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Msindisi Newsletter #93

May 6, 2012

SALVADOR and DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER: 93 May 2012

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008

Email: msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

Dear Friends and family,

We can hardly believe we are in April. It just seems the time is flying by this year. This month has been unusual in that we have participated in activities that are outside of our routine. Firstly, we got back from Port Elisabeth and we were thoroughly blessed to see the brethren there and the sense of fellowship they have. We have since learned that several of the visitors for the passover and meetings have since joined the fellowship there. Praise the Lord for His goodness.

In Vryheid, we have taken opportunity to do plenty of house sitting as Salvi had a deadline to submit two assignments before the end of the mont to ensure his continuation in his theological studies. He managed to get them done over a week and has now started studying the last module for his diploma level before he will be able to go onto the degree level which is the last level of his course. For those who may be interested, Salvi’s bible college “Kings Evangelical Divinity School” is working on opening a way for students to do the degree with a focus of Jewish-Christian studies. For more info please visit the following link http://www.kingsdivinity.org/about/centre-for-jewish-christian-studies .

While house sitting, Salvi was invited to preach the word at a Christian Evangelical Zulu meeting on Good Friday. Salvi spoke about being ready for Jesus’ return and the message seemed well received. Salvi also sang a Zulu song called, ‘Hallelujah Hosanna’ in isiZulu, isiPedi, Afrikaans, English and Hebrew which was apt for Jesus said that Israel would not see Him again until they cry out the words of this song to Him.

This month we also gave out about 2000 bibles donated for 2 schools. Evangelism still continues in the area of Ngenitsheni and Salvi had opportunity to contradict a preacher of the Nazirite sect. The Nazirites in KZN are followers of a late prophet called Isaiah Shembe. He is a false Messiah. The traditional teaching of the sect is that Jesus was the white Messiah and Shembe is the Messiah for black people. Numerous cars can be seen on the streets of KZN with stickers which say ‘Shembe is the way’. People follow him because of the alleged miracles he did. Strangely they see Shembe as equal to Jesus, as the prophet like unto Moses for the Zulu people, and the comforter that Jesus promised to send from the Father.

This month we have also helped with the wedding of the daughter of brethren, Craig and Magda, at the Bethany Baptist Church. Di took the whole week to help out practically. Salvi had a song recorded and ready as backing track. He arranged a traditional Hebrew song sang at weddings called ‘Dodi Li’ which lyrics are from the ‘Song of Songs’ but Salvi wrote an coda in English to emphasize the relationship between Christ and the Church. The song can be downloaded at the following link http://soundcloud.com/msindisi-1/dodi-li-mp4 for free. Before Salvi sang he gave a brief exhortation for the hearers to be ready for Jesus’ return. Apparently Magda’s brother was challenged and by it and wants to find out more. So we will see if anything transpires and whether we may visit him.

Salvi has continued discipleship with the Alpha brethren and we have just finished a series of studies concerning Israel and their place in God’s purposes as His elect nation. Next we will be doing a survey of the Biblical books starting with the Torah, first five books of the bible. Di’s literacy class with Tholakele has been stunted but she continues to practice reading and listening to her audio bible. Di has just taught the care bear creche and used different shapes as visual aids to teach about different aspects of the gospel. We are usually welcomed with loud applause when we turn up. In fact last week, in a supermarket called Checkers, a lady who works there came up to us and said that her grandson had spotted us in Checkers and told her “There is uncle Salvador”. When she told him that she did know us, her grandson replied by saying “What! You don’t know uncle Salvador?!!!”

