Introduction Gilbert Khoza
We thank the Lord for the wonderful opportunity today. This is Sunday when we gather to worship the Lord. We desire that the Lord will bless us. May the Lord supply each one’s needs. We welcome those who have joined for the first time, via livestream or radio.
We thank the Lord for the wonderful opportunities He gives us to preach the gospel. A team of four visited Rumania for a conference that was attended by people from Germany, France and Switzerland. Thank you to those who carried us in their prayers. It went very well. They send their greetings. They love us and constantly pray for us. It humbles us when we see God at work. I was reminded of Rev Stegen’s words when he said that there is nothing like the gospel. It softens the hardest hearts. After the services people made their lives right with God. This encourages one to continue preaching this gospel.
Greetings to the brethren in the various areas. It is God’s grace that we meet like this. Last weekend, we visited Harding and Deemont. There are other local branches we have visited recently. If things went according to my wishes, I would have been in Estcourt for today’s service. However, the Bible says the spirits of the prophets submit to one another. God’s will is not something small. We learned what it meant to seek God’s will in the 1960s. Rev Stegen visited the congregations to preach to them then and this is still happening today. There was a desire for this to happen overseas too and it has come to fruition. Finding God’s will is not something small. You cannot take it lightly. It wrings you and exercises you. It causes you to sweat. Your ego ends in order to find God’s will.
In 1966 before this mission existed, we sought God’s will. God delt with us when we saw that there were no rivers of living water as it says in John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” There were streams of sin and pride. God worked in our midst and brought about this place. It is not a small thing to seek God’s will. When you are asked to preach somewhere, you must seek God’s will in the matter. You may take it lightly and regard it as a holiday but you should seek God’s will in a matter. When we do something, it should be done together with God. You may go somewhere and leave God behind.
One day, we were in a corrugated iron building where God was working. Someone arrived and said that God was not there, and we should leave. We all went out. Rev Stegen did not respond because he had seen God at work. God had glorified himself in a mysterious way and left him inside that building. The children of Israel said to Joshua, ‘If the God of Moses is with you, we will go along.’ Do you do what you do because God is present? Finding God’s will is a deep matter. After that you need to do God’s will.
Who can prevent God from working? Who can stand in God’s way and stop Him from working? I am who I am. Who can prevent the work of God? This gospel is like the ocean. If you think you can empty the ocean with a spoon, there is something wrong with you. It is ludicrous to try and empty the ocean with a teaspoon. If people oppose God’s work, they will be unsuccessful. If you try and stop the work of God, you will not succeed. God’s gospel is spread by people whom God has chosen. Sometimes I get the opportunity to speak to Rev Stegen and tell him that the gospel is still going forward. We are grateful that we still have him with us.
Can you quench the fire that God has lit? Elijah told the prophets of Baal to build an altar, put a bull on it and ask Baal to send fire to light the altar. They did and nothing happened. He mocked them and told them to pray harder. Then Elijah said that he would pray to his God. He drenched the altar with water thrice. He prayed and fire came down from heaven and it consumed the sacrifice, the water and the rocks. Then the people admitted that God was the living God. When you pray, do you pray to the living God or the god of Baal? God told Elijah that He would send crows to feed him with meat and bread. Would we be prepared to eat food brought to us by a crow? Elijah ate the food. I might be like ‘the black crow’ whom God has sent today. Elijah ate the food. We should eat what God sends us today. After this Elijah was fed by a widow. He asked for water and then for a little bread. (When Zulus ask for water, it means they are hungry.) The widow said she had none because she was going to mix her last bit of flour and oil to bake the last bit of bread. Elijah said she should make it and give some to him first. As she did what he said, the flour increased, and the oil never stopped flowing. She saw something amazing. This teaches us that we should treat food with respect and not waste it. God was gracious and merciful to her. She served Elijah. God is good and we ought to serve Him with all our hearts.
Today is an invitation to salvation. We are being saved daily. When you do something and someone is offended by it and you apologise, you are being saved. When you say you are sorry and you are forgiven, you are being saved. We are saved daily.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 11 …so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:6-9,11
We sought salvation and we found it. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. These are wonderful opportunities for us to seek God and find Him. There is so much bloodshed in the world. Mothers abort their children. They have lost the key of seeking God which is the key to any problem you have. According to this word, the time may come when you call on God, and He will not be near or be found. This is the opportune time, when your mind is whole, to seek God before the time comes when you cannot speak and you are helpless. It is the opportune time now.
