Introduction Albu van Eeden
To everyone who is listening across the world, we welcome you and are happy that you can share this service with us today. We live in turbulent times that we have never experienced before. There are wars and rumours of wars as we read in God’s word. Friends, we have no idea of the different situations that God may put us into as we go through life. There may be times of smooth sailing and prosperity and for those times, we need God’s word. We may go through personal sickness and pain, and God’s word is important and relevant for those times. We may be far away from the wars, or closer to the wars as some are who are listening today but whatever the time is, God has specific advice in His word circumstances we experience. We look forward to hearing what is on Gods’ heart for us today.
I thank the Lord for this opportunity. Are you present out of your own free will or are you pulled along by your parents? When you awoke, what did you feel on your heart? Was there that expectation and longing for God’s word or were you busy with your own interests and the service gets in between your things. May God give us the longing to hear from Him and His word.
I have a question this morning: Do you know God? I am not asking if you go to church or how often you attend church. Do you know God in the sense that you have a relationship with Him? I am not asking how often you pray or how many meetings you attend. Do you know God? Most of the questions in your life will be answered if you know God in a personal relationship. Many young people have questions such as: Why can’t I do this or that? What can I do? Do you really know God? If you do not have a close relationship with God, there will always be unanswered questions in your life. If you know God, there is communication with God. You may ask, how does God speak? I’ve often tried to hear God’s voice; I’ve often prayed but I’ve never head him speaking to me. If this is what it is like in your life, do you know God? If you knew God, you would ask Him and He would reply. There would be a two-way communication between you and God.
I will refer to examples of how people met God and their lives were never the same again. You will see the importance of knowing God personally. Some have problems that they cannot escape from - if that is the case, then does that person truly know God? The gospel is so wonderful that when God speaks, He puts it in such a way that even a child can understand. God expects us to be citizens of heaven because we know Him intimately and have a relationship with Him.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
The man who wrote these words testified that when you meet with Christ everything changes. If you look at his life before and after he met Christ, it is amazing. Before he met Christ, he thought he was on the right way but he was totally wrong. How many today fight against God’s people, they think they are right but they are wrong. How many Sauls are there today who fight against the people of God? They do not sleep at night because they are writing on social media, fighting against the people of God. They forget that they should be busy with God’s work. Saul was fighting against the people of God and going against God’s work.
One day it dawned on him that he had gone completely astray. He met up with that lightning and he realised that he was fighting against God. Some amongst us need to meet with that lightning because you can speak to them, but nothing dawns on them. We need to meet with that lightning from God Himself so that we see things in God’s light. This man was going against the light, and it dawned on him and things changed. He realised that all along he thought he was opposing people but he was opposing God. When he met with God he met with a new revelation of Christ in God.
Have you met with that light which shone around you, and you saw nothing else but yourself, your own sin and God? Many people oppose the ministry of confession of sin. You might be opposing this too and opposing children of God. The first thing that happens when God works in a person’s life is that he realises his own sinfulness and rebellion against God. Because you have not met with God, you see the sins of others and not your own. When you meet with God’s light you will see your own sin, you will see how evil you are, you will realise how desperately you need someone to show you the way to reconciliation with God.
Have you ever met with this God who reveals things to people? Saul met with this God before he became Paul - his name even changed. Among the Zulus, the parents may give the child a birth name with a negative meaning. When they became Christians, they change their name because their lives have changed and they no longer live up to the meaning of their original birth name. If I meet Christ, my life changes, my actions change, my speech changes. I was a liar and now I no longer lie. If I tell a lie, I would be unable to sleep. Do you tell a lie, go to sleep, wake up and continue with life as if nothing has changed? Do you know God intimately? When God works, things change in a person’s life. If you held grudges, that would stop. If you were known for hatred, it stops. You cannot be a believer with these things in your life. You cannot be a believer and be unfaithful with people’s money.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The old passes away. Has this happened? Has stubbornness ended? Can you bow now? Do you know what it means to deny yourself? Even when you are accused of things you are innocent of, can you deny yourself? You are a child of God. The way in which you react is not the same as you reacted in the past. Your life is new. You have been born again. You see a new person, a new life, since the person has met God. Paul’s life changed completely. His criticism ended. Grudges ended. His lies ended. Allow me to emphasise lies. Many people are full of lies. Their lives are ruled by lies and they call themselves believers. When you are in Christ you ought to be a new person.
