This day (the Feast of Trumpets) pictures Christ's return as King of kings and Lord of lords. Amazingly, though, it also pictures your birth into God's royal family. You were born to be a king, but just what does that mean?
Today is a very special day. It's wonderful that God has given us these holy days to understand His plan. Trumpets has always been very special to me – even more so when I found out about fifteen or twenty years ago that I was actually born on the Feast of Trumpets. My mom came into the church shortly after that. I was a pagan for a year. And I never knew I was born on the Feast of Trumpets until I looked it up on the Jewish calendar one day and found out it was a Sabbath on September 20th, 1952. And so now I get two birthdays every year, one that everybody celebrates with me and the other one I can celebrate by myself. Of course, growing up in the church we didn't celebrate them so I had to accept the Trumpets one which worked real well because, you have second tithe to spend so you can never tell your parents they don't have any money. But today is very special and I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you.
A little less than two thousand years ago John recorded Jesus talking to Pilate and Pilate asked Him, "Are you a king?" He said, "Are you king of the Jews?" In John 18 Jesus answered him and said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but My kingdom is not from here." (John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
American King James Version×)
Down a few verses in V. 37, he goes on and Pilate asks him again, "Are You a king then?" And His answer was, "You say I am a king. For this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice."
Today, of all days, you and I should hear the voice of our King - to hear the truth, the truth in a world full of lies. So I ask you, do you hear your King? Literally this day pictures Christ's return as King of kings and Lord of lords. Amazingly, though, it also pictures your birth into God's royal family. You were born to be a king, but just what does that mean? For whatever reason in my life - God moved me around so many different places - but in the position I served under Mr. Armstrong I was able to meet a lot of royalty in Europe and Africa and Asia. It was very interesting to hear of their work - what they had to do, their struggles, their goals that they had, most often their frustrations when they tried to do something. Even they would seek help in trying to accomplish the things that they could. Of course, most monarchies today are constitutional monarchies as opposed to literal ruling monarchies, but they still try to serve and do certain things for their country in different ways.
I favored one of the royal families that I probably spent the most time with which was the royal family of Thailand. It was interesting. Why I favored them, I think, was probably because of the way they felt about their people. It was summed up pretty clearly in the statement when the King's inauguration came to pass and he started his speech out, "We will reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Thai people." "We", not "I". He recognized his wife in this statement and he also recognized that everyone in his family had a duty - to serve, to reign with righteousness. He recognized that righteous rule makes justice and peace. And he recognized that it was for the benefit of the Thai people.
We have to serve others just as that king sought. Kingship is about service. In reality, it is about giving honor where it's due, recognizing what people have done. When Queen Sirikit visited the United States, Mr. Armstrong asked that I accompany her on the various things that she did, so I spent quite a few hours with her in the car and at various events. And as I escorted her around to the different things, she asked me a question. She asked me a number of questions, but one that really stuck out in my mind. She was talking about her son, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. She was having some difficulties, or he was at that time, some things in his life. And the question she asked me – I'll never forget – was, "How can I raise my son to be a good King?" Her son was born July 28, 1952. He is a month and a half older than I am. I was 33 at the time just as he was when she asked this question. And I wondered, why would she ask me this question? He is the only son. He has three sisters and he was born to be a king. What he needed, obviously, was the knowledge of God, but the royal family is the protector of the Buddhist faith and so they, like other royalties, protect their national religion. But she was sincere and she was asking, really, for advice which always surprises you when people ask you for things when you are so young and you want to be learning from them. I knew it wasn't a time to make a convert in the church so I wasn't going to go into that. She knew what we believed. She actually read some of Mr. Armstrong's books and she knew what Christianity was about, and I prayed to give me an answer. And so the answer I gave was, "Your Majesty, you should raise him the same way that you and your husband were raised." The reason I said that is because I knew the story of her and her husband. I had heard some of it from her herself, some from the King and I had read some other things. King Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty, his name is King Bhumibol. If you want to spell that, it's B-h-u-m-i-b-o-l - Bhumibol, which causes you difficulty in spelling people's names. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is actually an American citizen if he wants to be. He was born here. Of course, he may not be after you get through with the immigration thing. But he was born in 1927. He was the second born son – not the firstborn son, so he never expected to be King.
