feast: Urgency to Get Closer to God
Given 25-Sep-18; Sermon #FT18-05; 53 minutes
I am going to talk about something that some of you will probably disagree with. And, that is all right, because what I am going to say is my thinking, based on my observation of the world, this country, and the church itself. So, what I am going to say is nothing more than speculation on my part, I am speculating—Kim Myers' crazy thinking, okay?
I think we are living at the end of the age. Charles mentioned that in his closing. I think we are living at the end of the age, but I do not know what that means in terms of years. You know, how many years away are we, brethren? Are we four years away from the end of the age being fulfilled and before the Two Witnesses come on the scene and the false prophet and all that? Are we 9 years, 15 years, or 20 years? I do not have any idea. But look at what is going on in America!
First off, we have become a country where morals and morality are pretty much out the window. They are gone, brethren. We act and talk like we are very moral with our political correctness, do we not? But there is no morality in any of that. With our sanctuary cities; in Oregon where I live in Portland, that is a sanctuary city. With our defense of people's rights even when it tramples over your rights, but it sounds good, does it not? And with our double standard when it comes to different lifestyles, the genders, U.S. citizens, illegal aliens, and the different races of Americans, there is no morality in any of it. We talk a good story but our actions do not show it. How moral is the U.S. government?
How moral is the media? In Oregon, we thought this place was under water when we watched the news media. I came there and could not hardly find a puddle of water. It seems like every time you turn around, a Representative, a Senator, or some other government official is being accused of sexual misconduct now in America, does it not? We have got a man that they want to make a Supreme Court Justice and he is being accused of sexual misconduct. We have other ones that are accused of taking bribes and many other offenses. Then there was the sex scandal in the Oval Office not very long ago by President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. I mean, this is supposed to be the greatest nation in the world, and that goes on in the White House itself!
We do not live in a moral country anymore, brethren. A lack of morals does not stop at the government—it is nationwide. A few years ago we never heard the words "deep state" either. In the deep state, the people that are involved in that are an immoral bunch. They do not go by the Constitution or the laws. They do what they think is right in their own sight.
Now I am going to tell you a story because it is not only the government that is immoral, it is the everyday people. I am going to tell you a little story here about my son's boss. Now, he is very religious, he goes to church and he is a deacon in his church. He owns a company my son works for. And this person brought in a car (I think it was a BMW) to work on. He works in a mechanic's shop. And this BMW has an aluminum oil pan, and I think it needed a starter, I do not remember. But the mechanic that worked on it poked a hole in the aluminum oil pan. There was nothing wrong with that oil pan when it rolled in there.
So J.B. had to order an oil pan. Well, an oil pan for that car is over $300. He ordered the oil pan, the mechanic put it on, and J.B's boss told Jim to charge the customer over $600. And J.B. said, "For what?" He said, "Well somebody has got to pay for this oil pan, I’m not eating it!” And J.B. and his boss got into a big argument, and J.B. won the argument. J.B. said, “I’m not going to charge this man for something that we did.” Now you know what the man said? Think about this in terms of morals. He told J.B., "Okay, okay. Take the $600 and divide it up over the next 4 or 5 customers and overcharge them."
Where's the moral in any of that, brethren? This is a true story that happened. Well, he [J.B.] did not do that either. He got in a fight with him over that too, and he won out. Finally the owner charged the mechanic, took it out of his paycheck, because he was not going to lose any money.
Then there is the abortion issue. If kids are lucky enough in our society to be born and not killed, then they have more rights than the parents who are supposed to be teaching them. That is what is going in America. The state can take your kids. It is a whole new ball game, brethren.
All of us Americans are living in a very indebted nation. I want you to think about this because, in my mind, I think this is really going to play into end time prophecy. This nation is now, and I am rounding up, 22 trillion dollars upside down, okay? What does that mean? What is 22 trillion dollars? How much is that? Do you know that there are only 16 nations in the whole world that even have a trillion dollar GDP each year? And we are 22 trillion upside down! Out of those 16 nations, only 8 have more than a 2 trillion dollar economy, and there are approximately 195 nations in the world.
