The work of the Holy Spirit – Pentecost Sunday 2020

If Christ had lived on physically on earth how many people would have had the privilege of meeting Him, let alone live with Him?
Indeed, it was good that after accomplishing His mission on earth, Christ ascended into heaven and then sent His Spirit, His presence, to indwell us.
Mystery of mysteries, Christ can live in each and every one of us at the same time.

iPentekosti

Ukuba uKhristu waqhubeka nokuphila ngokomzimba emhlabeni, ngabe bangakanani abantu abebezoba nenhlanhla yokuhlangana naye, singasasho-nje ukuphila naye?

Impela kwaba kuhle ukuthi lapho esefeze umsebenzi wakhe emhlabeni enyukele eZulwini bese ethumela uMoya wakhe ukuba ahlale kithi ngaphakathi.

Yimfihlakalo yezimfihlakalo, uKhristu uyakwazi ukuphila phakathi kulowo nalowo ngasikhathi sinye.

Pinkster

As Christus vandag nog fisies op die aarde geleef het, hoeveel mense sou dan die voorreg gehad het om Hom te ontmoet, laat staan ​​nog om saam met Hom te lewe?

Dit was inderdaad goed dat Christus na die uitvoering van Sy opdrag op aarde opgevaar het na die hemel en daarna Sy Gees, Sy teenwoordigheid, gestuur het om in ons te woon.

Wat ’n geheimenis, wat ’n misterie en verborgenheid, dat Christus tegelyk in elkeen van ons kan leef!

Pfingstsonntag

Wenn Christus weiter in Person hier auf Erden gelebt hätte – wieviele Menschen hätten wohl das Vorrecht gehabt um IHM zu begegnen, geschweige denn mit IHM zu leben?

In der Tat, es war gut, dass ER nach Vollendung SEINES Auftrags auf Erden zum Himmel aufgefahren ist und dann SEINEN Geist gesendet hat, SEINE Gegenwart, die in uns lebt.

Geheimnis aller Geheimnisse: Christus kann in jedem einzelnen von uns gleichzeitig leben.

Dimanche de Pentecôte

Si Christ avait vécu physiquement sur terre, combien de personnes auraient eu le privilège de Le rencontrer, encore moins de vivre avec Lui?

En effet, il était bon qu'après avoir accompli sa mission sur terre, Christ monte au ciel, qu’il envoie Son Esprit, Sa présence, pour habiter en nous.

Mystère des mystères, Christ peut vivre en chacun de nous en même temps.

If Christ had lived on physically on earth how many people would have had the privilege of meeting Him, let alone live with Him?

Indeed, it was good that after accomplishing His mission on earth, Christ ascended into heaven and then sent His Spirit, His presence, to indwell us.

Mystery of mysteries, Christ can live in each and every one of us at the same time.

Introduction Jabulani Dube

A while back we knelt and prayed that the government would allow us to come together to worship God. God heard our prayers and touched the hearts of those in government. Some churches spoke but we prayed. We are now allowed to meet in groups of not more than 50 per venue. We remain dissatisfied because we still feel that we cannot serve God freely in this country, where religious freedom is claimed. Therefore, we urge the believers to kneel and pray that God will open the doors so that we can serve Him without restriction.

Contradictory statements are being made in our country – you cannot sell alcohol, then you can; the schools can be opened, then they cannot be opened. If God would be given His rightful place things would go smoothly. Moses said, “Lord, if you don’t go with us, then I am not going.”  We should have the same attitude that we only move where God directs.

Albu van Eeden

Today is Pentecost Day, a day which the Lord’s followers celebrate. This is the day when the Lord poured out His Spirit on His followers and equipped them for what lay ahead. He would be with them through His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who would come after He had ascended to heaven.

Friends, there is nothing greater that God can do for a person after His conversion, than to pour out His Spirit on that person. Some churches and Christians can be without the Spirit of the Lord for two or three months or whatever length of time and they do not even realise it. The presence of the Holy Spirit is essential.

