A changed life – God’s gift of grace

Introduction Sbongiseni Khumalo
We thank the Lord for this time that we can be together and worship the Lord. It is a joy for us to be with you and we welcome all who have joined us for the service in the auditorium or via other means.

Jabulani Dube
I greet everyone. It is grace that God has appointed this day that believers may worship Him. I would like to share this morning the few loaves and fish that I have. I trust that you may receive that which you have come for spiritually.

In the 1960s when our family experienced hardship, I went along with my mother wherever she went. One day she took me to the area where she had grown up – Mabomvini. We had not eaten anything as there was no food. After we crossed a river, there was a shop where my mother bought some bread for 5 cents and sugar to the value of 1 tickey. At the river she found a hollow rock almost like a container where she poured the sugar into. She broke the bread into small pieces and said, ‘My son – let’s eat.’ We dipped the bread into the sugar and ate. Eventually we were satisfied and continued our journey. In those days married woman were not allowed to eat in shops. It was a disgrace if they walked around eating. People would think there was something wrong with them. On another day, the same thing happened at Maphumulo and we ate in a similar fashion. At other places at the river, groups of young girls were seen eating their food too. Things have changed today. We can have a meal at the Coffeeshoppe without a problem.

It was also not acceptable for a girl ate fish. If a girl from Msinga (a traditional area) was given fish to eat she declined it. The same with eggs.

What am I trying to portray?

When we arrived at the mission, my mother saw what work was like and how it should be done. Together with another woman, they sowed beans and harvested several bags. They planted potatoes and reaped a good harvest. From the income they eventually bought vehicles. Why? They saw this German man, their leader, planting and showing them what could be done. They decided to do the same thing in their fields at home. Rev Stegen always asked to see our fields when he visited our homes. He showed us how to hoe, how to use manure as fertiliser. He taught us these things.

He did not just tell us that there is an abundance of fish in the ocean or river. He took us there and showed us how to catch the fish. We learnt about agriculture. You can do the same. Plant things and produce a harvest so that your children can be fed. I planted wattle trees and harvested that forest. I made R80 000 from it. I planted nut trees and from those trees I earn about R10 000 per year.

Next Sunday we will have a service where three congregations join for the service. We teach these congregations to have their own funds so that they can become independent and when they meet they can use finances from that fund. This stops them from being dependent on others.

When potatoes are distributed, do not eat everything. Keep some of them for planting so that you can reap a harvest and have potatoes for your household to eat. Sell the surplus. Give money to others and donate to the congregation fund.

Why is this important? We are heading to future famine. You need to learn how to plant and supply your own needs. I take after Rev Stegen in this. He always encouraged us from the pulpit to roll up our sleeves and do something, plant something. I am his mouth piece today, encouraging you to do the same. If you have a large harvest and many bags of potatoes, share with another brother so that he can eat and plant.

Often when I visit areas, they slaughter a chicken for me, however, at a particular homestead they had none. I gave them a pair. The person later told me that the pair had multiplied so much that he did not know what to do with them. I said, ‘Eat them or give them to others, if you have so many.’ God blesses a person who gives freely, who thinks of others in need, who gives to orphans and widows. Rev Stegen is blessed because he is liberal. He always gives to the needy.

One person gave me some chickens. I gave some away and then my hen was even more productive afterwards. If you produce your own and farm with it, you will not be tempted to steal goats, chickens and sheep from others.

Take today’s text and direct it to yourself. Do not say that it is meant for the next person. You eat so that you will leave the service satisfied. A Zulu chorus says, ‘Lord, start a revival and begin with me. Work in my life.’ May this be our prayer. It may just be a few fish and loaves but ask the Lord to multiply it so that it will feed you.

As you read the text you will discover how sweet and wonderful this word is. In those early years we discovered how sweet God’s word is. Rev Stegen said, ‘Brethren, when you read God’s word it is so sweet and wonderful!’ I would read it as well and marvel at how much I read. It was sweet to me. When Rev Stegen preached, I prayed in my heart, ‘Lord, please help me to find this word sweet as well.’ When I read God’s word now, it is sweet to me. If someone is preaching the word, it is sweet and I wish he could continue.

The word can revive me as it is preached today. If you are spiritually quickened and revived, you can grow because of it. I am grateful for the interpreter. I have been praying for him more than others. He is better now, and he can interpret. I prayed and said, ‘Have mercy on us, look on us in your grace, do not pass us by, look on Marius.’ If discrimination and racism has not ended in your life, you would be unable to pray such a prayer. If you can cry for your fellow brother, an Indian, a coloured, a person from a different race to yours, then you know God has worked in your life.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sinsEphesians 2:1

God gave us grace. We were once dead in our trespasses and sins. Through God’s grace we have been made alive. If you say something like this to an unbeliever, it makes no sense to them. We who have experienced it, understand it. In other words, if a person is still living in their sin, they are dead. If you are still living a life of sin, you have not yet been given life.

