Feast: Preparing To Rule

#FT19-05

Given 18-Oct-19; 70 minutes

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John Ritenbaugh, reminding us that God has chosen the weak and base things to confound the wise (I Corinthians 1:26), suggests that many of those currently holding governmental power are exponentially wiser than God's called-out ones in terms of technological expertise. Yet, they are total failures when it comes to stopping human conflict. How can a group of rag-tag upstarts with no experience—that's how the world's leaders perceive us—hope to succeed where these 'high and mighty' ones have utterly failed? We have the same ugly carnal nature as the techno-wizards, but for the most part, because of our sense of unworthiness, have found it easier to yield to God's shaping of our character. As we undergo our grueling sanctification process, we must take control of our carnal nature, mortifying the "old man." The hardest thing we will have to learn is to subdue our self-centered carnal nature, esteeming others more than ourselves. The earth's problems are not technological in nature, nor soluble through technological means; rather, virtually all the world's problems stem from the antagonistic pulls of carnal nature. Christ expects us to get that nature under control through the support of His Holy Spirit. Our Elder Brother has more technological knowledge than the wisest among mankind will ever have; at the right time, He will supply the necessary skills to our perfected characters to enable us to get the job of repairing the destroyed earth done and done right. We will assist Christ in governing a repentant, but still very carnal, clientele.

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I am going to begin my sermon here in I Corinthians 1. You are all familiar with these scriptures. But it says here,

I Corinthians 1:26-29 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put the shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are [and then in verse 29 part of the reason], that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Think of these terms. "Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called." But on the other hand, "God has chosen the foolish things of the world." He chose the weak, and He does it to "put the shame the things which are mighty, the base things of the world, and things which are despised." That is quite a category of the people that God has called—in a sense, you and me. It begins to be the way we begin to think of ourselves when we think of what is going to be accomplished in and through us down the road.

Now we may not think of these verses often in relation to the World Tomorrow and our awesome destiny, because they most certainly are not of immediate concern. We know that Christ is not going to come tomorrow—as far as we know anyway. But they are things that we can put off in our thinking for a while.

On the other hand, we perhaps do think of the verses and say and wonder, how in the world is going to God going to pull this off with material like me available for Him to work with? Now that is a puzzle, but it is not really a puzzle, as we will see as we go through this sermon. We think of them in that light because we realize that though our onboard vanity keeps telling us that we are great, perhaps under-appreciated maybe, but still nonetheless intelligent, handsome, pretty, clever. And we really are on top of things, some of us think, when in reality, every Word of God is true and I am, in reality, truly a weak nobody. Nada, zilch, a cipher who has accomplished little or nothing in this world.

We perhaps think of them in this manner because we also carry in our minds an awareness of some of the measure of the monstrous and seemingly unsolvable problems in today's world. And here we are merely a construction worker, a nurse, a schoolteacher, a computer operator, a bus driver, a bank teller, a salesman, a garbage collector, policeman, or ordinary homemaker. Now, as we heard in Mike Ford's sermon a bit earlier in the week, we are going to be given a small portion of sharing rulership under Jesus Christ. How are we ever going to be qualified to take over authority of even a small town, let alone a number of cities, a county, or even a nation, in some rare cases?

These thoughts are daunting because we may think of that time and say, "Well, boundaries are going to have to be established. Water and power must be supplied. Sewage and refuse disposed of." Perhaps not all at once, but nonetheless things that we might feel considerably needful for life.

But there is more. How about a transportation system designed and put in place? Building codes must be established. There must be a plan established to follow so that your town, your area of authority, does not just grow like topsy in an uncontrolled mess that creates more problems than it solves. There must be budgets to distribute and control expenditures. And what about taxes for roads, school systems, electrical systems, police, firemen, industrial development, parks and entertainment areas, and the development of housing subdivisions?

What about managing all the administrators who are operating all the divisions of the government necessary to allow a town to effectively function, permitting the greatest amount of personal liberty for each person, and also for creative expression of its citizenry without abuse of either the environment or infringement on other's liberty? There are complexities because of humanity everywhere we are going to look.

