Sunday, 9 May 2021
We thank the Lord for this opportunity. We greet you wherever you are. It is grace to listen to God’s word and it is a privilege that we are unworthy of.
Regarding Mothers’ Day, we thank God for mothers like you and may the Lord grant you an especially blessed day today. We are in this world because of our mothers. In my home the children tried to prepare something special for their mother. It would be marvellous if it would be like this every day and not just today. There may be some fathers and husbands who would have liked to do something special for their wives but because of their poor relationship it does not happen.
I was in a shop yesterday where some men asked the shop assistants what gift a mother would like? They were trying to make this day special, but I wondered what their everyday life was like? I saw the children trying to select a gift for their mother and debating about which one was the best, but I wondered what their daily relationship was like with their parents? Maybe they did this because they felt forced. It should not be like this with us. May it be like this all the time, where treats like serving coffee or breakfast in bed are part of our daily lives. My mother is far away, but I have other very special mothers who are close by. I thank God for them. We may continue in the Lord, go forward and do things, but there are very special mothers behind us. I may forget to pray, but they never forget to bear me up in prayer even with tears. My birth mother may even forget my birthday and be unconcerned, but these mothers never forget. Late at night they will call and ask how I am. They have birth pangs greater than my birth mother. They may not have physical children, but they have as many spiritual children as the sand on the seashore. On behalf of all the other children, I say Mama Dube and Mama Ngcamu, thank you very much and may the Lord bless you. We thank the Lord for you, for what you mean to us and to the work of God. We are enabled in the work of the Lord because of the time they spend on their knees for us and our families. They are available all the time. If there is an emergency, they are ready for it. May God bless you.
This morning I need to obey, no matter how difficult it is. This message has been on my heart for quite a while, but I have evaded it. I only speak today because I feel I must. I need to obey God.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:9 –11
This is a well-known text, but as I pondered on it, my heart broke. Jesus says, “I am the door.” He, Himself, personally, is the door. Jesus said that if anybody enters through Him, Jesus, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
What is the Lord Jesus to us believers? Do we accept Jesus and accept Him as He introduced Himself to us or do we modify Him to be what we want Him to be? Jesus introduced Himself and said, “I am the door (the gate), if anybody enters by Me…” that is Jesus. There is a double meaning here: A person may enter but not through Jesus. A person may enter through his own motives and his own way. A person may enter by following others who have entered, but they themselves do not enter the door, they are not saved as the others have been. They look identical to those who have entered through the door and were saved by entering. Others followed them but did not go through the door and they are not saved. Those who entered through the door have been saved. They can go out and find pasture, but the others need people to find pasture for them.
The question: did you enter through this door, the Lord Jesus, or did you just follow others who have entered?
Those who entered through the door found salvation. They were saved from the things they used to live in. They were stubborn, they had their own way, they were pig-headed, but when they entered, they were saved from that. While they were outside, they did what they liked, dressed as they liked, but when they entered, they were saved from that. While they were outside, they said what they liked, they slandered, they gossiped, however when they entered, they were saved from that. The others, who just followed those who entered, came in but were not saved from those things. They did not repent. Why did they not repent? They never entered through this door. They only entered by following others who entered. This is where things went wrong. When you are inside with those who entered through the door, you realise that they do not continue with the things that you are doing. You think there is something wrong with them, but the problem is that you entered through your own craftiness. The people who entered through this door, the Lord Jesus, rejoice when they are taught by Him. But you are like a thorn amongst them because you did not enter through the door – Jesus. You entered in your own way. You have never entered in through that door, the Lord Jesus, which is why you have no pleasure in the teachings of the Lord Jesus. That is also why you are a believer today and tomorrow you no longer believe. Today you love the children of God but tomorrow you no longer love them. Why? You never entered through the door.
You may have entered through marriage because you wanted to get married in a Christian way which you thought was good. Yes, others have married in a wonderful way, but they first had to enter through the door. Now you are amongst them and you stick out like a sore thumb. You are in their company and you pretend that you are saved. You do not fit in. You feel as though everyone looks at you and does not like you. You have criticism in your heart because you never entered through the door.
