Scripture Reference: 1 John 5:4 (KJV); Ephesians 1:22-23 (KJV)
Pastor John Bendixen:
To those people sitting in the overflow rooms, we are glad you are here too. Even though you might not be in the auditorium, we are glad you are here to witness something special that happens once a year. Hallelujah.
I need us to be able to play the picture, Matthew, the video. First the pictures then the video because the guest speaker for tonight was going to be Doctor Jerry Savelle and he should be here. We postponed this whole graduation from last year to this year in order to accommodate because of his schedule to come and minister to us but an unfortunate event happened. He had a medical emergency in his family which led to the death of a very close family relative. I am going to call up Brother Joe any minute and he can share some more with you.
I just want to show you this video or the picture; whatever we’ve got. So just before we left Kenya I was with him in Kenya a couple of days ago when he got the call. So we prayed together. Next picture. This was us just praying in his room just before he left to fly to go back home. And now we are just going to play the video of what he prayed right before he left.
Doctor Jerry Savelle (Video):
That they go to a higher level. I pray this over Joe, I pray it over Eric, in the Name of Jesus. And according to Philippians chapter one verse seven, Paul said, “You are partakers of my anointing.” He is talking about his partners, he is talking about co-labourers. That is what these men are to me. And I am believing that the same anointing that I would have carried into these meetings, they will carry into these meetings. And according to what we have seen in Your Word; the book of Numbers, the book of Exodus, the book of Deuteronomy, concerning Moses and Joshua. And when Moses laid his hands upon Joshua that same anointing came on him, same wisdom, same honour, same favour, same grace, same power. And I am believing because that is a spiritual law that this is exactly what is going to take place in these next few days, in Jesus’ Name. Hallelujah. Thank You, Father. Thank You, Father, in Jesus’ Name.
Pastor John Bendixen:
Hallelujah. I just wanted to show that to you because Brother Jerry’s heart is here and he would be here if it wasn’t for a funeral for which he now has to preside over in the United States and it is unfortunate these things happen in the times when we least want them to happen but they do happen. So Reverend Joe McCroskey is here and he is representing Brother Jerry tonight and he is going to speak for a while and then I am going to speak for a while and so Brother Joe, you come and speak. Please welcome Brother Joe McCroskey.
Brother Joe McCroskey:
It was very hard for Brother Jerry to make the decision he had to make, but we are family people and when the wife pulls on us, then we know what we have to do and that was Brother Jerry’s nephew that passed away. He was young, very unfortunate and Miss Carolyn needed help. And so, I think I really like what Brother Jerry asked John, “John, if Sharon asked you to come home on the circumstances like this, would you?” And John said, “Yes”. So I’m the closest to Brother Jerry you’re going to get tonight. Amen. Although, hold it; the anointing is on me and John, to do what we’re called to do.
This is a special occasion. I love to come to the graduations and do graduations all over the world, because I’m going to share a little history with you about what started when Brother Jerry first started. He went to work for Brother Copeland in 1969, he heard the call of God, he went right to the streets and he started ministering to the down-and-outs, I mean, right on street, nobody would listen to him, but he’d get them saved, because he was a soul winner. From there he went to work for Brother Kenneth Copeland and he was with Brother Copeland till about ’73. But when he stepped out of Brother Copeland’s, he didn’t quit the team, they still minister together all over the world, even this year they’ve done several, last year they did several crusades together and everything. But when Brother Jerry stepped out, he stepped out running.
And so, I just want to share a little bit of history with you. So, I’ve got to look at my notes, because how many of you know, dates are dates, okay? In 1973, Dr Savelle started doing meetings all over the USA. These meetings would be in churches, they would be in convention centres, they would be in Full Gospel Business Men, which was a deal in the United States that all the business people come together, and we’d go in and the main thing you went in for, was if they weren’t saved, you got them saved. If they weren’t filled with the Holy Spirit, you got them filled with the Spirit. That was the whole thing and that’s where this all started. And so his love for soul winning and Bible teaching; he’s been a teacher from all the way back and when he started teaching, Miss Gloria, I mean Brother Copeland’s mother took and asked him if he would start teaching on a Sunday afternoon. We were in a hotel room, go down and do teaching in our local area. We didn’t have a church at that time and so he went down, he started doing the teaching. And all of a sudden, how many know when you start doing teaching, people want to demand a church? And so the first church was born, Overcoming Faith Centre of Fort Worth, Texas. Amen. And Brother Jerry was the pastor.
I want to give you the verse that it came out of was 1 John 5:4. It’s still his key verse today. 4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4 KJV). So that first church was called Overcoming Faith Centre. Amen.