Now these are daunting thoughts because we know that the better minds of this world today have taken up these very challenges and many of these people are already in government. The better class, we might say, the better educated class, they are already in government, sincerely trying to make today cities and nations work. Boy, are they not doing a good job?! And it was all there before they started. All of these things that I mentioned to you are going to have to be initiated. Like I said, they will not have to be initiated all at once. But they are going to be part of our responsibility for the area that we are assigned under Jesus Christ because we will be the government that makes all the mistakes. I think we would like to do our job without making those kind of mistakes.

So when we realize what God called us there toward the end of I Corinthians 1, beginning in verse 26, the base of the world, the weak, and so forth, who do we think we are that we can think we can do a better job with little or no experience behind us to begin with? Turn with me to Revelation 16 because the picture gets worse. These are things that are taking place just before Christ returns.

Revelation 16:1-16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth." So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died. Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. [Are you beginning to get the picture? No fish, a dead sea, and perhaps no water even. Quite a challenge!] And I heard the angel of the waters saying, "You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due." And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments." Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. [I think after you finished reading this with me, you will agree that things are going to get worse just about the time that Christ returns and we are to take our new jobs.] And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. [We are going to look here a little bit closer at the human condition. It is not just the sea and the waters, but the human condition too.] They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds. Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. [Ooh, it is going to get worse. Warfare is on the way too.] And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to battle of that great day of God Almighty. "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest they walk naked and see his shame." And they gathered them together in a place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

We will just stop right there, because that gives you a pretty good idea that even what follows what I have already read is going to get worse yet.

Adding to the already existing problems that we are going to face will be the utter devastation of transportation systems, communications networks, cities—once teeming with populations and buildings in which the populations lived and worked—will be smoking, unlivable ruins. Is it fitting to ask, will there be any clean air to breathe? As we have just read the availability of food may very well be an immediate problem. And who wants to drink blood? Pretty gruesome.

Dams, bridges, roads, and electrical and gas heating systems no longer function, and if Christ returns at this time of the year, winter will be just over the horizon. And in the wake of all that devastation in the ecosystem, who knows what kind of violence the weather will be capable of bringing forth? As we already read, demonism is in full force. All of these things are really, brethren, a challenge. Who in the world would ever think of turning the governments over to us? We seem the least prepared of all people on earth. No experience behind us.

Now if one looked at just Revelation 16, we could see no reason for any sense of encouragement. However, when we look elsewhere in Scripture, we are reminded again of what Mike Ford began his sermon with: God is a merciful God. He very definitely has a plan, and what we have just read is just one portion of it. And the reality is that these things in Revelation 16 are preparations for what follows. He has thought of His plan for a long time, and despite the appearance it may give, everything, even in Revelation 16, is in order. It is the order that He wants it to be when we are assigned to what we are going to be assigned to. It is exactly what the doctor—God—has ordered to produce the cure needed in this drastic circumstance.

Let us go back in the Book to the Old Testament to Jeremiah 31 because there is one aspect of this that we have not looked at yet, and it needs to be looked at. This concerns people who are left alive after all this devastation, and he is talking here about primarily the Israelitish people but it may include many other ethnicities as well, because we are all going through basically the same thing. He says,

Jeremiah 31:8-9 "Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth [That is pretty clear.], among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and one who labors with child, together; a great throng shall return there. ["There" being Jerusalem.] They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn."

God gives us here just an general overview of the peoples' general attitude that He is gathering together to bring back to the area, which we will call the Promised Land, and we already see in those verses that those people are turning to Him. Now, here is one thing that we have to think about here. Just because they are turning to God that does not end their conduct and attitude problems. They are going to come—with their problems—into the areas in which we are going to govern.

You think the United States of America is bad in terms of morality? These peoples' hearts are changing, but the character is not set yet into a good way. They are not going to be easy to govern. It is no wonder that God tells us that Jesus Christ is going to govern with a rod of iron. It is going to be necessary at the beginning. And if He is ruling with a rod of iron, we take our tips from Him and we have to rule the same way. So people are beginning to become more manageable because they are beginning to understand what is going on in life and that God really does rule. But it has not really gotten started yet. That is going to be exciting there at the beginning, especially.

