Introduction Bruno Hlongwane
It is a joy that the Lord has given us this opportunity to meet. We do not take it for granted. Some are here for the first time and others often come. If there is something you need to bring to the Lord, there will be an opportunity after the service for prayer.
We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is wonderful when the Lord speaks to you. It is like sitting at a set table. I pity the host who is concerned about the taste of the food. The guest is not so concerned about that. He is just happy to see the food. When I prepare food, I am nervous about whether it will taste good. When the guests are satisfied, I am relieved.
Often when I need to stand here, I experience a tussle within. I do not know whether what I have prepared will be sufficient and appreciated. If I had a choice whether to sit down or take the service, I would prefer to sit down. When I grew up, we had a service at home every Wednesday with young people from various denominations. We planned for the following week and decided who would open the meeting, speak etc. I had a friend there who was also a neighbour. One day it was decided that his sister would take the service the following week. (They did not take into consideration whether you had the ability to preach or not.) She was shocked and asked, ‘Have you ever seen me preach?’ She almost opposed the decision. Others were also asked to assist her. Finally, she said, ‘I have never preached before, and if you say I must preach, this will be the last time I will come to your service.’ Then someone remarked, ‘You have seen this in the wrong way. You see a person pointing at you to take the service, but God’s finger is pointing at you.’ That is how I understand this - God’s finger is pointing at me. I cannot oppose it or sit down. What helps and strengthens me is that I stand here with the Lord. There is nothing between the Lord and myself that hinders me from standing here. I never want to forget the fact that this pulpit belongs to a certain person who was given this place by God. God’s work is often harmed by a person who has been asked to do something and they have become great in their eyes.
This week I attended two services that blessed me and the two messages combined into one. One message was about Noah and the ark. When the rain poured down, the ark went up. It was not held down by the flood. The second message was about God’s fire. As I listened and reflected this message, my prayer was that the mission residents should not miss God’s fire and sit with ashes. We should face the fire, not just the flame. If we just meet with a whiff of flame, God will be unable to do anything in our lives. If the storms come and we have not been purified in the heart of the fire and only singed by the flame, we will be swept away by the storm. When the floods come, will we be swept away or will we be safe in the ark, the secure place of God?
God did not use Noah because he was a master shipbuilder, God used him to accomplish His will. The Lord did not tell Rev Stegen what to do to have revival? The Lord saw his upright heart and He worked with him in the fire until all the starch was removed. It was only then that he could entrust the gift of revival to him. The people who supported Rev Stegen were willing to go through the same fire to support him. They stand even now through the storms because of their foundation. Have we faced this fire of God? If we have experienced this fire, we will not desert, we will stay faithful. We will be kept in the ark if we are in the fire. The Lord can test our hearts and see how true we are to Him and then allow us to enter the ark and we will withstand the oncoming storm.
Many have only experienced the flame and thought they were in the fire. They are just stubble that can be swept away. They have never truly faced that fire. Some have been swept away because of what they allowed into their lives. They only experienced the flame, not the fire. Some sat here, some even preached. They knew the stories but had only experienced the flame, not the fire. Some attended DSS. They were just part of the school. They never understood the fire that brought about the school. They just experienced some of the flames. Now they tell the whole world: I was at DSS. I am this great queen. They think everyone will simply follow the queen. Some came here, saying they were called when there was electricity and hot water. They had not experienced this fire. They just went along with the group but when the time of testing came, they failed. They were like chaff that burns into a small fire but is quickly extinguished. They are gone. You built an ark, but the floodwaters covered the ark because you built it in your own way, not the way God instructed you to do it. There are self-made critics who evaluate the word that is preached. The flames have just touched them, and they get swept away. Those who remain are firm have passed through the fire and are secure in the Lord. Have we faced this fire from God? Has it purified us? If gold is put into the fire, it does not turn black. The hotter the fire, the purer the gold, the more it shines. The persecution of God’s work is God’s fire. The more secure it is in the Lord, the purer and the stronger it will become despite the storms.
Noah was not selected to build the ark because he knew how to do it. He was tested by God and found to be upright and the right person to be entrusted with the task. His contributions did not determine whether he was qualified for the work or not. The Lord also noticed the ‘Noah of this time.’ He did not consider what he had or who was with him. God saw an upright man who decided to go through this fire and God brought forth this work. When the Lord took him through the fire, he did not protest that it was too hot. He was prepared to go through the fire with the Lord. The result was revival.
What fire or storm are you going through? Is it lifting you higher? Is it purifying you and developing in you what God wants you to be? Can you see God Almighty and holy in your present situation or do you protest, ‘Lord, You made a mistake in putting me through this.’ Look at God’s children when they go through the fire and storms, you read nothing on their faces. Why? They are at peace because they know they are in it with God. When the church was cursed and labelled many different names, their faces spoke of peace and unity with God. What did that situation do to you? May the Lord be gracious to us. May we be thankful when we are in this fire, knowing we there with God and it is not just a flame licking us.
12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.
13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:12 – 13
I will conclude with this text which tells about the Passover that originated in Egypt. In this chapter the Lord brought Moses and Aaron together and gave them instructions for the children of Israel. Moses had been sent to Egypt and Pharoah to instruct him to free God’s children and let them go. Many things were done to help Pharaoh to allow God’s children go.
