Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

May 9, 2003

Dear Brethren,

All during the Feast of Unleavened Bread I was traveling. When I travel and visit the brethren, God gives an added measure of blessing and inspiration to our meetings, for which we are very thankful to God the Father and Jesus Christ. God made the Sabbath and the holy days to be special times of inspiration and fellowship. When we assemble together in Jesus' name in an attitude of love as God has commanded, it is a special time of spiritual edification, learning and fellowship. These are days that God has created for the specific purpose of teaching us through His word by His Holy Spirit so that we might be prepared for eternal life. Furthermore, it is a time of spiritual fellowship with each other, God the Father and Jesus Christ so that we can grow in love, grace and knowledge. The apostle John wrote of this special fellowship: "That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our own eyes, that which we observed for ourselves and our own hands handled, concerning the Word of life; (And the life was manifested, and we have seen, and are bearing witness, and are reporting to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;) that which we have seen and have heard we are reporting to you, in order that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly the fellowship—indeed, our fellowship—is with the Father and with His own Son, Jesus Christ" (I John 1:1-3).

True fellowship with God takes place on three levels. First, we have personal fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ through daily prayer and Bible Study. Second, we have fellowship with one another as Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst" (Matt 18:20). Third, we have fellowship as a group when we assemble for the Sabbath and holy days.

The foundation of true fellowship must be centered on God the Father and Jesus Christ based on the Spirit and love of God. The true fellowship that John wrote of is the result of living God's way: daily obeying Him in everything. Then our fellowship with each other is blessed by God the Father and Jesus Christ, making it true spiritual fellowship. The apostle Paul wrote of this personal spiritual fellowship that is ours through obedience: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things with Christ; according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, in order that we might be holy and blameless before Him in love; having predestinated us for sonship to Himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us objects of His grace in the Beloved Son; in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He has made to abound toward us in all wisdom and intelligence; having made known to us the mystery of His own will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; that in the divine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth" (Eph. 1:3-10).

The foundation of our fellowship is God the Father's plan of sonship through Jesus Christ. Although we are now called the children of God, we are not yet born again into the kingdom of God. We will be full spirit sons of God at the resurrection when Jesus returns. John makes this clear: "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 are we the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be; but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (I John 3:1-3).

When we assemble for the Sabbath and holy days, we are to maintain and protect this true fellowship in love and meekness. We are not to allow sin and deceivers to disrupt it. Paul instructed the Ephesians on how to maintain the true fellowship when he wrote: "Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, and gave Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor" (Eph. 5:1-2).

It is sin within the congregation and selfish ambition that destroys true fellowship and withholds the blessings of God. We have all experienced meetings where the fellowship was not with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Rather, the focus was on something or someone else. Paul instructs us not to allow this to occur in our lives or in our fellowship: "But as for fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, do not permit it even to be named among you, as is fitting for saints. Nor filthiness, nor foolish talking or jesting, which are not becoming; but instead, thanksgiving. For this you know, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with vain words; for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be joint partakers with them.

"For you were once darkness; but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, (Because the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is well pleasing to the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them; for it is shameful even to mention the things being done by them in secret. But all of these things being exposed by the light are openly revealed. Therefore He says, 'You who are sleeping—wake up, and arise from the dead! And Christ shall shine upon you.' So then, take heed that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as those who are wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:3-16).

As Paul wrote, true fellowship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and each other is destroyed when sin and false instruction through vain words are allowed. Most of us have experienced the destruction of true fellowship due to politics and idolizing men. Therefore, we truly love and appreciate the true fellowship inspired by God the Father and Jesus Christ. As a result, when I travel, it is evident that God gives us an extra measure of His Spirit, and we experience the true fellowship that God the Father and Jesus Christ want us to have.

Brethren, always remember this: God wants us to be inspired and uplifted by His Spirit and Word so that we clearly understand the purpose of His calling, the power of His love and the work that He is doing in each one of us. When we are inspired by God, we desire to change, we are empowered by His Spirit to overcome, we are motivated by His love, we seek His mercy and forgiveness, and we walk in His ways.

All the meetings during my trip were exceptional in every way because we were truly fellowshipping with God the Father and Jesus Christ. First, I went to Seattle for Friday night Bible Study, April 18 and double services on Sabbath, the 19th. We had 37 in attendance and a fine meal between services. Then it was on to Spokane. On the 20th, we had double services with 43 in attendance and an excellent meal. Then I flew to Phoenix for the last day of Unleavened Bread. Again, we had double services with 78 brethren and an outstanding meal. The trip was truly inspiring.

