God’s grace saves from sin

Deutsch

 

Français

We thank the Lord that He has brought us together again this morning. Some co-workers have gone to preach at the various branches where there is a great need.

The messages that are preached are broadcast but it was not always like this. Allow me to share how this revival came about. Many listeners may be unaware of how this work started:

The director of the mission, Rev Stegen prayed and when he opened the Bible, he read where Jesus asked Peter, “Do you truly love me?” Peter replied that he did. Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.” After reading this, Rev Stegen went and told his mother that he had been called by God to work among and preach to the Zulu people. As a young boy he visited the Zulu huts to tell them about the gospel. (Mr Engelbrecht pastored the white congregation at that that time.) His mother agreed and encouraged him.

He was given a car. He drove to the Port Shepstone. He had nothing at that time. He arrived with a broken suitcase that he closed using a tie. Along the way some men waved him down and gave him money for fuel which enabled him to reach his destination. He trusted the Lord for everything.

When he arrived there, he pitched the tent and purchased some basic food supplies – samp, beans, mealie meal and potatoes. This was the kind of food we ate at the mission in the 1970s.

He could not afford meat and eggs. He had no fridge. A chicken laid an egg daily in his tent. After a while he approached the neighbour about this hen and she responded, “If my hen lays an egg in your tent, it is yours.” In this way he ate an egg every day.

It could be that his parents allowed him to do as he felt and thought that when he ran out of resources (money, food, petrol) he would return home and abandon his childish idea. His family lived comfortably but he had many hardships.

He moved to Kingscliffe and then Maphumulo in 1962/3. He pitched a tent and held services there. My mother got converted and we saw the change in her life. Before her conversion my parents would always fight but after she was converted, she no longer backchatted my father. Rev Stegen taught her not to backchat. Rev Stegen often said that wives should not preach to their husbands but live lives that will win them. I gave my life to the Lord because of the change in my mother’s life. My father also got converted.

Rev Stegen had a heart for young people, and he wanted to win them to the Lord. He realised that the future lay with the youth. We observed that this man was a true leader.

He visited people at their homes and taught them how to use fertiliser and plant. At our homestead, the Lord helped us. We began prospering. We could afford cars and buses. Widows became industrious, they planted, harvested and sold their produce. They could afford cars.

The gospel went out like a consuming fire. In 1966 there were special services where Rev Stegen asked us whether living waters flowed from our lives as in John 7:38, Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” We said that we did not see these streams and he said that neither did he see these streams. After this the streams started flowing and the Lord worked.

Rev Stegen was asked to take funerals (also of amakhosi) and a wedding attended by believers and non-believers alike. In this way the Lord’s word spread. When the father of the previous king passed away, Dr Buthelezi invited him to speak at the funeral at Ulundi. This won the hearts of the people because as a white man he walked freely among them.

We were amazed and touched by the fact that he freely visited us in our homes. We prepared food for him and watched him. He ate what we had prepared.

The building in which we gathered in 1966 was an old stable which we cleaned out and used as a church. We did not notice the state of the building because we had come to seek the Lord’s face and worship Him there.

I am trying to paint a picture of what it is like when someone is truly called by the Lord into His work. Then we met in tents but look at where we are now.

There was a dream where God told us that this gospel would spread all over the world. In 1974 he was invited to preach in Europe. This dream was fulfilled.

When Rev Stegen flew over areas, he saw many houses and was deeply moved, wondering how he could reach the people with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was laid on his heart to pray that the Lord would provide the means to construct a radio station, so the gospel could reach into the homes of people. God provided the funds for this project. We were happy when we could broadcast locally and now internationally.

Rev Stegen was obedient to the Lord’s calling when He spoke and said, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you truly love Me? Take care of my sheep and feed them.” May the Lord keep you, Rev Stegen. If he had not been obedient, he may have arrived in heaven and been told, “Yes, you were successful on earth and have cars, aeroplanes etc, however, this is what I had prepared for you to do but you did not do it, so you must go to hell.”

He said that we need a building that can seat 10 000 people, but we do not have the funds. Pray that the Lord will provide, and He did, with the auditorium We needed a dining hall and we prayed, and the Lord provided. We needed an aeroplane and God provided.

