Well greetings friends, this is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
Now once again, why if people are already saved when they accept Christ, why doesn't God take the new converts then immediately to heaven, if heaven is the reward? And by the way, have you ever seen any real proof in your Bible, any real promise that you can ever go to heaven? You'd better start searching your Bible and see if you can find it.
Now why must the professing Christian live on in this life? And why is it that often, his troubles just then begin? Why is it that "...all [who] will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12)? That "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" (Psalm 34:19). Why? Why do we stay on and suffer? In other words, what is the purpose then of the Christian life?
Now the common idea, the common belief today is that, well if you profess Christ, if you make your decision for Christ, you accept Christ, or whatever it may be, whatever formula they want to give you, because there are a lot of different ideas about how you get saved. But as soon as that's done, the common idea, and millions of people believe it is, that that's all there is to it. That's all there is to it, just do what you think is right but you're already saved.
Now if you are, why do you go on living here in this sordid world? Why aren't you taken to the world tomorrow, or to heaven, or wherever it is you're going to be? Why don't you go to your reward right away if you're already saved? Is there any purpose in this Christian life? Is God just a stern, harsh, unmerciful God that wants us to suffer on after we have already become His children and are already converted? After conversion why do we go on living here? What's the purpose of the Christian life? In Galatians 3:29;
"...if ye [are] Christ's then are [you] Abraham's [children] and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29)
It's the promise made to Abraham but you're only an heir of it, you're not now a possessor, only an heir. Why do we have to wait on and be an heir so long before we get to go to our reward, or the reward comes to us, or whatever it may be and before this life is over? And this life is pretty much a life of suffering.
The Purpose of the Christian Life Now that gets back, the purpose of the Christian life, that's what I want to cover. We've been here in this book of Hebrews now for, I think, two to three weeks perhaps now and I expect to devote another couple weeks or more to it. It's a marvelous book, perhaps the most neglected book in the New Testament. It is the book that tells you what Jesus Christ is doing now, what His present office is. What He's been doing for 1900 years. Now you read in four whole books, the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John what He did do during a three and a half year ministry, and we devote most of our time talking about that.
The book of Acts telling about thirty-eight years of apostolic history and all that sort of thing. But don't you think it's about time we devoted a little bit of time to understanding what has Jesus Christ been doing since He went to heaven when He left this earth? He hasn't been idle. He's been busy. Now the priesthood book showing Him as the High Priest, in His present office as High Priest, is the book of Hebrews. It's one of the most wonderful books in the Bible.
I have said many times — and it shocks people, I know you are shocked, you are astonished when I say; and you probably don't even believe it at all, yet it's true whether you believe it or not, because we're all mixed up in this world — when I have said so many times that there are millions of people that believe they are saved. They're church members too, many of them, or maybe most of them, and they have accepted Christ. They have professed Christ they even, some of them may worship Christ, and ALL in vain. They're not saved at all, they don't even know what salvation is. They don't know the way of salvation and they have merely been DECEIVED.
I know that's shocking. You know that might be true and you might be on very dangerous ground IF it's true. Now if you go to put that to the proof, if you are willing to open your Bible, and open your mind too, and your heart, and really look into it and see, and believe what you see there. Don't believe me and don't believe any other man and don't believe what you've already been taught either, because you might be wrong.
Your Bible says, "Many deceivers have gone out into the world" (II John 1:7 paraphrased). Your Bible says that all nations have been deceived. Your Bible says that the nations of our Western world are spiritually drunk until they are so bleary-eyed spiritually that they can't see spiritual truth and can't understand them, by the wine of the fornication that has come from this great apostating power. You read of that in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
The Bible said apostasy would set in, a "...turning away from the truth and embracing fables" (II Timothy 4:4 paraphrased). It's either true or else your Bible isn't true, and if your Bible isn't true how do you know you have any salvation or that there is any such thing as salvation in the first place anyhow? So I think it's about time we open up the Bible and open up our minds a little bit instead of, well once in a while people get quite offended. I find though that usually these people that get a little offended at the truth, don't listen, they just can't.
