Theme : Holiness, Not A Condition But A Necessity

Speaker : Rev Arie Den Hartog

Venue : Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, Melaka, Malaysia

Camp Speaker's Address

“And He said unto to them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

These are the words of our Lord Himself who knows us and loves us. He knows the world in which we live. He knows our nature. He has saved us and called us to serve Him for the whole of our life. He issues this call to us.

Jesus spoke these words after a time of great busyness in His own ministry. He and His disciples had become weary. Jesus and His disciples had just heard the report concerning the tragic death of John the Baptist, whom wicked King Herod had beheaded after John was imprisoned because of his preaching of the truth of the gospel. After hearing of this Jesus wanted to confer privately with His disciples in connection with this sad news. Jesus was truly a man who was full of sympathy for all of our sorrows and ready to help us in time of need. He knew Himself what it meant to be weary and exhausted. He sympathized with the weakness of His disciples and how easily they would become faint and discouraged.

There is beautiful application here for us at this year’s camp. Life is so busy in Singapore. There are a lot of necessary things for us to do in our daily life. Sad to say, not all of this busyness of life is due to our being busy with profitable pursuits in life. So much of our life is spent on worldly and vain things that have no lasting value. But we are also by the grace and calling of God busy with good things, thankfully. We have our Christian homes and families and the concerns of our children. Many of us are busy in good things in the life of our church and caring for our fellow saints and their many trials and needs. We thank God for all of this. Often we lose perspective in our life and we perform our calling out of mere routine and formal necessity. In the midst of this we always need refreshment and renewal from our Lord.

We also live in a world of sin and darkness and the curse. There are so many fearful things that happen in this world. Some of us suffer daily with great trials and suffering, some with particular spiritual struggles and with the temptations of this ungodly world. The service of the Lord can at times be utterly exhausting.

Jesus in the above quoted passages calls His disciples to come apart to a desert place to rest awhile. When He says concerning His disciples “you yourselves” Jesus means that this address was to the twelve disciples alone. He is not talking about all those who followed Him. Thousands were following at this time of His ministry. Not all followed Him sincerely, believing in Him and desiring to obey His Word and serve the cause of His kingdom. Some followed Him only temporarily and superficially. They would soon again leave Him when they were not satisfied with Him and offended by the words He preached. But these twelve were called to follow Jesus everywhere to hear His wonderful words and were eye-witness of His amazing miracles. Jesus called these men to devote themselves whole heartedly and completely to Himself.

Jesus speaks in the above passage to those who were with Him all the time. Jesus calls them to a desert place, a solitary place away from all the hustle and bustle of our normal life. He calls us to talk with Him and He with us. He calls us to closer fellowship with our Lord and to renew our faith and trust in Him, by hearing His Word and believing more and more on the power of His grace and salvation.

May our camp this year be such a time for us with our Lord and Savior. How we all need such a time really to spend time with our Lord. Come ye apart and rest awhile, even though this is by no means a desert place.

Pastor den Hartog