Sermon given 26 October 2013

Why Christ Came - Part 1

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

If you go to the shops today, and you go through any of the shops over here, certainly, not only are there various Halloween masks of ghouls and ghosts and goblins, but there is even Christmas. On one side is Halloween. On the other side is Christmas, even with two months to go to Christmas time, you still have all the Christmas paraphernalia there. If you were to actually ask somebody who is going in there to buy this stuff, who is getting ready for this holiday season, "why did Christ come?", what would they actually reply to you? How would they reply?

Why did Christ come? Chances are, if they are religious in any way, they would probably say 'to save sinners', or that it was a soul-saving crusade of some kind. You might even get somebody that would be able to quote a bit of scripture. Maybe they could turn over to this scripture in Luke 19:10. I decided out of interest I would put in; "Why Christ Came" in the search engine and this particular verse was highlighted. An entire sermon was given on this particular verse:

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)

That was it. That was the verse, and it broke that verse down; "...Son of man...", therefore He was human, and therefore could sympathize with everybody. "...is come...", His advent, and that God was made flesh and so on. "...to seek...", He goes out and seeks everybody He can and brings them all into the fold. "...to save that which was lost." So the entire sermon, the entire message that was being given, was on that one verse.

If you had just read a little bit around it, the verse would make an awful lot more sense. Because the actual context of it was the fact that Zacchaeus - and remember this is Luke that is saying these things - Matthew was a tax collector and Zacchaeus was also a tax collector, presumably Zacchaeus became a disciple at this particular time. He [Christ] was being criticized for having gone in and spending time with this individual, who obviously had been a bit of a rogue in the past. But he promised to go ahead and give to the poor and Luke 19:8:

"...Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold [so he is trying to repent and give the works due to repentance]. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost [that is the context]. And [notice then] as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.." (Luke 19:8-12) And talked about a nobleman going away.

So this kingdom and the Plan of God, it was within the context of God's Plan. The fact that a nobleman goes away and comes back, and it is just this select group that He is dealing with, of which Zacchaeus was one. So yes, Christ will indeed come and seek and save that which is lost. But this is not the reason He came as far as Christmas is concerned, or what they celebrate at Christmas time.

But you know, yes, it is important that we understand that, but if you were to be asked why did Christ come the first time? What was the reason for Christ coming the first time? What would you answer? The interesting point is, that Mr Armstrong deals with this specifically in 'Mystery of the Ages', and it kind of leapt out at me when I was reading Mystery of the Ages a little while ago. I put it to one side as a possible sermon topic. There are five points involved, and they are on page 216 of 'Mystery of the Ages' in the hardback version. Mr Armstrong says:

"Neither professing Christians nor their scholarly theologian leaders today comprehend the major PURPOSES for which Jesus Christ came!"

"Why Jesus Came"

"Jesus did not come to save Satan's world while Satan sits on the throne deceiving them [yet that's what happens as far as Christmas is concerned, that is the answer you'll get, it's to save sinners on a soul-saving crusade]. Jesus will save the world at his Second Coming, when Satan shall be put away. Why, then, did Jesus come more than 1,900 years ago [nearly 2,000 years ago now]? Not to rule, not to reign over all nations, not to save the world while Satan still rules over them."

"His human birth was the arrival of the 'second Adam' [the One who was going to do it right]. He had come 1) to qualify, where the first Adam failed, to replace the former archangel Lucifer on the THRONE OF THE EARTH, ruling with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. He had come 2) to announce the future establishment of the KINGDOM OF GOD and teach that prophetic good news (gospel) to his chosen future apostles. He had come 3) to take on himself, as our direct Creator, the penalty for our sins by his death on the cross - that we might share in that world. And he had come 4) to be resurrected from the dead by God, making possible ETERNAL GOD-LIFE for the people of God and after his Second Coming for all who are willing, of all humanity, who have ever lived on this earth. And he had come 5) to establish GOD'S CHURCH, to be trained to rule under him." 'Mystery of the Ages'

So those are the five areas he deals with.

1. To Qualify

2. To Announce the Kingdom of God

3. To Pay the Penalty of Sin

4. To Be the First to be Resurrected, ie. the first born from the dead.

5. To Establish His Church.

Those are the five points. What I want to do today, I want to ask the question; why did Jesus Christ come two thousand years ago? And to go through these five points as the answer to this particular question. I looked at it and thought, well there's a sermon. Well I then looked at it again, and thought, no, there's two sermons. I looked at it again and thought no, there's three sermons or even more than three sermons! So we will start today. I can guarantee that I will not finish it today. We'll get through I hope one point. We might get through two points if we are really lucky, and we go fast enough. I would like to get through these five points over a series of sermons, and answer the question "Why did Jesus Christ come two thousand years ago?", going through the points Mr Armstrong raises in this particular section of 'Mystery of the Ages'

To Qualify as the Second Adam (PLAY FROM 07:04)

The first point was to qualify; let's just read what he actually said:

"He had come 1) to qualify, where the first Adam failed [so He came to qualify as the second Adam], to replace the former archangel Lucifer on the THRONE OF THE EARTH [He came to qualify to replace Lucifer, and also], ruling with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD."

