Article Based on a Sermon given 18 August 2018

God's Word of Life and Growth

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

Most of you hearing me will know that we have recently returned from Australia. What many of you won't realise is that the sermon last week from Mr Armstrong also came from Australia and is one of two sermons I found in a Church member's home. Basically they had a box of tapes and they said; "Is there anything in there that you need? If you haven't got them, then by all means take them." And these two are unique to Australia, and therefore I took them.

One is from Sydney in 1981 which we played last week and the other one was Melbourne in 1984 which I have still got to process. But that is the plan - to play that some time as well. The problem with these tapes many times, is sorting out the dates. Because we try to organise the various files we have got by date order, the date in which it was given. And this particular one from last week came with the date of 9-5-81. Are they using American or are they using British – 9-5-81? Of course it could be 9th May 1981 or September the 5th 1981. What it did was make me go and search the Worldwide News' to try and find when Mr Armstrong was down in Australia. It happened to work out it was the 9th of May, that he was down in Australia.

Reading the Worldwide News, {1} there is much more information coming out about the trip. What I want to do today is to read a resumé first of all of the 1981 message, which was actually printed in the Worldwide News; because it is quite a good resume` of the sermon last week, just to remind everybody, myself included of what Mr Armstrong actually had to say. But I also want to show you what else was going on at that time because there was an awful lot of things going on which had a bearing on what Mr Armstrong got up and spoke about. And show you what was on Mr Armstrong's mind at the time. And then show also how it very much it applies to today as we try and get ourselves back on track. Because there were certain things going on in Australia specifically, that was the reason for him going down there in the first place. And it certainly has a great deal to teach us today as we struggle to try and get back on track and to find our way back to what it should be.

Resume of Sermon (PLAY FROM 02:40)

So this resume was written by Mr Bob Fahey, who was the assistant accompanying Mr Armstrong on the trip and it comes from the Worldwide News of Monday 1st June 1981. I want you to notice how many times the word 'life' is used in it. You remember that from last week, from the sermon last week; just notice again, how many times 'life' is used in the resume itself.

"Mr. Armstrong spoke for about an hour and three quarters giving an overview of God's purpose for putting man on earth. When Adam was made a living soul he did not have real LIFE. He had only a physio-chemical existence that was winding down and would eventually come to an end."

"God offered him the tree of life, which led to the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit. That spirit would have given Adam access to God's mind and God's power, which leads to eternal life."

"Adam chose the way that leads to death. God told him if he chose that way he would surely die. And he did."

"After he chose the wrong way, God cut him and his descendants off from access to the tree of life. Man was not cut off from God. Man was cut off from life. God would not give him life in the selfish attitude he was in. The fruit of that attitude would be sorrow for Adam and all those he came in contact with."

"God dealt with Israel - but he never offered them life. No one had God's offer of life until Christ, the second Adam, established His Church and offered us eternal life. We are the first to be offered life since Adam was driven out of the garden [you see how many times - I don't know how many times altogether, I think it was fourteen I counted in the resume; so we are the first to be offered life since Adam was driven out of the garden]. We are now being judged to see if we will follow the way of LIFE the way of God's love, which is shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit. Like Adam, we are being offered life."

"We have to choose. We also have Satan's evil influence to contend with; it is not easy to qualify now. But God helps us with His Spirit, and those who demonstrate that they want to follow God's way of life will be His firstfruits, the first to have life and a leadership role in God's Family forever." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

I thought it quite a good resume of the sermon itself and it is interesting when you read what was going on at the time. Just remember that Mr Armstrong at this time was 88 years old. I am in my late 60's and I could have gone ahead and retired at 65. Mr Armstrong temporarily died due to heart failure back in 1977 and he was resuscitated. Dr Roy McCarthy, an experienced medical doctor, was talking to Gerald Waterhouse one time, that there was no medical record of anyone as old, recovering to the extent Mr Armstrong did. So it does make you think that this is amazing he could get up and give this sermon.

If you look at the itinerary, again just condensing it down. It went on for several pages in the Worldwide News. When we flew from San Francisco across to Auckland, we did it on one hop and in fact you can get into the plane today in Heathrow and fly non-stop to Perth.