Out of that church, it started a Christian School, it was one through twelve grades, a two year Bible School and then we started mission outreaches. The Bible School at that time, was only in the USA at that time, but we went on the mission trips and we would have large open air meetings. But what we noticed is, when he preached the Word and he would give an altar call, night after night, the same people came up. And night after night, when we gave healing or whatever we called out, same people came up and God spoke to him in those meetings and said, “Okay, we need to start getting discipleship training all over the world,” and one of the major ways was the school. So the school that we had, we then took into the UK and we also took it into Kenya.
Now there was a boy who worked with us, just the other day on a graduation, and he was out of that school. He wasn’t out of the newer school. Amen. So then, we took and we started putting schools all over. John and Sharon; we started offices all over and I’ll read you a few of the offices that we started. The number one office in the mission fields was Kenya. That was the first one. The second one was the UK or Europe. The third one was South Africa. Amen. John, do you remember what year that was? 1997. And then course, Tanzania, Asia, Australia, Canada. So we put offices all over.
In every one of those, we would do discipleship training. Alright? And what that was, was out of the school that we had in the US and we structured a school quite like that and we had schools all over. And then we kissed. We all had the Bible schools going on but we didn’t have the church any longer. We went up to pray one day and the team that went to pray was Brother Jerry, his wife, Miss Carolyn and my wife, Joyce and myself. We went to the mountain to pray. How many of you know when you don’t know what to do, you go to the mountain to pray and so we went and we all started interceding in the Spirit. We prayed, we were fasting and we were listening to God and we took our pads and anything God would speak to us, we would write down. And I’ll never forget that when we came together the next day and we compared all of our notes there were some things that were not the same but the major thing was; “You’ve got to go to the world.” And we said, “Lord, how can we go to the world when we have the church with over 700 to a 1000 people? How can we just go on and be there all the time and not there?” And He said, “I want you to merge the church.” Now this is Overcoming Faith Church; not Heritage of Faith Christian Centre. And so, we didn’t know what to do but how many of you know God always knows what to do.
And so, there was a minister and we know him very well, his name was Harrold Nicols. He was building an auditorium for 1500 people but he had 300. How many of you know, he heard God, faith speaking and so he built the building. The only thing, he only had 300 people and God told us to merge with him. So on a Sunday night we took close to a 1000 people into his church. Amen. And merged and that became, his name of his was Grace Temple. Overcoming Faith didn’t cease to exist anymore. Amen. And we went to the world.
And then some time later though, then Miss Carolyn picked up we would have a church and that’s Heritage of Faith Christian Centre. And so now, the school; we closed it down at that time; that’s the old school I’m talking about. I know it’s kind of confusing but Overcoming Faith Centre School, we closed it down and we went to the world. But we started doing the schools all over the world. The main school in the UK, Kenya; all that was still going until they finished out. And then we started the new school which John is a part of. Amen.
And when we started that then we started a two-year school again but it was under Heritage of Faith Christian Centre. And when we did that it was there in Fort Worth only. Only in Fort Worth. Now class, I’m talking to you about your fulfilling a vision that Brother Jerry had in 1973. What was it to do? Graduate disciples. Teach them the word of faith and then let them run in the world. Amen. Go do what they’re called to do. So this tonight is just another fulfilment of what Brother Jerry heard in 1973. John, Sharon, Dr Lynn, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you fulfilling what we couldn’t even do. John, your school is far above the two-year school we had. Amen. And so we’re so pleased with what we’re seeing and what we’re hearing, not only seeing but what we hear. And so, this is special to Dr Jerry, okay.
When he told me, I talked to him just a little while ago, he said, “Greet the people in my name and Carolyn’s name. Tell them we love them.” And class, tell them how he knows you’re going to fulfil what your calling is and as you do that it will fulfil what his calling is. So we still have school. They’re all over. They’re doing great. And John took it to another level. But you know, we’re all called to do certain things. And John’s vision of education and discipleship training was above what we had. And when you do that and he came to Brother Jerry and he said, “Could I start a school?” and Brother Jerry said, “No.” Is that true John? (Pastor John answering, “It’s true.”) Amen. And then, John come back and said, “Brother Jerry, can I start a school?” How many of you know, sometimes consistency will bring it on in. Studying the Word, you might have to study and study and study but you’ll past the test.
