Our Most Valuable Possession

By Jon Bowles

Pentecost

4 June 2006

(PLAY FROM START)

Let me ask a question: What's the most valuable thing that you possess? Have you ever thought of that? What's the most valuable thing that you possess? Is it a watch? Jewelry? A car? Some people almost worship their cars. You can almost see the car worshippers going past you. When everybody else's is encased in mud, theirs is all polished and everything else. What about a house? We save long and hard for the house that we have. What about our wife and children? Now we're coming down to the things that are really valuable, really incredibly valuable. Turn over to Micah 6. I've given this scripture a number of times before and just pointed out the progression of things that are being mentioned here. I want to bring out some other aspect of these particular verses here today.

Micah 6:6-8 Wherewith [What am I going to come before the Eternal with?]shall I come before the [ETERNAL], and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? [As I've brought out, calves of a year old are worth what -- 500£? They're a good big size if they've been on their mother.] (7) Will the [ETERNAL] be pleased with thousands of rams [You're now ratcheting it up quite substantially as you're looking at quite a substantial amount of money for thousands of rams.], or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? [When you get into that, then you're going into mega billions.], orshall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? [Now, it's something without price at all. You don't get rid of your children at all; and that's the most important thing, the most priceless thing that we could offer.] (8) He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what doth the [ETERNAL] require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? [Or, to become humble so that you can walk with God. That's what the margin says.]

And here we see God doesn't want a huge amount, but what is it that He's buying? That's the question. What's being bought? Well, it's over in verse 6. It says, "What am I going to come before the Eternal with?" It's getting on our knees, it's coming before the Eternal, to have a relationship with God. That's what's being bought in these verses. It's something I thought I hadn't brought out before, but it's something that we need to make note of. The most priceless gift of all is that relationship. It's the relationship that we have got with God. What are we going to offer to have a relationship like that? Are you going to offer a firstborn child? Ten thousand rivers of oil? It doesn't cut it, and He doesn't ask for that. He asks do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Turn over to Revelation 21. Let's go right to the back of the book and read what it is that this relationship will lead to, because that's what we're really talking about.

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

So here we've gone right past, the second death is finished. We're right into the future -- way, way into the future.

Revelation 21:6-7 And he said unto me, It is done. [The whole thing has come to a close. We're now in the very Family of God.] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. [And we'll hear about this and the Holy Spirit in this afternoon's service on the Meaning of the Day.] (7) He that overcomes [And this is somebody who has had this relationship with God.] shall inherit all things; [You say, "Well, how does everybody inherit everything?" Does that mean we all are just a kind of cosmopolitan blob? That's not quite the way it is.] and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

There will be this Family relationship that is there, and all things are inherited. Put in your notes Philippians 3:21, where it talks about how we're going to be made like according to His glorious body, by the which (in other words, by the which body) He subdues all things to Himself. So the "all things" is that we can speak and it will be. We will speak and mountains move. They will move. We speak and something will be created, and make sure we get the code right. [Laughs] It will be created, and that is "all things." It's going to come from a relationship that we're developing right now with the Father, with the Godhead. That's why it's the most priceless thing that we can possibly have. And yet, you do wonder. Sometimes, as we go through our lives, do we really put the value on what we have in this area? Do we really understand? Is it something that we really put that value on?

What I want to do today is talk about this most precious possession -- this contact with God as our Father -- that we are going to be contacting God, on our knees before Him daily. It is the most precious possession that we have because it is so vital that we keep this priority in mind. We need to recognize its value. We need to make sure that we do keep that in mind, and we make sure we do put it where it belongs, and make sure that we keep it right at the top of the list that we've got.

It's very hard. I'm not saying it's not hard. It's very hard. With young kids, it's difficult. It really, really is at times. You've got to earn a living. You've got all the things you've got to do. It is difficult. But if we have the right approach, if we realize the value, if we really do understand what it is that we've actually been given, that helps us to make sure that it gets into the right position, that it gets in that prime position in our life. This relationship that we have with God -- that is what is the prime position in our life. My five points are:

DIFFERENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT (PLAY FROM 7:46)

So let's have a look at this subject of the fact that it is the present position that we find ourself in, in relationship to this relationship with God -- this priceless possession that we've been given -- it has not always been the case. The fact that we can get on our knees and speak to the Father every day, it just hasn't been there. That has just not been there at all. Turn over to John 1. Let's first understand something from John 1: that it wasn't the Father that the Old Testament patriarchs were dealing with. Now, certainly, they had a hint that the Father existed but not the same way as we have our access to today.

