Church of God, New World Ministries

Your Best Investment - Part 3

The Work Of God

There is a way by which you can obtain eternal dividends for a sound financial investment in this life!

As we round the bend into what appears to be the closing decades of man’s age, God has raised up a great Work. Whether you believe it or not, you have come into direct contact with that Work!

This is not a Work of men; it is the Work of the living God, who gives you every breath of air you breathe! It is the Work of God who claims “the silver and the gold are mine.” It is the Work of God who says you and I should be willing to give our all in His service.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).

Never before in all history has it been more important to recognize and to support that Work of the living Christ! As the world community continues to lose control of spiraling inflation, it is more urgent than ever that the great Work of the living God be accomplished while there is still time. As the frightening specter of recession and possible depression looms ominously on the horizon, the words of Jesus echo down through the centuries: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day, the night comes, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

No activity on earth is more important than that of accomplishing the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom as a witness and a warning to this wicked society (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-21)!

Let’s understand why!

This Work of God is daily performing that commission of carrying Christ’s gospel around the earth.

And one of the integral parts of this God-ordained commission (the now job of every true Christian in this age) is found in Christ’s warning to His followers in Luke 21:36: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things (the series of global crises outlined in previous verses) that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” The context of this scripture makes it clear that the term “escape” refers to a physical salvation from a terrible time of calamity soon to hit this whole earth (see. Also, Isa. 26:20; Rev. 3:10).

That’s right physical salvation!

Peter, at the conclusion of his powerful sermon (Acts 2nd chapter) on the day of Pentecost, said: “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (v. 40). He knew what Jesus had said about impending national calamities. Peter knew someone was going to get hurt!

Jesus had reminded His disciples about two sensational tragedies which had recently taken place: one involving the mass murder of a group of Galileans who had been butchered right along with their sacrifices, and the other, the well-known deaths of a larger group of people peacefully sitting in the shade of a big wall in Siloam (Luke 13:1-4).

He had said: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”! Jesus wasn’t speaking of the fact that it is “appointed unto men once to die” or describing the peaceful death of old age, or even the untimely death resulting from sickness. He was describing cases of sudden, painful, tragic death under violent circumstances!

He had predicted the toppling of the very walls of the buildings of the Temple (Matt. 24:1-2). He warned of impending national destruction – which did occur nearly 40 years later.

Jesus knew drought, famine, pestilence, mindless tortures (according to the Jewish historian Josephus, the Romans impaled thousands), and death by sword, spear and bludgeon would be the lot of those who did not repent, and who were not watching the development of events!

That’s why Jesus said, “Watch ye, therefore.” Watch – not meaning staring out a candlelit window in an “attitude of prayer” the way some might “spiritualize’ this scripture away – but watching the weather patterns, the picture of public health, international geopolitical maneuverings, military struggles, alliances and power blocs: watch world news!

He said watch so you can escape! Escape is not a “spiritual” kind of “rapture”!

Jesus plainly told those which “be in Judaea” to flee when they saw armies beginning to surround Jerusalem. He said those would be the “days of vengeance” – and described bloody, mass murder!

Like it or not – unpleasant to think about or not – we are entering just such a time!

Now – you live in the time of mass murder! Now – you live in the time of beginning race wars (when racist, paramilitary organizations, require the indiscriminate killing of other human beings of a different race just as “initiation rites”!) Now – you live in a time of crises of government after government. Now - you live in a time of terrible inflation and impending depression, when money will eventually become worthless.

The day came, in pre-World War II Germany, when factory workers were having to be paid by the hour in useless five-billion-mark notes, and even higher denominations. It took three billion marks to buy a postage stamp, and five billion marks to purchase a loaf of bread! Finally, the paper was more valuable than the multiple billions of marks it supposedly represented. Germany collapsed into a barter society where cigarettes were traded for milk, shoes for bread, gasoline for clothing, and the entire economy came tumbling down.

You are living in the midst of just such a potential situation!

This great, world-girding Work is established as God’s watchman to see, and understand, and report on thee prophetic conditions: to “cry aloud, spare not and show my people their sins.” And with Ezekiel to cry: “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?”

Among traditional Christianity, you will not find a voice of alarm, a voice of warning, about our impending national calamities, unless we repent of our personal and national sins. Among God’s True Church, there is no other commission any more important now!

Jesus Christ is Savior, yes! He died to atone for our sins, and by His intercessory life (Rom. 5:10) we are saved, spiritually, for eternity! But Jesus also talked of a way of escape from all these thing that shall come to pass – He warned those living in His day to flee for their lives when they clearly saw the events He predicted coming to pass. Through His written Word, the prophecies of God’s servants throughout the Bible and Jesus’ own prophecies, God warns us today to watch, and to warn others of impending calamities.

Christ meant for us to watch world conditions – not minor, local, day-to-day events, but the big trends in major power blocs, the big economic struggles between nations, the major fluctuations in world religions

In His famous Olivet prophecy (Luke 21, Mark 13 and Matthew 24), Jesus described what to watch – those long-range, overall world conditions which would lead up to His coming rule on the earth.

Just ahead of us is a global food crisis. We are presently in a global governmental crisis. We have been in the throes of a now worsening global energy crisis for nearly two decades, and the current potential for a global economic crisis is truly frightening.

