We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today I feel like the donkey that the Lord rode. I feel unworthy to stand here and yet I would like to pass on to you that which the Lord has given me.
Some may wonder why I do not take evening devotions – it is not my gift. I am not somebody who likes preaching. My mother said to me that I should not wish to always be the preacher. A French minister once said that some may preach but not through the power of the Holy Spirit. Some may just share God’s word according to what they have learnt or approach it with the intellect. Dr Koch also warned us to be careful when some people share their testimony, because there may be lies interwoven in that testimony. We have faced things like this. A certain visiting black minister once preached when we had services in the dining hall. He preached a fiery sermon but when he stretched out his arm, we could see the skin of an animal around his wrist. He was still involved in ancestral worship. You may agree to a message and say, “Amen, God really spoke to us.” But you lack discernment. The preacher has studied the sermon intellectually.
You may see me in the service, listening and not saying much, but when God tells me to stand up and speak, I do so. I take devotions at the various departments on the mission after someone asked me to pray about doing so. I prayed about it and I felt the Lord giving me the freedom to do it. I was asked to assist with messages for CYPSA, which I prayed about and then felt that that was what I should do. I desire to be like the colt of a donkey on which Jesus rode and entered Jerusalem. The crowds threw down palm leaves for the donkey to ride over, but it was done for the honour of the Lord Jesus, not the donkey. I regard myself as nothing.
I recently heard an announcement that there is a certain political party that is promoting the decriminalisation of prostitution, the appropriation of land without compensation and sex education at schools. The very ones who promote these things would not even like their own children to be involved. If my daughter was a teenager, I would not allow her to go to school. I do not believe that most of the listeners would like their children to receive sex education at school. Years ago, when we saw that education was no longer going in the right direction, we removed our children from the schools. In this era, you need to be on your knees, in prayer that God would guide you in what you need to do in this time.
When grass has been flattened, fire will bring life. It is no wonder that things are in the state they are in, one is not surprised at diseases such as COVID-19. Look what happened to the children of Israel when they murmured against God, He sent fiery serpents among them.
14 Seek good, and not evil that you may live; and so, the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Amos 5:14
In English and Zulu, the verse says the same thing. As a child you need to seek to honour your parents that you may live. 2 “Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:2 School children, seek to do good at school that you may live and that it may go well with you. You might even get degrees and so on, but it will not go well with you if you do evil at school. You might not only have one boyfriend or girlfriend but two or three. You might even contract diseases before completing your schooling. If you have married in a pure way, continue seeking that which is good and living in faithfulness with the spouse whom the Lord has given you. This text says that we should seek good that we may live. God’s children, we will be helped if we seek what is good.
16So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. Acts 24:16 Paul says he has kept a good conscience toward God and man - such a person is a true leader. Paul realised that he had to keep a good conscience before men so that there would not be anything they could find fault with. We should examine ourselves and see to it that we have a good conscience towards those with whom we work and before God.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love… Ephesians 3:14
As you serve God and abstain from sin, it is because your leaders are on their knees before God. In this text Paul was on his knees praying that you, being rooted and grounded in love. Do you realise that you are growing spiritually because people are praying for you? Our leaders are constantly in prayer for us that we may not sin. Our Lord and Saviour prayed and thanked the Father for those whom He gave Him (John 17) It is God who convicted us and caused us to turn to Him and repent, making us people who belong to Jesus Christ, who constantly intercedes for us before the Father. Paul prays in this text for the believers in the same way that the leaders are interceding for us. If they are faithful before God, we should not be surprised if we grow spiritually.
14 Seek good, and not evil that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Amos 5:14
We cry to God and pray: “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” God will hear such a prayer. Today, however, people are doing evil. They kill one another, daily. Stop with that! Black people like myself kill and destroy each other. This is a disgrace. Learn from the white farmers. They do not fight and shoot each other. They are not jealous about the other farmer’s crops. Are we doing well if we kill one another? Our country will never be blessed if we earn money by murder. An elderly lady received her pension money, then a criminal cut the straps of her handbag and ran away with her card and money, leaving her with nothing - a black thief stealing from a black grandmother - what kind of curse is that? Another young man asked his grandmother for money which she did not give to him, so he slaughtered her like a goat. Such a person is seeking evil. He wakes up and plots evil.
12 For I know how many your transgressions are and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Amos 5:12
God knows our sins and how many they are. In Romans 1 you can read what God did because people did not acknowledge God, His wrath came down on them.
21For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Romans 1:21 – 31
This is happening today. These are sins that belong to Sodom and Gomorrah. A person seeks to do evil because they do not seek what is good.
