Dealing With The World

By Jon Bowles

7 December 2002

(PLAY FROM START)

Going through our local village, all the Christmas lights are out; and, as you go through past certain houses, it almost seems as if certain houses are trying to outdo one another with the most garish decorations you can possibly imagine on the front. My wife keeps telling me, threatening to ask me to come into town with her. Nevertheless, she keeps telling me that in town, when she goes shopping, she actually has to wade her way through seeing Christmas trees, and seeing Santas, and all the rest of the paraphernalia that is there.

Now, what I want to do this coming time, when we go down to Falfield (which is in two weeks time), I want to talk about observing times. That's what's in the back of my mind at the moment. The times I'm talking about the observation of will be including Christmas, because Christmas is a part of the observing of times. Easter is another one. Valentines Day is another one. Over here in the UK we have Mothering Sunday. Now, this is why we don't keep Mother's Day over here. In America, Mother's Day is purely secular; but over here it's not. It's Mothering Sunday. It comes from the worship of Mary, or Semiramis, or whatever going way back; and even birthdays. I'll also talk about birthdays and why they're wrong as well, because they are part of observing times. But I want to talk about that because it's very seasonal, as we find ourselves in a kind of Christmas season.

But today I want to deal with another aspect in the Bible Study, because we all have to live in this world without necessarily being part of this world -- in fact, without being a part of this world. We must not be a part of this world; but there is a balance there, and the question is: how do we deal with this world? What do we do? How do we conduct our life within this society and yet not be part of it; and yet deal with people: because there are different people that we deal with in our workplace, our neighbors, and we have friends within the world, even relatives within the world that we have to deal with. We've got to deal with them, and I've got five points that I want to go through today:

Now, I knew I was going to talk about this. About a week or so ago, I was hoping to do so. However, the heart and core of what I was going to say, I wasn't really sure. I had certain scriptures I jotted down; and I prayed about it, obviously, which all of us that speak should do. It was just interesting that I happened to check my e-mail last night while I was here, and an article had been sent by somebody else halfway across the world; and it exactly fitted what I was about to speak on. This article actually comes from 1961. It was written by Mr. Herbert Armstrong. It was December 1961, when he addresses this specific subject. So, what I'll be doing, as we go through these five points that I've got, I'll be reading from this article (It's from the Good News1, December, 1961.) to show you that this is not Jon Bowles' ideas. These are actually coming from Mr. Herbert Armstrong.

An awful lot of what I'll speak about (in fact the vast majority, if not everything) you'll find in the New Testament and not so much the Old Testament, because this is what the apostle Paul and others have dealt with specifically -- in actually dealing with our human nature, and dealing with those outside that have human nature as well. So there's an awful lot to be said.

THE WORLD'S NATURAL WAY (PLAY FROM 5:34)

First point, the world goes the natural way. Now, we know in Revelation 12:9, where it talks about Satan deceiving the whole world; and that natural way is coming from Satan. Mr. Armstrong didn't fully understand this when he wrote this article that I'll be quoting from. The understanding of Satan's broadcasting and the spirit in man actually came later than this article, but there's still a lot of understanding and a great deal within the article. If you turn over to Matthew 13, as I say, we'll be almost exclusively within the New Testament. I don't think I've got any scriptures from the Old Testament today.

Matthew 13:9 Who has ears to hear, let him hear.

So, only certain people have got the ears to hear what Christ said.

Matthew 13:10-18 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speaks you unto them in parables? (11) He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (12) For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. (13)Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah [So He's pointing back to prophetic times.],which says, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: (15) For this people's heart is waxed gross [or fat], and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (16) But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (17) For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them. (18) Hear you therefore the parable of the sower.

So He was to explain to them the parable of the sower because He gave it as a parable to the world, so the world would not understand. Now remember, these people that He was speaking to, He was talking to His disciples, yes; but the people in the world that He was talking to, they were Jews. They had the Old Testament. They were the Church of the Old Testament. If you go back to Revelation 12, you find that it starts way back. It starts right back when Israel formed, and that was the Church in the wilderness. If we go to Romans 11, it's about the world going a natural way.

Romans 11:1-2 I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (2) God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot you not what the scripture says of Elijah, how he makes intercession to God against Israel, saying ... [And he goes into that.]

So, He has not cast away His people.

Romans 11:7-11 What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election ahs obtained it, and the rest were blinded. [God deliberately blinded them; and, notice, it is God who is blinding them.] (8) (According as it is written, God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. [Now this is part of the very plan of God.] (9) And David says, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: (10) Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. (11) I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

It's part of the very plan of God to hide the meaning from people, to allow the world to go a natural way.

Romans 11:25-26 For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits [In other words, don't be wise ourself. Don't go ahead and brag ourselves.]; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved.

So Israel will eventually be saved; but it's going to be saved because of the very people, the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. It's part of God's plan.

Romans 11:31-32 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy [That's the Gentiles' mercy.]they also may obtain mercy. (32) For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

So we see the world going the way the world is going, as part of God's very plan of allowing of Gentiles to come into the Church, of allowing a certain select group to be called out; and it is part of God's plan. Turn over to I Corinthians 1.

I Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

I Corinthians 1:25-29 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (26) For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise [The reason why we have been called, and the reason why we have knowledge, is because we are foolish; because, in the world's eyes, we don't have a great deal of strength. All of us, it doesn't matter who it is, we all are not the wise and noble of this world.]; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty [because it's the Spirit of God and the Word of God within us that will confound the mighty. It says the Spirit of God will actually speak at the end time.]; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, [ ... ](29) That no flesh should glory in his presence.

That's the purpose of it.

I Corinthians 2:12-14 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So the world is going a natural way, and it goes that natural way because it's part of God's plan. It's very much part of God's plan. Now, what Mr. Armstrong says in this {1}Heart-to-Heart Talk with the Editor, from the Good News, December, 1961, he says:

"IF you have really been put into GOD'S Church by God -- if you have really been CONVERTED -- which means CHANGED -- by receiving His Holy Spirit, then you no longer see things as you did before.

If this CHANGE has really happened to you, you now see this world for what it is. And the more you see of it -- the more you deal with people of the world -- the more disgusted you probably are becoming."

And as we look around this world and we see the world sliding down into the chaos it's sliding down into, we can get totally disgusted. We should be disgusted with what the world's doing.

"And THEREIN, Brethren, lies ONE OF YOUR GREATEST DANGERS!

Only yesterday, while we were riding in the car, my wife, seeing all the Christmas decorations, having just heard some of the insincere flattery expressed by a woman in business, made comment on what a rotten, perverted world this is. I thought I detected a trace of disgust, and even contempt in her expression, and cautioned her about it. But this is a perfectly NATURAL reaction that will come to any of us who can now really SEE the rottenness, the deceit, hypocrisy, pretense, vanity, greed, lying that is constantly expressed in worldly lives.

NATURAL, did I say? Yes -- and also I want you to realize that all this flattery, this deceit, lying, pretending, we see in people of the world is NATURAL. The carnal mind is the NATURAL mind."

It's the mind that we're naturally attuned to. So, when we're looking at (remember, this is written prior to the full understanding of the spirit in man) the way in which the spirit of Satan actually operates, but as long as we put that understanding into this, it all makes perfect sense.

" The people of the world do what is NATURAL for them to do.

That is, according to human nature. That which is natural is of NATURE -- physical -- material. The spiritual things of God's Spirit are not natural -- not of NATURE, or physical -- but spiritual."

Now, that's what we just read over here in I Corinthians 2.

I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So the things that we have are spiritually discerned. We look at what is going on in the world, and there is the natural world.

CHURCH MEMBERS CAN FOLLOW THE NATURAL WAY (PLAY FROM 16:18)

Now, the second point: If we go out of that particular point about the world going the natural way, and it does. It goes the way that Satan, who has the world in his hand. He therefore broadcasts, and it goes the natural way. But here, church members, those who believe the truth, also can follow the natural, carnal way. You and I also can go that natural carnal way.

As I mentioned to you, when Christ was talking to the people, and He was hiding things from the people, generally, revealing it to His disciples, He was making a distinction between the disciples and the rest of the world at that time. Yet the Jews at that time were followers of the ways that God founded in the Old Testament. But notice what it says over in John 8:

John 8:30-33 As he spoke these words, many believed on him. (31) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; (32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (33) They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free?

Now, you notice the context of this. Here were people who were believing on Christ, on the point of becoming His disciples; and here were people, potential church members basically, and you go down then to verse 43.

John 8:43 Why do you not understand my speech? Even because you cannot hear my word.

Now, remember it says, "those who have ears to hear, let him hear." He had to then explain to His disciples when He was in private.

John 8:44-47 You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (45) And because I tell you the truth, you believe me not. (46) Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me? (47) He that is of God hears God's words: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God.

Now that was pretty condemnatory to them, wasn't it? And yet these people were believing on Christ. They were actually believing that He was the Christ, the Messiah. Yet Christ pointed out, "No, you're of your father the devil." Now, if you go back to Luke 9, it doesn't just end there. It's not just a case that there were people that were becoming the disciples, and yet they weren't. They were still part and parcel of the world. They were going the natural way. They were listening to Satan. It wasn't just that.

Luke 9:51-54 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. [So, He is about to go to Jerusalem to be killed.](52) And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [Now, if you remember, the Samaritan religion was different from the Jews; and they specifically were saying that Gerazim was the mountain in which to worship. Gerazim was the mountain of blessing, and that's what the Samaritan religion is all about.](53) And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. [So there was a great controversy between the Samaritans and the Jews.](54) And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord ...

Now remember James, Peter and John. Whenever there was anything really major, these were the three main ones that He would take. He would take Peter, James and John -- Transfiguration, Lazarus, when He went into heal a child, to raise them from the dead.

Luke 9:54-56 And [ ... ]they said, Lord, wilt you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? (55) But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, You know not what manner of spirit you are of. (56) For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

So we see here these two, two of the top people that were following Christ, that actually had a totally different spirit. As I said, the Church members -- people who believe the truth -- can still follow that natural, carnal way. Mr. Armstrong pointed out, or I've brought it out in a previous Bible Study, that when we're first converted, we're not completely converted all at once. It's in stages. There is a definite time in which the conversion takes place, but it also ... We then, maybe, as Mr. Armstrong pointed out, we might be one percent of the Spirit of God at that point of conversion. The other ninety-nine percent is still totally carnal. And that then, grows as we grow; and we become converted and progressively more converted, more changed, as our Christian life goes on.

