Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.
And this is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow. In The Work of God Getting Away From The Crowds Feeding of the 5,000 Apart to Pray Christ Walks On The Water
Well my friends, we could have good news today, if we knew the way. The only reason that we don't have good news is that men have rejected the Way that would bring it about. We could have everything good, if we wanted it. But, the first parents on this earth rejected the Way, when God Almighty revealed it to them. God had set laws in motion that would have produced everything that man wants. But Adam and Eve thought they could have what they wanted another way. So they rejected God's way and they tried their way and it only brought violence to the earth.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness and he went about preaching God's way. The law of God, obeying God as the way into everything that man wants. But, the people only jeered, leered and sneered. They had no use for that kind of preaching of righteousness.
Well now, we had been seeing the past week or so how Jesus Christ had sent His disciples - who were His students or learners, because disciple means a student or learner - and He was teaching them. He was teaching them to become His ambassadors. Representing His kingdom, His government, which is not of this world. He went to heaven and that's the headquarters of His kingdom, at the present time. It has not been set up or established on this earth at this time, because His kingdom is not of this time or this age or of this pattern of civilization or this society — this world.
But, God Almighty does rule from heaven and Jesus is sitting with Him on His throne in heaven. And He was sending these disciples out to be apostles or ambassadors with the full authority of His government from heaven, but in this strange and far away country of earth; to teach His message to the people of this earth. And so He was teaching them and He sent them out on this practice trip. We devoted about a week of going through the instruction that He gave them on the way and how different it is from the instruction that young ministers are getting today on how to go out and to preach as preachers for the various man-made denominations and sects and divisions, that are all called churches today.
Well now we come to the time when they returned and in Luke's account, Luke the ninth chapter and the tenth verse;
And the apostles when, here they are called apostles, actually they were not as yet apostles, but Luke does call them apostles here; because they had gone out on an actual mission. And Jesus had given them authority. So perhaps they could be called apostles even at that time, but more properly they are generally only called apostles after they received the Holy Spirit. After Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven, and when they really went out with the full authority. But they had been given an authority for this temporary trip. And so they are here called apostles in Luke's account.
"...when they returned declared unto Jesus what things they had done..." (Luke 9:10 American standard Version)
Now let's pick it up for just a moment in Mark's gospel, Mark the sixth chapter and the thirty-first verse:
"And Jesus [He] said to them [when they returned], Come ye yourselves apart unto a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." (Mark 6:31)
You know that has a familiar ring to me. They had no leisure so much as to eat; there were many coming and going. Sometimes, my friends, I have to get away and take a little rest. You know, it used to be years ago that if I would take a vacation, I would be severely criticized. People would say, well now, what right has he got to take a vacation? I don't call it a vacation anymore, I just call it going away to get some rest and to rebuild myself and to recharge these burned out cells, so I can come back and put more vigor and energy into this work again.
We finally get so tired that you can even tell it in my voice, as you listen to these programs. And we are human and we can drive our tired bodies just so far and no further. And I want to tell you, that one thing we should do, is to take better care of our bodies. And as I say, we are all human, and we have our weaknesses and our faults. We are not perfect - neither am I, and one place where I fall short is being able to take care of all of these things and to try to get around to them, which I usually don't. I don't succeed very well in getting around to everything. It just seems to me that I can't.
But, perhaps if I were a better organizer and could better organize my time, I could get around to everything I have to do to get around to the time to answer all of the thousands of letters that come in. To see all of the visitors that come here to see me; to handle all of the telephone calls; to see all of the people that want to see me; to put this broadcast on the air everyday; to write all the articles that I have to write for the 'Plain Truth' - to handle all of the executive duties of being president of the worldwide activities of the Church of God, that are now going completely around the world.
And we know that this program is going pretty much around the earth. Now we have to go a little further before we are completely around, but that time is coming and it is coming rapidly.
Well anyway, Jesus said that they should come; He said, "Come [ye] yourselves apart unto a desert place and rest a while." (Mark 6:31)
Now let's see if they let Him rest. Let's just see — I try to rest, but you know they just don't let me rest. And they wouldn't let Jesus rest — that's true of anyone that is really in His work. Because, I want to tell you, I know, I have known a lot of ministers, my friends, that get into the ministry because they think that's the easiest way to earn a living.
