Why The Church

By Herbert W Armstrong

17 October 1981


I would like to ask this afternoon, and also to answer, "WHY the Church?" Why should there be the Church? There are churches all over the western world. They're attended every Sunday by a good section of the population. Do most people realize why there should be a church, or do they just take it for granted? It's sort of a club, like a social-club; and it's the thing to do. For some reason, they don't know why, we're supposed to go and attend church, attend services. But I would dare say that most people never stop to think: "What is the purpose of the Church? Why should there be a church?" Most people have never stopped to think about it.

And WHAT is the Church? Well, most people think of the church as a building with a steeple atop and a cross on its facade in front. It's a building, and people go to the church. Now here we have an auditorium, a building; and here the Church comes to the building. It's altogether different. But why? Why should they have the building? If the Church is a congregation of people (which we believe it is), why should there be such a congregation?

God does things for a reason and as a purpose. I've repeated so many, many times (and it always seems to be apropos) how Winston Churchill said before the United States Congress during World War II "There is a purpose being worked out here below." GOD is doing the working out! If it's being worked out "here below," that certainly signifies that God Almighty above is doing the working-out. But what is that purpose? And how is it working out? What is the purpose? Very few ever stop to realize.

Now Jesus Christ said, in Matthew 16 verse 18, "I will build my Church ": But why? What is the purpose? What is the function of the Church? WHY DO WE NEED IT? Why should we have a Church? Why do we go? Why do you attend? Why are you here this afternoon? Why was this place filled with people this morning? There ought to be some reason, and I wonder if we realize that God has a purpose in every thing He does.

You know, most people observe certain religious holidays every year; and they don't know why -- except that they stimulate the sale of merchandise (like Christmas, Easter, Halloween). They all have something to do with the sale of merchandise, but no real purpose when you get down to it. Christmas does not celebrate the birth of Christ; and, even if it did, why should we be celebrating it? In the Bible only pagans ever celebrated birthdays, not God's people. What's the purpose? Why should you celebrate a birthday? They have no reason.

Do Catholics know why they have a church? Do they know why they attend Mass? Do the Baptists know why they go to church on Sunday? - The Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Lutherans? The average person has no idea why they go. He has no idea why the church exists: whether it's the people or whether it's the building!

Why is it, and why should we have it? Why did Jesus start to build a Church? He said, "I will build My Church;" but why? Why did He do that? I'd like to read you first a prophecy in Malachi the third chapter beginning with verse one:

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger [and this is Christ speaking] and he shall prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek [which is Christ] shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant...

Christ was a Messenger, sent with a message; and He was the Messenger of the covenant. Now that covenant is the New Covenant. Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant established Israel as God's congregation, or Church. The word "congregation" is synonymous with the word "church." They both mean the same thing. It's a group of people. But that was the Congregation of Israel. The Church is the Church of GOD. The Old Testament Church was named after a man. His name was Israel. It was his children. The New Testament Church is named after those begotten of God; and they're named after their Father, God. And they are begotten of Him, and He becomes their Father, and they are His children. But Jesus came as the Messenger of a NEW covenant, and that is the Kingdom of God (and not the Kingdom of Israel); and the Church is the Church of God.

Malachi 3:1 ... even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

Now, if you read on the next four verses, you will see that actually this prophecy is referring to a messenger coming to prepare the way before Christ's coming, not to build His Church, but to set up the Kingdom -- because (if you read verses two, three, four and five) it is talking about what He will do when He comes, and He did not do any of those things when He came the first time. And yet the messenger preparing the way before His first coming was indeed John the Baptist, and that's referred to a number of places in the New Testament.


Now how did Jesus start to build His Church? I think it's good if we stop again to just notice how and why He began to build the Church, and why there needed to be a Church. And I think most of us have thought very little about that, and perhaps a lot of us have never really thought about it at all -- and have never realized the real purpose of the Church, and why there should be one. Jesus came preaching a Gospel, and we're supposed to be preaching the Gospel of Christ in the Church and the ministry; and the Church is supposed to preach it to the world. Now you find the Gospel of Christ, and at its very beginning in Mark 1 (verse 1 and verses 14 and 15):

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Now, coming on to verse 2, it begins to talk about the messenger -- John the Baptist -- who prepared the way before His first coming to build the Church. His second coming is not to build the Church. I'm coming to that later. But in verses 14 and 15 ... Well, from beginning with verse 2 and up to the end of verse 13, it is talking about John the Baptist and about Christ coming and being baptized by John; and then in verse 14:

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Now, if you were here last night, I read a passage in the Book of Acts where the Gospel was FIRST preached -- the first time it was ever preached to the Gentiles; and God sent Peter to preach it (not Paul), and he said... I gave a description there. {1} "That word you know which God sent [It came, then, from God; it was a word or a message from God,]by Jesus Christ [He was the messenger, the messenger of the covenant.] began at Galilee [that is the place] preaching peace to the Children of Israel." That's to whom it went.

John 1:11 He came to his own [Judah], and his own received him not.

It began after John was put in prison; and it began from Galilee, and not from Jerusalem. So the very first sermon preached to Gentiles explained just how the Church began, and about Christ.

