These past seven years have been great days. They have been memorial days, not only historically, but also in fulfillment of Bible Prophecies. This makes our work official, just as much so as that of those in the New Testament. For we, as well as others, are under the Blood of the New Testament.
It is now as it was in the days of the pioneer Paul. Let us quote his words, which he, no doubt, spoke at a time in which he was thinking over the great sufferings and sacrifices being made at that particular time. Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Since God already points out in His Word that the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former and that at the end the vision shall speak, I am persuaded to believe as the Scriptures that the great suffering of the revelation of the pattern will not be worthy to compare to the future glory that shall be revealed in what we are preparing in this twentieth century as we approach the end.
Everything must have its beginning. The Scripture has said in the Book of Zechariah, "...who hath despised the day of small things?" It is true. We confess that we are small. When we started, we were very small, indeed. It is true that quite a few hundred made a stand with us in 1957; however, the organized body was form with about three hundred. I knew this was a small number, but I was also persuaded of God to believe that He takes the small things, the weak things, and those which have little strength to confound the mighty, to put to naught the prudent and to bring down the learned of this world.
It was said of Jesus in the writing of Hebrews 12:2, '...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' There was a reason for his saying that; it was because of the joy that was set before Him. It simply means that -- that which is to come and that which He shall inherit at the appointed time of the Scriptures when He shall reign and be King of Kings and Lord of Lords in this present world is the joy set before Him. Yet, His beginning in this world was small. The beginning of every Reformation of the Bible and they number many was little. They were sometimes so small that no one would think that to make such an attempt to stand for right in the face of the mass multitudes of people would be insanity; but, let us read the Words of God written by the prophet of old in Zechariah 4:10, 'For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerrubabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.'
Pioneers never have it easy! They are always pioneering for others to have it easier. From the Books of the Bible, the great sufferers, martyrs, and heroes of the Bible were the pioneers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church. The early twelve in their beginning became very much disturbed because of their great sacrifices and could not see the results they brought about. Let us take a look in a visual picture at Jesus as He led twelve men out to make an attack on all the religions of the earth and to attempt to reform a devout nation as large as Israel. This time it was called The Church of God and put Him in the eyes of the people as insane. He was called an old babbler, a man who was crazy and did not know what He was doing. In fact, they said He had Beelzebub. At this point of Reformation, the world, the religions, and Jesus' own friends came down from Jerusalem to try to halt Him from such an attempt, but He knew in whom He was trusting. It was His Father's Words He was putting into operation, and He had no fear but that it would work.
Even His twelve at times became disturbed and they could not see the reasons for the sacrifices, or why they should be on the mercies of the public, making their beds on the hillsides and having to get much of their food by miracles. The Scripture points out that at many times, they had no money at all. To the flesh, this sometimes gets old and weary. But, let us read the Words of Jesus, spoken to a small group of pioneers. Matthew 19:27-29, 'Then answered Peter and said unto him. Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee: what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration (reformation) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.'
Let us take the example of a great Bible pioneer, a man who, at the time of his conversion, was of the highest standards in the city and held a very high office. In fact, he was the deputy of religion of his country. Paul, the apostle, no doubt had wealth, was highly educated, and held degrees; but, he was called upon by Jesus Christ at a time when he was vile, blood thirsty, and cared not for Christians (or Christians as we call them today). Here are the words Jesus spoke to Ananias in his vision, Jesus said, '...I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.' Paul was not only sent to Israel, but the charge was given him, and he was also chosen as a pioneer light to the Gentiles. In spite of this society in which he lived for many years, he switched over to The Church of God pioneering. Let us read his testimony in II Corinthians 11:27-27, 'I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is hold, (I speak foolishly), I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.'
Of course, this is the test of a pioneer. If one would check very closely, he would see the other pioneers in the Scriptures who were along with Paul in sufferings. He named almost all the distresses of his career in pioneering The Church of God among the Gentiles. Much more could be said that Paul stated in other writings concerning his sufferings, but this will cover it.
