Sermon given 21 August 2004

Beware Politics

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

You know if there is one thing that a Nigerian male is interested in, that's football. And there were certain football games on when we were in the hotel having a meal over in Port Harcourt. But if there is something else that he is absolutely passionate about, that's politics. Now in Nigeria, politics is - I say big business, it is something that everybody is interested in and it is a kind of life and death thing in many cases.

I remember the first Feast that we went to in Nigeria, I don't know how many years ago that was now, but this was six years ago or more, and I had no idea about just the vehement interest everybody had in politics. I made some kind of a comment about the current government and current leader and I asked, quite innocently, about the history behind the current leadership. And you should have seen, there was an argument such as I have never seen in my life before. Just vehemence, supporting this leader, that leader and the other leader. And how this one, all he was interested in was money and this one was also interested in money, but not quite as much as the other one; and on, and on, it went about the politics of the region.

If you go to the local papers - this was 'The Vanguard,' some papers we picked up, Presidency - it is all political. Bello, medical trips, government officials, even the cartoons, everything is to do with politics. You know, who is doing what and how they should be doing whatever and it is full of political interest. Now we have it similarly over here, but over there it is particularly so, people are very opinionated of that.

So a sermon tends to be generated from what you have just been living through, from what you have just come across, and with the Feast coming up and I am speaking down to the people in Nigeria as well as the people here, as well as the people over in the United States, Canada and everywhere else on earth that are listening to me. I want to talk about our political views. Our politics. Our political views because it can be divisive at the Feast. It can cause some real problems at the Feast, if we have certain political ideas and we are starting to push those political ideas. And so I have entitled the sermon, 'Beware Politics' and I'll let you know how many points I have got; just for a change I thought I would make it five:

What Is Politics? (PLAY FROM 03:46)

So let's go into the first point then; what is politics? Why is there such fervency, because it is not just in Nigeria. In Nigeria it is particularly prevalent, but why are people so fervent about their political ideas and their political views? What is it? Well remember Mr Armstrong talking about the empirical self? In other words, I am interested in me. I don't care about you, I am interested in me and what happens to me, I look out of my eyes, I walk with my legs. I go around this world; and I don't go around the world, the world moves past me.

The fact I was up in the plane, the world is going round me. And I go down to Nigeria, Nigeria comes to me. That is the way all of us are. We basically see life from our perspective and what we do then is, we have this empire. We have this empire building that all these other bits and pieces that are associated with me, comes into my jurisdiction. Politics is that. You say, what is politics? Why such fervency? Because it is the empirical self.

In Nigeria why is it a problem specifically down there? And I am talking specifically to you down in Nigeria now. Why is it? Could it be the tribalism? I ask that as an outsider coming in and looking at the fervency that I have seen in there over the years. And I ask is it the tribalism that you do find within Africa? And when you look at tribalism it is a case of my tribe. It is a case of my people.

Now when you look at Israel, you say, well isn't Israel just the same, I mean as far as Israel of old? Wasn't it my people? No, it was God's people. It was slightly different. The emphasis was different. Here were the people of God, the people God had chosen, the people God was working through - and is today. It was slightly different, there is a different view.

But you know it can come right into the very Church itself; politics. You know when Paul was talking to the Corinthian Church, he says; "...I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of [Peter]; and I of Christ." (I Corinthians 1:12). Isn't that political? Isn't that the same kind of thing? Like a power base, ideas, "my minister is so and so" - I am of Paul, I am of Peter, I am of Christ. Paul had to go and reiterate to them, that no, their focus is off. It is the empirical self that is the problem.

So if we turn over to Genesis 11 notice what it says here; we see Babylon. And really the system that we have got today is Babylon. It is confusion, it is confusion of words primarily, but it is confusion, and if you look here it says:

"And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name [it was a name that they wanted, that is what they were after; it was to draw the people to themselves so that they could be one, one political entity], lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the [Eternal] came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded." (Genesis 11:4-5)

But notice what it is saying; "...let us make us a name..." (Genesis 11:4). For ourself, it is our empirical self. That is what Babylon was all about. And if you go back in Genesis 10:8 and notice Nimrod, where it talks about Nimrod it says:

"And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth [he was the leader of this political edifice that he was making]. He was a mighty hunter before [Strong's H6440, the inference means; he was placing himself before, not just in front of physically, but putting himself on top of] the [Eternal]: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the [Eternal; better than the Eternal, elevating himself before God]. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel..." (Genesis 10:8-10)

So that is the very start. What is our start? How do we start thinking? What are our political views? How do we begin to think of our political stance? Is it our parents, is that where it start to come? It is interesting when you look at the political views of people, you find two things. Either it is their parents' political views or it is the antithesis of their parents' political views. One either way. It either goes one way or the other. Either they go along with their parents or they go diametrically opposed to their parents.