Now this is, in fact, what was the case here. I mean these people hadn't actually ... They had the Spirit of God actually working with them. It was very clear that the Spirit of God was working with them. You can see that quite clearly in John. It wasn't yet in them, but it was working with them; and yet, it was saying, "You don't know what manner of spirit you're of."

Now, if we turn over to II Corinthians 11, we find here a Church that had the Spirit of God in them; and yet they also were listening to Satan's ways. They're actually listening to Satan's ministers. That's what they were doing.

II Corinthians 11:1-4 Would to God you could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. (2) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [So here were very clearly people that were within the Church.](3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (4) For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, [...]

So here were people in the Church that were about to be corrupted from the simplicity that was in Christ, from what Christ actually wanted them to be. As I say, Church members believing the truth can still follow that natural, carnal way. When we're looking at the world today and the Christmas celebrations, we can actually approach those celebrations, and approach the people in the world, in a carnal way; and miss out ourselves.

II Corinthians 11:4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.

And, within corporate Churches today, we do find different spirits from the heritage -- the spiritual heritage -- than was left to us originally, that we originally learned, that we were originally taught. We have different ideas, different concepts. It's not just doctrine. It's a different spirit.

II Corinthians 11:5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

These super-duper apostles in verse 5.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers [ ... ]

And remember, an apostle is one sent, and sent to illuminate people for the first time. These people, having some kind of ideas that were different from the apostles sent to the Corinthian Church, had a different concept.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [his servants] also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

So we see here again very clearly people within the Church of God, having the Spirit of God, were listening to the words coming from Satan. And it was coming from people that were going in a direction, with a different spirit [from {2}] the spirit that they originally received from the apostle who was originally sent to them. That is very, very clear within this section. It's part and parcel of a larger problem that we've seen. Such as James and John and not knowing what spirit you're of.

Now, Mr. Armstrong goes on in this Heart to Heart with the Editor, back in 1961 ... remember, he's just said about how:

"The people of the world do what is NATURAL for them to do.

That is, according to human nature. That which is natural is of NATURE -- physical -- material. The spiritual things of God's Spirit are not natural -- not of NATURE, or physical -- but spiritual."

It then goes on and says:

"It is perfectly NATURAL for one who is converted, and now sees things through spiritual eyes, to become really DISGUSTED with the world. It is perfectly NATURAL, which actually means according to that SAME EVIL NATURE which still resides in us for the rest of this life, for this disgust to increase into IMPATIENCE, BITTERNESS, HATRED!"

I want you to see just what this is, working in us. With our new spiritual perception, we plainly SEE the evil that the world does not see. So far, so good. But right here is where the CARNAL nature begins to assert itself. The CARNAL nature is a COMPETITIVE nature. It is always taking sides -- and AGAINST the other side. This spirit of rivalry begins to take over, if we are off guard, do not recognize it, and then yield to it.

We get into the attitude that WE are now on GOD'S side. The evil WORLD becomes the rival -- the ENEMY. So, yielding to human nature, we resent the enemy, and soon we allow feelings of HATING the enemy to seize us."

So we can see within what Mr. Armstrong says and also within the scriptures that we've just read, that yes, we can see the problems within this world. We can look at the Christmas celebrations today and we can see the evil that's there. (As I say, I'll be bringing that out in a couple of weeks time. I'll show you how, indeed, this is an observance of times.) But then we look at the people doing it; and we can start to elevate ourselves, and we can look at them (as Mr. Armstrong brings out) with impatience and bitterness and hatred. Now that is carnality. That is coming from Satan.

So here we are. We've got the Spirit of God. Because we've got the Spirit of God, Satan gets in there and he actually causes us to behave with that spirit in a carnal way, behave with the knowledge that we have in a carnal way. That is really the heart and core of the problem.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS (PLAY FROM 28:54)

Self-righteousness, which is really what we're talking about, can actually cost us the first resurrection. It can even cost us eternal life. When we reckon we are doing what is right -- We're keeping the Sabbath. We're coming to Church. We're loving our neighbor as ourselves (We reckon, but we're not.) -- we actually despise those outside in the world. We look upon them as totally inferior to us, who are so much more righteous. And yet it's not our righteousness. It's not us that are righteous. It's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Let's turn over to Romans 2.

Romans 2:1 Therefore you art inexcusable, O man, whoever you are that judges [ ... ]

He's addressing the Jewish elements within the Church because he's been condemning the Gentile elements within the world and that have come out of the world.

Romans 2:1 Therefore you art inexcusable, O man, whosoever you art that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemnest thyself; for you that judges doest the same things.

You and I did the same things. We have the natural tendency. The natural tendency within every one of us is to do exactly the same kind of things the world is doing. That carnal nature has not left us. It's still there. It's only the goodness of God -- it's only the element (this 1 %, or 2%, or 3%, or 5 %, or whatever) that is God's Spirit -- that makes the difference.

Romans 2:2-4 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. (3) And think you this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and doest the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God? (4) Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

So it's God's goodness that leads us to repentance. If you'll go down to chapter 3:

Romans 3:9-11 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved [In other words, before in chapters 1-2, we've proved.]both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; (10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.

