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1 Corinthians Chapters 3 and 4
1 Corinthians Chapters 3 and 4

Bible Study – Tucson (August 2, 1980)

by Herbert W Armstrong


We will begin with the third chapter of 1 Corinthians today. I’m going to use the Revised Standard Version quite a little today, but I’ll start out with the King James.

I Cor. 3:1: “And I brethren could not speak unto you.” This is just a continuation of the same letter we began last week from Paul to the people in the church in Corinth. Remember Corinth was a city in what we know as Greece today and they were having trouble in the Church, and Paul told them right away that they should all speak the same thing and that when they each wanted to follow a different individual, they were wrong. We find he comes to that again in this third chapter. He is correcting them. That reminds me of also of another thing. That is about the system of punishment and how God’s system of punishment is so different from punishment in this world.

Punishment verses Correction

The world has the idea that if you have done evil, you must be punished and that the punishment must impose as much pain and suffering on you as to equal the crime or sin committed. In other words, punishment to them is revenge. It is getting even. You did something wrong, now you must suffer. That is not the kind of punishment God has. God doesn’t use that kind of punishment at all. God’s punishment is always corrective. God only punishes to bring us to the place to correct us and no more than that – just to correct us. That’s all. Instead of prisons there should be institutions of correction, but we don’t know how to correct. The world doesn’t know those things. God never punishes because He wants to see anyone suffer. I think God suffers with us when we suffer. He doesn’t get any pleasure whatever out of our suffering. Men look on it in a different way.

Now God did impose capital punishment on ancient Israel, but that was simply to remove individuals from this life who would later come up in the Great White Throne Judgment. Most people don’t realise that there is another life after this one. That kind of punishment was to remove them from hurting other people now and they will be corrected when they come up in that life and they will be straightened out and they will receive the gifts of God and the good things if they are willing to turn from the way that was wrong – the way that was causing pain and suffering to them and to others. It is that simple. That is the way of God.

Conversion and Carnality

So now, as we go along in verse one: “As unto spiritual, but as unto carnal even as unto babes in Christ.” In other words, they are supposed to have come out of the world. They are supposed to have received the Holy Spirit and to have therefore a different kind of a mind – a spiritual mind. Now we have to go back and understand some things way back in other parts of the Bible. One thing is the thing we went through last Sabbath about the natural man knowing things that the brute animals cannot know or understand, but he could not except for the spirit of man that is in him. There is a spirit in man that is not in the brute animals. That spirit opens up the mind to comprehension. It works as a computer and stores knowledge and gives you instant recall of knowledge that has come into your mind through the years. Knowledge that has come primarily through the eyes and ears. However, the spirit that is in us doesn’t see and it doesn’t hear. It is the physical brain that sees through the physical eye. It is the physical brain that hears through the physical ear. But we also get a little knowledge through the senses of touch and smell and taste. But most of the knowledge comes in from what we hear or what we see.

This gets us into the matter of conversion. And we need to understand that before we go to another verse in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. I recently wrote an article to be published in The Good News I forget which magazine this particular article is to be published in. Christianity is merely a religion of this world made up of people who have only the human spirit. They don’t know what conversion is, they don’t have God’s Holy Spirit, they don’t understand (spiritual things). They think they are “saved” and they don’t even know what salvation is. They don’t know how it operates. They don’t know how you receive it. The world doesn’t know that. The Baptist church doesn’t know that. The Catholic Church doesn’t know it, etc. It is all in the Bible, but I had to learn and be shocked when I first began to look into the Bible to learn that what Christianity teaches today is just the opposite of the Bible.

If the Bible says go, they say stay. If the Bible says up, they say down. They say just the opposite. You have all seen a Billy Graham crusade on the television, probably. They give you an hour of televising which will include a good portion of one night’s crusading. Billy Graham will tell you that life is so uncertain that there are some people who are going to die between now and tomorrow morning. You don’t know but what you might be one of those persons. Where are they going to be this time tomorrow? Hell? Heaven? You don’t know. But if you come to the altar and receive Christ tonight -receive – that is you GET – you TAKE. The devil’s way is GET and TAKE! I don’t know, maybe my conversion was all wrong, but it was quite different. I did receive Christ but that is only part of it. The principle thing was that I had to give. I gave myself and the rest of my life to Christ. He bought it and paid for it, didn’t he? When he died on the cross, he had bought my life because I had committed sins. So, have all of you. So has everybody who has ever lived except Jesus Christ. That means that the law claims the death penalty for all of us. When Christ took that death penalty off of me, he bought and paid for my life. I owed it to Him. I thought it was time to pay up what I owe. I gave my life to Him when I understood what conversion was. And I have been giving ever since. That’s why I say you give to people and they will get mad at you. People don’t like you for that.

