Letter to the Brethren – July 11, 2005
Dear Brethren and Friends,
In the middle of the year 2005, this world is mired in seemingly hopeless turmoil! We have just witnessed another unspeakable terror atrocity, this time, in the city of London, England. Innocent people were literally blown apart, while others were maimed to become cripples for the rest of their lives! Add to that the incomprehensible suffering of humans all over the earth who find themselves living desperate lives in the most bleak of circumstances.
Not a happy picture, not at all.
But there is real hope for the future of this world, and we who have answered God’s calling and have remained faithful know that a new age of global peace will be established. World events when laid alongside Biblical prophecies show that this time is near, even at the door! We report these significant occurrences each week in the Church’s weekly Update. We publish comprehensive booklets and record in-depth sermons, both explaining and warning about the times in which we live. We are bringing the good news that God will soon send Jesus Christ back to this earth to end violence, suffering and war and to establish unending peace! Our website at www.eternalgod.org along with the video presentation at www.standingwatch.org can now be reached by anyone with computer access anywhere in the world! We know these things with certainty! But what more can we now do? What responsibility do we bear both individually and as a part of the Church of God, described in the Bible as the very body of Jesus Christ: “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27)?
The inescapable answer for us is that we must, first of all, continue to remain faithful. Jesus puts it this way: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). He adds this instruction in His teaching: “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (verse 46). As Christ so plainly requires of each and every member of God’s Church, are we doing this in a personal and in a collective way? Are we faithful in our generation? Sadly, over the last fifteen or twenty years, more have left than have remained faithful! Even among those who have endured great trials over the last several decades, some still are stumbling in their faith, and some no longer are willing to pay the price required to endure to the end!
However, our calling is much greater than our own personal rewards. We also bear a responsibility to our brethren and to the world in which we now live. Here is how Jesus instructed those entrusted to be a part of the Church, and it applies now, as well: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). That love is the same love that originates and emanates from God through His Holy Spirit. Consider how complete and committed God’s love is: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The world not only does not comprehend this statement and promise from God, but their minds are simply closed to its reality at this time. You see, we face the joyous task of bringing this good news, the ìGospel of the Kingdom of God, to a world now entrenched in opposition to God’s ultimate purpose: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4). The “god of this age” is Satan, who is an incorrigibly corrupt spirit being seeking to destroy mankind. Here is how he now presents his rule: “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). We understand that Satan, along with his demonic hordes, will rule until the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on this earth (Compare Revelation 20). Just as Satan continually tried to tempt and destroy Jesus Christ, so he now seeks to destroy, in particular, the people of God: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Then note our admonition in verse 9: “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
Satan pretty much has his way with this world, but the faithful followers of Christ are an irritation and an obstacle for him. Our job, our responsibility, is to be “steadfast in the faith” that is, we are to endure. To be able to do this, we must follow the pattern established for us. Even in the first generation of God’s Church, some did not endure, and we find this warning: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. For He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). Paul made a statement almost two-thousand years ago that is so absolutely timely and applicable right NOW: “…it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
Again, the personal question arises, are we reaching our point of compromise in our calling? Is Satan “devouring” us? Is it in zeal, that is, are we faithfully meeting with God’s people and contributing to the soundness of Christ’s body and the vibrant work He is accomplishing, right now? Are we already planning for the Holy Days this fall, or will that be another last-minute after-thought? Do we harbor hurt feelings carefully nourishing wrong attitudes, rather than following a path of repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation?
Brethren of Christ, when we become side-tracked with personal issues that actually amount to walking contrary to our calling, we not only damage our own growth and future, but the effectiveness of the work of God, the ongoing work given by Him through Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus Christ lives, and He is the living, administrative Head of the Church of God! Each of us shares a part in the great calling we have been given. We are to zealously proclaim the gospel of the kingdom as a witness to the entire world (Compare Matthew 24:14). However, this world will not accept us or the message we bring. Matthew 24, verse 9, states that we will actually be hated by all nations, because we proclaim the same truth delivered by Jesus. Nevertheless, we are to, “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). The people of God are to be watchmen, to proclaim God’s message as a witness in this age: “Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!'” (Jeremiah 6:17). Jesus warned His disciples, especially those alive at the time of His return, to watch and to be ready! (Compare Matthew 24:42, 44; 25:13). Know and believe that God’s Church proclaims this truth from God! Also, understand that this message from God is destined to grow mightily in the coming months and years,a message that indeed stands in profound opposition to the nations who are now blinded through deception and who follow Satan’s rule.
Our job does not end in proclaiming this warning. We have been called to rule the nations under Jesus Christ. Read the messages to the Churches as found in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. Also, Peter reveals this about the called, chosen and faithful of God: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
God is still calling people out of this world into ìHis marvelous light.î He uses the work of His Church and the dedication of His people to help accomplish this. People are being converted. Their lives have immeasurably changed, the kind of change that all of mankind must eventually undergo in order to bring about the harmonious peace that characterizes God’s government. Jesus says of the work that is before us: ..”The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). This Scripture does not say anything at all about the harvest being over! Rather, Jesus identifies an issue that is as true now as it was then, there needed to be more people involved in the work! We find this additional explanation in John 4:35: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” Some think that the work of the Church in going to the world as a witness is over! That dangerous way of thinking does not find support in the words of Jesus Christ! Also, consider the very next verse in John 4: “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life” (verse 36). Who among us wants to stop receiving these kinds of wages or gathering this kind of fruit?
Brethren, continue to pray for those things we are told to pray for more laborers for the harvest. Pray for open doors to powerfully teach God’s way and to proclaim His message of hope. Pray that God will use all of us as His ambassadors of the Christian way, asking for the help we need to become lights in a world of darkness. We have a message of hope for a world that knows none. Troubles are upon us, and greater trials are ahead for this age. Yet, the sure and certain promise of God stands, it is a message for each of us; it is a message for all of mankind:
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away'” (Revelation 21:3-4).
In Christ’s Service,
David J. Harris