Mark 1:14-15 After John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee [There's the right messenger, there's the place where He began] preaching the gospel [What Gospel? What message? The gospel ... ] of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled [There was a definite time. God does things on time. God has a purpose. He doesn't do anything without a meaning, without a purpose, without a reason. There is a reason for the Church. So He said, "The time is fulfilled." [There was a time for it] and the kingdom of God is at hand [Now it hadn't come yet; He was only bringing the message of it.]: Repent ye, and believe the gospel.


He told people to do two things, and they're the two hardest things in the world for any person to do. Repent means acknowledge you're wrong -- not only that you have done wrong, but admit that you have been wrong: you have believed wrong; you have done wrong; you ARE wrong all through and through. Not only in something you did yesterday or last year: but you're just wrong, period. You are wrong all the way through! That's pretty hard for people to admit.

I've checked up on some people, and people that have known them for many, many years, and I've said, "Have you ever known that person to ever admit he was wrong about anything?" And people say "Why, no. I never thought of that, but I never did!" That's the hardest thing for anyone to do.

Now it gets back to the same saying that Alcoholics Anonymous will say: that you can't cure any alcoholic until he admits he is one. He's got to admit he's been wrong, that he is an alcoholic. And God can't cure any sinner, or give us eternal life, till we admit we are a sinner through and through -- that we have been wrong; we have done wrong; we have BELIEVED wrong: and we've got to let God sweep our minds clean. In other words (You've heard about brainwashing), we've got to let God wash our brains clean -- not in the sense of inoculating some false teaching into your mind, but sweeping your mind clean of false teaching that's already there.

As I've often said, that's the way God started with me. I first had to admit how wrong I was: not how wrong I had done, but how I wrong I was; how wrong I had been; how wrong I had believed and almost everything I believed was wrong; and I had to admit it, and get rid of it, and get it out of my mind. And I've had to look to God and say, "You teach me. I have been wrong." First, He had to sweep my mind clean.

It was like going to a black board, if you ever thought of it (or a green board as they sometimes use them now in classrooms of schools). It's all full of a lot of junk that someone has been writing there. And the first thing you have to do, before you can put something good on it, is erase everything that's there. You use an eraser, and probably you need to take a cloth with a little ... a dampened cloth, and clean it up real good; and then you can begin to put on something that means something and something that ought to be there. Well, that's the way our minds need to be swept clean.

Repent! Admit how wrong you are, how wrong you've been. And the next thing is BELIEVE. Here He says, "Believe the gospel." The gospel was the message that the Messenger brought, and He was the Messenger of the covenant. That message was the Kingdom of God. He didn't come to set up the Kingdom; He only came to announce it, the first time. The second time He's coming to set it up. He only came the first time to announce it.


Now, a lot of the things I'm going to mention today you already know: scriptures you're already familiar with, but you've never thought of them in this connection and what they mean as to the real purpose of the Church. So now, how did the Church then start? Let's go right on (verses 14 and 15 I just read), continue on right here:

Mark 1:16-18 Now as he [Christ] walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. [I think I know the exact spot on the shore where that was. I've walked along there myself, more than once. But they were fishermen.] (17) And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men [instead of fish]. (18) And straightway they forsook their nets, and they followed him."

Another place it says that Peter forsook ALL and followed Christ; and that's what you have to do. You have to forsake everything -- forsake everything you BELIEVED, and let your mind be washed clean of your former beliefs. You know, people will fight for their beliefs. They argue, and they get offended. We heard a sermonette on offence. Well, they become offended if anyone contradicts anything they believe; and yet what they believe probably is false! But they'll stand up for it, right or wrong, and they'll argue for it; and they take offense if anyone questions it. But you have to forsake what you've believed, and what you have been, and what you have done -- all of that.

Jesus came unto them and said:

Mark 1:17-22 [Follow] me, and I will make you fishers of men. (18) And straightway they forsook their nets [Or Peter, in another place says, forsook all.], and followed him. (19) And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw [two more] James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship {2} mending their nets. (20) And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. (21) And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. (22) And they were ASTONISHED at his doctrine.

They had never heard a message like that before. It was new to them, and it's new to people today. They haven't heard it in this world. They haven't heard it in what is supposed to be "the Gospel" because a false gospel has been preached, merely a gospel. It may have a little truth (because the gospel being preached is about the PERSON of Christ, and that far it is all right), but it is so much more than just the person of Christ. It's the message that Christ, as a person, taught.

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.


Now I was asking how did the Church start? It started by Jesus calling disciples. Now a disciple is a student, or a learner, one who is being taught and who is learning. He's not a graduate. He's only still learning. And He, first, before He called the Church and before the Church was started (He didn't start the Church for three and a half years after this) but first He called and trained disciples. He didn't call just twelve, as you've probably thought. He called fourteen, at least. There might have even been fifteen, but we know of fourteen because there were two that were alternates.

It's just like in a jury: only twelve are official but very often they will seat two others on a jury. They hear all of the testimony -- they hear everything all of the way through -- in case one of them becomes sick or is incapacitated in some way. When it comes to actually rendering a verdict, if one has to take out, there is another one who's heard all of the information and can take his place.

