THF SUNDAY SERVICE
22nd of May, 2022
SERMON TITLE: Testimonies and Supernatural Harvest
SERMON TEXT: 1 Samuel 17:32 – 51
PREACHER: Dr. (Mrs.) Adeoti
This morning we will be talking about Testimonies and Supernatural Harvest. We are going to be considering how our testimonies can engender our supernatural harvest. This month has been declared as our month of supernatural harvest and I know that without doubt, we have been experiencing some form of harvest. So, before the month comes to an end, how can our testimonies help us take delivery of more that the Lord has promised us?
I would like to start with a story of a man who was scheduled to attend an interview and then, he ended up arriving 20 minutes late for that interview. You and I know that ordinarily, that’s the end because if you can’t keep an appointment before you get a job, how will you keep the job? The funny thing is that this man’s house was just 5 minutes away from this interview location but somehow, he missed his way and ended up going round and round for 20 minutes and while he was going round, he was trying to get in touch with the interviewer but then, he kept calling the wrong number, it was a bad situation getting worse. However, he got there and he got the job. He said to himself that, “By the intervention of God, favour gave me this job” and that he wrote it in his testimony journal.
The second story I would like to share before I move on this morning is the story of a dear friend. About a year before she got married, she stopped seeing her monthly period and women understand what that means because without a period, there can’t be a relation and then how will you have babies? She went ahead and got married and then, some months into the marriage, she went to see a doctor and the doctor said to her, “I’m sorry, you can never have a child. With what I am seeing, your hormones are haywire, there is just no way!” She told me that she went back home, called her husband that he needed to come over, there’s news. When the husband came, he said that the Bible says the Lord has given all things that pertain to life and godliness, children are a part of the ‘all things’. Men and brethren, that very month, she conceived of a child and when the child was born, she named the child “AraOluwakiitan”, the name in itself is a testimony.
What am I saying this morning? That these testimonies are evidence of what God has done, what God can do, because the Bible says in Revelations 19:10 that, “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy”. What does this say to us? The very testimony of Jesus, the things we know of the Lord, what He represents, what He has come to be to us is a pointer to what He can do, who He is and the many benefits that He has in it and that we have to enjoy. Again, I would like to say that testimonies are like report cards. For those of us who have gone to school in the past, we know that at the end of a term, we all look forward to the report cards. For those of us who have read well, we are happy but for people who haven’t done exactly well, they have concerns. And so, for me, testimonies are like that report card detailing the gifts of God, detailing the mighty acts of God in our lives and in the lives of others. Little wonder, David explained in Psalms 34:8 that, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. It’s quite difficult to taste what you have not seen, it’s quite difficult to experience what you have not come in contact with and so, David was saying, he was testifying in the real sense of it that, “Come and be a part of what I have experienced; what God has done for me”. He wasn’t merely expressing a fact or just giving out an information, no! He was rather expressing, testifying of the goodness of God because, if you read from verses 1 – 7, we find that he speaks about the things that God has done: the deliverance that the Lord has given to him, the freedom from fear, answers to prayer, salvation from trouble and so, he was testifying. In the same way this morning, we have come to consider testimonies and how they help us take delivery of all our harvests.
The dictionary describes testimony as a firsthand experience and so, your testimony for instance is not something you read, Googled or something that is circulated as a broadcast on the internet but it is an experience that you have had. We tell people to share their salvation experience and when we go to Minister, we share our salvation experience – that’s our testimony of what God has done in our lives, of where we were, where we are and sometimes where we believe God to take us to because oftentimes we find that we are not where we want to be and so, we give testimonies. Testimonies are described as firsthand experience, it’s not just a hearsay nor something that you have watched but something that you have personally experienced. It is as John speaks of the Lord Jesus in 1 John 1:1 – 2, that which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes and looked upon. When I read this, I went back again and began to ask myself, “seeing” and “looking upon”, both actions require the eyes but they are in different levels. I can just see someone pass, I might not notice what they are wearing exactly and maybe at best, I will see a colour because I just saw, but when we look upon, some versions say “gaze upon”, it means that there is a deeper experience, an intense looking at, so, it goes beyond just looking on the surface, it goes deep. These various levels of experiencing the Lord as recorded in 1 John create a backdrop against which the disciples were able to preach the Gospel of the Lord and share their experience. Remember that when Peter and Joh were at the beautiful gate and they saw the man at the beautiful gate begging alms, Peter was quick to say “Silver and gold, I do not have” and what did he say next? “What I have, I give to you”. Peter, out of his experience was able to say to that man that he might not have experienced gold nor silver but there is one thing that he has experienced, handled, seen and gazed upon and that is the healing power of Jesus and so, Peter was able, because of that experience with Jesus, to testify to that man and ministered to him, saying, “In the name of Jesus, stand up and walk”, and we saw a testimony happen even from that encounter. Praise the Lord! So, it was a backdrop for the Apostles to preach the gospel of Christ, why? They had tasted of it and so, it was easy for them to share. What have we tasted of the Lord and experienced of Him? Are we at that level where we used to be or are our testimonies increasing by the day? Remember that our testimonies go beyond “Praise the name of the Lord, I bought a new car…, bought a house…, bagged a Ph.D….” While these things are important, there are more important things, chief of which is our walk with the Lord. So, I ask you this morning, what have you experienced of the Lord, what is your testimony?