John 1:15-18 John bare witness of him [That's Christ.], and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: [because] he was before me. [In other words, He is the one -- this self-existent Eternal -- from the Old Testament. This is the One that was self-existent before him.] (16) And of his fullness have all we received [collectively, we have received of the fullness that is actually there], and grace for grace. (17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. [So this is how these two things came, but notice what it says.](18) No man [Nobody, no human being] has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

So, when we're looking back in the Old Testament and we're finding occurrences of them dealing with God, this had to be Christ. Another thing that backs this up, if you turn over a couple of pages to chapter 5, you find a similar kind of sentiment that actually labels which God we're talking about within the God Family.

John 5:37 And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice [He's talking to the Jews collectively here, talking of the Father. "You've neither heard His voice."]at any time, nor seen his shape.

The collective leaders of the Jewish faith, going all the way back is the implication. It elaborates what it's talking about in John 1. When we come and turn back to Genesis 18, let's go back and read what it says here. This Individual being referred to in Genesis 18 was not the Father. You are not looking at the Father here at all, or a theophany of the Father. This was the One that became Jesus Christ. It's not some airy-fairy theophany of the Father as some people try and imply. This was the One that became Jesus Christ. It is the Logos of old, the Eternal of old.

Genesis 18:1 And the [ETERNAL] appeared unto him [So he saw Him. He was there, flesh and blood.]in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.

Genesis 18:7-8 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. (8) And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree [He was watching them.], and they did eat.

The Eternal with them ate this -- the same kind of way that Christ, when He appeared after His resurrection, He said, "Look, have you had anything to eat?" He took the food. He was obviously physical. He was physical, flesh and blood. He said, "Does a spirit have bones and flesh as you see me have?" And He ate it. {1} Here we see this Individual that was the Eternal actually eating something.

Genesis 18:17 And the [ETERNAL] said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?

Genesis 18:20-21 And the [ETERNAL] said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; (21) I will go down ...

He was there. He was talking, and they heard His voice. They saw His shape. This was the One that became Christ. It had to be. You can't tie the scriptures together in any other way at all. It had to be Christ. Put in your notes I Corinthians 10:4 {2} that the Rock that followed them, as far as Moses was concerned, in the wilderness, "That Rock was Christ." He was the One. He was the Eternal that was following them there.

Let's have a look at another scripture, Exodus 24. Now I know that virtually all of you know this that I'm pointing out; but I think that anybody on the Internet that actually downloads this tape, it's going to be quite astounding to them (to some of them that have never heard this before). But notice what it says here when [Moses] is going up to get the book of the Covenant in verse 7 {3}.

Exodus 24:9-10 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel [So it wasn't just Moses and Aaron. It was Moses and Aaron, and his sons, and seventy elders; and they all went up the mountain.](10) And they saw the God of Israel.

So Who was "the God of Israel" if John 1:18 says that no man has seen God at any time? It has to be the One that became Christ. He's the One that declares Him. He is the One that shows what a God is like. This is the One they were dealing with.

Exodus 24:10-11 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. (11) And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

He had a meal there for them. So, again, it was a fellowship. They had a meal, the actual seventy elders it appears. It appears almost as if God actually provided that. However, when we're looking at Israel as a whole, turn over to Leviticus now. Notice how they dealt with God, how they approached God, how they prayed, how they asked for forgiveness.

Leviticus 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.

Leviticus 4:26 And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.

We get on our knees. This wasn't the relationship that they had before, in the Old Testament. And you can go through verse 31:

Leviticus 4:31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor unto the [ETERNAL]; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.

They had to go through the priesthood. They were approaching God through the priesthood. Verse 35 {4}, the same. Leviticus 5:6 {5}, verse 10 {6}, verse 13 {7}, verse 16 {8}, verse 18 {9}. You can go through and see all these various verses that are there -- how the priest was being the intercessory on behalf of the people, the intermediary. Therefore, the people were dealing with God; but how were they dealing with God? They were going through the priesthood!

Now, we have a High Priest. Yes, we go to Jesus Christ, He intercedes for us, He offers His blood on the altar; but that gives us an absolute access. We can get on our knees, and we can gain complete access to the Father Himself. There was no access to the Father here. There was access just to the One that became Jesus Christ. So as far as the present position not being always the case, when we look at the Old Testament it was a very different situation. They were not dealing with the Father. They were dealing with Jesus Christ, and that was only certain very select people that were doing this.

