Sunday service, Erlo Stegen, 24 April 2016
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Yesterday was the Cedar College graduation. Cedar College train students who are capable of caring for other people’s children, and teach them the ways of God. Therefore it is not just academic training, but also spiritual training. There is a tremendous onslaught on the children in our country, while the majority of teachers are ill-equipped to deal with gangsterism, drug abuse, pornography, etc. The country needs teachers who can make a difference.
During the past year the staff and students of Cedar College had been looking at the life of CT Studd and the Cambridge seven, and some of the famous quotes by CT Studd. For instance where he said, “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice I make for Him could be too great”. And another, “only one life it will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last”.
One day a lecturer started praying for the CCE seven (i.e. Cedar College seven). Then one of the students asked why pray for only seven and not all of them. This past year was a blessed year and it’s the first time we’ve experienced this. It is something everyone of us should appreciate and thank the Lord for. We do not have words to express our thanks to God for that. Out of the twelve students who graduated, eight of them are in full-time service to the Lord. Three are teaching at DSS at the mission, two are assisting with teaching at the Schulzendal mission school, one is assisting with teaching at the mission school in the Netherlands, one is helping at the DFL orphanage at Mthaleni, and another is helping here at the mission while praying for direction from the Lord. It’s our prayer that they will remain faithful, and that the fire in them would spread and be multiplied among the other teachers and students. You can see for yourself why the Lord deserves all the glory and thanks for this College. We also thank the lecturers for their dedication. Our hearts overflow with joy in thanking the Lord for what He has done, where we could see that much fruit is already there for the work of God. May each one serve the Lord faithfully right to the end.
Rev John Brown was a great man of God, whom I hold in the highest esteem. Many years ago I mentioned that when I pass away then this song that was composed about him should be sung at my funeral. John Brown lived in the 18th century, from 1722 – 1787. He was an active servant of the Lord and diligent. Very few people achieved what he achieved. He wrote many books. But on his death bed, he called his two sons who also were preachers. And he spoke to them with great earnestness, “I beseech you my sons to labour for Christ while you still have the strength to do it. I regret that I didn’t do more for the Lord.” Remember that he achieved a lot and was diligent. Yet when he was dying this is what he said. Furthermore he said, “My sons, go and tell the people how glorious and wonderful Christ is. Commend Christ for there is none like Him. Had I 10,000 hearts I would give each one to Him. I wouldn’t keep one for myself. Had I 10,000 bodies, they would all be devoted to Christ.”
To those graduates who chose to go into the Lord’s service, do it with the same fire that was in John Brown, devoting the one body and heart you have to the cause of Christ. Like John Brown encouraged his sons, you are encouraged to serve Christ with all your body and heart. Labour for Christ while you still have strength. Tell the people how glorious and wonderful Christ is. Remember that the Bible says that if anyone does not love Christ he is accursed (1Cor 16:22).
John Brown also said that if God should make him young again, he would study to learn better means to win people to Christ, to apply them and win more to Christ.
As John Brown spoke to his children, so this word is spoken to you, to serve and live for God with all your heart.
DL Moody was an American evangelist in the 19th century. During his first visit to Britain, he heard words that made a deep impression on him in search for a deeper meeting with Christ. These words were spoken by a well-known evangelist as they sat on a bench in a park in Dublin, “the world has yet to see what God will do with and for and in and through and by the man that is fully dedicated and consecrated to Him.” These words had a deep effect on DL Moody. He said to himself, “that evangelist said, a man. He didn’t say a great, or important or smart or attractive man. I am a man. It therefore lies with me whether I will be that person who is totally consecrated to the Lord. I will strive with my utmost to be that man.” These words had a lasting impression on his life and from that time on he was a person who was burning for the Lord at all times. He said there are thousands and tens of thousands of people in the work of the Lord. But the Lord did not need rarely gifted men and women or people that were making great sacrifices, but people that are totally surrendered to Him. A person close to DL Moody said that with every ounce of his huge body, he surrendered it to the Lord. Everything he had and was, was dedicated to the Lord.
If you want to be used by God you must be wholly surrendered to Him. Give Him your whole life and heart, love and will, time and strength, all your abilities, everything. Let it be at His disposal. It is noteworthy that the dictionary defines the phrase “at one’s disposal”, as “available for one to use whenever or however one wishes”. Then God can do through you much more than you ever dreamed of, to His glory. Do not hold anything back, otherwise you will regret it one day when you stand before Him.
William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. One day he read a statement a certain unbelieving university lecturer had made, “If I believed what you Christians say you believe, that there will be a day of Judgement, where we will have to give account to God if we rejected Christ, then I would not rest day or night warning people about it. I would crawl on my hands and knees on broken glass all across London to warn sinners of the coming wrath and eternal hell fire!” That statement touched William Booth deeply and he was never the same afterwards. Since that time he lived like that. One of his famous quotes, “the greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender”. He also said, “I wish that I could take each one of my co-workers and bind them just for one hour over the flames of hell. That would be the best theological training and they would know what to preach.” If you don’t know what to preach and how to live, just one hour in hell will teach you what to preach and how to live!
Later, when God was already using him mightily, someone asked him why the Lord could use him like that. Booth’s eyes filled with tears as he said, “there are many people much cleverer than me, many who had better opportunities in life, but I gave myself completely to the Lord. I decided to place everything of William Booth at God’s disposal. God has had all there was of me.” He gave everything to God and never took anything back. That is why God could bless and use him. What are our lives like in comparison?
What you have been taught you must pass on to others. But of course you can only do that if you yourself are walking in God’s ways. Remember that each and every word, deed, thought and motive is recorded. Never forget that.
Eccl 11:9, “Rejoice o young man in your youth. Let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into Judgment.”
May such men of God as we have spoken of be found in our midst, people who will present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.
Songs: KwaSizabantu Choir
THANK YOU GOD
NGIYAKUBONGA O NKOSI
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