Our testimonies are an integral part of our Christian experience because what we do not have, we cannot give. Without a solid testimony, we cannot reach out to others. The man who was born blind in John 9:1 – 11 and whom Jesus healed… If you read down the chapter, you will find out that the Pharisee found him and asked who healed him but he only told them what Jesus told him. They asked him where Jesus was but he replied that he didn’t know. What was important to that man at that point in time was that he had experienced that miracle, he had that encounter and so, he had a testimony. While the people were there asking if he was the same man, he quickly went to put them out of their misery, saying “Don’t worry. I am the one”. If it were in our contemporary time, he probably would have asked if they cared to know who did it and would probably be singing “See what the Lord has done”. That experience is important, we are able to testify of those things we have experienced of the Lord. The Psalmist in Psalms 103 testifies of the goodness of the Lord, he expressed having experienced the benefits of God, ranging from forgiveness to healing, redemption from destruction, satisfaction, filling his life with good things and renewing his youth like the eagle. Why was David able to give this testimony? The Psalms are full of instances of the troubles of David and how he cried to the Lord on several occasions and how that the Lord came through for him and so, out of the abundance of his experiences, we find him testifying time and again in the Psalms saying, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, this is what the Lord has done. He has done me well and delivered me from trouble”. Why was David able to do this? Because of the experience he had had – that firsthand experience. If David was following the Lord from afar, he probably wouldn’t have had this firsthand experience and without this firsthand experience, how could he have written all of the Psalms and what would we be speaking about today. It is important to first of all experience the Lord firsthand, to have that walk with God for it is only then that we can have testimonies. Psalms 145:6 – 7 also say that “Men shall speak of your awesome acts and I will declare your greatness,” this speaks of an intimacy – something I have known, seen and experienced. That’s the challenge to us, what are we experiencing of God? What are we seeing of the Lord? What is our experience of God? What are those things we are chronicling or journalling in our hearts or writing down of the things the Lord has done for us. Are we moving from one level of glory to another or are we passing time as it were? Are we making experiences that can and will be useful for us as believers? Are we making experiences that will constitute our own testimonies as believers, not just of the goodness of God, not just of the things the Lord has gotten for us but of a deep relationship with Him?
What is the value of our testimonies?
- Our testimonies are proofs of God’s goodness. If we have experienced something, it’s quite easy for us to talk about it to other people because it is something we have gone through. Sister Mosun who gave the first testimony here today can tell someone who is sitting for JAMB or even while they are writing SSCE and say boldly to them that, “Don’t worry, God is able to do it.” Why? She is speaking from a place of knowledge, a place of information because she has experienced firsthand what the Lord has done. I had gone through a surgery not too long ago and the doctor was giving me instructions in the theatre. He said, “Make sure you don’t raise your head for if you do, you will have headache for days. It’s going to be very bad.” I smiled and said, “Doctor, don’t tell me about headaches, God just delivered me from headaches”. He said, “You don’t understand” but I said, “Doctor, don’t worry. I understand much more than you can say” and when I began to describe the headaches that God has delivered me from, he said, “Okay, I know you understand”. I was able to say that to him because I have been through a similar experience, so I was able to tell him that, “Don’t worry, I know about it.” I do not fear when I get on a plane because I know that God has delivered me in terrible weather conditions. I am not perturbed when I don’t have money in my pocket because I know that God has provided in the past and that He will yet do it again. There is this song that the choir sings – “If He did it before, He will do it again. Same God right now, same God back then”. So, our testimonie are pointers to what God has done in the past, what He is doing and what He will do. Again, I take us back to Psalm 103 where David expresses with reckless abandon about the goodness of God – “Bless the Lord O my soul! All that is within me, bless the Lord. Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all of His benefits,” then he begins to list those benefits. Remember I told us that testimonies are like report cards and he was giving God report card here – He has done this, he has healed me, delivered me, save me and this is the value of our testimonies: they chronicle what God has done and are pointers to the impossibilities that God has made possible. For those of us who have been in dire situations at some point in our lives, when we hear the story of others, we are quick to smile and say, “Don’t worry, God is able”. Even those who cannot make sense of why you are smiling at that terrible or seemingly terrible or impossible situation, you are quick to tell them that, “God brought me through this, He will bring you through it because He is able”.