THE WORLD CUT OFF (PLAY FROM 16:21)

Now when we go on to the second point, the fact that even today the world itself is cut off, this is something else that we must understand. When we get on our knees in the morning, or in the evening, or whenever you pray (and certainly we should try and make sure to have a regular time to get on our knees), and when we get on our knees and we understand the priceless privilege that has been given to us, we need to understand that this is not given to the vast majority of humankind today. It just isn't. And this also makes it priceless.

What becomes priceless? If you found a diamond, let's say the size of a melon, would that be priceless? Yes! WHY? Because you don't find diamonds the size of melons. (That depends on how big the melon is.) But that's the reason why it's priceless, because there are not many of them; so that's the reason for the priceless nature of it. And here we have something that is priceless -- something which is very, very thin on the ground.

As Mr. Armstrong continually brings out, he continually referred us back to John 6:44 {10}. I don't want to turn there; but put it in your notes if you wish, certainly, John 6:44. "No man can come unto Me ... " It is impossible for any man to come unto Christ unless the Father draws him. So there's got to be a drawing. There's got to be a means of gaining that access. Turn over with me to I John 5.

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God [It's not only he that is "born" of God; but he that is "begotten" of God also.]keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.

In other words, if we've got our relationship right, then we can keep away from the wicked one. Unfortunately, we don't. In our minds, the tuning is too worn on that part of the dial. It goes in there too easily.

1 John 5:19-21 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness. [So this access to God is not natural in the world.] (20)And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true [That's the relationship. "We know Him that is true."],and we are in him that is true [in the sense that we walk in flesh that is reflecting the way Christ walked. "We're in Him that is true."],even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God [This is the God Family.], and eternal life. [It's what will give us eternal life. It's this relationship that will give us all things in the future.] (21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Don't put something else in the way. Make sure you get the priorities sorted. Get the things that are of first importance really as first importance.

1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.

It's not their time yet. It will be eventually. They will have their opportunity; but, at the moment, they don't have the opportunity that we do. Turn over to Romans 11, and here's Paul. It's written around about 55, 56 A.D. It was the winter of between 55, 56 A.D. that this book of Romans, as far as they can tell, was written. So, it's about 20 years or so after Christ died. So, a certain length of time had gone by.

Romans 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded

So the elect, those that are elect, "no man can come to Me unless the Father who sends Me draws him." Selects. Many are called; but few are selected, made part of the elect. And it says the rest, those that are not selected, are blinded. That's what it says.

Romans 11:8 (According as it is written, God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

Right the way through. This is well after Christ's resurrection. But he had deliberately [given them the spirit of slumber], and He was at that time, and He is to this day, and right until the time when Christ returns; and then Satan is put away, THEN the world will begin to see for the first time. They'll have their first opportunity. But here it says, no, this relationship isn't. So when we look at our relationship with God and the fact that it is utterly, utterly priceless -- What are you going to give for it? Are you going to give 10,000 rivers of oil? Do we give calves of a year old? Do we give our own children?

He says He doesn't need that. That's not what ... How can you give anything for something so priceless? It's utterly, utterly priceless; and it's been given to us -- just to get on our knees and talk to the throne of the universe. Astounding! It is utterly, utterly astounding! When we go through life, we don't really, really understand it. We don't really, really keep it in mind. We don't savor it as we should do. That's the problem. We really don't. We don't really give the value to it as we ought to do.

A NEW AND LIVING WAY (PLAY FROM 22:47)

That is the most priceless thing that we have bar none. I can't think of anything else because you're plugged in to the very throne of the universe when we just get on our knees, accept the blood of Christ that covers our sins, and we can talk directly to the Father. Amazing! Totally amazing! You look at the pearl of great price. It's something that nobody else has got. It's that aspect; and this today, this day is crucial to it. It is that aspect that is so incredible. It certainly is a new and a living way.

In Matthew 21:13, again you don't need to ... Okay, we will; we'll turn there. What almost always happens is I'll think, I finally get to a certain point in my sermon and I think I've got plenty, plenty of time; and then I get towards the end of the time and find out I don't. [Laughs.] Christ here has just thrown out the people that were exchanging money and making an absolute killing within the temple. He's turned over the tables, spread the money all over the place, driven the animals out; and He says in verse 13:

Matthew 21:13 It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.

