Introduction: Mr Jabulani Dube
We welcome all those who have come to be with us today for this baptismal service.
In 1 John 3:3 we read that all those who have this hope, sanctify and purify themselves and if we cleanse ourselves, we will be like Him, we will be like Him when we appear before Him. We long for that day, desiring to be like Him. Today when people enter the water, they testify to their repentance and identify themselves as members of the congregation. Entering the water will not cleanse you of your sin. They cleansed and washed themselves in the blood of the Lamb, prior to this day through the confessing and forsaking of their sin. They testify that they have repented from their former life of sin. Entering the water does not signify that they have reached the goal. They must continue to seek God and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Reverend Stegen has said that if you have not received water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit it does not mean you cannot enter heaven – as long as things are right inside, you have the assurance of eternal life. If the Lord chooses to fetch you, you will see the Lord and will be able to stand before Him clothed in white.
Service: Albu van Eeden
We thank God that He is visiting us. We do not have to use clever words and deceive. Friends, God has been in our midst and it has been wonderful to experience this together with those whom God used in the beginning and especially together with the man who took the initiative and whom God used initially. Even though Reverend Stegen is not here this morning, he has been with us in the past few days and last night he was able to pray with those who were baptised today.
I tremble as I stand here because I stand on holy ground. Those who have been involved in helping the people who were baptised were aware of the presence of God and the Holy Spirit in our midst. Where God laid His finger on something a person did years ago, with a friend, or to an enemy, at school or somewhere else – God reminded that person that he had not apologised and made things right with that person. Remember what Zacchaeus did? He stood up and said, “This is not the end Lord, You have spoken to me and You have told me the next step. Where I have taken money from someone I will give back fourfold.” People responded saying, “God has told me to contact that person and apologise for what we did together or for what I did to him or her.” Yesterday someone felt led to make something right but he did not know where he would find that particular person whom he knew was somewhere in Durban. So that person went to Durban, not knowing where to begin or end and walked around praying. Sure enough, the person whom he was looking for was on the pavement walking towards him. He could speak to the person, express his gratefulness that he found him and apologise for what God had convicted him of. We serve a living God, not One who allows you to go to heaven because you stick to certain rules, but a God who allows you to go to heaven because you personally hear and obey His voice.
As you are seated here have you reached this point? Have you heard God speaking to you? Have you opened your eyes and said, “Lord whatever you want to touch upon, do it, anywhere, I withhold nothing before you.”
Do you know that without Christ, sin will never stop. Sin does not stop. Nobody, nothing here on earth stop sin. Wealth cannot stop sin in your life. Suffering cannot stop sin in your life. Poverty cannot stop sin in your life. There is a modern teaching that states when you are poor, sin will stop. No, sin will continue in your life. It will grow. If you have been exposed to sexual immorality and porn, you will develop an appetite for more. You will allow the devil to draw sex into every situation in life where nobody in their sound mind would ever dream about sex, you will see sex in that situation because you are enslaved to it. Your selfishness will grow, your world will become smaller and smaller, turning around yourself. Selfishness has made Christian parents deny their Lord and betray Him because they have worldly children who assist them financially and in other ways. They compromise, turn their backs on their Lord and betray Him.
Friends, when I witnessed this baptismal service this morning involving the different races, I thought that we do not know what an important role this place will still play in our country. How many of us can truly say that they respect a person from another race higher than they respect themselves? That does not only apply to whites respecting blacks more than themselves, it applies to blacks respecting whites higher than themselves. It took the revival of the living God to crack that concrete, that granite block that separates all people. Unless the sin of racism is stopped at the foot of the cross, it will never stop.
Sin continues. Children who are raised in a home where the parents are alcoholics, they suffer under the alcoholism of the parents. But, when they grow up they become alcoholics themselves. If not alcoholism they become involved in other sins – keeping grudges, against even their parents who treated them badly.
Tell me friends, has sin come to an end? Are you sitting with stolen goods in your possession? As God worked in our midst, we saw how people brought stolen things or things bought on the black market, to be burned. Are you sure there is nothing in your cupboard or that you wear that has been stolen? You might say that you cannot live without these things but will you be able to enter heaven with those things in your possession? Do you think God will allow you to use the stolen goods? He did not allow Reverend Bhengu to do it. He was in bed one night when he remembered that the sheets that he and his wife were sleeping on had been bought on the black market very cheaply. He got up and said, “Tonight we are sleeping on a bare mattress.” Under great conviction of sin, they pulled off the sheets and set them alight outside. He could not live with the curse of God on his life because of the stolen goods.
