A Letter to Some Dear Friends :: By Tim King

The world is changing and not necessarily for the better with the increasing crime rate, sagging economy and looming possibility for war. The future of our country and our way of life is threatened on many levels. The spread of terrorism and many strange new medical and biological problems add to the anxiety we are experiencing.

The moral values of this society have been in steady decline. Profit motivated producers of television shows and movies are finding that it takes much more violence and sexually explicit material to satisfy the viewer’s needs and to boost box office ratings. The old adage, “Sex sells” still stands on firm ground today. There also continues to be an ever present movement to remove God from our society by those claiming God doesn’t exist.

My reason for penning such a note is to spread the Good News of the kingdom of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came into the world about 2000 years ago to teach and preach the truths of God’s kingdom and to eventually present his life as the final once for all sacrifice for sin by dying a cruel death on the cross at Calvary.

You may ask, “What is all this business of sin anyway?” The Holy Bible teaches that sin is disobedience to the word or will of God. Sin started out in this world in the Garden of Eden with the first man, Adam. Adam was created by God from the dust of the earth and placed into the garden to tend it and to have fellowship with God. God declared to him that he and his wife Eve may eat of any tree in the garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which God said, “If you eat of this tree you will surely die” (Gen. 2:15).

Because of the artful deception of Satan, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the fruit that caused them to lose their innocence. This act banished them forever from paradise and God’s favor. Therefore every person that has come into the world since that time has been born with a sinful nature in rebellion against God.

The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans declared, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3: 11-12).

From the book of Proverbs, “There is a way that [seems] right to a man but in the end leads to death” (Prov. 16: 25). “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Some day each one of us must endure our own death and come before our creator, the Living God, to face judgment for our sins. Fortunately, Jesus has provided a way for us to escape this judgment and empower us to live a life pleasing to God the Father. Of himself he said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

Again he says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) And also, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Who was Jesus? The first four books of the New Testament (called the Gospels) describe who Jesus was. The scriptures say he was conceived and born from a virgin woman named Mary. She was to be married to a man Joseph who was a descendant from the Jewish King David, a man who walked and ruled according to God’s will.

Jesus was conceived and born through the power of the Holy Spirit before Mary and her future husband had relations. Therefore Jesus was born without sin because he was born the Son of God, not a son of man who is with sin.

During his public ministry of about three and one half years, he taught the word of God, healed the sick and raised people from the dead showing wondrous signs of the power of God. His life finally ended when he allowed his own people, the Jewish Priesthood, to turn him over to the Roman Governor of Judea (Pontius Pilate) to be crucified on the cross. Then Jesus died, was buried and rose again after three days in fulfillment of the Scriptures.

He appeared to his disciples on many occasions during the next forty days encouraging and instructing them. At his last appearance, he spoke his final words to them and then ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father. “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood before them.

“’Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’”(Acts 1:9-11). The Bible has much to say concerning this event in which Jesus will come back as King of kings and Lord of lords defeating the power of the devil and his dark forces. The current Middle-East situation is very likely to be the backdrop preceding these final last events in history.

Now I would like to give a brief description of the Mid-East in the least complex terms I can. It’s history is the subject of volumes of literature. The entire Old Testament of the Bible is devoted to God’s dealings with his chosen people, the Jews or Hebrews as they are also known. Their fore-father is one man, Abraham who lived about 3500 years ago. From this one man God raised up an entire nation or race of people.

He gave them a tract of land, as an inheritance for his people that bordered the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Dead Sea to the east. This land was known as Canaan at that time and today, the modern state of Israel or Palestine depending on who is making claim to it. God worked miraculous signs and wonders through this people, blessed them when they obeyed him and cursed and punished them when they were disobedient. He brought them his law, the 10 Commandments, and the entire body of Jewish law.

God also brought his only Son Jesus to be the savior of the world through them. Forty years following Jesus death God punished the nation of Israel by scattering them into all the nations of the world and causing them to be persecuted and put to death until the last final slaughter of the Jews by Nazi Germany where 6 million were put to death in concentration camps.

And finally in 1948 after Britain could no longer maintain control of the Holy Land (Palestine) after the war, the Jews who had been streaming back in won their independence and State of Israel was once again re-born as a nation.

This caused tremendous conflict amongst the Arab countries who are of the Muslim religious belief. You see, the Arabs also owe their ancestry to Abraham as well. The book of Genesis fully describes the conflict between the sons of Abraham. I’ll try to explain this, in Abraham’s old age, God promised that he and his wife Sarah would have a son who would be made into a great nation, a people of God.

Sarah was barren and of advanced age (about 80 years old) so, lacking faith in God’s promise, she presented her Egyptian handmaid Hagar to Abraham to have their son for her. This was a customary act at the time. Hagar had a son named Ishmael who became the father of the Arab peoples. After Hagar became pregnant, she began to rebel against Sarah.

As the story goes, Hagar was sent into the desert to die but God came to her in a vision and told her she was going to have a son who would be father of many nations and saved her. God however also said of Ishmael and his people, “He will be a wild ass of a man, his hand will be against the hand of every man and his brothers and will live to the east.”(Gen 16:11-12) The Arab people have been noted through the annals of history for being fierce warriors and living by the edge of the sword.

Their modern day swords come equipped with jet engines. Abraham and Sarah did have a son, Isaac, the son of God’s promise who later became father of Jacob (also known as Israel) and his 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. Isaac inherited all of God’s blessings and Abraham’s material wealth that Ishmael believed he was due to possess because of his firstborn status.

This created great animosity between the brothers which has translated down through the ages to the present day mid-east crisis we are experiencing. Now that Israel is a nation again, the chief goal of the surrounding Arab nations is the complete and total destruction of the Jewish race and if it wasn’t for God’s hand in their divine protection, the vastly out-numbered state of Israel would have been demolished years ago.

Because of this eternal hatred, our national involvement with aid to Israel has continually put us in the Arab’s cross-hairs. There is much more that the Bible has to say on the current situation and the second return of Christ to the world but it’s well beyond the scope of this letter. Of the events prior to his return that are described in Matthew 24 Jesus said, “When you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly will not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:33-34).

This has been a very long message which I’m sorry for but I can’t over-state the importance and shortness of time we have left to become right with God. A Christian life well lived is peace for the soul and will be well rewarded now and in the future for those who love and obey God. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Once you’ve excepted Christ as your Savior, He sends His Holy Spirit as a councilor and provides you with the power to live a faith filled life pleasing to God.

Christ covers our sins up so the Father no longer sees them but sees Christ living in us. It is said that a person is born again, hence the term, born-again Christian. A prominent religious teacher in Jesus day (Nicodemus) came to him at night for some private instruction saying, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared:

“I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. How can a man be born again when he is old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he can’t enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, ‘Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh but Spirit gives birth to spirit’” (John 3: 3-7).

My prayer for you is that you will confess to God that you are a sinner and except Christ as your savior, join a faith community (Christian church or ministry) and read God’s Word to find out what he expects of you. I send this with deep concern and hope that everyone I send it to may come to believe and be saved. Peace be with you.