Sermon given 2 January 2010

Dying to Live

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

For the past few weeks, I've been exchanging e-mails with somebody, and as I wrote to and fro with them, it became more and more apparent that their focus was very much more on the Place of Safety, than the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and what the Kingdom of God is all about. Now it is understandable that when you are dealing with somebody that is perhaps carnal, that you will in fact get this kind of understanding coming across - that the Place of Safety seems of paramount importance.

Certainly, I think that most of us when we first came into the Church... I remember talking to somebody when I was a teenager and looking at the various prophecies of Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and looking at the various things that were about to happen in the world, and even discussing some of these things with the friends I had at school, but it was all very much a carnal approach - it was exceedingly carnal at that time, and hopefully it's a good deal better today. But even certain ministers that I've come across, the focus has been very, very much on the Place of Safety - as almost the goal that we are aiming for.

But you know, Jesus Christ showed very clearly that, that is not to be our approach. In fact, He made the comment that; "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall [gain] it." (Luke 17:33). So what I want to do today is to look at this particular command, because it's almost a statement; it comes across to us as a command as to how we should approach things. It is our frame of mind that we need to use - particularly at this time as we will come and see. But I want to look at this command:

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24)

I want to show you that although the phrase is used in different ways as you look at the various content, the context that you find the phrase in, it is used in different ways, it is applied in different areas. But the frame of mind that you find remains the same all the way through, the whole thing, every single time you come across the phrase the frame of mind remains the same. It is very much the frame of mind that I want to really zero in on toward the end of the sermon. The areas I want to go into are:

1) Our End-Time Attitude; because the end-time that we find ourselves in today, the attitude of mind that we need is actually given to us within scripture. One of the places that you will find this phrase used is very much about the end-time. So, we will go and have a look at that one and see how that fits.

2) The Empirical Self; because it is more than he who seeks to save his life. It is 'his' life and all that it involves, including his family, his husband, his wife, his children whatever. It is very much to do with our own selfish physical human lives. So, the empirical self I want to talk about. It is certainly a phrase that Mr Armstrong used on a number of occasions.

3) How Christ Applied it Personally. Certain of the instances where you find this phrase used - it's not just used in one or two places, it's used in a number of places - you find that Christ is actually applying it personally, He is talking about Himself.

4) A Living Sacrifice. Although Christ became a literal sacrifice, He gave up His life so that we may have life ourselves. We, ourselves, must also give up our own carnal, physical life that we had before conversion and become a living sacrifice from that point forward. That is something that is very clear within scripture and is part of; "...whosoever will lose his life...the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24) Will gain it again.

5) The Overall Frame of Mind that is being dealt with with by the phrase, because that again, is very, very important. It is something that we really need to be left with. It is a frame of mind that every single one of us needs, and it is certainly expressed that way.

Our End Time Attitude (PLAY FROM 4:36)

Now if you turn over to Luke 21:20, and have a look at this parallel account from Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Remember these words were being given by Christ shortly before He was crucified, it was a matter of days before He actually left this world. So, it is very much something that was to be recorded, it is something to be kept in mind all the way through from this point forward for the Church. In this section here, if we are looking at our end-time attitude, you can see where people could perhaps read these words and gain the idea that - okay, we need to focus, and what our focus has got to be on is the Place of Safety; because it does say:

"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (Luke 21:20)

Now, you put that together with Matthew 24 and Mark 13 and you see that this is the abomination that makes desolate. The abomination that makes desolate are the armies that surround Jerusalem. That is the abomination. "Then" - and you have got to understand Daniel, to understand the timing of this, and how this all fits into the end-time framework, the days of Daniel at the end of Daniel 12 - it says; "then, when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies", and it is a matter of just over three and a half years before the end:

"Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out [get away from that area]; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance [the Great Tribulation is about to start at that time], that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:21-22)

So, it is very clear that you are to flee. You put the various scriptures together in Revelation 12, also what it says in Matthew 24, it is very clear that we are to flee. We are to be protected, there is a place of protection. You look at the end of Malachi 3:17:

"And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Malachi 3:17)

The idea of protection is certainly found within these passages and certain other more remote passages that you find in Isaiah and elsewhere. In Luke 21:36 it says:

"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36)

From this therefore, the focus goes into being able to escape and go into a Place of Safety and have a place of protection physically. Therefore, we pray about it and actually focus on it and ask God to protect us. Well, that is not what that means. I want you to notice here in Luke 21:34, look at the context, it says:

"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." (Luke 21:34)

In other words, look at your life and make sure that your life is in gear and you are doing the correct spiritual things necessary so that the day doesn't come upon you unawares. Part of that is actually watching the world, watching the news events of the world. It's like a fig tree that will come. I don't negate that by any stretch. Luke 21:35:

"For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." (Luke 21:35)

Again, if you go back to what Mr Armstrong said and what Mr Armstrong felt about this verse in Luke 21:36. He put the comma in the right place. He said:

"...'Watch ye therefore [certainly we should be watching, we should be looking], and pray always [always be praying, be in a state of continual prayer, if we are in that state of continual prayer, contact with God, and we are walking with God the way Abraham walked with God and the forefathers before us], that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man' " (Luke 21:36). 'The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last!.'

