General Conference Session 2015
Morning Devotion Sermon –for July 6, 2015
Opening Song: 212
Scripture Reading: Matt. 19:16-20
Sermon topic: Faithful End-time Living: Preparation for His Return
I wish to thank the Holy Spirit of our God who impressed on the minds of the worship committee to allow me to share a word from the Lord to His church at such a time as this.
A time when we are encroaching on the borders of Canaan.
A time when our journey is all but over, and our pilgrimage is coming to an end.
When the signs foretold in the sun and moon, in earth and sea and sky. A loud proclaim to al mankind, the coming of the Master draweth nigh.
These officers that we are selecting at this session may very well be the last. This gathering of Gods faithful people may very well be the last of such meetings. If it is not the last time for us as a church, it will surely be the last for somebody in this gathering, and if that is so, then allow me to share a word with you as we get ready for the end.
Matt.19: 16-20 –records a story that I think is worthy of examination by end time people.
Vs.16- One came to Jesus with eternal life on his mind. We don’t know his name. Matthew says he is young, Luke says he is a ruler and he was rich. I want you to note that he had heaven on his mind but he was not too sure about his own readiness. Something was giving him trouble, something was bothering his conscience, but when he did an examination of himself he could not come up with the answer. When he checks himself, he was doing well. He could find no fault with himself. He scored high on the church membership chart. He was complicit with church guidelines and policies. He was a faithful commandment keeping member of the church. But he was taking no chance, he heard Jesus was in town and went to him to get a second opinion, and independent evaluation of His spiritual condition.
May I declare to the church of the living God, who has heaven on our mind, we need a second opinion, an independent evaluation of our spiritual condition. Can I warn the church this morning, we cannot trust our own evaluation of ourselves. But those of us who are marching to Zion, must place our selves under the microscopic eyes of an all seeing God and ask Him to search us and see if there is anything between me and my Savior. See if there be some wicked ways in me and cleanse me from every sin and set me free.
If left to himself, the rich young ruler would qualify himself to take a front row seat in the Kingdom. In fact when Jesus answers, “go keep the commandments,” he was not impressed, for if that is all the test necessary to make it in the Kingdom, he is already home. Somehow he must have felt that is too easy a test to make it in Kingdom. He says Lord check and again. Run another test on me. What do I still lack? Something tells me that even though I’m a member of my church in good and regular standing – I am not ready.
Something tells me that even though I hold high offices in the church, my soul not ready. Something tells me that even though I have served for 40 years and still not ready. Something tells me that even though, I studied my Sabbath school lesson, return faithfully my tithe and offering, stick to a vegetarian diet, sings on the choir- I am not ready.
What do I still lack? This is a question members of the last day church ought to be asking Jesus. Members of Gods church who are preparing for the end must be asking. Lord what do I still lack. Commandment keeping members of the waiting church must never be contented merely by the keeping of the commandment, but seeking an independent evaluation of your souls. Go to God and ask what do I still lack?
Make no mistake the profile of waiting church befits that of the rich young ruler.
As part of the preparation plan, the last day church need to make the same enquiry as this young ruler. Lord we have been keeping the commandment from our youth what do we still lack?
It makes you wonder, what would be the answer from the Lord, if we the last day church were to ask that very question, “Lord what do we still lack”?
In Revelation 3:14-22- The Lord sent an email to the last day church with the answer to the very same question. He gives an evaluation of what the church lacks and makes recommendations to address the condition. I must warn you before you open it. It is not good reading, it is not a pass mark. If the church at Laodicea represents Gods last day church since 1844 as the SDBC Vol.7 p.761 points out, then we are having the exact same problem the rich young ruler was having.
V s:14-17 – Like the rich young ruler the church did an evaluation of its self and could not find any fault. In the eyes of the church it is doing well, exceptionally well. It is ready for the Kingdom. But oh when the second opinion came in. When God did His own independent evaluation of the churches spiritual condition, it troubles God.
The verdict- the preparation is not sufficient, woefully lacking, there is shortage in the waiting church of the living God. At least the young ruler lacked one thing, but the last day church lacks three.
Faith that cause Daniel to survive a Lion’s den is lacking.
Faith that cause the three Hebrew boys to survive the fiery furnace is lacking
Faith that cause Peter to walk on water is lacking
Faith that caused Prison doors to fly open and chains to fall from the hands of peter and John is lacking
Faith that caused Peter and John to say Silver and gold have none but such as I have I give, raise up and walk – is lacking,- There is a shortage of this faith our fathers had. Without this faith Hebrews says it is impossible to please God.
-1) faith in God- refine Gold,
2)Righteousness of Christ – White Raiment
3)Holy Spirit- Eye slave
What is worse is that the church is not aware that it is lacking these things. Rather it has been functioning under the assumption that it is doing well. It is in need of nothing. And you ask how can our evaluation of our selves be so strikingly different from how God perceives us and we don’t know? How can we be so far out of sync with God and we don’t know? It is clear that the last day church suffers from a false sense of security. Think we are spiritually ok when we are not.
It is the identical problem that cause 50% of the bridegroom (another symbol of the waiting church) to be locked out, to lose out on salvation. Matt 25:1-13 documents the saga. They went to sleep thinking they had oil, thinking they were ok, and did not know that their soul salvation was lacking.
It is the identical problem that caused the Jews to reject Christ. They saw no need for a Savior thinking they already secure salvation by being a descendant of Abraham.
