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Msindisi Newsletter #76

January 8, 2011

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY
NUMBER: 76. JAN 2011
PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA
+27 (0) 728311008
Email: msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com
KwaZulu Mission Website: https://morielkzn.wordpress.com
Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

Dear Friends and family,

We trust that you all had a wonderful New Year and that the New Year will bring with it God’s richest blessings in whatever form they need to take. It is near the time for us to go back to KwaZulu after being in Gauteng, house sitting for about 3 weeks. Before we left Salvi managed to evangelize the rest of the Kraals at Eastmine, so that whole area has been completed in spreading the gospel so that every family may hear. This will leave the rest of KwaBokkie and Ngenitsheni to complete before moving onto the areas of Khambi and Cibilili this year God willing. Ngenitsheni is a vast area with many subareas within it. At church Salvi finished the series on the foundational teachings of Christ. Thabi has continued to come to the meetings and she is being taught many things. Di enjoys her company as Thabi speaks English. Please pray that Thabi grows in her faith.

On the way to Boksburg we visited a very faithful couple, supporters and friends from Secunda. They have walked with us and prayed for us for a long time now and we thank the Lord for them. For a number of years they have been without a local church, as many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who hold fast to biblical doctrine. Now they have found an Afrikaans Baptist Church which is teaching them according to the word. Fellowship is so fundamental in these days and we need to take every available opportunity to do so. Real fellowship sharpens and grows us.

For the first 4 days till the Monday morning we spent a lot of time with our friends, Morne and Doret. We rarely get to spend time with them and it was good to encourage them in their faith. The first Sunday we, with Morne, Doret and their children, visited our friends at Truth Ministries in Johannesburg. Salvi lead the worship. The message, preached by a guy called Donovan, concerned God’s chastisement and how He moulds us through them. He looked at David’s sin with Bathsheba and how there was grace to cover David’s sin and keep him ministering unto the Lord and the people but God could not allow David to go without bearing consequences for his actions lest God’s name be reproached. But when we are trained by God’s discipline our test becomes our testimony. It was an encouraging message. In the afternoon Salvi and Morne went off for a coffee and had a private bible study before their family left to go on their holiday the following morning.

In the week we visited our friends Paul and Ronel. Paul is on Salvi’s course with King’s Evangelical Divinity School (www.kingsdivinity.org). Ronel is currently on a biblical counseling course so it was great for Di and herself to discuss the difference between the her course and the psychology based courses that are so often taught today under the banner of Christian counseling. On that day we were able to swing by All Nations Gospel Publishers and pick up 3000 Zulu tracts to take back to KwaZulu as well as books for Salvi’s course. On Christmas day we had our friends Allen and Sue with their children come and visit us at the house we are looking after. It was great for the kids to swim in the pool and to remember the Lord as we sang hymns, choruses and carols together.

The next day we visited our friend’s, Bernard Mathe’s, church. He lives near the KwaZenzele settlement that we used to minister on a weekly basis. Bernard and his wife serve the people of the settlement by running a crèche for the families who are too poor to send their children to a crèche nearer town. To the parents that can afford to take their kids to another crèche they ask them to do so to give room for the parents that can’t. The crèche started in 2005 with the help of some friends from the UK who gave a gift to Bernard to start the work. With it they were able to build premises and use that building for the church services. The government funds the work but do not allow the funds to be used for staff wages but we pray weekly that the Lord will undertake for them. The meeting is multicultural as there are Pedi, Chichewa, Tsonga and Zulu speakers. The songs were in Pedi and Zulu. Salvi was asked to preach and he gave a message entitled ‘God’s Apartheid’ concerning how God separated the Jews from all the nations in the world to be a special people and how He has rejected those Jews who have rejected their own messiah and grafted in Gentiles. But the fullness of the Gentiles is coming in and then God will turn His grace back to the Jew. So while there is time we must pray for and invite sinners to repent. When we come into the kingdom we are then made separate to the world. The message was well received.