His motto is this: you will receive things by living wholeheartedly for the Lord. Live for the Lord in truth and then you will receive things. That is what we saw through his example. Many young people have been helped and saved through the youth conferences because of his obedience to the Lord. Listen to what the Lord is going to do and obey Him and then you will see what the Lord will do for you. It is precious to obey the Lord.

I wanted to share shortly some of Rev Stegen’s testimony and how the Lord spoke through a dream that the Gospel will spread throughout the world. The Lord has fulfilled that dream. If you want to test whether you have the gift of God speaking through dreams, check whether your dreams or visions come into fulfilment. This what Rev Stegen taught us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

There have been two messages recently on the theme of grace. We are saved by grace. Our faith is because of grace. We do not do it out of our own. It is gift of God. It is not because your parents say that you should believe and then you believe. No, we believe through grace. It is gift of God to believe. It does not come from ourselves; we receive it from God.

While my mother worked at Mr Cope’s shop, I met her as she walked home after work. “I long that one of my children would also come to the faith and be a light to the others,” she said to me. I prayed in my heart there and then that I should be that person and God heard that prayer. If you do not believe, ask the Lord to help you to believe. God will hear. Say to the Lord, “I do not want alcohol any longer, I want to be your child, I want to believe.” Salvation and belief do not come from yourself; it is a gift of God. It does not happen automatically; it is a gift from God. Where did you receive your faith? If you are copying the faith of your relatives or parents, it is no surprise that your life is as it is. This will not help you. “I need to be saved,” ask the Lord for that.

Why is it a gift of God? In John 17 Jesus thanked the Father for those the Father had given to Him. It is God who gives those to the Lord Jesus who have been washed in His blood and saved by Him. Parents, pray that your children believe. If you see that they still lack faith, pray, “Lord, please grant them that faith that comes from You.”

You have received the gift of faith. How do you treat that gift? Do you take care of it? Do you appreciate it in the manner that you treat it? It is a gift that we have received through the mercy of God who looked upon us, pitied us and sent His Son to save us. It is amazing grace to be called children of God. It is not of our own doing; it is a gift of God.

not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:9 People may boast about being believers but there is no reason to boast. It is not of your own doing. Instead, thank the Lord for His mercy on you that you have received salvation. Today, people are proud of their salvation or of their good faith. They boast about the fact that they accepted the Lord Jesus and have done this and that.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 We should walk in them. We need to walk aright in the Lord Jesus who has called us because He saved us.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1,2

If we have died with Christ, how can we continue living in sin? This word says by no means. It should not be like that. How can you say that you have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, but you continue in sin? How can you continue in sin and allow it to reign in your life, but you say that you are a child of God?

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3,4

We ought to live in newness of life if we have been baptised into the death of Christ. Our lives should be different. Have people noticed a difference in your life from 2021? Have you changed? Is there a change in the way you speak and behave?

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:5-7

Some people are enslaved by sin. They cannot help themselves. They no longer enjoy committing sin, but they keep on doing it. A person enslaved by porn will be driven by it even though s/he no longer wants to do it. He will read books and look at things that defile him/her. Some people defile their bodies because they are ridden by the devil like a rider controls a horse. Some people live the life of Sodom and Gomorrah. Where will they go if God fetches them now? God bears with them until the day they will go to hell where the fire is not quenched. There they will burn forever.

