December 31, 2021
Tonight, I am sending part of a “Brethren, Co-Worker” letter written by Mr. Armstrong on October 23, 1978. Mr. Armstrong reminded us about keeping our eyes fastened on Christ as we approach the “HOME STRETCH”, spiritually.
Christ is preparing His Church, NOW! “that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27).
No matter what time of the year we are in we must maintain our spiritual momentum and never let-down for one minute! “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1).
Please have a good night’s rest, everyone! Keep your eyes fixed on the GOAL, and remain LOYAL and FAITHFUL to God always (Revelation 17:14)!
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,
Here are some excerpts from Mr. Armstrong’s letter of 1978:
We’re OFF TO AN INSPIRED, AROUSED NEW START! Let’s now INCREASE our dedication and deep devotion. GOD’S WORK is FAR FROM FINISHED!
The race is not over! But we are now coming in on the HOME STRETCH!
Do not forget that Satan knows this better than we do. It means, to him, that his time is now short. He will AROUSE HIMSELF TO INTENSIFIED GREAT WRATH — AGAINST GOD’S CHURCH — knowing his time is now short. One speaker mentioned today, that while God’s Wrath is against SIN, God has only LOVE for the sinner — but, don’t forget that Satan LOVES SIN, and HATES WITH WHITE-HOT HEAT GOD’S PEOPLE REDEEMED FROM SIN!
The road ahead WILL NOT BE EASY!
When I was a youth in high school I ran the mile, in track. I learned what a RACE really is. Starting out there is a struggle for good position among the other runners. Then it becomes very difficult — one feels almost exhausted, until he gets his “second wind.” It continues to be a struggle, but through the middle of the race he can keep going very well — though it is not easy. But the REAL CHALLENGE is coming in on the HOME STRETCH. That’s when the race becomes most difficult — your strength almost gone — now running on sheer DESPERATE DETERMINATION — the competitor trying to surge ahead of you — you simply have to put into it your last ounce of strength and DETERMINATION to not falter but instead to pick up speed, until you cross the tape.
The Apostle Paul used such a race as a comparison to OUR RACE AGAINST SATAN coming in on the home stretch.
“Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross …” (Heb. 12:1-2).
WHAT A LESSON FOR US, RIGHT NOW, in those two verses! Coming in on the home stretch, let us jettison — cast off — all excess weights that might slow us down — or sins which would rob us of the patience to continue — and, with our minds fastened on Jesus, remember that as HE came in on the “home stretch” of His earthly ministry, ENDURED THE CROSS. A runner in a mile race has to ENDURE exhaustion, pain, temptation to give up and quit, and PRESS ON. Jesus endured the cross and the shame of it before human eyes — for at the FINISH LINE was JOY, and He did sit down with God on the heavenly throne. That PRIZE was worth running for!
We have THE SAME PRIZE awaiting us. We shall, when we win, sit down with Christ on His throne! Let us not give up, and HAVE RUN THUS FAR IN VAIN (see Phil. 2:16).
So, from here on in, let us fasten our eyes on JESUS CHRIST — and on the ultimate GOAL, or finishing line. We are running for the GREATEST STAKES in the UNIVERSE! Remember God’s way is LOVE — the GIVING WAY, while Satan’s way is “GETTING.”
Let’s rededicate our lives to GIVING of ourselves! ONLY ONE THING MATTERS from here on in! Lay aside the worldly interests, the pleasures of this life — jettison all those off — and keep our eyes on the ONE GOAL!