind has chosen the wrong way, and mankind has brought headaches and heartaches, and suffering and anguish upon himself.
Now God is going to step in and intervene, He's going to stop all of it and Jesus Christ is coming again soon to this earth. But He came 1900 years ago to qualify and then to call out His disciples and to teach and to train them. He didn't preach His gospel, the good news of His coming kingdom to all the world at that time. He only preached it to a few people at Palestine that came around and He didn't even seek crowds even then. You'd be surprised if you read in Matthew, Mark and Luke and John, He didn't seek the crowds, they came to Him because He was helping people.
He performed miracles. Why? Not to prove He was the Messiah. You go to some atheist, some sceptic, some doubter, some unbeliever today and you tell him. "Listen, don't the miracles that Jesus Christ performed 1900 years ago prove to you that He was the Messiah?" Why this sceptic will laugh, and he'll just scoff. He'll say,"Why there weren't any such miracles. I don't believe those miracles ever happened." They don't prove anything to him. Jesus Christ didn't perform those miracles to try to prove He was the Messiah.
Why the Pharisees and the Sadducee leaders my friends, and the Scribes, they were right there, they saw the miracles, they knew they were happening. Did they prove to them He was the Messiah? Why no, they cried out for His blood as an impostor. It didn't prove anything to them. Why did Jesus perform the miracles? Because He was a man of love. Because God is love and He manifested the very character and the Spirit of God and because of His compassion, His mercy and His great love for them. He did it to help them. That's the Spirit of God.
Now He said; "...I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18) and it was "...built upon the foundation of those apostles and the prophets [the prophets of the Old Testament], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20). And Christ is the Head of the Church.
Now, He came in a human body to do certain things and finally to lay down that body and to die for us to pay the penalty in your stead and mine. Then He was raised from the dead by God the Father and He ascended to heaven. And you know, He said if He went He would send the other Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and then the Holy Spirit came and entered into the collective body of His disciples, those twelve of whom now became apostles.
And Paul and Barnabas and others became apostles who had authority now and a high office representing Him and His kingdom and they began to proclaim His gospel. The good news of the coming world government, the kingdom of God, to the known world of that time. Now He said this same gospel is to go to all the world today. That was the commission of His Church. That's why He raised up His Church. God puts into His Church all that are being saved.
He adds to the Church those that are baptized by His Spirit into His Church. Now my friends, if you have received the Holy Spirit of God. If you have been baptized by the Spirit of God, He has put you into His Church. And if you are in His Church He has given you a commission, and that is to become a co-worker with us to go into all the world and preach this gospel.
Now we call a co-worker those that have a part in this work, those who are praying for the work. For instance, maybe there would be someone here that has no money, never gets any money, cannot pay any tithes, cannot contribute any offerings, but their heart is in this work and they're praying for it all the time. Well they're a co-worker. Of course most of our co-workers are those that are supporting this work with their tithes and offerings.
Now you never hear me ask for money on the air and a lot of you wonder. Many people say, "Well how can I become a co-worker?" Well anyone that wants to have a part in this work can be. Now we never ask for money. I'm not asking for any of you to become co-workers, that's between you and your God, but thousands have wondered and they have asked for an explanation.
Listen, Christ is the Head of His Church, He is the one who is guiding this entire work, He is the Chief Co-worker. We go to Him for guidance, we rely on Him. You know the real Headquarters of this work is the throne of God in heaven. I'd like to tell you a little more and perhaps I can in the next broadcast about how one becomes a co-worker and how it is that there are thousands of co-workers even though we never ask for money over the air and when we send you this literature we don't ask you for money unless you voluntarily send in money and show us you want to be one.
Listen my friends, so that you can understand that whole third of your Bible that tells about world conditions and about our United States. Write in for our booklet 'The United States in Prophecy' that will tell you where we are mentioned. It's the key that will open up that third of your Bible and there's no charge.
Until tomorrow then, goodbye friends.