Sabbath Message by Wade Cox

Sabbath 13/2/27/120

Dear Friends,

This Sabbath I would like to draw our attention towards the most difficult problem in the Church of God. That is the problem of self-righteousness. It is a very difficult matter to correct as the people who suffer from it don’t know they sin, and won’t acknowledge they sin, or even accept that they can be criticised by others. Indeed the ones who try to correct them are labelled as sinners and invariably are classified as inferior.

Christ was particularly condemning of this form of sin as it prevents true repentance and correction. It is also a spirit of homicide in that it attacks the character of others. It is an “I’m all right, your not all right” attitude of mind.

Christ told this parable in Luke 18:10-14:

10 Two men went up into the Temple to pray; the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed thus with himself, ‘God I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’13 And the publican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ 14 I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalts himself shall be abased and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.

Christ showed here that the Pharisee was praying to himself. God is not concerned with this self-righteousness. He regards these prayers as an abomination. The one who acknowledges his sin is the one who is justified.

Today we see that even the level of the self-righteousness of the Pharisees is exceeded within the Churches of God. Many of the problems of the Church can be attributed to this sin and this cause.

However, even the Pharisee realised that to fail to tithe was to rob God. I have noticed that the problem in every Church is the maintenance of the faith in the Church and the carriage of the responsibilities of the faith in that Church by each individual. In most cases, the person who attacks the brethren and leaves the Church does so over a period of time. Usually they fail to tithe for a considerable period before they leave. Those who do fail to tithe rob God and thus sin.

We have seen the most extraordinary attitudes in the Church and we have seen the brethren attacked over time by people purporting to be converted but all the time behaving as though they are superior, in the same attitude as this Pharisee had in the parable given by Christ. Many people scheme to use other people for their own ends and justify it by attacking them.

The Churches of God used this intellectually dishonest ploy for decades and it has become entrenched in their mindset. I recently saw a minister exposed over a problem by a man who was not ordained. The minister’s family falsely presented accusations to undermine another minister and was exposed for it. The man who exposed part of it later committed a sin and was excluded while he was in a state of sin. The minister then used the sin in the man to justify why he should never have been criticised.

The fact of the matter is that in the Church, or in society, the dealing with sin and the testimony of a witness is not negated by any later unrelated sin by the witness. The fact of sin in one person is not mitigated by a later sin in another person. Criticism of others does not justify the individual. Yet that is precisely what this evil society does.

If you are a member of the Church of God you have a responsibility to the Church and to the faith generally. You must identify the body of Christ and faithfully support it. If you are physically able to go to the feast, then be there each day and on time and show respect to each other. If you are a minister then perform your duties faithfully and well.

Above all, do not gossip about one another and slander or libel the brethren. No one is impressed, let alone fooled, by the levelling of false accusations against others.

Gossip is the wilful murder of the character of another person. It is false witness and a sin just as surely as murder, and adultery, and theft. It elevates the self and in effect removes one from repentance and a relationship with God.

We have had people come to us seeking to be admitted to the Church yet not understanding that they are excluded because of this sin. They wish to be admitted in order to continue the self-righteous behaviour they exhibit. If you wish to enter into a relationship with God, don’t worry about what someone else might be doing. You worry about what you do. Leave the carriage of judgment and justice to the officers appointed for that purpose. Your job is to love one another and keep the Church functioning with efficient service. If someone sins against you, then follow the procedures involved and if they will not hear you then take it to the Church.

The Church is governed by a constitution and everything is run according to what is laid down within it. If you think that you have a new and bright idea that has never been followed before in the history of the Church, then carefully assess what you think to be correct and follow the procedures laid down by the Church. Submit it to your peers and the Church authorities and they will deal with it. If it is a good idea then it will be obvious to others and it will be placed before the Church for ratification. The Church of God is a body of people who are called by God and who all agree on a basic set of doctrines. These people have identified the body of Christ and have been baptised into that body. They are not baptised into a sect or denomination but they have formed an administration so that they may worship the Living God under acceptable doctrine, and they have formed that administration to govern their body. Now there are many administrations but one Lord. That is why we recognise the baptisms of other Churches of God. We do not recognise many baptisms because of their doctrines and process. There is however a requirement for each person to identify the body of Christ and they must take the Passover each year with that body or they are in a state of sin. If they do not tithe to the body they identify as the body of Christ, then they are thieves as God tells us through the prophet Malachi. No amount of self-righteous justification can alter that fact. If you are not tithing, and you are attacking the character of other brethren, then you are a thief and a liar and there is no light in you. You have to repent and be restored to the body and to the person you attack.

