Editor's note: Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong spoke to a combined audience of the Pasadena congregations on Sabbath, June 24. We have been asked to excerpt his extremely important message for the Pastor's Report in advance of your receipt of tapes of his entire message which will be played in all churches worldwide. An announcement by Mr. Rader and several other items of interest follow the sermon.
Well, greetings everybody:
I have called a special day of prayer and fasting today because God's Church is in FATAL DANGER! We don't realize, my brethren, the way we've been drifting. We've been doing just what you heard in the sermonette, "doing our own thing." We've been getting lukewarm....
I have good news for you and I have bad news for you. The bad news I will give you first. God was doing, really, a great work through me and through this church up to about 9 or 10 years ago — right around 1969. We were one. Nobody was in doubt about who's in charge. But then many near the top began every man to try to do his "own thing." Instead of trying to do God's thing, they began to do their own thing and a spirit of competition began to come in.
At the same time, what I call the "leaven of intellectualism" was coming in and gripping the college and also gripping our congregation here locally, and more or less the whole church. I have noticed that thing of errant intellectualism ever since the college was started. I noticed it in the first year of Ambassador College....
Well, about nine or ten years ago — along about 1969 — a spirit of intellectualism started getting into the college again until it became no longer God's college, I'm ashamed to say. And I'm going TO CHANGE THAT!
I struggled the first three or four years to SEE THAT THIS WOULD BE GOD'S KIND OF COLLEGE. I had to struggle against professors with their PHD's and their Master's Degrees. They wanted to make it just like all other colleges. They wanted to get this intellectualism in the college. There is a "leaven of intellectualism" that gets in and just puffs you all up....
I'm going to root that out of Ambassador College. It doesn't belong here.... For the first three years I had to fight to let this be God's kind of college without the intellectual leaven that has leavened this world and its education. Those underneath look up and stand in awe of it. I'm going to write on it in The GOOD NEWS....
It seems that others are intimidated by that polish, that "intellectuality," that mannerism that has been "put-on" that they have. Now, someday that kind of behavior is all going to perish when this whole earth is going to burn up. There won't be any of that left and some of our intellectuals are going to burn up with it — if they don't wake up in time and if they don't realize that kind of intellectualism is of Satan the devil.
Let me explain a minute about that before I go on. This type of intellectualism emphasizes scholarship. They all want to be scholars. They want high scholarship. It is 100% carnal. There is none of God, none of Christ in it. It is an intellectualism that throws Christ right out the window and has been like leaven getting into and spreading in the College....
Now there's another thing I want to mention. It has become stylish to say that Mr. Herbert Armstrong is very much out-of-date. Prophecy is a word in the Bible that both means to receive prophecies from God (like the ancient prophets) and to foretell; but also, in more cases, it means to preach with inspiration — a fired up kind of preaching.
Today, it seems like we get a lot of very mild modern intellectual classroom lectures and it's gotten to be out of style on this platform and in this church for someone to really speak out in a preaching service. I was glad to hear a little speaking out in the sermonette this afternoon. I want to hear more of that kind of preaching. I want to hear more of that absolute conviction!
Now, the Holy Spirit of God in us is not raw emotion, but there certainly is an emotional content and it certainly does work on our emotions. At the other extreme, some people wear their emotions on their shirt sleeves and I don't mean that kind of preaching at all.
Well, brethren, we're all humans and Satan is infinitely more powerful than we and he's been getting into this church and it came to the place that no one seemed to know who was in charge around here. It came to the place where some of you said in essence, "I am of Paul," others of you were of Apollos, and others of Cephus. In 1974 there was an effort to overthrow the church in a grand coup — just like taking over a government in the world. But Jesus Christ is the head of this church and He didn't let it happen.
At that time we lost some 30 to 35 ministers and a couple of thousand members. In six months we had more than made up for it as others came along and took their places. I will tell you, as far as I know — and I haven't heard about every one of them — but so far as I know most of those ministers who went out in that rebellion (and that's what it was) are working at physical labor with their hands at any kind of job they can get today. They're not in the ministry. But at the time they were going to take members with them and they were going to build a big church themselves. They've said, "Well, Herbert Armstrong did it, so can I." Well, Herbert Armstrong DID NOT DO IT, JESUS CHRIST built this church and I was only an instrument that He used. I gave myself to Him and He has used me. I didn't do it and not one of you have ever heard me take credit for it. I know someone else that says he built this church, but lie did not. Jesus Christ did.
Well, the bad news is that we've been going that way and we're going into the Laodicean condition of sleeping and slumbering like you read in the 25th chapter of Matthew. And while the bridegroom (Christ) tarried before He came, they all slumbered and slept. And that's the condition we're presently getting into. We're getting very close now to the second coming of Christ, but because it didn't happen in 1972, some people think, "Oh well, it's not going to happen now." And so Jesus Himself said at such an hour as you think not, HE'LL COME. The door will be shut and it will be too late and that's what's going to happen to a lot of you. I'm trying to wake you up today and if I can't wake you up, you can get angry and walk out right now. I invite you to if that's the way you feel, because I don't want people here that don't have the Spirit of God, all the while pretending that they do. Now visitors are welcome, but I don't want people here pretending to profess membership that don't have anything but the spirit of Satan in them.
But the spirit of Satan began to grip us, Everyone, it seems, had started to do his own thing. There was a power struggle to get into the top. Some began to think "Mr. Armstrong was getting old. He's going to die." Everyone wanted to be the one that could take over and be the head of the church and their wives wanted to be the First Lady of the church. And don't you think that kind of thinking was not there.
And so, some of us were of one leader and some of another. And no one seemed to know who really was in charge. I'll tell you who was in charge — JESUS CHRIST! Only we were all going to sleep and just letting the church go its own way.
Now for the good news — JESUS CHRIST IS MOVING TO PUT THIS CHURCH BACK ON THE TRACK! We're going to stamp out all of that spirit of competition that got in. That spirit of vanity, self-exultation, lust and greed, envy and jealousy. That is the attitude of Satan the devil. And the good part of it is that God has reorganized His church, and I'm going to do all I can to bring it back.
Now last August I completely stopped breathing. My heart stopped completely for at least 30 to 45 seconds. It had completely stopped until my face was blanched and white. God brought me back and it's pretty important that God did bring me back, brethren, because Jesus Christ knew which way you are drifting, He brought me back for two reasons: one is to try to revive YOU — TO SHAKE YOU UP if I can. TO GET YOU TO REALIZE THAT YOU'RE IN DANGER! I'm not going to purr that out like a college professor. I'm going to shout it at you IN POWER!! You can take the warning and wake up and maybe go on into God's kingdom, or you can go the other way and burn up and be ashes under the soles of those who are going into the Kingdom of God. Take your choice, and if I've offended you and you're angry, I feel sorry for you. I'm saying what needs to be said. That's why I called this day as a day of fasting and prayer.
Well, we're all human. We need to remember that there is a devil called Satan, that he is infinitely more powerful than we are and Satan knows better than we that he has now but a short time and he wants to destroy this Church.
Let me read you the twelfth chapter of Revelation beginning with verse seven. We're down to this time when "there was or is war in heaven Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon fighting with his angels, and prevailed not that is, the dragon prevailed not; neither was there place for the devil and his angels found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." And I say he's deceiving over half of you people that are sitting in front of me right now. I don't mean the person next to you, I mean you!
God has brought me back because someone has got to put a little life into this church. That's why I'm back here. That's why I didn't stay "dead." I was totally unconscious. "The dead know not anything." I was "dead," temporarily, and I didn't know anything — just as the Bible says. I'm alive today for a reason and I want to tell you that back in those first days in August and September, I couldn't do any work. I couldn't do anything but just try to take it easy and recuperate. I felt it would be so much nicer if I could just sink back into that state because I didn't know anything was happening. I thought how much nicer it would be for me.
I had worked hard all these years. For fifty years, I have had to strive and the devil has been after me as after nobody else. He would rather destroy me than anybody on this earth. You better believe that. Some of you don't.