So people are beginning to turn to Him. But that does not end their conduct, their attitude problems, their psychological and character problems. But the change in approach of their attitude toward God has begun.

Think about this now. These people coming back to the area of Jerusalem, witness your own life as an example. I am talking here about the problems you came into the church—God's Family—with. How long is it taking you to become convicted of something you are doing or even pondering doing? And it continues on until you are willing to truly recognize the need for change and take significant steps of sacrificing yourself in order to accomplish. I confessed to you in my first sermon that here I have been in the church over 60 years and I am still so self-centered it makes me sick!

Are these people coming out of this devastation going to be able to be ruled with a feather? You see, at least partly, what God is leading us to? It is going to be a challenge! Brethren, now is our time of preparation to meet that challenge. Are we going to have the same attitudes as Jesus Christ did? He loved us in spite of us, and what we are and what we do. We have got an awesome job before us.

Let me remind you just briefly. Just think of the horrors that these people might have just experienced for a number of years. Witnessing wholesale murder in death camps, living as slaves in the degradation of no choices whatever. Having no control, being separated from their loved ones, always being in fear of pain, doubt, and hunger. What is this going to do to peoples' minds? It is the kind of circumstance that can turn a person totally, wholeheartedly self-centered, if only because of survival needs. Now God is not going to hide from each person who is gradually turning to Him, the vicious degradation his mind is capable of.

Let us go a little bit further in the Old Testament to Isaiah the second chapter.

Isaiah 2:1-4 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

That is something that is very encouraging, that at the very worst of destruction and mayhem, just when it would seem that mankind is going to succeed in destroying itself totally, Jesus Christ will return and the process that we see described will begin to end. And with it will be the rebuilding of lives, cities, and nations.

Isaiah 51:3 For the Lord will comfort Zion [God will begin to do that very quickly.], He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and voice of melody.

Isaiah 52:9 [more encouragement] Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.

Isaiah 58:12 Those from among you [We will be included here.] shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

Isaiah 61:4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolation of many generations.

This will begin in Jerusalem, and the healing and the rebuilding will get underway. I just gave those so you would see it is not all bad because there is going to be a turning point at some time as God begins to regather, mostly the Israelitish people, but others besides. And gradually, as word begins circulating around the earth of the good things going on there, representatives of other nations will begin enquiring as to what is making it work. It is the Kingdom of God that is making it work, and this is where we really come back into the picture. Will you be able to help? The answer is emphatically, "Yes!" God does not make mistakes calling people into His church for preparation, for service to Him in His purposes. God does not fail in carrying through on what He sets out to do.

But you have undoubtedly thought, "What do I know of these areas of city management mentioned earlier in this sermon? God should have chosen experts, people already experienced in doing those things." But brethren, all you have to do is look around you at the way the experts, the strong, the mighty are running the towns, the cities, and the nations today. Are they doing a good job? Something is tragically wrong. Something is tragically, horribly wrong, missing, from the way that they are doing things.

What is it that has gone wrong? This is what has to be straightened out first. What went wrong? Let us go back early in the Old Testament again, this time to Genesis 11. We will revisit what happened in Babylon just as a little bit of a backdrop. Here is what the people who gathered Babylon said.

Genesis 11:4-6 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them."

This is the way man decided to rebuild a couple of generations after the Flood. It took them a while to get their act together and this is how they decided to do it. You can be sure that God is not going to let his sons and daughters rebuild things in exactly the same way that the Babylonians did there. But it is a new beginning.

The information available to us is sketchy as to how technologically developed the people were in the Genesis 11 time because everything they built, except possibly the Great Pyramid of Giza, was destroyed in the Flood. But if the pyramids are indeed a reminder of the technology available, then it is evidence of a high degree of technology.