I would like to focus on two aspects of the events of Pentecost Day. These are not often spoken about. I will read from several scriptures.

 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1 – 4

 Peter spoke while the people gathered to watch what was happening. He said:

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36 – 37

Often in sermons on Pentecost, the topics are the phenomena and the events that took place. The violent wind - which is exactly what happened when the Spirit of God came down on His servant and a group of Zulus in 1966. I have often heard Reverend Stegen testify that he felt a large hand pushing him down onto his knees. There was the sound of a mighty wind in their midst, in that small old cow shed.

The tongues of fire that came down upon them or the fact that people were able to speak in tongues is also often preached about. (Take note that they spoke in tongues which the host of people around them in Jerusalem understood.) However, there are somethings that are seldom spoken about: firstly - what happened after Peter had spoken to them?

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

What would the normal reaction have been? They would have said, “Just wait a minute, you can’t accuse us of crucifying him! The Romans crucified Him, the Pharisees and Sadducees did it! This man is crazy, he accuses us of something we didn’t do!” A huge fight would have ensued. They might have taken Peter to court and laid a charge against him saying that he was accusing them of killing Jesus, but that they had had nothing to do it. They had been observers only. “After all, we have our rights! We are innocent until proven guilty!” But this was not their reaction.

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 

 Friend, this is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit: people are convicted of their sins. Wherever God truly works through His Spirit there is a deep conviction of sin and of the evil committed against God. If it is not there, in revival, I dare to put a question mark on that revival. Every true revival should have this element: conviction of sin. This is where it starts. No person can do this to another man. It is the Spirit of God that cuts to the heart and you ask, “What must I do to be saved?” This is the first aspect of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which is often not addressed.

Once the Holy Spirit has been poured out, the second aspect is that people walk in the Spirit and not according to their carnal desires. You cannot walk in the Spirit if you have not first been convicted of your sins by the Holy Spirit. Billy Graham said that when he started preaching people came forward to surrender their lives in tears, but nowadays they come forward with a smile on their faces. People turn to the Lord but they have never been convicted of their sins. Friends, we need the Holy Spirit in the church. If we give the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the church and if you give the Holy Spirit His place in your life, it will be the start of a Christian life and walk with God, in and out of season, whether it suits you or not, whether it is pleasant or whether you are tortured for Christ, whether in quarantine or not.

I will never forget a story told by Richard Wurmbrand. He was tortured for his faith for 14 years. For 3 years he was in solitary confinement. The cell was 3 metres under the ground. It was a small room with grey walls. He spoke to nobody for 3 years. The prison guards wore soft rubber shoes so their footsteps could not be heard, and they could spy on the prisoners without them knowing. It was ice cold. He could not see the blue sky or hear birds singing. There was no colour. The only event that took place was when he would be taken for beatings. He told a story of a priest either in Romania or Russia who was imprisoned for his faith. That was his only crime. There might have been another crime – he told others about Christ and that was not permitted. Christian, we can never keep silent and not share the gospel with those around us. The prisoners continued sharing the gospel in prison. They sent messages to one another by knocking on the prison walls. Just think of that! They were burdened to share the gospel of Christ but there was nobody to share it with. They knocked in Morse code. The letter A was a quick, hard knock. B was 1 hard knock and 3 quick knocks. C was long short, long, short, long, short. They were so burdened to share the gospel and the salvation of Christ that they knocked messages to the person in the adjoining cell. That prisoner would get converted and he began knocking on the cell to the prisoner next to him.

What, dear friend, have you been doing to share the gospel of Christ in this time? Do you still have that fire burning in your heart? Do you still want to share like Peter did the moment the Holy Spirit descended on him? Peter preached the gospel and thousands got converted.

