Sabbath Message 6/6/27/120
We are now preparing for the Feast of Tabernacles. Next New Moon is the Day of Trumpets. It is both a New Moon and a Holy Day. In the Thyatiran system at the time of the Reformation we saw that the churches in Eastern Europe treated the Day of Trumpets as both and sang the usual New Moon hymns on that day. There were no specific hymns for the Day of Trumpets other than the New Moon hymns (see The Sabbatarians in Transylvania, CCG Publishing 1998).
I hope to be able to see many of you on my visits to the USA, Europe and Africa. The Feast in Southern France will be of great interest. We hope to meet as many people as possible there also. I hope to be able to see our friends in Asia some time after the Feast.
Remember that the Church of God is a small and dedicated group of people. We must treasure each other and try to help each other become established and work together to uplift the faith and the families of the Church. Remember that no one in the Church should state, “I am a dry tree”. We are all placed in families and we are all there to help the brethren become members of the one family. Although we may have become a little cynical, hearing that expression over the years in the various churches of God while seeing the beliefs and doctrines of the Church destroyed. Every one of us should share in the triumphs and disasters of our extended family.
By helping one another in love we show that we love God. We are also an army working together in love and dedication. By being able to work together we show that we are the chosen of God. By esteeming others better than ourselves we show we are part of the family of God. What parent considers themselves superior to the child they nurture, and it an inferior being? Its weakness is merely seen as a property of its growth. Its youth is seen as a necessary part of its life. It waxes as the parents wane and the entire family depends on itself in all phases of life. So it is with the Church of God and the nation. We all prepare the new converts to the faith in love and friendship and help those who are in need of help. So also we try to be strong and not to be a burden on the work and the brethren.
Let us all see the need and help as it is necessary. Give where you are able. We are always able to give and we will always have something to give one another and the work. Our gifts are only limited by the imagination and our faith. Prayers cost time and faith. So also many gifts take time as the main ingredient. It is always the ones that take time that are the most worthwhile because they come from the heart and the imagination, and that is where love is grown and developed and nurtured.
As you help one another you show you love one another. As we are helped in the faith we grow. However, our true growth comes when we commence to help others. This help must be within the Law of God or the help is of the world.
One of the true tests of the faith is loyalty and honour in the body of the Church. We are all dedicated to the one body comprised of one faith and one baptism. When we come into the faith and we are agreed together we should not expect to find disloyalty and people working against the doctrines of the faith. Let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” Be dependable and trustworthy, and then you will be given trust and responsibility. Let the brethren look upon you with confidence and trust. Love one another and it will be obvious that God and Christ love us.
Our capacity to survive as a body comes from our dedication to the faith and our trustworthiness. In the same way any family survives by the same process. Fathers sacrifice themselves for the family and the nation. Mothers sacrifice for the family entire. Children learn by example. The young adults sacrifice for the young and the aged.
The wealthy help the poor and the fit help the weak. The Church is a relationship that is mirrored by the strength of the families. As our personal faith and strength is, so also is our family, our Church, and, if the same is true generally, so also is the nation.
There is a program now underway to publish three books that we have put off
doing for a number of years now due to other priorities of the work. The three
works we will publish are:
Mysticism Volume 1;
God Revealed; and
The Law of God.
We are hoping to get Mysticism finished for the Feast or at the latest soon afterwards. We hope to get the other two done by the Sabbatical Year. The Law of God must be done for the Reading of the Law at Tabernacles 2005, but we hope to get both out by next Passover.
As you know Mysticism Vol. 1 deals with the development of the Babylonian Mystery Cults and their effect on Christianity and world religion in general. Hislop’s work The Two Babylons has been attacked and largely discredited by academics dedicated to that purpose. There is now no work that effectively isolates the doctrines and spread of the Babylonian Mysteries. Mysticism will achieve that purpose and volume 2 will deal with the corruption of the Christian system in more detail. The hard copy needs to be in as many universities and other libraries as possible.
