sermon: Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen (Part Six)
Church History - AD 20th Century
Martin G. Collins
Given 06-Apr-19; Sermon #1481; 70 minutes
History is not an endless cycle but is speeding to a God-ordained conclusion. We must not forget how we received the truth. The fellowship of the Church of God, falling prey to Protestant deceptions by the early 1920s, had come to de-emphasize repentance and to reject the God-ordained governance of His Church. God called Herbert Armstrong into this fellowship, who came not only to teach the Sabbath and Holy Days, but a panoply of other biblical doctrines which had become forgotten by many in God's Church. In 1933, the true Gospel went on the airwaves, starting in Oregon and then across the nation during the 1950s and into Europe in the 1960s. Concurrent with this preaching activity of the Radio Church of God, Ambassador College provided needed biblical instruction for the emerging ministry serving what was to become the Worldwide Church of God of the 1960s and beyond. Like the four groups of seeds exposed to shallow, thorny, stony, and good ground, many heard the true Gospel, but relatively few remained faithful after the onslaught of internal and external enemies. Finally, a number of disloyal ministers began to advocate the slow and tortuous death of God's Church by turning to Protestant theology, as expressed in the Systematic Theology Project. Although abhorrent antinomian, Protestant, liberal heresy brought an end to the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College, God never abandoned His Church. He is still interceding on behalf of the scattered saints, weaving everything together for the good of His children.
Our Christian faith differs from many religions by being rooted in history, not just New Testament history, but Old Testament history as well. Biblical and Christian history contains numerous interrelated threads, including the personal, the family, the national and the spiritually. Please turn with me to Exodus 13 and Verse three, please all the way down through biblical history, from the beginning of the Earth to its and there is a clear cycle of patterns involving the progressions of God's people, from sin to overcoming to salvation and also from despair to hope to deliverance. Here in Exodus 13 we are going to read versus three and nine. And of course, this is speaking about the first day of unleavened bread, and Moses said to the people, Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt out of the House of Bondage for by strength of hand, the Lord brought you out of this place? No. 11 bread shall be eaten. And then down divers. Nine. It shall be his assigned to you on your hand as and as a memorial to be remembered as a memorial between your eyes that the Lord's Law, maybe in your mouth but with a strong hand. The Lord has brought you out of Egypt. We see there that it's commanded that we remember that as well as Passover itself and that God is the one who did the work there. Although the Bible takes history very seriously and we are to remember everyone to remember it, especially when we are commanded to remember, as we are here in versus three and nine. How are the Bible? Also illustrates that it is possible to overvalue history. After all, earthly history will have an end first John, too, and verse 16 if you'll turn there for with me, please. First John to Inverse 16 Opie Remember less threaded through Earth. Earthly history is a spiritual level of reality that rises above and is more real than earthly history. And you're in first John to read versus 16 and 17 first John to inverse 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust of it. But he who does the will of God abides forever. so there is the key to weather. Your history will be ending or whether it will be well going on forever. The Apostle John warns against commitment to the passing world system because it is opposed to God. But thankfully we have received the love of the Father which implants in us a desire and an ability to break away from this idolatrous world in warning against all that is in the world. John does not demonize the whole created order. Rather, he gives examples, desires of the flesh and so on. Ofwhat we should guard against human desires are part of God's creation and therefore not inherently evil. But they become twisted when not according to the will of God. The world is passing away and its appearance of permanence is deceptive because history is not an endless cycle. But it is speeding toward a conclusion willed by God. So we must discern which history is important to remember and which is not. History related to God's will is vitally important. Sadly, by the beginning of the 20th century, only a few people remained faithful to the will of God, and these were the converted ones who carefully submitted to and diligently carried out Jesus instructions regarding the will of God, which is found in the word of God. Nevertheless, those conf you converted ones, the faithful slowly increased, though they remained relatively few liking in spiritually works and true spirituality. The Church of God Seventh Day, which is the name of it at the beginning of the 20th century, did not remember how it had received the truth from earlier true Christians who were faithful even to death by fire. Nor did it like those martyred hold fast the truth they had please turn with me to Revelation. Three inverse to please. Similarly, the church in Sardi's of the 81st century is given a dire warning and described us having certain negative characteristics. Revelation three Way will read one through three. Revelation three, Inverse one and to the Angel the Church of Started in Sardi's. Right These things, says he, who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works, that you have a name, that you are alive, which you are dead, be watchful and strengthen the things which remain that they that are that are ready to die for. I have not found your work's perfect before. God, remember therefore how you have received and heard hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you'd will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. So as the Church of God entered the 20th century, it was following the progressive Protestant ideology of ignoring the Holy Scriptures, has established doctrine and instead relied on the Protestant traditions of men. And as a result, they also de emphasized repentance of sin and it was becoming spiritually dead because they did not guard the truth. Mark seven, Verse 13 says, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down and many such things you do. So these things were happening during the time of Christ and the Apostles. These early 20th century ministers had rejected God's government, having lost the knowledge of how God governs his church, and they absorbed the Protestant idea of democracy applied to church government with its accompanying divisions and controversies and self oriented nous. The result of rejecting Christ direction was increasing doctrinal deviation and lack of true conversion among the members. Confusion was continues, increasing. Only a few individuals really repented and strengthen the truth that was slipping from their midst. Most