Liberty to the captives

Introduction Dietmar Joosten

What a wonderful day to meet and listen to God’s word. We have just had the Youth Conference which was about God’s work that He started among us. I do not know of any other work which God started and has kept going in such a way. We pray that the Lord will be merciful to Rev Stegen and grant him heavenly revelations.

The young people repented during the youth conference. That is the difference. The revelation that Rev Stegen received from God is that we must confess our sins. This is something the world hates and despises, but what a revelation which comes from days of old. It is something we should continually do.

Guard your tongue. Do not consider your own ambitions. What does God want? So that one day when you look back you can be thankful and say that you died to what you desired to do and God brought about something new in your life. He changed it and He is working.

70 years is a lifetime, but friends, it is not the end. It will never be the end. It is something which God has kept going by His grace, and we pray that there will be another 70 years with Him.

Michael Ngubane

God is great. His works are amazing and unfathomable. It is not enough to speak about 70 years for a few hours. I thought about myself. Had it not been for the faithfulness of God’s servant, Rev Stegen, where would I be? Where would you be? Many of us may not even be alive anymore but by the grace of God we are alive. His grace found and protected us. It kept us in His hand and we can be here today and sing, We are marching to Zion, God’s holy dwelling. May the Lord help us that there may not be anyone who remains behind or hides away. We are all marching forward to Zion.

I trust that those who had not seen, see now how great this work is and how we need to continue bringing this message to those who have not received it. We must bring this Gospel, this light, this way, to His people. The Lord can send an angel but it is for us to do this work. The Bible tells us that he who puts his hand to the plough and then looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 If we have put our hand to the plough, we must continue. Rev Stegen worked with all his might that people would be saved and their lives changed. This Gospel is so practical. Everyone can see that a person has changed and is different. A child changes because they understand what it is to do the will of God. A child can see what is good and evil. May the Lord be gracious to us that this fire of the Gospel will spread. The Lord said, I have brought this fire to the earth so that this fire can burn and go forth. How much I desire that this fire is already burning. Luke 12:49 What was still needed was the Cross. We went to the cross, through the suffering so that people can be saved.

Someone asked me how it was possible that each of the thousands of people got food. Where have you seen that? We see God’s hand through this. If you have not seen or are unable to see, what is blinding your eyes spiritually? The works that our Lord Jesus did many years ago still happen. Should we not thank the Lord for that? May the Lord help us, may this fire not grow cold, may this which the Lord has given us go forth in strength. What a privilege we have. We do not only hear about it but we can see it, touch it and experience God at work among us. If we would take this life with us, how many people’s lives would be changed?

This morning I considered those in heaven. How many of them are there because of the faithfulness of God’s servant? Some received grace in the last seconds, in the middle, or at the beginning of their lives. The reward is the same. There were those who were disappointed and hurt but they all received the same pay. We started at different times, the workers said, why do we get the same reward? The Lord asked, What is troubling you? We agreed that if you work here you will get that amount of pay. Did you not get what we agreed on? Why do you look at the time? What is that to you? That which we agreed on you have received. That which the Lord has promised us and which He will help us to get, should be seen as grace from God. (Matt 20:1-16)

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1–3

The Gospel is so sweet. It is wonderful to hear the desires of our Lord and what the Lord’s plan is for us and the world.

We are approaching Christmas. The day that our Messiah, the Lord Jesus, entered the world. He came to help, to draw anyone from whatever pit they are in and bring water to those who are thirsty. To those who are sick and tired of the world, He brings them back to the water which they can drink. Why did the Lord Jesus come? Has He done that work in the people around me and in my life?

The day of the Lord brings freedom and peace. It brings what your soul needs - not the joy of this world which does not bring what your soul needs. The country’s leaders have met at Nasrec to elect a new leader but we have issues with electricity and water. What is there to be happy about in this world? What does the freedom of this earth bring us? But with God nothing comes to an end.

The Lord our Saviour speaks these words and explains why He came to this earth and what He expects of those He created in His image. He is the One whom the prophets foretold. He came to bring peace and lift burdens from us. The prophet Isaiah spoke about the One who would set the Jews free, but not them only, the whole world. He has come to look at the church and see its condition and how things have gone wrong in the church. He is the one who has come to save those who are unwell, to lift the burdens of the burdened, to set the prisoners free. Have you received this freedom? The Lord says, He who drinks of this water will thirst again, but he who drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again. John 4:13,14 He comes with the water, the solution, to that which you face. The Lord has come that the Gospel can be preached to the poor. The Bible says, Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall be called children of God. Matthew 5:3 If we are upright, living a pure life and are poor before the Lord Jesus, we will be known as His children.

