Introduction Dietmar Joosten
I greet everyone in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Where would we find ourselves if it weren’t for this great Name that came to save us? The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ came to save to the uttermost and to heal. Jesus came for the whole human race.
I read a word these days (from the Amplified version):
19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk 3:19
What we experienced in this last week, expresses this text. On high places, stand your ground. Walk. His invincible army will enable you to conquer your hardships, suffering and responsibilities.
In a nutshell, at the CRL meetings we saw that there is an orchestrated attack on confession of sin, both here and across the world. God has used confession of sin as His tool to sanctify people so that they can be washed in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, the devil hates this work. Confession of sin is not the only thing God uses, but they focus on that thing that relates to purity and holiness. The devil hates anything to do with purification and holiness.
May God grant us the grace not to confess sin because it is a rule. If you are overcome by your sin, no one will have to tell you to make it right. You will know what to do. Obey what God says. If you say you are forced to, you will get nowhere. If you do it because you feel convinced in your heart, you will see the resultant fruit. It is the Lord whom you confess to who says I will forgive your sins.
At the end of Job, God spoke to Job’s three friends and said:
7 After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job's prayer. Job 42:7-9
What have you said? Have you spoken well of Job? These three men had to go to Job and ask him to pray for them (i.e. the very one you despised and told lies about) and then God would forgive their sins. You have said what is not right concerning Job. What have you said? Have you spoken well of Job? Why does God not forgive you? Go to Job, the very person you have despised and have said so much falsehood about. Go to the one whom you think is lost, the one whom you feel is not right and only then will I forgive your sins.
I also had to hear that there are people who are not happy with the mission and who say that some people here should leave and even Rev Stegen must leave because they want to take over. I feel for Rev Stegen. He built up something from nothing and God has used him. Last night I prayed for him and said, “God, make Your face to shine on that godly man.” Show me any man in our country and across the world whom God could use to bring about a work like this. I challenge you. Show me any man whom God could use in this time in which we live.
God says that I am your invincible army, I am your bravery. These very things we go through put fire into our bones. This which God has started, we know He will continue. These circumstances do not put water on the fire - but oil. Our lives should burn like never before. Do not be despondent, this is part of a Christian’s life. Be true to the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank God for those who lead and guide us. Show me any who are better than them. It was a victorious time.
We have a gospel that we do not need to be ashamed of. We can share it with the world. If you can show me something better, I will follow it. God is still working. He is still on the throne. He still rules. When we show visitors around, they are amazed and say that we should continue with what we are doing. Many people come. Let us not become accustomed to things and be blinded, but let us see the Lord still working and may it spur us on.
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2: 25-35
Not everyone will accept this gospel. Although it is intended for all, many will reject it. We would like to share with the world what we have experienced and wish that they would experience the same. We desire that everyone would accept it but not everyone is prepared to walk this road of purity and self-denial, putting everything on the altar and doing everything for Christ. Some will not be prepared to do so and will not accept it. That does not mean, however, that we must stop. We must continue and be faithful to that which the Lord has told us. We do not need to be discouraged if we meet with people who reject and oppose it.
Simeon was a righteous man. God points this out in His word. Why? So that we can ask ourselves the question: if a book were to be written about me, could the Lord say that s/he was a righteous man? Righteous means to be right in God’s eyes, not mine. It means to conform to God’s own being. Do I conform to God’s own being? Yes, I make mistakes, but do I strive every day to be like Christ? Can I say that this is my heart’s desire in whatever I do? Can I say that regardless of what I am faced with, I am righteous? If not, fix what needs to be fixed. Every person knows what has come between him/her and God. God wants us to be righteous people.
The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon. The Holy Spirit sent him to the temple so that he would be there at the right time. Do you have the Holy Spirit? Does He lead you? Does He tell you what to do and where to go? Can you testify to that? If not, how is it possible for you to say that you live a pure life before God?
