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Founder and Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Editor-in-Chief of The Real Truth magazine, and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack has reached many millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible—unknown to almost all. He has authored 80 books and booklets, personally established over 50 congregations, and appeared as a guest on The History Channel. Mr. Pack attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, entered the Worldwide Church of God ministry in 1971, and was personally trained by its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.Learn more
The Greatest Untold Story!
By Mr. David C. Pack
Author’s Introductory Note
The following transcripts contain a written record of dramatic new understanding given to God’s Church within a 75-plus-part sermon series titled “The Greatest Untold Story!” The series starts slow, but leads to knowledge so fascinating, powerful and life-changing that readers will find they are unable to stop reading. Because every sermon builds on the previous one, you are urged to review them in their proper order. Those who skip ahead to future parts will be utterly lost and will have no chance of understanding what they are reading, or where the series is going because they don’t know where it has been. Be patient and watch the inspiring picture unfold!
A longer ellipsis in a transcript (……) denotes sections that were cut due to the Church having outgrown early understanding. The ellipses will help the reader understand why the messages might not flow as smoothly as you would expect. Certain areas that somewhat changed in focus or importance were generally left in so the reader could at least partially appreciate the development of thinking. The enormity of what God’s Word says grew bigger and bigger, and the sermons contained material that was later seen to be incorrect.
For example, the following two all-important points were not seen at the time the series began. The areas that are ellipsed reflect no knowledge of the two points below, which leavened the Church’s understanding in ways that took a long time to “deleaven.” Eventually that happened, making the series explode with excitement and meaning in its later segments. The last segments, which of course will be released last, will likely not have any deleted material. Thus, they will appear to “flow” more smoothly. The reader must understand the complexity of removing what the two points below explain. Eventually, a new and true “simplicity in Christ” emerged that will change your life forever regarding events just over the horizon if you read every part. Here then are the biggest things that changed. Obviously, there were many other things within them that necessarily “moved” (a little or a lot) as well.
(1) The Kingdom of God initially comes as a “mustard seed” and “leaven” that is “hid,” with Christ reigning, away from Jerusalem, on David’s throne as He and some of the saints restore the Kingdom to Israel during the time of Jacob’s trouble, all before He relocates to Jerusalem to establish a world government from His own throne. (The series opens with an enormous focus on God converting the Jews.)
(2) Revelation 4 through Chapter 22, verse 6 describes punishment (destruction) and testing on all nations centuries after the Kingdom arrived, and just before Christ’s 1,000-year reign. This is an early parallel of what happens when Satan is “loosed” again after the 1,000 years for a “little season.” God tests who will remain loyal to Him and destroys all those who do not.
Note that these transcripts reflect the spoken word, without the subtle emphasis, pauses, gestures, facial expressions and other elements that seeing or hearing a speaker bring. So they do not read like the written word. Also, some sentences may have unusual structure but would be clearer on audio or video.
Finally, the reader will be greatly helped by seeing this visually represented through use of the Timeline (released November 3). Consider reading all 75-plus parts with this additional tool in front of you. Some of the material retained could be categorized as “toss up”—it could have been cut, but it can be properly understood if readers keep the timeline in front of them. Slowly, slowly, slowly—and then eventually at a point in the series very rapidly—everything will fall into place and make the whole picture of Bible prophecy literally EASY to understand.
It’s good to see all of you. Now we ran out of time last week. All we did was go four hours [laughter] and that was enough, but it was not enough time to cover all of your reward. Since I heard a lot of comments about that…and I am inspired to hear how people are themselves inspired…I have a little bit more to report to you. I would have done it whether you were inspired or not, but I know that you are and so there are more things the Bible says about the matter of our reward.
Frankly, brethren, a lot more and it is incredibly exciting. We are going to be looking at things you probably read many times before but simply never thought of, because you never looked at them through the prism that we are now using.
Let’s first go to I Corinthians chapter 6, an example of something we…hopefully, some of you…hopefully, all of you, but certainly some or many of you have been doing, or should have been doing. It is a type of something, and it sets up some of the other things that follow……
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? [That is an interesting verse, because it shows you that in God’s Church, if brethren have a matter between them…It could be a legal matter between them. Presumably, it would have to be or no court in the world would hear it. If you are just having a conflict with somebody that didn’t involve the law or some kind of civil liability, they would dismiss you.
Some in Corinth—because they had a lot of problems—were actually going to court against brothers or sisters in the Church. Dare any of you do this, it says…What are you thinking, when you should be bringing such matters to the saints? That is an interesting statement.]
“Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world?…[Not when they are in the God family. That is kind of an interesting aside, too. It says the saints shall judge the world.]…and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [That is a great question for all of us to understand. Can you judge small matters, or bigger matters, or big matters?]
“Know you not that we shall judge angels? [These awesome, powerful beings that can travel at the speed of thought and can move trillions of molecules so that two cars can pass through each other. They are going to be under you—how often do you think of that?] How much more things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church” (I Cor. 6:1-4).
Who are the least esteemed people when it comes to judgment? Not people who are in the Church…They are least esteemed by people who are in the Church…and that is the courts in this world. In other words, we are coming with Jesus Christ to execute judgment and justice to the earth. How in the world then, would Christians…and I have seen this happen down through the decades…people would go to war in a divorce and they will go to someone in the world. A carnal judge, who was probably appointed corruptly or who ran for office and got there on a democratic basis—who may or may not believe in the Constitution these days—and you want him to adjudicate matters that two people with the Holy Spirit ought to adjudicate.
The least esteemed judges on Earth are the people who sit in courtrooms. Look at the fruits. Twenty-five percent of all people in prison—on Earth—are in the United States. The other three-quarters are the other 195 nations put together. That is a justice system—if you are just thinking of the United States—that is so utterly failed and wrong. No wonder God inspired Isaiah to say my people “are hidden away in prison houses.” But it doesn’t work, by the way. Now you have a president that wants to release thousands over the next year, of felons, out into society. Well, that isn’t going to work either. Doing away with the death penalty as a deterrent has not worked. Courts, basically, get most things wrong in this world, else Christ wouldn’t need to come and bring justice and judgment…and use us to do it.
