Ntokozo Nhlabathi – Report on CYPSA outreach
We thank the Lord that we could visit the Virginia branch in the Free State and we thank God for what we experienced there. The love and cooperation of the people and the way in which they honoured one another, was a blessing.
We visited 61 schools and 11 churches. Some heard this gospel of the confession and forgiveness of sin for the first time and accepted it. We visited a church on Sunday where a young man gave his testimony and another preached. After the sermon, the minister said, “You hit the nail on the head. Who informed you about the problems destroying our congregation?” The preacher had mentioned what Rev Stegen had said during the Ministers’ Conference about the factors that destroy a revival: the love of money, immorality and pride. The minister said that those things were rampant and were destroying his congregation. He spoke about millions of rands that had disappeared through a congregation member who also then disappeared and appeared again at another church where he is now a preacher. Our visit to that congregation was like healing medicine.
At another congregation, one of our team spoke about the family and what constitutes a healthy family. After the sermon, the minister wanted to know who had told us about the problems they were experiencing in the congregation. He spoke about their problems – married couples on the verge of divorce. It became obvious that the people there were serving God with filth in their midst. We gave each congregation the opportunity after the service for counselling and prayer. We did not say that they should confess their sin, we preached the cross of Christ and it was left over to each one to do as they felt and they wanted to confess their sins. Do you see why the fact that we can come into the light and have our sins removed is so precious to us?
Thank you for your prayers, they were a great support. For a few days the mission had no electrical power. They could not find the cause of the problem. Their approach was: there is no electricity, there are some things we cannot but there are things we can do. Let us search our hearts and ask the Lord whether there is something in our lives that needs to be sorted out. We phoned the co-workers here and asked for prayer. To run a mission without power is quite challenging. The reply was: continue with the propogation of the Gospel. Search your lives, allow God to be glorified in you, then preach the word. Those who work there did not get worked up. They took things in their stride. The Lord was with them and they worked together. Every meal was served on time and it was hot.
God’s word is true. God knows our needs even before we have expressed them. After a while they discovered the fault which they could fix. In the meantime they had to hire a generator which was not very powerful. But then God touched someone who donated a powerful generator, which would be able to run two ovens and supply power for the mission as well, in the event of a power failure in the future.
We were given 15 – 30 min per school to speak to the learners but it would often end up half a day or a whole day because the children would be so convicted and they wanted to get right with God. We gave them time for counselling and prayer.
We thank God for His working. We thank our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, who have given their lives to support our work among the young people. To work with Rev Joe Newlands is a privilege. At his age he is still on fire for the Gospel.
We visited the jails and a mine. At the jails we were given 1 hour which turned into 5 or 6 hours, as the prisoners wanted to get right with God after the message. You see the faces of hardened criminals soften as they accept the message of God. When given an opportunity to rid themselves of their burdens they do it with all their hearts. To those who are involved in the CPSA ministry, your work is fruitful and God is blessing it. Many of those young people go out and take the message to others. Thank you to the departments who support the outreaches by giving of their staff. God sees what you are doing and will reward you. Thank you to Aunty Thofozi and Aunty Eunice who are ‘at the switchboard.’ You can contact them at any time, day or night. You can count on their support. Thank you to Reverend Stegen for the vision. He supplies vehicles, diesel and resources. Everything costs money. If Reverend Stegen had not been obedient to God, who else would have done what he is doing, without any earthly or monetary reward?
When we spread the Gospel throughout the world, there is no gain. We are not on a membership drive. The desire is for people to receive the Gospel. This is the vision of Reverend Stegen. We would stand guilty before God if we would not live for Him and serve Him. Does the sacrifice of Rev Stegen mean something to us? Does he still have a place in our hearts? Do we love him? Strangers who meet this Gospel, honour the founder of this work and thank and praise God for him.
Dr Albu van Eeden
We recently celebrated Easter, the death and suffering of our Lord. Why would we “celebrate” the death and suffering of a person? It was a celebration because it ended with the resurrection. The worst suffering God can expose us to will become something to celebrate one day in eternity because it will have served a purpose. It would have been worthwhile. If you went through the darkest time of your life, through inexplicable suffering, with God and in the presence of Christ, it will finally be something to celebrate. May God give us the grace to keep the faith and keep our eyes on Him when He brings difficult times and suffering upon us.
17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” 20So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.