There was two refuelling stops for Mr Armstrong going down and the one going to Honolulu, they got out over the ocean and a warning light came on and they noticed that the actual fuel was pouring out of the wings. So they headed back to Honolulu and they found that the maintenance crew had not locked on the filler cap. Going up into the upper atmosphere it expands and therefore it started to pour out. Apparently there is a place called Falealoe which was an island somewhere which is one of their regular fuel stops, so they were hopping down from Los Angeles down to Sydney and then on that Sabbath he spoke in Sydney, which is the one that we actually listened to last week.

On the Sunday, he flew to Brisbane. Sydney is towards the south of Australia and Brisbane is in the middle on the right-hand side. He flew to Brisbane and did a Bible Study there. Then he had a tour around the offices in Burleigh Heads. Burleigh Heads is on the south of Brisbane on the Gold Coast. He had a tour of the offices at Burleigh Heads and then Wednesday and Thursday, he had a two day ministerial conference which he spoke at.

Then he flew to Melbourne - down the south of Australia and where on the Sabbath, he spoke in Melbourne. Then on Sunday he flew to New Zealand, and he was due to speak there as well. And this is someone who is 88 years old. In fact his heart was bothering him there and he never actually managed to speak. He actually went to bed. That was Sunday. On Monday he had a tour of the offices in Auckland, so it didn't stop him for long. Then on his way home he wrote a co-Worker letter and a semi-annual letter as well, ready for the Plain Truth and the co-workers. And then on Friday he gave the graduation address.

Now what is interesting when you are looking at the itinerary, there were a number of occasions that he was speaking at, or dealing with people, and each one was an elaboration on what you heard last week. Each one was something which was additional and I thought it would be appropriate in the sermon today to give what these additional points were that were being brought out. It was based on what was said last week, that you all heard. And yet there is a great deal more when you notice what was actually going on. There are four areas that I want to go into. The four areas are: Brisbane, the conference, the co-worker letter and graduation. These are the four areas where new and interesting information came out.

Brisbane (PLAY FROM 10:46)

Mr Bob Fahey in his account made the comment that:

"It was the clearest presentation of the Gospel I have ever heard." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

Which I think if you really listened carefully to what in fact was said last week, it was. An incredibly clear presentation of what is really the gospel. The conversion of man to become God, to become part of the Kingdom of God, the family of God. But, and this is what Mr Fahey goes on to say:

"But at dinner that night, Mr. Armstrong said he wasn't completely happy with his presentation. He felt he should've included that after God calls us and gives us His Spirit, we must grow..." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

So the title for the sermon is; 'God's Word of Life and Growth.' Because it is coming from God's word and it is life and growth - the things that were being brought out. After God calls us and gives us His Spirit, we must grow. So that was the thing he felt was lacking in the presentation that you heard. Unfortunately, I don't have the next one in Brisbane:

"...The next day, Sunday, May 10, we were to fly to Brisbane to speak to several churches there. Before we left Sydney at 1 p.m., Mr. Armstrong reworked the entire sermon so that he concluded with the focus on the fact that each member must grow in God's way of life [remember this is from someone who is 88 years old and the words are just as valid to us today]. We must drink in God's Word (John 6:63), so we think and act more and more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

That was what he was trying to get across. So the entire sermon which you heard went to a focal point at the end, which was the growth that was necessary for each of us, stage by stage. And it is something that each of us has got to do. We have to drink in God's word so that we think and act more and more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world. It is interesting he puts that - not less and less like Satan - it is less and less like the world which we find ourselves in, which naturally we would go ahead and become like it. We grew up in this world.

Turn over to II Peter 3:15. It is interesting if you read some of this context. People use this verse here about growing in grace and knowledge to say, "we are moving on from Mr Armstrong, moving on from what he had to say." Well, we live in a different time from Mr Armstrong slightly, very slightly, but the foundation is laid by an apostle and it says:

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore beloved [people were having problems at that time, which Peter was addressing], seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness [again, its not a case of just growing in grace and knowledge in any old way, it is very much aligned with the foundation that was there; you therefore know these things before, the foundation]. But grow in grace [and the inference is grow in grace and knowledge on that foundation, and it is not just grace and knowledge], and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (II Peter 3:15-18)

