Introduction Michael Ngubane
We greet everyone in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other name greater than this name. There is no king whom we should serve other than our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord says that he who is ashamed of Me before people, I will be ashamed of him before the angels. We must serve our God wholeheartedly without fear and doubt. May the Lord ignite His fire in our hearts so that it can be seen how much we love our Lord. There are many gospels and Christians without power and the world is in darkness because God’s power is not within. We thank the Lord who has kept us.
At this place we preach Jesus crucified. This is a place where people can repent, turn from their evil ways and be liberated from the power and bondage of Satan. He makes everything new. Today, He can make everything new whether you are a child or whether you have regrets about the past and wish you could start afresh and know the power of Jesus working within. Today you can cry to the One who shed His blood. He can quicken you and make you into a new man. It was a desire of the founder of this mission that this place would belong to Jesus. If Jesus is no longer here, this place should go to ruins. He once said, ‘If these lips of mine can no longer speak the truth, let them turn to dust.’ We want to uplift the One who gave His life so that we may receive life.
I have been blessed to read about the early church and what Jesus accomplished through His disciples.
17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” Acts 11:17
Who was I that I could withstand God? Peter said these words. We thank God for men like Peter who said, ‘Who am I to withstand the working of God?’ He had the desire that the promise Jesus left them with would be fulfilled in his life. He wanted to pass on to others what he had received. We thank the Lord for all who have not opposed God. If we look back over the years and remember people who experienced glorious deaths and were met by heavenly beings clothed in white. Some said, ‘Do you hear that music?’ or said, ‘The King is coming.’ They had the spirit of Peter who said, Who am I that I should withstand God? You should not expect to be a Daniel if you oppose God. How terrible if you should wake up on that day and hear the Lord saying, ‘I do not know you.’ And you will respond with the words, ‘Lord, when did we see you?’ Jesus will say, ‘What you did to the least of My brethren, you did to Me.’ You may say that you simply oppose a person but woe to you if that person does not come in the form of Jesus and you treat that person in a way in which you would not treat Jesus.
Saul was blessed on his way to Damascus when he heard the words, ‘Why do you persecute me?’ He answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He received the answer, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting?’ Saul repented immediately and made a 100% turnaround. Few people have this courage and grace imparted to them.
If the heavenly robot turns red for you, it indicates danger. It may have been green to you formerly and you may have experienced green pastures, but then somehow, the robot turned orange – caution – open your eyes. If you persist in your way after that, you will head for a red robot – danger ahead. You must be careful. If you cross a red robot, you can expect a collision from any side. What a collision it will be! It might cost you your life. Take heed!
Who was I that I could withstand God? There was a prophet who was withstood by God – Balaam. He rode his donkey on a road because he was invited by someone who said he would richly reward Balaam. The Angel of the Lord stood in front of the donkey. The donkey had eyes to see but Balaam the prophet had none. He was rebuked for his iniquity. A dumb donkey that spoke with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. Madness of a prophet - is that possible? People love to be called prophets nowadays. In this Bible there are 22 points attributed to false teachers: they infiltrate the church; they come in secret; they deny the work of Jesus; they blaspheme the truth; they use words that sound remarkably close to the truth; they follow the flesh; they are presumptuous and self-willed; they exhibit peace on the outside but are like untamed beasts on the inside; they speak more evil than good; they love to deceive others; they prey on unstable new believers. Some are driven by envy. On my way to Stanger, I saw a sticker on a car which said, ‘Envy burns like hell.’ There could be people who are envious idol worshippers. You can be envious of people who have put a spell on you; someone who takes the one whom you loved; someone who takes the position you were working towards for years. Idol worshippers say that envy burns like hell, but it is terrible if Christians are infiltrated by the spirit of envy which drives and burns like the flames of hell. Be careful. If you oppose God’s working, you may have an evil spirit that has possessed you and is driving you and little do you realise that you are being driven by hell itself.
Peter heard from the Lord that they should stay in Jerusalem and wait upon the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told them, When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power (dynamos). You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Acts 1:8 They were of one heart and mind seeking this spirit that Jesus had promised and that the prophets had prophesied would take place.
