Sermon given by Herbert W. Armstrong "Hungering For God's
Righteousness" - June 11, 1983
(You can click on the link above to listen to the sermon while you read if you wish)
Hungering For God's Righteousness
Greetings again, everybody. Nice to see you out on such a beautiful day. It's not raining inside. "Come out from among them (of the world) and be separate, saith the LORD." And He said He would receive us, but it's not all. And you know, we find out at the summer camps, some of the children sort of let things out about their parents at home. Their parents don't realize. And we find that there are ... And I don't necessarily mean this Church. I don't know there's a one in this Church here. In Pasadena, I mean. But in different Churches over the country, some of the children tell on their mothers. They wear make-up through the week, and especially when they go shopping at the store or the supermarket. They take it off when they come to Church. Well, that is deceiving; and it is not honest. They are disobeying God. I'm glad it's only a few. I'm glad that most of our women want to get into the Kingdom of God.
And, brethren, I tell you it's a matter of what are we hungering and thirsting for? To be like the world? Or are we hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness? I wonder if you've ever thought about this thing of hungering and thirsting FOR GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. I remember just recently it hit me in a different way than I ever saw it before. I thought about God Himself. He has that righteousness, and He certainly doesn't have to have any hurt conscience. He doesn't have to have any fears or worries about having to reap what He sows. He has perfect faith.
It makes me think of a song "Oh, What A Glorious Feeling." Where was that song? I don't know what it was. It just comes to my mind. But it is. If we just had God's righteousness, what a wonderful feeling it would be in our minds! Even then, harm might come to us -- persecution, accidents in this life; but at least we wouldn't be bringing them on ourselves. We bring so many things on ourselves, and we don't realize it.
Now the greatest subject in all of the universe is God's purpose. God and the Word lived. I've discussed how They lived a number of times. But They lived. And if They lived, They must have lived for some purpose. In the book "The Seven Laws of Success" I have written that the first law of success in this life is having the right goal. Well, do you know that God has that right goal? God's purpose. That is the first law in God's life -- His purpose. That is His goal, what He intends to accomplish.
God is looking down through the stream of time. God has ALWAYS existed. God always WILL exist! And He's looking into the far, far, far future -- forever; and He's thinking ahead. What is His purpose? What is His goal? What is He trying to achieve? What is His purpose? The Bible says His purpose shall stand, and it will! His purpose shall be accomplished. We read in Romans the 8th chapter, now beginning with verse 28:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God ...
Now we had a minister. He had to leave the Church because he kept preaching one thing: "All things work together for good." And he stopped right there. He forgot it is "to them that love God." He didn't add that. And he did not love God himself, and he was not leading his flock towards God. He isn't in that pulpit any longer. He's out of the Church. But it's:
Romans 8:28 ... to them that love God, to them who are the called [Now notice: It's only those that are called. Them that are called.] according to HIS PURPOSE.
God's purpose: That's God's own goal; and, brethren, you and I are part of that ultimate purpose and goal of God. That is the most important thing to Him in His life. It's your future and my future. That's the most important thing to God.
That's why I'm so glad that when a thing like this comes up, this particular subject ... It's only one subject. And incidentally the dirt, or colored dirt, on your face isn't going to harm your face so much. The harm is in the attitude and the spirit, and in your mind and heart. The sin isn't the dirt. Sin is the thing that is in your mind, and attitude, and heart, and then the action that it leads to. But notice:
Romans 8:28-29 ... according to God's purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow ...
You see, we are "the called" that He did foreknow. Now those that are not called He did not foreknow. It is only referring to predestination; and we, brethren, have been predestinated to be called NOW. Others are to be called, yes, but later. Everybody is going to be called.
Now it's appointed to all men once to die, and after this the judgment. Again, as in Adam all die (I Corinthians 15:22), so in Christ shall the same ALL be made alive. All who ever died are going to come back to life again; and all of those are going to come into a judgment, and in that judgment the book of life is going to be there. Some are going to have their names written in that book of life. In fact, I think most of them. God doesn't tell us how many because I think He Himself doesn't know.
He made us free moral agents. And God has purposed (That's part of His purpose.) that we ourselves must make that decision. He isn't going to make that for us. He WILL make the decision of whom He will call, when. Now He has decided to call you and me now, in advance of the others. We're called at a time when it is much more difficult for us than it is going to be for them when they're called.
I tell some people, "Well, God is calling us now; but salvation is not for others now." And they say, "Well, then, God's unfair." Oh, no! God is calling us now in a more difficult time than He's going to call them; but He's calling us now to learn and to become priests and rulers -- kings and priests -- and to reign over the others, and to help call them, and help them bring in the harvest when He calls them.
They'll have an easier time. There won't be any Satan around then. And there was a marvelous sermon preached here this morning on Satan and the demons, and the devil. And this is their world! What a terrible world it is, and it was pretty well pictured this morning from this pulpit.
Notice that: Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, [them also] he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he [the Son, Christ] might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Now, I want you to get this. In fulfilling God's purpose, Christ is the second Adam; and He started what the first Adam did not start. This is Satan's world, and God is starting another world -- another civilization.
You know, people think if civilization ended that would be the greatest tragedy that could happen. Oh, the end of civilization, wouldn't that be terrible! Well, I think I need to have a telecast on that. Civilization is going to end, and it ought to end. The sooner this civilization ends the better. When we are told to pray "Our Father which is in heaven ... Thy kingdom come," we mean "Thy civilization (another civilization) come;" and this civilization has to go. And the sooner this civilization is gone, the better for everybody.
So notice that Christ was the firstborn. Now we are next. In I Corinthians 15:22, it says:
I Corinthians 15:22-24 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive ... (23) Christ the firstfruits [He was the firstborn.]; afterward they that are Christ's [That's the many brethren.] at his coming. (24) Then comes the end.