So He was qualifying by putting Himself under the Government of God. So we can even take that one point that he has, even on what he has to say there, and we can go to the various areas. Now as we talk about qualifying, he also makes the following comment in the lead article entitled ' PT January 1979 Supernatural Forces on a Collision Course - What Now?' He makes the comment:

"When God SENTENCED the world (all except the very few, comparatively, that He would call) to be CUT OFF from God, He at the same time ALLOWED Satan to remain."

So Satan is here because God allows him to be. Christ came to qualify to replace Satan; but Satan is there because Christ and the Father have allowed him to be there, and to maintain his position at this present time.

"There were two vital reasons for this: 1) The THRONE OF THE EARTH, on which God placed Lucifer, MUST NOT BE VACATED. Even though Lucifer was disqualified and his name changed to Satan [which means, the enemy], he must occupy the throne UNTIL his successor, Christ, has qualified (which He did in A.D.31) [Mr Armstrong was attacked for that, he was attacked for the fact that Christ had to qualify for anything; yet, He certainly did] and been INDUCTED INTO OFFICE (as He shall be at His second coming in supreme POWER AND GLORY). 2) As Jesus had to QUALIFY by rejecting and overcoming Satan, so must all those, from righteous Abel on to now..."

So do we have to qualify? The reason why they were attacking the fact that Christ qualified is because if Christ didn't have to qualify, you could say that we don't have to qualify either. If we recognize that we have to qualify to be in the Kingdom of God to be able to administer the Law of God, and to be fit to do that, Christ goes as our elder brother ahead of time. He goes as our elder brother to show us the way. And it says here:

"...2) As Jesus had to QUALIFY by rejecting and overcoming Satan, so must all those, from righteous Abel on to now, ALSO reject and overcome Satan in order to QUALIFY to sit with Christ in His throne when He ousts Satan and Himself sits on that THRONE OVERALL THE EARTH!"

"The REAL CULPRIT to blame for all the world's evils is Satan - NOT DECEIVED MAN!" '

And that's from the lead article in the Plain Truth, January 1979.

There isn't the word 'qualify' within scripture, but you do find the same thing mentioned and here in John 16:32, we find one passage:

"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:32-33)

So what's the difference - overcoming and qualifying? They are almost synonyms. Qualifying by overcoming the world. Qualifying as the second Adam, but just generally qualifying. If you notice this word 'overcome'. Turn over to Revelation 2:26, we find this point that Mr Armstrong brought out in that article I just read from; ' PT January 1979 Supernatural Forces on a Collision Course - What Now?':

"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations [he is doing the same works that Christ was doing. This is Christ speaking, addressing this particular individual]: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father." (Revelation 2:26-27)

So just as it says here; "...hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end..." (Revelation 2:25-26). It goes down the same route that Christ went down, overcoming where necessary. Overcoming the world, overcoming Satan, overcoming Himself; "...even as I received of my Father." (Revelation 2:27). What did Christ do? Well He overcame the world, overcame Satan, and overcame Himself - His natural tendencies. In Revelation 3:21, talking to the Laodicean Church:

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame..." (Revelation 3:21)

Now in this preceding scripture it says; "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:" (Revelation 2:26). In other words it is a rulership position. So the overcoming; the qualifying for rulership, you are overcoming for rulership. Here it says in Revelation 3:21:

"To him that overcometh [or qualifies] will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame [or qualified], and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3:21)

It is for a governmental position, the position that is to be held. It is interesting here in Revelation 5:1 it says:

"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals [this seven sealed book, was really the Book of Revelation because each seal that is broken open you read something, then you come to the seventh seal, and that splits up into the seven trumpet plagues and so on; so you are looking at the Book of Revelation]. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" (Revelation 5:1-2)

Who is worthy? Who is qualified, in other words, to open that Book? Again, notice what the context of this section is. In Revelation 5:12:

"Saying with a loud voice, Worthy [or qualified] is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." (Revelation 5:12)

In other words He is qualified for rulership, to have that top spot within the Government of God on this earth and into eternity. But He qualified for that rulership, He qualified, He is worthy for that. As I say; we have got to understand that we have got to qualify. We have got to be ready to assume that rulership. To be ready and fit to assume that rulership, and qualify to assume that rulership.

And yet, Christ as the One, the forerunner does not go ahead and have to do exactly the same? That is insane! It doesn't make sense. The reason why they were attacking that particular quality of the reason why Christ came was because it undermines the fact that we too, have got to go ahead and be obedient. We too, have got to go ahead and submit ourselves to God's Government, God's way of doing things, and be qualifying in this life ready for service in the future.