Well, Jesus had two more that went with Him. They were not official disciples. They did not become apostles. Only one of them did, when Judas Iscariot did flunk out. So they were called disciples, and Jesus trained them for three and one half years. Now they had to undergo training because Jesus was going to start the Church through THEM, and He had to have a group of men that were trained to teach the others that were being brought into the Church. They also would then become students, or learners; but they had to have someone teach them.

Jesus was not going to teach the Church. Jesus called disciples and spent three and a half years teaching them. But the Church didn't start until ten days after Jesus had ascended up to heaven. That followed His crucifixion, His resurrection. He had been with them for forty days after the resurrection, and then He ascended to heaven. It was ten days after that - or fifty days after the Passover time (or after the Sabbath during the Passover) that the Church actually began. But, when the Church began, He had twelve official people who had now graduated from the school of three and a half years: Now that's the same as a four-year college course because they took no summer vacation. That was three and a half years -- 365 days a year -- right straight through, summer and all.


Now the Gospel, remember, was the Kingdom of God; and that is what He taught. That's what He preached, and that's what He taught the disciples; and that's what they began to teach the Church! And the whole gospel -- the message to teach the Church and to teach the world -- was the Kingdom of God. Now what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is the Family of God.

Now we should know some of these scriptures already. I don't have to begin and preach everything as if we never heard of it before. It is the Family of God -- the born Family of God, ruling the government of God; and that government will rule all the nations of this earth. There'll be one government over all the earth. That will be over the United States. It'll be over England. It'll be over Japan. (I just came from there a couple days ago.) It will be over China. It'll be over Russia. It will be over ALL the nations of the world.

Now to learn a little more about that, go back to Isaiah the ninth chapter and verses six and seven -- where, to ancient Israel through the prophet Isaiah, God said:

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us [that is, ancient Israel] a child is born ... [a child] is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.

The churches of this world do not mention as a rule (I've never heard much of them mention) that Jesus was born to be a king and to rule the world. They only teach Jesus as a Saviour. They say that He died; and if you just accept His death, you'll go to heaven. They don't say very much about what real repentance is: that you have to let Him wash your mind of what you believe and what you've done; you have to start a new kind of life; you have to start new knowledge; you have to start a new education all over. They don't REALIZE that even, let alone teach it.

Isaiah 9:6-7 The government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace [all of those things]. (7) Of the increase of his GOVERNMENT [ruling nations of the world] and PEACE [not war and trouble] there shall be no end, and upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom [because David was given a promise his dynasty would last forever. And it's still lasting today; and it's running today over in London, England; and Christ is going to continue that dynasty, and that throne is going to be overturned once more. From London it's going to go back to Jerusalem where Christ will take it and sit on His own throne in Jerusalem as He now is sitting on His Father's throne up in heaven.] ... to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and forever.

So that gives you a little idea.


Now, I could go into the third chapter of John and show you where Jesus was talking to Nicodemus; and there He was talking about being BORN AGAIN. We've been born as HUMAN beings, and we'll be born again as very GOD. Now we know the doctrine of that. Why were you born? Compare what Jesus said to Nicodemus, and He said:

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh IS flesh. [That's what we are. We're all born of the flesh, and that's all we are. We only have a mortal temporary existence. But ... ] that which is BORN of the Spirit IS spirit [will be composed of spirit, will not be flesh and blood at all].

None of us has been born again. Only Jesus Christ has been born again. And that doesn't mean, as some people interpret it, that Jesus was a sinner and had to be (quote) "saved" (unquote) -- because He had never sinned! But He was the first born of many brethren, He was born again by a resurrection; and you'll find in the first chapter of Romans that He became a Son of God by a resurrection from the dead. And WE will become sons of God by a resurrection. He was the first born of many brethren. So He came not only to be a future king, but to save us and to give us immortal life.


Well, now let's carry it on a little further. Just who now, was this Jesus who was coming to have the government on His shoulders and to be the Messenger of the covenant and proclaim the New Covenant -- the Kingdom of God? We turn to John 1 and verse 1, and it says:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word is a Personage, and God is a Personage. So the Word was a Personage; and the Word was with another Personage, God. So you have two Persons there together, two different Persons -- one called the Word and the other called God. But then it says, "And the Word was God. And the Word was WITH God." Just like John could be with Smith: Well, John could be the father of Smith or the son of Smith, either one. But his name would also be Smith, wouldn't it? So the Word was also God. God is the Family name, and the Word merely means the One who was the Spokesman.

Now to read on, it says:

John 1:3-4 All things were made by him [the Word]; and without him was not anything made that was made. (4) In him was life. [L-I-F-E, He had immortal life, self-containing life; life inherent within Himself.]

In verse 14:

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

In other words, the Word became Jesus Christ: was born of the Virgin Mary, as a human being. But also He was begotten by God, and the ONLY begotten Son of God -- the only human EVER born human after being begotten of God. We can be begotten of God; but we will be born divine, not human. Jesus is the only human that was ever begotten of God, in case you didn't understand that scripture before.

So now we turn back to Genesis the first chapter, and you find the same thing again. I've been going through that a great deal through the almost, oh, the last nine months or so.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Now the word for "God" is the uni-plural Hebrew word Elohim: Moses wrote this in the Hebrew language; and he used the word Elohim, which means more than one person. It's like the family: one family but composed of two people, or perhaps twelve people, or more. Like the word "church" can be composed of a hundred people or thousands of people, but ONE church, but composed of many units or many people. God is ONE GOD, but composed of more than one person. So this is the same as John 1 verse 1: the Word and God. That's why you read in verse 26, that God said -- Elohim said (the plural):

Genesis 1:26 Let US make man in our image.