How are we “Saved?”

But the world thinks if you say you receive Christ – this is Billy Graham’s contention – that then it is all settled. There is a song they sing in the churches of this world called, “It was all settled long ago.” Maybe some of you know of that song. That is all there was to it. You were converted and saved. They think you are an immortal soul and once you are saved then if you die you go straight to heaven because you are already saved right now. Now if you are not saved, then you are on a railroad train and at the end of the journey there is a switch in the track and the switch is set to send you straight down to hell. If along that journey some time in your life you accept Christ; what that does is change that switch in the end of the line and then when you get to the end of the line, you have already been saved. So it is set to send you right to heaven instead. But the time when it is all decided is not at the end, but at the second you GET Christ, and if you don’t you are a lost soul. Poor soul!

There is a great dispute. Are you saved all at once when you accept Christ? In the first place, the Bible doesn’t say that just accepting Christ is what saves you. Accepting the blood of Christ doesn’t save anybody. That’s a shocker to a lot of people. They think we are saved by the blood of Christ. Oh, no we’re not. We’re saved by His resurrection – His life. Not by His death. The death of Christ will reconcile you to the Father. The world overlooks the Father all together. They leave God out of it. They don’t even have Him in the picture. What Christ does is reconcile you to God. But just accepting Christ is not it at all. Billy Graham overlooks that. So do all the rest of the churches in this world. The first thing is repent. Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Mark 1:1 – in verse 14 he came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and saying, repent you, and then believe. He didn’t say just believe on me. He said believe this message of the gospel. They don’t even preach the message today. They preach about the Messenger and say, if you believe in the Person of the Messenger you wil1 be saved. What Jesus taught was you have to believe the message, but before that you have to repent of the way you have been living. Repentance is toward God and you have to get straight toward God first. Receiving Christ only reconciles you toward God and puts you in contact with God the Father and it is God the Father who has eternal life to give you. Christ is the door. He is the Shepherd of the sheep. He is the door through which you have to enter to get to God. He is the door by which you can approach God the Father. Do the evangelists in the world preach that? They don’t understand that. They just do not have understanding. So there is a lot more than just receiving Christ.

So there’s a lot more to it. Now is salvation something that happens just at one clap just like that, all at once? Or is it gradual? The answer is that in a sense it is both. There is a second or instant in which you receive the Holy Spirit of God. But there are two things that have to precede that. First, you have to have had enough knowledge and God seems to have had to have called you. Jesus said, no man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him. You have to be chosen as one that God has chosen to call and God has to draw you through the Holy Spirit toward Him. How does he do that? The Holy Spirit from outside you, not in you will begin to convict you of sin. It takes a little bit of knowledge to start with. You have to realize how wrong you have been. God then begins to grant you repentance. That, you have to do. Billy Graham doesn’t say anything about that. Then you have to believe – not only in Christ but the message that God sent by Christ. Believe, he said, the Gospel, the Good News, the message. Now, if you do, we find that in the Bible, you are to be baptized and after baptism, we find that they did lay on hands – the apostles or elders would lay on hands for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. That is the way it happens. That is not the way it happens in a Billy Graham crusade at all. I’m talking about the way it is in the Bible. I will say this, Billy Graham said to one of our lawyers that Herbert Armstrong does have a marvelous understanding of the Bible. Billy Graham knows that. But apparently, Billy Graham doesn’t think that is very necessary. I disagree with him there. I think that it is quite necessary. I wish he had a better understanding, and I wish I could help him to that better understanding. I would be glad to. But I don’t think he would quite agree or would desire it at all.

However, there is an instant in which you do receive the Holy Spirit of God. Here is the point that I want to make plain and that Paul is bringing out in this letter right here. You only receive the Holy Spirit in a very small degree to start. You can receive a little of the Holy Spirit, but that is not all. Christ was completely filled with the Holy Spirit. We are not and we are not at the time of what we call conversion.

Human Nature

Let’s go back a little further. We have what we call human nature. We were not born with that human nature. When we were born, we were as innocent as innocent can be. We didn’t know anything. We had minds, which were capable of receiving and absorbing knowledge but there wasn’t any knowledge in those minds yet. Unless there is some kind of knowledge that could have gotten there before birth. However, Satan is the prince of the power of the air. I can tune in on the television right here and there are sounds in the room and pictures in the room that you and I are not seeing right now. If we get on the right wave length, we get the right sound or picture. It’s here only we can’t see it, without the right machine to bring it in. Satan broadcasts through the air. He surcharges the air. Now he does not broadcast in pictures or words. He broadcasts in attitudes. He broadcasts in what we call a right or wrong spirit. He also broadcasts in impulses. There is no word connected to it, just an impulse to covet something or toward vanity.