False sense of security is the greatest threat to the preparation plan of the last day church. It causes us to depend less on Jesus and more on our training. It causes us to depend less on the Holy Spirit and more on our intellect, less on the power of the living God and more on our collective wisdom. In these last days the church of God has to get back to Jesus, leaning on the everlasting arms.
The good thing about this bad email- is that God did not leave the church in the destructive condition it finds the church in. He offers some recommendations as He did with the rich young ruler. End time living necessitates the implementation of these recommendations in our lives. If I have one word for the new administration is that we focus globally on these recommendations that will save our souls.
This morning we can turn away miserable from these recommendations like the rich young ruler or we can say take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee.
We can say, Like Felix not now Lord, a more convenient time, or we can say Just as I am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for and as thou bids me come to thee oh lamb of God I come I come. Appeal song- Just as I am.
Communication Department, CIC/ATCU
The Cayman Islands are a group of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, which are situated in the western Caribbean Sea. The Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is one of four fields of the Atlantic Caribbean Union. While the majority of the membership resides and worship in Grand Cayman, there is also an established Seventh-day Adventist church in Cayman Brac.
However, history took place in Little Cayman when Evangelist David Campbell conducted the Message of Hope Gospel Seminar in the Village Square Plaza. The meetings were held from May 23 to June 15, 2014 and were the first of its kind for the island. On Sunday, June 1, the first baptism performed by an Adventist evangelist in Little Cayman took place. At the conclusion of the gospel seminar, a total of 3 precious souls were baptized.
Presently, the three baptized members from Little Cayman along with 5 members from the nearby Creek SDA Church in Cayman Brac comprise a fledgling group of Adventist believers in Little Cayman. They are joined each week by 15-20 frequent visitors for worship.
According to http://www.caymanislands.ky, the population of Little Cayman is just under 170 persons. Pastor Vaughn Henry, the district pastor for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, explained that because many of the persons work in the hospitality industry, the meetings began at 9:00 p.m. each day to accommodate the persons who left work at 8:45 p.m. Pastor Henry praised God that each night there was an average of 13-15 visitors.
The Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (CIC) celebrated Festival of the Laity 2013 during the weekend of October 4 and 5 at the Lions Club in Grand Cayman. The theme for the festival was “Each One Reach One for Christ.”
In attendance were Dr. Leonard Johnson and Pastor Peter Kerr, president and secretary of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU) respectively. As this was the final Festival of the Laity in ATCU for this year, Pastor Paul Scavella, president of the South Bahamas Conference (SBC) and Pastor Michael Smith, president of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission (TCIM), also attended the meetings. Pastor Shian O’Connor, president of the CIC, welcomed and introduced the various guests and representatives.
The Cayman Islands Government was represented by the Minister for Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure and first elected member for the district of George Town, the Honorable D. Kurt Tibbetts, OBE, JP. He brought greetings and commended the Seventh-day Adventist Church on their outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the nation.
The Festival of the Laity began on Friday evening with a parade of nations and churches that showcased twenty-two country flags, sixteen church flags, and Cayman Academy’s flag to the lively music of the Pathfinder band.
One of the highlights of the festival was the colorful, enthusiastic reports from the sixteen churches and the school, which described the year’s major events with special emphasis on evangelism. Church members, dressed in their respective t- shirts and carrying banners created to represent their church’s uniqueness, eagerly ascended the stage to share what had been accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit.
The guest speaker for the occasion was lay evangelist Eugene A. Benjamin from the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In 2010, he was voted as one of the most outstanding lay evangelists in the Inter-American Division. He presented the messages with power and clarity, and the Holy Spirit used him in a mighty way as he challenged the laity to become ambassadors for Christ. Through the ministry of the word, two persons surrendered their lives to Jesus in baptism. This brought the total baptisms in the CIC for this year to four hundred.
Another feature of the festival was the giving of awards to the lay members of the church. The ATCU recognized one outstanding layperson from each of the four fields within the union. The four awardees, who were chosen by their respective fields, included Conception McCoy (CIC), Arleene Sands (North Bahamas Conference), Lukandah Gardiner(SBC), and Onasis Joseph (TCIM).
Onasis Joseph and Conception McCoy received the most outstanding and most outstanding runner-up awards respectively for the ATCU. The union also recognized 10 laypersons in various categories from the CIC. The awards were presented by Pastors Al Powell, ATCU personal ministries director, and Andrew Burrows, ATCU associate personal ministries director.
In his remarks, during the presentation of the awards, Dr. Leonard Johnson, president of ATCU, noted that with approximately 400,000 persons living in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and with just under 50 pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Atlantic Caribbean region, each member has a role to play in sharing the gospel. “You are important to the church,” Dr. Johnson emphasized.
On Sabbath afternoon, over three hundred award pins were given to persons in the following categories: One hundred seventy-five service award pins for twenty or more consistent years of service in evangelism; Seventy leadership award pins for fifteen or more consistent years in leadership and support of evangelism in the local church; and over seventy evangelism award pins to front-line lay gospel workers.
The event was broadcast live on Cayman Adventist Television (CATV) and the local Adventist radio station, Praise 87.9 FM as well as on the World Wide Web. The program was coordinated by the Personal Ministries Department of the CIC under the leadership of Pastor Reinaldo Dracket. More than two thousand persons are estimated to have attended the event.