Not "let me," but "Let US." And it was the Word that was speaking, which was Christ. But He said only what God the Father told Him to speak.

Genesis 1:26 Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

He formed man after the God-kind! Now, He had formed cattle after the cattle kind, other animals after their kind of animal. But He formed man after the God-kind. But man was made, as you read in the second chapter and verse 7, man was made of the dust of the ground -- where God is composed of Spirit; but man is not yet composed of spirit, unless or until he's BORN AGAIN. "That which is born of the flesh", as Jesus said to Nicodemus, "is flesh." That's the way Adam was born. We can be born again, "that which is born of the Spirit;" When we're born of the Spirit (which is God), we will become spirit. Or we will become God, if you want to put it another way. So man, then, was made mortal.


Now I've been preaching sermon after sermon about the two trees that were in front of Adam. He had to make a choice. One of those trees was a tree of knowledge of good and evil. That was going to lead to death, and God said he would die if he partook of it. The other tree offered him Life, which he did not have. Now in Christ was LIFE. But in man was not life, only a temporary existence. He did not have Life! He had only a temporary existence. But if he took of the Tree of Life, he would have received Life.

Now how? The same way we can today. The Tree of Life is open to us, again, now; and we receive Life by first receiving the Holy Spirit -- and there are two conditions for us. Adam didn't have those same two conditions. Now think of that! We have to first REPENT. Jesus said, "Repent and BELIEVE." Not only believe the Gospel (that's what Jesus said), but believe on Him and believe what He said.

But to Adam: he didn't have to repent. Adam had never sinned yet. He had just been created. He had to decide which way he would go: whether he would sin, or whether he would take the Tree of Life and receive God's Holy Spirit. Now if he had taken the Tree of Life, he would have received what we do: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit opens your mind to receive knowledge, SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE.

Now, God created man with a mind that could receive knowledge; but it was capable of receiving only MATERIAL knowledge. He would receive knowledge, and could acquire knowledge. He had much to learn yet, that's true; but he could learn. He could acquire this knowledge of how to deal with matter, with things. But he was made to need a relationship with God and a relationship with his neighbor -- to deal with people, and to have a relationship with God -- because God made him; because God was going to reproduce Himself. He was made to be born of God, but he was not born of God. He was only a created being. And everybody else has been born from Adam (like Cain and Abel and Seth were born of Adam's wife, Eve, but through Adam; Adam was the father).

Now, if you take the message of those two trees. Adam chose SELF-ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE. HE REJECTED GOD. HE REJECTED KNOWLEDGE FROM GOD. AND THE HOLY SPIRIT NOT ONLY GIVES YOU THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, BUT GIVES YOU THE POWER to be guided by that knowledge. Man was given a mind, and the mind has to guide your actions; and everything you do you have to decide in your mind, and your mind must tell you to do it. It tells your hands or your feet what to do.

That is not true of an animal. Animals do what they do by instinct. When a dog barks when someone is coming down the sidewalk, or coming to your front door, the dog doesn't stop to think: "Now shall I bark, or shall I not bark?" It doesn't know why it barks. It just does it. That's instinct. It doesn't have to have a mind to decide what to do.

You and I do. God made man with a mind to DECIDE what to do, because man is capable of building character. Animals are not. They are the dumb brutes; and yet they have brain just like we do -- just as capable as ours, but there's something lacking. In the human brain God put a spirit, and that spirit gives the human brain the power of intellect and gives us human mind. Animals do not have mind. They have brain and instinct. We have brain and mind, and there's quite a difference.

Now, Adam chose self-acquired knowledge. He was really led by Satan, who got to him through his wife Eve. Eve was deceived. She took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and the result of that was a sin, and the penalty was death; and they both died. She gave to her husband, Adam; and he did eat also. He was not deceived, but Eve was; and Adam deliberately sinned.

He had never had to repent. He had never sinned yet. But then he DID sin; and, when he sinned, God SHUT UP the Tree of Life. In other words, God shut up the Holy Spirit from all of Adam's children.


Now get this, brethren! If you want to know why the Church, if you want to know why you're sitting here this afternoon: GOD CLOSED THE HOLY SPIRIT FROM PEOPLE. And so you read in Hebrews 9:27, as a result of Adam's sin it was appointed to men once to die, but after that a judgment. And God has made it so that EVERYONE who ever lived (Adam, Cain, Abel, Seth, all of the others) they're all going to come back to life, mortal life just like they did live; and then they're coming to the great judgment.

Now that judgment is one where they're going to be required to give account for what they did in this life. And the penalty for what they did is death, and the death sentence is going to be passed on them. But in that judgment they are going to have an opportunity to appeal to the court who will be judging them; and sitting on the bench of that court will be the Judge, who is Jesus Christ. That will be the great judgment. We celebrate that on the Last Great Day, after the Feast of Tabernacles. That will come after the Millennium, after the thousand years, and more than a thousand years from now.