Now, I have listed the top ten nation's GDP just to give us an idea of how big a number 22 trillion dollars is. Think about this, the USA has the number 1 GDP in the world, and it sounds pretty good with the 22 trillion that we owe. Our GDP is 19.3 trillion. That is a big number, but it falls off quickly after that. Number 2 is China. They only have a 12 trillion dollar economy. That is 7 trillion less than ours. Now it drops off really significantly! Number 3 is Japan. Their GDP is 4.8 trillion, and they are an industrialized nation. A lot of you probably drive their automobiles.
Number 4 is Germany, another industrialized nation: 3.6 trillion a year. Next, the United Kingdom at 2.6 trillion. India, another huge country, population wise, 2.6 trillion. Number 7 is France at 2.6 trillion, Brazil, another large nation: GDP 2.05 trillion. Those are the top 8. Then it goes to Italy, number 9 at 1.9 trillion. (Remember, we are 22 trillion upside down.) Number 10 is Canada at 1.6 trillion.
If you do not think this will play into what is being done in this country, it will, brethren! All these things are coming upon us. Russia, the number 2 nuclear nation in the world is not even mentioned in the top 10. So, Russia does not even have an economy or a GDP in the top ten.
Even as well as Mr. Trump seems to be doing with our economy, our national debt is still climbing. It is not climbing as quickly, but it is still going up. A number of years ago when I stopped to get an oil change at a Jiffy Lube, I noticed a magazine on the table from the Philadelphia Church of God, so I started reading it. In this magazine was a graph that showed our national debt from the time of President Washington to the time of the writing of that article. I think this was about 10 or 12 years ago. The article showed our national debt moving up and down as different presidents served their terms, but it was down and then up some years, it was like a wave. It was moving up and down in billions, not trillions, a few billion at a time.
Do you know when this all changed? This is crazy. This all changed the very year, the article said, we voted on abortion in this country. And, from that year on, our national debt has been climbing, some years very significantly. I mean, we are talking about morals, and all of a sudden our national debt goes up and it has never comes down. So now we are almost 22 trillion dollars upside down. That is an incredible number, and I still do not know what it means.
My question to all of us is, how long can this nation sustain the interest on this unbelievable debt?
We also have a huge homeless population going on in this country, and especially in Portland where I live. And, it is continuing to grow. You know, when I was a kid growing up in the L.A. area I never saw a homeless person. I never saw anybody begging for money. I see them daily where I live now. I am going to tell you a story about that, because you know we kind of think that the homeless population are all a bunch of drug addicts and bums, but that is not true, at least not all of them.
My son and I had a van that we bought—we buy and sell cars. It was a conversion van. It did not have a bathroom in it, but it had a bed and a refrigerator in it. So, we bought it for $700 or $800, and we sold it for $1,500 or $1,600. This lady came over and bought it, and she was probably in her late 30's or early 40's. We talked to her and asked her what she was going to do with this van. She told us that she was going to live in it. We asked her if she had a job, and she said yeah, I work 40 hours a week, every week. But she said she was not making it, as she was getting minimum wage. Anyway, she bought the van and she went off.
Later I ran into her and she was living in the parking lot of a K-Mart that had gone out of business. So I went over the van and knocked on the window, asked her how she was doing, and was the van working. And, she said yes, she told me she was so happy to have it, she was saving money now, because she could put money away and she was literally making it. And, I asked her, “Since there’s no bathroom in here, how do you take a shower and do the things you need to do?” She said she had a membership at the YMCA where every night and she works out and takes a shower. She also said she has a 5-gallon bucket in the van and cleaned it out in the morning.
This lady worked every day, 40 hours a week, but she was still not making it. And, I know tons of people now where I live that are living on the edge. If the economy drops off again, they are done. I mean, these are friends of mine, and my son knows a lot of them too.
We also now have a whole generation of entitled people, do we not? Both young and old, but a lot of young ones. Many of our young people do not want to work. Things have changed tremendously since I was a kid. When I was a kid, we all worked. We wanted to work. We helped each other get jobs. That is not going on now, brethren.