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

There is a new birth. You are born again. You receive a new life. Nicodemus was confused when Jesus said he must be born again. He asked how a person can be born again when he is old? How can a person enter his mother’s womb again? But that is what happens when you are born again - you are a new creation. The old has gone. Everyone sees it. They cannot miss it. Wherever you work people realise that something has happened in that person’s life.

in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— Ephesians 2:2

Look at children who are disobedient and rebellious – they are controlled by that power of the prince of the air. This in which you once walked, following the course of this world and the prince of the air – this is at work in the sons of disobedience. If you are disobedient, you are in the power of this spirit that is at work. Look how children backchat their parents, how children become irritated with their parents (even if they don’t say it, their body language says it). This it this spirit at work. I prayed and said, ‘Lord, help me that my mother would never say of me that I was a problem to her since my father had passed away.’ But my mother passed away and never uttered those words. The reason why children are disobedient and rebellious is because they are in the power and grip of this spirit of the air. It is like a diesel vehicle, if air gets into the system, you must bleed it to get rid of the air, so that it can regain its power. If the system gets air into it, the car can stop on the way, but if you bleed it and get rid of the air, so that there is only diesel in the pipe and then reconnect, you will see how the car runs.

Look at your life. Once the spirit of pornography has entered, it is difficult to get rid of it. It is difficult for people to be delivered from porn. You also hear it from people who were involved in satanism and devil worship, what they did with those things. Let me tell those who look at porn, a secret: Satanists pray over these pictures. They pray that Satan, their lord, would work in the lives of the people who look at the pictures. That is why people cannot obey or show respect because this spirit rules them. The sons of disobedience. You are disobedient because of the spirit that is at work in you. You need to have the authority of the Lord to pray for a person who is in the grip of this spirit of disobedience, in the grip of the spirit of pornography, and other spirits. Such a person will see a person stark naked even though they are clothed.

When I preach this message, hell is furious. When I speak about this, I am stirring up hell. Because of this message the power of those spirits will come to an end.

I was bitten by mosquitoes and became very ill with malaria, even meat made me nauseous. Then the doctor whom I respect sent me to Pretoria. I received the right medication and was helped. I reached the point where I said, ‘Lord, you can take me now, I am ready.’ There is a girl who was prayed for, and a frog came out of her mouth. Three snakes came out of her when she went to the bathroom. This girl asked, ‘Why did you say, ‘now the Lord can take me’?’ I asked her where she heard that from. She said that she had been under the sea when she heard that. Those Satanists work through the powers of darkness under the sea. She asked me why I had said that? She had not been there. I was alone with the Lord when I said it, but they heard my words under the sea. That is why I say that hell is shaken when I preach this message.

Children are troubled by disobedience because of the spirit of disobedience is at work in them. Father, mother, can you accept that the reason your children are disrespectful is because of the spirit of the air that is at work? People do things in ignorance. They become involved in pornography, not realising they will become addicted and be in bondage.

3…among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:3

In the past we lived in the passions of our flesh, doing what we wanted to do but when we receive life from the Lord, we pray and seek God’s will. The flesh rules in our lives and minds but now that we have received life, we have died to that life, we have received a new life and now we walk according to the Spirit.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved… Ephesians 2:4,5

This is the grace of God that He being rich in mercy, made us alive.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… Ephesians 2:8

In both languages it is a gift from God that we have been saved. It does not come from us ourselves that we believe.

Reflect on this point. You are a believer today but how did you reach this point? Maybe you saw your parents who were believers and you thought you would also become one. Maybe you said that nothing else could help you, so you took up Christianity. If that is the case, brother, sister, you might have to start all over again. These are the wrong reasons. You need to receive faith from God. He must do it in you. That is why so many people are like they are, they copy from their parents, but the word of God has never pierced their hearts, where they have repented.

Jesus said, ‘Father, I thank you for those You gave me.’ God must do that work in your life. You can say, ‘Lord, please, can you work it in me.’ Not that you just imitate your parents because then ‘I can sing in the choir or get a job.’

I met someone near the dining hall, and he asked me for a job. He said, ‘I have confessed my sins so often, please can you give me a job.’ That is part of his CV now. Because he has confessed his sin for so long, he deserves a job. One person came to the gate of the mission looking for a job. A person at the gate gave him this advice: unless you confess that you have killed someone, used this or that drug, you will not be employed. I saw this person and he told me how drunk he had been etc but when I asked a question, the truth came out and he told me what he heard at the gate. We need a spirit of discernment.