of their ministers, instead of yelling themselves to be used by God, tried to carry on a work by their own human power. In about 18 1927 an elderly woman who was a member of the Church of God in Oregon, a branch of the aforementioned Group seven Church of God seventh day, introduced Herbert Armstrong's What Wife Loma to the Truth about God. Sabbath Loma gladly accepted this truth as God opened her mind. But Herbert Armstrong was not pleased with her decision because he was worried about what their friends would think. So Herbert was challenged to study the Bible for the first time in his life, and he tried to disprove this seemingly crazy, wacky idea his wife had accepted. And, he said he found improve the seventh day Sabbath to be the day God commands us to keep. Today. He concluded that if the Bible is true, the Sabbath must be kept on the seventh day that led to proving the existence of God, and that the Bible is indeed his word, and he studied each question intensively from all angles for at least six months. As the result of this Revelation, Herbert immediately began to search for the one true God as one true church that had to exist somewhere, there had to be the church. Jesus Christ said he would build Matthew 16 Verse 18. You're very familiar with records, Jesus promise. And they also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Haiti shall not prevail against it. That proves that God's church has always existed since the time of Christ. It's never not existed. These church of God. People in Oregon seemed tohave the truth, and certainly they were close, close. They were the closest of any. But something was wrong. They were spiritually lifeless or accomplishing very much. Nevertheless, Herbert began to fellowship with the people. He was asked to speak to them and was eventually ordained by the Oregon Conference of the Church of God in June 1931. Well, we start with me over to acts to adverse 38 please. Yeah, because the gift of the Holy Spirit has promised to those who have truly repented, God was able to use Herbert Armstrong to restore lost truth. He restored 18 significant doctrines to the church, and this is good to remember these things as we go through and remember our history next to oversee 38 39. Then Peter said to them, repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are farce who are afar off as many as the Lord our God will call. So we know that it is God who calls people in to his church. It was to a repentant church that God restored his truth in a major way. Matthew, three versus 89 says. Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance and do not think to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father, for I say to you that God is able to rise up, raise up children to Abraham from the Stones is God who chooses whom we will call and it's on. Oftentimes It is not someone that we may think. As soon as Herbert Armstrong, with Baptize and the Fruit of the Holy Spirit began to be manifested in his life, he continued to study improve all things, as the Apostle Paul instructs in first Thessalonians five and Verse 21 as he studied, much of the truth that the visible church had allowed to dissipate began to be brought to Herbert Armstrong's attention by God's spirit. Immediately he began to expound this truth to the remnant of God's people in Oregon. God revealed the true identity of the modern house of Israel to her through the writings of earlier ministers of the Church of God. And he also came to see that God's annual festivals were commanded be kept today, along with the seventh day, seventh day weekly Sabbath. And he continued to grow and understanding their meaning. But it was seven years before any others in Oregon kept God's annual savvas with Herbert and Loma. They did it by themselves for seven years, took that long to convince others By 1933 it was obvious to many that voting their own leaders in the office was not God's way and that it had led on ly to confusion. So the decision was made to reorganize the church by following a more biblical approach to church government. Duggar and DOD recorded in their book A History of the True Church on page 2 22 99 that the government of the church was to be placed in the hands of Quote 12 to look after the spiritual affairs of the church and seven to take charge of the financial business and also the 72 go forth two by two in giving the warning message for the hour. Close quote. The reorganization meeting was held in sale in West Virginia on November 4th, 1933 and appeal was made by lot to follow the singular case in acts one versus 23 3 26 to choose who among the names presented and prior to the meeting, call for prayer had been sent to God's people around the world. Quote that God would again choose Mento lead his church as informer. Time. Close quote. Now, according to the Bible Advocate, November 6th 1933 issue the 1933 issue on page five. The 40th name was Helber elder Herbert Armstrong of Oregon. Close quote. Now the reorganization by men in 1933 was never to be a success. In just a few years, that church had permanently disintegrated into several ineffective fragments, neglecting much of God's truth. They did not bear good fruit, and so they did not stay together in unity. When John, 15 Jesus spoke with his disciples about the necessity of bearing fruit, John, 15 in Verse 16 says, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go on bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give you. So this is something the church had not been doing. They produced very little fruit, and that fruit did not remain. Obviously, if are bearing fruit is to continue. We must keep it. Keep up the effort to produce it. The fruits, the fruits or qualities of character that God is building into our lives must be in a constant state of growth. Nobody can stand still because you only go backwards when you do not push yourself to move forward and growth, spiritual growth and he rose. 13 averse Juan Christ commands growth. Let brotherly love continue. C. That's growth. We can't grow if we do not have brotherly love for one another, and that includes forgiving one another. I like some trees that their fruit continually among them lemon, orange and grapefruit. The fruit produced by God's spirit should never be never ending. And even though hundreds may eat of your fruit, the supply should never run out. In other words, we are to produce a perpetual harvest of rich spiritually fruit. Many who were called failed to achieve this continuous fruit ege because they did not faithfully persevere. That became weary in well doing. Sometimes we get discouraged because we do not grow as quickly as we may think we should or would, and become frustrated because we do not see tangible fruit being produced. This frustration is especially noticeable during the trials of life. We always seem to feel that we've lost ground. We're going through a trial. One reason might be that we start to respond in a right direction but stopped too soon, just short of completion. So we may become born with the routine that's required to correct the problem, or we may become just plain weary of well, doing one of the hardest areas and human of human life to deal with is everyday, mundane activities. We probably