Dear Brethren and Friends,
The Church of the Eternal God came into existence because of issues of compromise. Likewise, both the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom have had to withstand these unacceptable alterations to Godís revealed truth. All of us were unwilling to settle for some very critical changes in doctrine as well as doctrinal approach, explanation and practice that would begin to erode the true teachings and administration of Godís Church. In that tumultuous time of transition, each of us made difficult decisions about our individual involvement in the future Work that God has so clearly called us to complete – at least, our part in it!
Weeks, months and now years have passed since we first organized together in order to carry on in the calling we have been given. Some who began with us have not continued. God chose to add others, in their stead, to our fellowship. Little by little -almost incrementally- God has rewarded our efforts to faithfully serve Him.
As we reported earlier, we were blessed to have five baptisms here in the United States at the Feast of Tabernacles held at Morro Bay, California. What is of particular note in these instances was that these individuals were all young adults. They had studied and proven the Biblical teachings regarding baptism. They stepped out in faith as each of us has done, and they committed their lives to God’s Way of living.
God has immeasurably blessed their lives through the work of all of us in the Church of the Eternal God and our corporate affiliates under the guidance of Godís mighty hand. They read booklets, listened to sermons, fellowshipped and sought counsel all within this faithful little organization. It is important for each of us to keep this perspective in mind.
Yet, this is only the beginning! We have been given the opportunity to bring the good new’s, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to many others. In a world that is so estranged from its Maker, knowledge of even the proper way to live has been turned upside down and inside out! The societies that inhabit this earth at the present time donít even begin to understand the terrifying events that are about to descend on this unsuspecting world!
It is the responsibility of God’s Church to bring a message of warning and to serve those whom God is calling to salvation. Note what Jesus taught His disciples: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).
It is truly significant that Jesus challenged His disciples with these words shortly after meeting a woman from Samaria – a Gentile. At that time, Jesus and His disciples were dealing with the Jews and those of the rest of the tribes of Israel.
Later on, Peter, then Paul, was sent to the Gentiles to also bring the Way of God to them.
Consider, also, that Jesus spoke of a saying that was popular then regarding the time of harvest. He, however, made a point of explaining that the harvest was ready NOW! He was talking about those who were ready to hear the truth of God, to repent and be baptized and to receive the Holy Spirit of God!
Paul adds insight for us: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!'”(Romans 10:14-15).
It is through the joint efforts of those who support this work of the Church that we are steadily progressing in the ability to tell others of this Way of life. Not all are called upon to preach, not all have a direct role in writing or editing or designing our publications or serving directly in the Church, but ALL OF US do have a direct role in supporting this Work! We can ALL DO SOMETHING! And that is what God expects of each one of us – to do what we are able to do!
Your loyalty, encouragement and continuing faithfulness to God and His Truth in spite of individual hardships are a source of inspiration and strength. Regularly meeting with one another on the Sabbath is important for us to do – even if it is the chat room on the internet. Notes of encouragement and responses to helpful publications and sermons establish a bond throughout the body of Christ. Praying for the sick and remembering those in great trials are examples of the kind of support that the early Church practiced. We can all work on caring for and praying for one another as friends and brethren, just as Christ does for us. This kind of approach is also well pleasing to our Father.
In this same context, consider the rest of what Jesus taught in John 4: “And he who reaps [that is, gathers the harvest] receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors” (verses 36-38).
Brethren, the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates have entered into this labor, as well. It is God Who will continue to bless us as we seek to zealously serve Him through obedience to those things that He has revealed to us.
A long ago time, King Hezekiah turned to God and sought to lead Judah and Israel back to God. He sought to re-establish the observance of Godís Holy Days beginning with the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. For those who listened, note what God did: “Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 30:12).
Verse 26 of 2 Chronicles 30 states: “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.” We have the same opportunity to have God give us “singleness of heart”. Indeed, we will need it! The job out ahead of us is awe-inspiring! Just as we have begun with the unity that is an outgrowth of love, so now, we must forge onward as God directs the work He wants us to accomplish.
We are currently making plans for a ministerial conference in very early March of 2004. Also, we have secured the web name, STANDINGWATCH.ORG, which is the basis for creating a separate web page that will be directed to the public. More than twenty STANDINGWATCH programs already completed along with select news items and booklets will be some of what appears on this new site. Programming work to get this up and running is currently being done. By the time you receive this letter, our newest booklet, entitled “Are You Already Born Again?”, will be on its way to the printer for distribution in January.
The Church of the Eternal God along with its corporate affiliates is bearing fruit, and the most important is that each of us is growing individually. In truth, brethren, the more we commit ourselves to the Work of God and to our involvement in His Church, the more we will grow in spiritual understanding and Christ-like character.
In these dark times of wars, famines, diseases along with natural disasters all around the globe, let us remember that these are “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). We must continue to do our part to sound the alarm of greater dangers ahead. Finally, brethren, we must strive to be faithful examples of true Christianity teaching others the way to life everlasting and the true salvation that only God can give!
In Christís Service,
David J. Harris