I will tell you another little story. I sell fruit from an elder in COGWA, and he grows peaches and cherries. I sell the fruit in the summer, and I make some money at it. I have an older vehicle that I haul the fruit in, and I do not have GPS in it so I have a Garmin. I like to have a navigator with me and I pay them because I have to hurry and go from house to house to house all over the place. I have to stop by the side of the road to punch the addresses into the Garmin. I could not use my grandkids, Noah, who is 13 and Sophia, who is 8, because they were at summer camp with the United Church of God.
So I hired one of Noah's friends who is 14 and played baseball with him. I told him I would pay him $50 to sit next to me and operate the Garmin, and that I would bring all kinds of goodies for him, candy bars, cookies, popcorn, and whatever he wants, and I would take him out to lunch. And he said great. So, he came and worked for me. This kid is 14 but I had spell every city. He could not spell. I had to spell every street. He could hardly operate the Garmin!
We got the job done and went home, and I asked him what he was going to do with his $50. And he said that he needed $80 and was going to save the $50 to buy a new pair of cleats, as he plays a lot of sports. His mom and dad are divorced and they work, so in the summer he lives on the couch watching Captain Kangaroo, I guess. He watches TV all day long. So I told him I could use him the next day, and I would pay him $50, but that Friday was a preparation day and I do not deliver fruits. I told him that Saturday is the Sabbath, but that I can hire him again on Sunday. And he said, “Well, let me think about it.” He did not call me and he did not work the next two days. Apparently, he did not want to work. He got his $50, was all done, and was back on his couch.
The next day I delivered the fruit by myself, it takes me a couple of hours longer. On Sunday I wanted my grandson to go but he had batting and ball practice so he could not go. So, Sophia said, "Papa, I want to go!" And I said, "Do you think you can do it?" She said, "I can do it." So I took her, showed her how to punch the addresses into the Garmin, and she did fabulous. She could spell every word, I did not have to spell anything, and she would tell me, "We're 2.6 miles away, and you got to turn right.” “Now, we are 2 miles away and you got to turn left." Noah's friend could not do any of that, and we came home and Sophia got her $50.
The other kid got instant gratification, ran down and bought his shoes and went back to the couch. I took Sophia downstairs, got out the $50 and I said, "Here, touch it, pet it a little bit." I gave her $10 and I said, "That is your first and second tithe," and she said, "Yeah, Papa." I said, "The $40 goes in the safe in the envelope." She said, "Perfect!" Then she said, "I want to go again." She did not get any instant gratification out of it, but she was ready to go again.
But we have a whole entitled society, they do not want to work. I have hired a number of kids, and they do not want to work for me. It does not matter what I am going to pay them. They do not want to do it. The entitled attitude that permeates our country will play into end time prophecy also, brethren.
I would like to turn to a couple of scriptures just to remind all of us what God says about work.
John 5:17 (Amplified Version) But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working even until now, and I too am working.”
How long has God been working? He has lived forever, and He is still working. He has never ceased working. He is still working, and He must be doing His Father's work. The God Family works, brethren. Why would we think, you and me, that we should not have to work? Why do our young people think they do not have to work? God works, He created us. He has been working forever.
I would also like to read II Thessalonians 3:10. This verse is really a warning to an entitled person, brethren.
II Thessalonians 3:10 (Amplified Version): For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge. If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.
But we now in America, we as parents and grandparents, not only let our entitled children eat, and of course we are going to, but we also give them cars, money, high dollar phones, we pay for their insurance, we help them to be entitled, and we even give them shelter until they are 30, 40, or 50 years old. That is incredible, and that is how much things have changed since I was a kid. I moved out of mom and dad's house two weeks out of high school. I got married two weeks out of high school and bought a house when I was 19. And I was not special, guys. I was a C student, probably closer to a D student. But we worked! We made it happen, we wanted to work.
That is how much things have changed, brethren. These are the reasons I think we are living at the end of the age.
We are free to express ourselves, are we not? You can say anything you want. But are we really? That is the question. The Living Church of God sent out a co-worker letter dated June 20, 2018, talking about the assault against religious freedom. I have got the letter here. And religious freedom, brethren, is already under attack. The reason we are not experiencing it here in this group is that we are not on TV or on the radio. I am going to read the first three paragraphs of this. This is from Gerald Weston; he is their leading elder. It says,
The assault against religious freedom is massive throughout the so-called Western world. And, too many professing Christians fail to see what is taking place. Censorship of religion is real. We at Tomorrow's World experience this firsthand. We see our world transforming on a daily basis. I received a letter recently from someone complaining that our messages are not strong enough. Little does he understand how many Tomorrow's World telecasts are turned down in this country for reasons that would be laughable five years ago. For example, our program mentioning the miraculous weather at Dunkirk was banned because we did not mention global warming. What global warming had to do with events in 1940 is anyone's guess. Another program was turned down for saying that abortion and pornography are sin. Programs on family are censured for not promoting non-traditional families. Apparently, upholding the traditional family and not recognizing same-sex marriages is no longer permissible." See, these things are already going on. "This list could go on," he writes.
I was amazed when I read that letter. My youngest daughter brought it to me.
We all know that lawsuits can be brought against you if you turn down a gay couple on anything because of your religious beliefs. See, you do not have any rights. They have all the rights in the world, and you can lose everything if you say, "I won't do that." We all know that. We all know a lawsuit can be brought against us if you turn down these people.
Brethren, think about all that is going on in America and the world that was not going on just a few years ago. They now say that they have found herbicides, like Monsanto's Roundup, in cereals like Cheerios. When I was a kid, I ate a lot of Cheerios, no wonder I feel so bad. Lucky Charms and Quaker Oats, we all eat Quaker Oats, do we not? Or, we have!
So many of us now are suffering from one ailment or another, and again it was not like that when I was a kid. In fact, I can remember John Ritenbaugh telling me in 1970 that in the church we were a pretty healthy lot back then. We are not anymore, a lot of us are on medications. We have had hip replacements and knee replacements, and we all know that cancer has gone crazy in the past 20 years. When I was a kid, there was cancer, yes. But not to the extent that it is today, not even close.
And kidney failure is rising. You know, when my wife first went on dialysis 15 years ago now, we had to drive 20 miles for her treatment. I had to hurry up home from work, load her in the car, and drive 20 miles to Portland because that was the only place you could get treatment. Now, in little old Oregon City, 20,000 people, there are two dialysis units, one brand new one they just built, and there are at least 2 more within 10 miles from my home now, in 15 years.
I really believe that we are being killed slowly by the food we eat and the medicines and the immunizations we take. Think about this now, because we live in a bizarre world. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended in 1983 that we get 24 shots before we are 18 years old. 24 shots! In 2017 that number has risen to 54 shots before you are 18. I hope we are not giving our kids shots. With all of these shots, and here is something else to think about, autism has risen from 1 person in 10,000 in 1983 to 1 in 59 in 2017! That is incredible. I never knew an autistic kid until about 15 years ago or so in the church. One of the ministers had an autistic son, I still know him and he is a great kid. Brethren, we live in a bizarre world, we do. The statistics are here, and we are piling on more shots, right?
I think we all know that when the family unit breaks down in any country and when the divorce rate gets high enough, that country will collapse. The divorce rate now in America is somewhere between 45 and 50%. Listen to these statistics. The divorce rate for second marriages? You are getting rid of the first no-good bum. He did not work out, or she did not work out, okay? So, you are going to do better with the second one, right? The divorce rate for that second marriage is 60%. It goes up! And, the divorce rate for the third marriage is 73%. Stay with the bum! The average age for first time divorce is 30 years old. And, the second marriage usually happens 3 years after the first divorce. Divorce happens in America 100 times each hour every day. That is incredible. Because again when I was a kid, there was not much divorce.
Does this all of this give you a sense of urgency, brethren, when it comes to your relationship with God? Does it make you urgent about prayer, Bible study every day, and getting to know the brethren, and really loving them and living the kind of life God wants us to? Since Mr. Trump has become the president, the economy has improved tremendously. And, at the same time, the greater churches of God have become very comfortable, I feel. Now again, this is my perception. They now seem to take a lot more liberties with God's laws. And that is what I see in Portland, because I get together with brethren with United, COGWA, and others because I have known all these people for years and have gone to church with them.
