October 1, 2012

2012 Camp Meeting Sermon Excerpts

A Notable Day 

All of us have had notable days in our lives, and most of those days involved some planning. Recently in the United Kingdom, great plans and preparations were made for the diamond jubilee celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There were thousands of street parties and motor boat parades on the River Thames. Two days of public holiday were granted for the four-day celebration. On Sunday, June 3, thousands lined up on either side of the Thames to watch the boat parade led by the queen and her family members. Then, just before the parade was to begin, there was suddenly a heavy downpour of rain, and many felt disappointed. However, in spite of the inclement weather, it was a notable day.

Today can be a notable day on your calendar, and one without disappointment. God’s Word says, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). God has given promises, and we can trust Him to perform them. This can be the day you have been waiting for. It can be the day of an encounter with God, a day of a new testimony because Jesus touched you. God will give salvation; He will give sanctification; He will give the baptism of the Holy Ghost; He will give healings and answers to our problems. We can stand on the Word of God and be sure that it will come to pass.

We are the ones who make a day spiritually significant. On Sunday, December 1, 1974, a group of people from the Apostolic Faith Church in Nigeria came to my college and preached the Word of God. It was the first time they had come to that college, and I did not know if they would ever return. I decided that would be my day. When I went on my knees and confessed my sins to the Lord, Heaven fell upon my heart and I received salvation. The Spirit of God came upon my soul and made it clear to me that my sins were gone. It was a notable day!

When God’s Spirit speaks to our souls, it is in a language we can understand, and we want to be careful not to harden our hearts. It is a trick of the enemy to tell us to wait. It is important to respond to God today. There is no assurance of tomorrow; it may be too late.

This day can be significant for you, a day you will never forget. God wants to bless you with true happiness and joy. God is ready to answer prayer for anyone who will earnestly reach out to Him. Why not open your soul to Him and let this be your notable day?

— Isaac Adigun

Do You Fit In?

Have you ever thought of yourself as being a stranger and a pilgrim? A stranger is someone who is away from his own country and temporarily in a foreign land. A pilgrim is a traveler who does not intend to take up residency where he sojourns. God’s people are strangers and pilgrims. Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

Though I was born in Romania, I am privileged to live in the United States of America, and am blessed to have become a citizen. I love this country. But as Christians, we are strangers on the earth; this is not our land. We are pilgrims and are traveling. Our home is in Heaven. Consequently, we do not always fit in with the people around us.

About twenty-six years ago, my family emigrated from Romania to the United States. At the time, I did not speak English, and I did not fit in, although I desperately wanted to look American, sound American, and act American. On my first day of public school, I was a stranger and alone. One young boy seemed to be friendly. He spent time with me and taught me a new sentence. He prompted me to say it, and every time I did, he would laugh so I would too. I thought we were having a good time. It climaxed on the school bus as we were going home. He got everyone to be quiet and then prompted me. He had taught me to say, “Me no speak English.” The others on the bus laughed, and I laughed with them. It wasn’t until later that I learned they weren’t laughing with me, but they were laughing at me. I was a stranger and didn’t fit in.

If we have been born again, we will not fit in with those around us who do not serve Christ. Be careful if you fit in too well! The devil will come and try to seem like a friend. He will laugh with us if he can, but all the time he wants to make a mockery of our lives. He is not a friend; he is God’s enemy and ours. We worship God and stand for truth. Therefore, we walk as strangers and pilgrims on this earth, and people will notice that there is a difference. May God help us to honor Him and live in a way that is pleasing to Him, remembering that Heaven is our eternal home.

— John Baros

God's Requirements

Life is full of requirements. They are essential for safety, for travel, for our professions, for most all that we do. Out of interest, I looked at the website of the United States Navy SEALS. The listed requirements to be admitted as a candidate includes eyesight that can be corrected to 20/20, the ability do fifty sit-ups in two minutes, to swim five hundred yards in less than twelve-and-a-half minutes using the sidestroke, complete forty-two pushups in two minutes, and so forth. The site concludes, “The Navy SEAL training program will stress you beyond your limits to make sure you’re worthy to serve with the world’s best fighting force. Be prepared, stay focused, make mature choices, and understand what you are volunteering for. Check out the complete Navy SEAL Training Program to see if you have what it takes to be a SEAL.”

Requirements such as these are meant to exclude, to weed people out. God also has requirements, but they are meant to include everyone. They are simple, for the Gospel is not complicated. Micah 6:8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

The prophet Micah lived when the nations of Israel and Judah experienced a time of affluence. The Jewish people had let this prosperity get into their hearts, and they had withdrawn from the love of God. In mercy, God sent Micah to warn them. It was not as if these people did not know about God or His requirements. The prophet told them that God had showed them what was good and what He expected.

God has shown us also. The admonition through the prophet was to “do justly.” We cannot do justly until the Just One is living in our hearts. In order to truly love, appreciate, and follow the Word of God we must be saved from our lives of sin and have Jesus reigning in our hearts.

Continuing further, he said, “Love mercy.” The message was not to show mercy or to have mercy, but to love it. Mercy can be shown out of compulsion, but if we want the Word of God to have free course among us, we need to love mercy. We need to forgive one another.

Then he concluded, “Walk humbly with thy God.” If we do not learn humility, we will learn humiliation. Pride causes people to make decisions independent of God—decisions about careers, whom to marry, where to go, and what to do. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. If we want to stand as Christians, we must humble ourselves and keep under His mighty arm.

We know what God requires of us. We want to be willing and faithful to do it.

— Olusola Adesope

We Have Access!

Jesus Christ accomplished many things when He died on the Cross and then rose again. He gave His life so that we can be born again and have a hope of Heaven. He suffered so that we can be sanctified holy. Through His death, Jesus also gave us access to God. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” (Matthew 27:50-51).

Under the Law, the High Priest went once each year into the Holy of Holies of the Temple. It was a very sacred place, and he was careful to follow specific instructions. An animal was sacrificed for himself and another was slain for the Children of Israel. He took that blood and put in on the Mercy Seat and sprinkled it seven times before the Mercy Seat. The priest accessed God there.

Today the Holy of Holies still exists, and the Mercy Seat is yet available. When Jesus died, the veil was torn, showing that access to God was open to any who would avail themselves of the opportunity.

We have access, but we do not just go marching in. We must enter with the precious Blood of Christ on our hearts; He made it possible. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22). What was hidden behind the veil is now open and accessible to all.

Recently as we were praying after a service, my prayer was, “Lord, come near. Come visit us.” The Lord spoke to my heart, “Andy, I am always here.” Oh yes, God is near!

Some years ago at our church in Roseburg, the prayer meeting after the service seemed to be ending. Then a young mother came from the back nursery. She knelt at the altar bench, and it was obvious that she needed something from God. We all began to pray for her. As I prayed, I began to lay my own burdens down before God. I prayed for my children, for my dad, about a work situation. As we laid our matters out before God, He filled that place with His glory. I have never felt so much like the Lord was standing right before us. My head was down on the prayer bench, and I was afraid to lift my eyes, that my mortal body wouldn’t be able to take it. It was as if the Lord said, “What do you need? What is it you want?” I couldn’t ask for a single thing. All those things had been given to God to get me to that place. My only request was, “Just don’t go away. Just stay with us.”

Access to God is available. Let’s take advantage of it.

— Andy Chasteen

Purpose to Worship

If we come to God with a purpose to worship Him, He will hear our prayers. This is illustrated by the account of Philip witnessing to the eunuch. Acts 8:27-28 says, “Behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.” Although we do not know a lot about this eunuch, we do know he had great authority and much financial power. More importantly, however, we know he had a desire in his heart to go to Jerusalem to worship God. What he found when he arrived there is unknown, but on his way home he was still searching.

The eunuch was reading from the Book of Isaiah, and it is interesting to consider what he might have read. If he started at the beginning, he learned about a God that is reasonable: “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). On into what is now the sixth chapter, the prophet told about his own vision of God, of seeing the seraphims worshipping God and saying, “Holy, holy, holy.” Isaiah recognized his own need before God, and he had an experience that changed his life.

Chapter 7 speaks of a virgin who would bear a son called Emmanuel, and chapter 9 speaks about the “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). When Philip arrived, the eunuch was at Isaiah 53:7, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” This prophetic passage spoke of Jesus, the Son of God, and Philip took the opportunity to tell the eunuch the way of salvation.

The eunuch embarked on a journey with a purpose to worship God. He wanted to get close to God, and he was marvelously rewarded. When the Spirit caught Philip away, the eunuch went on his way rejoicing. Why? Because he finally had found the answer to what he had traveled so far to find. He had found the Lord that the Scriptures were speaking about.

If we come to God with the purpose to worship Him, we too will be rewarded. We must focus in on Him and expect to receive, knowing that He wants to work in our lives. Just consider what He did for the eunuch!

— Byron Parker

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