Where Is Our Focus?

By Jon Bowles

Wales, UK

27 November 2004

(PLAY FROM START)

Last night, we were talking and Mr. and Mrs. Antonio and Judy and myself were talking; and the way things go when you actually come into contact for the first time. Invariably you go back to the upheavals as we came out from Worldwide, and what in fact happened -- the apostasy -- the subtlety that was there, and how cunning it was, and so on. It was interesting just sharing experiences back and forth, as both of us have different yet similar experiences as we progress towards this point.

And I remember one particular scripture; just turn with me, if you would, over to Matthew 5. This scripture was used, though I didn't actually bring it up last night; but my thought patterns were going along our conversations. You remember this scripture being used over in 13? It says:

Matthew 5:13-16 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (14) 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 to all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.

So, that was quoted quite extensively; and the idea was ... Or, actually, it came out as placards on the backs of people as they worked on the motorways, cleaning up sections of motorways saying, "This motorway was cleaned up by the Worldwide Church of God," quoting this particular scripture as the support for that. Now if you just turn over one page, it says very clearly in chapter 6 verse 1:

Matthew 6:1 Take heed [Be very careful. NOTICE what I'm about to say.] that you do not your alms [My margin says "righteousness." If you go and have a look at the original, it is "mercy deeds." It is what you do. It is the kinds of things you do for people. You don't do that ... ] before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

So this, if you like, contradicts the concept that was being put forward in Matthew 5.

Matthew 6:2-3 Therefore when you doest your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, [Don't go ahead and put a placard on your back and so on.] as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, ... They have their reward [already]. (3) But when you doest alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand does.

It is important that we take that; because He says, "Take heed. Be careful about that." And it's when you look back here in Matthew 5, and you see the context of these verses in Matthew 5:10--

Matthew 5:10-13 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake [There's a persecution there for righteousness sake.]: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (13) You are the salt of the earth.

That's the context. In other words, it's not a matter of putting a placard on your back and going down cleaning motorways. It's a case of doing what is right come, [laughs] the phrase is "come hell or high water." Whatever happens, you're going to go ahead and do what is right. And then it flows straight into verse 16 where it says:

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify

your Father which is in heaven.

Not us! We would receive glory if we were going ahead and doing these kinds of ideas.

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 to the brim," if you look at the original there.].

And He then goes on about how your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, who did everything they did, virtually, to be seen of men. So this concept, the actual way of looking at Matthew 5, this way that we were led to look at Matthew 5, comes from a certain frame of mind, a certain state of mind. And that state of mind causes somebody, when they read these words, to put the spin on it that we had at that particular time -- the spin that we need to go out, we need to be seen by people, and then lead people to Christ by this means.

Where did that concept actually come from? Where did that spin come from? Where did the ideas come from? And I know that I've gone, and I've talked to various people that have stayed with Worldwide, and all the way back. And the concept, as I understand it, as I can perceive, is the fact that you go out in the world and there are good people out there. And there are. There are some very good people out there. Good people. Upstanding people. Honorable people. People who are honorable. And you can go out into the world and you can see them. And you come in contact with people. I'll give you an example a bit later on.

And yet you look in the Church and so many in the Church are struggling even to be righteous [laughs] many times. And we do, we struggle. We fall flat on our face. We don't always do what is right. We do struggle. And people were looking at this contrast and saying, "Hey! We're not the only ones. We're not the only ones righteous. These people out there, they are righteous people. They are upstanding people. They are people who are honorable. And, therefore, what are we doing saying what we're saying about there being a small select group now, He's revealing His Truth to? And only that small select group now where He actually has His spirit indwelling? Why not look at these? I mean these people are all honorable. They are good. They are doing what is right." And I know Mr. Monsoy ...

Again, the thinking patterns that came for this particular sermon I want to give, the logic came from something I was listening to Mr. Armstrong, where he was talking about this quality and he was saying "Look, there's a Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil." He was going into the Two Trees. He was pointing out (and he only did it relatively briefly) that, no, there is good in the world. You go out and you look in the world, and there is good in that. And he touched on certain aspects that I'll be bringing out today. But it is true. You look out in the world, and there is good in the world. There are people who are upstanding, people that are good, that are honorable people.

When you are looking at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, there is not just evil. If it was just that, it would be so simple, so simple, to make our discernment. But it is not so easily discerned. There is good there also. And it's getting a key on that. And the key that I want to pass on to you today, the real key to understanding this properly, is the key of understanding focus. What is the focus? What is OUR focus? Because the problems with people in the world (who are good, who are righteous, who are honorable people, upstanding people), they have a certain focus. If we have that same focus, and we are honorable, upstanding, righteous people in that regard, we will NOT be in the Kingdom of God. Because they are not going to be in the Kingdom of God, and there is a reason why. And the reason all revolves around focus. Focus. And what focus they have and what focus you and I have differentiates, to a large degree, the two groups of people.

Now the thing that really differentiates us is the Spirit of God. That's what really differentiates us. But there is a focus that also then comes in, that we need to understand; and that's what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about: WHERE IS OUR FOCUS? What is our focus? What are we looking for? What are we focusing on? What does our mind keep coming back to? What is the main area of our life? Now Mr. Munro (It's interesting, listening to how the sermon and the sermonette both fit together.), he ended on a scripture which I will be using. I didn't realize, I knew roughly, what he was talking about; but we didn't discuss the details.

I have four points that I want to go through today in this subject of WHERE IS OUR FOCUS? And it's in this context of there being good upstanding honorable people in the world, and this differentiation that we can look at about focus.

BEING HONORABLE IS NOT ENOUGH (PLAY FROM 10:08)

So let's ask the question: Why are these good, upstanding, honorable people, out in the world, behaving in a way that is righteous? Why is that not good enough, as far as God is concerned? I mean surely, how can you differentiate when you see us making all these mistakes and having problems ourselves? Why should that be the case? Why can we not say, "Well look, God is working with them just the same as He's working with us?" What is the difference between the two groups? Why is there a difference, if there is a difference? Why can't we come to an understanding on this? Turn over to Isaiah 64. Here in Isaiah 64 is a scripture that I did read a little while ago when I gave the sermon on the Master Potter.

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.