We were then able to visit Lorraine at the settlement and to see her new house. Her last house was problematic because when it rained her floor would fill with water and the ground around her house would become a mini-swamp. On top of this her son was living in a side hut which unfortunately burned down. If some people, including Bernard, had not pulled it down in time Lorraine’s tin hut would also have been destroyed as it was on the same property. Lorraine has now moved to a better location a block away, nearer to her Gogo and is much happier there. Please pray for Lorraine to find new work as her current employment has ended. She is a widow (her husband Sam died a few years ago) trying to raise 4 children. The Lord has provided for the family with some finances and she has peace about the future ahead.

We then had our friends Riaan and Debbie with their six children stay with us for 3 days. Allen, Sue and the kids also came to visit as Riaan had asked if Salvi could dedicate their two youngest children to the Lord. But really we all as a group gathered round the family and dedicated the whole family to the Lord. It was body ministry at work. Riaan led us in communion and we remembered the Lord’s death. It was three days of late nights and much conversation around the word and other areas of life. Riaan is a builder who has really struggled with clients not paying and this sadly leading to having cars repossessed and moving out of their home to move to a rural and cheaper location. It has been a struggle for them but the Lord has supplied clients that are paying and prospects for new contracts.

Last Sunday we visited Lyndhurst Baptist Church in Edenvale which is pastored by our friend Rob. It was so refreshing to see a multicultural church with black and white fellowshipping and worshipping in such great sense of love and community. The message was brought by a gentleman called Shepherd who spoke on how God calls us to conduct a ministry and does not accept excuses, He wants obedience. God does not substitute us, He equips us. The ultimate example was Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. He asked for the cup to be taken away from Him but committed Himself to the will of His Father; there was no one else to do that work. It was a very encouraging message. After we visited Rob and his wife Rosa and shared a meal. Rob has such a pastor’s heart and we conversed much about the ministry and our lives.

Allen and Sue came to us yesterday and we had a baptismal service at the house. Four of their children had given their lives to the Lord in June of this year. Ben, Themba, Little Themba and Precious each confessed that they have accepted Jesus as their saviour and they will follow Him for the rest of their lives. Their parents have testified about their commitment in prayer life and awakened spiritual hunger. Salvi baptized them in the pool and we all celebrated with an outdoor picnic. Our friends, Sean and Catherine from Truth Ministries, joined in and stayed after the Wells had gone home conversing about the Lord.

We do not really feel that we have had much rest this month but we are so grateful to Morne and Doret for opening their home to us so we could have friends over for meals and share time together along with having the treat of running water and access to power. Over this month Di has been able to skype family and friends in New Zealand, sort clothes that have been given for those in need and the annual task of washing all our blankets. Salvi has done his Greek assignment and has started writing a short manuscript concerning the rapture calling for understanding and acceptance among those of different persuasions within the premillennial camp. This Sunday we will be visiting Elijah ministries before going back to KwaZulu on the following morning.

We thank the Lord that we have been given a 2.5 diesel bakkie after we gave the Nissan bakkie back to Ebyown. This is such a blessing as it uses less fuel and has already saved us on those bills. We do so many kms in KwaZulu every week and so, even though it is not a 4×4 it is a welcome addition to the work. We also thank the Lord that our friend Tony is going to get married to Sonja who is one of the members of the Louwsburg Bible Fellowship. The wedding should be taking place in February and Salvi should be taking the service. We will not be going to Zimbabwe this month. We have unfortunately had to reschedule that and we trust it will transpire in April or some time later in the year. Phumulani has started applying for his passport so we hope that we will be able to go together. Later this year our friend, Bianca (Riaan and Debbie’s daughter will be staying with us for a month to get a taste of mission as will our friend Jacob Meads in March/April for about three months. We do not know what the year holds for us except that we expect the Lord is going to take us through an education and that He has a plan for a unique year. But we walk with Him and look to Him as He teaches and guides us. May the Lord do the same to you. Thank you so much for your prayers and involvement in the work which you show in various ways.

Shalom Aleichem baShem Yeshua, Salvi and Di.

1 John Part 4

ASSURING OUR HEARTS BY RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOVE.
WE DO KNOW GOD.

1 John 3

There are always 2 aspects to combating error. Both are important. Hebrews 4: 12 says that the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword. Eph 6: 17 calls the word of God, the sword of the Spirit. There are two ways you can use a sword. One is to block and the other is to attack. Blocking can be likened to apologetics and attacking can be likened to polemics. You need to attack false teaching by showing where it is wrong. You need to contend for the faith, but you also need to affirm the Truth and give a reasonable defense for the hope that you have in you. You can not just attack all the time and neither are you just supposed to block. John’s aim is not just to attack the Gnostics but to reaffirm the Truth and to give his readers an assurance of the Truth. We need that assurance. We need to be strengthened because we are not always strong in faith. People may come along and rock our faith and we need someone to assure us of our position in Christ. Now remember this issue becomes extremely important as we get nearer to Christ’s return. There is a link between the return of Christ and spiritual seduction. Spiritual seduction is a test to see if we love the Lord and are faithful to Him. God has a plan for the Kenneth Copelands of the world and the Benny Hinns. God uses them to test us. (Deut 13: 1 – 5). God has a purpose in raising the antichrist up, which is to bring judgment on the harlot (Rev 17: 16) and to bring a judgment on those who did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thess 2: 10 – 12). Remember the question our Lord asked in Lk 18: 8, ‘When the son of man returns will He find faith (faithfulness) on the earth?’ 1 John is not only about combating the antichrist Gnostics but it is also about reaffirming the disciples in the apostolic Faith and spurring them on to continue in it steadfast and faithful until the end. It is important that we also pay heed to this epistle as the times we live in are becoming increasingly like John’s day. Lawlessness is on the increase and if we are prone to going with the flow, we will get swept along with it all.

1 John 3 can be split up into three sections. As always John is comparing opposites and in this chapter he deals with 2 pairs of opposites. In verses 1 – 10 John compares righteousness with sin. From verses 10 – 18, John compares love with hate and then from verses 19 – 24 John speaks of the assurance that may be ours for the taking.

RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SIN

Really this section starts in chapter 2: 28. We are firstly told to abide in Jesus. Now how do we abide in Jesus? What does it mean to remain in Jesus? To know how we remain or abide in Jesus it would make sense to ask how a person enters into Jesus in the first place. You can not remain in something you have never entered into in the first place. If we know how a person gets into Christ it will teach us how a person may remain in Him also. Jn 1: 12. Rom 10: 9. How do we enter into Christ? We enter into Christ through faith. Faith means to take God at His word. Believing on Him and trusting on Him brings us into salvation. John 15 teaches us about abiding in Jesus. Abiding in Jesus is likened to a branch abiding in a vine. Christ is the vine and we are the branches. There is a similar parable in Romans 11 where branches are grafted into an olive tree. Now on what basis are branches grafted in and cut off? Romans 11: 20. It is to do with faith. We are grafted in when we believe. The unregenerate Jews were cut off because they did not believe in the Gospel. If we enter into Christ through Faith, then it stands to reason that we abide in Christ through faith also. John says in 1 John 3: 24 that the one who keeps Jesus commandments abides in Him and Jesus abides in him. Faith and obedience go together. In fact this is what produces the fruit of Christ in our lives, the Spirit working in us through Faith. Paul calls this the obedience of faith in Romans 1: 5 and in vv 16 – 17 Paul teaches that the righteousness of God is manifested from faith to faith. As we believe in the Gospel from faith to faith, God’s righteousness becomes manifested in us, thus we become more like Jesus. Jesus said, ‘If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you may ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you.’ Because when we become like Jesus we will start to desire the things that are according to God’s will.