Her Majesty, Queen Sirikit, was born August 12, 1932, four and a half years younger than her husband. Her father was the great-grandson of Rama V, a great king that fought the various wars in Thailand. Queen Sirikit, in her childhood, she spent with the Japanese invasion. Her father had lots of land because of the royal blood, but without an awful lot of money, so she understood hardships. She told me that one of her jobs, even though they had servants, was to carry water from the well. You've seen the pictures of the pole with two pots on the bottom, and she would carry water in the two pots back to the house and that was one of her jobs. She told me how she was doing that once when the Japanese bombed and of the shrapnel when the bombs were falling and they are not discriminatory about who you are. It scared her. It scared her a lot. So she lived through that. Even though she had royal lineage, she understood hardship.
But one thing happened that really impressed me. When she was sixteen years old, sweet sixteen, she was invited to a royal party at the palace. The older brother and his younger brother at the palace were throwing this party and all of the eligible women were going, along with the various men. And so she was invited and she really wanted to go. But what was interesting was, she asked her father for something that all of you who have daughters can understand. She asked for a new dress to wear to this party. It was going to be an elegant affair with all the wealthy people of the land and Rolls Royces driving up and various things. And so she asked her dad, "Can I have a new dress?" And her father said, "I don't have any money for a dress." She said, "But, Daddy, it's so important." He said, "No." He said, "What's important is that we take care of things." She said, "Well, can't you sell some land and have some money?" He said, "Yes, I can, but if I sell the land, the people who have been with us for years in service, the land would be sold to someone who wouldn't take care of them and they would probably starve and be kicked off the land." He said, "Honor, character and responsibility are much more important than a new dress."
She was still wanting something, so she said, "Well, how about, Daddy, can I buy a pair of new shoes?" And he said, "No, we haven't got money for a pair of new shoes." She said, "But can I at least have money to take a taxi to the party instead of a bus?" He said, "No. Honor, character and responsibility are more important than a bus or shoes or a dress." And so there she was at sixteen. She went to this party in her school uniform wearing tennis shoes on a bus. I can imagine what that would do to your psyche in some ways, going up there with all the various people who had taken advantage of others and were wealthy, but she did that. Her husband, when he was growing up, he knew he wasn't going to be king so he took a path to become an engineer and went to school to learn things to help his country.
It was interesting to see the background of the King and Queen and understand where they were coming from. You see, most royalty is very spoiled. Most of the ones I met were. A few that I became acquainted with wanted to help their people, but most were there because of the power. They were born to it, it was a silver spoon and I suppose it was expected, a bit arrogant and a bit proud. And they had money and they tended to look at that and they built their wealth.
Turn to 1 Samuel chapter 8 if you would because you can understand why kings are the way they are. God made a comment on the human nature of human kings because most of them are the same way with few exceptions. 1 Samuel chapter 8 – of course this is the time when Samuel was growing old and it says that he made his sons as judges over Israel, but his sons didn't do what he did. It says they perverted judgment, they went after money and took bribes.
(They want me closer to the microphone. Okay. They can't hear me in the back. I'll move up. I'm a man under authority – especially with the people with the mic. I did notice I kind of echo when I backed up. Thanks for the note. My wife writes notes for my sermons, too, like slow down and things like that. You have to listen to people that care.)
So Samuel's sons were turning away from God. And, of course, this is about Israel asking for a king. In verse 6 it says, 1 Samuel 8:6 1 Samuel 8:6But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
American King James Version×- But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the LORD. V. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say: they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. God offered to protect them. Kings are supposed to be the protectors of the people and they didn't want God. So he told them in V. 9 – he says, hearken to them, but protest solemnly to them and shew them the manner of the king that will reign over them. V. 11 – He starts out, This will be the manner of the king that will reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, for his horsemen; and some will run before his army. - fodder for the wars. V. 12 - And he will make them captains over thousands, and fifties; and set them to reap his ground and reap his harvest, and make his instruments of war... V. 13 - And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries... V. 14 - He will take your fields and your vineyards, and your oliveyards... V. 15 - He will take the tenth of your seed... V. 16 - He will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest men... V. 17 - He will take the tenth of your sheep: and you shall be his servants.
Most kings take and take and take. And even though Samuel said this to them, and even though God had done so many wonderful things for Israel, they wanted a king. They heard Samuel, but "no, give us a king". It would have been interesting to see if his sons obeyed God, if they would have done that, but that was what happened and history bears it out. When you don't think you will be a king, it seems that humility without expectations, it seems to work better for human beings when you don't expect to have power.
