From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher
An email newsletter ministry of Richard D. Swift, publishing the sermons of Rev. Reed A. Swift (1899-1973), a holiness preacher
[The following sermon was preached in the Free Methodist Churches of Pomona, California and Mira Loma, California, and in the Bible Missionary Church of Cucamonga, California (1961).]
The First and Greatest Commandment
The first and greatest commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40.
Again, in I Corinthians 13:9,10,13, " For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
I would like to mention a few things we ought to love! Besides God:
1. I think we should love our country and do our part to make it a good place to live. People that want to ruin it should be sent back to the old country or wherever they came from. This country is made up of individuals whose lives are affected by the lives of others. May our influence be for good to those we contact.
Oh beautiful, my country,
Spread wide beneath the skies,
and beautiful the emblem
That lifts, unfurls, and flies,
a glow of light and color
Above my home, my land-
I lift my eyes to view it,
and my saluting hand
Goes up, and I can voice it,
The allegiance that I owe it,
Knowing the high price paid
To keep it there unsullied
Above my native sod...
For these, my flag, my country,
I humbly thank thee, God
No doubt, we have sung, many times, the old patriotic hymn, "My Country Tis of Thee" without much thought of the vital meaning of the words.
"Land where our Fathers died, land of the Pilgrims' pride... From every mountain side, let Freedom ring." We think perhaps more of the price of our liberty, when we are right on the brink of losing it or when the whole world is at war. I am sure that many of us are praying that God will spare our country of the curse and ruin that liquor and pleasure are bringing to our fair land. Greater destruction than war has been. We feel and realize the Freedom of our country more now than ever since Russia is making such inroads into liberty loving countries.
"My country tis of Thee, sweet land of Liberty, of Thee I sing." This Mother land of America is a beautiful free land for rich or poor. we need God's guidance for our present and future protection.
"Protect us by Thy might Great God, our King." Only in God's strength will our nation survive. [I'm reminded of the words of President Ronald Reagan, "If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, we will be a nation gone under."]
I thank God for My Country, America!
[Before going to point two, I'd like to give an illustration of one man's love of country. This past Monday (7/16) we were prividged to see and hear Hector Maldonado, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speak. As Maldonado stepped to the podium, he paused in front of the American flag to his left, lifted his hand and saluted it before turning to speak to the audience. As Maldonado spoke, you could just sense his love for his country, its history, and values. You see, Maldonado was born in Mexico. His parents came to America LEGALLY as migrant workers and settled down in Perris, California. They became successful ownch and instilled the princiles of the work ethic in their 10 children. After recieving his citizenship in 1995 at the age of 23, Maldonado joined
ROTC at Claremont College in Claremont, California. He was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves in '96. The 9-11 attack enflamed his love for America, and he responded by going to Afghanistan to fight for his country. That's love of country!]
2. We should Love our Church.
“This is my Father’s house,
And this His will for me :
He left a Glorious shining
His Church, where I can come
And find His presence near.
Where I can hear Him speaking softly clear,
Bidding me feel at home:
Bidding me rest at length
That I may freely gather
New life, new strength,
For the full days ahead…
Thus listening to Thy Word,
Help me to use aright
Thy gift, Dear Lord.”
I have a wealthy heritage in my church! My family, your family! I want my church to represent the church whose builder and maker is God, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
This is where we were reborn in the Spirit. This is where we learned to love Bible stories. This is where we were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Here is where we have put the first fruits of our earnings to see the work of God prosper, and here He has poured out of His great blessings upon us. Here we have partaken of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood, emblems of the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper. Here is where we learned to pray, and God gave strength to overcome every temptation.
Here is where we come to meet true friends for sympathy and understanding in the time of sorrow. You will feel the need of a church home sometimes. Here is where they will hold a funeral service over our bodies after our spirits have departed to be with God. Our friends will meet and be sorrowful for a little while, but rest eternal is assured for the faithful saint of the church militant. If faithful, God will transfer our membership from the church here to the Church Triumphant and eternal in the heavens. Thanks God for my church. May it be
a better church because I have lived in it and loved it!
3. We should have a Home we can love, or we should have love for our Home.
“A home encompasses so much of living,
A roof, a fire, a lamp, a table spread,
And oh, forevermore the quick out giving
Of love whereby the heart is comforted!
A plot of ground where flowers may be seeded,
Where a tree may grow and tender vines may climb-
The countless things humanity has needed
And still will need until the end of time.
For here the heart finds peace tho war’s wild thunder
May shake the earth with horror and surprise.
The home still holds the beauty and the wonder
Of Mother-Love, the light of children’s eyes.
A man’s protection, and God’s favor shown
Who deemed it wise that none should dwell alone.”
It may be an old house full of scars and nestled in among the trees, but it holds precious memories that will never pass away. Maple sugar, popcorn, good times in general! Bro. George playing “Star of the East”. Lots of hard work, Basement filled with good things.
Is the word, home an unusually beautiful word, or is the beauty in its significance? Think of all the word, “Home” includes. Sometimes tears and sorrow, and sometimes laughter and joy. Home is a haven of rest in the midst of it all. Home, I say!
Were you ever away from home and so homesick you couldn’t sleep at night? Oh, think of the poor homeless souls. In all the world, there is no place sweeter than a home where love reigns. (My experience in Louisiana-reach home tired and weary.) Heaven is my eternal home! Sometimes I get weary and long to go home. Some evening at the last journey’s end, we can loose our heavy load from our tired shoulders and go home and rest eternally!
Jesus had no place to lay His head, but he is planning a wonderful home for us. Let us make and keep Christ the head of our homes here, that we may be worthy of our future home with Him.
4. Love thy neighbor as thyself
"My Neighbor" This has a friendly heartwarming note, hasn't it? Our neighbors are close here in [this area]. Think of them out on the plains where they live miles apart (eg.Canada). A light in the window at night and the smoke from the chimney by day are no doubt heartwarming scenes for the neighbors there. There are times when we need a neighbor, so be neighborly! Maybe an understanding heart or sympathy in the time of trouble. A kind word!
The Bible says, "Let everyone of us please his neighbor for his good to edification." Mr. Terrill- "Better is the neighbor that is near than the brother who is far off." "Who is my neighbor?", some say. All about us are the hurt, bewildered, and needy. It no doubt pleases God that everybody in this church loves each other, but we must love and show mercy to those outside the church too. Many are in need! In the whole world are our neighbors. Many sad hearts about us. May God show us how to help them. You are my neighbor! i am yours! may we love each other!
May I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and my neighbor as myself. Then every other walk of life will be pleasant. This is the love that casts out fear. I am sure the world is dying for a little bit of love. I as your pastor want to show Christ's love to all.
[This concludes my grandfather's sermon.]
Yours for Radical Holiness,
And may God Save America,
Richard D. Swift
505 Hickory Hills Dr.
Dexter, MO 63841