That seems to be the way it is. It obviously depends on the relationship with the parents. But you know, it is still the empirical self. It is still this selfishness. This incoming nature that we have, that Satan uses, and he says, look, if we can get him him to think that this is my country, this is my team, this is my party and we are associated with that particular view.

What about commentators? Do you favour a particular commentator, that you listen to on the news or perhaps on the radio or whatever? Why, because he reflects your view. That is the way we tend to be. We tend to go for somebody that reflects our own particular view. If we go over to Daniel 3, we see a little bit more where here Babylon has gone a bit further down the line; and leading into it, it talks about how the king in Daniel 2:48:

"Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon [it was in the political system and you can imagine what the wise men of Babylon thought of that! To have this Jew come in and elevated above them]. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits and the breadth was six cubits..." (Daniel 2:48-49,3:1)

So you are looking something, probably - using a large cubit - that is something about 12 feet wide and about 120 feet tall. Now that is not an image as such [Strong's H6755 and H6754 idolatrous figure]. It is not necessarily an image like you would think of an idol; that is an obelisk. It is something along the lines of an obelisk. It was something to draw people. Notice what he did then in Daniel 3:2:

"Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers [here were the leading men, the political forces and he wanted to try and get the politics right so that they were under his jurisdiction], the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up." (Daniel 3:2)

Now it may well have been an obelisk such as we have the church spires today, it may be along those lines. It probably was undoubtedly linked to pagan worship. It wasn't just an image of the country, it was linked to pagan worship. Daniel 3:3:

"Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud [and he said, when you hear the music you bow down: verse 8] Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans [so here were the Babylonians, these wise men, these astrologers, coming to Nebuchadnezzar] came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree..." (Daniel 3:3-4,8)

And then they reiterated the decree and in verse 14:

"Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods..." (Daniel 3:14)

Now where was Daniel at that time? Either he was out of the province or - remember he was in the gate of the king - he was so powerful that they didn't dare accuse him. We don't know which way it was. Chances are he was probably out of the province at the time.

"Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute [and so on], ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar ["let's not mince words" - we aren't going to mince words about this - that is basically what they said to him], we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury..." (Daniel 3:15-19)

It was a political thing. It was trying to draw the support of all these leading people - and what is it? It is the empirical self. Why was Nebuchadnezzar so angry about it? Because, he was the big chief. He was the king and his vanity had been punctured. And boy, he wasn't going to have some Jews going ahead and puncturing his vanity. Even if the Jews pointed out that, no we are not going to mince words. God is the one in supreme control. So when we look at the fervency, what is our fervency about? What is our fervency about?

As we were coming out of a member's place in Nigeria, we were driving along the dirt road coming up to the tarred road, the paved road, we were coming through a market area. And the markets was all set along the side, right hand side of the car, both sides actually. And has we were drawing through the market, it was pointed out - "See the flag?" It is a Biafran flag. Do you remember Biafra? Yes, that was the area of Biafra, it was the Igbos.

All the people in the Church who are meeting for the Feast they are all Igbo; and all of you Igbos who are listening to me right now understand that if someone were to come out of another tribe, you are going to have to look at that tribe and look at them in the correct way. You can't act as Igbos towards that tribe because you are all children of God. And the same with you. All of us here in the UK. People come over from overseas, an Australian in our midst even, but you know we are all Ephraimites basically. But you know, if people come over from overseas, how do we react? Is it "them and us"? I flew Air France and believe you me, my thinking about the French was not particularly good when we first started out. I would say that the British have probably fought more wars with the French than any other country. I am afraid that lingers on to this day, it does, it dulls our views.

Now the Biafran flag was there, and I have got to look at myself. I went to a July 4th party when I was in the States, Independence Day. So what did I do, I got a whole load of Union Jacks to take with me. But you know, is that right? Is that the way it should be? Am I thinking, I am not going to put up with this, I am going to take some Union Jacks with me. Again, we have got to make sure of our views. What is our political view? Why did I feel like that? Because the Union Jack is part of my empirical self - the Empire and all that! That is the way it is. And that is the way it is for all of us. The Stars and Stripes over in America - be aware that is the way you think, because it is part of your empirical self.