Afterward will come the resurrection of all the others, after the Millennium. During the Millennium, salvation is going to be open to everybody that is still alive on earth. But we are going to be kings and priests. We're going to be changed from mortal to immortal.
We won't be human any longer. We'll be God. And we'll be there to teach, and to judge them as Paul wrote in one scripture "know ye not that we shall judge the world." That's when judgment comes on them, but judgment is on us now. Judgment is now on you and me! And when I say ...
I used to have to speak to the men who smoked. At that time women didn't smoke. I guess we've got smoking pretty well out of the Church. I hope I don't have to speak on that any more. There still may be a few doing it secretly. Well, I may talk about that a little later, and how we learned that smoking is a sin (although the Bible says nothing about tobacco or tobacco smoke).
Now I want you to notice a little more while we're on this scripture. Let's go back in this same 8th chapter, and notice what he's talking about; and notice the purpose of God. Go back to the 18th verse. Paul says:
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
"The GLORY that shall be revealed in us." But let me just say, the women that want to glorify themselves in front of a mirror now and seeking a certain vain, self-glory won't even be in that glory. Just leave it to God and let Him glorify you, and you'll have a glory that passes all your imagination -- the glory that shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the ["creation" it should be] waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Manifestation is when we can see that we are the sons of God. Now in I John 3 you read that, behold, even now we are already the sons of God; but it does not appear yet what we shall be. That is, it isn't manifested. You can't see what we shall be when we are like Him, with our faces like the very sun and our eyes like flames of fire. We have pale faces now, and women want to paint them up -- some women. The women of the world do. But the whole creation is waiting for the sons of God to appear.
Romans 8:20-23 For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (21) because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and trembles in pain together until now. (23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
Once again, we're just the first to be called. And Christ is the first of the first, the firstborn of many brethren. Well, you see, we are to rule the whole universe ultimately; and the whole universe is going to be changed! It's going to be a different universe than it is now, entirely. And what God has planned for other planets and other worlds, He has not revealed; but He gives us a hint here and in the 2nd chapter of the book of Hebrews, where it says that the whole universe is going to be put under us. We are going to have power over the whole universe, and we're going reign.
Well, I must get on. I'd like to dwell on that a little more, but God's wonderful purpose is to reproduce Himself. Ultimately, He put mankind on earth for that purpose. But when you consider what IS God: God is holy, righteous, perfect, spiritual character. And to reproduce Him, His character -- His righteousness -- must be reproduced in us. It must be!
Now all of this involves the question of sin. I wonder how many of us yet understand sin and what it is, and how do you define sin. Even in this Church, brethren, we've been mixed up to a greater extent than we have realized on how we define what is sin. Just what is sin? We know that "sin is the transgression of the law." But let's go back a little farther.
I talked about the purpose of God, and that God originally lived (before He created mankind on the earth and before He even created angels). Now how did God and the Word live when They lived together? They lived in the manner of love, and love is an outgoing concern for the welfare and the good of the other. That is, desiring the welfare and the good of others. Not wanting to take from others, not glorifying the self. Concern for others, but God first of all. Worship and obedience of God; and then love, cooperation, helping, serving, sharing toward man.
Love itself is a way of life, and it is outgoing (never incoming). Incoming is lust, and love is the opposite. It goes in the opposite direction. Now the way that love can come in is if you love your own mind and body to the extent you know it is the temple of God's Holy Spirit and that your mind controls. And God has giving you the responsibility of taking care of this mind and body of yours, keeping it clean and useful for His Spirit to dwell in it. That kind of love is how you love yourself. You see, "Thou shall love thy neighbor AS thyself." But that doesn't mean self-glory and selfish love in the sense that people of the world love themselves. Love, then, is a way of life. It is, then, a law.
Now what is law? I spoke before the law school of southern California, the University of Southern California, a few weeks ago; and I defined law to them. It is simply the rules that regulate human performance, or human conduct. For example, it's the RULES of life. The rules of a basketball or a baseball game, or something, are the law of that game. Law means the rules that regulate conduct. That's what it is. It is a way, then, of life. All right, let's put it in modern language. It is a lifestyle.
Now people have got the idea that there's a new lifestyle going on in the world today; and that lifestyle involves the wrong kind of music, the wrong kind of dress and of exposure (especially on the part of women). That lifestyle involves a lot of things that they do, and it involves what they call good grooming or make-up; and that is not necessary to good grooming under any circumstances whatsoever. That's a misnomer.
Well, now, how did sin ever start? Because "sin is the transgression of the law," and the law is love; and the law is love, and that's the way God and the Word lived. That was Their lifestyle. Now I'm talking about God's lifestyle; and I'm talking about God's motive, God's purpose, or God's goal and what He had. And His goal concerns you and me, and we are vitally concerned in it.
Now let's go back and see how sin first started, because sin entered the world; and it entered through Adam. But before Adam sin had come into this earth. We go back to the 28th chapter of Ezekiel and in verse 15. Speaking of the great archangel, Lucifer, God says:
Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created [He was a created being. He wasn't ever born. He was separately created.], till iniquity was found in thee.
That is, lawlessness. He broke God's law. In other words, a different lifestyle: a different way of thinking, a different attitude towards life, and towards God, and towards everything. We heard so much in the morning sermon about attitude, and attitude toward things. And that's the whole thing, in your mind. It either leads to sin or to righteousness. Now, in verse 17:
Ezekiel 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up [Why?] because of thy beauty.
Beauty went to his head! Now, does that ever happen to a woman? "Oh, yeah, yeah, it's not vanity. Oh, no." You know, women, if there were no mirrors no one would wear make-up, would they? I know a woman who said, "I would rather look pretty in the mirror and with my make-up on than have good knowledge, or wisdom, or understanding, or good character. I just want to see my face look pretty to me." Now that is NOT character, I'm sorry to say.