But always notice the context of that particular verse. And Mr Armstrong in saying we must grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we must drink in of God's Word, which Christ was the Living Word; very much the Living Word, so we think and act more and more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world. And this is the main point that he was led to bring out in Brisbane. If we go over to Philippians 2:3:

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:3-8)

And the interesting point is, He found Himself in the fashion of a man, without real life. The life that He had was the Holy Spirit that was in Him, which was potential. There was potential there but His actual existence was physical and chemical. And in that position He humbled Himself, because He recognised His position, in that case. And we are instructed by Paul; "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" (Philippians 2:5). And this humble basis, must form the basis of our own lives, and the context certainly teaches that.

Go back to II Corinthians 3:14. Again it shows this stage by stage, having the mind of Christ within us. Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ; of the Living Word of God, yes; but this is a stage by stage process. Again this is what Mr Armstrong wanted to bring out, wanted to actually use as a focus of the message that you heard last week. And the fact that it was after God calls us and gives us His Spirit we must grow. We must drink in God's word, so we think and act more like God and less and less of this Satan-inspired world. And here we see in II Corinthians 3:14:

"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ [the vail that is done away]. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it [when it has been called] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are [changing or] changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3:14-18)

So you are looking in a mirror and you see the reflection, which is yourself, and you see the reflection which is what Christ is. And looking into God's law. - and God's law means much more than the Ten Commandments, much more than the Ten Commandments. God's law is the way of life, that God lives and God lived and it is the way it must be with us, as potential God beings. It is not just the Ten Commandments. It is far more than that! "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image..." (II Corinthians 3:18). It is this gradual process that is taking place. It is gradual change, the mind drinking in God's word, so we think and act more and more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world. Until that mind is in fact, the brother or sister of Jesus Christ. And this is what was so important as far as Mr Armstrong was concerned and what he reworked the entire message from last week and he gave them in Brisbane a different message. Same message in a different focus.

Ministerial Conference (PLAY FROM 20:41)

Then, as he mentioned, in that week after Brisbane, he had the ministerial conference, Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was the first day of the two-day Australian ministers' conference.

"He began by explaining the overview of God's purpose in giving mankind physical existence. God gave humans a temporary consciousness for a time of character building. The material goods and physical knowledge we accumulate during this time will be of no use to us in the Kingdom of God..." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

That is an interesting point; the material goods AND the physical knowledge we accumulate. You know, we find ourselves so often bogged down by computers. With computers, it is not just no use in the Kingdom of God - it's no use in two years time, the way it goes! Let's just turn over to I Corinthians 1:18. The point is that the material goods and the physical knowledge we accumulate during this time, will be no use to us in the Kingdom of God. If you have a job in the building industry for example and you become very skilled in the building industry, it is not just the actual skill that you have. It is not just the material wealth that you produce, it is the knowledge itself that is not going to be worth anything in the future. It is interesting that here in I Corinthians 1:18 it says:

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish [or are perishing is] foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (I Corinthians 1:18-20)

So many things that we put so much emphasis on - and it is not just the physical things, it is the mental things as well. And it is interesting that he says the material goods AND the physical knowledge as well we accomplish during this time, will be of no use to us in the Kingdom of God. Turn over to I Timothy 6:4:

"He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain [again what you are looking at is the character, the godliness of the character]. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich [set their heart on riches] fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (I Timothy 6:4-9)

All that we will actually take with us is the character that we build. So let's take someone in the building industry or the computer industry. The money that we amass is not going to be there. We can't take that with us. The ideas that we learned, the things we have learned, in a mechanical, physical way, we are not going to take with us. But the valuable thing is the character produced.

So in jobs that we are doing, even the value of motherhood or fatherhood or whatever eventually we are going to be in a position where in the Kingdom of God that will be all in the past. But the character produced by being mothers and fathers, the character being produced by being administrators in our job, or being a carer, or an architect, by being a plasterer or whatever; the character we produce in actually doing the work, doing the job, that is what is important. It is how the job is actually done, not the job itself, not the actual physical things themselves. All we will take with us is the character that we build during this brief physical existence. And he makes a comment and the statement:

"Godly character is the qualifier for life." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

We are looking at real, true life and the qualifier is the godly character. And this is being brought out again at this conference. A continuation of the same mindset that he had in Sydney and in Brisbane.