That old life by which you were known should be crucified on the cross and ended. Some people do not know what it means when you speak of ‘the old life’. This means to repent; turn around; face in the opposite direction. People notice your life. They see whether the old life still exists. If you smoked, stop. If you drank, stop. When my father drank, he told people he was sick. Sometimes he would even fall over, and he would say that he was not well. One day, Rev Stegen met my father along the road and he was drunk. “Mr Dube,” he asked, “can I help you?” My father said that he was unwell. So, Rev Stegen asked him if he could pray for him and he did so on the road. As they knelt to pray, a bottle of drink fell out of his jacket pocket. Rev Stegen asked him what it was, and my father said that it was just water that he sipped when he got thirsty. When he arrived home, he gave the bottle of alcohol to Mr Mhlongo who drank and then he vomited. My father then also drank from the same bottle and he also vomited. Mr Mhlongo asked what was wrong with the alcohol. “I met a white man along the road who deceived me and now Jesus has entered this bottle,” my father replied. Both men stopped drinking alcohol on that day and never touched it again. Just for this I learned to respect and honour Rev Stegen. That day he never told my father to confess his sins, even though that is biblical, he simply said, “Let’s pray.”. When people report their problems to me, I pray with them and leave it over to the Lord to work in their hearts and lives. One day at Maphumulo, my father entered the service and stopped it saying, “I want my wife now!” Rev Stegen stopped preaching, remained quiet and allowed my father to take his wife out. I was worried whether he would beat her up. Rev Stegen humbled himself and allowed my father to take his wife and then continued preaching. You may have reacted differently and said from the pulpit, “You are demon possessed. You are a drunkard, and you are stopping God’s work!”. We were won over by his response. He was an inspired leader.

8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Romans 6:8

It does not matter what we are doing, we believe we are walking with Him and we will live with Him. With whom do you walk? With whom do you do things? If you commit sin, are you still walking with Him? No, Jesus is no longer there.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Romans 6:9

Jesus lives in us. He lives in you. You experience this when you sing or read the Bible, Jesus is in you and He speaks to you. Do you experience this? Do you pray and just fall asleep while praying? When you wake up you realise that you had been praying. When you dream, do you have bad dreams? The Bible says that your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions…Joel 2:28 What dreams do you dream? You have bad dreams, but you call yourself a child of God. Are you truly walking with Him? Especially if you are still ruled by pride and lust. They often go together.

10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. Romans 6:10

We should live for the Lord. We are obliged to live for the Lord. In your home do your children know you as a father who lives for the Lord? Does your brother know that you live for the Lord? Does the father know that his children live for the Lord? Are we known for the fact that we know God wherever we live?  We ought to experience a foretaste of heaven while on earth. You should live for God here on earth before you reach heaven. Do not say that you are living for the Lord if you get irritated and upset with your child, if you sleep without praying. Pray at all times, Jesus said, so that you do not fall into temptation.

11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11 We need to die to sin. Young person, you should be dead to sin and the lusts of the flesh. Some young people are only concerned about marriage. They may sing in front of the congregation simply to be seen but they are a problem.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? Romans 6:1

You will not experience grace if you confess a sin and return to that sin. Confess it and do not return to it. If you get angry with someone, confess it. You need to part from that sin. Stop sinning. You have separated from sin. Does sin reign in your life? Does lust reign in your life? Receiving the Lord Jesus is grace from God. It is a gift; it is not our own doing. Do not mistreat this grace or trample it underfoot. If you are a believer, be a believer through and through. Show through your life that you no longer go along with the things of the world. Some parents are pleased when their daughter has an affair with a man and she brings groceries home, but they never inquire where the groceries come from.

Conclusion Albu van Eeden
What we have heard is pure gold; from the testimony of how God visited the Zulus right up until the part about grace. How did the revival start? There were no rituals. There were no words or phrases which had to be repeated. There were no rules that had to be adhered to. That would have been legalism. Let me explain it figuratively. What the Holy Spirit did in their midst was to cause them to feel ‘nauseous’, because of their sin. Paul says that the man who returns to his sin is like a dog returning to his vomit. You become nauseous and have had to vomit it out. It is legalism to preach to people and tell them how to vomit yet they do not feel this ‘nausea’. What happened when God descended? The Holy Spirit convicted them of their sins and they became nauseous and wanted to be rid of it.

Most who say this revival is legalistic say so because they are not nauseous. For them there are only rules. Look at every revival – the Korean revival, the Great Awakening under Jonathan Edwards, the East African revival – the people were convicted of their sins when the Holy Spirit descended on them.

Every verse, every word was precious gold for them who are nauseous due to the grace of God.

The grace of God appeared to all men. We celebrated this at Christmas. The grace of God that we heard of today is Christ our Lord.