It's a funny thing: That same woman said one time in England, she said, "You know, Mrs. Hunting is not pretty. She's beautiful!" Do you know what she meant? Mrs. Hunting didn't wear make-up, but the beauty was in her character. The beauty that you could see down through her eyes, not anything she painted around the outside to frame the eyes or to make them stand out. It was something that you could see down inside.
If you want to know what I mean by that, let me just say something. The Academic Center I have named after my wife, who died over 17 years ago now. It's named in her honor. Her picture is there on the mantle in the grand lobby of Ambassador Hall. Go up and look at that painting of my wife's face and look at those eyes. If the light isn't good, turn the light on so you can see it. You can see down in ... There's no paint on her at all, but look down inside and you'll see character. That's where real beauty is.
I remember my grandmother said when I was a little boy that beauty is as beauty does. Beauty is inside, and it's in the heart, or the mind -- or that faculty of mind that involves your intent, your attitude, your purpose, your desire, what you live for.
Ezekiel 28:17 Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty...
Desire to have beauty! And that brought about the thing that is just, you might say, the father of sin. You might say the root of sin. I know they say that the love of money is the root of all evil, but here is something that is really the father of sin. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty.
Ezekiel 28:17 ... thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.
That is, the brightness of his beauty! And that's where it started. Now that in itself was not just the whole sin. That is where it started. It led to violence. It led to what you heard described in the sermon this morning. The whole purpose of Satan is to destroy. It is hatred -- hatred toward anything and everybody -- and a desire to hurt, to harm, to destroy, to get for self but to destroy everything else. And it all started from beauty. The beauty was the father of it that started it. Vanity is self-glory; and it leads to wanting to get; and it led to sin. And that's where sin first started in the universe.
He had been perfect in his ways from the day that he was created. God didn't make him evil. God made him very, very beautiful. Now we go to another passage about him in the 14th chapter of Isaiah. Let me see, (My pages got mixed up here a little bit.) beginning with verse 12:
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer ...
His name was Lucifer, and Lucifer means "shining star of the dawn" or a bringer of light. In other words, he was one who proclaimed righteousness. He knew righteousness, and he turned away from it.
Isaiah 14:12-13 O Lucifer, son of the morning [or, morning star]! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [or, the angels of God].
Now, he had a throne. It was on the earth. He was going to go up to heaven. He was going to ascend. So he was down here on earth, and he was going to ascend above the clouds.
Isaiah 14:13-14 I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above ... the clouds [So he was under the clouds.]: I will be ...
It says here "like the most High." I believe, if you get the original Hebrew, it will say "I will become the most High." That's what he really meant, I have always believed.
That is how sin entered in the first place, in the universe. But now, how did it enter humanity. How did it enter into the world? We go back to Genesis now, to the 3rd chapter of Genesis. God had created the man, and I've gone into that and the two trees that were set before them. Man was to have jurisdiction over his wife, and she was supposed to be subject to him; but she wasn't. And he wasn't on the job, and she sort of stole away and sneaked away. I don't know where Adam was. He wasn't watching after her.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the [Eternal] God had made.
And the woman encountered the serpent, which was Satan the devil in the form of a serpent or a snake.
Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.
God said, "You will die. You are a soul; and a soul that sins, it shall die. If you sin, you are going to die." But he said, "You won't surely die, for God knows better."
Genesis 3:5-6 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods [Again, "you will be God," just as he wanted to be. Now he tempted her to want to become God.], knowing good and evil. (6) And when the woman saw [Now she saw something with her eyes, and her eyes entered into it.] that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes ...
There again, what is pleasant to the eyes is a great temptation. When she looks into a mirror today, and her face; she wants to make it look better; and she thinks paint makes it look better. I don't! I disagree with any woman who thinks paint makes her face look better.
Several times I turn off certain programs on television when I see such painted women (painted hussies, I call them) that I can't stand to look at them with all that paint, and eye make-up, and all that stuff on their faces. They don't look human. Well, maybe they do look human. They don't look like God made them! They look like they are human-made all right. Anyway,
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw ... that it was pleasant to the eyes, ... and desired to make one wise [That appealed to her vanity again, intellectual vanity.], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband ... and he did eat.
So he wasn't looking after his wife; and she wasn't subordinate to her husband, as God said a wife ought to be. Then Satan's government started, because they started out obeying Satan rather than God. And Satan put his ideas into the minds of Adam and Eve. Adam got it too, and something happened to their minds at that time; and a world started.
Now, I've explained how they had the one spirit; and they needed a second spirit -- the Spirit of God. They didn't have God's Spirit. They took the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, to decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. Now there is good in what-we-call human nature. There is good in this life. And many of the people in the world that are filled with human nature and God isn't in their life, they pay no attention to God, and hardly ever think about God. They're conscience that there is a God and once in a while it comes to mind and all of that. Some of them are atheists and don't believe in God. Some say, "Well, I suppose there is a God." But they never think about Him. He's not part of their lives in any way.
And so they have high and lofty ideals. They have good morals. They have many traits of good in them. (I can't think of all the words I want to use right now.) There is good in this world. There is a certain amount of love in this world. I would say that mother love is perhaps the highest, but even that is selfish when you stop to think. Now the love of God is a greater love. That mounts up all together a different level! It's a different kind of love.
Now "sin is the transgression of the law," but the law is love. And while I'm on it, I want you to listen. Love is the fulfilling of the law, But YOU WEREN'T BORN WITH THE KIND OF LOVE THAT CAN FULFILL THE LAW OF GOD! All human love is carnal. There is another kind of love that's on a higher level, a higher plane all together; and that is "the love of God ... shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" -- Romans 5 and verse 5. And that is the only kind of love that can give you God's righteousness.
Do you hunger and thirst for that? Brethren, we are called to hunger and thirst for that. That's what we are called for! We've had our opportunity. We are having it now! We're being judged now. We're not going to get another chance later. The world has not had any chance yet. The world has hasn't been called yet. WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO COME OUT OF THIS WORLD. This is Satan's world. It is Satan's world, started with the human Adam, which started obeying Satan.
