Is "The Truth" Important

On Saturday, May 15, 2004, Edwin Pope will be giving the sermon, titled, “Is ‘The Truth’ Important?”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

What A Difference A Day Makes!

In the beginning, the Eternal God created the heavens and the earth as the abode of Lucifer and the one third of God’s angels placed under Lucifer’s authority. God gave them rulership of those areas of the universe assigned to Lucifer and, thus, also under Lucifer’s jurisdiction. Lucifer chose to rebel against God and His Ways and attempted, along with the angels assigned to him, to overthrow the throne of God and to take control of the entire universe. Lucifer and His angels failed in this attempt and were cast back down to the earth where they are to this day (Ezekiel 28). This is more fully explained in our booklet, “The Theory of Evolution — A Fairy Tale For Adults?

Commencing with verse 2 of Genesis 1, we find a record of the re-creation, or the re-establishment of the earth, which was made null and void in the cataclysmic battle between the angels who followed Lucifer and the angels of God. God recreated the earth in six days.

The joy of this re-creation came toward the end of the sixth day when God created man in the very image of God, according to the likeness of God the Father and of the One Who became Jesus Christ. In fact, it was by the very hands of this Being, Who became Jesus Christ, that all things in the heavens and on the earth were made. (John 1:1-4)

On the seventh day He ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day. He then blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it, He rested from all His work, which He had created and made (Genesis 2:1-3).

Yes, God established the seventh day as a day of rest and He tells us in His Word that He blessed the seventh day and that it is a day holy to Him. We are told to remember the seventh day and to observe it with the understanding that in so doing we recall all that was done during that first week when God re-created the earth and all that is in it. God also established other Holy Days, which you and I are commanded to keep. (For a complete analysis of these Days, their intent and purpose, write for our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”)

God has a purpose for each and every one of these special days noted in Scripture which He has established as holy to Him. Each day He has established reflects things He has done or events of the future and His Plan relative to those special days for the future.

But man has perverted all of Gods Holy Days and has failed in the right observance of those days. He has forgotten the purpose for which God originally established each holy day and why these days are so significant in God’s overall plan and purpose for mankind.

On numerous occasions God told His chosen people, Israel, not to enquire of the peoples in lands where He would lead them as to how those peoples worshipped their gods, saying, “… even so will I do to my God.” He specifically told them not to do that, because these peoples had done abominable things in the worship of their gods. Yet, today, most who call themselves Christians have forgotten the days God established for their good, but rather, have turned, have enquired of those pagan practices and have incorporated those practices into a system of worship whereby they try to please the One True God.

It is interesting that this year of 2004, May 1 falls on God’s Sabbath. And while the religions of the world, even so-called “Christian Religions,” for the most part will not be observing this Sabbath as commanded in God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures, but will rather attempt to worship the One True God on the first day of the week, the so-called “Lord’s Day,” in direct opposition to God’s command. And on this particular weekly Sabbath, many will observe a pagan day which the world refers to as “May Day.”

This day, “May Day,” is a special day of the pagans, a spring festival, established centuries ago, in celebration each year of the coming summer months. The day was set aside to appease and to please the pagan gods according to the customs of these pagan religions.

Many modern day pagans believe this festival was held and observed to the pagan god, “Belenus,” or “Bel,” a fire/sun god, most likely as a celebration of his mating with “Danu,” the primal earth mother. The indication is that the festival name means “Bel’s Fire.”

Some have associated this ritual to the “Baal” of Biblical times while others relate it to “Beltaine,” the worship of whom the Gauls brought to Britain during the Roman occupation. Others say there is no connection.

Notable traditions of this day’s celebrations were the “Maypole,” imported to England from Italy during the reign of Charles I or Elizabeth I. It is said that the pole itself probably represented the “tree of life” or “world tree.” The custom was to attach ribbons to the tree and weaving them together by dancers, thus, the Maypole dance. Perhaps you observed this ritual in your own experience as a youth without knowledge of its true meaning.

While God established His festivals, days holy to Him, all described in His Written Word, interestingly, within paganism, there are two types of festivals: 1) Esbats, which mark the changes in the moon; and 2) Sabbats, which recognize the changes in the sun. Of course, we all understand, these days have been inspired by the god of this world, Satan, the devil.

