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   And greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
   Listen, could anything be more surprising today than to learn that what we have believed was the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not the Gospel of Christ at all? That in just two or three short generations after the original Church of the apostles; the original faith once delivered to the saints was rejected, buried under a rubbish heap of pagan teachings and customs and traditions? That pagans appropriated the name of Christ, attached Christian names to their pagan doctrines and practices way back there in the second and the third centuries, or, yes, even in the latter part of the first century and they called those things Christian? Yes, that's hard to believe I know, but it is the truth. Listen, in Jude's Gospel, the Book of Jude - the next to the last book in your New Testament you read this:
   "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ...Mercy [to] you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are [listen, already in Jude's day, about a generation after the time of Christ; for there are] certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 1-4)
   Now how did they deny Him when, at the same time they took His name and they proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ? They called themselves christians, they called themselves followers of Him. How then did they deny Christ? In Titus the first chapter, and the sixth verse you read this; Titus, the first chapter, and the sixteenth verse I should have said:
   "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:16)
   You know, my friends, as I've been showing you night after night, day after day, on this program, it's possible to profess Christ, to profess to know God, to accept Christ as personal Saviour, to believe on Christ and to go even further, yes, to worship Christ, and to do it all in vain; and not to really be a Christian at all. Again, I refer you to the seventh chapter and the seventh verse then the ninth and eleventh verses of Mark. Mark, the seventh chapter, beginning with the seventh verse on the next several verses. And notice how Jesus Himself said that already then they were making the Law of God of no effect by their human traditions, their human ways.
   My friends, every single prophet that God ever sent, every apostle, every minister that was a true minister of Jesus Christ has come to this world with one message from God and only one. It's the same message that God Himself proclaimed to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when He told them to obey Him, and when He told them; "...the wages of sin [would be] death... " (Romans 6:23) if they disobeyed Him. He gave them every tree in the garden, but the one, and that one is the one they wanted; that's the one they took, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And ever since that mankind has been rebelling against God.

The Need to Accept God's Way

   As I've told you so many times; God is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. And God, by His divine rule and authority has decreed that; you must choose. He has set before you life and death, He has set before you right and wrong, good and evil and you yourself must choose which way you are going to go.
   Now mankind has chosen the wrong way. I have shown you in passage after passage through the Book of Acts, that in the teaching of the apostle Paul when he went to the Gentiles as the minister of God to the Gentiles, that everywhere he called Christianity 'this way', 'that way', it was called a way, it is a way of life. And, all through the Bible the message of God is to man who has turned to man's own way, and God says:
   "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)
   And the message of your Bible, the message of your God - if He is your God, the God of Heaven, the God of Creation, the God who's the Supreme Ruler of this Universe to mankind is; turn from your own ways that you have decided to go.
   God has forced us to make a decision, He hasn't forced us to make the wrong one, He has pleaded with us to make the right one but He has left us free to make our own decision; He has decreed by His Divine Sovereign Authority that we must decide. We must make our own decision and every last one of us, including you, and every one of you listening to me my friends has made the wrong decision. Unless since, you have repented of that, as I hope you have, as I have and I hope you have, and turned around to go the other way. Repented of what? Repented of your way and turned to God's Way.
   God Almighty created laws, He created laws and forces and energies and powers as well as just matter and things. And God set laws in motion. Now our physicists in physical sciences know some of the laws of physics and chemistry, God left it for them to discover those things that are physical that we can see and discover for ourselves. But, the spiritual laws that regulate our relationships, and that determine our happiness, and whether or not we are to have the gift of eternal life from God; those laws our scientists cannot discover. Those laws you can't find in a test tube, or through a microscope, or a telescope, or any type of instrument that has been invented by man. Those laws are revealed in the Word of God. Man has turned away from those laws, and man has brought unhappiness and suffering on himself. This world is not happy. And this world is unhappy because it's going the wrong way; it's thinking the wrong thoughts. And so God says:
   "Let the [unrighteous man forsake his way; yes] the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man [as it is literally and technically] his thoughts...Because our thoughts are not God's, and God's ways are not our ways..." (Isaiah 55:7-8 paraphrased)
   And we are to turn to His which are the only right ways. We are going the wrong way, my friends. Now, there is an ingredient in human nature that disagrees with God in the first place and thinks God's way is all wrong, that is antagonistic toward God. And then in a second place; that finds it almost impossible to admit that he is wrong. I mean, that the person; yourself, is wrong. That is the hardest thing in the world for you to do. At least if you have already done it, it may not be so difficult now but it was in the first place. I don't know of anything so difficult for an unregenerate, carnal minded man; to do as to confess that he is wrong. Well, most men never have been willing to do it.
   And yet every message that God has ever sent to mankind by His prophets of old, by the apostles, by His Son Jesus Christ, by any true minister of Jesus Christ is that we've gone the wrong way; that we must forsake our ways, our human traditions and customs, we must turn to the ways of God which are expressed in the laws which He reveals to us in His Word. Now, here it is in Jude:
   "...contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [which simply shows that men have gotten away from that, and there were]...ungodly men, ordained to this condemnation of old, ungodly men turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness... (Jude1:3-4 paraphrased)
   Does that mean they deny grace, does that mean they don't preach grace? Oh no, no, they preach grace loud and long, they have a gospel they call the gospel of grace, they preach grace, they shout grace, they believe in grace but they have changed it and given you a counterfeit and they have turned grace into something else; lasciviousness.
   Now what is lasciviousness? Lasciviousness is license to do what you please; under the idea that grace means you can do just as you please. Now grace doesn't mean anything of the kind, my friends. Listen, there is only one way to be saved and that is by grace, and it comes through faith, and even that faith is not yours. You must have faith, of course, you must believe on Christ; but that is only a condition. You must surrender your way; and begin to be willing to try to find the way of God, and to adopt, and to follow that way.
   But of course you will have to have help from God to do it. You will have to have the love of God shed abroad in your heart by His Holy Spirit. But then God will give you His love which will fulfill His Law which is His righteousness imputed and actually given to you. He will give you then His faith, the very faith of Jesus, the faith Jesus used in performing His miracles; walking on the water, calming the storm, all of the faith that Jesus used, God will give you by a divine miracle if and when you perform two conditions: repented and believed, yourself.
   But your repentance, your belief, that you furnish, you supply, that won't save you. You can't save yourself, nothing you can supply or furnish will save you, it comes from God as His free gift. That my friends is grace. Grace means unmerited pardon, because of what? Not because you've done what you thought was wrong, not because you've violated your own conscience, but because you have broken the laws of God. Because you have disobeyed God and broken His laws. What is sin? I John 3:4 says: {1}
   "...sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4)
   Well, it's the transgression of law; and the spiritual sin is the transgression of the spiritual law. That's summed up in the ten points of the Ten Commandments, that is God's great spiritual law. Paul says in the seventh chapter of Romans that that law is spiritual, that it is holy, and it is just and good and that he with his own mind, intelligent as he was, would not have known what sin was. His own conscience would not have told him, his own mind would not have revealed it to him, he would never have known what sin was except by the Law of God.
   God's Law is revealed in His Word the Bible and every message God ever sent bears on repenting of our transgression of that and turning to God's Way and living by every word of God as Jesus said we should do.