Jesus Christ came, the Son of God, to start God's world; and God started His world -- God's world -- by Jesus Christ, the second Adam. That's why He's called "the second Adam." Now it started out like a grain of mustard seed, one person. But that person was God in the human flesh, Jesus Christ. He called twelve, and He began to teach them. At the end of His ministry, there had been 120 that followed and still endured.
On the day of Pentecost, that 120 received the Holy Spirit and started the Church. Just 120. It started quite small. That's a very small Church. Look how many more of us are right here in this auditorium this afternoon. And I think a lot of others are going to hear this sermon, because it's being recorded; and I want them to hear it in other places.
So Satan's government continues, and Satan is sitting on the throne of this world. Jesus came then as the second Adam. He came to start another civilization -- a civilization with a different lifestyle, a civilization that would obey the law of God. Now Satan sat on a throne. He was a king and here to administer the government of God; and he was a teacher of light, of truth. That was his name. Lucifer means "shining star of the dawn" or "light bringer." Light means truth in this case -- the truth of God and the right way. Jesus came then as the second Adam to start a DIFFERENT civilization! He didn't come to save Satan's world. He didn't come to try to convert the people in this world.
He met the woman at Jacob's well on the way up to Samaria, in the land of Samaria. Let's see, I guess He was going on up to Nazareth. And He met this woman, a Gentile, at the well. He said, "Give Me a drink of water." And He said, "If you knew who it is speaking to you, you would ask Him and He could give you living waters; and you would never thirst again."
Well, she didn't know what He meant, of course; but she said, "Well, give me this living water." What a wonderful opportunity that was for Jesus to convert her and say, "All right. I'll tell you, I can give you. If you just repent, just believe on Me and accept Me in your heart, and give your heart to Me, I'll give you the Holy Spirit." That's what He meant by living water. But He didn't do that! He told her of her sins.
He said, "Go and call your husband." She said, "I don't have any husband." "Well," Jesus said, "you told the truth for once, didn't you? You've had five husbands, and the one you're living with now is not your husband." She wondered how did He know all those things about her? Well, He was God in the human flesh. That's how He knew.
But Jesus came and said, "I will build My Church." And so He started the Church -- people coming out of this world to live A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE. That's what it amounted to, brethren.
Now in II Corinthians. Well, I think I did quote that a while ago. He calls those that are called, and He said to come out from among them of the world and be separate and live a different lifestyle. In other words, come out of sin; and "sin is the transgression of the law." The law is God's way of life. And the very start of transgressing that law is vanity. I won't say that vanity is just the chief sin. I will say it's the father of all sin. It's where it starts, and it's going to lead you into to other sins.
Now, this world lives in sin. "Sin is the transgression of the law." I John 3:4. "The law is spiritual." Romans 7:14. It's a spiritual law. It is the way of love, and that is A PRINCIPLE. A way of life! It's a principle of out-flowing love, or concern for others' welfare. Towards God, it is worship and obedience. Towards neighbor, it is desire for their welfare and all of that sort of thing. (Now, let's see. II Corinthians 3:6, do I have that here?)
II Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us ...
Oh, yes. About how we observe the law: "Sin is the transgression of the law." Now I want you to notice how Paul is teaching in the New Testament. Speaking of God:
II Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Now, they had to obey the law according to the letter in the Old Testament. They could not obey it according to the spirit because they didn't have God's Holy Spirit. As I said awhile ago, the love with which you are born is NOT capable of really fulfilling the spiritual law of love. It takes a love on a higher plane. It requires "the love of God ... shed abroad in our hearts." They didn't have that love in the Old Testament.
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came; and Paul now is talking to people that had access to the Holy Spirit and should have received the Holy Spirit. And so Paul says that we've obeyed the law according to THE SPIRIT -- in other words, the principle of the law.
Now, let me explain a little bit about the principle of the law. The law is love (one word), but it magnifies. Now what is the whole purpose of God? I said, reproduce Himself. In other words, enlarge Himself -- magnify Himself until there are many other persons that are BORN of Him, becoming His BORN children and become God just like He is God.
But His Spirit and the kind of love that comes with His Spirit -- and the kind of attitude, and life, and lifestyle that goes with it -- has to be begotten and born into you before you can become God! And you women won't have any paint on your faces when you are God, let me tell you that.
PRINCIPLE, and it's a principle away from self. It's love away from self, because the only kind of love that fulfills God's law -- a love that fulfils His law is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Now you magnify the law. It becomes love to God and then love to neighbor. Now you see love in two directions: first towards God. That's what the world overlooks, and that's most important. That's more important than loving your neighbor, but you have to love both.
God's Holy Spirit shed abroad in our hearts means God's righteousness as compared to the world's goodness. The world has goodness on one hand and wickedness on the other. Different people in the world, some have certain virtues and certain good morals, good intentions, high ideals, and all that sort of thing, ethics; and others are just criminals through and through.
On television the last couple of days, they've pretty much mentioned that a certain man has been a criminal and been in penitentiaries. Twice he's escaped recently. As soon as he escaped the last time, he killed a woman and raped her. Every time they put him in, he'll try to escape and go out; and it just seems he doesn't want to be reformed. Well, some get down to that. Others have good ethics, fine ideals, but they have vanity too; and they think they are pretty good in their own selves, in their own righteousness.
But it is the righteousness of GOD (which is humility and never vanity), which exalts God first of all. And God says He will not give His glory to anyone else. You can't glorify yourself in front of the mirror. God is the one to be glorify.
Now, this world follows Adam and the way he went. When it comes to the knowledge of good and evil, that's what he chose. And there is both good and evil in the world, but it is not God's kind of righteousness. It's not the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And I'll tell you, the love of God shed abroad in the heart of a woman is not going to sit in front of a mirror and pluck out her eyebrows, or put on something to make her eyelashes stand out, and put eye shadow on the upper eyelids, and outline her eyes so her eyes stand out and attract attention to the eyes. And she's not going to put on a lot of lipstick and other things that women wear in make-up. She just isn't going to do it.
