November 22, 2019 Brethren Letter
Likely, we’ve all known people from the past we thought were “spiritual POWERHOUSES.” These people seemed unwavering in their beliefs. They defended the TRUTH of God and seemed willing to fight (spiritually) unto the death. Some were elders, others were deacons or even lay-members. Yet today, some of these same individuals no longer believe what they once steadfastly upheld.
While we don’t sit in condemning judgment of anyone, clearly there’s only one TRUTH (from God’s perspective), not several different versions of TRUTH. “…because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (II Thessalonians 2:10-11).
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:9-10).
The prophet Malachi foretold of a time when some of God’s people would grow weary and lose spiritual focus (Malachi 3:14-15), yet others would retain their vision and keep the faith (verses 16-17).
(14) You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the LORD of hosts? (15) So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’ “
(16) Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. (17) “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
(18) Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:14-18).
We should want to be one of God’s “JEWELS” (His special treasures). The only way that will happen is to continue to serve Him LOYALLY and FAITHFULLY! “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62).
Mr. Armstrong wrote the following excerpt taken from a “Brethren, Co-Worker” letter dated October 23, 1978. He has some excellent points on which to meditate.
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 TAKES 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!
Brethren, we’re getting ever closer to the end of the “race,” and God wants each of us to be among the “called, chosen and faithful.” These three words aren’t OPTIONAL, they’re SPIRITUAL REQUIREMENTS if we expect to be with Christ at His return. “…for He [Christ] is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). God’s KINGDOM is well worth it!
Have a good Sabbath everyone!
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,