Phumlani has gone to Zimbabwe being accompanied by Jonny, a farmer who is a member of our tuesday night Bible study. They are visiting a cell based church group in Harare to see how they operate as a Church and how they disciple. We are hoping that Phumlani will be inspired by the visit and will be sensitive to whatever the Lord might want to tell him. We have heard they are well and they will be set to come back tomorrow. It is a time of new experiences for Phumlani. It is his first time outside of South Africa, his first time on an airplane, and we heard that at the airport his first time on an escalator. When he saw the lift he told Jonny that he wanted to ride it as he had never been in a lift before either! With Jonny being away, we have been helping his wife Kim with the farm where we can. We have gone out selling with her to the local communities. But without the lorry, which none of us had the license to drive we were not able to take enough food or milk for people. Thus near the end of the run people were complaining that we had sold out. They cried out saying, “What are we going to eat?” It is at times like this we marvel at the government’s desire to buy farms up to give them to the local communities. With the depletion of farmers there is also a depletion of local jobs and food productivity. But while on the farm, Salvi has had an opportunity to challenge one of the farm labourers, called Muzi, concerning the unbiblical nature of ancestral traditions. Salvi also witnessed to a client there one Saturday who is a Nazirite. The Nazirites also try to keep the Mosaic Law. The man was challenged by the conversation as Salvi kept appealing to scripture. The man eventually responded by asking when the Sabbath was, as they keep a Jewish Sabbath. I responded by telling him that if he wanted to live by the Mosaic Law he had already broken it for he had bought 2 chickens on the farm and elsewhere had bought a crate of beer on the Sabbath! Salvi encouraged him to read him Bible and not place a man or prophet above scripture.

For those who are interested there is a website with three audio messages uploaded that concerning the building of the Church and having a Zeal for God’s house. These messages were recorded in Port Elisabeth, South Africa 2011. http://www.sermon.net/msindisi

VISA update. We still have not as yet got any news concerning Di’s application for extension for Temporary Residence Permit, but as we reported in the last newsletter there is news concerning Salvi’s application for Permanent Residence. As you may or may not know, Salvi does not qualify to apply for Permanent Residence so he put together an application to be considered as a special case for exemption of the regular rules for application for permanent residence. Salvi found out that his application had gone through to the director general of home affairs. Thinking this was the last step we were surprised to find out that he then made his own notes and forwarded it on to the exemptions department. The latest update is that the application has been forwarded to none other than the minister of Home Affairs! What a testimony to the Lord. Salvi will be contacted them this week to see if there might be any news update. The official Salvi spoke to said that hopefully a decision would be reached this month or next. We trust the Lord for His leading in this matter but we also trust that His glory will be magnified through this time. May many be touched with the gospel of His grace.

We thank you all for your prays and support, may the lord richly bless you as we labour together in His work.

Shalom

Salvi and Di

P.S Please don’t forget to look at Salvi’s petition concerning ecumenism in the Lausanne consultation for Jewish Evangelism which has been signed by several people including Jacob Prasch and others from Moriel ministries and Jackie Alnor among other people. For more information please visit http://www.lausannecje.wordpress.com and for the petition please visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lcje . Salvi is hoping to have it sent or delivered to the members of LCJE in the near future so please sign it if you have not done so already and also feel strongly against ecumenism infiltrating the evangelical camp.

ELIJAH AND ELISHA
THE CLEANSING & SALVATION OF NAAMAN THE ARAMEAN
PART 14
2 Kings 5: 1 – 27

Elisha is a picture of Christ. Jesus healed a non Jewish leper (Samaritan) and this is what Elisha does in Chapter 5 of 2 Kings. Here we find a picture of the way the church would become after the apostolic period. At its inception, the Church was a Jewish institution. There was no distinction between Christianity and Judaism; except for the fact that the Jewish believers held that Yeshua was the embodiment and fulfilment of the Law and the prophets. Then, the gospel spread to Samaria and then the Gentiles started to believe. We have salvation at the first given to an Ethiopian. However; because he was a student of the Law and the Prophets he may well have been a convert to Judaism. The first Gentile that we definitely know was not circumcised was Cornelius. After this event with the vast numbers of Gentiles getting saved and the antagonism among the Jews towards believers grew. In Acts 13: 42 – 48 we see that the Jews loved the message that Paul was preaching and were starting to follow it. But when they saw the Gentiles coming to faith they started to contradict the things said by Paul. As Paul teaches in Romans 11, a hardening of Israel had started so that grace may be shown to the Gentiles until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. This did not stop Jews getting saved but there was a rejection of Messiah by the Nation of Israel and a national salvation will only happen again when Jesus comes back. In Luke chapter 4: 23 – 29 we see Jesus using Nazareth’s rejection of Him as symptomatic of the Nation’s rejection of Him. Though Jesus’ home town was Nazareth, the examples that Jesus gives of the rejection of God’s prophets were not localised to a specific hometown but epitomised a national rejection. The people were fascinated with the teaching of Christ in the synagogue, but they did not believe in him. Rather, they thought they had ownership over Jesus. For in verse 23 Jesus reveals their hearts. Because Jesus had done miracles in other places then the people of Nazareth thought He must do miracles for them because Nazareth was His hometown. They thought they had a special claim over Jesus. This is symptomatic of the nation of Israel. “Jesus is ours!”, thus there was jealousy over many Gentiles coming to believe in Him. And because Paul did not show special treatment to the Jews in regard to salvation, they rejected Jesus. This is the same thing that happened in Nazareth. In verse 27, Jesus uses Elisha’s healing of Naaman to teach about this principle.