When Adam took the knowledge of good and evil, he took good as well as evil; but it was good in the human sense. As I said, that is not good on a plane high enough to get you into God's Kingdom. It's not the kind of love that really fulfills God's law. It's not God's righteousness. That requires another kind of love all together. Human good but carnal love.
Now, the purpose of God and the Church is that we hunger and thirst for and receive God's righteousness. We have to become like God to become God! To become His children! God is not going to give eternal life to any of us unless and until we ARE like that, and have received that kind of righteousness -- because we are to BECOME GOD. The purpose is to make man supreme, with supreme spirit, like God; and supreme in character -- the character of God, to become God.
Now, in the spring of 1927, I was converted and baptized. I'd been a light smoker. Some of you may be astonished to know that I used to smoke. Well, I did. I smoked a type of cigarettes that came in a box of ten. I always wanted quality. It was a quality brand all right, a little more expensive that the average brand; but a box of ten lasted me three days. In other words, I didn't average but only about three cigarettes a day (not three packs).
Once in a while I'd smoke a cigar. I didn't like cigars because I couldn't control the saliva flow in my mouth. If I would swallow the saliva, it would make me very sick -- like I was when I chewed tobacco when I was five years old; and you may have read about that in my autobiography. I was always having to carry an extra handkerchief or two, and keep spitting into that handkerchief when I smoked a cigar.
I remember in Chicago years ago, I used to do that especially if we've attend a Monday luncheon of the Association of Commerce, of which I was then a member; and it was fashionable then to smoke a cigar. Well, I was part of the world. I hadn't been converted yet. So, if I smoked a cigar, I didn't smoke any cigarettes all day.
Now the idea of smoking came up. I was converted. I realized that the Bible said nothing about tobacco or tobacco smoke. All right, is it a sin? Let me get this point over. All the liberals take this kind of attitude: If there isn't a specific "Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not" -- then, isn't it okay? Can't we go along with Satan and Satan's world? Isn't it okay? We only have to leave Satan just as far as God MAKES us.
You know, they are like the woman that was in the Church when it first started up in Eugene, Oregon many years ago now (about 50 years ago). She hadn't been in the Church very long. She was new. She hadn't received quite the fullness of God's Holy Spirit yet.
She came to me one day. She hadn't been converted very long, just maybe a couple of months or so. She said that she had just received a sum of money that she had inherited. Someone had died (maybe a grandparent, or someone) and left her money. She said, "Mr. Armstrong, I want you to tell me how much of this I have to tithe. Now, I don't want to tithe any more than I have to. I don't want to do any more towards God than I have to, but I do want to get into God's Kingdom. Now, tell me how much I have got to do to get into God's Kingdom." But she wanted to go with the world as far as she could.
Well now isn't that the attitude of people who say, "Well, unless God says specifically 'Thou shalt not' it's okay to go along with Satan"? You can't go along with Satan ANY, not to any extent at all! Satan and his way has got to be put out of your attitude, your intent -- your attitude of mind -- completely.
Now, you are never going to get it out completely of your mind and your actions perhaps; but we have to grow more and more into it. We have to continue to overcome. That is a process. You don't overcome everything all at once. And you don't receive the full measure of the Holy Spirit to the extent that Jesus had the Holy Spirit at one fell swoop. Maybe He had 100% and you only received about 1 or 2% at the start; but you have to GROW in grace and knowledge -- the knowledge of Christ. That's what we have to do.
And we don't grow trying to go Satan's way and saying, "I'll just go as far in God's way as He commands me and makes me go, but I don't want to go that way any farther than I am COMPELLED to do." If that's your attitude, why then, just make up your mind that you are going into the Lake of Fire. Just say "Good-bye, God. Good-bye, Church. I'm going to live it up while I can. I'm going to get what pleasures the world offers." It doesn't offer very much. I can promise you that.
Well, I looked at smoking. I knew it wasn't in the Bible. But I read this in II Corinthians the third chapter. I knew that you have to apply the law according to its spirit, or its principle, its obvious intent. I said that gets down to there has to be a reason for smoking. Why do I want to smoke? Why do I ever do it? Do I do it to show love towards God? Well, now, I thought I'd read where prayers and things ascend up to God for a sweet smelling savor; but I didn't think my second-hand smoke would be a "sweet smelling savor" to God's nostrils. So I said, "No, I don't do it to please God. I don't do it to show love towards God."
Well now, do I do it to show love towards neighbor? Is it for his benefit and for his welfare? Is it love towards neighbor? There might be one out of 100 or so that might enjoy my second-hand smoke. But, on the other hand, there would be a great many others who would be repelled by it and find it obnoxious. And so many are finding second-hand smoke obnoxious that they are having to put on commercial airlines now, they tell me ... I haven't flown on one for so long, but they tell me that now they have separate compartments where there is no smoking. They are even getting some restaurants where there is a no-smoking section, or something like that. No, I didn't do it to show love towards my neighbor.
Well now, what about taking care of myself, love towards self, in the sense of taking care of my mind and my body? No. I knew what lungs do with the functioning of the lungs. I didn't know smoking had anything to do with lung cancer. I don't think anybody else knew anything about it back in 1927. But I did know the function of the lungs, and I knew that smoke in it was going to prevent the lungs from filtering out the impurities and helping the elimination of poisons and toxins from the body for good health. Therefore, it would be bad for my health. So I said that the principle is not love towards God. It is lust towards self. Or it is wanting to go along with the world because others do it, and because I want to smoke with others because they smoke. So I said, "I will not smoke;" and I have not smoked since.