When we were growing up and a person had a cow, he would lend it to his neighbours so that they could have milk and make maas. If the cow had a calf during that time, the calf belonged to the neighbour too. If a person harvested beans, he would give some to his neighbours so that they could plant beans. Once when I had many chickens, I gave pairs away so that others could also have chickens. Whatever a person harvested he would give the surplus away. People wanted to do good that, is why they lived to such old ages.
People today, however, seek evil. Instead of giving something to someone else, they steal. I once planted a large field of cabbage then people allowed their cattle to graze in my field. They even opened the gate to allow my own cattle to finish off my cabbage. What can you do with such a people? Then I tried farming with geese. They stole them. That is what it means to seek evil – stealing from your neighbour.
In Romans 1 God gave the people over to diverse sin. If you do not acknowledge God, thank, and honour Him as God then your foolish heart will become darkened and God cannot dwell in such a heart. I thank God for the gospel through which He has taught us to do everything with prayer – whether sleeping, eating, rising. Jesus was troubled when He healed 10 lepers and only one returned to thank Him. We need to learn from this, otherwise we may be surprised at the terrible sin people may fall into.
15Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:15
Young and old, we ought to hate evil. Young people why do you keep returning again and again to your sin? Do you hate evil? No, you love that sin. Sin should be regarded as a black mamba which you would not live with in a room. You cannot come to church every Sunday and confess that you are sinning, but you call yourself a believer. You do not know the meaning of repentance. You have not faced that lightning that struck Paul on his way to Damascus. You do not know what it means to have met with Jesus.
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13 Such a person will not prosper in this world or in the next. Do not say, “I will get angry and scold that person and then confess it afterwards.” You will not get anywhere if it is like this, if you conceal your anger. Death will meet you without you having confessed that. People are ruled by evil spirits and demons. They confess that they defiled themselves in the bathroom because of physical feelings that came up. Where will such people end?
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24: 3
Some people are troubled by lies. Revival ended lies. May these words bring you revival and wake you up so that you will live for God more than ever before. Brother, stop being lukewarm! People who meet you, and even the preacher, can see that your love has grown cold. The way in which you pray and read God’s word is not like you did in the past. Do not deceive yourself. Time is moving on.
By God’s grace, we stopped lying when we sought revival. A person can tell a white lie - for example: Is so- and-so in the service? Your response: Maybe, I don’t know. What does such an answer mean? That is a non-answer. Maybe he is there, maybe he is not. This kind of speech stopped after revival came. A person who speaks in this manner has not yet received the Holy Spirit because his speech is not straight. A person with a forked tongue has not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. After asking such a question, the person enters the venue and finds so-and-so is there. Why then was it said, maybe he is there, maybe not? Such people need help because they are lying. If so-and-so is not there, say that. If so-and-so is there, say that. When revival works in your life, lies will stop.
There are some who believe that they should become a Christian in order to get married. Their sole purpose is to marry, which is why people have ended up leaving after some time. It is also why after marriage their love wanes and they leave God’s work, although they claim to have been called. I am at the pulpit and I speak the truth as it is. You are a believer because your parents are. You live at the mission because your parents live there. Your life will be no blessing to those around you. You have never been convicted of your sin. You have never repented or had remorse for your sin. If you had been convicted, you would realise your need for the Lord Jesus.
8You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 9Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. 13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Psalm 27:8 – 10; 13
When you pray, pray in a manner where you seek God’s face. Do you know that kind of prayer? How many servants are there from whom God has hidden His face? How many servants of the Lord have turned against His work? How many are there from whom the Lord has hidden His face? You can see today how many servants of the Lord there were, but they have turned against God’s work. As I have said before, there are those who turn to the Lord with ulterior motives and some who are believers because of their parents. Are you still walking with the Lord? Has He not turned away from you? God may have cast you off long ago because of what you are doing. God may have turned you away in anger, cast you off and forsaken you because of your life and what you have done, although you think everything is as normal.
13 The Lord looks down from heaven he sees all the children of man; 14from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. 18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him on those who hope in his steadfast love… Psalm 33:13 – 15; 18
The Lord’s grace is upon all those who fear Him. Ask yourself the question: Has the Lord forsaken me?
Paul prays to our Father in heaven. 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love… Ephesians 3:17 Do you hear Paul’s prayer? He prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts. He prayed for that congregation. In the history of the church men of God have prayed that Christ may dwell in our hearts. Are we rooted and grounded? Does Christ dwell in our hearts? Do you experience that the Lord Jesus Christ entered your heart and is dwelling there right now? Can you say with me that there is nothing that can move me from that Gospel that I have received? Can you say with me that though it should cost my life, I will not deny Christ?