And so John went back and Brother Jerry said, “John, run with it, take it, run with it.” And that’s why we’re here tonight. And it’s just getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And it will get bigger and bigger and bigger. Why? When God gives a vision, He will carry it out. We just have to find the people that will wake up and say, “I’m in this. I’m going to run with it.” So again I greet you on behalf of Brother Jerry Savelle. I pray blessings over you by Brother Jerry and Carolyn Savelle. We thank you that you have seen fit to take this course and do good and you will go on and every time you do, you remember what God’s Word said and you do that and you’ll always be on track. John, again, come on up and I thank you, John.
Pastor John Bendixen.
Praise the Lord. Well, you know, I was so impacted by what Brother Jerry did at his Bible School in Fort Worth, Texas, that I wanted it in South Africa. At that time, anybody that wanted to do the school around the world had to go to Fort Worth and go there for two years and do your Bible School training. And I said, I just said, I prayed about it a long time and I just said, “Lord, you know, there’s so many people that need the Word and teaching, and there is no way they can all leave their jobs or go to America and go get trained, and that is why I asked Brother Jerry can we bring it here. Well of course at that time he first said, “No,” and so I prayed some more and then when I went back he said, “Yes.” And the vision that I saw in my spirit at that time is what I’m seeing tonight; where we would have Bible School in Witbank and Vanderbijl Park and in Groblersdal and in all different kind of towns, all different kind of cities and different churches would have Bible Schools. And the Bible Schools would touch communities with a high-quality world class education, that was the same as was in Fort Worth, but as the years have gone by the Lord has enabled us to have really good people to come in and help us with the school and the curriculum, modify it, make it better, make it easier to work with. Thank God we have a world class curriculum that God has given us. And we believe that people that graduate from this school do the work of the ministry.
Our part is to sow the seed. And while you are at school we do some watering and then it’s up to the Holy Spirit to give the increase in your life and in the students’ life that do this Bible School.
So I have a brief scripture I want to share with you, it’s in Ephesians and I’m reading Chapter 2, sorry Chapter 1 and I am reading verse 22, 22and God hath put all things under His feet, and hath given Him to be the head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23 KJV). So, we are the Church. What God did was He gave Jesus to be the head of the Church and then He said Jesus is going to fill the Church and He is going to fill the Church with Himself with all of His fullness everywhere.
Now, I felt very strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit to share these few words with you tonight. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not the second most important institution on the earth. Why do I say the second most important institution? Well because, if you are in government and you are a legislator and a politician who has power, you may well think that your power supersedes the power of the Church because you rule and you put into place laws and legislations that even control church members. Right? So you may be tempted to think that as a politician you are the deal. If you are in business and finance, if you’re a Warren Buffett, George Bizos, you know, one of these heavy weight financiers, you would be tempted to think that governing power is done by the currency, it is not done by even government because if you have enough currency, you can buy governments to make policies that suit you. Right? So if you are a business man that has enough money, you may think that power lies with you and all other power is secondary to yours.
If you are a really talented artist and you are someone who draws thousands and thousands and tens of thousands and maybe your music touches millions of people, you may be tempted to say, “I’m more famous than God”. You know, a musician said that one time because he actually said, you know, “My music is that good. I touch more people than God does”. Yeah? I know, they’re trying to tell me I’m right. I know I’m right otherwise I wouldn’t have said it, and then he died and he found out that he’s not as famous as God.
So, you know, there could be many areas of your life where you have a great deal of influence, you may have a great deal of power and authority and you may think that what you’ve got is greater than the Church. I want to flip this around a little bit and say that sometimes people that are in poverty, that have got sickness and disease and have all manner of things; they may feel that actually, those things are more powerful than the Church.
I’m here to say to you, and I have good news for you, that the Church is the most powerful institution in the entire universe. There is no government that is more powerful than the government of Heaven. There is no businessman or wealthy person that has got more money that can influence God to change God and change anything that God says about anybody with his money because God says, “All of the wealth of the nations belong to Me.” There is no money that is more powerful than God. There is no music talent or how famous or how much money they make that is more powerful than God.
I want to say to you that there is no ideology, whether it is a political ideology of communism, socialism, whatever -ism, capitalism, any -ism is more powerful than God. Hallelujah.
Well, of course, for all of us, this is good news because all you need to do to access the very power of God is believe in Jesus. You don’t have to have an -ism, you don’t have to have a big bank account, you don’t have to have a doctor, professor, political agenda behind your name; your honourable minister. You don’t have to have one of those to have influence. Are you sure about that? Ask the king who was a corrupt king and Elijah walked into his palace and said, “It will not rain until I say so” and he turn around and he walks out and they went into drought. Ask the ruler over Jesus; his name was Pontius Pilate. Ask him, he says, “Don’t you know I have the power to take Your life?” Jesus looked straight back at him and said, “You have no power to take this life. You can only take My life if I choose to lay it down.” And Pilate is like, “Of course I’ve got the power. I’ve got the whole of the Roman might behind me.” And Jesus says, “I can call on tens of thousands of angels and you’ve got no chance. Not you, not the whole Roman Empire can do nothing if I don’t choose to lay My life down.” Power didn’t belong to Pontus Pilate; power belonged to Him; He just had to stand in the authority of God the Father. Hallelujah.