And the Biafran flag, the reason why that was pointed out to me is that he is part of the tribe that basically was persecuted by the rest of Nigeria and people were wiped out. Of his uncles, half of his uncles were killed, and over 50 were killed in that conflict, So we do need to be aware of that. But notice over in Philippians 2. When we look at Christ's view of this empirical self we see a very different view from our natural normal approach. Here it says:

"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit [we are all of one spirit, we all should be one people], if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded [all the same mind! It doesn't matter where we come from as far as the nation we happen to be of, or what team we happen to support in the Olympics or whatever else it might be], having the same love, being of ONE accord, of ONE mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory..." (Philippians 2:1-3)

Notice what it is saying there. If you notice what it says in Philippians 1:15, keep your finger in Philippians 2, but notice what it says, what Paul is dealing with it says:

"Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will [so there was a contention within the Church that he was dealing with]: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:" (Philippians 1:15-16)

He was in bonds at the time in Rome, this was this written from Rome: and he was in bonds as far as we can gather here what he says; and these people were seeming to add contention to it. He was having this contention within the Church. The people were preaching Christ in a contentious way. But it says in; "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory..."(Philippians 2:3). These ministers who were doing that; there are two views - either they were false ministers or they were just people who were jealous of Paul. The chances are, it was people who were actually jealous of Paul. That is the most likely explanation. It wasn't false ministers as such. Philippians 2:3:

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things [this empirical self], but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant [or slave], and was made in the likeness of men [so from being God, He became man; but I want you to notice what is says next]: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself..." (Philippians 2:3-8)

Now that should be the natural reaction of a God-being in human form. Because we are in human form we should humble ourselves. Because we should recognise that position that we hold, every single one of us. But that isn't what happens. We elevate the self, we do the exact opposite. It is the empirical self and politics is all to do with that, that problem.

Now interesting that when Christ used various examples He would use things like the Samaritans. They were hated by the Jews, despised by the Jews, they were the real people that the Jews detested. Christ used them several times in examples to get points across. To point the finger at the Jewish view.

Where Do Our Politics Come From? (PLAY FROM 21:36)

But where do our politics come from? Turn over to Isaiah 14. When you are thinking of this empirical self and the selfishness notice what happened here where Lucifer is being mentioned, where Satan is being mentioned and the attitude of mind that is actually mentioned here:

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart [this is the view, this is the way Satan looked at things], I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14)

Where is the centre of attention? Where is the politics coming from? And you find; "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty..." (Ezekiel 28:17). That this beauty corrupted himself, from this beauty, from this incoming selfishness, the beauty, he corrupted himself. He corrupted within and he became what he is now, what he is today.

And it is that mindset, the same mindset, this empirical self that says, look, it's my club, it's my politics, it's my ideas, it's my people, it's my tribe; and this then sets contention and it can set contention within the church. Politically, it can be contentious within the church and we have, every single one of us, got to guard against this.

As I said, I went across to the United States, I knew I was going to July 4th, so I got some Union Jacks. Isn't that just the same? Here I am, aren't I a good example; exactly, precisely! This empirical self, the empirical self that Mr Armstrong talked continually about and it is coming from this attitude that we see about Lucifer, we see his attitude of mind.

Do you know, one thing you find in Africa that you don't find over here? In the sermonette it was being mentioned about witch-doctors and so on. Over here we can pooh-pooh the concept of a witch-doctor. That is not quite the same way as it is over there. Let me show you in the paper, that's Turkey - again 'International News' on the front of the paper; 'Police chief's photograph found in Ikeja's shrine'. Do you know what that is all about? You probably have never heard about Ikeja, you have heard me talk about Onitsha, well not very far from Onitsha is Ikeja. There is a shrine there to some god, some deity and in the shrine they found bodies and they found skulls and they found decaying remains and all this kind of stuff all involved with it, and that's all in this little place here, in Ikeja. Why? What is it all about? I asked; "What are they doing? Why are they doing it?" They said, if somebody owes you money, you can then go to the priest and the priest will then put a curse on him and he has then got to go and pay the money to the priest. It is to do with power. Witchcraft is all to do with power.

Do you remember in a Feast video, I am not sure which one it was now, but it was an interview of a official of Syria? Do you remember that interview of the Syrian official? And he said that the problem with the west is, you don't believe in the devil. Do you remember that? Do you remember that one? But we don't! We don't realise just where, - where do our politics come from. Where is this actually coming from?

We were talking about witch-doctors and so on, let me just give you an example that I had to deal with. And again this; goes against all this kind of criticism that I have had from certain people where I say this business about a tick-list. We can't go into eternity with a tick-list. If you are having to go to a tick-list and tick all these points off, how are you going to deal with certain problems. And the problem I had to deal with when I was down there this time, and the advice I had to give somebody was to do with a witch-rat. You say, what on earth is a witch-rat? And that is exactly what I said! What on earth is a witch-rat?