- Our testimonies put the spotlight on God rather on us. I am not talking about some braggadocious presentation. Yes, we come out to give testimonies but when we check our intentions, why are we giving these testimonies? If I buy a house in Banana Island today and stand and say, “Praise the Lord, the Lord has delivered me a house in Banana Island,” who am I giving that testimony? Our testimonies should remove the spotlight from us and put it on God, why? What are we of ourselves? The Bible says, “Of our own, we can achieve nothing, we can buy nothing and so, all that we are and have is in the Lord and of the Lord”. Psalms 115:1 says, “Not unto us, O Lord, but unto your name be the glory”. This is the essence of our testimonies, to say that, “Yes, this is what the Lord has done. It is not me, it is not by my hardwork, not because I was smarter than any other person, but this glory goes to God.” Psalms 40:10 – I have not hidden your righteousness within my heart, I have declared your faithfulness… In standing before the great assembly, this congregation of people for testimonies, what we are doing or supposed to be doing is that we are saying, “God, I am not going to hide what you have done, I am declaring your faithfulness, salvation, lovingkindness and truth.” Moses gave instructions to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 26:8 – 9, he says, “So the Lord brought us ouit of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am sure that if any group of people would remove the spotlight from themselves and put it on God, it would be the children of Israel because the Lord practically took them out of slavery, bondage and took them through those forty years until he brought them to that land. So, it was not by their power nor by their doing, so this was giving glory to God and taking the spotlight away from themselves and giving the glory unto God.
- Our testimonies are also a preventive measure against ingratitude. Oh! How many times we are tempted to be ungrateful. How many times have we looked around us and we are wondering, “Oh, God! I am still here? I am still at this point?” We are tempted to look around and count other people’s blessings rather than count our blessings and be grateful, but you know if you are able to testify of what God has done, if we are able to tell others… Sometimes, some people are shy, they can’t even come out in the open, the best they do is share with some few friends or sometimes to themselves. If we learn to recount, to testify of those things that God has done rather than focus on what He has not done or what we are expecting Him to do for us then our hearts are shifted from ingratitude to gratitude, then we will see that He has done so much and He who has done that much is able to do much more. Psalms 92:1 – 2 says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your lovingkindness in the morning and your faithfulness every night”, if we adopt this stance, if this is our attitude, if we will declare… because in declaring what the Lord has done, what we are doing in essence is testifying of His goodness. So, when we testify in the morning and at night, wake up the next morning and testify of His goodness, in the night we do same also, there is no how we can be ungrateful. So, what testimony does is to shift our perspective from ingratitude to gratitude.
Judges 2:10 says, “When all that generation has been gathered to their fathers, another generation rose after them who did not know the Lord nor the works which He had done for Israel”, this generation because they did not know began to do what seemed right to them, so what testimonies do for us is that it not only makes us grateful, it also keeps us in constant reminder of who God is, what He does and what He can do and when people around us, our children for instance hear this testimony, even when we are not there, they are also able to remember what God has done. My mum has passed on for a while but I remember certain things that she shared with me. There was a time she said she was trusting God for some money and there was no way it was going to happen, she told me she made a vow to the Lord and it happened – the money came, even she could not understand. This was a testimony that she shared with me. Today, I am reminded of that testimony and I am encouraged. If I can say it now, it tells us that, yes, it is something that struck a cord with me. This is what testimonies should do in our lives, they should keep us in remembrance of what God is able to do in our lives.