Esbats, traditionally, are times in which magic, divination, the development of psychic skills and such are practiced. Falling within this category is “Samhain.” This is pronounced “sow-een,” and is the pagan New Year’s Eve. It means “summer’s end,” and falls on the 31st of October. This day, today, is widely known as Halloween. The reason is that the “Christian Church” adopted the day in an effort to convert people to their religion. We also understand this day is recognized as the day of the dead, supposedly in honor of friends and relatives who have “passed away.” On this day these dead are invited back to spend an evening with those observing this day. Samhain is known by the names Halloween, Hallow mass, and All Saint’s Eve. (For additional insight into the origin of Halloween, see our Q&A in Update #114, dated October 24, 2003.)

Just opposite from this day of “Samhain” is the Sabbat festival of “Beltain.” “Beltain,” also known as “Beltane” or “May Day,” falls exactly six months from “Samhain,” on the 31st day of April, or as we reckon it, “May 1.” It is also opposite in its meaning, a day celebrating “life and love” with sexual undertones, rather than “death.” It is celebrated, if possible, with a large bonfire or candles, for the purpose of encouraging fertility. The May Pole, a phallic symbol, is the center piece of this festival and traditionally was danced around by maidens to draw a lover — not by children, as is currently practiced by modern religions.

It is certainly significant, especially to God, what days we observe and how we observe them. God tells us in His Word that He is not happy when we veer away from His Teachings, and in particular, in relation to His Holy Days.

What a difference a Day makes!

Responsibility Regarding God's Purpose

On Saturday, April 10, 2004, Edwin Pope will be giving the sermon, titled, “Our Responsibility Regarding God’s Purpose.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

On Monday, April 12, 2004, is the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Norbert Link will be giving the sermon in the morning, and Dave Harris in the afternoon. Both will be discussing important principles related to that day.

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 10:00 am Pacific Time (which is 12:00 pm Central Time), and at 2:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 4:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

Lest We Forget

How important are God’s Truths? How important is His Law, His Statutes, His Judgments? How important are the days He has established as Holy? The Scriptures tell us that our “eternal lives” depend on how we relate to these Truths!

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Do You Have Such A Heart?

Saul was a man called and chosen of God because of his desire to do God’s Will. Once God called Saul, He did something very special for him. In 1 Samuel 10:9-10, we see “… that God gave him another heart … then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them (God’s prophets).” Yes, God gave Saul His Spirit and began to work with him. However, in the course of time, Saul allowed pride and vanity to interfere with his good judgment and he ceased his loyalty to God’s Ways.

The prophet, Samuel, in speaking to Saul, revealed that God would remove the kingdom from him after he had become rebellious and had broken God’s Command (1 Samuel 13:13-14). Samuel noted to Saul that God sought for Himself a man after His own heart. Of course, we know that God chose David to succeed Saul as king over His people.

Just as God had called and had chosen Saul as king over Israel, He established David in that position once Saul proved himself unfaithful. David would now have to prove his faithfulness to God and His Ways if he would be successful in his calling. We are all familiar with the life of David, his successes and his failures. But a revealing statement is made concerning David in Acts 13:22. “And when He had removed him (Saul), He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have raised up David the son of Jesse, a man after MY own heart, who will do all My will.'”

God has dealt with many such faithful men and women down through the ages. Many of these are listed and codified in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 — such men and women as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel and the prophets. All, of course, are not listed here, as there have been many faithful to God down through time.

God has called and chosen many such people during our time to learn of Him and His Ways and to walk in those Ways — called to do all His Will. Many who have been called have been faithful, but others have chosen to walk contrary to God’s Way. What about you?

The feast of Passover is now approaching rapidly, followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread. These days, which give insight into God’s Way and His Plan are all commanded by God to be kept in their season. This is a time of self-examination. One called of God must be faithful to God, His Laws, and His Ways — keeping His festivals in a right spirit — and must be drawing closer to Him as the time of Christ’s return draws near!

There is too much at stake for one to give in now to human nature, to Satan, and to the ways of this world. It is going to take men and women seeking after God’s own heart to fill the positions He has made available for all who love His Way and His Appearing!