Let us turn to Revelation 3, because this is what God says to the church in Laodicea,
Revelation 3:14-16 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.’ ”
The churches are scattered everywhere. Do you not think that has already occurred? We have been spewed out of God's mouth already. He is trying to get our attention, brethren. Continuing to verse 17:
Revelation 3:17 “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”
When I read these verses, I think about the words in verse 17, "miserable, poor, and blind." I have to come to the conclusion—in my crazy mind, okay—that the Laodicean attitude is now the predominant attitude within the greater churches of God today. And again, that is just me talking, it is what I perceive, brethren.
Think about the church now in reference to the end of the age. First off, the ministry is growing old. That is a fact. In Portland, the United Church of God has 5 ministers now in one church, because 4 of them are retired. The men are getting old, two of them are sick. I know these men. They could not take care of a church if they had to. They all had churches of their own just a few years ago. Three more ministers in the Northwest have died in the last couple of years that I know. Two more ministers I know, Mr. Chuck Zimmerman, maybe some of you know him, and Mr. Glen White, have also retired in the last year or so. Mr. Rod Meredith, the leader of the Living Church of God, has died.
All of God's churches are losing members, brethren, due to death. We just heard of one today, and I hope you are all praying for the Lamond's. The falling away of our kids as they grow up and they get older, they leave. I have been in so many church areas where there are no young people in there at all. They are all "old goats," they look like me. Nobody young in there. Most congregations are full of old people, so in my mind, if we are not living at the end of the age, God is going to have to raise up a whole new crop of ministers and a whole new crop of people too. And the reason I say that is that the gates of Hell will never prevail against God's church. So, something has got to give. You know, look around in here. we have got a lot of old people here.
I want to give you one more statistic because everything seems to be going in the wrong direction, except maybe the economy in this country. The new drug for addicts is opioids. Opioids killed 62 people per year 10 to 15 years ago. In 2017, listen to this number, these drugs killed 72,000 people! Is the country headed in the right direction? 72,000 people, and that is 1,500 people per week. How crazy is that? God says that men's minds would be only evil continually at the end of the age.
Genesis 6:5: The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was on evil continually.
If you read chapter 6, then you know that this is talking about the time that Noah lived in. So, let us move forward to Luke 17, verse 26.
Luke 17:26 “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.”
I do not know if we are all the way there yet, brethren, but we are moving in that direction quickly.
Think about what God says is an abomination. Everything I said was my thinking. Now we are going to look at God's thinking. What is an abomination to God? First off, idolatry is an abomination to God. And we will turn to Deuteronomy 32.
Deuteronomy 32:16-17 "They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear.”
I know that we kind of look at the Christian churches of this world, and we think, yeah, they are Christian. No, they are not. They are an abomination to God, brethren. They do not keep the Sabbath, and there are so many things they do not do that is right. It is an abomination to God. I know we do not like to hear some of these things, but it is the truth.
Unjust weights and measures, cheating someone or taking advantage of someone is an abomination to God. What did my son's boss want to do? He wanted to take advantage of somebody.
Proverbs 11:1 Dishonest scales an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.
We should be honest in everything that we do. How much of this goes on day in and day out? If you and I are not careful now in our dealings, you will be cheated. It happens all the time. We always have to be on guard.
Uncleanness is an abomination to God, and so is sodomy. Please turn to Leviticus 18.
Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
When I was a kid, we did not even think like that. I did not know anybody that was doing that. My youngest daughter is now a principal of a school. She has a homosexual working in her school and she loves my daughter, and she is a woman. I told her to be careful. She worked with two homosexuals in the last school she worked at. Now, this is commonplace all over Israel, not only in America but in all the Israelitish nations. You know where I live in Portland, that is called the homosexual capital of the world. We have a gay parade and we have a naked bike ride. Good stuff. I have not been to either one.
Incest is also an abomination to God. The whole chapter of Leviticus 18 is talking about incest and uncleanness. We will just read 3 verses to get a flavor of this chapter. We are going to read Leviticus 18:6, Leviticus 18:23, and Leviticus 18:29.