This is why He got so angry. He was boiling mad! He drove everybody out. But why? He said, "Look, this house is a house of prayer." Why? What was it? Just a bunch of stones; but it was a picture of what was very, very important. The house of God -- the people of God and the temple of God (which is that holy temple, that spiritual temple, to which Christ is going to return) -- has got to be a house of prayer. It's got to be a house of prayer; and this is why this subject is so, so important. Turn over to Isaiah 66. At the end of Isaiah, it is talking to us very, very largely today (those brethren that hate you, that cast you out, that don't want anything to do with you); it does have an awful lot to say to us, as was being mentioned.

Isaiah 66:1 Thus says the [ETERNAL], The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.

In other words, what you going to do? What are you going to give for what you're looking for? How are you going to pay for a relationship with this type of Being? What are you going to give? 10,000 rivers of oil? The fruit of your womb?

Isaiah 66:1-2 Where is the house that you build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? [If I own everything, if I've made everything, what are you going to do? What are you going to build with stones or anything else?](2) For all those things has mine hand made [I'm the one that made it, not you.], and all those things have been, says the [ETERNAL] [These stones have been laid down perhaps millions of years.] but to this [The word 'man' is in italics. It does not say man. It says to this, to this house, to this dwelling place.] will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.

It is the spiritual qualities that are there. That's what He's looking for. And when we're looking at this new and living way, we need to understand that these verses here, notice where they're coming.

Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock ...

At the end of the preceding chapter, you're looking at the time that we're in today. If you look at the preceding chapter, it talks about the new heavens and the new earth in verse 17 {11}. It goes back a stage, talking about the 100 year period in verse 20 {12}; and then back a stage into the Millennium in verse 21-25 {13}; and then back a stage to when? To now! That's what we're looking at. That's what this verse is talking about. It's talking about the time that we're in now. It's talking to you. It's talking to me. Where is the house? Where is the temple? What is important? You don't got 10,000 rivers of oil. What do you do? It says a poor, a contrite spirit trembling at the word of God. Having fear before the Word of God.

So, here we are. We've got this particular Individual. That's the house, that's the dwelling place of the Eternal. If we go over to Hebrews 10, it's talking in this section about this new, this living way -- this new relationship that we have in a way that has never been available before.

Hebrews 10:16-20 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (18) Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [There's no more physical offerings necessary. That's not the place, and we'll come onto the reason why he's saying that in a minute.] (19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [That's the holy of holies. You are going into the very sanctuary of God, the holy of holies itself.] by the blood of Jesus [So, when we get on our knees, and we pray to the Father, we get right into the very heart of the Godhead and it's done by that blood that allows us access.](20) By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh [because the spear went into His flesh, ripped His flesh open, out came water and blood.]

That's what gives us access. It allows us to have access; and, as it says here, it's by "a new and a living way." That's what we've been given. So we're looking at something that is absolutely priceless. It is. It's something which is new. It's not something that they had way back in the Old Testament times.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER (PLAY FROM 29:52)

This access to the Father is something which is new. But I want you to notice the context of this particular passage. Let's go back a little bit and just read a little bit of the context. Notice in verse 5:

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he says, Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body hast you prepared me.

Now it says He says that. Where does He say that? Well, He says it over in Psalm 40; and we'll go and read over in Psalms 40 in a minute because that really starts to show us certain things of this subject which are most interesting. But it says here:

Hebrews 10:6-7 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you hast had no pleasure [This is again quoting from that particular Psalm]. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.

This again is coming from that Psalm; and these Hebrews, they knew the Psalms. They sang the Psalms. They knew what the Psalms said. They could go ahead and recite this verbatim. No problem!

Hebrews 10:8-10 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither have pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, [Look! Notice, He says.] I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first [That's the sacrifices and offerings for sin.], that he may establish the second. [That is the will of God. That's what we're looking at in that particular Psalm.] (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And we have this, therefore; and it flows straight after this into this passage that talks about this new and living way. It's an access that's been given to us -- to get on our knees and to pray directly to the Father, to get right into the holy of holies, into the very heart and core of the temple and address God.

Now, what I want you to do is to keep a marker in there, if you would please, because we'll be coming back to Hebrews 10. So, stick a marker in there. But let's just read what it says over in Psalm 40, which is what is being quoted in that passage. Let's just read the Psalm.

