It's in your NATURE to be SUSPICIOUS. You were BORN filled with a NATURE that makes you DOUBTFUL, SKEPTICAL, STUBBORN! Are YOU overcoming that nature? Or are you SUSPICIOUS OF GOD?
HAVE you ever really quit disagreeing with God? You may think you have — but have you, really? What is your first reaction when you receive a Co-worker letter? What is your first thought when another plea for the special BUILDING FUND comes in your mail? What about your regular tithes and offerings? How about letters urging you to attend God's Festivals? How do you FIRST feel when your doorbell rings, and you find members of the Visiting Program there? What is your first reaction when you hear of an individual who has been disciplined? If you're still HUMAN — YOUR FIRST reaction may not be that of Jesus Christ!
Still on the Fence?
You were born into a suspicious world! You were reared on stories of hate, crime, jealousy, intrigue — suspicion! And never forget, you are the PRODUCT of your own heredity and environment. You ARE the sum total of the experiences that have shaped your every thought — your very reactions to each situation. You began to become disillusioned with people after you reached mature adulthood. You found "all is not as it seems!" You found this world is a place filled with LIES, with FAKERY, with FALSE FRONTS, and with SHAM and MOCKERY! You found other people to be UNTRUSTWORTHY — DISHONEST! It's a painful process — growing up. It always hurts, the first time you find your "best friend" was telling some evil tale to others about you. The first time your "best girl" or "best boyfriend" steps out with someone else — you become terribly disillusioned. When you first heard of the small politician who was caught in a lie; or the bank president who embezzled from his own bank; or of the government official involved in scandal; you were shocked — you were hurt. Then, as you began to realize more and more that even whole GOVERNMENTS lie to one another; that all REALLY IS NOT as it "seems" in this lying, cheating, conniving world — you began to take it all for granted. Then the claims of advertising, the drum-beating of the Red Cross, the March of Dimes, and the coin boxes for the Crippled Children's Hospitals didn't seem so bad, after all. You just accepted it all with a certain resignation, probably. If you are like most people, you probably felt there wasn't much you could do about it — that you probably couldn't really PROVE anything, anyhow — so you just ignored the whole situation. And then, if you were really converted, you became terribly disillusioned about yourself! You began to recognize YOU were a liar, a cheat, a two-faced, selfish, conniving, grasping, vanity-filled collection of sensuality and lust (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7). Or... or did you? DID you, really? Did you think these thoughts ABOUT YOU? Or was it only the WORLD, and OTHERS with whom you became disgusted and disappointed? Brethren — let's face it. If you still harbor suspicion, resentment, doubt and skepticism toward OTHERS — and especially IF YOU HAVE SUSPICION TOWARD THE VERY WORK OF CHRIST — then YOU ARE SIMPLY NOT CONVERTED!
A Serious Prophecy!
The prediction of a coming LAODICEAN Church as the final remnant of God's people is no child's play. It's mighty SERIOUS — and IT WILL HAPPEN! Read it, "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write... I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot" (Rev. 3:14-15). God shows the Laodicean attitude is one of complacency — one of SELF-righteousness. The Laodicean condition is finding its sluggish and self-satisfied way into the hearts and minds of MANY of you brethren right this instant! The Laodicean is neither ON FIRE with real spiritual zed, nor is he totally "cold" or UNconverted. Rather, the Laodicean has lost his "first love." He has drifted into a "waiting-it-out" attitude of spiritual lethargy. He is not quite sure about all these "goings on" in God's Church! The Laodicean seldom prays. He doesn't really get "fired up" over anything! He doesn't really "sigh and cry" because of the abominations around him in the world — doesn't really share DEEPLY the sorrows and pains of other brethren. He is always suspicious of the motives of others — not quite "sure" things are being "run right" in God's Church! He wonders where the money goes! The Laodicean "knows" all "is not right" with certain people! He is always able to see the dim side of things. He is always fearful, never has faith! He is ESPECIALLY suspicious about PHYSICAL things: buildings; pledge cards; increased college student bodies; property purchases; trips abroad — these things "disturb him" — the full-fledged Laodicean! God continues, "Because THOU SAYEST [Yes, the Laodicean is the ONE out of all the seven churches mentioned who always has an answer — always has something to say!], I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor; and blind, and naked!" (Verse 17.)
Could It Happen to You?
Take this seriously, brethren. MANY articles have been written warning about the LAODICEAN condition! MANY sermons have been preached and many of them just recently warning of this condition. Don't "kid" yourself it can't happen to you! God shows those who allow themselves to get into this suspicious attitude toward others — this SELF-righteous complacency — are going to be left behind to suffer the terrible agonies of the Great Tribulation — and MARTYRDOM! Read Ezekiel 5, Verses 1-4! After Ezekiel was told to divide the hair in three parts, God says, "Thou shalt also take THEREOF a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts." In other words, God told Ezekiel to take out of the sum total of ALL the remaining third (representing the remnant of the entire populations of Great Britain and the United States) only a few! Those few represent God's True Church! Ezekiel bound those few in the folds of his garments. This symbolizes God's protection for His true servants during the Great Tribulation — the time of the "scattering" of all the remaining one-third of our peoples! But next, notice what God tells Ezekiel: "Then take OF THEM AGAIN [that is, take of those few he had bound in his skirts!], and cast THEM into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel!" (Ezek. 5:3, 4.) And that fire is typical of the Great Tribulation! God shows Satan the Devil is going to turn with wrathful vengeance upon the remnant of God's people who will NOT be in a place of protection! Read it, in Revelation the twelfth chapter, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Verse 17). Notice it, the Dragon "went." Where was he when he "went"? He was trying to destroy "the woman" meaning the true Church! But when "the earth" helped the woman, meaning the supernatural intervention of Almighty God TO PROTECT His faithful servants who HAVE kept in the Philadelphian spirit — the Dragon WENT AWAY FROM the part of God's Church he COULD NOT overcome — and went FROM that place to make war with the remnant of "her seed." Notice what God says to the Laodicean Church: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the five, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see!" (Rev. 3:18.) Paraphrasing that in plain language, God says, "I advise you to gain spiritual righteousness by going into the Great Tribulation, even suffering horrible tortures and ultimate death — that you MAY realize that you have been in a terribly lethargic spiritual condition!" A shocking, stern, and foreboding command indeed! But brethren, like it or not, that very command is going to be GIVEN to perhaps FIFTY PERCENT of those of YOU reading this article! Read again the warning of the foolish virgins in Matthew 25, and take heed! What IS the real sin of the foolish virgins? They WOULD NOT WATCH! They were not energetically OBEYING Christ's command, "WATCH YE therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). Yes, WATCH! But what? Watch FOR WHAT?