It's interesting, in Africa when they are choosing a tribal leader they don't necessarily do it by blood. They have the mothers get together in a room and the mothers know the children – they raise them, they know what is good and bad about them and they pick the tribal chief. It would probably have been a better way for Israel to have done it. Moms seem to understand some of those things and read their children better.
Where there is no expectation of power it seems like you look for other things to do to help. Saul, as king, was humble before he was king, when he started his reign. God chose him. He knew the people would look to him because he was head and shoulders above everybody else. He was a tall man, a big man. That tends to impress people in this world. It's not what impresses God. Power has hurt a lot of people. Not King Saul, not just the other Sauls, the other kings of Israel and Judah. Power has hurt a lot of good people. Christ said He could call down legions of angels when the disciples were going to fight for Him. He told them not to. He did this because it wasn't God's will that they fight at that time. He didn't use His power for His own will. He used the power for God's will, which is what we must do. We have to learn from scriptures. We have to learn from God's inspiration by His Holy Spirit how to use the power that He is going to give us. The power we have now, we have to be careful with because humanly we can't read the hearts and minds as we will be able to do when we are spirit beings. Then it will be easier. We have to learn how to have respect for God's authority and for His will, not for our own.
Even Moses, the meekest man on earth, lost it at one point. Remember when he struck the rock? "Must I bring water out of this rock?" Figuratively, I have seen others strike the rock. I have struck the rock. Thankfully I haven't struck it as many times as I would have. Thankfully I have learned from other people who have done things in my life growing up in the church that made me avoid some of those things, but I have struck it too many times and even one time is too many. That one time for Moses kept him from going into the promised land. But thankfully God grants repentance to you and to me, to all of us. If you love Him, you try to change. He'll take that from you.
Turn to Matthew 20 if you would. The disciples had to learn this point, as well. They wanted to call fire down from heaven and destroy the people that weren't following Christ when they wouldn't accept them in the room That was their choice. Christ, of course, said, "No, I've come to save lives, not destroy them." The disciples sought position and all to often humanly people seek positions. The sad part about it is when they get them then they don't know how to do it. I've always known that in my job that I didn't know what I was doing and God doesn't want you to do it. If it doesn't help you, it doesn't happen.
In Matthews 20:20 it says - Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. I have always questioned whether or not the kids put the mom up to it because it is easier if you get someone else to try it. Like the old commercial, let Mikey try it. "Mom, can you ask this for us? We don't want to do this." V. 21 - And he said to her, What do you want? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom. Not asking for much. V. 22 - But Jesus answered and said, You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?... He wasn't speaking to the mother there. He was speaking to the two sons. That is why I wonder if He may have known that they put her up to it. ...They say to him, We are able. Were they? They didn't at His crucifixion. They all ran and fled. They did later. Then He said to them in V. 23 - You shall indeed drink of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of by my Father. Prepared by God. It's not for us to take. He decides those things and thankfully so. I pray for that day when I'll get a job that I actually know I'm supposed to have and can do. The human reaction always seems to be carnal when these situations come up. It was for His disciples. Even though they had spent time with Christ already by this time, it was still carnal. And the rest of them were still carnal, too, because V. 24 - when they heard this... the ten ...they were moved with indignation against the two brothers. "Hey, you guys, who are you to try to push yourself to the front?" Same thing that happens – but that's what happened. And Jesus called them to Him because there's a time for a lesson, time for an education opportunity. If your brothers have a problem, you tend to too. Let's teach all of you something here. V. 25 - Jesus called them, and said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them... yeah, the kings, they take and take and take ...and they that are great exercise authority upon them. V.26 - But it shall not be so among you: whoso will be great among you, let him be your minister; V. 28 - Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
To qualify for this day, you have to be willing to give your life. You may not have to give your life literally. I always wondered if I might have to. One of the titles I also held was bodyguard and I always wondered if something would ever happen – you always dream that it doesn't, pray that it doesn't. Thankfully it never did. But you really have to fully dedicate your life and give it spiritually in service to others – and willingly, not just because it's a job that you are paid for, but because it's the right thing to do, to live and to practice giving and serving to others. It's a surrender of your will to God's will, your mind to Christ's mind. And that's what it takes to be a born king.
