The theme for the 2019 Canadian Field Conference, from August 2–4, was “Christ, the Sure Foundation” based on the following Bible Verse: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11
We were blessed to have many visiting ministers from Europe, USA and Jamaica. As we near the close of time, many winds of doctrine are blowing in the land. While it is important to have a correct understanding of Biblical Doctrine, without Christ as the foundation of each and every teaching, our religion has no value. Christ must be the foundation of our faith and our cornerstone. This is the only way we will stand firm against all the trials and difficulties we will meet in life.
The various speakers developed this theme and we left with a strong resolve to make sure our faith has Christ as the foundation.
Brother John Bescec, president of the Canadian Field, opened the conference by introducing the theme. The focus of the conference would be to develop the fact that Jesus is the only sure foundation. Daily, people are building on many different foundations that are not solid so they end up crumbling. Or some build on foundations that others have laid so that their faith is on the word of others, not on their own experience. People think they are smarter than their Creator and thus build on defective foundations. Soon there will be a shaking and those who have not built a solid foundation for their faith, in Christ, will be shaken out. Our foundation must be strong and sure.
Brother Nicholas Anca from Canada spoke on the subject of Christ, the Rock of Ages. In the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, Jesus is spoken of as the Rock. The subject was developed using the following words of the apostle Paul, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:1–4. The nation of Israel was under the cloud, the protection of God. They were baptized in the sea. They ate spiritual food (symbolic of the Lord’s Supper today), and they were blessed by the abiding presence of Jesus—the Rock of Ages. All people go through trials, and many trust in their money, power, or fame, or false gods such as Mohammed or Buddha; however, they cannot provide a firm foundation. You will never be destroyed if you build your foundation on Jesus. We will be able to withstand anything that the enemy may throw at us. Ask yourself, what are you building your foundation on?
Brother Elder Hernandez, also from Canada, developed the theme further. It is important that we build on Jesus, the Rock of Ages, but when we put up the building, the Cornerstone of the building is also symbolized by Jesus. This was the subject of his service—Jesus, the chief Cornerstone. When we construct a building with bricks, the cornerstone is the first stone set in the foundation. It determines the structure of the entire building. In Ancient Israel, when they were building large structures, they had a ceremony when the cornerstone was placed. They offered offerings of grain, wine and oil. It is the cornerstone that gives strength and stability to the building. The Christian is likened to a living stone in the church of God. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5. The small stones in any building must hold together well in order for the structure to be firm. So also, Christians in the church, as lively stones, are to hold together and be united in order for the church to be strong. There must be unity and togetherness. A brick that is alone is useless, but if it is built into the fabric of the church, it is a lively stone. When Christ is the Chief Cornerstone, true Christians are the bricks—we are called a holy priesthood. The duties of the priest are to have access to God through prayer and to bring others to Jesus. May we all be faithful priests in the church of God.
We were very much blessed to have Brother Caputo, the President of the European Division, in our midst and he brought the message during the divine service on Sabbath, entitled, Christ the Sure Foundation. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2. Life is beautiful and worthy to be lived, but we cannot live without sacrifice. No victory is gained without sacrifice. Sacrifices are not a curse, but a blessing, an instrument that allows one to gain victory.
The gift of eyesight is one of the most beautiful gifts given to us. There are two possibilities we have with our eyesight—we can contemplate the Kingdom of God, or the kingdoms of this world. You become what you behold. King David was watching a beautiful woman and fell into sin. To have a sure foundation we must have our eyes on Jesus. Jesus looks at you with much love, and you should look at Him in the same manner. To be the children of God, we must be washed with pure water (Matthew 3:13–15; Baptism), we must be dressed with white linen (Righteousness of Christ), and we must be anointed with the oil of joy. While in the valley of this world, many voices are trying to speak to us. Eve listened to the wrong voice—the voice of Satan. We must be careful only to listen to the voice of God.
Brother La Corte, from Italy, gave a brief history of the work of the Good Samaritan department in the world. It was originally formed in 1991. The name was inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is run by volunteers and depends on donations for its finances. They have been instrumental in helping many disadvantaged people worldwide. Let us do our part in supporting their work.
The newest Ordained Minister in Canada is Brother Bashir Kheder, who recently immigrated to Canada from Iraq. He spoke about “Foundation—the Test of Time.” Although in 1 Corinthians 3:11, Paul states that Jesus is the foundation, in Ephesians 2:20 he mentions that, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.” The Apostles and Prophets received their commission from God and, as leaders in the church, are to help to build a strong foundation. All of the members are needed in the building itself. To build successfully one needs inner purity in addition to outer purity. The Pharisees in the days of Christ had outward beauty but were corrupt inside.
