I've been having Bible Studies a great deal over at Tucson (and I think perhaps you may have heard some of them here) when I have just taken books in the New Testament and gone through chapter by chapter, verse by verse. I used to preach that way many years ago, and I found that that was one of the better ways of preaching, as a matter of fact.
Now, you can't read the Bible straight through from beginning to end. There is a story flow in the Bible in a way. It begins with the creation of man, and it does show how man was offered life and did not choose it, rather chose to have his own way.
Because we can only have life God's way, in a way that will liberate us from troubles; that will free us from pains and sorrows and sufferings and unhappiness of every kind. It is the way of His law, and it is a law of liberty, and we're going to see a lot about that tonight.
So Adam did shut, not only himself, but his whole family (the human family) off from life. He rejected that Tree of Life and took the Tree (or took to himself) the Knowledge of Good and Evil, to decide for himself what he thought was right and wrong.
Perhaps he didn't realize that Satan was on the throne of the earth. Still is there, no longer the wonderful Archangel Lucifer who was perfect in all of his ways from the day he was created till iniquity was found in him. But there he was, and Adam was influenced to go his way.
When Adam chose to take to himself the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, he was influenced by Satan. And he did choose Satan's way of self-centeredness, of getting instead of giving, of materialism. And he only had a chemical existence. He did not have life, because in Christ is life.
So we read in the New Testament:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word. [Now, the Word was a being, a personage who was the Spokesman of the God-head.] And the Word was with God [And God then was another personage, so we had the two together] And the Word was [also] God. And:
John 1:3-4 All things were made by Him (and) without Him was not anything made that was made. [But] (4) In Him was life; [He] ...was the light of men. [But]
John 1:14 ...the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
Now the Bible starts in Genesis with the creation of man without life: man merely a physical human being made from the dust of the ground. And even our life comes from the energy that comes out of the ground.
Now, we've been in an energy crises in the last year or more here in the United States. In fact, the whole world really is, except over in Saudi Arabia and in one or two places like that. Energy does come out of the ground, and we have a kind of energy that we derive from eating of food, and drinking of water, and from the breathing of air, and the circulation of blood. That is our existence, and it is not life.
In Ephesians two and verse one, Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus that you were (while you were Gentile born) you "were dead in trespasses and sins." They didn't have life. But we find in first John that "he that has the Son of God has life, and he that has not the Son of God has not life." (I John 5:12) Now:
John 1:1 3-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God... (3) All things were made by him; and... (4) In him was life.
Christ came to bring life. The first Adam came to bring a human, mechanical, temporary existence, which means you are in the process of dying every breath you take – every day you live. And every one of you is one breath away from dying; from death, from being dead. That's all. If you don't take the next breath, you won't live.
We do not have life. Christ came to bring us life, but God does not want us to have life in unhappiness. And so God put a law in His government – and you can't have a government without a basic law, or constitution of some sort. The angels rejected that. The archangel Lucifer rejected it.
That is a way of life. It is a way that will free you from unhappiness and sorrows and suffering and troubles and unhappiness. It is the only way that will bring you any real happiness and peace and joy. It is the way of a filled, fulfilled life – a life that is filled full, a life that is interesting, a life that is, well, it doesn't need to be absolutely exciting all of the time, but absolutely invigoratingly interesting. That's the kind of life God intended for us to have, but the world doesn't have that kind of life and never did have.
Now, the world was cut off from life. God made one exception of the prophets of the Old Testament. But the chemical existence came with Adam, but life came with Jesus Christ. Now, in these annual holy days we are being reminded every year of God's plan (His master plan) of bringing us from a chemical existence into life – life in peace, and life in happiness, and life freed from all the burdens of unhappiness, of sorrows, of suffering, of antagonisms, of hatreds, of everything that is unpleasant, unenjoyable and that we really don't want.
It is a law of liberty, that is, the way of God, and so the first of these festivals celebrates the Passover which we did on last Friday night (be a week tomorrow night) – the crucifixion of Christ to take on Himself the penalty we've all incurred by breaking that law and bringing unhappiness on ourselves and on others. Because when you sin you bring unhappiness on others as well as yourself.
And then we began the seven days of Unleavened Bread, showing that we must put sin out of our lives. And sin is the transgression of that law. Sin is going the way that is going to harm you and hurt you; that hurts other people; that brings unhappiness and wretchedness – into the way that frees us from all of those things that we don't want.
So I thought we'd read a little more about that tonight, in one of these days of Unleavened Bread, from the book of James. Now James, I think most authorities agree, that the James who wrote this is the James who was a brother of Christ. He was also a son of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and of Joseph, her husband. Anyway, a brother of Jesus.
And he was the Pastor of the headquarters Church at Jerusalem also, and the one who acted as chairman at the meeting that they had there that you read of in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts where a decision had to be made. Actually, it was Peter who made that decision. James as the (what you might call, what we would call today) chairman of the meeting, of which there had been much disputing until Peter rose up and settled everything. James merely approved and made official, by his official position as the Pastor of the headquarters Church, the decision.
