Rejoice that your names are written in heaven – Funeral of Senta Alma Engelbrecht

Detlef Stegen
I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have heard so much already from the hearts of people who have testified about what Christ has done. We want to have the life of Christ in us just as Tante Senta had from her youth. (When I was a few years old, she was my Sunday school teacher.)

Uncle Werner has given me some short notes, together with some verses for this message. I will be referring to them. He and Tante Senta have been on a long journey together. If we want blessing and we want Christ with us, we must start well. We must have a solid foundation.

The Lord had sent out His disciples and when they came back, they told Him that even the devils are subject to them and Jesus said:

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20

Are our names written in heaven? Are we citizens of heaven? Children, your Opa asks you this question: Is your name written in heaven? Has your life been surrendered to Christ, and is your testimony such that heaven can testify that you are a citizen of heaven? Uncle Werner said that in November 1967, the Lord asked him whether he wanted to continue where he was or whether he wanted to be part of the revival at Maphumulo? He chose to leave his father’s house and to go to the place where the Lord was working. His wife stood by his side. He does not recall that she wavered at any time. He says that we do not rejoice in this or that achievement, but in the fact that Tante Senta’s name is written in heaven.

30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30,31

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1,2

Many of us can testify that this was the message that was proclaimed to us: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Paul says he did not want to know anything else among the Corinthians whom he had visited. Jesus came to be crucified in order to deal with my sin and your sin so that we will be partakers of that eternal life.

(Paul was no crab. A vehicle that crabs on the road drives skew and you doubt that that car will reach its destination. Because Paul was leading these converts, these supposed-to-be followers of Christ, he made sure that he directed them and spoke a Gospel that did not crab, a Gospel where sin could be dealt with on the cross.)

Allow me to quote from a German Bible in the context of this verse: Elberfelder Studienbibel.

Now in German it says … ans Kreuz bringen, die Hinrichtung durch das Kreuz veranlassen, auf den geistlichen Bereich übertragen: kreuzigen, hinrichten, töten (lassen) im Bezug auf das Fleisch, das die von der Sünde verdorbene Natur mit ihren Begierden und Lüsten meint.

In ähnlicher Weise spricht Paulus davon, dass ihm die Welt gekreuzigt ist und er der Welt (Gal 6:4) Damit meint er, dass seine Liebe und seine Hingabe an den gekreuzigten Retter so gross ist, dass die Dinge dieser Welt für ihn tot und hingerichtet sind, dass er an ihnen nicht mehr Interesse hat als an der Leiche eines am Kreuz hingerichteten Verbrechers. Andererseits ist er auch in den Augen der ungläubigen Menschen tot und wie ein hingerichteter Verbrecher. Sie haben an ihm kein Interesse mehr und verabscheuen ihn.

Paul spoke of crucifixion – the execution of sin through crucifixion. Apply this spiritually – crucify, execute, put to death what pertains to the flesh - the sinful, corrupt nature with its lusts and desires.

Paul spoke about himself and said, 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14. Paul’s love and devotion to the crucified Saviour was so great that the things of this world were dead to him. He had no more interest in them, no more than one would have in an executed criminal’s corpse.

This is how the Elberfelder Study Bible with concordance and exposition explains the words of Paul and the implication of them.

Are you such? Although you call yourself saved, you have lost interest in and evade those who boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Are you not part of Paul’s crowd? Today, at Tante Senta’s funeral, ask yourself whether your love of the world surpasses the love for your Saviour. If you have a Bible, have a look at what the Bible classifies as the world - not what people say it is.

You may evade the cross and those who devote their lives to this Saviour’s love. You say the price is too high, the road is too narrow to be led like sheep to the slaughter. But how terrible if you have a part in the slaughtering of those sheep. Paul says we die daily, we are like sheep led to the slaughter. Are you slaughtering the Lord’s sheep in the name of Christ? You do it because they are defenceless. Woe to you if on the Lord’s Day He removes your sheep’s clothing and you are a wolf and you stand naked in your wolfish, sinful nature. The day of regrets is drawing nigh where you will wish that your tongue had been cut out and that you had cast it from you.

Jesus spoke about the eye that offends you. He said that you should rather pluck it out and cast it from you. It would be better to enter heaven with one eye than that your whole body should perish in hell fire. Do you expect to die as peacefully as Tante Senta? We did not even realise the moment she left this world to be with the Lord. She fell asleep. Blessed are they who die in the Lord.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their sinful nature with all its passions and desires. You know what the lusts and desires of the sinful nature are. Read about them in Galatians 5, where Paul lists them one by one, and he starts with sexual immorality. Test your life. The day of reckoning is coming, and you will have to stand before Jesus, the Judge of all judges.

Is your life an asset to God’s kingdom? What does the heavenly Auditor say? Do you pass the audit or inspection? Are your books in order? The audit is coming. At KSB we have regular audits in all the aspects of the work - the farm, aQuelle. Are there imbalances in your audits? Are you crabbing? Check your books. If the Auditor comes, where will you hide?

Jesus said you cannot serve two masters - either you will love the one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. You might be serving mammon and looking many kilometres and provinces away because of your love of mammon. You see in others what is actually in you. Do not blame others, that is what you are like. You may not love mammon, but you have a love for your own sin which pleases you, but it is not pleasing to the Father in heaven.

You can measure your love to the Lord by your love for those who are His, who are likeminded as Paul was. We praise God for everyone who is saved out of the clutches of Satan and sin. We jump for joy, like a calf released from its stall, when we are set free from sin. We can be glad and rejoice when the sin has been dealt with and that work is complete in our lives and we can be assured that there is no more sin in our lives, through the help of the Lord Jesus.

Therefore, Paul could say these words:

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

There are many who go forth in the name of Jesus. Does your preacher cause you to crab? Does your preacher close an eye to sin? You run away from the preacher whose eyes are wide open and rather look for the preacher who says that it is not so bad, love covers it all.

The cross is an execution of sin. It starts with a decision. We had a government delegation from Zimbabwe to look at this place because they want to see the Gospel in action. The adviser to the president said that they have Christians - white Christians – and said that they knew them, but he asked why are you (from KSB) so different? We heard a report and have come to see for ourselves, whether there is a difference and whether Christianity can be seen in the life of a person. He told our school children that it starts with choices in one’s life. Thank God for a Saul who was struck down and he changed to a Paul through the very One whom he was persecuting. Paul writes his testimony. He writes the revelations that he had which is God’s word. Paul says, “I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”

We thank the Lord for people like Uncle Werner who, since 1967, said goodbye to his father’s house and today, at the end of Tante Senta’s life, he says, ‘Thanks be to God who gave us the victory.’ Grandchildren, you have said that you choose to be soldiers of this revival.

We thank the Lord for the work of the cross. If you have not experienced it and there is something in your life that is still alive - of the sinful nature, the flesh - forsake your sin. You are losing your life by clinging to your sin and not bringing it to the cross. Come to the cross and say, “Lord, execute this sin – let it perish and die.”

May the Lord be gracious to us that we do not forget this day.