“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not [and look at this brethren] a wise man among you?…[Remember we talked about the wise. We could be foolish and weak when we are called, but we should go on to become wise by confessing where we are and starting over. Isn’t there somebody wise among you? For instance, he doesn’t even mention a minister.]…no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren” (I Cor. 6:5). Isn’t there a wise person to whom two people would agree they could go to?
Let’s suppose a couple in the Church had a legal issue. Do you realize God is saying there should be somebody in the Church you can go to whose wisdom you can have confidence in? There should be many, but he’s saying, isn’t there one? You have to go to the judges of this world because you cannot find one wise person? Any minister should be able to do it—given the facts.
“I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one…[That is the way he is putting it, that’s why “not one.” All you would need is one.]…that should be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers” (vs. 5-6). Before people, who don’t even believe in the Law of God…how would you get justice?
So you are looking at two people, who may not even be brothers, who are dumb enough, foolish enough, angry and bitter enough, that they go to someone who does not believe in the Law of God—which is pretty much the case with this world—to judgment.
“Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. [You shouldn’t do that at all.] Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (vs. 7). In other words, position Number One is—find a wise man who will solve the problem in the Church. And, if you cannot—suffer being defrauded—that is Plan B.
Never go to what would be Plan C—if it were a plan at all—and that is to the unbelievers for judgment. If somebody else in the Church has done “this” to you—whatever “this” is—then you live with it, and you wait for God to work it out, because with God there is recompense. There is vengeance. He will deal with people. It is a fascinating statement and however long we wait for the time of the Kingdom, this becomes a more important verse because we are all judges of things in our own lives and should be. We’re going to talk a little more about this, but an interesting verse that comes off of this…before we look at some parables.
Go to Psalm 25. A very interesting verse, because some of you, no doubt, have used this week to think about how in the world am I ever going to do this? How would God work through me in His government? Now…you have presumably believed that He would when you were changed to Holy spirit…that He would give you, as I closed the sermon last week…He would give you the things that you needed—the capacity—the ability—to carry out your task. So it’s pretty simple, if you have been doing your homework all through your Christian life, to believe He can give you that ability now; but also, where you might fall short, look at this. Verse 8…
So if we are the meek, and the meek inherit the earth…We don’t actually inherit the kingdom of God yet. We are still heirs of the kingdom of God. We’re not members of God’s governing family, but we will eventually inherit the earth…then God will guide you. So you don’t have to worry about that, if you are making a judgment in your own life…because you should be a judge all day, every day regarding yourself, your own life. If you’re a husband, you are a judge over the family. If you’re a wife, you are a judge over the children…and, of course, always your own life.
Ministers obviously do some judging, but they are not the only ones. We all should be judging, and God will always guide you in your judgments; He’ll help you with your judgments now……You need help with your judgments now—and He’ll give it. If you need help later, which of course, we will, He’ll give it—that is a promise. You ought to write that down alongside I Corinthians 6.
Now let’s go to Luke. Let’s look at something in Luke that you’ve probably read many times…we are going to look at it through different eyes. We are going to pick up the prism of the First Dominion, and we are going to see something that we never saw before.
There are many parables that talk about the kingdom of God. We read quite a few of them—seven—from Matthew 13. There are something like 18 parables in Matthew. I think there are about 21 in Luke. Of those 21 in Luke, 10 are repetitions from Matthew. I think Mark has four or five. John only has one parable. I would get to know all of them, because most of them have to do with the kingdom of God from different perspectives as we saw from Matthew 13. Here is another one. This is another perspective regarding the kingdom of God, and it has directly to do with your reward. Verse 11, Luke 19…
“And as they heard these things…[the Jews, the disciples, the multitude, and so forth]…he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear…[All right, so this is, on the front end, a statement about the fact that it will…or it won’t…come immediately. Let’s read.]…He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return” (Luke 19:11-12).
Now, assuming, at this moment, I don’t need to prove to you that this is the First Dominion, and there are strong points within it that says it is. Assuming that we don’t need to do that, let’s read it from the perspective, as we go through, about how it has to do with our reward. Then, at the end, I will make a couple of comments so that you can appreciate it is not talking about Christ coming in power and glory. God would make that distinction, so here He is…He “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” Now assuming you believe that the First Dominion is the kingdom of God coming to Earth, then you know that what we are about to read has to do with those who receive a reward. That it has to do with the First Dominion. All right, let’s just start with that obvious fact.
“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, [one each] and said to them, Occupy till I come…[So He has servants and now in verse 14, He has another group called “citizens.”]…But his citizens hated him [not his servants, his citizens hated him], and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (vs. 13-14).
Mr. Armstrong explained, long ago, and I have explained…and it is obvious, the “citizens” are the Jews. They did not want Christ; they murdered Him. They probably wanted the First Dominion, but they didn’t want a Savior, because they didn’t think they needed one. So they said, “We will not have this man to reign over us,” because Christ is going to be the King in this kingdom. The Jews want to reign. So there are the servants and the citizens.
“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called to him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. [Wow! You did a lot with it.] And he said to him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little…[You took one pound and you multiplied it ten times.]…have you authority over ten cities…[This is not talking about the kingdom of God when Christ comes in glory—it’s not possible.]…And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be you also over five cities” (vs. 15-19). There is no respect of persons…That’s interesting…So he gets five cities.
None of us have ever doubted, by the way, brethren, that we were going to receive cities when the time of salvation came. We just didn’t know it is as soon as it is—puts a little more emphasis on why it is important to be a good judge. As I said last week, you may have to “divide the baby” 100 times, every day, before lunch. You see? There are going to be a lot of judgments that are made.
“And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is your pound, [Now these are not tares. These are His servants, and he said…]…I have…laid [it] up in a napkin: For I feared you, because you are an austere man: you take up that you lay not down, and reaped that you did not sow” (19:20-21).