"Then he began to explain to the ministers how he sticks to the overview and that he expects us to back him up and fill in the details so the flock will have a complete understanding of God's way of life."

So that the flock will have a complete understanding of God's way of life. That is our job as ministers. It is to make sure that, that way of life is thoroughly understood. You know people go ahead and they 'wheel out' Mr Armstrong in the various groups - I hope it is not done here, but people will 'wheel out' Mr Armstrong when it suits them, and not really listen to what he is actually saying.

What we need to do is, not just read what is being said by him but try and understand what is being said by him. Try and understand what he is actually getting across, what he is trying to explain. Our job in the ministry is to fill in the details so that the flock will have a complete understanding of God's way of life. I hope that is what I am trying to do at the present time having discovered the information in the Worldwide News, based on what was actually played last week. Now if we turn over to John 1:1:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2)

Because as I say, the title of this sermon is; 'God's Word of Life and Growth' and that is the Word of God, the Living Word, which became Christ. John 1:2:

"The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:2-3)

He was the one who did the commanding. He is the one whose information you find within the DNA currently, which is astounding when you think of the 'hard drive' of the DNA and the ability to reproduce that. The information is stored there that makes a whale, or makes a fly, or makes a microbe, bacteria or what ever, all in the same way. John 1:3:

"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:3-4)

And that was part of what Mr Armstrong quoted regarding Jesus Christ in the sermon last week. But here in John 10:2, it says:

"But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." (John 10:2-5)

You think about Laodicea, which is the final Church era which will exist, now that Church is not here yet. We don't know who is in Laodicea and who is not, yet. But the attitude of mind, frame of mind certainly is. It is clearly evident, clearly visible and it is interesting, it says; "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). There is a problem with hearing the voice. It says here in John 10:3:

"...the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." (John 10:3-4)

They know what kind of word is coming through. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4). The light for the path we have got to walk. And in John 10:8:

"All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:8-9)

And again it is God's word of life and growth. We need to be drinking in of God's word and the life that is there. Eternal life is not just eternal existence. This is what Mr Armstrong is trying to get across. Eternal life is eternal enjoyment, it is eternal righteousness! It is eternal existence but it is more that just existence. It says here in John 10:10:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life [that is not sufficient], and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

It is the abundant life. It is true life. And the qualifier for that life is godly character. Godly character is the thing that is so crucially important. Then down in John 10:27:

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)

So we see that the sheep hear His word and hearing His word, He is then able to give them life through that word. The same thing we find in John 5:24; this qualifier for life is the Word of God. It is drunk in, and in drinking in God's word, we think and act more and more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world. That was the central message of the growth that was needed in God's way of life, that was brought to the Church in Brisbane as opposed to what you heard last week. Here in John 5:24 it says:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life [notice it is believing on His word, there is more to it than just having everlasting existence; this is the point that he is trying to make], and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; [Verse 38] And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:24-26,38-39)

Christ was the word of God personified. It has got to be personified. There is no point in just having the words. Crudens, who did the Crudens Concordance, he knew more about the words than anybody probably alive at that time. It drove him mad, he went into a lunatic asylum. There was no computer. Today what we can do on a computer by writing a suitable programme on the words which we find in scripture can be done within a few hours. Whereas Crudens spent an entire lifetime, and it sent him mad. John 5:39:

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.[And He is the Living Word] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:39-40)

And that is very true. Turn over to John 6:27:

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27)

Mr Armstrong's mind was thinking along these lines of this particular passage of scripture. But it is not just thinking along these lines - something that he has dreamed up himself within his own mind - this is something that has come straight from scripture which as been looked at, using the spirit and the mind of God. That is the key ingredient. John 6:33:

"For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." (John 6:33)

It is not just His sacrifice. It is the fact that He shows us the example and the way to go and the way to live. He is the personification of His Word. The personification of the law of God. The thinking of God. The mind of God. And that law is more than just the Ten Commandments. It's the two great laws and the mind of God which is exhibited in the Ten Commandments. John 6:35:

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. [Notice verse 45] It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. [Verse 47] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:35,45,47-51)

