Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, January 2014

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

January 15, 2014

Dear Brethren,

After all the recent messages I've given on prophecy—coupled with the new booklet Why "Christianity" Has Failed In America, which details the demise of today's nominal Christianity—I was reminded of a sermon I heard over 40 years ago. At that time I was pastoring two large churches in the Los Angeles area—Torrance and Santa Monica. A guest minister from the organization's headquarters came down to Torrance one Sabbath and gave a bombastic sermon entitled, "Fourteen Reasons Your Prayers are not Answered!" After he was done, there was an eerie, dead silence in the congregation; we all felt like we had been verbally beaten down to nothing and that our prayers would never be answered. Then, on the way home, as Dolores and I were discussing the sermon, the thought suddenly occurred to me: "Why didn't he give us at least one way our prayers could be answered? Why not give us that little bit of hope?"

Without question, we are living in the end times—lawlessness and wickedness are being multiplied as society is rapidly deteriorating morally, economically and politically. The whole world seems to be collapsing! We are also confronted with various trials and difficulties in our personal lives. And some brethren are weighted down with troubles and conflicts in some of the churches of God. This brings up the question: How can we have our prayersanswered and have hope in these difficult and trying days?

In order to keep our bearings, the first thing we need to remember is that—in spite of everything mentioned above—GOD THE FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST PERSONALLY LOVE YOU AND YOU LOVE THEM!

After Jesus' last Passover with His apostles, only a few hours before He was betrayed and arrested, He encouraged them with these words: "These things I have spoken to you in allegories; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in allegories, but I will plainly disclose to you the things of the Father.In that day, you shall ask in My name;and I do not tell you that I will beseech the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God" (John 16:25-27). Never forget that the Father Himself personally loves you!

Jesus would disclose more truth to them later—but they were not yet able to receive such truth. He promised to use the power of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of the truth—to lead them into all truth: "I have yet many things to tell you, but you are not able to bear them now. However, when that one has come, even the Spirit of the truth, it will lead you into all truth because it shall not speak from itself, but whatever it shall hear, it shall speak. And it shall disclose to you the things to come. That one shall glorify Me because it shall disclose to you the things that it receives from Me. Everything that the Father has is Mine; for this reason, I said that it shall receive from Me and shall disclose these things to you" (John 16:12-15).

Jesus did not disclose new truth to the apostles all at once. Rather, Jesus gave them increased understanding at different times throughout their ministries. Thus, deeply spiritual and prophetic truths were gradually disclosed to the apostles, which they subsequently wrote in what became the New Testament. Accordingly, when we add the Old Testament, God has indeed provided His entire Word to His Church.

In addition to the Sabbath and holy days, we need to think about the many things God has revealed to us through His Spirit and His Word. Indeed, we have the words and teachings of Jesus Christ; the knowledge of the Plan of God; an understanding of the complex prophecies for the end times; the understanding of the return of Christ, the resurrection to eternal life, and the coming Kingdom of God; and so much more! These constitute the greatest knowledge we could ever receive in our lives! What a tremendous blessing it is that God has favored us with His truth! This is why, in spite of all the troubles and difficulties we see in the world and in the lives of people, we need to be inspired to know that God deeply loves us!

Jesus has given us the truth not because we are of ourselves anything in this world, but because the Father has intervened in our lives and has drawn us to Himself and to Christ. This is God's calling through the preaching of the Gospel! When we repent of our sins and truly believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we are answering God's call. While many are called, few are chosen (Matt. 20:16; 22:14). Few are chosen because fewanswer God's calling.

From the very beginning of this process, it is the Father Who draws us. As Jesus told His disciples: "No one can come to Me unless the Father, Who sent Me, draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore, everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes to Me" (John 6:44-45). Jesus also reveals that this is a joint process between Him and the Father: "For this reason, I have said to you, no one can come to Me unless it has been given to him from My Father" (verse 65)—and "no one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

Then, when we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit—the begettal from God the Father—we become the children of God, ready to begin our new life in Christ through the grace of God. The apostle Peter writes: "[You] who have been chosen according to the predetermined knowledge of God the Father, by sanctification through the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied to you.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for us, who are being safeguarded by the power of God through faith, for salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Pet. 1:2-5).

Peter is describing how we are put into right standing with God the Father and Jesus Christ after baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. We are thus spiritually equipped to live in the "way of the Lord" and to begin to "live by every word of God"—all through the power of the Holy Spirit of God now dwelling within us.