He's wanted to destroy my son Garner Ted Armstrong. And he wants to destroy all of you. Now that's where the real fault is and that is the place where all the blame has to go.
Well anyway, it says here that this was the Devil and he didn't prevail, "the great dragon, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world, he was cast out into the earth and his angels, who now became demons, were cast down with him. And I heard a loud voice saying now is come or now "is coming," because it hasn't come yet salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God..." It is coming very soon and the strength of our God and the power of his Christ. "For the accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night."
People in the spirit of Satan are accusing now. People are accusing Mr. Stanley Rader and let me tell you right here, I don't know how much of that leaven has got into some of you, but that is character assassination! You may feel that Stanley Rader is a wrong kind of man but he is my top assistant and that's why they try to assassinate his character! Satan has been trying to get to me and if he can't destroy me, then he'll try to destroy those who are working closely with me. You tell me — I challenge you — show me evidence, one iota of proof of anything wrong about Stan Rader! And yet I understand there are ministers in this church who would walk right out and leave the church if I try to uphold Stan Rader. Has this church come to that?!
I want to tell you — I'm heartsick today. I'm just grieved, clear too the bottom of my heart. Because you brethren have gone to sleep, and not just you. When I say "you," brethren, I mean all the church. It's time we wake up!
But Satan accuses the brethren — the church. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore, rejoice ye heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath."
Satan is angry! He is stirred up! He's not asleep! He's trying to lull you to sleep. But I'm trying to wake you up. I'll probably offend a lot of you. But I'm doing this in love, the only way that I know to wake you up. If I come with flatteries and say only nice things, I'm not going to wake anybody up. So, I'm not going to pull any punches.
Continuing again with the middle of verse 12: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea, for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath." This wrath of Satan is the Great Tribulation — and it is almost upon us now. It is not the wrath of God but the wrath of Satan because he knows that he has but a short time. How does he know? Because Jesus said, "When you see this gospel of the Kingdom being preached around the world, then you know that the Kingdom of God is near at hand and the time is here." Satan knows and believes that, but a lot of you don't believe it. Satan knows the Bible better than you do and he knows he has but a short time. But some of us are oblivious to how short his time must be. I say wake up, Brethren! We've been asleep. This church has been drifting off into a kind of spiritual dreamland.
"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman (referring to God's church) which brought forth a man-child. 0 And to the woman, now here at verse 14 we're coming down to the time just before the Great Tribulation were given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness..."
Let's pause to notice this: back here in the 6th verse beginning in around 554 A.D. and for 1260 years, the woman fled afoot. This time, she is to "fly." The woman, or in other words the church, was given "two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place."
Now where is the place? That's been a great contention. I used to preach the possibility that it would be at Petra. Well, I don't know that it will be at Petra, and I never said I knew it would be. But others say, "Well, that's something we can get back at Herbert Armstrong. Let's just say he was wrong about that." And so some very high in the church were saying that that is a lot of rubbish and hodge-podge. I say to you now I don't know whether it's Petra. I don't know where it is or where it will be, but I know God knows. But I do know this much: there are many indications that it is Petra and if it isn't Petra, then the Bible gives us absolutely no indication of where it will be. Now I'll stand my ground with that and any of you who want to can come and face me with it. In any case, I've been to Petra and it's not a very pleasant place to be.
Well, anyway, we're to be taken where we will be nourished for a time, times, and half a time or three and a half years from the face of the serpent. We will be protected from the Devil. But then, notice what the serpent does. "And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed." The "remnant" is the last segment of the church, the Laodicean era. We're getting into the Laodicean condition but we are not the Laodicean Church!
But some of the younger ministers began to say "Ah, this idea of church eras is all a hodge-podge — Mr. Armstrong is wrong. We have here a doctrinal committee of intellectuals and so let's study intellectually to find out how wrong Mr. Armstrong is and where he's misled us." In too many instances that was the real object! Well, there isn't any such committee any longer and there isn't going to be. God doesn't reveal his will to intellectual scholars with an intellectual approach that goes into a matter in little tiny ways.