We must drink in God's word; and think and act so that we are thinking and acting more and more like God and less and less like this world. And this is the growth that is necessary, the growth and direction. Notice in John 6:57:

"As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me [eats His words, starts to implement His words in their lives], even he shall live by me." (John 6:57)

And it is not just live in this life, in this temporary chemical existence, it is live into the future. It is eternal life as well living in us, in the same way. John 6:63:

"It is the spirit that quickeneth [makes alive]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. [Verse 66] From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:63,66-68)

And all we will take away with us is the character we build through this brief physical existence and as Mr Armstrong brought out to the conference at that time; Godly character is the qualifier for life. For real existence. And it's more than just existence; it is life! It is existence in a world that we can't even dream of.

Co-Worker Letter (PLAY FROM 40:21)

And then on his way over back to Los Angeles, he wrote a co-worker letter:

"Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ [and then down in the next paragraph]:

"My wife and I, with Bob Fahey and his wife, are on the way home from a visit to Australia and New Zealand. It was a MOST successful visit [then he gives a bit of information and background to the reason for the trip....]. Less than a year ago, three or four Australian ministers were starting to lead their churches off, each in his own direction. At that time I appointed Mr. Fahey manager of the Australian Office and Work. We moved also Mr. Robert Morton down there from New Zealand, and I sent Mr. Gerald Waterhouse to speak at every local church in Australia. They, together with letters I sent to all the brethren there, got the churches in Australia back on the track. I then transferred Mr. Fahey to head the work in Canada, and later called him to be my executive assistant." ' Co-Worker Letter May 18 1981'

This was the co-worker letter that he wrote which accompanied his semi-annual letter, which he also sent out at that time, which he wrote again immediately after this conference, immediately after the Brisbane sermon, and immediately after the Sydney sermon.

"My visit to Australia was well-timed. Coming soon after the churches there had been set back on the track, I found the brethren full of zeal and interest in the Work. And I think my sermons there, beside the two days’ conference with all Australian elders and wives, were just what they needed at this time [it is the foundation, again as was commented to me, it was a foundational subject, a foundational sermon; something we need to go back to continually]. Now we are all speaking the same thing, as commanded in I Corinthians 1:10..." ' Co-Worker Letter May 18 1981'

Let's just turn over to I Corinthians 1:10. Just as we can look at Australia as an example, so Paul and the people of his age were able to look at the Corinthian Church as an example and here it says:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?..." (I Corinthians 1:10-13)

And this is the reason why Mr Armstrong flew down there. It was following a problem where ministers were leading the flocks away and in the wrong direction. And if you read the co-worker letters of that time - he actually wrote a member letter to the brethren in Australia - the focus seems to be on an Australian work being distinct, being separate from the rest of the world. And that is not true. And this is what he says here, he says:

"...I gave the Australian elders and wives, were just what they needed at this time. Now we are all speaking the same thing, as commanded in I Corinthians 1:10. And that’s the same that Christ, the first apostles and the first generation of the Church all spoke!" ' Co-Worker Letter May 18 1981'

So what came out of that co-worker letter was the reason for the flight, yes; but also the fact that the focus is not on an Australian work, not on a British work, not on a Canadian work, it's on the work of God in these different areas. It is not even on that, not even local to what we have today; it is local to what is going to be there for all eternity, based on everything that has taken place down through the millennia. It says: "It the same that Christ, the first apostles and first generation of the Church all spoke!" It is the same thing. It is the same word that we have here. This is the breadth of mind. It is the breadth of understanding.

I remember Mr Armstrong made the comment about the Doctrinal Committee. And he said the problem with the Doctrinal Committee was they were trying to disprove the doctrines that He - Jesus Christ - had laid in the Church through him. And he said you will never, ever understand a doctrine by trying to go into it in little tiny ways. In other words a Greek word, Greek phraseology and yet there are people to this day still doing that. They are still doing that.

And the breadth of understanding that we find here, the fact that it is the same that Christ, the first apostles and first generation of the Church all spoke and we have got to be speaking the same thing. We have got to be aligned with the same mindset. And that mindset is the mind of God. As has been said before over in Brisbane, we must drink in of God's words so that we think and act more and more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world. That's life! That is what is needed for life. That is the kind of existence we are going to be looking forward to in the future. We can look at the Word of God being the same, yesterday, today and forever. It is not just today and forever, it is yesterday as well! Going all the way back into the pre-history. Going all the way back into eternity, backwards. It is the same word, it's the same thinking, it's the same ideas.

