Friday, May 10, 2019

Letter to our Friends - May 9, 2019

Dear Friends:

Greetings again from Owensboro, Kentucky.

As always, much is going on here and all around the world. Like my sister stated recently, “Satan is roaring!”

We hope and pray that you have had a spiritually productive week.


Pentecost is June 9, 2019.

Most who profess Christ know something about Pentecost. Many properly consider it the beginning of the New Testament Church of God.

The apostles were told to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power of the Holy Spirit:

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard Me; 5) for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” – Acts 1:4-5; NKJV and hereafter unless otherwise noted.

So, they waited. And:

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” – Acts 2:1.

Notice it was when the Day of Pentecost had fully come. The Bible is clear that the events that follow were directly related to the fact that the Day of Pentecost had fully come. And the apostles were all observing it together.

Here is what happened:

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven [the sky], as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

38) Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39) For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off [in the generations to come], as many as the Lord our God will call.’ 40) And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ 41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 47) [P]raising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:2-4, 38-42, 47.

They received some of the power of God’s Spirit. The Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the greater majority of Protestants, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Church of God all believe that this was the beginning of the New Testament Church of God. And rightly so. The Holy Spirit (be sure to watch “The Truth Concerning the Trinity Explained” in which Minister Garrett explains from God’s Word the Holy Spirit) was gifted at a certain time (the same time that many Jews observed Pentecost).

That was not a coincidence.

Many may not realize that Pentecost represented more than just the gifting of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the New Testament Church of God.

Minister Michael C. Garrett had this to say concerning the Day of Pentecost:

Christ In You! … we must have God’s Spirit which is represented by the Feast of Pentecost. And so, individual salvation – that Plan is given to us in the Spring Holy Days. … The Spring Holy Days are a continuum. What happens in Passover and Unleavened Bread, and down as you get into the Feast of Pentecost – a continuous series of events which are all interrelated and intertwined. And the same thing is true with the Fall Holy Days. …

Just a quick perusal, turn to Acts 2 – the account of where we read about the Day of Pentecost – when God for the first time pours out His Spirit in mass on human beings. Now keep in mind there had been multiple times throughout Biblical history where God indeed had given His Spirit to servants and prophets of God. But here on this day on 31 A.D. something very special happened. And, we won’t read every Scripture here, but let’s go to Verse 21 of Acts chapter 2 – “’And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD [the Lord Jesus Christ] Shall be saved.’” Verse 22 – “Men of Israel [and you men of the different organizations which want to be a part of the Kingdom of God and wish to pursue the teachings of this Bible], hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know – 23) Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken …” this is Peter speaking to the men, some of which have called for His death. Some of which, just a few days before – a month-and-a-half before – were chanting ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’ And yet, here, Peter says, “by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24) whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He [Jesus Christ] should be held by it …” - isn’t that a beautiful concept!? Jesus Christ walked out of the tomb! And by that He established a pattern, and an example that someday all of us who is called His sisters and brothers, His friends, will someday have the same opportunity!! If we die before the Return of Jesus Christ we too will walk out of our graves! I love that thought!

Verse 38 – listen carefully to what Peter says – this is an extremely well known and recited verse; this is a foundational Scripture that all of us need to know about, think about and appreciate. And give thanks to Jesus Christ because it’s in the Book! The reality of it – it is true! “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, …’” – what does the word repent mean!? It means simply change your ways. Change your direction. Change your focus. Change your goals. Change your motivation. “…’Repent, and let every one of you be baptized…’” – and listen to this next part – “…’in the name of Jesus Christ …’” – no other name. No other name under heaven, on earth, anywhere in the universe by which you could be saved. “’Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ …’” – that wonderous, glorious name and title! Jesus, the Anointed One! Jesus, the Messiah! Jesus, the Savior! And if you do you will have your sins forgiven “…’and you shall receive the gift of [God’s] Holy Spirit.’”

Also, looking at other passages provides even more valuable information about this sanctioned and commanded day of the LORD God, and its meaning.

The Feast of Pentecost was kept by true Christians after the initial one, yet, without the speaking in different languages. The Apostle Paul continued keeping Pentecost decades after the Pentecost mentioned in Acts 2. Notice his inspired words, written about 55 A.D.:

“For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8) But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.” – 1 Corinthians 16:7-8.

This shows us that Paul knew when Pentecost was, and that he felt that the Corinthians knew when Pentecost was, and that the Ephesians would have known when Pentecost was. So, it was being observed by Paul, and the Gentiles in Ephesus and in Corinth.