Deception to Set In

   Now, every prophecy that tells the future course of the Church and of the truth of God in this world shows not that the Church would grow to be a great political organization. Not that the truth of God would remain inviolate and that people would remain generation after generation as true Christians, and grow in number until they finally became millions of true Christians, all having the truth perfectly, all living perfectly as good Christian lives. Oh no, my friends, that is not foretold in the prophecies of your Bible; but rather, as we start with Jesus, and as I have been showing you on recent programs, the very first thing that Jesus said when they asked Him what would happen at the end of the age. First He said:
   "...many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:5)
   And He said that toward the end that this deception would increase:
   "...there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:24)
   Now that isn't possible but they are certainly deceiving the multitudes. He did not foretell, and the Bible does not foretell, that just a few would go wrong, but that all would go wrong. The devil is the great deceiver and it is the devil who is doing it, and it was all nations he was to deceive, he was to deceive this whole world. And that the time of the second coming of Christ, the prophecy in the twelfth chapter of Revelation which I read to you in a preceding program, and the one in the third verse of the twentieth chapter of Revelation plainly shows that; at that time Satan the devil shall have deceived the whole world and all nations. Not just a few people, not some one or two or small denominations or sects of religion that you might think are fanatical, no, that isn't what it said at all. The Bible said that he would have deceived the whole world - all nations.
   Now, let's go right along; in the twentieth chapter of Acts we find the apostle Paul telling the people right there at Ephesus, the elders who had come to him at Ephesus to:
   "Take heed therefore unto themselves, to feed the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made them overseers [these were the preachers, the ministers of the Church that Paul had called to him], and to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For [listen, Paul said] I know this [this is written by inspiration of God; I know this], that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you [that's the Church], not sparing the flock." (Acts 20:28-29 paraphrased)
   And more literally; "...[entering] in among you..." (Acts 20:29) means among you ministers. Meaning that they would be false preachers.
   Now Jesus said the false ministers would come preaching that Jesus is the Christ. My friends, it was not the person of Christ that they hated, it was not the person of Christ that they tried to crucify and get rid of. No, they liked Him, He was nice, He had a wonderful personality. Jesus was the most wonderful man who ever lived, of course. There was nothing about His person that they despised. It was His message, it was what He preached; that's what cut them to bits, that's what tore them to shreds, that's what they hated, my friends, His message, and so they crucified Him.
   But, to preach a gospel merely about Him, and about His person, why they didn't despise Him or His person, they don't despise that, that was easy to preach my friends, and He said they would come preaching Him; preaching about His person, saying that Jesus is the Christ and yet deceiving many.
   How do you deceive? Well, by giving a different kind of grace and representing that license; license to do your own way is grace. Haven't many of you believed today that Jesus nailed the commandments to the cross? That no obedience is required at all - you can do as you please, as you think is right. And as long as you do what you think is right that you are under grace. Haven't you been led to believe that, my friends? Have most of you just somehow grew up accepting that idea? Well, that is licentiousness. In other words, license to do wrong, license to break God's Law and that is grace, and grace puts you under the freedom to break the Law of God.
   Now why should you want to break it? The Law of God is the way to peace, the Law of God is the way to happiness, the Law of God is the way to prosperity, the Law of God is the way to eternal life and salvation. And listen, my friends, in the name of Jesus Christ, it is the only way! And I tell you today, the millions have been deceived. God wake us up, God help us to come to the knowledge of the truth.
   Now Paul said: "...I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise [some of them right there speaking to him then that were the ministers, the preachers, in that very Church at Ephesus, it was a great big Church; of your own selves shall men arise], speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." (Acts 20: 28-31)
   Well, my friends, we don't believe today that could have been possible do we? Now Paul said that was going to happen, that said under inspiration. Well then my friends it did happen. We know then that the wolves did come in there at Ephesus. We know that some of those very ministers and preachers right there turned false. Jesus proclaimed a lot of false preachers and false ministers.

The Deceived Don't Know They Are Deceived

   Now my friends, I read to you before in the eleventh chapter of II Corinthians how the people were going to be deceived, in the third verse:
   "...I fear [Paul said], lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [that is deceived] Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (II Corinthians 11: 3)
   Now a deceived person is honest and sincere. Listen, my friends, I know immediately it comes to mind, we say; "Well, now are all these people hypocrites and are all of these people in the world today that are deceived, does that mean that they know they're wrong and that they're just hypocrites and deliberately going out trying to believe wrong things and deceive people?" Oh no, no, a deceived person thinks he has the real thing. Now, if you should have a counterfeit ten dollar bill and you thought it was the real thing you wouldn't be dishonest, you really believe you had the right thing but you'd be deceived. And a lot of counterfeits been palmed off today my friends. You're Bible says so. Will you read it? Will you believe it when you read it? Now you read here in verse 14 about the devil; II Corinthians 11:
   "...no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (II Corinthians 11:14)
   He doesn't come like he is pictured as a devil, with, you know, a red devil of some kind and perhaps he might be red if you could see his color but you can't because he's an invisible spirit being, a former archangel. But people think of him as having a pitchfork and horns and with a long tail of some kind. Well that is not the way the devil appears. The devil doesn't come around saying; "Listen, I'm the devil; I want to get you to do the wrong thing. I want to tempt you now to disobey God, now God is wrong, you mustn't obey God, I want you to do wrong." He doesn't come around tempting you like that.
   The devil comes around and says; "Listen, I am God, I want you to do this; this is the way of God." The devil says: "I am God and I am going to release you from having to obey me, you can just follow your own lusts, you can do what you please as long as it doesn't hurt your conscience and I'll put you under grace." That is the devil's siren song my friends. He's the deceiver! And deceived people are honest people; deceived people are people that mean well at heart. Oh I know the heart of man is wicked and even deceitful above all things, that's true, but I mean in relation to accepting religion and religious beliefs; the people believe they are right.
   I don't know of anyone in all of this mixed up kind of Babylon, this religious Babylon we live in today. Here we are, my friends, divided into hundreds of different beliefs and ideas about religion; even in the United States of America there's not much agreement. But I don't know anybody belonging to any sect or denomination, differing as it is, who joined or got into that sect or denomination deliberately knowing it was wrong and wanting to do the wrong thing. I don't think you do. Why, no. Our people are at least sincere and honest in regard to what they believe. Now, there may be a lot of duplicity in human nature and we may not be wholly sincere in all things but we haven't accepted our beliefs, you haven't accepted what you believe because you thought it was wrong. Why no, it was either because you have always been taught it, and never thought much about it, or else it was because you did think it was right. You've been honest enough in it. That doesn't mean though that you haven't been deceived.
   Do you know, my friends, you might think if you were on top of the Empire State Building in New York City, that if you got to believing that gravity is going to hold you up instead of pull you down if you step off; if you believed it would be perfectly safe and in all sincerity you just step off thinking you're safe, that isn't going to save you, my friends. You're going to be drawn down and splattered against another part of the building, or the sidewalk below, or something just the same. Ignorance of the law is not going to save you. Why that's a fact. And a lot of us have been disobeying the law and bringing punishment on ourselves and suffering not knowing why. Because we were ignorant of it. We were honest and we were sincere.
   Now, Satan is transformed into an angel of light. Satan comes around trying to make you think that the wrong thing is the right thing and deceiving you, and giving you a counterfeit. "Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers..." (II Corinthians 11:15). Now does the devil always just come to you privately and personally? The great devil himself, he has a great deal of power, he occupies a very big position. Maybe you don't believe there is any devil, but if you believe your Bible, and if your Bible is telling the truth it certainly talks about one. Jesus must have believed there was one with the great fight He had trying to resist him in the original temptation on the Mount there. But it says here that:
   "...it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness [then, my friends, how does the devil get at you? Through his ministers. Yes, he works through human agencies too, and his ministers come posing as the ministers of righteousness, and in fact they probably believe they are]; whose end shall be according to their works." (II Corinthians 11:15)
   As everybody's shall be. Now then, in the thirteenth verse it says that:
   "...such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." (II Corinthians 11:13)
   Now actually it says they are the ministers of the devil. But they come, not saying; "I am a minister of the devil." No, they come saying; "I am the minister of Jesus Christ." Now, my friends, listen, since there are so many false ministers and false preachers gone out into the world. If your Bible is true - at least Jesus said that would happen, the apostle Paul said it would happen, your Bible prophecies say it would happen, the Word of God says it would happen, now if that's true - then there are a lot of false prophets in the world today and perhaps they themselves are deceived.
   But when the blind lead the blind they are both going to fall in the ditch. So, if the man himself, that you might want to follow, if he is false, but if he is blind and doesn't even know it, that doesn't make it alright for you, because if he is blind he is going to fall in the ditch. But if you follow him you are going to fall in the ditch too; just the same. Now, if a blind man was going toward a ditch and didn't know the way to keep out of it and you are also blind and you follow him, why, you are both going to go in the ditch. There it is, it's a very literal illustration and it will happen literally.