Read Ezekiel 33 again. Read how God describes THIS VERY WORK as the WATCHMAN, sounding the trumpet of ALARM to God's people, and to all the world of the impending DISASTER being brought upon foolish men by their own foolish deeds! Jesus Christ was a WATCHMAN! He KNEW world conditions! He told the Pharisees they didn't UNDERSTAND the signs of the times in which they were living. He talked of world conditions — prophesied of future conditions! He was not OF the world — but He really UNDERSTOOD it! This Church is HIS VERY BODY! He has commissioned us to CARRY ON with the SAME chores of the WATCHMAN which He began. To the Philadelphia Church He promises an OPEN DOOR — a door of radio, of the printing press, of personal evangelism. A door of all the modern methods of SOUNDING THE ALARM! My father has repeated for years the scriptural principle: "You, as a member of God's Church will be GROWING in grace and knowledge JUST TO THE DEGREE YOUR HEART IS IN THE WORK OF GOD!" Are YOU a watchman with Christ? Do you firmly, fully, faithfully and LOYALLY BELIEVE in HIS policies? Do you see the real NEED for the buildings HE wants to build for HIS colleges? Do you see the need to enlarge The PLAIN TRUTH magazine, to improve it, as HE sees the need? Do you respond willingly, automatically, when HE calls upon you for special offerings? Are YOU AWAKE — are you WATCHING — are you alert to the needs of God's great Work of the WATCHMAN — or are you one of the FOOLISH virgins whose lamp is about to go out, who is NOT watching? God says, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they [the heedless, lethargic people of the world] shall say, PEACE and SAFETY; then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But YE. brethren, are not IN darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the CHILDREN OF LIGHT, and the children of the DAY: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore LET us NOT SLEEP [as the foolish virgins are pictured], as do others; but let us WATCH [watch WORLD CONDITIONS — KNOW about the prophecies that explain them — BE ALERT to the changing times and their importance to the great Plan of God!] and be sober!" (I Thes. 5:1-6.)
Are You Part of Work?
What about it, brethren? Do you honestly CONNECT the policies, programs, buildings, broadcasts, magazines, churches, baptizing tours as one of the GREAT WORLD HAPPENINGS that is literally PROPHESIED TO OCCUR DURING THIS TIME? Do you see this great Work of God as a PROPHESIED EVENT — one in which YOU have been given a vital part? Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom SHALL be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END come!" (Mat. 24:1-4.) When you receive a Co-Worker or a Member letter, do you RELATE it to another great EVENT — and think of it as an IMPORTANT message from the VERY HEADQUARTERS WHERE CHRIST HIMSELF WORKING? Do you view it as orders from CHRIST? Do you AUTOMATICALLY agree with CHRIST'S policies? Are you solidly and fervently behind HIS programs, His plans, HIS purposes, HIS decisions? Or are you still "not quite sure" whether this is GOD'S Work or the work of mere mortal men? Peter said, after many disciples had LEFT Christ, and after Christ asked Peter whether HE would prove disloyal, "Lord, to WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU hast the words of eternal life. And WE BELIEVE AND ARE SURE that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68, 69). Are you really SURE, like Peter was? Do you KNOW this is the CHRIST OF THE BIBLE directing all facets of THIS Work, which is really and truly HIS Work? If you DO, brethren, then you are no longer "suspicious." You are not wondering how the money is "being handled." You don't worry and wonder about buildings, visiting programs, increased college enrollment, new press equipment. YOU HAVE FAITH TO KNOW CHRIST IS AT THE HELM. You KNOW CHRIST is on the job — that HE makes the decisions, that HE is just as active today as He ever was! The Landicean will begin to think MAN heads this Work. He will begin to "play the angles," to hold "reservations" in his mind about PHYSICAL things. He'll QUIT praying — QUIT studying — and begin to LOSE God's Holy Spirit! And he'll have to go into the greatest Tribulation the world has ever seen because of it. But a really zealous PHILADELPHIAN will NOT be suspicious, jealous, unresponsive, uncooperative — "wondering," "doubting" and fence-sitting. Rather, he'll be TOTALLY in agreement with ALL OF CHRIST'S PROGRAMS! He'll be enthusiastically responsive to EVERY facet of God's great Work! He'll REJOICE at each new building program; each new ordination; each great step forward in printing and publishing Christ's Gospel. He'll be really HAPPY to have the opportunity to receive a visit from Christ's servants in his own home. He'll simply THRILL every time he hears of a new radio station being added; of increased college enrollment; of the blessings of God being poured out upon his fellow brethren. What about YOU? Are you SUSPICIOUS? Or are you WHOLLY AND COMPLETELY IN, BEHIND, AND PART OF this Work? PROVE it!