We must speak out with a clear voice which cannot be misunderstood, and warn the nations of this world of the impending national calamities Bible prophecy says are sure to come. This time is now!

We must continue to shout out a powerful witness and a warning to our peoples –as did Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, and many others – and as Jesus Christ has plainly commissioned His Church to do! He told His Church to go into all the world and preach the gospel of the Kingdom. That gospel He brought contained a great deal of prophecy about the future; about the time of the end, the time in which we live, now! Read Matthew 24, and see how dramatically those powerful verses apply to this precise time in world history.

The very elements seem to be telling us that we are entering the time of great troubles that Jesus predicted would herald the end of this age.

But we must not forget that beyond all the bad news of today, there is very good news for all the world! The time is near when Jesus Christ will return to this earth to establish the government of God at Jerusalem and finally bring peace and prosperity to all nations. That will be the time when “many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nations, neither shall they learn war nay more” (Isa. 2:2-4).

This is the best news this world can hear! The arms race will be ended! Never again will we see the tragedy of hundreds of billions of dollars being wasted on weapons of destruction, when that same money could be used for buying every human being on earth a very fine home instead.

Rain will come when it is needed for abundant crops (Amos 9:13). Even the oceans and the deserts will be healed from the pollution and waste that man’s wrong ways have brought. Yes, a New World is coming! And those of us who have a part in this Work must now speak more about what that new age will be like and give people hope for the future.

Ezekiel wrote of a “watchman” (Ezk. 33) whom God would inspire to foresee impending national calamities. The prophet issued the sternly worded warning that if the watchman failed to perform his God-ordained commission, the blood of the people dying in a cataclysmic death-dealing bloodbath would be on his head (vs. 3-6).

As Christians today – having understanding of the mind-shattering prophecies for this day and age, how can we fail to feel a sense of moral obligation to warn this society? God charges us (as He did Ezekiel) to do our part in this great Work. “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me” (v. 7).

It takes the combined resources (financial and otherwise) of all those God has called (and more) to expand continually the work of getting the gospel out to this sick, chaotic and fast-dying world in the powerful way it needs to go. It is our collective responsibility! We dare not treat it lightly!

And make no mistake about it. It takes money to carry on this great Work of God. Following a practice which may be traced back to patriarchal times (Gen. 14:18-23; 28:20-22), our members set aside a tenth of their income for the purpose of God’s Work.

Any who might argue against the tithing principle of God’s Word, and the clear statements of Paul in I Corinthians 9 concerning the method God has ordained for the support of the preaching of the gospel, are missing the whole point of Jesus’ plain and simple teachings!

Though the widow gave her “widow’s mite” even in the midst of the most splendid building on the face of the earth at that time, Jesus did not condemn the Temple, but rather commended the widow who, after all, had given proportionately of her substance!

And when the woman used precious ointment to anoint Jesus’ feet and Judas scorned such “shameful waste,” Jesus gently rebuked him, and said the woman had worked a “good work”!

It’s good and it’s right, and its obedience to the great Creator God to be on the giving end!

As previously pointed out, Jesus Christ warned His disciples about the danger of overanxious concern for the physical necessities of this life (Matt. 6:24-32). He spoke of the one great priority that would forever overcome the selfish materialism so instinctive to human beings: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these (material) things shall be added unto you” (v. 33).

Notice now the concluding, crucial point to the parable of the unjust steward: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye (it, RSV) fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Luke 16:9). And when Jesus sternly warned: “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches” (v. 11)?

Boiling it down to the essentials, this scripture means just this: if you don’t “prioritize” your monetary resources to help bring others the precious knowledge of how to enter God’s Kingdom (“everlasting habitations,” -- “the true riches”), how can you ever expect to be there yourself?

Your Savior said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Wise old King Solomon knew of this solid, time-tested financial principle long before the first Christian ever set foot on earth. He said: “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: (and then as direct consequence). So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and they presses shall burst out with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10).

Jesus Christ of Nazareth absolutely guaranteed that the “give” principle would work out in practical, everyday, now living. He said: “Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” And then He spoke of another great cause-and-effect principle: “For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

The apostle Paul expressed the same principle in different words: “But this I say, he which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (II Cor. 9:6). If you give generously (as you are truly able – Deut. 16:17), God will bountifully bless you for that willing, giving attitude firmly rooted in positive action.

The Church has been given the good work of preaching the gospel to a world in desperate need of a powerful warning and an unmistakable witness! The Church has also been charged with the responsibility of defraying the frightful costs of spreading that gospel in an age of super-complex, incredibly expensive communication mechanisms. (Preaching the gospel costs infinitely more now than it did in a first-century world largely limited to personal evangelism.)

Can we afford to simply shrug our shoulders and shirk our God-given responsibilities to disseminate God’s final warning to this earth? Can we afford to not be concerned for the multiple, seemingly terminal afflictions plaguing peoples around this earth -  the global problems threatening our very existence as civilized nations? If we carelessly shuck our collective responsibilities, will God wink one eye and just look the other way?

“If thou forbear (neglect) to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain: if thou sayest, behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keeps thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works” (Prov. 24:11-12).

 
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