God never gives the gift of His Spirit to any human being who has not come to the point that he would sell all he had to get it…(Have you come to the point where you are willing to sacrifice anything for the Holy Spirit? If you have not been there, you cannot testify to this. There may be something you are holding on to.) While there is one spark of insubordination, rebellion, or dictation (telling the Lord how things should go), the Spirit will never fill you. Truly, only submissive and obedient people enter this kingdom. Anywhere He tells you to go, anything He tells you to sacrifice, or fly from, you will have to do. (Are we there that when the Holy Spirit shows us something we do it regardless of anything else? Rev Stegen said once, “Lord, send my brain to the moon so that I can do what you tell me to do.”) The Holy Spirit is one of His choice gifts that He has reserved for His choice servants, those who serve Him with all their hearts--obedient faith. http://www.inthebeginning.com/books/booth/booth4.htm
Simeon took the baby Jesus up in his arms. He held him close to his heart. Does your life lift Jesus up? Do you hold him close to your heart, do you protect him or is he nowhere to be found? He might even be trampled under your feet.
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed.
Is Christ still your joy? Do you still find joy in serving Him? Do you wake up and find that you cannot wait for the day to start to see what the Lord will do? It should be like this, that you can say Christ is my joy. Is this visible in your life? Is Christ your joy or does He cause you to stumble? If Christ is not your joy, you are in danger of falling. He will be your joy or your stumbling block. You will be lifted up up or you will fall. If God is not our joy, He will be the cause of our fall.
Charles Spurgeon said: The great practical doctrine before us is this, that wherever Jesus Christ comes, with whomsoever he may come in contact, he is never without influence, never inoperative, but in every case a weighty result is produced. There is about the holy child Jesus a power which is always in operation. He is not set to be an unobserved, inactive, slumbering personage in the midst of Israel; but he is set for the falling or for the rising of the many to whom he is known.
He is talking about Christians not heathens. Never does a man hear the gospel but he either rises or falls under that hearing. (When God works, you either rise or you fall.) There is never a proclamation of Jesus Christ which leaves men precisely where they were; the gospel is sure to have some effect upon those who hear it. (There is never a proclamation of Jesus that leaves men precisely where they were. The gospel is sure to have some effect.) Given a mind that understands the gospel, you have before you also a mind that either stumbles at this stumbling-stone… or else you have a mind that rejoice… https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/christ-the-fall-and-rise-of-many
We say to God, You are in my life, I will live for you with all my heart. You lead me and take me where you want me to be. We tell the Lord to teach us, to talk to us, convict us and show us what is in our lives. Then a situation comes up, something happens which is different to what I expected and then I have a choice whether to accept it, rejoice in it and ask the Lord what He wants me to learn through it or I not to accept it. So often that thing which the Lord brought across my way causes me to stumble. What should have lifted me, makes me fall - because of my stubbornness.
We may add that the position in which Jesus Christ meets man makes it inevitable that he must have an effect upon them. I shall not speak of the heathen who hear not of him, nor of our unhappy heathen around us who will not hear of him. But concerning you who have heard of Christ, I assert that in your case the Lord Jesus has met with you on occasions where to accept or to refuse was to make a crisis in your being. He was right in your way. (Humanly-speaking I wanted to do this – but Christ just stood in my way.)
If we are in Christ’s will, everything before us must be in His will too. If I have given my life to Christ and asked Him to lead me, even though there is difficulty ahead, He will be there. How sad if a Christian responds, “Lord, not like this. I planned it differently. This is not how I expected it to be.” You stumble over what the Lord brings across your way. Life may have become comfortable where you are. You do not need anything different to what you have now. You take things easy. Then when circumstances change, you do not want them to be like that. You may have questions and it is these questions which cause you to stumble. (It is not wrong to have questions - but speak to someone so that they can be answered. Otherwise, those questions will make you stumble.)
There are many things which can cause a person to stumble. It can even be God’s blessings that become your stumbling block. The Lord may have blessed your work and then you become proud and say, “Look at what I have done.” Why do you allow God’s blessings to become a stumbling block?
Why does the gospel make you stumble? The gospel that once brought you joy and salvation. The gospel that you accepted so eagerly. It is possible that you have changed, not God, and these things cause you to stumble. The things you did when you found this gospel are non-existent. You wonder why you keep falling? You came, you found the Lord, you counselled, and the Lord helped you. You brought to light that which was between you and the Lord, and He set you free, but today you may have forgotten that. You say it is no longer necessary - even though it was the very thing that helped you. You may stumble over that very thing. Spurgeon said that stumbling is like falling. This is not to be taken lightly. You take things up wrongly, you react wrongly – this is like falling. Why do you stumble over the gospel that once brought you joy and salvation? Someone may point out something in your life that should not be there, you are reprimanded, or the Lord may show you something that is not right in your life and now you have a choice -to bow or kick like a mule. Some people kick because it is different to what they wanted. Instead of finding joy in it, you fall. Instead of taking it to the Lord, you take it to yourself, and say, “Not like this.”