So James was one of the apostles, and James was one of those who was inspired to write part of the Bible. And this book that he wrote is a very important book. Now, I don't know whether I'll get past the first chapter tonight. I hope we can go to two chapters at least. I doubt if we'll have time for the whole book. But I'm going to start at the beginning and just go through, as I've been doing, that you've heard some of them I believe that have been on tape, that I've done over really in the office that I've built on my home over in Tucson.
But beginning with the book of James chapter one beginning with verse one:
James 1:1-2 James, a servant of God [He doesn't say I am the big I am, I'm a big boss and I've got a big high position now. He's just a servant] and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting[s]. (2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into [different] temptations;
Now, other translations translate that trials, troubles or tests that will come. Sometimes they will come from other people. But I think the Greek word here and that James intended means, includes, temptations as well as troubles and trials that come from other people. Often they really come from Satan even though other people are used to bring them.
So "count it all joy." We don't. We don't count it joy. How do you count it when troubles come, when everything is going wrong, when there's real trouble? How did you count it about two and a third years ago now when the trouble hit the Church? Or was that as bad as when some trouble hits you personally, maybe a real serious financial trouble, something terrible? Do you count it joy? Or are you really troubled and think, Oh boy, that's tough, that's terrible? But he says to count it joy because we're on the way in a transient, chemical, temporary existence into life, and there aren't going to be any more troubles when we get there.
And enduring these troubles, in enduring them, and in coming through them through faith in Christ, we become stronger ourselves, and we're stronger characters, and we are going to have that much more that will give us joy and enjoyment in the Kingdom of God and in ALL eternity.
How long is this life? I've lived the age of practically every one of you here because I may be the oldest person here tonight, I don't know. But I know that when I was younger it just seemed like we'd go on living forever.
Well, I've heard so many people talking about my age that, I don't know, I've looked at the calendar and I begin to realize that maybe I am a little older than I thought I was. And I know that I am not going to live another hundred years in this life – or another 88 ½ years for that matter.
And I realize that we're just here for a certain amount of time, and in the Church judgment is on us. Now, God did not put judgment on the world. The world was cut off from life when He closed the Garden of Eden from anybody ever entering there.
He didn't necessarily cut people off from God. A few could seek Him. Abel was called "righteous Abel" by Jesus. Enoch walked with God. Noah was found righteous. I think when it says he was "perfect in his generations"" it was speaking of his family perfection by heredity rather than speaking of his character perfection.
But he did find grace in God's sight, and he was walking with God, and two can't walk together except they be agreed. And so God chose him and his family, his wife, their sons and their sons' wives – a total of eight people, to keep the human chemical existence alive and going. We don't know much about what happened before the flood. Very little is given us in the Bible.
So God shut off judgment until Christ came. Judgment could not be on Israel. It wasn't. Israel was never offered the Holy Spirit. When judgment is on you, you are being tried and tested to see whether you can gain eternal life or whether you are going to reject it.
You have to make a choice. You have to decide if you really want to live the way that will make you happy and make those around you happy. If you want to live the way that's going to make everybody else unhappy and cause sorrow and suffering to all kinds of people as well as yourself, God isn't going to let you have eternal life.
And judgment is then as much an opportunity for salvation. In fact, it's a lot more. It isn't a condemnation at all, it's a trying and testing, and we're in a time of trying and testing in the Church. And that's why James says here;
James 1:2-3 My brethren count it all joy when ye fall into [different trials, or] temptations. [We're being tested. We're being judged every day that we live.] (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Now, in other words, you get in trouble, there's only one way out and that is through faith in Christ. Are you depending on yourself to get out? You probably won't get out of it. But we who are in the Church are expected to rely on Christ to pull us out.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. (Psalm 34:29) So says your Bible.
[It is] through much tribulation [we must] enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
So, naturally, what is the way we get out of our trials, our troubles, persecutions, whatever, our temptations? It's living faith, and it's not your faith. It's not a faith you work up. It's not a faith you create and stimulate. It's the faith of Christ that God will put in you through the Holy Spirit. God gives you that faith. You don't have it. It's the faith of Christ, not your faith in Christ. It's HIS faith placed in you by a gift from God. Let's get that straight. Now:
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith [and it's expected that a Christian is going to use faith when the trials and temptations come will] work(eth) patience [or endurance].
And he that endures unto the end, the same shall be saved. And we have to overcome these things if we are going to reign with Christ (putting other scriptures together with it).
James 1:4-5 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (5) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; [That is, He doesn't scold or condemn you or anything, or upbraid you] and it shall be given...
Well, there are conditions, as we'll read on in the next verse.
But you know, one of the first things I learned when I was first converted, back in the spring of 1927 (and many of you have been born since that), one of the first things I learned is that I did not have wisdom. I just lacked wisdom.