Those who have entered through the door, in the proper way, have died to their own ways, their own will and submitted to the owner of that door and they rejoice in this. You may have entered only because you wanted a job, so you followed those who entered through the door, you followed the requirements and traditions, nobody can say anything to you. You only return to sleep and have nothing to do with the church. When you initially entered, you asked about the door, but you never entered it, you entered through other ways which is why your life is in its present state.
To illustrate: when you came in and saw people doing certain things, you just copied them but never asked them why they did it. When you entered you saw others cutting their hair in a particular way and you just copied them. You never asked the reason for it. Later, it gets too much for you and you follow a different direction.
Those who entered through the door were taught by the Lord and they rejoice in those teachings. They follow His teachings and do just as He commands. You followed like a copy-cat and now you have so many questions. They wear jackets and ties, so you do the same. You do not find out why and you never learned it by entering the door. You just copy others. That is why you are in your present state. Now you wonder why a jacket must be worn even when it is hot. You have so many questions because you never entered through the door.
Entering through the door, they receive salvation and go out and find pasture - a pasture that is green and lush. Sheep can graze and grow fat. Those who were saved, follow that salvation. They can find pasture where they are cared for and nourished. But you do not find this because you never entered in the right way. There are those who have been called into the ministry who entered through the door and been saved. They have been called by the Lord into His work. They go out, find pasture, are nourished, and cared for. Others enter the ministry and when they leave, they complain that they never received a cent. Who promised money? Did you think you would get rich? You never entered through the gate.
You may stand on the pulpit, but you do not preach about Jesus through whom we should enter, you preach your own message so that you can touch people’s pockets to provide something for you. Where did you learn that kind of gospel? When you criticise and compare yourself to others, ask yourself whether you entered through the door. If you did enter through the door, why do you remember all the old things today? When you first entered, you were so happy, you rejoiced about all that you received and all the help you received, but today you ‘prick’ anyone who comes close to you. Do you remember how humble you were in the beginning? You were very meek and accepted any spiritual help from anyone, however insignificant that person seemed. Is it still like that? Do you remember how you received help with open arms, and you repented 100% from that thing? Is it still like that today? Young wife, do you remember when you were still a young bride, you accepted and loved your new family even if they sometimes tread on your toes? You forgave them from the depths of your heart. Is it still like that today?
Is there a bitterness or sour feelings inside you regarding your family? That does not come from being inside. Where does it come from? You may have even entered in the right manner, but you have lent your ear to those on the outside. You are perishing now because of what you are listening to.
Allow me to repeat it so that you can hear it properly: You entered in the right way, through the door, but then you did not go out and find pasture as you were supposed to, you lent your ears to people outside who have never entered through the door and had never been inside - which is why things are as they are.
You listen to those outside now. They may have once been inside, however they entered, but they have never been saved which is why they have failed and why they find themselves outside. They have become your coach. They tell you who is right or wrong, what is the right or wrong way to do something, and you listen to them, not realising that that was the way of destruction when you were still outside. If you listen to them, you will perish. They tell you to jump, and you just do it. You do exactly as they say but those in the same pasture as you become evil in your eyes because of the things you listen to. Your eyes are darkened, and you are blinded even though you are in the place of salvation, where God is working, and you are with people who entered through the gate who is Jesus Himself.
Let me use this illustration even though it is weak. I came to the mission when I was very young. I basically grew up in the congregation. The men and women today who are growing old were unmarried or young married couples then. They said then: Jesus is the way, the door, and they pointed to Jesus and lived that life. Today we are growing older, but they are still pointing the way to Jesus. Should I now listen to somebody from the outside who has failed to go this way, rather than to those I have grown up in front of, who have remained firm? Should I listen to those on the outside more than to these people? No matter how much that person may give themselves great titles and imposing names, like the New Light, should I listen to those more than to the people who have remained firm and steadfast in the Lord? Must I listen to a turncoat who has shown that he cannot stand firm? They say that we are so legalistic, but they lay down the law for you. They want to impose their laws on you. Do not become confused. They say that they have been liberated and they have the freedom of the Holy Spirit. What kind of freedom is that, that their wives can now wear pants? Is that freedom? We can wear our hair in whatever way we like. Is that freedom? The owner of the door, the One who created you, does He approve and say, yes, that is the right way, or does He look at you and shake His head? The freedom to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend whom you can bring to your parents - what kind of freedom is that? A freedom that comes from hell. I can touch my boyfriend or girlfriend, I can have physical contact, I can bring children into the world out of wedlock, is that freedom? As a married woman I am free to wear a short skirt to show men how I looked when I was a young girl. Is that freedom? To wear sleeveless tops, is that freedom? You say that you are inside, and you entered through the door, but you listen to those on the outside. If that is the case, leave and go to them. Leave us to go out and find pasture. The freedom to sit on your husband’s head and wear skinny jeans and yet, you want to listen to them? If so, leave so that we can find salvation and pasture.