None of us go in the natural way towards God. Absolutely not a single human being! We're all in tune with Satan's wavelength naturally. That is the natural way we go. We naturally will go in tune with Satan's wavelength. Both in and out of the Church, the natural way will be to go down that course; and Satan can get us in the Church through self-righteousness. The attitude we express through self-righteousness is one which is carnal, totally and utterly carnal! It's taking the truth of God and handling it in a carnal way, elevating ourselves.

Romans 3:12-17 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (13) Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: (15) Their feet are swift to shed blood: (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways: (17) And the way of peace have they not known:

Now, that's the natural way; and all of us go that way.

Romans 3:18-20 There is no fear of God before their eyes. (19) Now we know that what things soever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: [ ... ]

Just the fact that we happen to keep the law (in this area, or in that area) does not justify us. To be justified before God means a change. It means a conversion. And just because we happen to keep a law or two doesn't justify us.

Romans 3:20 [ ... ]for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

It simply tells us when we're off track. Getting back on track doesn't mean to say we just keep a law or two. We've got to change what we are. That's the way we get back on track.

Romans 3:21-23 But now the righteousness of God [apart from] the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

So just the same as all have sinned, so all have got to get on track; and we do not get back on track by keeping one or two laws. We get on track by changing and being converted by God.

Romans 3:24-27 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation [or a mercy seat] through faith in his blood [In other words, we come before that mercy seat asking for mercy on our sins by faith in His blood.], to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past [so we can come and we can wipe out those sins that have got past],through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time [So, at the time that we come before that mercy seat.]his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

We are justified not by keeping a law or two. We are justified by coming before that mercy seat, asking for that blood to be applied, and also for that life (that faith) to actually live its life in us through the very Spirit of God. That's what makes us righteous before God. It's not us. It is God actually working through us.

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

The law is established, but it's not done by keeping a law or two. It's done by changing what we are internally, by having that contact with God; and the Spirit of God then makes that change. So self-righteousness ("Where is boasting?," as it says in verse 27.), it's excluded. If we look at the world outside, and we have this elevated, this superior approach towards them, then we're foolish -- absolutely and totally foolish -- because none of us are righteous. It just so happens that, within the plan of God, God has chosen to reveal certain things to a small select group, chosen because we're the weak and the feeble of this world, so that no flesh glories in His presence. In this current season, when we're dealing with people outside, we've got to keep those things in mind. Turn over to chapter 10 now.

Romans 10:1-3 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

So it is God's righteousness, and not our righteousness, that is important.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end [point, or the focal point] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

In other words, it's the character that Christ had. That character is the focal point. That is what the entire law is pointing to.

Romans 10:5 For Moses described the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

You've got to live by every single law, by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. That's what Christ said.

Romans 10:6-10 But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) (7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (8) But what says it? The word is nigh you, [Now, this is actually a quote, I believe, from Deuteronomy. The word is near you.] even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (9) That if you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, [This is really trotted out by the world; but it's still in here, very much in here. And it's certainly part of the heritage, the spiritual heritage, that we had from Mr. Herbert Armstrong. But if you should confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus]and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. [Why?] (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness [So you change the heart. You get the spiritual side right, and righteousness is the result. Do we therefore suppress the Law? He says, "God forbid! No, we establish it"], and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

In other words, from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; and what comes out of our mouth, then, is godly. Mr. Armstrong then goes into this area:

"We get into the attitude that WE are now on GOD'S side. The evil WORLD becomes the rival -- the ENEMY. So, yielding to human nature, we resent the enemy, and soon we allow feelings of HATING the enemy to seize us.

This attitude becomes more than just that. We begin to feel that we are BETTER than the world -- we work into a "holier-than-you'' attitude. Thus our carnal NATURES within us, with the unrealized invisible sway of Satan and demons, use the very presence of God's Holy Spirit within us to incite us to VANITY, rivalry, hatred, which is the spirit of murder!"

Now, that is where you get self-righteousness from. It's where you've got a carnal approach to righteousness, elevating the self. Mr. Armstrong goes on:

"Of all sins, I think probably that the greatest and most harmful is SELF-righteousness, for this, even unrealized, puts the self ahead of God, breaking the first commandment. Further, the self-righteous is the hardest person to bring to repentance and salvation. He is so deceived he thinks he HAS salvation already. He thinks he has nothing to repent of -- he is already perfect. He is a blinded fool."

You know, it's ironic that once we start to see the sins within the world -- and we can see what's going on in this earth, and we see Christmas, and we see the way the world is going, and everything that the world is doing -- that Satan can use that very knowledge against us. It can actually cause us to stumble because of it.

"Suppose you have really repented, and through faith in Christ been CHANGED by God's Spirit entering you. You DO see things differently now -- and you do see how wicked and rotten this world really is. Does that make YOU better than these worldly people?

NOT AT ALL! It is not YOU that is better, for, as Paul said, in YOU is no good thing -- EXCEPT God's Spirit. As Jesus said, there is NONE good, except God. All that is really GOOD about you, even now, is GOD'S SPIRIT in you.

Now let's see. What is the REAL DIFFERENCE between you and these "rotten" worldly people? Some of these worldly people may think they are atheists -- some may be agnostics -- some may give little or no heed to religion -- some may be members of worldly churches, and right now [This is being written in December, 1961.] indulging in pagan Christmas shopping, decorating, and all that goes with it. But when you get right down to it, the REAL DIFFERENCE is that, somehow, GOD did something. GOD opened your eyes to see what they don't see.

