Introduction Jabulani Dube
We greet the brethren wherever they are. We thank the Lord for the way He is working. We witness the power of God working in our midst. We welcome those who have come for the first time.
The choir will not sing today because they are preaching in more than 100 places. All these places need preachers and counsellors which is a sign that the work is continuing. We receive phone calls asking us to come and visit.
I greet everybody in the name of Him who made it possible for us to meet – our Lord Jesus Christ. It is wonderful that we can sit at His feet. To those who cannot be in our midst, we pray that God will be with them. I would like to greet Rev Stegen and say, “Lord, be with Your servant. We love him. We miss him. We miss his preaching.” I spoke to him yesterday and it was wonderful. We pray that that same power that used him and led him and guided him, will be with us this morning. That the One who has risen from the dead will speak words of life to us.
John 16 and 17 are long chapters but I will focus on some verses which were a blessing to me. Please read them on your own before the Lord.
John 17 is a special prayer. It is a great prayer that the Lord Jesus prayed for His disciples who were with Him and those of the generations to come. We are included in this prayer. This long prayer revealed the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son, who prayed to His heavenly Father, our God. Prayer often reveals your heart, your desires. It reveals your innermost being. What is the prayer of your innermost being? What comes out of your heart when you pray? When John Knox, a fiery Scottish preacher, was on his deathbed, he asked his wife to read John 17. The Lord Jesus was praying for all His followers, not only that group of disciples. Prior to this, just before Jesus was taken captive and then crucified, He explained things to His disciples. When you read everything, you marvel at the love of God for us.
I have told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.] 2 They will put you out of (expel you from) the synagogues; but an hour is coming when whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me.
4 But I have told you these things now, so that when they occur you will remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. John 16:1-4
It is interesting what Christ starts with – persecution. He warns them, “Do not marvel, do not be afraid.” It is going to happen. 18 If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. John 15:18 Do not be surprised, do not be shocked, it will happen, but know this, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
In the 20th century, communism has been at the forefront of Christian persecution. Communism was not a religion, but it was made a religion. Communists aimed to destroy all religion and communism became a religion. Jesus said, “Do not be offended, do not be surprised, do not stumble – it will happen.” Communism and Satanism are demonic institutions from the pit of hell. Communism is totally anti-Christ.
Imagine growing up under such a system, having to sit in a class and listen to the ideologies of Karl Marx, who said, “I will draw all men unto me, and I will drag them into hell.” This morning I received a message from a young person who was taught communistic values. (They also know that one should teach a child and indoctrinate it while it is young, and it will keep to that.) “The communists taught us their values and ideas. They were drilled into our lives,” this man said.
If you have anything to do with anything demonic, it will influence your life. That is often the root of many problems. Imagine someone who has been drilled daily with teachings from God-haters. When we grew up the Lord taught us that in everything we do, we should pray. When you go to school, go on your knees and you ask the Heavenly Father for protection.
There is a different type of persecution where the devil aims to destroy and discredit a person. I have told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.] John 16:1 Persecution comes in many forms. …or be caused to stumble… this does not refer to a stumbling block. It refers to a gadget that has a spring that will snap suddenly and trap you. Friends, it is serious if a trap is laid for us and we do not see it. Suddenly we are caught in a trap, it snaps shut and it holds you down.
The devil puts a piece of cheese in the trap - something attractive. He knows your human nature. This is part of the persecution. You must be careful because you will be attracted and caught. We have often heard about porn or gossip or whatever it may be – it is a trap and you can be caught in it. You can enjoy the cheese, that sin and suddenly it hits you. Who knows whether you will get out of it? You may gossip, you may be reprimanded, and then the devil whispers in your ear and you fall asleep in the service. Everyone can see that you have been caught in a trap. If your friend has been sleeping in the service, help him and ask him what sin has caught him? Tell him to bring his sins to the light. If Satan has caught you, today is the day to escape that trap. For long have you been preached to but you have not been listening. The day will come when God says, “It is enough.” You will wake up and it will be too late. How often do you find a rat in a trap that is either dead or half-alive? The Bible says, if you still have some life in you, get up and do something about it.
