Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, January 2013

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

January 14, 2013

Dear Brethren,

When Jesus began preaching in Galilee after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, the first thing He proclaimed was this: “The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Jesus taught His twelve apostles for three and a half years. After His death and resurrection, He commanded them to go into all nations and preach the Gospel: “And He said to them, ‘These are the words that I spoke to you when I was yet with you, that all the things which were written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘According as it is written, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and in His name, repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. For you are witnesses of these things’ ” (Luke 24:44-48).

Jesus Christ has given His Church two primary responsibilities—and both are to be performed on a continuing basis. The second one is to feed the flock of God (I Pet. 5:2) so that the body of Christ might grow in grace and knowledge (II Pet. 3:18). The first responsibility—sometimes called the “Great Commission”—is to preach the Gospel to the world.

Jesus commanded: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). Matthew records that this work of preaching the Gospel was to continue until the end of this age: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even until the completion of the age’ ” (Matt. 28:18-20). On the 40th day after Jesus’ resurrection, the apostles asked if He was about to restore the kingdom to Israel. In answering them, He further defined the meaning of the “whole creation.” Notice: “And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority; but you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).

Later, the apostle Paul wrote that the Gospel was indeed being preached by those who had been sent by Christ: “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 preaching? And how shall they preach, unless they be sent? Accordingly, it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of peace, and those who announce the good news of good things!’ But all have not obeyed the gospel because as Isaiah said, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of God. But I say, did they not hear? Yes, indeed, for it is written, ‘Their voices went out into all the earth; their words went out even to the ends of the habitable world’” (Rom. 10:14-18).

Let’s think about what these passages reveal. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was to be preached:

  • to the whole creation
  • to all nations
  • unto the ends of the earth
  • unto all the earth

Although the apostles did in fact preach the Gospel far and wide, they all died; and the end of the age has not yet arrived. So how were they able to fulfill this commission? The answer is that these passages of Scripture are prophetic in two ways: 1) they point to the apostles’ ongoing testimony through their writings that later became the New Testament; and 2) they point to the work of proclaiming the Gospel to be accomplished by the Church as a whole throughout the Church age.

Notice Jesus’ promise concerning His Church. He asked the disciples, “ ‘But you, whom do you declare Me to be?’ Then Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father, Who is in heaven. And I say also to you, that you are Peter [a small stone, John 1:42]; but upon this Rock [Jesus Christ Himself] I will build My church [and He is the Head of His Church, Eph. 1:22], andthe gates of the grave shall not prevail against it’” (Matt. 16:15-18).

On Pentecost, 30 AD, Jesus used His disciples to begin building His Church. While they did preach the Gospel far and wide during their lifetimes, they were not able to personally reach all nations or the whole world. Yet Jesus’ commands concerning the preaching of the Gospel must be fulfilled! Was Jesus mistaken—or did the apostles themselves fail? Not at all! How, then, are we to understand this?

Jesus built His Church exactly as He said. Remember, the Church is not a physicalbuilding; rather, it is a spiritual body composed of those called of God—who have repented and been baptized. They are the “Church of God”—the “body of Jesus Christ.” Paul wrote: “For even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the one body, though many, are one body; so also is Christ. For indeed, by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether bondmen or free—and we were all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body of Christ is not one member, but many” (I Cor. 12:12-14).

When Paul met with the elders of the Ephesian church, he made it clear that there are two parts to the Gospel message of the Kingdom of God. “And when they had come to him, he said to them, ‘You know how, from the first day I came to Asia, and all the time I was with you, I served the Lord with all humility and with many tears and temptations, which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; and how I did not keep back anything that was profitable, but preached to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, earnestly testifying, both to the Jews and the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

“ ‘And now behold, I am bound in the spirit, and am going to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall happen to me there; except that the Holy Spirit fully testifies in every city, saying that bonds and tribulations await me. But I myself do not take any of these things into account, nor do I hold my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to fully testify the GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD’” (Acts 20:18-24).

As we can see, the first part is the “gospel of grace,” which is for the forgiveness of sins for those who repent and are baptized to receive the Holy Spirit of God. These are the ones making up the spiritual body of Christ—His Church. Paul explains to the Ephesians that through the preaching of the Gospel of grace, Jesus was building His Church: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far off are made near by the blood of Christ. Now when He [Christ] came, He preached the gospel—peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. 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” (Eph. 2:13-22).

Thus, the first part of the Gospel is the “gospel of grace”—to build the Church of God until the return of Christ and the first resurrection. The second part is the “gospel of the kingdom of God”—which proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth with Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. This occurs at Jesus’ return. The resurrected saints will rule with Him, as they will inherit the “Kingdom of God” (Matt. 25:34) and rule as kings and priests (Rev. 20:5-6).