Is it necessarily their fault that they can't see the truth? Was it your fault, before you saw it? Remember, you used to see things like they do now!

What good and holy thing did YOU do that made God open your eyes, and draw you to Him? How much can you brag?"

As Paul was saying, do we therefore brag about it? No. We can't. It is excluded. You can't. It is impossible.

"No, it was not anything better about you than these worldly people you now condemn. It was GOD'S goodness that opened your eyes. It was not because you were better than they. If you are honest, you can't see any reason why God should have called YOU, and opened your eyes and drawn you to Him, instead of one of them! It is not what YOU did -- it was GOD'S goodness. The only difference between you and these "rotten people" in the world is what GOD did. He put His Spirit in you. And that is all that's better in you -- and that is not really -- YOU -- but GOD!"

So that was what Mr. Armstrong then goes on into in this letter that he wrote back in 1961. It is interesting at this time -- when we're looking at Christmas, when we're looking at the world, when we're dealing with the world, because all of us have to deal with the world, but we've got to approach them in the right way -- we've got to realize the reason why we understand certain things has nothing to do with our goodness. There's nothing that we have done that justifies us to look down on the world. And yet, we can and we do. I know that I do on occasions, and I shouldn't. It's not something that we should do. It is incredible that here, when we start to know the truth, that Satan actually uses the truth and the understanding against us. He actually uses that understanding for us to fall.

HOW WE SHOULD LOOK AT THE WORLD (PLAY FROM 44:52)

So how should we look at the world? Turn over to I John 2. It's very clear.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Now, that's easily read; but there are other scriptures as well (and we'll go on and read them), which say that "God so loved the world." So there's a conflict here. I mean, they're both written by the same author. The context clearly shows what he's talking about.

1 John 2:16-17 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides forever.

Now that is the one aspect. How do we look at the world? If we're looking at the actual attitudes of mind, then we don't have any kind of love for that at all. We shouldn't have that within ourselves, and this is why. We should look at self-righteousness, and we should deal with that as well, and put ourself as merely part of the very plan of God, of having been called ahead of time, ahead of these people outside. We don't have any pre-eminence except that God has been merciful to each and every one of us for His plan, because He wants to choose the weak and the foolish of this world, so that no flesh glories in His presence.

We've got to approach people outside in that way. We've got to approach them in that way; and, yet, as it says here, we do not love what they are doing. We do not go along with their ways. We do not live the way they live, and we do not love that lifestyle. That lifestyle that is being discussed in this first section in I John 2, the lifestyle is wrong. It's satanic. It's the lifestyle that we're against, but not the people that happen to live it.

We go back to John 3, written by the same author, which is Christ, but penned by the same scribe, if you like, which is the apostle John. The one to whom Christ said, "Look, you don't know what spirit you are of."

John 3:16 For God so loved the world ...

This same word, this word "cosmos" is being used here and over in I John as well. It means the order of things, the order of the organized cosmos.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For every one that doeth evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (21) But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

So again, we're going back to the fact that it's God's goodness that leads us to repentance. It's His way, that in His Spirit, does this. So how do we look at the world? We look at it in both ways. We don't love the lifestyle, as it says in I John; but the people that are involved in that lifestyle, we understand they are just the same as you or I (except they are not yet in the position that you and I find ourself in).

If we go over to I Corinthians 5, we find that Paul is discussing. Remember, the first four chapters of I Corinthians he establishes his apostleship, his position in regard to them. He makes sure that they understand that the truth of God is coming to them through him. They've got to understand where that is coming from. It's not coming from him.

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

And he then makes his decision as far as what is to be done about this problem. He talks about the leaven that is in them in verse 6, 7 & 8 of chapter 5; and in verse 9, it says, because at the time it was being written, going across to Corinth, it was the time of the Passover going into the Days of Unleavened Bread.

1 Corinthians 5:9-10 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: (10) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world.

Now, in John 17:15 it says clearly:

John 17:15 I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil

[or the evil one].

Again it is the lifestyle that is the problem, not the people that are there that happen to be engaged within this lifestyle. The people themselves, engaged in this lifestyle, are just people that have not yet been called; and yet the lifestyle is something that is abhorrent to us. It's getting that separation between the two that we've got to understand and we've got to get to grips with. Otherwise, Satan will use the very fact against us, because we will then elevate ourselves; and we will have the same lifestyle (that elevation, that selfishness, that incoming attitude of mind) applied to the truth, which is ironic.

I Corinthians 5:10-11 Yet [I'm not talking about the people] of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world. (11) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

So, there's to be a differentiation between people outside and people within the Church.. The conduct of people, the lifestyle of people, outside you've got to expect. You've got to understand that that's the way that they're going. Why? It's the natural way. But, for us within the Church to go the natural way, if people go that way as a natural course, and don't repent and change, eventually, you say, "No. We're not having anything to do with you" because that they may be ashamed and that they come to their senses. There's a distinction.

1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not you judge them that are within?

In other words, we don't judge people that are outside. We judge people within the Church. We make a judgment of people within the Church; but we do not make the judgment of people outside, because their time has not yet come.

