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Msindisi Newsletter #107

August 14, 2013

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

 

NUMBER:      107       Aug 2013

 

PO BOX 1481

VRYHEID 3100

KWAZULU NATAL

SOUTH AFRICA

 

+27 (0) 728311008

+27 (0) 815836288

 

Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,

salv.di@gmail.com

 

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

 

We have been away lot this month, early in the month we went down to visit our friends Mark and Marianne Van Niekerk before Mark headed over to Israel for another mission trip. This gave us time to also catch up with the Stanger Fellowship. While there Sal was asked to lead the Monday night prayer meeting and the Tuesday night cottage meeting where everyone goes from house to house sharing a meal and a teaching is shared. We  met in a home where a HUGE pot of briyani had been made for supper. We love Indian food !!!! It was lovely on the Wednesday night also to have a meal with Miss, Jenny and the family along with Calvin. We had such a lovely time with you all.

 

Whenever we are in Stanger we also like to visit Saint Luke’s, a home for the disabled, with Marianne. Marianne ministers each Friday and has made some lovely friends. Sal takes the guitar so we sing and share a short bible message. This time he shared about Zaccheus the tax collector. Luke 19. It was also great to dine out with Dean and Taryn and catch up on their news. We continue to keep you both in pray.

 

Come Sunday, Sal was preaching at “The church” . Calvin has now combined the two church’s so there was only the one meeting. Sal spoke on Ezekiel 34 concerning the necessity to listen to the good shepherd.

 

We arrived back home in time for cell on the Monday night, this month Sal has finished going through the 10 part series on marriage. Several people have asked for copies of the series, which we are praying will encourage and assist couples who maybe going through difficulties or for those just wanting to get a clearer biblical understanding of marriage.

We have all been challenged and have found the teaching to be instrumental in clearing misguided worldly views that we all carry from different cultures. The question being what does God require from us.

 

After a day at home, we were back on the road heading to the Drakenbergs for the Congress on Revival with Jannie and his wife Glenda from the baptist church. This  congress is set up to encourage and feed leaders and pastors. The setting alone immediately made you sit in awe at the wonder of God and His creation. Psalm 121 v 1 and 2 !!! This was over a period of 4 days, we came away with many thoughts buzzing through our minds.

 

This month we took Gogo through to New Castle to see the doctor. She has been diagnosed with cancer. She has decided she will not have the radiation treatment as she believers you end up dying from the treatment. Please keep her in pray.. Our heart is that she will come to know Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour.

 

This week we have the arrival of Sal’s good friend from the UK. Joe Rumley !! Gemma his wife sadly cannot come this time as she is helping with her sister’s wedding preparation. He will be staying with us for 4 nights. We will take him back to Joberg when Sal prepares to go through to Zimbabwe, with Mark Hibberd, Murjuru and others. To help negotiate with labola, (a marriage payment) given to the bride to be’s family. (Due to Salvi being in Zim we have been late in sending out this newsletter but we will write about Salvi’s experience in the next newsletter.)

 

Over this month we received the news of the loss of Caleb’s dad, Ken Massey. Caleb Massey and his wife first led the Mission here. Also the loss of Lyn Royle’s dad. Dave and Lyn Royle run Moriel Missions in South Africa with the ministries of the missions college and Ebyown. We would like to express our heart felt sympathy to you both and to your families at this time.

 

Please can you pray:

 

For the Salvation of Gogo.

 

For our dear friends Lindsay and Eril Shotton who run a Christian radio station in New Zealand called True Light FM. Lindsay has been diagnosed with septicemia after a visit to the hospital when he had a mild stroke. Eril was also in hospital but is home now in a very weak and frail condition.

 

Health of our dear friends overseas in Aussie and NZ.

 

 

Peace and love to you all, in the name of our precious Saviour.

 

Shalom

 

Salvi and Di

 

PREPARING FOR PERSECUTION.