So Satan went to make war with the remnant that keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. The Laodicean Church will be keeping the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus or they couldn't be the Church of God. But they will be lukewarm and asleep. This era is not here yet.
Let me tell you what I have always said for fifty years. Fifty years ago I was writing that the message to the seven angels of the seven churches in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation has a dual interpretation and meaning. Number one, it is telling of the seven successive eras or stages of time in the 1900-to 2000-year existence of the church. And number two, it is telling of the spiritual condition in the church during those eras. The account starts out with the Church at Ephesus and the predominant situation in the first and second century during and right after the days of the original Apostles.
Laodicea had what will be the prevailing condition in the final church era: drowsy or asleep and lukewarm. And Christ is going to spue most of them out of His mouth. And I sometimes wonder how many of us are just not very much on fire for God, brethren. I say that to your shame, every one of you. I say wake up! I'm not going to say you're alright and everything is so wonderful and everything is going fine and flatter you. I'm going to tell you the truth. And sometimes the truth hurts. And I hope it hurts. I hope it hurts enough that you wake up and realize it and do something about it. And I hope that YOU go home from this service and get down on your knees and ask for the mercy and the forgiveness of God, and ask Him to come back into your life. Because that's what you need to do and your eternity may depend upon it.
Well now, I have said that the spiritual condition of which Laodicea is a type will dominate at the tail end, but I have also said that all of those conditions — all the way from Ephesus up to Laodicea, all seven — are present at all times in the church. But now we in the Philadelphian era have the Laodicean condition. That's what I'm talking about today, but we're not Laodicea.
We also have the condition of Ephesus — we have lost our first love, and it's time to get back to it. Everyone of these conditions are in this church, but the predominant one is what I want to read to you now.
"Church at Philadelphia: ...These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth ,and no man openeth. I know your works: behold, I have set before thee an open door.
NOW, if you'll trace that "open door" in Paul's writings, you will see that God set an open door before him. An "open door" merely means (it's a figure of speech) that God opens the way to get the gospel message out. Now He's opened to us a door to go to the Gentiles and the nations of the earth and the kings of those nations. He didn't open that door for the Sardis Church. And no man in the Sardis Church, Thyatira or those before ever announced the gospel of the Kingdom to kings, heads of government and other top men in the governments of the Gentile nations around the world. They just never did.
I have been doing it and I am the one Apostle that God has chosen and with whom and through whom He built this church. The Gospel did not go to the world until this church came and started taking it to the world. It absolutely was not preached at all. The true gospel is not just a message about Jesus Christ. It is Christ's message which is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and that message has not been preached for eighteen and a half centuries. For a half century now it has been going out through this church and through me. And as they say today, "you better believe it."
"I set before thee an open door and no man can shut it" — Many certainly have tried to shut it, but no one has been able to. "For thou hast a little strength..." Each of you doesn't have much strength, and I've had very little, but God has given us collectively tremendous power to reach the world and the facilities that magnify that power like radio, television, the printing press, airplanes to fly us to all parts of the world quickly and telephones with instant communication to any and every part of the world. None of these existed in the days of the early Apostles.
Again, "For thou hast but a little strength and hast kept my word." Brethren, often I have said this: I have known scores of men with better minds than I have. Not only more scholarly (because they've gone into that), but minds with more aptitude to be scholarly and with better personalities — with more of everything that could be used, and yet God did not call a one of them.
Why did he call me? Well, I go right back to this: some say that this message to the "angel" of the church might refer to the one God placed as the human leader in the church. And I would say this does apply to me personally and it should apply to the whole church as well, but there's been an effort to water down the truth. That's another thing that's happened in the last nine years — the truth of God is being watered down with even false doctrines creeping in and ministers are teaching them around the world. Ministers of this church. NOW believe me, I'm going to get after those things and fast!
Jesus Christ is in power! Jesus Christ is the power back of me and He's going to set these things in order. And if any of you want to fight Christ, you start fighting Him and see where you get off. Or if you want to go with the Devil, maybe you'll suffer the Devil's fate. I'm speaking very plainly today because I'm wrought up about it.