So, it is the state of mind, the frame of mind, it is the way in which we are acting. Part of this is "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24). That's part of the frame of mind that is necessary and part of that will be praying always. It will be watching the news. It will be, being aware of what is going on in the world. Now, why do I say that particularly? Turn back a few pages to Luke 18:1 because as we will see this parable that was given here:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; [It flows right the way down to verse 8] ...Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1,8)

It's talking about the end-time. It's talking about the time that we are in today, quite frankly. We are always to pray and not give up, and that parable is given. And again, as we look into this context here, because one of the places where you find this phrase is this section here in Luke 17:33 which flows into Luke 18, notice:

"Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Luke 17:33)

So, there is that phrase in this context. The context is an end-time attitude. I want to just look at this particular area a little bit to gain the understanding of this phrase, and the use of the phrase. Let's pick it up in Luke 17:20.

"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come [so they understood it wasn't there yet], he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)

Among you, or in your midst as He actually said; it obviously wasn't within them. It wasn't within the Pharisees. But He was there, and the rulers of the tribes of Israel, or the positions of those rulers. Judas Iscariot actually reneged on his position and therefore was replaced. The actual positions of the twelve apostles that were there with Him, were there. So, He and the rulers of Israel were there, therefore the Kingdom of God, the embryo, was in their midst. Luke 17:22:

"And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them." (Luke 17:22-23)

He explained to the disciples - He said, "Look, when it comes, it will be absolutely clear, when the actual return of Christ will occur; and the Kingdom of God will be set up, and His Kingdom will rule the earth." Going back to Daniel and all the other areas. Luke 17:24:

"For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 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 [it parallels the day when the Church flees and the tribulation comes and destroys them all]. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:24-29)

So, again looking at the beginning of the Tribulation, when cities are going to be destroyed. The only way you can really look at that in the understanding that we have, through nuclear weapons of some description. Now, it may be some other weapon that we don't know anything about, but that certainly looks the way in which the cities will be destroyed. Luke 17:30:

"Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Luke 17:30)

Now, it doesn't mean to say that He actually is there in person; it is the actual beginning of the day of the Son of man. The actual word 'is revealed', you go back and look in the Greek wording there, Strong's G601, it literally means the covers are taken off. When the covers are taken off, when you can actually see what is happening there. In the day when the Son of man, when you can actually see, when the covers come off, the day of the Son of man. That is the beginning of 1,335 days before the actual feet touch the Mount of Olives as such. Luke 17:31:

"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. Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:31-32)

Now if you want to know more about what that means, I suggest you go back and listen again to the split sermon I gave back in the 19th July 2008 called 'Remember Lot's Wife'. I do believe it has a lot to tell us about our own families. There were certain children, if you look at the account very carefully, there were certain daughters of Lot and his wife that were left behind in Sodom. Lot's wife turned back. It wasn't just turned back, it was starting to go back, and she became a pillar of salt. Luke 17:33:

"Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Luke 17:33)

Look at the context of that. Look at the context of that verse. I want you to notice the end-time attitude. The attitude of mind is NOT of trying to save our own skin. As I said, I've had e-mails going back and forth with somebody regarding the Place of Safety. He feels that the focus has got to be on that. Well, I'm sorry but that is not what my Bible says. Yes, we've got to understand that it talks about a Place of Safety, but whoever is going to seek to save his life, going to work, and that is going to be a focal point in life; he is going to lose his life in the way Lot's wife turned, back because of the feeling for her children. Yet, she lost her life. Luke 17:34:

"I tell you, in that night there shall be two in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left." (Luke 17:34)

Again, talking about the fleeing. How exactly this works we don't know, but again the context of this is not so much the time when Christ's feet touch the Mount of Olives, it's more the time of the fleeing. It may also refer to the resurrection, but I don't think so. The context doesn't seem to give that impression. Luke 17:35:

"Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left [it goes right the way round the earth giving different times]. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? [this is again the reason why I say, this is not talking about the resurrection, it says; 'Where? Where are they going to be taken?'] And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." (Luke 17:35-37)

It ties up with the place in Job, and it appears this place is a rock where the Church is going to be protected. The place of the rock - wherever this place of the rock is. Again, another split sermon that was given that same day on the 19th of July, 2008 is talking about 'Lot and the Place of Safety' given by Mr Henderson, which was the other split sermon given on that day. I want you to notice, and then it goes straight into Luke 18:1:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" (Luke 18:1)

Not to give up. That is again the frame of mind that we need, what we need to be doing. In that passage, right in the heart of it, is the frame of mind given; (Luke 17:33) "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Luke 17:33).

When you think about it, when you think about the apostles, how many of the apostles died in their beds? One, that we know of. I don't know all the details of all the others, but it was actually predicted that they would die, and they did die, violent deaths; all but one, that was the apostle John who died of old age. Think about the apostle James. James, Peter and John were the three Christ took with Him everywhere. What happened to James? He was the first apostle to be martyred. It was about 44 AD. You're looking at about 12 or 13 years after Christ's death. Christ died a violent death and then James was beheaded by Herod. Then he proceeded to go ahead, you read about it in Acts 12, he proceeded to go ahead and try and take Peter as well.

