Sunday 30 December 2018
Mr Dietmar Joosten
Jesus and Immanuel
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25
Joseph was an amazing man. While sleeping God spoke to him but he arose immediately and did as he was commanded. He did not make excuses for not doing as God had told him. I hope and pray that we have people like him in our midst. You might be sleeping in a spiritual sense or sleep walking, maybe even snoring. The Lord said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14
It is a heartbreaking thing if you do not notice that you are sleeping. Does God speak to you? If He speaks there must be a change in your life.
Joseph was a normal man whom God could speak to. An educated man or even a religious man may have reacted differently. Through His angels, God confirmed Joseph’s engagement with Mary. Mary must have been a woman with something different about her. She was not a young lady who made herself attractive, through making up her hair or eyebrows so she could be seen by this man or others. Joseph must have felt God leading him to this woman. He must have felt that she was the right person God was giving to him. God in a mysterious way brought these two people together. It is so important that God brings together those whom He has ordained in heaven – this happens through a holy and pure life. Not that a person seeks his own partner and flirts (even on Facebook) and then asks God to sign it off as right. Some parents hint to their children about who their partners could be. Joseph knew God’s voice when He pointed out Mary as the one for him. But when Joseph saw things going wrong, and he felt that he could no longer go along with Mary, God entered and helped him. Young men, if you want to do things in God’s way, do things this way. Mary accepted God’s way. She agreed with God and with what He was doing. A bit different to Zachariah, who when an angel appeared to him and told him about a baby boy who would be born to them, Zachariah felt it was an impossibility because he and his wife were too old. God said to Zachariah that because he doubted, he would be unable to speak.
It is wonderful to have people who react like Elizabeth. The first person to visit her was Mary. She was very young and Elizabeth about 88 years old. What drove Mary to rather be with that old lady? When Mary arrived, the child within Elizabeth jumped. What type of spirit must have been between these two women? How amazing it is if the children of God find each other like this. It is wonderful to have older people as your friends. The world does not teach this type of relationship. The world teaches that you can fight with older people in public. Respect is outdated. Mixing with your peers can often lead you astray.
Jesus. In the Jewish custom children were given names that had a meaning and parents wished that the child would live up to that name. The angel told Joseph to call His name Jesus – salvation – to save people from their sins. That is what Christ has come for and that is why He died – to save us from our sin because sin prevents us from recognising and experiencing God as He really is.
Immanuel means God with us; God who protects the house of David. God, who will protect and keep us, by His grace, just like a hen who protects her chicks under her wings against the attacks of the hawk. One day after a destructive fire, a burnt hen was found. When she was pushed aside, live chicks were found under her wings. This is what Christ does for us. When it is impossible and the fire is hot, we can hide under His wings. Jesus not only saves but He also protects us. Will I be like Zachariah who doubts or like Mary and Joseph who believe and accept?
When God saves you things change in your life. I and my siblings were not interested in the gospel and did not want to go to KwaSizabantu. Reverend Stegen came to our home with some coworkers when my siblings and I were children but he did not preach to us, but instead played ball with us. Before he left, he told us that the next time, he would play ball with us at KwaSizabantu and in that way he attracted us. And from the very first time we came to KwaSizabantu, God began working and our lives changed. God saved us. God saved us when we were young from many evils.
Jesus will save us from our sins. Satan told Eve that her eyes would be opened if she ate from a certain tree. Satan realised that God loves His people, He speaks to them and visits them and Satan hated it. Satan used a human being to break the communication between God and man. Satan found Eve alone. Adam was alone and God made Eve. Eve was tempted. She took the fruit, ate it and her eyes were opened and she gave to her husband. Their eyes were opened. When you eat something which is forbidden, it is possible that you see things that you have never seen before. Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to their nakedness. When I was in Paraguay, a few weeks ago, I spoke to the young boys. I told them that when you start eating this sin (you know what you are doing), your eyes are opened to nakedness because you ate things you were not allowed to eat. Spiritually it has an implication – what does it say to us? Why do you criticize? Why do you find fault? Ask yourself. Why do you have the guts to ‘undress’ the next person and show their shame through the words that you speak? What you say or hear about that person, brings shame in your eyes. Previously you never saw things as you see them now but you think what you have heard must be true. He may have been your close friend in the past and you saw only positive things about that person but now you notice negative things about him because of what you have heard. Where do you get that gospel? You do not know if it is truth but because you have eaten, your eyes are open and you swallow everything – hook, line and sinker. Then you speak as if it is the truth but you have never done your homework.
Adam and Eve suddenly saw their nakedness and they were ashamed but before they were not like that. You are even ashamed of your brother or sister. Eve, your eyes will be opened and you will see things the way God sees them. You will see…’ but unfortunately you will not see the heartache that will enter, the pain and suffering…these things the devil never told her would happen.
Do to others as you want them to do to you. If someone is wrong, speak to that person and if you have helped them you have saved their soul and your own. Eve never knew what the end result of her deed would be. That is why our Father in heaven already had the cure for it. He saw the evil of drugs, porn and a begrudged heart and He is able to save a person totally from it all.
Emmanuel. God with us. He said that He will be with us until the end of the world. That is His character. Who does not desire that and have that cry on their hearts, “Father, be with me”? When Joseph was in Egypt, he said when he was tempted by that woman. “How can I sin against God?” Why did he say that? God was with him. God protected him and kept him until he was second in charge of the Egyptian world. It seemed as if all went wrong in his life. He was sold by his brothers as a slave. He was jailed. He did not know his future. But God Emmanuel was with him. He will protect you and be with you too.
13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: 14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. 17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.” Psalm 132:13-18 ESV
The Lord God visited man. He wanted to make man His dwelling place. Why do you withhold that which you should let go of to experience Him in His fullness? It is utter foolishness that I should hold onto my sin, my own ways, my upbringing and the way I think it should be done. God wants to be with you and stay in your house but Satan wants to destroy all these things. He wants to destroy the unity between the brethren like the unity between Mary and Elizabeth. Are you one with the people of God? Not with those that you gossip with. Guard your mouth because what you say will catch up with you.
The Lord left everything to make His abode with us. What hinders you from experiencing that? It is utter stupidity to hold onto something like my own understanding, the way I want to see it, the way I understand things, the way I want things. God Emmanuel cannot live where it is like that.
Because I farm with avocadoes, I have started with bees. I love watching bees. They are active and united. They build up their honey supplies. Their system works like clockwork. The bees love the little insignificant flowers. I would not work like that if I were a bee, I would work on the larger flowers and cut down on the work time. But the bees get busy on the tiny flowers. They are so different to humans – we want to be the big flower, the one who is seen, who has beauty and who is complimented. We despise the small insignificant ones. Let me tell you, you miss the mark. When last did you invite someone insignificant into your home? The Lord Jesus said that because you invited him, you did that to Me. Emmanuel will be there. God is with the humble.
Testimony of Makhawe from Kingscliff, English/isiZulu
Testimony of Makhawe from Kingscliff, German
Testimony of Makhawe from Kingscliff, French