I wanted to concentrate, not on that verse specifically, not on that aspect so much; but in Isaiah 64 where it says:

Isaiah 64:1-2 Oh that you would rend the heavens, that you would come down, that the mountains might flow down at your presence, (2) As when the melting fire burn, the fire cause the waters to boil, to make your name known to your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at your presence!

He's looking forward to the future. He's looking forward to the time when Christ will return and this will occur. And you can tie it across with Habakkuk and various other places where it talks about this kind of thing occurring.

Isaiah 64:3-4 When you did terrible things which we looked not for, you came down, the mountains flowed down at your presence. [Now He's looking backwards at what happened previously.](4) For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside you, what He has prepared for him that waits for him.

Now that obviously, as you'll recognize, is quoted. It's quoted over in I Corinthians. If you'll put a marker in here, in Isaiah, we'll come back to it. We'll have a look at the two places. Over in I Corinthians chapter 2, we'll just go and read it over here; and read how Paul uses this aspect.

I Corinthians 2:1-3 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified ... (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, [The focus, where was the focus that Paul had? It wasn't on enticing words of man's wisdom. It wasn't on himself.] but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

It was pointing and it was focused in a different direction. This is the way Paul presented himself to the Corinthian Church. And if you go back to Acts, you'll find that he was quite apprehensive about Corinth. Corinth was a rough area. It was twice Swansea [laughs] in its heyday. It was a rough area. And it says:

I Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

And he's concentrating in the wisdom of man, in I Corinthians 2:5, the wisdom of man with the power of God.

I Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: [or being perfected. We speak the wisdom among those that are perfect.] yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nothing.

Now we're looking at people who are good, who are upstanding, who are honorable in this world. Who, in a moral sense, are the princes of this world. The princes, morally, of this world, who are good and upstanding. But it says here, look, he didn't bring this to the Corinthian Church. That was not the way it was brought. It wasn't brought in the upstanding nature that was of the world. It was something different. The way in which God presents His truth to us, the focus is different from the focus you will find within the world. And if we don't get that right, we're not going to be any different from the world. We're no different whatsoever. The focus has got to be different.

I Corinthians 2:7-9 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory: (8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.

Now He's quoting what we just read over here in Isaiah 64.

Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside you, what He has prepared for him that waits for him.

I Corinthians 2:10 [And he then goes on:] But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

And you go back into this other section, and it says you MEET Him. Verse 5 of Isaiah 64, it says you meet Him:

Isaiah 64:5 You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember you in your ways: [Where is their focus? Their focus is on God -- in Your ways, in God's ways. That's the real difference. This honorableness you find in the world, their focus is not on God. Their focus is on themselves. It says, "Remember you in your ways."] Behold, you are wroth; for we have sinned: in those [in these ways] is continuance, and we shall be saved.

We get our mind focused in the right direction, "in those ways." If we get our mind focused on God, then we get salvation. Then you get being rescued. That's what's going to happen in this world. That's how the world is going to be rescued ultimately. It's not going to be done by honorable men. It's going to be done by God Himself! And the focus has got to be on that fact. And if you lose that focus (and you start looking and say, "Oh but these people, they're righteous, they're good, they're honorable."), that's of no use for the Kingdom of God, because that's not what He's going to use to actually bring about the Kingdom of God.

If we go back ... Keep your hand in both. I Corinthians 2:13, it says--

I Corinthians 2:13-14 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

You've got to be looking in a certain direction, and the only way you can look in that direction adequately enough is through the very Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God isn't there, then our focus is going to be off. Why? Because we're only thinking about self. You see, the Spirit of God enables us to have God's mind; and God's mind is of an outgoing, loving, generous nature, of a type that is way beyond anything that you or I have naturally, humanly speaking. We're finished then with I Corinthians. Go back over here to Isaiah 64.

Isaiah 64:5-6 You meet him [You fellowship with him. It reminds you almost in Revelation 3, where of Laodicea how it says He stands at the door and knocks and if anybody opens that door, then "I will come in and I will sup with him." We will eat together. It says here, "You meet him"] that rejoices [Notice, rejoices. There's this joy. It's a joyful thing.] and works righteousness, those that remember You in Your ways: [Their mind is focused. They remember You. Their minds are being focused in a certain direction, in Your ways.] behold, you are wroth; for we have sinned: [We've got off track. We are not on track. We reckon that we can be honorable, upstanding and good, like people out in the world are honorable, upstanding and good. If that's the way we go, WE ARE OFF TRACK. And as I say, mentioned: this outlasts the Church, the Church here, all of us in this room, ALL the Church. "For we have sinned ... "] in those [In these ways, getting the focus right, in getting it correct.] is continuance, and we shall be saved. [We will be rescued. This world will have a rescue also, through this.] (6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Now we read that verse and we don't put it into context fully; and we feel that somehow ... And again certainly, in the past, where we've looked at this concept, where we look out in the world and we see these people who are good, who are upstanding, who are honorable. What does it mean? The key word -- the thing that kind of jumped out of the tape I was listening to from Mr. Armstrong when he started to explain this -- was the word honorable. The word "honorable."

Just think about it. Think about it; because this is what people say, "He's an honorable man." What does it mean? It means worthy of honor. Where's the honor directed? To him. Why's he doing it? Because he's honorable. He wants to be seen as honorable. He wants to be seen as somebody who is upstanding, and his focus is on himself or herself. And people -- (whose focus was off anyway) saw that, and said, "Look, they're righteous; just as righteous as me, and more so. What's the difference? They must have the Spirit of God -- missed the complete, total point; had no concept of true righteousness; because true righteousness involves getting the focus right. If you don't get the focus right, you and I are no different from the world, absolutely no different from the world. And I think sometimes, you know sometimes, we kind of get it. Sometimes the thought processes kind of get in there. And sometimes we don't. Sometimes we simply do not.

Turn over to Luke 18. When I start a sermon, I always think: "Man, I've got loads and loads and loads of time. I'm going to have to really drag this out a little bit." But I come to the end of the sermon, and I'm running [laughs] to try and keep up.

Luke 18:9 And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves.

You see. Here are good, upstanding, honorable people. The Pharisees reckoned they were. And, okay; you say, "Oh, well. They were self-righteous, just pompous so-and-sos that really weren't righteous at all." But that's not true. They were doing what they could. You've probably found some people that were generally trying. You go out in the world and find people that are generally trying to do what is right. But the doing of what is right is the honor to try and be right. In other words, the honor comes back to them. And here it says that:

Luke 18:9 ... trusted in themselves, that they were righteous.