So the subject of qualifying - you don't find the word qualify in scripture, but you find the word 'overcome', you find the words 'being worthy', and you certainly find that here in Revelation and also as I mentioned over in John 16:32-33 and elsewhere as well. He qualified as the second Adam. Let's turn over to the passage where that is mentioned over in I Corinthians 15:19:

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all [the same all] be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:19-22)

So there is a contrast between Adam - the first Adam - and Christ as the second Adam. It is then brought out even further when you are looking in verse 43;

"It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a [life giving] spirit." (Corinthians 15:42-45)

As far as qualifying is concerned and what happened as far as Adam was concerned - remember what the word Adam means; Adam is a Hebrew word, [Strong's H120]. It comes from the word 'adamah', [Strong's H127], and adamah means the earth, the ground, the dirt, the clay. It is the ground from which he was taken. So the first Adam, the first son of man, the first son from this earth, from the clay, became a living soul, a living breathing being. But the last Adam, Jesus Christ as the Son of Man; remember He is always being referred to as the Son of Man, as being part of the clay, having a body made of flesh and blood, the same as all the rest of us. But He is made into a life-giving Spirit as a forerunner for us. So He is qualifying therefore to do what Adam didn't do, He is showing us the way forward.

So why did Christ come? Well He qualified, He qualified as the second Adam, showing us what the first Adam could and should have done. But he didn't have the Spirit. He needed the access to the Spirit of God. He should have made the choice to go God's Way, rather than Satan's way, but he failed.

To Replace Satan (PLAY FROM 18:12)

But the main point of all that we see Mr Armstrong mentioning is to replace Lucifer on the throne of the earth.

Now let's have a look at certain of these scriptures. Let's have a look over in II Peter 2 and just remind ourselves a little bit as far as the angels that sinned because it says here - giving them as the beginning example of the people who were set in a direction of sin, the direction of unrighteousness.

And the angels that sinned in verse 4, and the old world - the Noation flood in verse 5, Sodom and Gomorrah in verse 6, delivering just Lot, and if He was able to take care of all these things, as it says in verse 9; " The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of [trial] and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished". (II Peter 2:9)

So if He is able to do these things, He will take care of the present situations that we find ourselves in. One of those things that he mentions is; "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to [tartaroo], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;" (II Peter 2:4). So here were angels that actually sinned, that went against the Law of God.

Now it's not the Ten Commandments, because angels don't marry, so you can't have adultery. Can they kill? They can certainly spiritually kill but they can't kill one another because they are eternal beings. So there are several things. They don't need the Sabbath Day because they don't necessarily live on the earth. They don't need to rest because they are not physical, and so on. But the principles are all there. Turn over to Ezekiel 28:14 and you notice how these angels sinned and what in fact Christ is therefore replacing. How Christ is qualifying to replace Satan, to replace him as the ruler, as the head of this present evil world:

"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth [Lucifer]; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [right in the very throne room of God]. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity [till sin] was found in thee [here was this individual, this archangel, the head of the angels that sinned]. By the multitude of thy merchandise [journeyings, trafficking] they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned..." (Ezekiel 28:14-16)

So Satan sinned. Satan broke God's Law, because sin is the transgression of the law, as we will go on and read. So Christ is going to have to qualify to replace this Lucifer with a different way of life. Adding a different way of life to the world, and as our forerunner, and an example to everyone who is then following in His footsteps; to go that different way of life, that completely different way of life. Ezekiel 28:16:

"...therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will [remove] thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." (Ezekiel 28:16-17)

Those kings will be us as spirit beings presumably. It does clearly indicate that he sinned. He sinned because of the attitude of vanity, an attitude of the same way as the angels. All the angels [that sinned] would have had to have gone down the same route presumably. Again it is not absolutely clear, but it certainly indicates that they went and followed their leader, and the leader, Lucifer, did indeed sin, and they also sinned as it mentions over in II Peter 2:4. Turn over to I John 3:4 and here we find sin defined. So when we are looking at Christ coming to qualify to replace Lucifer on the throne, we see that:

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4)

As Mr Armstrong brought out in The World Tomorrow today, that Law is spiritual as it says in Romans 7; "...the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin." (Romans 7:14). So we are looking at the law that Lucifer broke, and it's a spiritual law. It is interesting, when Christ was asked what is the great commandment of the Law, He didn't go to the Ten Commandments. He didn't quote the Ten Commandments. He quoted an even broader pair of Commandments; That you love God with heart, soul and might, and you love your neighbour as yourself ... "...the second is like unto it".(Matthew 22:37-40)

You put the two together because that then covers ALL the law and the prophets. It covers the whole gamut as far as what sin is. It defines what sin and righteousness is. Therefore it can be defined as you love God with heart, soul and might, and your neighbour as yourself. It doesn't just apply to humans. It applies to angelic beings as well. Remember who we are talking about; we are talking about Jesus Christ now, who created these angelic beings, who actually created Lucifer. He didn't just create man, scooping out the dirt, and created woman out of the rib. He actually created Lucifer, He created each individual being, as an angel. So this overall Law that He gave as far as loving God with heart, soul and might, and your neighbour as yourself - The way of Give as Mr Armstrong expressed it, certainly fits. Not only mankind, it also fits the angels as well. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4).