You go through the history of the Church generally and you find that the history of the Church has been a catalogue of persecution. You just read the beginning part of the Book of Revelation and God foresaw these things that would happen and allowed these things to happen. Yet, the Church has got to understand that; "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it..." (Luke 17:33). If we hang onto this physical life thinking we can somehow preserve it, that's not where it's at.

The Place of Safety is not where it's at. We hope and pray that we will be there; yes, we do. There is going to be a Place of Safety, certainly. Yes, there will be. God will indeed protect His jewel, absolutely. That, however is not our focus; our focus has got to be on doing what God wants.

Mr Armstrong actually used the phrase - I'll read what he actually wrote in the Autobiography. He talks about his own conversion, and he actually titles the section 'Dying to Live.' In other words, he had to die in order to have real, true life. That was something he had to come to the understanding of, and every single one of us are in the same boat. Every single one of us have got to apply what it says here. That; "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Luke 17:33).

When we go down into the waters of baptism, our life dies. Our life finishes as a human being and what comes up has got to be a different kind of life. A different kind of life that is heading for the Kingdom of God. It is subject to the Kingdom of God, the Government of God, the Rule of God, the Laws of God. It is not our own anymore from that point forward.

And yet sometimes, because again, when we are first converted, we are 99 percent carnal, our focus is on the wrong place; as I said to this gentleman I was talking to on the internet, it was on the Place of Safety. That is not what we find in scripture. That is not what we find in scripture, although the Place of Safety will indeed exist, and certainly we are grateful to God if we are able to be there, but that is NOT what our focus needs to be.

The Empirical Self (PLAY FROM 20:39)

Let's have a look at this subject of the empirical self, because here, where it says; "Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32). It's the empirical self that Lot's wife was worried about; it was her children, her children - they weren't anybody else's children, I can almost guarantee you. It was hers that she was thinking of. It was probably grandchildren as well that she was thinking of. There is an article that Mr Armstrong wrote in the August'82 Plain Truth. {1}It is entitled 'In Which World Are You?' He says the following:

"...God had - upon Adam's rebellion - shut up the tree of life - symbolic of the Holy Spirit and God's LOVE as a way of life. Mankind was left in an attitude of self-vanity, hostility against his Maker and others outside his 'empirical' SELF [so, anything outside what he counted as himself and what is therefore part of him]. The spirit or attitude that motivated mankind was one of self-centeredness, covetousness, envy and jealousy toward others, competition leading to strife and violence, resentment of authority - all with self-esteem. God had closed off His Holy Spirit from man UNTIL the appearing of Christ, the second Adam."

"Man was left under the sway of Satan and Satan's attitude."

"Man was left with self-love - self-esteem. But the SELF is empirical. It includes more than the person's bare body and mind. It includes all he considers his - that is, his possessions, his family, those he is connected with selfishly - even his world!" ' PT August 1982 In Which World Are You?'

So, there is a great deal more to this where "if he save his life or lose his life" when you are looking at this carnally, it goes beyond just ourselves, just our own life. It involves all those things we hang onto ourself as well. It says:

"A person's individual 'world' is like a part of the person's SELF..." ' PT August 1982 In Which World Are You?'

What about football teams? When you go into a football ground; apparently - I have never been into a football ground, I have never been to a football match. As you go into a football match, you wear scarves or wear colours and you are therefore diverted to different areas of the ground. Why? Because otherwise if one of the wrong supporters got into the wrong area, he's likely to get lynched!

"A person's individual 'world' is like a part of the person's SELF. That is why those of a subworld within the world as a whole have characteristics in common. They accept their own particular world in an attitude of superiority, yet looking with a sort of disdain upon others outside their world. It is, after all, a sort of self-centeredness. Also the average human mind tends to confine its horizons to narrow limits." ' PT August 1982 In Which World Are You?'

That was Mr Armstrong writing in ' PT August 1982 In Which World Are You?'

You know, it could easily be 'our' Church, even 'our' Church! Turn over to Job 27:6. This is what Job had to say. Notice the attitude of mind. The problem with Job is that he was self-righteous. He was righteous, but for the wrong reasons. His righteousness was 'his' righteousness, it was 'my' righteousness. That is what he was talking about. Notice it says:

"My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live." (Job 27:6)

It was his empirical self. Even his righteousness was part of him. Yet it does say that; "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it..." (Luke 17:33). Part of that life can be the empirical self, it's not just ourselves. Notice the way Job described himself here in Job 29:11, let's have a look:

"When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me [it's me, look at all these people looking at me, this is the way I was, he says]: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy [look at all these wonderful things I've done!] I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth." (Job 29:11-17)

And on and on he goes, but I want you to notice; this was the empirical self, it was still self, it was still self-righteous. It was what 'he' had done for all these other people, the entire focus of attention was on Job. That was the problem. He was doing it so the focus of attention would be on him. He wasn't doing it as direct, total submission, complete utter broken submission to God. And yet, you see, he who seeks to save his life - even the life of an empirical life - is going to lose it. Yet, he who loses his life, who really puts himself under God, who puts his entire life on a different footing is going to save it. Turn over to Matthew 7:21 and just remind ourselves of something here. (We don't have to fret, as sometimes we can, we can fret about things, but I will come back to that.)