I'll let you in on a little something. I told someone about this personally the other day, and I don't mind letting you in on it. This must have been about ten years after that, when I was in Portland to do a broadcast. I had to stay up there about three days, and this time my wife didn't go along. I was up there alone in a hotel room. You know, I got to thinking: "I don't smoke. And I think that I would find that, if I smoked again, I would find that I don't enjoy it like I used to; and I just wonder." Now I thought, "I won't let myself go ahead and smoke, but I'm going to test it." I noticed that Solomon tested this, and that, and the other thing.
So I bought another box of those same cigarettes that I used to smoke. I went up to my room. I undressed. I took everything off. I left my clothes in the closet with the door closed, so no smoke could get in. If my wife smelled it when I got back home, woe be to me! I was stark naked, and I lit one cigarette. Half of it was ... a couple of three puffs was enough. I felt dirty. It didn't smell good. I didn't like it. I threw it down the toilet, and all the rest of the cigarettes; and I threw the box in the wastebasket.
I never did tell my wife. Maybe I'll have to tell her in the resurrection, but I can't tell her now. That was the end of smoking. I learned my lesson. But I don't say that I ever smoked again, because I just took a couple of puffs or three. That was enough. I hadn't smoked half of a cigarette or anywhere near it.
Okay, now you know all the worse about me. [Audience laughs.] And that's why the whole Church is not smoking. I applied THE PRINCIPLE. WHY DO I DO IT? Will a woman be honest in applying the principle of why does she look in the mirror and paint up her face? There are some women in the Church that have not been honest about that, but God knows: They are doing it for the reason of vanity, or they are doing it to be like the world, or they are doing it because they are afraid of what the world will think of them if they don't. It has got to be one of those three reasons. You tell me a reason why they do. Why do you need to change the face that God gave you?
Now I'll come to ... Well, I might just as well do it while I'm on it. What about this thing of good grooming? Some minister's wives have written me (two or three ministers' wives). They say "Mr. Armstrong, I want you tell you a woman's viewpoint about it." Well, I'm trying to tell you, brethren, God's viewpoint. A woman's viewpoint ... God says there is a way that seems right unto a man (well, unto a woman too), the ends thereof are the ways of death. [Proverbs 14:12, 16:25] The ways are a woman's viewpoint, or a man's viewpoint.
I know a lot of men have a viewpoint about smoking -- that it's all right and I'm all wrong. Well, they'll go their way; but I'm going to go God's way. Now, at that time, women didn't smoke. They do today. But men don't wear makeup (except on the stage or theatre, or some place like that), and they look horrible when they do. I know, when I started on television in 1955, they insisted I go in and have a makeup man put makeup on me because it was in a Hollywood studio. I let a man start to do it once, and I had him take it off. I began to feel miserable the minute he began to put some stuff on me. I don't want my face painted. I don't need to wear makeup when I'm on television.
Now another woman, who performs, said, "Well, I only wear makeup when I am on the stage and giving a performance. Brethren, that is not necessary. If we are going to fear ... and it is a fear of what the world will say to you.
Let me tell you another expression. I know a man that I knew quite well, and I had never hear him use bad language. He never did in my presence. I went to see him one Sunday afternoon, and he was out in the front of his house. He lived way out in the suburb up in Portland, Oregon; and he was doing a repair job on his own car. He did his own repair work. We were talking, and I had known him for quite a long time. A couple of other guys came along, and they began to use God's name in vain and use other four-letter words. It was very bad language, and I began to hear this man use foul language that I had never heard come out of his mouth before. He was ashamed not to go along with these other guys, and used the same foul language they did. He wanted them to think he was one of them.
How many women wear makeup because they want the women in the world to think they are the same. They don't want the women of the world to think they are different. Now, I don't notice. I understand there are some of you women IN THIS CHURCH THAT ARE STILL WEARING MAKEUP! It's only a few, but I have to go to another woman to find out because men don't always notice it. I wouldn't notice it. I just don't pay attention to it. If you use very much, then I notice it; and I don't like it. But it's only a few, I understand, in this congregation. I won't say, "Shame on you;" but I will say to all the rest of you women that I commend you -- that you have wanted to go along with God and honor God, and fear God a whole lot more than you fear what the world's going to think of you.
Now we have to make up our mind. It's THE PRINCIPLE of the thing! And the law expands. Now then, the law is love. It expands into love towards God and love towards neighbor. At Mount Sinai, God -- in the person of Christ (because it was the Yhwh, the Word who later became flesh and dwelt among us, and who is called Jesus Christ) -- who gave them the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. No wonder He is Lord of the Sabbath; and so Saturday, or the Sabbath, is the Lord's day.
He stretched the principle of love into ten different points. The first four elaborate how you love God, and the last six elaborate the principle of love towards neighbor. If you love ... Your parents are your closest neighbor. You express love to them by honoring them. Your husband, or wife, is nearest to you. Now outside of ... Your parents came first, then husband, or wife; and now you won't commit adultery. Now you won't murder. You won't steal. You won't lie. You won't covet. Now those are only the principles.
Now Jesus came MAGNIYING THE LAW, expanding it. God's expanding Himself -- so that WE come into His Family! Now He expands His law, His lifestyle, His way of life. And Jesus said that under the Old Testament, when they had to go by the strictness of the letter, a man hadn't committed murder until he killed another man; but if you just hate a brother without cause you have committed murder in your heart already. He expanded the principle way beyond the Ten Commandments.
In the Old Testament they hadn't committed adultery until the act had taken place. But Jesus said, "I say to you that any man who looks after a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart," and is guilty. Now maybe the woman didn't even know he was doing it. She had no part in it. She didn't know anything about it. But there's the principle, and we apply sin according to its obvious intent or principle.