When the disciples heard all this, sorrow filled their hearts. 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [taken complete possession of them]. John 16:6 Their hearts were broken when they heard what the Lord said to them. He never scolded or reprimanded them, but He knew they were heartsore. They were sorrowful that Christ was leaving them, but His departure was an essential step in their growth as disciples. This was contrary to human perception. Christ knew that He needed to go for them to grow. His departure was the best for them. They did not understand why this had to happen to them.
I think there was one person partially understood what was happening. His disciples did not understand, they were filled with sorrow. Mary, the sister of Martha grasped the mystery. She knew to an extent what Jesus was saying. She had lived in deep sin. She had been bound by demons but when she was set free, she was the one who loved the most. She broke that alabaster jar of perfume over the Lord Jesus, wiping His feet with her hair. She was preparing Him for death. She had been a heathen but Christ changed her but those who walked with Him daily did not seem to understand. Those who were His own became confused and ran away like people without a shepherd but not Mary. We need such people in this church. People who are not always in trouble, making mistakes and talking rubbish.
We need mothers who sit at the feet of Jesus, not who hide the sins of their grandchildren. Grandmothers often cover up the sins of their grandchildren saying that it is not so serious, it is just a small thing. Go and confess such sins. We do not need ladies who go from house to house, talking and gossiping although they would call it ‘sharing’. You are gossiping. You should be sharing what God has told you so that it can be used one day in a sermon but no, you are busy with your naughty grandchildren.
I sometimes think there must be a God of men and a God of woman. The husband tells his wife what he feels about an issue and then the wife comes with the whole Bible, with so many verses. The husband does not know what to do. He thought he heard the Lord but then his wife says something else. What God must we listen to? We do not have two Gods. We have one. It seems like women always want to have the last word. They always know better. We need to on our guard like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and knowing that Jesus is speaking to her.
7 However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. John 16:7 Jesus was not thinking about Himself. He was thinking about the work of His Father in heaven. I love my children, but it is better that I go because then the Comforter will come.
9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me]; 10 About righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer; 11 About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him. 12 I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now. John 16:9-12
He knew the heart of man. Man cannot bear everything, but He takes man through step by step.
20 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that you shall weep and grieve, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 22 So for the present you are also in sorrow (in distress and depressed); but I will see you again and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one can take from you your joy (gladness, delight). John 16:20,22
In this sorrow He said that you would have joy. Do you have that joy today? A joyous heart overcomes many an obstacle. It keeps a person. A sorrowful, downtrodden heart is always susceptible to something.
23 And when that time comes, you will ask nothing of Me [you will need to ask Me no questions]. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I Am]. 24 Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I Am]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete. John 16:23,24
You do not have because you do not ask in My Name. Keep on asking and you will receive, and your heart will be full of joy. Have you ever asked the Lord Jesus about something in your spiritual life? Have you ever asked Him for a spiritual gift? You do not have because you do not ask, not for yourself but for the kingdom of God. What is the sigh and cry of your heart? Is it your worries or problems? Have you asked Christ, “Lord, what have You got for Me so that You can use me in Your kingdom?” Many people go in circles because of sin that has ensnared and captured them. This is not what we have been called for. We have been called to be Christ’s ambassadors in this world not to live in sin. We have been called to live an overcoming life. Husband, where is your wife spiritually? Have you told the truth about your wife, or do you cover up like the grandmother? How long have you been at the mission? Your spiritual life is far from what it should be.
The Lord said many things. I would like to end off with some of His last statements.
33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33
What do these words really mean? Should we live a life that is downcast, sinful? The Lord Jesus says, “I have overcome. I have done it for you.”