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven [it is the will of God, it is putting ourselves under the will of God, that is what is absolutely, vitally important]. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out [demons]? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)

Iniquity as defined by God. It's not the way Job was defining it and having everybody looking at him. That kind of righteousness was as filthy rags. The type of righteousness we do, we say at the end of the day; "I am an unprofitable servant. All these things I should be doing." We are putting ourselves under a totally different frame of government. Matthew 7:24:

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand [what He gave here - as far as the words He was giving - these words were the spiritual application of God's Law, and the understanding of the Spirit and the heart and core of God's Law]: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:24-29)

He laid it on the line. If we turn over to Matthew 10:34, we find again, a similar phraseology being used,as far as seeking to save our life will lose it;

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." (Matthew 10:34-35)

Now, if we put ourselves under the authority of Jesus Christ and God the Father - if our own life is gone, the life we had before and the empirical self as well, what happens with the relationships that we've had with the "empirical self"? They suddenly take umbrage at it, because all of a sudden, their needs are not being met, because you have put something before them. You put obedience to God's Law - keeping the Sabbath. Obedience to God's Law in not allowing them to live the way they want to live under your roof. This also happens and various other things with your children. Things like this, and this causes problems. This sets the daughter against the mother and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. Matthew 10:36:

"And a man's foes shall be they of his own household [because the empirical self is involved, and that empirical self has got to die as well]. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Mattew 10:36-39)

So, we see again very clearly here this phrase being used in this context. Now, this context is the empirical self. It says, "He that findeth his life shall lose it..." (Matthew 10:39). Now, what's He talking about? He's talking about his life in the context of family members. In the context of mothers and fathers and daughters and daughters-in-law and so on. He is saying, Look:

"He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life [loses the empirical self, that life] for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)

He will get life eternal. If you go ahead and get everything hunky-dory, if everything is just going swimmingly, everything is just going the way Job says - He said; "When I went out, the people said this about me!" And how all these things happened about him. God could see that He could not use Job in that frame of mind, that frame of mind had to change. That's why He allowed Satan to test Job and put him through the trials he went through. He started to understand something that he couldn't see. That what he was doing was purely part of the same empirical self, his selfishness. Turn over to Luke 14:15. We find again the same phrase being used, the same principal being applied. Here it says:

"And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: (Verse 19) And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them:[I go to test them] I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:15-16,19-23)

Go and get the tramps sleeping under the hedges and bring them in. You know; the people you really would not even consider as part of a party as such. Luke 14:24:

"For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and [does not hate, or love less by comparison] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:24-26)

So, even his own life is being talked about here, again the empirical self. Notice what He is saying. He is putting "his own life" in a certain context; the context is of father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and so on. Why? Because that is part of the empirical self. So, when we are understanding this phrase; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life...shall save it." (Luke 9:24). Understand that it is not just talking about our own skin. It is also talking about our own family's skin as well because it is being part of us. Luke 14:27:

"And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple [my student]. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not ALL that he hath, he cannot be my disciple [my student]." (Luke 14:27-33)

So, if we are in this for the long haul - and we are in it for the long haul - if this is real and we are indeed going towards the Kingdom of God to be part of that Kingdom, as a very born son or daughter of God, then everything has got to go - everything has got to go in second place to that one goal. Do we in fact believe that? Or is it our empirical self? Are we still hanging onto something that is our empirical self? Is it father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, whatever or is God really first? You know; he who seeks to save his life, even his empirical life, is going to lose it; because the whole lot will go, we're only physical. It will go. It says in Luke 14:34:

"Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned [what use is it, it is completely useless]? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Luke 14:34-35)

If you have salt and it has no salty taste to it, it is totally useless. It is talking about the individuals that are in God's Church. If we lose the bite, if we lose the flavour, that flavour is somebody that has completely got rid of anything that is going to stop us. It's the pearl of great price that we have put into our life. It includes that empirical self. It includes all that we have, as it says in Luke 14:33:

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

That is how great this is. It doesn't mean to say that we don't love our children. It doesn't mean to say we don't love our husbands and wives. Of course we do, but God comes first! Before, husband, before wife, before children, before mothers, before fathers, before football clubs, TV, or anything else. God must come first. That has got to be the case. God will not play second fiddle! So, when we are looking at our approach to; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24). This applies not just to the selfish individual, but his empirical self as well.

How Christ Applied the Phrase (PLAY FROM 37:48)

When we look at the way in which Christ actually applied His own instructions, it presents something quite interesting. There is something that I noticed here, which I had never, ever noticed before in Matthew 16:21, this is something that probably many of you haven't noticed before, it says:

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee." (Matthew 16:21-22)

In other words, "No, no, we'll stick up for you. We aren't going to let that happen to you. We'll hide you somewhere." Notice Christ's approach: Remember, the frame of mind that He had; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life...shall save it." (Luke 9:24). Notice His approach in Matthew 16:23:

"But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan [enemy: ''Don't you start putting those kinds of thoughts into my head'] thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matthew 15:23)

Peter was doing what was absolutely natural, but that was the problem. Christ was totally focused on what God wanted, even to the point of death, even to the point of death literally; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake...shall save it." (Luke 9:24). He had this completely and totally in mind, and here was Peter trying to get some other idea in there and Christ gave Peter short shrift. He would not even countenance listening to him, He shut him up. Matthew 16:24:

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [which is self denial], and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it [that is the frame of mind that He had in dealing with Peter, that is the frame of mind that He was living Himself]. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul [his own breathing creature that he is]? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works [where is our focus, where is our frame of mind?] Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:24-28)

Matthew 17:1:

"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother [notice again, Peter, James and John; remember James was executed twelve years after Christ's death, he went ahead and gave his life], and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." (Matthew 17:1-3)

Now, the question I want to ask you is; what were they talking about? What were they talking about? Have you ever noticed that before? Do you know what they were talking about? We will go on and see. Notice; "...Tell the vision to no man..." (Matthew 17:9) so this was a vision. In the vision, Christ was actually talking to Moses and Elijah and they were talking about something. They were actually discussing a specific thing. It's not given in this particular account, but it is given elsewhere. Turn over to Mark 8:32 and let's have a look at the corresponding account here. Let's see how Christ applied His own instructions. Again, He is talking about how He will be killed and after three days rise again:

"And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men [this was the crucial area that was being discussed, the fact that Peter was going in a human direction]. And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." (Mark 8:32-35)

A bit more than just My sake, not just Christ's sake. It is for Christ's sake and the gospel's. The gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Government of God, the rulership of God, and the family of God, by the ruling family of God and everything that is involved with that subject. It is that, that was being focused on. Christ was focusing on the gospel. He was focusing on His part within the Plan of God. The fact that He had to go ahead and lose His life if necessary. In fact, He did, He had to lose His life quite literally as part of that plan, and He rebuked Peter because Peter was leaning in a different direction, away from God, trying to seek to save His life. He would have actually even destroyed the plan of God if he had done so. Mark 8:36:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words [notice..."my words"] in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:36)

Are we? Do we in fact shrink at the very Word of God and what the Word of God has to say? We shouldn't do. It doesn't mean to say you're not wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and you don't cast pearls before swine, and various other passages. But we certainly shouldn't be ashamed of what we believe and we see within scripture, within the Living Word of God and putting it into practice in our lives. Mark 9:1:

"And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them [they actually had this vision of the Kingdom of God coming, He actually took these three and allowed them to see the Kingdom of God coming with power]. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus." (Mark 9:1-4)

Again, question is, what were they talking about? What were they talking about? Turn over to the parallel account in Luke 9:23 here it says:

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

Again, each time you read a parallel account, there is some little bit of information that is added that you won't have. You've got to put all three together to get all the information. So, it is talking about taking up his cross daily; "...whosoever will lose his life shall save it." (Luke 9:24 paraphrased). It doesn't mean to say necessarily, literally. But it is literally daily that, that loss has got to be; daily you put yourself under God's authority. Luke 9:24:

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it" (Luke 9:24)

So again the context is taking up the cross daily, that is the context of that particular verse in this particular instance in Luke. Luke 9:25:

"For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God [see this vision that was about to be given]. And it came to pass about an eight days [somewhere between 6-8 days if you put the other scriptures together] after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias [this was in the vision]: Who appeared in glory, and spake [notice, this is what they were talking about] of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:25-31)

So, they were actually discussing, and here was Peter, James and John witnessing this. Witnessing this discussion in vision with Moses and Elijah. How they knew who - whether they had a Moses tag hovering over them or not, I don't know, but they clearly understood that it was Moses and Elijah He was discussing it with. What was being discussed was what was going to have to be accomplished at Jerusalem. It was His death at Jerusalem that was being accomplished. Within that context of His death, He was talking about how; "...whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24).

We see the same kind of thinking, if you turn over to II Peter 1:13 We find Peter actually referring back to this at his own impending death. Now here is Peter about to die himself, and where does his mind and thinking go back to? It goes back to the example that he saw with Christ in that Mount. It says:

"Yea, I think it [fitting], as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me [that's his body - he dies]. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance ['always' is, Strong's G1539, 'at each time' in remembrance, presumably each Sabbath in remembrance]. For we [the apostles] have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." (II Peter 1:13-18)

Remember, Peter, James and John. James had already died by this time, so it was Peter and John. Peter and John were involved in the canonization of scripture. These two, firstly Peter. Paul gathered his epistles together. Peter was involved in the canonization; and passed the information across to John who then did the final canonization and left the words that had to be always in remembrance, that had to be read on the Sabbath days.

Here we see Peter referring back to this example that Christ gave. The example is all to do with; "...whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life...shall save it." (Luke 9:24). Peter's mind goes back there, and it goes back there when he reckons and sees that his own decease, his own death is imminent. What he was actually doing, was leaving something for the people of God.

Now we see again, turn back to John 12:19. We see Christ's mind working again in this same area as He is contemplating His own death and His own problems that He is facing. Let's face it, the fact that Christ dealt with Peter so harshly and so severely, it was something obviously that was getting to Him. Notice what He actually had to say:

"The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him." (John 12:19)

Now if you wanted to look at the timing; John 12:1 says:

"Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was...[verse 12] On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem," (John 12:1,12)

So, you are looking at six days, at five days, and this event here was taking place maybe four days, something like that. If you go and look at the tail end of Matthew 25 and goes into Matthew 26, you find that, that was about two days before. All these things were happening right before the actual crucifixion took place. Here in John 12:19, it says: the entire world is going after Him.