So how did the young man and the young woman who never expected to be king or queen, who went to the royal party in her school uniform, in her tennis shoes, on a bus, how did she become queen? How did he become king? The war was over and Thailand, being a free nation, was joining the ranks of the world, all the ambassadors and embassies were being established. The government was corrupt at that time, but they wanted to send an ambassador to Europe and so they were selecting a political appointee. That's the way presidents do in other countries. It was interesting, the person that they appointed, the British had been in Thailand for a number of years and they knew the man that they were asking to make the ambassador to Europe and they refused. They said, "We will not take that man." So the man that they chose had no honor. And they demanded a man named Nakkhatra Mangala, of Chanthaburi, none other than Queen Sirikit's father because he did have honor. And so the young lady went to Europe with her family and started school there.
In the meantime, the young prince went to Switzerland to study engineering and they met there. And he fell in love with the ambassador's daughter. And they were going to get married, she was his fiancee. He hadn't really noticed her with any favor at the royal party some four or five years before in a school uniform. He may have noticed her, but he probably thought of her as a servant. But he did notice her now because he saw a beautiful young woman – full of beauty and character. So he fell in love.
While there, the king's brother died - that's what the papers said – of an illness. He was actually poisoned because he stepped in and tried to change the government, change some of the corruption. And so young Prince Bhumibol and his fiancee returned to Thailand where he was crowned king and she, after they were married, became queen. And so they started their life, two people never expecting to be in that situation. And they indeed kept the promise that they gave at the coronation that "We will reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Thai people."
People recognize the value of character and honor even on the physical level and the Thai people love their king and queen – and the king and queen truly love the Thai people. I've seen that demonstrated in various projects and things that we have worked on with them. It's amazing how they have dedicated their lives to serving. The king in the palace grounds had an 18 hole golf course that he could play on and for other people too if they could play. So as he became king, now he said, "That's a lot of land. It's wasted on people that need help, they need food." So one by one he took those fairways and the greens and started projects for his people. He got the Danish people to donate cows to him because the Thais don't generally raise cows so much. And he built a little factory there and made powdered milk to give to the children in school so they could get their calcium. He took rice and started growing different types of rice in the ponds and things that he made on the golf course. And he would give the rice to the people for food. And he would take the hulls that they made and he made a compaction chamber where they would compact them and make charcoal. They would heat and treat it so the people could burn that for their fires instead of cutting down the tea trees and damaging the countryside. He did that until one by one every hole in his golf course was gone. Every fairway was used. In fact, he tried to put projects between the projects all for the people. He saw a land that was for self-pleasure and changed it into pleasure and help of others.
It's interesting that they were preparing, not knowing or not thinking that they would be king or queen with that opportunity. But they had people around them who taught them character, taught them discipline, taught them honor.
Turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
American King James Version×- this was read in the sermonette – because we know our destiny is to become a king and priest at Christ's return. This was read in the sermonette. It says,
1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
American King James Version×- The Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: V. 17 – And those who are alive and remain... I always felt that Paul thought that he would be one. I know Mr. Armstrong definitely felt he would be. One of the last things he said was that God's time is different from ours. It seem like no matter when you live, whether it's four thousand years into the plan or five thousand or six thousand years, everyone seems to believe that it's going to happen in their lifetime, because God – He lets us believe that so we'll be diligent, because we are lazy when we have too much time as humans. ...But those which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and we will be with them. V. 18 - Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This is reality. Talk about virtual reality, this is reality. True eternity. Again he says in 1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
American King James Version× which we often read this day. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
That's when we are truly born, born to be kings. Because Christ qualified, we all get a job, a job like no other. We can't earn it. But to be given that great opportunity God expects you to prepare. I used to ask my class as I'd teach my business classes, "How many of you would wear a suit and tie every day to college for four years if I promised you a half million dollars a year?" "Oh, yeah." How much will you do to be a king forever?
It's obvious in the message to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 that God expects us to do something. He ends each with To him that overcometh will I give rulership and power over the nations – a reward to him that overcomes. You don't earn it, so it's not about works. We are, indeed, saved by grace. No question about that. But what makes Him apply that grace to you to give you eternal life? What is it about you that allows for you to become a king by His grace? It's about the heart. David, what does God say about David? In Acts 13:22 Acts 13:22And when he had removed him, he raised up to them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
American King James Version× he says, When he had removed Saul, he raised up David to be their king; whom he also witnessed, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, to be a man after my own heart, who shall fulfill my will.