An astounding truth, which Jesus Himself revealed to the apostles, is that there are twoaspects to the "composition" of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. In fact, the power of the Holy Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son, not from the Father only. Notice how Jesus explained it to the apostles: " 'In that day, you shall know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.' Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, what has happened that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him' " (John 14:20-23).

Jesus clearly tells us that "We," the Father and Christ, will both dwell within us! From the Father we receive His begettal so we can be His spiritual sons and daughters. From Jesus we receive the spiritual power to develop the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5; Col. 1:27).

The apostle Paul confirmed this in the book of Romans: "However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is indeed dwelling within you.But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. But if Christ be within you, the body is indeed dead because of sin; however, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Now if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you,He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit [the Spirit of begettal from the Father] that dwells within you" (Rom. 8:9-11).

Indeed, Paul reveals that there are two aspects to the Holy Spirit: 1) the "Spirit of Christ" and 2) the "Spirit of Him [the Father] Who raised Jesus from the dead." This agrees with what Jesus said of the Father and Himself: "We will make our abode with [you]."

After receiving the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of the Father and the Son—our lives are now dedicated to growing in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Through daily prayer and the study of the Word of God, we continue to develop the spiritual character of God in preparation for the resurrection to eternal life.

What Paul wrote to the Corinthians confirms what he wrote to the Romans: "For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: 'I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…. And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty" (II Cor. 6:16, 18). Then, at the return of Christ, we will truly be "born again" as spirit beings and become part of the spiritual Family of God the Father.

Likewise, John was inspired to write that we are, even now, the "children of God." "Behold! What glorious love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God! For this very reason, the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be; but we know that when He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is" (I John 3:1-2).

Peter also writes that—because of this awesome hope to which God has called us—we should not let the trials and difficulties we face discourage us. Rather, we are to continually keep our minds focused on this fantastic hope: "In this [hope of God] you yourselves greatly rejoice; though for the present, if it is necessary,you are in distress for a little while by various trials; [because God will even use these to help you grow spiritually] in order that the proving of your faith, which is much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is being tested by fire, may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; Whom, not having seen, you love; in Whom, though at the present time you do not see Him, you believe, and rejoice with unspeakable joy, and filled with glory; and are receiving the end of your faith—eventhe salvation of your souls" (I Pet. 1:6-9).

Therefore, brethren, in spite of the trials and difficulties in our lives and what we see in the world, we are never to lose sight of the power of God and the love of God, through Jesus Christ, to deliver us. Peter admonishes us on how to handle difficulties when they come into our lives: "For this reason, be prepared in your minds, be self-controlled, and be fully hoping in the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not conform yourselves to the former lusts, asyou did in your ignorance. But according as He Who has called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, 'You be holy because I am holy.' And if you call upon the Father, Who judges according to each man's work without respect of persons, pass the time of your life's journey in the fear of God" (verses 13-17).

At the end of his epistle, Peter again writes of the hope and power of God in our lives. Even when confronted by the forces of evil spawned by Satan the devil, God will deliver us—if we are faithful to Him: "Be humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.

"Be sober! Be vigilant! For your adversary the devil is prowling about as a roaring lion, seeking anyone he may devour. Whom resist, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are being fulfilled among your brethren who are in the world. Now may the God of all grace, Who has called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, Himself perfect you, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the power into the ages of eternity. Amen" (I Pet. 5:6-11). Please read and study the entirety of Peter's first epistle, which will help to strengthen you spiritually.

Paul shows that we are the children of God and joint heirs with Christ. There is nothing in this world to compare to what God is doing in our lives. Nor is there any greater hope and reward than what God has promised to us: "So then, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; because if you are living according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you shall live.

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Now you have not received a spirit of bondage [the spirit of this world from Satan the devil (Eph. 2:1-3)] again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:12-16).

Next, Paul tells us that none of the troubles we face or observe in the world are worthy to compare to the fantastic glory we will receive from God the Father. And, as the children of God and joint heirs with Jesus, we will help bring the glorious Kingdom of God to the entire world. When we consider all of the troubles in the world, we need to remember that God has called us to help solve them: "Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christif indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him. For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.