So sin is the transgression of the law, and it is that Spiritual Law. So if the angels sinned, they transgressed that Spiritual Law, the Spiritual Law of God, the way of God, the lifestyle of God. The way that causes creation to expand and be further developed; rather than the destruction that you find - the tohu and bohu that you find from Satan's approach to things. I John 3:5:

"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin [so if we remain in Him, we don't have sin; but if we start living a life in a body that is NOT submissive to God's Law as the Way He was, then we are likely to be going the way of sin]. Whosoever abideth in him [doesn't continually sin, doesn't make a practice of it] whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him [they are not close enough to Christ and God the Father]. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." (I John 3:5-7)

He is the forerunner. He is the One that goes before us showing us the way forward. This is part of the qualification process. It is not just for His benefit to replace Satan. It is to show us how to overcome Satan, as well. It is an example for us in the way that this is done. I John 3:8:

"He that committeth sin is of the devil [slanderer]; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." (I John 3:8)

So we are looking at this Spiritual Law, that defines sin. That we can go to not only for our own sins, but even for angelic sins across the entire universe of God. Across the entire world, and not just the world, but the entire universe as well. And that definition of sin still holds good, and still is the way.

So when we are looking at why did Jesus Christ come two thousand years ago? The answer is to qualify and to qualify to replace Lucifer, then we certainly can see that it was to replace the lifestyle of Lucifer as well. It is not just him as an individual. It is what he stands for, all he is standing for.

The Power of Satan (PLAY FROM 27:31)

Now if you would notice, and remind ourselves of the power given to Satan. Satan is on the throne of this world at the moment - we find that in Revelation 12:9 and we find it in II Corinthians 4:4. He is the god of this world. He has been allowed to remain, and this is well after Christ was crucified. But he is there because God allows him to be. Turn over to Job 1:6 and just notice how this is brought out within this passage, this very ancient book of Job:

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Eternal [remember the Eternal would be Jesus Christ presumably, although it may be the Father, it's unclear], and Satan came also among them. And the [Eternal] said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the [Eternal], and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the [Eternal] said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil [he doesn't do evil, he runs away from evil, and he fears God in the process]? Then Satan answered the [Eternal], and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the [Eternal] said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the [Eternal]." (Job 1:6-12)

But he is there in the position that he is actually occupying at the moment by God's express permission. He can go no further than God's express permission. Job was given into Satan's hand, but it was only according to His specific permission. As you see in Job 2:5:

"But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the [Eternal] said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life." (Job 2:5-6)

You are not to go any further than that. You are not to allow him to die. You can only go so far. And the entire purpose of doing that was because of Job's repentance. Notice in Job 38:1, let's have a look at some of these scriptures:

"Then the [Eternal] answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:1-2)

So the Eternal obviously had to be Jesus Christ. Whether Satan was dealing with the Father in the beginning, or whether he was dealing with Jesus Christ in the beginning, is not a hundred percent clear; but here it is very clear, because it is actually Jesus Christ addressing Job out of the whirlwind. Job 38:3:

"Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding." (Job 38:3-4)

Over in Job 40:1, lets have a look:

"Moreover the [Eternal] answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the [Eternal], and said, Behold, I am vile [he recognised that he was flesh and blood, there was nothing to him, he had a physical-chemical existence and he was talking to the Eternal Being]; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further." (Job 40:1-5)

In other words; I'll just keep my mouth shut. Job 42:1:

"Then Job answered the [Eternal], and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I [simply] knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent [mere] dust and ashes." (Job 42:1-6)

All that I am is dust and ashes and therefore, he came to repentance. So there was a purpose. It wasn't a contest between Christ and Satan by any stretch. Satan was there because of God's express permission. In this 'PT January 1979 Supernatural Forces on a Collision Course - What Now?' Mr Armstrong makes the comment:

"World-famous evangelists have said there is a supreme CONTEST or BATTLE going on between Christ and Satan. They believe that NOW is the ONLY day of salvation; that Christ is engaged in a supreme struggle to get everybody 'SAVED,' while Satan is fighting savagely to keep everybody 'LOST.' THAT IS AN ENTIRELY FALSE AND ERRONEOUS CONCEPT. Those who proclaim it are themselves DECEIVED by Satan."

So if you go up and say; "Why did Christ come?" And somebody says; "Well to save sinners." Or, "On a soul-saving crusade." They have completely missed the point. Mr Armstrongs article continues:

"The only CONTEST is between those few God has called and Satan, not between CHRIST and Satan. Those called must, it is true, overcome Satan, even as Jesus did, to QUALIFY to sit on Christ's THRONE (a throne NOW OCCUPIED BY SATAN). Therefore, WE - we called-out ones, we who are CHRIST'S - are contending not against other people who persecute, accuse and become hostile against us. We are contending against WICKED SPIRITS IN HIGH PLACES, that is, Satan and his demons (Eph. 6:12). It is Satan working IN people (Eph. 2:2) who really is antagonizing, accusing, trying to destroy us."