A man after His heart, fulfilling His will. We're destined to be kings. David wasn't a king when God saw his heart. It's like you and me. As a commoner how's your heart? Did David make mistakes? Yes, we all do. But his heart was right.
It's about the mind. What kind of mind do you have? Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×- Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Are you becoming like Christ? Are you plagiarizing him to the point that you think as He thinks? He's living in you.
It's about humility. Christ's love here in the parenthetical phrase in Numbers 12:3 Numbers 12:3(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were on the face of the earth.)
American King James Version× where it says (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were on the face of the earth.) Wow! What a compliment from God! Among all the men on the face of the earth, Moses was the meekest man, trained by Pharaoh for forty years, in the wilderness forty years and then leading Israel for forty years – humility, loss of pride, knowing that he can't do it. Often recognized, when God asked him to go back to Egypt - Moses, I'm sure, could see the armies he'd led that defeated other nations. "Who, me?" Wow. But that's what God looks at. Humility. You've probably memorized Isaiah 66:2 Isaiah 66:2For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, said the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.
American King James Version× where it says the man that God looks to is someone who is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembles at His word, is humble.
It's also about building Godly, righteous character. You take nothing with you to the grave but the character that you've built in your training and the knowledge of God, things your mind has been prepared for. Those characters that you take to be a king.
People have asked me once in a while, "You must have been really good to be with Mr. Armstrong." My answer was, "No, nobody's bad when you're sitting next to the apostle, nobody's bad when you're sitting next to the minister. Kids aren't even bad when they're sitting next to their parents." It's probably that I needed to be in line more than anybody else – probably why I was there – especially when my wife wasn't there. She always keeps me in line as well.
But it's about character. Character is what you do when no one's looking. Character that I have shows more after you die in what I had to do, had to live through. This is in your life, the various things that you have lived through. Each of us have a set of trials, a set of special events in our life that make us who we are. It's not us, it's God making us who He wants us to become.
And it's also about love. Love for God and love for your neighbor as Christ said, on which hang the whole commandments and the law. Love. We will join our older brother. The question is, will you be prepared for this awesome responsibility? Trumpets is the time – similar to Passover and Unleavened Bread – Trumpets is a time for examination. Trumpets. They blew them. They blew them all day. You couldn't sleep during Trumpets. It was loud. And you examine yourself in preparation for Atonement and followed by the Millennium. We have to see ourselves and know that repentance is year round. When Trumpets truly does happen - we are celebrating it figuratively today - will you rise or will you have a pair of lead boots on? Lead boots of sin, unrepented sin, sins that hurt you. Will you have pride or will you have humility? Your works show in your heart and your mind, in your character and your love of God. Like James when he said, show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. I've often paraphrased that in another way with love for people to show me their love without obedience to God and I will show you love by obedience to God because you can't say you love someone and break all the rules. If my children were to say, "I love you, Dad", and go break all the windows and throw rocks at things and do whatever, it wouldn't be showing love. In fact, if you do those things it shows the love.
Do you hear the trumpets? Do you really hear the trumpets in your mind's eye? They kept Israel alert on that day, ready – ready for whatever is coming. It keeps you active.
Occasionally in history we find kings that do well. Kings like the king of Nineveh, a gentile king who repented. Very special. One in the present day, the king and queen like King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, sometimes they stumble on to the right things for the people around them and they possess a physical wisdom. That is good because when they have that the people are blessed, people prosper. We, however, did not stumble onto our calling. God looked down, He picked you. He called you. He called you to a greater life and a greater purpose. You and I, on this day will be the beginning of our true life. Our birth is when Christ returns to become King of kings and Lord of lords. God wants kings - not those who are mighty, but those who are humble, those who develop the love of people, for each other, for all people. Christ died for all of mankind.
Why do I look for this day? Because I realize how little I can do for so many. I yearn to help. When I used to travel in some of the poorer countries, I'd take a walk out, see the beggars, the lame, the blind and you wish you could just reach down and heal them. You wish you had the faith that Christ had and the apostles. And you do have faith, but then God grants things in His way and it wasn't His purpose to heal all the people everywhere in the world. Like Christ said, the poor you always have with you, but I wanted to heal them. I wanted to teach them. I felt guilty that I couldn't in some ways and I wished I was a spirit being. I could teach them and help them.
Kings of this world, even the few that want to, can't really help that many. The King of Thailand has done a great deal of things for his people and he's helped a lot of them. The Queen has her own set of projects and she has helped a lot of people. But as we rode around in the car that day in Los Angeles, she told me, "I'm tired. I do so much. My husband does so much, but it is not enough. There are just too many problems. It's just a lot of work and there are so many people fighting against us." She said, "I just want to be like an angel on a cloud, just relax. I'm tired. But, you know, my husband, he doesn't want that. He wants the power to do something about it. He wants the power to really make a big difference, to change all the corruption." It's interesting. They want exactly what God offers. Through Christ for you and me, our purpose, our job, our life, our true reality begins when Christ returns and the trumpet sounds and He puts down all other authority and we, together with Him, will help to teach others. We fervently desire that even now.
Right now we are in the time of Matthew 24, no question about it, when nation rises against nation. That's happening more and more. The anger on the earth becomes greater. There's famines and pestilences and earthquakes. Diseases they thought they got rid of are coming back. Listening to NPR yesterday, the bed bugs have come back to this country, surprisingly enough. It's happening. We have to prepare. Are we prepared to be delivered up and killed for His namesake? It's what it says. And more so in verse 10 of Matthew 24, it says:
Matthew 24:10 Matthew 24:10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
American King James Version×– Many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. Hopefully we can get rid of all that hatred. V. 11 - many false prophets shall rise, deceiving many. V. 12 - And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. I hope your love is hot. I hope you understand the love of God and I hope you endure to the end because that's who is going to be saved. It's not how you start the race, but how you finish it. And then, of course, a verse quoted so many times: V. 14 - This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
My question is, how long has that been because the gospel is being preached. It has been and it continues to be. We see it before our eyes. We have to wake up. We have to get our act together. We have to have our actions match our belief. Is our Christianity just rhetoric? A catch phrase? For so many it is. I've seen so many people where they say the right words, but the actions don't match. People who use their education. I knew one man who was in my Master's program with me who got his Master's just so he could tell people what to do. They taught servant leadership in the class, but he went home and beat his people, basically. "I'm right because I have the degree." I thought, he didn't listen in class very well. Is it rhetoric? Is our Christianity a catch phrase? It can't be.
Are we selfish or are we selfless? What about Abraham when he and Lot had the problem with the animals and he said, "Lot, take what you want. Take it." And Lot, of course, took the watered plain and the lands down below. And he said, "Take it." Abraham had faith in God and he stayed in the higher ground and he kept his cattle and sheep up there where it needed rain for water, where he'd have to rely on God for rain in due season. Faith. We have to have that faith as well. God puts us in various positions to test our faith because He has to know that you're not going to rebel, that you're in this for the same reason that He and His Son are. Do we want the bigger half, the better half, or do we think of others. We have to think of other people. My mom – my brother and I when we were little, we always wanted the bigger half. So my mom solved the problem by giving one of us the knife and we cut it in half and then the other brother got to pick. We learned to divide things very carefully. And then you could try to be deceptive and slice it at an angle and see if you could make one piece look bigger than the other - back in my more carnal days. Now I mostly skip dessert. It's fun to watch children to see how they act. Christ was always pointing to God. He was always thinking about others. Does your life point to God? It does when your actions show that you are thinking about other people.
This day reminds us of the promise of God. The knowledge and love of this day means nothing and does nothing. The action we take because of the knowledge of God and these days mean everything. Our motives for doing it must be pure, not to make a name for ourselves. I've seen people in the Church that wanted to be great. "They are going to know I was here. My name is going to be remembered." How much like that. We are not here to build pyramids that people will know you were here. We're here to build character, that humility, that love. What you want is for God to know you are here, for God to say, "I know your heart." For God to say, "You're humble and meek." For God to say, "You've gotten rid of pride."
Turn to Matthew 25. The meek, the humble, the ones who get rid of their pride. Pride pushes itself forward. Pride lowers other people and creates resentment in people. Humility puts others forward. It raises them up. It helps them and it creates love through actions.
Matthew 25:31 Matthew 25:31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:
American King James Version× - When the Son of man shall come in his glory... when this day is fulfilled ...and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: V. 32 - And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: V.33 - And he sets the sheep on his right hand, the goats on the left. And then the King shall say to them... in V. 34 ...those on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world: He knows it's been prepared. It's waiting. What did He say? V. 35 - I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: V. 36 - I was naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. V. 37 - Then the righteous answered him and said, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? Because they hadn't done that actually to Him. V. 38 – When did we see you a stranger, and take you in? The king answered in V. 40 and he said to them - Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.
