Introduction Detlef Stegen
We thank the Lord that He has kept us to see this day and that He has continually supplied our every need. May it be our prayer that the Lord will be with us and speak to us according to our needs.
We thank the Lord for opportunities such as these to sit at the Lord’s feet. We greet the brethren present and those who have joined using other means.
When we were in India a word came to my heart, one we have often heard Rev Stegen preach on, but it was very relevant to me. In India where we stayed there was a canal. The water was murky, and it was used to wash clothes. The people from the area say that if you sink a borehole, the water cannot be drunk. They have water a few metres away from them, but they cannot drink it so drinking water must be brought in by truck. We were shown a river nearby but there was rubbish floating on the water. We saw the steps that people climb down to get water from the river for washing, cooking or drinking. Wherever food is prepared, the dirty water is poured onto the ground and that water eventually finds its way back to the river. A river should bring life and beautify the area, but this river had a stench. It was then that these verses came to mind.
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37 – 39
The one who believes in Him will have these rivers of living water flowing from his heart. The Lord showed grace to John that when he wrote this, He gave him the following verse (39) to explain it. These living waters should be understood in a spiritual sense. Do we have this living water in us, children of God? It seemed as if Jesus said that if you believe in Him there must be fruit in your life. If a river is healthy everything around it will be alive, even the air is fresh because the river brings life. Child of God, if we believe in the Lord Jesus, life should be found in us which can be given to others. A river keeps itself healthy by throwing out what is dirty. If a river is not healthy and living, it cannot purify itself.
If our spiritual lives are not alive, we will be unable to purify our lives. The spirit within is alive. A person realises that he/she needs to cleanse him/herself so that the life within does not die. If the water within is living, you will understand when there is dirt within, and you need to bring it to the Lord so that He can cleanse you.
There was a beautiful river that brought many tourists and visitors as well as revenue to the area. It was a beautiful area. There were no houses around and people came from far and wide to see it. There was life in everything around the river. Slowly people began to buy land around the river and build. Accommodation for visitors was also built. With all the building projects, the soil began washing into the river, however the constant flow of water kept the river clean.
As time went on, the soil washed further downstream, and a wall began to form, and this bank of mud slowed down the flow of water. The town advertised the river; however, the amazing view was not so amazing anymore. The river could not cleanse itself; branches were all over the water and the flow was stopped. The clean water became murky. People stopped coming. They said they were wasting their time. The river no longer brought in revenue for the municipality.
The people in the area did not see the problem because they saw the water. Finally, disease resulted from the water and people became ill and died. They were at their wits end. They blamed the municipality and the mayor. Elections took place and an old man was elected as mayor. They young people complained that he was old and would die soon and the river issue would not be solved.
The new mayor advertised for someone to work on the river, but the young people refused to cooperate. An elderly man came forward for the job but said that he did not have the qualifications. The mayor gave him the job and asked him how they could go about resolving the river issue to receive revenue from it again. The man thought and said, ‘If we trust the One whom we cannot see and are faithful, we will succeed.’ This mayor smiled and the old man realised that the mayor did not understand. The man said, ‘I am explaining how it can be done but you don’t understand.’ The old man asked the mayor for a bit of money.
The river that had brought life, now brought death and the old man could see where he had to start. He dug open the bank of mud so the water could run freely again. He removed the branches. He worked there for years. All he did was to remove blockages from the flow of the river. After that it cleaned itself. The people saw the change but not the old man working on the river. They praised the mayor and congratulated themselves on their wise choice. Life was brought back to the river and people returned.
In this text is a flowing river. If a river flows, it remains clean and brings life to those around it. Spiritually, if that river brings life to you, it will bring life to those around you. Your spiritual life cannot be cleansed, if you don’t go the place where you need to be cleansed. To be a Christian does not mean attending church with your Bible, it means to have a life from which living water flows. That means you need to be constantly connected to your heavenly Father.
‘Coming to church’ means to be like that old man who removed the blockages that hindered the river’s flow. Remove things, cleanse your life, so that the river of living water can flow. The cost of keeping the living water flowing within is constant cleansing.
If you always want to know the latest news and you keep busy with the latest things, you will be a stagnant river. People once knew that you used to be on fire for the Lord, but now you are a stagnant river. If the Holy Spirit is working in your life, you will not constantly be falling for the same sin. It is not possible.