Psalms 40:1-5 I waited patiently for the [ETERNAL]; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. [In other words, I cried out; and He looked and started to listen to what I had to say. It's talking about this relationship. It's talking about what happens when you start to cry to God.](2)He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. [He recognized that, no, it is actually God that has put Him in certain positions.] (3) And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the [ETERNAL]. (4) Blessed is that man that makes the [ETERNAL] his trust, and respects not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. [In other words, get your priorities sorted, it's saying.] (5) Many, O [ETERNAL] my God, are your wonderful works which you hast done, and your thoughts which are to us-ward.

It's toward us. It is the thinking of God that is directed towards us. What are you going to give for this relationship? 10,000 rivers of oil? Are we going to be giving the fruit of our own womb? That's now what He's after. But His thoughts are towards us. This is what is so priceless. It's not just a relationship to God. It's the fact that this relationship is coming back as well. .

Psalms 40:5-6 They cannot be reckoned up in order unto you [You can't go ahead and pay for it. There's nothing that can pay for this priceless gift.]; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. [This gift that has been given to me.] (6) Sacrifice and offering you didst not desire [You don't desire that. That's not what we're looking for.]; mine ears you have opened ...

Remember what it says? "And the rest they left blinded." But here he says, "My ears You have opened." Is that talking about somebody in ancient Israel? It's addressed to us. That's why the Psalms are so important. This is why they were killed in the early days, in Worldwide {14}, because you get your mind off these things. These things are central! Absolutely central!

Psalms 40:6-7 Mine ears you have opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast you not required. [That doesn't do the job. That's not where it's at.](7) Then said I, Lo, I come: [Look] in the volume of the book it is written of me.

That's what's being said. He says, "Look, read what it says. It's talking about me." It's talking about YOU. It's talking about people in the Church, people whose ears are opened. People who can understand spiritual things and "Look! It's written in the volume of the Book." That's what He's saying.

Psalms 40:8 I delight to do your will, O my God: yea, your law is within my heart.

These are the people that are written in the volume of the Book. Which book? THIS ONE! [Transcriber's note: You can hear Mr. Bowles banging on the Bible.] That's what being talked about -- this Book. It's talking about a people prepared for God, that have a relationship with God. That relationship is priceless. What are you going to give for it? What are you going to pay for it? 10,000 rivers of oil? Our own firstborn child? That doesn't pay. It's a priceless relationship given to us, and it's given to do Your will. The law is in my heart. It's written of me. And it then goes on; I want you to notice what then happens.

Psalms 40:9-10 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation[ Notice what it says.]: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O [ETERNAL], you knowest. (10) I have not hid your righteousness within my heart [It's not something that we get ourself. We stick it in our heart and say, "Right, now I've got it." It's then got to come out of there into a life. It's got to go into what we do.]; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation.

How has he done that? By the type of life that he's lead; by the things that he's said to other people; by the reflection of this relationship that he's now got; that he finds written in the Book. These are profound words. You read this Psalm. You read it, and tie it up; but let's go back. Let's turn back to Hebrews 10, and notice what this then flows into. Having talked about this new and living way, being a High Priest over the house of God, over in verse 21:

Hebrews 10:21-24 And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) Let us draw near with a true heart [Do you remember what He says? "Your law is in my heart."]in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [That's the relationship. That's what's going to cause us to make it through.] (24 And let us consider one another ...

WHO? In the great Congregation! That's what it's talking about. Go back to the Psalm. Read it! I've declared to the great Congregation what you've done {15}. The information doesn't stay inside. It's shared between the very people of God, the people that are going to inherit all things. We pray about not just our own things, but other people's things as well. This relationship is we don't pray, "My Father in Heaven," we pray "Our Father." It's an inclusive thing.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.

And we'll go on to look into this. This subject becomes crucial as we go into the end time, as we get progressively into the end-time. This is what is the crucial ingredient. This is what is being talked about in Matthew 25, where it says five were wise and five were foolish. IT IS THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! That's where it comes from. The foolish don't have it. The wise do. That's the difference, and WE HAVE GOT TO UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF THIS! IT IS ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS! It is not available to the world, and we've got to make sure we understand that and put the value on it. We don't forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We provoke one another [to love and good works.] It is an inclusive thing. Turn over to I John 1.

