Repent, do not continue in sin

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am grateful that we can meet in this manner, but it would be wonderful if we could physically meet in the auditorium for the service. That will still happen, Lord willing.

On Tuesday we were asked to pray for rain on the mission. The Lord answered so quickly and on Thursday we had rain. God is doing so many things and working in amazing ways that if I shared them from the pulpit, you may not even believe me. God is indeed still at work and we praise Him.

Once we prayed and asked for rain - it came but was followed by hail after which I was asked whether I was hail. My response was, “We did not ask the Lord to not send us hail.” We need to thank the Lord, no matter the weather. We dare not find fault with God because He allows rain to fall on both the good and the bad. We bow before God for that.

We will read a passage from Romans 6 today as well as other texts. Sometimes if many texts are used, it can be confusing.

Last Sunday the topic was the root of bitterness. I can remember sermons from as far back as 1968 where I recall the Scripture reference and the main topic of the sermon.  Before the establishment of the mission, this word on the root of bitterness was preached on at Efaya. The preacher, a white man, said that he constantly had cracks in the walls of his house, however, when he broke open the wall, he found a root embedded in the wall. The man went on to explain how this root of bitterness can cause so much harm and destruction in a person’s life.

I love trees. The Dube family is known for this. I planted a tree close to the house. After a while I noticed that the wall of the house was cracking from the bottom up and I realised that a root of this tree was the cause. We had to chop that root off otherwise it would have continued growing. I was advised to ask Mr Joosten for a poison to drip onto the root to kill it. What does it mean to have a root of bitterness? It means a person can do everything – preach, testify, sing, speak about God but if there is a root of bitterness, people will not be helped through that person. That person becomes a root of bitterness in others’ lives. A tree can look good but have a root of bitterness. You must deal with the root, dig it out, chop it off, be drastic. Get rid of those sins which bring about a root of bitterness. It could be anger, grudges, pornography, using your phone to look at evil things, smoking – these must be dealt with. Do not preach if you are plagued by porn and troubled with lust.

When Rev Stegen preached, the dust flew. He put things plainly – if you still have a relationship with a girl or boy do not testify, you must stop with that sin. He said that if you bring your testimony and you have this sin in you, then you become a root of bitterness.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2

You will not receive grace if you are still living in sin. If you remain in your sin, sing, and testify, you will lose out on the grace of God. If we have died to sin, how can we still live in it? When a person believes, he dies to sin. The Bible says that if you look at a woman with a lustful eye you have already committed adultery with her.  If you are saved it does not matter if you look at a woman because you have died to sin. You cannot look lustfully at a woman because you have died to sin. Instead, you fan the flames of lust by looking at pornographic images on the internet. You gorge yourself on those things and then do disgusting things thereafter. How can you call yourself a believing Christian and do what you do? You watch that porn and then you run to the bathroom or toilet and defile yourself. How can you call yourself a Christian? Where are you heading to? You are living the life of Sodom and Gomorrah. Girl, if you are inflamed with lust by looking at another girl or man, if you are inflamed with lust by looking at another man – where are you headed to? If we have died to sin, how can we still live in it? We must die completely to sin. It is evil to gossip and slander and some are still living with this sin.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. Romans 6:3 – 4

We walk with the Lord in newness of life if we have been given life together with Him. We were buried with Him, our sin was buried with the Lord Jesus in His blood. If you hate someone because of what they have done to you, you are dipping your hand into the pool of Jesus’ blood and fishing that sin out again. That person has confessed that sin and made it right and you take that sin out again (that thing that was confessed and buried in the blood of the Lord Jesus).

Are there grudges that you hold against anyone – your husband, children? If it still troubles you, that grudge remains. Have those sins truly been buried at the cross if you continue with them? Why do these sins still rule your life? Why do you constantly go back to them? Before you go to bed you first go to a place where you can be alone, and you look at these pictures which defile your mind. Why? If someone does or says something to you, you react by swearing at them (even if you do not express it). When the person leaves, you swear at them in your mind.