I was home for one week, then off again to Cincinnati, Ohio, for Sabbath May 3. God blessed us with a good attendance of 87. Every place that I traveled, I spoke about the coming New Testament project in addition to the theme of the holy days. Also, while we were in Cincinnati, we had a mini Elder's Conference. We had elders' meetings on Friday and again on Sunday. On the Sabbath, Marlin Fannin and Wayne Stenhouse brought messages, and I spoke about the New Testament project. We will send the tapes of their messages in the next mailing.

One of the most important things that we discussed at the Elder's Conference was the casting out of demons, emotional problems and healing. We are sending the tape of that session with this mailing. It is entitled: Demons-Troubles-Emotions-Healing.

I intend to follow up with several other sermons so that we can have a more complete understanding on how spiritual sins make us sick and keep us from being healed. Too many times we feel that because we are keeping the commandments of God—not eating unclean meats and trying to eat the most healthy food we can -- we are doing all we need to do. Therefore, when we get sick and are anointed, we call on God to heal us and expect to be healed. However, many times we are not healed. Others are also praying for us to be healed, but there is no healing. Why?

The reason we are not healed could be that we are still sinning in our hearts. By that I don't mean we are overtly breaking the commandments of God. When we examine ourselves, we see that we are keeping the Sabbath and the holy days; we are not eating unclean foods, etc. However, without realizing it, we are sinning in our minds. I am not talking about lust and temptation that we all have to fight against every day. I am talking about the spiritual sins that cut us off from God, even while we think that we are right with God.

In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus taught us how. such sins sever our fellowship with God: "And to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others, He also spoke this parable: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself in this manner: "God, I thank You that I am not like other men— extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers—or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week, and I give a tithe of everything that I gain" ' " (Luke 18:9-12).

The attitude of self-righteousness, which is actually pride, caused the Pharisee to despise others. Yet, he was not overtly sinning but doing what the letter of the law required. His sins were not outward but the inward hidden sins of the heart. His attitude cut him off from God. Instead of truly praying to God, he was praying to himself and boasting of his good works. But the truth is that God was looking beyond the outward works of the law and into his heart. If we have the same attitude as the Pharisee, we will have the same result. We cannot hate others and love God at the same time.

God looks at the heart and desires repentance. That is the reason the tax collector was accepted by God, and the Pharisee was not: "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat himself on the chest, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled; and the one who humbles himself shall be exalted." (Verses 13-14).

An Unforgiving Attitude:An unforgiving attitude is the most destructive to our relationship with God and others. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus made it clear that if we do not forgive others from the heart, God will not forgive us either: "Then his lord called him [the unforgiving servant] and said to him, 'You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you implored me. Were you not also obligated to have compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on you?' And in his anger, his lord delivered him up to the tormentors, until he should pay all that he owed to him. Likewise shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother's offenses from the heart" (Matt. 18:32-35).

An unforgiving attitude also leads to other sins: extreme anger, bitterness, grudges and hatred. These are the hidden spiritual sins that cut us off from God, destroy marriages, separate us from brethren and keep us from being healed. As a result, we bear the consequences. These are the hidden sins that we need to repent of. When King David repented of his adultery with Bathsheba and of murdering her husband Uriah, God brought him to the realization that it was a cleansing deep within that he needed; the hidden sins had to be forgiven and washed away: "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shall make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit" (Psa. 51:6-12). Brethren, as David repented from the heart, confessing his hidden sins, we also need to repent of our hidden sins, asking for help to forgive others and have a clean heart.

In the future, I will bring additional sermons and studies that will help us to realize what these hidden sins are and what we do to ourselves if we do not repent of them. I hope that this first tape from the Elders Conference will be a good start.

We are making good progress with the New Testament project. The second tape Born Again, What Do You Mean! is part of the commentary. There is some vital new information about being "born again" that has never been brought out. As astonishing as it may seem, the notion of being "born again" at baptism or conversion did not originate with the Protestants, but it began in ancient pagan Babylon. It was carried into the Catholic Church with the addition of infant baptism. Finally, this false doctrine was incorporated into the Latin Vulgate with a deliberate mistranslation in an attempt to substantiate it. Subsequently, Protestants retained this false doctrine in their theology. Thus, the error has continued to our time and has even made its way into some churches of God.

Brethren, we hope that all is well with you and yours. We pray for you daily, asking that God's blessing, love, grace and healing be upon you. We are preparing for Pentecost and will have the messages out to you soon. May God the Father and Jesus Christ be with you in everything.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter