What is wrong with the world today? It seems that everything is wrong with it but do you know why?
Why is it, in this world in which we live, this upset, chaotic, war-fearing world, why is it that the churches are not proving to be the stabilizing influence that could save this world? What's wrong? The churches have not had the true medicine to save this world. They haven't provided the stabilizing influence, they haven't had the knowledge, they haven't set the example to change this world into what it should be and to led this world into peace and into the way of happiness and all that we ought to have.
I wonder if you realize that God Almighty and the Bible holds the religious professing people, and the preachers, and the ministers responsible for the condition?
Jesus said I will build My church. (Mat. 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.)
He did build His Church. Which church is the true Church of God today? That is the true church Jesus built? The church which He is the living head? Where can you find that church among all of these hundreds of different sects and denominations? Or are you going to find it among any of them?
They all dis agree. They all claim to get what they believe out of the same text book, the Bible; which simply is another way of saying, my friends, they all claim the Bible says something different. One says the Bible says this, another says no you're wrong, that church is wrong, it says what we think. Another says you are both wrong. Here's what the Bible says. What does that mean? Well it means they are not reading the Bible like they read any other book. You hear that you can prove anything by the Bible.
You hear a lot about different interpretations of the Bible. Now you take some book on science, or some book on ancient history and do you find this professor has his interpretation of this book on science or history or something of the kind? And in some other college you have another professor who has a different interpretation of that one? And over here is another with a different one.
You take a text book on chemistry. Do you find that one professor in one college says I teach this book in a certain way. This is my interpretation of this book of chemistry. My interpretation of H2o is so and so. But another man thinks H2o is something altogether different? Why of course not.
Wherever you go H2o is just water and they all see it the same way. They don't have different interpretations but when you come to the Bible, my friends, they don't read it like any other book.
Do you know why? There is a reason.
Everyone has to try to change the Bible and try to pretend that it doesn't say what it does but says what he wants to make it say and that is his interpretation. That is where we get interpretations.
Now the Bible shouldn't be interpreted. (II Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.)
Someone says, Mr. Armstrong what's your interpretation? I say, I don't have any. That's my reply. I accept the interpretation of Jesus Christ. He is the author of the Bible. He is the divine architect and the Bible are His plans and the blue prints of the life we ought to be living and that which we should be building and we should be working according to the plans and blue prints.
When you employ a contractor to build a building for you and you've employed an architect, he has drawn up the plans and you furnish the blue prints now to the contractor. And you've approved it and it is just the way you want it. He's done a wonderful job. It is absolutely perfect. You approve everything he's done but the builder says, Well, this is my interpretation of those plans. Where it says this is to go two feet this way, he interprets it to go six feet and in another place he interprets it to mean two and a half inches. What are you going to do with a contractor like that? You're going to fire him. And you know, we are the builders building something and God supplied the architect, Jesus Christ. He wrote out the plans and the blue prints of what we are suppose to build and that is the Bible. We twist it around and we don't take the plans as they are. We try to twist it and change it. Well, I shouldn't say we but some people do.
What about you? Are you doing it that way or are you doing it some other way? Now, if you are going to look for the true church, let me tell you what the true church is and where you are going to find it.
You have to know what to look for first. You know the trouble is my friends, we have been assuming something. We have been assuming that the church is the organized, political-religious body or bodies that will profess that they are Christian, that will put a Christian label on the outside of the bottle, or the package, or whatever it may be and we accept it and we just believe it and we swallow it absolutely.
We never look inside to see whether it is genuine or whether the label is truthful or not. And so we just look at the organized bodies that have the name Christian and suppose that must be the church. You know the Bible said (Mat. 24:11 Many false prophets would go out into the world, and deceive many. )
That is what Jesus Himself foretold. In the book of Revelation you will find, and Jesus is the revelator, and the real author of it.
all the nations have become drunk on the false teachings of paganism: (Rev. 14:8, Rev. 17:2, Rev. 18:3)
On the wrong spiritual teachings.
So drunk about it today that when you begin to get truth and you get a certain piece of truth and most of you out there, my friends, you get a certain piece of truth on a certain broadcast I bring you. It's a challenge. Perhaps it offends you at first. You look in your Bible and you say, that's true. What this man said is true . And what you have always been believing and thought was in the Bible is not true.