You want to give advice from the outside to those on the inside. No, leave us alone to continue. You come in such a pious way and say, “You know what, I just think we need to look at this again. I hear it is not going so well…” You are so pious because you have been advised by outside counsellors. If you want to be advised by them, leave so that we can come in and out and find salvation and pasture.
There are congregations that are dead today because they listened to outside advice, they listened to those who became lukewarm. Now you want to listen to the advice of the lukewarm so that we all can become the same. That leads to death. You become lukewarm when you listen to outside advice rather than that on the inside. For a lukewarm husband, the fellowship and warmth he receives at home is no longer sufficient, he wants something outside the home. A lukewarm mother forgets that she must look after her family and home and she has time to talk about unimportant things with her neighbour while still in her night clothes. The lukewarm wife forgets that her husband is the head of the home. She discusses private matters to one and all. Whoever does that is spiritually dead. May God have mercy on us and help us.
Another example, a lukewarm young person says that he wants to continue with his studies because all along his aim was to be a doctor. What stopped him? “Well actually all along I wanted to be a doctor…” Is your matric pass good enough to study medicine? “Not really, but I still want to improve it and see what I can do.” Yet, you have not applied, your matric symbols do not indicate that you can study medicine, you are not ready at all, but you say you want to become a doctor. Later on, you realise that this was just a way in which to get out. “My cousin found me a job.” But you already have one? “No, I feel I must go there.” Well, go and all the best. A week later you meet that person at Gateway, and he has already changed completely, just like the world. “Oh, you don’t understand the temptations and so on.” What was it all along? An itch for the world. He never came in through the door. You may meet that person at Gateway or in Church Street, but you can even meet them right outside the premises. They were respectable young men and women before, but now she is someone’s wife, but not even a mouse was paid for her dowry. You are pregnant and now you need to go home and tell them. You end up in all of this because you never entered in through the door, you just came in.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
A thief does not announce that he intends to steal. He strategises to enter stealthily so that he will not be noticed, and his theft will be successful. Thieves plan things to the smallest detail: enter here, do this and that, if interrupted - routes of escape. The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. If there is no one at home, they leave so much destruction that when the owners return it is obvious that there has been a robbery.
Let me illustrate it like this: there were inexplicable deaths among the zebras, and they wanted to discover the cause. Experts conducted their research. The zebras were also worried about their declining numbers. The experts discovered that lions were the cause of the increasing zebra deaths. They wondered what could be done to prevent this decline in the population. The zebras also conducted a meeting to find out how they could protect one another. They decided that if they were united as a herd, stood together side-by-side, the lions would not stand a chance, so they did that. For days, no zebras were caught or killed. How were the lions put off? When they approached the herd of zebras, the lions would just see a mass of black and white all over. The lions were put off by this and realised that they did not stand a chance. These experts decided to tag the zebras to ensure that their numbers remained complete. They thought they had the perfect plan, but they had lost the plot. Although the lions saw a mass of black and white, they also saw a red tag which they could target and kill.
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy identifies a particular zebra, like when he sees a family living together in harmony, he wants to destroy that harmony so he sends out criticism and self-pity which he wants you to see. Once you accept it, it is easy to target you. Those who have gone out, watch from the outside. When they see a weak spot where they can enter, they try. They also want to build their kingdom and be known for having achieved something. They are a united group looking for a crack through which to enter.