"But Jesus Christ has already CONQUERED and OVERCOME Satan. The former Lucifer was 'perfect in all his ways' from the day of his creation 'UNTIL iniquity was found in him' (Ezek. 28:15). GOD created Lucifer BY Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Christ is his MAKER! Satan has deceived evangelists of this world into putting Satan on an EQUAL FOOTING in power with God his Creator!"

"UNDERSTAND THIS, once and for all! Satan cannot do a thing except what GOD ALLOWS him to do!..." 'PT January 1979 Supernatural Forces on a Collision Course - What Now?'

Again, we need to keep that in mind. So, when we are looking at what happened and why Christ came - the fact that Christ came to qualify to replace Lucifer - turn over to Luke 4:1 and we see the contention there was between Christ as a human being and Satan. Because there was a temptation there, there was in fact a battle that raged. It was a similar battle to the kind of thing that we have, when we are tempted to go in a certain direction. When we are tempted according to our own physical weaknesses. Yet, we can go back here and read what it says:

"And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil [again, devil means slanderer; so he came to Him with words, he came and spoke to Him]. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written [notice what He says, how He counters; 'It is written,' He goes back to scripture], That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." (Luke 4:1-4)

That is the focus; "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...[and] Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:37-39). You don't live by bread alone, but by every Word of God. Part of that 'loving God with heart, soul and might' is expressed in His Word, and you hold onto that Word. Luke 4:5:

"And the devil [again the slanderer], taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me [notice, that had been given to Satan, he occupied that position that he held because it had been given to him by God the Father, and by Jesus Christ]; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Luke 4:5-8)

The interesting point that it adds here, is that; "...All this...is delivered unto me..." (Luke 4:6). That is delivered to Satan, it was delivered to the one that became the devil, the slanderer. Therefore, He qualified in that titanic struggle. He qualified to replace Satan because He dealt with Satan as the Second Adam. He dealt with Satan in a totally different way as to the way the first Adam dealt with Satan.

Adam should have had the courage. Was Adam around when Satan tempted Eve? Was he around? Where was he at that particular time? Adam was guilty, Adam was held responsible. Adam could have handled Satan in the same way. He could have said; "God says, or the Eternal says; all the trees of the garden you may freely eat, but not that one, so we are not going to touch it. We are not having anything to do with it, whatever you say; because God says, the Word of God says." This is how Christ was able to overcome Satan. He used the Word of God on each occasion to counter and parry what in fact was happening.

To Administer God's Government (PLAY FROM 38:12)

So by doing that, He overcame Satan and qualified to administer God's Government. It was the administration of God's Government that was crucial to the entire process.

If we turn over to John 4:31 we can see over, and over, and over again, this same thing that happened, that occurred when you are looking at what happened as far as the devil was concerned, when Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. This was not just a one off. Yes, it was a one off confrontation that occurred there, it was a special confrontation that took place, but the same frame of mind that Christ had in going to the Word of God, and being obedient to that Word of God - come what may - you find repeated over and over again. Certainly throughout the book of John. Just let's have a look at some of them here:

"In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat [they looked at it totally physically]? Jesus saith unto them, My [food] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." (John 4:31-34)

So as far as He was concerned the spiritual food was so much more necessary than any physical food He could possibly have. It was to finish and do the work and do the will of Him that sent Him. I want you to notice, it is doing the will of the Father. He loved God with heart, soul and might (Matthew 22:37) - that is the overarching Commandment, and it is to do that will of God the Father. If you go to John 5:30, you find the same thing; as I say, it is repeated over and over again:

"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30)

Like it says over in James 4:1 where it says:

"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts [you want your own will, what you are actually looking for; verse 8]. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." (James 4:1-3,8)

Getting yourself right with God as it says here, this is the forerunner and the qualification to administer God's Government, because He always did the will, as it says here; "...I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30). Do we do that in everything we actually do? In every decision that we make? Do we always go and do that? Is it 'not my will, but yours be done?' That is what we need to understand and recognize from passages such as this. Lets have a look at John 6:37:

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:37-38)

The will of Him that sent me; "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." (John 6:44). "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37). Why? Because the Father has drawn him, that's why. Because the Father has selected that individual. "For [this reason] I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38). So everyone that comes to Christ, He will feed. He will look after. He will train and give the experiences necessary - hard though they may be - to be part of that firstfruit group of individuals. As it says; "...and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44). Why is He doing that? Because: "...I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38)

Final one under this section here, in John 8:27 notice:

"They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; [notice - nothing of myself] but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." (John 8:27-29)

The total focus was to please God. What is He doing when He is pleasing God? What He's doing when He's doing 'the will of Him that sent me'? Well it is the Government of God. It is flowing down from God the Father. The will of God is the way of God, the mind of God. It is the direction that God wants things done. It flows then into Christ, and He therefore administers that way, that will, that mindset in whatever He is doing. And it is exactly the same way with us as well, each of us has got to do the same thing. We have been given a life to lead - and it doesn't matter what we are doing - the life that we lead, we have got to learn lessons within it. The focus has got to be; "...not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42) because that is the qualification. He didn't just qualify and overcome to administer God's Government Himself, but to give us an example of how to administer that government as well. How to go down that same route so that we will be ready to serve with Him when the time comes.