1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life [This Individual, who was the Eternal of old, that we have handled. That's what John was saying. That he actually brushed shoulders with Him. He probably wrestled with Him. He lived alongside Him.];(2)(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) [This Eternal Being that we find in the Old Testament that we're talking about.] (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us [We pray "Our Father." It's an inclusive thing.]: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

It's an inclusive thing. It's interesting, yesterday at services I happened to be in the chat room; and Anna popped up on the Instant Messenger and started saying, "Look. I've just been chatting with Huber down in Colombia; and he says that he can't get Skype. However, what I've done is that I've connected up through Skype via his phone. "

I had talked to her and said, "Look, can you actually do a translation for us? If I'm talking to somebody and they speak Spanish, can you do the translation?" And so I said, "Hang on a minute." And I pulled this microphone here across to the computer, loaded Skype; went to Anna; put Huber's telephone number in there; arranged a conference call with the microphone here and the speakers there; and I had Anna in Denmark, Huber in Colombia, and myself in Wales; and it was crystal clear. It was as clear as a bell. We talked, and I was able to have Anna do all the translation as we did it. It's incredible! The opportunities for conversation today are beyond anything.

Mr. Armstrong himself would just be astounded at what can be done. Do you know how much it was costing me to phone Colombia? About three pence a minute to phone Colombia. The cost to Denmark was nothing. The cost in Wales was nothing through Skype, through the Internet. We can talk, and we can bring somebody else in if necessary. It could be somebody else coming in from Africa into that conference room, up to four in that particular one. That's the way it works.

Getting somebody in Denmark translate for me out of English, my! [Laughs] It's interesting: as she was translating, she'd be talking away in Spanish; and then she translates back to me, and starts talking Spanish back to me as well. [Everyone laughs.] How on earth she kept on flicking her mind from one language to another; and she says to me, "Now you understand that I do think in a language," and she does. But it was quite amazing.

If that is what we can do today in our crude technology, what kind of network has God got? What is this relationship that we've got? When we get on our knees, can we really speak? I mean, is He really listening? Look, I can sit there; and in loading Skype, I can talk to Colombia, I can talk across to America. I can talk down to Zambia or wherever I want to, wherever anybody else has got Skype. Not only can we do it on a telephone, but on that thing we can bring people together in a conference room. And if that can be done, what do you think that God has? He knows us intimately, infinitely, inside out.

This relationship that we have, He's not far from us. As it says in Acts 17, it says in Him we live, move, and have our being. His Spirit fills heaven and earth. His network cloud fills everything, including us; and we can talk straight through. Provided we're given the right codes and passwords, we can go straight through to the very throne of God Himself. But that's not available to everybody. It just isn't. Do you see how valuable that is? Incredibly valuable! There is nothing so valuable. Nothing at all that we possess is as valuable as that relationship with God.

Our relationship is not predominantly with Christ, because Christ points us to the Father. Yes, there's nothing wrong with getting on our knees and praying to Christ; but that is not the person we are told to pray to. We're told to pray to the Father {16}. Christ has gone through the things that we've gone through. We are told when we get on our knees to pray to the Father.

Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. [Somebody who will fear and tremble at Your Word, as we read over in Isaiah 66.](26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight. (27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father [We're going to inherit all things.]: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

So "no man comes to Me except the Father who sent Me draws him," and then Christ Himself has got to then reveal. The living Word of God has got to reveal to our mind the Father. And it's through the sacrifice of that living Word of God, through that blood, that gains us access to that Father as well. When we get on our knees, we pray, "Our Father." We should do. We should meditate and think about and pray around the subject, saying "Look, it's not just me; it's all the other brethren as well, because we pray OUR Father." I'm not addressing just a god, not "Dear God." It's a Father/son, Father/daughter relationship.

That's why Satan has attacked that to the degree that he has. He hates it. He absolutely detests it. It's the most priceless thing we've been given, and he attacks it. Of course he does! He detests it. And what do we actually pray? It says, "We pray our Father in heaven." The actual wording "in heaven" can be "on high." What does that mean? It means that His perspective on life is different than ours. As He looks down, He can see. This network cloud, He can actually see exactly what's going on. His perspective is a heavenly perspective. We need to get our mind on His perspective, not our perspective. So addressing Him as "Our Father" then we say, "Look, we also are to be like Him because we therefore become His son, or His daughter."