One of those things we must ask for should be Rev 22: 20, ‘Amen, Come Lord Jesus’. Do we long for Jesus return or are we going to take the short cut that the antichrist will offer us? Are we waiting for Jesus to make right the world’s wrongs or are we going to sort out all the world’s problems ourselves. Will we be expectant for Jesus when He returns or will we hide in shame? Waiting for Jesus to come back to right the wrongs of the world does not mean that we sit back and do nothing. It means that we are obedient to what he says. It means that we do not have a global vision of ridding the world of hunger or poverty but that those whom God sends our way, those who we see and come into contact with we help; starting with believers first and then spilling out unto unbelievers.

John says is that because Jesus is righteous then everyone who is born of Him must practice righteousness. Does this mean that Jesus is our spiritual Father? No, what it means is that we have a new birth through Jesus Christ, through what he has done on the Cross and through His spirit. Christ is separate from the Father but the Father and Christ are one. In Chapter 3: 1 it says that we are children of God, but it does not say that we are children of Christ. But the main point that John is making is this, if God is righteous in His very being, then those whom God begets (through a new birth) will be people that will practice righteousness too. This birth is wrought by the Spirit as John 3: 3 teaches and is one that births a person into a life of righteousness. God saved us to be righteous, to be made into the likeness of His Son and to be partakers of Christ’s inheritance as his brethren. God did not birth us into His kingdom to be habitual sinners. There are 4 aspects to this birth that seem apparent in John’s writing.

1 – There is the privilege of the new birth. We are able to be called children of God. John tells his readers to look, behold, perceive this; ‘how great’, or ‘what manner of love’. Look intently at this; what manner of Love the Father has given as a gift to us. The word for ‘what manner’ in Greek is ‘Potapen’, which literally means, from ‘from what country, nation or tribe?’ In other words, John is saying, Look at this, from what country is this love that God has freely given to us, that we can be called God’s children?’ It is a privilege that no human institution or nation can give. In fact it is something that is out of this world and its fulfillment is something that can only be achieved beyond this world. It is vast. It is equivalent to a pedophile or murderer on death row, being pardoned and being made heir of the queen of England. Is that fair? No it is not fair, it is grace. “But how can I be compared to such people, I would never do anything like that?” But all sin is heinous to God. One sin would be sufficient for Jesus having to die on the cross for its pardon. One sin was enough to have Adam and Eve thrown out of the garden. You see there is only one initiation into salvation and that is the new birth. There are not different levels of knowledge to be initiated into in order to attain salvation. If you are born again, you are initiated and you have more than salvation, you have a unique position in being God’s child.

2 – There is the reproach of the new birth. Because this privilege is out of this world, it is also alien to the world. The world neither empathizes, nor understands it and would try to put it down because it does not know it. When we are born again, there is a severed connection with the world and the people of the world. Where once we were close, now there is a barrier so that some people in the world may even feel antagonistic to the Faith. If we become part of Christ’s body we will endure the same treatment He received. We will not feel part of the group, we will feel outcast and like we do not belong. Why should we feel like we do not belong? It is because we do not belong. We are pilgrims and strangers. And if we have been ostracized on account of obeying Christ, then we have reason to cheer up. The world does not know us because it did not know Him. If the world does not know us on account of following Christ, then it is a proof that we know Him and that is more important than knowing anyone else.

3 – There is the hope of the new birth. We have a future hope because we have been born again. You see John shows us in verse 2 that we are children of God in the here and now but still we do not know yet what we will be like. We are saved and yet we are yet to be saved. We are children and yet we are awaiting the adoption as sons. How can you be waiting to receive the son ship and at the same time already claim to have received it? Suffice it to say, we are in salvation but that salvation needs to be fulfilled and completed. We are children in the here and now, through faith, and yet what we have received is the seed into our hearts. But that seed needs to grow and bear fruit. We are not zapped. We wish we could be. We ask; why can not God just take me out of here and just make me right? But listen to this quote from Francis Schaeffer in his book, ‘True Spirituality’;

“Eternity will be wonderful, but there is one thing heaven will not contain, and that is the call, the possibility, and the privilege of living a supernatural life here and now by faith, before we see Jesus face to face.”