David's Example (PLAY FROM 44:44)

Now if we look at somebody that we actually know is going to be there, let's look at Psalm 119:25 which seems to be the main psalm for most of the hymns we sing because it is the biggest one. But here is David; just notice what he actually says. I could take any of these sections, because it is always dealing with God's Law, let's take Daleth, verse 25:

"My soul cleaveth unto the dust: [make me alive] thou me according to thy word [again, according to that word]. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes [notice there are two parts to each verse here, one is what he is doing, the other pointing him back to God all the time]. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works [it is the way of the precepts, not just ticking boxes, doing the bare minimum, but the way, the mindset; 'I always do the things that please Him,' as Christ was doing]. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. Remove from me the way of lying [not just lying, not just don't let me lie, but the attitude of mind that brings that frame of mind; the way of lying, get rid of that, because if you can get rid of that, you won't lie]: and grant me thy law graciously [allow the words that come out of my mouth be gracious, to provide grace to the hearer. Instead of lying, you speak gracious words; you use words that are beneficial, up-building]. I have chosen the way of truth [the way of truth, not just truth, but the mindset behind it; this is the administration of God's Government, God's way, God's mindset, the way God thinks on every single issue]: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O [Eternal], put me not to shame. I will run the way of thy commandments [Notice - the Way and the Commandments, the mindest behind it, he'll not just walk that way, but run that way and do everything within his power to go that way], when thou shalt enlarge my heart [when the Spirit of God is there, allowing him to overcome]." (Psalm 119:25-32)

Preparation to Qualify for Our Future (PLAY FROM 47:31)

Now let's go back to Revelation 3 again, because we read passages like this for the administration of God's Government, the position that we have got to have in the future to administer that Government - the mindset we need today in order to develop that, and qualify ourselves to administer that Government the same way as Christ was qualified as our forerunner to administer the Government of God. We've gone through and seen how to do God's will was paramount, absolutely paramount, and every single facet of His existence was directed in that direction. Notice, here in Revelation 3:21;

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3:21)

Christ is talking now, He is using Himself as an example; remember, who is He addressing it to? He is addressing it to the Laodicean Church, the end-time Church. Now we can't necessarily see exactly where the boundaries of the Laodicean Church lie today; until the Church flees - until those that are Philadelphian are able to actually flee, we will not know where the boundary is going to be. Because it is God who decides that boundary, not us. We don't decide that. When God decides that boundary, then we will have the separation between the two groups; but there are two groups extant today! The attitude of Laodicea is here, as is the attitude of Ephesus, as is the attitude of Smyrna. But dominant is Laodicea today within the Churches, unfortunately. But we still do not know where that Church boundary lies, because of the shattering.

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne [talking to these individuals], even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3:21). Why did He overcome? Well, you qualify to administer God's Government and He is going to sit down with the Father in His throne. It is the same way - qualifying to administer the Government of God. And there is a basic fundamental problem with Laodicea; if you notice, the problem is zeal, the problem is that they are neither hot nor cold, but they are lukewarm, and because of that they will be spued out of His mouth and now verse 19;

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne..." (Revelation 3:19-21)

What is this knocking? What is He knocking on? What is the knock that is being mentioned here? Now people make almost a religion out of the entire thing; but you know, Mr Armstrong actually defined this and he defined it in a number of places. One of which was in; ' GN June/July 1984 True Spirituality What Is It, Do You Know?' He actually defined this particular verse where it says; "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door..." (Revelation 3:20). What does He mean 'open the door'? What is the door? Mr Armstrong says:

"Now, let us turn to God's Word, and humbly seek God's standard of spirituality."

"Of the true spiritual mind, God says to us, through Paul, 'Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 2:5)." '

He is focusing in on the mind of Christ, and how Christ thought. How Christ qualified and overcame to administer God's Government. That is really what he is talking about.

"But HOW can you have the mind that was in Christ Jesus in You? Jesus says: 'Behold, I stand at the door [of your heart, Mr Armstrong adds] and knock. If anyone hears My voice and OPENS the door, I will come in to him' (Revelation 3:20)."

"And Jesus meant exactly what He said! He will come in, through His Spirit, and literally LIVE His life of true righteousness in you, if only you will surrender all of SELF and let Him IN." ' GN June/July 1984 True Spirituality What Is It, Do You Know?'

And that fits, it fits with Matthew 25 where it talks about the oil missing, the Holy Spirit is not there. Why? It is not in the heart, that's why. The heart hasn't been opened. The heart is what? - the heart is lukewarm, insipid, it is neither going one way or the other. It is not running after God's Commandments. The heart, therefore hasn't been opened. In booklet called; ' The Tongues Question ', talking about the Holy Spirit. It says:

"...Today you need not plead and beg and agonize for God to give you this greatest of all gifts. God needs no begging! The Holy Spirit is HERE - and God tells us in His Word He is more WILLING to give us this gift than we are to give bread to our hungry children (Luke 11:13). Today the Spirit of God is HERE - knocking on the door of your heart (Rev. 3:20)..."