And so, I remind you that the Father has put all things under Jesus’ feet and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church. All things? (Congregation: All things). All things? (Congregation: All things). Politicians? (Congregation: All things). Money? (Congregation: All things). Poverty? (Congregation: All things). Sickness? (Congregation: All things). Disease? (Congregation: All things). All manner of major crime and violence and stuff? (Congregation: All things). God has given the Church the head over? (Congregation: All things). And all things mean? (Congregation: All things). That’s nothing left out of? (Congregation: All things).
And why is that possible? Because as His body, He fills all things everywhere. He fills all things everywhere. How does He do it? Through you, because Monday morning you are going to go back to work and some of you will go to, you know, the traffic department and put on the traffic officer’s suit and you will go and stand with the radar gun and catch a few people and maybe one of those people is me. I hope not, you know. But I’m just saying you go there and you write the ticket and you’re doing something that is, when you are in that position, God working through you is filling all things everywhere. What He is doing is He is putting you in a place where other people can’t be and work. And as you’re touching people you can write them a ticket and still bless them and say, “God bless, sir. You have a wonderful day. Drive safely and don’t do this again.” And don’t be corrupt when he says, “Listen, this is a R1500 fine because I was going really fast,” and he says, “Here, take a couple of R200’s and we’ll call it quits.” You say, “No, thank you, sir, because I fill all things everywhere with my heavenly Father who fills everything. Because I’m not subject to your R200 you want to slip into my hand here. I’m subject to the increase that He gives me because I honor Him in what I do.” Hallelujah.
And if we deal with all corrupt politicians that way and we deal with all corruption in any space, any place, anywhere, we begin to fill everything, everywhere with Himself. And I live this with you tonight that you students are perfectly positioned to take your place. As you’ve studied the Word this year, you take the Word and you just don’t file it away as next last year completed. I’ve studied that and it’s in my head. Well, if it stays in your head then you’re not, you’re just a student, you’re not a discipled student. So, don’t leave the knowledge in your head. And if you’ve forgotten something, go back to your notes, listen again, look at it again. And if you need to come back to a class or a set of classes to actually, you know, get a bit more ‘oomph’. “I need a bit more faith ‘oomph’. Can I come to faith class, please, just so I can sit in and get a bit more faith?” You’re welcome. You’re welcome.
You know what will happen to your Pastor if you’re a disciple and you come and you go back to church, and you went to a faith class just for a week or two or three. And you come back to your Pastor and you, “Hey Pastor, we’ve got to build a new church. We’re going to build a new church. We’re going to build a new church. And we’re going to …” And you just talk to your Pastor and he’s going to, “Where do you come from?” “I’ve been going to that faith class”. “I thought you finished Bible School a year?” “Ja, I just went to a faith class because I need a bit of faith energising because we’re going to build this new church, Pastor. We’re going to go and do some things for Jesus, Pastor.” Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Praise Jesus. Praise the Lord.
So, students, I say thank you. On behalf of our chancellor, Brother Jerry Savelle, and on behalf of all of the ministry people that help us with the Bible School, all the leadership, Doctor Lynn, myself, the pastors of the church, deans, thank you. Thank you for the effort that you put in, thank you for being obedient to Jesus, thank you for having determination week after week to come to class. I know you have summertime and then it’s hot and then you struggle. Then it’s wintertime, it’s short days and long nights and cold nights and you still got to get to Bible School. I know all of that. And you’ve worked long days and you’ve got to struggle through traffic and many things. Right? Thank you. Thank you for doing it. Thank you for making it. And the Lord Jesus thanks you because you are the ones that He’s got to work with. Amen. Praise the Lord.
Pastor Lynn, I’m handing it back over to you. But I think we have to take a picture of all the students at some point. We can’t do all the ceremony and then take a picture. Hey? I see. I want to take a picture now because after this moment I want to take my guests because we’ve got a whole weekend of ministry still ahead of us. So, I want to take my guests out, otherwise, they’re going to sit through a long process. Look, how many students there are. Praise the Lord. I know I’m doing something different. I’m the president of the Bible School, I can do what I want here. I heard Donald Trump say that you know, “I’m the president, I can do what I want.” And I don’t align myself to him but you know. Praise the Lord.