Now men reap what they sow, but Christ is ready to reap when He did not sow anything. He wants to see what you sowed on His behalf and whether you can be useful to Him—whether cities can be trusted to you or to me. You see? So this man understood correctly. Christ did not disagree with him, but He said to him…
“…Out of your own mouth will I judge you, [That’s interesting.] you wicked servant…[he wasn’t a tare, he was a servant, who came into the Church, was given a pound, which God would never give to one of the devil’s tares who is in the field with us. So you have to understand—there are those who do very well—there are those who do somewhere in between—and there will be those who fail and who are judged wicked.]…You knew that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: [You didn’t do anything with what I gave you.]
“Wherefore then gave you not my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have [at least] required my own with [some interest or] usury?” You could have just put it in the bank and it would have grown something! A little bit of effort is all it would have taken and you would have gotten some reward. Now that is an interesting statement—you would have gotten some reward.
“And he said to [him] that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that has ten pounds” (vs. 22-24)……
“(And they said to him [quietly], Lord, he has ten pounds.)…[What do you mean? He has enough. And He kept going... ] For I say to you, That unto every one that has…[It is like Christ just keeps talking.]…unto every one which has shall be given; and from him that has not, even that he has shall be taken away from him” (vs. 25-26).
It is a curious word, “he that has not.” God is saying, “You have nothing, but whatever you have is going to be taken away.” It is making sure you understand—you are left with nothing. You start with nothing; God reduces the nothing by some amount. I don’t know how you would do that. But what He is trying to say is if you didn’t go out and at least gain some interest, you are shut out.
“But those my enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring [them] hither, and slay them before Me” (vs. 27). So, those are the citizens—the Jews. And we know verses about what some of them are going to get.
So this becomes a very powerful statement about how, when Christ comes back, there are cities at stake. Well of course there would be—there is ultimately the whole Earth to parcel out. That sets us up to go back to Matthew and look at a similar, but somewhat different, parable that we are going to merge with the one we just read.
We’re going to go to Matthew 24. It’s interesting. There’s another little key in here. I bet you never noticed it, but I will open it up to you now. It is proof, in Matthew 24, late in the chapter, that there is a First Dominion where we rule and a later dominion, when Christ returns in power, where we rule a lot more. Let me prove it to you. This is not the main thrust of what we are talking about, but it’s fascinating. After Christ was asked, “What is the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?” He gives all the things that you know…You come to verse 32…
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near” (Matt. 24:32).
Luke adds, in its account…Luke 21…“summer” is the kingdom of God. So it has to be the kingdom of God coming in glory—has to be—because the kingdom of God comes after all the things of Matthew 24. It is not talking about the First Dominion. It has to be the Second Dominion. If I had time, I would just walk you through a little more slowly, but there is no way the First Dominion comes after the Tribulation of Matthew 24……We know that; that is not possible.
“So…when you…see all these things, know that it is near,” and then it talks about “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled…. [“This generation,” there, is the chosen generation.]…Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away…of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (vs. 33-36).
And then it compares it to the days of Noah, and the coming of the Son of man. It describes, verse 38, the Flood—they didn’t know it was coming until it took them all away. Verse 40, “Then shall two be in the field, the one…taken…[one] left. Two…grinding…one taken…one left. Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken up” (vs. 37-43)……
Verse 44: “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his [“domestics,” that’s what it means.] his household…” (vs. 44-45)……
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods” (24:46-47)……
You are going to find a lot of scriptures, as I said last week, that were hard to understand are just popping open and popping open.
But let’s read now, past the wise and foolish virgins……
But there is then the parable of the talents…When does that apply? And then after that, is the parable of the sheep and goats…When does that apply? Well, for the moment, let’s see what we can learn about the sheep and goats. Matthew 25…
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And…[gather] all nations…” (Matt. 25:31-32). Sheep and goats in front of Him. So when would you say that is? It is obvious—when He comes in great power. He comes in His glory, like lightning shining from the east to the west. There is no doubt that is talking about the kingdom of God over all nations—because there is no grain of mustard seed described there……It’s just all nations are in front of Him. He is in power and glory, and He works with all nations right out of the gate.
So that is pretty obvious, that is not talking about what the parable of the pounds is. [Author’s Note: A crucial distinction between these two parables will be covered in Part 50.] So now we look at the parable of the talents…and it’s fascinating. Brethren, it should be tremendously encouraging to you…tremendously encouraging. Remember what I said about God helping you with judging? Let’s read the Parable of the Talents, verse 14…
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man [Well, it does not actually say “the kingdom of heaven is.” That is inserted there, but it’s probably a pretty good way to phrase it, because it really is much like the Parable of the Pounds we just read in Luke.]…is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability…[This is, therefore, not talking about money. It’s using an analogy of money, but it is talking about your abilities.]…and straightway took his journey.
“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same…[We talk about people who are “talented.” You know what that means. It means they have certain abilities, or we might say they have gifts. So take it that way.
So now Christ is not talking about “can you multiply money,” it is what did you do with the abilities I gave you? What did you do with the talents I infused into you? With everybody, it is “several,” so it is according to the “several ability”—not everybody has the same number of talents. We are all different.]…and [he] traded with the same, and made them [five other] talents... [He doubled the five to ten. He developed other abilities.]…And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two” (Matt. 25:14-17).
That is interesting—he took the abilities that he had, the talents that he was given from birth, but also through God’s Spirit, and he multiplied them; he doubled them. Did you realize, brethren, you could add to the abilities that you have? It is interesting, isn’t it? They added them, now if you can add to your abilities, do you think God can add to them? That is at least a question we ought to pause and ask. As a matter of fact, you are commanded to add to your abilities, not just enhance the ones you were given but actually add to them. Verse 17, the one that received two, he gained two…[repeated again,]
“But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money…[Maybe he is a little “thinner” of thought like the person who got one pound. I don’t know. Here is how you know this is the First Dominion…]…After a long time…[That tells you more about Luke, by the way. A long time passed. That would not describe a short period between the start of the First Dominion and Christ’s coming in power and glory, a few years. Sounds a lot more like 2,000 years…You see my point.
But it’s a parable, so it would be, theoretically, a long time in the life of individuals who don’t live to be 2,000. I understand all that, but it is God sending you a hint…This is the first time…This is the first time, when people might be worried more about…Do I have enough ability to rule under Christ, no matter how much help I get in this life, while I am made of flesh?