But then right away you think of something else you have been taught and you believe that contradicts that and yeah but how do you explain that? And something else comes up and a thous and and one errors that you have been taught, you have been inoculated with and wrong teachings come up in your mind until you can't see the truth and most of you are exactly in that fix today. It is almost a hopeless case until you have to do what I had to do years ago when God struck me down as certainly as He did the Apostle Paul, and when He was calling me into His work and when I came to see the Bible said exactly the opposite of what I had been taught in Sunday school.
I had to lay everything I believed and swallowed and accepted and been inoculated with up on the shelf so to speak. On the figurative shelf. I laid it up there. I put it out of my mind. I said, I won't trust anything that I have supposed was true. I'm going to prove everything now and not just try to prove what the other fellow says is false, I'm going to prove whether what I believe is right or false. Well, a few of those things I laid on the shelf I was able to bring back down because not everything I had been taught was wrong.
I hope you understand me. I don't say that everything that any church or every church teaches is all wrong because in this world we have a mixture of good and evil. A mixture of truth and error. And I don't know any church that doesn't have some truth.
You may think you know of some church somewhere that you don't like. You might think they don't have any truth. But I know most of the church denominations and most of their doctrines and everyone of them have some truth some where. Some have more and some have less. But I don't know any that has all truth.
We are all human. We are living in a world that is very greatly mixed up. And a world that is drunk spiritually and its spiritual eyes are so blurred that it sees double and it can't see sharply and clearly.
And I'm telling you my friends, that you can never get to the real truth unless you can go through the process of unlearning and you have so many things you have accepted, to unlearn.
How did you come to believe what you believe?
Well, there are four processes but the main one in which you come to believe the things you believe is just simply you have just accepted and memorized what you heard or what you read. You just come to believe like other people.
You want to be popular and you want to be one of the crowd. You like to conform. We have all been conforming. The Bible says, (Rom. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ) Our minds ought to be renewed.
We need to sweep out the rubbish in our minds. That goes for most of you listening, I know because nearly everybody is in the same boat.
Now the true church is composed, if you want to find God's church, the Church Jesus is the head of in the first place. It is not a political organization. It is a spiritual organism. And it is composed of certain individuals. And they may or they may not know one another. It is composed of the begotten children of God. Who are lead by the Holy Spirit. To be lead by the Holy Spirit you cannot be lead around by your own carnal nature.
Your mind resides up and over and above the natural human carnal nature that is in you. It is in everybody and you can come to see where the pulls and the impulses and the strong desires of human nature and of the carnal mind are wrong. You can reject them and you can have the will to direct yourself in the way you see you should go if you use your mind to see what is right and sift out the wheat from the chaff.
Now the true church then, those individuals that are begotten of God and lead by His Holy Spirit. And I mean really lead by the Holy Spirit and not by other people, not lead by tradition. They are not lead by the crowd, they aren't conformed to this world, they've come out of this world and they are separate. J
esus said that His church would be those that come out of the world. I don't mean live away from it. He said He didn't pray that they should leave or go out of the world. (John 17:15-16 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.)
We have come out in the sense that we are no longer of it.
Yet Jesus commissioned His Church to go into the world preaching the gospel but not to partake of its ways. Its beliefs, its ideas. (Mat. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit) Not to partake of its ways, its beliefs, its ideas.
Again I have been quoting so often lately that passage in Isa. 55:6 that tells us how to find God. Everybody has been seeking God. (Isa. 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.)
I read of a man who began to seek God as a little child. He was taken to Sunday school. He is a very famous writer. You would know his name if I mentioned it. He is nationally known. A famous editor of a great magazine and has written on a number of religious subjects.
This famous editor, I'm not mentioning his name because I'm not sure I have all the details just exactly correct. I read his book on the subject some time ago, I don't try to retain it exactly but approximately this was his experience.
That he was taken to Sunday school. He was impressed with the sanctity and with great awe of the church building in which he was. He was told it was the house of God. He was just a little child and well, if this was God's house, that meant the house belonged to God. He said, I want to see God. Where's God?
Well, they couldn't show God to him. And he was just a little fellow so he started going away from the others and he remembers now that later they found him back behind a lot of things. He was looking into closets. He was looking every where trying to find God. He felt if this is God's house, God must be around here somewhere. He must be around here and he was going to try to find God. Well, that was his beginning of his search for God and he kept on searching for God ever since.
Now a lot of people are trying to find God. They're searching for God. But they just want to search for God in their own way and in their own human reasoning and the God they search for and the god they finally wind up with is one of their own invention of their own human mind. In other words, the god they finally produce, is a god of their own creation and they become God's creator and God is merely a figment of their own imagination and is far less than they are because He is nothing but a phantom that they originated.