Now if you take a little baby six or seven months old that cannot walk yet, but can crawl. You bring another baby and put him in the same room. You put a toy out there and each baby will probably try to get that toy. Already there is a little bit of self and one baby will probably try to get that toy from the other baby. Already Satan has put a little bit of self-centeredness in those babies. That also includes jealousy and envy and it breeds a spirit of competition of wanting to take away from the other, of wanting to get the best of the other. It includes a spirit of resentment and bitterness; it includes also resentment of authority and rebellion against the authority over you. Now Satan begins getting that into you from the time I suppose you are a few months old. I know that by six months, a little baby has already absorbed a little bit of it. But you didn’t get it all at once. We don’t all get it in the same degree and we don’t all get it in the same quality and quantity. By age 16 some kids are docile and nice and easygoing. Others are rowdies and troublemakers and want to fight and give trouble all the time. Some kids of age 16 are already hardened criminals. They already have a police record. Others don’t -they don’t get in trouble with the law. So, we don’t all receive or assimilate the same degree of the carnal nature from Satan.

How God Calls

Now we come to the place where later in life God opens our minds and we begin to see a little bit about the gospel and gospel preaching is supposed to lead to repentance. It was on the day of Pentecost when Peter preached that sermon that it says the people were pricked in their hearts and they said, “what shall we do!” And Peter said, “Repent and then be baptized.” Being baptized meant believe in Christ and His message. It was Peter’s message that he had given them that had pricked them in their hearts. He gave them a little bit of God’s knowledge. Otherwise, they would never even have wanted to repent. Now you can’t do it unless God opens your mind to see a little bit of that because no man can come to Jesus except through God drawing him. You get to the Father through Christ, but you can’t even get to Christ and get started on the way unless God draws you. Jesus said so. Was Jesus a liar? Even if a man wants to, he can’t do it. What does that mean? It means that if he doesn’t call you now, that is his responsibility, not yours – you are not to blame for that. Neither is God – He is responsible, but not to blame. He is going to bring you back in the second life after this life in the Great White Throne Judgment and He will call you then. Sooner or later, God is going to call everyone who has ever been born. But He doesn’t call them all at once.

When we have been converted, God has called us – somehow it is like the sower and the seed. Seed has been sown and some of it took root in our minds and brought us to the place of repenting and being baptized and we received the Holy Spirit. Now when we receive the Holy Spirit we are partakers of the nature of God.

Here in II Peter 1:4: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature”… We begin to receive a little of the divine nature. Before that you begin to receive from the time you were maybe two or three months old, the nature of Satan. You didn’t get it all at once. And when you began to receive the divine nature, you were filled with Satan’s nature already. That is what you are full of. You can take a quart milk bottle. It’s already filled with air whether you know it or not. If you want to get that air out, you put something else in and that will crowd the air out. You might put a drop of water in. That will push a drop of air out, but you won’t even see that. But if you only put a drop of’ water in, you only get a little of the air out, and if you only get a drop of God’s spirit, you only get a little bit of Satan’s meanness and deviltry out. Remember that you have been filled about 100% with the nature of Satan. When the Holy Spirit comes to you, you receive a little bit of the divine nature, but you only get a little bit of it to start. You have been what we call carnal, fleshly minded – Satan-minded.

1 Corinthians 3

I Cor. 3: 1 “And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” Now a baby can only receive a little of any nature at once. But he is speaking of a baby as a physical being and growing up physically. A baby has to drink milk before it can take strong meat.

Verse 2: “I have fed you with milk” Spiritually they were just infants, two or three months old – like a physical child only two or three months old. When you are spiritually newly begotten, you aren’t very big yet either. He is comparing it with the physical child who has to be fed with milk at first. “And not with meat; for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet are you able.” Let’s look at this in the Revised Standard Version: “And I brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, but as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it, and even yet you are not ready.” Paul is not being mean here. He is not saying that they were not fully converted. They couldn’t be fully converted yet, but they weren’t learning rightly. They had to start with the basics and grow, but some of them were off the track. It is like we have some of whom some have said – now that man is a Garner Ted man. He is no a follower of you Mr. Armstrong. Or they’ll say that man is a Rod Meredith man. I have heard that come from any number of people. We’ve had it in the Church today. We are no better than they were then. But the funny thing is that I never found any who were Herbert Armstrong men – and I don’t want to find any who were Herbert Armstrong men – I want to find them that are Christ’s men. That’s what I want to find.