It has to become second nature where you literally don't think you've done it, but you do it all the time. It goes the opposite way for those on the other hand, because they say, "Well when did we see you and not do it?" By the same token, if you didn't do it to them, you didn't do it to me. Everybody in this world wants to serve important people, wants to be seen, but how many serve the weak, the lame? How many serve when it won't be noticed? How many serve unconditionally without wishing for rewards?
To qualify for this day, we have to have that heart, that mind, that humility, that love and the character of God, the character of His Son. Can we be like Moses? When God was going to destroy Israel what did Moses do? He said, "Moses, I'll make a nation out of you." Moses didn't say, "Wow! That's great! Boy, that - that's important." He stopped and he begged God to forgive them. He wanted God to stop it and he pleaded with Him. He said, "God, Your name will look small if you do that." He talked Him out of it because God knew Moses. Moses knew what was important and what did he do? He asked God to forgive them and he returned to help them learn God's way even more - though they didn't deserve it. If you have Israelitish blood in you, you are probably here physically because Moses did what he did. If you are spiritually here it's because of God and Christ and what Christ did and that's what's important. Moses saw Israel spiritually naked and hungry and chose to clothe and feed them spiritually. Do you think that way or do you try to climb to the top? The first shall be last, the last shall be first.
Why did God love Moses? Why was David a man after God's own heart? Why did God hear Daniel? Why did God respond to Peter's prayer when he healed the lame man saying, "Silver and gold have I not. What I have I will give to you." It's because it wasn't about the self. Mr. Armstrong always put it 'the way of give and the way of get' and I've seen people who used to give and and learned to get. Something switches in their mind. They no longer have the attitude that they need to become a king.
But it wasn't about self. God gave His Son for His plan. Christ gave His life for this plan. Do you hear the trumpets? Do you really hear the trumpets every day of your life and know that you are in training? Do the trumpets call you to action? Do you say to yourself, 'we will reign with righteousness for the benefit of all people'? We, because it's not you alone, not I, we all have the duty – the duty that God expects us to fulfill, a joint duty that we help each other with.
Today is the celebration of your birthday as well. All of us that make it, that qualify, will rise at same time. Those who are dead will rise as well. When the trumpet sounds you will become a literal member of the God family, the royal family. Indeed, this day pictures one of the most important events in all of history of your life and mine. Do you realize that when we celebrate the Feasts coming up – Atonement and then the Feast of Tabernacles, the millennium and judgment – you are actually celebrating the millennium now because you will be a spirit being. When I was a little kid, I thought it would be great to play with snakes and lions and lambs and now, they can bite me all they want. It won't make any difference if I'm a spirit being. The millennium to me is going to be helping serve other physical beings. Perhaps your children and your grandchildren will be the ones that get to play with the animals, because we'll have a different job in helping to teach them. Again this day is the most important event in history for you and for me. It will decide whether we make it or not. You have a chance to have a front row seat, to practice humility and service now and you'll be able to serve millions in the future. You'll be able to share your story and encourage others to attain that which God gives you because your story is no different than the story that came from the Queen of Thailand. You weren’t born expecting to be a king, expecting to be a queen. You were called specially by God for something you didn't anticipate.
Again, this day probably means more to me than any of the other Holy Days. Why do I say that? Because it's hard to put away the holy days. But as I sat there holding my mentor's hand when he was dying and listening to his final orders to me to help prepare the bride - I made a promise to do that - I recall him in his weak and clear voice making one more request of me. He said, "Promise me that you will rise with me when Christ returns." I ask you to make that promise to yourself today and every day. Shake off any resentments, any bad attitudes, any evil, any hard feelings, any pride and arrogance. Remove it from your life. You see, we may be in our school uniforms spiritually. We may be wearing tennis shoes spiritually. Maybe we can only afford the bus, but you have been invited to a royal party. God has called you there and He's going to give you a new dress and new shoes, the ability to travel wherever you want at the speed of thought. When Christ returns, you and I will be kings with Him – not because of us, but we have to do our part, our ministerial part – but because of Him. Do you hear the trumpet? In your mind's eye, do you really see the true reality of what's before you close enough that you would do anything to accomplish it? That anything is being like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And are you prepared? And just as Christ told Pilate He was born to be a king, the King of kings and Lord of lords, you also were born to be a king.