Leviticus 18:6 ‘None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD.’
Leviticus 18:23 ‘Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before a beast to mate with it. It is perversion.’
Leviticus 18:29 ‘For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.’
Knowing so much of what is going on now should give you and me a real urgency about our calling. We are special to God. We have heard it already at this Feast. But, do we have an urgency about our calling? We should be urgent about daily prayer, Bible study, and all of it, brethren.
Adultery is also an abomination. And this is very commonplace now. I could tell you story after story about people that I know that are not in the church, and I will not go into it, but it is very common. I cannot even tell you all the people that I know that have been involved in it, lots of people.
How long will God allow these things to go on? Could we be living at the end of the age? I do not know. You make the judgment.
Leviticus 18:20 ‘Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, to defile yourself with her.’
Sorcery and necromancy is also an abomination.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do those things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.
And you know what, we think these things do not go on. When I owned my heating business, the gas company sent me out to the king of the gypsies, George. Nice guy, and I made a lot of money off of him because I got to put in a furnace for him, and he was the king so he sent me to all the other gypsies and I got to put in furnaces for a number of them. But you know what? They wanted to read my palm, and I looked at it, it does not say anything. But they wanted to read my palm, they wanted to do the Ouija board thing with me, so I would take money off their bill. I told them, "I’m barely making it, guys, I need cash. I don’t want to do those things, you know?" But this stuff goes on, and there is a pretty big population of gypsies in Portland and they make money doing these type of things.
Getting mixed up with a prostitute is also an abomination. Now I worked with a guy in the sheet metal trade, he was a pimp and he had 5 girls that worked for him on the side, him and his brother. And he worked with me for quite a while, and he was always telling me, "C'mon Kim, I can get you a really good deal. You want to participate in this?" And I said, "No, I'm married, I'm good, you know." But these things go on all the time. We have a street in Portland that is known for prostitution, but I think that most of the big cities have that.
Most of what I just talked about are sexual abominations. The question is, how bad does all of these things have to get before God sends Christ back to the earth to set things right? That is the question! So how close are we, brethren? How close are we to the false prophet coming on the scene, the Two Witnesses, the Beast rising? I do not know.
These are all abominations that God hates. And there are 7 more I want to read to you because they are not sexual abominations. These 7 things are also abominations: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imagination, feet that are swift to mischief, and a false witness that spreads lies. Now think about those six things and think about the U.S. government. Do not even think about the whole country, just think about the government with the six abominations that I just read. Think about that. A false witness that speaks lies. Just that one. A lying tongue. They lie to us constantly. And number 7, which has to do with us: He that sows discord among brethren. That is something for us to think about.
Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
This is now as common as the day is long. What is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right, and we justify it all. That is what we do in this country. All of these things that I just went over, plus many more, are why I feel we are living at the end of the age. Things have changed tremendously since I was a kid. People for the most part were more moral than they are now, they really were.
There was no political correctness then. Our government was not constantly at war with one another. Turn on the news, you do not get news. You get the government fighting. You get the Democrats against the Republicans, and back and forth it goes. We still had Democrats and Republicans when I was a kid, but they tried to do what was good for the country, for the most part. Not now. Now it is all about their agenda. And we are 22 trillion upside down.
I never saw anyone begging on the street corners, and I really did not know what homosexual meant when I was a kid. None of the kids I knew and went to school with were entitled, and we all worked. Most of us had early release from school because we had jobs. I used to get out of school at 1 o'clock. I always had a job from 10th grade on. Cancer was not the issue as it is today, and it seems like everyone you talk to now had cancer or knows somebody who had it.
When I was a kid, if you said gluten, we would not have known what you were talking about. We did not know what that was. And we did not about Monsanto and what they are doing to our food supply. Now tons of people have gluten problems, including me. Monsanto is not our friend. (Charles Whitaker mentioned that.)
On top of all this, we have a huge drug problem in this country, with opioids killing 1,500 people, and mostly young people, per week. There was not much divorce in my neighborhood when I was a kid. My neighborhood now is 30 homes. I live on a circle. And I do not know how many divorces are there. One couple just moved in down the street, lived there for a year, got a divorce, and went their way. When I was a kid I lived in a neighborhood of 250 homes, and I only knew of one divorce before I moved out when I was 18.