Now, I always craved understanding, and I craved knowledge up to a certain extent. I have known others that I think have craved knowledge more than I have, but I wanted understanding. But I found I didn't have wisdom. That's a little different. Wisdom is the ability to make wise decisions and use that knowledge and that understanding. They sort of go together but there is a difference and a distinction. So I did ask God.
Now, I haven't always exercised wisdom, but I have on and off, and I have a good deal of the time. And that wisdom (any I have ever used) has always come from God. I didn't have it naturally at all. It has all come from God. But now notice he gives here a condition on that:
James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. [or doubting; not doubting at all] For he that wavereth [or doubts] is like a wave of the sea [which is] driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive anything [from] the Lord.
You have to believe God. You know that makes me think of a woman I was called on one time. It was up in, oh, a town south of Eugene, in Oregon, before I ever came down to Pasadena. And she'd asked me to come and pray for her and anoint her for healing.
Well, I said, If I do pray for you, and ask God to heal you and I anoint you, do you think you will be healed?
Well, I don't know. If it's God's will, I know He will.
Oh, I said, If. So you have a doubt. You're not quite sure whether it's God's will?
Well, she says, We can't know His will, can we?
Well, I said, Do you believe that it is His will to forgive you your sins?
Oh yes, yes, I know that's His will.
Oh you do?
Well, I turned back here in the Bible to Psalms. (Seems I can't turn to it right quickly here.) Well anyway, it's about 103 I think, or 104.
Psalm 103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities...
I said, You believe that because it says so right here?
Oh yes, I believe that.
I said, Read the other half of the same sentence. She read it. It says, who healeth all thy diseases.
Oh, I said, You believe one half of the sentence, but you don't believe God when He says the other part.
Well, I don't remember whether she really believed that or not. I think maybe she did and was healed because a good many people were healed in those days, and since.
Anyway, when God says He will do something He really means it, and not very many people believe God. We are expected to believe Him. So when He says He will give you wisdom, believe it. Believe it. But if you're going to doubt and waiver, don't think you'll expect anything from God at all because you won't. Don't think God is so good He just gives anybody any and everything they want regardless.
Sometimes we want to be better than God, you know. God doesn't do that.
Now He says;
James 1:8-9 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (9) Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted.
Now, I believe the meaning of that (and the Moffatt translation does make it more plain), that the one who is poor, and in society rated of low degree – he's not a multimillionaire; he's not a man of real great importance, or something like that – he's humble, but he believes in God.
And does the brother – it says a brother, a member in the Church, so he must believe in God – rejoice in [God] that he is exalted. He is exalted by being a son of God. He's a begotten son of God, and that is something to exalt in.
James 1:10 But the rich in that he is made low, because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
Well, he can rejoice when he is made low in the Lord, but if he doesn't, and he still thinks he is better than anybody else, he's just like a flower. Well, the next verse explains it, how the wind comes and what it does.
James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, [especially in the summer time] but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth:
In other words, the beauty and the glory of a flower. And I think the Revised Standard, or the Moffatt is a little more plain there and brings it out, of the real glory and the beauty of a rose or many flowers, how beautiful they are.
How could a man think up something like that and design it? And yet it grows right out of the ground. God has designed it. We have to have a great Designer as well as a Creator.
James 1:11... and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so (also) shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Yes, he does, and he is soon gone, and he doesn't take his wealth with him does he when he dies? If he relies on that and physical and material goods, he hasn't got very much to rely on. And he's only dying every day he lives. He hasn't found life yet at all. Remember, it's more important that we find life.
James 1:12-13 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, [or trials, whichever] for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, [You see, we don't have life, but he'll receive the crown of life, which we don't have. We weren't born with it. And ] shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (13) Let no man say when he is tempted, [that] I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.
Now God cannot be tempted. What are you going to do with the fact that Jesus was here in the human flesh and was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin? (Hebrews 4:15) Well, the answer to that is that Jesus was man as well as God. Now, Jesus is now God and solely God again, and He couldn't be tempted today. Neither has the Father ever been tempted.
But Jesus took on the temporary chemical existence of a human life, but there was the spirit of eternal life within Him. And He did not sin, but He was tempted. But He did die, and He was made mortal for the very purpose of death, as you read in Hebrews.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted when he is drawn away [by] his own lust and enticed.
In other words, by your own desires. I think... I don't have another translation here. I haven't checked that. I'm not sure if the other translations use the word lust. We think usually of lust as in a sex point of view, whereas we usually think, I think of, oh, the last of the Ten Commandments – coveting – as coveting just material goods or money.
But this can be pleasure. Your lust there that will entice you can be pleasure. It can be going along with other people. It can be anything that other people are doing. Now, that is the world we live in, and that's where I want to stop and say a few things right there.
We are living in a world that is not living by the law of God. We are living in a world that is seeking its own pleasures. It's seeking what it can get in material goods. It wants to get and not to give. It wants to enjoy life, but it wants to enjoy it physically, materially. And we have it all around us – everywhere all around us.