The worlds academic systems have largely attacked the doctrines of the nature of God as man made systems. The works dealing with them have been dedicated to the explanation of mankind’s explanation of God on a developing and often from an evolutionary standpoint. God Revealed takes it from another point of view. The work details the revelation of God to man on a progressive basis and then explains how that revelation was corrupted by the Triune system.
The third work, The Law of God, is the entire structure of the Law and the supporting papers and documentation associated with the Two Great Commandments, the Ten Commandments, and the laws that subtend from them. Thus, we can understand Christ’s comment when he said on these two laws hang all the Law and the Prophets, when he was speaking of the Two Great Commandments.
That work will largely follow the sequence that we have outlined in the series, The Law of God (L1). It will be important to get the entire structure into the university libraries and other libraries and hopefully for the Sabbath Year, which is the year 28 of the 120th Jubilee.
In the Sabbath Year we will examine the possibility of establishing a bi-monthly magazine. We will need to canvas names for the work and submissions are invited for the name. We would also like those interested in journalism and desktop publishing to submit suggestions and offers of help. Each will be required to work as a member of a team to the editorial staff under direction. We will prepare a number of issues prior to the launch so that we have a sequence of copies in print.
The structure of the magazine is also open to suggestions and we invite submissions as to structure. We will also aim at printing an Asian Section, a Spanish American, and a European Section. An African section or edition will come later as we get our African Churches to a point where they can contribute.
The email versions will come first and then the printed editions as funds allow. We need good photography and good copy.
There are many other projects that are still in the works and there are projects that are not receiving the attention they deserve or had promised to them. Please pray for the funds and the resources to complete the tasks before us.
In every system there is a requirement for teamwork. We must all be able to work together as a team. Lone rangers accomplish very little, and usually in the absence of constructive criticism by their peers often come up with hair-brained ideas and are left looking foolish indeed.
It is a test for leadership that we must first serve in a team. Inability to serve is usually an indicator that we are not fit to lead either. If you are not a team player, you are generally the problem.
Tests of the Sixth Year
In all things we should see the need and provide the solution. Don’t tell us what the problems are, tell us what you propose doing about the solution. You will be given great autonomy in the Church but you had better speak sound biblical doctrine and conform to the adopted Statement of Beliefs of the Church and not introduce hair-brained ideas, or God will weed you and you will not comprehend what has happened to you. In most cases, the Church administration has not had to act on these types of instances. The brethren are able to sift sound doctrine from the false very quickly and those in error are isolated by their own actions.
However, often the gullible are deceived by the unprincipled. If you have found yourself at odds with the Church you should ask yourself: “How did this happen? Who did I allow to come between me and the body of the church?” Christ is not divided. There has to be a Church doing all that Christ and the apostles did two centuries ago in accordance with the same set of doctrines. If it is not CCG as a body, then that church must be somewhere and we have an obligation to find it and support it. No one can sit at home doing nothing. Christ said so. Failure to tithe to the true Church, and work for it, is theft from God. He has said so through the prophets (see also the paper Tithing (No.160)).
If you were a casualty of the Fifth and Sixth Year of the cycle, in the periods of grace and trials, it is time for some self-examination. Ask yourself: “Was I told the truth? Did I actually even bother to find out what was true?” If you were responsible for a problem you should ask yourself: “Did I tell the truth to all concerned. Did I discharge my duties fully and correctly? Did I follow correct procedures? Did I try to introduce some ill-considered opinion that was not accepted by the brethren and I left in a huff, or worse, did I cause others to be led astray by deceit?” In almost every case, the answer will be “No!” It was not handled correctly. Sometimes it will be: “Yes, I did cause others to be led astray!” Better then if a millstone were placed around your neck. In some cases, a problem may have been long standing from even the previous Sixth Year of the cycle and people are still sitting at home sulking. Is that what Christ would have done? I think not. Leave your gift at the altar and be reconciled and keep the Passover and the Feasts of God. Restore yourself to the faith and the body so that you may be reconciled to Christ and to God. Your officers cannot please all people all the time. Forgive those in authority over you and be reconciled. They may not be the entire problem. You may not know the entire story. We have had people come to us who had been sitting at home for a complete time cycle of nineteen years and they had to be restored to the faith. They came to see how silly they were and repented. In some cases, their church no longer exists, either in the same state or at all. Some of their antagonists are not even Christians anymore and some are dead.