VERSES 1 – 7 NAAMAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH JEHORAM

Aram is the ancient name for modern day Syria and in fact the New King James Bible uses the name Syrians to denote the people that came from there. This is fine so long as we do not mix this people up with the ‘Assyrians’ which came from modern day, Iran. The Arameans were Pagans. Their king was referred to by the title ‘Ben-Hadad’, meaning ‘Son of Hadad’ and Hadad was a pagan god. Now if you read 1 Kings 20, the Arameans were not the greatest of friends with the Israelites. In fact Israel had slaughtered many of their men and it was the Lord who had ensured Israel’s victory. The Arameans seemed to be alienated from the God of Israel, defeated by the God of Israel and enemies of the God of Israel and yet what do we find in verse 1? The LORD was also with the Arameans in their battles too. God had been with them and helped them to win their victories through a leper called Naaman. Naaman would have been an outcast in Israel’s society because God had commanded it. But the Arameans did not follow God’s laws and as such did not have a problem with him, a leper, leading the army as long as he granted success. That is the way of the world. So long as it works, who cares about it not being Kosher. But Naaman was not yet a believer in the true God and yet God had been using him and working through him, even though Naaman may have attributed his successes to other gods.

Naaman had a Jewish girl who waited on his wife. This girl may have been taken from Israel in the battle the Arameans lost in 1 Kings 20 or in the plundering of marauding bands as is indicated in 2 Kings 6: 23. The girl expresses her desire for Naaman’s healing. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it was ritually unclean to be around a leper. But more profoundly than this, it must have said something concerning Naaman’s treatment of his servants. Naaman must have been a good and fair master. Thirdly, we see there is some level of humility, though not a great amount. Naaman accepts the testimony of the girl instead of dismissing it as an invention. No doubt, being the Captain of the army and highly respected, he would have had the best physicians and witchdoctors in the country trying to cure him. So after speaking with the king he is sent with a letter and expensive gifts to Jehoram, King of Israel. Now if he was told to see Elisha then why did he go to Jehoram?

Firstly, Naaman being a foreigner, had no clue who Elisha was. Secondly, concerning the King of Israel, Naaman would have expected that he would be in good relations with the prophets of the God of Israel since Yahweh was Israel’s God. When a person is seeking the truth, he expects that the churches are following the God of the Bible. It comes as a shock to them when churches are off the wall and when Pastors, like Ray Macaulay continue to divorce and remarry. Thirdly, the King was in charge of the country. Thus the prophet would be subject to the king. But in God’s way of working, the kings were to be subject to the voice of God’s prophets. Yet, though Jehoram should have called for Elisha from the outset, he did not. He responded by renting, or ripping, his garments. When someone rents their garments they are showing that they highly grieved. Sometimes a Jew would do so when highly grieved in the presence of blasphemy. We see this in Matthew 26: 65, where the high priest made a show of his ‘supposed’ grief in that he claimed Jesus had blasphemed. Jehoram was reacting to the King of Aram’s request that he heal Naaman. The King of Aram had sent a lot of wealth and thus the pressure was on Jehoram to come up with the goods. Imagine if Mugabe, surrounded by a small group of armed soldiers, turned round to Tshangarei and loaded him with 10 million American Dollars and said to him; ‘My friend, I know we have had our differences but I want to put the past behind us, so to speak. Let us be friends. By the way, we are in dire need of rain. I have given all this money to you. Now you must make it rain today.’ ‘No I can’t do that, it is impossible.’ ‘You lie Tshangarei. I give you all this money and how do you repay me? You refuse to help me after everything I have done for you?’ He cannot be serious. It is a set up.