And the danger is that you then despise others. You see the focus? Where's the focus? It's on him. It's not on the others. It's on him.

Luke 18:10-13 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. (11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. (12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Where was the focus? In the publican's case, he recognized that he was out of line when, you see, he was witnessing God. His focus was on God; and he could see His way, and how he was out of line. But the Pharisee looked on what he had done -- all of his righteousness, and all the honorable things that he had done, and the honor would come back to him. We have a danger of doing just that, if we're not careful.

Luke 18:15-16 And they brought to him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (16) But Jesus called them to him, and said, "Allow little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."

A young child (I mean Isabelle over there.), this guy went up to her and spoke to her. I mean she can't say BOO to a goose. [laughs] But she basically smiled back and everything else, just totally open and everything else. What age is she now? Four months old. But He says:

Luke 18:17 Verily I say to you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

He's not going to get into the kingdom. There's a certain frame of mind. But, you know, it's not "Look at me. I'm honorable. Look at what I've done. Look at the good upstanding things that I've done." And He went on. These are all linked here together:

Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

And I've brought this out before, and I've had people criticize me for pointing out what His answer was:

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.

God, and God alone, is good. We aren't. Naturally, what are we? We are lumps of clay. So when we do something that is honorable, well, we're unprofitable servants. We're just doing that which is our duty to do. That's what we should be doing anyway.

Luke 18:20-22 You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother. (21) And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. [I'm a good man! I'm honorable! I'm upstanding. I've done all these things.](22) Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, yet lack you one thing: [What you lack, what you personally lack, you can put right in a simple way. You, basically ... ] sell all that you have, distribute unto the poor and come, follow me.

Where was his focus? His focus was, "Hey, I've done all this. I'm honorable." It's incoming to self. But that's not good enough, that will not allow him to inherit the Kingdom of God. And Christ was pointing out to him, "Okay, what you need to do is sell everything, give it to the poor, then come and follow Me." Not just give it to the poor, but then "come and follow Me.

Now, you see, when you are looking at self-righteousness (which really is, I suppose, what I'm talking about). When you are looking at self-righteousness, the focus of righteousness is not about degrees of righteousness. Self-righteousness as opposed to true righteousness does not mean you've got self-righteousness here and true righteousness over here. That's not what we're looking at. The word self-righteousness has the emphasis on self. It's the fact that the focus here is on self, and the focus on true righteousness is on God. That's the difference. And that's what people don't understand. They don't seem to really comprehend it.

I saw an article the other day, which I thought was incredible. And it's an article about this particular man here. I can't show you down on the Internet. But this particular individual here (It's from the Telegraph.), his name is Zell Kravinsky. Same article by Ian Parker from - "The New Yorker" - August 2, 2004

And it says: "Last summer, not long after Zell Kravinsky had given almost his entire forty-five-million-dollar real-estate fortune to charity, he called Barry Katz, an old friend in Connecticut, and asked for help with an alibi. Would Katz call Kravinsky's wife, Emily, in Philadelphia, and say that the two men were about to take a weeklong trip to Katz's ski condominium in Vermont? This untruth ... "

So he'd already given away 45 million dollars, his entire fortune -- got it, given it away.

" ... This untruth would help Kravinsky do something that did not have his wife's approval: he would be able to leave home, check into the Albert Einstein Medical Center, in Philadelphia, for a few days, and donate a kidney to a woman whose name he had only just learned."

Boy, what a good, upstanding, honorable man. You know, any of you want to go ahead and do this? And what he is, he's a financier. He, basically, had real-estate property; and he worked out the odds. The odds of him dying on the operating table were 26,000 to one, or something. It was good odds. The odds of this person dying without a kidney was, they will die. "It's, therefore, immoral for me to have two kidneys when I don't need two kidneys, so I must give one to somebody else." That's the logic of this man.

"A few weeks later, Kravinsky crept out of his house at six o'clock in the morning while his wife and children were still asleep. Emily Kravinsky learned that her husband had donated a kidney when she read about it in a local newspaper."

Now that tells you something. That tells you something about the mind of the person and I don't, I don't want to draw -- I don't want to tear down what this particular man has done. On a human level, this guy is good. This guy is honorable. This guy is upstanding, on a human level. But it is not good enough, as far as God is concerned, for His kingdom. He says your righteousness will exceed even this.

"I used to feel that I had to be good, truly good in my heart and spirit, in order to do good," he said, in a soft voice. "But it's the other way around: if you do good, you become better. With each thing I've given away, I've been more certain of the need to give more away. And at the end of it maybe I will be good. But what are they going to say-that I'm depressed? I am, but this isn't suicidal. I'm depressed because I haven't done enough."

He's constantly trying to do more. What's he trying to do? He wants to be looked upon by all that come in contact with him as good, as righteous. Isn't it? It's incoming. You see what it is; and yet it's taken to an extreme which I though was incredibly fascinating, and yet it has such a bearing on each and every one of us. This article goes on for several pages. Let me just ... At the end the last piece, it says:

"But don't you think giving away forty-five million dollars was a good first step?" Barry Katz asked him ...

"No," Kravinsky replied. "That's not the hard part. The hard part is the last ten thousand dollars a year [So he'll give everything he possibly can.], when you have to live so cheaply you can't function in the business world." [We talked about how they're wearing thread-bare clothes and such.]

Susan, sitting at the other end of the table, looked at Kravinsky with fond exasperation and asked, "This is how you think every day, really? That's got to be tough. It seems so sad. You seem so sad."

"Well, I am sad."

I'm sad. In other words, he can never do enough. Never get far enough.

"But shouldn't there be more joy in this?" Barry said.

"I don't think of it as something that's joyful. Why should I feel joy?"

"I just feel that if you really were on this path to enlightenment, whatever it is, you would feel joy."

"It's not enlightenment," Kravinsky said quietly. "It's the start of a moral life."

Now, as I say, this is the extreme. I mean that I've never come across a case as extreme before. But, you see, here is somebody not content with giving away $45 million. He wants to give away everything that he has. And if you read the rest of the article, it's not just a case ... What he'd really like to do is actually have his body chopped up into pieces and given to everywhere, to virtually nonexistence. That's what he's aiming for. There is something that is not normally human about that. But, you see, people look at that and say, "What a good, upstanding, honorable person." And that's what he's wanting. He's wanting this, even to this extreme. He's wanting people to say, "What a good, upstanding, honorable person." And if that is our aim, then we won't be in the Kingdom of God; because only God is good, not us.