"...behold, the [entire] world is gone after him. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world [notice; this world] shall keep it unto life eternal." (John 12:19-25)

Who was He talking to? He was talking to the disciples, yes, but He was also talking to Himself. What would He say? "Not my will, but yours be done." (Matthew 26:42 paraphrased) when He finally got to Gethsemane. It was the case of submitting Himself completely to that will of God. So, He was moving into the greatest time of trouble of His entire human existence.

We are moving into the greatest time of trouble of our entire human existence. Mark my words! We have got to have the same kind of mentality. We have got to have the same kind of mind set. We are moving into a time of trouble so great, never before or afterwards. We have got to have the same mind set as Christ had, as Peter had and so on. That mind set is not the Place of Safety. That mind set is that he who seeks to save his life will then lose it, but he who loses his life - he who gets on with the job, who does the work necessary at this particular time, that is the one who will gain his life. Even if he has to lose his physical life, he still is the one who will actually gain it. Here is Christ talking to Himself as much as anybody else. He who loves his life shall lose it and he who hates his life in this world, shall keep it to life eternal. John 12:26:

"If any man serve me, let him follow me [let him have the same mind, the same frame of mind that Christ had]; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour [is that the problem, is that the solution to this problem?]: but for this cause came I unto this hour." (John 12:26-27)

The very purpose for my human life is to come to this point. The very purpose for us being in the Church, is to come to a point that is going to lead eventually into the Great Tribulation and then beyond into the Kingdom of God. We can say just the same way, what am I going to say? Father, save me from this hour? It is for this reason that we have been in the Church. What are we talking about? We have got to make sure that our mind is going along the same line. John 12:28:

"Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." (John 12:28)

So, God the Father was with Him and He would go through it. As He said; "Not my will, but yours be done." (Matthew 26:42 paraphrased) That was His entire focus, His entire mindset and He could understand that having lived this life. Put in your notes Psalms 22:29, it's a Psalm about the crucifixion. Look at it in the New King James, not the Old King James. The New King James talks about how people will come and bow before Him. Yes; this individual that can't even keep Himself alive:

"All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive." (Psalm 22:29 New King James)

He knew about the frame of man. He knew about His own frame, His physical frame. He could see Himself as a physical, chemical existence. This concept is in Isaiah 40:6:

"...What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower [died away]..." (Isaiah 40:6-7)

That's the way it is. Our physical life will come to an end. You try and save the physical life, you will lose it. Every single last one of us will lose it because that's what a physical life is all about. The reason for a physical life is so that we can die, so that we can die. So, what is the point of holding onto it desperately and having a focus of holding onto it desperately? It is far better to focus onto the things that the forerunner focused onto at His time of crisis, at His time of need and that was that; he who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life, in this world, will keep it till life eternal. It is getting the priorities sorted out.

When I say; Father save me from this hour? It's because of this reason that we have come to this point. It's why we are here at this particular juncture in history. This is why Peter had to come to that point before he was executed. Now, hopefully that will not happen to us. It might do, it might do and if it does, then that is in God's hands. Our focus has got to be on the Kingdom of God, His righteousness and on the things; not my will, but yours be done, the same kind of things that Christ's focus was on.

A Living Sacrifice (PLAY FROM 57:09)

It's got to be a living sacrifice - a living sacrifice. Now if I can just read you this section from chapter 35 in the Autobiography. It's under the title 'Dying to Live.' It's describing Mr Armstrong's conversion in giving up his old self and his old ways. This is all part of it, really, it has got to go in every respect, in all areas of life. It doesn't necessarily happen all at once. Yes; the initial stage is all at once, but it is something that we learn through trials, through difficulties, through our life. He says:

"But let me say to the reader, if God could take [he had just been talking about this worthless, burnt out hunk of human junk that he looked upon himself as] that completely defeated, worthless, self-confessed failure to which I had been reduced, and use that life to develop and build what He has done, He can take YOUR LIFE, too, and use it in a manner you simply cannot now dream - IF you will turn it over to Him without reservation and leave it in His hands! What has happened since gives me no glory - but it magnifies again the POWER OF GOD to take a worthless tool and accomplish HIS WILL through it!" 'The Autobiography Chapter 35 '

Now, every single one of us needs to be the same way. We need to look at life the same way. Why should it be any different? Just because we don't have the same position as Mr Armstrong? It doesn't make any difference at all. We are all to be looking forward to the Kingdom of God. It says:

"But don't ever suppose it came easy. If a mother suffers birth pangs that her child may be born, most of us have to suffer that WE may be born again of GOD - even in this first begettal stage we call conversion!"