The Bible says that we need to work with our own hands, not that we steal, so that we have enough to share with others. Not that we have because we steal. (Ephesians 4:28) A child of God does not steal, does not do evil things. Your life has changed. Even a small child - when you come to Christ, you stop stealing. You ask God or your parents, you do not steal.
Let us go back to what happened at the time of Moses. God called Moses to do His work. God could not use Moses as he was. He had to do a work in Moses’ life. He had to get to know God before He could be used. It is so important to know God personally. You may say that you are so busy working for God but you possibly do not know the God you are working for and neither does He know you. If you get to know Him, He speaks to you.
Moses saw the bush burning but not burning up. It drew his attention. What happened then? As he came closer, God spoke to him. “Moses, stop. Do not come any closer. Take the sandals off your feet because the ground you are standing on is holy.” Moses did not have to ask about this, he knew what it meant. He understood what type of shoes he had to take off. What had Moses done in his life? What had he done and then run away and thought no one had seen him, even God? God did something to grab his attention. God spoke to him.
No matter how close we draw to God, He will first speak to us. When we draw near to God, He does not fail to convict us of what we are like in His sight. He will show us our lost state and what we are like in His eyes. Does God reveal your sin to you? Why would God show us our sin if He did not expect us to do anything about it? The Bible says do not be deceived, led astray in the last days. God said that the last days would be very difficult and dangerous. Some will have the appearance of godliness but deny the power of it. There are many who have the perfect appearance of godliness, but they are faraway from God and leading others astray. (2 Timothy 3:5) There may be some who are confused because they have been poisoned by what they have heard from others.
God put it clearly, “Take off those sandals because the ground where you are standing is holy.” Friend, take the sandals off your feet because the place where you are sitting is holy. You know your sin. You know your life. You know what fills your heart. You know the bitterness and hatred in your heart. You know what things separate you from God. When God has shown you, what should you do? Remove the things that cause you to stumble and make you spiritually poor. Get rid of the things which prevent you from hearing what God says. He speaks so often but you do not hear Him. Some people are as hard as brick, their foreheads have become like flint. Some are so stuck to their sin; you cannot separate them from it.
What helped Moses was his obedience. He removed his sandals. The gospel started working then. God could speak properly. Was there anyone else who had such an intimate relationship with God as Moses did? They communicated like friends. Moses even wanted to see the face of God. Moses, do you understand what you are asking? God responded and said that no one could see His face and live. Moses did you understand what you were asking for when you asked to see God’s face? But He allowed Moses to stand in the cleft of a rock and see His back as He passed. Moses would see God from behind.
God loves to speak to us. God longs to reveal things to us if we are in the right place. If we are where He wants us to be there is so much that God wants to show us. God said, “Remove your sandals because the place you stand on is holy.” God is holy and God sees what people are doing on the earth. Moses’ life was never the same again.
There is a difference between a person who has met with God and one who has not. Young people, you are in great danger if you have not met God. Boys and girls, you are in grave danger if you do not yet know God speaking. Look at what is happening. Who can live in such a time? Who can oppose the evil things of this time? Who can stand at this time? Don’t you see how important it is for you to know God personally. This is a time for you to get to know the one who gave His life for you. Your parents can assist and lead you some of the way, but you must get to know His speaking to you personally.
Older people, has there ever been a time when it was so important to have a personal relationship with God? Look at what the devil is doing among older and married people. The devil is known as diabolos – the confuser of things. He makes things muddy like pigs who trample everything-even that which is good and precious. How desperately we need God. We need to know Him and His speaking. Many do not know God because they do not listen. They disobey God. That is why the devil has power in our lives because we are disobedient. God wants time to speak to us and reveal Himself to us like He did with Moses and that His people can pass things on to others. Who is close to you? Is it God? Is it the devil who gets you to listen to things that are not from God? Moses had the privilege of seeing God’s appearance from the back. His face shone so brightly after that that the people could not look at his face.