Now in Hebrews, let me just take a quick review, I'll try and confine this to about one or two minutes at the most. The first chapter is speaking about Christ and how great He is.
"God who spoke in times past by the prophets, has spoken to us in these latter days by his Son, Jesus Christ, who is God, who was made flesh and dwelt among us, and he was made flesh. [Now it says here] He was the express image of his Father's person." (Hebrews 1:1-3 paraphrased).
And in a more modern translation, "He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of God's nature, upholding the universe by the word of his power, and now he is sat down at the right hand of God as our High Priest after he had made purification for sins. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3-4)
God Is A Family The Majesty, God. That means supreme ruler of the entire universe. Now He is very much superior to angels as He has a name that He has obtained very much superior to them. God says;
"Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (Hebrews 1:5)
But He never said that to any angel, yet Christ is the firstborn of many brethren. You read of that in verse six. The firstborn He was brought into the world, and yet it said He is worthy of the worship of the angels, verse six: "...let all the angels of God worship him" (Hebrews 1:6). And then God the Father says of Him "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:" (Hebrews 1:8)
God the Father calls Jesus GOD. Yes, Jesus is God and the Father is God. God isn't just one person, God is a FAMILY or a KINGDOM of persons, it is a God KINGDOM composed of more than one divine person. And Jesus is God and here you read of it. You know I had a letter from some woman. I forget where it was, I believe it was back in Kansas or Missouri, somewhere in the middle West. She'd heard me say that Jesus is God.
Oh that, that, she was irate about it. She said, "Absolutely not, why," she said, "Jesus was only the Son of God, He's not God." Well here it is in your own Bible if you will read it in the eighth verse of the first chapter of Hebrews.
"Of the Son, he says [and that's God the Father. God the Father says OF the Son, TO the Son] Thy throne, O GOD is for ever and ever: the righteous sceptre is the sceptre of thy kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8 paraphrased).
He's worthy of the worship of angels. If He isn't God it would be blasphemy to worship Him, it would be idolatry to worship Him, and yet He is worthy of the worship of angels!
Alright the first chapter tells us how great He is. The earth is going to go, other things are going to perish and grow old but He will not. He is forever. Now coming to the second chapter we found this.
"...if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;" (Hebrews 2:2)
Angels were not spared when they sinned, some have fallen and they've become demons, and if God didn't spare them when they sinned,
"How shall WE escape, if WE neglect so great salvation;" (Hebrews 2:3)
Now he's speaking to those that already are converted, those that already have become begotten children of God. The "we" in New Testament language always means those that have been converted and changed and become the children of God. Now how shall we escape if we neglect - we've already come into, well the, you might say the possession conditionally of salvation. But yet you're only an heir, you haven't really possessed your inheritance at all. And then again in verse six of this second chapter.
"...What is man that thou art mindful of him?" (Hebrews 2:6)
Why should one so GREAT as God, one so GREAT as Christ on the throne of the Majesty on high in heaven, why should He be concerned about us? Like a lot of little ants or grasshoppers down here on the earth, only we're a lot more evil than they are.
"Thou madest him a little lower than the angels [but then it goes on to say that God's crowned us with honor and that He set him (man) over the works of His hands. But he says]; we see not yet all things put under him" (Hebrews 2:7-8)
The Firstborn of Many Brethren Not yet, but we're going to see it. Now man was made to be put in authority too over all things just as God is in such authority. Now didn't we read back here that Jesus is merely the firstborn from the dead and He was made God by a resurrection from the dead. He was born a Son of God and therefore very God by a resurrection from the dead. You read that in the first chapter of Romans. Now,
"...it became him [Christ] for whom are all things,...by whom are all things" (Hebrews 2:10).
Because God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ. He's the Word who spake and it was done, the Holy Spirit is the power that responded and did it.
"[Now]...it became him, for whom are all things,...by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory" (Hebrews 2:10).
Well my friends, when Jesus said He was a Son of God, the Pharisees said, "Why thou blasphemest that you make yourself God." (John 10:32-34). To say He is a Son of God is to make Himself God. Well Jesus just quoted from the Psalms that the people of God's congregation are gods, or to become gods (Psalm 82:6). You know that sounds like blasphemy to so many people today just like it did to those Pharisees 1900 years ago.
