Letter to the Brethren – May 15, 2014
Dear Brethren and Friends,
What lies ahead for US in the Work of God?
Through prophecy given by God, we know that events taking place RIGHT NOW are “signs” of the end of this age and Satan’s deceptive rule over mankind. We also know the Bible reveals many detailed occurrences which have NOT YET taken place—but that they are at hand and on the way!
Beyond the key prophecies about end-time world events, the Word of God also addresses the Church during the tumultuous future that is coming.
When Jesus was asked about His return and when that would occur, His response was directed to His disciples—“‘the elect’” (Matthew 24:22). He gave specific instructions for Christians:
“‘Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is’” (Mark 13:33); “‘And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!’” (Mark 13:37); and, from Matthew’s account, we are told, “‘Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect’” (Matthew 24:44).
To whom are these admonitions being given? Who really understands how to apply what Jesus said? This is knowledge for the Church of God, and Jesus addresses converted men and women in order for us to be prepared. Jesus knew that His Church would be sustained throughout the centuries and still exist when He returns. The Work which He started would be continued and finished. His commission guides our activities now, and it will, as well, in the future:
“‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come’” (Matthew 24:14).
To all of the churches addressed in the second and third chapters of Revelation, Jesus said, “‘I know your works’”—telling some to “‘repent’” while others were to “‘be faithful’” and “‘hold fast.’” Also, all were told that “‘He who overcomes…’” are the ones who would find eternal life in the Family of God.
Will we really take this instruction to heart? Jesus—understanding exactly what His people would face—said, “‘But he who endures to the end shall be saved’” (Matthew 24:13).
Following the prophetic revelations given by Jesus in Matthew 24, He then presents parables aimed directly at how His servants should be conducting themselves. You might want to carefully review Matthew 24:45-51 and all of chapter 25 in this regard.
As we face the future, we can do so with understanding, because God has revealed the truth to us (compare John 8:32), and we know that Jesus Christ is leading us:
“‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand’” (John 10:27-29).
The apostle Paul was called by God to preach the gospel, and the story of his life is recorded for us. In fulfilling the Work of God given to him, he faced tremendous difficulties (compare 2 Corinthians 11:22-33). This is what he wrote to Timothy:
“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:10-12).
Paul looked forward with total reliance in God:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).
We, like Jesus Christ and all the faithful men and women before us, have been chosen to have a part in the Work of God. That Work continues, and in the months and years directly ahead, our faith will be tested! Knowing this, we must become READY! Now is the time to draw close to God—PRAYING earnestly for God’s strength.
Brethren, thank you for your dedicated participation in the Work of God!
In Christ’s Service,