Verse 4: “For when one of you says I belong to Paul and another I belong to Apollos, are you not merely men?” In other words, you are men who are filled with Satan’s ideas and you haven’t changed to the divine nature.

Verse 5: “Who then is Paul and who is Apollos?”- What is Garner Ted, what is Al Portune, what is Rod Meredith? For that matter what am I? What is Herbert Armstrong? “Servants through whom you believed as the Lord assigned to each.” The Lord called them – He assigned to each of them to be called.

Verse 6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” Paul went out and planted. Paul took the seed. The seed is the word of God. Paul planted some of that word of God. If a farmer plants corn in Iowa and just leaves it alone, he is not going to have a very big crop of corn. I’ve had uncles and aunts who were farmers in Iowa and I would watch them. They planted and plowed and watered and even irrigated – but that doesn’t cause the corn to grow. Notice how he says it here.

Verse 7: “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but God who gives the growth!” He causes it to grow. He does the big thing. We aren’t doing much.

Verse 8: “He who plants and he who waters are equal” One is no better than the other. “And each shall receive his wages according to his labor.” We are going to be rewarded according to our works. Now here is something that very few people understand. The general teaching is that there is no works at all. This is not so – we are rewarded according to our own good deeds. According to our own effort in going in God’s direction and living God’s way we will be rewarded according to how much we have worked and how much we have accomplished. But that is not what gives you salvation. Salvation is God’s gift. You don’t earn that at all. The people in the other religions of ‘Christianity’ say that we are saved by faith, that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. But they don’t understand that the one who lives a better life and works more on himself and in the work of God will have a bigger reward in the Kingdom. That has nothing to do with getting into the Kingdom in the first place – it only has to do with what you earn once you are in there. The one who doesn’t do as much work may get into the Kingdom, but he won’t have as big a reward once he gets there. We are rewarded according to our works.

Verse 9: “For we are God’s fellow workers (we, means the apostles who went out preaching), but you are God’s field, God’s building.” The Church is compared to a building. That is the temple Christ is coming to at His second coming. He is not coming to a physical building. He is coming to a spiritual building which is the Church.

Verse 10: “According to the grace of God given to me like a skilled master builder, I laid the foundation.” Jesus Christ came to build the Church. He knew – He had been a carpenter, that to us means saws and nails and wood, but I think that Christ was a carpenter building with stone, and not with wood and nails. However, the principle is the same. He had to lay a foundation first and build on that foundation. I wrote a little on that this morning in “What and Why is the Church?” – which will come in about two months in The Plain Truth. Jesus when He started to build the Church started by calling His apostles. They are the foundation. The Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. Since He is the chief cornerstone, He is the real foundation, you might say. But in a sense, the apostles and the prophets are part of the foundation along with Christ. That is what Paul is speaking of here. “I laid the foundation.” Before he said, “I planted and Apollos watered.” But what is the foundation for a corn crop in Iowa? Planting the seed. That is the start. “And and another man is building upon it.” Paul went out and preached first and other men came after and built on it. I laid the foundation of this era by broadcasting and writing – people respond to that and finally get into a local church. We have local ministers and they build further. They give still more. They do the watering, but it is God who gives the increase and gives the real character. “Let each man take care how he builds upon it.”

Verse 11: “For no other foundation can any man lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ.” He is the main foundation. But the foundation of the church according to Ephesians 2:20 is also the apostles and the prophets. The prophets were the Old Testament prophets because their writings become part of the foundation of the church and the other part is the apostles writing. The apostles wrote most of the New Testament.

Verse 12: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation(again he is using the comparison of a physical building) with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw.” Notice the different materials he has used here.

Verse 13: “Each man’s work will become manifest for the day (the Day of the Lord) will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”

Verse 14: “If the work which a man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward, but if any man’s work is burned up he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” He is comparing a physical building. If you build of gold, silver, precious stones, -the fire is only going to make them come out better. They will not burn up. Wood, hay and straw – these will all burn up. It shows that if you build a better building, it will endure.

He shows that God’s way would be for us to build with the better materials. I thought of that when we were building the Auditorium in Pasadena. There are precious stones in that, and one of those is onyx and there is more onyx in that building than any other building on the face of the earth today. There is also gold in it and some silver and bronze, but there is very fine hard wood, which is hard to burn, then there is iron and steel that will not burn. I saw one of the city inspectors who had to come over and pass inspection on the building as we went along. He said, “Mr. Armstrong, you are building a very strong edifice here. I want to tell you how strong this building is. I don’t think you understand how strong it is – I’m here to see how strong it is – that’s my business. If an earthquake comes, this is the safest place you can get – right in this building. Or if a fire breaks out, this building is going to be pretty safe.” I have always believed in building with the finer materials. I’m sorry if my son didn’t agree with that, but he didn’t. He believes in building with the cheaper materials. I don’t know where he gets those ideas. I know where I get mine – I get mine, right out of the word of God.