Turn over to I Corinthians 12. You think this is a little bit extreme? Well, turn over to I Corinthians 12. And people don't ... You see there is a problem in the Church. Chapter 12. Yeah, right here at the very end, leading down into chapter 13:

I Corinthians 12:31-13:3 But covet earnestly the best gifts [Do what you can to ... You want certain gifts? Okay. Fine. "Covet earnestly the best gifts."]: and yet show I to you a more excellent way. [Here is the way that is more excellent. This is the way that God is talking about]

I Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not [God's character -- because that's what this word is. It says God is 'agape' which is what this word is. So we're looking at God's character. If I speak with the tongues of men and angels and don't have God's character ... ], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (2) And though I have the gift of prophecy [If I can get up here and really get the point across], and understand all mysteries [Give you some prophetic sermon that will really make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.], and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains [I have all these gifts.], and have not [this character of God. The focus is off.], I am nothing. (3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor [give away $45 million], and though I give my body to be burned [Probably some of his body was burned on that operating table when he gave this woman his kidney.], and have not [This character, this focus, this mind that is in God, who only is good.] it profited me nothing.

It's of no value because, in the longer term, it will not get us into the Kingdom of God; and it is the Kingdom of God that is so important. And so here we find this concept about how is it that these good, upstanding, honorable people, how is it that that's not good enough? It is the focus. They want to be good. WE want to be good. We want to be upstanding. We want to be honorable so that we receive honor back to us. That, as it says, is like filthy rags in the eyes of God. When we're looking at His way, His character, it is different. There is something different, and we've got to understand that. We've got to be led by the Spirit of God -- the same mind that God has -- so that we have His character, His frame of mind. Humanly, it's an impossible thing. You can go back and check in Luke, which we just read.

WHAT IS OUR FOCUS? (PLAY FROM 34:38)

So where should our focus be? Turn over to John chapter 5. Let's go on to our second point. John 5. Where should our focus be? I dare say people in the Church do not understand this. They do not get it. They do not really understand. Their righteousness, in so many cases, is a worldly form of righteousness (right within the Church); and it is not good enough, as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned. And it's not a matter of degrees. It's a matter of focus. It's not degrees. It doesn't mean to say you've got to be that much better, because it's not us that's being that much better. God only is good. It's: Where is our focus? Are we focused on what we can do to be righteous? Or are we focused on the fact that God only is righteous, and we need that righteousness?

We need to become converted. I know I talk about this in many different ways, and I keep coming back to it. But I think I'm in good company, because Mr. Armstrong kept coming back to the Two Trees; and this is the Two Trees. This is the Two Trees within the Church today.

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do [Now what's His focus? His focus is on the Father, what He sees the Father do. What He sees the Father do.]: for what things soever he does, these also do the Son likewise.

Christ's focus, when He was on this earth, was right. He was giving us an example; and His focus was on God, and God only. He says, "Who are you calling good? There's none good but God. Let's get that one thing straight. But if you want to do what is right, and you want to inherit eternal life, then keep the commandments." And then He had to explain, okay, you've got to keep them in a certain way. It's not that you are honorable or that you are good at all. The focus has got to be on God the whole time. What He sees the Father do, these things He does likewise. Go down to verse 41.

John 5:41-42 I receive not honor from men. [Honorable? Honorable in the world means being honored by men. That's the world's form of honor. Christ said, I do not receive honor of men.] (42) But I know you, that you have not the love of God in you.

And they didn't. And if we don't, we will not receive the honor from God. We'll get the honor from men by putting placards on our backs, going and cleaning up motorways. We'll get off track. We'll go down a track, which is not the way of God.

John 5:43-44 I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive. (44) How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?

The focus! It's the focus that's different. When somebody is righteous and goes right down a righteous route because they want to be honorable, and they want to be perceived as honorable (be that perception of honorable by the people out in the world, be that perception of honor by the people within the Church), which happens? But it says these people who are seeking honor one of another, for they do not seek the honor that comes only from God; and that really is so true.

We, realistically, we share in God's honor. Why? Because we are converted, we are changed to the mind of God. God has honor. He has glory. He is worthy of majesty. He is worthy of worship. When we become the children of God, when we are led by the Spirit of God (becoming the children of God), in due time we will receive honor. But we will receive honor because of the Godhead, NOT because of us. It's a different way of looking at it. The focus still remains on God, and the Godhead, and the honor we will have at that time. It's not the way of the honorableness within the world. Turn back to Matthew 5:43--

Matthew 5:43-46 You have heard that it has been said, [Now this again gives the indication that it's talking about the oral law, the oral law that became the Talmud.] You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. [Which you don't find within Scripture, but you do find within the concept in the Talmud.] (44) But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you [That's not natural. That's not a natural love.]; (45) that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans the same?

In other words, if you are honorable and people give you honor, that's just the same as the world. There's no difference. We are honorable within the Church. We believe, well, you know we have the classic one: You believe that Mr. Armstrong was the Elijah and the apostle, you do well; the demons believe that and tremble, because they know that they have but a short time. That's not enough. You've got to believe that. You've got to understand that. But the demons understand that. Do we, in fact, have our focus? Or we are off track in that regard, that our focus is receiving the honor from other people around and in the Church? Don't even the publicans do the same?

Matthew 5:47-48 And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? Do not even the publicans so? (48) Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

It's not enough to be ripe and mature, and I've given sermons in the past about this. Ripe and mature, it means getting up to a certain level. Ah no. It says, "perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect." That's the level. The focus is on God, totally and utterly on God. If you start looking at righteousness, looking at perfection on a human point, then that is not going to be the case.

Matthew 6:22-24 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single [If you are focused, if we are focused correctly.], your whole body shall be full of light. (23) But if your eye be evil [You're out of focus. You're off track then.], your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! (24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [You can't be focused on God and focused on something material.] mammon.

If we are looking at righteousness, if we focus on the righteousness in the world (where the righteousness in the world is an upstanding, an honorable, man), you are focused on that. But the focus of righteousness, as far as God is concerned, is on God Himself. You can't focus on the two. You can't focus on God and material things.