"And that’s the same that Christ, the first apostles and first generation of the Church all spoke!"

"You will notice, in the enclosed letter to PLAIN TRUTH subscribers, how God’s Church today has the same teachings and doctrines and practices as the Church did when first founded. Again the truth comes from GOD, through Christ, then through His chosen apostle who received it direct from the Word of God in print, even as the first apostles did through the Word of God in Person [Christ was the Living Word of God and He left this Word for us today, and this is what Mr Armstrong was bringing out]. We must all speak the same thing Christ and God the Father speak. And we should realize how we are blessed in that – for the churches of God in many generations have not had that FULL TRUTH!" ' Co-Worker Letter May 18 1981'

Turn over to Ephesian 4:11:

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:11-12)

And it is interesting, that fact that we must drink in God's word so we become more and more like God and less and less like this world, is something that has been given through the apostle that was sent to us. Ephesians 4:12:

"For the perfecting of the saints [in Brisbane and here as well], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:12-13)

Now that's the process. Process of growth is necessary. It is not going to happen all at once. Not just something we are going to wake up one day and suddenly find that we have got everything. It is something that will be growing and it has got to be something that has to be put into its context; which is the context of what Christ, the first apostles and first generation of the Church all spoke. Ephesians 4:14:

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:14-16)

It is one mindset! And that mindset is the unity of the faith and the stature of Christ. And the stature of Christ doesn't change - it's the same yesterday, today and forever. In fact, let's look and remind ourselves of that in Hebrews 13:7:

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their [conduct]." (Hebrews 13:7)

The difficulty was that with the ministers in Australia, the end of their conduct would have been to fracture the Church. It had to stop. And there was a reason why Mr Bob Fahey was put in charge. He was the minister apparently to Melbourne before he came South African Regional Director. But it says here in Hebrews 13:7:

"...considering the end of their [conduct]. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines..." (Hebrews 13:7-9)

Such as not 'the work in Australia' but the 'Australian work'. The work in Australia is one thing, the Australian work is a totally different thing. This was the problem - it was dividing the work and shattering the unity that was there. It was something which was going off down a route which really separated – not just the Australian work, it is the Australian work for our age. So it separates that work from Jesus Christ, from the early apostles, from the Word of God in former times. It says in Hebrews 13:9:

"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats [or foods], which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." (Hebrews 13:9)

If you turn over to II Peter 2:1, it says, Peter mentions it in this light because he is saying:

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (II Peter 2:1)

They had there problem with dissident ministers and dissidents in Ephesus and he said that false ministers would arise, and from you also false ministers shall come. II Peter 1:19:

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed [it doesn't just mean foretelling the future, it's speaking in an inspired way], as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:19-21)

And that context shows very clearly that Jesus Christ is is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the word that comes from Him, the Word of God is the same also. It is only understood, it is only revealed by Jesus Christ, to whom He chooses to reveal it. The unity of faith, the stature of Christ - even before Christ appeared as a human being; it is all the same mindset, the same frame of reference.

Graduation Ceremony (PLAY FROM 54:52)

And finally, the graduation. On the Friday, when he actually got back, the graduation ceremony, he took the graduation address. Mr Jeff Zhorne writes:

"...For the first time since 1976 Chancellor Herbert W Armstrong delivered the graduation address."

"In his address, entitled 'Education for Life,' Mr Armstrong exhorted seniors to 'let your light so shine before men...that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' He told them they would be carrying the light from Ambassador College and from God. Chancellor Armstrong explained to more than 800 persons present that the surge in knowledge over the past 10 years has failed to solve man's problems." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

Now reading that probably it went right over the top of the heads of most people listening to the address. He was not talking about just ordinary life! Let your light shine in this life... he was not talking about that, he goes on, and this is a quote from that address:

"The Creator will not give man life unless he can live it in happiness, peace...enjoyment and accomplishment, continued Mr. Armstrong."