Well here it is, I'm just reading it out of the Bible.
"...it became him, for whom are all things,...by whom are all things, in bringing many SONS unto glory." (Hebrews 2:10)
That doesn't say a lot of dogs or cats or some thing that He created down here. No, many sons. You have to first be begotten and then you have to be BORN to be a son. My sons were begotten of me and they had to be born as sons. If you ever become a born son of God, now this is going to shock you, I don't think you are going to grasp it. I don't think very many of you get it but it's true. When you are BORN a son of God, you'll be as divine as God is divine.
Jesus is. He's the first of many. We're to made like unto His GLORIFIED body. He is glorified as very God and worthy of the worship of the angels. We shall be like HIM if we're really converted. I tell you my friends, there isn't one in perhaps a million in the earth that really understands deeply about these things. I know, you take it for granted, but, oh that millions are saved and this is the time God's trying to save the world.
Well, in the first place my friends, you're wrong. You've been deceived, you're in an age of deception. Sure you're honest. Sure you believe it. Of course you do. You believe what's been stuffed in your mind. You believe what you've always heard. You believe what other people believe because you're all like sheep and you go right along with the crowd.
Prove All Things Your Bible says prove all things. You think you've proved it? No you haven't. You haven't really proved these things because your Bible says things you don't believe it says. And you believe things that the Bible doesn't say, but just exactly the opposite. Well this is going to stir you up and make you think a little bit, but I still say, "don't believe me" I'm not going to mislead you.
I'm just trying to get you to look into your Bible. I'm trying to get you to open your eyes, to open your mind. Open your Bible, and open your heart to God because a lot of good people, a lot of people that mean to be honest. Just because of habit and inclination we believe what we've heard, we believe what we read, we believe what we're told. We go along with the crowd, we believe what other people believe, and that's what we've been doing.
What did you do all through school while you were going to school? You believed what the book said. You believed what the teacher told you. You memorized it. If you didn't, on your exams, when you came to having exams and final exams in High School, if you didn't write down what the book said, you didn't get an A now did you? Or a hundred percent or whatever form of grading they used in your kind of school.
Now here "...many sons [to be] brought unto GLORY" (Hebrews 2:10). You know what that means. Oh I know, you just can't seem to believe it. This is ASTOUNDING! It is. I've been astounded by it, it isn't what I started out believing. I grew up just like all of you till God called me and until God revealed His truth. And until God set me in front of this microphone to get this truth out to the WORLD, and it is, by God's grace, going around the world just as God said it would at this time.
Jesus Christ said this gospel of the kingdom shall go around the world into all nations as a witness just before the end of this age (Matthew 24:14 paraphrased), and we're very close to it. These words you are hearing are prophetic. They are the present fulfillment of prophecy my friends, and it had better stir you to wake you up. Of course you haven't heard words like these before. But God's time has come for you to hear them, so listen.
Now Jesus Christ did not take, verse sixteen: "... on him the nature of angels;...he took on him the seed of Abraham [and why?] Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren..." (Hebrews 2:16-17).
He was made like we so we could be made like Him NOW. Oh my friends, what is salvation? I want to tell you, I, I doubt if one person in a million on earth knows it. And I, I haven't taken a census, I don't know. Perhaps I am estimating wrongly, perhaps it's one in a hundred thousand, but I know my friends, what I mean is this, there are so few people on the face of this earth that really know what God's salvation is.
ALL NATIONS HAVE BEEN DECEIVED, so says your Bible (Revelation 12:9, 18:23). I am just quoting the Bible to you. The word of God, my friends, is true and when I speak that word I speak the truth.
Christ Came to Bring Reconciliation And Begettal Now: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren [human beings here on earth], that he might be a merciful and [a] faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make [listen, to make] reconciliation for...sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:16-17)
To reconcile us to God. Now why do we need to be reconciled to God? So that we can be begotten of God. So that the very life of God can come into us. The very SPIRIT of God can come in and fuse with the spirit of your mind and beget you as His child; transforming you and changing you and begetting in you, not only the life, but also the character, and the very nature of God Himself.