There are rewards to be acquired through being sanctified and obedient in the here and now. This will never ever be repeated. It is here today and gone tomorrow.

4 – There is the challenge of the new birth. If we have this future hope then it behooves us to live in the expectancy of it. If the Queen of England was coming to visit me, then I would naturally seek to tidy my house up. If we really have the hope of becoming co heirs with Christ we will seek to prepare ourselves as much as possible for it. Do we even recognize that we will reign with Christ on this earth when he returns? 1 Corinthians 6: 2 says that the saints will judge the world. Just like the book of judges. And in verse 3 it says that we will judge angels. What person would not prepare themselves to take over the presidency of a company, or to face up to responsibility? In fact we go to university to attain those positions. God’s university is a university of sanctification. If we truly do have this hope we must be purifying ourselves, making ourselves clean just as God is pure.

This is in contrast to those who were teaching ‘it does not matter what you do in your body’. These were called antinomian because they believed they were without law. They were the ones who twisted Paul’s teaching on Law and grace. They assumed to be the teachers with the hidden and superior knowledge but in fact they were anything but teachers. As we saw in the last study, they were disqualified from ministry as teachers because they not even saved let alone they failed to meet the criteria of Titus 1: 5 – 9 it says:

“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion, for the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”

1 Timothy 3: 1 – 7

“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he be able to take care of the church of God?) and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

The person must not have a bad reputation with those outside the church; must not be divorced and remarried, must rule or manage his own household well, must not drink too much, must not commit immorality, must not be known for being quick tempered or for being in the ministry for the money etc. If a pastor, bible teacher, elder is guilty of any of these he fails the criteria of being a leader. Of course this does not mean in the future that he cannot be restored but until such a time the leader should step down. These Gnostic teachers not only were practicing these things but they were also teaching others that it was okay to practice them too. They would say that Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of the law of the Jewish God. “We are not under Law, we are free from any Law!”

In verse 4 John tells us that sin is lawlessness. The problem is not ignorance of the special revelation but it is rebellion in the heart. Sin is to be without law and to refuse to be restrained by the Law of God. Because of their future hope God’s people were to purify themselves. But these Gnostics were teaching that it is ok to sin because Jesus set them free from any law. Therefore it was not sin. Here John says, “No! They are indeed sinning because sin is to be without law.

From verses 7 – 10 John wants to make sure that his readers will not be deceived into thinking that it is okay to sin. But on the contrary no one who is born of God sins. Now does this mean that if you sin you are not saved, or you have lost your salvation? Not at all! John is not talking about when we slip up or do individual sins but he is speaking as the New American Standard Bible says those who are practicing sin. These people were teaching that we should sin more. We can not go along with this if we are born again. We can not practice sin if we are born of God. Why? Because God’s seed is in us. The seed of God is the word according to the parable of the sower. His word brings us victory over the evil one. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. The term for destroy is ‘luo’, which means to loose. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He told those around Lazarus to unbind him and to take off the grave clothes. So we are to help each other to shed off the fleshly things that have bound us. Christ came to free us from sin. That is the whole point of grace.

LOVE and HATE

Just as fundamental as the issues of righteousness and sin are the issues of love and hate. The one who does not practice righteousness is not of God but neither is the one who does not love his brother. Notice, John shows us who the ones are that we should direct our love to; our brethren. Our brethren are those who are in Christ. This does not mean that we go around hating the unbelievers because the commandments say that we should love our neighbour and we are a neighbour to anyone who is in need (so the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches). But the household of God takes preference over the outsider. John teaches that love is something integral to the Christian life and in fact we cannot have the Christian life without having love. In verse 11 John is not bringing anything new but something that we have received from the beginning. But what does it mean to love? We will look at this in 1 John 4. But love must be something that is defined by God because it is He who is the embodiment of love. Sometimes love can seem unloving but it always has the best interests of the person on whom it is bestowed and it is a love that is affectionate. It is a love that seeks for life and welfare but hate wants to kill that spiritual life and blessing. Love seeks for the welfare and promotion of others but hate is self seeking. And to drive this truth home John gives us the example of Cain.