It is a rat that behaves in a non rat-like way. Basically, this rat was coming into this person's place, where they were living and stealing food, destroying food and being destructive in every way. It would take food from a boiling cauldron. No normal rat will do that. This was a witch-rat. It was a rat that had a spell on it. So it was a case of where is it coming from? What's it coming from? And she fasted and she prayed about the problem and asked to know who on earth was it that was giving this problem to her.

And she happened to lose some clothes and while she was asleep one night this woman, that was in the compound, came in and put the clothes back. Now you say, why? Because again it is all to do with ju-ju and putting a spell on the clothes, putting them back to make the person sick. And you say; "Ah, a load of baloney, what a load of phooey!"

You see, I didn't believe any of this until I asked someone. I asked; "Look I don't understand, how do the witch-doctors know which plants to use for healing? How do they know?" And he just laughed, he said; "The spirits tell them." So what happens with a witch-rat, what happens with the clothing, it's the spirits that will say; "Get certain herbs, whatever, put in a cauldron, boil them up, soak the clothes, put the clothes back dry and it can be absorbed through the skin." Do you understand? Is it real? Where does the information come from? You see, we don't understand. We do not believe these kind of things over here. You look at the Gergesenes' swine; what happened to them? They ran headlong into the water. It is found within the scriptures. (Matthew 8:28-32)

Where do our politics come from? The same source. The one who deceives the whole world. But we don't believe it in the west. We have no concept of it in the west. Turn over to Ephesians chapter 6, and it says in verse 10:

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might [get your minds on the right place]. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil [do you think our politics isn't part of those wiles, our political views, our empirical self in our political areas?]. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against [wicked spirits] in high places." (Ephesians 6:10-12)

Where do you think the influence is going? To whatever degree God allows them to influence, they will influence in high places, they will; and we have got to be aware of that. We must not go ahead - as this Syrian official said - and be blind like the rest of the west to the fact that there is a devil. That there are wicked spirits in high places.

So when we start to have an alliance, we start to feel aligned with certain political parties, understand where those political parties come from. It maybe better in certain areas than another other political party, but they are not right. They are not right, they are not godly. And we need to make sure we understand that. If you look over in I Samuel 15.17:

"And Samuel said [to Saul], When thou wast little in thine own sight [remember what we read about Christ, when He was found as a man He humbled Himself, He recognised what human beings really are like. He knew, once He found Himself as a man, He humbled Himself], wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the [Eternal] anointed thee king over Israel?" (I Samuel 15:17)

It was like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar, he was pompous individual, wanting the empirical self and the political manipulation to rally support around him. But this wasn't the approach given to Saul and this wasn't the approach Saul had initially. But when we go down to I Samuel 15:23, it says:

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." (I Samuel 15:23)

Why? Because witchcraft is to do with power. It is trying to get power over people. When you rebel against God, what do you have to do? How do you manipulate? What did Saul have to do, he had to go ahead and sacrifice, why? Because people were departing from him, so he was trying to manipulate and trying to garner support. It was political. That was what he was doing. Where does it come from? It comes from Satan. Who is the one that we have to replace? It is Satan and Satan's system. So what do we have to learn? Not to go down Satan's way of politics, either in the church or out of the church. Politics today is the same kind of mindset. We have got to recognise where that politics comes from. It comes from the same empirical selfish mindset. It is a Satanic mindset. And it is to do with power. Power is the basis of witchcraft. That's what it is all about. That is what they do.

What Is Our New And True Allegiance? (PLAY FROM 32:40)

What is our new and true allegiance? What allegiance do we need? Go to Philippians again, back into Philippians 3:13, it says:

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind [the political parties, the ways of this world, all the various intrigue and ramifications that are there], and reaching forth unto those things which are before [looking forward], I press [I strive] toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as [are going to] be perfect..." (Philippians 3:13-15)

What does it say? "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48). I always used to try and tone that down a bit. I used to say it means, mature, be mature as your Father in heaven is mature. Which it does, but I want you to notice it says, be mature, but not just be mature, it says; be mature as your Father in heaven is mature. You have got to come up to a standard which is of God's standard. That is difficult, that is impossible, utterly impossible humanly. But here Philippians 3:15 says:

"Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you [if you are not quite there yet, if you don't really get it, as Mr Armstrong used to say, then it will come]. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our [citizenship] is in heaven..." (Philippians 3:15-20)

It is not here yet, it is on high, it is in heaven. Christ and the Father have gotten it there for us. There are a predestinated number of people that are going to have to form that Temple that are going to be on this earth ruling in the future with Christ. And that predestinated number of people is on high, and God knows exactly what type of people He needs. And we are fulfilling that role, but if we don't fulfil it He will get people that will. But Philippians 3:20 says:

"For our [citizenship is a better translation] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord." (Philippians 3:20-21, 4:1-2)

Are these two women that were fighting, that were having contention, being contentious? It is the only conclusion that can be drawn, that there was some kind of contention there. And it is the same as far as politics are concerned. We have got to make sure that we are of one mind and we don't go down that route where there is contention and that our citizenship - we keep in mind, we press for the high calling, we are looking forward to that high calling - and our citizenship is in heaven, it is on high.