"Why did I smoke?" When I asked my question, myself that, and I had gave an honest answer; I saw I shouldn't smoke. You ask a woman; and, if she gives an honest answer, she'll say, "I'll take makeup off." BUT I KNOW WOMEN IN THE CHURCH WHO HAVE NOT GIVEN AN HONEST ANSWER. They've given a dishonest answer! And I say to any of you women, "If you want to give a dishonest answer to why you use makeup, YOU ARE NOT GOING INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD UNTIL YOU REPENT OF THAT!" Did you hear me? -- because I am speaking in the name of Jesus Christ, and by His authority; and you had better fear God in that sense.
Now, liberals don't want to apply the principle. Unless there is a specific "Thou shalt not," they say, well, isn't it okay then to go along with the devil and to go Satan's way. The world hungers and thirsts after the world's lifestyle. Liberals tried to twist the Scriptures and to approve makeup in an article that came out in The Plain Truth back in, let's see, it was 1974.
I'll tell you what happened, since I've got time to go into a little of that. I was in a trip to the Far East, to Tokyo; and I think that was a trip when we were going to then go over the North Pole and from there back over into Europe. I don't remember just which trip. But my son came to me and said that our, ah ... I'd been talked into foolishly (and I should not have, but I had been) appointing a Doctrinal Research Committee, supposed to be scholars to look into the Greek and the Hebrew and everything. And I found out later that they were all liberals; and every one of them had just one motive and one intent -- his real intent, his real motive, was to prove that I was teaching the Church wrong and to discredit the Church. They were serving the devil and not serving God at all.
Well, he came to me and said they had found that what was in the original Hebrew in a scripture in the third chapter of Isaiah didn't mean what I had thought it said. And, therefore, makeup is not a sin; and God doesn't condemn it. So isn't it all right? And, I don't know. I have a single tracked mind.
I was just mentioning during the song service, if I get to hear the music, I don't get the words. I don't know why. I really should. We were told this morning during the song service to think of the words. [Laughs] I happened to mention that I can't do that. I don't know why. If I think of the words, I don't get any sense of the music. I have a single tracked mind; but I can concentrate quite deeply on one thing, but I can't on two things.
I knew a man who could type a letter, and he was thinking what he was writing; and he could carry on a conversation on a totally different subject at the same time with someone else. Now how he could do that, I don't know. I couldn't do that! I can only do one thing at a time, but I can do that fairly well.
Well, anyway, it's one of those things that just ... I had other things on my mind; and I said, "Okay." I left; and, on the plane I remember that I wrote a few things to send in for what was then the Pastor General's Report (only I think it was called the Bulletin at that time, back in 1974, almost nine years ago).
Now, I never saw what they printed. Several years later it was brought to my attention. What they printed in there, they stuck things in there up over my signature, and put my printed signature on there, so that everybody thought every word came from me. They put a lot of things in there I had not written! And it's a dead give-away because later, part of it written by another man had word-for-word the same thing he'd put in as if I had written it; and I didn't write that. Then they added a lot of things, and they ran into a lot of scripture to "prove" that they didn't say anything against makeup; so therefore makeup was all right.
Now their whole argument was wrong. It was all along to the idea that if there isn't a definite specific "Thou shall not," it's all right; and let's go ahead and be like the world. That's what they wanted to do all along.
Well, I could go into those. I don't know whether we have time. Maybe I can start to go through some of them just a little bit. I've got just a little more time.
Isaiah 3:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion [Now Zion can mean our people Israel nationally, or it can mean the daughters in the Church -- either one.] are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes [Now other scriptures translate that 'walk with their heads high.' In a haughty manner, you see, and wanton eyes.], walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet.
Now, it's not only the one concordance I looked into that showed the original words meant eye paint; but the other mostly credited commentary also quotes something to the same effect. Anyway, I'll just say other translations now -- if you look into a lot of them -- will say using the eyes to flirt.
As one of our ministers was saying the other day in my office, that women use eyes in a different manner when they have makeup on. Makeup is used to attack attention to the eyes; and you can tell by a woman's eyes a good deal what her motive and intent is. If she wants you to make advances towards her, she tells you with her eyes. I'm a male, I know; and these women know it too, whether they want to admit it or not. There might be a few women that don't. It's a feminine trait, but I think most of them do. I don't think my wife ever did, but she just wasn't that type.
There's one of them that says that the thing that accompanies the use of makeup, that draws attention to the eyes, they use eyes in a different manner. Now one or two of the translations use the word "flirt" (that they flirt with their eyes) in translating this scripture. At least it is not the meek and quiet spirit that you read of in I Corinthians 3:4, that God says we should have.
Now women say, well, they want to be well groomed. All right. I favor good grooming. I favor that. I try to be well groomed and set the example to men. I've even spoken in sermons about coming improperly dressed here to Church. But you don't have to put a lot of paint on your face and be like the world to be well groomed! I would feel like slapping the face of anyone who would come up and say to me that my wife, Loma, was not well groomed because she didn't wear makeup. And Mrs. Charles Hunting was well groomed, but she didn't need any makeup on. Yet one woman who did wear makeup said she was beautiful, but she was talking about her character.
Well now the next one, let's see, is ... Anyhow, it shows the spirit and attitude; and it is not the spirit and attitude of hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness. You know that. I'm certain that you all know that. Now let's see. Ezekiel 23:40 next.
Ezekiel 23:40-41 And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments, (41) and satest upon a stately bed ...
This is talking about a whore, or a harlot; and it's God speaking of Israel. It's speaking of her as she was His wife, as a nation. She was playing the harlot with other nations. But it is speaking of her as if she were a woman here, and that she did commit adultery.
Now these men that are criticizing, they pointed out: Well, it says painted her eyes; but was it wrong to wash herself? To deck herself with ornaments wasn't wrong because God decked Israel with ornaments in another passage where He shows His love for her as a bride. This is showing the attitude of mind all the way through; and painting is one of the things that women use that shows a wrong attitude of mind. So you can't use that to say then it's okay. It just simply does not do it. And if you want to take your chances with God and say that God's apostle does not have understanding of the Word of God, and you understand it better than I do, go on out of the Church. Take your chances with God; but say "Goodbye" to the rest of us, because we're not going in that direction.