PIONEERS FOR THE LAST DAYS CHURCH OF GOD will bring it again in the fulfillment of Galatians 4:19, 'My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.' I do not think there is a disputer who can truthfully say that the Church had been completely reformed since the first century, with all of its divine practices that would bring it back to the form of Jesus, until 1957. We, The Church of God, with headquarters at Jerusalem Acres, determined to take our approximate 300 and pioneer the Church in a Reformation to rebuild it again according to the ninth chapter of Amos and the fifteenth chapter of Acts of the Apostles. James prophesied the prophecy of Amos that The Church of God would be rebuilt as it was in the early days, but at this time it would all be Gentiles who would rebuild it.
This is what happened to the church in Galatia locally. It ceased to practice its formation of helps, governments, and offices. Paul said to the Galatians on one occasion, 'O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you (persuaded you to change your formation), that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?'
This is what happened to the Early Church. It was sealed and doomed for centuries by the act of the Early Church's being led into Catholicism and becoming an organization of the Roman Empire, whose laws were political. They compelled the Church to use the laws of the state instead of the laws of God's divine Word. Of course, this was to escape the persecution.
In the 14th chapter of St. John, the disciples were very much confused over the fact that Jesus was going to be taken away from them. This seemed to upset their entire career was him. Having their minds made up in their own understanding, they could not understand His shattering words. This is what we must understand. It makes no difference about our understanding of that which we think to be practical or logical, for we might believe something would work better our way, but it must go according to the Word of God. Nothing under the sun can prohibit it. It is like the sun that arises in the morning and sets in the evening, who can prohibit it? This, the Word of God, is written, and it shall come to pass. Who can, or would, attempt to work against it when it is coming to pass?
Let us consider the sacrifices that we have made for the glory of the last days' Church, even though we have never seen that glory. We now have disappointments, heartaches, financial distresses, false groups, and men who enter among us to spy out our liberty and who leave us to start their own organization. There are men who take our writings and change them just a little; they change the formation of God's Word and think that the way they fix it will work even though there is just a little change.
But, the old patriarch, Elijah, said to God when he built the altar, '...it is according to Thy Word!' The Apostle Peter, a fisherman, once stated, 'there are no fish here, but at Thy word'! Many of the other prophets and men of God declared similar words, 'according to thy word of God'. This is what we started out to do in 1957. Ignoring the doctrine of every organization on the face of the earth that was mixed and entangled with Catholicism and Paganism, and dismissing them from our ranks, we set the Word back in order in the exact pattern of the first century church, set in order by Jesus Christ and spread to the Gentiles by the Apostle Paul.
Do we mind this suffering or hunger? Many of us have gone hungry, been ragged and naked, and sometimes have had to share our clothes with one another. We have met at one another's houses and shared our bread. We have shared each other's automobile. In these seven years of Reformation, I believe I can truthfully say, and this witness, that many of us were as the Early Church in pioneering -- the things which we possessed, we did not call our won. They were ours. Those who worked shared their money. Even after they had paid their tithes and had given offerings, some still divided their money so that others could have a little money for the necessities that could only be had by obtaining money.
We went through the cold, riding the highways, and many hitchhiked. We were mocked and made fun of by many of our own equal, supposedly, in other denominations. They had evil things to say about us and called our names out as heretics, thieves, bums, and scrapings of the earth. We were titled one time in a history book as a 'splinter' chipped off the Church of God of Prophecy. Truly, we confess to be that splinter. I am proud to bear this name, 'splinter', for it truly shows what God can do with just a small thing. If it is according to His Word. We are the Reformation Splinter, which in these seven years has grown from approximately 300 to 30,000 strong. Our published message is going throughout the world steadily among 40 countries and has been published to all nations of the earth.
So our sufferings are not in vain. What will the next seven years bring forth? If 300 faithful pioneers have done this, what will these do in the next seven years? Will you be able to see Zechariah's men wondered at on the even of the return of our Lord? Men of wonder--they are now in the land.
The sufferings of this present time, as we look at the joy set before us, gives us hope and courage of that great inheritance with Jesus among those who are sanctified and who shall rule the world 1,000 years. With this in mind, let us quote in conclusion, Romans 8:38-39, 'For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor height, not depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' This Scripture is our motto! We in The Church of God march on!
* Article Written By: The Late Grady R. Kent, St. John II, Chief Bishop of The Church of God, 1957-1964. This sermon was taken from The Vision Speaks, Volume 7 : Number 9 : March 1964.
All grammatical and typographical errors have been corrected except for direct quotations from the Author. Thought content of said article has not been changed.
We Are The Pioneers Of Reformation