Let us analyze this just a bit. Remember, first, that those people lived very long lives. Just as a reminder, an example, look at how much the last two or three generations of mankind discovered and developed in a lifetime of roughly 70 to 80 years. Look what has happened, brethren. They lived hundreds of years, and they may very well have had minds that were equal to or better than what we have available to us.

Now this we know from mankind's experience—knowledge is cumulative from generation to generation. That is, we keep adding to it; on what was before we add something new. Imagine how this knowledge would build in a person living 800 years! Think about what has been accomplished just in the past 150 years:

We have learned how to harness the power of mighty rivers by building dams to create reservoirs and to produce electricity. We have built soaring bridges across them and spanned yawning chasms with bridges as well. We have drilled deeply into the earth to tap its reservoirs of oil and gas, and we can transport ourselves from one place to another, as well as both heat and cool our homes and fuel our factories. We put communications satellites hundreds of miles into the heavens and sent men to the moon.

(I bolded this in my notes at this point.) Technology, brethren, is in reality the least of mankind's problems. What good is it to have wonderful technology if you use it to blow each other up? I mean, that is so logical. But do you not see that mankind never gets the point? It has gone on for almost 6,000 years. We use technology to make war, to kill, to get sick. It is not used very constructively, is it? So technology is the least of mankind's problems. Bridges and so forth will not do it. All technology seems to do is to accelerate the plunge toward oblivion. So do not forget.

Let us go back to a earlier thought—Jesus Christ is going to rule with a rod of iron. Let us check that out and make sure that is drilled into our minds.

Revelation 19:15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

That is in there to show that He has the full authority from His Father to do what needs to be done for the way of God to be instituted on earth. One more scripture here in Revelation.

Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come [That is, God's wrath.], the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.

That is where man's technology goes. It goes to destruction.

Now you can be sure that God is not going to permit the residents who are beginning to gather together of mankind to begin blindly rebuilding. The very reason the representatives of the nations flow to Jerusalem is to learn God's way. They must begin at ground zero, and ground zero at this time for them, is to prepare their lives to reflect the image of God, even as we are having to do. We are the precursors of those who are going to come after us. And with the church, God is preparing us to reflect the image of God as His children.

So whether you have ever thought of it in this regard or not, you are preparing now to assist them, not with technology (maybe that will come down the road), but because you are learning how to live your life generously in giving, cooperating, sharing, humbly submitting to each other, loving and serving your neighbor, always looking for ways to defend those who are not always looking for a way to defend themselves, promote ourselves, looking for power, or protecting our image. You may feel that your life is small and inconspicuous. You do not make much money. You are renting a small apartment. Maybe you do not even own a car. You might have even physical handicaps, be old, and feel your educational level is to be of help to no one. You are finding that none of these things are helping you learn to tackle the complex administrative, organizational, and personal problems that occur when thousands of people live in close proximity to each other.

Those things are indeed challenging. But understand this: Your situation in the church right now is preparing you to do the very things that I mentioned. Do you know why? (This is another place where I bolded things.) Because the world's problems are much less complex than they seem on the surface to be, because the nature of the problems are not understood by the overwhelming majority of people from top to bottom of society.

Let me ask you a few simple questions. Do they "get" God? Do they have a relationship with Him? Are they trying to imitate Him? Are they trying to be obedient to Him? Do they worship Him?

Am I being plain enough? That is where the problem lies. And that is why you are here in this room right now. You are learning to rule as God would rule, as Jesus Christ will rule. Not the way the world does things, and not on the basis of their technology, either, because that is not where the problem is. God is going right to the heart of the problem and the problem is human nature. Self-centeredness. Those people are plenty smart enough to do the job better than we could. But their lives are going in an entirely different direction whatever. And they are headed for chaos and death.

God has saved mankind, a portion of it, in His church for the very person to rule under Him His way and to deal with people His way. Educating them on what is right and good, and being patient with them, just as He is being patient with you and me, just as He has been kind to you and me, just as He has been supplying to you and me what we need for our growth and understanding.