Description of Conditions Today

   Alright, now I want you to notice next in II Timothy; wherefore, Paul says to Timothy, this is the letter of Paul, this is the apostle Paul's writing but it is for us today:
   "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears [in other words, people would hire teachers, the people themselves wanting their ears tickled with well, with things that please them]; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (II Timothy 4:3-4)
   Now has that happened? Paul says; "...the time will come..." (II Timothy 4:3) when this will happen. When the people will be turned to fables and when the devil will have deceived all nations - the whole world. Has it happened? Or does your Bible mean what it says and are the prophecies true? Now over here in the third chapter of II Timothy:
   "This know also, that in the last days [and certainly that is where we are today; in the last days] perilous times shall come. Men shall be lovers of their own selves [now no real Christian is that], covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents [and oh how much of that we find today], unthankful..." (II Timothy 3:1-2)
   Most probably, I won't say definitely, but I believe it's very probable that the most prolific sin today, the most widespread sin today; is unthankfulness, lack of gratitude, ingratitude. Are you thankful for what you have or do you gripe and grumble because of what you think you don't have that you want. Oh, my friends, we need to stop and think. Yes, unthankful, are you?
   "...unholy, [how about you?] Without natural affection, trucebreakers [that is their word is no good, they break their contract or their word], false accusers..." (II Timothy 3:2-3)
   I wonder, do you carry gossip and without being sure that you have proved it and looking after the fact and you just heard something about someone, do you go around gossiping and saying; "Oh, have you heard the latest scandal about so and so?" Now, do you just love scandal and gossip and malicious gossip and talk about other people? Do you know that the Bible says that we are to speak no evil of others even though that evil be true, you're not to go around repeating it. A real Christian will live like that. Now then:
   "...incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;" (II Timothy 3: 3-4)
   My friends, if that does not describe twentieth century people, that even profess Christianity they may go to church every Sunday, many of them may if that doesn't describe people today!
   "...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God...denying the power thereof..." (II Timothy 3:4-5)
   How much of the power of God is believed in today? How many Christians really believe that there is power in God? For instance, power to heal you when you are sick. By that I don't mean any fanatical kind of healing services now or anything of that kind at all. It's a funny thing; we go to extremes, my friends, either we go to the extreme of denying that God can do these things that He says, or we turn it into fanaticism.
Footnote:
{1} Mr. Armstrong said I John 2:4 instead of I John 3:4.