How the Apostles Are Even Now Going to All the World: It is evident that the apostles did not personally go into all the world, unto all nations, or to the ends of the earth. So how could they have fulfilled Jesus’ commands? Though they are dead and in the grave awaiting the resurrection, Jesus empowered them to continue their witness through their writingsas found in the New Testament—writings that have been inspired by God the Father and Jesus Christ.The Old and New Testaments together comprise the entire Word of God—His personal revelation to mankind, especially in the end times. The complete Bible has seven divisions: 1) the Law; 2) the Prophets; 3) the Writings—Psalms; 4) the gospels and Acts; 5) the General Epistles; 6) the Epistles of Paul; and 7) the Book of Revelation.

Paul wrote that all Scripture is “God-breathed” (II Tim. 3:16). Peter proclaimed that the Word of God is not based on the opinions of men, but is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture originated as anyone’s own private interpretation; because prophecy was not brought at any time by human will, but the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:20-21).

Jesus revealed that the Word of God is spiritual. “The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Moreover, Paul wrote: “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of both soul and spirit, and of both the joints and the marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is not a created thing that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:12-13).

By combining these passages, we can get a picture of the power of God’s Word and the Gospel message. Thus, Jesus promised: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations” (Mark 13:10); “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). The Bible contains all the words and sayings of God, the words of Jesus Christ, and the writings of the apostles that God wanted us (the Church) and the entire world to have.

Consider how the Gospel (and the entire Bible) has been proclaimed and published: It has been printed in books and digitized for computers and other media devices; it is preached live, and recorded for broadcast on radio, television and the Internet; and it is reproduced on CDs and DVDs. Thus, God is fulfilling His promises concerning His Word and the preaching of the Gospel far beyond the imaginations of the original apostles.

Indeed, the churches of God are using every means available for the preaching, proclaiming and publishing of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We are thus reminded of Paul’s statement to the Romans: “But I say, did they not hear [whether they will heed is another matter]? Yes, indeed, for it is written, ‘Their voices went out into all the earth; their words went out even to the ends of the habitable world’ ” (Rom. 10:18).

As a part of the Church of God, the CBCG is doing its share in preaching the Gospel to the world and in feeding the flock of God. Through the combined efforts of the elders, the brethren, and those who labor directly to promote the Gospel to the world through our Web sites—CBCG, Iglesia de Dios Cristiana y Biblica, and Church at Home—we are reaching hundreds of thousands of people. In the year 2012, we had 756,921 distinct visits to all sites combined. These visitors (made up of new people and brethren) downloaded a tremendous amount of material—audio, video, articles, booklets and transcripts.

All of this is in addition to the material we send out from the office in response to phone orders, e-mails and postal mail. For example, in addition to the 9,601 books ordered from our Web sites, we have sent out thousands of books, booklets, Bibles and articles. Out of the Hollister office, we have mailed 78,000 biweekly audio CDs—as well as about 10,000 other audio CDs. We have sent out over 3,500 in-depth Bible studies with transcripts.

Today, our mailing list stands at 3,000—a combination of those who are baptized and those who are not. As you can see, this past year God the Father and Jesus Christ have blessed us greatly with significant growth.

To give you a better perspective, we have enclosed the year-end report for our Web sites. We are also including in this mailing a sampling of letters and comments from those we are reaching with the Gospel. As you can see, this month’s letter provides an overview of what all of us together have been accomplishing in preaching the Gospel to the world and in feeding the flock God has given into our care. We can all be thankful to God for the blessings, and that we can be a part of what He is doing in these end times.

Brethren, in these very trying times in which we are living, we need to draw close to God in personal, heartfelt prayer and study of God’s Word—every day. When we are faithful in maintaining our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, we will be growing in grace and knowledge—and we will be watching and ready. We praise God the Father and Jesus Christ daily for Their love, grace, goodness and mercy. We thank you for your continued love and faithfulness to God and love toward each other. We thank you for your prayers for us and all the brethren. We thank you for your faithfulness in your tithes and offerings, especially in these turbulent times. Remember, we are all participating in preaching the Gospel to the world and in feeding the brethren with spiritual teachings unto eternal life. We pray that God will continue to bless you and keep watch over you. We continue to pray for you daily, for your health, your healing, and for God’s love and grace to be upon you in all things.

With Love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

Comments from Visitors to Our Web Sites

I wanted to tell you what a good idea this [Church at Home] Web site is. My husband and I have two grown daughters and two sons still at home. We "church at home" with another couple and a larger family. We were so tickled when we found your site because we have similar beliefs of the Sabbath and the festivals instead of man-made holidays. We've visited many COG and SDA sites and really felt like yours filled a need.—Virginia

THANK YOU for all the wonderful materials you have send us. We love your Web site, too. Keep up the great work. May God be with you.—Ohio

I have been searching for the truth for a while now and would like to know if there is a [CBCG] congregation around my area. It seems every church I have visited has, in one form or another, picked and chosen what they want to believe from the Bible. However, you seem to know the truth and I am interested in finding out more.—New York

Thanks so much for all the work you do in getting God's Word out to the world! I'm so thankful that I was told about your Web sites!... My husband and I are now listening to and watching the wonderful programs and sermons on your sites! I feel very blessed that God has answered my prayer and fervent plea for help! When something is true and right, it all makes sense—and IT DOES!—Missouri

I have been listening to sermons from the CBCG Web site along with meeting individuals involved with the CBCG since the end of the 2011 Feast. I am interested in becoming a member of the CBCG and furthering my understanding of God's Word and way of life. I am also inquiring about a Feast site for 2012.—British Columbia

I just wanted to write to say "Thank You" for all the hard work, time, effort and dedication in preaching God's Word. My husband and I deeply appreciate the monthly CDs and letters. There are truly no words that I can convey that would do justice in thanking God for such a wonderful blessing and for showing you the need for CDs, booklets and instructions for those who are no longer are able to attend church, are shut-ins, or who have given up on "organized religion." May our Father in heaven bless and reward each one of you for your continual service.—Kentucky

I was navigating [the Internet] to look for people of God to help me to solve a problem…. I am Muslim, but I felt that I must accept Jesus as my Savior. So far, no one has helped me clear [up] this issue. This [Web] site comes as the long-awaited answer.—Africa

The [new] Home Page looks very nice and I am sure it will be easier to find sermons, etc. I think you did a nice job. Thanks for all the work you do to simplify the Web site.—New York

I love the changes you have made to your Web site—very impressive.—Illinois 

Good job on a bright looking new Home Page for the CBCG.—Georgia

Fred, there are now over five years that you are my spiritual teacher and I think I've probably listened to all the sermons on the site. There is almost a year since I retired and it allows me to study the Word of God when I want. The biggest blessing I've had in recent years is that God guided me to I pray every day that God continues to inspire you and keep you in good health…. I send my greetings from overseas to all of you.—Belgium

Fred, thank you for the series you are doing on grace. I know I have not understood "under law" and "under grace" in the past—until you recently explained them. It seems like I am beginning to understand this for the first time and I am excited to hear more about the grace of God. I remember in the WCG that one family left because they didn't feel that love was being taught. You are right that ministers were afraid to teach grace and love. Maybe they didn't understand it. We were taught plenty about law, but not about love and grace. Thank you so much for what you are teaching.—Washington

The Bible has arrived! Books and CDs as well. The Bible is excellent! Informative, well laid out, with lots of additional information about Christian doctrine and faith. It is different from the Catholic Bible I have. My English is a problem, but I will practice translating verses and Bible interpretation. It is far more than I was expecting…. The letters are large and easy to read, fine Bible paper, cover for a comfortable grip, flexible—one word: perfect! For the translation, I will see when we start studying. Thank you very much.—Croatia

Thank you so much for your wonderful books and CDs. I am learning so much and am so impressed with the scholarship in your publications. Please send me a copy of God, or No God? Thank you with a truly grateful heart and mind.—Maine

Thank you for Church at Home. Your messages have opened my eyes to the false teachings of mainline churches. Please add me to your mailing list.—Ohio

I thank God for all the resources you have sent me that will allow me to better understand God's principles for our lives. May God continue to bless you and your team.—Jamaica

I have just finished reading The Appointed Times of Jesus the Messiah. What a wonderful book, full of important information. It really helped me to clearly understand many things…. Thank you so very much for all of your material. You are an excellent teacher.—Washington

I have heard good things about your calendar information…. So I have decided to bite the bullet, get rid of my fears and anxieties, and request the information packed about the biblical calendar. Thanks so much for all of the work which is being done through the CBCG. We have benefited from it immensely.—NorthCarolina

Thank you so much for the Faithful Version of the Bible. It's absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for your hard work—it's greatly appreciated. I have learned more from you in the past three weeks of coming to your Web sites than I have in the past five years of listening to other COGs. I truly believe I have finally found the truth.—Canada

I want you to know that I appreciate your Web site very much. I have downloaded many of your sermons and have learned more in the short time I've been studying with you than I did in all the years I was following GTA. You are an excellent teacher.—Missouri

Thank you for your Web site and all the information you have. I am starting to read the Bible with your lessons and I am beginning to understand the Word of God. Your message is true and strong and I want to tithe to your church. For the most part, I study alone and do not have a church to go to. For now that is good enough; but when the time comes, I will find a church that I want to be a part of. Thank you for all the work you do and for the advanced studies that you have invested in.—California

I've been looking for the truth for years and have not been able to find it in any church that I have visited thus far. I have been listening to the material on this [Church at Home] Web site for a short time and have learned more than I ever did when attending a Sunday worship church…. I can't absorb it fast enough!—Kentucky

Thank you so very much for Church at Home. It is such a blessing to actually be able to hear the truth. It has taken a lot of searching spiritually, mentally, as well as physically to finally find the truth…. I thank God for loving us so much that He has opened our eyes to the truth…. Thank you for sending your CDs and for caring so much for the brethren.—North Carolina