Wurmbrand tells of a priest who was imprisoned for his faith although he had committed no crime except to serve God. The authorities had to find proof to convince the public that he had committed a crime. This is what communists are like - they do not mind lying, they do not mind destroying. Moa Tso Tsung, the father of communism in China, killed between 40 to 60 million of his own people in China. The country was destroyed. They were unconcerned because they believed that out of the ashes of the broken country, a new communist state would rise. The Chinese have a proverb: Loot the house that is on fire. This not our natural reaction. The natural impulse is to help people quench the fire and save the house. But they say use the opportunity while the house is on fire to loot it. It does not matter if some of your own people die, as long as the new communist state can take over.

This priest was imprisoned without a criminal record. Cameras were mounted in his cell and a prostitute was put into the cell with him for three months, day and night. There were no toilets only a bucket in the corner and another bucket with water to wash with. He lived in front of this prostitute. They waited for him to sin with her so they could film him and show the world what he had done. For three months he did not touch that woman. She did not mind. She was paid by the government and anyway, she lived the life of a prostitute.

Are you living the life of a prostitute? South African statistics say what within a period of one year, 50% of South Africans - 1 out every 2 - will have an affair with someone outside of marriage. We are a nation of prostitutes. We are a nation of immoral people. We are not just prostitutes, we are Pharisees. If a person contracts HIV, we stigmatise him and look down on him but in the meantime 1 out of every 2 people live the same life. Friends, I do not know what your mind is filled with and what you are thinking. You walk into a church without a prostitute but in your mind, you turn the church into a brothel and sin there. We are such Pharisees. We look down on people with HIV but in the evenings, we love watching soap operas on TV. We enjoy them, we devour them - stories of this woman having an affair with that woman and that man with this woman. Our children see us watching and enjoying that filth but when we meet somebody with HIV, ‘Oh no, he is bad! He contracted HIV!”  Many who have contracted HIV did not sleep around, they contracted it from their husbands or wives. Shame on you, Pharisee!

May God be merciful to us that we will always realise that we are before the heavenly camera. Paul speaks about the host of witnesses; some translations say the cloud of witnesses that watches how we behave. A cloud, a mass of saints who have passed away. In Hebrews 11 Paul speaks of the heroes of the faith and he begins Hebrews 12 with:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

 We are not like this priest who had a camera watching him. Do you realise that the heavenly camera is watching you all the time even when you do things in secret? You think it is just me and her. It is just me and him. You are blind to the fact that God in heaven with a host of the saints - Moses, Elijah - looks down on you and sees what you are busy with. There is no social distancing in that cloud. They are all together because there is no disease or sickness there. We do not know to what extent God allows them and the angels to see even our thoughts. They may see how you make your plans. Shame on you. The statistics say that 1 out of every 2 South Africans are doing it now. Are we are convicted of sin when we come to church and to God?

 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps? 2 Corinthians 12:18

 Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit? That is the second result of Pentecost. The first is conviction of sin and the second is walking in the Spirit.

20 For I fear that perhaps when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarrelling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 2 Corinthians 12:20

Discord happens when a church does not walk in the Spirit. In vain that we had Pentecost. In vain that the Spirit was poured out on God’s children - we are walking in the flesh and that is why there is discord. Paul says, jealousy… Do you have jealousy? Arrogance… I think I am more important than I really am. What is that a sign of? Yes, God poured out His Spirit but we do not walk in the Spirit, we walk in the flesh. This is the cancer of the church.

21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced. 2 Corinthians 12:20

Why do we walk in the flesh? Why do we have so many carnal Christians? Because in the first place, we never experienced the conviction that the Holy Spirit brings that convicts me regarding the evil and sinful heart that I have. This is what happens if you come to Christ but you have never been convicted of your sin.

Allow me to take two examples from God’s word. An example of someone who was not convicted of sin and an example of someone who walked in the Spirit. Cain is the example of a person who was not convicted. David is the example of a man who walked in the Spirit.

and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. Genesis 4:4 – 5

 Cain was not convicted as the people at Pentecost were. He was not touched. He did not say, “What must I do, Lord that you will accept my sacrifice?” No, he was angry. The church is full of carnal people.

