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May 10, 2019
Tonight, I’m sending a letter that was written by Mr. Armstrong in 1968. I condensed his letter somewhat for this evening’s Brethren Letter. If you would like to read the letter in its entirety, it can be found on the internet. Mr. Armstrong gives admonition that is good for us to think about and review.
Please have a good night’s rest and wonderful Sabbath.
September 1, 1968
Dear Brethren and Co-HEIRS with Christ:
I wish I didn't have to write you this letter. I write it with a heavy heart. God is showing me that many of YOU right now are standing in MORTAL DANGER. I don't mean all -- and this may not apply to many who will receive this letter -- but it is true of TOO MANY of our members!
If you are really established in the KNOWLEDGE of the Truth Satan cannot deceive you with false doctrines. Knowing this, many of you relax, apparently assuming you've "got it made." Apparently many are carelessly supposing they are now SURE of being protected through the Great Tribulation. Whether it will be Petra or another place, many feel carelessly secure, and, after that, entering God's Kingdom with ETERNAL LIFE!
But YOU DON'T HAVE IT "MADE." You are still being TRIED -- to determine whether you shall have this protection -- whether you shall enter the Kingdom of God! It is those who are LED BY the Spirit of God -- NOT those who are led by desire for more and more physical and material things! When you were brought by the power of God's Holy Spirit to REPENT, and to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and to receive His blessed Holy Spirit -- that is when JUDGMENT BEGAN for YOU!
The unconverted world is not being called now. God's judgment is not, yet, on them! But the time has come when judgment must begin at the House of God! (I Peter 4:17.) That means those in The CHURCH OF GOD! So you and I are being JUDGED by the all-seeing ever-living GOD, every hour of every day!
But Brethren, many of you are letting down spiritually! Many of you are letting material
things, possessions, pleasures, fill your minds. Many are letting down on constant earnest PRAYER, slacking off on continuous Bible study, letting your affections be centered on things of this world, and on anticipation of some new things you think will fill you with delight.
If you are established in the knowledge of God's Truth so that Satan can't deceive you with counterfeit doctrines, Satan isn't giving up. He is out to outsmart you. He is out to TEMPT you with the glitter and glamour and anticipation of MATERIAL things of his world. He is out to tempt you to begin finding fault: or gossiping; or criticizing. He will try to tempt you to become envious, or jealous, or resentful -- and finally, get you "hooked" with bitterness!
Satan's temptations and material deceptions are attractive -- alluring! They appeal to the eye -- or other physical senses! He dangles before your eyes every kind of gadget, vanity- stimulating trinket, luxury item, sensuous entertainment and activity. He tempts you with TV commercials, with beautiful ads, store windows. Satan makes it easY to GET, through installment- plan buying, buy-now-pay-later schemes, credit-expanding loans. Not all, but too many of our members!
So WHAT IS HAPPENING? Great numbers of our members seem to be falling in WHOLESALE with these temptations. Many of you have gotten up to your necks in debt. Many of you have no savings, no reserve, no ability to withstand any financial reverse or crisis.
SO, hundreds of you are SLACKING OFF in your RESPONSIBILITIES in GOD'S WORK! Brethren! WE MUST WAKE UP!! We must COME TO OUR SENSES!
May I mention something personal? Yesterday, at the Sabbath service of God's Headquarters church, I mentioned that now, in my 77th year, I can look back with real satisfaction and deep gratitude on a life of accomplishment and success which God has granted -- resulting in many, many thousands of CHANGED LIVES -- many thousands begotten as children of God, HEIRS of HIS KINGDOM!
It is NOT a great success that I, by my personal power and efforts, have achieved. It is a success that GOD HAS GIVEN. Yet I have been an instrument in God's hand. I know that I do not possess the ability to have built so great a Work of myself. Two things, at least, God looked for that were basic and vital. First of all, God looks on the HEART -- that is, the spirit -- the attitude. He, Himself, brought me to complete SURRENDER to Him and His Word. For 28 years He kept me in virtual abject poverty, after I had been quite successful as a young advertising man -- in order to root out as much as possible of the vanity and conceit, and bring a humility that develops the CONFIDENCE which is FAITH in GOD replacing SELF-confidence.
I know that the HEART was right -- the hostility was gone -- the INTENTION was to do God's will as He revealed it. Then, second, He required absolute LOYALTY to Him and His Word. Once He revealed His truth, He required that I keep it inviolate, never compromising with it in slightest degree. And, as I then commented, I do not know of any other man who even professes to be a minister of Jesus Christ who has remained uncompromisingly honest with God's Word through severe persecution, through test, opposition, temptation, and in hardship requiring real living faith.
Mrs. Armstrong suffered through 28 long years of poverty with me, getting God's Work going -- and GROWING! We learned what REAL joyous HAPPINESS is, in poverty. We had God's Holy Spirit to lead us. We were constantly learning NEW TRUTHS in God's Word -- a FAR GREATER THRILL AND JOY THAN MATERIAL THINGS!
Brethren, Mrs. Armstrong struggled with me, at sacrifice greater than you can know, for a WHOLE GENERATION, that YOU might have the JOY to have part in this glorious WORK OF GOD, now. I no longer have my dear wife at my side. I have to carry on without her.
God has called us -- HIS CHURCH -- to be FAITHFUL under this great RESPONSIBILITY! He BOUGHT and PAID for us with the priceless life and blood of His Son Jesus! He has GIVEN us His HOLY SPIRIT! He illuminates our minds with priceless knowledge! He has given us His Spirit to convict us of our NEGLIGENCE -- of THE IMPORTANCE of His Commission!
Now I know well that SOME of you are NOT guilty of this negligence. But I realize, too, that there are MANY who DO have the ability, and who are GUILTY BEFORE GOD of shirking -- of letting the SATANIC attitude of GET fill their minds, and cause them to NEGLECT prayer and Bible study.
People who set their affections on these things here below are HAVING their reward now. Are some of you going to find yourselves in the Laodicean church? Is the living Christ going to have to SPEW YOU OUT OF HIS MOUTH?
We've got to get our eyes on THE GOAL -- the KINGDOM OF GOD! We've got to do some REPENTING -- we've got to get STIRRED UP -- electrified -- by the magnitude of our responsibilities -- and the PRIVILEGE God has granted in being in HIS CHURCH, having PART in changing the world -- and finally SAVING THE WORLD!
With love, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong