Introduction Blessing Sincuba
We thank the Lord that we can meet this morning. It is a privilege to listen to God’s word. May the Lord reach us, change us and help us to live according to what pleases Him. God is at work. The work is expanding.
CYPSA outreach report back
I was part of the team who visited schools in the Secunda area where I could testify about what Jesus means to me. In 1 Corinthians 3:9 it says that we are co-workers with the Lord if we claim to know Christ. The Lord was good to us. God opens doors that are difficult and closes others.
We visited many schools. Children are in trouble. When they came for counselling, they were in agony, pouring out their hearts and making things right. Teachers also realised their personal needs and shortcomings.
At one of the schools a young boy greeted me and he told me that he used to be a smoker. I asked him what had happened since. He said that his older brother who was a drug addict was helped at KSB. His changed life touched him and he was determined to get help as well.
Those who are here for help or because of circumstances, you need to meet Jesus so that your life can be transformed. Jesus wants to use you. If you have found Jesus you ought to be a co-worker with him. Woe to us if we take this lightly – the sun is setting and what answer will you give Jesus when he requires an account of your life?
Finally, I shared my testimony at a particular school after which a boy and girl spoke to me. They said that our country is lost and asked what could they do to help the nation out of its present state. What could they do to save the youth from addictions and depraved lifestyles? We had the answer. The onslaught of the devil can be overcome through Jesus. Let us be light to the troubled world and cry out to God.
I was part of the CYPSA team that visited Secunda and Standerton. It is a privilege to be a part of such a team. The unity amongst us was such a blessing, in spite of the many challenges we faced. Almost all of us were ill at times but I did not hear any complaints. There were issues with the vehicle but there were no complaints. I thank the Lord for our hosts and hostesses.
From the first school we visited I was under the impression that there is still an awareness of God in the government schools, where they begin the day with prayer and the gospel. This gave me hope for the country. It is the faces of the children that breaks one’s heart. When they listen to the testimonies it is clear that they understand what the speaker is speaking about.
At one school the children asked questions. The questions are real. There is a need amongst these young people. In some schools one can sense that the teachers have a heart for the children but in other schools there is a cold atmosphere, where children are distrusting of teachers or social workers. We gave them the CYPSA phone number because they have nobody to turn to and no place where they can get help.
At a correctional institution we addressed 18 young men and their many caretakers. One of the men, a 20-year-old, drew my attention and after the presentation I asked him why he was so angry. He dropped his head shyly and said that he was not. Another one of the men said that they had done very bad things.
The young people who testify are often in their 30s or going on to 40 years of age. We tell the children to choose the right way today, to choose the Lord and not go the long, damaging way which results in much heart-ache. We told them that they can make the choices but cannot choose the consequences.
The last school we visited was a location school of 1300 learners. While we spoke they were quiet and attentive. While the young man testified I watched the expressions on their faces – one could see that they realised that this lifestyle was impossible for them. One girl cried when she heard the testimony. We pointed them to Jesus. Please pray for the youth of this country. If these children would find Jesus then everything would be possible.
Albu van Eeden
27 As Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed Him, shouting loudly, Have pity and mercy on us, Son of David! 28 When He reached the house and went in, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to Him, Yes, Lord. 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith and trust and reliance [on the power invested in Me] be it done to you; 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus earnestly and sternly charged them, See that you let no one know about this. 31 But they went off and blazed and spread His fame abroad throughout that whole district. Matthew 9:27 – 31
These blind men were intensely aware of their blindness. They were reminded of their blindness daily. They were aware of their blindness every hour of the day and every minute of every hour of the day. They knew how difficult – and humanly impossible – it was to be healed. Listen to the manner in which they approached the Lord:
Have pity and mercy on us, Son of David! The fact that they addressed Him as Son of David, does not only mean that he was born from the lineage of David but they recognised Him as the Messiah of Israel and the whole world, to whom all power was given and the One of whom the prophets spoke. They approached Him and gave Him full authority over their lives. How many people come to Christ with their needs and plead for mercy but they do not give Him full authority over their lives? There are areas in their lives where Christ does not have authority – money matters; in practical daily living. And yet, they think they can negotiate the forgiveness of their sins with God.
This text captures God’s whole plan of salvation. The angel said to Mary that they should call Him Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. These blind men came to Jesus and gave Him full authority. Friend, never come to Christ and think that you can negotiate your way out of your sins. Come to Him and admit, “Lord I am blind, I am lost in my sins. You are the Messiah, You are the only one who can save me from my sins.”
Some years ago, there was a brilliant scholar, Andy Festo, of the New Providence School in New Jersey. He was one of the really good kids. He became the president of the senior class. After leaving school he studied finance and became the CFO of Enron – the most powerful man in America. But Andy thought he could negotiate his sins. He decided to climb the ladder in the financial world by cheating. When he was finally arrested, he was indicted on 78 accounts of fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. He lost everything and the company went bankrupt.