Do you have such a heart?

Blessed Are the Merciful

Our God is a merciful God. We must all come to understand just how merciful our God is and realize that this point of Character which is typical of His Mind is a quality He would have His people develop in their lives. Christ tells us in Luke 6:36 to “… be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” And in Matthew 5:4 He taught that if we are merciful, God will be merciful with us.

Love covers all sin!

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How Warm Is It For You?

We are all familiar with the proverbial frog in the water story. When the frog jumped into the pan of water, the water was cool and refreshing and the frog felt very comfortable in the water, being an amphibian, which is able to live both in water and on land. Of course, had the water been hot when the frog jumped into it, he would have, if at all possible, removed himself from the water, immediately sensing the danger.

But, as the story goes, the frog, enjoying the comfort of the cool water, relaxed and conformed to his surroundings. As the water began to increase in heat, this particular frog didn’t notice.

Many who have been a part of the Church of God are now themselves in this proverbial pot as it gets warm and do not sense the danger that is building in their lives, especially as false doctrine continues to implode within the various churches. Additionally, modern society has continued to offer many enticing diversions, which many church members have turned to as an escape from the trials they face daily, rather than rightfully turning to God for their solutions.

God says to these people, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were either cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

Yes, God warns of these things in His Word. But many don’t seem to associate all these things to their personal relationship with God. God warns that we are to come out of this world’s ways and to live by His True Word which is revealed in the Scriptures to those with His Spirit. We are all told to prove all things and to hold fast to that which is true. Is that your approach? Or are you like the proverbial frog? How warm is it for you?

Repentance and Forgiveness

What Does God Require?

God requires repentance of those who seek His Way of life. Sin is always against God, whether we sin against a neighbor or whether we break one of the first four commandments, which are direct obligations to Him. Sin is the transgression of God’s Law.

And, if a brother sins against us and repents for that sin, we are obligated to God and to our brother to forgive him.

This sermon examines the principles involved.

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Does God Know You?

Abraham exemplified God’s Way. His life was pleasing to God. When Abraham had come to the land God was giving to him, he had brought with him his nephew, Lot (Genesis 12:1-4). Since God was dealing primarily with Abraham, and since he was the elder in the relationship, no doubt when trouble arose with the herdsmen of Lot and Abraham’s herdsmen, Abraham could have directed Lot to move on with his herdsmen to another area. But what did he do?

Abraham said to his nephew, “‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left'” (Genesis 13: 8-9).

Lot, having first choice, looked out on the land and chose what he considered to be the best! (Genesis 13: 10-11). That is, of course, human nature! Abraham, on the other hand, took the area that was left, having approached this whole situation from the basis of love towards neighbor. This was typical of Abraham’s approach. We notice in this story that wherever Abraham went, he showed honor and respect toward God, as well as to his fellow man (Genesis 12:7-8; 13:14).

How did God feel about Abraham’s approach in his dealings with man and with God? Notice in Genesis 18:17-19, God makes the statement of Abraham: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing; since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known [or: chosen] him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

God had called Abraham out of this world to learn God’s Way of Life, and to pass it on to his offspring.

We find the real test as to Abraham’s faithfulness to God and to His Ways when God, after having given Abraham and Sarah a son, beyond the years of childbearing for Sarah, required of Abraham that he offer up Isaac as a burnt offering to the LORD. Having prepared the offering, Abraham was about to follow through with this sacrifice, when “‘the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am'” (Genesis 22:11).

“And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me'” (Genesis 22:12).

Yes, God had now come to KNOW Abraham to the point that He knew Abraham would follow in His Ways, regardless of the situation! Has God come to know you to this extent, brethren? Has He come to know each of us in the Church, such that He can say of us — “I KNOW HIM!” — “I KNOW he (or she) will do what I have revealed that he (or she) should do?”

We must never forget Christ’s words in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

God has called us out of this world, brethren. He has given us His Spirit. He has given us His Law. Is He as sure of us as He became of Abraham? Can He truly say of each of us — “I KNOW HIM — that he fears Me and that he will do as I have commanded?”

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