And it says; "...from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:" (Philippians 3:20) who will come with that citizenship and bestow it on us so that our bodies will then be changed and we will be part of that Kingdom of God. That is the purpose. And that is the mark of the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. That is what our focus has got to be. So what is our new allegiance? It is this God-centeredness, but it is more than that, it is forward looking. It is a forward looking God-centeredness. It is looking to that Kingdom of God and our position within that Kingdom of God. That is the new true allegiance. That is what it is all about.

Now I remember being in a former association council meeting, the only one I ever attended; and there was a contention there between the British ministry and the others. It was when the British ministry basically left at that particular time. But I remember that being brought out there was that British peoples' views are different. The British tend to look at things in a different way. It was a cultural thing. I agree, I agree with that. It was a cultural thing to a large degree. But what they didn't realise, what they didn't understand, is that God's Kingdom is going to be that; it is a kingdom. It is the United Kingdom and we understand kingship, whereas in other areas they don't. They are republics, it is rulership by the people for the people; and this is enshrined in some kind of holy state in their politics. It is wrong, it is downright wrong!

The kind of governments that are going to be in the future is going to be a kingdom, and we have got to understand it as a kingdom. And this was the problem within that organisation - they look upon it as a republic. And that is not the Kingdom of God, it is not the Government of the Kingdom of God. Never has been, never will be. So, again, does that mean to say that the British way is right? No it doesn't. It has got to be God's Kingdom, it is the Kingdom of God. Turn over to Daniel 2:42. We can talk about politics until the cows come home I tell you; but here it says:

"And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not [stick] one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." (Daniel 2:42-43)

Now this is the final resurrection of Babylon. The Babylon that Daniel was in, that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in. This empirical self Nimrod started under the auspices of Satan himself. And this final resurrection - which is just ahead of us, presumably what we see within Europe today is the foundation of it. To some degree I think, it is going to be the foundation of the various preliminaries that are being laid down more than the actual beast power that is going to rise. But Daniel 2:44 says:

"And in the days of these kings [these ten] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Daniel 2:44)

That is the mark of the high calling of Jesus Christ. That is what we are looking for. That is what, when we are looking at this kingdom, it is the kingdom that will rule over this earth in the Millennium. That is the kingdom. And it is different from any other, There is no kingdom that as ever been like it. Turn over to Luke 14:25. When we are looking at our new allegiance, how it is God-centered, we have got to understand something:

"And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not [or love less not] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, [his club, his political party, his country, and on and on it can go] yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:25-26)

Now we have got to get to grips with this politics. If we don't we cannot be His disciple, because it is going to be a kingdom which is radically different from anything that we have experienced. If we do not get to grips with this we cannot be there; that is how serious this is. So if we are looking at certain political leaders, certain political parties, certain political commentators, and we latch on to those within the world we had better be careful. And certainly if it starts causing division. If we look over in Luke 14:33, it says:

"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not ALL that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33)

God doesn't play second fiddle to anything or anybody - any politics. It is going to absolutely rule this earth, and Christ will rule this earth with a rod of iron. And it will come. And either we are going to be part of it or we are not. Either we are going to go ahead and put ourself under the jurisdiction of it or we won't. And if we go ahead and put anything else before it we have then missed our chance. Anything, doesn't matter what it is, particularly when we are looking at politics. Where do politics come from? It this empirical self. So it says; "...yea, and his own life also..." (Luke 14:26). Doesn't forsake all that he has there - and it says and his own life also; it is the empirical self. That's got to be got to grips with.

Let's look at these Olympics. Alright, you don't like Olympics, but those of you who have maybe seen television, we have seen a very little bit of the television since coming back. And those of you who have watched television over the Olympics, what medals do you know that have been won that are not British? Because as far as I am concerned every single thing is focused in this country. How many medals have the French won? Anybody know? How about the Croatians, anybody know about Croatia? Brazil, anyone know what Brazil has won? Haven't the foggiest idea.