We also say "Hallowed (clean) is Your name." -- the name being the one that is then given to the Family of God, of which we are part. So this prayer, this sample prayer, is huge in its implications; and you can spend half an hour, an hour, quite easily on those few words without any problem whatsoever, without any problem whatsoever. We should never have a problem with things to say if we really meditate and we think just about those few words alone. It's ours, all the other brethren that we know, all part of that same one Family. He's a Father to us all. He's on high. His perspective is so different from ours, you can talk about this perspective; that's what it's all about. That's what this sample prayer is about. That it's hallowed. "Hallowed" means holy. It means clean. It means having the right reflective way of doing everything. "Is Your name." "Your" being the head of the Family itself, of which I am part, of which all the brethren are part; and we have got to move together as reflecting that. That's all part and parcel of what we're praying about.

Here Christ says, "Look, I came to reveal the Father. " Before Christ came, there was no relationship with the Father. It was with the One that became Christ. So this relationship that we have, this access right through to the very throne of God, it is utterly priceless. Turn over to Luke 11. It's something that doesn't just happen. It takes practice. It develops over time. It's like getting to know a good friend. It's not something that when you meet somebody for the first time, and you're immediately bosom buddies. It doesn't work that way. You need to spend time. We need to spend time. It needs to be daily contact, and as we read scripture so this living Word is speaking back to us. And as we apply it and put it in our life, and as it will be brought out in the Meaning of the Day, the Holy Spirit has this aspect into play within this entire process.

Luke 11:1-2 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. (2) And he said unto them, When you pray, say, [This is the sample prayer.] Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed [That is, clean.] be your name. Your kingdom come. [That one phrase itself is an hour long without any problem at all.] Your will be done, as in heaven ...

Again, what's His will? What's His will for the Church? What's His will for our life? What's His will for our family? What's His will within the world scene? What's His will for Israel?

Luke 11:2-3 Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (3) Give us day by day our daily bread [what we need].

It's not just talking about physical bread. There's no problem with praying for physical things, but that is not the primary focus of this. The focus is more than that. It's not a problem with asking. It says you receive not because you don't ask.

Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. [That, again, has got something to say to us.] And lead us not into [sore trials]; but deliver us from evil [one].

Again, each of these you could spend an hour on.

Luke 11:5-8 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; (6) For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? (7) And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give you. (8) I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his [throwing stones at his windows] he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Because if you're up there throwing stones and pebbles at the windows and making a commotion, it says he'll get up there and actually do something about it.

Luke 11:9-10 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. [Promises, that's what they are.] (10) For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.

But it doesn't just say that. If you go back to the original, you will find that this is a progressive tense being used -- he who asks and keeps asking; he who seeks and keeps seeking; he who knocks and keeps knocking; and so on.

Luke 11:11-13 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? [For what does a son do? He doesn't just ask. He asks and keeps asking. He doesn't give up.] or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Now elsewhere it says give good gifts to those that ask; but here the good gift, the BEST, is the Holy Spirit. It ties directly in with the day that we are in today. Turn over to John 14.

John 14:21-23 He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me [In other words, it says trembles before my Word. That's what it's talking about. It's the same thing that is being said here as is being said over in Isaiah 66, the one that trembles at His Word. "He that has my commandments, and keeps them."], he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (22) Judas says unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you wilt manifest yourself unto us, and not unto the world? (23) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

So there is this distinction between the world and those that have got a relationship with God. That relationship is a close one; and it is a relationship of love, of outgoing concern. That is the relationship.

John 16:27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

So there is this bond, this unity, this new and living way that we get on our knees, we have access to the Father through that shed blood of Christ; and we're able to go ahead and have that access. It is a relationship of a Father and a son, or a daughter. That's the relationship. That's why, as I say, Satan is the one that is trying to destroy it. It's also interesting, when you think about it that this Father who is ultimately going to give us all things (and He will), He will allow us to have the power to command and to create, to be a creator as He is, as Christ is.

When your looking at what actually was said about Mr. Armstrong, how he's going to turn the hearts of the father's to the children and the children to the fathers, how was that really possible years ago? If you really understand it, when we really understand what this Father relationship is, how do we really understand that? You've got to know something about biology, which I doubt if they really understood the same way as we do today. Until the ovum was understood and the sperm was understood, could you really have the understanding that we have today? Is it possible? And yet that understanding came; and, at the same time, we had an understanding that was given through Mr. Armstrong, through the Elijah to come, of this relationship. This relationship is a mirror. This physical relationship is a mirror of the spiritual. It's mirroring the spiritual, the ovum, the impregnation with the sperm of the Father and the fact of the Spirit of God and so on. But that relationship that is there is with the Father today.

