Are you a letter from Christ?

Introduction Detlef Stegen

We come this morning with grateful hearts. Wherever you find yourself, may the Lord’s Spirit be able to reach and fill us. This morning I read the beginning of Acts. I realised afresh how wonderful it is to be filled with God’s Spirit. Not with your own, not with someone else’s influence nor the spirit of this world but with God’s Holy Spirit that overshadows every sphere of your life. I will read a text from Acts 2:39,42,47

39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 46…breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

COVID 19 Protocols Dr Albu van Eeden

Firstly, an announcement: Galina Klimenko has passed away due to terminal breast cancer. When she realised that her time on earth was very short, she came to the mission to die. She slowly became sicker and passed away this morning.

I am here to inform every one of the mission protocol regarding COVID-19. I am thankful that we began taking the necessary steps some time ago and that we have older people and Rev Stegen who encouraged us to take radical steps with regard to this pandemic.

About 12 hours before the president made the radical national announcements, we had already implemented many of the suggestions. Thank you to all who have worked together with us.

I was reminded of the time when Israel was unhappy with King Rehoboam. He listened to the advice of his peers rather than that of the older people. This split the nation in two. 10 of the 12 tribes said, “…back to your tents, O Israel.”1 Kings 12:15-16 There is a huge difference between returning to your tents because you are obeying commands or the way in which it was meant at that time. The people were unhappy with what the king told them. Each one returned home to do what he liked and what he thought best. If we encourage people to stay at home, it is not with that purpose.

We adhere rigidly to the sanitisation guidelines. On entering or leaving any building, hands should be sanitised. No handshakes. Buses and taxis should only be used if absolutely critical.

This germ spreads mainly in two ways: inhaling droplets in the air of an infected person who coughs or sneezes, therefore maintain a safe distance of about 2 metres from other people. Wear gloves and a mask when you go out. In the case of not having a mask, use tissues to cover your mouth and nose if someone coughs near you. Refrain from rubbing eyes, nose or mouth because the germ can be transferred from hand to mouth, nose or eyes. The germ is transferred by touch and by inhaling germs. Drink as much fluid as you can because the germ lives longer in a dry throat. The germ stays alive in dry areas. The germ can enter your throat but hot liquids kill the germ and move it to the stomach where stomach acids kill it.

This epidemic in South Africa is expected to last 3 and half months. Circumstances are constantly changing. A committee meets on a daily basis and if there is any change in protocol you will be informed immediately.

From Sunday, 29 March, no person will be allowed to enter the mission for the worship service. No visitors may visit at the moment. People who work on the mission must stay on the property or they may choose to leave, as no worker will be allowed to enter and exit for work. As from Monday, 23 March, no person may leave the mission without special permission. We strongly discourage anyone from taking pre-planned holidays during this period. Deliveries to the mission will be dropped at the shop. No deliveries will be brought into the mission. Should installations need to be done on the mission, the correct sanitisation protocol will take place.

When your hands are sprayed with sanitiser, do not shake it off, otherwise it will not work. It will dry quickly if you rub it into your hands – the palms, the back of the hand, between the fingers, around the thumbs. Do not enter a building without sanitisation. Why is hand sanitisation so important? In the 1800s many women died from child birth. In some places during certain periods, 1 out of 3 women died. At that time there was no knowledge of germs because they could not be seen. A man called Semmelweis proposed the idea that the doctors who assisted the women in childbirth should wash their hands. He was mocked and people said that he did not know what he was doing but the people stopped dying.

The Coffee Shoppe will function as a drive through, selling take-aways only. Customers should not leave their cars.

The services on the mission take place at 5 different venues in order to limit the number of people per venue to 100 so that we can obey the instructions of the president. It would be foolish to ignore them.

Martin Luther lived in Europe during the time of the Black Death plague – which was a disease carried by fleas on rats. Eventually people carried the fleas. They got sick and their fleas jumped onto others and so the sickness spread. In 1527 Martin Luther wrote to a friend: “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbour needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Our committee meets daily and should there be any reason to loosen protocol you will be informed, however, at the moment it is dangerous.

In the Old Testament there was a severe drought and Elijah went to a widow in Zarephath who had no food for herself and son. God commanded her to take care of Elijah and use her last meal for him. She heard God’s voice and God performed a miracle – her oil and flour did not finish. Everyone came to her for help. God may want to use you in this time so make sure that you can hear God speaking and do not allow any sin to enter your life.

Detlef Stegen
Thank you to the Pretorius family and Mrs Esther Bornman who showed Galina such love and compassion. She passed away peacefully and gloriously this morning. God is good to us and He is good to cancer patients. We know that the Pretorius family did it for Galina through the Lord’s strength and unto His name. This morning they spoke of Romans 11:33 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!