When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Glorify and exalt and honour and magnify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify and extol and honour and magnify You. John 17:1
The Lord lifted His eyes heavenwards. That was how it was done at the time. Today we bow our heads and pray. This was His prayer also for us today.
3 And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. John 17:2
This is eternal life: to know You, the only true and real God, and to know Him, Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
9 I am praying for them. I am not praying (requesting) for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they belong to You. John 17:9
He is not praying for the world and requesting something for it.
10 All [things that are] Mine are Yours, and all [things that are] Yours belong to Me; and I am glorified in (through) them. [They have done Me honour; in them My glory is achieved.] John 17:10
The relationship between Him and His Heavenly Father. What is Yours is Mine, what is Mine is Yours. Can you say that of your life? Can you say, “My children, Father are mine, but Father they are Yours too. What is Yours is mine.” Do you have that attitude about your children? Why do you treat your children as if they do not belong to God? Christians fail in one thing - we talk and talk and talk but when it comes to deeds (helping your children which you say belong to God), you fail.
One day my wife and I visited a young couple. I am happy she was there because she could learn how not to treat her husband. While seated he called his wife from the kitchen. I never expected that person to answer in that manner, “Can’t you see I’m busy? I’m preparing food.” It went on and on. This woman calls herself a Christian. Mother, your answer might be, “Sorry, I cannot come now, I am praying.” You are very sly, you know exactly how to respond. That is why there is no life in your family. They are masters. No wonder the poor husband becomes a “papbroek”- a weakling. If your husband calls you and your response is, “No, I am too busy,” and you call yourself a Christian, you are lying. There are other ways of answering and doing things. You cannot humble yourself. I am not saying that the husband should not humble himself, but if we behave in this way, things will not go well. The Bible says, “I will make a helpmeet for you.” It is simple. If he tells you to sin, if there is a filthy relationship, you have the right. He says, “I have come to bring life…” Life in a family. Everybody is happy, joyful, like the Bible says. There is no fighting. Do you know that? If you are not clean as parents, how will your children be clean? The poison will be passed on. What you look at on your cell phone will be passed on to your children and they will do even more.
12 While I was with them, I kept and preserved them in Your Name [in the knowledge and worship of You]. Those You have given Me I guarded and protected, and not one of them has perished or is lost except the son of perdition [Judas Iscariot—the one who is now doomed to destruction, destined to be lost], that the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:12
He kept them in the Name of the Father except one. Christ says, “Father, those that you have given Me I have kept from decomposing. It is fresh. It is as it was. In other words, He is our Fortress, He protects us as it says in the Psalms but if we move out of the sphere of protection, no wonder the devil gets us.
When I was much younger, I had a very, very difficult day one day. I know what it means to be persecuted by the devil. I could not handle it anymore. I did not know what to do or say. I was all alone. I opened my Bible and the Lord said, “I will be a wall of fire around you.” I could not believe it. I closed my Bible. I was in need, I was drowning. I opened my Bible again (be careful of doing that, it is often very dangerous) and the Lord said, “I will be a wall of fire around you.” I did not look for it. I just opened at that reference. The Lord knows what you need. He knows the difficulties you face but He will protect you in them. I opened my Bible for the third time and the Lord said again, “I will be a wall of fire around you.” That happened to me when I was very young. I still hold on to that word which He gave me. He preserved me. That is what Jesus prayed for. He will treat you in the same way. He says, “I will preserve you; I will protect you.” That is His promise.
In the same verse, however, He says …except the son of perdition (Judas Iscariot). People ask how it is possible to have people on the mission who can do such things? You may have left because you were like that, or God took you out because you were like that. Jesus knew Judas from the beginning. He warned His disciples.
Someone wrote me an e-mail these days. (Such stuff belongs in the fire) Their lives are not in the light and then they try and blame others. If they know better, why did they not stay? People always know better once they have gone. It is easy to hide behind a cell phone. The day is coming when you will have to pick up every word you have said. I warn you. We do not know your heart. It is our prayer that all will get converted but be careful what you say, it will catch up with you.
