Ntokozo Nhlabathi: Report on CYPSA outreach
Thank you to those who remembered us in prayer while we were in Umtata for 2 weeks on a CYPSA outreach. We saw the wonders God is doing among people. CYPSA is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year but we met up with things we have never seen or experienced before.
The Department of Education in the Eastern Cape has young people and the community at heart and they assisted with the CYPSA outreach in the area. We were a team of 22 people and we were treated like kings. We visited 250 schools in 8 days and held 4 community meetings. Ten cars were made available for us to use. Wherever we went, we met either a teacher or a student who had been helped at KwaSizabantu. At the community meetings there was either a parent or a child of a parent who had been helped here.
The residents at Umtata expressed the desire that a KwaSizabantu branch should be established there. We were invited to a community meeting where we were asked to explain what the mission is about and what it does. A gentleman stood up and said that he had been at KwaSizabantu and seen everything himself. The chief from that area testified that he had been a drug addict and had been helped and now he was fulfilling his role as a chief. The land they proposed is a wonderful piece of land which borders the Umtata airport. We made it clear that we were not requesting land but that they had come with a request.
After this experience, I realised that those who had started this work and worked so hard, possibly do not experience all the fruit of it. It was a challenge to me to experience the fruit of their labours. I was reminded of the difficulties they have experienced compared to what we experience on such outreaches. I realised what damage could be done if we do not remain faithful to what we have received. They laid a foundation and they have built on that foundation. If we should build in a different way it will be obvious. When we arrived at places, we did not know the people and they did not know us – we just testified. They stood up and said, “I have been there.” If we had preached something different, they would have realised that what this person is preaching is no longer that which they had received at KwaSizabantu.
I would like to challenge the parents. We had a meeting on Friday which touched me deeply and broke my heart. (When the Lord works, it goes beyond our thinking and understanding. It reminded me of the theme of the minister’s conference: Revival, God at Work.) This meeting was arranged for students whom we had visited over the past week, but the hall was filled mostly with parents and only a few students. We held a service and some testified after which there was an opportunity for questions. A parent stood up and said that their daughter had been to university and got her degree but Satan entered her life and today she is on drugs. This mother poured out her heart and explained what she was going through because of this child. She has had a stroke and she walks with crutches. Her story was heartbreaking. She asked whether her daughter could be helped. Another mother responded and told her that what she could do is make her life right with the Lord and through the mother being in the right relationship with the Lord, the daughter could be helped. The lady who responded she that she had a son, a lawyer, who ended on drugs. The Lord helped her and she repented. As a result her grandchild was helped and eventually her son, who is at KwaSizabantu at the moment. So parents, if you are right with the Lord then the children can also be helped.
To you young people, especially those who live at KwaSizabantu, you may not realise what you have because you only know what is in front of you but may the Lord open your understanding to grasp the privilege you have to live here. The social problems in the schools at Umtata are so severe that various departments have met to try and address them – a 7-year old child raped by her own father. Many young people out there have lost hope. They just live for the next shot because what is there to live for anyway? They are living in such a desperate, dark situation. I am reminded of a verse in the Bible: O Timothy, guard that which has been entrusted to you.
Last Sunday we visited 10 congregations and saw the wonderful working of the Lord among people. At one of the congregations the minister gave us 15 minutes to speak. One of the young men gave his testimony and he mentioned that he had received the opportunity to go back to his people and ask for forgiveness for his life. This touched them so deeply. The minister then removed his books and Bible and gave us the opportunity to preach. At the end, we expected the minister to continue but he simply just asked the congregation, “Have you gone back and made things right?” Then he closed the service.
Do we still have that original, beautiful gospel that we received even if people hear us for the first time? Do they thirst for what they realise we have? If the Lord rebukes me about something, maybe I have a lot of questions – should I make it right? But when those people received the message of restitution, they took hold of it with tears.
If the Lord reminds you, please continue to remember us in prayer that we may remain faithful to the Lord until death because if people are being snatched out of Satan’s claws he will not just accept it sitting down. He will try to get me and if he cannot get me, he will try and get my children, or come through my wife. He will try in any way possible to destroy what God is doing. Please also pray for the lady from Umtata to whom the Lord has given a burden for people. She made all the arrangements for this outreach. May the Lord protect and keep her. May the Lord grant people in our province the same vision and the same heart that he has given those from the Eastern Cape. This woman’s children live for the Lord but she has a desire that other children will be helped.
After Easter we will visit Virginia where we are planning to visit schools for 2 weeks. Please remember us in prayer because we cannot handle things in our own strength but only through His strength and His working.
We thank God for what he is doing in this world. Nothing compares to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. People are helped and totally transformed by it. There are so many young men here that come from the Eastern Cape and many of them are being helped. There is nothing sweeter than to hear from a person’s mouth – God spoke to me and he told me this and that. Or another person says that things were going well, but the Lord convicted me about something and I want to be obedient. I need prayer. I want to return to that place where there is nothing between myself and God. Blessed are those who hear God speaking to their own hearts.
We are approaching Easter therefore I would like to speak on that topic.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
This Passover feast is one of the feasts which should not be forgotten. The Lord says that you shall keep this feast so that you remember what the Lord did for you when He lead you out of Egypt. God did this in answer to the prayer of those who seek Him with all their hearts. God listens to the prayer of those who seek Him with all their hearts. Maybe you pray and you do not see an answer, you lose hope, you do not know whether God hears. Take courage. If you pray with all your heart and seek the Lord with all your soul, He will hear your prayer.
Here we see the Lord answering the prayers and supplications of His people. God answers in a celebration which prepares the way for their escape. God told Moses and Aaron every detail of what had to be done in preparation for the feast. Each family had to take a lamb on the 10th day of the month. Their help and escape depended on them taking this lamb. If they had not obeyed this instruction they would not have been helped. God wishes to work among people who have learned to listen. Those who are heedless and careless, who do not hear, and do not obey the Lord’s instructions, will not be helped. Each family was instructed to take a lamb on the 10th day, keep it until the 14th day and then slaughter it. The lamb had to be without blemish, diseases or marks. It had to be a year old male lamb. This was the type of lamb that could be slaughtered in answer to their prayers. They had to obey the instructions diligently in order for their prayers to be answered. Do we see how holy God’s ways are? His instruction, His law, is holy and we need to abide by it so that the sacrifice we bring will be holy and acceptable to God.
The lamb would suffice for a family, if not, they could go to their neighbour. The family and neighbours were united to that they could do what God expected. This had to done in absolute holiness. Every step of the Passover had to be carried out in holiness as per God’s instruction. This instruction was not to the loner, or the one who cared only for his own family and disregarded the next man. God’s purpose was to unite the people. The one who had much could share with the one who lacked. They had to unite so that God could work. All these instructions were carried out in one night. The meat had to be prepared in a particular way. The meat was not to be eaten raw. It had to be roasted and eaten with bitter herbs that night because God was about to act. The blood had to be put on the doorposts of each home and every family member had to be in the home otherwise they would be killed by the angel of death. Greater than the meat of this lamb, was the blood which had to be put onto the doorposts and lintels. This was a sign to the angel of death. If the blood was absent the angel would kill. They had to obey the instructions of the Lord so that destruction would not come upon them. The blood had to play its role in this Passover. Have you met with the blood of the Lamb in your life? Where will you escape if you do not apply this blood? Beware lest you be destroyed if you do not make use of this blood.
During that night the angel of death went through the land and wherever there was no blood on the doorposts and lintels, he killed the firstborn. The Egyptians experienced great distress but the firstborn children of the Israelites were saved.
The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart struck me. A brother with a hard heart is very dangerous. A hardened Christian heart is a problem. No matter how God speaks, the hard heart remains untouched. For a moment it may be softened but it later returns to its hardened state.