What about the British? Oh, we got a gold in sailing or whatever it was. We got a gold in sailing, we should have had a gold in badminton, according to the commentator, and on it goes. What is it, the empirical self. We are looking at the Olympics through political eyes. What is the Olympics? It is politics. What else is it? It is empirical self. And it is our country and our team. It is our badminton players, that's what it is. The fact that the Chinese won - "oh they shouldn't have won really" and on and on it goes and so on. But it is the British slant because we are in Britain, it is part of our empirical self. But it says; "For ye are all the children of God..." (Galatians 3:26).

Now there is a poem....'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke:

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there's some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;

A body of England's, breathing English air,

Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

It is that empirical! That is what was used, that kind of philosophy in the First World War. And the man who composed that died in the trenches. But what does it say here; "For ye are all the children of God..." (Galatians 3:26). Not the children of this land. We are the children of this land in so far as this is where our human birth is. But our focus has got to look beyond this human birth. It has got to go into the birth that is going to come. Galatians 3:26:

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus [by having that faith in Christ Jesus, in His sacrifice, we are able to remain in contact with God, remain the children of God]. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ [it is not just enough to go ahead and believe in the sacrifice, it is to be changed into the same image]. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female [Biafran nor Nigerian, Igbo nor Hausa, Welsh or Cornish or Australian or any other ... and on and on we go]: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28)

It is one. This true allegiance, this God-centered allegiance is vital for that Kingdom of God to exist. And if we do not put that first - in other words, forsaking all that we have, all the political ideas and put our mind firmly, looking forward to that allegiance in the future - it says, we cannot be His disciple. We can't even start to learn what we need to learn. And it is the learning process that we need in order to then end up in that very Kingdom. It is vital. Politics has no part - worldly politics - has no part in the Church of God, in the Kingdom of God. It just doesn't, it is an antithesis. So we have got to understand that.

Examples Given By God (PLAY FROM 48:21)

Now we can see certain examples. I could go right through the entirety of scripture and go through certain examples. But let's just stick with Hebrews in the main, and just have a look at certain things that are mentioned in the Book of Hebrews regarding examples. Let's first of all turn over to Hebrews 4:1:

"Let us..." (Hebrews 4:1)

This is us today, and if you want to notice the lead into this is Hebrews 3:6:

"...if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as the Holy Spirit saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, [Verse 13] But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day...if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice..." (Hebrews 3:6-7,13-15)

It is constantly stressing what we have got to do today - looking forward into the future for tomorrow. And it says in Hebrews 4:1

"Let us [us today] therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them..." (Hebrews 4:1-2)

Notice the people of the Old Testament had the gospel of the Kingdom of God preached to them. You say how can that be? Because the actual physical Israel was a kingdom under God. The spiritual Israel is also a kingdom under God. It had the gospel preached to them of old and to us. But Hebrews 4:2 says:

"...but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it [they didn't have the faith in those that actually heard it; a bit more of that in a minute]. For we which have believed do enter [labour to enter into that rest, not that we are now entered into it; it is a case that we are labouring to enter into it, we do enter in the future] into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (Hebrews 4:2-3)

So we are looking forward into that time and that gospel, that gospel - the good news of the coming Kingdom of God - there was a problem in the Old Testament because it wasn't mixed with faith. Now let's go over to Hebrews 12:1 we find here it says:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..." (Hebrews 12:1)

Now he had just been talking about these witnesses in Hebrews 11, witnesses of what? Of faith. People who through faith had done incredible things towards the Kingdom of God, looking forward to that true allegiance, that God-centered allegiance in the future.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..." (Hebrews 12:1). As I mentioned to you, the word 'witnesses' here, doesn't mean people looking at us. It means like somebody in a courtroom that comes and witnesses, that stands up in court and gives an account. [Strong's G3144.] That is what it means. That is the inference of this particular word being used. So the witnesses are the people that we are looking at who are giving an account that we can then understand. Hebrews 12:1:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," (Hebrews 12:1)

One of those sins can be politics. One of those sins can be our political views. It says to learn to lay aside these political views, this empirical self that we have latched on to, that we grab hold of, that we are going to go and protect and fight almost over the issue. And it says let us lay aside that. Hebrews 12:2:

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross [He had His view on the future, read Psalm 22: "Eli, Eli lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?..." (Psalm 22:1) It is focused on the future, He had this in His mind], despising the shamee and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

As it says in Psalm 110. If you notice over in Hebrews 13:8 it says:

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

So this Jesus Christ, who despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God, who put His mind forward to the future, who laid aside every weight and sin that might beset Him setting us an example, it says in Hebrews 13:8:

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange [teaching]. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats [or food, even spiritual food also], which have not profited them that have been occupied therein [political affiliations can often fall into that area, we can get ourselves in areas like that]. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered [outside] the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him [outside] the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." (Hebrews 13:8-14)

Now people in the world are going to have political views, political ideas, they are politically motivated. But it says; "Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp [He was never involved with politics of this world, He just wasn't]...For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." (Hebrews 13:13-14).