Now Peter says that through the Holy Spirit we become "...partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:4), in order that we may be made divine. Now this chapter three: "Wherefore, holy brethren" (Hebrews 3:1). I dwelt one whole broadcast on that first verse of that third chapter chapter back here a few days ago.
"Wherefore, holy brethren, [my friends if we're really brethren, brethren of Jesus, we're holy brethren because the Holy Spirit of God must be in us or we're not even His and we're not brethren of His. Romans the eighth chapter, the ninth verse, you're not even Christ's unless you have the Holy Spirit of God in you. And in that case you become one of the holy brethren]... partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man [Christ] is counted worthy of more glory than Moses, insomuch as he [that] hath builded the house hath more honour than the house." (Hebrews 3:1-3)
Now He built and created Moses. Moses is only part of the house, but you and I are part of it too.
"For every house is builded by [someone or] some man; [some being. The word 'man' there is a supplied word] but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a Son over His own house..." (Hebrews 3:4-6)
And He's a Son of God and we're His house and to be made like Him, and we're His brethren. Listen, do you call dogs, cats or animals 'brethren'? Would you call anyone who wasn't on your level as a human being, 'brethren'? Can God now that Jesus has become God? He was God and He was God made flesh. But now He became flesh made God by a resurrection from the dead — the first chapter of Romans.
He is God now, He is very God. The Father said to Him, "Thy throne O God" (Psalms 45:6). He is a ruler, He has a throne. That throne is the throne of David here on this earth and He hasn't come to take it yet. He's on His Father's throne now. Oh these are wonderful truths when you come to know and to have understanding and to have a grasp of the holy word of God.
Now: "Christ as [a] Son over his own house; whose house WE ARE, IF [if, if, if] we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:6)
Now there's that great big 'if' and now He's going to explain it. "IF we hold fast" (Hebrews 3:6). Why don't we go immediately to our reward? Why this Christian life? Because there is something to be accomplished in us. WE are the clay, HE is the potter (Isaiah 64:8) we have to be changed, fashioned, moulded into the pattern of His holy will. Made like unto HIM! And that making starts with the beginning of the Christian life.
We Need to Be Changed How much time are you going to have if you wait for a death-bed repentance? Not very much. You need to be changed. You need to start living by every word of God. You need to imbibe and drink in the Holy Spirit of God. You need to be in constant prayer with God, constant communion with Him until there is a fellowship and you just drink in of His Spirit until the very mind of Christ comes into you and into your mind and you think like He thinks. You look at things like He does.
Why Isaiah told you how to be saved: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts." (Isaiah 55:7)
Because God's thoughts aren't like ours or His ways like ours. You think His thoughts, you have His mind, you see things as God does. That isn't the way mortal people do. Things that God condemns and says are bad for us because they're going to injure us, they're going to make our lives empty, or miserable, unhappy or bring on suffering.
A natural man will say, "Well I can't see any harm in that." To save your life with your own natural mind, you can't see any harm in many things God says are harmful. Well you've been suffering the result. You've been suffering the harm, but you couldn't see where the doing of the thing that brought on the suffering could possibly be wrong. And God says there are many things that are right that you ought to do, you can't see where you need to do that. No you can't until you're converted, until you're changed, until your whole mind is changed.
You were put on this earth for a purpose, you didn't just happen and most of you are missing the boat, you're missing your purpose altogether. You're wasting your time. You're THROWING away a precious life, a life that can be begotten to become a very child of the living God. Do you know what that means my friends? Now:
"As Christ [is] a Son over his own house, whose house we are, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:6 paraphrased)
Jesus Christ says in Revelation two and Revelation three that it is those who overcome and endure unto the end that are going to be made very sons of God and they're going to rule and reign over the nations of this earth for a thousand years. And we're going to reign on the earth, Revelation 5:10. And look into Revelation two and three and Revelation 20:4-6.
Oh yes it's in your Bible if you want to believe the Bible instead of the teachings of men, and sometimes of women.