If they throw themselves on the mercy of the court, the court (who's Jesus Christ) will say, "Well now, if you repent ... Now that your eyes are open, and now that you see what you did, and now that you've come to finally confess what you did: you've come to repent -- if you DO repent, and you will henceforth live the way you should have lived -- you can still have life, because I paid the penalty of your sins in your stead."

You know what I think? I think that the overwhelming majority are going to repent and receive life in that great judgment. I can't imagine, after they have seen the penalty of sin and seen everything that has happened for seven thousand years (as it will be then), that a lot of them are going to say, "No, I'm going to take the lake of fire." But some apparently will.


Well, now Adam took self-acquired knowledge; but he was guided by Satan. Satan was there. I don't know whether Adam realized it or not, but Satan was influencing everything he did. It was Satan who influenced him through Eve to make the wrong decision. It was Satan who influenced Cain to kill Abel. It was Satan who has been influencing everything man did. Now man was left with knowledge only to deal with material things, but not to deal with other people, and cut off from a relation with God (at least from receiving the Spirit of God). Now they did retain some knowledge of God, but it became perverted through Satan's perversions and Satan misleading the rest of them and deceiving them. He has deceived the whole world, beginning with Adam.

Adam's world has been deceived into materialistic knowledge. He had been deceived into building a certain world: a civilization that we call "the world." Now the world is not the earth. Jesus talked about the end of the world. He meant the end of this world, this society, this civilization that has been built from Adam, through the influence of Satan: the way of the world. Now the world has an educational system. Adam started that, but he had NO spiritual knowledge. He had only MATERIALISTIC knowledge. He tried to add spiritual knowledge.

Today, in the colleges and universities (as we get down to the twentieth century) we have law schools; and they teach them how to enforce man's law to regulate relation of one person with another person, or people with people. They go to court, and they decide it by laws made by man -- all in man's education.

We have even courses in the universities in sociology, courses in psychology. But they don't even know what the human mind is, of what it is composed. So how can they understand its workings? They know nothing of spirit, or spiritual things, or spiritual knowledge. They deny that it even so much as exists! So they've developed and educational system as part of this world.


Now, they also rejected God. Adam did, and so his children all have; and so they have formed their own RELIGIONS.

God called a group of slave people, descendants of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel); and He called them to become His nation, and He made the Old Covenant with them through Moses. He made them one of Earth's nations. He REVEALED KNOWLEDGE to them, SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE; but they did not understand it! THEY DID NOT HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT and they NEVER UNDERSTOOD it. They didn't have the POWER that the Holy Spirit would give them: The power TO OBEY IT!

God could explain it, but they couldn't understand it any more than a cow (a dumb cow) can understand academic knowledge. You try to teach a cow that 1 + 1 = 2, and the cow just looks stupid. He doesn't know what you're talking about. He can't understand it. And a scientist with at PhD after his name today, when you talk to him of spiritual knowledge, he says, "Oh, paw, I don't care about that. It doesn't exist. There isn't any such thing as spirit." because he doesn't know; and what he doesn't know, he doesn't know that he doesn't know it! He's unconscious of the fact that he doesn't even know it! He is, in fact, ignorant! I don't care how many letters he has after his name, and how many colleges or universities he's graduated from. He's had no SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE.

That's why we have such great progress in material advancement. That's why we have such regrettable, APPALLING evils and troubles in the world. We can't solve troubles, people dealing with people. That's why the world is filled with crime. It's filled with discontent, unhappiness; filled with murder; filled with everything wrong. It has been influenced by Satan, and it has had no spiritual knowledge. It has not had the power of God's Spirit to guide it the right way. So the world has built (Adam's people have built) a world of their own with false education; and now a system of education, with schools beginning at the first grade on up through the universities.

It has had false religions, and so men have made up their own ideas of what God is; and not ONE RELIGION ON THIS EARTH, including "Christianity," knows WHO AND WHAT GOD IS. THEY JUST DON'T KNOW! So what do they know about true religion? Absolutely nothing, you might say. All religions are man-devised, or Satan influenced.


Then man developed his own governments and his own system of governments. So we have for the many nations and governments over every nation. In the United States, or a government like the United States, we have different states and we have state governments; and we have local city governments. In Canada, they're divided into provinces; and they have local provincial governments as well as the national government. And that's the way governments are formed all over the earth.

Then we have developed a human system of economy. Now the economy is in trouble all over the world right now; and man has nothing but problems and troubles with the economic system he's developed, because it is false. It's man-devised and SATAN-INFLUENCED. God, for one thing, God's way denies interest or usury on loaning money; but the whole world's system is based on usury and interest. That's one of the problems in the Unites States right now.

Then we have a social system, social customs, and regulation of man's relation with man through laws and government. And we build a society -- a society influenced by Satan -- that is this world. THE SOCIETY IS IN TROUBLE, AND PEOPLE IN THIS SOCIETY ARE NOT HAPPY. They are miserable. They are discontented. We used to hear about milk from contented cows. You may have contented cows. You don't have contented people! It's quite a difference, if you stop to think about it.

Now it was into such a world ... (It hadn't grown technologically like we have in the twentieth century, that's true. But, otherwise, it was a world just like we are today. We've just advanced more in materialism today.) But Jesus came into such a world. Jesus, however, was born of God; and He was the Word, and by Him were all things created. He was the Creator of all, and He came into such a world. He was called the Second Adam.

Now the Holy Spirit was closed from the time of the first Adam until the Second Adam -- until Christ could come and pay the penalty of sin and die for us; otherwise no one could be ... Everyone had sinned. All have sinned. Adam sinned. Cain and Abel sinned. Abel was called "righteous Abel;" but he did sin, because all have sinned.

And all have died. Now it's also true that "As in Adam all die, [even] so in Christ shall all be made alive." That's in First Corinthians 15, verse 22; and that'll be in the Great White Throne Judgment. But, in the meantime, here is a terrible world in trouble. Man is in trouble with his neighbour. Man is cut off from God and the relationship with God. And Jesus came into such a world.


Now there had been a prophecy in Joel the second chapter and verse 28 where it said: "It shall come to pass afterward, [where God said] I will pour out my Spirit upon ALL FLESH." Now that time hasn't even come yet. But it came where it BEGAN with the Church: where God began to pour out His Spirit on a small portion of all humanity -- the Church; and the Holy Spirit is open to those that God calls into the Church. I want to put together all the things I've been teaching you the last nine months about the Two Trees and about the Way of the Holy Spirit, and how it was shut off from man; and it was.

I'd like you to notice next in John the tenth chapter and verse ten, where Jesus said: "I am come that they might have life and . . . have it more ABUNDANTLY." Jesus came to give us Life. Now, the first Adam did not get Life. God offered him Life, but he had to make a choice. He had to take the Tree of Life. He took the Tree of Death instead. He took the tree of self-acquired human-knowledge influenced by Satan. To take the Tree of Life he would have had God-inspired, God-REVEALED knowledge through the Holy Spirit and with the power of the Holy Spirit and {3} making him begotten of God for eternal Life.

So Jesus came that we might have Life; and He said "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH," and that is the beginning. But, on the other hand, while Joel said the Holy Spirit would be opened ultimately to all flesh, it was not yet because Jesus said in John 6:44 "NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which . . . sent me draw him." So the Holy Spirit was limited to those that God would call -- those that were PREDESTINATED by God to BE CALLED into the Kingdom of God.

GOD IS CHOOSING SOME. Now why? Is God discriminating? Is God discriminating against others, and just calling you and me; and He's discriminating all of these other people all over the world? Oh, no, because the call is only a matter of when, anyway; and predestination refers only to the time of your calling. We're to be called NOW.


Let me give you another explanation: Why did Jesus first call only His fourteen, (or the twelve original disciples, with two alternates?) There really were fourteen. Why didn't He call thousands right off the bat? Because He had to teach those in order so they could teach the thousands. When the Church began, it began ten days after Jesus had ascended to heaven. After He had taught His disciples for three and half years, they had graduated from His college (or school) and the knowledge that He imparted to them; and now they were sent out as apostles -- as those sent with that message; and they preached the Gospel of the Kingdom.

So He called only twelve so that they could teach more in the Church. Likewise, He's called the Church now (only a few) in order that WE, (in the Kingdom of God, when the Millennium begins and Christ comes) under Christ can teach all the other millions in the world. He's teaching us, and we're going to school. WE ARE NOW HIS DISCIPLES, AND WE ARE TO LEARN THE MESSAGE; WE ARE TO LEARN HOW GOD'S GOVERNMENT IS TO RUN. We're to learn His gospel, His government, His society, His education, His religion different than that of this world.

This world has its religions. It has its economic system. It has its social system, and it has its educational system. We're to learn something DIFFERENT. And WE are to be the head of the Kingdom of God when Christ sets it up. We're to rule with and under Christ.

For example, I want you to notice ... Now you know a lot of these things already; but notice in Revelation 3:21, where Jesus said, speaking to the Church -- and this is a message to the Church, not to the world. This is not to the world! I can preach this to the world, but they wouldn't understand it.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh [meaning in the Church] will I grant to sit with me in my throne [in the Kingdom of God], even as I also overcame, and am set down on my Father now in his throne [up in heaven].

Then in Revelation 2, verses 26 and 27, Jesus also said to the Church -- a message to the Church:

Revelation 2:26 He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end ...

That's in the Church. We are going to school now in the Church. We are learning the economic system of God. We're to learn the educational system of God. We're to learn God's religion. We're to learn God's civilization, His social system, in order that we can teach the world. And it says:

Revelation 2:26-27 He that overcometh [those in the Church], and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give POWER over the nations: (27) and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron.

He's speaking to you and me, brethren. But are we learning? Are we growing in grace and the knowledge of the Truth? Or do we just think like the Protestants have it and the Catholics: you just accept? Or what is it, in the Catholic Church? You . . . Well, in the Protestants you accept Christ. In the Catholic Church they have something else they use. You embrace Catholicism; I guess is the word, whatever it is.

Anyway, now I'd like you also to notice the fifth chapter of Genesis and verse ten. I mean Revelation, not Genesis. Revelation 5 and verse 10, where He:

Revelation 5:10 ... has made us [in the Church] unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall REIGN on the earth.

Those in the church are being TAUGHT to become, NOT ONLY PRIESTS TO RULE ... I mean KINGS to rule; but also PRIESTS to SAVE the world, to TEACH the world a religion; and Church and State will be united. We're to teach the people in the Millennium, and then in the Great White Throne Judgment (and that'll last a hundred years); and we are to teach them.