The Jews were captives in Babylon. They were unable to do what they desired. Then that great day arrived, they were granted freedom. These are the wonderful tidings that come with the Lord Jesus, the time of freedom has come. He has brought this liberty, this grace, no matter how old or young you are.

Have you met the grace of God? Have you experienced this liberty through our Lord Jesus Christ, this good news of the Gospel? When you heard it, was there a change in your life? Is your life different to what it was before? Is there a difference in the way you do things, the way you walk? When your life was not one of faith, but something terrible, did it change? Did He make you a new being? Can you say you are a new creature? Jesus said, I have been anointed by God to proclaim these words of liberty. The Lord Jesus can save you and set you free of any problem. Report that problem exactly as it is. You can be saved while seated in church. Jesus proclaims that the time has come that people can be helped and set free. In churches where the people are committing filth and evil, Jesus can save and set people free.

There are brethren who are unaware of the standard that the Lord expects of them. There are those who live like priests, they live holy lives before us. Children of the royal family of heaven need to live worthily of that name. The way they dress, speak and act is not like others. They do not see things through the eyes of the world. It is evident that their lives are lived on a high standard. They do not live in the lies and deceit of the world.

The Lord says that today we can be set free. The day we put aside evil, God’s church can be rebuilt. You can be set free from your bondage to sin which rules you and tells you to sin more. You cannot live for God if there is sin in your life. You live either in the light or in the dark. What goes on in your mind? Pure or evil thoughts? This makes it clear for all to see where you stand before God. What you think about is what you are. You need to be set free because the devil has a hold over you in that area. The Lord has given us this great task to bring the Gospel to people and share it with them. If we do not know it, how can we speak about it? There are people who live in the spirit of lust, the spirit of this world, the spirit of lies. If we have not experienced freedom from those things, how can we show the world how to live in the Spirit of God?

Rev Stegen told a story of a man who was in bondage to alcohol. He did not know what to do. He got to work but along the road back home there was a bar and he always went in and drank. He vowed not to enter but after work, he always found himself there. This troubled him. He was unable to get help. He always fell into that trap. One day he decided never to drink. He had a hat on and he decided to throw his hat passed the door of the bar so that he would have to run after it. (There are people who cannot pass places of evil. They find themselves with prostitutes and then blame it on the route they must take. The problem is in the heart, not in the route). So the man threw his hat and a dog picked it up and ran. The man chased the dog for a while to get his hat back. In doing so he ran past the place where he could never control himself. His hat took him passed the place where he drank. Are there people who are caught in their sin and evil but they blame it on this and that?

To those in bondage to pornography. You work on your computer and say you must be busy on it for your job, but no day passes without you visiting those sites. You feed yourself with the filth of porn. You are young you say but even married people watch porn. Just yesterday you made it right, you overcame, there was joy in your heart and in heaven, but tomorrow you return to it. You go back to Lord and say sorry again. God’s word tells us people like this are like dogs or pigs. You part from evil but return to it. Before the sun sets you are back into porn. Some people play with Christianity. They are stuck in their sins but they say that God does not stop me. If you do not hate sin, you will not part from it. You need to reach the point where you have made the decision to part from the old and become a new creation. God wants to help you but you cannot be helped if you have not made a decision. The Bible tells us evil and sin passes away, God enters and everything becomes new.

A Christian’s life must not be like the electricity in South Africa where you are happy for 2 hours when it is on and then it is dark. Where will such a country go? Can there be prosperity in such a country? You can only work for a short period and then the electricity is off. This is because of negligence. Whatever our leaders say, wherever they meet, we need electricity and water. We do not have it.

As God’s children He expects us to live in a holy way so that those around us can see God in us. We cannot proclaim that God’s glory is here, and yet we have no glory in our lives.

Christ came. Christmas is to be reconciled with God’s Son. This is what the world needs from us. Ointment pours forth from the lives of those who are one with God. The dark garments of mourning have been removed. God has brought glory and holiness to those who are His. Jesus says the Spirit of God has anointed Me to bring the good news of the Gospel. Jesus was sent by God to do His work on His behalf.