What about worldliness? Have you not developed a worldly eye when looking at people? If you work with a person of the opposite sex, do you see the soul of that person, and their need to go to heaven? Or are you just aware of the outer appearance of that person?
You have possibly been developing an eye for fashion. God says that he who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God. You may be a friend of the world through the magazines and books you read and the videos you watch. How can you end this sin? There is only one place where sin can stop and that is when the sin gets to the crucified One. When you come to Christ with your sin, it stops there. It will not be able to change lanes. It will not be able to take on another form. When you come to cross it stops there. That is the end of sin.
WW I French writer, Henri Barbusse, in his book Under Fire, writes about a conversation that he heard during the trench war. There was soldier, Leonard Carlotti, who had been hit by a bullet and was dying. He heard this wounded soldier speaking to another one, Dominique. He said that he had only 5 minutes to live. He said, “Listen, Dominique. You’ve led a bad life. You cribbed things, and you were quarrelsome when drunk. You’ve dirtied your ticket in the police register, properly.” When this war is over the police will be looking all over for you again. Leonard Carlotti said, “There are no convictions against me. My name is clear, spotless. Dominique, take my wallet, take my papers in there, take my identity, change your name to mine. Take my good name on you and do it quickly, my life is coming to an end. I will carry all your crimes with me into death and I will carry your guilt for you.” Under Fire, The Story of a Squad, Henri Barbusse
Friends, the people who were baptised today were not saved through baptism, they testified to something much deeper that had happened in their hearts. They testified to the fact that they had come to Christ with their bad names and deeds. They took the name of Christ onto them and became Christians. They took all the sins that had continued in their lives and they brought them to Christ. Christ stopped the train. They cleansed their lives in these last few weeks and where they were powerless to stop sin, they exposed their sin and asked Christ to take away the bad name they had and change them permanently, never to return to it. They were cleansed by the blood of Christ. We read about that in Romans 6:3 – 4. 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
This is the word of God. The gospel of John says that Christ is the Word. When you bring my sins to the Lord, He cleanses and washes you. You are buried with Him. You die with Him and rise with Him.
A Chinese man could not understand how he could be ‘in Christ’? “I do not see or feel Him. How do I know that I am buried with Him?” He was drinking a cup of tea with a friend and the friend put a spoon of sugar into the tea and said, “You are the sugar. This cup of tea is Christ. When you bring your sins to Christ, you are poured like sugar into the tea.” Then he stirred the tea and asked, “Can you see the sugar?” The answer was, “No, I cannot.” “Do you believe there is sugar in this cup?” “Yes, of course, I saw it being poured into the cup.”
A person who has brought his sins to Christ, confessed them and asked for prayer – not hiding it or being embarrassed about it – that person himself pours the sugar into the cup. God might remind you of a day at work when you told a half-lie, not the complete truth. That is a piece of sugar outside the cup which you have to pour into the cup.
When I was a student, I worked with an older doctor. One night he asked me whether I had done a specific test on a patient. I had not done the test but I thought that I would come and do it the following morning but I would tell him now that I had done it. I went home but later the Lord spoke to me at about 11pm. He said, “You did not tell the truth. Are you going to go to bed with this thing in your life?” I got up at 11pm, got dressed and contacted the doctor. I said, “This is embarrassing for me but I must tell you that I did not tell you the truth. I had not done the test.”
Once you have done everything the Lord tells you to do and your conscience is clear, then you know you are in Christ. This is what these people have testified about. They entered the water and testified that the world has entered the water with them. It is a symbol of them having come to Christ. As they came out of the water, you rise inside Christ and your world has been drowned. Has your world been drowned? Tell me, mother, has that tongue and lips been drowned with Christ? Has that gossip stopped? Have they been crucified with Christ, so that you are in Christ?
Two additional verses with reference to baptism and what has happened here today:
Baptism shows us that a person has been crucified to the world and to himself:
14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14.
The last example of what baptism is, what you have witnessed here today, 20 [The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God’s patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few [people], actually eight in number, were saved through water.
