October 1, 2015

2015 Camp Meeting Sermon Excerpts

How Do I Look? 

Recently my wife, Stella, and I were shopping in one of the superstores in Manchester, United Kingdom, when a gigantic mirror caught my eye. From far away, I could read the inscription that said, “How do I look?” The mirror was there so an individual could try on an item of clothing and then look in that mirror to ask, “How do I look?” and “Should I buy this or not?” Perhaps the answer to the first question determines how an individual answers the second question. When I stood in front of the mirror, I said, “You are looking good, Isaac!” However, I did not buy anything. I just looked at myself and then walked out of the store.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a wonderful spiritual mirror, but we do not want to look in it and then just walk out. The Bible says, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25). This passage contains the formula for receiving the blessings of God—we must be doers. We must live by what we read in the Bible.

God’s Word is a reflector of truth in our lives. It can show us areas in need of change. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Those who have not confessed their sins to God and been forgiven are not looking good in His sight. It will not pay to just turn and walk away without doing what God requires. Another verse says, “Be ye holy, as I am holy.” That is the mirror; have we followed through? Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power.” God looks at our hearts. When He does, what does He see? We want to look good in God’s sight.

Sometimes we look in a mirror casually. We may think everything is all right, and then go out and be told that something needs to be fixed. We may say, “But I looked at myself in the mirror.” However, we did not look carefully. When we look into God’s Word, we want to be focused and apply what we learn, or we may overlook something important.

Each one of us can look into this mirror of truth and say, “God, show me how I look before You.” If we come honestly and open our hearts to Him, He will let us know. We want to be looking good in God’s sight.

— Isaac Adigun (London, England)

Make the Wise Choice

Studies show that human beings make more than 4,500 decisions every day. Some of these only affect our daily lives, but others affect our eternal destinies.

Jesus gave the account of the ten virgins. Five of them were wise and five were foolish. “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (Matthew 25:3-4). What does it mean to be foolish? It is to know what to do and the time when it should be done, but not do it. What does it mean to be wise? It is to know what to do and when, and then do it.

Each of those virgins made a decision. Today each one of us must also decide. God wants us to choose to follow His instructions so we can be ready when He comes back to rapture His saints.

Caleb—a man of Israel who “wholly followed the Lord”—made a decision. When he was eighty-five years old, he said to Joshua, “Give me this mountain.” God had promised the mountain to him forty-five years earlier when he spied out the land and brought back a good report. When Caleb approached Joshua, he said, “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me” (Joshua 14:11). Some may have thought Caleb was too old to do anything, but his strength came from God. It did not matter to him that the mountain was high and that giants (the sons of Anak) were there. He knew he had a promise from God, and that God could help when circumstances looked impossible.

Will you decide to follow God and do His will? It is a decision with eternal consequences. Make a wise choice today!

— Deivys Pichardo (Maquiteria, Dominican Republic)

Receiving By Faith

Many activities in our lives are based on faith, and we perform them without even giving faith a thought.

For example, when I was traveling by air to camp meeting, I did not feel it was necessary for me to know who the pilot was or how much experience he had. Neither did I particularly want to know how long the airplane had been in operation. I expected to board the plane and land at the proper destination.

After arriving in Portland, when I needed water, I went to the tap, opened it, and water came out. It did not concern me where the water storage is in Portland or how much it contains. Similarly, if I were to ask everyone in this tabernacle to stand up and then sit down again, people would not look back to see where their seats are. They would just sit down knowing the seats are there.

We naturally have faith for many temporal things. Yet people sometimes struggle to believe in God and that His promises are true. Nothing but faith will bring us in touch with Him or allow us to obtain the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

God exists beyond the natural realm. We cannot look at Him or touch Him; He is beyond the physical senses. God is everywhere, and He is near us, but we must believe that He is.

God exists beyond the natural realm. We cannot look at Him or touch Him; He is beyond the physical senses. God is everywhere, and He is near us, but we must believe that He is. He is the one and only God, the great I Am, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Through His Son Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with Him.

It is faith that causes a person to come to God and pray, “Please take sin out of my life and save my soul.” When that person surrenders everything to God and believes, salvation comes, and power is given to live without sinning. At salvation, more faith is embedded in the heart.

Then God wants that soul to seek Him for sanctification, or holiness of heart, which deals with the sin nature. When faith reaches out, the Lord purifies the heart, so there is but one desire, and that is to please God and be ready when Jesus comes back.

After sanctification, God wants to fill with the Holy Ghost and fire. As a person consecrates and tarries in prayer, faith connects with God again, and He gives the infilling, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Reach out in faith to God today. He is waiting to supply your needs.