Some people dream about horrible things about Popeye, demons, tokoloshes, evil spirits because they keep company with such things. That is what they are busy with. Those who meet with God meet with that which is good, holy and pure. When they meet with God their lives are transformed. When you have met with God, your life changes. You will be known by different things; your reputation will no longer be the same because He makes all things new. After these men met God, they changed completely. There are many men and women whose lives changed after they met God. If you have met with Jesus, your life should change completely. I do not speak about the one who meets Christ today and tomorrow he is back in the mud.
There are people who thought they were on the way but when they met God, they realised they did not really know God. Isaiah was a prophet who worked for God. He was a servant of God, yet he had not seen what he saw at the end. He thought he was zealous for the God but in the year that King Uzziah died, he saw things he had never seen before. He saw the seraphs. He saw their appearance. The most important thing which he highlighted; he fell down like a dead person. If you meet with Christ, you cannot continue as if nothing happened. Your life changes. The old passes and things change. Sin stops. A drug addict changes when he meets Christ. When Isaiah saw that he fell down
5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5
This man saw his sin. He lived among people who were unclean, and I had become infected and defiled. It is terrible to live among people where Satan rules and they swear and speak foul language and live violently. That is an evil life. When we meet with Jesus that changes. Isaiah said, “Woe is me! For I am lost.” Thank God for that seraph who cleansed his lips that had spoken evil and defiled things with a burning coal. You need that coal and fire to cleanse your lips.
There are people who are slaves to sin, they do not like it anymore, but they cannot part from it. If we come to Jesus we find mercy and grace. Our lives change. That for which we were known passes away and everything is new. He can change things. Your speech changes. Your perspective, your eyes change. Some people’s eyes are defiled they cannot let a skirt or pair of trousers pass without looking. Our lives need to change as God’s children. You can send somebody to the city, and he will go there and come back undefiled. Others will go and come back drunk, or pass the brothels. There are others who remain unchanged. They are true children of God.
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
If we know him intimately, He will make all things new in our lives. If we know His will, He will make all things new. The old will pass away and everything will become new. Do we know God? Check your life. Do you know God intimately? You may have been a child of God for a long time, but do you know God? Look at what you do in your life and that will be an indication of whether you know God or not.
The Bible says a time will come when it will not be necessary to say know the Lord because each one will know the Lord. (Hebrews 8:11) Do you know the one who saves? He lives and saves. I can speak of experience - the wonder of getting to know Christ and experiencing His saving power in my life. The old passes away and sin goes away.
We must live for God. We must burn for God. You will be ice cold spiritually if you have sin in your life. Jesus went to the cross so that through his blood we may have victory over sin which so easily trips us up.
Rev Stegen said that the first sermon he preached was about the blood of Christ. Is it under your feet or doing its work in your life? You need to answer that question in your heart.
Conclusion Dietmar Joosten
This point was on my heart before the service started. Where is God in your life? I spoke to someone recently and said, “My friend, you will confess and confess until the day you meet Christ and that will come to an end because you will have overcome.” The Lord said, “I make everything new.” M
y friend, you have been here so long why can’t God make things new in your life? We have heard the answer this morning. You do not know Him, you have not experienced Him. With some people He reveals things, and they change immediately but with others it takes time, but He works.
If I had to preach today, I would preach this sermon. The attack is on confession of sin. It is not confessing your sin; it’s the way Christ works in your life and changes your life. If you meet Christ, it would be easy for you, it will be something you know, it will be something you want to do and are not forced to do.
Take time with the Lord. Put everything aside like Jacob. Ask God. You do not have because you do not ask. Ask Him to help you, to be with you and change you. Take time to read your Bible. Ask Him to speak to you. Take time to stand before Him. Ask Him to reach out and touch your life.
You will gain power and strength if you are obedient to Him. If He says you are on holy ground, do not hesitate - take off those shoes. If the Lord uses someone whom you dislike and it hurts, accept it because the Lord wants to change your life. Meet your Lord. The key is in your hand. If you really desire and are earnest, do it daily. You need to meet Him every day. You need to be refreshed and encouraged every day. I pray for us. “Lord, make everything new.”