by Mr. Armstrong
What The True Church Will Be Like
broadcast 25 Apr 1979 - played Wales 18 Mar 2017
|"Why is it, my friends, that you have not heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather a message of men, a gospel of men, about His person, but not the message that Christ Himself brought and preached? Now do you know that that message was not the message of Christ either -- so far as that was concerned -- it was not Christ's message at all. Actually it was the message of God the Father......" (3.0 Mb)|
by Jon Bowles
Fruit of the Spirit - Faith
given UK 13 June 2009 played Wales 18 Mar 2017
|This is the seventh of a series of sermons on the "Fruit of the Spirit", taken from Galatians 5. It deals with the seventh characteristic mentioned (Faith) and examines: Two types of faith; Faith as a gift; Faith as a fruit; What the Spirit does; The bigger picture; Our world today. (12.0 Mb)|
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)
In just three weeks, on the evening of April 9th, is the Passover. Through its emblems of the bread and the wine we will once again be reminded of the transcendental price that had to be paid to grant forgiveness of sin. Sin of all kinds – both physical and spiritual. But for that forgiveness to apply to us, we too must forgive as clearly indicated within the sample prayer: "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12) . To make sure this is at the forefront of our minds before partaking of the Passover emblems, we will once again be given the opportunity to reflect on the humble frame of mind required: through the act of footwashing.
In the scriptural account of Christ implementing the footwashing ceremony, the apostle John first spends several verses reminding us of the uniquely elevated position held by Jesus Christ at the time He instituted the ordinance:
Here was the Messiah, the "anointed one", on the cusp of a trial so great that He would shortly sweat blood in anticipation of it, yet maintaining sufficient presence of mind to convey this vital ordinance to us all, out of the deep abiding love He has for His people. He was fully aware of the satanic conspiracy that Judas Iscariot had given into. He was also fully aware of the glory He once held with the Father to which He was about to return – regaining the power and honour of His previous exalted position, to become the firstborn of the God Family – with the whole creation soon to be in subjection once more to Him – every planet, every star system, every galaxy, everything! Yet with all of that in His mind – and also because of the hope and joyful anticipation of having us join Him – King OF kings, and Lord OF lords – He washed feet! Just as He was willing to divest Himself of the glory He had initially to become virtually a microscopic non-entity in Mary's womb, so at the end of His life He reflected this identical state of mind as well. And it was THIS mindset that He wanted to dramatically convey to us via footwashing:
Although footwashing is not mentioned in the other three accounts of this pivotal Passover service, the context in which it was implemented most certainly is. That context is found within the book of Luke, and it is only by putting together the two accounts of Luke and John that the full picture emerges:
The Passover is all about the forgiveness of sin – our sins, both physical and spiritual – and the tremendous price exacted on the living Word of God to settle our debt. An aspect of the footwashing that we would do well to take careful note of, is its position at the start of the entire Passover service through which we seek forgiveness – knowing that to be forgiven we ourselves must forgive from the heart in a genuinely outgoing way. This we find graphically illustrated in the parable of the two debtors:
Although it is not possible if keeping the Passover alone, being able to get on our knees before one of our brethren and willingly wash their feet certainly calls to mind the parable above. Forgiveness, "from the heart" requires an outgoing Christ-like frame of mind – and footwashing certainly helps us to have that appropriate mindset; so vital to take Passover in a worthy way.
As king David was well aware, even though he had effectively murdered an innocent young man and committed adultery with the man's wife, he cries out in Psalm 51: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." (Psalm 51:4) He totally comprehended that all sin – whether ours or another individuals, is actually against God, who determines right from wrong, and not us. Therefore we have no reason to withhold forgiveness from another.
One thing we all must keep in mind is that footwashing is merely a symbol of something far more profound – and far more difficult to do! Partaking of the bread and wine during the Passover service symbolises our acceptance of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ for our sins – but that acceptance is in no way confined to Passover. Receiving forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is something that we all need to have applied on a continual basis throughout our life ... whether in regard to miraculous healing or forgiveness of breaking God's spiritual law. So it is with footwashing. Depicting our willingness to do whatever it takes to serve our fellow brethren should not end with the physical act of washing feet on that night. For if it does, it's been a waste of time. It too is something that must be applied on a continual basis throughout our life in the way we treat and relate to one another.