Ntokozo Nhlabathi

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has allowed all these things that we see and experience. He is in control. May God help us to support Dr van Eeden and the committee.

I pondered over the present situation. The congregation has been separated into a few venues to reduce the number of people in a building. When you get to one building, you may be told to go to another because it is full. One day when we get to heaven and hear the singing inside, will we be allowed to enter? Will God forbid you from entering? There will be no compassion for those who have not lived accordingly. He will even separate families. I am reminded of the text in Matthew 7:13,14. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

This shows us that even though we are many, each one must strive to enter that narrow gate. This should urge us to examine our hearts. Are we where we should be? This is the crux of the matter – where do we find ourselves spiritually?

CYPSA has been in the Harding area. The Lord helped us very much and the first week went well. We joined the Harding congregation on the first Sunday. It was inspiring to meet them and observe their growth. They are zealous and counselling was sincere. From Monday we visited schools and managed to reach 89 schools. We met a teacher who told us that he had received this gospel many years ago through the leader of the mission at a tent service. Now he is married with a family and he still follows the Lord. Things like this cause one to be watchful so that we continue building on the foundation that has been laid by the founder of the work, Rev Stegen. The younger people do not have to lay a new foundation but build on that which the forerunners have laid. Others said that they had received this gospel through Rev Stegen in the past at universities.

We addressed the learners about the corona virus, as well as the virus of drug addiction. We used the opportunities we were given. We cannot stop thanking Rev Stegen for all the input from the mission. We thank the Lord for the leadership where God works mysteriously and wonderfully. It is one thing to have compassion for your own people but to have it for other people as well, is another thing. Before the national announcement about action to be taken by the government, we had educated the schools through pamphlets and posters.

At a question session a person testified about his brother who had been a drug addict but who had received help at the mission.

It is touching to see how the children of the Lord deny themselves and go the extra mile for the sake of the Lord and His cause. We stayed with the Dahl family. They did more than what was necessary for us, disregarding what was to their benefit in order to serve us. We were treated like their own children.

Today’s text is taken from 2 Corinthians 3:2-4

 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b] Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.

As a child of God in your congregation what is the influence of your life? What is the value of your life? What is your role in the church? What is your work in the church? How do you contribute to the health of the church? Some sing, others testify but what contribution do you make? For what reason are you part of this church? If you do not bring something of yourself to the church you will find yourself sitting on a swivel chair with a red pen marking the rights and wrongs in the church. Many people labour, they are making every effort but you are a sounding cymbal. What is your gift that you present to the church? What do your faith and gratitude do for the church?

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were a letter from Christ. You are the light of the world Matthew 5:14. Jesus does not ask, He states it. Paul says that they are a letter written and known by everyone. What do people read in your life? Those with whom you work and come into contact? This letter is not written with ink but by the Spirit of the living God. What letter does your life portray? This letter is not written on tablets of stone but on human hearts. The Bible is written on pages but people will read what is written on your innermost being. The letter that is written in your heart is read in your appearance, it is written on your face and portrayed by your life. Only God can write on a human heart. The heart is susceptible to influence. The heart will respond to something with happiness or discontentment and this will alter the page of your heart. What is your heart like? What are you inclined towards? If things move in a certain direction, do you question things? Is there an openness to the working of the Lord? If you are full of complaints that page can be read. If your heart is clear, God can write His letter into your heart of flesh. Has the Spirit of God been able to write on your heart of flesh since there is no resistance within you and you allow God to lead you? If you have the Spirit of God you are willing to carry your cross.

If Paul has the courage to say You yourselves are our letter of recommendation… to be known and read by all… what work has he not put into the congregation to present them as such?

Jesus did not suddenly stand up one day and say to His disciples that they were the light of world. He knew where he had taken them from and He knew where He was going with them. Can people say that we are a letter? Are you such a member of the congregation?

Coronavirus is a serious disease that can cause death, but sin is worse since it will cause spiritual death and lead us to terrible death and hell. Do you use the opportunities afforded you to enter God’s shower and be cleansed from sin and degradation? Use God’s sanitiser, the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses and makes you whole so that you can be whiter than snow.

Conclusion Michael Ngubane

May God help us to be that letter written by the Spirit of God. Your life will testify to this. This is how things ought to be. A person who has heard the words of Jesus is a letter and that is a blessing. May God help us to be a Godly letter today and throughout our lives. Now there will be an opportunity for people who would like to cleanse their lives to do so.