— Mark Mfandarahwa (Manchester, England)

Quality Counts

For nearly twenty-five years, I worked for Umpqua Dairy in Roseburg, Oregon. The owner, who was the president, was strict in demanding that the products produced in that dairy were of the highest quality. As employees, we understood that. His money had paid for that dairy, and he wanted it to be the best that it could be.

After I had worked there for some years, the dairy became part of an organization called Quality Chekd, which certifies that consumers are getting world-class dairy products that have been rigorously tested. As a Quality Chekd dairy, the business gained certain benefits, but there were also specific standards that had to be met.

We had a plant manager who enforced and confirmed that the quality was good. Those of us who worked there also had a responsibility and a desire to put out a good product. For sixteen years I made cottage cheese, and I wanted it to be the best possible commodity.

We are to preserve the Gospel’s purity and defend it. As individuals, we want to do whatever we can to see that it is unspoiled and spread to others.

God paid a great price to make the salvation of our souls possible. He entrusted His people with maintaining the quality of what was given from Heaven. We are to preserve the Gospel’s purity and defend it. As individuals, we want to do whatever we can to see that it is unspoiled and spread to others. Our call is to persevere in trying times, to reject the world and its ideas, philosophies, and false teachings, and to continue steadfast in the faith. God desires to see His Church be effective and purposeful in the world.

The Lord has quality checks in place. There is a standard that needs to be met. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” It is not enough to know. It is not enough to hear or to read, but we must do. We must keep the things that are written in God’s Word.

As the Lord looked at the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, He gave instructions. To those at Ephesus, He said, “Repent.” He told the believers at Smyrna to be faithful unto death. Those at Pergamos were commanded to repent and look to God. The church at Thyatira was to hold fast what they had. He wanted those in Sardis to strengthen the things that remained. He commended the believers in Philadelphia and told them to hold fast. The church at Laodicea was lukewarm and was called to repent.

The Lord was concerned about the people in those churches and how they measured up. He is concerned about you and me as well. How is our quality? Does it measure up? Through His grace we can be a part of the Church of the living God.

— Jack Chasteen (Chehalis, Washington)

Ready to Go

My wife and I enjoy traveling, and along with our four children, we look forward to camp meeting. Those dates go on our calendar early on. However, we don’t particularly enjoy packing, and once everything is packed, it must be loaded. It’s amazing what six people can need—especially when we try to load it into a little van!

I am looking forward to the day when we will travel without packing or loading anything—that day when God’s trumpet sounds and His Word is fulfilled. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The Lord’s return should be on our spiritual calendars and we need to be ready. The Rapture will take place in the “twinkling of an eye.” If we have not prepared, we will be left behind.

Even though we do not need to pack for that event, we do need to make preparation. Prophesies let us know that Jesus’ return and the Rapture of the Church could take place at any moment. The Lord’s return should be on our spiritual calendars and we need to be ready. The Rapture will take place in the “twinkling of an eye.” If we have not prepared, we will be left behind.

Jesus described the conditions the world would be in when He returns. He said it would be like the days of Noah. Before the Flood, the wickedness of man was great and every imagination of his heart was evil continually. God told Noah to build the ark, and for about 120 years Noah made that preparation. After the animals, Noah, and his family were inside, God shut the door, and there was no getting on the ark after that. Imagine what the people thought when it began to rain for the first time! No doubt they remembered Noah and his preaching, but it was too late.

The day when Jesus raptures His followers will be just like that. It will be too late to make preparation. We have today, and we must get ready now. The enemy of our souls would love for us to be busy with the cares of life and things of the world so that we take our eyes off this promise. It is fine to want a career, to look forward to being married, and to anticipate milestones in our children’s lives. But we want to have the right perspective. We want to be sure that being ready for Christ’s return has top priority in our hearts. God wants us to focus on Him and be listening for the sound of the trumpet.

— Pete Sferle (Sacramento, California)

Two Ways

Psalm 1 tells of life’s two roads—the way of the godly and the way of the ungodly. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6). There are only two ways: God’s way, and every other way. We may hear about many ways to get to Heaven, but in truth there is only one and that is through Jesus Christ.

The author of Psalm 1 stated that the blessed man does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. He does not stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. He delights in the law of the Lord and meditates upon it. People who obey these precepts are the godly, and they prosper spiritually. They are successful and blessed.

In contrast, the Psalmist said, “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:5). This verse takes my mind back to my boyhood days on the farm, when my dad would put me on the tractor to help harvest oats. He needed a tractor driver! When the combine separates the chaff from the kernels, the chaff blows around because it has little weight or substance. The Bible compares the ungodly to the chaff that the wind drives away. They can be blown around by the winds of life. If they continue in their ways, they will perish.

The Gospel has substance. The godly follow the Lord and are obedient to His will, delight in His way, and have His blessing. Let us purpose to be among them.

— Kent Thompson (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

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