So now understand the purpose and God's master plan for working out that purpose. God gave His Church seven annual holy days and seven annual festivals. Now there's a difference between just a holy day and a festival. Actually the Feast of Pentecost (or Feast of First Fruits) is a holy day; and it's also a festival in one day. But the Feast of Tabernacles is seven days, and it has also one holy day in it; and then there's another holy day added on the end of it.

Now, this world ... Let's understand God's purpose and plan. God's purpose in spiritual of taking us from this world and taking us into the Kingdom of God -- His spiritual plan, for His spiritual purpose -- is worked out by the seven holy days. First we repent. That is, first is the Passover, where Christ paid the penalty that applies only if we repent. Second is the seven days of Unleavened Bread when we put sin out of our lives, if we have repented and when we have repented. Next comes the day of Pentecost, or the coming of the Holy Spirit; and that, then, brings us into the Church age. After that is the second coming of Christ, the Feast of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement and the putting away of Satan; and then the Feast of Tabernacles (the Millennium), teaching the whole world; and then the Last Great Day, which is the final judgment after the thousand years.


Now, get this: this whole world started by Satan through Adam. But Satan started this world really, because Adam rejected Christ and went the way of Satan; and it is Satan's world, and Satan has been using mankind; and men have been called the children of Satan. I want to show you that a little later. Well, we might turn to that right now, John 8 and verse 44, beginning with verse 43: To those that believed on Jesus, even, among the Jews when He was on earth, He was talking to some that really believed on Him, but he said "Why do you not understand my speech?" They didn't agree with Him at all. They didn't accept what He said. So he said:

John 8:43-44 Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my words. (44) Ye are of your father the devil.

Now these are people who believed on Him. These are not the scribes, and Pharisees, and Sadducees. These are people (Jews) that believed on Him. They believed on Him, but they didn't believe HIM. They didn't believe what He said! And He said:

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and [the works] the lusts of your father will ye do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not it the truth, because there [was]no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

So those that are not converted and do not become the children of God are, in a sense, the children of Satan. They have been and absorbed the ways of Satan: the attitude of Satan -- the purpose of mind, the state of mind, the intention of mind (of that of getting, that of vanity, that of taking from others, of exalting the self over others) from Satan, and they are the children of Satan. Now I'm giving you some things that you haven't heard before this afternoon: I hope you're getting it. I hope you're getting it.


Now, let me go back again: this world was started by Satan through Adam. God's Kingdom or Family, and the World Tomorrow, was started by Christ through the CHURCH. And the Church is the first part of it, of the Kingdom of God (just like the disciples were the first part of the Church, before it began). And the Church is founded on the apostles, and the prophets of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone; and they all were before the Church.

Now as Adam and his physical children were the material that Satan used to build this world, this civilization; so the Church is the spiritual material that Christ is using to build, or to create, the Kingdom of God; and He's creating something new in us -- a new character, a new being, a new . . . -- creating God within us. He is reproducing Himself through us: the Kingdom of God, which will be the World Tomorrow and will rule the World Tomorrow.

Now, as I say, the unconverted are really the children of Satan; but, in the Church, we become the children of God. The Church are those that are called out of Satan's world. I'd like you to notice that in Second Corinthians, chapter 6 beginning with verse 16 where it says:

II Corinthians 6:16 What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God [We are the temple to which Christ is coming. The Church and the dead in Christ are going to rise and meet Him in the air as He comes to rule.]; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Well, the world are really Satan's people, but we are to come out of that and to be God's people.

II Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them [of the world, those that are Satan's people].


II Corinthians 6:17-18 WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

He says that we are a SEPARATE and a PECULIAR PEOPLE, DIFFERENT from the rest of the world. We are A HOLY NATION of people in the Church, different from the rest of the world. We are coming out; and we are being taught in school, you might say, and in Church with the True Gospel and God's Way of Life to teach the whole world in the Millennium (just like the apostles were called out first for three and a half years to teach the Church). I want you to understand that.


Now one other: We are not in the Church unless the Spirit of God is dwelling in us. Just being a member of the Church and saying you're a member; and I often wonder how many that are supposed to be Church members, and we look on as members of the Church, HOW MANY REALLY ARE members of the Church? You are not a member of the Church unless the Holy Spirit of God is dwelling in you AND ALSO YOU ARE BEING LED BY the Spirit of God. THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD HAS GOT TO BE OPENING YOUR MIND TO GOD'S WAY OF LIFE, AND YOU'VE GOT TO BE LIVING THAT WAY OF LIFE. YOU'VE GOT TO BE {4} FOLLOWING WHERE THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS YOU.

Now turn to Romans. Romans the eighth chapter and beginning with verse seven: "Because the carnal mind. . ." And we all were carnal to begin with! And some of us, I'm afraid, still are -- unless we really HAVE received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of a CHANGED MIND, A SOUND MIND, A DIFFERENT KIND OF A MIND that can begin to comprehend spiritual knowledge. I've found so many in the Church that have been members a long time, and they DON'T COMPREHEND SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE. They get doctrine. They are straight on doctrine. But they don't understand it.