If you are in Kranskop or Durban and you shout from there, we cannot hear you. If a person is nearby, he can be heard. While you can read your Bible, pray and seek God. If you do not know what God’s will means, then seek it. If you cannot obey your parents, or you are stubborn, seek the root cause for that. Ask the Lord why you have grudges. Ask Him why you are short-tempered, and He will show you. God has his ways and they are exalted.
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
If you have a problem with evil thoughts, seek God and find out why. Return to the Lord and ask the Lord for help. Rev Stegen often sang a Zulu song: I will persevere and seek the Lord even though the cross is heavy on me. I will persevere and stay close to the Lord. We would sing along with him and our hearts were warmed. Even though the fire gets hot, as long as the Lord is nearby, we will stay close to the Lord and persevere. Mother, father, child, If the world is difficult, persevere and remain close to the Lord.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
He will make forgiveness bountiful and great. He will abundantly pardon. If you are still in your sin, come to the Lord, where you will receive abundant life. I chose the Lord when I was still very young. We met in Rev Stegen’s brother’s shop, and he told us not to take sweets from that shop. He counselled me because he knew that that temptation was close to a child.
I cannot understand when a person knows that something is a sin but continues doing it. You were known for your temper and stubbornness and you have repented so you should be different.
Before Rev Stegen got married, he told us not to pick any oranges off the ground below the orange trees that belonged to his brother otherwise people may think we had stolen the oranges. At home I have mango and orange trees. The thieves sit in the trees and eat the fruit. If I get angry and upset and start swearing, where is my faith?
A manager at Mapumulo once demonstrated this principle using a bottle full of water which had sand at the base. The water was clear. When the bottle was shaken, the water was undrinkable. Compare your life to this bottle. If someone says you look like a baboon. You need not get angry. You can respond by saying that you hear what he has said but when you look in the mirror you do not see a baboon. If a person gets angry about the issue, the person has not yet been helped. If we say we have met the Lord, things must change. We must be a new creation. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Your husband, wife, children, the brethren should see that there is something new in you.
We are running daily as it says in Hebrews 12. 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…Everyone is watching our race. Spectators watch. Witnesses watch whether we are truly believers or not. Everyone watches your race. If you run with a large jacket on, people will think there is something wrong with you. People should see by the way you dress, how you run. The athlete knows how he should dress. As children of God, we do not eat just any kind of spiritual food. We do not consume just anything. A child of God will not drink alcohol or beer. My father used to drink so I gave some alcohol to the dog but it refused to drink it. I threw a cigarette stompie to the dog but the dog did not want it. So I reckoned that if the dog did not like it then I would not drink or smoke either. If people see a Christian smoking or drinking, they will realise that he is not running in that race.
11 …so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
It is my prayer that the daily preaching of God’s word will not return to Him void. God has an expectation that when the word is sent out it will not return void because it has worked in your heart. If we return to God, then He will abundantly pardon. Ask yourself: when you commit sin, doesn’t God depart from you?
6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6
In the Zulu translation, it says in my anguish. Child of God, cry to the Lord in your distress. Cry to Him concerning your sin and He will hear. If you cry to Him for help, your cry will reach His ears. You may be troubled because you have never cried to God. There is a saying in Zulu: if the child doesn’t cry, it will die on the mother’s back. It is the same with us. If we do not cry, God will not hear. When we cry, it reaches His ears. You may have cried once but it was not a cry to God because you were still in your sin. You may have said you were hungry and that is why you stole. There is no forgiveness if you confess your sin like that. God will hear in His temple if you have remorse over your sin.
How terrible human trafficking is today. Mothers must keep a watchful eye over their children so that they are safe. It is said that when the eyes of a child are gouged out or their tongue is cut out, that makes powerful medicine. We pray for such people that they may repent before the day of judgement. The word says that you must seek the Lord while He may be found and call Him while He may hear you. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
God has a purpose for us which is why He sent His son to die. He wants to do something in our lives. Nobody can say that they have not heard. We pray for people who speak on Satan’s behalf as well. I want to emphasis that whoever you are, nobody can stop God from working. You will fail. It is as pointless as trying to shoot the sun or the moon with a gun. The Bible says that God is great and awesome, we cannot describe Him so why do you not part from your sin? Does it happen that while you carry your cross, you put it down to take part in a fight? We are carrying a cross spiritually. How can we see that we serve Jesus because we cannot see Him physically - He is present spiritually. Through his spirit, we carry the cross. It is not right to put your cross down and sort out things with a fight. One thing will help us that we return to God and He will abundantly pardon.