They had to obey the instructions of the Lord so that they could escape the destruction of the angel of death. This Passover feast was an instruction to the Jews, God’s chosen nation. It has been passed on to us through the eternal Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, so that we who were outsiders can partake of this feast.
God gave instructions for how this feast should be celebrated, every instruction followed. There had to be a lamb without blemish. If we unite ourselves with this blood we will escape the wrath that God purposed for the godless. The sign of the blood of the Lamb ought to be visible amongst God’s people. Without it, we will not escape the coming wrath, the damnation of hell and the power of Satan in our lives. We will be weak because the blood of Jesus is not at work in our lives. The evidence that the blood is at work is that the behaviour has changed. The old has passed away, Satan’s power has passed away and the person lives through the power of the cross of Christ.
The blood of these Passover lambs pointed to the great mystery and plan of the blood of Jesus Christ that was coming to save. This blood is available for anyone. The blood of Jesus avails and it is the bridge by which any man can cross over into God’s redemptive work.
Each person had to eat the meat of the lamb. Brother, sister, do not stand afar off. Jesus has prepared this feast. Do not just be an onlooker and watch those putting the blood on their doors, be part of it as well. You are also invited to be part of this congregation. Have you received your remedy yet? Have you become part of those who partake of the blood? The people needed to eat the meat with unleavened bread. They had to sweep their homes of all leaven. Leaven implies sin and that which defiles. Everything had to be clean with no remnants.
1 Corinthians 5:7. Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. What kind of bread are we? Bread with leaven? Bread that rises? Does leaven not cause a Christian to suddenly rise? He is bloated inside and he breaks out into scoffing, slander and speaking behind the back of others. Christian, get rid of this leaven that you can be a lump of unleavened bread. Get rid of the old leaven which holds you back and stunts your growth. This leaven brews inside and you are infecting and being infected by others. Your heart is being strangled by this leaven and it is not sound because of the things that brew inside. Rid yourself of these things so that you can live a healthy life. Rid yourself of that which brings about this distastefulness that you can be made fit for the Lord’s ministry. If you are not doing this, you will die with the dying. Maybe you are already dead. If we want God to work, we must do what He instructs.
Our Passover Lamb, Christ, has been slain on the cross because of our sins. By His works we are saved. We are the ones who receive new life. He who believes on the Son of God has eternal life. He will not die but will live forever. We have the way that leads to life, we need to walk on it and live. We must produce fruit that testifies that the old has passed away and everything has become new. If the new life is not evident, the problem does not lie with Jesus, but with us. Those amongst the children of Israel who did not obey the instruction of the Lord, were removed. If they did not adhere to this feast, they were regarded as outsiders. How can you sit with someone who gossips, one who robs you of life? If you are silent and do not seek help, you are showing that you are determined to die with those who are already dead.
Are you eating unleavened bread or bread filled with yeast? Yeast causes a sourness. You may be surprised at your spiritual dizziness perhaps because you are eating leavened bread which works in you and causes imbalance.
You should not have to ask a person if the blood of Jesus is active in his life, it will be evident by the fruit. Our lives should be filled with praise and thanksgiving to Jesus for His work in our lives. Maybe you are busy with fault finding and criticism, come to the blood of Jesus that breaks all the forces of evil in your life. May God help you and me that it will be evident that we have been cleansed through the work brought about by our slain Lamb of God. New life that we read of in Galatians 5, will bubble over in you. The great danger is that you try and show that all things are in order but the leaven is at work in you. Eventually you will find yourself siding with those who are of your kind and then you are robbed of all your life and vitality.
Dietmar Joosten: One thing that disarms the devil is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you understand why the Lord always reminds us to make our lives right. By coming to the blood you destroy the works of Satan. The blood of Jesus cleanses if you walk in the light. If you do not make things right the danger is that your heart will be hardened. Now you have the solution.