"And what does all this mean? It means that millions of professing Christians have been deceived into believing in a FALSE CONVERSION! It means, as Jesus said, 'whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.' Or, in another place, 'He that loveth his life shall lose it.' "

"It means that the individual must be CHANGED! It is a change in what you ARE! Jesus Christ never pictured the way of salvation as the broad and easy and popular road. Rather, He said, that popular road is the way that leads to destruction - and the MANY are traveling that road. He said that many would desire to enter the Kingdom of God, and should not be able! Why? Because they are not able to give up this world - this world's WAYS - to give up being concerned primarily with 'what will my friends - my club - my associates - my relatives say?' " 'The Autobiography Chapter 35 '

My empirical self in other words, that's what he is talking about. It says:

"Repentance means GIVING UP your way - the world's way - the world's opinion of you! It means turning to the WAY OF GOD - the way of His law!..." 'The Autobiography Chapter 35 '

Remember what Job was going on about that we read? As far as Job was concerned, "look at how all these people looked at 'me' for all these wonderful things that 'I' did!" All that had to be given up. God stripped that all away from Job, and finally he became converted and put himself under God's authority unreservedly, totally.

"Repentance means GIVING UP your way - the world's way - the world's opinion of you! It means turning to the WAY OF GOD - the way of His law! It means SURRENDER - unconditional surrender - to live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. Since the Bible is the Word of God, it means to live by the BIBLE! It means utter voluntary submission to the AUTHORITY of God, as expressed in HIS WORD!"

"When I literally gave my life over to God, I meant it! I did not count it mine any longer. Yet, had God brought me merely to this agonizing experience of conversion, and then restored me to economic ease and prosperity, I probably would have reverted back to the same goals and ways. The old cocky SELF-confidence probably would have returned. I probably would not have endured as a Christian."

"So God not only brought me low. He kept me that way for 28 long years!" 'The Autobiography Chapter 35 '

That's why. Mr Armstrong recognized why. He recognized the reason why it went on for so long. If you turn back to Matthew 6:31, we have got to understand that God knows our need and we have got to trust Him to supply that need. As a living sacrifice, we put our focus in the right place and we get our mind in the right place and we apply all the words of scripture, that includes working hard and doing the various things that are necessary. It includes all the things that you will find in Proverbs. It includes getting up in the morning and praying and then getting out and doing a decent day's work for a decent day's pay, all of those things. But it says here:

"Therefore take no thought [do not become over anxious, do not become unglued, don't come to pieces; that's what it really means], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the [nations] seek [the entire world is going down that route]:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things [He knows what we need but He also knows what we need spiritually as well]. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:31-33)

You don't have to fret about them. His righteousness includes working hard. It includes going out there and getting a job. But you don't have a focus on making lots of money. That's not what it's all about; it's obeying God, it's doing what we have got to be doing. Therefore; do not become unglued, do not take anxious thought for the morrow, Matthew 6:34:

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)

You are only to be concerned about, worried, or start planning about this day right in front. You do need to make plans, but not to become unglued about it. Turn over to Luke 17:3:

"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith [we are not going to be able to do this]. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? [I don't think so]." (Luke 17:3-9)

That's not the way it worked at that time. A slave would have to come in from having worked outside to prepare his master's meal. Only after his master had eaten would he then be allowed to eat. Luke 17:10:

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you [this is the mentality, this is the frame of mind], say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which [merely] was our duty to do." (Luke 17:10)

The living sacrifice is our duty, to live a certain way. The old man has died, the old man is gone and what we now have is a different individual that has got to live in a certain way; submissive to God as our reasonable service until we finally make it into the Kingdom of God. Until God finally brings us into that Kingdom of God. Turn over to John 12:49; as far as a living sacrifice is concerned, here is another example you find right at the end of John 12 of the attitude and frame of mind:

"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, [that's what I am going to say]." (John 12:49-50)

What did He say? John 13:1:

"Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper [having occured], the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him [He knew Judas Iscariot was still there]; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." (John 13:1-5)

He washed their feet, including Judas Iscariot's and He did it as an example to us. He did it knowing that the Father had obviously given Him something as an example to be done, to be said, to be put forward. So, we see here the foot washing. Passover is what, three months away? Yes, the end of March - a bit earlier this year. Three months away we've got the Passover when we reiterate the commitment that we made at baptism.

The fact is that; "...he who seeks to save his life loses it, but he who loses his life, the same will gain it." (Luke 9:24 paraphrased). Christ did that. Christ was about to be sacrificed. Even in that environment, and this was literally the night before, that entire night He went through the suffering that He did and the following day, He was crucified, in the daylight part - yet, in the midst of it all He gave us this example as a frame of mind of losing His life and saving it. And in John 13:15 saying:

"For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:15-17)

He is not talking about just doing them at Passover. He is talking about the frame of mind, a living sacrifice. It's not just a dead sacrifice, it's a living sacrifice. Turn over to Romans 12:1 where you find that actual phrase being used:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)

The word 'reasonable', is logical, it's 'logikos' in Greek. It literally means logical service, Strong's G3050. In other words, being a living sacrifice - there is no point in being a dead sacrifice. The logical way in which we can serve, that we can do what is necessary is not to be dead, but to be alive, but still be a sacrifice to God. Romans 12:2:

"And be not conformed to this world [this age]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove [put to the test] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

This is what it's about; "...whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24). In losing your life, putting ourselves under the same kind of mindset that Christ had, putting ourselves under the same kind of authority that is flowing down from God the Father, and living our life accordingly. Romans 12:3:

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think ['of himself', is not even there] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith [live the kind of life that we need to; he goes into...]. For as we have many members in one body..." (Romans 12:3-4)