This text tells the story of Israel finally moving into Caanan. The first opposition they encountered was the city of Jericho. They did not need to fight, the walls collapsed, they walked in. Every man went straight before him and captured the city. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. Joshua 6:21
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel. Joshua 7:1
After the defeat of Ai, Joshua lay on his face and pleaded with God to find out why He had allowed it. Joshua interceded for Israel.
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Joshua 7:10,11
When Joshua was interceding for Israel, God said to Joshua, “Joshua, the reason for your loss is not dealt with by supplication and prayer but through action and sorting out.” Friends, with sin in your life, forget about fasting and prayer, vigorous action is necessary. Things must be dealt with. If Joshua and Israel had not taken steps to root this out, they would have been just as guilty as Achan was.
This was a glorious time for Israel. It was the fulfilment of years of holding onto God’s promises. God had promised to give their ancestor, Abraham, the land one day. They waited for 300 – 400 years and then they left Egypt and wandered in the desert for 40 years. However, God had promised and He does not lie. He would give them the land one day. When they finally moved into Canaan, the battle against Jericho was the fulfilment of these promises. While they encircled the city, their hearts should have been full of joy because they were experiencing what their forefathers had been told.
This is similar to what we experienced two weeks ago when we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord. For four thousand years or more the Messiah was promised. He finally came, the blameless Lamb of God who paid the price for our sin. The resurrection is the final victory. This should encourage us. No matter what obstacles we face, our Lord has risen and He has broken the power of sin and of death. Daily we see the walls of Jericho collapsing. We are witnessing revival before our eyes. We are witnessing God working supernaturally in our midst. Friends, if anybody doubts the death and resurrection of Christ it should be someone from outside, not those who witness the Lord at work. So in this spirit of victory, as the walls of Jericho had fallen, we see God’s Spirit move amongst us as He promised would happen when He left this earth.
For the victory over Jericho to be secured, the Lord told them to do something – nothing should be left alive, old men, old women, young children, donkeys, cattle should be killed. So the children of Israel including Achan moved into the city with this instruction – be ruthless. Do not feel sorry for the old people, the children and the animals. Kill them all.
Friends, this is God’s instruction for us today. Do not be soft on any sin in your life. Kill it ruthlessly. We are living in victory, God fought the biggest battle for us but we have to slit the throat of every sin in our lives. Sin is eternal. Sin does not fade away with time. Sin does not become less important in God’s eyes over time. The sin that we committed years ago is just as bright and alive before God as it ever was, unless it has been brought to the cross, we have confessed it and received forgiveness. Do not think, “Ah, it was a slip of the tongue, I shouldn’t have said that but I will try harder next time. If I live a better life now and I serve God that sin will sort of fade away.” No, that sin is just as alive and clear before God as when you committed it 10 years ago.
In revival we are walking on holy ground. It is not just a matter of the sins I have done with my body or said with my tongue but in revival God tests our motives. Why are you doing a certain thing? In revival God has a way of exposing the most secret thoughts of your heart. God says, “You have seen what I can do for people and you should have been more careful with what you were thinking and your motives.” In revival God has this strange way of exposing hidden motives that you did not discuss with anybody. On a specific day He brings it out through weird circumstances and exposes it before everybody.
As Achan moved straight ahead into the city, there was the temptation. God will allow temptation to come our way. The Lord prayed for His disciples and said, “Lord, I do not pray that You will take them out of this world but that they will remain in this world in spite of the temptations.” As Achan climbed over the rubble, he saw a piece of cloth sticking out. He stopped. He carefully looked at it. He removed the stones so that he could see more clearly what it was. Friends, you are sinning already when you know what God has told you. Do not allow your eyes to dwell upon a certain person, do not even spend a minute taking the stones off in your mind and think about what would happen if you could get hold of that thing. The devil will show you how precious the thing is, how valuable it is. Maybe it is a job opportunity that is not from the Lord, you realise what good you could achieve through the job – take care of your parents, for example. It may be a relationship. Suddenly you notice how beautiful a person is, how irresistable.
Friends, this is the world and its attractions. If you do not teach your children to flee from worldliness you are teaching them to become enemies of God. We have parents amongst us whose children are attracted to the things of the world but they do nothing about it. They just let things go. Their clothing style changes to the latest looks, the language they speak changes. As a parent you think let me not make an issue of a small thing, it is just the latest but at least they are not obviously sinning. However, a friend of the world is an enemy of God. Look at the children in your house. If there is worldliness and it is not dealt with you are making your children enemies of God. It is amazing how the devil catches a person and suddenly opens their life to the world and its attractions.