Christ would know that that is on your minds, wouldn’t He? I promise you, brethren. I know that, so Christ would know that. And you know it’s on your mind…How is this going to work? Well, He would have to tell you some things about that or you could get discouraged, so let’s keep reading.]…
“After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckons with them. [That is interesting. He “reckons” with them. You’ve heard, “There will be a day of reckoning.” You know what “reckoning” means—an “accounting.” This is a period of reckoning.]… And so he that…received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. [And] His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things…[Not all things, and there is a difference. Every word of God is pure……So this is a ruler over many things—not everything yet—it’s not the universe.]…enter you into the joy of your lord” (Matt. 25:18-21). But it will be an awesome, wonderful time, will it not?
The one with two talents “came and said, Lord, you delivered unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. [And] his lord said unto, Well done, you good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things…[Remember last week? When God means “all,” He says “all,” and one chapter before He meant “all” and He said “all.” When He means “some,” “few,” or “none,” or “many,” that’s what He says. So this is not yet all things.]…enter you into the joy of [the] lord” (vs. 22-23). So this is a time of reckoning where people did or didn’t develop talents.
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strawed…[You see why this parable is similar to the one in Luke, but there it talks about cities; here is talks about talents. But He is judged wicked for the exact same reasons. The exact same language comes back at Christ—you know, you gathered where you have not strawed.]…And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: lo, there you have that is yours. His lord answered and said unto him, You wicked and slothful servant, [Here we go again.] you knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
“You ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers…[The reason it’s money is because you cannot give talents to a bank. You have to be able to see what He is talking about, and He gives you that bridge between the talents, in verse 15, to men’s ability there…Or, in the modern age, you would talk about somebody who has a lot of talent, but you might also say somebody has a lot of ability. It’s a parable. It has to use the term “money,” but it is different.]…and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury.
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents... [So this is clearly the same period when cities are parceled out—when we rule many things—not all things. We are not allowed, brethren…We are the people of God. We are not allowed to disbelieve plain words of the Bible that are all pure and refined seven times.]…For unto every one that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. And cast you the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (25:24-30)……
It is interesting, the word “reckon” there is “make up together.” He “reckoned” with them. He made up, or put it all together, with each person. Now that is a fascinating thing to consider…and obviously, if you want to throw in one more verse (we won’t dwell on it) put John 14. You have to look at John 14. If people want to reject these verses later on, then they won’t have to worry about ever being part of it. But…
“Let not your heart be troubled: [verse 1] you believe in God, believe also in me.” [Now that’s an interesting way to start verses 2 and 3. Do you believe God and do you believe Christ when they say exactly what they mean? We are going to find later on, not adding words to what God says or subtracting a single word ever from what God says, is crucial—big trouble for those who add to or take from exactly what He says. That is going to be important, more than you realize. So, do we believe God?]
“…In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. [There is plenty of room!] I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and [will] receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Wait until you see how big that becomes. But Christ is coming back.
That statement at the beginning of John 14, therefore, takes its place with Luke and Matthew. There are going to be places…in this place that Christ has prepared for us. It’s interesting. I want to just repeat: “Where I am, there you may be also.” Because there has to be a question in the back of your mind, brethren, what happens when the kingdom is here and we are scattered all over the world? Well, that becomes a clue, but I am not ready to get into it yet, because we need to talk about some other things.
Now look, brethren, let’s just think a little bigger. I don’t want to take a lot of time. We have a lot to cover, but there are three categories of all that will change on Earth under the Kingdom. There is what God does—what only He can do. Number two: There is what only people can do—building character and obedience and decisions that they make. And number three: Everything else that is uncertain and in the middle that God must tell us. I will give you some examples.
First of all, only God can fix the air, the land and the water on earth, and He is going to do that. Men can’t do it. You can’t do it and I can’t do it. So that is an example of something that God is going to do. Only God can fix the nature of animals—He says He is going to do it. Only God can fix the climate and fix deserts—He says He is going to do it. Only God can heal all human beings or resurrect the dead.
There are things, we all would agree, men—all of us put together—cannot do…can’t be done…The list could perhaps be a little longer, I understand that. Human beings could not execute justice and judgment on the earth without God’s help. Men have tried and failed for 6,000 years—and certainly, a group like us, even with the Holy Spirit, we couldn’t do it! We could help do it, but we are the meek and we need help and guidance in that. So…it’s obvious God cannot build character for people; He cannot make decisions for people; He cannot make them be obedient.
And then there’s the third category…How, exactly, will God set up the economy? If I knew, I could tell you more about how much we would do versus how much God will do. I have a lot of ideas. You probably have some of your own. For instance…Let’s stop for a moment. Let’s speculate and think big. I mentioned last week that 80 people have half the world’s wealth. That happens to be…I did a little more research…Almost two trillion dollars rests in the hands of 80 people. Believe me…and this is a longer story…they are going to lose it all. And depending upon how many people they oppressed, how evil they were, that may not be all they lose…but that is a different discussion.
If you just take all the billionaires on Planet Earth, and you took this money and you helped…you helped the poor who have nothing, who are scrabbling, during this sermon—by the hundreds of millions and billions—to just eat before the sun is down…You took from these 80 grievously covetous and greedy human beings and distributed that, you would have almost two trillion.
If you took all the billionaires, 1,826 of them…I’m illustrating a point, so stay with me…almost 2,000 billionaires…Don’t even get to the millionaires—if you got 999 million dollars, you don’t count in what I am going to tell you…you get up to seven and a half trillion dollars. How far do you think that would go in helping the poor, the meek, the needy and the oppressed……
God is going to have to tell us certain things that we can’t figure out here. I don’t know if Solomon could, with his level of wisdom. So there are the things that God does; there are the things that people do all across the earth, by the billions, and then there is everything else we’re not sure of.