Now most of the gods that are described to you today and many famous people have come out with a new conception of God. They say, I have a new concept of God. I have been searching for God and at last I have found God.
Oh, have you? Well, if you want to find God, I will tell you how. You'll have to forsake your ways and you'll have to forsake your thoughts. (Isa. 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.) And you'll have to return to God who's ways are not your ways and whose thoughts are as high as the heavens above the earth over your thoughts. They are not like yours at all. Yours is just like other human beings. You go along with the mob and the crowd just like sheep you want to be along with everybody else. You want to be popular. You want to be well thought of.
Women want other people to think they are pretty and men want other people to think they are important. You all go along wanting to be well thought of by other people. You want the pleasures of other people and you care more about what other people think than anything else so you want to conform You'll never find God that way.
No one ever did find God until they could forsake that kind of thinking entirely. Now God is the Creator my friends. He created us. You can't create Him. Anything you create isn't God. It is only something imaginary.
You know God did give us a mind something like His only it isn't as all encompassing and all powerful or as perfect as His. And the way we have used our minds inventing engines of destruction and using our minds to beat the other fellow, take advantage of him, and to destroy and to tear down, it is a good thing God limited our power and the amount of mind power that we have, isn't it? Because man has turned his mind to wrong pursuits entirely too much.
Well, the true church are those who believe the faith once delivered. That is the message by Jesus Christ. He taught it to His disciples. They became apostles. They taught it to the church.
And the faith once delivered is the faith that was believed by that church during the first 38 years of its existence after the resurrection of Christ.
The true church are those who have the doctrines and teachings of Jesus. They believe what He taught.
The churches today believe exactly the opposite. You can go through the New Testament as we have been doing. You can see what Jesus taught. Today they teach almost diametrically the opposite.
Here and there will be a church that doesn't teach the opposite on that point but will on another. I realize that and yet I have to mention what is more or less generally the popular teachings of various churches today. You'll have to see whether the shoe fits any particular church or denomination or not.
I'm not trying to do that because my purpose isn't to say anything against any church. I'm not here to run churches down. That is not the purpose. Some people seem to think it is. It isn't my purpose, my friends. It's to wake you up and open up your mind and get you to see the truth and bring you into the wonderful truth of God which is the only thing that can ever make you free. You're not free.
Most of you are slaves. You're slaves to passion. You are slaves to sin but you don't even know what sin is. Very few preachers know what sin is. You think sin is doing what you think is wrong or what your crowd says is wrong and condemns. That is not what God's definition of sin is at all.
God set laws in motion. Those laws are living things. They are powers, they are forces and energies and they are in motion.
They are spiritual laws and they are physical laws and sin is the transgression of laws that God created and set in motion. (I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.) Living, powerful laws. And the whole world is violating those laws and that's why the world is bringing unhappiness upon itself.
You violate one law and it gives you a headache. You violate another law and it brings you heart ache. You violate another law and it will bring you a stomach ache. And we're just full of aches and pains because we're violating laws.
You know that war is nothing more then the penalties of violated laws and the only one who can ever end war and bring us peace is the One who can pay the penalty of sin and turn us away from our ways and into the righteous ways of God's laws.
War has come from violating the law of God. If all the nations had kept all of the Ten Commandments according to the spirit of those commandments, there would never have been any wars.
Jesus Christ is the only one that could bring us peace. Let me tell you, God has told us what to do. It is in the prophecies and He warned us what not to do and you will find it in prophesies like Hosea and Amos in your Bible.
If you know how to apply it and you know where the United States is mentioned in prophecy and if you understand what prophecies are intended for us and understand prophecy at all, the one thing God tells us what not to do is to rely on foreign powers as allies. And that is all we ever do. We don't rely on God.
We make some empty platitude prayers to God but we don't put our hearts into our prayers. We don't really believe God is there listening. That He is going to answer, do we?
I mean the nation as a whole doesn't. Maybe some of its individuals but it is going to take more than one or two individuals before God will answer and save this whole nation.
Now the true church are those that are begotten of God and lead of the Holy Spirit. Those who believe the faith once delivered which is the faith once delivered which is the faith of Jesus Christ that Jesus taught and that the early church did believe the doctrines and the teachings of Jesus and those who follow the example and the customs of Jesus, as He did.
Well, today they all follow opposite doctrines and customs and ways and everything of the sort. The true church will be exactly the same as the early church under apostolic times.