- Testimonies are an encouragement for others (John 4:28). Our testimonies encourage others. This is the story of the Samaritan woman whom the Lord met at the well. Jesus spoke to her and said, “Give me water”, she asked him why He was asking her, a Samaritan, to give him water and that they had nothing to do with each other. Jesus told her that if she knew who was asking her for water she would give him that water. Jesus asked her to go fetch her husband but she said she did not have a husband. He then told her that she has spoken truly and after that conversation, Jesus told her that He has the water of life and she said, “Give me”. At the end of that encounter, she went out to tell people to come and see. This was a Samaritan woman testifying of the Messiah and the Bible says in verse 39 that her people came and believed. Later, they told her that they believed not only because of what she has said but because of what they had seen. However, she was that point of contact, the one who went out and brought them to the Lord and so, I’m sure that even they would have been encouraged at that point in time. Some of them might have thought that the Messiah was only for the Jews but they were encouraged by that encounter that the Samaritan woman had with the Lord. Our testimonies do not only encourage others, they serve as the potential tool for propagating the gospel of Christ just as the Samaritan woman did. This morning, I want to encourage us to key into that thing that we are trusting God for. God is here this morning, He is in the house and He is able to do for you exceedingly, abundantly, above all which you can ever ask or imagine.
How can our Testimonies help us to take delivery of our Supernatural Harvest?
The story in 1 Samuel 17 is the story of how David encountered Goliath. The Bible says that his father sent him to go give supplies to his brothers and then, he saw one big man just ranting — because that was what Goliath was doing. He went there to see what was happening and they told him Goliath always come out and defile the children of the Lord. David said to himself, “I will fight this man”. If you read Bible commentary, it makes us understand that David should have been maybe between 18 – 19 years old, so technically, he was a child but that did not stop him and this was premised on one thing – an experience he had had.
- The first way our testimonies can help us take delivery of our supernatural harvest is that they help us overcome doubt. Doubt is constantly staring us in the face, we have just a little over a week to the end of the month and some people are asking themselves if this is how the month of supernatural harvest will go. Will it just be another declaration for them? This morning, I have come to encourage your heart that by the reason of testimonies this morning, that doubt will be cleared in the name of Jesus. If we take our reading from verse 31, it says, “Now, the words which David spoke were heard, they reported back to Saul and he sent for him…” David was at that point in time a youth while Goliath was a man of war from his youth. By all standards, David was no match for Goliath. Saul was actually saying, “Why do you want to go and die, David?” But what did David say? He said to Saul that he used to keep his father’s sheep and when a lion attacked and took a lamb, he went against it, rescued the lamb and killed the lion and that the uncircumcised Philistine, Goliath, will be like one of the lion and the bear that he had killed. What David was doing here is not just reading out a CV, he was not planning to get a job, he was sharing a testimony. He was testifying of what God had done and based on that, he was saying God is able to do again what He has done. Saul said to David, “Go and the Lord be with you”. By the reason of David’s testimonies, not only was doubt cleared from David’s heart but even Saul who had been thinking that David was just going to kill himself had no doubt anymore because of the testimony of David.
The Bible says in Luke 7 when John’s disciples went to meet the Lord, they said to Jesus that John asked them to ask Him if He was the Messiah or if should they expect another. John had declared Jesus as the Messiah before then but he was in the prison at that time and the Messiah is supposed to deliver but because he was not delivered, he began to have doubt in his mind that probably Jesus was not what He thought he was. However, Jesus told them to go and tell John the things they have seen and heard, that the blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised, the poor heard the gospel preached to them and this happened in that very hour. This means that while they were with Jesus, He was performing the miracles, why? To give them an experience, a firsthand experience, to clear in their hearts any doubt. I am sure that by the time they got to John, they won’t need so many stories, they will just tell John what they saw and that would have cleared any doubt whatsoever. What have we experienced of the Lord? What have we heard or seen Him do? Let us connect with them this morning and clear doubts off our hearts. David was able to clear doubts out of Saul and Saul had to tell him, “Go, the Lord go with you”.
- Testimonies call God to remembrance of His word. God has given His word that this is our month of supernatural harvest and so, with everyone who comes to say, “God has done this”, God is reminded of His word that there is another person in that congregation who needs this kind of miracle, that there is someone else trusting me for something else. So, He is reminded of that which He has spoken to us. The Bible says in Rev. 12:11 that, “They overcame by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Words of their testimonies”, so as we testify, we call God to remembrance of what He said (Isaiah 55:10 – 11). What God pleases concerning us this month is that we will experience supernatural harvest, the Word He has sent to us this month is that it is our month of Supernatural Harvest, so when we stand to testify of His goodness and remind Him of the things He has done, we are saying, “Let that which is yet to be accomplished come to pass”. In 1 Samuel 17 (David’s story that we’ve been following), David’s words about what God has done, if you ask me, rose to the heavens like a sweet-smelling savour and God kicked into action. Even before David got to that battleground, the deal was done, it was sealed because as He spoke those words, it was as though the angels of the Lord carried them and took them to the battleground to wet the battleground in preparation for that which David was going to do. The words rose to the Lord and God remembered that yes, He had done it in the past and He would do it again. So, our testimonies call God to remembrance about His word because He is a faithful God and He will not deny His word.