Spurgeon also says, I beseech you never fall into the error of those who assert that unbelief is no sin... This is when we do not accept our situation and think that things should not be the way they are – they are too difficult. I say I just can’t believe that God would work like that. There could be a core of unbelief. I do not believe that God has brought these circumstances into my life. There is unbelief that He is in control of everything. I begin to doubt. Am I in the right place? Am I doing the right work? Should I go? I do not see things the way the Lord sees them. I doubt His presence. Someone may talk to me in the wrong way and I react wrongly. As I point my finger at others, three fingers point back at me and the thumb points to God. I should be able to say, “God, You allowed this to happen. You put this on my plate today. Help me to react like a righteous man in the smallest things. If someone does something I do not understand, help me to react righteously.” Otherwise, you doubt God’s presence. Spurgeon says that there is nothing more likely to dull the consciences to sleep than doubt.
There are many things you can stumble over. Spurgeon says If any of you are trusting in the external religion, strangers to the inner spiritual life, depending on your confirmation, baptism, … or anything of ceremony, assuredly, Christ will be the fall of you. If your daily work is based on what you have to do – you have to counsel, you have to sing in the choir, I feel pity for you.
The gospel brings life. It is alive. It is not based on what you have to do daily. It is something you personally experience. You can feel that the Lord is with you. Remember the story of the kite and a little boy. He was flying his kite on a cloudy day, when someone walked past and asked the boy what he was doing. He said that he was flying his kite. The person said that he could not see a kite, but the boy replied that even if he could not see it, he could feel it. He felt it pulling on the rope. He had no doubt that the kite was up there. This is what it should be like. If it is like this, no matter what comes across your path, you will ask the Lord to help you to do the right thing, to reach new heights with these circumstances. You will ask Him to help you to get close to Him and find joy and righteousness in it. You will ask Him to help you find His will in it. It can be anything, even something wrong. It can even be something that you feel should not have happened, it could be another person’s error but if you do not rise because of that circumstance, you will fall because of it. If you do not rise through that situation, you will fall because of it. You will lose out on that which the Lord had for you and you will eventually become like the godless people around you. Seek that relationship with the Lord, and in all situations to do the right thing.
Jabulani Dube Conclusion
In closing, we need to have the Spirit within to obey Him, then it will be possible to walk the way of the Lord. It is not so easy to fall into sin if we hear the Lord. Saul attacked believers. Even those who attacked Jesus felt that they were doing the right thing - yet they had gone astray. Many oppose God, thinking they are doing the right thing, but they have gone astray. May we hear what the Holy Spirit leads us to do.
Your so-called holy spirit might lead you into lust or pornography – that is not the Holy Spirit. He would never lead you into such things. Learn to live the life of Simeon when you can say, “Lord, it is sufficient, my eyes have seen Your salvation.”
Don’t you say that you are saved and that you have received the Gospel? Then why do you find yourself in such sin? You have even lost the ministry of confession of sin. You have lost that ability to humble yourself and apologise. You speak in any manner. The Holy Spirit no longer leads you into prayer. He no longer shows you that you need to make a thing right. You fail to humble yourself.
The Holy Spirit led Simeon into obedience. May God have mercy on us that we will take after Simeon. Are there those who have the spirit of revelation that Simeon had? You may not even know what it means to obey God. You say you are a believer, but you do not know what it means to listen to the Holy Spirit. Does God speak to you? If God speaks, He will surely convict you of sin. You will not be able to sleep knowing you have done nothing about your sin. You will know that if the Lord comes in the night, you will go to hell. You easily go to bed with sin in your life, not once, but for years. You quench your conscience. When the Lord convicts you about what you said to your husband, wife, father, mother, (which was not right) you ignore it. Brethren, let us begin obeying the Holy Spirit and we will see how He works - no matter where you are.
God speaks to you and tells you to read your Bible, but you decide you will do it another time. You lose out on God’s leading. You quench the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit led Simeon. Does He lead you? You gossip wherever you go, is that how the Holy Spirit leads you?