complain about that more than anything else in her life, but they are necessary even for the growth spurt, even for spiritual growth. But we can't allow ourselves to get the skirts and give up. We must accept the time God needs to work out his purpose in our lives. The more reason Leslie practiced the way of God and accomplished good works, the more fruit of righteousness God will be able to produce in us. You know the list of the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace and so on. Therefore, God's testing seems often inconstant, and there seems to be no break from trials. But God promises a way of escape to those who love his law. And you can't love his law and Noah's law. Unless you're studying the Scriptures, we start with me. Two. First Corinthians Tana Verse 12 Risk Corinthians 10 of 12. Now The Apostle Paul gave the Corinthian congregation encouragement the Old Testament examples, and then he showed that God provides an escape at the time that it is needed member shadow rack be me shaking the bed to go. That was really the last minute that God intervened to save them. But that's what he does sometimes is. He waits until we think. Where did first Corinthians Tan versus 12 and 13. Therefore, let him who thinks he stand, take heed lest he fall. That should be in everyone's mind here prior to Passover because it requires humility for 13. No temptation that his trial or test has overtaken. You accept such asses common demand. But God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted or tested beyond what you were able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. You enter to a test or trial, and you do not think that you're going to be able to last through it or bear it. God promises you will if you rely on him and you and face that he will do it. The same principle holds true for the Church of God. Today there seem to be no escape from the worldly temptations and Protestant enticements that's Satan throughout the church. But at the critical moment when the Church of God was breaking up. This is back in 1927 to 33 Christ separated a few people in Oregon to begin another chapter in the church's history. It is interesting that the great manipulation and distribution of printed vibe Bibles was not accomplished by the Church of God, but by various Bible societies. So God can raise up stones if he has to do his work. And that's exactly what he did to distribute the Bible back there. When the printing press you started at the critical moment when the visible Church of God was breaking up, Jesus separated a few people in Oregon to begin a new phase of his church, and he began to use Herbert Armstrong and the small group he had called to assist his coworkers to reach the world with good news of the coming kingdom of God. When 1947 Ambassador College was established to formally trained men and women to serve in the church, and that college was attacked relentlessly by Satan for 50 years. So by 1997 when the church finally close, very little truth still remained in it. But it's interesting that it was open and closed and opened for a 50 year period. They're with me, if you will please. Teo Revelation three Inverse eight Relations three in verse eight There are some similarities between the characteristics of the first century church in Philadelphia and the Church of God in the second half of the 20th century. Revelation three, we are going to read versus eight, ten 10 and 11 Revelation three Inverse state. I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door and no one can shut it for you have a little strength. I have kept my word and have not denied my name. So we could say that about the church that Herbert that God raised up through Herbert Armstrong 1st 10 Because you have kept my command to persevere. I will also keep you from the our hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly. Hold fast what you have that no 1 may take your current crown. I do not know how many times in the Bible were warned to persevere and we are told to hold fast, but it is very often, and to me, that tells me that God expects us to work and to work hard at living his way of life, which includes Bible study in prayer. In Verse eight, Jesus promised an open door for the church to witness to the world. The door here was an opportunity to broadcast and publicize God's truth. First Aid also implies that some people tried to shut that door that he opened to the church and similar to the promise of the church in Philadelphia. During John's time, there is an interesting parallel Teo to more recent history. Christ opened the doors of radio to his church, and since the first Sunday in January 1930 for the World Amar program, broadcast did not miss a week on the air until 1972. It began on TV on a regular basis in 1967 and it's proved to be an even greater door. If we were to project that all the way to today on the Internet has shown itself to be an even greater door than radio and television, so you can see how God is able to do his work in greater ways, although it began with just a little strength of itself. It magnified greatly through the modern doors of radio, television, the printing press and personal appearances by Herbert Armstrong before world leaders and most important of all, through the power of God's Holy Spirit. Problems of a personal nature still plagued the church on a regular basis during the 19 fifties, Herbert Armstrong wrote Quote. In those day early days, I used Raymond Cole, a pioneer student, as a troubleshooter to restore peace where frictions had developed. Even that early in that church there were frictions there, contentions and so on. By 1953 the Gospel of the Kingdom of God had gone coast to coast in the United States. Also that year, the Work of God expanded to Europe during the 19 sixties because of its tremendous growth. The name of the Church of God was changed from the Radio Church of God to the Worldwide Church of God regarding the 19 sixties, Herbert Armstrong wrote in June 20 on in the June 24th 20 1985 issue of the World Wide News quote. This is a long quote up through the 19 sixties, with new lost truth being continually restored to this era of God's church. There had been little contention or opposition within the church, but the wily Satan was not to allow this growth in harmony and peace and unity to continue without opposition. We were to learn the truth of Jesus is parable of the Sower and the seed in Luke eight. And this is continuing with Herbert our stone quote. The seeds sown was the word of God, the Bible and the word was being proclaimed over the United States, Canada, Britain, Europe and some other parts of the world. It fell on four types or classes of people. The first and largest number were those by the wayside. They heard. But then coming, they heard. But then come with the devil and take it away, though, were the word out of their hearts less they should believe and be saved. These were the millions who heard. But the truth of God's word never sang in. There was no response from this large number, though they did here, at least in part. The second group were those on the rocks who, when they heard, were interested and received the message with joy. Many of these were baptized, but they did. They had no root