Friend, do God a favour. Do not attempt to negotiate your way out of your sins. We live in a time of negotiations. You negotiate everything nowadays. Negotiation means I will give you this and then you will give me that. “Lord, I compromise here but then You must make a compromise about my sins there, please.” No. If you come to God, you must know that you are blind, totally blind, and you need a miracle from God to save you from your sins and to wash you with His blood. If you request prayer, do not twist your sin so that it does not sound so bad. Call a spade a spade and say, “Jesus, Son of David, forgive me, I am an evil sinner.”
These blind men were aware, every day, every minute of every day that they were sinners. But there are people walking around and sitting in the churches who are unaware of their blindness. It is obvious to everybody around them. Everybody else can see their weaknesses but they themselves are unaware of them. They do not think it is such a big deal, they do not think they need to behave differently, they do not see the necessity to behave the way that others do. They do not have to receive their sight. Others see their reaction when things do not go the way they want them to go and others see the attitude with which they walk around and do things. People see a blind person walking with a white stick but the blind do not see it, they are unaware of their blindness and because of this they cannot be saved and healed of their blindness.
In the book of Revelation God speaks to the church in Laodicea. He says to them, …because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Later He says.. I counsel you to buy from me…salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:16,18
Has it ever crossed your mind that it would be a blessing to know you are guilty? You duck and dive, you have tried much negotiation in order to prove yourself not guilty. Meanwhile, knowing your guilt is the key for you to receive your sight.
The blind men came to God and they believed that God could heal them. The Lord Jesus did not ask them as He had asked others, “What do you want me to do for you?” No, He asked, Do you believe that I am able to do this? This was their next challenge. They had to believe that God could do it. They had to believe that God could heal them from the sin that was so ingrained in their souls, minds and attitudes.
I remember when I first visited here, how difficult it was for me to believe that God would help me here. I had scars in my life which I did not believe there was healing for. I was accommodated in a room with about 8 other people. Everything was different to the way I expected God would help me. The room was a mix of cultures, nationalities and backgrounds and everyone was doing his own thing. It was a crazy room. There was not a moment of silence. I thought I needed to get silent before God so that He could speak to me and help me. People went in and out, slamming doors and shouting. You could not even concentrate when you read your Bible. I said to myself, “Albu, if you knew the solution to your problems, wouldn’t you have found it in the past 4 years of suffering? Haven’t you tried everything that your logic says would help you? You have been to all the churches looking for a solution but you have not been helped out of your depression.” It felt obvious to me that God was not going to help me in this place, but I stayed. The facilities at that time, in 1978, were not great – unplastered walls, corrugated iron roofs without ceilings, no lights, but the co-workers and everybody seemed so happy. They were not upset by the meagre facilities. I sensed in them an excitement of something that they had experienced and they wanted me to experience it as well. Were it not for that excitement and faith which I saw in their lives, I may have packed my bags and walked out the gates. Never underestimate the role you play in God’s kingdom. If I had met with people then who were critical of the mission and critical of everything that was done, I might have left.
Do you know that you might have the blood of people on your hands? You may not be a leader or a preacher, you do not have any important role but your criticism and negativity may play a role in souls who leave from here not having received help. There are people with blood on their hands because they discouraged others who were on the way to receive help here. They may have been children in the faith but your criticism discouraged that child. The Lord said that it is better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown into the depths of sea than to cause one of the little ones to stumble. You may have left or you may be here, yet you do not realise the great role you play so that people can reach God and receive help.
In 1978 when I was here, I had to keep the faith even in those difficult circumstances – that God would touch me and heal my soul. I was blind and I first had to be shown my sins and then I could start trusting the Lord. I held onto God. Then the time came when God broke through into my dark world and opened my eyes. What a wonderful, gracious God we serve!
These blind men persevered in order to receive help from God. They followed the Lord, calling out, Have pity and mercy on us, Son of David! People probably told them to keep quiet. (There will be people who will tell you to keep quiet and not to come to Christ with your blindness.) But these men persisted. The Lord Jesus entered the house and they followed Him. Thank God that He was not irritated by the loud men following Him wherever He went and shouting at Him. When they were inside the house, He asked, Do you believe that I am able to do this? Do you believe that God can heal you? Or have you stood up and fallen so many times that you have lost your hope?
One young man to whom someone spoke about the need for repentance and salvation said, “Sir, our whole family is bad and rotten. My dad was rotten. He was an alcoholic. It is a curse on our family. I cannot get out of it.” Such people lose their faith in God but these blind people did not. Then the miracle came. God touched them and they saw with their eyes. If you expect God to come from the east, be sure He will come from the west. If you expect Him from the north, be sure He will come from the south. They received their sight.
And now to the final point. We do not know what happened to these men for the rest of their lives. Strange. We know that God did a miracle for them but they probably lived another 30, 40, 50 years. I do not believe that God made them blind again. What did they do with their lives now that they were able to see? What did they use their eyes for? What did they look at now that they could see? What did they do with God for the rest of their lives? Imagine the possibilities that open for a person who can see after being blind. They could do things they could previously never do. They had new opportunities. They could start making money. We do not know what happened in the second part of their lives, after they had received forgiveness for their sins. This is what grieves me. The moment the blind people received their sight, they forgot the instructions of the Lord Jesus. He said to them See that you let no one know about this. But they stopped following the Lord and followed their own logic which said it would be good to tell people what Christ has done so others could also be helped. Let us spread the news as far as possible. There are many reasons for the Lord giving this instruction to them. The Lord did not always say the same things to people whom He healed. To some He said that they should show themselves to the priest but not say anything, to others He said that they should return home and tell the people, but in this case He said, See that you let no one know about this…but their common sense took over and …they went off and blazed and spread His fame abroad throughout that whole district. They were directly disobedient to what the Lord had said.
God has given you your sight – you came here from the streets; you were not even a human being and God washed and dressed you and gave you self-respect again. You have become a person who can now do things. Are you beginning to follow your own dreams, desires and ambitions now? God has called us to be bond slaves of Christ for the rest of our lives.
A rich young man asks for the hand of a young girl in marriage. She is flattered by the request. The young man is decent, he attends church and wants to serve the Lord. The girl feels that this is what she has always wanted – a husband like this, but they do not consult God and ask Him what He says about the matter. God blesses you with children – which is what you have always desired. The children grow up and they become a god to you, in the place of God. The children quench the fire of revival, the fire of God in your heart and soul. You are no longer sold out for God anymore.
I wonder whether 1 out of 1000 people who receive help here continue to follow God’s guidance later?
The men who were healed should have been just as intensely aware of their sight as a gift of God as they were of their blindness. You must acknowledge God. You must serve God. When God does a miracle and heals somebody it is a great event but if the person then wanders away, God remains silent. The person should be sensitive to the fact that God has grown silent in their life but they are not because they are so taken up with the fact that they can see and everything they can do. It is as if I can see God sitting on His great white throne in heaven, surrounded by the angels and the cloud of witnesses and tears streaming down His cheeks. He is quiet and leaves you but He weeps because you have disowned Him and become king of your life again. Friends, what a great evil that is! If we grieve the Lord and turn our backs on Him, He has a way of just keeping quiet and the person does not realise what is happening. He does not realise that he should urgently do something and return to God. That is the character of God. Dr Sieling shared something with us: In the Bible the two people who stand out for their meekness were Moses and the Lord Jesus. The characteristic of a meek person is that he is not a walk-over but he remains silent and allows God to defend him. When Moses was opposed by Pharaoh, God put Pharaoh in his place. When Miriam and Aaron, accused Moses, Aaron saw that leprosy had broken out on Miriam and he quickly confessed his sins, brought the censers and burnt incense. Miriam was healed. Moses did not defend himself. When Dathan, Abiram, Korah rebelled against Moses he remained silent. The earth opened up and swallowed them. A meek man keeps quiet and allows God to judge. Be sure that God will judge.
When we obey God and continue to obey Him, He sometimes glorifies His name in a way that is unknown to us. We think God is glorified if a miracle takes place and someone is miraculously healed but we do not see any glory to God in suffering. That is why countries like the Netherlands have introduced euthanasia. We cannot see how we can glorify God through sickness. But friends, sometimes God glorifies Himself more when a Christian is sick, through the manner in which the Christian bears that sickness. I have seen people in extreme suffering. I have seen some lose their temper, curse the doctors, the staff and the family around them. I have seen people in extreme pain where one feels that the sufferer cannot be blamed for his behaviour. Since I have been here, I have also witnessed Christians, in extreme suffering yet one cannot believe the sweet fragrance that comes out of that person’s life. The way in which a Christian copes during times of suffering is sometimes a greater testimony than it would have been for him to be healed.
We should accept God’s guidance as He leads us and not follow our own heads like these blind men did.
My last question: Does God who is in heaven – on His throne – weep about your life or does your life bring joy and happiness to Him? Do not think because He is quiet that everything is fine. May God be merciful to us! The greatest miracle is the miracle of remaining faithful over the many years that you will still live after Christ has healed you. This is what He has called us for. May our lives bring glory to Him.
Conclusion Detlef Stegen
We thank the Lord for this message and the challenge. The Bible speaks of people who came to the Lord and He said to them that because you claim to see, your guilt remains. Complete trust and reliance on the Lord, in humility and meekness can be our saving grace. At another time the Lord Jesus could not entrust Himself to some people because He knew what was in the heart of man.
Jesus could work because of the power that the Father invested in Him. What are you investing in with your life? Are you investing in Jesus? It would be terrible if you invested in something worldly, that will pass away and you have not invested in the One who will keep your eyes open.
There is a woe upon our lives if we have heard, have the remedy or we know where the remedy lies, but despise the grace and mercy of the Messiah who comes to us.