Christ knows our works. There are works, good works, and not rituals. "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, ... for thou hast but a little strength, and hast kept my word." I was going to say further, if there's any one reason why God called me, it's because I was willing to believe what He said. And because I've kept His word. I have not compromised.
Now, there's been an effort on the part of some of our younger ministers to compromise in these last nine years. Some want to water down or do away with tithing. Some of them wanted to do away with keeping some of the annual holy days and the annual festivals of God. They want to do away with God's truth in every way they can. Let me tell you that if you don't tithe, and some of you don't, YOU ARE STEALING — YOU ARE A THIEF! AND YOU ARE STEALING FROM GOD! I SAY THAT ON THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST! Now, if you think I've insulted you, get up and walk out. SOMEONE HAS GOT TO WAKE YOU PEOPLE UP!
Again, verse 8, "...and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan that is the churches of this world, which say that they are Jews..." You see, in the New Testament, he as a Jew who is one spiritually, and not by birth. In other words, they say they belong but "are not of the true church, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, not to worship us, but to worship before our feet, worshipping God, and to know that I have loved thee."
You know that this church is the only one of the seven that God doesn't attribute any fault to. And yet we're full of faults. But God has told us this one thing: He has used us to get this message out around the world.
As I said earlier, God has called me back to live longer for two reasons. One is to try to set this Church back in order and to wake you people up. That is why I'm here. Yet I feel like the Apostle Paul. He said that he would rather go and depart and be with Christ — in other words, go to the sleep of death and wake up in the resurrection and be in the Kingdom of God — but he said it was more necessary for the church that he stay on. And that's why I'm here, brethren.
My job is hard, it's not easy. And I have to push myself to do things now. In fact, I have to push myself about ten times harder than I did twenty years ago. Still I am no older in mind and in power than I was twenty years ago. Nevertheless, rumors are going around that I'm senile, that I don't know what's going on — that my head is in a cloud. Do I sound like it? Did some other minister tell me what to say here today? On the contrary, there are ministers sitting before me today that are going to disagree with what I am saying. No man gave me these words, but Jesus Christ did — you better realize where this message is coming from.
It didn't come from Stan Rader either. Stan Rader is a helper but Stan Rader is NOT RUNNING THIS CHURCH IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE, OR FORM! But he is of very great value to me and that's why some are trying to hit back at him. He's serving the Work and nobody has one iota of evidence of anything wrong with him. But people will slander and many of you people have been swallowing and believing a lot of that rot! You better swallow the Word of God and believe that instead.
Now Christ says here in verse 10, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience been faithful to the word of God, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come-upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." In other words, the Great Tribulation. Other translations say "I will keep thee from the Great Tribulation" — that we will not have to go through it. That's what I showed you in Revelation 12. We are to have the two wings of a great eagle to "fly;" but of course, that's symbolic language. And I don't know whether that means literal airplanes or what.
I will tell you one thing though. Satan even gets some ministers to try to criticize the fact that God has opened doors for me before Kings and Presidents and Prime Ministers and Emperors. And they try to say that's somehow all wrong. I was supposed to be in Jerusalem on July 4th for the Inauguration of a big downtown city park. And because we've had something to do with the children's playground part of it, someone said (and a top minister at that) that "Mr. Armstrong wants to go over and be there for the opening of a little kiddie park." Now that is the kind of sarcasm, the kind of reflecting and accusing that is of Satan, and I want you to recognize it for what it is when you hear it.
Let's quit this slander. Let's quit this defamation of character. Let's quit this character assassination. Instead of saying I'm of this and that and the other human leader, I say let's get back of Christ! I say follow me as I follow Christ. I've never asked you to follow me any other way....
I want to tell you, brethren, while I think of it, that there was a picture I happened to see on television in this past week called "EARTH-QUAKE." I don't know whether some of you happened to see it or not.
In the movie all of a sudden this earthquake hit just when people least expected it. It was a frightful picture; it showed the havoc, big buildings crashing down with the epicenter right beneath. I think it was supposed to be Los Angeles. It was showing what an earth-quake can be like; what could happen right here.
