October 1, 2013

2013 Camp Meeting Sermon Excerpts

Bound Together 

Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” The phrase translated “wait upon” means to be bound together by twisting. When we are bringing a situation to God in prayer, we are not just marking time until God comes through. We are not just waiting in line for Him to meet our needs. Rather, we are “twisted together” with Him; we are waiting with Him. When we bind ourselves with God, we will be renewed even while we are waiting for Him to undertake in the matter.

There are many ways this verse can encourage us. It says “they shall walk, and not faint.” That speaks of a Christian life that is consistent and steady. It doesn’t stop but keeps going at the same pace. This is only possible when a person is bound together with the Lord, and is gaining strength and endurance from that connection.

“They shall run, and not be weary.” We want to run toward holiness and righteousness. When we are bound together with God, we want what He wants. Our desire should be to apply ourselves to prayer and having the love of God at work in our lives. That will increase our consistency.

Mounting up as eagles brings to mind a picture of flying. My brother-in-law has a friend who charters a plane for people who want to get into the wildernesses of Alaska and visit places that cannot be reached by car. They fly above the hindrances to reach their destinations. When we bind ourselves together with God and wait with Him in faith, He can cause us to fly above the doubts, fears, and negative thoughts that the enemy would place in our paths. Those won’t bog us down.

We want to be connected with God so that we have faith which enables us to say there is victory ahead even if we see no sign to indicate it. Perhaps the facts do not look very positive, but we can still have confidence in God. Joshua and Caleb illustrated that. Along with ten other men, they went to spy out the Promised Land. They saw the giants and the high-walled cities; those were the facts. But they were bound up with God enough to declare, “We are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).

No matter what the facts are, we can believe God. We do not know how God will work, but we know that He will. We want to be bound together with Him and let our faith rest in knowing that He has a plan for victory.

— Randy Baltzell

No Waiting List

Have you ever felt that you’ve been put on someone’s waiting list?

The Bible tells about a rich young ruler who came to Jesus, wanting to know how to obtain eternal life. This young man had the greatest opportunity in the world: to talk to Jesus. You can’t get any better than that! Jesus quoted the commandments, and the young man said he had kept these. But Jesus knew his heart and told him that he lacked one thing—he needed to sell what he had and give to the poor. Scripture says, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful” (Matthew 19:22). He put God on a waiting list.

Years later, the Apostle Paul stood before Felix, the governor of Judaea. As Paul reasoned with him about the Gospel, Felix trembled. But he said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). The Spirit of God was convicting Felix, but he decided to postpone yielding.

Might we also do this? When God calls after the hearts of the unsaved, sometimes they say, “Not right now.” At times God tries to pull some trust or consecration from people, yet they may respond, “Lord, I just don’t have it now. Wait.” When the Spirit of God reasons with a person’s heart, he or she is experiencing God at His best. No one else can pull on the heart like God; no one else can make a difference like God. How can people possibly delay responding to Him?

God never puts us on a waiting list. Jesus came to this world and suffered extremely to give the human family salvation. In Psalm 84, He promises not to withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. Why would anyone want to delay following Him wholeheartedly?

Several years ago I was visiting my parents in Alabama when a call came that my oldest brother had been in an accident. We rushed to the hospital, and when we walked into the emergency room, we learned that he only had a scratch. When he was released, he wanted to stop by his car, so we did. It was a mangled mess, and immediately I could see that he should not have lived. I looked at him and said, “You need to pray! Don’t you want to give God your life?” He said he did, so we went to his home and got down to pray. But after a little while, it was clear nothing was happening. I leaned over and asked him, “Can’t you pray?” He said, “I’m not ready yet.” He was putting God on a waiting list! There was nothing more I could say or do.

Several years later, my brother called me and said, “I just got saved.” What great news! Thank God for His mercy to my brother, but no one has the promise that such mercy will be extended.

When God speaks to our hearts, we need to respond. We want to do what God is asking us to do. No more waiting!

— Ron Gaddis

Looking at Jesus

When I was in college, we used to play a trick on tourists. Since New York City has many high rise buildings, several of us would stand on the sidewalk and look up. Often, the people walking by would look up also, even stopping for some time though there was nothing to see.

While there is no harm in finding ourselves standing on a sidewalk looking up at nothing, what we are looking at spiritually is critical. It will determine whether we have the ability as believers to stand tall and endure the tests that come our way. We want to be looking at Jesus.