- Testimonies provoke and strengthen our faith in God. We are talking about supernatural harvest and we know that it is not something physical, it is very much spiritual and it is not something we are able to get by ourselves, by our power, strength, wisdom or smartness, it is through faith in God. So, what testimonies do is that they first provoke our faith in God and then strengthen that faith in God. Hebrews 6:8 downwards make us understand that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Abraham left for a land he knew nothing about and God told him, “Just go!” without a compass nor a destination plan. God told him to go, he did and the Lord settled it. While he trusted God for a child, faith had been built in his heart because God had done before what He promised He would do and so, it was not difficult for Abraham to trust the Lord and God was able to do what He has promised concerning Isaac. When God told him to take his son to sacrifice… you know, I keep wondering to myself that Isaac must have been a wonderful child because he was still asking his father that they have the wood but where is the ram, however Abraham said to him, “The Lord will provide,” and then, he suddenly became the provision. The Bible did not record any resistance on the part of Isaac. Why is it not difficult for Abraham to do what he did? Because he experienced firsthand God’s provision and Isaac in himself was a testimony, so he had that dogged faith that even if he sacrificed the boy… is faith rising up in the mind of someone this morning? Again, I say to us that, “If He had done it before…”
Look, faith is that thing we need between the point we are at and the point where our supernatural harvest is. Faith is that bridge that connects it and so, if like Abraham, we have closed our eyes to every other thing and just focus and have faith by the testimonies we have heard and experienced of what God can do, what He has done and what He is doing, then I have no doubt in my heart that we will take delivery of our supernatural harvest in the name of Jesus. Remember that the just shall live by faith and we require faith to do anything. We require faith to live in Nigeria as Nigerians, we require faith to wake up every morning and face the day, trusting that God is able and that by the end of that day, we will still be there; that faith is one key ingredient we require to experience our supernatural harvest. Because of the experiences of David, he was able to say that God who did this for me in the past, he will do it. Even when they put an armour on him, he said, “No!” I have not tried this, I have not tested this… What has he tested? His faith in God and he was assured without a shadow of doubt that that faith was able to deliver him from Goliath, his size and military experience notwithstanding. Faith, by reason of his testimony, was able to do for him and it did get him what he wanted. I mentioned before that David was not yet an adult at that time but by reason of what he had experienced even in that period that he had experienced God, he was assured that God will not fail him.
- Testimonies are prophecies. Our testimony is a prophecy for someone, which is why we should not for any reason hold on to our testimonies. Our testimonies are prophetic, remember that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.
- Our testimonies spur our confidence in God. When David faced Goliath, by the time he stood in front of Goliath and he had said to him that why was he coming against him with a stick, David answered him and said he had come to him in the name of the God of Israel whom Goliath had defiled (1 Samuel 17:45). Merely standing in front of Goliath at that point in time should have made him quake, shiver and shudder, but no, this was not the situation for David because he had experienced God. In verse 24 of 1 Samuel 17, the Bible makes us understand that when Goliath came out, the armies of the Children of Israel ran away but by the time we get to verse 51, the Bible says when those who were with Goliath saw what had happened, they were the one who fled. There had been a change; the Israelites had taken delivery of their own supernatural harvest which was freedom from Goliath. As the Lord did for David, He is able to do for us and I have no doubt that he will do for us in the name of Jesus. Let’s remember that our faith is essential in connecting with our supernatural harvest. Let’s remember that testimonies provoke us; our testimonies are prophecies; our testimonies help us to overcome doubt and call God to remembrance of His Word.
There is one testimony that is important and we cannot afford to miss – the testimony of Jesus; the testimony of how Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and so, this morning, I want us to close our eyes. As many of us who have shared that testimony of Jesus and have experienced Jesus, let’s thank Him for our salvation and as many of us who have not experienced that testimony, can we just ask the Lord to take us over this morning in the name of Jesus. I want us to pray concerning those things we are trusting Him for, for that supernatural harvest in this month and let’s declare in the name of Jesus, standing on the sure foundation of God’s word that our testimony will come and we will take delivery of our supernatural harvest.