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?[b] And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to[c] you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6-7

 There is no conviction of sin. Cain felt no conviction. He went ahead.

Cain spoke to Abel his brother.[d] And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.[e] 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Genesis 4:8-14

Do you see what happens if God speaks to a man and he is not convicted of his sin? It closes the door for God to save him. It closes the door for God to forgive him of his sins. What does he start doing? He focuses on Abel and on Abel’s wrongs. That is the first sign. You compare yourself to someone else and then think – no, just look at how she is! The second thing is that Cain felt that his brother Abel was a danger to him because he was blessed by God and accepted. He saw Abel in competition with him. Do you know why you think people around you are in competition with you? Because you have never been convicted of your sin.

The next characteristic of such a person is that he does not submit to God when God punishes him. Cain’s behaviour is strange. Firstly, he was not worried about sin. He did not worry about killing his brother. He did not see the sin in it. But now he goes to the other extreme and says that God was punishing him and that it was too much. He said he could not take the punishment and it was more than he could bear. He could have pleaded with God for mercy but now he judged God. His verdict was that God was punishing him more than God should have. This is the result of a person who has never been convicted of his sins. Look at what happens next. God decides not to remove Cain from the earth and throw him into hell. He decides to give him time because his eyes might be opened and he might hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Maybe he would be cut in his heart, come to the Lord and ask, “Lord, please forgive me, what must I do?” Cain did not do this.

16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Genesis 4:16

Is there anything worse than going away from the presence of the Lord? You withdraw to the extent that the devil can work with you as he likes. Listen friends, a true child of God will never want to go away from the presence of the Lord, whether God blesses or curses him. Whether God blesses or curses you, never go away from the presence of the Lord. He is your salvation. He is your help. Instead of going away from the presence of the Lord, a true child of God will always linger in the presence of God. Even though he does not have work to do but he will remain and linger in the presence of God because he wants to be there, he likes being in His presence. He will cling to the Lord as Jacob did. When Jacob wrestled with the angel and the angel could not overcome him, the angel struck him eventually. He held onto the angel and said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Friends, do you know this secret? To hold onto God even if it may seem as if God is cursing and punishing you. God struck Jacob so severely that he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. The angel said, “Jacob, let me go!” Jacob said, “No, I will not let you go unless you bless me. Beat me once more! Strike me again! Shout at me! I will not let you go unless you bless me, Lord!” Blessed is the person who knows this secret.

This is what a man is like when God has convicted him through His Holy Spirit. Remember that the devil will try and drive you to despair, to a place where there is no hope, a place where you feel that you should just take your own life because you cannot bear this. You are not willing to come back and beg God for mercy.

Cain went from the one extreme to the other. This is what our hearts are like. Your heart can move from feeling guilty to not caring about what you have done. I come to the mission, I break with my drugs, I feel terrible, I have lost my job, I have lost my family, it is hopeless! But once the drug is in front of me again, it suddenly seems that it is not that serious to take the drug again. Do you know what Cain wanted to do? He wanted to spite God. He wanted to say, “Fine Lord, if this is the way you feel about me, this is what I will do!” He did not realise that he was harming himself. He was not concerned about his sin. He was only concerned about his suffering.

My closing example is David, a man who walked in the Spirit.

After this the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. And David said, “I will deal loyally[a] with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me.” So David sent by his servants to console him concerning his father. And David's servants came into the land of the Ammonites. 