We see gossip all the time. It usually indicates an unconverted mind. It usually precedes an attack on the people the subject of the gossip. You have all been told that in the sixth year we have a double harvest and the Church grows but we also are pruned as a result of the trials of the fifth year of grace. The paper Samson and the Judges (No. 73) explains the sequence of the seven years of the cycle of the jubilee system. Many of us have not listened to the warnings issued this year and some have been removed already. We do not have to make the decision. God sends a strong delusion upon them and they go. Usually they go with some bizarre theory or other, or some exalted opinion of themselves over others. Some go with both false ideas and levelling accusations and abuse as they go.

In the last sixth year of the last sabbatical cycle, a man stood in my garden and said to me that he had heard some things about me. I made no comment. I knew immediately that he would move to attack me, and also the Church, within the near future. It was only a matter of time. I thought to myself, “Well we have proven you are a gossip, but I am not sure what else we have established.” Within six months that man had moved to attack me and to limit the operations of the Church. The problem was he infected a large number of people when he did it. God removed him and those who were associated with him. Christ told us: “Woe unto you when all people speak well of you for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Lk. 6:26). The adversary will attack any one of us, and especially those who are in a position of leadership in the Church. He will use the tools available to him and these are the unconverted and self-righteous of the world, and some of them purport to be of us.

We must all realise that we are all sinners and we are all called into the body of Christ to overcome and to confound the mighty. Our job is to overcome. It is not to pretend we are righteous. It is not to pretend we are better than others. It is not to exalt the self and abase others. It is certainly not to pursue racist ideas within the Church of God.

Remember this fact. God sees what we do and judges our heart. We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God.

Repent and go on. By showing repentance God will restore us in grace. Love one another and help one another as God loves and helps us. Sometimes He rebukes and chastens us. Sometimes we are disciplined for our own good. If you are reproved take the action with good grace and learn, for faithful are the wounds of a friend. If you have a problem, then fix it and do it in good grace.

We must all learn how to work with each other and to cooperate in the work of the faith. Do not be carried about with every wind of doctrine. The Church has existed for thousands of years. Scripture is not of private interpretation. Our doctrines are recognisable throughout history. The original doctrines of the faith are kept by us and are seen over time. As we say again and again, if there is someone with more correct doctrine and someone who is doing more than we, then tell us and we will sell all we have and join them. Christ is not divided. It is a source of sadness to us that most of the division within the Churches of God is not based on doctrine but on who controls the purse strings. If you have the same doctrines then you have no business being apart.

Sometimes people are placed away from the temple in order to learn and they are restored later. We must make it easy for them to be restored to the faith. We must also make it easy for those to be added to the faith. One thing we note now is that we are getting people restored to the Churches of God after gaps of many years. They have learned and, in some cases, their problems have been solved because the matters they had raised before leaving their associations have been corrected in the doctrines they now see within us. God acts to correct error. If it will not be corrected, then He raises up a new organisation. If the organisation is attacked He protects it and often removes those who would destroy or damage it.

Each year we see the changes and growth from Passover to Passover. Each year we see change and development both in the individual and in the Church.

It is pleasing to see that we are growing and consolidating in many nations. We are baptising people and credentialing new ministry in a number of nations. The Churches are growing both in North America and in Europe and elsewhere. Make sure that the process of correction and change does not see you as a casualty of war in this year ahead. If you remember that we are to love one another as ourselves and as we love God, and that these two commands form the basis of all the Law and the prophets you will do well. Esteem others better than yourself and it will be hard to be self-righteous.

If you don’t admit fault in yourself and see fault in others, then you cannot extend mercy to others in love and correction. No one can live in such an attitude of criticism.

By love of God and our fellow man we are saved through the grace of God.


Wade Cox

Coordinator General


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