He says; "Whatever gifts you've got, use those gifts to the optimum ability that you have been given." (Romans 12:6 paraphrased). Make sure that we use them in the right way. It is a logical service, it is a logical service; because let's face it, God gave us everything! Everything we own, everything we are is owned by God. (Romans 12:3)

An Overall Frame of Mind (PLAY FROM 1:10:17)

Let's go to this overall frame of mind and turn over to Revelation 12:9 and I want you to notice the context of this, it says:

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelation 12:9)

Mr Armstrong speculated as to whether that actually happened during the 1970's. He speculated whether it happened prior to the Attorney General actually attacking the Church. You look at the subsequent events and the things that happened against the Church and the things that are now happening in the world, and you do wonder whether that was indeed fact the case. Revelation 12:10:

"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Revelation 12:10-11)

So they loved not their lives - losing life will save it. They were prepared, not that they would have to go ahead and die, but they were prepared to die for what they believed in. The fact that they overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, they held onto their truth; holding fast to what they had and they loved not their lives to the death. Now some, every indication is, that some are going to lose their lives. But it goes on in Revelation 12:14:

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for [three and a half years], from the face of the serpent." (Revelation 12:14)

So, this is just before the fleeing takes place. Here's this individual whose focus is on the Place of Safety. But no, the focus of the people being described by Jesus Christ here in Revelation 12 is that they overcame by the blood of the Lamb, for themselves and for others as well. Having the word of testimony, having the word of testimony, and making sure that what is coming out of their mouths and the things that they are saying are aligned with what God wants; and not loving their lives to the death. In other words, applying; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24). Applying that principal, applying that frame of mind. This overall frame of mind is crucial.

The interesting thing is, in the very next chapter, Revelation 13, which is also an inset chapter describing the false system. It says that what is coming in the world at this same time, as far as being implemented in the world, is a mark that is going to be imposed. Revelation 13:14 says:

"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." (Revelation 13:14-15)

So, here we see that people are going to have their lives on the line. Turn back with me to Daniel 3:12 - you wonder, why is this example in here? Is there a little bit more to this example here? Is it something that we have got to be keeping in mind? Because we are looking at this image of the Beast and that people have got to worship this image of the Beast or they are going to be killed. Is it going to be that when this Beast power actually rises that we are going to have to be worshiping something like that?

The indication is that the mark of the Beast is acceptance of Sunday worship and acceptance of the christian religion being focused on Sunday. You find that even now in the Catholic Church. This worshiping of the image of the Beast - notice what happened right at the beginning of Babylon, the very start of all these various kingdoms that came down eventually to the final kingdom that we are talking about in Revelation. Here it says:

"There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs ['Jews' means praised, some people who were praised of God, Strongs H3062, that is what they are literally saying] of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:12)

In other words, they were not worshiping this image of the Beast, this image that you have set up. Notice in Daniel 3:16 the approach and frame of mind of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)

This is non-negotiable. Were they going to try and save their physical life? If they had, they would lose it. The attitude of mind, the frame of mind was one of putting themselves under God and we know this God can save us. But, if He chooses not to - having done all we say as unprofitable servants we are doing what is our duty. If He chooses not to, it doesn't matter. We are still going to go this way regardless. Why? Because it is the right way to go. We are convinced that we know it is right. That is the frame of mind. That's the frame of mind of this phrase that says; "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24).

We find the frame of mind also in Romans 8:29. Here Paul is ending the initial part of Romans which literally goes from Romans 1 all the way to Romans 8. He comes to the final conclusion of what he is talking about, the Spirit of God and the leadership by that Spirit, he says:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [He planned, God the Father and Jesus Christ had planned this, this was not something arbitrary, you look at the natural world, all that you see is an amazing creation, all planned; but He planned more than that...] to be conformed to the image of his Son..." (Romans 8:29)

He planned certain individuals that were going to be called and He planned them to be able to be conformed to the image of His Son, the same individual who issued these words. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24). Romans 8:29:

"...that he might be the firstborn among many brethren [that's the aim]. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called [He called individuals and put them into His Church]: and whom he called, them he also justified [He justified them by the blood of the Lamb, He justified and wiped out the sins that were past and He also then made them right and justified He then, from that point forward made them righteous by the life of Christ:] and whom he justified, them he also glorified [that's the aim to eventually be in the very Kingdom of God]. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things [everything, the ability to speak and it will be]? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall [trial], or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:29-35)

Is any of that going to be the problem? Is it going to be something that turns us aside from the destiny that God has for us? Romans 8:36:

"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter [again, it talks about whosoever loses his life and takes up his cross daily as a living sacrifice, that's how we gain it]. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other [creation], shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:36-39)

Nothing will separate us from the love of God which is destined to give us real life. At the moment we have got physical, chemical existence, and that is all we've got. Whoever is going to go ahead and attempt to save that physical, chemical existence, they are going to lose it. You can try until you are blue in the face, that will not work, having our focus on the Place of Safety will not work. The context is very clear. The context is that we have to have a different frame of mind. It is that; "whoever will lose his life in this world for my sake and the gospel's, they are going to keep it and they will keep it for life eternal." (Luke 9:24 paraphrased).


1 It is the August 1982 edition on the Get Back On Track website