Now again the true church is composed of those who have been corrected, those who have been reproved and those who have been changed by the word of God. (II Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. )
Those who have forsaken their thoughts and their ways. Those who have come out of the world in the sense they are no longer of the world even though they are still in it. And those that have become unconformed to the world. Who are no longer conformed to the world but have had their minds changed by the spirit of God, which is the spirit of a sound mind. (II Tim 1:7 God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.)
Now the minute you do that, you believe what Jesus taught and the minute you do what Jesus did, they are going to call you a fanatic. Now they called Him one. They hated Him. They sought to kill Him and they finally did. And Jesus said if they hated Me, they will hate you also. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. (John l5:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. The servant is not greater than its Lord. )
The church then, is it greater than its Lord?
The churches today think well, we're not persecuted. Jesus was. Are they greater than He? Jesus said that His church would be persecuted. Why? Because His Church is composed of those who have forsaken their own ideas, and the customs and the ways of society and they are living by every word of God. They are the people who look on the Bible with respect and awe and as the Supreme Authority and who recognize the authority of the word of God. Who look upon God as the Supreme Authority.
What do most people do?
Well, they look on their own conscious as authority or they look on the proclamations of men or the decisions of their church board. They say, Well, our church looks at it like this and the person who says that usually has no voice in the matter. That's what the committee at the top decided the church would believe and all of them are just like little children that had funnels stuck in their heads and the committee at the top decides what the church is going to believe and that is their ready made proclamation, their doctrine and they go along pouring it out of a pitcher down the funnel into the brains of these people and they say now this is the way our church believes on this. And so and so is the way some other church believes on it.
Now the real people of God have forsaken that sort of thing and they look on God as the Supreme Authority and how do you know what God says? Why the Bible is His word. That makes the Bible the Supreme Authority. And it is authority over their lives and they obey it and they tremble before the word of God.
Now most people don't. You show the average man that the Bible says thus and so. Oh, well, you know, yeah I know the Bible says that but here's the way I look at it.
What are you doing my friends? As long as you are like that, you are not in the true church. No one is who looks at anything like that is a member of the true church.
Now they're the same as the early church and that church was persecuted. They are they that have forsaken their ideas, their ways, their thinking. And that means they have forsaken the thinking of the world because those of the world are like so many sheep all going along in the same pattern. All trying to conform with whatever is the accepted pattern.
Yes, no originality. You know the right way to be original is to find God's way and follow it.
Now when you forsake the way of society and when you follow the way of Jesus and the teachings of Jesus and the customs that He observed, as I say, you are going to be called a fanatic.
Now here's what brings on the persecution. It's because this changed life in the true spirit-begotten Christian, well just sort of convicts and condemns those who won't forsake their thoughts and who won't take this correction and reproof because the Bible is profitable to correct us and reprove us and instruct us in righteousness and righteousness is not the way of human nature. That's a different way.
And so it begins to condemn these other people that won't forsake their thoughts and their ways, that won't take any correction or reproof and what's the human carnal way of reacting to that? Well, it's to begin to persecute the person who is living the right way. Now a person living the right way may not even try telling anybody else about it, or argue about it, or even talk about it but the very life of that person condemns the other people that know they're guilty and they begin to feel uncomfortable and so they have to go and say something against the person that's living as they ought and so the true church, my friends, is that body of individuals whether organized or scattered that have always been persecuted and unpopular and Jesus called them the little flock.
Now I have shown you in the Bible very early in their history a great persecution arose and they were all scattered. Later there was another church at Jerusalem and I read you the scriptures prophesying that the church would be scattered. And it has been scattered. (Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Isaiah prophesied of these days and this is what he said in the 30th chapter of Isaiah beginning with the eighth verse. It is a prophesy for the time to come not in his day. Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: 9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord. That is rebellious against God. They are not rebellious against their own consciences and not rebellious against the doctrine or group or our church beliefs but they are rebellious against God. Lying children.
Who are lying children? If you turn over to (I John 2:4 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. )
You will see he that saith that I know Him, the person that claims to know God, the people that have the form of godliness but deny the power thereof, the people that are so sanctimonious and go to church and all that sort of thing the people who say, I know Him and keep not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. Now here they are lying children.
And there are people who will not hear the law of the Lord. I John 2:4 God calls them liars and here in Isa. 30:9 God calls them lying children. 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits...
There you are and that is the church today.
So these are the reasons God has put His church into my hands during this last era, the laodician era..
After the abomination that maketh desolate was set up in God's church in 1997... Read about it here...
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"...freely ye have received, freely give."