July 2018 Viewpoint
Though I was only twelve years old in 1965, I can still remember some of the landmark events that took place that year. As a baseball fan, I was aware of the nation’s first indoor baseball game, held on April 9 in a 260-acre stadium called the Houston Astrodome. I also recall mom’s worrying about her four sons as the war in Vietnam escalated and more young men were drafted into military service. The same year, the 630-foot St. Louis Gateway Arch was completed.
Since we were not church people, we were unaware of how the social revolution of the 1960s affected the Christian world. And we certainly had no awareness of the Apostolic Faith leadership transition that resulted when General Overseer Raymond Crawford died on June 3, 1965, passing the mantle to Reverend Loyce C. Carver.
Just two months earlier, on April 4, 1965, Brother Ray had preached what would be his final sermon (The Essence of True Christianity). His text that day was taken from John 17, where Jesus prayed for His disciples and believers of following generations to be sanctified.
Christians are still called to live lives of distinction and separation from the morally degrading influences of society, even when those influences are generally accepted and even promoted.
Although Brother Ray delivered the sermon in 1965, it is timeless. He delivered similar sermons during the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression of the 1930s, the war years of the 1940s, and the relatively peaceful decade of the 1950s. His message is timeless because Jesus’ prayer is timeless! Christians are still called to live lives of distinction and separation from the morally degrading influences of society, even when those influences are generally accepted and even promoted. While we are in the world, we are not to be “of the world” (John 17:16). Like the disciples of Jesus’ day, we too are called to devote ourselves to God. When we do, we can expect the same result—the Lord will sanctify us, eradicating carnality and empowering us to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12).
We should not be surprised if some oppose the way of holiness. Jesus and His disciples faced opposition and even hatred. During those times, we remember that Jesus’ prayer for His followers included this petition: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
May the content of this magazine inspire you to experience what Jesus prayed for and what Brother Ray preached. And may God cause your hope of Jesus’ soon return to shine brighter than ever before.