Let us go to James the fourth chapter. Do not forget that statement I made. The world is in the condition it is in because the world's hard problems, though much less complex than they seem on the surface, are there because the nature of the problems are not understood by the overwhelming majority of people, from the top to the bottom of society. And mankind is at fault. Mankind has rejected God. But He has entered our lives to give us an opportunity to do something that is really significant for the history of the world down the road.

James 4:1-3 Where do wars and fights come from among you? [This is a letter to a church congregation! These are things that we have to overcome—wars and fights amongst us. How can we teach the world how to have peace if we cannot have peace?] Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? [What are we going to do about this? God is giving us a chance to get rid of these problems so that we will be prepared to teach rightly and have the experience in overcoming.] You lust and do not have. You murder [Can you imagine that? That is kind of hard to shake. This is a letter to a church congregation. At least one murder had taken place involved in that congregation. That does not sound very Christian to me.] and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. [Do you think these things, these men who are giving sermonettes and sermons are not within the church. This is a letter to a church congregation.] Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that [here is a problem] you may spend it on your own pleasures. [Do we ask for gifts from God that we might spend it in the right way in our relationships within the church?]

So all of those things there in the book of James are root problems of lust and self-centeredness, and both of them are expressions of human nature.

Let us go to another scripture that was used in an earlier sermon in Romans 8. I think it was in Kim's sermon yesterday. This pinpoints a possible problem for anybody that might be in here.

Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The broadest application of that statement is people who are not converted. But there are people in the church who indeed are converted but they do not have control of some aspect of their nature yet. And so they use it in their relationships or mis-relationships with the brethren.

Romans 8:8-9 So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Human nature expresses itself against God in vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, murder, hatred, avarice, competition, lying, stealing, dishonoring parents, fornication, adultery, and excessive anger. Need I go on? I might have touched everybody in here, at least lightly. I gave you all of these sins and then there is the most deeply embedded one of all: idolatry. In fact, it could be said that all of the above that I gave to you flow from idolatry. I do not mean to offend anybody with this sermon. I am just being brutally honest. It is in the Book.

Please turn to Romans 3. Again, a description of mankind. This is what we are going to be challenged by when we are in the Kingdom of God. Because those groups of people that God is gathering out of the devastation that the earth is in to bring to Jerusalem, they are going to carry these characteristics with them.

Romans 3:10-18 "There is none righteous, no, not one [Can you see why Christ is going to have to rule with a rod of iron?]; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb [ As we go through this, think of yourself in relation to this.]; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Struggles between the nations are really only small problems allowed to grow great. (That is another one you need the bold.) And this is why God is going to be able to do the work through us. He does not need those people who are technologically proficient. What He needs is people with character like His! That is why the church exists and that is why the church is called in Galatians, the Israel of God. The other Israel will be advancing towards us on land and we are going to have to deal with them.

So struggles between the nations are really only small problems allowed to grow great. Two major powers may be locked in a hot war, and that problem may seem to be more complex than neighbors arguing over the backyard fence or a family quarrel, but the causes are essentially the same. Are you having relationship problems in your family? I can guarantee you that if you will honestly search for the cause, you are going to find that one or both sides is lusting for power and competing for it. Somebody desires to rule, and maybe they should not. But they want it anyway. And so the family ends up in divorce. It is a little problem. Only two people, or maybe two people and a couple of children, but it is the same mechanics, as if it were, between nations.

Now you are going to find abuse of authority or an unwillingness to submit (this is in a family quarrel), because one or the other wants something and feels that this is the only way that they can get it. Thus the spinoffs will be insensitivity, inattention, lack of cooperation, gluttony, alcoholism, quarrels, adultery, lying, disobedience; nervous, selfish, and rowdy children. Now these things can all take place within the church because human nature still lives within us. This is why we must be prepared. We are being given rulership under Jesus Christ because He is going to be looking for people who have conversion that is deep enough that their character is a pretty good match with His.

You can clearly begin to see why God is calling the weak of the world. It is because the weak of the world, the people that He calls, will yield to Him! They are far more likely to be persuaded by Him and His way of teaching than any other way. He is treating us, brethren, like little children compared to Him. He is being kind and gentle and patient with us so that we learn the lessons without losing heart, because He could really make it hard. But He is going through it with us because that is one thing that we do have. We do not usually think very much of ourselves, and so we think more of God, and we are willing to yield to Him and learn the lessons that we have going for us.