When Rev Stegen shared how the revival started, he tells how they asked each other whether the rivers of living water flowed from their lives. They had to deal with this and each other and this resulted in the work we have today. Brethren, they did not stop by asking each other, no, when the Lord showed them, they dealt with things and the Lord broke down the walls so that the water could flow. We will die if we do not do the same thing and allow the river to become polluted again. From 1966 they have been busy. Whenever there has been some form of pollution, it had to be removed. It is not a matter of giving your life to the Lord and then you stop purifying it. If they had stopped there and been satisfied with the fact that the Lord had sent His Holy Spirit, we would not be here. We are offended when we are reminded of what we must remove - the things that stop the water from flowing in our lives. Others remain silent and when porn is addressed, they criticise in their hearts, ‘There they go again…’ but they are caught in that snare and it is because they are stuck in porn that they are offended and the living water is blocked from flowing.
As Rev Stegen prayed with the Christians at that time, he had a question, ‘What will the people outside say?’ The Lord made it clear that if that troubled him, the Lord would be outside and not inside with him. Are we united or does sin separate us? They easily approached each other at that time and helped one another. They accepted things with humility. Do we still have that today?
What branch blocks the river? Is it questioning everything? Is it that you cannot accept things which is why nothing flows? When a particular preacher preaches, you find fault. There are blockages in your life that stop the flow of the river. You dress like a Christian, you attend church, but people can see that the living water is not flowing.
Gogo Radebe was buried yesterday. The Saturday before she passed away, a preacher visited her and she said, ‘The Lord marked the day you were born and the day you would die.’ She spoke about one problem she faced that if the Lord took her who would look after the girls who stayed behind? The preacher told her not to worry because they are of age and would look after the home. The men would also do their part. She thanked him and acknowledged that it was the truth. ‘The Lord ordained the first day you would come to earth, and you will not be able to go one second over the last day ordained for you,’ she said. She repeated this over and over.
Before they went to sleep on Saturday, her daughter asked her whether they could pray. Gogo Radebe said, ‘I have spoken to the Lord Jesus, I have prayed.’ ‘Mother, when did you pray?’ she asked. ‘Children,’ she said, ‘I have prayed enough, now I only want to thank.’ ‘Fine, Grandmother,’ they said, ‘please thank for us.’ She thanked the Lord for the many years they could be His children. It was a short prayer, and they went to sleep.
The next morning, they asked her how she was, and she said she was fine but they could see that something wasn’t right. They checked her sugar levels while she sat quietly. Her son said, ‘Mother, be at ease, you have taught us and He is with us. Everything will be well.’ She did not have a light complexion, but when she closed her eyes, her complexion lightened.
When you visited her, she would ask, ‘My child, are you still connected to our Heavenly Father?’ We want to make the Gospel more to our liking and say there is no need to confess our sins but at 93 years of age she still purified her life. You, 18-year-old child, when last have you confessed your sins? She understood that she had to constantly make her life right. She understood the importance of cleansing her life even at 93 years of age. This woman wanted the living water to flow in her life at 93.
Young people, you are offended when it is spoken about sin because you are stuck in it. The people who have walked ahead of us, have not lived according to their feelings which is why they are what they are today. Make time and speak to them, hear from them. They still walk with the Lord. They still do what the Lord shows them to, but young people get upset when it is spoken about sin. Gogo Radebe received the Gospel and walked with the Lord. I think she had 6 daughters-in-law, but there was no friction. She always brought people together. The induna of the area testified to this. Child of God, what is your life like? Does the living water flow from within you?
When the Lord worked in Rev Stegen’s life, He worked on the pride of being a white person. Can that still be worked on today? There was no black or white, they were united. What is it like today? What do our lives lack? Is the difference that today we have something to eat but they did not have then? When the service is over, we rush off to eat, there is no time to cry before the Lord. It is not about coming to church that makes you a believer, it is taking care of the flow of water.
There was an old lady whom I would fetch on Sundays and no matter what the weather, she was always there. But for about 2/3 weeks, she was no longer waiting for a lift to church, and she did not attend the service. When I asked her where she had been, she said that she had visited her grandchild because she was the one who must get her grandchildren right. I had been drawn to her because of her faithful testimony but that day I realised that she had not met with the Gospel in truth.
‘What will people say at your funeral when you used to come to church but no longer do?’ ‘That’s not my problem,’ she said, ‘I won’t be alive, I’ll be in the coffin.’ We said to her, ‘You’ve been faithful all this time, but now…’ ‘Yes, she said, ‘it was so that I could get food and aQuelle.’ The next time when the prayer was over, I saw her walking as quickly as possible to the dining hall for food. That was all she wanted. Although she had a testimony of knowing Rev Stegen, she never met the Gospel. Are we like this? Do we have this living water? We are comfortable – there is food and hot water and that is all we are concerned about.
If the Lord has spoken, stay behind and make your life right because that last day has been appointed in your life. Maybe the Lord spoke to you last Sunday and the things He showed you then, make them right.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. If there are still rotten branches in your life, get rid of them. Maybe what needs to be removed from your life is that I know attitude. For the Lord’s Spirit to move among us let us get rid of stubbornness where you rate people who try to help you - if so-and-so speaks, I will listen, otherwise I won’t.