Now, some people wondered why I brought what looks like about fifteen, or twenty, or thirty newspapers here tonight. Actually, this is just last Sunday's Los Angeles Times. (Audience laughs). It's only one day's newspaper, and there were about a million, two hundred thousand of them printed. If you'd stack one on top of the other, I think they'd reach up to higher than the Empire State Building in New York. And there are a couple of buildings higher than that in New York now.
But I thought I'd like to just show you a little of this. Now, here's the first page and here's the main news. And there's quite a section here, a great many pages. Let's see if I can see – 36 pages, and that's only the first section. And there's just all kinds of news about what's going on in the world. Always they'll have sort of like a magazine article over on the left-hand column, and they had one here about Come Down Shock - Out of a Job - Transition's Bitter Pill, some people losing jobs and what a bitter pill it is. That will be man's philosophizing about man's troubles.
But here's a picture of President Reagan and his wife and him raising up a hand, and all that sort of thing and what's going on in the world. But I just want to show you, the newspaper has to give the people what they want. We used to have a saying that we used in business years ago. We said, Jones pays the freight; give Jones what he wants.
And that's business you see. Whatever the people want, give it to them because that's the way to get their money, and business is a case of trying to get money.
Now we come to another section here and that's "Calendar," and that gives you all of the entertainment, the shows and everything like that. You'll even find perhaps one of our own ads in there of some of the fine arts performances that'll be on in this auditorium. Now let me see how many pages there are in this. This is about as thick as that first section.
The pages must be numbered here someplace. Well, I think this is thirty-some pages and I can't find it, but it's very, very thick. And that's just filled with movies, entertainments, this and that and the other thing, people seeking entertainment.
Who are the celebrities in the world? Well, they're over in Hollywood. Well, what are they? They're entertainers, they're entertainers, that's what they are. Now, if they live in great mansions, if they have millions of dollars, that's wonderful. Everyone wants them to have that. They wouldn't want a servant of God to have anything like that.
Now here comes another whole section. This is a pretty good sized section too. I don't know whether... Now, this has thirty pages. Well, I know that one had more then. This is "Travel." Now that's another thing that people like is to travel. Boy do they love that. That's pleasure. Well, let me tell you, I've done more traveling than any of you here, I think. And traveling, if you keep it up, is certainly not pleasure. It is one of the most fatiguing, tiresome things there is.
Now here's an eight-page section, Metro, of just local news, things of that kind, or something about Mayor Bradley. Says he's the head, looks to the governor race. Well, you know that reminds me, I had the Strong Man of Europe, Franz Joseph Strauss in my home about ten years ago now for dinner.
He'd been on the campus here at Ambassador College, and he said that evening was the happiest day he'd ever spent in his life. He just loved everything he saw here. Someone asked him that night, he said, Look you are a politician, and at that time I think President Nixon had just been elected. I believe it was Nixon's election. Someone said, What... I mean he had just taken the oath of office, just the inauguration,
Someone said, While he was holding up his hand and swearing with one hand on the Bible to defend the Constitution, what do you think was going on in his mind?
He said, Why, how to be re-elected next time of course.
A politician is always thinking how to be re-elected or how to step up to another higher political office.
You know, we've had politicians in the Church. They wanted a higher office all the time. Moses had some politicians with him. One of them was named Korah. Do you ever here of him? He had a pretty good position, but he wasn't satisfied. He wanted a higher one. Moses said, You weren't satisfied with what God gave you. You wanted a lot more.
So Moses didn't punish him. Moses didn't have to. God took care of that. He just let the earth open up and swallow up Korah and all of his group and cover them up, and cover them with dirt. They were well buried. (Audience laughs)
Well now we come to another. Here's what people get. The newspaper gives people what they WANT. What are they interested in? This is what the WORLD is interested in. Well, here's a San Gabriel Valley section. Now, if you lived in another area around here you'd get a different section. I see there's a second section in that which is the "Classified" just for the San Gabriel Valley.
Now next we come to a "Real Estate" section. Well, people are interested in homes and things like that. Of course now, that might be perfectly alright. There might not be any worldliness or anything wrong. Even we could be interested in that. (Audience laughs). But there is quite a Real Estate section here. There are two sections really. Now, the first one is twenty-eight pages. Well, I guess it's fifty-four pages altogether in that section about Real Estate.
Then we come to a section here that is "News Features;" Legal Services Agency battles something; Reagan attempts to cut something off. Gets into politics and some more of the world's interests, but certainly there is nothing about God in it I can promise you that.
Here's a section I don't find any heading to, but there is another section here of, well, I don't know whether this altogether is forty-four pages, whatever it is. Maybe it's part of that other section. Anyway, it's a forty-four page section. Now, this I think is just a lot of ads and a color kind of a brochure. A lot of people stick a lot of flier ads in there, and here's some more of that.
And of course, we've got to have the Funnies or it wouldn't be a newspaper. (Audience laughs). Yes, the kids like that. I used to like them. And the funny thing is that some of the Funnies that were in the paper when I was a little boy are still running. I don't think the same men are still drawing them because they've grown old and died before now, but someone else is doing it. Oh, I see Andy Capp here. (audience laughter) Is that a take off Al Capp? I haven't read a Funny paper in years so I don't know what they are doing, but that's got to be in every Sunday newspaper.
