2016 Camp Meeting Sermon Excerpts

October 01, 2016

Reach Out 

The Bell System telephone company (later to become AT&T) came out in 1979 with the advertising slogan, “Reach out and touch someone.” That slogan resonated with people’s emotions and was effective.

The Bible tells of a woman who reached out and touched Jesus. She had been sick for twelve years, and although she had spent all that she had on physicians, she grew worse. Then she heard of Jesus. We do not know what she was told. Maybe she had heard that lepers were cleansed or that Jesus loved the little children. Whatever she had learned, it caused her to form a plan in her mind. She said, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28). It was a simple plan, and she executed it. Possibly it took every ounce of strength and energy she had for her to get to Jesus, but she persevered. She reached out and touched Him, and immediately she was healed.

Jesus did not come just to affect people emotionally. He came to make a difference, to set the captives free and heal the broken hearted as well as those with physical needs.

Jesus did not come just to affect people emotionally. He came to make a difference, to set the captives free and heal the broken hearted as well as those with physical needs. He came to make Himself accessible, and He still is accessible today. In fact, He reaches out to each one of us, but sometimes, like this woman, we must make the effort to reach out to Him.

When this woman touched Jesus, He stopped the procession and said, “Who touched my clothes?” The disciples were surprised at His question. A multitude of people were thronging Jesus and many were bumping into Him, but they were not reaching out with a purpose. This woman made a conscious effort and touched Jesus in faith. He knew that, and He felt virtue flow out. When the woman fell before Him, He said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34).

The good news is that people can still touch Jesus. His Spirit draws people to seek for salvation. He reached out to me in October of 1978 and called after my heart. At the close of a service, I made my way down to the old-fashioned altar of prayer and poured out my heart to the Lord. It was a simple prayer, nothing eloquent about it, but I reached out to Jesus. He answered and saved my soul. When we reach out to Jesus, often we find He is closer than we realize and is reaching out to us.

We can reach out to Jesus for sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We can reach out for healing or solutions to other problems. It may take some perseverance as it did for this woman, but the Lord will honor our determination.

Perhaps you have situations or challenges in your life that seem impossible. God takes great delight in making the impossible possible. He is so able. Maybe you have tried everything you can think of. Reach out to Jesus! You can touch Him, and He will answer your prayer.

— Tim Mixer

 

Holding On

The first time I tried water skiing, I learned a lesson about holding fast. The people who were instructing me helped me get into the water and threw me the handle of the water ski rope. They said just to balance in the water, hold onto the rope, and when the rope began to get tight, to yell, “Hit it!” That was the command to give the boat full throttle. I did what they said and when the boat accelerated, the rope popped out of my hand. I felt a bit foolish but understood more what they meant by holding on.

The next time when I said, “Hit it!” I held on very tightly and was up and water skiing for about a second and a half. Then I went from being up to being dragged through the water, but I was holding on. Water was going into my eyes and into my mouth, until finally I thought it might be good to let go, so I did. As the boat came back around, my friends asked me, “Why didn’t you let go?” I replied, “You said to hang on.”

When we are hanging on, it is important to have something worthy of holding to. The Gospel gives us that. We can hold on to the truths of God’s Word, and they will not take us down.

There is a time to hang on and a time to let go, but when we are hanging on, it is important to have something worthy of holding to. The Gospel gives us that. We can hold on to the truths of God’s Word, and they will not take us down. Revelation 3:11 says, “Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

In the world today, many pressures try to force the truth out of our hearts, but we are not going to let it go. We will not let anyone coax it from us. Heaven awaits those who are saved, and we want to keep our eyes on that goal. We need a good grip on that hope.

Jesus Christ is going to return to rapture those who are looking for Him. It could take place at any second. The Bible says it will happen in a moment. Some may scoff and say, “When is it going to happen?” However, God fulfills His promises, and we want to be ready. We want to hold fast what He has put into our hearts.

When God saves us and puts His salvation deep into our hearts, it is worth hanging on to. The truths revealed in the Bible are worth hanging on to. God will establish, strengthen, and settle us if we hang on to what He has given us. Hold fast!

— Andy Chasteen

 

Zoom In

We are familiar with the zoom feature on cameras or smart phones. To zoom in is to look closer. To zoom out is to obtain a wider view. Sometimes we may need to zoom in when we look at God’s Word.

The first chapter of the Gospel of John records John the Baptist declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). If we zoom in on chapter 5, we see the city of Jerusalem during a feast. No doubt it was a time of joy and restoration as people gathered expecting something from God. That is something like camp meeting—we gather to fellowship, we gather for a joyous time in the Lord, we gather to worship.

However, an even closer look shows a pool called Bethesda. At the pool’s edge was “a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered” (John 5:3). In the midst of all the celebration, the worship, and the joy, there were people who were suffering. These sick people had gathered at the pool because from time to time an angel troubled the water, and the first person into the pool after that happened was healed. At this moment, if we zoom in on our society, we will notice there are people today who are “lame” or “sick” with a sin condition. They need help for they are unable to deliver themselves.

Continuing in John 5, we learn of one man who had been infirm for thirty-eight years. He knew he was sick, but he was unable to obtain healing. Today, often people who are in sin do not realize how powerless they are to help themselves. Sin keeps a person from finding the greater purpose that can only be found in God.

If we look closer yet, we see Jesus, and He asked a simple question, “Wilt thou be made whole?” The man answered, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool” (John 5:7). He wanted to be healed but he needed help. Jesus said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (John 5:8). The man believed Jesus. How do we know? He got up and picked up his bed!

Whatever our needs, we must not stop looking until we find Jesus. He is the answer. He delivers from sin. He is the solution and our hope and joy. When He comes, the things that hindered us will not be able to hinder us anymore. Keep zooming in until you find Jesus!

— Johnny Wyatt Jr.

 

The Remedy

When I was a schoolboy, health officials would come to our village to give the children injections to protect from malaria or cholera. The immunizations were compulsory. However, some of us would run away simply because we were afraid of the needle and the swollen arm that might follow. The teachers would find us and encourage us—well, actually compel us—by letting us know the importance of taking the injection. In the end, we were persuaded, and we would stretch out our arms and close our eyes. We understood it was necessary to take the inoculation because refusal would make us vulnerable to disease.

There is a condition worse than malaria or cholera. All humankind is born with sin, and the remedy for the problem is the Blood of Jesus. He said, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

There is power in the Blood of Jesus to deliver from sin and its consequences—guilt, condemnation, sorrow, heartache, and a lost eternity. This remedy is free and readily available.

There is power in the Blood of Jesus to deliver from sin and its consequences—guilt, condemnation, sorrow, heartache, and a lost eternity. This remedy is free and readily available for whosoever will—the rich and the poor, the old and the young, all repentant sinners, once and for all. The Spirit of God convicts, encouraging a person to receive what is offered.

After we schoolboys had been persuaded, we needed to make ourselves available. The teacher did not take the inoculation on our behalf. Similarly, when a person has been persuaded of his need to have the Blood of Jesus remedy his sin problem, he must make himself available to God. He must pray and tell the Lord from the bottom of his heart that he surrenders completely. When he does this, God will forgive and free his heart from sin.

Have you received the remedy for sin? If not, look to God today.

— Isaac Adigun