Although Peter had denied his Lord, but when Jesus looked at him, he could only go outside and weep bitterly. Peter was zealous for his Lord. The Lord had given Peter a special name, like Jacob whose name was changed because he sought God. He took all his possessions and blessings across the Jabbok and he wrestled with a man until dawn. When the man said, ‘Let me go.’ Jacob refused to let him go until He blessed him. There are some people who long for the blessing of Jesus on them. Jacob was prepared to be broken. He was given a new name, Israel. You have contended with man and God and you have overcome. Genesis 32:28
Christ was everything for the members of the early church. When the Holy Spirit came upon them they were all together. You know the different events. Peter stood up and said, We are not doing this, it is Jesus, the One whom you crucified. Acts 2:36-39 Peter related what God had done and what Jesus had accomplished – the lame man who could walk after 40 years. He related how he had seen a sheet descending from heaven and he realised he should preach to the Gentiles. While he was relating the story of Jesus to Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit fell on the people. Peter was sent to the Gentiles as the first missionary and God fulfilled His promise that the gospel was for all nations. Peter was an instrument and uneducated fisherman but because of the Spirit that entered him, Jesus was in him and directed him what to say and where to go.
Gideon threshed wheat in a winepress to hide from the Midianites. The enemies regularly raided Israel and they scarcely had anything to live on. The Angel of Lord sat under the tree while Gideon threshed wheat. He said, ‘The Lord is with you mighty man of valour.’ Judges 6:12
The angel who appeared to Mary said, ‘Blessed are you among women because you will bear a son who will be called the Saviour of the world.’ Luke 1:28
How can this be, Mary asked. I have never known a man.
The power of God will overshadow you and that which will be born of you will be called the son of God. Luke 1:34,35
We are called with a great commission. What is your response to that call or has Jesus not transformed your life? Have you not felt the fire within urging you to go? Are you busy with your own business? You are worried about getting a car, building a house but you have forgotten about Jesus’ business. You are invited every Sunday to break with sin, but you have not taken any action or asked for prayer that your eyes would be opened?
‘The Lord is with you, mighty man of valour (great courage in the face of danger/bravery/strength of mind of spirit that enable a person to encounter danger with firmness)’ 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14 This is like the last words of Jesus, ‘All power has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples.’ Matthew 28:18,19 Have I not sent you?
What was Gideon’s response? 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” Judges 6:15
This is what man is without Christ. How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Israel. I am the least in my father’s house. Then the Lord’s assurance, 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:16 His promises are too wonderful. His promises of valour and bravery because ‘I will be with you.’
10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong [a warrior]! Joel 3:10
Paul says, 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)..’ 2 Corinthians 12:10
When I am weak then I allow Jesus to be strong in my life. Weak should not be the end of your story. In your fight against sin, rely on Jesus. Who are the Midianites in your life? Is it your tongue, evil eye, your addiction? Come with it to the cross and say, ‘Here it is. I have often come…’ but you have done it in your own strength, according to your mind and ability. Cry to Jesus to enter your body. ‘Be my strength.’ Think of Him. Look up to Him and say, ‘Lord, You have promised You will grant me strength over this sin.’ How wonderful if you can say that Jesus has kept you from the sin that so easily entangles you and that one day you will be able to say, ‘I used to be like this but Jesus gave me power over the Midianites.’
When those in Jerusalem heard that Peter had associated with the uncircumcised and even ate with them, they were not pleased. Peter could only say that God had told him to go to them. Peter could not call something unclean which God had said was clean. When they heard these things, (the acts of Jesus and His Holy Spirit) they became silent and glorified God. Praise God for Christians who become silent when they hear what Jesus is doing – they praised God.
When the founder of this mission spoke about the early church, he said that it seemed as if Christ was their life. It was not their habit or ritual to attend church, it was their life. You say that we need prayer meetings, Bible studies, mission programs and you get stuck there but in the early church it was Jesus and His spirit, the spirit of the triune God that drove these disciples. Evangelism was not a program in this church. It was a way of life. If the spirit of God is alive in you, you will be ignited with heaven’s spirit and power.
Who am I that I could oppose God? When Peter went on this mission to reach out to the Gentiles. God manifested His truth and scripture through this encounter. It was God. While Peter began to speak the spirit fell on these people and Peter said, ‘Who am I that I could oppose God?’
In times of revival, things happen that are too big for your small mind to understand. Can’t you become a Peter and say, ‘There is more between heaven and earth than my small mind can grasp.’ Don’t call things impossible that are possible with God.
I trust that these words will inspire you and be new life to you, that Jesus will be real to you, not only in church, in the prayer meeting, at the table or in the morning when you get up but that your whole life will be dedicated to His spirit and cause. Doesn’t your heart long for these promises? I will be with you to the ends of the earth. Too good to be true? Taste it and have a foretaste of what God can do with you and me.
Conclusion Michael Ngubane
We thank the Lord for what we have heard. I trust that you will understand where God wants us to be at this time. The way of the Holy Spirit is contrary to man. We see how God works. God wants His word to be for everyone, not only for us. Allow God to work. May His fire be kindled that the gospel can go into the world.