Verse 16: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple?” Here we are a building. He is not speaking of the individual body being a temple of the Holy Spirit. Here he is speaking collectively of the Church. He is writing not to one person, but to the whole Church. This is the temple that Christ is coming to, not a physical temple that the Jews would build over in Jerusalem. “And that God’s spirit dwells in you.” God’s spirit is in the Church because it is a spiritual organism, not a material organization or building.

Verse 17: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.” He is not speaking there of destroying the body, He is speaking of destroying the Church. What about these people who are trying to destroy God’s Church? Here is a book written and the two worst chapters have been circulated. Things they made up in their own imagination. I saw a commentary the other day where Ted Kennedy wants an open election because he thinks he might be able to get enough votes to win. And the commentator said that if Kennedy had 100 more votes than he needed, he wouldn’t want an open convention. He only wants an open convention because he hasn’t got the delegates. He is only thinking of himself. That’s the way with people who are trying to destroy the Church. That is the worst thing of all. Even if they could say things that are true about me, which they can’t because they have no way of knowing any of these things anyway. But even if they knew everything in my past, and it had been ten times worse than it had been, and they could expose this and that took one of these little ones that are converted, and they lose faith in God’s church and don’t go into the kingdom, and don’t have any salvation any more – they have destroyed one simple human soul. They are guilty of the worst murder that they could possibly be guilty of.

God’s Way – of Correction

Why are they doing it? They don’t believe in God’s kind of punishment to help people and correct them. God’s punishment is because He loves us and wants to help us. People want to punish because of revenge. People want to see someone suffer. They want to destroy and to hurt. Here they are trying to destroy God’s Church and God’s col1ege. What about the Ambassador Report that was coming out? If you gave them any good news about the college and the Work – would they report that? Not a word of it. The only thing they can report is something that can hurt. What about these people who have gone out of the Church and want to say bad things – like my son, or Ron Dart, even Wayne Cole has now joined the brigade. They would do anything they could to hurt and destroy the Church and all that these former members think of is the Church. They think what is wrong with the Church. My son has a famous saying – he says, whenever you want to get out of “that mess” in Pasadena you can come and live with me. That shows an attitude and a spirit and that is what Paul is bringing out here. Why is it that Paul says in other places to put out those who are trying to destroy and cause trouble? People say, Oh, that wouldn’t be right. Well, you’ve got a crate of apples here and there is one rotten apple. Who would say, you mustn’t take that apple out – leave it in and let it rot the ones next to it! Soon the whole crate will be destroyed. The one that is rotten is already destroyed – get rid of it and save all the rest.

That’s what God says we must do and I do it because God says do it. “For God’s temple is holy and that temple you are.” He doesn’t mean each one individually, He means the Church collectively.

Verse 18: “Let no man deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” In other words, let him become what the world thinks is a fool because the world thinks we are foolish to believe in God.

Verse 19: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, for it is written “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”

Verse 20: “And again the Lord knows the thoughts of the wise are foolishness.”

Verse 21: “Let no one boast of men for all things are yours.”

Verse 22: “Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come – all are yours.”

Verse 23: “And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” I think that this is one of the most important chapters in all the Bible. There is so much there that is important.

1 Corinthians 4

Chapter 4: 1 “This is how one should regard us – as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Why are they mysteries of God? Because the natural carnal mind can’t understand a bit. Let’s see what Webster says about a mystery. He defines it as “A religious truth that man can know by revelation alone and cannot fully understand.” But I can understand it through the Holy Spirit, but I can tell you that the natural carnal mind cannot understand it. I didn’t know that the Webster would give that definition – I really didn’t.

Here is another definition “A Christian sacrament, specifically Eucharist and so on.” Now the main second definition “something not understood or beyond understanding.” There are some things the carnal mind cannot understand that can be revealed only through the spirit of God. Where you see, mystery in the Bible that is what it is talking about. The mysteries of God.

Stewards of God’s Money

Verse 2: “Moreover it is required in stewards that they be found trustworthy.” We have in the Church employees or stewards. I am a steward. I am a steward of God’s money. Have you read the Co-Worker letter? We are not a charitable trust. Our funds don’t come from the public. We don’t solicit the public for money. We don’t receive our money from the public. Our tithes are God’s money. About 80% come from our own members. The other 20% is from people who are not members, but who have voluntarily become regular, contributing people and we call them Co-Workers. There are a lot of them who are regular contributors and I know their hearts have got to be in this Work because their money is in it. But we don’t call them members. There is another group we call donors. These are people who might have sent a fairly good amount of money once, we keep a record of it, but we don’t do anything except to thank them for it. We don’t follow it up. Now if several months later we check and see that they sent this money before, and now they have sent another amount, then we call them donors. We don’t know that they want to be regular contributors so we don’t solicit them for money. But in an annual or semi-annual letter, they will get the letter and we will offer them something free like a book or something, but we don’t want to actually solicit them for money. Frankly, we hope that some of them will open up their hearts a little bit and send in some more money, but they have to do that voluntarily. We don’t beg them for it or ask them outright at all.

Originally, I had a standard procedure. If anyone sent money twice within six months we put them on a special list and I had a special form letter to make them Co-Workers. And they would get this letter from me saying that we had noticed that within six months they had twice voluntarily sent in money and it had come unsolicited so we were assuming from that that they would like to be regular Co-Workers. Now if that assumption was wrong and that was not their intention, if they will just let us know, we will never solicit them for money. But assuming they want to be Co-Workers, I’m putting them on a special list to receive a letter from me every month, and it will keep them informed of the progress of this Work and the development of the Work. And if we are in a time of need, we will tell you about it because we assume their hearts are in the Work as that is where you have put some of your treasure, so this will be our assumption unless they tell us.

Now if that is not their intention all they have to do is write us once and say that is not their intention and in that case we make a note of that on the computer and we will never ask them for money again. I don’t know how you can have a Work that is more honest than that. But I am a steward of God’s money and I had to be very careful of how that money was handled and I was at the beginning. And I have been all the way along. That’s why I did hire Mr. Rader because I found that he understood more about a real solid sound book-keeping system than anyone I knew. So I employed him a good many years ago – it must have been close to 20 years ago. He set up an accounting system that is almost puncture proof.

No big corporation has a more up to date system than we do. As a matter of fact, it is impossible for anyone even in the department that handles our finances to get away with something without being caught reasonably soon. I know and Mr. Rader knows – I certainly think he knows that the funds that come into this Work are handled honestly. Now if we had the Attorney General or his man Stephen Weisman trying to decide where we could handle money and I had a chance to go down and talk to the founders of a new republic founding a new constitution for a new government in Southwest Africa who are gaining independence and starting a new country and they wanted me to address them and give them information that would help them in drawing up a constitution for a new government, he could have said “No, I don’t think you should handle the funds that way.” If I have a chance to preach the gospel to 22,000 people in the Philippines and I need to take along a certain little contingent with me and a lot of literature and some ushers to help and so on, and it means a trip over there, he could say, “Oh, no. Don’t preach the gospel. I don’t know anything about the gospel. I’ve been brought up in a religion that doesn’t know anything about a gospel.” They don’t believe in Christ at all. This is the Work of Christ, the Work of God. We can’t have someone like that deciding how the money is to be spent. I am accountable to God and when I need money I don’t request it of the public, I get down on my knees and ask God to send it.

I want to tell you something that I might as well put in this Bible Study for the people in the churches that are going to hear it. Back in 1948 we were just about to lose the only property that we had for the college at the time, which was the present library building and all that goes with it including the lower gardens and what was then the Administration Building, which has since become a library annex. By December 27 – in fact before that, I had to have so many thousand dollars in. The income at that time in 1948 was averaging $500 a day or about $3,500 dollars a week and it was coming in fairly regular because there were certain tithe payers and Co-Workers so it was fairly regular. I had done what I could to get money in. I had made the need known, but I hadn’t asked people for money. I had done everything I could, but it was getting nothing. Then I just prayed and made the need known to God and asked him to take care of it and all of a sudden, around Thanksgiving, one day $3,000 came in – when we were averaging $500 a day. I didn’t make too much of it as it was one day, but was a great lift. Do you know the next day $3,000 came in again and the next day the same thing. It might have been a little more or less each day, but it averaged right around $3,000 every day and that kept up until after the middle of December. It kept up until we had $50,000 in the bank cash – and we had never had money like that in our history. It came by prayer and by faith. Everything I had done had brought nothing. I had tried for 30 days before that. We were going to lose all the property and the college would have closed up.

It happened that we were also behind in paying salaries to the teachers. It was right near the end – we owed some who had only taught the first year of the College that we hadn’t even paid yet although they had quit by the following May or June. Enough came in to pay up all of that. Enough came in to save the whole property. That is the way money comes in. God has approved the way money is being handled by the fact that He still sends in the money.