"For the earnest expectation of the creation itself is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God; because the creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope, in order that the creation itself might be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that all the creation is groaning together and travailing together until now. And not only that, but even we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, also groan within ourselves, awaiting the sonship—the redemption of our bodies" (verses 17-23

Truly, there can be no greater hope for the world and for us. This is why we need to keep these things in the forefront of our minds. Then we will be able to endure and overcome through the power of the Spirit of God: "For by hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is not hope; for why would anyone still be hoping for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we ourselves wait for it with patience [in spite of circumstances]" (verses 24-25).

When we pray, the Holy Spirit within us conveys to God our true, deepest feelings and thoughts, translating them into a "spirit language" directed to God. As Paul writes, "Now in the same way also, the Spirit is conjointly helping our weaknesses because we do not fully understand what we should pray for, according as it is necessary, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed by us. And the one Who searches the hearts comprehends what the strivings of the Spirit are because it makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (verses 26-27).

Because of this—regardless of what trial we face or what burden we bear—God will eventually make them work out for our good. As Paul writes, in the final analysis, nothing can be against us because we have been "called, chosen and faithful." Let these inspiring words sink deep into your mind so that you will never lose faith or hope: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, because those whom He did foreknow [in this life], He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His own Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Now whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified [with the Holy Spirit now, and destined them to become actual spirit beings for all eternity]. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (verses 28-31).

Remember, the promises of God will never fail! God the Father and Jesus Christ will never fail! With the Father and Christ dwelling in us, we will never fail, because we will remain faithful in spite of whatever we may face. When we remember what God has done for us through Jesus and faithfully trust Him, we will be given the strength to face whatever comes. Here is how Paul was inspired to describe it, because he lived it: "He Who did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also grant us all things together with Him? Who shall bring an accusation against the elect of God? God is the One Who justifies. Who is the one that condemns? It is Christ Who died, but rather, Who is raised again, Who is even now at the right hand of God, and Who is also making intercession for us.

"What shall separate us from the love of Christ?Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Accordingly, it is written, 'For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are reckoned as sheep for the slaughter.'

"But 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" (verses 32-39).

Now let's examine Jesus' prayer just before He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested. It reveals that our Lord and Savior fixed His mind on the final outcome of the plan of God. This strengthened Him to courageously face His scourging and crucifixion—to die for the sin of the world as the Lamb of God! Here are the very words of Jesus' final prayer as recorded by the apostle John. Let His prayer inspire you, with the Spirit of the Father and Christ in you, to have the spiritual strength, resoluteness and deep love of God to help you every day: "I have given them [the apostles and disciples] Your words, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil one [Satan the devil].

"They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in Your truth; Your Word is the truth. Even as You did send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself [through the crucifixion and resurrection], so that they also may be sanctified in Your truth.

"I do not pray for these only, but also for those who shall believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, in order that the world may believe that You did send Me. And I have given them the glory that You gave to Me, in order that they may be one, in the same way that We are one: I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

"Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me may also be with Me where I am, so that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me; because You did love Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known You; but I have known You, and these have known that You did send Me. And I have made known Your name to them, and will make it known; so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:14-26).

Paul also pointed the brethren to the example of how Jesus valiantly and fearlessly faced the crucifixion, so that we likewise could squarely face all of our problems and difficulties with the same purpose and attitude. In the book of Hebrews, he writes: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of [faithful witnesses from the past], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us with endurance, having ourminds fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that lay ahead of Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

"Now meditate deeply on Him Who endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself so that you do not become weary and faint in your minds. For you have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood in your struggle against sin [and the world]" (12:1-4).

We need to follow Jesus' example of strength and courage. Therefore, in spite of all the troubles everywhere in the world, we need to focus on spiritual things first—on the promises and hope of God—not on the physical things and troubles we face and see in the world. As we yield to God the Father and Christ, they will stir up our hearts and minds. In this way we can continue to grow in faith, hope and love. This is the very reason we pray daily, because God the Fatherthe Sovereign Ruler of the entire universehas called us and chosen us to be His very sons and daughters for all eternity. Always keep in mind that we are in training for eternal life! Our first assignment after the resurrection is to rule and reign with Jesus and to bring the Kingdom of God to all the world—to literally help Christ save the world!

Brethren, once again, we truly appreciate your love, your prayers, and your continued support with your tithes and offerings so that all of us can continue to serve God, the brethren, and reach out to other brethren and new people. God is blessing our combined efforts as we move forward together in serving Him with all of our hearts, minds and strength. May God the Father bless you in everything as you continue to love God and Jesus Christ and grow in grace and knowledge.

With love in Christ Jesus,
Fred R. Coulter