“I do not like white people,” you say but you call yourself a child of God. You go against whites and you do not want to have anything to do with them. You live and work with them, but your heart is bitter and sour. “I do not like black people,” you say. Both races have apartheid in hearts. How will you live together in heaven? There is one heaven and one hell. Let us start living right now for God, whatever nation you are. The English translation of Dube (my surname) means zebra. A zebra has black and white stripes, so I do not know this kind of discrimination. I got converted as a young boy and I do not know what it is like to dislike a white man. If you call yourself a believer and you still denigrate white people, you still need to repent. If you do not get converted, you will burn in hell with those very people you denigrate. Seek that which is good, not evil. Do not hold a grudge in your heart. This morning I heard someone who spoke negatively about Verwoerd – what kind of influence does such a person plant. Such a person is troubled by bitterness. There are people who say they are believers, and they are in church, but they have this kind of attitude. We thank God for this gospel which has united us. We must live on earth as one people and one family.
I was so grieved when I heard that a woman who was pregnant was killed and hung in a tree. Imagine how evil that is. A relative of my late wife was hit over the head with a piece of iron and had her one eye gouged out. She was left for dead but fortunately she was found. Why? They want to remove the eyes from a living person and use it for witchcraft. They say that it is powerful, and it will work if the person cries with pain when they remove the eye. Two young children who were 5 and 8 years old went missing. They were found somewhere and they were also going to use them for their witchcraft. Parents be careful. Watch over your children. Do not allow them to walk on their own. They may return with diseases. You do not know where they go and what they are doing. They may go out, contract the virus, come home, embrace their grandmother and then she develops the disease.
Children of the Lord, let us seek that which is good. Let us seek to do good to our neighbours, to build up our neighbours. Hate that which is evil. That grudge that you harbour now, is evil. You wish someone were dead. You still have a grudge. If I go somewhere in the dark and I meet a white person, I feel safe, however, if I meet two black people, I feel unsafe, even though they may not be criminals. Let us stop with that. It was not like that in the past. Hate what is evil. Leave those who continue with that life. Their end is in hell. You will never experience the sweetness of this gospel while you still compromise. The gospel straightens our lives and teaches us how to walk.
The remnant should hate evil and do good. God will bless us. Keep yourself pure, young man, young girl. Be faithful husband, wife and God will keep you.
In a certain town I overheard a newly married wife speaking to a young man. The young man asked, “Where is your dog?”
“At work,” she said.
“Will he come back today?” he asked.
“No,” she answered.
“I will come and visit you,” he responded.
He called her husband a dog. Such a person seeks evil instead of good.
Today, children do not obey their parents. When the parent sends them on an errand, they become upset and ask, “Why do you always send me? Why don’t you send so-and-so?”
Conclusion Dietmar Joosten
I was blessed by this service. It is easy to understand and it does something to your heart. It is practical.
I would like to add one point: seek good and hate evil. Human nature is evil. It will always end up doing evil. If you commit evil, you do not know the Lord, you have never even experienced conversion. If you hate another race it means that you have not met the Lord. Love what is good. How is this possible? How can I do it and live it out? Human nature is inquisitive, and it always wants to know what is on the other side. Once you allow that, it will draw you to the other side. What is the antidote? It is our Lord Jesus Christ. Allow Him to enter your heart to work there. He will help you to resist evil and overcome. When He grows in your life, you will start hating evil. If evil has touched you in any way, you will bring it to light because you do not want to live with it because your life will now be in the light.
Why are we ruled by sin? Why are we drawn to that which is on the other side? Because of the heavenly that is lacking. That which is of heaven, which should fill our hearts and feed our souls is not there. Friends, the key is that the Lord Jesus does His complete and wholesome work in our lives and that can only happen if we allow Him to do it. If you want to love what is good and right, allow the Lord Jesus to do that work. Why don’t you allow Him? You must die to yourself and your own wishes so that the Lord Jesus can grow in your life. Only then will you be able to love somebody else and your heart will go out to others. As you grow in grace, you will find that evil will have no hold over your life. The closer we get to Him and He to us, the less evil will have place in our hearts. The day He comes into your heart as He should and as He wants to, is the day that evil will stop.
Therefore, Paul prayed because he knew they had to understand that Jesus who died for us, is the One who will save and keep us. When the Lord Jesus is there sin loses its power. If He is not there, ask why is He not there?