One day a woman who was a devil worshipper came to KwaSizabantu for help. I was with her, together with a white person and two sisters. Someone phoned and said that person wants you to die. This woman said that she felt as if something wanted to come out of her but before it could, there were some needles that had to come out. Needles protruded from her gums and she asked that they be removed. I took them out. After a few days, when she came out of the kitchen, a frog came out of her mouth. It had come from within her. Someone took a photo of it. Now I want to ask a question: When I took those needles out wouldn’t something bad happen to me because those needles were pointing at me? No, a doctor can see a naked woman, treat her professionally and not be troubled. The Bible says that we have died to sin. If you travel and see badly dressed women on the road and this causes trouble, then you have a lust problem. You have not died to sin. Many people take repentance and conversion very shallowly.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:5 – 6

The old self needs to die so that the new man can come to life. Many girls today desperately want to get married. If they notice a man walking passed, they may even fall so that he can see them. Young men also troubled by that. Young ladies and young men, you will not receive marriage in this way, whether you slim down or whatever you do to enhance your image. That old self must die. You must die to your ego. Some people are so busy looking at themselves while they are walking that you are afraid they will bump into you. How much pride and ego do you have? From my window I watch people walking past and I notice, “He looks like a strutting peacock.”

For one who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:7

Are you dead to sin? Do not say that they always preach about sin at KwaSizabantu. It is not us it is the Bible that speaks about it and we must preach what it says. This is the Gospel that has delivered us from our sin. This is the Gospel which directs and straightens a young person.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Romans 6:12

Do not allow sin to reign in your body and you obey its passions. If sin reigns in your body, then you walk and live according to sinful passions. What are the lusts and passions in the life of a person? Passions can even mean that you desire things that belong to others. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[c] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent, young person, to present yourself to God as one approved.

16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:16 – 18

Look at this and listen to this. Beware of people who speak to you but their talk is like gangrene which spreads and infects you. Beware of people who gossip about others and slander them. They say things to you which are unhealthy such as: Is possible for young men or women to live pure lives? When parents reprimand their children about their behaviour, their response is: You enjoyed your youth, now allow me to enjoy mine. Beware of such people whether you may be in tertiary education or wherever. These people may cause you to lose out on your education and to lose your faith. You often hear that when people attend tertiary education they begin drinking, using drugs, and wasting the large sums of money their parents have paid for their education.

19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19

The word of the Lord says, “Let anyone who takes the word of the Lord into their mouth, (preaching, testifying, praying for people) must depart from all iniquity.” As a young man who plays a brass instrument, how can you play the instruments before the congregation if you have not parted from iniquity? How can you perform if you are still living that life? That is why your music leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

When you got converted, you did not build on this foundation. When you received the Lord as your Saviour, you did not build on this foundation.

There are times when you ask a person to do a job, but they do it shallowly. You may ask them to hoe the soil but when you inspect their work, the surface only was hoed and things were covered up. When you came to the Lord that is how you did things, you covered up your sin instead of removing it by the root and you have left some things behind.

Our leader said in 1965 that he did not want a Gospel like any other Gospel that conforms to certain people’s ideas. He wanted a Gospel according to the word of God. He did not say that certain denominations were not allowed, he said he wanted that which went according to God’s word. When he read that word: 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38 he asked us whether those streams of living water are flowing from our lives? He said that in his own life he also did not see them. He said that we should pray and seek God so that these streams of living water will flow from our innermost being and be amongst us. (You would not have become drowsy and fallen asleep in that service like some of you are doing now.) We searched our lives to see what prevented the streams of living water from flowing and you discovered this and that. I was still at school during that time. I still remember those events today. I made notes in my Bible at that point. Then he would read this verse: 19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” He asked us whether heaven knows that we belong to the Lord? Each person would cry about their own life and ask the Lord, “Am I known in heaven?” Are you known at school, through the life that you live, that you are a child of the Lord? Is that inscription on your life? Wives, do your husbands see that seal on your life that you have changed? Husbands, do your wives see the seal on your life that you have departed from iniquity? You may even be unable to apologise to your wife or children.

Brother, you are possibly still troubled by lies. How can you preach the Gospel if you are still troubled by lies?  Go to the Lord, cry to Him and repent.

When a house is built, the builder must dig down deeply, when they lay the foundation. On top of the foundation, the bricks or cement blocks are laid. If there is a rock, it is removed while digging the foundation. Maybe there is a rock in your life which is why people cannot assist you. You say that you are so clever, you know everything. You cannot say anything to a person who thinks he knows everything. That might be your problem. People cannot help you because you are not able to be helped – that is where your foundation stops. You must dig deeply to get rid of the rocks of stubbornness and pride. Others cannot help you if you yourself do not say that this is my problem, this is what is wrong in my life, please pray with me. There are phone numbers that you can dial if you are not on the mission, to ask for prayer, “I am not on talking terms with my neighbour, please pray that the Lord will forgive me.” This is beside the fact that you can take part in the Lord’s supper or be filled with the Holy Spirit and you are living in sin.

Some people do not grow spiritually because they are ruled by evil spirits that take them back to lust. Lust holds a person in a grip of steel. Lust causes dreams - a girl may dream that she is sleeping with men. You have relationships with many men. You have a harem.

How do you treat your brother or mother at home? Do you not live like cat and dog? If God should take you while you are living such a life, where will you end? You are headed for hell because you are living the life of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sin must be crucified at the cross. God’s word says that sin must be crucified at the Cross. Have you experienced your sins being nailed to the cross? This is sometimes a painful procedure. Do not say that you are confessing your sin to a human being - no, you are confessing it to God in the first place and His word says confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.

22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Have we abstained from every appearance of evil? You say that your cell phone is hell to you. You say to your counsellor that your cell phone is not right. You give it to your parents because you want to part from it. Your parents see what you have been busy with and they themselves are defiled by it. This word says that you should part from every form of evil. Separate from every appearance of evil. People notice that you, boy, are always with the girls. Get rid of that bad testimony. It is always getting the better of you, you cannot help yourself – abstain from it, get rid of it!

What has the appearance of evil? After you have visited your children, you feel spiritually harmed because your children do not worship with you. Their style of dress is not presentable. Why do you go there when you know that you do not grow spiritually because of it? Abstain from every form of evil – that which has the appearance of evil to you and to God. If a person says, “I do not think it is so wrong if I keep contact with that person.” This is an indication of how lukewarm you are. That person also knows that you are lukewarm which is why they maintain contact with you and not us. It is as clear as 1 plus 1 equals 2. Brother, sister, why do you not abstain and separate yourself from those things that have the appearance of evil? Are you going to remain in your sin so that grace may abound? The Bible says, no, never. You may remain in your sin which the world and others may not see, but God does. They do not listen to this message, but after this service you may send things to those people and add your own salt. Where are you headed? Where will you end because of this? You have started the life of Lot. You are going backwards. You are living the life of Lot in our midst.

Conclusion Dietmar Joosten
We thank the Lord for His clear message. We need it. We need to hear that we must turn completely away from evil. Do we really know what repentance means? Do we really know what it means to turn, confess, and forsake?

I had a visitor recently who was with me in the same class. What did he remember about me, 45 years ago? He said, “Dietmar, the day you repented in our class, your life changed 180 degrees.” That is what they knew me for. I had repented of those things. We have been asked this morning, “What are you known for?” Do people know that you love the Lord and serve Him with all your heart? Today you might find yourself in the same old position – pornography, cell phones, your evil eye – God comes back to it again – why?

Parents, what are your lives like? Your personal lives and your lives as a couple? Is it clean and pure? Do you see how your children are struggling? Do you see the direction in which your children are heading? You see it and know it! You know that there are things you do in your personal lives that are wrong, but you continue, confess and continue. Don’t you see the result of your actions?

Recently I spoke with someone who had been delt with by God during the early days of revival at Kranskop. He said that God had spoken to him then and convicted him of horoscopes. He was reading them because people at school did it. (You may not look at evil pictures on the internet, but you look at the palm of your hand to see what can be read from it and evil spirits enter.) You may have read horoscopes out of curiosity and because you heard others doing it. You thought it would not harm you, just as Adam and Eve thought, but it has killed you spiritually. Adam passed death onto his children. Parents, grandparents, your children may be struggling today because you visited fortune tellers, witchdoctors, inyangas, and you picked up a “virus” that has killed you. You may have gone along those ways in your mind, not physically. You may have taken something from someone who said ‘it works’ but you know that it comes from an evil place. Have you sat down with your children and cleansed your house? Let us not take this lightly.

The grace of God teaches us to say no to all unclean and evil things. If you read the Bible carefully, it often warns that if you do not stop and end that thing, it will make an end of you.

You say, “I am free. I have the real gospel. We are no longer bound under those things anymore.” You are free because you never repented which is why you put on trousers the day you left. You have never repented of your sin.

If we could just grasp this and take it to heart. The Lord said, “When I died on the cross, I robbed the devil of all his weapons. He is a toothless lion.” Why are you not helped? Just be before the Lord. I also prayed and asked the Lord to show me things in my life. He will show you. You may listen to music that has Satanic influences – no wonder you are spiritually dead, and you keep returning to those things. Go on your knees. The work is complete. Allow it to do its rightful job in our lives.