Here's the point brethren. We go along day to day living carelessly, each of US doing our own thing, and we don't realize that in the mean- time Satan is very busy behind the scenes.
I used to trap a lot of rats when I was about nine years old. And I tell you those rats would get caught in that trap and they didn't know until they were in it and it had snapped shut on them that they were caught and couldn't get out.
That same thing is going to happen too many of you! I am warning you now, and some of you, in fact maybe most of you, will ignore it and you'll just go on taking it easy and all of a sudden it's going to strike. Christ warned us that in such an hour as you think not, it is going to happen. We're very close to the end time.
Now I was asked by a minister just the other day if I thought that our work would come to an end and be finished within a year. No, frankly, I don't. But I don't know. However, I do know this: apparently God has been holding off things and delaying our coming to the end for at least six, eight or more years. Maybe it's because this church was getting drowsy and He wanted to allow time for me to come to realize it, and for you to realize it too, and wake up.
You'll find in the 7th chapter of Revelation how God sent an angel to hold up what was going to happen — the plagues that were coming — until He did something He wanted done. That was the sealing in their foreheads of the 144,000 and the innumerable multitude of all nations.
Now God can hold something up and there's an example of what he did. On the other hand, Jesus said that when the time comes He will cut everything short and make a speedy work of it. These things can happen so quickly that you wouldn't know it. So you can't afford to take chances. All I can do is warn you and you can sit there and ignore it and be caught like a rat in a trap. That's up to you....
Now Moses was 80 years old when he started. And 40 years later, Moses' strength of mind and force had not abated one iota. But his job was finished and God let him die and God buried him.
And now as I am like Moses older in years, God is still using me. But that doesn't mean that I'm about to die tomorrow or next week. I think God is going to keep me here until this work is finished. And as I said, I've been brought back to try to wake you up, but there's still another reason, and that's to finish the work around the world. And God is going to give me the strength to do it....
What about some of you, brethren? Do you refuse to acknowledge that we've been lackadaisical and going along and taking it easy and beginning to forget God? Will you acknowledge that you have been lax in your prayer life and in the study of the Bible?
God pleaded with ancient Israel. Notice Jeremiah 3, beginning with verse 12: "GO and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, 'Return thou backsliding Israel,' says the Eternal, 'and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you. "I And that's what he's saying to us today. Now that was the congregation of Israel — a type of us. And the things written about them were written for our learning and admonition on whom the ends of the world are come in the New Testament. "And I will not cause mine anger to fall on you for I am merciful, saith the Eternal, and I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity," and I say to you and I'm speaking by the authority of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ says to you through me now, only acknowledge your lethargy, acknowledge your drowsiness and sleep and that you have been getting away from God.
"Only acknowledge,.. that thou hast transgressed against the Eternal thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and that ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Eternal."
Notice how Israel went until finally they were driven out into slavery. They lost their first love. Solomon started out like a whirlwind and he just wanted wisdom so he could rule the people better and serve God, but he ended up with a thousand woman and serving their gods! Many of the kings of ancient Judah were like that. They started out alright but they wound up wrong at the end. And I have seen that.
But the Eternal says, "Turn 0 backsliding children." And he says the same thing to you today. "For I am married unto you," Now he is not married to us today, but he's engaged to us, It's virtually the same thing only the marriage won't take place until we're made immortal.
"And I will take you one of a city, and two of a family and will bring you to Zion. I Now that was what he, said to ancient Israel. But that is a warning of what he is saying to us today.
Now then, I want you to go a little further. Notice in Hebrews the 3rd chapter, verse seven: "Wherefore as the Holy Spirit saith, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." And in verse 12, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." That's exactly what we've been doing. And always it seemed that people said alright, and then as time goes on they want to ease off.
Now God just said to take heed. And I'm telling you to also, but God is using my voice to do it, so you'd better listen because it comes from the Creator God, Do you tremble before the Word of God? I'm giving it to you. You'd better tremble before these things. I am frightened for you brethren. This church is in mortal danger!
We're slipping and we're getting on very dangerous ground and Satan is winning that battle. But Christ is on the Father's throne and if we are willing, he will restore everything into this Church and that's the good news! Jesus Christ has awakened me to the condition of things.