Judas did not live much longer after this. Why did Christ not remove Judas? He could easily have said, “Judas, you’re a thief. Go.” But He kept him. Certain things we will never understand with our finite mind. It is better to remain silent because the Lord’s ways are higher than ours. They are as high as the heavens are above the earth.
Judas must have been a thief while growing up. It is amazing that Christ gave Him the money box. This shows the love of Christ. The Lord waited for this man to repent. Sometimes the Lord cares for you because He wants you to be helped. Iscariot comes from a Latin word which means “murderer or assassin”. The Lord kept Him. It may have been better for Jesus to say,” Judas go, you don’t fit in, you’re a thief, you don’t repent.” But it was heart-breaking, and his end was terrible. Jesus was patient. We criticise others for being patient. Go and repent, confess your sins. Judas must have been touched quite often through his conscience pricking him and telling him that you love that sin, that is why you do it, you confess it, but you do it again because you love it. Judas loved money, that’s why he did it. You find sin precious, even if you know it is false. Judas could not part from the sin because he loved it. You flirt with your eyes, you love the cell phone, you love those images that is why you do not part from it.
You call yourself a Christian, but you disrespect your parents-in-law. Repent. When children marry, it seems as if they become “touch me not”. I do not need my mother-in-law. I know, I know. I am married now. You show disrespect. “I do not need your advice, this is my house, I know what to do.” You quote verses as well. How can God speak through someone who is filled with disrespect? You are arrogant. You do not respect the older people. Children who grow up here and are arrogant? They cannot live together? It is an impossibility.
Judas became super-spiritual. “Mary, you should have prayed first. You can’t take this expensive perfume; you could have asked Christ? Are you sure? Was it right? You could have given it to the poor,” Judas could have said. Suddenly they know all the Bible verses. Judas could have been like that, and the disciples agreed with him, “Yes, Mary, that was a mistake, you shouldn’t have done it like that.” The Lord said, “Leave Mary, she did what was right.” When you start with these Bible verses, but you dress like the world, you wear trousers and your clothing is tight. It does not add up. It beats me. Such people want to be more like the world, but Christ said, 15 I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. John 17:15. They should be different.
Sometime ago someone spoke to me and said that he had seen somebody whom he knew very well. He said, “Our paths crossed, but I could not look because of the way that person was dressed.” You still say you are a Christian? It does not add up. They were here. They dress worse than the world. They are the ones who always find fault. We need Christ’s protection. If they would just close their mouths and continue living and not tell the world that they are Christians when they dress like heathen. Do you know where it often starts? With the hair. Absalom’s downfall was his hair. Your downfall will be your hair because that is where your pride is.
16 They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. John 17:16
This is clear. It is a statement Christ made.
15 I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. 17 Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17: 15,17
Jesus wants to separate us for Himself. Peter was the opposite of Judas. Peter denied the Lord while warming Himself by the fire, but he did not have something hidden in his heart. (That’s why the Lord often says that which you know, bring to light. It is important. He wants to help you forgive you.) One day after that Peter went fishing with others and when He recognised Christ, he jumped out of the boat and ran to Him. He had a love for his Lord. It drove Peter to Him. This is what Christ does, He drives you to Him. He allows you to experience difficulties and problems. Why? He wants you to learn to come to Him. When Peter got to the beach, there was a fire prepared by the Lord. When he saw that fire, it may have reminded him of the fire he had warmed himself at when he denied the Lord. The Lord did not reprimand him and cut him down. Why? The Lord saw his heart. He ran to the Lord. He was prepared to go to extremes to get to the Lord. When he came there, the Lord took the initiative to call Peter back into His service. The Lord stretched out His hand and said, “Come Peter, you belong to Me. You made a mistake, but I need you.” Why? Peter was prepared to humble himself. He was prepared to put his pride in his pocket and say, “I am useless.”