It is by grace that we have been saved. It does not originate with us. It has its source with God that to be called children of God. That is why the devil plays around with you because you imitate others, you act like a believer, but you have never experienced the word of God pierce your heart. We need God. If sin still rules, we will dance around on the same spot. The Bible says we have been healed through the wounds Jesus received. When He was bruised, those wound healed us.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10

If I do not fear God, I do not have any wisdom. If I return to my sin, having received the knowledge of sin and knowing it is sin, you do not fear God. David said, ‘Lord, create in me a pure heart.’ And then he said, ‘Do not remove your Holy Spirit from me.’ You say that you have received the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit has forsaken you long ago because you live in sin. When the blood of the Lord Jesus cleanses your heart, it must cleanse the whole heart, not that some corners of your heart are left unwashed. Can Jesus dwell in your heart with a peacock of pride, or a lion or tiger of anger, or a frog of laziness and stubbornness? Will the Lord Jesus dwell there? Let us allow God to work in our hearts and we will see what He can do. If you commit sin, you what is evil and wrong, and you show that you do not fear God.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13

Brethren, we ought to hate evil. You ought to hate evil and say, ‘I do not go along with it. I received the Lord Jesus and now I hate that which is evil.’ Do not say, ‘I am in the bathroom, alone, nobody sees,’ and you begin doing evil. The eye of the Lord is upon you. As children of God, we ought to hate what is evil. If you do not hate evil, you are no different to the person who goes out, finds a mamba while it is still small, feeds it until it is big and sleeps with it in his bed. You feed that sin and you do it daily if you do not hate it.

So, at school, you need to determine, I will do what is right, what is expected of me. I will not do what is wrong. There are school children here. After I was converted, I was still at school. I hated sin. I determined to hate sin even though I was the only believer in that school. I did not once get a hiding at school because I did something wrong after I had received the Lord Jesus. Those things that you do in secret alone in the bathroom, if I would tell you to do it here in front of us, you would be utterly ashamed. Why? You fear people. Ask God to give you the same fear for God that will make you say, ‘I fear doing this thing before God or uttering these things before God.’

There are some people who walk around with headphones listening to things. The things they listen to are rotten. They might come and say, ‘I have listened to rotten things…’ They are too ashamed to say what they have really been listening to. Some call themselves believers, but this worldly music plays in their minds and ears. Go on your knees and say, ‘Oh God, teach me to fear You, teach me to be afraid to do that which is evil.’

You just answer a person in any old way, without caring but ask the Lord to create something new in you. You are still ruled by that peacock, but you call yourself a believer. When things change, however, everybody will notice you are different. At our workplace, in our families, at school – can people see that you have changed and are different?

Begin with your dreams. What type of dreams do you dream? Does Satan come at night saying, ‘I am in control of this person. I will ride him bareback at night.’

The Bible says, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.

If you do not hate what is evil, you do not fear God. If you do not fear God, you do not have any wisdom. What is your answer? Do you fear God or not? The hatred of evil is to fear God. God says, ‘I oppose the proud.’ If we are still proud, God is against us. Sometimes you can see it in the way a person struts around. Pride is paraded. The shoes he/she wears makes a noise as if they are playing music.

When you plant maize, the kernel dies completely. Once it has died, it grows, and produces cobs of maize that produce many kernels. So, if you die spiritually, you will see how much fruit your life will produce.

Some wives fail to submit to their husbands. Wives, respect and honour your husbands. If you cannot show your husband any respect, how much less God, because the Bible says you need to submit to your husbands. Children, God’s word says, honour your parents in the Lord. It is recorded in the letter to the Ephesians that children must honour their parents. Husbands experience hard times when their wives are ill. It is possibly easier if the husband is ill. If your wife is ill, husband, serve her food on a tray. It does not mean that you are no longer a man. I am speaking from personal experience. If you serve your wife food, she will be really surprised and see something new in your life. Wife, how do you treat your husband if he is ill? Tell your husband he is handsome, and he will get better so much faster. You can win your husband's heart. If you tell him, ‘You are so manly and handsome,’ you will bowl him over.

Children, you can win your parents if you work, and you give them some of your wages. Buy something that they love. Thank your parents while they are still alive. Such deeds make the Gospel go forward. Why? Because you have changed and are no longer what you used to be. Your parents observe your reaction when they send you or give you a task. They notice that you are irritated.

We have been made alive. We were once dead. By God’s grace we have been raised together with Him and are called children of God. God has saved and delivered us from the spirit of disobedience at work in the air. May your life show that, indeed, you were once dead but now you are alive.

Conclusion Michael Ngubane
God’s word is wonderful. It is sweet. You can sit under the word and drink it in. God’s word trains us to be true men and women who fear God. How do we see God’s grace? God’s word says, He has raised you up, you who were once dead in your sin. Sometimes a person asks, ‘Lord, why? Why me? What good did you see in me that you did that in my life?’ Man’s nature is corrupt. It is only evil. The nature of man is corrupt throughout. Man is undeserving of any grace. Man has not done any good to deserve heaven, but only evil all the time. But God sent His only begotten Son that He should die for us. We have received grace upon grace that we have been taken out of our sins, out of our filth to live for God.

Ask yourself the question: what kind of a life do you live? A life of grace where God is at work, and He has rescued you from your sin? Blessed the man who can thank Him for His grace. We can boast about nothing. We can only thank for God’s grace. May that grace of God reach each of our hearts that we see something amazing happen and are able to testify, ‘I was once like this, but now I am like that. I used to be a slave to sin, but Jesus came and rescued and delivered me. He saved me from that life. Now I live a life of victory over sin.’

May we experience that grace and salvation that comes from God, through His grace.