The river which had stopped flowing and bringing an income, had to be worked on by that old man - may I be that old man in your life today.
Conclusion Jabulani Dube
You might be amazed if I say it this: When the choir sang, I saw someone standing on that side of the choir wearing white robes and, in my heart, I said, ‘This is Jesus.’ I wondered if I could stand up and be with them. I said, ‘Lord, look towards us,’ and then He disappeared. He wore white robes. This is what it was like when the revival started. After the service someone said, ‘I saw something written on the wall,’ but others did not see it. I was amazed when I saw this and I wanted to get up and join the choir and as I looked up to see His head, He disappeared. I want to show you the power of the Lord Jesus.
In the beginning we read of how the Lord spoke to them and they heard the voice clearly speak but today we will not see the Lord Jesus stand before us, it will be people who speak. On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Today, people shout that to us. Even now He works in us through His Spirit, and we see how the Lord works among His people. Today we see the living waters flow through us. If there are no living waters, you need to allow the Lord to open the blocked places in your life so that the river can flow. If you are on fire for the Lord, continue. If rivers of living waters are flowing from within you, continue in that way.
Remember the tap that could not flow because there was a frog stuck in the pipe. When the frog was removed the water could flow. If you are unable to understand the Lord’s word, unable to sing, unable to pray, search your life and see what is blocking it. If you who feel that the waters are flowing in your life and that He is working, continue.
Some people who heard the Lord say this were upset and wanted to arrest Him. Some people are angry when others preach or testify about what the Lord Jesus has done. If the Lord Jesus is in a message, see how the people accept it, how they treat it. Those who have the living waters flowing from within, their hearts burn within. I felt the beauty and warmth of today’s message.
The Lord Jesus said that the person who ate His flesh and drank His blood would receive life. Some could not accept it and deserted Him. Why? They were angered by His words. The disciples of the Lord Jesus could not accept it and deserted Him. He asked the twelve who remained behind whether they also wanted to leave?
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:61-69
Maybe your parent or preacher has been sent by the Lord Jesus to help you, but you become upset. Ask yourself whether the living waters still flow from within you if I become upset when someone comes to help you. Imagine those who grumbled when the Lord said this – those people could not discern but Lord’s disciples did.
When the Samaritan woman asked for the living water, Jesus said she should call her husband. She said that she did not have one and the Lord revealed her life to her. The woman told everyone in her village that the Lord Jesus had told her everything about herself. This is what it is like when Jesus comes. He will tell you everything in your life that stops the water flowing. The Lord worked in her life, she did not get upset when He told her exactly what she was and that was when the river began to flow. When the rivers flow in you, the Lord Jesus will use you to bring life to others.
When this word is preached something happens within because we know what it means if the water does not flow. If you deal with it, the water starts flowing in your life. Not that you begin dreaming about whom you will marry or hope to marry someone else if your wife dies. Such rivers are from hell. If that is in your life, go for prayer. If we want water that has life, we need to come to the Lord Jesus so that He can work in our lives.
I herded cattle as a young boy. When a cow drank from dirty water, we hit it to get it away from the water, but it stubbornly continued drinking until it was satisfied. This is what it is like when the devil or demons ride you. You will continue sinning even when you do not want to. The devil is always poking you, he’s always at you and your mind is far away while in a service.
We have been born of a true man of God who taught us that if we want life, we must pray for the life we find in the Lord Jesus. Go on your knees. Those who are on fire and have rivers of living waters flowing, thank you, and continue.
When the Lord Jesus spoke, some accepted it – even before the Holy Spirit came. If you thirst, you will thirst to read God’s word, but if the rivers are not there, you cannot read the Bible anymore, you do not pray anymore, and others have noticed that there are no rivers flowing. If the rivers are flowing you will share with others, they will be touched, and see flowing rivers.
Brethren, our spiritual father was a true man of God. When we were still at school, he told us that when he returned, we had to tell him what the Lord had spoken to us. I went to my corner, and my sister to hers, to hear from God himself. When Rev Stegen returned, he asked us what the Lord said, and I shakily told him what the Lord had said, and my sister would respond in a similar way. Rev Stegen responded, ‘Yes, that’s it.’
Mothers, gather your children in the evening after the service, and ask them what the Lord has said to them and then you will see whether the child was listening or fast asleep.
When the Lord is in a message, even in God’s word, the high priests and pharisees were upset. In a revival that has the Lord Jesus in it, is opposed. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples that if they had not experienced opposition, they needed to search their lives.