But maybe there's someone in God's church – someone we struggle to get along with – and given the choice, we'd really rather not have to wash their feet. Someone with whom we perhaps have "history"? Someone we perhaps even privately wonder, "are they even converted?" If there is, not only should it not in any way affect our willingness to wash their feet at Passover, but neither should it have any bearing on our willingness to serve and humbly assist them whenever they are in need at any other time of year. We can be under no doubt whatsoever that this is the case because of two things: the example of Jesus Christ; and what is found in the Law of God.
The apostle John makes it very clear indeed that Judas Iscariot was not only present and had his feet washed, but Christ did so KNOWING that Judas was by then fully set to betray him:
This willingness to serve and humbly assist even our enemies was a command the same Jesus Christ – as the Logos of old – had built into the very Law of God given to Israel. Loving our enemies and being willing to serve them with outgoing concern reflects the very lifestyle of the Godhead. And it's a mindset that God seeks within every one of His children:
It is certainly going against the natural grain of human nature to pray for our enemies, but Mr Armstrong came to see why in his later years:
“Come out from among them” and have God’s love in your heart and God’s Spirit in your mind, to open your mind to understand the knowledge of God, and the things of God; and have the love of God, so that we can even love our enemies and pray for our enemies. Do you do that, brethren? I confess I didn’t for years. I didn’t quite see that. But in recent months and years I’ve come to see that as never before, and I pray first for my enemies.
As I have said many times, I pray for them first before I pray for you people because they need it worse than you do, and you don’t need it. And I love those enemies. They want to kill me. They hate me. They do everything against me they can. And really the only reason they hate me is because I love the Way of God and they don’t. They don’t realize that. They would never say they don’t love the Way of God. They just say it’s me that they don’t like.
Well, I suppose those who killed Christ, they didn’t realize the only reason they killed Him was because of what He said. They didn’t like what He said. They didn’t kill Him because He had halitosis and bad breath. They didn’t kill because they didn’t like His looks. They killed Him because they didn’t like what He was teaching – the Way of love. And they wanted the way of self, and of vanity, and of self-glory. That’s the reason they killed Jesus. (Sermon - The Trunk Of The Tree - Oct 1983)
But don't we read that God is a God of vengeance? Most certainly – but that is the point. Vengeance belongs to God – not to us – for only He has the full perspective needed to justly balance up the score. And part of the footwashing mindset – that is even willing to wash the feet of an enemy like Judas Iscariot – inevitably must include the faith necessary in our loving God to take care of such things in a righteous way ... A non-human way
That vengeance belongs to God and we must therefore leave any recompense required to Him, includes not even trying to get our own back verbally:
Clearly there is a great deal more to why Christ and the Father have us wash feet as the very first thing, not only of Passover, but of the entire Holy Day season each year. The astounding Plan of God – bound up within the Holy Days – is a step-by-step enactment of the destruction of Satan's greedy, incoming, self-centred mindset as well as its replacement within the Spirit-born sons and coming Kingdom of God.
Passover is placed at the start of this process as sins of all kinds must be dealt with first – before the Plan can begin. But before everything there must be a WILLINGNESS in all of us to put aside the vanity-filled mindset of Satan, and instead humbly serve one another – in a forgiving, outgoing manner – even including our enemies. And THAT is the very purpose of footwashing, and why Christ instituted it to begin the entire Holy Day season:
The EU in disintegration mode… the Euro set to crumble… bleak future for Eurozone…
now the Germans are back… Germany speaks for Europe…
As we progress further into 2017, major changes seem inevitable in Europe, as the following articles point out:
“European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he fears Britain will divide the European Union’s 27 remaining members by making different promises to each country during its Brexit negotiations.” (telegraph.co.uk)
“The eurozone must break up if its members are to thrive again, according to a former European Central Bank official. Jürgen Stark said it was time to ‘think the unthinkable’ and work towards a ‘reset’ of Europe that pulled power away from Brussels.” (telegraph.co.uk)
“A top economist has painted a bleak picture of the eurozone… The current situation for many countries in the EU has been labelled ‘bleak’ as they remain in huge debts and cannot find a way out, according to Joseph Stiglitz. The renowned economist and professor was speaking on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.” (express.co.uk)
Germany, France, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Greece all hold elections this year. Major changes could follow…
“The EU diplomat Wesslau said: ‘The new axis between Trump’s America, Putin’s Russia, and European populists represents a toxic mix for the liberal order in Europe.’ He added: ‘Within Europe, populists on the left and right are trying to roll back the liberal order. This insurgency is being actively backed by Putin’s Russia, and, now, it seems, Trump’s America. The European Union itself risks being an early casualty’.” (dailystar.co.uk)
“When Germany was on the cusp of reunifying, not everyone was happy. Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, was very unhappy. ‘We beat the Germans twice,’ she said, ‘and now they’re back.’
