Dick Bernal of Jubilee Christian Center gave a word encouraging City Harvest Church to not give up when setbacks come.
Dick Bernal, founder and senior pastor in San Jose, California, a church of nearly 12,000 members from all nationalities and backgrounds, was in City Harvest Church to teach on the topic of spiritual warfare on the weekend of July 5 and 6. Dick Bernal is a seasoned minister, having spent two decades pastoring, training ministers and reaching nations through media and missions work.
The pastor began his sermon with his personal salvation story. Bernal was raised by his mother and grandparents after his parents separated. At age 14, he left home for San Francisco and found a career in construction work. Raised in a non-Christian family, Bernal’s salvation came when his wife was in critical condition after childbirth. There was little hope of survival and their firstborn was only 10 days old.
Bernal remembered crying out to an unknown God to save his wife. The Lord responded. Bernal’s wife later told him that she saw Jesus and He told her that it was not yet time for her to go because her husband was not yet saved; He was sending her back to earth on a mission to get him saved.
That was 1976. Bernal eventually gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized in 1977. In 1979, while driving in a truck in Sacramento, God called him to leave his construction job and follow Him. Since that day, Bernal has gone on to lead many to Christ.
Bernal began his sermon by referring to Philippians 1:3-6, which says, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” He encouraged the Church, saying that God has started a good work in CHC and He will continue doing His good work in them.
Ephesians 3:8-10, says “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” Bernal proclaimed that God has given His people the stewardship and authority over principalities.
“The demon is spirit and he can use human beings to attack us,” Bernal preached. “But we must remember that we are fighting against principalities and power, not flesh and blood.”
Bernal went on to say that Christianity is warfare. “I was born on Oct 30, 1944 during the World War. Little did I know that when I was born again, it was also into a war … a war between Lucifer and God,” he quipped.
WHAT HAPPENED TO LUCIFER?
Lucifer was one of the archangels; how did he become Satan? Bernal pictured a scenario in which the angels always told Lucifer how beautiful he was how wonderful all the music he could make, and he would reply “All glory to God.” One day, he looked at himself and saw that he was indeed beautiful. When he heard that God was creating humans, he started to wonder if God felt the angels were not good enough and God had to create a new race to replace them. That was when he rebelled and was cast out.
Because Lucifer hated humanity, he became Satan the devil. That is why Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies. When a person chooses to love their enemies, it becomes difficult to hate them. That is why Christianity is counter-culture.
“We are directly opposed to the world of darkness but that does not mean we hate people and come against them. God loves all that He creates but we are not just creations of God; we are children of God,” he said.
AN OPEN HEAVEN
John 1:51 says, “He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” When there is an open heaven, the blessings of God can flow into a believers’ life, said the preacher. Bernal gave the example of South Korea. The country was in poverty until revival happened. Today, it is enjoying prosperity.
“The country is under an open heaven,” Bernal said.
Genesis 35:1-2 says, “God said to Jacob, ‘Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother, Esau.’ So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.'” Bernal preached that the house of God is the gate of heaven and all the answers to the problems people faced can be found in church.
But why was evil (that caused all the problems) allowed to prosper and to exist on earth in the first place? Bernal said that some of the hellish situations are meant to make us strong believers stronger so that they can rule and reign in Christ.
“We are His army in a spiritual war, even if we may lose a battle or two,” the pastor said in encouragement to CHC. “Don’t stop doing what we are doing just because of a small setback, a setback is preparing for a comeback.”
“Different things behave differently when they age—milk becomes bitter and turns sour while wine becomes better. As we mature as Christians, we need to become better as people.”
In closing, Bernal encouraged the church to stay on track with the visions of God. “The best days of the church are not behind but ahead of us,” he said. “The trials are meant to refine us and to reveal the power of the Gospel.”