I have returned from visiting our friends in Malaysia. They are all well. They look after me well on my visits. I look forward to seeing them and many of you all again at the Feast of Tabernacles in Ontario for the “Reading of the Law”, as this coming year is a Sabbath Year of the Jubilee Calendar system. The activities in South East Asia are progressing well and especially the Chinese language projects.
One of the things that I find of great interest in dealing with the members of the Churches of God is the vast range of ideas and attitudes that prevail. Many ideas came from the break up of the WCG organisation and that process affected, and affects to this day, the members of CCG. I was interested to know that there are no longer any Sabbath day meetings there in Malaysia from that organisation. Those few who wish to fellowship on the Sabbath now approach us. That brings us to the matter of the way in which we are organised, how we deal with people who approach us for fellowship, and how our government is structured. People come to us from all walks of life and all religious organisations.
CCG was formed around the concepts of freedom of speech and justice among its members. It was formed with a Constitution that was aimed at protecting the rights, interests and integrity of the members. Not much is asked of people wanting to join us. We simply ask that people agree on the basic beliefs of the Christian Faith as detailed in the work Statement of Beliefs of the Christian Faith (A1). They also have to agree to abide by our rules as specified under the Constitution (A2) and by-laws. You would think that was a reasonable request among adult people. It is required of many organisations and many churches all over the world. Yet, that very code of agreed self-discipline is the focal point of animosity and criticism from many who claim to be converted, or to be in the process of their calling and conversion. In fact, most problems seem to come from those who have had association with the Churches of God. Those coming to us from other organisations, often Trinitarian, see these basic requirements as normal, rational and necessary for orderly regulation.
Some, however, do not see it that way. Those people come among us claiming to want to be of us, but in fact really want to attack us. Sometimes the attacks are well organised. Sometimes they are simply bizarre.
More and more the people in the world are becoming unstable in their thinking. Mental disease is rampant and increasing now as our youth use designer drugs and Cannabis. I can remember when I had to attend a security officers’ briefing in my command HQ to become familiarised with these drugs. None, or few of us, had seen them all. Towards the end of the briefing, the briefing officer rolled a marijuana joint, lit it and passed it to us so we could smell and taste it, and be able to identify its characteristic odour in the future. I recall being struck by the large array of pills on the identification board. We found it amazing that people bothered to take these pills of strange shapes and colours. It did not occur to us that the intelligence systems in the US were actually placing them in young people’s drinks in bars to experiment with the effects, as has been subsequently published. Now that list of drugs is far larger. The effects are worse and the damage is ongoing. The drugs were coming into us from our exposure to US influence in Vietnam, and through infiltration and smuggling. Now the rackets are well established. They drain our wealth and our youth, and the leaders live off our earnings like parasites, and none care that it is treason and often murder.
In those days the full horror of the genetic damage done by these drugs was not realised. Now it is an entrenched criminal business at the highest levels of our society and our youth pay the penalty. No one really wants to regulate themselves according to rational laws and social values. We are getting like the societies of Sodom and Gomorrah and the road is straight downhill unless we repent.
Misinformation is endemic among all business corporations and politics. The WHO is now moving to control all forms of medicine and health supplements so that they can control even our right to life, and thereby seemingly exploit us all (see the Health Bulletins at www.ccg.org). Politicians now consistently lie to the public on a regular basis and see nothing wrong with that fact. People who obey God’s Laws make themselves prey for the apostates. The talkers in tongues and the ravers act as though their brand of religion has some resemblance to Christianity, which it does not (see the papers The Tongues Question (No. 109) and Original Doctrines of the Christian Faith (No. 88)).
The only refuge we have as members of the body of Christ is within our Church environment. To that end we insist that people who wish to join us behave in a rational and ethical manner. Therefore we have formulated a set of rules by referendum of the Church, and each amendment is also by referendum. One would think that fact was not a serious contention and not a problem. Usually our society is regulated on the laws of contract and agreements. Without agreements and ethical behaviour a society cannot function and survive. Yet, often the religious see nothing wrong in breaking the simplest of written agreements as though laws and ethics do not bind them at all. Why then do people want to join us but refuse to agree to follow our rules and beliefs? They then try to attack us because we politely request them to do that. Surely there is a group that suits their particular, and sadly, often bizarre, persuasion.
One of the answers is that we have found that people who join us often have serious problems that are generally not manifested in the autocratic environment of the other Churches of God. There they were not often permitted to speak and when they were, it had better be along very straight lines or they would be dealt with. Often they could not even discuss some topics. The Nature of God and the Calendar are two notable points. These two areas define the Who, and the when, of our worship.
What we have developed is a very important system that will only stand the test of time if people insist that it is protected. Our officers work within the Constitution and to other responsible officers, and the brethren should support them in their duties. No one of us knows when we are to be called to perform tasks and we need the willing cooperation of others.
If you cannot follow, you cannot lead. We have experienced disruptions in some churches due to self-righteousness. To this day, those people who were part of the problem cannot see that they are the problem and not the solution. It is always some other person’s fault, and usually the leader they not only failed to support, but also often slandered and attacked. When they were exposed or unsuccessful, they then left the congregation. Often they do not know why these things occur or why they did them.
God is not mocked in this process. Christ works and protects the Church. Those that go out from us are not of us, or they would not have gone out from us. God gives all the elect to Christ. It is God that predestines them to be called. God directs all matters relating to the faith and the elect as it works to His purpose.
A lawyer spoke to me the other day. She gave me a debrief dealing with a court matter about which we had prayed. She said words to the effect of: “I don’t know why that happened. The person in question by rights should not even have been here but somehow he was scheduled here. Events might have been different otherwise”. I said, “Well we believe that God determines our affairs and acts to our benefit in the long run as it affects His purpose”. They had to agree, as there was no other obvious explanation for the events.
All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Most people forget that it is being “called according to His purpose” that is the determining factor.
Each one of us should be of the attitude of mind that we serve first, and God will add to us as we are able to defend the faith and to support those in charge of us. If there is a problem in a Church, it is often the fault of the entire Church. Some people leave and when they do they take their problems with them. Some people are scattered and do not get a proper chance to fellowship with others. Often they do not understand why those others in the position to fellowship do not make the most of it.
We should give thanks in all things. Be thankful for the person you have in fellowship. Give thanks that God has seen fit to place you in a position to work for the faith in the last days.
One of the saddest things that we see is in developing countries like Africa and India. The groups are often like the horse leaches daughter. They are ever crying “give, give” and do nothing in return. Some even get angry when they are refused an endless supply of funds. Each of us must ask what we are able to do for the Church. Many of us work for no funds. Some get assistance with expenses. If you are in a position to do something, then do it with all your might. Ask for nothing and what you need will be added to you. Nourish one another.
In this sacred year coming upon us many of you will need help getting to the feast. Many have long distances to travel with a number of children. We need to consider such people and their needs. If you can help a little, send funds to the Secretaries and they will set them aside for those purposes.
Remember also where we are and what we believe. We have the organisation we do because we all believe the same things as expressed in the Statement of Beliefs (A1). If you do not believe what we believe, you have no business being with us. That much is clear.
Each of us must be able to defend the faith that lies within us. We must be ready to answer for the faith. In that sense, the CCG Forum is a good example and a good test of our people to sharpen their capacity to witness for the faith. All questions must be asked in due respect. No question is too hard. No subject off limits, except as modesty and good taste dictate.
Each of us must be aware of the potential to do good and to do harm.
Do not cause offence in what we do.
When we are called into the Church of God we are called into the body of Christ. The minister is not a determining factor. Some of the ministers who baptised us are no longer serving in the faith. Some are even teaching the opposite of what they once believed. Your salvation does not depend on the righteousness of the minister who baptised you. The head of every woman is the man, and the head of the man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. That is your chain of command. Nevertheless, you are to obey those in authority over you.
By proper service you give a good account of Christ and his God and our God who commands us all.
Each year you must discern the body. Where you take Passover is where you perceive the body of Christ to be. If the place you are going to take Passover is not the place that is correct in the faith, then you have an obligation to leave and find the true body and keep the Passover with them. True doctrine determines the true body. You have an obligation to be with that body. If you are separating yourself and you do not have the permission of the body, then you are the one at fault. Go and leave your gifts at the altar and be reconciled to your brother. Then you will be acceptable before God.
This year ahead is a year of rest, and a Sabbatical year of duty and learning. This year we are all to study the Laws of God and prepare ourselves for the coming seven years. This year we will set goals and review our previous aims and objectives and our achievements. We will review our leaders and their reports and set ourselves to performing as best we can in the years ahead.
In the next Sabbatical cycle we will all see tremendous changes and the consolidation of the New World Order. Our way of life will change and a new system will come into place. Our ethics and our capacity to love one another and to work for and with one another will be the critical factor in our survival. Christ will prepare and shepherd us through many trials ahead. Our capacity to love one another and to ensure the purity and faithfulness of our doctrine and actions will determine our survival.
Pray for those who have responsibility among us and ask what you can do to
help them. If a local church is “dead,” as we have heard some people occasionally
say, it is a condition of all those in it. Look at yourself and see how you
can help to make it a Temple of brotherly love in the Holy Spirit of God. If
you have caused others to stumble then repent and ask their forgiveness and
restore them to the truth and the faith once delivered to the saints. Prepare
to take the Passover in the body of Christ after properly sanctifying the Temple
of God, which Temple we are.
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