1 Corinthians 5:13 But them that are without God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

The judgment they had to use as a Church, that here was somebody sleeping with his father's wife; and that was not acceptable because that was within the Church. But, if that was happening outside, we don't make the judgment. We don't look down our noses at people outside who live that way, because that's the way -- the lifestyle -- of the world. That doesn't mean to say you sidle up to that kind of person; but we do business. Really, we've just got to accept that that is the way the world is; and, as time goes on, the world is becoming more and more that way. So the lifestyle of the world we have got to accept, because their time has not yet come. It is not yet their time.

Now, Mr. Armstrong goes into this section; and he says:

"Now how should we look at the world?

We should look at it exactly as Jesus did. We should not be blind to its evils [the lifestyle] -- Jesus was not. No, through God's Spirit, we shall really SEE how evil the world is. Jesus did. He ABHORRED the EVIL. But not the poor blinded people! He LOVED them. He had compassion for them. He didn't approve or condone the evil -- he abhorred and condemned that. But HE SAW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SIN AND THE SINNER!

God HATES sin -- but God SO LOVED sinners that He gave His only begotten Son for them!

Jesus, with a heart nearly bursting with compassion and love, yet HATING the evil, looked on the sinning WORLD that was Jerusalem, and said movingly, feelingly: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and you would not!"

They were free moral agents. The decision was theirs. Christ would do nothing to FORCE them to accept His love and free salvation.

But notice his recognition of their SIN! Notice He would not compromise one iota -- He would not gather them, or save them, against their will, or IN their sins. Yet notice the LOVE, the overwhelming compassion, and deep heart-felt REGRET that THEY WOULD NOT!

He didn't show resentment. God does, on occasion, blaze with righteous indignation -- but never with resentment which is a form of, and leads to HATRED."

So, if we're looking at how should we look at the world -- in what way should we examine or look at this world, their lifestyle -- we do not love that life style. In fact, we will not have anything to do with that lifestyle. But the people engaged in it, we recognize that, "No, these people, you've got to come out of the world if you're going to go ahead and deal with people." If you won't deal with people (as it says here: with the fornicators, the sexually immoral, the covetous, the extortioners, the idolaters) ... I mean, the idolatry. Christmas is a form of idolatry. It's an observation of times. Birthdays are an observation of times. You come into Easter, or Lent, or all these things.

You look at the sexually immoral. You look at homosexuality. In Corinthians, it says such were some of you; and we have had those within the Church. We have had prostitutes within the Church. There probably are still to this day. We have sexually immoral people within the Church, and yet these are the turned. It's only people who are continuing in that way, within that lifestyle, within the Church that we make a difference. But in the world we recognize, "Look, that is the world. They are going in that lifestyle. They are going in that way." And so, although we don't condone it, we don't go ahead and put ourself as holier than thou. It is God who led us to repentance. It is God who is making the difference. It is the Spirit of God that makes the difference. We are still a large part carnal ourselves; and, if we do that, then Satan's got a road in.

HOW WE SHOULD ACT IN THE WORLD (PLAY FROM 58:19)

So, how should we act in the world? How should we act?

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth:

It talks about "for the elect's sake, the days are going to be shortened." We are the salt of the earth. We are because we've got that salt that went with the sacrifice, almost like a symbol of the very Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that makes the difference.

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

And that might well refer back to the end of Malachi where it talks about the ashes under the soles of the feet.

Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify [ ... ]

Not you! It's not a case of going and picking litter up off the roadside, or going out and making a big show of righteousness, because it says just over the next page:

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that you do not your alms [your mercy deeds] before men, to be seen of them:

That is not what it's talking about. The context shows what this is talking about.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men,

It's not talking about the kind of righteousness that the world looks at, because it says that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven; and that comes later.

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to [fill it to the brim].

And He then goes and gives this new way, this new way of looking at all the scriptures within the Old Testament; and this is the way that we must follow. This is the way that we must go. So, how do we act in the world? Well, we keep the law. We keep the law, but notice over in Philippians 2. In keeping the law, we cannot do anything other than be a light because it will stand out. We cannot do anything else but stand out within this world.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;

In other words, in letting our light shine, we do not do it in such a way for vain glory, to say, "Look at me. Aren't I righteous?" It is simply that we are being obedient to God. Nor is it for strife. We try, as much as possible, to lessen any kind of thing that will point the finger at other people because their lifestyle is different from ours. Our lifestyle is going to be different from the world's. It's got to be different from the world's, but we still look upon them the way Christ looked upon the world.

Christ was popular. He was popular within the world, even though they condemned Him. Even though they all hated Him eventually, He was popular. Just a day or so before, they were proclaiming Him as the Messiah and they were proclaiming "Praise to Hosanna." They were throwing down their coats and things in front of the donkey as He came down, and He was feted as the Messiah. A few days later, He was killed, crucified; and everybody hated Him. Even His disciples forsook Him.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory [So, how should we act? Well, we shouldn't act in the way of strife and vainglory.]; but in lowliness of mind [and this is how we don't allow this to happen] let each esteem [others] better than themselves.

Within the world, we may find that people behave in a better way than we would naturally. The chances are, because we are the weak of the world, that we would naturally behave in a worse way than these people outside that we come in contact with. We should at least recognize that.