2 Samuel 10:1 – 2

 This blesses me. David was as innocent as a dove. He had no agenda. He did not want to enrich himself. He seems to belong to heaven; he is not of this earth. He was a man who did something good for no other reason than doing good. The Lord Jesus says that we should be as innocent as doves. David was as innocent as a dove. He realised that Hanun must be mourning for his father and that it was a painful time for him. He sent his servants to tell Hanun that he sympathised with him. A true child of God does not belong in this world. You can see the spirit of heaven in his heart. When you read this passage, you feel as if this is just a story. We are so accustomed to people doing things that benefit themselves, people who have an agenda for their actions. The leader of this mission has this attitude of David - wanting to bless people. Just wanting to do something for the neighbours, or people far away, or a man who has been convicted of his sin and who needs help to make right; no private agenda – just wanting to do good.

See how the unconverted, carnal man thinks, the man who does not walk in the Spirit.

But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honouring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?” 2 Samuel 10:3

See the heart of a man who has never met with God and who is carnal. When Hanun listened to this his ‘eyes were opened’. Of course! How could I have missed this? David doesn’t just want to do good to me he has sent spies! He puts two and two together and he does not get four, he gets 22. It fits in perfectly with his logic. How does he respond?

So Hanun took David's servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. 2 Samuel 10:4

He shamed them. Friends, you may not have physically shamed someone but how many times have you done it with your lips? How many times have you humiliated people and slashed them to pieces with your lips? But you are quite proud of yourself and God says this is what you have been doing for years. That is why God says that the most evil organ of the body is the tongue. There is so much evil that can be spread through the tongue. You may have hurt your mother and father but you say that it does not matter, they are only words. You may have humiliated your parents with your lips and tongue, but you do not worry about it.

See how this issue develops.

When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, the Ammonites sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob, 12,000 men. 2 Samuel 10:6

 David has done nothing yet. He remains quiet. He wants to hear what the Lord says. This is the secret of a man who walks with God. He remains quiet. He does not react. He does not strike back. This can be difficult. When you do something good to a person and the person twists it and does evil in return, this is one of the most difficult experiences to cope with. You mean good but somehow the person sees an evil motive behind your deed.

Instead of stopping to consider whether David meant good, the Ammonites make the decision that David is on the war path and he will fight against them. They run ahead with their twisted, warped and crooked minds. We do not read that David reacted. The Lord’s word says, …let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger… James 1:19 The enemy rallied together a host of soldiers and Israel was outnumbered. Humanly speaking, you might think that David would apologise. No, he does not. There is a time to be quiet and there is a time to stand like a man. The Bible says that outside of heaven will be the cowards. (Rev 21:8) Even though David walked in the spirit he was not a coward. However, he now seemed to be in deep trouble with enemy soldiers approaching. David was not fearful. He was bold. He took a stand. He defended the truth - not because he was carnal, not because he was an angry man, no, it was the right time to stand for the truth and not to fear doing it. He called the nation together. He realised they were up against a vast army, so he addressed the nation and said:

12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 2 Samuel 10:12

Dear friend, never be afraid to speak straight and take a stand for the truth, even if you know what will be said about you and that you will be accused of being angry and many other kinds of things. It does not matter. There is a time for the truth even if you must go to prison with a prostitute. Do not be afraid to stand for the truth.

David planned carefully and arranged for Joab to go in one direction and he went in another. He had a plan. He did not just rush into battle. They conquered the enemy and the enemy developed hatred in their hearts. Instead of asking, “Are we busy with the right thing?” They do this:

15 But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered themselves together. 16 And Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphrates.[b] They came to Helam, with Shobach the commander of the army of Hadadezer at their head. 2 Samuel 10:15-16

 Friends, if we stand for God, allow them to run and fetch more soldiers and enemies. Do not be afraid. Stand for the truth. Ultimately David conquered. This is what David said to the people and this is what we need to know: 12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” 2 Samuel 10:12

Do not be afraid.  May God be merciful to us. May this be the fruit of Pentecost in our lives. Not that 1 out of 2 will sleep around but that we will stand up for God and His kingdom to the glory and honour of God’s name.


German translation

 

French translation