Now we come to one that's called "View". Now, here's quite a section, and I think it gives people's point of view. Everybody has his view. Well, I tell you now my view on that is thus and so. (audience laughs) Another guys says, Well my view is a little different. And they never can agree.
Well, in the Church Paul tells us that we must all be of one mind, and we must all speak the same thing. And if we get God's truth, we will. But in the world they've got all the views in the world. So here's the Views section, and they waste twenty-eight pages on that. (great laughter).
Now we come to "Opinion." Beside views they've got opinions. Well now, what's your opinion John or Dick or Fred or whoever you are? What's your opinion? Here's my opinion and I think this, and I think so and so. Well, I tell you what I think is so and so. Everybody has what he thinks, he has his opinion, he has his view. And they don't agree because they just don't know the truth.
So this is quite a section too. Poland steps back from the brink, barely, just barely. That's not so thick as some of them but at least they've got opinions in it. The six pages, that's another section. Now, this is just one day's newspaper.
Now we come to one on "Business." You've got to have a lot of business because people have got to make money off of you. And so people are interested somewhat, at least some people are interested in some kinds of business. They have twenty-six pages they wasted on that here.
And now we come to Sports. Well, all the men want sports. I noticed at home they'll take the sports section out every morning, put it over on the breakfast table for me, and I don't find much I'm interested in sports any longer, but I did used to be. But as I get older I think less about it. Of course, that's mostly for men, but women are getting an interest in sports now. That's more entertainment; that's all entertainment.
Then we come to a magazine here. Of course, they've got to slip a magazine into a weekly newspaper. This is a whole magazine, a lot of nice colored printing in it. Lets see if I can tell how many pages. I think there are more pages in it than there are in The Plain Truth. No, I can't find a number. All to interest people in the things of this world. Things that are material and physical and just pleasures and sports and all of those things.
Now we come to "Classified Ads." Of course, you've got to have a lot of those. Now here's one section of twenty-two pages. I started the advertising business selling classified ads when I was eighteen years old. You didn't know classified ads were sold. Well, they are. I didn't know it until then either. Now here it looks like there two or three more sections of classified ads. That's bigger than most newspapers ought to be.
I get most of the news in the first ten or fifteen minutes of either CBS or NBC or ABC's World News Tonight, or whatever they call it. I get it condensed. I have to use a magnifying glass when I read, and so I don't read so much. Well, with three sections of Want Ads, that's really, that's thicker than most newspapers.
Now, that's one day's newspaper. That's what people are interested in. Now, they're interested in shows; they're interested in television. And on television you see sex. Sex, sex, sex. You will see through the day the women like to watch soap operas. Every soap opera has got a real villain woman. Do you know that? I didn't know that till I saw something, I don't know, in a magazine or something I read not too long ago.
I've not watched soap operas so I didn't know that before. But every soap opera's got its villain woman. She is really a dirty kind of a woman. She's mean. She just is deliberately mean. She tries to deceive the others. She pretends. She is a rotten, dirty hypocrite. So they have someone that can act that part. I don't think it's very hard to find women that can do that (audience laughter), or men either for that matter. I'm not just saying that against women. I think that's true of all humanity. But they have that.
Then, of course, you've got to have a lot of violence. It seems that people just love to watch violence. People love to watch a prize fight. Why? Why do they want to watch someone try to pummel another guy's brains out? I tell you, in the World Tomorrow we are not going to watch any prize fights at all. You gonna miss it? You want to say, I don't want to be in the World Tomorrow?
There won't be any prize fights. We're going to try to protect the other person's brains in his head. Of course, I hope that we will be composed of spirit and not of mortal flesh then and be helping those people that do have mortal flesh.
But you find everything on television. Woman have got to look sexy. I don't know whether men do or not. I don't know what would be a sexy looking man. I just don't know. But I guess women find some men are sexy looking. Anyway, they appeal to sex, and they appeal to violence, or they have the soap operas, I think deal primarily with problems that you have in the home. And in this world it is the kind of problems the world has. It's always troubles, trouble, trouble. Well. God deliver us from those things, and He will in due time. He will.
Now, those things attract us all. Those newspapers attract us. Those are things that tempt us. They are things that draw us that way. Things on television draw us that way. They draw our children that way and they are things that we should not be wasting our time on. Now let's get back and see what James says about it.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
You see, at first you just look at it a little bit, then you get a little more interested. If you put it out of your mind right away then you're rid of it. But as long as you let it just kind of hang on a little bit, it begins to get you. Now, James explains that here. It is one of the best explanations of how you get into sin that you can find anywhere.
James 1:15 Then when lust [or this desire for whatever he is looking at – and he begins to want it, and it's always of a physical or fleshly or materialistic desire, or for pleasure, or for something like that. When it] hath conceived [now finally he is enticed if he looks then it conceives.]