Now maybe I was slumbering a little bit. Alright, I've repented if I did. But I'm awake and I'm going to have the guts, if that's what it takes, and the courage to tell you what needs to be said and if you agree, you will save your own eternity; and if not, it will be a witness against you.
Now notice the 8th chapter of Hebrews and verse one: "NOW of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such a high priest they only had Moses back there ... but we today have such a high priest Christ who is set on the right hand of the throne of God of the majesty in the heavens." Then in the fourth chapter of Hebrews beginning with the 14th verse on through the 16th: "Seeing then that we have such a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession for we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities...."
Look, I know I have been weak. I have not been perfect. But I know that I can go to that throne of grace and Christ is there on His Father's throne listening, and the Father is listening also. Christ has gone through all of this just like I have. Now the difference is that Christ was tempted in all points like we are, but He didn't sin. But He had been tempted and He knows what it is like. It was not only the ultimate temptation described in the 4th chapter of Matthew when He'd fasted 40 days and 40 nights and the Devil came at Him. But listen, the Devil gets at us through the human spirit that is in us and Jesus Christ was "hearing" that temptation as Satan was trying to pour it into His mind every day that He lived.
But this made the difference: He was so close to God and He knew the will of God so that when Satan was pouring in opposite things, he just rejected it right there. He never dwelt on it and never let it conceive and take root in Him. He never allowed temptation to turn into sin. That's the difference between Christ and us; we have done it. But we have an Advocate who can understand what it means to be human. He understands our frailties. He knows our weaknesses. He is a forgiving God. And if we'll only turn back to Him, he will still put out his arms and receive us and love us, and you can't imagine how much the love of God can come into your minds and your hearts and how MUCH He can love you. God loves His church!
Now I've been sort of shouting out at you today because I think we have to have it. But God is love. And I love you all, and I want you to love me. But sometimes it calls for some plain speaking. Sometimes a parent has to speak that way to his children and directly or indirectly you're all my children in the Lord. And now I have to speak to you as a father sometimes would....
But always there is Satan who is the prince of the power of the air and he's broadcasting and getting through to our minds — not in words nor in pictures like radio or television, but he's putting impulses — attitudes of vanity, of trying to do our own thing, of self-exaltation, of competition, (and there's even been competition among the ministers) but we've got to have cooperation together. And I want to tell you that the ministers at the helm today are as one cooperating unit. And we're going to continue to have that cooperation. Anyone that will not cooperate will be talked to and then if he isn't willing to cooperate, he just won't be part of the team any longer. That's all.
I Peter 5:8-9 tells us how Satan is going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. God is calling us to repentance and this church needs to repent and it needs to go to its knees. Brethren, all I can do is warn you. And that's why I've poured out my heart to you today. I hope that we're going to begin to take this seriously. This church has needed a shaking up.
I hope to see many of you here for Bible study Friday night and then again next Sabbath when I will do two more television programs. I already have done eight television programs that will start showing a week from tomorrow on many stations and, as fast as we can get the stations, the program will be aired coast to coast. People have said that without radio this church would go down. Now with radio and television it's going right on more powerfully than ever, brethren. And you'll find that once our hearts are right, God will build this church up.
If this church has not been growing — and it has not been, the membership is even going down, not gaining — then brethren, that ought to warn you and it ought to wake us up. All we have to do is get ourselves right with God, each one of us. I can only get myself right and, I can plead with you. But that's all that I can do. However, once we do it, I want to tell you that this church will leap forward bigger than it did for the first 35 years when it grew faster and more steadily than any organization I've ever heard of.
But God has withdrawn His blessings on this church. The work has not been growing. The church has been even going down and losing ground. There are not as many members today as there were a year ago. There were not as many members then as there were the year before that. Now the time has come for us to have a revival within our own hearts. It ought to strike home to us and condemn us. It's our fault. And I'm not just talking to you that I see here today, I'm also talking to the other churches that will hear this on tape all over the world.
Unitedly, brethren, let's get on our knees and let's get back to Christ.