November 15, 2019 Brethren Letter
…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!
The above paragraph was written by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in a letter to the brethren dated October 25, 1985. Being human, it’s easy to get bogged down in our everyday living. It seems like the first day of the week (Sunday), just gets started and almost before you know it, the Sabbath is here. What was accomplished SPIRITUALLY this week? Did we ease off and rest on our laurels, or did God’s Holy Spirit grow stronger within us?
Most people in God’s Church are very familiar with the words “Laodiceans and “lukewarmness.”
(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) (NKJV).
No person would ever set out to become a “Laodicean.” Yet the Bible is very clear that spiritual “lukewarmness” would be a prevailing characteristic of the Church of God prior to Christ’s return. None of us should ever think that becoming lukewarm only happens to the OTHER person. It WILL happen to ANYONE who begins to neglect his or her prayer and Bible study. It’s INEVITABLE! Don’t think it isn’t!
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).
Below is a paragraph taken from one of Mr. Armstrong’s letters dated September, 1948. These words are just as pertinent now, as we’re even CLOSER to the return of Jesus Christ! We should take 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.
Do those words describe you or me? If they do, it’s time to change our spiritual direction! In Matthew 25 we see what is known as the parable of the “Ten Virgins.” This parable points to a severely weakened spiritual condition prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
“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.
Brethren, NOW is the time to prepare for Christ’s return – NOT TOMORROW! We cannot ease off and rest on our laurels. A fabulous reward is promised. It’s just ahead!
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,