Jesus is willing to forgive our failures and call us into His service. After all, if only perfect people qualified to serve Him, there would be no people to choose from. He sought the ones whose hearts were willing to do and learn what He said. Remember Mary. She was the worst of the worst, but the Lord Jesus revealed Himself through her. What that day on the beach must have meant to Peter! It changed his whole life. It is sometimes good if we understand where we come from. It keeps us from thinking that we are something.
One of the last things the Lord Jesus spoke about was unity among His people.
20 Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, 21 that they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. 22 I have given to them the glory and honour which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: 23 I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me. John 17:20-23
Are you one with the children of God? Do you really work together with others? We are on the mission field. You say you have been called to the mission. When God calls you, it is of utmost importance that God puts His hand on you. You cannot just grow up here and think that is important. You cannot just sing, the Lord must say, “My child, I want to use you.” This makes a big difference. What has the Lord called you here to do? “I have been called to preach,” you say, but it because you like talking. What has God called you to the mission for? Preaching. Is that all? Why has He given you hands? Has He only given you a mouth to speak? Why do you have hands? When a man goes to war, he needs to use his hands. As a soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ, what have you been called to? “I bake cakes,” you say. So you bake cakes and look after your grandchildren? Really? Is there nothing else the Lord has called you to do? If that is what you say God has called you to do, we may have to believe you, but friends, if we are called to a mission field, it is a mission field of denial, of giving everything up for Christ. Then you have the guts to say, “You are wrong here and there.” Show us your work then, you who talk so much, show us your work and by that we will see that you belong to Christ. Friends, that is part of unity - to build something which becomes a cause for Christ in this world.
Judas could never have been one with the other disciples because of what he was. He was not one, he could not be. He could not win over any other disciples. He lived in sin, but the other disciples were kept from it because the Lord Jesus kept them. Are you really one with your brother, your sister? Answer the questions. Do not evade it because the Lord Jesus paid for it. Why? So that the world can see He is the Saviour and redeem this world.
Communism is the same as apartheid. You act as if you love them, in the meantime you gossip about them at home. Apartheid still lives in people’s hearts, especially those of my skin colour.
Have you learnt to deny yourself? You are on a mission field where you are called to serve others but at home you have the guts to gossip about them. But you say we are one under Christ? Never. If you gossip, and find fault, if you have things in your heart that are wrong, you cannot be one. You are lying. But we pray that God would create unity among us.
If you know of something, go and make it right. Humble yourself. Make it right and if you do not know what to do, go to someone for advice that this prayer which the Lord Jesus prayed that day will be fulfilled among us. We say that unity is strength. This is the number one enemy for the devil in the church. He hates unity. If we see what God had to do to break and build in a man’s life at the start of the revival, then we still have far to go. We say we are on the mission field, that we have been called, but are you one? Are you really one in heart? If you live an immoral, unclean life, how can you be one? It does not work. Once you are of one heart, your heart has been cleansed and purified by our Lord Jesus Christ. Your eyes will look at others with love.
Conclusion Jabulani Dube
I have been blessed. The Lord prayed for the people, the church and to God. If we have repented, Christ intercedes for us. He said, “I am also praying for those who You will give to Me.” God said, “Here are these people, the people I have given you, who are cleansed in the blood of Christ.” He said, “I thank you Lord for what You have given.”
If you commit sin, you do not know Christ. If you keep going back to a sin, even if it is one sin, you do not know Christ. You are deceiving yourself when you say that you are a Christian. The Bible says that if we receive the Holy Spirit, He will lead us into all the truth. How can this Spirit lead you into sin? No, you are being guided by evil spirits. That is why Christ said, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He taught us when you wake up in the morning, pray and say, “Lead us not into temptation.” He taught the disciples how to pray.
These were His last words before death. He was a king and He prayed too. If you are a slave of sin, no matter how you pray, you are not living in true prayer. You are bound by Satan’s chains. You need to be saved.