So that is one of the major reasons why He calls the weak of the world. Frankly, brethren, He calls us because we do not think very much of ourselves compared to others. And one of the reasons is because we have not accomplished anything. What do we have to brag about? This is a good thing that He calls the weak of the world. It is a plus for us, and we need to make good use of it.

II Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness [we always have to be on the lookout for this], so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

So God tells us in very simple, straightforward terms that massive global problems are simply individual problems multiplied by the number of people involved. In other words, you solve problems in your marriage, and there may be only two people involved, and that is the way it should be. They are much easier to solve within a family than they are within a city, within a nation, within a state, because the more people you get involved in it, the more complex the problems become. God is giving us the opportunity to solve our problems right in a family situation. And, of course, the family grows a little bit because of the church congregation, but the principle is the same, just up a little bit larger.

Nothing will change on earth until individuals can become convinced that the solution of the problem begins with them. Am I clear enough there? The problems when Christ returns must be solved now— within our families, within ourselves, where we have a really good opportunity to solve them. Because as they grow, it becomes more and more difficult. So this is God's assignment. Each person has to change themselves. It is that simplistic.

Each person has to change themselves before they can even begin to expect the community's problems to go away. And then we expand it a little bit. The same principle holds true in a marriage between two people. In those two people having a fight, somebody has to start by changing themselves. Then there is a very great possibility, because God is involved with that family, that the other person will begin to change, too. I hope I am becoming as clear as I possibly can.

God is doing things the way He is in the smallest, simplest community, you might say—the family community way. There is the family community and then there comes the church community. It is a little bit wider, but the same principles are at work and the same principles will be at work in the World Tomorrow when we are given rulership, everything is falling in place. And that is what I said earlier. It looks like things are really a mess. No, this is just what the doctor ordered and the doctor is God. He is going to put things in a mess so that people begin to get the picture.

So each person has to change themselves first before they can even begin to expect the community's problems to go away. Now if the cause is basically the same, whether in individual or family quarrels, the solutions are also the same: loving tolerance, patience, forgiving, sharing, helping, giving—all done within a relationship with the true God and through the power of His Spirit, activated and used by individuals through faith.

I hope you are getting the point. God is going to use the same principles on the whole world that He is using with you individually right now. He is just going to expand the community operating under Him first but it is going to be the same principles. Let us go to Luke the 16th chapter and verses 10-13. Here is a major principle.

Luke 16:10-13 "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore [look at this conclusion] if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

There is the principle. We are being worked on in order to learn to serve God. It is that simple. In our own little stage, wherever it is, that is it. We are learning to be faithful in that little stage, and then He can commit the powers that we need to a larger stage. So we start small. That is the way God has ordered that it be done. And He knows from living, who knows, billions of years, this is the only way that truly works. The only way that truly works, brethren, and I will make it as simple as I can, is when each individual changes himself to the pattern that God wants.

Our relationship with Him, brethren, is one-on-one. It is through Jesus Christ, but they are both alike in that regard. And so They are working with us as an individual as well. That is why we do not need all of that technological skill. Jesus Christ has all the technological skill you could ever want. What we have to do now is to learn to work with Him and under Him. He does not have to see us ruling a city at all. He wants to see how well we do with those little things that are before us right now. That keeps it simple. It is not complex.

So when we are, like this principle says, faithful in that which is least, He knows absolutely this person has the character to be faithful in much. Is that not easy? It really is. So big problems are nothing but little problems that have been allowed to grow. There are more people involved in it.

What God is trying to do is to help us to see that our relationship with Jesus Christ is one-on-one. He is our Savior. He is our Lord. He is our Master. And He is the one person in that sense that we only have to satisfy. That is it. We are focused in on the right Teacher and the right goal and things will go right with your life. Even though it might be difficult, they are going to go right.

JWR/aws/drm






The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

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