I have known of people who, well just seem to be allergic to work. They have never been able to earn a living and they don't like to work to earn a living. And they look at the preachers and they think, the preacher doesn't have anything to do. He just preaches once a week in church and, of course, that doesn't even take time or study or preparation — he probably learned all that long ago anyhow. And they think, well that would be rather enjoyable. I, I would enjoy doing that just once a week. And nothing to do, but have idleness and ease the rest of the week and so some of them think, well you know I'd like to be a preacher. And, I'm afraid there are some that got into the ministry in that way.
No one ever got into God's ministry that way, however. They just get in the ministry of some human organizations and they call themselves the representatives and the ministers of Jesus Christ, but they are not. And I'm sure Jesus Christ doesn't acknowledge them or recognize them in any way. They have no authority of His. And so they try to lay around all week and preach once a week. Well, they are not real ministers of Jesus Christ.
I want to tell you, if you were a minister in the service of Jesus Christ, you'd find so much to do that you would be busy so much of the time that you'd just have to, perhaps once a year or so, stop a little bit to let your nerves catch up with you or something, because you would expend so much energy that your body just can't take it, without a little rest. And that's the way it was with Jesus and His disciples.
Yes, I know just what, what it is because I have to undergo the same thing.
"And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart. And the people saw them going and many knew them, and they ran there together on foot from all the cities and outwent them." (Mark 6:32-33 ASV)
Now they tried to get away from the people on a boat. And here the people came and they were, of course, they were just going up the shore - you know a piece, but they tried to get there by boat. But, the people went by land and got there first. The people outwent them. The people, the big crowd arrived first.
"And he came forth [Jesus came forth] and saw a great multitude and he had compassion on them [He had compassion on them] because they were as a sheep not having a shepherd...." (Mark 6:33-34 ASV)
You know, my friends, I have told you so many times that Jesus never tried to advertise to bring around a great big crowd like some people do today — He didn't do that. He Himself was not trying to proclaim the gospel to the world. He was teaching His gospel to His disciples, and He was commissioning. He was now training and later commissioned them to carry His gospel to the world.
God works through human agencies. And while Jesus Christ was made human and was in the human flesh; nevertheless He was God changed into man. And God works through human agencies, and He as God was teaching His disciples that they might be the instrumentalities that He would use to carry this gospel out to the world. And so He Himself was not trying to convert the world. He was not trying to reach the world. He wasn't trying to attract crowds at all, but as I have said, the miracles that He did, the very strangeness of this gospel, later they crucified Him for it. They stoned all the prophets that brought the same message, they martyred the apostles later, but nevertheless there was a great curiosity and the crowds followed Him. Probably more or less out of curiosity, but by the time He got up here, it says He came forth and saw a great multitude.
But He hadn't advertised for that multitude. I want you to notice He was trying to get away from them, but He couldn't. He was actually trying to get away from them.
"And when the day was now far spent [verse 35]...his disciples came unto him and they said, The place is desert and the day is now far spent. Send them away, that they may go into the country and the villages round about and buy themselves something to eat." (Mark 6:35-36 ASV)
Jesus said unto them... this is Matthew 14 now, and verse 16. Matthew 14:16: I hope you are turning to your own Bible to it and read it as I give it.
"But Jesus said unto them, they have no need to go away, give you them to eat. And they said unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. And he said, bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; (Matthew 14:16-19 ASV)
He commanded — He was in authority. He told them what to do. Yes He was a leader. He wasn't a follower. "...and he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and [He] brake, and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. And they did all eat and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And they that did eat were about five thousand men beside women and children." (Matthew 14:19-21 ASV)
Now I want you to notice, all they had there were the five loaves and two little fishes, that's all. And there was another miracle. How it happened isn't explained, but somehow it expanded and kept multiplying. I guess it's like the scientist trying to explain about the single cell that sort of breaks and divides into two cells and each of those break into two, and each of those into two, and you keep doubling it all the time and multiplying by itself and it grows very rapidly and perhaps that's the way the loaves and the fishes did, but anyway it was a divine miracle.
And I want you to notice that Jesus' miracles were done out of compassion, love and mercy, because His whole character was that of love. First of all to God in reverence and obedience and worship and also then love to His fellow man. And He did that out of love for them.
Now here again, Jesus went up alone in a mountain to pray. Why didn't He do this prayer in front of all those people? Five thousand men — well there might have been another 5,000 women and 2 or 3,000 thousand, or maybe 10,000 children. It said that there were 5,000 men besides women and children. They are not counted, it doesn't tell you how many, but I would certainly assume that there were 10,000 or more people there - that's quite a crowd. And He could have prayed before them. Oh my what a rhetorical flowery, beautiful prayer Jesus could have prayed. How He might have impressed them with what a great orator He was and how well He could pray.