When God enters, He removes the old way in which you lived and spoke. When God is in your heart and you have said or looked or thought something wrong, His Spirit corrects you and cleanses your heart. God’s word is that oil that you pour onto that wound to make it better again. Is that oil flowing in your life? God’s word tells us that His oil is there to help those whose lives are in ruins. Has your life been changed? The truth of the matter is that you are unable to help anyone else if you have not been helped. I cannot promise someone liberty and freedom that I am unaware of. We are not able to imitate politicians who promise people things but when they come into power, they never do it.

Has the Spirit of God that Jesus speaks about come upon us so that we are free? Do we know what it is to be free of lies, that you no longer tell lies? When you speak to your boss to get out of a situation, do you lie? Are you unable to face the truth as it is? Can you say, ‘Lord this is what I am, this is what I am like.’ Can you get freedom from the Lord? God’s fire is unable to burn if the world is still there. The Lord Jesus had none of that therefore His fire could burn.

A day was coming for those in captivity to be set free. How long will you remain in your prison of sin? Young person, mother, father, it does not help you to remain as you are. You need this grace of God. God wants to purify and cleanse you. The Lord wants to sweep away all the ashes in our hearts and lives. With a wood stove, one first had to clean the ashes before the fire burned as it should. The Son of God was sent by God to take away the sin of the world, to tell the children of God that the day has come for you to escape from Babylon. Is it not time for you to leave this prison? How long will you live this life? You have said for years that you are a child of God but the fruit does not show. I am here, I hear the Lord speak but I am satisfied to sit with the burdens. I do not come to the Lord to unburden myself.

There are people whose hearts, lives and bones are broken. You to draw near and ask what is wrong. If you notice someone whose spirit and heart are broken, have you asked that person how you can help? Have you taken that person to a child of God for his heart to be renewed and for him to find help? It should never be that you wake up in the morning and go through the day and the next day but your eyes are closed and you cannot see a person who needs help. You cannot help those around you. You cannot speak in any manner wherever you find yourself and you do not care what you say. Married people who speak inappropriately in front of their children, burden them. If your heart is like this cry out to the Lord and say, ‘Lord, something is amiss, I do not notice someone whose heart is broken.’ Our eyes must be open to see those who need help and who carry burdens. If we do not help them, we will also go to destruction with them. The Son of God has brought us liberty. Remember what the Son of God has done by coming to earth.

Think back to January this year. What has happened in the past year in your life? How many people have you gained? Were there people who stumbled, were crippled, were weary of spirit? Did you draw near to help them? Are your eyes closed that you cannot see these things? Is your heart and soul cold? Why are you unable to see the things that should be so obvious? May God help us and have mercy on us.

Here is the wonderful news, the good news of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is how He speaks. He calls us to Himself. If we walk like this, it is eternal life, if we do not, it is eternal death. We need to draw near to the one who was anointed and sent by God. Do we embrace Him? Do we love Him? Young people, do you have a love for God burning in your heart or only a love for girls or boys? He was sent to bring us life and give us what we need.

Conclusion Dietmar Stegen

Look at the life of Rev Stegen. God had called him, but he said that he would rather make money. God dealt with him and it is painful if God deals with someone who does not listen. But one day he knelt next to that bed and cried to God, listen children, he spoke to the Lord Jesus and when he opened the Bible, God spoke to him and said, ‘Feed my sheep’. He built a relationship with the Lord Jesus which is what we need. We need that relationship with the Lord. How will you get it? By kneeling next to your bed and crying to Him. He died for us to save us from our sin.

What was Rev Stegen’s secret? He got up and obeyed God. He took his suitcase and left. The day that we take our suitcase of freedom, and we are released from sin and obedient to God, things will change.

I was on the mission for many years but one day I went to Rev Stegen and said, ‘Sir, you will leave this world and we cannot show you anything we have done and built up while you were with us?’ It was painful to me. I saw how he worked but there was nothing to show for what he had taught us. From that day, things changed in my life and in my work.

The day you kneel and say, ‘Lord Jesus, save me from my sin, from this thing,’ and you mean it with all your heart and it costs you death, but you are obedient, your life will change.

Some people are like layer hens. These hens live in small cages and spend their lives laying eggs. If you take such a hen out of the cage and give it total freedom, the hen will stay where you put it. Many people are like this. The Lord has taken them out. I don’t know if they don’t believe it or they don’t think they can do it or it is not possible, but if you give them a bit of a kick, it is painful but then they see that they are free. This is the year of the Lord Jesus in your life where He sets you free.