The young people’s choir has just sung the song, ‘My friends and family speak against me, and want to remove what God has instilled in me, but I have decided to say goodbye to them.’ Isn’t it wonderful, children, if God puts something new into your heart. It is wonderful if your small child or grandchild talks about things which are pleasant and you realise that it does not come from a child but from God who is busy in that life. You realise that God is planting something which is taking root and you see the fruit. Where are the children who love Jesus? Where are the children who love Satan? Maybe you deceive yourself and say, I love Jesus but you allow Satan to sow his seed in your heart. Parents and grandparents, never tire of watching over your children, your offspring, lest the hawk or eagle from Satan snatches your child away, right in front of your eyes. We are in a battle between light and darkness, heavenly forces against devilish forces, the Spirit of God against the spirit of the Anti-Christ. Where is your soul? Is your soul being torn apart or can Jesus preserve you? Is your faith being preserved or are you being torn apart?
Keep your eye on the goal. Ask the learners who work for their final report which will say pass or fail. The quarterly exams check whether they are still on par with the instruction of their teachers. We had a high school Science teacher who said, “Pupils, if you listen in class to what I am telling you, and if you do your homework well, I expect at least 66% in your tests.” If we did not achieve 66% he would heat up the buttocks. The teacher was so confident that he would scarcely look at his textbook and then write on the board. He said, “I am not teaching you stupid stuff. I’m not teaching you to forget. I’m teaching you so that you can pass at the end of the year.” I learnt for my exams and through God’s grace I passed.
Jesus said one day, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” May God be gracious to our children. Parents, play your role, instruct, teach, do not slacken even if people talk about you or mock you. Watch out that your response does not spoil the testimony of your love towards the Lord.
Yesterday we had the wonderful funeral of our brother, Derrick King. We praised God for what He did in the life of this co-worker, his family and those around him. I would like to mention something about Selwyn, who was named after his Dad’s second name. Selwyn cared for his dad in the last months and towards the end of his father’s life, he had a dream. He said, “I found myself in heaven. There I met many people. (And he named them by name – those who were buried not so long ago.) I saw them in heaven. I was also shown my Dad’s place that had been reserved for him in heaven. I had expected to find some peoples’ names but I did not find them.” Is that perhaps your name? Are you living to ensure that your name is written there, that your space is reserved? This is worth living for. Friend, is your daily walk, your daily talk, are your daily acts towards that purpose?
You may recall that two years ago we heard about young Romanian man who grew up on the mission there but he was secretly busy with ungodly things. He later testified that he used his cellphone to communicate with girls as far as Russia. He had a total of 200 girlfriends online. He hardly had any spare time because of all these commitments. Thank God for everyone, for every leader whom God has raised up to set up a standard and who has the spirit that we find in Paul, who said, “I am zealous for you that I might present you to Christ as a pure, chaste virgin, without spot or wrinkle.” If God hears the cry of His servants then things happen, sometimes shocking things.
This young man buzzed off on a motorbike at dusk and within a few hundred metres he smashed into a concrete pillar. Luckily someone found him lying next to the road. They thought his head was smashed and his bones broken. But then someone who was attending the KSB Ministers’ Conference felt the urge to quickly return home because the injured boy was one of his boys whom he greeted daily and asked how things were going. When this boy awoke, he found himself before the Judgement seat where he was sent to the left and not the right. The messenger who accompanied him to hell said, “You see, your pastor is praying next to your bed but it is too late for you.” Don’t let it be too late for you who live at a place where God has chosen to manifest His glory and His glorious Gospel.
He was escorted to burners, ovens, or pots which each had a number. The names of those who were still alive appeared there. He recognised the names that were recorded in hell and not heaven. He saw hell and then, by God’s mercy, he tasted and glimpsed heaven. “In heaven,” he was told, “you cannot be deceptive. This is not a place where you can hide your untruths.”
This morning make sure that your name is recorded where you want to go. Nobody is forcing you to go to heaven and nobody is forcing you to go to hell. You, as an individual, have the choice. Do not choose and have eternal regrets, weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Paul was confident that the doctrine he taught was true, correct, and approved by heaven. We need to keep whatever doctrine the Lord has taught us. Disobedience comes at a terrible cost. Paul said, “I have laid the foundation.” What a man! Few people can claim that. But Paul said, “I have built on the foundation which is Jesus Christ Himself.”
Allow me to read a few extracts from the life of Englishman and cricketer, C.T. Studd who felt the call of God to the Congo. These extracts tell of his experiences and his witness to his fellow believers, reporters and those who scrutinised the old missionary in the Congo from 1921-1926.
C.T. Studd had never been satisfied with a shallow work. His heart yearned to see a holy Church made up of Christians who knew, not only that their past sins were forgiven, but also that their present lives were empowered by the Spirit, so that they might be pleasing to God. “It is all very well”, he wrote, “to sing hymns and go to worship, but what we must see are the fruits of the Spirit and a really changed life and heart, a hatred of sin and a passion for righteousness. God can do it, and we must be content with nothing less.” The missionaries had to meet the challenge head on. Were they going to be content with half-hearted, shoddy Christianity, or were they willing to struggle, “travailing again in birth” to see Christ formed in each convert? If there was to be a Church after the New Testament pattern, pleasing to God, “without spot or blemish,” sanctification had to be added to justification. It was not that this had not been taught. It had. But the second stage of the battle, to make soldiers out of saints, had yet to be fought. To please man with spectacular numbers and fascinating reports: or to please God with Africans conformed to the image of Christ – that was the choice that faced C.T. and his team.