He had an opportunity, but He didn't do it. That is what a lot of people do today. And oh the wonderful prayers that they can make in front of a crowd to impress the crowd with how great they are. And how it pleases their vanity to pray such a prayer in front of others, but you know God isn't listening. Maybe some of the people are and maybe the people are impressed, because people are impressed by people. But God isn't impressed.
No Jesus went and He sent away the crowd. "...and when the even was come, he was there alone..."(Matthew 14:23 ASV) When the even was come, He was there alone.
Now He had first gone up into the mountain apart to pray. And He was there in the mountain alone when the evening came and praying alone. And, my friends, that's the example that Jesus set for us. Nearly always the example that He set was to go to a private place alone. In a private place and pray alone to God.
Why don't we follow His example? Why isn't it done more in the churches? Why is it that in the churches today they don't teach you to pray a great deal everyday in a private place alone at home, or some place where you can be alone?
You know I am just wondering, how many colleges are equipped with private prayer rooms in an inconspicuous place, off of a hall, or a place where it isn't very public, when one is seen going or coming to or fro from that prayer room? Are there very many of our universities that are equipped with that kind of a room? They have their class rooms, they have all of their laboratories, they have all of the scientific apparatus and everything of that sort. But how many of them have the kind of a laboratory that you would call just a plain private prayer room, where some one could go and be locked in, in a private place?
Jesus said, "...thou when thou prayest go into thy chamber, or closet or small room, and close the door...and thy Father that heareth thee in secret, will reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:6 paraphrased)
Well now we feel here at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, that we are handicapped by not having enough of such rooms, but we do have a few, I will tell you that. Let me see, I, I know of at least three in the student residence. I don't know whether there are more right now or not. I know of one on each of three different floors in our student residence that we call Mayfair, here on the campus of Ambassador College in Pasadena, California. And I know that they are used a great deal. I hope that they are used almost constantly. Of course I don't have time, as I've just explained, to go over there and check up and see whether they are constantly used.
But what a wonderful thing it would be, if every college had a lot of those rooms around where a student could get in without even being noticed. It isn't a matter of showing off one way or the other, neither is it a matter of being ashamed to be seen going there, but it should be a private matter alone with God. We try to provide it that way here at Ambassador College.
Now here was the miracle-working Jesus, but now let's stop there just a second. My friends, of course you say, "Well but He was Christ — He was God — He was very God. Of course He could walk on the water, but we couldn't!" But have you ever noticed that Jesus said, "Of myself I can do nothing" (John 5:19,30). Do you realize that Jesus Christ did not do one thing that you and I can't do, and so He said: He said "...the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10)
And I wonder if you've noticed that just before He did this miraculous thing of walking on the water, that He had gone up - I had just read it to you about three verses before - where He went up to a mountain apart to pray and He was there alone. And He went up to have a prayer alone with God. And another time He got up early in the morning, long before it was daylight and went out in a desert place, or a private place to pray.
Another time He went up into a mountain and He stayed up in that cold chilled mountain, if it was cold and chilled. He stayed up there all night praying to God. And then He came down and chose His twelve disciples (Luke 6:12)and then He taught them that message that has popularly been called the Sermon on the Mount. No wonder He could preach such a wonderful message; no wonder He could give them such a wonderful teaching; He had been praying ALL night. Must have been going without sleep, but He was so filled with the spirit of God from that prayer that, that gave Him all the strength He needed - fifth, sixth, seventh chapters of Matthew in your Bible.
Now here the disciples saw Him walking on the sea and they were troubled saying, it's an apparition and they cried out in fear. (Matthew 14:26 paraphrased)
"But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me to come unto thee on the waters. And Jesus said, Come [Just one word, that is all He said, come]. And Peter went down from the boat, he walked on the waters, to come to Jesus." (Matthew 14:27-29 ASV)
I just finished telling you, my friends, that Jesus didn't do things because He was divine, He did them because He had the power of God. And He did nothing that you and I couldn't do, if we had the power of God. And now here is Peter doing the same thing, but Peter wasn't yet converted. Peter hadn't yet received the Spirit of God, as he did later after Jesus was crucified — on the day of Pentecost that same year. But Peter believed Jesus, Jesus said come and Peter obeyed. And that very obedience was faith and belief. And so Peter, an ordinary mortal, was able to walk on the water also. He wasn't divine, he wasn't God — he was only a servant of God and a minister that was being then taught and trained. Only a student minister, at that at the time.
And he started to walk toward Jesus, but — now he took a few steps and he walked on the water, but when he saw the wind — uh oh. He began to see material things. Now at first all he saw was Jesus. At first his mind was on that which is spiritual — Jesus Christ; but now he saw the wind.
My friends, how does knowledge come into your mind? Only through five channels, the five senses. What you see, what you hear, what you feel, what you taste or smell — that's the way things come into your mind. And what he saw, it translated something into his mind and in his mind he began to see and be conscious of the material circumstances and he became frightened. And when he became frightened and when his mind went on these material things, his mind was off of the spiritual things, he no longer had the faith of God. He no longer had the power of God, there no longer was anything in him that could keep him afloat walking on the water. No longer then could he do what Jesus was doing. When he saw the wind, he was afraid.
When you are afraid, you haven't any, any faith have you? Now according to your faith, be it unto you (Matthew 9:29), but now he lacked faith. "...and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30 ASV)
Well there is a great lesson in that, my friends, I hope you get it. "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto him, O thou of little faith [he had a little, his faith lasted a few steps, it doesn't say how many. I imagine four or five steps. But when he began to see the material circumstances, he began to doubt. Jesus said]...O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:31 ASV)
Have you ever prayed to God for something? Now I tell you, my friends, I don't think that I could go out and walk on the water, unless there was some reason to do it. And apparently there was some reason for Peter to do it at that time. Now, my friends, he believed for a little time and was able to walk, but he didn't keep on believing. You ask God for something, you expect God to jump at the crack of your whip and give it to you within a certain time limit that you want to set. And if you don't get your answer in ten minutes, or certainly in sight of ten hours, you go around saying, "Why didn't God answer my prayer?"
Young man came to me one time, and he said that he'd asked me to pray for him, which I had done, but he said, "Now, why didn't God heal me?" I said, "Well didn't God heal you." and he said, "No." "Well," I said, "If, if He didn't," I said, "That means you don't believe in Him any longer then. You quit believing, that's all that's wrong." "Well," he says, "He didn't heal me." I said, "How soon did you expect it?"
Well he never thought of it that way, but he expected it so soon, that when he wasn't healed as quickly as he thought he should be, he gave up all hope. You see he began to get his eyes on what ever it was, the pain and the suffering, or what he could see, or what he could feel. And as soon as his eyes went on what he could see, or what he, his mind went on what he could feel, then he said, well God didn't heal me. And as soon as he decided God didn't heal him, he had no more faith in God. His faith was all over, and when his faith ended, so did any chance of healing.
"...According to your faith, be it unto you." (Matthew 9:29)
Now did you ever read where James says that trial of your faith works patience (James 1:3)? God tries our faith, and He gives you a test of faith very often to develop patience in you. And you are put here to develop character, and patience is one of the attributes of character. Of the character of God that must be inculcated in us. But I want to tell you, you pray for something and then you lose faith. And when you lose faith and wonder why God didn't do it — you don't get it.
Well time is up — now, my friends.... until tomorrow, goodbye friends.
In The Work of GodYou know, my friends, I think you can't realize what we have to do when we are really in the work of God. Now Jesus was in the work of God and He was teaching these disciples, and they were busy too. And finally they came to the place that even Jesus Christ, with all of His strength, had to stop and rest awhile. I want to tell you, it's right that anyone would. We have to do that once in a while and that's no sign of laziness. If you think I'm lazy, you come around here and just don't prevent me from doing what I have to do, but just silently go along with me and watch everything I do all day long and trail along with me and see if you think you'd like to change jobs. See if you could handle it. I mean if you could just handle the wear and tear of it - that is what I am referring to.
Getting Away From The CrowdsIt continues here, I'm in Mark the sixth chapter and the thirty-first verse now: "...for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." (Mark 6:31 Amercian Standard Version)
Feeding of the 5,000Well now let's get back over into Matthew's account of it from here on. Matthew 14, carrying on the same story, because the account is in Matthew, Mark, and in Luke, and also in John. They all record it.
Apart to PrayNow continuing here in Matthew 14:22: "And straightway he constrained the disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before him into the other side, till he should send the multitudes away. And after he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray." (Matthew 14:22 ASV)
Christ Walks On The Water"But the boat was now in the midst of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary [the big stiff wind was coming up], and in the fourth watch of the night Jesus came unto them walking on the sea." (Matthew 14:24-25 ASV)