This foundation has borne the test of time. It was proven to be sure in the Old Testament, and the New Testament scriptures quote the Old in many instances. The Seventh-day Adventist Church started with much prayer and searching of Scriptures to discover the key prophecies for the end of time, until the Second Coming of Jesus. These doctrines are important, but they must be founded on Jesus in order to have a solid building. Knowing the time in which we live, we must all make earnest efforts to proclaim the gospel, distributing literature, pointing others to the true foundation. During the latter rain these seeds of truth we have planted will begin to bear fruit.
The only sure foundation is in Christ and Brother Pablo Hunger, the North American Division leader shared his thoughts on this subject. He had recently been in Haiti, where they had an earthquake a few years ago. Some of the buildings still bear the cracks and scars from that earthquake. They did not have a good foundation. Likewise, without a good foundation the Christian life will have cracks. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3. The world is trying to destroy you. Everything may be going well; however, change can come suddenly, as with an earthquake, and without a good foundation, you will not stand. The world may take your earthly foundations, but if you have your foundation in Christ, it cannot be moved. A sure foundation is not found on this earth. “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5–8. We may lose this life, but that is okay if our foundation is on Jesus, because we will gain eternal life. If we have been building a weak foundation, it is not too late to change our priorities in life, and begin building a strong foundation in Christ. Heaven is our true home. We all know what we must do so we are encouraged to build the correct foundation now.
On Sunday morning, we witnessed the highlight of the conference. Four dear souls decided to turn their backs on the world and follow Jesus. They made their covenant to serve Him and their old lives were buried in baptism in the watery grave of Lake Ontario. The music in heaven must have been playing, as there was joy in heaven, as we saw four more souls leaving the ranks of the evil one and becoming a part of the family of God—having their names written in the Book of Life. It was a time for each of us to reflect on our own spiritual walk, and to make sure we are building a firm foundation.
The conference continued with Brother George Gowie, from Jamaica, sharing the subject of “Foundation of Hope.” Many people face tragedies in life. They lose their jobs, their education, their health, their investments. Their marriage may break up. Unless the foundation is on Jesus, they lose hope. Hope gives the expectation that tomorrow will be better than today. Darkness may be all around, but light can be seen. We all have the hope of eternal life, beyond this world. We cannot trust our souls to any man as they will fail us. Although we are to respect our pastors and leaders, our hope is not in them either. The greatest problem we have is sin, but that does not mean we do not have hope. Brother Gowie mentioned some examples from the Bible where some were sinners and deemed hopeless by the world, but Jesus brought them hope. There was the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the woman with the issue of blood. They all found hope in Jesus. Jesus tells us to go forward. If we fall down, ask for help and get up. Go forward. Hold on and remain on the Rock of Ages.
Brother La Corte spoke again, this time about the theme of the Conference. He also mentioned hope. Although things are not going well, with hope you live for the good that is coming. Fear is suffering before something bad happens. On the other hand, hope is recovering, and having joy before the good arrives. We do not have to fear the future, or any trials if Jesus is our foundation. Good is coming. We can have joy today knowing that our hope of eternal life will be realized in the not too far distant future.
For the conference closing, Brother Caputo wrapped it all up. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13. Some start, but do not make it to the end. Jesus never told us we would have an easy life. We are to endure—to persevere. Jesus loves His own until the end; not just during their beautiful moments, but at all times. No one will suffer as much as Jesus did, but He endured and promised to help us endure. We are to persevere, firstly in Grace. We must recognize that there is nothing good in us. Every good gift and talent we have is from God. Secondly, we must persevere in Faith. Hold on to the promises that God has given. Do not get discouraged when you see your sinful state. He still loves you. Jesus owns the world. Go to Him as did the importunate woman (Luke 18:1–8). Thirdly we are to persevere in Prayer. Prayer will help us endure all trials in this life. True Christians will be hated. They will have problems in this world and only those who persevere will be saved. The fourth point in which Brother Caputo mentioned we should persevere is in missionary work. Souls are brought to Christ through personal ministry. We are to bear two kinds of fruit. One is our character development—the fruit of the spirit. The second one is the souls we have shared the gospel message with.
What we are not to persevere in is our sins. To sin is a personal choice. Daniel’s three friends made a conscious choice to be faithful and not to sin and were sent to the fiery furnace.
Jesus is knocking at the door of every heart. Salvation is personal. You are to individually build a strong Christian character that is founded on Jesus Christ. We are also to build the foundation of the church on Jesus Christ and continue building the walls by being closely united and bringing new faithful souls into the building.
During the conference, much Christian fellowship and unity was shared. Truly the spirit of the Lord was in our midst. We all left renewed in spirit, to go back to our own local churches and help to build them up. To have a strong building in Christ, the individual members must be firmly founded on Christ. May God help each of you readers also to build your foundation on Jesus Christ. Every other foundation will fall one day.