Philippians 2:3-4 [ ... ] let each esteem other better than themselves. (4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Get our minds off ourselves and onto other people, even within this world, so that we do, you know, a man that has friends, if you want friends, you behave friendly. Within this world, we can behave friendly. We can behave in the right way, and have the right approach to people outside.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

There was nobody, apart from John the Baptist (and John the Baptist was executed prior to Christ actually coming into the scene, into Christ's ministry)... So, during Christ's ministry, there was nobody that Christ had who had the Spirit of God living in them. There were people that had the Spirit of God working with them, but none that [it was] living in them; and yet He used to dine with people. He was accused of having the company of sinners. Now, that doesn't mean to say that you've got to seek out the most undesirable people. That's not the case. That's not the point. The lifestyle that people have, you don't condone. You don't go into the lifestyle, yourself. That is the way that Christ was. He behaved himself impeccably within the confines that He found Himself.

Philippians 2:12-16 [ ... ] work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (13) For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (15) That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; (16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

So we hold to the lifestyle of God. We recognize that the world has a different lifestyle, and yet we behave ourself impeccably within that world. In so doing, we do not condemn them because we recognize that that is the way the world is. That is the way that we would be, and we would even be worse in many cases. Turn over to John 15.

John 15:17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

So there is a love that is within the people of God, and certainly it manifests even more within the people of God. This is one thing that really riled me about Worldwide, is that they didn't make a distinction between "neighbor" and "brother." [That is] the brethren, there is even a greater love there; but there's also the love of a neighbor, because the good Samaritan showed that.

John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. (19) If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (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. (21) But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

So, there will naturally be a hostility; and yet we get up there, and we carry on and do what is right, and we are not condemning. The very fact that we love our neighbor as ourself, the very fact that we turn the other cheek if necessary, it says it's like pouring coals of fire on people's head. We overcome evil with good. It's a different way, a different approach -- a totally different approach from the world's way of doing things.

We need to recognize that we don't condemn the people within the world. We do not look down our noses at them. We have a love toward them. Nevertheless, we do not become yoked with them.

II Corinthians 6:14-7:1 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? (15) And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he that believeth with an infidel [or an unbeliever]? (16) And what agreement has the temple of God [which we're part of] with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (7:1) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

So this section clearly shows that there is a distinct difference between the people of God and the people within the world, and that difference we've got to maintain. This is the reason why we have this letter that's sent out regarding Jury Duty. It says:

Thank you for your question regarding Jury Duty. The Bible teaches that Christians should not involve themselves in judging others. (Matthew 7:1). God's people ought to decide matters within the Church [which we've already covered] (I Corinthians 6:1-5) but they should not sit in judgment of those outside the Church (I Corinthians 5:12-13) [which we've just read]. Notice that on one occasion, Jesus even refused to make a judgment when asked to settle a dispute over an inheritance.

It goes into and shows that there is an incompatibility between ourselves who are within the Church and the world outside. Now, that is true of businesses as well. Partnerships are a bad idea even with people that are within the Church. 50/50 partnerships should never be. One has GOT to be in charge. But when you have partnerships outside, it become very, very difficult.

Being on committees outside, you have this same principle: becoming yoked together with unbelievers. When we become yoked together, then we are going to have problems. That is why we don't marry outside the Church. We marry within the Church because you get yoked together. Business partnerships, agreements, committees, all of this type of thing, all would apply in these areas.

But we still do have dealings with people outside. If you'll turn over to I Corinthians 10, I'm going to read a little bit more from Mr. Armstrong:

"It would have been NATURAL for Jesus, on the cross, to have become resentful, bitter, and to have called out to God, saying, "O God, look at the unjust, murderous, damnable thing these rotten, filthy murderers have done to me. STRIKE THEM DOWN! TORTURE them, O God! I want them to SUFFER! Pay them back DOUBLE! Take VENGEANCE on them, O God!"

That would have been perfectly natural -- just as natural as for you to work yourself up into resentment and bitterness against the world when you see its rottenness and its evil.

But Jesus was not LED BY human nature, though He had it IN Him. He was LED BY the SPIRIT OF GOD. And it is only those -- even among US -- who are led by God's Spirit who are the begotten SONS of God (Rom. 8:14).

And the Spirit of God in Jesus cried out: "Father, FORGIVE them! for they know not what they do!"

The lifestyle that they have, they don't understand. They don't understand where it's coming from. The lifestyle of the people that we are dealing with, they do not understand where that lifestyle is coming from. The illumination you and I have been given, is a gift from God. Although, yes, we've got to remain repentant, it's still remains a gift from God.

Even here He did not condone -- He acknowledged their guilt -- yet pled for their forgiveness! HE KNEW THEIR EYES WERE BLINDED -- they did not fully realize how terribly they were sinning!

The church people you know, now participating in Christmas customs, are not doing it because they know it is wrong -- that it is an ABOMINATION in the eyes of God. They are deceived. They think it is right. "THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!" [as Christ said.] As PEOPLE, they may be just as good -- perhaps BETTER than we. Judgment of them is not ours not now! The only difference is what GOD did for us. Let us not get SELF-righteous! Let us not think more of ourselves than we ought, or become resentful at the world."

So that's the approach that Mr. Armstrong was pointing out that Christ had, that we also need to have. Notice what it says in I Corinthians 10 if we look in verse 23. Now, this scripture is badly translated.

1 Corinthians 10:23 {3} All things are lawful for me [in the King James version] ...

In fact, it doesn't say "All things are lawful for me" at all. It literally says, "All things I am from." That's what it says. In other words, I can approach all things from whatever point of view I wish. That's what he's saying.