So it is the Spirit of God. Remember again Matthew 25:1-13, the oil. Five are wise, five are foolish, five did not have oil with them. Why? Because their heart wasn't opened. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20). What will He do? Well basically He will come in and abide with you forever. As he says here:

"...knocking on the door of your heart (Rev. 3:20), and the way to OPEN the door is to REPENT (Rev. 3:19),"

"As many as I love I rebuke and chasten:be zealous therefore and repent" (Revelation 3:19) That's how the door is opened. Christ comes in through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; and from that change, that conversion gives therefore the change of heart, a change of mind that is necessary. This is absolutely bang accurate as of now, as of today, as of the shattering. That is what it is talking about. Talking about opening the heart and being heartfelt. Being heartfelt about things. Having the heart plugged into righteousness, the same way as Christ was. Let's go back and read in the context of what we have just read. Let's go back and just remind ourselves again. John 4:34:

"Jesus saith unto them, My [food] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." (John 4:34)

Is that our food? Is that the way we look at food, or do we look at food physically as the important thing the way the disciples were doing at the time? John 5:30:

"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30)

This is administering the Government of God. It is what God wants. It is what God is looking for. Over in John 6:38:

"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."

If Christ is living in us, if the heart is open, and we allow that indwelling of the Holy Spirit so the clay that walked this earth in the form of Jesus Christ is the same kind of clay that we have walking this earth. So the clay is obedient to God, is ready for the Kingdom of God, is overcoming and qualifying to administer the Government of God. If we are doing that, then the heart is being opened. That is what we are looking at. That is certainly what Mr Armstrong spoke of as far as Laodicea is concerned. As far as the understanding there is concerned. While we are here in John, turn over to John 3:33, this is John the Baptist talking, and he is talking about receiving the testimony, John 3:33:

"He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent [the Apostle, Jesus Christ, in other words] speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (John 3:33-34)

The passage that I keep on coming back to on that subject, "...God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (John 3:34), is this article that Mr Armstrong wrote on; ' GN March 1979 What Is A Liberal?' It talks about God's attitude of mind, and Christ's attitude of mind. The liberal or the Laodicean, you can put Laodicean in as far as that is concerned; would like to go along at least part way with the world - at least part way with what 'he' wants to do, rather than what God wants to do.

"But God says, 'Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 2:5)."

"What is the mind of Christ? What is His attitude - His approach to viewing and deciding all activities? Does He, as I asked before, really WANT TO sin, to think and act contrary to His Law [is that His direction?], but because of His super power, restrain Himself? We know He has never sinned. But why? Is He sinless because He has such supernatural POWER to restrain Himself [is that the way it works]?"

"A THOUSAND TIMES, NO!... "

That is how adamant Mr Armstrong was about this. This was in March 1979 and his understanding grew; because you can read certain other things before he understood about the Spirit in man, before he understood about the broadcast of Satan. That was back in the 1960s. He would write things about 'setting your will and going that way'. It is necessary to set our will, but we set our will to keep close to God. That is what we set our will to do. We set our will, we set our direction, we set every fibre of our being to get on our knees in the morning, to study every Word of God. To make sure that we are in close contact with God, meditating on His Word. So our mind then starts to be changed. It starts to become converted, and that therefore, that conversion is what is so vitally important. He says:

"...The living Christ has never sinned because He does not want to sin! What is His MIND, that should be also in us? It is a mind that HATES sin, that LOVES righteousness. It's a matter of ATTITUDE! The liberal is not hungering and thirsting after RIGHTEOUSNESS! He WANTS to ease off a little on God's Law, He wants to do only as much as he has to, to receive the reward of eternal life. He has not yet fully gotten rid of the GET attitude, and come into the GIVE attitude."

The only way of doing that is; "...the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God..." (Romans 5:5). It is a Spirit given without measure unto Christ that allowed Him to do that. It allowed Him to qualify, allowed Him to overcome and therefore to administer God's Government and that is how He did it in this life as a physical human being - He administered God's Government. We see these examples I have just given - of administering God's Government. He says this attitude of mind is coming from God. This Governmental attitude that is coming down from God and influencing everything that is done, everything that we have administration over. Mr Armstrong says; What is God's attitude? this is again from What is a Liberal? in March '79:'

"What is God's ATTITUDE? Does God really want to sin, but, because He has power of resistance, He uses willpower and does not ALLOW Himself to sin? Can you realize that SIN is absolutely ABHORRENT to God? God DOES NOT WANT TO SIN! He has no such desire! He HATES sin! He is not [even] tempted to sin!" ' GN March 1979 What Is A Liberal?'