Achan took some of these things and buried them in his tent. It was wrong. He could have confessed it there already, but he buried them in his tent and he continued moving around amongst the children of God as if everything was normal. Have you not buried something in your tent? At the back of your mind you keep this thing that you have done and yet you continue with God’s work. Achan even went to war with the children of God. You can be doing God’s work zealously, nobody notices anything but you and God know that somewhere in your tent there is something that is buried. The longer you remain quiet about this, the more difficult it will become to confess the thing you have been living with.
This is what happened to Judas. He was stealing the money and not doing anything about it. Then when he had to make a large decision where he had to say no, he could not. Why can’t you say no to temptation? Because you have not brought out what is buried in your tent. You have been walking around with it for months and years.
19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise[b] to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” Joshua 7:19
This day is coming to us, when you and I will stand before His throne and God will say, “Give glory to God.” Why did he say give glory to God? Give glory to God and tell us, tell Me and all the saints and angels, Heaven and earth, what you have done, and give glory to God. But on that day there will be no time for repentance.
20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels,[c] then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor. Joshua 7:20-26
Look at Achan’s confession. He does not just say, “I am very sorry I have brought shame on Your name, Lord. I sinned. I brought shame into Your nation.” He is very specific and says exactly what He has done wrong. This is the difference between the devil who condemns you and the Holy Spirit who convicts you. When the devil condemns you, it is just a vague feeling of condemnation and guilt but you don’t have clarity, but when the Holy Spirit does it, it is not vague. You know exactly what you have done. Achan remembered exactly. He confessed in detail.
The first step was, “I coveted them”. That was how he confessed his sin. Sometimes a person can vaguely say, “I have lived a worldly life. I have grieved the Lord. I have not done well.” That is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reminds you of your sin. He will be very specific so that you will know exactly what you have done wrong and exactly what you must put right. When a person confesses that he is a sinner and perhaps he has stolen, I tell him to stop confessing, because he is wasting his time. I tell him to go and pray. Ask the Lord to show you exactly where you have sinned and then come and speak about it.
This is what Achan did but unfortunately it was too late. It was too late for his family as well because they has also kept quiet with him. There is a time when we must show our love and unity with our family but there is also a time when God needs us to come out for Him and righteousness whether your family members stand with you or not. May God have mercy on us that when that day comes we will stay faithful to God.
Richard Wumbrand testifies of a lady in the days of communism who smuggled a printing press into Russia to print Bibles. She was arrested and tortured. She was told to give all the names of those who had helped her with the printing press and the Bible distribution. She refused. So they threatened to throw boiling water into her face. (The Lord Jesus said that His mother, father, brothers and sisters are those who do the will of the Lord.) They threw the boiling water into her face. Everything swelled up, her eyes closed and they were damaged, possibly even blind. They brought in her 6 year old daughter and they threatened to throw boiling water onto her if she did not expose her fellow believers. The little child started screaming, “Mommy, mommy, don’t let them do that.” She could possibly not see her daughter because of her injuries but she heard her voice. She refused to speak. They threw boiling water into her daughter’s face too. Friends, do not be surprised if God puts you into a situation where you have to choose whether you will be faithful to Him or to the dear ones in your life. May God keep us from getting into the situation that woman was in. She did not do that because she did not love her child, her heart must have broken a thousand times. She did it because she knew she had to be faithful to the living God.
Achan was stoned with his entire family. We have not yet reached the point of stoning. We can still confess our sins and receive complete forgiveness and salvation if we are willing to bring our evil to God now. The day will come when we can no longer confess and be saved. If we do so now, we will receive forgiveness. Just as precious as that cloth was to Achan, forgiveness will be. You will be unable to explain the wonder of forgiveness. You will be unable to explain the wonder of salvation because it is too precious. Do not allow anything to hold you back. Bring things to the Lord. It does not matter how humiliating it is. Today you can still receive forgiveness. Once you have received that forgiveness you will also sing, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” You will not mind the humiliation because forgiveness will be more precious than all the embarrassment. The world will not see the beauty as you see it because you have experienced it.