During his exile on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John wrote, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, . . . . And I turned to see the voice that spake with me” (Revelation 1:10, 12). If we could talk to John today, perhaps we would ask him, “What were you looking at? Were you looking at the stones on Patmos, or the isolation you were in? Were you focused on the hot sun that was beating on your back in the lonely prison isle of Patmos? Were you looking at your circumstances and the fact that many of your friends and contemporaries had given their lives for the faith?” Of course John would say, “No, I was not looking at any of those things.” What was John looking at? He was looking at Jesus, and what he saw astounded him.

John had walked with Jesus throughout His ministry. When Jesus died and then rose again, John saw the resurrected Christ. Yet when John saw Jesus on the Isle of Patmos, he saw the glory of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. John said, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). Jesus’ glory was so great that it brought John to his knees. Why did John need to see Jesus in this manner? When he did, he was able to do what God told him to do. He was instructed to “write these things” and he did.

All of us need to see Jesus spiritually. When we do, we will understand our need for salvation. After that, we can experience the grace of God in sanctification. Then we can seek and be filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And our experiences continue to become greater as we serve the risen Savior. If we continue looking at Jesus, He will give us the strength and power to serve Him in every aspect of our lives.

Are you looking at Jesus today?

— Johnny Wyatt Jr.

Separate from the World

In the Book of Exodus we read the words of Moses and Aaron as they spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. “The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword” (Exodus 5:3). At this time, Egypt was the seat of civilization, and idolatry was rampant. God had a plan to restore His people, and His plan had requirements, including that the Children of Israel were to leave Egypt. He wanted His people to worship Him, and to do that, a separation from Egypt was necessary.

At first Pharaoh said no, so God sent plagues upon the land, and then Pharaoh suggested a compromise. However, God’s commands were specific, and He intended them to be obeyed in full.

Today, also, God requires His people to be separate from the world. The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). The “world” in this context means anything that would cause us to be alienated from the Lord. To “love not the world” necessitates being separated from anything that moves us away from God and toward the world. Separation does not mean to be taken out of society, but it means to be kept away from the evil about us.

The devil tries to suggest compromise, but to do that means there must be some concession. Compromise involves partial surrender of principles. That might be all right in business or in politics, but in following God’s instructions, compromise is not acceptable.

The life of a Christian who is separate from the world will be noticed by others. Before he was saved, one of our church brothers in the Philippines was fond of “collecting” chips from a casino. He made them into a souvenir keychain. After he was saved, he learned about the doctrine of restitution and God showed him that he must make that right. He returned all the chips to the casino and said, “I am willing to suffer the consequences for what I have done; I am sorry and am giving all these chips back to you.” The manager asked our brother if he was a Christian, and our brother replied yes. The manager said, “I have never seen a Christian like you!” Our brother had a distinguishable character; he was separate from others.

If we want to be separated from the world, we need to stay close to Jesus. We want to be like Him—holy, harmless, and undefiled. God wants us to be separate, to have a distinguishing kind of faith. He will help us and strengthen us to live in that way if we will let Him. He will give us peace and victory.

— Joey Ruiz

An Appointment with God

Court systems around the world have officials who serve as bailiffs, sheriffs, marshals, and judges. When an individual is required to appear before a judge, someone is deputized to give that person official documents which include the date, time, and place of the necessary appearance. When the deputy presents the papers, he says, “You are served.” Whether that individual reads the summons or not, whether he obeys or not, under law that person is required to appear before the judge at the appointed time and place.

The Psalmist said, “When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:2). He was not talking about coming before an earthly judge. He was speaking of the heavenly Judge, the Eternal Supreme God.

Appearing before God is a revealing experience because He knows all about us. Nothing is hidden from Him. People who trust in the god of money, religious rituals, or their positions and authority will find those things are not enough. Those who trust in education, or their possessions will find themselves lacking. We cannot appear before God in our own strength. We must come in lowliness of mind, in humility of spirit, and with a heart that is willing to yield everything to Him. We need to be repentant, recognizing that we desperately need a Savior.

When are we called to come before God? The Bible tells us clearly that God’s appointment book has one time and date on it—now. Every appointment with God is for this moment. Scripture repeatedly states that now is the time; now is the day; now is the time for salvation.

Does God want us to come before Him? He certainly does! Today is our opportunity to come and appear before Him. You can come just as you are. He will heal your broken soul. He will cleanse your heart and make it new. The time to let Him do this is now. You will never be sorry!

— Michael Anthony

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