July 17, 2015

Dear Brethren,

…we cannot now ease off and rest on our laurels. We cannot let down. We must gather momentum and dedicated energy in correcting ourselves, overcoming, devoting ourselves to increasingly fervent PRAYERS — praying that God will show us our weaknesses and sins, give us a deep spirit of repentance, continually praying… praying for one another, praying prevailingly for deliverance from Satan and his attacks on the Church and on us individually — for Satan is now stirred to white-hot WRATH against us! He knows, far better than we, that he now has but a short time until our Glorified Christ returns to DETHRONE HIM, AND TO RULE, WITH US! — October 25, 1985 Brethren, Co-Worker Letter

Being human, it’s easy to get bogged down with everyday life. It seems the week begins and before you know it, the Sabbath is here. The question is, what did you accomplish SPIRITUALLY this past week? Were you on your knees praying and studying more, or did you ease off and lose some spiritual ground?

Most of God’s people are familiar with the word “Laodiceans.

(14)  “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:
(15)  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
(16)  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth (Revelation 3:14-16).

Obviously, no right-thinking person would set out to become a “Laodicean.” Yet, the Bible clearly shows that spiritual “lukewarmness” is the prevailing characteristic of an entire group of people just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. None of us should think for a moment that becoming “lukewarm” only happens to the OTHER person. It WILL happen to ANYONE of us who slacks off spiritually, and neglects having contact with God!

18)  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
(19)  and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Mark 4:18-19).

Here is a paragraph taken from one of Mr. Armstrong’s letters dated September, 1948. These words are just as pertinent today. We should be taking heed.

…Thru the year some thru the cares of this world grow lukewarm spiritually.  We drift away a little from God.  We grow spiritually careless.  We do not pray as often or as much, or as earnestly as we should.  We are not as close to God as we ought to be. 

Matthew 25 contains the parable of the “Ten Virgins.” This parable points to a severely weakened spiritual condition existing just prior to Christ’s return.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
(2)  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
(3)  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
(4)  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
(5)  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
(6)  And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
(7)  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
(8)  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
(9)  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
(10)  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
(11)  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
(12)  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you’.

(13)  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming (Matthew 25:1-13).

 

Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote about those verses in a letter dated January 20, 1981:

Finally, what of the Laodicean era of God’s Church? Remember, it, too, is GOD’s Church — having the commandments of God and Testimony or Word of Jesus (Revelation 12:17). 

But that era of the Church is pictured in Matthew 25. Matthew 24 shows the sign Jesus gave prior to his coming to end the present world order, and the Great Tribulation, Day of the Lord and Second Coming. 

Matthew 25 shows the time just before Christ shall return. It pictures the Laodicean Church as 10 virgins who took their lamps (their Bibles) and went forth to meet Christ at His coming. But five of them — half of the Church — took their lamps (Bibles) but without oil to light the lamps (having the Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds to UNDERSTAND the Bible). Some translations render this into English indicating they were losing the Holy Spirit, because of negligence, lack of prayer, fellowship with the brethren and with God and Christ and being overcome with materialistic and worldly interest. Are some of us like that, even now? 

While they — the backsliding half of the Church — were trying to get back closer to God, the coming of Christ shall take place, and the door into God’s Kingdom will be SHUT in their faces! WHAT A TERRIBLE AND AWFUL TRAGEDY! It could happen to you or me.

 

Again brethren, NOW is the time to prepare for Christ’s return – NOT TOMORROW, not the NEXT DAY, but NOW! A fabulous reward is promised. It’s just ahead!

 

Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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