21 And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:20 – 21 AMPC.
Baptism is a symbol of what happened to Noah and the people with him. It is not just being saved from our sins, but it is being saved from the world’s mindset – the way the world looks at things, the way they think, the way they judge things.
Noah lived in a time of extreme worldliness and sin and Noah was totally changed by God in that world where there was no one else thinking like him, except maybe his seven family members. Everybody around him was swallowed up in anger, violence, lust, all kinds of sins. Here was this man who was like a burning coal floating in a sea of sin and filth. This burning coal was not quenched. Noah was different. He had God’s vision of what was going to happen and where things were going to. His heart was filled with the God’s desires and to do what pleased God. Everybody else lived in their world, however, Noah lived in God’s world. One could say, Noah and the world were worlds apart.
Has God changed your mind? Do you know what is happening to your children? Do you know that there is a curriculum that is being introduced into the schools where children from the age of 7 and 8 years will be exposed to all the details about sex? Once the eyes of a child have been opened and he has been exposed to the desire and pleasure of sex, nothing will close that child’s eye again, unless God does a miracle in that life. The curriculum plans to tell your children that they can do with their bodies what they like. If they want to have sex by themselves, they can. It is normal. God created them with those desires. They plan to show them images of exactly what takes place in sexual intercourse. We are living in the time of Noah – it is godless, perverse, corrupt and sick.
And are you part of this worldly mind set? Are you allowing your children to be defiled and spoilt for the rest of their lives? Things will regress though and after some time a child will not be happy with ordinary forms of sexual activity but he will enter into more and more perverse forms of sexual activity. Where will it end? Some end where they want to have sex with dead people. How much sicker can one get? How does it happen? Parents have never been set free from the world’s way of thinking. Otherwise you would stand up and say this will only happen over my dead body! My child must rather stay at home than be given such education.
I do not believe any sex education is necessary, except to teach a child self-control and purity until marriage. If a person must be taught, when marriage will take place, he can be taught in 5 minutes. The idea of sex education was started by Alfred Kinsey in 1948. He was a pervert and a paedophile. He fell into sexual addiction where he would torture himself and through that gain sexual pleasure. In the process of torturing himself, he injured himself and his wounds turned sceptic which eventually led to his death. Alfred Kinsey wrote a book in 1948, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, where he said children should explore their own sexuality. Before the publication of his book nobody was thinking of sexual education.
A Jewish woman, Dr Judith Riesman, has researched this idea of sexual education. In her book, Alfred Kinsey – Sex and Fraud, she writes that he began the idea of sex education in 1948. Alfred Kinsey went to a university and asked whether they were teaching about sex? They responded that they were not doing so. He said, “You’ve got to teach them. If you don’t teach them the right way of doing it, they will do it the wrong way.”
Friends, a child is born in sin. If you teach a child the right way, he will still do it in the wrong way because it is in him, it is his instinct. Kinsey and a male sexual partner, travelled across America and presented their sex education programmes to education faculties. Dr Judith Riesman said that she does not believe there is any need for any sexual education.
We need to have the mind Noah had. Those who were baptised decided that they wanted to be saved through the water, just as Noah was.
Do you know how different the mind of a child of God is? When our Lord was 12 years old He sat in the temple and discussed principles of the Scriptures with the priests and Pharisees. Is that the mind that has been planted in your child? Thank God for young people who have made a statement today saying that they want to be different – we have been crucified with Christ and we want to live for Him.
Dear friends, brothers and sisters, let us be fearless. Let us live pure and spotless lives. Christ has paid the price and nobody is excluded. 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. John 7:37 You do not have to belong to a certain group or family, anybody who thirsts – that is His invitation. If anybody thirsts let him come to Me. If you have not had that thirst, let Him create that thirst in you and live a life of victory.
When Dr Riesman presented her book on Alfred Kinsey in the Netherlands, the Dutch arrested and accused her of defamation of character because the world respects Alfred Kinsey. She went to court, saying that what she had said in her book was based on facts and she was not defaming his character. She was told to withdraw her book and acknowledge that she had said false things. This Jewish lady said, “Over my dead body! This book is based on fact.” She won the court case and the case against her was withdrawn. Let us learn from her. Let us be heroes for God and His kingdom.