1 Corinthians 10:23 [ ... ]but all things are not expedient: [ ... ]

It doesn't do what we want. "All things I am from" -- in other words, I approach things in all different ways; but all things do not edify. They do not profit. They do not give the required result. That's what the verse is talking about.

1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man [another man's welfare].

In other words, we get our mindset off ourselves and onto other people.

1 Corinthians 10:25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, [ ... ]

Now, we need to understand something. This particular section begins back in chapter 8:1.

I Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies.

He starts in there, going into 9:1, "Am I not an apostle?" And he goes right the way through this section, still on the same subject. In this particular context he says:

1 Corinthians 10:25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [That's in the market place.]that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:

So, in regard to things offered to idols, how would that apply today? Let's take Christmas. What about Christmas cake? If somebody offers you a piece of cake (fruit cake), that eat. But, it says:

1 Corinthians 10:26-27 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. (27) If any of them that believe not [ ... ]

Notice it says, "that believe not." So, these are people outside. Here we're talking about idolaters, people that really were worshipping idols. They were worshipping demons. The only place I know where this is apparently so today, that I have ever been, is Africa. They literally are in amongst this society.

1 Corinthians 10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and you be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

Now it's talking about things offered to idols. It's not talking about unclean food.

1 Corinthians 10:28-29 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: (29) Conscience, I say, not your own, [only]but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?

In other words, if somebody offers you a piece of cake around this time, you say "Thank you very much" and eat it. If somebody offers you a piece of cake and says, "Have a piece of Christmas cake." "No, thank you very much. I don't keep Christmas." "Aw, go on." "No, I'm not going to eat it."

And that's the distinction. That's the difference. There's your light shining. You don't cause offense to the person. We don't look down our nose because of their lifestyle, because they happen to be keeping Christmas, because they've got a tree in the corner. Nevertheless, theses verses apply. They apply a great deal. They apply to us.

1 Corinthians 10:31-32 Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. (32) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

So we have got to live a light to the world, and to the Church, and behave ourself impeccably. Now, that's why we need the sacrifice of Christ, because none of us can do that perfectly. We just simply can't. We need that sacrifice. We need to come before that mercy seat. We need to recognize: "Okay, these people can't do that. It isn't their time yet. But you know, in natural ways, they're probably a good deal better than us."

Let me just conclude now by reading the final part of this letter from Mr. Herbert Armstrong:

"It is human nature to go to extremes. Let us avoid becoming embittered at the world, on the one extreme. But BEWARE of the other extreme of condoning sin. Because we do not condemn the people of the world -- because we have compassion and LOVE for them, and act kindly toward them, with full respect and courtesy -- let us not go to the other extreme of APPROVING OF worldly ways and sins."

We don't approve of their lifestyle, but we do not behave ourselves in a condemnatory way towards them. There's no problem, with our neighbors, going and having a meal with them, or whatever, if we are inclined to go; but we behave ourself in the way in which we need to behave ourselves. Yet we don't go ahead and form liaisons. We don't go ahead and marry outside. We don't go ahead and sit on the committees of this world, get ourself involved with the politics of this world, become part of this world. We don't go ahead and behave like that.

" -- because we have compassion and LOVE for them, and act kindly toward them, with full respect and courtesy -- let us not go to the other extreme of APPROVING OF worldly ways and sins.

The right balance is to be able to SEE, and ABHOR the SINS, and wrong WAYS, beliefs, and doings of the world -- to really HATE these wrongs that are so contrary to God's Law -- yet to have UNDERSTANDING, with LOVE toward the misguided and deceived people who participate in these evils.

Let us SHUN their beliefs, customs, and ways -- we cannot participate with them in these things -- but let us not get resentful, or in any way unkind. We must LOVE even our enemies. We must treat people outside God's Church -- and this includes our own families or relatives who persecute us -- with full courtesy, politeness, and consideration, not esteeming our-SELVES better than they.

And even though we know God's WAY is better than theirs -- right, while theirs is wrong -- let us never mention that to them or reprove them, or argue with them. PRAY for them (not against them) but do not try to talk them into God's Truth -- it just can't be done!"

Now that is the attitude and the approach that we received. That is the way that we were taught. That is the way that came from Mr. Herbert Armstrong. It is the way that was in the Church; and it always has been, as long as I can remember. Anybody who tells you different is a liar, because that is the way it was. That is the way that Mr. Herbert Armstrong was. There were certain individuals under him that weren't of that kind of understanding. They didn't hold to that kind of an understanding. But that's the way he was, and it came from the Spirit of God.

So I think that, at this particular time, I'm hoping that helps each and everyone of us to understand the things that we do need to understand, particularly this time of year with Christmas, with the way that it is. Also, we need to keep these things in mind when I do give that sermon in a couple of weeks time, which will examine the subject of times; and we'll understand just how wrong it is; what is, in fact, being done; this lifestyle that they have, and how we really do need to come out of it, totally and utterly. But we must make sure that we behave toward the world the way we should.


{1} Heart-to-Heart Talk with the Editor by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong Good News December 1961 Vol. X, Number 12

{2} The actual word used by Mr. Bowles was to, not from but reading it instead of hearing it changed the meaning from that originally intended.

{3} 1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.