Here’s another year, the Apostle Paul wished to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost, around 61-64 A.D.:

“For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.” – Acts 20:16.

So, true Christians in Jerusalem were still observing Pentecost and Paul was observing it too! Otherwise, there would have been no obvious reason why Paul wanted to be in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.

The Greek term for Pentecost means 50th. And, that term is derived from the following Hebrew description of calculating the correct date:

“’And you shall count for yourselves from the day AFTER the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. 16) Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; …’” – Leviticus 23:15-16.

The Day of Pentecost in Scripture goes by different names, and because of that, many have been confused about it. Its other biblical names include: the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks and the day of firstfruits.

We in the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ observe the biblical method.

Christians should remember that our LORD God, Jesus Christ, condemned the Pharisees for relying way too much on their oral law over God’s written Law (Mark 7:5-13). Jesus told them they were ‘making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.’ – Mark 7:13.

Greetings From Prakasam, (Ongole) Andhra Pradesh, India

Minister David Raju Vankayalapati of the Church of Christ in India sent us some photo’s of their two day “Gospel Meeting” in the village of Pokuru last month.

He wrote:

“Good Morning brother greetings from India. Church Building is not complete please kindly helpful to this work And songs books pending in the preting press. And very poor people BROTHERS and SISTERS Need Telugu Bibles. Please try to understand and praying. Help to the children of God. Thank you for your great Encouraging. Thanks brother. Please keep in your prayers and Encouragement.”

Minister M.C. Garrett has stated:

“I know people who are so filled with hatred for other groups of people. … I know a person who is so filled with contempt, and vile hatred, for other racial groups, for other members of society, which he doesn’t agree.”

Let us not be like that friends. As our Lord Jesus Christ said, “…’for he who is not against us is on our side. … for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. … For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.’” – Luke 9:50; Mark 9:39, 41.

World News Items

Major escalation of violence against Israel from the Gaza Strip this past week (See: 250 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel; 1-year-old child among those killed in retaliatory airstrikes and Bombs rain down on Gaza and kill 'mother and her unborn baby' after hundreds of rockets are launched at Israel). Now, there was some who said Iran was behind this so that they could begin moves related to Syria. And, that Iran is planning to attack one or more United States targets (See: US sends STRIKE group to Middle East in BOLD threat to Iran - ‘Prepared to attack’ also Amidror: Iran behind the Gaza escalation). God’s living Word – the Bible – shows that God is soon to remove the protection from Judah and that Jerusalem will sustain major destruction (cf. Isaiah 22:8-9). Will this be from an Iran-Syrian alliance!?

Speaking of ancient Persia – Iran upped the stakes for the European Union by threatening to increase uranium enhancement unless it (along with others) can help it deal with the US sanctions. The US announced more sanctions (See: US Slaps New Sanctions on Iran as Tehran Suspends Some Parts of Nuclear Deal). US sanctions are continuing to push even more in the world, including Europe, farther away from the US!

In Judah (modern-day Israel), the Temple Institute announced that one ‘red heifer’ had been disqualified for having too many white hairs, but that it is still watching two other candidates (See: MAZAL TOV! TWO NEW RED HEIFER CANDIDATES BORN TO THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE!). A great many Jews believe that a red heifer ( a female cow) is so rare that God only plans to allow ten to be found, and that only nine have come and gone. They see the tenth as a sign that various end-time events must be implemented. Of course most, continue to DENY and REFUSE to ACCEPT any proof that Jesus is the Christos – the Christ – the Messiah!

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

* 2-3 hymns.
* Opening prayer.
* Sermonette (if you choose). The one suggested for this week is: Repent For Salvation.
* Announcements (if any). And one hymn.
* Sermon. The one suggested this week is: Truth vs. Fiction. Other sermons are also available at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ website.
* Final hymn.
* Closing prayer.

IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED A ‘LETTER TO OUR FRIENDS’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER WE HAVE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ website. Also, there are audio sermons on our Soundcloud Radio channel.

Concluding Comment

Minister M.C. Garrett wrote of Christ’s Words in John 13:

“He said in John chapter 13 – you’ve heard this many times. Verse 34 – “’A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; …’” – I will interpret that … to mean that ‘you are kind one to another, that you be tender-hearted. That you forgive one another’ “…’as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” – meaning, if you are kind one to another, if you are tender-hearted for one another, and if you are willing to forgive one another. … He says in another place, this is the only sign that truly identifies the people of God. That they would truly love one another.”

In deep gratitude and love, in Jesus' name,