I have had that happen to me, and I remember back in past life some things I have done that I shouldn't have done. I was tempted and finally I just gave in. Maybe it was something that others were doing and I finally kind of went along with it, and I shouldn't have done it.
Why do most women smoke cigarettes? Because other women around them do. Why do men start? Why do young fellows start smoking cigarettes in their teens? Because the others do and they feel ashamed not to go along with them. Of course, they're proud to say, Well I'm no saint. I want you to understand that, I'm no saint.
Yes, they can brag about that, but they would never want to say that I am really trying to live the kind of life that Christ wants me to live. They'd be ashamed to say that. They like to brag about how naughty and how wicked they are. That's what they like to do.
So finally, if you look at it, and if you let your mind dwell on it a little bit, it conceives. Then comes the action that is sin. Now, it is not sin until you finally give in. But how many times have you done it, every one of you? Think about your own life and think back, how many times have you done it?
James 1:15 ...when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Now we have a temporary mechanical existence in this life. It's only going to last so long. It'll bring that death, and your death is going to be eternal. If judgment is on you now, you're having your chance right now. You are being tried and tested for the final result right now – every one of us, if we are in God's Church.
James 1:16-17 Do not err my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above [not from below]...
You don't find it in the things in that newspaper. You don't find it in the things on television. You don't find it in the things of this world around, and we're living in this world. And they throw sex at you, and they throw these entertainments at you, and they throw interests at you EVERYWHERE in the WORLD.
Now, in the World Tomorrow they aren't going to have that. There isn't going to be any Satan around. You see, judgment hasn't come on the world yet, but it has come on us, and we have a little harder job than the people that are not converted. I heard of some people saying, that were employed right here on this campus, Well I'm not converted. I can do things against you, and I can lie and do whatever I want to do. I can cheat; I can lie; I can steal; I can do anything. But you're a Christian. You can't do it. I'm going to get you.
Yes, that's happened here. That's come to me. Isn't that wonderful? I can do all of the things that are going to make me suffer and make others suffer. You can't do that thing. You are a converted Christian. Well, some people are absolutely foolish – simpletons. They lack sense in their upper story. They just do because it doesn't make sense.
James 1:17 . . . [but] every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
God is just steady, going right down the one line all the time, the right line. The line that leads to peace, the line that leads to real happiness and joy and a filled, full life that'll be filled with a lot more real peace and happiness and joy than you get on the kind of things you find tempting people in that newspaper, or that you find on television, or that you find in the world.
The people want all that they can get in this world. Someone will say, Well I had better get all that I can get now while I can get it because pretty soon I won't get it. Maybe I'll have to go into that Kingdom of God. Or, do you feel that way? Well, I hope you don't.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he [that is, God begat he] us with the word of truth...
That is, we're begotten. We're not born yet as God beings, but we're begotten to BECOME GOD BEINGS. We will become GOD PERSONAGES. I wonder if we really realize that. Do we? Do we really realize that? Has that ever really gotten through to us? And it comes through the word of truth right here (banging on his Bible). These words are never going to mislead you, they are the right way.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
You see, judgment is first on the Church. Judgment never came to ancient Israel. Judgment never came to people until the Church, until Christ. You see, it's a chemical existence that came with Adam, but LIFE comes with Christ. And the only ones were the prophets of the Old Testament that were sort of begotten of God a little before the time, for the writing of the Old Testament. They were.
James 1:19 Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, [and] slow [in] wrath.
Are we like that? How do we do? This is telling us what some of the leaven is that we need to get out of our hearts and out of our lives. Most of us like to talk, and sometimes I think women like to talk better than men do. I don't know why.
I know quite often I get letters and it will be from a husband and a wife, but the woman will write it. That's not always true. When I get letters from one of our ministers, it is usually the minister who writes it, but just members or other people, I find often it's the wife who does it. And women can certainly gab and talk when they get together.
Well, maybe that's all harmless and maybe it's just fine. You better be sure it is. But here he says:
James 1:19...let every[It's not just man. It says man here but let every person.] be swift to hear, slow to speak [and] slow to wrath.
Be slow to get emotions aroused and answering back real heatedly. Now, a lot of us can go to work on that point. That's another bit of leaven a lot of us can get out of our lives. A lot of them are mentioned right here in James.
James 1:20-21 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (21) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness [and all of this careless kidding and speaking that people get into]...
You know, I can't imagine Jesus doing that and telling a lot of dirty jokes and things like that. I can't imagine that. He never did it. How many of you ever heard me tell a dirty joke? Raise your hands. I don't see any hands going up because you would not be telling the truth if you raised your hands because none of you has ever heard me tell a dirty joke. I just don't tell them. I don't keep them in my mind.
James 1:20-21 ...the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (21) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Now what is the soul? The soul is the physical human body breathing air. God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [or existence, chemical existence] and man [made of the dust of the ground] became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
So a soul came from the dust of the ground. Now you notice here that the Word of God is able to save our souls, our breathing selves, and so, we won't be souls made out of the dust of the ground any longer. We're not immortal souls, but we can become immortal spirit beings and God beings.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word...