Now, before I get into how you execute judgment in the world, I’m going mention something else. There are some things we can know, and some things that cannot be known. Some are in between and we can speculate on them. Let me illustrate…
If you are now resplendent and you are ruling cities, and your ability has been enhanced by God after you enhanced it first…and God would want to give more ability to people who tried, at the human level, to develop it…what does everybody look like? Wouldn’t God have a dress code? Would He let people dress according to cultures all over the world and they represent His government? He and angels dress in white. So does Christ. So there would be some kind of dress code. We could speculate on that, but you wouldn’t want to go too far. I could speculate it’s white…maybe it’s linen. You wouldn’t leave styles up to people—the weak of the world—do you want to leave styles up to them? I think not. You probably wouldn’t leave colors up to people, because then the government of God is represented without a dress code.
If you are working with Maasai warriors in Africa, do you want to carry a big long staff and dress like they do? No. No, because you represent the government of God…and so forth.
Now what about parents with small children? And now parents are going to rule cities. How will that work? What about people who are converted, married to unbelievers? How will that work, particularly, if we are where Christ is? And that is going to become a bigger question. What did Christ mean by that? Did He mean “organizationally” we’re where He is, or did He mean “geographically” we’re where He is?..
Now very quickly…and a lot of this is just to sort of get your mind thinking a little more…executing justice and judgment across the earth involves two things—inducements and deterrents. Inducements would be blessings and rewards that can come with measure—more, less or in between…. and deterrents—curses and punishments—for people who don’t obey. There has to be enforcement, but there has to be inducement.
Here would be inducements: Obey Me and I will heal you. Brethren, you all have an assignment—Go read Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. If you obey Me and keep My commandments, and keep the Sabbath, and avoid idolatry, and so forth, here’s all the wonderful things I’ll do for you. If you don’t—there comes a long list of things that are all bad. The one in Deuteronomy is really a long list. So, there are inducements: I will heal you, if you obey Me. I’ll give you plenty of food and you’ll have a job and everybody will have his own vine and fig tree. Now that is a wonderful inducement.
Now…by the way, if you wait for everybody on Earth…the Scriptures say they will…to have their own vine and fig tree, they could maybe sing about Fig Newtons, but they had never had a fig, don’t know how to grow a fig, never seen a fig tree…don’t know how to grow a vine…so if they figured that out, or if you told them how to do it, it would take years for them to have a vine that produced…or a fig tree that would produce, unless you simply create, by divine fiat, lots of vines and fig trees, and apportion out where everybody lives. The book of Joshua shows that the various families in Israel, got inheritances. So people have to have a plot of ground they call their own with, at least, a vine and fig tree, if we can just leave it at that for the moment. So those would be inducements.
That your children will play safe; that there will be no war—there will be peace everywhere. That’s an inducement. You will never have to worry about somebody committing adultery with your husband or wife. If you obey Me, there are blessings and rewards. You will have good health, and so forth. You can imagine them…Rain in due season and crops…and joy……
The deterrents have to be pretty clear……
There are going to be greedy oppressors, who have absolutely raped the world, and have trillions and trillions of dollars, which explodes in amount, if you count the millionaires, all the way down to a million dollars, and they are greedy with it. Were they generous? Did they inherit it?.....
Let’s now move to a subject that is separate from the reckoning, but still tied to judgment. I began to realize the Bible talks about two fires—one that involves the Church and one for Judah and Israel. They could not be mixed together……
God is getting some of His people in the Church ready, through Peter, for this great conflagration of I Peter 4 and verse 12. Remember? “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial [4:12] which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened [to] you.”
So…I thought, this is a fiery trial that is strange…that you have to be warned that it’s not strange. A giant conflagration…and you know, I went through the themes of Peter. About the importance of character, and having love, and staying in God’s grace, and various other themes that are there.
In chapter 1 and verse 7, your trial of faith is be tried with fire…There it is again, and so forth. And I just began to realize, wow, that’s interesting.
Verse 17: “And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” That’s interesting. Why is that there?
And then I came to chapter 4. Let’s read it for a moment…“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind,” and “he that [verse 2] no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men,” and “We did in the past,” verse 3.
Verse 4: “Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you”…Now, that’s interesting…
I want to stop for a moment, and I want to jump over to verse 7, he said, “The end of all things is at hand: be…therefore sober, and watch unto prayer”…Something big is coming.
Verse 12: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened [to] you.” Rejoice, and so forth.
Then five verses later, here came an extraordinary verse…and it’s going to shock you, brethren... and I need to develop it. I want you to just read a verse we’ve read many, many, many times before—but not as we will now. Verse 17…
“For the time is come…[It should be “will come” that’s italics. They just thought that meant...]…that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us…[“Begin” means “commence.” “First” is prōton. And if we’re judged first…]…what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (4:17-19).
Of course, these passages regarding the fire also hold deep lessons for those of God’s people who will be in the Reckoning.
“Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the [living] and the dead…[That’s the context building up to “judgment begins at us” with the fire described right in the middle.]…For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according [Now, this is strange. Follow me.] according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (I Pet. 4:5-6)……
But first let me explain “the quick and the dead.” “We said that the dead in Christ are asleep.” Understand. You can describe those who are asleep in Christ as dead. You cannot describe those who are not asleep in Christ as asleep. I mean, I can show you Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are dead. The Bible says that. They’re dead. They’re not alive, brethren.
This is talking about certain ones who are going to be judged. You can’t stand over their grave and judge them. They won’t hear you…and they cannot give account unless they’re alive. So, this becomes one more great proof that there are people, who today are dead, who are going to give account—which means they have to be alive alongside the living, because reward is going to be apportioned out. And God actually, it says, allowed some to die so that a resurrection of the dead would show His awesome power…Which is why Christ did it; which is why Elisha did it, and Elijah did it, and Peter and Paul did it…Sometimes God wants to show His awesome power—I’m taking charge of the world, and I’m in charge of life and death—but it says, “that they might be judged according to men in the flesh” (vs. 6)…
Does He have to tell us that people are judged by what they did when they were flesh? No, it’s while they’re in the flesh now. I could take the time to explain this to you, brethren…One of the great things that I came to realize when I learned that the dead first stand up before we rise…I never understood how you could go into the kingdom of God, already receive your reward, and then have Judgment Day.
No one ever tried to explain it. I never heard one minister ever attempt to explain it, never mind explain it……But, when I came to understand the dead first stand up…they are gathered and judged, and they stand up. They’re judged while they’re in the flesh. They’re going to get their reward. The angels were sent to get them, and they stand up, and we’re all there, and we’re going to be judged.
I don’t think everybody is going to hear what everybody else did, but when you give an accounting of yourself, and there’s a reckoning—What did you do?—you will notice that the servants spoke back to Christ. It was a two-way street. It wasn’t just a sentence where there was duct tape over the servant’s mouth. That’s what judgment is. It’s an accounting……
So, come to grips with judgment first begins, or commences, with the house of God. There is judgment coming on Judah. There is judgment and justice coming on the whole world…You know that…
You’re eventually going to help administer on a worldwide scale…“The Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all” when coming in power and glory…and we—you, me—none of us will ever be allowed to administer judgment, in a final way, where people could die because of your decision—unless we went through it ourselves—unless we stood on the other side of that seat—that later will face you, when you’ve been empowered, and you’re sent out as a judge. God will never let people judge, who haven’t been through it themselves……
In Psalm 50, God personally addresses His people, then gathers the group who went through the fire, as well as those who will be reckoned with…I don’t know how many times I read this, but let’s read it, right now. Here’s God coming down to gather His saints. Look at what He says, and let’s just believe it. We read this over and over…
“The mighty God, even the LORD, has spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof…[All day long, before He comes, God is going to speak from heaven to the earth…but you know who He’s going to speak to? It’s described.]…Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence…[Now, we’re all excited about God dealing with other people. That’s the way people are in life. But it says…]…a fire shall devour before him……and it shall be very tempestuous round about him [verse 4]. He shall call to the heavens from above…to the earth” (Psa. 50:1-4)……
After speaking from heaven, according to Haggai, some time passes before Christ reunifies His Church, beginning in verse 5: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. [Those who are converted.] And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself…[It’s not a minister judging you. It’s not your husband, or your neighbors, or anybody else. It is Christ coming to judge His people. See the word…]…Selah” (vs. 5-6). When I discovered that again, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It means “pause…”
Now, this is a Psalm of Asaph. He was David’s chief musician, but he was also a prophet. II Chronicles 29 verse 30 even calls him a seer, but he was a prophet. Christ called him a prophet in the New Testament. Christ referenced him as a prophet. So, he was a prophet. He wasn’t just David’s musician, and here’s what he said. He said God is coming to judge, Himself.
Now, the two words for judge, there, are actually different, and they’re interesting. Let’s understand them...
First, the word “call” is important. God “calls,” verse 1 and “calls,” verse 4. So, it’s not just a phone call, or calling you for dinner. The word means, literally…here’s the definition…“The idea of accosting a person met;” “to call out, and “address by name.” So, when God is calling, in this particular word, He is addressing, He’s actually accosting people and using their name. That’s very individual and specific. It’s not just many are called, in the general way, and few are chosen, and we’ve explained that.
For a moment, focus specifically on the reckoning. That’s why I finally came to understand…you know that this so often…you find this is referred to as “a day.” It’s all done in one day. There’s no long line. No waiting list where people come out of the room, and you’re looking at them to see how it went, and they’re wiping sweat off their brow, and it’s a bad day to have the last name Zimmerman. [laughter] You see? I sure wish I’d married John Aardvark when he’d asked me to marry him…You see? [laughter] You see?
This is nothing like that. Everybody is going to be judged in the same day—WHAM. Christ has a government to build. He’s gone and He’s already prepared the place for us! He’s going to bring us to Him. Now there’s good news…Judgment is never all good news, and certainly not all bad news. It’s not pleasant. There may be some chastising. You’re going to have to explain why you did certain things that you shouldn’t have, or didn’t do certain things you should have.
That’s why, I guess, one of the points…I ought to stop here, and say—clear the deck, if things are a little uncertain—get things fixed.
But now return to Psalm 50:6 and let me just keep going here. It means “to judge,” “pronounce sentence (for or against);” “by implication, to vindicate or punish;” “by extension to govern.” You’re going to rule them. Here’s other meaning, “passively, to litigate” them. So God is not going to be quiet.
Brethren…for 2,000 years, God has been quiet regarding the sins of people in His Church, and in the world, for that matter, and in Judah, but this time, He’s coming, and He’s no longer quiet…He’s going to start…He’s going to commence, or begin, with the house of God, first. Same meaning, same word…to the Jews first, and also the Gentiles. But actually, it’s to the Church of God, first, so that when you save Judah, you have a team to do it with…and you can’t have that team, unless you have a judgment.
Now, that’s powerful understanding, and I can take you through many more things—but I’m going to take you only through a few.
First of all turn over to II Corinthians 5 and verse 10, and let’s read what is ultimately a reality for every Christian—and for some sooner than others…but, brethren, we just thought it was years out. So I would ask you, which would you rather have? Would you rather have a judgment that is years away, and a reward that, therefore, is years away, or would you rather face the living God now, and if you’ve been faithful, then you have nothing to fear, you receive a reward now…or now, meaning soon—years before. If you’re going to face a reckoning, when do you want to face it, if a reward is tied to the immediate—the immediate—outcome?
II Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad”……
It’s interesting the word “seat” is the following…It’s a very interesting word. You stand before the judgment seat of Christ. It means “a step”…You’re going to step up. It’s an interesting word…“That is, a foot-breath.” Breath…“by implication, it’s “a rostrum,” meaning a raised platform, and “a tribunal.” So, that’s what it is. The word “seat” is a pretty big word. It means you stand up on a rostrum. You step up and you appear before the judgment seat—the tribunal—of Jesus Christ. Now, if you were a Christian, and you wanted salvation, you always believed it was going to come. So I’ll just say, now you know more about it, and you’re more focused on that verse.
“Why do you judge your brother? or why do you [verse 10] set at nought your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. [It’s always been in our Bible.] Let us not therefore judge one another any more…[You know what, brethren, it’s harder to judge other people when you start thinking about this moment for yourself.]…but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Rom. 14:10-13).
One of my tasks is to prepare the way before Christ comes to His Temple. Those in the splinters are going to get ambushed by the events of the fire leading up to that coming, discussed in detail later in the series. I mean, just WHAM. It will be the greatest blindsiding of their life... but God loves them…For those who survive, reckoning will occur later, just before Christ’s rule at Zion. Brethren currently in the Body, who did not have to endure the fire but were not ready for rulership, will also be reckoned with at that time……
Every Christian is going to have to account for secret sins. Every so often we lose people in the Church, and we find out they were living the lives that were just nothing at all, not even remotely Christian. They weren’t following a single word of God—but never missed a Sabbath or a Feast—because they had secrets going on in their life. They were living just fraudulent lives…Then I guess we ought to fear……
Psalm 7 verse 8…Interesting, “The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, [David said] according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.” Brethren, David’s attitude is, “Please do it! Please do it according to what I’ve done.” David didn’t say, “Oh, I’m miserable and terrible. I can’t…There’s no way I did anything right.” No, he didn’t say that at all. He said, “Judge me O Lord.”
“…Judge me, O LORD…I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart” (Psa. 26:1-2). We read those verses.
I know this is a shocking thing, brethren, to hear that we’re going to face the judgment of Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t have to be. It will be…and you’re going to think more about it, and it’s going to change your prayers starting tonight, and tomorrow morning…You might find yourself saying, “You know, if that takes a little while longer, it’s okay. I’ve got some things to address.” Suddenly, you might find yourself moving your foot from the accelerator…just sliding it over to the brake pedal a little bit, hoping for a little more time. Do you see my point? It changes everything doesn’t it? It changes everything, and yet you wouldn’t have it any other way, if your lead of God’s Spirit.
First of all, when we lead cities and eventually the world, think of all the wonderful, wonderful things we’re going to do for the world. I don’t want it to delay, but I can understand someone hoping it would, if it doesn’t look like it’ll be a good day from where you sit on this day. You see my point? You can go through that and think it through.
Actually, verse 1 is: “Give the king your judgments, O God, and your righteousness unto the king’s son.”
Verse 3: “The mountains [will] bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor” (vs. 3-4).
When you go through judgment, it paves the way for God to begin to deal with the trillionaires and all the oppressors, the liars, the murderers—all the people that will kill people across this country—by the hundreds before the weekend is over, and you can get involved. ISIS will be stopped, and monsters, the world over, bringing war will be stopped.
“They shall fear you as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. [You’ll] come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish…[That’s interesting…“shall the righteous flourish”…Remember “be resplendent?”]…and abundance of peace so long as the moon endures. [Ooh, verse 8, remember? When is this? Further reading shows it is when Christ rules from Zion:] He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (vs. 5-8). But none of His people can rule in His Kingdom—regardless of which phase—until they go through judgment……
There are other verses we could look at, but I want to just stop for a moment and give a pause, before we get too far away from the phrase in the Psalms, you might go back to it for a moment…Psalm 50. I would like to prove to you, brethren, that we are all brought to the same place when Christ returns to His spiritual temple and many are judged at the same time…same day, same place by the same Jesus Christ. (As stated before, many are judged later.) That might shock you, but first let’s look at the Bible pattern. Whenever God is going to deal with people He gathers them.
He gathered them in Egypt before taking them out. Everybody was gathered when they went into Canaan. When God gave the Law at Sinai, He said gather the people. He’s going to send His angels to gather the people—even the dead—bring them together…After the Millennium, God is going to gather the nations and bring them up together. We will learn which if any are left out……
At the lake of fire, when the wicked are burned, they’re all brought to the same lake. They may be around it or on the same side of it…They’re going to confess that Christ was Lord and bow their knee, and they’re going to be destroyed—which is a judgment—together.
……God always gathers His people, whether it’s them to take them out of Egypt or into Canaan, or to get His Law—He gathers people. Because when you gather people, they fear you. I gave a sermon about that. That’s why God gathers people to the Feast of Tabernacles so that they would learn to fear Him.
Now that sets up some important background for us. But I want to show you many reasons why all of us are coming to where Christ judges. We will be brought to Him. Later in the series, I will tell you when that is. I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag. I want you to hear it in proper context with a lot of evidence, a lot of proofs, maybe eight or ten or a dozen different proofs of just where it is we’re going to be taken for judgment. The Bible is quite clear, but it’s a separate subject and it fits more naturally later. First, let’s just read the verse.
Psalm 50 verse 5, “Gather my saints together unto me…” Now that’s a powerful statement. The word gather together is interesting. It also means, by implication, sort out some and discard some in the process……
Now, if I said, brethren, if I said…Let’s say I have five children, and I ask my wife…I said, “Would you gather my five children.” Would anybody doubt, if they lived all over the world, that I’m not going to them, they’re coming to me? No one would doubt that. If I said, gather them together, you just removed doubt at a greater level—Gather together, my children, I want to talk to them. Now, if I said, “Gather together my children unto me. I want to talk to them,” you could not possibly believe it was somewhere else. And now you see why John 14:3 is very important.
Imagine, for instance, you brethren in the Philippines or Mexico City or Toronto or in Europe—and you are not brought to wherever the first measure of meal is—to wherever the mustard seed starts. Now…you have to come just because of the judgment and to hear what your reward is. But imagine that you hear you get a reward, but, you know what, sorry, we’re not dealing with the Philippines for a year from now. God will not have respect of persons.
……“Gather together my people to Me” has meaning to people, or—it’s not an instruction book to us—it’s a book, in tongues, written to God. I’m trying to illustrate a point, and be almost facetious, so you can appreciate it……
So, God’s people, the world over, are coming to one location! There’s lots and lots of things that God…Who could build a temple in three seconds…or He can build the universe…He can fix that, but there’s a lot of different issues involved. I just wanted you to understand, brethren. Remember, we’re the people who believe God. Believe God. Believe there’s judgment, and everybody is always together. And if not…explain “gather them together unto Me.” So, I hope that inspires you……
Now, turn over, by the way, to Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 30. Anybody, who doesn’t believe what I’ve said, you’ve got to fight your way through so many scriptures—and, boy, brethren, there are scriptures. Don’t change the Word of God…It is clear. Hebrews 10 and verse 30…
“For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs unto me, I will [repay], says the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people” (Heb. 10:30)……
Now verse 31…This is the other side of it…“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” is the next verse after “judge His people.” There will be wicked people, and they’re going to get weeping and gnashing of teeth. They will be out……
Verse 27…Those who have sinned and lost God’s Spirit have “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries”……
“But I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked [Solomon said]: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Ecc. 3:17). Everything you do, God’s going to judge the righteous and the wicked, and that leaves no one out.
Now chapter 12, verse 13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter... [What’s the whole summary of Ecclesiastes? We often read verse 13, and we will, but, few go on to 14.]: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole man [“Duty of” is in italics; it’s “the whole man.”]…For God shall being every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be [bad]” (Ecc. 12:13-14).
II Corinthians 5:10 says the same thing. Your role as judges, brethren, will be greatly enhanced—much clearer—after you’ve been through your own great judgment. I want to say again, no one will ever be allowed to rule and judge others, who has not been first judged himself—the First Dominion included. God loves the world too much to eventually send you out to judge them when you’ve never experienced how He works with you, including mercy you may get that you don’t think is coming…or a little harsher judgment that you may get that you don’t think is coming. You’ll find out how it works, and it will change you forever. So in the end, it’s a good thing…It depends on what you’ve done. What the secrets of your life contain that no one else knows about, that have not yet, but soon will be made—manifest, good or evil.
Now, turn to Matthew 18. This enhances, and, I think will help you better understand how to think and how God thinks. It may give you some encouragement with a sobering message on the backend of it. Matthew 18 and verse 23…Here’s another kingdom of heaven parable, but this one’s different.
“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven like unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants…[Oh, this one looks like it’s all about judgment. It doesn’t even get into talents or pounds or anything else.]…And when he had begun to reckon [there’s a reckoning], one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. [That’s mega millions of dollars. When I first wrote a note in my margin that was 12 million. Gold is way up from that. It’s in the hundreds of millions of dollars.]…But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
“The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him…[Look, brethren, go in and talk to God. He may see how much you want mercy. And the more you want mercy, the more He might say, “You know what, they’ll probably want to give it, too.” Now let’s keep reading, though……have patience with me and I will pay you all.…the lord of that servant…compassion…loosed him…forgave him the debt.
“But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him [about seventeen dollars] an hundred pence…[Now today, that might be a few hundred dollars versus hundreds of millions. And here’s what he did.]…he laid his hands on him…by the throat, saying, Pay me that you owe. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. [This guy has a short memory.] And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
“So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told…their lord all that was done. Then [the] lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O you wicked servant. I forgave you all that debt, because you desired [you asked] me. Should not you also have had compassion on your fellowservant, even as I had pity on you? And his lord was [angry], and delivered him…[so] he should pay all that was due unto him [hundreds of millions of dollars]. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses” (Matt. 18:23-35). But remember, the parable starts out likening this to the kingdom of God. Well, how important is it, brethren, if we’re looking at being judges in the near future? Pretty important…
A few final verses. I just don’t want to stop before we walk through a few final verses. I’m going to call them out and not turn there.
First, James 5 and verse 16. Let’s think for a moment. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” So, can you know if you’re righteous? Can you know if your prayers will avail much?
What’s the point in telling you what James did, if you can’t know if you’re righteous? You can know if you’re righteous. Now, that’s interesting, because, “the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28 and verse 1, and Hebrews 4:16 says, “Come boldly unto the throne of grace.” Now, that’s interesting, too…“Come boldly unto the throne of grace.”
Now look at I John 4…While you’re turning over there, let me just quote to you Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence.” So you can know! If you fear God, you’ll have confidence.
If you’re righteous, you can be bold, and you’re told to come boldly to the throne of grace. All right. Does that sound a little bit—in your prayers, every day—like you’re coming before the judgment seat of Christ? There’s some parallel, it’s a little different, though, I admit. It’s very similar; in some ways it’s very different. I understand that.
[Ohh! If you’re righteous, you can be bold. If you fear God you can be confident and you can actually have boldness in the Day of Judgment. That’s interesting.]
Now let’s read verse 16: “And we have known and believed the love that God has to us, God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.” Well, now if we have love, we can have boldness in the Day of Judgment. We’re like Christ was—He was in the world—so are we.
Verse 18: “There is no fear in love [What’s the subject? Judgment Day. You don’t have to fear it, if you’re in love.]…but perfect love casts out fear…[Raise your hands. How many of you remember the verse “perfect love casts out fear?” Raise your hands. How many of you think about it? Quite a few of you. How many of you ever noticed that the context of the verse was fear you don’t need to have on the Day of Judgment? That you can come boldly. I’ll bet none of you ever noticed the context. Well, now you know…But, not if you don’t have love.]…perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment... [If you don’t have love for your fellow brethren, any thought of Judgment Day would be a source of torment.]…He that fears is not made perfect in love.”
It’s not fearing man, or fearing the devil, or fearing the future, or fearing snakes, or claustrophobic fears—it’s fearing Judgment Day. But if you have love, if you fear God and if you’ve been righteous, you can come boldly in there. Now…if you go swaggering in there like some political figures, who like to brag a lot, and you come in there trying to impress God, it might not go well. If you come crawling in backwards, feet first, afraid to look, it probably won’t go well either. You’ll be told, “Stand up and face Me.” Chances are that you’re not going to hear that you’re a wicked servant, but, there are lessons to be learned from this moment.
“He shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; [James 2:13] and mercy rejoices against judgment.”
So, brethren, there is a reckoning coming. And unfortunately, there’s a reckoning with the clock…I wanted to tell you some of the most fascinating things about where we are in time, but it’s that very problem that won’t allow me to go on. We’ve gone too long and what I hoped to cover last week is now going to have to be covered next week.
But I will leave you with this thought…The words of God are important, and they’re about to become more important. You’ve seen that, through this sermon. When we get into the next section, next time—and I will open with it. Believe me…Believe me, brethren, incredible, fascinating, fascinating things are still yet to come.