That is God the Father, and it flows down and Christ wanted to do the will of God, and He had the Spirit without measure. The problem with the Laodicean is he hasn't got the Spirit, he hasn't got the oil, and therefore he hasn't got the zeal, and if he doesn't have the zeal he needs to repent and Christ is on the outside of the heart knocking. But those that overcome, will sit with Him on His throne, as He overcame and sat with His Father on His throne. Mr Armstrong continues:

"God loves and desires righteousness and holiness. That's what He LOVES, DESIRES AND DOES! [That's what flows down from the Father]"

"Listen, my children in the living Christ! Do you really WANT to smoke - want to have birthday parties - want to go along with this world in its ways? Is that what you really want to do? Do you have to use self-resistance, self-discipline and willpower to prevent going along in this world's ways? "

"If so, you have not yet been really CONQUERED by the all-loving GOD!..." ' GN March 1979 What Is A Liberal?'

We are not converted, we are unconverted. It is; "...the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God..." (Romans 5:5). That is what is so vital. Do we have to exert willpower? You bet we have to exert willpower. We have to get up in the morning and get on our knees in the morning. Get the Bible open and study properly, plug ourselves in, and do it with our heart, and allow that Spirit of God to come into our heart. Because that is the only strength that will do this, that was the only strength that did it as far as Christ was concerned. It is the administration, it is overcoming, qualifying to administer God's Government by administering that Government now. Turn over to James 1:13 here we see the mindset that needs to be overcome:

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust [what he wants to do, and what did Christ say? "...I am not come to do my will, but the will of Him that sent me." (John 5:30 paraphrased) It is a different frame of mind, completely different], and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death [we see this is the mindset]. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:13-17)

What did Mr Armstrong say? What is God's attitude? Does He really want to sin, because He has power of resistance He uses willpower and doesn't allow Himself to sin? Sin is abhorrent to God. Administering sin is just not an option. God doesn't want to sin. He has no such desire. He hates it. He is not even tempted to sin. God the Father he is talking about there.

Was Christ tempted in all points such as we are? Yes He was. But how did He get over it? By plugging Himself closely to the Father. By having that Spirit without measure. How do we get over it? How do we overcome, so we can administer God's Government? Will we administer God's Government now? We have the same mindset as the Father, we get ourself plugged into the vine, and have that same mindset, then sin becomes almost a non issue. We can overcome it. The Father doesn't want to sin. He has no such desire. He hates sin. So if that Spirit of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit of God, it will go down the riverbed of the Law of God. As David said in Psalm 119:32 he will run the Way of God, he wants to do everything he possibly can to go in that direction. That is how we overcome, that is how it's done. So if we turn back to Matthew 4:1:

"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him..." (Matthew 4:1-3)

Notice, he didn't come and tempt Him in direct outright ways, until that final one. Even then, it wasn't an outright confrontation. He is devious; "...the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field..." (Genesis 3:1). This was like a serpent, he didn't come directly at Him. We have to be alert to what's taking place. So often these things will come at us at an angle, they will seem right initially. But if we are not plugged into the vine, if we are not plugged into the Spirit of God, then we won't recognize the problems. Matthew 4:3:

"...If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." (Matthew 4:3)

Well He was the Son of God, and it wasn't a problem to command these stones to be made bread, was it or not? Why not if He wanted to? He made the water into wine. Matthew 4:4:

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone [get your focus right, the focus was off, the focus was not according to the Word of God; it's not the way God was defining things], but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Matthew 4:5-6)

So often we have problems with people who read things into scripture, and come up with their own cock-eyed ideas about things. I seem to spend half my life talking to people that come up with their ideas on these things. Not those fellowshipping with us, but those that are fellowshipping outside most of the time and disagree with us on certain things. Satan can quote scripture and it's true; "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Psalm 91:11-12). That scripture was talking about the Christ, absolutely right, but... Matthew 4:7:

"Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God [you don't go ahead and do something foolish, you don't drive at 90 miles an hour when it is pouring down with rain - you are doing something stupid]. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them [probably not just the glory, but also the suffering and everything else that went along with them]; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:7-9)

In other words, "I can give you this now. You can have it now. You can make a difference now. You can help the suffering that's there. You can have all the glory. You could be the King and have a long life because you are fit and well." It was offered to Him. Was it tempting? Yes there was temptation. Again, Satan was approaching from the angle that He wanted to help, He had an outgoing, giving attitude. He gave Himself, He gave His entire life. Matthew 4:10:

"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan [enemy]: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him..." (Matthew 4:10-11)

Finally, if you just turn over to Mark 1:10 In the very beginning of Mark, you will find the account that we have here of qualifying, of qualifying to replace Lucifer, to overcome Lucifer and to administer God's Government on the earth. Here it says:

"And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him [you have already read the two other accounts that deal with this and what the temptations were]. Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God," (Mark 1:10-14)

And that is the second point. Why did Jesus come two thousand years ago? Well, He came to qualify, but He also came to announce the Kingdom of God, to pay the penalty of sin, to be the first to be resurrected and to establish His Church. This second point, and the third and fourth and so on, will be what we will be looking at in subsequent sermons.