Now Jeremiah 4:30. Well, God is speaking of Israel who had gone into adultery here -- speaking of her as a woman again.
Jeremiah 4:30 And when thou art spoiled [That is, in war; and defeated in war.], what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson [Crimson, or scarlet especially, is the color of a harlot.], though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee ...
In other words, it is showing going the way of the world to attract men. Now there are ways in which a woman can wear jewelry modestly, and not wear it lavishly. I was in a jewelry store in Beverly Hills; and they showed me a bracelet that a very noted movie actress was going to buy. In fact, she came in and was photographed with me at the time. It was $100,000.00. But it was a blazing thing to appear on a bare breast with diamonds that would knock your eyes out. Now, it was not modest in any sense of the word; and that kind of thing would be condemned because it is extravagant, it is overdone, and it's too flashy. It attracts attention, and it is in bad taste. We believe in proper grooming, and good taste, and all of that kind of thing; but there is a limit to some of these things.
Now, II Kings: Let's see. II Kings 9 and verse 30.
II Kings 9:30 And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel ...
Now Jezebel is one of the most evil women pictured in the Bible. She was extremely worldly.
II Kings 9:30 Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out a window.
Well, Jehu came and had her thrown down; and the dogs ate her flesh; and that was the end of Jezebel at that time. But it shows that Jezebel was one who painted her face.
Now I have said that the modern use of makeup on women came from harlots, and it did. One minister's wife was here. That was several months ago. That might have been a year and a half ago, about the time this was coming up before. This minister's wife cried, and acted like a spoiled child; and she said that I was accusing the women of being harlots. I have not done anything of the kind, and you brethren know that. I say that IT CAME OUT OF HARLOTRY, and I say that women are FOLLOWING HARLOTS! That doesn't mean that they themselves are harlots, but IN THAT they are following a harlot. Maybe not in fornication -- I mean, harlotry; but in that they are. And harlots do it to attract men, and they are of the world. There is evil in the world. It's wanting to be like the world, and like the evil in the world; and that's the only reason why women do it.
Now, brethren, I don't expect to keep hammering away on this thing of makeup. I don't expect to talk about it again, and I'm sorry I have had to today. But we've started getting this Church back on the track. I don't know whether I'm going to live a lot longer. I think a lot of you brethren don't realize that I am not only going to enter my ninety-second year next month, but that over five years ago now I had total heart failure; and I have to watch my heart every single day, and I don't know in what minute it is going to stop; and it's beating irregularly now. I have to have my blood pressure taken very often, sometimes every day; and, when I am traveling on a trip, I have my blood pressure taken every night and every morning (and my pulse felt). And I never go without having an oxygen tank taken along. We don't know what minute I'm going to have to have oxygen, or you just won't have me with you any longer. But I want to get some of these things straightened out in the Church while I am still here, and I hope that God will.
Maybe it's going to take a miracle from God to keep me on very much longer. I talked to a brother-in-law of mine on the telephone yesterday. He looks ... because I haven't seen him in recent years ... and when he talked yesterday. He's five or six years younger than I am, but he seems to be a great many years older. But thank God -- God has given me a mind that has continued to be usable, a voice that has continued to be usable; and I'm doing the best I can to continue on the job as long as I can. But I do have to tell you that it is just by the grace of God that I am still with you, and how much longer I will be with you maybe one more heart beat. It may be several years. That depends on God, not on me. I have nothing to live for but you brethren and the Work that God has set before me. I hope you realize that, and I think you do.
Well now, just in closing, finally: Why do men smoke? Why do women paint their faces? I told you why men smoke; and women paint their faces for vanity, which is the very father of sin (as I have shown you). It was vanity that seized mother Eve and started her and Adam into sin. It was vanity that started the great archangel into sin and started sin in the first place in the whole universe. Or, secondly, it is to be like the world and to look like the world. Or, third, it is fear of what the world is going to think of you if you don't. Fear God, and not the world, brethren.
Now, God had put government here on the earth. Lucifer was supposed to govern. He didn't. It went wrong. Adam could have governed. He didn't. Christ came. He didn't come to govern the world. He came to call some out that will govern the world. But He did put government in the Church. The apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth "Put that man out!" Now shall I come with a rod, or shall I come in kindness, brethren? Which do you want?
He said that we should be, to the ministers over us that we should have love to those who bear the rule over us in the Church. There is rule, there is government, in the Church. And we are to govern the world! It is Lucifer, who became Satan, who took government out of the Church.
God is restoring government in this Church. It had gone when I came into the Church over fifty years ago, just about fifty. Well, I came in among them over fifty years ago now. But we are about to the fiftieth anniversary of this Church, and we will celebrate it during the Feast of Tabernacles this year. We are into the fiftieth anniversary of the Church, and we are getting into the third generation really of the Church now. My, so many of you sitting here today were not even born yet when the Church started fifty years ago, because perhaps most of you are under fifty years of age.
But, anyway, the Church has got to be back on the track; and I thought we were getting back on the track; and we need to get a little closer on the track. I hope we understand now a little better and I've made it a little more plain today what sin is. It is not a direct "Thus saith the Lord -- Thou shalt, or thou shalt not." Of course, if God says "Thou shalt not," it means you shall not! If He says, "You shall;" then that's a definite command. But I mean we apply the principle. Where there is no definite "Thus saith the Lord," we apply the principle. That is what I have tried to do, and that is what I am trying to cause you to understand.
That principle -- of applying the principle of love to God and love to neighbor, and expanding that principle -- it will expand into any given circumstance. Any question that may come up, you can tell whether it is God's will or not by just applying that principle that I have shown you here this afternoon.
So let's go on, have the Church cleaned up and have the Church not only on the track but steaming full speed ahead on the track, brethren.
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