Note the reaction of Jehoram. Ben-Hadad had been defeated by Israel. He must have felt that the loss was a sore one. The pressure is on for Jehoram to cure Naaman of his leprosy. If he does not come up with the goods, it could end up in war. How can a mere man heal a leper? He speaks as if he is hearing a charge of blasphemy? ‘Am I God, to kill and to make alive?’ It is a show that has the air of religiosity about it but in reality was driven by fear for he says that Ben-Hadad was seeking a quarrel against him. If Jehoram was concerned about the Lord’s honour, or was a truly religious man he would have sought the Lord but instead he was simply reactive. Elisha hears about the king tearing his clothes and his reaction is different. He saw what God’s purpose was in this request. God’s purpose was to reveal Himself to this gentile.

VERSES 8 – 19 NAAMAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH ELISHA

Naaman was filled with expectations of how his healing would come about. He was a man who had great honour and was greatly respected in his own country. He had heard about this prophet from his servant girl and was no doubt greatly looking forward to meeting him. When he arrives at Elisha’s place, Elisha sends him a servant to tell him to wash in the Jordan 7 times. Naaman is furious at this and leaves. Now why was Naaman so angry? In Greek mythology, when a person wanted to request something from a god, the god would send the hero to do some mighty task. Sometimes the hero would have to go into the underworld to rescue someone or ascend some great mountain in order to get an object. In Shamanism, in order to get an answer or healing from the spirit world, the Shaman has to do spells, incantations and rituals. There has to be the bringing together of the physical world and the spirit world, often by means of a sacred object like a diviner’s pole, or as in the Roman Catholic Church the communion wafer and wine to invoke Christ’s presence; the invisible has to become visible. Put simply, there must be a show or some great feat accomplished in order to procure the healing. A simple washing in a muddy river 7 times would be seen as ridiculous. What magical powers could be lurking in there? If Naaman had come across someone like Benny Hinn, he would have been filled with joy at the prospect of being healed. But Elisha is no Benny Hinn. He simply sends out his servant with a simple message, telling Naaman to do a simple act without any sense of Drama.

The second thing that would have brassed Naaman off was that though he was highly respected in his own country, and though he had come with riches, Elisha could not even show him the decent courtesy of coming out to see him personally. Naaman wanted a Benny Hinn. He thought the miraculous depended on someone who had the air of the magical about him. He wanted a waving of hands and the speaking of faith filled words in order to see a healing take place. With God’s miracles, no such atmosphere needs to take place. God did not need Naaman to merit the miracle through some mighty deed or through him creating the right atmosphere. As his servant said in verse 13, Naaman would have done what the prophet said if it was some mighty act. God did not need that. He only wanted obedience. Some people have a real problem with the simplicity of the Gospel. For them there must be something more to it that Jesus dying on a cross and being risen again. And there must be something more required than just believing and repenting. Surely we must do so many good works before we are sure we can go to heaven. God wants simple obedience. Naaman did not even wash himself. The text says he plunged himself in the water seven times. He got baptized. I can imagine him bobbing up and down in the water in quick succession in order to say to his servant, ‘See, I did it. There you go.’ The Jordan is the river where John the Baptist would later baptise those who desired the remission of sin. Leprosy is a picture of sin. Sin spreads. Leprosy was not just something that a person could have but it was something that could appear on someone’s house or on someone’s clothes. When the mark of leprosy appeared deeper than the surface and if it spread then drastic action would be taken. If the leprosy was on a person, then that person would become an untouchable. If the leprosy was on a house or someone’s clothes then the house or clothes would be destroyed. Leprosy was serious business. Leprosy is a picture of sin. Sin is something that can spread and contaminate everything and everyone around it. Understand the typology of Naaman’s healing. Naaman, as a gentile leper, was a picture of us, outside Christ. We were sinners who were outcasts, separated from the commonwealth of Israel. He comes to the Prophet of God in order to be cleansed. Through simply obeying the words of the Prophet he is cleansed after going through the waters of the Jordan. 1 Peter 3: 21. He believes in the God of Israel and in verse 15 he seeks to pay for his cleansing but no payment is acceptable to the Prophet of God. It was a gift of grace. In verse 17 Naaman turns away from the worship of false gods and claims that he will only serve the God of Israel. Naaman is a servant and is expected to serve his master by helping his master bow down to a false god. Naaman knows it is wrong and so asks that God would be gracious to him and pardon him over that which he had no choice about. Naaman would not worship anyone else but God. And Naaman departs with God’s peace. Compare this to Israel. We have a Pagan Gentile who renounces the false gods, decides to worship the God of Israel and is cleansed. Israel, being God’s special people, have rejected their own Messiah in favour of false ones and they become unclean. But let us look further.