What reason did Cain slay Abel? Because Abel’s deeds were righteous and Cain’s were evil. In Genesis 4: 1 – 8 we read that Cain was a tiller of the ground but Abel was a shepherd. Abel brought a blood sacrifice but Cain brought the works of his own hands. Abel’s sacrifice was after the pattern shown by God when He covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness with animal skins. Cain’s was after the curse of God because God had cursed the ground. Abel’s sacrifice was careful to give to God only the best because he brought of the firstlings of his flock and their best part, the fat portions. But Cain showed no such care and attention because he just brought an offering from the ground. Cain cared about himself and when God showed favour and regard to Abel’s offering, he was jealous and hated his brother. But Jesus tells us that we must lose our life to gain it. We must not love our own lives even when it costs us death. (Rev 12: 11)

And just as there were four aspects to righteousness, I can also see four aspects to love from verses 11 – 18

1 – There is the position of love. As we have seen, love is integral to the Gospel message. If we are saved we have entered into a life not only of righteousness but also of love. As verse 14 says, we know we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren.

2 – There is the reproach of love. In that the world will hate us just as Cain hated Abel. The world is self seeking, the world wants us to be self seeking because when they are faced with true love it shows up their own sin and thus they feel guilty.

3 – There is the source of love as verse 16 says, Jesus laid down His life for us. We will deal with this more next time but for now I will say that Love, real love does not come from within ourselves but it comes from God. If we want to receive love we can not look to any one other than God. God is love.

4 – There is the challenge of Love; that as Christ has laid down his life for us, so we should lay down our lives for each other. We are to follow Christ’s example. We by nature are self seeking and we do not know how to love with God’s love. That is why obedience is the barometer of love and not feelings. We do not know how to love in the way that God wants so God has to teach us and He teaches us by His commandments. If we love someone in the way we want to then we could actually be failing to love that person. Many of us fail to share the gospel with colleagues and friends because we feel it is wrong to push our views onto others and so miss the very opportunities to witness that are God given. Such “respect” is not love but quite the opposite. God desires all men be saved, to show someone the way of salvation under God’s guidance is to love that person. If we follow Christ’s example of laying down our lives then we will learn how to love. With this challenge John gives us a commandment that parallels James’ example of what faith means practically. Verse 17 shows that love is not a feeling but it is a choice. Love contains emotions but it is not driven by emotions. It is to care, it is to help, and it is to be practical.

ASSURANCE

If we are walking in righteousness and love then we gain assurance. This does not mean the same kind of assurance when we get saved. This assurance means a full assurance. The word for assurance here is the word ‘Pitho’ and it means a persuasion or trust, confidence and obedience. In other words as we see God’s work of change within our lives it will assure us because it will persuade us of the reality of what God has promised in His word. If we are not conscious of anything against us, that we are not condemned by anything, then we have an ability to speak to God frankly and openly without fear. We can go to Him boldly and have our prayers answered according to His will. But if there is something that stands against us, we can take heart. God is bigger than our hearts, He knows all things. We must go back to the one commandment of verse 23. We must believe in the name of the Son Jesus Christ, the Saviour, who is the one who forgives sin. We must go back to Him and everything else will flow out of that. Do we desire to know God in such a way that He will answer our prayers? Will we take this message to heart? Will we keep His commandments in faith; will we commit ourselves to righteousness and to love the brethren? If so we will assure our hearts before Him, knowing that our faith is real and that we really do know the Lord. Our salvation experience will not prove to be fake.

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