VITAL FOR THE END TIME (PLAY FROM 57:19)

Okay, final point. It is going to be something that is progressively more important, more valuable, as we come to the end-times. Turn over to Luke 17.

Luke 17:26-29 And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. [So the subject matter is talking about the time when Noah entered the ark and the destruction then came.](28)Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; (29) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

So, again, you're looking at this destruction that suddenly comes.

Luke 17:30-32 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. [Literally, "revealed" means that the covers come off. You go back and you check the original.] (31) In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. (32) Remember Lot's wife.

Don't look back. It's a time when the Church is fleeing, the time when the Church is going away from this present world. The world is on a collision course to utter destruction -- not utter destruction, but it will be the world's systems will be utterly destroyed. Some people will survive.

Luke 17:33-37 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (34) I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. (35) Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. [You're looking all the way around the earth, all the different time zones.](36) Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (37) And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

This time of fleeing, where the body of the Church is.

Luke 18:1-8 And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men [at this time, the time context. Notice what it's talking about. "Men ... "]ought always to pray, and not to [give up]; [Get our priorities right. Make sure that relationship is something that is strong.] (2) Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: (3) And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. (4) And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man; (5) Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (6) And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge says. (7) And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? [The context of that verse is, as it says here.] (8) I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The context is the end-time, leading up into the return of Christ; and the principle thing that He's saying, what He's talking about: He spoke a parable to them to this end that men should always pray and not to faint, not to give up, not to allow the cares of the life to take over. We've got to keep that relationship there. That is the most important thing, the most priceless thing that we have, that we possess. Final scripture, Revelation 8:

Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

Now the seventh seal opens up into what? The seven trumpets. It's the time of trumpets. The last trumpet being the return of Christ, but all the Day of the Lord events that sweeps into that return of Christ, all those events.

Revelation 8:1-3 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (2) And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (3) And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it ...

And again, notice the position of this. It's after the 144,000 that have just been selected and also marked and physically protected in that sense, and also the innumerable multitude.

Revelation 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

I would imagine that at that time we will not have that much problem with praying. We will not have a great deal of problem with getting on our knees and talking about the current situation. We might find today that we do. But, you see, how can you do that at this time if the relationship isn't now? Remember what it says in Matthew 25? It says a cry went out: "The Bridegroom comes." So they all trimmed their lamps; and the foolish said to the wise, "Give us of your oil." They say, "No, you go and buy for yourself." And while they went ... But they had to go on, they weren't ready. The relationship wasn't there. They didn't have the oil. They didn't have the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was in short supply. It is the relationship that gives us it; and it is the most vital, absolutely crucial thing. It is the most valuable thing that we possess -- the relationship with God.

Revelation 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints ...

The elect. And unless those days be shortened there will be no flesh saved, but it will be shortened because of the elect. For the elect's sake it's going to be shortened.

Revelation 8:4-6 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (5) And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. (6) And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

And it starts the very process -- the Day of Trumpets, plural -- that goes down into the last trump and the return of Jesus Christ. It is for the elect's sake, and those elect are going to be praying. They're going to be praying and offer the prayers of the saints with that incense. It is vital that we don't neglect this. This is the most priceless thing that we possess. It is absolutely vital. Do we value it as we should? Is our relationship with God the first in our life? It is a struggle. Satan has destroyed this concept of Fatherhood, and yet it's the relationship between ourself and our Father in this relationship. Do we really value this? Is this really something that we value? Let's make sure that we do.


{1} Luke 24:39-43 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me have. (40) And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. (41) And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have you here any meat? (42) And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. (43) And he took it, and did eat before them.

{2} 1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

{3} Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

{4} Leviticus 4:35 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.

{5} Leviticus 5:6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.

{6} Leviticus 5:10 And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.

{7} Leviticus 5:13 And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest's, as a meat offering.

{8} Leviticus 5:16 And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.

{9} Leviticus 5:18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with your estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him.

{10} John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

{11} Isaiah 65:17-18 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. (18) But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

{12} Isaiah 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

{13} Isaiah 65:21-25 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (22) They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (23) They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. (24) And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. (25) The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the [ETERNAL].

{14} [figuratively speaking regarding Worldwide, the doctrines were killed]

{15} Psa 40:10 I have not hid your righteousness within my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation: I have not concealed your lovingkindness and your truth from the great congregation.

{16} John 16:23 And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.