Dear Brethren, Co-Workers and Friends.
God commands us to examine ourselves on an annual basis prior to partaking of the Passover in the spring of the year. We are to analyse how we have been doing spiritually during the year that has just past, and how we are doing now by comparison. This is similar to checking your pulse to get an indication as to your health, and if you discover a physical problem, you need to find out what you can do to alleviate it.
To go a step further, let us take the pulse of English-speaking nations such as the USA, Canada and the UK (some of the modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel) to determine just how they are doing.
A few days ago, it was reported that since Wade vs. Roe (the decision that a woman could have an abortion on demand), fifty-five million abortions took place in the USA from 1973 to 2013—within a forty year period. That amounts to 1,375,000 abortions a year or 114,583 a month or 3,819 a day. That is more than the total population of Canada. This is nothing less than appalling to realize that so many innocent potential children of God are being butchered in the US alone. This does not include Canada or the UK, or other countries in Europe (not to speak of the rest of the world), which would put the figures much higher.
Our nations are the biggest users of illegal drugs and also prescription drugs. I worked in a prison for almost five years before being called, and I talked to and met a lot of drug addicts who told me about their miserable lives. While the drug producers may be happy about the increase in drug consumption, God is not at all pleased.
The USA has an insurmountable 17 trillion dollar debt, which works out to around $50,000.00 for every man, every woman and every child in the USA. Imagine this: Every child being born now has an automatic debt of $50,000.00 attached to him or her. This is unsustainable and will one day cause the collapse of the economy, and it will drag down Canada and other nations and may cause a worldwide economic depression, for which the US will not be very popular.
Added to the above is the dismantling of the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, and replacing it with the concept of premarital cohabitation and same-sex marriages which are being legalized in more and more states in the USA, as well as in Canada, the UK and other countries around the world.
Is it any wonder that especially the nations of the modern house of Israel will be going into captivity?
Where does that leave us in God’s Church? It should give us an urgency to finish the Work of God (the proclamation of the Gospel and the feeding of the Flock) that was started by Jesus Christ and the New Testament Church. The Bible tells us that in these last days, we need to get the warning message out to the world. Nothing is more important. Our focus has to be on finishing this Work.
The gospel of the Kingdom of God has to be announced, as God opens doors for us, and we should be praying that God will open more doors. We should also be praying for “physical” growth that God would provide us with more labourers to shoulder this responsibility with us. We also need to be praying for spiritual growth, since we are to be growing in grace and knowledge. We are to pray for the ministry—for their health, safety and strength, and also, that God would inspire them to feed the membership with the needed spiritual food, as things will get tougher.
Look at how Paul admonished Titus in Titus 2:11-15:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”
God’s ministers are to “exhort” and “rebuke,” but also to “encourage” to push on to finish this race. Look at what Paul had to endure. We read Paul’s description of a true minister of God who is willing to suffer for the Work of God, in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:
“Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”
Even in the face of such hardships, Paul pushed on to finish the race. He stated in Hebrews 12:1-4:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”
As far as we know, none of God’s disciples has been martyred for God’s Way of Life in this century, but we know that difficult times are coming with persecution, betrayal and death for some.
These facts should not discourage us but rather make us more zealous to finish the job we have been given collectively and individually, and to look to our future resurrection, when the Kingdom of God will rule this earth to make it a better place—after Satan, the current ruler over this world, will have been banished. Knowing all of this, we must remain focused on God’s Work which is still ahead of us, realizing that our reward will be great for us when we endure till the end.
In Christ’s service