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek you first [Here is the focus. Here is the primary thing. This is the first. Number one. This is our focus. Seek first ... ] the kingdom of God [It's not the kingdom of man. It's not that we're looking at, in the future, where we will bear rule. It's the Kingdom of God. It's the thing that God is going to do, and the thing that God is going to bring; and, if we are focused in the same direction, He will use us. But we've got to be focused in that direction. IT'S THE Kingdom of God.], and his righteousness [Not the righteousness that I've just been mentioning, being good and upright and putting placards on our back; but HIS righteousness. Again, it's focus. It's not degrees of. It's focus. Where's it coming from? What are we focusing on? "And his righteousness."]; and all these things shall be added to you. [He'll take care of all this on the side.] (34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow [Don't become unglued about tomorrow.]; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

There is our focus that is given. And His righteousness, notice, is in the context of the Kingdom of God. Seek you first the Kingdom of God and, in that context, His righteousness for that Kingdom. The whole focus is forward. The whole focus is on God. And this concept of being righteous in a human sense (of being upstanding, of being honorable in a human sense) does not even come into it at all. It's not part of it at all. Turn over to Hebrews chapter 11. Here in Hebrews chapter 11, we see people being mentioned who in the world's sense were not honorable. By the world's sense, they were not looked upon. They were despised in many cases.

Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. [And so on.]

So it's not in the world's sense of being honorable. But here we find in Hebrews 11:13, here we see the way God looks at this and the honor God will give these people. And it also shows us that when you're looking at the focus being the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, in that context:

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [Their focus was the Kingdom of God in the future, seeing the promises in the future, seeing them afar off.],and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed [In other words, this was then the result -- they confessed] that they [seek a country, that they] were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

So their righteousness was all directed to the future, to that future time. Their focus was on that future time. It was then on what God was going to do. Their view was totally different from the goodness, the upstandingness, the honorableness, you find within the world. You don't find it in the world at all. You can go all over this earth and you will not find that kind of focus. Most people don't even know what the focus is all about.

Heb 11:14-16 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. [Saying such things, in other words, that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, that they put this world in its proper context.] (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (16) But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city.

Their focus is different. It is not the way the world's focus is. The world's focus, let us say, it is incoming; it is to be honorable, and it is so that people look on us as honorable. And if we have that focus, and if it's not the case of being strangers and pilgrims, then [sighs] we have a problem. There's a problem that we ourselves have. Now here in Hebrews, turn over a page (in my Bible anyway), where it talks at the end of Hebrews 11:

Heb 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (40) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

CHRIST'S FOCUS (PLAY FROM 47:19)

And we have got to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. There is none good but One, that is God; and His perfection is way beyond anything that is human.

Heb 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses [And I've brought it out numerous times that the word 'witness' is not the case that they are looking after us. It's a case that we are looking at them, and their lives are witnessing back to us about something. In other words, it's about their faith. We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses about their faith.], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us [And what we read in Isaiah, how it talks about the sin and how it talks about how our righteousness is as filthy rags. "Which so easily besets us ... "], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking to [Where's the focus? "Looking to ... "] Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [The One who, the Originator who, finishes this faith off for us, who works with us.]; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross [Here's the example. He had His focus on the joy that was set before Him.], despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The honor that came to Him came from God. He didn't have honor (as we just read in John). He didn't get honor from men. It wasn't anything like the honor coming in from men. His honor He recognized came in from God. And He said, "Whatever the Father I see does, that do I." So His focus was on God the Father; and His focus, He says, was on the joy that was set before Him.

Now the question is: What's that joy? What is that joy that was set before Christ? Is it the fact that He is going to be the big cheese in the World Tomorrow because He knows so much? Maybe I'm being disrespectful? I hope I'm not being disrespectful by saying that. But you know that's the human reaction, you know, to the big man. Therefore, you are honorable. Therefore, you have this honor coming in to you. Is that the joy that was set before Him?

You remember when He was on the cross, when He was on the stake? Turn over to Psalm 22. Because when Christ was on the stake, a certain psalm was going through His head. And He then quoted it, you see. Started, whether He actually sang it or just simply just mouthed the words -- "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," -- which it actually begins in the beginning of Psalm 22. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani." And this particular psalm talks about the joy that is set before Him. This particular psalm, we know that He had this in His mind when He was suffering on the stake. And you just read the rest of it. You'll start putting it together, verse 16:

Psalm 22:16-18 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. [He could recognize these things having actually occurred.] (17) I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. [He could look down and see the very bones from the wounds that He had.] (18) They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. [He could see that actually taking place in front of Him.]

So these things, He could actually recognize where He was in prophecy. He knew where He was. Verse 26:

Psalm 22:26-31 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: [Now this is the end of the Psalm. It is the focal point. It is where He is looking. It's the joy that is set before him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied.]: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. (27) All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before you. [This death that He went through, this suffering that He was subject to, was put into its context. He put it into the joy that was set before Him, looking forward. Looking down into the future.] (28) For the kingdom is the ETERNAL'S: and he is the governor among the nations. [And Christ will be.] (29) All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. [Another passage, another translation says, Even this One who can't even keep Himself alive, this One who's just a heap of clay, hanging on a stake. He can't keep Himself alive. He's just a human being, and yet this One, it says, they'll bow before Him.] (30) A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. [So here, you know, He hasn't got a family. He hasn't had children and grandchildren and everything else, humanly, physically. But this seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to Him for a generation. He'll have His Family. There'll be a Family there, the very Family of God.] (31) They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, that he has done this.

Now that's the joy that is set before Him. He's looking forward. His focus is not on a human focus. Turn over to Isaiah 35. Here are some other words that He inspired and that would undoubtedly be in His mind at that particular time. He's talking about the joy that is set before Him -- a joy that He is looking forward to a time when the seed will be there, will actually be a part of the very Family of God.

Isaiah 35:1-10 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (2) It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. (3) Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. [In other words, here is how you get strength. The focus has got to be right. The focus on the joy that is set before us also.] (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. (5) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (6) Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (7) And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. (8) And a highway shall be there [So these, all these things, will eventually be within this earth.], and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. [You see all of these things will eventually be in this earth. Then here in verse 10:] (10) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

What was the joy that was set before Him? You see here is a Being that has a mindset the same. You know He was given the Spirit without measure, filled with grace and truth. He was God in the flesh, Immanuel. Here is a Being with the same mind as God. What is that mind? It is an outgoing mind. So that joy that is set before Him is that joy so that He can be the chief One receiving this honor, a human response? No it's not. This is the joy, when you're looking here; and it says:

Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

He can see forward into that time. He can see and witness the joy that will be there. We've seen it, you know. You can read this article if you like. But here's somebody trying to do something to be moral.

"It's not enlightenment," Kravinsky said quietly. "It's the start of a moral life."

Desperately trying to get a moral life -- to be looked upon as moral, as upright, as honorable in a human sense -- to the point of even giving away his kidney.

But here is the joy that was set before Christ; and the focus that He had was in that time, a time when God will implement the Kingdom. And They will implement joy on a scale that is completely impossible as far as man is concerned. He will do something impossible as far as man is concerned now. And if we think that we can, on a human basis, become righteous enough to become part of that, well, that just doesn't make sense. That's why it's those who are led by the Spirit that are the sons of God. We don't, ourselves, clean ourselves up. It took the very sacrifice of Christ to do that. We've got to be obedient to the level we've got to be perfect as our Father is perfect. That's not human. That cannot be human. It's got to come from God.

That's why Mr. Armstrong continually stressed the fact that our concentration is on having that contact with God, being in contact with God. Allowing God. As he said in "The Master Potter," relax and allow Him to work through us. Then we might be able to be used. Then we might be able to do something. But we try to do it ourselves on the basis that we've been masqueraded as far as the righteousness out in the world. We'll say, "The righteousness in the world, eh, they're just the same as us. Sometimes they're even better than us." And we miss the complete point. It's not just a question of degree. It is a question of focus, the focus. One is human; the focus is on human adulation. The other one is on God, the focus is on God; and it is what God will do in the future. Turn over to Isaiah 51.

Isaiah 51:4-6 Listen to me, my people; and give ear to me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. (5) My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. (6) Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner [All these humans, the human righteousness, is not going to survive. It says it's all just like filthy rags. Why? Because human beings die, human beings disappear. Then, where is the righteousness? Worthless! Filthy rags. It'll rot. It'll disappear. What value is it? They will die in like manner.]: but my salvation [my rescue] shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

It's not just a question of degrees; it is a question of focus. It is God's righteousness; it's not human honor, being honorable in the human sense.

Isaiah 51:7-8 Listen to me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law [Again, He talks about the law, the law of God. It's a spiritual law that's in our heart.]; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings. (8) For the moth shall eat them up like a garment and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. [It will go on, world without end. It will never stop.]

Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing to Zion [And Zion, in Isaiah particularly, is the Church.]; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

So what was the joy set before Christ? Here we go reading another passage on it. Why? What's the purpose in this joy? Why are these things happening?

Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens,

This joy that's set before Christ is the focus of His life, and the focus certainly at the point of His greatest trials. This joy is going to be taken out by those He has made righteous, He has made righteous through sacrifice, that are repentant. That is, a repentant frame of mind that is back on track -- going back on track according to God's standards, not our own.

Isaiah 51:16 So I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, You are my people.

So the first stage is "Zion, you are My people," because He's looking here from the right in the ... where His vision is right in the future. First of all, "Zion, you are My people." We've got to get ourselves back on track. We don't get ourselves back on track. We've got to go to God and ask Him to get us back on track. And we do need to do that. We need to be back on track the way that God specifies. Why? So They can "lay the foundations of the earth." That's the next stage. Why? So They can "plant the heavens." That's the next stage. That's the view. That's the focus that Christ had. This is the joy that was set before Him that Christ was looking forward to, the joy that would then be spread throughout all eternity and the very Kingdom of God.

THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH FOCUS IN THE CHURCH OF GOD TODAY (PLAY FROM 61:44)

And, as I say, there is a problem now -- right now with God's Church, even right here with every single one of us. If you'll turn over to Genesis 11, we've got to recognize this. We've got to realize that, no I'm not talking about people out in the world; I'm talking about here, within the Church. I'm talking to myself largely as well.

Genesis 11:1-4 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. (2) And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. (3) And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. (4) And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Their entire concept, the thing that they were trying to do, was to be honorable. They were trying to have a name, to be looked on by the rest of the earth, that "we are honorable. We are whatever we happen to be. We have a name. We are not going to be scattered to the four winds. We have this name."

Genesis 11:4 Lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (5) And the LORD came down ...

But that is Babel, and when we look at the ... Well, let's turn over to Matthew 24. I think we've got time to read some of these scriptures. Matthew 24. You see there is a danger. I don't want to be going into the same mold, and start pointing the finger at the Churches individually. But I want you just to think a little bit. You yourselves, think about the names. Remember we just read, in Babylon "having a name to themselves." Think about the names the various organizations have chosen to themselves. Just think about some of them, what kind of name. Is it honorable as far as God is concerned? Or is it honor that is directed to them, so that they can point the finger? You see what I mean? As I say, I'm not going to go ahead and start going down that aisle; or I'll do exactly the same thing. But you need to think about the names that are being chosen, putting together with what it says about Babylon.

Matthew 24:48-50 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart [In other words, what's in his deepest heart, what is actually. What should, in fact, be converted; but it's not. It's not converted the way it is. He's saying in his heart ... ], My lord delays his coming; (49) And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; [And so often you get these certain names that you get for yourself, and you can then point at the other people and say, "No, you are therefore guilty." And this seems to be the case here, what is actually happening -- smiting his fellow servants, eating and drinking with the drunken.] (50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of.

Why? Because the focus is off! The righteousness that they have isn't God's righteousness. It's the righteousness that the world has. It's the righteousness saying, "Hey, I'm good. I'm honorable. I am getting this honor." It's an incoming righteousness. It's an incoming, selfish thing. We hear phrases such as, "We're going to do a greater work than Mr. Armstrong did." This kind of concept comes up. "Warning Laodicea" -- that is the focus. Instead of being focused on God, it now starts changing. It's now focused on warning Laodicea; elevating ourselves, because we are honorable.

Do you see the problem? There is a problem there. Somehow there is a focus on changing the world now, doing what we can now, to go ahead and change the world now. The focus is not on God. Because God's salvation, God's rescue, when He brings it about, we'll be complete. We'll be total. We'll put it right and we'll have our part within that, if we've got a focus on God's Kingdom, on seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. In that context, it'll get put right. It'll get put right properly. But you start to do that now; you know, Satan tried to get Christ along that line. "All these kingdoms I'll give to you, if you bow down and worship me."