I read this latest Co-Worker letter this morning. There is no request for money in it. I did say at the end that I have to make the request known to God and that there is a need continually and I did say that I know you will pray with me that God will supply the need. But frankly I know that that is going to cause some people to send in money, but they will do it voluntarily. I didn’t ask them directly for any money. I very seldom do, but when I do, it is only to our own members and Co-Workers.

Anyway, as stewards, we have to give account (to God) and I have always had to give account for my stewardship of the Work of God. And the ministers have too. We have to check up and see that they are doing it. Incidentally – here I find that a certain minister had gotten careless and said certain things about me. He was getting a little bit cocky and conceited and saying things that were just a little bit insulting even against the Work. So, he was called on the telephone about it from Pasadena, and here is a letter I had from him. I won’t tell you who it is from. I’d like to read some of this. I would just like our people to know that this comes from a minister who is a fairly young man. I don’t know whether he is thirty yet, or not. I doubt it. He has a young family and he is not in this country. He is in’ another nation.

A Personal Letter

“Dear Mr. Armstrong: Someone from Pasadena Headquarters phoned me this morning to inform me that I was being suspended from Christ’s ministry on the grounds of making critical remarks about you.” (It was a little bit more than that. He is treating it pretty lightly there. Someone making a little critical remark about me doesn’t get put out of the ministry for that. But we are concerned about the attitude.) “Mr. Armstrong, if I have ever done so, please forgive me as I have repented before God.”(I have had other men who have done wrong and they won’t write me like that. This begins to show a right attitude in his heart.) “The last thing in the world that I want to be is disloyal or to show disrespect to you or to the truth that God has shown us through you. The last few years in the Work have been years of fighting for me to prove that loyalty Mr. Armstrong. I’m sure you know what a great loss we suffered (there had been a death in the family) even worse than that was another trauma that had come into his family”(private family things that I won’t mention here). “I realize that you have suffered the same and a great deal more and yet continued faithfully God’s calling at the same time. You have had to carry tremendous burdens in the running of the Work. Quite frankly, Mr. Armstrong, you have been a tremendous inspiration and encouragement to us all. I know God will continue to inspire you to the end of this great Work” (and so on).

I don’t need to read the rest of it, but again he mentions two or three times asking me to forgive him. He knows I know what he said. It was a smart-aleck kind of remark, not anything vicious. He was getting a little careless in the fact that he shouldn’t have said it, but this letter shows a right attitude. We’re going to work a little bit with that man. We feel that he can be restored to a completely right attitude. He’s not going to lose his job. Neither do the flock need to lose the help of a man like that. But he isn’t 100% grown yet like these people Paul was writing to. He’s got lessons to learn. We’ve got to know that and we have to have patience with some of the people as they come along.

Verse 3: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court.” I’m being judged by a human court right now. And I’m being judged by many of the membership in the Church. And I was saying before we started this Bible Study, there is a tendency of God’s own people in the Church to want to judge their own leaders. They want to sit in judgment and they want to decide.

The people in the whole United States are beginning to judge whether they want Mr. Carter any longer in office. That is the system of democracy we have been brought up in and we are living in a nation dedicated to the system of democracy. The first thing you know we are living that way in the Church. You see, who is the one to judge whether I should continue in my job or not – I’m not elected by the people. None of you who will be hearing this tape later voted to put me into the office where I am. I am not responsible to you. I’m responsible to the One who put me here – Jesus Christ. Is he on the job or do you think he needs your help? Do you think you should take over for him and judge me in his place?

Some came to Moses back there. Korah and his people questioned Moses as to why he put himself on such a high seat. They wanted to know who he thought he was. They were going to sit in judgment. Well, God opened the earth and swallowed them. God was full of anger at this. He just simply did away with them! They had been given a fairly high position in the Work. They were men of renown, if you go back there and read it, but they weren’t satisfied. They wanted a higher seat and they wanted to blame Moses. So, God took care of them. God is my judge. I tell you, I’m going to be judged with a whole lot greater judgment than the rest of the brethren. God has given me a greater responsibility. If the other brethren want to sit back and judge, that is not what God has called them to do.

Verse 3: cont: “I do not even judge myself.”

Verse 4: “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”

Verse 5: “Therefore do not pass judgment before the time, before the Lord comes who will bring to light things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” God looks on the heart. Now when the Lord comes, is He going to bring up to David the things that he did, his sin with Bathsheba, the census that God told him not to take – no, I don’t think Christ will bring that up at all. Do you know why? Because David has already repented of that and Christ has already forgiven it. Christ took that penalty on Himself and paid the price for David. It’s all paid for. There is no penalty hanging over David any more for those two things. And God said David is a man after my own heart.