And they made it courageously. It was a costly stand to take, but the standard raised at that time has endured as an undeviating principle in the main task of the mission, in planting truly sanctified and witnessing churches. However small in number, this must always be more pleasing to the Lord and more influential among the heathen, than a far larger body of mere professors of faith. Despite the enormous discouragements, C.T. continued to preach fearlessly that a new heart, filled with divine love for the Saviour and with divine hatred for sin, was essential to all who would live the Christian life. Without this new heart, he said, to seek to live a holy life, pleasing to God, was as ridiculous as to seek to cross a hundred yards above the Niagara Falls in a rowing boat!
“Don’t be fooled,” C.T. warned his fellow labourers. “Mice are not white asses because you hope them to be so. Sardines are not salmon because both wag their tails. Nor is a man a Christian just because he puts his hand up in a meeting and shouts hallelujah! Don’t be taken in by the devil, nor by yourself, nor by men.” C.T.’s conclusion was that a man or woman, black or white, must be filled with the Holy Spirit if he is to stand against all the wiles of the devil. “We are not out here to please men or to make cheap reputations for ourselves,” C.T. challenged each new arrival, “but to proclaim Christ’s gospel of repentance and faith unto holiness. Our creed must be that ‘without holiness no man shall see the Lord’.”
In the Congo, 5 years later, stories began to spread, bringing confusion and strange accusations. C.T. Studd was becoming increasingly weak and so unable to visit each member of his team, as he had always sought to do in the past. In pain from gallstones and hampered with frustrating asthma attacks, he nevertheless would not “give in and go home”, as many advised him to do. Medical friends had provided him with pain-killing drugs, and he kept going with the help of these, taking “just sufficient to enable me to keep on my feet, and keep talking for Jesus!” The first major rumour was that C.T. had become a drug addict. Assurances were given that the morphia supplied to him through a kindly doctor of the Africa Inland Mission in Nairobi was only used sparingly to alleviate pain, but doubts persisted in the minds of some. Secondly, it was rumoured that C.T. was now preaching “another doctrine”, substituting “salvation by works” for the pure gospel of “salvation by grace through faith”. It was true that Studd was, and always had been, adamant that the Church of Jesus Christ must be a holy Church: that converts must show the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It was inconceivable to C.T. that one could be truly born again into the family of God and yet remain in deliberate sin: yet there was absolutely no shift in doctrinal belief.
A statement was clearly printed to this effect in the November magazine, yet eighteen out of the sixty-eight missionaries in the Congo resigned from the WEC at the close of 1925. Heart-broken, C.T. called his local missionary group together, and they spent a prolonged period of time in prayer and fasting, in searching the Scriptures and their hearts, to receive renewed “marching orders” from the King of kings. C.T. longed to see his untrained “company” turned into a disciplined “army”.
It was a new company that left C.T.’s hut that night, with laughter on their faces, a sparkle in their eyes, and love unspeakable burning in their hearts, for each had become a “devotee-to-death for the glory of the Saviour.” The joy of battle possessed them! WEC mission did not die, as some had predicted it would, but came forth into more abundant life than ever before. From that time on, throughout the mission, there was a new love, unity and joy, in sacrifice and zeal for souls. No one murmured if funds were short: no one wanted to go on furlough. Married couples put the needs of the young Church even before those of their own families. Single women “manned” many of the lonely outposts and never shirked to do their part, whatever the cost. Companions willingly agreed to separate in order to double their effectiveness. Even in bereavement, Crusaders triumphed and God was glorified. Living Stones: Helen M Roseveare p17,22,23
What spirit is evident in your life? Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life or the fruit of a strange spirit? Is it your talk? It is a pity if the lips of Christians are lit by a fire that originates in hell. The man who controls his tongue is perfect.
Do you have the love of God’s Spirit burning in your heart today or is it immaterial to you whether you quit or not? It’s all the same. What has happened to your joy? Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit. Where has your joy gone? The third fruit is peace. Even if the battle rages, you have peace within which no one can rob from you. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Meekness. God’s word strikes the heart. It hits home. Place yourself on the scale.
God’s word is wonderful. He carries the mountains in his hands but He also carries the mountains of your heart in his hands. The dust of the earth that gets blown hither and thither by the storms is in His hands. Are you aware that your own life is in God’s hands?
The New Testament says, “Christ in you.” (Colossians 1:27) Christ, the victor, the conqueror of this world and you in Him, not only in His hand, but in Him. What a wonder if you are filled with His Spirit, you are in Him and you experience what He does.
This man, C.T. Studd testified that it was possible – even in the face of adversity, evil powers, man, blood-thirsty men, cannibals of Congo and armed men. These wretched missionaries were unarmed but armed with the armour of faith. Do not allow any sin in your life or you will be weakened. Instead, let Christ’s Spirit fill you.
We thank the Lord for His wonderful word. It is amazing that men of God who forsook everything and sacrificed their lives, had to go through such hardship. These men are heroes. We have these heroes in our midst who should be strengthened because many lives have been saved through them – but Satan hates it.
There are people today who say we have started another road, one that is parallel, close to the main road. It’s an utter lie. There is no road next to God’s road. There is only one road. When Christ spoke, they said it is too hard a saying, we would rather leave. And they left. Should we be surprised that people leave today? We shouldn’t and we should thank God. You start a second road because you cannot preach the way you should preach. You cannot put your foot in the way it should go for Christ. You cannot be sharp for Him because there is something wrong in your life.
May God grant us the grace that our lives will be sharp; that we are there where God wants us to be. May the Word do something in us. Farmers cannot pray for a harvest if they have not planted. We cannot expect a harvest if we don’t do something. Let’s do something. May we have an ear to hear.