Does that actually happen within the Church; and other twiggy things like names of God, great huge confrontations about the names of God? How shall we address God? Do we address Him as Yahweh, or Yeshua, or whatever. You go back and read what Mr. Armstrong has already written on that, and that has been decided. That's been already decided. He's looked and examined that. We don't need to go down that route.

Other things, the calendar, you know? What kind of calendar do you use? Do we have to go down to the Middle East, go and check when the barley's growing? Climb up the Mount of Olives and see where the barley grows in that particular town, whether it's seeding or the green ears are appearing, or that sort of thing? That's been decided. It's been decided that that is in the hands of the Jews. That is part of the oracles of God that was entrusted to them. End of story; we don't have to go down that route.

And yet the number of times I get e-mails from people, you get all this kind of information on what in fact is happening. Well, we are right, we are good, we are upright, we are honorable; but it's a worldly form. Where's the focus? Is it on what God has done and on the revelation that comes from God? How are these things that we understand about the holy days and on the plan of God, these thing didn't come from Mr. Armstrong, by Mr. Armstrong alone. It came through him. It had to be revealed, and yet people lose sight of this. As I said, even this concept of Mr. Armstrong being the Elijah or the apostle, that we believe that's the case, we do well. Demons believe. They tremble because they know they've got a short time. Does that detract from the fact that he, in fact, was the one God used? No, it doesn't detract at all.

But our focus is not on the fact that we believe that this makes us good, this makes us honorable, this makes us upright, honorable, receiving this honor to ourselves. It's the fact that we, having done that, still are unprofitable servants. Why? Because our focus is on God; and it says, "be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect." That's the standard, and that's more than we can do. It's not possible humanly. So what have we got to do? We've got to go to God in prayer. We've got to continually be repentant. We've got to continually go to God in prayer. It's a continual process. And we can't just continue to sit on our high horse and say, "Hey, look at me. Aren't I wonderful?" And yet that is what you get so often. If you'll turn over to Psalm 138, this Psalm, we sang it. I think I actually gave this at the end of last week, the one on The Master Potter.

Psalm 138:1-2 <A Psalm of David> I will praise you with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise to you. [The whole heart, the heart is turned, turned completely to God.] (2) I will worship toward your holy temple, and praise your name for your loving-kindness and for your truth: for you have magnified your word above all your name.

You know, God doesn't even think like this. He doesn't have this kind of "I'm honorable. Therefore, give Me all this glory. Give Me all this honor." He says, "No." "Above that name," He says, "His Word." He gives His Word out. He shares even the honor. Yes, He's worthy of praise. Yes, He's worthy of glory. He is indeed honorable. But He wants to share that with as many as He possibly can. As far as human beings are concerned, they are to become the very sons of God, to share in the honor and the glory. Will we be honored? Will we have glory? Yes, there will be honor and glory there. But we will have it only because of one thing. That is because of being part of that Godhead, sharing the same Spirit, being a brother of Christ, and being a son of God. That is the source of honor and glory.

And the thing that is important, the thing that is focused on, back in Matthew 24, it talks about the Lord delays His coming; and they start focusing on themselves. But He says to this steward, to this one as far as the one who uh ... [laughs] I'm trying to remember and pick up the actual quotations to start off with. It's the one who basically ... [laughs] Turn over to Matthew 24. When you try and talk, and have the thinking at the same time ... It says in verse 44:

Matthew 24:44-46 Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh. (45) Who then is a faithful and wise servant [steward], whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (46) Blessed is that servant [steward], whom his lord [who has made him ruler over his household to give them meat in due season -- where's his focus? It's on giving food in due season. Blessed is that servant, that his Lord ... ] when he cometh shall find so doing.

It's not fighting among ourselves. It's focusing on the Word. It is focusing on the Word that has been delivered to us. Setting that Word "Above Your name," as it says over in Psalms. That's what God does. He knows that this righteousness ... That this Word can, in fact, have that Word; and have that Word living in us, the same as it lived within Christ. And we have this example there as well. Okay, turn over to John 3.

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. [So, in other words, they are more concerned to have the approbation of men.] (20) For every one that does 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.

The word in there is not just in. It's en in Greek. It's in. It's by. It's with. It's at. It's on. It's through. In other words, it's focused on. In other words, the deeds may be made manifest. They are wrought, focused on, God. The focus is on God. Everything has to do with being focused on God. Okay. Turn over to John 4.

John 4:31-34 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. (32) But he said to them, I have food to eat that you know not of. (33) Therefore said the disciples one to another, Has any man brought him ought to eat? (34) Jesus says to them, My food is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

And this, again, is the focus of Christ. So "My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me." The focus of Christ was such that it was focused on what God's will was. It wasn't that He was good, He was righteous. It wasn't just the physical things, regarding the physical food is concerned. He was actually being focused on the will of God, continually. And we find this again, also in John 6 particularly.

John 6:48-51 I am that bread of life. (49) Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

If you'll notice, He explains this over in verse 63. He says: John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickens [makes alive]; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The Words -- and that was the focus, eating that Word. Now there's more to this particular passage. I'm not going to go into all the bits and pieces. But there very clearly, where He is talking about the bread, in that section initially He's talking about His Words. If you go down to verse 66:

John 6:66-68 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. (67) Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away? (68) Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.

Where was the focus? He says setting His Word above His name. It's not a case of making a name for ourselves and having ourselves looked at in the right way. It's the Word of God. It's that living Word. It is being led by the Spirit of God, so that Word lives within us. And as it says here, "You have the words of eternal life." And this is what will give eternal life. It will lead to eternal life. It's not just a case of "If you'll enter into life, keep the commandments." But it's also the fact that "God only is good." There is none good but God.

If you'll turn over to I John 4, we'll start to close here. Remember, we read in 1 Corinthians 13, it says you can give your body to be burned. You can do what this man has done, trying to. He actually mentions it. It says, "It's the start of a moral life." Trying to give away his kidneys, giving away $45 million in money. Yet it says in 1 Corinthians 13, you know you can do all this; but -- if you don't have the character of God, if it's not being done in God, if the focus is off, if it is done as a human perspective -- it's worthless. It's of no value. It is only when the focus is right that the Word of God lives with in us, by the Spirit of God, by the focus on God, pointing us to the Kingdom of God, putting His righteousness in the context of the Kingdom of God as our focus, that it is of any value to us whatsoever. Now here in 1 John:

I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

In other words, be discerning on this particular aspect. But it says here in verse 15:

I John 4:15-16 Whosoever shall confess [and have the same Word, because he actually gives the criteria that you can apply. Any spirit that actually confesses, has the same Word as (homologos), as Christ coming in the flesh, that's of God. But any spirit that has not that same Word, as Christ coming in the flesh, then it's the spirit of the anti-Christ. That's the criteria. And it says verse 15, whosoever shall confess -- have this Word] that Jesus is the Son of God [In other words, that this Word is living within him, that Christ is the Son of God. The focus is on God. His life is reflecting that.], God dwells in him, and he in God. [Notice: God dwells in him, and he in God.] (16) And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. [And literally it says "as has God in us." You can go and actually check the literal translation for this. And we have known and believed the love that has God in us. So the type of love: it's not just a case of human love. It's a case of the type of love. It is a love of God shed abroad by the Spirit of God. It is a type of love that has God in us.] God is love [God is agape, that character. This is the character of mind.]; and he that dwells in love [dwells in that kind of existence] dwells in God, and God in him.

So his dwelling, as far as his focus, he's dwelling focused on God. The word in here is the same word as I mentioned before, en. It is this focus. He's dwelling with his mind, his being, focused on God. And therefore, God is dwelling in him. And the focus is for the Kingdom of God. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. His righteousness is again linked up together with the very Kingdom of God. This God, this God that expresses Himself as this Word, this agape, this outgoing nature, He that dwells with this outgoing nature, He's dwelling, focused on this outgoing nature--he's focused on this Being; and then God is dwelling in him. And then this is the kind of love, it says, that has God in us (as it says in the beginning of that verse). It's quite a profound verse, that particular one.

But there's one individual, just in closing now, just a couple of scriptures that I want to read in Job. Turn over to Job, because largely what I've been talking about is, I've been talking about self-righteousness. Now there are those who read Job and say, "Hey, no. That's not about self-righteousness. It's about not recognizing what God's like." But, as I said, self-righteousness is not a case of degrees. It's not a case of there's our righteousness, and there's God's righteousness. It's the case that there's our righteousness that is focused on self, and there's God's righteousness that is focused in a totally different way. It's focused on God -- this mind of God, this character of God, this outgoing nature of God that only comes from God -- and the future of God that He is going to go ahead and implement in the world, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in the context of that Kingdom. And here we find in Job 1:

Job 1:8 And the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?

He was good. He was upright. He was upstanding. He was honorable. Wasn't he? And he was. And Satan couldn't see anything wrong with him. He could not see anything wrong with him at all.

Job 1:9-10 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for naught? (10) Have not you made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

He's doing it for physical means, for what he can get out of it. But, you know, what about this man here? What was he doing? Why was he doing this? Was it for physical means and all the blessings he could get? He's just giving it away. He's got rid of his kidneys. You can go back and read that. He's talking about having his body chopped up and giving it away. Why? Because he wants to be honorable, he wants to be looked on as honorable to the point of destroying himself. The honor is everything to him. But Satan didn't even see that.

Job 1:11-12 But put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face. (12) And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

So you see in this account that Satan could not see this. It is also interesting that, when we were in all this kafuffle so many years ago within the Church, and the Church was in control of people who were non ... Who were, quite frankly, carnal people. They were carnal people. Could they see this concept? They had no concept of it at all! They looked outside at the world; and they saw the world; and they saw good people -- people that were better than us, better than you, better than me, better than them. And they concluded it's got to be the Spirit of God. Not concluding the fact that no focus ...

One is focused on honorable, being honorable and the honor therefore, comes back to you. The other is focused on God. And though you fall flat on your face, though you constantly have to repent, constantly going to God in prayer, you will (the one who is in that particular category, whose hope and focus is on God, on what God will actually do and how He will clean him up), that one will in fact be there in the Kingdom of God. That's the one. Why? Because it is the Kingdom of God -- because it's God's righteousness, His righteousness! Here, Satan couldn't see this. These other people couldn't see this. Turn over to Job 27. Job couldn't see it either, because here was the problem that Job had.

Job 27:1-6 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, (2) As God lives, who has taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who has vexed my soul; (3) All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; (4) My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. [He was righteous. And he was.] (5) God forbid that I should justify you [Because they were saying, "No. There's something you did wrong. Got to be something, something you've quite missed. There's something there that you haven't got quite right." He says, "God forbid that I should justify you."]; till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. (6) My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go [To the point of getting rid of my entire body, letting my body burn. But the focus wasn't right. The focus is wrong. The focus is on Job.]: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

His righteousness, Why? He was upright. He was good. He was honorable, but the honor was going back to Job. Turn to Job 42. As I say, self-righteousness is not about degrees; it's about focus. The emphasis is on the self. Is it self-righteousness; or do you recognize, no, God's righteous? God only is righteous, and our focus is on the Kingdom of God. It says seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, in that context, because that is the salvation That is the rescue. That's what we're looking forward to in the future. Job 42. The penny finally drops in this particular case.

Job 42:1-5 Then Job answered the LORD, and said, (2) I know that you canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from you. (3) Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. [He started to show Job the contrast between this lump of clay and Himself.] (4) Hear, I beseech you, and I will speak: I will demand of you [Not demand, but I will say of you.], and declare you to me. (5) I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees you.

Now, the focus changes. In other words, "I see my righteousness; and in my righteousness, I'm honorable; and the honor is coming into me. But now, suddenly, I can comprehend the smallest fragment of what You are and what You're like. My focus has changed from myself onto God Himself." He says, "I've heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you." "Therefore, since my focus has changed, suddenly I see. I'm looking in a different direction."

Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

I'm nothing more than dust and ashes. There's nothing good here, nothing worthwhile. I'm clay. Nothing else. So I can be as good and righteous as I possibly want, and all I'm doing ... What am I doing? It's a case of being good, of being upright, of being honorable. But it's a case of incoming honor -- honor that's really coming in from men.

There's too much of that still in the Church of God; and I come across it; and I see it in myself. But, as you can see in this section of Job, self-righteousness is not a matter of degrees. It's the question of focus. And it's here with all of us. We, still in God's Church, have much to be repentant of.


Transcribed by JF