I won’t say I’ve never committed sin. I’m human. I’ve committed sins and so have everyone of you. But when I have repented and when God has forgiven it and when Jesus came and bled to death to pay for it, I don’t have to pay for it all over again. So, who is going to sit in judgment of me and condemn me? I’ve never done anything as bad as David did. I’ve never murdered anyone. I never got some other woman pregnant in my life either. I never did those things. David was begged not to take that census but he had it done anyway. Who can do anything worse than that? I never have. Now who is going to sit in judgment on me?

What about that woman caught in adultery? Jesus forgave her. Are some of us going to condemn her when she comes up in the resurrection? I’m not. She must have repented or Jesus wouldn’t have forgiven her. She was told to go and sin no more. We need to realize these things.

Verse 5: cont: “then every man will receive his commendation from God.”

Verse 6: “I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none -of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” We’ve had some of that in the Church too, with one all puffed up with one against another. We should not have any of that.

Verse 7: “For who sees anything different in you. What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” You didn’t produce it.

Verse 8: “Already you are filled. Already you have become rich, without us you have become kings, and would that you did reign so that we might share the rule with you.”

Verse 9: “For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death because we have become a spectacle to a world, to angels and to men.” This makes me think back to the days-when I was with the Sardis church back in Oregon. Their ministers persecuted me, they considered that I was the least of the ministers – I was the little tail end. They were ignorant men with practically no education – only one among them had had one year of College education. I know that I had more than the equivalent of a complete college education. I didn’t .get it that way. I got it the hard way. But I had it. I was the least of the ministers. I’ve never boasted of myself. Who of you has heard me say I built this great Work? Another man claimed he built -this Work, but he is not even in the Church any longer. He didn’t build it. Jesus Christ built it. Some of us can plant and water but God gives the increase and we must remember that.

Verse 10: “We are fools for Christ’s sake”- that is they appeared fools to the world because the truth of God is like foolishness to the world. “but you are wise in Christ” – Paul is getting a little sarcastic here because he is suffering the sting. I tell you I know what it is – you labor for the people and they are so willing to believe the false rumor. They are so willing to believe something that someone makes up in their own mind to accuse you. It is Satan who does the accusing – not Christ. “We are weak but you are strong – you are held in honor, but we in disrepute”

Verse 11: “To the present hour we hunger and thirst. We are clad and buffeted and homeless and we labor, working with our hands.” I have done that. I’ve had to live on a whole lot less than the members of the Church. I’ve had to live on so little that we had poor clothes – worse than the members of the Church. That was the way the raising up of this Church started. For a long time, I worked for three days one time felling a great tree and it was a whole winter’s wood supply. We had little electricity – the house was heated and the kitchen stove was fired by wood. I’ve gone about with righteous shoes -they had holey soles! I’ve had to come to the place that the brethren took pity on me because my one suit was so shabby that the people took up a collection and got me another one. Those things are a little humiliating when before I was converted I was earning what in today’s money would be $175,000 a year! I’ve gone through all of that. I know how Paul felt. At this time, Paul was working instead of taking the tithes of the people, which he was entitled to take. “Being revised, we ministers bless, being persecuted, we endure.”

Verse 13: “When slandered, we try to conciliate, we are become as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things, looked down upon.” I’ve had to go through that for 53 1/2 years.

Verse 14: “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.” And I say that to all that will hear this Bible Study. You are all one way or another my children in the Lord, just as these people were Paul’s children.

Verse 15: “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

Verse 16: “I urge you then, be imitators of me (or follow me).”

Verse 17: “Therefore he says I send to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord to remind you of my ways in Christ as I teach them everywhere in every church.”

Verse 18: “Some are arrogant as though I were not coming to you.” Some in the Church there were arrogant and we may have some like that. I don’t think there are too many of that kind left today. I really think we have been getting back on the tracks in the last two years.

Verse 19: “But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant (or puffed up) people but their power.”

Verse 20: “For the Kingdom of God does not consist of talk but of power.” Paul had the power and he knew he could wield it. I’ll tell you some of these ministers who have felt more important than I when I have given an order, they have obeyed it. Because they knew what would happen if they didn’t. They knew that I had the power and the power of Jesus Christ was back of it. And it was the power of Jesus Christ I was using and they were afraid to defy that power.

Verse 21: “What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod or with love in a spirit of gentleness?” He wouldn’t have used a rod of iron against them, but he was using this to show that he had the power of Christ. Then in the next chapter, he goes straight into correction for someone who was in sin. He shows that if you have a bad apple in the crate you put it out to save the rest. We must do the same thing. We will obey God and not man even though men think it is wrong to put someone out.