Was a reunited Germany to be feared? Was there something belligerent and dangerous in the German DNA? Did they have to be ‘kept down’? You know the remark of Lord Ismay — the first secretary-general of NATO: ‘The purpose of the alliance was to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.’
It has now been about 65 years since he made that remark. And Germany is being called on to rise, militarily, including by the United States. The German public is not objecting. This is a momentous question, or a potentially momentous one… I quote an expert who says, ‘There is a general sense that there’s a tsunami heading Europe’s way’ — and that Germany will have a heavy responsibility to deal with it.” (nationalreview.com)
“European Union leaders have promised to take over the role of being the world’s Superpower after America collapses following Donald Trump’s presidency. According to Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat, Trump’s isolationist policies will give Europe the ‘opportunity for leadership it has always craved’ on the world’s stage.” (yournewswire.com)
“The German [Martin Selmayr], is the most powerful bureaucrat in Brussels, with some even going so far as to say that he is the true leader of the European Union. As head of Juncker’s cabinet, he plays a significant role in determining which laws the EU passes and who is granted an audience with the Commission president. More than anything, though, Selmayr isn’t satisfied with the duties typically performed by a top bureaucrat. He is determined to play a greater policymaking role.” (spiegel.de)
“Guy Verhofstadt, the 63-year-old former Belgian Prime Minister, has said the growing threats from Donald Trump, Russia and Islamic extremism means the EU needs a greater level of defence and political unity. He said: ‘I don’t want a commission with 28 commissioners as it is today. I want a smaller, real European government. With 12, with 15 members and not more than that’.” (express.co.uk)
“A new ‘White Paper’ is supposed to precipitate the debate about the EU’s future. One of the scenarios corresponds to that of the ‘multi-speed EU,’ which Chancellor Angela Merkel had recently called for. This scenario permits the creation of multinational armed forces in Europe, in spite of persistent resistance from several EU member states. This is why Berlin favors it as a solution.” (german-foreign-policy.com)
With Germany taking the lead over a disintegrating Europe, what should we expect to see next? For those who understand Bible prophecy, the next event to watch for is the intervention of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe’s political affairs.
“This [full political union] will be made possible by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, who alone can be the symbol of unity to which they can look.” (US and GB in Prophecy - Chapter 14)
The Holy Roman Empire held power in Europe from 554 AD right up until 1814. Roman Catholic goals have not changed. They want to regain that power. After all, they claim to be the Kingdom of God on the earth today! They made an attempt to regain that power and control over the nations in 1945…
In April, 1945, as the Second World War was drawing to a close, Mr and Mrs Armstrong attended the San Francisco Conference, the world’s effort to prevent World War Three, and bring about world peace.
While attending the Conference, the Armstrong’s witnessed a “Solemn Pontifical Mass,” staged by the Roman Catholic Church. The main thrust of the Catholic message was: Without divine help the United Nation’s structure is doomed to collapse. That “divine aid” was offered through the Roman Catholic Church.
Here is what Mr Armstrong wrote:
“This is Sunday, April 29th, 1945. It is a grave moment in history. Mrs Armstrong and I have just returned from a significant special meeting. It is destined to change the course of world events. It will have far greater ultimate impress upon the world’s future than the official meetings at this Conference.
We are in the last days of World War II. The Nazis are disintegrating on all fronts. It appears only a matter of days, now. But already world leaders are looking toward World War III. This historic San Francisco Conference is the world’s effort to prevent it and bring in World Peace. ‘The world’s last chance,’ says Anthony Eden of this Conference…
The Most Significant Session
But back, now, to that most significant special meeting this morning. It was not an official United Nations meeting – it was not a secret meeting – it was a ‘Solemn Pontifical Mass,’ staged by the Roman Catholic Church.
It was held at the great Municipal Auditorium, seating a vast audience of 10,000. Every seat was filled. Mrs Armstrong and I were allowed to sit on aisle steps near the front of the balcony, which provided very good seats…
Holding Out a Last Straw
The Catholic hierarchy was well aware that the United Nations Conference was producing nothing but strife and bickering, and was destined from its inception to end in total failure. Yet world leaders were pronouncing it THE WORLD’S LAST HOPE – with the only alternative ANNIHILATION OF HUMANITY!
And in this solemn hour, amid the psychological build-up of this impressive service, this dynamic Catholic speaker with ringing voice offered these world politicians the LAST STRAW for their drowning nations to grab, when they should later see their world Organization sinking into oblivion!
Without divine help, he assured them, the United Nations structure is doomed to collapse. That divine aid was offered through the Roman Catholic Church. Without the guidance, supervision, authority of the Catholic Church, he told these men, they were laboring in vain.
There could be only one appraisal of his sermon – IT WAS A MASTERPIECE!
Few of the ten thousand in that vast audience recognized that they were actually seeing launched before their very eyes A CAMPAIGN TO RULE THE WORLD! Here in this masterful address, so impressively delivered before world leaders, was the psychological seed destined to unite under Catholicism a Europe that will resurrect THE ‘HOLY’ ROMAN EMPIRE!
HUMAN NATURE the CAUSE of Wars
…With men left to themselves, their baser inclinations unrestrained, with selfishness given free play, there can be no peace or order in this world. Man’s mind and will are too weak. The downward impulses of nature are too strong.
The two great Commands – LOVE toward God, and LOVE toward neighbor – point the only path to peace, he said, and TRULY! …The solution remains the same.
Government Is of GOD
To the individual citizen, he continued, the Catholic Church, says: ‘You must understand that civil government is ordained of God, deriving its AUTHORITY from Him. You must obey its laws. ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.’
Then, to the civil governments – meaning those world statesmen high in authority in many nations seated before him – the Catholic Church says: ‘YOU MUST UNDERSTAND YOUR PLACE in the divine scheme of things! GOD is first.’ Do you grasp what he meant by that? The Catholic position is that GOD speaks and rules on earth through the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church! Whatever the pope binds on earth is bound in heaven. Whatever he looses is also approved in heaven. His title is ‘Vicar of Christ,’ which means, actually, ‘RULING IN PLACE OF CHRIST.’
In effect, then, he is Christ on earth. The Catholic position is that the pope is, therefore, supposed to be the KING of kings, and the LORD of lords, by divine authority. He is supposed to be IN AUTHORITY over all kings and civil governments.
Bear carefully in mind this interpretation whenever GOD is placed over nations. The Catholic meaning is that THEIR CHURCH must be placed, AS God, and IN PLACE OF God, over the nations. This is their official position. It has been enunciated by encyclicals of many popes. It was practiced in fact for 1260 years thru the dark ages! They openly admit they seek to put it in practice again!
So, bearing this carefully in mind, see if now you can grasp the dynamic MEANING of his words.
Church Should Rule Over State
…In the international realm the selfishness of human nature reaches its lowest level. Nowhere else are the temptations to greed and lust for power so nearly irresistible. National selfishness is more than the sum-total of the selfishness of individuals. MORE CRITICALLY HERE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE, THEREFORE, VICTORY ON THE SIDE OF HIGH IDEALS DEPENDS UPON THE HELP OF GOD! (And bear in mind the Catholic position that God does this helping by delegating authority OVER the state to the papacy!)
The Church, he continued, is international and SUPERNATIONAL. Then he boldly told the delegates that if the CHURCH were able to have full authority, THERE WOULD BE NO WAR! AT ALL TIMES, he assured them, THE SELFISH POLICIES OF NATIONS WOULD BE CHECKED! No longer was he talking about GOD IN HEAVEN ruling over and restraining nations – he was now boldly asserting that NATIONS would be checked in their selfish policies that lead to war, if the Catholic Church WERE FREE TO EXERCISE THE POWER AND AUTHORITY SHE CLAIMS BELONGS TO HER BY DIVINE RIGHT.
Here we are, he said to the political delegates, trying to build a structure of peace.
‘UNHAPPY NATIONS THAT WE ARE, WHO SHALL DELIVER US FROM THE BODY OF THIS DEATH?’ Just as individual man cannot control and resist the downward pull of his passions and sinful nature WITHOUT THE HELP OF GOD, so these NATIONS, swayed by NATIONAL selfishness greater than the sum-total of the selfishness of all individuals, CANNOT CONTROL THESE AMBITIONS AND LUSTS FOR POWER AND INTERNATIONAL AGGRESSION WITHOUT THE DIVINE POWER AND AUTHORITY AS ADMINISTERED ON EARTH BY THE ROMAN CHURCH!
He thundered to them the text, ‘EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE, THEY LABOR IN VAIN THAT BUILD IT.’ Here were these nations at San Francisco trying to build a great world structure WITHOUT GOD – WITHOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! It was doomed to failure, he warned them, as long as they left GOD out of it!
BUT, his words rang out with great oratorical power, IF the Lord build the house, they do not labor in vain who build it. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY to peace!
Unfortunately, he said, the Roman Church is NOT FREE, now, to RULE and check aggressions of war-like nations – but he said they were ‘HOPING AND PRAYING FOR IT.’ And, since the church is NOT FREE to sit in authority over nations – since thru them the Lord is NOT building this UNITED NATIONS structure for world peace, his conclusions were plain indeed: THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION WILL FAIL. IT IS DOOMED BEFORE IT STARTS!
And what this powerful speaker dangled before these world leaders was the straw a drowning Europe is expected to grab when they see, as they will, that the UNITED NATIONS has failed them!
This was the Roman Catholic bid to resurrect the so-called ‘HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE’!
And PROPHECY says they will succeed!
…Thus, once this EMPIRE is revived in Europe – AND BY UNITED STATES HELP AT THAT – so gullible are we and dull of UNDERSTANDING! – the new-born Fascist-Nazi military power will without warning DESTROY AMERICAN AND BRITISH CITIES OVERNIGHT WITH ATOMIC BOMBS, conquering our peoples, taking our survivors to Europe as THEIR SLAVES! I have given you the prophecies on this time after time, and shall continue to shout this warning so long as God gives me breath and freedom!
Then it is that the MARK OF THE BEAST will be enforced. Unless OUR people, then conquered SLAVES in Europe, will bow to the Roman religion, THEY WILL BE TORTURED AND PUT TO DEATH!
THUS SAYS THE WORD OF GOD!
This article is a SOLEMN WARNING! These things are written and placed before your eyes BY AUTHORITY OF THE LIVING GOD AND HIS WORD!
It is time SOMEONE DARES TO SHOUT TO THIS NATION AND ALL THE WORLD THE TRUTH! ” (The Plain Truth, December 1948)
This bold move by the Roman Catholic Church to take the lead in this world’s politics was ignored! Now, in 2017, the situation has changed – and changed dramatically!
First: comments from the Vatican on the present political situation in Europe.
“The European project needs to be relaunched according to the Vatican’s top diplomat as he warned the Holy See is ‘concerned’ about the rise of populism. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, warned European Union chiefs must seize the moment to ‘reset’ the bloc in the wake of Brexit.
The top diplomat stressed the religious state in the city of Rome is ‘concerned’ about populism engulfing Europe and said the time has come for leaders to reform the union.” (express.co.uk)
“EU leaders will turn to the POPE over plans to revive struggling bloc. European leaders are set to hold an historic meeting with the Pope later this month when they head to Rome to unveil their make-or-break plans to revive the struggling EU.
Brussels chiefs are hoping the Pontiff can provide them with the ‘leadership’ they are lacking to help solve the debilitating crises tearing the bloc apart. The 28 heads of government will meet with Pope Francis on March 24, the day before they all gather in the Italian capital to celebrate the 60th birthday of the EU and launch its ‘rebirth’.
The Pontiff has previously made what have been interpreted by many as pro-EU remarks in speeches, and even addressed MEPs in the parliament in an historic speech in 2014. Then he called Brussels ‘somewhat elderly and haggard’ and said it needed new energy and impetus if it was to re-engage with votes and increase its flagging popularity. He said: ‘The great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions’.” (express.co.uk)
In 1927 the warning first went out. Today, 90 years later, we are witnessing the final building blocks of the resurrected Holy Roman Empire being put in place! The European leaders, powerless to solve the serious situation in which they find themselves, are now looking to the Pope for leadership.
Here is what Mr Armstrong wrote in his Autobiography:
“We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War II, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first – and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round – World War III!
The Bible foretells that third round – and it spells DOOM for us, as God’s punishment, because we, as a nation, have forsaken Him and His ways! The third round is termed, in prophecy, an invasion by ‘BABYLON’ – a resurrected Roman Empire – a European Union. I have been proclaiming that since 1927.” (The Autobiography - Chapter 49)
Back in 1946, the Roman Catholic offer of “help” was ignored. In 2017, Europe’s leaders are looking to the Pope for the leadership which they lack! Will end time events now speed up?
Once Europe accepts the leadership of the Pope, the “woman” will be “riding the Beast” - the Roman Catholic Church will be controlling the direction of Europe.
When the final crisis strikes, a strong leader will emerge – promoted by the Roman Catholic Church! At the conclusion of his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy Mr Armstrong left readers this warning:
“By God’s direction and authority, I have laid the TRUTH before you! To neglect it will be tragic beyond imagination! To heed it will bring blessings, happiness and glory beyond description!
The decision is now YOURS!” (US and GB in Prophecy - Chapter 14)