"Wherefore (as the Holy Spirit saith, [now this was back through David] Today [in the day of David, he said, today] if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, [that was the people in David's day] as in the provocation [like the people, in other words, the people of Israel did in the days of Moses] in the day of [the] temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me [says God] proved me, and saw my works forty years." (Hebrews 3:7-9)
His works, He delivered them out of Egypt by miracles. He sent them manna when they were hungry. He sent them the quails. He caused water to gush out of the rock when they were thirsty. He fought off their enemies. He healed them when they were sick. Oh they saw His works forty years. They could have gone into Palestine immediately and had the rest from their journey through the wilderness and from their slavery that they had suffered in Egypt.
Now God had already released them from the slavery. They were starting toward that complete rest, that physical rest in their case, that they could have had in the land of Palestine IF they would have followed God's ways. And their journey there was a type of the Christian life AFTER you're converted but before you go to your reward. In other words, while you are an heir and before you become an inheritor, or a possessor.
We Cannot Turn Back Now they turned back. What did they do? Well they griped and grumbled and they made a golden calf and made an idol and began to worship that. They said, "We want a man to be a king over us like the other nations around us." Well they said that after they got into Palestine. But they griped and grumbled, they finally wanted to turn back to Egypt. And you know a lot people that leave this world and forsake it and they turn to God and His ways and they taste of the glorious Holy Spirit and the ways of God, and then they want to turn back.
Well consider Lot's wife, she turned back, what happened to her? And these people in ancient Israel wanted to turn back physically from their...of course that was a physical type of the spiritual condition today, but they never did get into the land of Canaan, the land of Palestine. They never did enjoy that rest. Now that's a type of the very rest from sin that WE'RE going to have as IMMORTAL SPIRIT beings in the very family of God. It's a very type of it.
And my friends, if you start griping and grumbling, if you begin to worship other gods or other idols, you'd better find out what God's prerogatives are because some of you are worshiping other gods and you don't realize you're doing it because you don't know what constitutes that. And if you try to turn back and go back into this world or to worldly associations and fellowships, you're never going to get your reward. You're never going into the kingdom of God, and that's what all this is for.
Why, this Christian life is to build character. We, my friends, are to become like God and God is the supreme, perfect, holy righteous character. The one who thought it all out and planned everything, who created everything and who rules over everything. He created force and energy. He created all LAWS that are in motion that exist and He upholds them and He directs them. He's at the controls, He rules the universe today.
He's called you to share that glory with Him. He's called you to be like Him. Now we're to come OUT OF THIS WORLD and be separate, NOT CONFORMED to this world. There's something that makes us want to conform. You know in many colleges and universities they have the idea, "Well people want to conform, let's help them conform. Let's regiment them."
God says, "Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2), into the ways and the things of God till you think like God, you live by every word of God. That's the Christian life, and it's only if you do it and if you GROW SPIRITUALLY more and more like God, that you're ever going to enter into God's kingdom.
Very few people know what salvation is and very few people know how to obtain it, and very few people know what is the purpose of this Christian life. Now here back there in ancient Israel they had not known God's ways. "So he sware in his wrath, They shall not enter...my rest" (Hebrews 3:11 paraphrased), and they didn't.
Now then here again, we'll have to continue that tomorrow. And I want to finish this third and then this fourth chapter and show you my friends, how they disobeyed and that we must obey and the way they failed. And... well it's a very interesting story, I'm going to have to break off there though because here the time's about up. And again, well I've told you my friends again, so many people think that they're saved and they're not.
Now that might happen to you, don't be too sure. You buy insurance to protect yourself, why don't you take out a little time, as insurance, to just check up to be sure, God's word says, "Prove all things." (II Thessalonians 5:21)
Why don't you write in for this booklet, 'What kind of FAITH is required for Salvation?'
"By grace are you saved through faith, [and] that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8)
Now what kind of faith is that? This book will open your eyes, this little booklet, 'What Kind of Faith?' There is no charge for it, be happy to send you a copy. Put it to the proof and be sure, doesn't cost you anything. Until tomorrow then, goodbye friends.
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