Be careful. You are part of the herd, serving the Lord with the congregation but the lions are on the hunt for the one who stands out, whom they can identify as a target. You may still seem to be fervent for the Lord but be careful. You may not have noticed that something identifies you as different. There might just be one day before you are isolated from the herd. The enemy might have already come and grabbed you. He is dragging you out slowly but surely from the herd. Do not allow him to drag you to some pit outside where you are isolated. Yes, you may wrench free, you might be hurt in some way, disfigured and maimed but at least you will survive, rather than be dragged off and die alone somewhere.
Your love for God’s people may be waning slowly but surely. The enemy has you in his grip and he is pulling you slowly. You may not even be bleeding, there may be no pain, but you allow yourself to be dragged off. You will die alone, far away with no one to help you. Even though the enemy has you in his grip, there is One who says, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Conclusion Ruth Combrink
I have a burden for people like myself. I was born into the revival. I was not in the world. I was not at the end of myself where I cried to the Lord, “Lord, I am in the depths of sin and I am seeking for something.” And the Lord showed me that there is something one can have.
Perhaps it is like this: The Lord chose me and I was born into this work. I was taught daily: this is what God has given us – this is the road that we must walk. I lived amongst people who loved the Lord. If I stepped aside, I was corrected. I had the form of godliness. Nobody may have noticed that there was anything wrong. It was easy just to go along. As I grew older it grew comfortable. I have a home and a family who loves me. I do not have issues doing things the way I have been taught. I am married, I have my own children, I am blessed with the school that is here. Can I wish for anything better? I teach my children how to do things. But who causes the death of the work of God? Me. I have not recognised that I am a sinner. I have not recognised that I need the Lord because I am destined for hell. Has God truly saved each one of us who were born into this revival? Do we know God’s voice, or do we just look around and follow as if we have heard?
Have we entered through the narrow gate? The Bible says it would be better had you been hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out. How many of us who were born into this revival are here? Are we burning for the Lord? Do we have an ear to hear what God is saying? Do I understand what God wants from me personally? Do I think I know better?
When our parents came, life was different, situations were different. Yes, when I grew up, I did not think that the way I was raised was always right. I thought I can do it better. I will just change things a little to ensure my child does not get hurt where I was hurt. What am I doing? I am killing the revival. I just see a fault and what do I do? I have the audacity to talk to the next young person about it, “That old person, did you hear what they said? They do not understand. They do not see what we feel.”
I challenge each one who was born into this revival. Will we be responsible for killing the work that God started through His Spirit if I fail to recognise that I am a sinner and I fail to get hold of that Spirit that the Lord poured out so that He could work? If you do not feel that God has called you here, do not come here and live comfortably because there is a home and a good school. Rather take your things and live where you can be comfortable. May I only be here because God has personally called me to this work. I challenge our own children: do not be here because you have a nice home but only because God has called you to this work, otherwise you will be a curse and the cause of the death of God’s work.
The Bible says, older people teach the younger ones the way they should go. If we do not have a teachable spirit, how can we ever be taught? We will be preached to from the Bible and told what God says, but if we cannot be taught, there is nothing we will learn. We will never learn. I pray that God will be merciful to us. The Gospel must be spread. Are we on fire? Can God continue working with us who are here?
Closing Michael Ngubane
Before the first auditorium burned down there was a wedding here. It was packed and the service started. It was hot, the side windows were open, as well as the front doors. Two women and a man arrived late. I do not know what confused the man, but he entered through the window. Many in the audience were astonished at the sight of the man entering through the window rather than the door. Some even laughed.
Many have entered through the window and not the door which is why they feel uncomfortable in our midst. The words of a Zulu chorus say that you will never taste the sweetness of this Gospel as long as you are still compromising. If you feel uncomfortable take your hat and leave those who want to remain in this revival. If you are not prepared to submit and change, leave. We want to live this life. You might prefer to enter through the window rather than the door. We want to enter through the door that is the Lord Jesus and find the pasture He has for us.
Children, do you want to tell us your own ideas and change things according to your way of thinking? If you think you know better and have a better method of serving God than we have, good. Go and do it your way but leave us to grow old in this Gospel that God has shown us.
One thing you must know is that we will not allow the world to enter the church just because you are here. Even though you may be counselled by your outside counsellors about how things should be done, we will not allow it. We will do it the way we have been taught. Here is the door. It is open. You can enter in but if you do not want to, leave us alone.