Now, just reading it is not enough. We have to be a doer of it. It's as many as are led by the Spirit of God that are the sons of God, not those that read about it. It takes a lot of doing. It's the way you live. It's what you do and how you do it.
James 1:22-24 ...be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, [He's just heard about it, but he doesn't do it.] he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, (and) goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. [He doesn't do anything about it]
Now, I have always likened that, I have used that, when people used to bring up to me years ago, they used to bring up a passage of scripture back here in Romans the third chapter and verse twenty:
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight;
By the deeds of the law no flesh'll be justified. Now, people that believe in Sunday instead of Saturday, they certainly will shout that at you. And I used to have that so much more in the early days up in Eugene, Oregon before we even started the College down here in 1947.
There was a lot of controversy about the Sabbath, much more than we hear today, and they would use scriptures like this: No flesh can be justified by the works of the law or the deeds. It's not speaking of the works of the law here, the er-gon, but doing the way. It's speaking here of God's spiritual law. Some places, especially in Galatians it's speaking of the physical law of rituals and not the spiritual law of the Ten Commandments.
But here it is undoubtedly speaking of the Ten Commandments. But therefore by the deeds of the law (the Ten Commandments), by doing it you shall not be justified – not in God's sight – for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Now, I have used this very thing that James says many a time and people could understand it. I said in almost any woman's purse you will find a little mirror. And she takes out that mirror to look at her face, and then maybe she takes out a powder puff, or maybe she takes out some other of her make-up stuff and uses it. But she looks at her face.
Now, by the use of a mirror, looking, no faces will be washed clean, or no faces will get painted and made up either by the use of the mirror. It only shows you what is there and what is needed. That is all. That's what the law does. You see James explains it here."For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like some man that beholds his face in a mirror. He sees what's wrong but he doesn't do anything about it.
The law tells us when we are sinning. It tells us what sin is. Now, you can only be justified through the blood of Christ. But justification comes as a result of repentance and beginning to be a doer from that time on. Don't sin any more. Come out of sin. That is why we are having the seven Days of Unleavened Bread to show us we are not to continue in SIN! EVERY ONE OF YOU people there, all of you are SINNERS, every one of you. So am I.
It makes me think of the drunk who was walking on the side of the street and someone came up and says, You're drunk. He says, Hiccup. I know it. So am I. (audience laughter). Well, we're all sinners, but we don't need to go on in sin. That's what we're having to learn this week is that we put sin out-of-our-lives.
We look into God's perfect law and it says law of liberty. Now, I've been saying a lot about that tonight since I came up here. It's a law of liberty. It will liberate us from all of the unhappiness and all of the pains and sufferings that are so present in this world. It is a law of liberty, and it liberates us from the worst kind of slavery that anyone can suffer.
James 1:24 ...he beholdeth himself, [he]...goeth his way [and he forgets all about it]
It didn't do any good then to find it. If you just see the law and you read it and don't do anything about it, you go your way and forget about it, you'll never get into God's Kingdom.
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein [We have to be a doer of it.], he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer [of the law], of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Now, you still need the blood of Christ to cleanse you from all the sins that are past. You still need the Holy Spirit to help you to walk with God and overcome and to open your mind to understand the Bible, to know what is the way you have to walk and the way you have to live.
James 1:26-27 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. [So there are a lot of religious people that still don't have truth.] (27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless [the] widows in their affliction[s], (and) to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Unspotted from the world. How much of the world do we let into our lives brethren? I just wanted to bring that before you tonight. I think we need to think about that.
Well, I see that we've got fifteen more minutes. Well, I'm going to start on in the next verse in the next chapter, but we may not get through it. But let's continue because James is one of the real important books of the Bible, and I think it gets neglected a great deal of the time.
James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
You notice it's not your faith in Christ, it's the faith of Christ in you. I want you to notice that. And that's in Galatians the third chapter and other places too in the Bible, that we need the faith of Christ. You don't need to work up your own faith. Just believe what God says, obey God and ask Him to give you the same faith that Christ used to walk on water.
Now, that doesn't mean you're going to walk on water. I think it would be a little bit of nonsense if we tried to. There's no reason why we should. There is a reason why Jesus did. But we should not have respect of persons. Now he goes on to explain that a little bit.
James 2:2-4 . . . if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; (3) And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, [oh you stand over there, or you sit there under my footstool, and you distinguish between them, you show respect to the one and not to the other] (4) Are ye (not) then partial in yourselves and become judges of evil thoughts?
Now, you have to explain a little bit of some things. That is assuming that that poor man came in and that's all he had, and the best he had, but his mind was alright and his heart was alright. The other man was overly dressed, had some gold ring and extra fine clothing and things like that. Just because of position we're not to show respect of persons.