I am talking to you down in Nigeria right now in this particular instance; I have agreed that you can go ahead and visit the Bunker for your trip and that is fine, I don't see any problem. But if that is going to cause a problem because it is an Igbo bunker then you be aware of this. Now you say, what on earth is he talking about?

Well basically, the field trip that they have, they normally go on a trip and they visit something in the area. We went to Oguta Lake one time, we went across to the fish market and went to the colonial museum another time, and various places they have this trip. And they went last time of a museum of the Biafran war, but they didn't actually get to see the Bunker. The Bunker was where the leader of the Biafran troops actually gave his broadcasts I believe, and also where they manufactured weapons. They manufactured weapons out of old engine parts and all this kind of stuff, to fight the Nigerian troops. They didn't have the weaponry. So it will be a very interesting field trip.

But we have got to be very, very careful that that does not degenerate into something which is wrong. No problem, go and see it, but you within the Church in Nigeria, your allegiance is not with the Igbo tribe. It is not with Biafra. And if anyone comes into your midst, you have got to make sure that you understand this and you remember that. For here Hebrews 13:14 says:

"For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." (Hebrews 13:14)

And that is true of all of us, wherever we happen to go, whatever we happen to do. If we go back to Hebrews 11:8 we see these examples that are given of these great cloud of witnesses and we see it says:

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations [something that has some solidity behind it], whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10)

The foundations being laid down weren't laid down by human beings. These are Godly foundation being laid down.In Hebrews 11:13 it says:

"These all died in faith [giving all these examples], not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [striving for the high mark and the high calling of Jesus Christ], and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (Hebrews 11:13)

Now everyone of us, in this room and listening to me, that is within the Church should have that same concept. Our politics should be that concept. That we are strangers, that we are pilgrims on this earth. If you want to put in your notes Acts 7:1-5 and just read about Abraham, how he went to Haran and he waited there. He was originally given the instruction to leave Ur of the Chaldees and he journeyed with his father and he got to Haran where his father died. And then he went on. And he finally ended up in the land of promise, but he was a stranger and a pilgrim. He never actually owned anything. The only bit he owned was the cave that he purchased from Shechem, and that is where he buried Sarah. And that is where his bones were buried and also the various other people were buried. Hebrews 11:14

"For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country." (Hebrews 11:13-14)

And what does it say in Matthew 6:33? It says:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33)

We have got to seek first that kingdom of God, that kingdom of heaven, the kingdom that comes from heaven. Hebrews 11:15:

"And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:15-16)

And the reason for all this, if you go to Hebrews 11:35:

"Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: [Verse 39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:35,39-40)

God has a plan, and this is our politics. This is what we are looking for. These are the examples that God gives us here in Hebrews. He says, look - these great clouds of witnesses, these people we can look at and can see them looking forward not receiving the promises in this life but looking forward and getting their focus right. They were not politically involved, even Daniel, even thou he administered underneath Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus and so on. He was not politically involved. As far as we can gather he was a librarian.

Timing - The Key to Correct Understanding (PLAY FROM 1:01:28)

So what is the key? The key to the correct understanding of politics and our correct understanding is timing. If you notice in Matthew 4:8 Christ was tempted, and the final temptation that Christ had, it says:

"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain..." (Matthew 4:8)

And remember that Syrian leader that said that the problem with the west is that you don't believe in a devil. You don't believe that he can get at you. And he can. He can get at each and everyone of us, through our empirical self, be it our club, be it our politics, be it our school, be it whatever; our families, our tribe. Matthew 4:8:

"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee [and he meant it], if thou wilt fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9)

Remember, it is power. Why does a witch-doctor know how to cure somebody? Why do the spirits tell the witch-doctor something like that? Why does they tell them which plants to use, to cure? And the drug companies are using that information from the Sharmans, I hasten to add. Why do they do that? Because it gives the witch-doctor power. Therefore the people are under the power of that particular individual. Matthew 4:9:

"And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan [the enemy, which is what it means]: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:9-10)

If we don't forsake all that we have, we can't be His disciple. If we don't forsake our political persuasions, our natural political way we cannot do this. "...Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:10). Only - so our empirical self doesn't come into it. Having done all, we are all still unprofitable servants, just doing what is our duty to do. (Luke 17:10)

You know when James and John said, "look we'll sort this one out, we'll call fire down. Just give us the word and we'll call some fire down and we will blast the living daylights out of them," these sons of thunder; when the Samaritans said; "No you're not coming in here, because you're going down to Jerusalem." And yet Christ said; "You don't know of what spirit you are." Your political solution - call fire down, ZAP! Problem solved in one. No problem. [Paraphrase of Luke 9:52-56]

But you know it is interesting what happened then to James and John, these sons of thunder. James was the first of the original apostles to be martyred. {1} And John was completely and totally turned around, he was the apostle of love. He was the apostle who took on board all of Christ's way and understanding and life and he preserved it right the way through. He was completely converted. Completely and totally converted. James presumably for whatever reason, God allowed that to happen; it is just interesting what happened to those two men. Another one you can put down is John 18:36 where it says:

"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (John 18:36)

That is not the way it is. And yet you know, within Worldwide I heard of a case of somebody actually taking up arms within the Church and going out and fighting while they were members of the Church, in a civil war. Not in this country, we don't have a civil war here. But I have heard of a case, this particular individual took up arms. Political, you bet you we have political within the Church. Is it still there? Yes, witness the Union Jack that went across to July 4th celebrations. It is still there within every single one of us, and we have got to make sure that we understand that, no that is not the way it ought to be. It is like Peter went ahead and took off the servant's ear and Christ said in Matthew 26:53, Don't you understand, don't you get it?

"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" (Matthew 26:53-54)

You can't do that. If we go over to I Peter 2:9, it says:

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises [or the virtues] of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people..." (I Peter 2:9-10)

You see we are the vanguard, the ones who are representative of this kingdom. That is our politics, that is our only politics. We should be aware of what is going on in the world, but that is not ours. We certainly not get hot under the collar about anything in the worldly political area. I Peter 2:11:

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;" (I Peter 2:11)

Including political areas; and it goes down then into I Peter 2:21:

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself [or committed His cause] to him that judgeth righteously:" (I Peter 2:21-23)

That is the way that the leader of this coming Kingdom behaved. That is the way we, that follow that leader, must also behave at this present time. And why? What was it? It was a case of being found as a man He humbled the self. He put Himself under God. He committed His cause to Him that judges righteously. That is our politics. It is not a case that we don't recognise the problems in this world. It is not a case that we are all walk-overs, but we have got our timing right.

You see Christ when He was tempted of Satan, he said; "All these things I'll give you now." But He said; "You get behind me." He said basically it is God you serve and God's timing, wasn't then, and isn't now, yet. But it will be in the future. John 17:6. When we see what Christ prayed, it says:

"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world [notice, OUT of the world; not still part and parcel with the world, they were still there in the world but were out of the world mentally]: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." (John 17:6-11)

Now we have to be one as Christ and the Father are one. There is no tribalism there. Christ and the Father don't have different tribes, they are of one family. Christ and the Father don't look upon a different political party, different countries, different teams. They are one, in every way. John 17:12:

"While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves [filled to the brim]. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one]." ( John 17:12-15)

From the empirical self that is being manipulated by that evil one, in our party, our school, our whatever. John 17:16:

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify [or set them apart] them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:16-23)

There is no disunity, there is no political persuasion, one unified body of people, centered on the hope for the future, on the Kingdom of God and it is God's Spirit that allows that to be the case. Conclusion; Psalm 110:1 because there is going to be a people that are going to be ready and those people as it said, unless you forsake all that you have you cannot be my disciple. Our former political persuasions have got to be forsaken and our view of this earth is totally different. And we have got to make sure that this remains the case and we don't fall back into these political views that we may hold:

"The [Eternal] said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (Psalm 110:1)

Christ knew this scripture. Christ knew and understood timing. It wasn't His time to come the first time and sort the world out. His time was to come, die for mankind, to establish the apostles so that they could then in turn establish the Church. That was His purpose and He submitted to that purpose. Psalm 110:2:

The [Eternal] shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion [Zion is the Church]: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies [this is not the Christ who came the first time, this is the Christ who will come again; this is the timing]. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power [willing and able to carry out the job they have been called to do], in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth." (Psalm 110:2-3)

The things are going with the Christ at that time. When the timing comes, your people will be ready, they will be willing, they will be able to do the job. You and I should be part of that people, should be looking forward to that political unity. And that political unity is something that is in the future. But right now we are strangers and we are pilgrims in this world, in this society. Let's make sure that we don't have any political arguments, that there aren't political sides being taken, particularly at the Feast, because that is when we all get together and I would encourage, particularly those down in Nigeria, that that is the same way also down there as well.


Footnote:

{1} Stephen, a deacon, was the first to be martyred, Acts 7:59.