"Ambassador is a college where we disseminate knowledge for Life - not for a chemical existence..." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

So he is talking about the same thing, he is talking about the same general theme that he has been dealing with all the way through the couple of weeks before, when he flew down to Australia and dealt with the problem down there. And if we just turn over to I John 1:1, this element, the value, that we need to take away from this particular sermon that was given last week. Notice:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)" (I John 1:1-2)

What is he talking about? He is talking about the way Christ lived - THAT is eternal life. So when we see the words eternal life, it is not just a never ending existence, it's eternal LIFE. It's eternal living a certain way, living the way God lives. Having the mindset of God. That is what he is talking about. And this is what Mr Armstrong was talking about. "The Creator will not give man life, unless he can live it in happiness, peace, enjoyment and accomplishment."

"Ambassador is a college where we disseminate knowledge for Life - not for a chemical existence..." (Worldwide News 1 June 1981)

So when you are going out into the world and letting your light so shine before men, what they are seeing is something which is eternal. It is something which transcends all the physical world. It is something which is spiritual in a way that is really profound. I John 1:1 says:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard [the Word], which we have seen with our eyes [that Word has been put into effect], which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;" (I John 1:1)

That was Jesus Christ, but also He was the Word of life going way back, and it is identical; and that is what Mr Armstrong was trying to get across. That we have got to be identical. That we have got to have the same mindset. The same way of looking at things, identically. I John 1:2:

"(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)" (I John 1:2)

And notice in I John 2:24:

"Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning..." (I John 2:24)

It is not just something which is needed at this time. It is not the Australian work, not the British work, it is the work that happens to be in Britain, that happens to be in Australia, it goes right the way back to Christ and the first apostles, the first generation of the Church. They all spoke the same thing. The truth comes from God, through Christ, through His chosen apostle and it is the Holy Spirit which is guiding the process. I John 2:24:

"Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." (I John 2:24-25)

Whenever we see 'eternal life', or 'everlasting life', we should have our minds go back to this sermon. Back to the time that Mr Armstrong addressed the problem down in Australia, as the microcosm of what we are having to do now. We are having to address the problem now. And there are an awful lot of ideas coming from various quarters. And quite frankly they are not leading in this direction. They are not leading to eternal life. And that is not just eternal existence; it's the enjoyment, the accomplishment, it's the happiness, the peace, all of these things as well. And without that you can't have eternal life. There is no eternal life with a satanic mindset. It is not possible. Just keeping the Commandments is not good enough. You have got to have a mind that is God's mind and God's way of thinking, God's way of looking at things. I John 2:25, it says:

"And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." (I John 2:25)

In I John 3:13:

"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (I John 3:13-15)

As I say, it is not just eternal existence, it is eternal existence of happiness, peace, enjoyment and accomplishment: that is eternal life, real life, abundant life. That kind of life, and have it more abundantly. In I John 5:11:

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life [the reason for that is that; the Son of God is a manifestation of God's Word of life and growth]. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. [Verse 19] And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ [not just the same word, it is the same active word, the same out-flowing frame of mind, as Christ Himself had]. This is the true God, and [it is also] eternal life." (I John 5:11-13,19-20)

This is not just a case of being given eternal life, it is the meaning of eternal life. It is what is needed. So, if we turn over to Revelation 3:17 it says to Laodicea:

"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 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 [remember what we read over in John 6, John 5, and John 10], 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, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3:17-21)

Christ, to the end-time Church, stands at the door and knocks, and quite frankly, it is an end-time problem, that He has to do that. It is a case of hearing that voice and going back and understanding God's word, is a word of life and growth. A good deal more than just what you heard in the sermon last week. Not anything more that is different, there is nothing different about it whatsoever. It is just more understanding that is available. Remember it is the same word of the Eternal, the same Word of Christ, who made the heavens. The same Word who made the earth. Who put the information into the natural world. And we must drink in of God's Word, so we think and act more like God and less and less like this Satan-inspired world.

And all we take with us is the character that we build in this brief physical existence, because Godly character, which is something that has got to grow on a daily basis, is the qualifier for LIFE.


Footnote:

{1} All quotes from the Worldwide News 1 June 1981 are taken from http://www.herbert-armstrong.org/