The Viable Church

Dear Brethren,

Some people are beginning to say that there is no viable church anymore.  Students of the Bible will recognize that there will always be a viable church - right up to the return of Christ.  Jesus said, "I will build my Church; and the gates of hell [grave] shall not prevail against [the true Church.]"  (Matthew 16:18)  How can the viable church be found?  The one way to recognize the viable church is to fully understand what the true gospel is - because the viable church will be teaching and preaching the true gospel - all of it.

This weekly newsletter is called the "Countdown  to the return of Jesus Christ," because we endeavor to pinpoint the telltale downward trends which are accelerating as we approach that day.  We realize that the Laodicean era is the predominant church era at the end of the age.  Laodiceans are known for letting their guard down.  Jesus says that they are being blinded as to what is actually happening to them.  That warning is for us!  Let's not become smug and say that we are too smart to let it happen to us.  Here is a dangerous trend - the Church of God is becoming too much like this present evil world.

The truth of the matter is this - God specifically warns our church of today, because this is precisely what is happening to God's Church today. It is therefore most important that we watch developments very carefully, so when that day comes, it will not catch us unaware.  "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."  (Luke 21:34)

When Herbert W Armstrong first began to preach three-quarters of a century ago, almost no one in America knew about the Feasts of the Lord.  And certainly, most were not looking for the rise of a European beast power back then.  But then, year after year, in many towns and cities, signs proclaiming, "Welcome to the Feast of Tabernacles," slowly, but surely, alerted many people to the concept of the God's festivals.  Likewise, millions upon millions of Plain Truth magazines in a high percentage of homes alerted people to prophecies - such as an end time ten-nation power that will fight against Jesus Christ at His return. 

Today, many people who have little, if any, interest in Biblical facts, have begun to incorporate them in their thinking.  It is not uncommon today to see frequent references to fall festivals all across America.  And many worldly preachers have tried to utilize prophecies about the beast power in their sermons.  Satan is subtle.  The deceived world is not embracing God's truth.  Satan wants it to seem like there is not a lot of difference separating God's Church from the world.  Sadly, while the world has begun to incorporate some new concepts, the Church of God has entered into the Laodicean era.  The lukewarm and lackadaisical approach of the church has caused it to become more like the world. 

The great separation that should exist between this present evil world and the true Church of God has dangerously narrowed.  It is common today for brethren in God's Church to send religious poems and anecdotes to one another - just because they are "religious sounding."  Have we sunk almost to the point that anything religious sounding is okay?  Are we unable to hold the line?  Are we unable to see the difference?  The "Jesus" of this world teaches that God's Law has been done away with - embracing lawlessness.  "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46)

The world believes that the gospel is all about Jesus - what He did, and what He was like.  That gospel misses the mark.  The true gospel that Jesus taught and preached was not about His person, but about the coming Kingdom of God.  "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God."  (Mark 1:14)   There are few today who try to understand what the gospel of the kingdom of God is about.  Fewer still, realize that true Christians live according to the rules of the kingdom of God now!  "...The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."  (Daniel 11:32)

Brethren, there exists a viable church today.  It teaches and preaches the true gospel of the kingdom. The viable church lives according to the doctrines of Christ.  Throughout much of history, God's true church has remained hidden from most of the world. The viable true church is small, weak and unappreciated by those who seek power, control and glory.  Those who comprise that viable church, not only believe in the law of God, but practice that law of love - just as all men will be doing in the kingdom of God!   "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."  (1Corinthians 1:27)


Sermon:  "The Viable Church"