God instructed Moses and Aaron to tell the children of Israel to take an unblemished lamb and sacrifice it to the Lord. He explained how the lamb should be sacrificed, prepared and eaten. The Lord reached a point where He said, ‘I have tried everything, but this is what I will do now.’ The Lord explained that the blood of the lamb had to be painted on the doorposts and how it had to be done. This blood was a sign to the angel of death to pass over that home. He was foretelling how the Lord Jesus would become a Lamb that would be slaughtered - how the Lamb of God would be that barrier between God and them. The Lamb would stand on their behalf. This was a sign of future events. ‘Paint the blood on the doorposts and it will be a sign for the Angel of Death to pass by.’ The blood of the Lord Jesus in your heart will serve as a sign to others that the Lord lives there. The blood of that lamb was painted on as a sign of the Lord Jesus – the Blood of the Lamb of God that is there for us. That blood was not discarded after the lamb’s slaughter, it was there as a sign.
Is the blood of the Lord Jesus a sign in your life? Is that sign in our lives as children of God? Does that sign protect us from the devil as that lamb protected God’s children? Does it protect us from evil or has it done no work in our lives? ‘When I see the sign of that blood, I will pass you by,’ says the Lord. If the devil sees that sign, he will pass by but if he does not see it, he will enter and rape us.
And when I see the blood, I will pass over you…
If the people had done it their way, they would have met death. But if they did it as the Lord instructed them to, it would be their shield and victory. Where does God’s blood, the blood of the Lamb stand in our lives? Does it accomplish the work for which it was sent for? Does it protect our lives? It should do an even greater work than the work done by the blood on the doorposts.
The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are.
The blood of the Lord Jesus will be a sign to you wherever you are. The Lord Jesus’ blood will protect you wherever you find yourself.
This work has withstood the storms and whatever has come its way. It was built in the fire. If it had been built on the blood of goats and things you can hold with your hands, it would have been destroyed long ago. What sustains it? Its foundation is in the blood of the Lord Jesus. This work is not swayed by words or criticism, but it stands because of the foundation in the Lord and the fire it has gone through. The work will stand, whether we are there or not because it was built on the blood of the Lord Jesus.
The Zulu people understand the issue of blood. Even though we have been saved, we believe that once blood has ‘expired’ you need to bring in new blood. There is always something new that must be done for the home to be reestablished. However, the blood of the Lord Jesus never loses its power. It was, it still is, and it will be forever. The work it was sent for, it has done, is doing, and will still do.
Child of God, have you met this sign? Has this blood worked in you that when the devil comes, he sees God’s work and passes by? Someone recently said to me, ‘You believers don’t really understand, you need to do things as a man to be protected.’
‘Show me what you mean?’ I said and he showed me a rope that he wore of different colours. Are you a man because of that? I do not have to carry bones around me, they weigh me down. All I need is the blood of Jesus. The devil makes a person think they are something, yet they are blind. This man thought he was a real man because of what he was wearing, and he tried to boss me around because of it. You possibly do not know how that rope is made, but I do. After scratching on the surface a bit, I found out that this man once had a bit of faith but now his faith is in the things he wears.
The fire will purify you. If you are licked by the flame, it will burn a black spot but fire burns everything away. You may have been affected by things you have heard. You may have been singed by what you have looked at. It may have infected you and you have infected others. Isn’t it wonderful that the green can be restored to the tree when the rains come. Woe to you if you go to your grave before this happens.
Conclusion Albu van Eeden
Only Joshua and Caleb succeeded in reaching the promised land in the end. This should make us tremble in fear. The whole nation became stubble. What a tragedy! God gave them a man like Moses who taught them about the blood and the power of the blood in their souls. God spoke to Moses and he taught the people about the value of the blood, about leaving Egypt, about going to the promised land. But the whole nation turned out to be stubble. They were licked by the fire and not burnt to purity by the fire.
God told Noah how to escape the destruction. His family was privileged to enter the ark, but ultimately each of them had to have faith in God. Friends, if we are in the ark, we are saved by the Lord. Let us not become proud. We are in the ark because God revealed Himself to men and women in a special way years ago when revival came down. May we all be in the ark. God in His grace spoke to a man called Noah, he obeyed, and God revealed Himself to Noah.
Let us thank the Lord that He revealed His will and the power of the blood of His Son to save us from our sin to people years ago. Each of us needs to apply the blood of the Lamb to our hearts. It is not enough to be part of Israel, part of the nation that left Egypt. Each of them had to learn to apply the blood to their own hearts.
Are you just in the ark together with Noah? Are you just part of the nation moving out of Egypt through the desert? Are you just following a leader? Have you allowed God to apply the blood of His Son to your heart so that you can purified by the fire and saved from your sins?
We thank God that He has been merciful to us. May His mercy bear precious fruit in our lives. What a warning it was the nation of Israel and to all of us. A whole nation moved out of Egypt, followed Moses as God lead them, but of the whole nation only two men reached the Promised Land. It makes me fear and tremble.
Cry out to God and say, ‘Lord, I want to be in the ark. I want to be part of Your nation but be gracious to me that Your blood will do its work in the deepest corners of my heart, that I won’t be a fake - a person just licked by fire, but not truly purified by the heavenly fire.’