We have seen people trained in the colleges of the Churches of God and baptised in the faith who fell by the way when they were tested in the faith. Some of these people now even believe in reincarnation and practice Falun Gong and Falun Dafa employing the spiritual systems of Buddhism and Taoism and using Qigong systems. Make no mistake, this is idolatry and these are idolaters. Even though Buddhism philosophically denies the existence of a god, and its objective is non-existence, it is idolatrous in its processes being based also on animism. Its entire structure is Monism and based on the Doctrine of the Immortal Soul which is a godless and blasphemous doctrine (see the paper The Soul (No. 92)). It tries to release beings that are held to be illusory.
Most problems the Church saw in this cycle were the result of poor leadership. Remember, it is not yet over until the last day of the Twelfth Month, Adar, and we have lost people traditionally even up to that day. This Sabbath cycle many problems were the result of ill-considered ideas that were contrary to sound doctrine and never held historically by the Churches of God. Some of it was just plain dishonest greed. Some of it was to deal with self-righteousness and vanity. We in CCG have seen the most appalling standards of ethics from people claiming to lead others in the faith. The misrepresentation is not confined to India and Africa among the religious opportunists. Dishonesty, disloyalty, parsimony and sloth occur in the wealthiest nations and in the wealthiest parts of those nations.
By the same criteria, if something doesn’t sound quite right, it probably isn’t right and needs to be addressed or checked. Not everyone in the Churches of God is converted. Some sin and some err. Paul tells us divisions or “heresies” (choices) are allowed to show who has the approval of God. Some people are just downright dishonest and can’t be trusted, even in the Churches of God. We have seen those who seem to think that the basic ethics of society do not apply within the Church. We should be more ethical than the society from which we come. Our standards are biblical and do not change as society degenerates. Liars have no part in the Kingdom of God.
That does not mean you start playing “Spot the Laodicean” as we have seen in some churches. Herbert Armstrong once said to a minister of WCG, “You must realise half the people in this Church are not converted.” Based on that premise, many then appeared to have spent an inordinate part of life playing “Spot the Laodicean.”
As it turned out, Herbert was being conservative about the number of unconverted in that organisation. However, a good number of people were driven out by that same attitude. Of well over three hundred thousand baptised adherents, there were only one hundred and five thousand in it at the greatest extent of that church and the other two thirds had been scattered by poor leadership. A further seventy thousand reportedly “went up a hollow log” so to speak at the time of the divisions. Make sure we deal with matters in love and concern and not in accusation. The term is “be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.” God weeds the beds of the Church very slowly but very carefully, and we are protected from our own naivety provided we are teaching and nurturing the truth and Christ has not removed the lamp-stand from that organisation.
One aspect of the capacity to work and serve together is centred on the capacity to speak in love and concern. Think about the needs and feelings of others. Some people are simply blunt and inconsiderate in the way they speak and act with others. We have seen people brought to tears by the thoughtlessness of others. I have even done that myself to another, inadvertently, and to my sorrow. It is difficult to work as part of a team if we alienate those in the team by silly and thoughtless remarks. With some people in the Churches of God, “no good deed goes unpunished.” Make sure you help and develop others in love. Expect no reward and you will not be disappointed. Your reward is in heaven. Work as a team and obey those in authority above you and care for those entrusted to you. Respect everyone and treat him or her with kindness. Be diligent and reliable and trustworthy. Courtesy and respect is rewarded with courtesy and respect as a rule. Offence begets rejection.
Often the so-called Golden Rule is a myth in human dealings. But it is difficult to be rude to someone who is very courteous and polite unless one is a complete idiot.
Love one another and show thereby you love God. Do not bury your talent and work for the faith in diligence and honesty.
© Copyright 2004 Christian Churches of God, All Rights Reserved