Brethren, I worry sometimes about the Church. Then I have to remember we don't get a full measure of the Holy Spirit all at once. We get a little of the Holy Spirit; and perhaps you get 5%, where Christ had 100%. Well then, you're still 95% carnal. But if you grow in grace and the knowledge, and in spiritual knowledge, after a little while (if you grow) you have 10% of the Holy Spirit and 10% God's knowledge, and only 90% carnal.

Where are you now? Have you gotten up to 45% of the Spirit of God and still 55% carnal? You'd better get where you're not over 49% in this world any longer and 51% spiritual. Now I hope I've gotten that far. Have you? You better examine yourselves, brethren! Where do you stand? How far have you grown? How much knowledge have you acquired? How much are you practicing in your life?

How much PRAYER are you ... How much of your time are you spending in prayer? How devout are your prayers? How much are you pouring your heart into your prayers? Or how much of it is just. . . Well, I was in one place where someone gave a prayer. I was speaking to a group of a thousand people in the Philippines; and there was a man who gave a prayer, and he read every word of it. He just read it. It didn't mean a thing. It didn't come from his heart. He just read something. I didn't even bow my head. I noticed a lot of others bowing their heads. I couldn't.


But you read here in Romans 8, verse 7, "The carnal mind is enmity [that is, hostile] against God;" and ALL of us were that way! To what extent have you quit and come out of that?

Romans 8:7-9 The carnal mind is [hostile] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [Are you in the flesh or in the Spirit?] (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF so be that the Spirit of God dwell IN you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ HE IS NONE OF HIS [I don't care how long you've been a member of the Church.]

Now look, you have the Holy Spirit. You don't have the Holy Spirit unless you're being led by the Holy Spirit. We read beginning with verse 14 "As many as are led by the [Holy Spirit],they are the sons of God." If you're not following where the Holy Spirit leads, you just don't have ... The Holy Spirit won't STAY in you. It won't stay dormant in you at all. It just won't!

Romans 7:15-17 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption [or, that son ship] whereby we cry, Abba, Father [and you call God your Father]. (16) The Spirit also beareth witness with our spirit, that we ARE the children of God. (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him.

And we do! As I said to you last night, Peter was put in prison. I've wondered if I shall be some day. The people prayed when Peter was put in prison; and God performed a miracle, and just caused chains to drop loose, and gates to open up and let him out -- by a miracle. I wonder how many of you people would put your hearts in your prayers if God puts me prison. Well, I think you would. Brethren, I believe you would.

I think that most of us really have God's Spirit. But I know that there have been those among us that even rose up to be evangelist rank in the ministry did not have the Holy Spirit. And I sometimes . . . It would be easy for me to lose faith when I think of those things. And I tell you, every one of us needs to examine himself. For he says;

Romans 7:18 I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [and we do have sufferings] are not worthy to be compared with the glory [that] shall be revealed in us.

So it's not easy. It's not easy to come out of this world and the temptations of the flesh, and you're hearing sermons on that. I don't know how many of you heard the sermon this morning. I, at least, got to hear the sermonette this morning; and a very good one it was. But I had to spend the time of the sermon this morning preparing what you've been hearing this afternoon (and I hope that it was worthwhile), and I had to lose that sermon. They could have recorded it. I have equipment at my home now that I could record a sermon if I can't be there myself.


Finally, now I'd like to read to you the twelfth chapter of Romans, beginning with verse one:

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a LIVING sacrifice [That's what it means. Do you realize it? Not only your bodies, but everything that you count yours -- you have to be willing to present a living sacrifice.], holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service. (2) And be not conformed to this world ...

We're to come out of it and be separate. We're a separate, a holy and peculiar people that are different. Now we're not freak people wearing some kind of . . . men wear a crazy hat and women some old kind of a bonnet, and things like I've seen some religious people do. We're different in the way we live, having the Spirit of God and love toward other people -- not freakish in manner or anything of that sort, or wearing peculiar garb.

Romans 12:2-3 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your MIND [And the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of a SOUND mind. The mind must be RENEWED, different than it was before conversion -- the renewing of the mind.], that ye may prove what is [the]good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought . . . [and some people do, more highly than they ought to think] but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man [that]measure of faith.

Now, you see, we do have degrees of the measure of faith and degrees of the measure of the Holy Spirit. That is true, and we must realise it; but we must GROW in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That means more prayer, and more Bible study, and having our mind on the things above and on the things of God and NOT ON THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD. WE STILL HAVE NOT BEEN FULLY WEANED FROM THE INTERESTS OF THE WORLD, BRETHREN, HAVE WE? Now think of that, and answer that question for yourself.

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

That's what we are, brethren. Now perhaps you realize why the Church. We're being prepared to rule and teach the Kingdom of God, just as the disciples were trained and prepared to teach the Church. I hope that we all can really realize that. Take this message, and don't forget it, and realize why you are a member of the Church -- and what a terrible responsibility, and a wonderful responsibility, it is.

{1} Editor's note: Mr. Armstrong begins paraphrasing Acts 10:36-37.

{2} Editor's note: Mr. Armstrong said "camp" instead of "ship."

{3} Editor's note: Mr. Armstrong first said, "giving him;" but then he corrected himself and said, "making him, that is."

{4} Editor's note: Mr. Armstrong said "leading where the Holy Spirit leads you" and then corrected himself.