and temporarily believed, but because they lacked a depth of purpose or capacity to grow spiritually, soon dropped out. The third group were among thorns when they heard the message. They were baptized, but the cares and interests of the world choked them. They still wanted to be like the world. They were liberals, and they brought forth no fruit to perfection. The fourth group Keep in mind, those previous three groups were all weak and left the church, or we are in the process of leaving the church. The fourth group, smallest of all, were those on good ground, which kept the word and came out of the world growing spiritually in character and biblical knowledge. They brought forth fruit with repentance. There were patients rather in various degrees, so it has been especially since 1969 in God's church. The world looks on such events. Occurring in any church is evidence of corruption or wrongdoing or something wrong and reap reprehensible, reprehensible. In the church, worldly clubs, societies and churches do not generally seem tohave such troubles or controversies. Satan does not bother them. They are already on his side, but Satan seeks to the story God's one and only true church. Close quote. The Church of God received most of it's persecution from the world against individual members for Sabbath keeping. Even the children of members were persecuted for keeping the Sabbath and the Holy Days. I mean contrast. Following about 1969 the faithful members of the church received most of it's persecution from within the church. As we will see, having attended the Radio Church of God since 1963 which later became the Worldwide Church of God, I saw firsthand many of the events that transpired during the 19 sixties seventies eighties and on into the 21st century. I can attest to the fact that there were there was a definite transition in the church's attitude and personality from around 1969 1969 1970 and the humility teach ability, Brotherly love of the Brother and prior to 1970 morphed into an increasing, self centered, disrespectful and un thankful attitude. Not the truly converted ones, but all that. The 1st 3 that were listed, they are in the parable of the sower contributing to this degraded Christianity were the evangelistic campaigns by Girl on Garnet had Armstrong and other evangelists of the early 19 seventies, which caused an influx of large numbers of what we might call liberal converts into this worldwide church of God. Protestant approaches and doctrines were being infused into the church by leading ministers. We start with me, too. Collages to inverse eight, please Collections to adversity. Justus Uncontrolled National immigration today has overwhelmed the cultures of Western nations, negatively influencing their personalities, character and Judah. Judeo Christian ethics The massive influx of religious hobbyist fromthe world into the Church of God has had a very negative effect as well, starting there in about 1970 or so during the 19 seventies. Humanly reason, philosophy, feminization and humanism lead many astray here in collages to inverse eight, Paul writes, Be aware list. Anyone cheats you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Whatever you hear or read, that has to do with Scripture God's way of life always compared to what the Scriptures say. If you have a conversation with a Protestant, that's matter who it is whether it's a construction worker or somebody, a Protestant minister. Ah, they will agree with you. As you quote Scripture, you tell them what the Bible says and then a few sentences later, they will say, Well, when my mother is in heaven, you know, we are, uh you know, one of the other things. They always defaulted their traditions, and that's what Paul's warning against. Here they began an epidemic of striving over doctrines with a never ending pursuit to liberalize and water down doctrine. Proverbs 20 Verse three says it is honorable for a man to stop striving. Since any fool can start a quarrel, It's something we should all really memorize. It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since they since any fool can start a quarrel. I've heard members of the church say what's so important about doctrine, especially that happened when their changes going on in worldwide Protestantism promotes the false teaching quote from their words. Don't worry about doctrine. The important thing is spiritual unity. How can you have spiritually unity without doctrine without understanding doctrine? Everybody's making up things and doing is is what right and in their own eyes. Paul refutes that lie. And first Timothy, six. Whenever there is this unity in the church, it is because somebody does not really believe and practice the word of God. The word of God is vital to the spiritually health of the seven churches of the chapters of Chapters two and three of the Book of Revelation. Seven times, Christ calls on the churches to hear what the spirit is saying. The word of God is the written word of the spirit. It is the written word of God. Now, when churches stop listening to the voice of the spirit to the word and start listening to the voices of false teachers, they begin to turn away from the truth. And we must not deny the faith, even if it cost us our lives. We must keep keep his word and not deny his name. Apart from the word of God, there is no life for hope for the churches, So those who were teaching false doctrine and who would not agree to Paul's teachings were to be exposed and dealt with with me. The first Timothy, six and Verse three. God does not look highly upon those who practice to deceive the false teachers are often referred to in Paul's writings is having faulty reasoning. And since the Gospel is the truth, to deny it is to think in a faulty matter, imagining that goodness is a means of game, not just monetary gain. People who wrongly preached that God will give material health and wealth. If on Lee, one has enough faith fallen with condemnation of the Apostle Paul, you're in first Timothy six. We're going to read versus three through five if anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the doctrine, which accords with godliness. He is proud, knowing nothing but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words from which come Andri strife reviling evil suspicions in Verse five on useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth. Who supposed that godliness is a means of gain from such Withdraw yourself. God is not our personal genie. We do not just say God, Please give me this and there is that new car doesn't work that way, But that's what the Prosperity Gospel teaches in Protestantism. These people who cause trouble in the church or proud. They want to be important people in the church. Yet they are ignorant knowing nothing. Also, they are sick because the word obsessed in verse four means have a diseased appetite, have a diseased appetite. Having rejected the healthy sound doctrine, they have made themselves spiritually sick. Instead of feeding on the truth of God's word, they feed on empty questions and the meanings of words. And all of this leads to resentment, conflict, confusion, not to godliness. These people have no recognition of the truth. Height is three versus 10 11 says reject of divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person has worked and sinning being self condemned Jesus through Paul commands that a troublemaker or heretic, meaning one who causes factions and divisions, is not to be permitted membership in the church after he or she has been warned two times. Troublemakers who moved from church to church should not be received back into the fellowship after the second offense, now in 1970 for large numbers of ministers, conspired against Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God to change government and other doctrinal issues to fit in with the modern philosophies of human reasoning. Doctor in such a CZ church government and Pentecost, and divorce and remarriage and healing and tithing, to name a few were targeted for revision. Some did not need to be looked into more carefully, but they lumped in everything says they could change what they were not wanted into. The reasonings of men with me. Pleased to Jesse James one and verse two. Now, although some doctoral teachings may have needed a change or updating the impatience of several false ministers turned into every 1,000,000,000 coup attempt James one, we are going to read versus 23 and four James one and Verse two. My brethren counted all jewelry when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patients. But let patience have its perfect work. Work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. So if the church teaches something or minister teaches something and you do not quite understand it or you do not believe it. But you know that Minister has been a faithful, faithful minister and he is taught the truth, then just give it a while. Study it, think about it because sometimes it takes a while to understand some doctrine that the that is hard to understand and everyone's what we come up with, things that have to be clarified somewhat, and some people agree. Some people do not, but do not just reject it out of hand. Just make sure that you if you do not agree with it, that you take time. Take the patients that James talks about and think about it and make sure that you're not just going to throw the minister or the church out the window because you do not agree with 10% of what it teaches. No human being or church group. It's perfect. Even though we try to be. We're human beings and we still have human nature. So we have to stake. All have to stay close to God so we can guard the truth and recognize counterfeits. Had these ministers had patients, riel errors and doctrine would have been corrected in due time. 35 ministers rebelled, formed their own church and incorporated the associated churches of God. Back in the 19 seventies, they took about 3,000 people with them. Some worldwide Church of God congregations on the East Coast were devastated. For example, Richmond, Virginia, lost 80 to 90% of its members. Ah, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, lost 60% according to an article in the March 10th 60 1974 issue of The Dallas Times Herald. Quote. Head West, be former regional director of the Worldwide Church of God and chairman of the board of trustees of the new church that is associated Churches of God, said there will be several differences in the operation of the new church compared to the worldwide church. They include no requirement for tithing, local autonomy in the operation of the church with no central authority. Close quote. So those are two of the reasons why they pulled a coup and poor people out of the church and went form their own thing that in a lot of other differences, and they have really sunk over the decades. They're still in operation. I checked last week, but they are almost unrecognizable while the rebellion and conspiracy festered in the worldwide in worldwide and just prior to the forming of the associated churches of God, Garnet said. Armstrong, vice president of Worldwide Church of God at the time, issued a letter to the Brethren dated February 25th 1974 in which he said, quote, I am writing this letter with heavy heart in the mist of a vital emergency, which is striking at the very heart and core of this great work of God. Heresy, collusion Every former chicanery of black biting, disloyalty and rebellion have rear their ugly heads among many of those. Even within the ministry, I have had to declare a state of emergency throughout the entire church, canceling all Bible studies, deacons and or elders meetings, special meeting spokesman's clubs or meetings by any minister, elder or deacon in the world and the entire worldwide Church of God for the time being closed. Quote. This gives us an indication of what it was like over the over the centuries of where the Church of God would grow in size, and then leaders who were corrupt would take it over and end up this time and time again. We know that God is the one who blew the worldwide Church of God apart, and most likely he did that with these other groups along the way or the centuries. But Satan's hand is still there, involved in it. He's always nipping at the heels of God's people and even doing more damage to those who are in attending the church who are unconverted who aren't baptized. But the conspiracy took on a new shape under Garnett at Armstrong. According to the August 6 nineteen 1979 Worldwide Church of God Members Hotline newsletter. Herbert Armstrong wrote Quote during these years from 1970 on I Was Overseas sees a great deal of the time even up to 300 out of 365 days of the year Garnet headed threatened ministers or those who knew what was going on with being fired. If they communicated to me what was being done, there came to be a total lack of response from ministers. When I repeated requests during 19 75 and thereafter, I was being shut out of all authority in the church. Christ had used me and starting and building ministers were crying for more and more watering down of truth Christ had put into his church through his apostle, for example, a number of ministers either had not been really converted where had slipped so far from Christ by lack of prayer that it was too embarrassing for them to anoint and pray for healing. They were demanding that healing be eliminated. Meanwhile, in these same same years, a small group of self professed intellectuals were busy preparing the STP that is the systematic theology product project. Close quote. I remember that name STP Systematic theology project, because I'm going to speak a little more about that. So you see what was going on. Constantly, Satan was constantly doing his dirty work. We got allowed that to test those who are truly converted and those who are truly converted. Often times are not that many in number, and this has gone on century after century after century. So is God trying his people by fire? He wants to make sure there were pure the systematic theology project. STP was the number one official symbol of this slowly turning Protestant of the Church of God. It also brought out the rebellious attitudes of many ministers and members in the Worldwide Church of God. In the 19 seventies, the STP was forced upon the ministry as a new doctrinal approach to the word of God. Many of the false ministers who were part of the earlier conspiracies went underground remaining in their ministerial positions, but still caring, carrying in their deceitful hearts, resentment and bitterness. Throughout the 19 eighties, following Herbert Armstrong's death in 1986 they began to seat Feli, forcing their Protestant agenda on the worldwide Church of God members. Subtle false teachings began appearing in the worldwide Church of God's World Wide News monthly newspaper. Hardly any of the worldwide Church of God members noticed the doctrinal changes except the faithful remnant who recognized the demonic Ooh, it is always the faithful remnant who spiritually survive and grow in grace and knowledge during the conspiracies of false ministers in the May through the May 21st 1990 issue of the World Wide News, the pastor general, the Worldwide Church of God, Joseph to Koch, admitted in his personality, personal quote, I have instructed that we undertake a long term plan of setting down the basic, clear, foundational truth of God's word in a doctrinal manual. Some work along these lines had already been done in the systematic theology product project, the STP. He dug out, dug that out and was later found out that he was part of that conspiracy back in the seventies of that slowly turn turning Protestant system or paper. So one of the original conspirators conspirators, Joseph to Koch, is resurrected the STP Numerous times during the last eight years of Herbert Armstrong's life, he intensely denounced the STP. Calling it Satan inspired this conspiratorial rebellion against God's truth. So disturbed Herbert Armstrong that he was still condemning it just a few months before his death. And here is an excerpt of what he reminisced in the June 24th 1985 issue of the Worldwide Church of God newspaper. The World Wide News quote on the passage in the campus. More and more friction developed between the Liberals and those loyal ministers and members who held to the biblical truth God had placed in his church. It was a sort of cold War of nerves. It had become custom toe hold, an annual minister or conference of ministers of Pasadena headquarters in the 1974 to 1977 conferences. These meetings had been marred by controversies over doctrinal issues. Close quote. He was constantly battling those who were trying to change doctrines. Herbert, are Stone found out about it. He put a stop to it and commanded all the ministers to return their copies of the STP to headquarters. Some ministers did not. By the early 19 eighties, Herbert Armstrong began his campaign to get the church back on the right spirituals track. But little did he know the extent to which many ministers had allow themselves to be indoctrinated with these Protestant false teachings. Immediately on the heels of the conspiratorial STP, which attacked Christ doctrine from within, the church and its government was attacked from the outside with help of disgruntled ex members, and this was a fierce persecution of the church. I'm trying to show you what the church has gone through, not just in this age but what has been up against since it was formed in 1979. The state of California sought to destroy the religious freedom that was guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. And here is part of a report dated March 31st 1979 titled An Aide Memoire regarding State of California vs Worldwide Church of God. It was prepared under the auspices of the Emergency Committee for the Defense of Religious Freedom and Informal Voluntary Association of Lay members of the Worldwide Church of God in good standing. It was published as an official record of the events surrounding the church's confrontation with the state of California. I'm only going to give you a few excerpts. Quote. On January 3rd, 1979 without prior notice of warning of any kind and Armed Task Force descended on the headquarters complex of the Worldwide Church of God in Pasadena, California It forced, forcibly assaulted, seized possessions and took over control of the church and its affiliated organizations, Ambassador, College and Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. The task force consisted of a court appointed receiver, a retired judge, Steven S. Wiseman, representatives of the attorney general of California and private attorneys deputized by the receiver together with state investigators and law enforcement offices. It was an army. It was a state of California army that descended upon the headquarters. The property and assets of the church and its related organizations were summarily taken over the offices and records were seized and their contents a rifled cartons and files of records were taken and carried off without receipt, inventory and accounting by private attorneys as well as public officials acting pursuant to the supervisory powers contained in an expert eh? Court order issued in secret without notice of hearing or hearing. The receiver took control of the entire administration of the church and its affiliated organizations. The locks were changed on the executive offices of the church, and church officials were excluded from off from their offices. The church published showing facilities was seized. Contact between the chief pastor and church membership was choked off. Close quote. In addition to that, um, all money sell ties and offerings were a letter was sent out telling all members of the church to send the ties and offerings directly to the the Judge, Stephens Wiseman and the account that he had. So they wanted all the money to on. That was part of the reason for this. The other was the Satanic Attack on God's Church. It's interesting that the original charges were filed by ex members of the Worldwide Church of God, who had either real or imagined grievances against the church and sought vengeance on their fellow other ex fellow Reverend Reminds me of that scripture of those who will attack us, our family, our friends. Come with me, if you will, please to Matthew five and Verse 10 Matthew, five, and Verse 10 Shit. Many times throughout the church's history, persecution of God's church has been instigated or aided by false brethren and ex members. These are wolves in sheep's clothing. This has happened in every century since Jesus Christ. Crucifixion Matthew five versus 10 11 and 12 10. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when you, when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you, falsely, for my for my sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. So also, the civil rights and religious leaders are always anxious to take part in attacks if given the chance to benefit and profit from it, it's becoming more obvious every day that persecution against Christians worldwide will continue to get worse through the end of this age, there was a Catholic priest in Africa who just made a comment that made the news, and he said that because of the immigration into Europe, Europe will not exist in 20 years, and so that's Western civilization Christianity and the rest of it, and the same is being brought upon us here. As we heard in the commentary, We start with me to riff Asians to inverse 19 please. Throughout history, God has allowed members of his church to be tracked down, persecuted, beaten and, in many cases, martyred. Because it's it's becoming more obvious every day that this will continue. Now, Malik I three inverse one states. We're not going to go there. I'm just going to mention it. Malik I three inverse one states that Jesus is to come into his temple and he came to a material temple of stone, wood and gold in the first century. And this spiritually temple or the members of the church that Jesus comes to is not divided. Now, if it is just too, we are going to read versus 19 through 22. There is 19 now. Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the Household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and profits Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together, rose into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you also are being built up for a dwelling place of God in the spirit. So the church and ethicist was composed of former Gentiles, and they were no longer foreign Gentiles. But fellow citizens with saints, a spiritually nation. And they are also a spiritually family, a household of God, the God's family. The churches, spiritually as a building, were built upon the foundation of the apostles and profits Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone and as a building were fit. Lee frame together growing into a holy temple, a spiritually temple. And when I worked for the Worldwide Church of God, a Pasadena in 1988 I remember hearing that 50% of the members of the church had started within the previous 10 years. So a church of 140 some 1,000 and half had come into the church in the previous 10 years from Melissa from 1980 80 from 1980 80 80 1978 to 1988 with this system was this statistic I remembered hearing. So what happened to the other 70,000? Because there was about 140,000 church in the late seventies or maybe 120,000. But what happened to those other 50,000? Well, that's sort of God or the visible Church has always had a revolving door. People come and people go, and we've seen that here in the last 26 years of our existence, and it said. But that's why we need to ask each and a ask ourselves individually. What do I believe? How much dough I believe, do I believe it and my willing to die for it. What is important to me? There is any number of questions you can ask, but this is serious, very, very serious here, if you'll turn with me to second Corinthians 12 please. The same problems that sporadically hit the Church of God down through its history have now accumulated in tow a long list of corruptions, pride, conspiracies, discontentment divisions, false doctrine, false teachers, selfish preferences, self righteousness, faithlessness, this loyalty and so on. These are some of the corruptions of this last century that we've had, and all the way back through time. There will always be tears in the visible church. Second, Corinthians 12 and verse 20 for I fear this is Paul speaking for I fear lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish and that I showed and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish lest there be contentions, Jealousies, Outburst of wrath, Selfish ambitions Back biting Sze Whisperings conceit Two moles This was Paul's concern about the problems that he might find if he won. He arrived in corn because he knew there had already been that. So these things have always been in the church, our notions, they in the church not in the spirit of church but in the visible church. And now, as we approach Passover, we certainly want to make sure that we are not guilty of these things you were in here we see people claiming to be brethren of cry Christians, looking through a smorgasbord of ministers who titillate their senses and agree with their form of religion. That's why you have so many people going through a revolving door. They're looking for a minister who agrees with them quite often. Not always. There are many reasons why that maybe some people need more fellowship there in an isolated area. Please turn with me to second Timothy Foreign verse three. He's religious hobbyists have rejected the government of God and have set themselves up as the standard of righteousness, replacing Jesus Christ and God, the Father who give clear instructions through the apostle not to do this. So here in second Timothy, Chapter four versus three and four 1st 3 The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires. Because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. We must heal to being moated into the image of God growing in character and grace and a knowledge this choosing is a joint effort. We work and the Father works. We work together. God does most of it, but we still have to make a very strong effort. Our part is to show him our faithfulness, loyalty, commitment and obedience. It is to those who overcome with the help of the gods, Holy Spirit that God places with him on his throne. Now turn over to Second Thessalonians two in verse 13 sanctification signifies that were infused with the Holy Spirit and stamps us with a seal that proves we are We have God's spirit. And here in second, Thessalonians two will read verses 13 through 17 Pulsed Paul writing here. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord Because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the spirit and believe in the truth to which he called you by our gospel for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was 15. Therefore, brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and our God and father who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace comfort your hearts and establish you in every good work, word and work. That's a very encouraging passage, one that we should read often because God does say there that he's the one who calls us. And he's the one who maintains us If we stand fast and hold two the gospel of Jesus Christ, writings of the apostles and their profits. God calls many and he selects on ly a few to be among the first fruits of his kingdom. He makes this his truth available generally. But by comparison on ly, a few succeed in passing the test for inclusion with the first fruits. So tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people throughout the almost 2,000 years of the true church is history have been introduced to God's truth and gone back to the religions of the world, including atheism or humanism or environmentalism, or whatever it may be. Please turn turn, Tio some 66 and verse 10 some 66 and verse 10. No, it is essential to God's plan to put to preserve, train and perfect his church. And we find that all that the seven churches persevere is for the purpose of refinement. So I'm 66 versus 10 through 12 10 11 and 12 1st 10 for you. O God have tested us. You have refined us. His silver is refined. You brought us into the net. You late affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads. We went through fire that his trials and through water purification and baptism. But you brought us out too rich fulfillment, though the experience and skill of metal working is unfamiliar to most people. We still talk about God's melting our hearts and purifying our refining us, and we tend to see this individually rather than corporate lee. But God does both, and by refining us individually, he refines his church corporate lee. Our actions individually affect the church as a whole as a body with many parts, and the Bible often stresses refinements, positive benefits rather than the element of judgment, although both may be involved. And this is why the refining process requires the judgment that sin be removed from the body. Beginning on an individual level in this church history Siri's we have seen that throughout the last almost 2,000 years, gods people have experienced the same types of trials, tests and persecutions. Some time periods have had more severe trials than others. But regardless of the time period, God has tried and tested every individual he is called. The reason he has done this is for the purpose of separating out. In completing his elect, he is preparing the first fruits of the of his kingdom to rule. This is why many are called, but few are chosen. The true Church of God is spiritually not physical. It is not some politically organized denomination that one joins. We're not baptized in any into any humanly devised organization, but into the spiritually body of Christ and Jesus did not die for an organization called a church. We can't join the true church on ly God can put us into it. And Jesus Christ is a spiritual being is a spirit being. And the church is called the Body of Christ because it is a spiritual organism with who's high priest and head is Jesus Christ and just as a husband is head of. This is wife and family, as we read in Ephesians five or 22 3 24 And this is not a popular concept in mainstream Christianity. And it is another truth that separates the Church of God from the world from the beginning. The churches with subject to the role of God and it was not a government set up by human beings. Jesus is head of the church, and the true Church of God is one spiritually church composed of scattered members united in spirit in the church that Jesus is building is composed of those scattered individuals who have God's Holy Spirit. And if we submitted to God and faith and obedience and if we are genuinely repentant of our sins. And if we accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, where baptize with full immersion and water and have received the Holy Spirit. And if we have done all the required things and produced Goodwood fruit, it is still by the grace of God through faith that we receive salvation and entrance into the kingdom of God. We can never be good enough, but we cannot be obedient and repentance and tumble and overcome and do our part in that way, which will affect our reward. But it does not effect or what does not earn a salvation. What we see consistently throughout the church's history is the God of grace and mercy, intervening again and again to make sure that the gates of Haiti's will not prevail against his church. And it is not the blind grace of the tolerance of sin that Protestantism falsely calls love. But it is a deep commitment by God, the Father, Jesus Christ, to see that their plan for the salvation of mankind first successfully develops and completes the first fruits of their kingdom, and then at a later point in time, most of the rest of humanity may receive their salvation. There are great rewards promised and chapters two and three of Revelation to the called Who overcome and are chosen, for example, spiritually food, a new name, authority, robes of righteousness, a permanent position or responsive, more responsibility and thrown mint and an eternal inheritance. Please turn with me to Romans ate and Verse 27 in God's dedication toe work individually with each of us, he generously forgives our sins as we repent and overcome and his by the grace of God that were given the opportunity be among the first fruits of the Kingdom of God. Romans eight and we are going to read versus 27 all the way down through 39. You're very familiar with it, but it is extremely important and fits well with the sermon. Romans eight, Verse 27. Now he who searches the hearts knows with the mind of the spirit is because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good. To those who love God. To those who are called according to his purpose for whom he for new he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he protest in these He also called whom he called these he also justified and whom he justified thes he also glorified in verse 31. What then shall we say to these things? If God is Forrest, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son but delivered him up for us all. How shall he not with how How shall he not with him also freely give us all things who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies who is he who condemns it is Christ who died and furthermore is also risen who is even at the right hand of God who also makes intercession for us who shall separate us from the love of Christ shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine or nakedness or peril or sword as it is written for your sake. We are killed all day long. We're accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things were more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, your angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth nor death, nor any other creative thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ. Jesus, our Lord. Wow, God, we's everything together for the good of his children. The good and verse 28 of this text does not refer to earthly comfort, but to conformity, to Christ, to closer fellowship with God into bearing good fruit for the kingdom and two final glorification for a final scripture. Please turn with me to Hebrews 12 Verse one. One of the lessons we learned from churches from the church's physical and spiritual challenges down through history is that our coal on election is not an easy walk. It is a running with endurance while never taking our eyes off. Jesus Christ, you Hebrews 12 or going to revive verses one through three, 1st 1 Therefore, we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily and snares us and let us run with endurance. The race that is set before us looking onto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the jury that was set before him, endure the cross despising the shame and has set down at the right hand of God a tte the right hand of the throne of God. Verse three for Consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself. Lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls, you must be looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith as we run with endurance. Anybody that's run a marathon knows what it takes to do that most of us haven't. Most of us do not really realize the effort and the practice that it takes, which means the study ahead of time and so on. In about 12 more days, we will observe the Passover in memory of the suffering and death of our Lord and savior. Our remembrance of church's history, although important and beneficial, pales into insignificance to what were two member memorialize on Passover. R remembering on Passover should be on what God has done for us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. We should not be focusing on ourselves and our own problems. Our Passover for focus should be on what sin did to Jesus Christ, not what sin did AA does to us. In the meantime, we are working with God. It's helped to be worthy to take the Passover by having repentant, humble and forgiving attitudes.