Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
The Holy Scriptures are becoming clearer and plainer all the time. This is precisely what God prophesied would happen as we approach the End of the Age. That time is just on the horizon. We will soon be witnessing the catastrophic events predicted in the Book of Revelation (along with the parallel passages in the Book of Daniel and other parts of the Scripture). In the meantime, God has given us what could be called a "breath of refreshment" as a time of preparation (a period of prosperity) to develop the mechanical and spiritual means to dispense the real Gospel of Jesus Christ to this world. Believe me, there is very little of the basic substance of the Gospel being taught today. What we see in this world is a watered-down version of the Gospel that is given to please and to amuse (in a frivolous sense) the sentiments of humankind. We are provided with wonderful and often spectacular "church services," but there is very little teaching of the fundamentals of the Scripture. Indeed, the reason I just published my new book "The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine" is to put in peopleís hands (in some cases for the first time) the real teaching of Christ Jesus to the world. This information needs to be read by everyone in the world. It is NOT because I wrote the book, but it is because of what the book contains. I have tried to make the Gospel message as simple and as understandable as one can make it, and I believe that I have achieved a measure of success in this.
By the way, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the favorable response from the majority of you dear brothers and sisters on the mailing list in sending into the office the necessary funds to pay off the printing costs of the "Essentials" book. Most of you who did not send in the extra amount for the book (or respond to my fund raising method of sending my autograph) wrote me that you did not realize that our printing expenses often quadruple for the month we publish a book. Last month was the first time in my work of getting out the Gospel that the funds did not come in to pay for the printing of the book. But in the wake of my Communicator last month, the printing costs have now been paid and we have been able to send many free copies of the book to those who truly cannot afford to buy it. As of May 15, we have now sent out over 2000 of the "Essentials" book, and as a gesture of love and grace to those who truly could not afford it, we have sent out just over 400 books free. Listen, all a person has to do is inform us that you sincerely cannot afford to send the money to pay for the book, and we will endeavor to send it to you free (even post and packaging paid). We are grateful for those of you who send in some extra each month so that we can give this service to the brethren Ė the ones truly indigent. We are more than happy to do this. We look on it as a type of "missionary" service to those who cannot afford our material. However, those who can afford to send in funds to pay for books and archive articles (that cost us quite a bit to reproduce) are expected to do so because it is a principle that should govern those who consider themselves Christians and supporters of the Gospel of Christ. The principle for funding is shown in Second Samuel 24:24. It was stated by David when he built the altar that was to go into the Temple of God. David said: "I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing." We at ASK accept this principle as Godís wish and we apply it in funding our work of educating Godís people with the Gospel. I want to thank you again for your support of the work of ASK.
As a matter of fact, we do offer a completely free service to all people in the world to receive the Gospel of Christ instead of the half-baked type of Gospel that is normally being preached today. That is our presence on the Internet. This costs us much more each month than the Web Page of an individual. We not only have to hire professionals to design, maintain and service Internet connection, but we have to buy a lot more space from our Internet Server on which to place the great amount of material in the articles. This is purely a "missionary" effort on our part and we are happy to do it. It means that anyone in the world who has Internet access (and this is getting more widespread each week) can download any of our many free articles and reports. For all of you who do not yet have Internet capabilities, that is a sad deficiency. To me, having the Internet access is as important as having a radio, a TV set, a telephone or a mail box. It is becoming one of the chief means for communication in the world, and it is going to finally become the main essential artery for being in contact with one another, and even for doing business. We have had hundreds of messages from around the world from people who have found our Web Page by using what they call "search engines" to find certain types of subjects that are on the Internet. As an example, I have had correspondence with an astronomer from Moscow, Russia who is a Christian and he rejoiced to see my information about the Star of Bethlehem on the Web and in my free book that I sent him. Many other astronomers, historians, theologians and ministers of the Gospel have contacted me from around the world by means of our Web Page that they think is first class. These are examples of how your donations that you provide us with each month go to give a free service to people throughout the world to obtain the Gospel of Christ.
As for me personally, some of you may have heard that I developed a "pinched sciatic nerve" on my recent trip to get my final pictures and diagrams for my new book on the Temple. Over my 67 years, I have had the usual aches and pains that all normal human beings go through, but I have almost always been able to get around and work without too many impediments. But on that trip a slight nerve problem developed into one that made it impossible for me to walk without great pain in my right leg. I am getting much better now, and I hope to have full recovery soon. Still, however, I have had to cut down my work load the past two months. I have got physical advice from many of you who have experienced similar things and I have put into action much of the exercises, etc. that you and other medical professionals have suggested. Many of you have been praying for my recovery. I want to thank you for that. We do indeed need to pray for one another in times of need. Jesus set the example through his prayers for himself and for others.
This does bring up an important matter, however. Just how should we pray for each other? Should we always pray for the sick that God will always heal them? Should we pray once, twice, daily or continually? If God does not heal immediately, should we pray harder, longer and with more intensity with fasting and humiliation? Is God through each sickness or malady that we have trying to "teach us certain lessons" that we can only learn through suffering? Or, are we ill because God is punishing us for overt or secret sins that we are committing? Is my "pinched nerve" a sign to me from God that I ought to change my ways and repent of certain things I am teaching as the Gospel of Christ? In other words, why do we Christians get sick or have maladies just like other humans in the world? Are they really necessary? Can God truly heal us Ė and heal us completely if we ask Him? Should we be anointed by the elders whenever we get sick (either major or minor) or even if we feel a cold coming on?
To answer these and other questions concerning the illnesses and infirmities that we Christians often get, I will write a Doctrinal Report (a brand new one) for next month. It will be titled: "Was Jesus Ever Sick?" Everyone of you should read this new Report. It will explain in detail many of the queries that you have had over the years regarding this most important subject. I have written on the matter before, but it is necessary from time to time to update our understanding of these important subjects that impinge upon our daily living. We need to know Godís viewpoint of these matters. That is precisely what I plan to give you next month. So, in order to receive this significant and interesting Doctrinal Report, you should send back the enclosed coupon and we will dispatch it to you as soon as it is printed.
Again, thank you for your continued support of the work. God is truly blessing us all with wonderful knowledge of His divine plan for the redemption of the human race to himself. We all have a great future. Let us all be about our Fatherís business in giving the Gospel of Christ to the world as best we can. Until next month,
Ernest L. Martin
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