Then there is the church, the ministry is growing old, our young people, or at least quite a few of them, leave the church when they come of age, and all the greater churches of God are slowly shrinking. So take all these things into account, brethren.
I am going to tell you something else. You know, I talked about drugs, and this will be hard to believe. I graduated in 1965. The population of the school was 1,500 and it was kind of a rough school. Being a rough school you might think there would be some drugs there. I only knew 2 kids that did drugs, two kids in my class, two boys. And you know what their drug was? Airplane glue! And we called them drug addicts. They sniffed glue. Not marijuana or anything like that, or heroin.
But 2 years later, the Vietnam War was ramping up and a lot of soldiers were coming home, drugs went crazy. And I mean crazy, just two years later. And today in Oregon City, population of 20,000, there are seven pot shops. Everybody has got to be taking pot. There are 7 of them, and they are all making money in a population of 20,000 people. I just heard, and I do not know if it is going to happen, but the government is going to try in the next year or so to legalize marijuana in all 50 states. So it is probably coming because the West Coast is already legalized and doing what they do.
Then there are all the abominations that we went through that God hates. The things that God hates are now very commonplace in America. So with all of this going on, do you not think that we might be living at the end of the age? Maybe. Maybe you think what I think, I do not know. Do you not think though that we should have an urgency, if nothing else, about God and about our calling? We all know what God expects of us, but are we urgent about it, brethren?
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
We have to be on guard of drifting away from the church and God's way of life, as the world gets farther and farther away from God, because it has an effect on us, brethren. What God is telling us here is that we should pay careful attention to our calling, and that we should have an urgency about God and overcoming and making changes in our life.
David Grabbe's sermon on the Feast of Trumpets should have really pricked our consciences. It pricked mine, and I thank you for it, Dave. It should have given us a little urgency in what we are involved in and what we are doing.
Let us look at a few more scriptures and consider what God says with what we now see going on in the country. I know it can get much worse, and I understand that things could get better too. I understand that. Let us turn to Deuteronomy 28. John Ritenbaugh was talking about some of this.
Deuteronomy 28:43-45 “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you.”
Think of the sickness in the country when you read that. We were not that sick when I was a kid. Let us turn to Isaiah 1.
Isaiah 1:3-6: The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider. [And, that goes for us brethren in the church, we do not consider sometimes what is going on in this country now] Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment.
I said we are living in a bizarre world, and we are. Let us turn to Isaiah 5:20. I just want to go through these scriptures, brethren, to see what God says and put that in perspective in what is now going on in America and in the world.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
You and I should not be fooled or lulled to sleep just because the economy is good. Things can change very quickly. We should have a real urgency about God and about God's way of life. Let us turn to Galatians 6. This will be the last scripture I am going to read. It says,
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man [or a country] sows, that he will also reap.
I added country into that. But do you know what? All that I just said does not matter. It does not matter at all. If you do not agree with me and you think that we have 100 more years to go before Christ returns, that is fine. It does not make any difference. Throw everything I said out the window. You know why I say that? Because there is something else that should give us such an urgency, an unbelievable urgency! And do you know what that is? Nobody in here knows, not one of you know. Not any of you young kids, not any of us old people.
What is the date of your death? When are you going to die? Are you going to die March 13th of 2020? Is that your day? Or is it June 20th, 2022? Or November 16th, 2025? If you do not know, brethren, and what we are involved in, we should have an urgency. We could die unexpectedly tomorrow. I know you young kids think you are going to live forever. I thought that too. Now I look in the mirror, I know it is not happening!
We should have a real urgency about us. What we are involved in is so unbelievable, it is unbelievable. It is just unbelievable! What is going on in this country is unbelievable, brethren. You know, when you have lived as long as I have, and you experienced the things that I experienced when I was a kid and you see what is going on now, you know that things are not right, they are really wrong.
So again, how long before the end of the age? Or, are we living in the end of the age? I do not know, but we need to have a real urgency about our calling and what we are involved in.