On the other hand, there are things in the Bible, and I've written about that and preached sermons on it, that coming in God's presence, when we come to Church, we should wear whatever we have that is best. Now, if you happen to have some evening full dress you don't need to wear that when you come to Church. But you should be reasonably dressed up because we're coming into the presence of Christ and of God.
In first John the first chapter you will read that our fellowship is not only with one another, it's with God the Father and also with Christ. They are here with us in spirit. They are here. We are coming into the presence of God.
It makes me think of a time over in Jerusalem, and this was, as a matter of fact, this was on December 1, 1968. I remember the date because I promised them, in Jerusalem, that we would be back on December 1, to give them an answer about the archaeological project and going into it, and that's when we started it: December 1, 1968. And we were to have a meeting with the President of Israel, President Shazar.
He has since died and there have been two other Presidents since, and I, of course, know them both. But I don't believe I had met President Shazar before this time. But we were to have a meeting with him and give our answer.
Well, I was with Doctor... Why, I can't remember names here, a man that I've known that has been here on this campus. Anyway, he's one of the leading professors in the Hebrew University. Now you know, over in Israel they dress very casually. Israel is a country of more or less poor people in a way. There are not very many wealthy people in Israel. They are having a hard time, and their taxes are terrific over there for the government.
They have to make every sacrifice in the world for their country and so they don't dress up much over there. Well anyway, this professor, or doctor, oh, Aviram, Dr. Aviram, we'd met him in his office and we started walking down the hall, and we got half way down the hall of his building (the building he was in) and he saw me. He said, Wait a minute, I've got to go back and get a jacket on. He says, I'm going into the presence of the President, I must have a jacket on.
He was just going with the bare shirt. So we went back and put a jacket on. Well, normally he wouldn't have done that, but going into the presence of the President he had to dress up a little better. Well, we come into the presence of Jesus Christ and the presence of God Almighty, the Father, when we come to Church. And I've had to write things about it.
Now, Jesus himself in a parable gave us a title of a man that came without a wedding garment. He could have had it. He just was slouchy and didn't care about how he came, and he was cast out. So it doesn't mean that you come dressed any old way. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that you must come dressed up with something better than you can afford to have. It does mean you dress up respectably with the best you have, with what you have.
Now of course, coming to Church we don't come in full evening tails and all that sort of thing. I had some tails made because I thought I was going to have to wear them when I had an audience with the Emperor of Japan. But I did have to have tails of a kind in a morning coat. You couldn't be admitted without it. I had to have it.
But real tails and white tie I have never worn in my life. So you don't have to come in something like that. I never have. But we should dress modestly and properly when we come into the presence of God. So this is not saying contrary to that. It is showing that, we assume here, that the man who comes in with poor clothing, he just doesn't have anything better. So then we should be just as kind to him as we are to the rich man that came in with something else.
Rich people, well, to me they are a dime a dozen, if you know what I mean. I've known a great many of them. I did business only with the heads of big industries when I was twenty-two years old until I was thirty. I've known so many multimillionaires and so many men of that kind that they became common.
Now, the first time I ever met a millionaire and walked into his office to have a talk with him, I was just frightened. I was only nineteen years old and I had never been in the presence of a millionaire before, and that really was frightening. But I finally got used to it. You know what I found out? They were just human beings like I am and like you are.
Some of them have been a little more successful than others. Some of them made, at least in business as the world counts it, and they have a little more money, but that's all. Anyway, we should not be a respecter of persons because of class, or snotty stuff of that kind.
Now, in England they don't have it so much any more, but they did have class distinction over there. For example, when I first went to England in 1947, even then, no man could go to the university unless his father had before him. They were snobbish and they kept class distinctions. I think that's pretty well gone in England now. I hope so.
James 2:4-5 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (5) Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Now, that does not mean that God wants you to be poor. Jesus ate with and had meetings with the rich. He did. But He also did with the poor. He just didn't make a distinction. He was there to serve and to help and to be a minister, regardless, and that's the way we should be.
And most of the men of God in the Bible were very wealthy men. Job, Abraham, Joseph, many of them were very wealthy men, honored by God. God prospered those men, blessed them in whatever they did because they were serving God.
Well, I think that's a pretty good place to stop. I'll leave that there and someone can just throw that paper out, I don't think we need it any more now. It's served its purpose tonight. I don't know whether it did Sunday or not. (Audience laughs) Anyway, nice to be with you again. I still would appreciate your continued prayers. I do need them, and you have mine, so I'll make that a deal between us that we pray for one another and that we continue to love one another, and continue to love the God who first loved us and has loved us, as Jesus did, enough to die for us, and God the Father enough to give His only begotten Son to die for us.
It's a wonderful thing to have the knowledge of the truth and how God has blessed us in this Church. And here we are in the finest auditorium in the world. Just think how God has blessed us and given these things to us. We don't deserve it. I don't deserve any of it. I don't think any of us do, but God has blessed us.
Let's thank Him and praise Him for His blessings and the way He has blessed us and what He has done. Let's continue to serve Him. Let's continue to get that leaven out of our lives all we can and come out of this world. So goodnight, until I see you next time.