VERSES 20 – 27 NAAMAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH GEHAZI

Because of covetousness Gehazi chases after Naaman and tries to gain some wealth from him. Gehazi runs after Naaman, so we know that Gehazi was ambitious. Naaman gets out of the chariot in order to meet him. Though Gehazi is only Elisha’s servant, Naaman esteems him. Gehazi claims that his master has asked for a gift of clothing and one talent of silver. In his mind he has already thought of the riches he would have. But because he had done this, Elisha makes the leprosy of Naaman cling to him. What a picture. Gehazi, because of jealousy had turned away from his master. Many Jews, out of jealousy turned away from their Messiah. What was supposed to be salvation by a free gift, they sought to turn into salvation by works and were very fervent in trying to circumcise the Gentiles. They claimed that ‘The Master’ had commanded that they contribute towards their salvation by observance to Moses. And, as Paul taught, those Jews who did that were cut off from their own covenant. They ended up in the situation the believing Gentiles were in before they got saved, away from God’s presence. There are similarities between Naaman and Gehazi and the situation of Gentiles getting saved but Jews being cut off from their own covenant.

I want us to notice some things about Gehazi.

Firstly, in verse 20, Gehazi swears by the Lord that he will do this thing. Gehazi tells himself that it is God’s will to do this thing. He knows it is not but he tells himself that it is. How could he do such a thing? Because Naaman was a ‘Goy’. He was a Gentile and as such, the spoils of the wicked belong to the righteous.’
Secondly, he is headstrong and determined. He runs up to the chariot.
Thirdly, he lies in the name of his master. He gives a concocted story concerning some need that his master has and seeks for Naaman to supply the means to meet the need that does not exist.
Fourthly, he is careful not to arouse suspicion. He only asks for one talent of silver and 2 changes of clothes. This is a false humility because we see that Naaman has to urge him to take 2 talents of silver. He seems like he is a humble servant but inwardly he is a lying thief.
Fifthly, we see that one lie begets another. When Elisha asks where he has been he answers that he went nowhere. In fact the way that Gehazi answers Elisha is the same way that Cain answers God, when asked ‘where is his brother’? And the same way Satan answers God in Job. With the insolence and pride of a teenager. ‘Your servant went nowhere’.
Gehazi could no longer be in Elisha’s presence or before Elisha’s face.

There are serious consequences to changing the word of God. It was not wrong for Elisha to receive gifts from people. It was not wrong for him to receive talents of silver or changes of clothes. The problem was not with that. The problem was, as verse 26 shows, it was not a time for receiving these gifts. There is a time for everything under heaven. This would have been a great picture of the free gift of salvation if Gehazi’s covetousness had not spoiled it. No gift was supposed to be taken from Naaman. Salvation was free. Satan will always try to pervert God’s way of salvation. It was not a time for receiving gifts. Receiving gifts is not a bad thing. So how can we know what the right time is and what the wrong time is? Not through having some fixed idea in our limited understanding but by constant turning to the word of God and a constant ear for the voice of His Spirit. God had made known the timing through the mouth of Elisha? What is God making to known to me and to you today?

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