Monthly letter archive

April 7, 2016

Dear Brethren,

We are sending you the April letter early because of the upcoming Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Since the Sabbath of April 16 is actually the Sabbath before the Passover, we wanted to get this material to you right away. We are sending you two CDs—one with the most recent messages and one with everything you need for keeping the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Included are five special studies on Passover preparation. We are also sending the Passover Ceremony booklet. If you need extra copies, please request them immediately so you can receive them before Passover.

This year, the Passover itself is to be held on the night of April 21. For the “Night to Be Much Observed”—to be held on the night of April 22—we have included a special message as to why God wants us to observe this special night of rejoicing. For the first holy day, April 23, we have a message about its unique meaning for Christians today. Another message covers the meaning of the last holy day, April 29.

This year, the weekly Sabbath of April 30 is the day after the last holy day—making back-to-back Sabbaths. This happens very rarely. Later we will be sending you the weekly Sabbath message for April 30.

Last of all, we have included a new Holy Day Calendar Bookmarker covering the years 2016-2023. Thanks to Harry Curley for updating and providing this new bookmarker!

But hang on—that’s not all you’re going to receive this month! The new book From a Speck of Dust to a Son of God—Why Were You Born? has been printed. In about two weeks, Unit Packaging Company, in Michigan, is scheduled to mail you your copy. It will automatically be sent to everyone on the mailing list, so you do not have to request it.

And there’s more! With each copy we are including the reading of the entire book (on CD)—plus two DVDs featuring the twelve-part Church at Home video series From a Speck of Dust to a Son of God—Why Were You Born? With the exception of the Bible, this new book—combined with the audio reading and the twelve video segments—is perhaps the most inspiring presentation we have ever produced (especially with the last segment of the second DVD and the hymn “The Almighty God”).

The Great Purpose for Human Life: In the book of Proverbs we find a vital principle that applies to all of life’s endeavors: “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Prov. 29:18). For the people of God, our vision centers on our awesome purpose and ultimate destiny. Rather than striving after the physical things of this world, we have a higher goal—an eternal vision. To keep us focused on our destiny—to become God’s sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God for eternity—Christ gave us this daily “vision” command: “But as for you, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33).

Looking into the Greek, we can see that this statement is quite profound! “To seek” is translated from the verb zsteo, which means “to seek absolutely, to seek for, to desire, to wish for.” The closely associated verb from the same root is zeo, meaning “to be fervent, to boil,” and the Greek word for zealous is zeleuo, meaning “to be zealous”—all from the same root.

The word “first” is protos, meaning “first in time, place, and order” (Greek-English Lexicon, Berry). Protos also has the meaning of “primary in importance.”

All of this describes how we are to fulfill our part of our calling. We do so by zealously loving God, just as Jesus commanded. In fact, the first and greatest commandment deals with our love toward God the Father and Jesus Christ: “And one of the scribes who had come up to Him, after hearing them reasoning together and perceiving that He answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’

“Then Jesus answered him, ‘The first [protos] of all the commandments is, “Hear, O Israel. Our one God is the Lord, the Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first [protos] commandment. And the second is like this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these’ ” (Mark 12:28-31).

Jesus also said we are to seek God’s “righteousness” with the same absolute zeal and determination. This can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit within us—which leads us and gives us the desire, the zeal, and the fervent dedication for God and His loving purpose for us.

The “righteousness of God” is demonstrated by His love, mercy, and forgiveness to us through the sacrifice and shed blood of Christ. We respond through repentance and by showing love toward God. The “righteousness of God” is also the character He is developing in us through the power of His Holy Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law. But those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, we should also be walking by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-25). This is how we are to grow spiritually and overcome Satan, sin, and self!

At times, this is very difficult. But with God’s help, we can overcome and develop the character of God: “Therefore, having been justified by faith [through the sacrifice of Jesus], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we ourselves boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also boast in tribulations, realizing that tribulation brings forth endurance, and endurance brings forth character, and character brings forth hope. And the hope of God never makes us ashamed because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5).

God demonstrates all of this beginning with Passover. It was on the Passover day, the 14th day of the first month, that Jesus—the “Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)—died for us. We have all “sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Yet He accepts Jesus’ sacrificial death and shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins, which justifies us to God: “But [we] are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness [justification], in respect to the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness in the present time, that He might be just, and the One Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26).

With the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within us (John 14:23), we have direct spiritual access to God the Father through personal prayer. Paul writes: “For through Him we both have direct access by one Spirit to the Father. So then, you are no longer aliens and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of the household of God. You are being built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone, in Whom all the building, being conjointly fitted together, is increasing into a holy temple in the Lord; in Whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit…. [This is all] according to His eternal purpose, which He has wrought in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom we have boldness and direct access with confidence through His very own faith” (Eph. 2:18-22; 3:11-12).

The apostle Peter also exhorts us to be diligent to overcome our human nature and to develop the holiness of God through the Holy Spirit—while always remembering that we have been redeemed with the blood of Christ: “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, as you 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 [in prayer], 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; knowing that you were not redeemed by corruptible things, by silver or gold, from your futile way of living, inherited by tradition from your forefathers; but by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:13-19).

Paul makes it absolutely clear that during the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, leaven is a type of sin, human nature, and vanity—which we are to overcome through the sacrifice and shed blood of Christ. He admonished the Corinthians, who were allowing egregious sin in their congregation: “Your glorying is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, so that you may become a new lump, even as you are unleavened [in your homes]. For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For this reason, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:6-8). These are New Testament commands to keep these feasts of God.

Have a solemn and meaningful Passover and a great Feast of Unleavened Bread!

Brethren, let us rejoice in God’s greatness, in His love, mercy, and forgiveness, and in the fantastic blessing of His plan and purpose for us. Once again, thank you for your love and dedication to God the Father and Jesus Christ. Thank you for your love and prayers for the brethren and for all of us who strive to serve you in love and truth. Thank you for your tithes and offerings, which help make all of this possible for the brethren and those whom God is calling. We love you and are praying for you daily—for your health and healing, for God’s blessings in everything you do, for His strength in time of trial or trouble, and for your continued faithfulness to God the Father and Jesus Christ in all things.

With love in Christ Jesus,
Fred R. Coulter