  

Exodus 1 v 1 – 21

Introduction

 

The bible indicates that there is a persecution coming and a global one. Whether it will be blatant or in secret, I don not know. When it will happen, I do not know. There are many brethren at this moment in time being secretly persecuted for the faith. No publicity and no international concern. After the September 11th bombing of the World Trade Centre we saw Pakistan speaking out to condemn these “terrorist attacks”, demonstrating their support of America and the democratic west. Yet Pakistan are persecutors of Christians in their own country. Just check out Release International’s magazine or Open Doors and they will show you. Whether the coming persecution will be blatant or in secret, I do not know, but I do know it is coming. The signs are all pointing to it. The moving of religion and society to become one syncretistic global entity is leading up to it. It may be as, in the days of the Caesars, that we can worship whomever we want just so long as we declare Caesar to be a god for 5 minutes every year. Under such a regime, any sign of religious fundamentalism will be seen as fanaticism and so true Christians will be branded as terrorists or something similar. The future persecution is predicted in Revelation 13 v 7 – 10. And even if we never live to see this global persecution we do well to remember the words of 2 Timothy 3 v 12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Whether we see the global persecution or not, persecution is still an issue for every believer.

So continuing with the subject at hand let us ask, where is this persecution going to come from? The source of the persecution will be from both outside and inside the church. Now we expect the persecution from outside the church as Jesus in John 15 v 19 tells us, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you.” The halls of history bear witness to this fact. We have had the Romans, the Roman Catholics, Nazis, Communists and now the Extreme Islamic States all persecute the true body of Christ. But how can it be that global persecution comes from within the evangelical church? We have had atrocities against anabaptists committed by the reformers but persecution on a global scale and from every denomination? How can this be?

 

Could it be that, like the Hebrews in Exodus chapter 1, the church has made its home in the world? Could it be that the church has got so comfortable in its lifestyle that it would rather have the world than forsake it? We see it so much in so called evangelicalism. Kingdom Now Theology touting the doctrines of, “We are going to set God’s kingdom here on this earth. We are not waiting for our heavenly mansion, our home is here!” But I do not think the persecution will come because the church has made its home in the world. If we look at the Hebrews of Exodus 1 we see a people who got comfortable in Egypt. They might have made Egypt their home but they were not Egyptians were they? In fact, a new King comes on the scene, not knowing Joseph, not knowing the Hebrews’ history, but he knew that they were Hebrews and he persecuted them for fear of them. So I do not believe the persecution will come because the church has made its home in the world. I believe that through letting so much of the world into the church the church has actually become the world, or at the very least it is well on the way. Jesus said that the world would persecute us. The church will persecute us because the church is the world too!

 

Now it is easy to point out and criticize the church in general, and I am not saying that such criticism is wrong. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 5 v 12 that we are to judge those inside the church. Nevertheless, it is still easy to claim to be detached from all that, because we are not part of the establishment and not party to these organizations. We can tear down Benny Hinn, and Kenneth Copeland for preaching a false gospel of greed, for taking the widow’s mite and making blasphemous statements. Yes we can point the finger at all these groups and people but such a great pressing question awaits us that we must ask ourselves. How much of the world is in our lives? How much of the world do we emulate? How separated unto God are we in the way we live, the way we act and in our attitudes? See, if there is no separation between the world and us then we are just as guilty as the mainstream church we are contesting against.

 

Some may ask, “What has my life to do with it? I am not preaching false doctrine. I am not against sound teaching and I stand for truth!” 1 Timothy 1 v 9 – 11 says “law is not laid down for a righteous one, but for lawless and undisciplined ones, for ungodly and sinful ones, for unholy and profane ones, for slayers of fathers and slayers of mothers, for murderers, for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and if any other thing opposes sound doctrine, according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I was entrusted.” Is our life style in accordance with sound doctrine? If not we are contrary to sound doctrine and we are easy pray for the Devil in the coming persecution. Are we ready to brace the flames of this coming trial or will we fall into compromise as our convictions become empty professions and preferential in a practical sense? And with this in view we will at long last begin.

 

Verses 1 – 6

 

For the first 6 verses we are faced with a genealogy, or family tree. In the Torah, the history books and 2 of the gospels we have these family trees. Most people tend to skip over these sections, as they are boring. I myself, plough through them for I desire to read the whole word of God. So what do these six verses tell us and why are they important? Remember 2 Timothy 3: 16 says, “Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” If we are honest some of us may think these “boring parts of the bible” are not very inspired. So why are they here? First they prove Jesus’ Messiah ship as being the son of David and the son of Judah. Just for this one point the family lines recorded have to be inspired. But how do these relate to us in ‘training us in righteousness’? Isaiah 51 v 1 reads, “Look to the rock from which you were cut, and to the hollow of the pit from which you were dug.” God was reminding the Israelites that their whole existence was a miracle. Abraham and Sarah, both half dead and Sarah being barren should parent a whole nation, as numerous as the stars. The catchword here then, is ‘remember’. The first preparation to make in terms of persecution is to remember what Christ Jesus has saved you out of. Never take your salvation for granted. I have to be reminded of my sinful conversations, deeds and attitudes. I have to know that in my flesh there dwells no good thing. The fact that there is any change in us is not our doing but God’s grace. Never let us presume upon our own goodness but put our trust on Christ Jesus. ‘Remember the rock from which you were hewn.’ Since remembrance renews our gratefulness, and we know how gracious God is, we do not have to have false humility because we know the reality of our sin and God’s goodness.

Another reason we must remember is so that we may learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. 1 Corinthians 10 v 11 says “And all these things happened to those as examples, and it was written for our warning, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” The Old Testament was written to give us examples to follow and not to follow. It is the heroine addict is coming off the heroine, craving for a fix, who forgets about the hellish situation he was in. He forgets the stealing from his family to pay for the habit, he forgets the paranoia of thinking he has to be careful of everyone he meets and only remembers the relief of getting his last shot. If we forget the bitterness of life before Christ, then we will fall when persecution comes. If we forget God’s holiness and his judgement of unrighteousness, then we will walk in disobedience when times gets hard and we are under pressure. There was a song by a band I used to follow that had the line, “I heard somewhere to learn is to remember, but I learned we all forgot”. If lessons are not learned concerning mistakes that have been made then history will keep repeating itself again and again.

 

Thirdly, we must remember our heritage. The Jews always remembered they were from the loins of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What is our heritage? It is the doctrine of the apostles. Remember, Jesus prayed for all who would come to believe through the apostles’ word. It is funny that in a chapter that deals with a persecution of God’s people  we start off by remembering the ancestors. Satan is trying to strip the church of the apostle’s doctrines. The apostle Paul taught that those who suppose that godliness is a means of gain are of corrupt and depraved minds and that we should withdraw from such persons. But in our modern day church, we invite them into our pulpits. They reason why the church is being driven away from the apostles’ teachings is that they are then open to false doctrines. As Proverbs 7 v 2 and 3 points out, we should have God’s word at the very centre of our being, bound to our fingers and engraved on our hearts.

Verse 7

 

The sons of Israel were fruitful. They grew from seventy to about over 600,000 by the time of the exodus. This verse also says that they filled the land. Israel was in a land that was not their home but they already had a real presence there. This really strikes me as a parallel of the church. At first the church was a group of sold out people who had sold their homes to live near each other. They were expecting the return of Jesus any day. ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through’. As far as they were concerned they had found the ultimate reality and everything else was vanity. They were pilgrims of the straight and narrow path on the way to the celestial city. Their attitude would have been, ‘Why do I need to strive to get up the career ladder? Why do I need to store up earthly possessions? They are going to get broken, stolen and will just fade. If I make an achievement, everyone will just forget over time. I want my heavenly reward that will last forever.’ This was the real Christian attitude of the early church. But now instead of being nomads in the world, the church has become fully-fledged citizens. Is this how the church is supposed to be? The Greek word for church is EKKLESSIA. The word simply means an assembly of people for any purpose but the etymology of EKKLESIA provides an excellent picture of we what as the church are supposed to be.  EK means ‘out of’ and KLESSIA comes from KESIS, meaning ‘invitation or calling’. We are supposed to come out of Babylon and be separate, but too often we like so much of what Babylon has to offer that we only want to be separated in our profession. Anything that demands a sacrifice of some of these pleasures is seen as too radical, over the top and overboard.

 

None of us are perfect or even have it together. We are all growing by grace. We need to encourage one another to flee the world and its lusts. A modern paraphrase of John Owen says, “Jesus says, ‘watch and pray’. Acting upon this call of Jesus is the only way that God has given to preserve you from entering temptation and falling into sin. Neglect this and you certainly will fall. Do not flatter yourself that this could not happen to you. Maybe you are a long established disciple with a holy hatred of sin and think it is impossible that you would ever be seduced into a certain sin. Nevertheless, never forget, ‘if you (whoever you may be) think you are standing, be careful that you do not fall.”

Let’s be overboard and radical. The writer of Hebrews 12 v 1 tells us to ‘throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. To RUN with endurance the race set before us’. We are sinners saved by grace. None of us can point the finger without a hundred pointing back. But we have been set free from sin so that we can live our lives pleasing to God. Why should we desire to get back entangled in sin again? Why do we make it hard on ourselves by putting so many temptations before our eyes and playing about with our lusts? You might think that you can marry the WORLD and the WORD, but there is one ‘L’ of a difference. The world is not worth it. It does not truly satisfy. You may get pleasure out of the world but it will not last forever. The world may give you life but it will not save you from death. It may fill you with pleasure but indulging in it only serves as a distraction to keep us from dealing with our sin. Sober mindedness is a gift from God; clear thinking is as refreshing to the soul as cool rain after a hot busy day. Like the Hebrews in this chapter, we have got too comfortable and it is time to ““Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

 

Verses 8 – 11

 

When the gospel starts to take effect in the world we will find persecution is not far behind. There are so many songs composed for worship saying, ‘there is going to be a revival’. People are visualizing and proclaiming revival in the world. We all claim that we would truly love to see revival but at what cost? How much are we willing to pay for revival? Biblically, revival seems to mostly come along with persecution. Looking at Acts we see this relationship starting after Peter preached at Pentecost. Paul underwent beatings, and imprisonments. But the most beautiful example I have read of this relationship is found in Acts 7 v 54 – 8 v 4. Here we see the same working of the Spirit as we find in Peter’s preaching at Pentecost. There was the same conviction of the Holy Spirit cutting to the quick. Stephen was also preaching in Jerusalem and both to Jews but here we have a totally different result. Instead of 3,000 people coming to Christ, Stephen ends up being martyred. A great persecution is then unleashed upon the church. Does not seem like much of a revival does it? And yet we see that this persecution scattered the believers all over Israel and thus the proclamation of the gospel spread too. There seem so many programs and events promising revival and yet they all seem to fail. If we want to see revival, are we willing to endure persecution without compromising message or lifestyle?

 

Verse 9

As Pharaoh was concerned over the amount of Israelites, so other religious groups and churches will be worried about their own empires falling down. They will be scared that numbers will decline from their churches and start to fill other ones that will not advocate their doctrines. In fact a pastor would be scared and would start to act wisely. He may start to warn his congregation that so and so’s church is dangerous, they are a cult, but without having the evidence to make such assertions. Now looking at the text again we see that Pharaoh was not telling the Egyptians that the Israelites were numerous and mighty. He was not merely relaying information. The word ‘say’ here is the word ‘AMAR’ which means, ‘to say, command, challenge, appoint, avouch, bid, certify, publish, report, require and promise.’ Pharaoh was in fact giving an authoritative address. He was giving orders. There are people with experiences of being in cults or cult like groups where the leaders have been heavy handed and abused their authority. I am not talking about church discipline but about an ethos of ‘I am the pastor and you do what I say or get out.’ They do not use scripture as their authority but their position as a pastor.

 

And so we find Pharaoh telling the Egyptians to act wisely with the Israelites. Now when I first read this, I looked up the word ‘wisely’ and it means ‘to be wise (in word, mind or act) teach wisdom, make wiser.’ I thought how could such good wisdom be commanded of Pharaoh. I was expecting deviousness, cunning and deceit. The wisdom he talked of was godly type wisdom and that puzzled me. But the truth is that bad people will use good things for bad purposes. They will use apparently good reasons and excuses to carry out their unbiblical ends. They will use such convincing and logical arguments as to why biblical Christianity should be illegal. This might seem far-fetched and contrived but just look at the example of Pharaoh here. It shows that it only takes the opinion of one dictator to amass such a persecution. It happened with Hitler and Stalin and will happen again with the Anti-Christ.

So what does Pharaoh do to the Israelites? He puts them to work building storage cities. Now according to Charles Ryrie, these storage cities housed weapons and supplies to be used in the case of attack. In other words, the Egyptians were forcing the sons of Israel to work in building up Egypt’s ammunition. The world is getting its ammunition from the church. How does it do this? Well, Jacob Prasch gave an example of a doctor who lost his job because he would not perform abortions. Only when a mother’s life was in danger would he perform an abortion. Now it only takes one operation, one foetus killed and the hospital would say, “You have performed an abortion as a Christian before, why can you not do it again?” The Church of England has started marrying Homosexual couples. There even exist homosexual priests. All this is as ammunition against the true message spoken by the true church to render it ineffectual in making disciples of men. “I can have sex before marriage… the church round the corner has unmarried couples living together.” “I don’t have to repent of practicing my homosexuality… My boyfriend is the vicar of my church.” “God will not mind me getting drunk and partying, all my friends at church do it.” The church’s apostasy and compromise will only seek to harden the hearts of people against the true gospel and the true church.

 

Verse 12

The persecution of the church will be used to suppress Christianity, but as with many things that are suppressed it actually grows. However the Church not only overcomes but it thrives in persecution. No other group, maybe save the Jews, has endured such hostility in such a glorious and godly manner. Miracles happen in a persecuted church. In Acts 14 v 19 we see Paul bricked to death and dragged out of the city to be left for dead, only to see that he got up, and went back into the city. God’s power is displayed in difficult and trying circumstances, not for our entertainment or amusement. There is a relationship between God’s power being manifest and suffering. Paul in Philippians 3 v 10 writes: “to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death, if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead.” It is when we are out of our depth that God manifests his power so that we can in no way claim the glory, so that all the glory may go to him.

 

The endure persecution in Christ’s name and for His sake is the highest form of worship we can give. Our spiritual act of worship is to ‘present our bodies as a living sacrifice.’ There are some beautiful stories of Christians that have gone all the way for their saviour. ‘Tortured for Christ’ by Richard Wurmbrandt gives some incredible examples. (P36, 39, 46 & 96) Such stories are incredible to our ears. Our minds cannot conceive such an attitude to suffering. If one of us acted in such a way we would be deemed lunatics and super spiritual. Could it be that through living after the world, we have left our first love?

 

Verses 13 – 14

So the Israelites thrived under persecution to such an extent that the Egyptians were in dread of them. Being in dread did not lead to ease up the persecution but rather led to a more intense persecution. Revival will not necessarily stop persecution but may actually intensify it. Labouring rigorously infers cruelty and severity. They were not only made to work harder but they were beaten to keep on top of the workload. Their lives were made bitter. The word ‘To live’ in Hebrew is the word ‘Chay’ and it can contain the connotations of, ‘Life, sing, appetite, company, congregation and merry.’ Life is a gift of God and something to be enjoyed. Pharaoh was turning a gift of God, something to be enjoyed into a bitter, terrible, and heavy burden.

 

Persecution is intended to make the gift of salvation into a heavy and bitter burden in order to make believers wish that they had never become Christians in the first place. And when Christians stand firm in the face of opposition, the Devil turns the heat up. What do you think? If you stand strong against Satan’s schemes in your life, do you think Satan is going to give up saying; “Oh well, I tried my best, never mind about this one.” No, he will never give up on us until the day we die or until Christ Jesus comes back. He is ruthless, but Christ will preserve His church. ‘Tortured for Christ’ also gives examples of how Christians have shone in the midst of the most terrible of tortures. (P52) It is only the love of God and a strong love for God that will preserve us in the midst of persecution.

Verse 15

 

Pharaoh’s new tac-tic is to get the midwives to kill the baby Hebrew boys. As midwives the women would be there at the birth and they helped to deliver the babies. So what does a midwife mean to us as Christian believers? Just as the midwife would assist in the birth of a child so the evangelist is God’s worker in the event of the spiritual birth of his children. Let us look at the names of the midwives mentioned. Shiphrah and Puah. Shiphrah means ‘brightness and garnish’ coming from a root which means, ‘beauty’. Puah means, ‘brilliancy’. In terms of beauty, we know that Isaiah 52 v 7 says “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him bringing good news, making peace heard, bringing good news, proclaiming salvation; saying to Zion, Your God reigns!” More importantly the words, ‘brightness, brilliancy and glitter, are to do with the shining and reflection of light. The gospel is described in 2 Corinthians 4 v 4 & 6 as the light, which shines in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The gospel is a light that shows up our sin for what it is and gives us the solution in Christ, that through Him we can find salvation. Spiritually speaking midwives are evangelists. God uses them for the spiritual birth of an individual through the proclamation of the gospel. So why should Pharaoh get hold of evangelists.

 

As Bill Randles warns, we have a pandemic in Christendom of false gospel, false evangelism and false conversion. If the gospel is not true then neither is the conversion. A gospel is now preached that says, ‘God has a wonderful plan for your life and if you need fulfillment in your life come to Jesus. He will make it all better, your life will never be the same.’ All the side issues are addressed but the modern gospel never gets to the heart of the issue. OUR SIN. The whole reason we need saving is because our trespasses have cut us off from God and so we deserve judgement and there is nothing you or I can do about it. We are headed for eternal damnation. Hell is a reality, not just a metaphor but real and it is our destination. But wait! God does not want you there, He wants you and me to be with Him for eternity, so He sent His only Son to take our punishment on a cross where he bled and died, taking on the sin of the world on Him. Three days later He rose again as proof that through Him we may have eternal life. Jesus will come back to complete our salvation and to right all the wrongs, eradicating sin, sickness and corruption and the Christian lives in active anticipation of the hope of Jesus’ return. Do you believe this with your heart? We must believe and repent. Stop following your own ambitions, desires and living for what you want and start going God’s way. Be ready to obey his commandments and lastly be baptized. Now I do not believe that water baptism is essential to salvation. The thief on the cross is the proof of that. However, he was not baptized because he could not be. Please do not get me wrong, baptism is a command and to be practiced in accordance with receiving the gospel message but baptism is more than being dunked under water. It is a symbol of dying to the old life and rising to a new life with Christ Jesus. We must as Paul says ‘reckon ourselves dead to sin, in other words, sin is no option for us now. As David Hamilton says, “Christ does not offer a new start in life, but a new life to start.” This is the gospel. A gospel that neglects or changes these facts is not the true gospel and so if I am claiming to be in salvation without coming to a place of acceptance and obedience to all these points of the message then I have to doubt my own salvation. Personally, I made a decision for Jesus as a child and I was then baptized but I had to make a decision in my early adult years that was in accordance with a full understanding of the basic gospel message. I had to know that I was lost before I could be truly born again. This experience of realizing the sinfulness of one’s heart is not a pleasant one. Thank God that He is merciful and gracious.

Verse 16

 

So how does the gospel get compromised? Here we see that Pharaoh kills the baby boys and lets the girls live. Apart from the obvious messianic reference to Herod killing the baby boys at the birth of Christ, Pharaoh does not want the Israelites to mount an army against him and so he takes out the potential brute force of the Hebrews. And so what is it that the world and indeed a portion of the church doing? “You can not say Jesus is the Son of God, Moslems will be offended!” “You can not say that Jesus is unique, that’s too narrow. What about all the other religions? They can not all be wrong!” “You can not say that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man because that will offend Catholics!” They tell us that we can not preach God’s wrath, judgement or hell. The world is trying to take out the defensive out of Christianity and outlaw the offensive in the bible.

 

But why let the girls live then? Because girls could marry the Egyptians, and then be assimilated into the culture. What does this tell us? It says without uncompromisingly holding onto the full gospel; without holding onto the offensive we are then prey to ecumenism and multifaith. It is interesting to see that in an age where multifaith and ecumenism is on an all time high, that it is the ministries dealing with miracles, signs, wonders, visions and sensual experience that are the most popular but we hardly hear of the apologetics and polemics ministries, and these are even heavily opposed by some quarters of the church. If we get rid of the watchmen, they enemy will seize the opportunity, attack and assimilate us. This is not to say our ministries should be focussed on discernment and neglect other vital aspects of the faith. There is a problem with ministries when their fundamental concern is exposing error in the church. However, discernment is still a vital aspect of our faith and one that will leave us open to the enemy’s attacks.

 

Verse 17

 

So what example do the midwives set? Was it compromise or faithfulness? We know that it was faithfulness and what kept them from compromise? It was the fear of God. We do not tend to hear that phrase in many churches. I believe that the Devil is trying to downplay the fear of God and the churches are falling for it. We hear sermons saying that the fear of God is not fear but just a sense of awe. Well the word used in this passage is ‘Yare’ and it means ‘to fear, to revere, to frighten, affright, be made afraid.’ In Matthew 10 v 28 Jesus uses the word ‘phobeo’ to tell us to fear the father. This word means ‘to frighten, be alarmed, be in awe of, revere, be afraid, fear.’ The bible does not make a difference between fear, awe and reverence. “But God is a God of love, how can it be that we should be frightened of Him? How can He make us feel afraid?” That is a fair question and yet it takes us off the main issue. God is a God of justice. He is holy, He absolutely hates sin and if we would come into His presence in our sinful state we would drop dead.

 

He is awesome and yet when we hear people describe the fear of God as an awe it seems that they are inferring that they are looking longingly into the Beauty of God’s splendour and are lost in some mind numbing state. They have taken the fear out of fear and put the ‘ahh’ into awe. Just having this type of awe that they describe will not save any one in a time of tribulation and persecution. There must be a fear of God because if I fear God I will be wary to compromise His word and my lifestyle in Him. I know it is far better to enjoy God’s love and favour and to suffer at the hands of men, then to be in the favour of men and suffer the wrath of God.

 

The reason that we do not quake with fear when we meet together in His presence or when we approach Him in prayer is that we know, being in His favour we do not have to fear His wrath. God has saved us and by walking in His ways we can receive the blessings of His love. And perfect love casts out all fear.

 

Verses 18 – 19

 

So now the king of Egypt has cottoned on to the fact that they Hebrew boys are still alive. So of course he does not let the midwives off the hook and he calls them in to demand an explanation from them. Just as Pharaoh commanded the death of Hebrew babies and forced the Hebrews to slave labour, so he could have also command the death of the midwives. In this fix, where their lives are in danger and the danger of being forced to kill the babies, what do they do? They lie. This is not to say it is therefore Ok to lie. We all know that God can not lie. This is not what the passage is telling us. What the nurses are doing is putting themselves in a position where they will not be made by force to kill the babies. By saying that they can not get to the mothers before they give birth they are saying that they are incompetent and it is impossible for them to carry out this task. Of course we should tell the truth but what is worse, lying to prevent the persecution of your brethren or telling the truth and handing over their names to their persecutors? At Cornerstone church in England we had a missionary give a talk in our home cell. He shared about how he had been in China and seen God do miracles and healings. Unashamedly he then told us that upon being detained in his hotel room for his illegal activities he then gave them all the information about his activities and the names of the Chinese brethren.

 

In extreme circumstances of persecution it is far better to lie about your knowledge of the brethren than to betray them. Look at the examples of the midwives. God blessed them in spite of their lying because they had preserved the lives of God’s people. Of course that does not give us license to start lying in our context. The situation of persecuted Christians cannot be extrapolated to our situation in the comfortable west.

 

Verses 20 & 21

 

Because they feared God, He rewarded them. How? Firstly we see that the Israelites multiplied. By faithfully serving God in obedience He will cause fruit to be produced from that work. An example: Jim Elliott and 4 other missionaries went to share the gospel in Ecuador in the 1950’s. They forsook career prospects, ambitions, a comfortable lifestyle and what Jim called, ‘the trivialities of life’ in order to minister to the Aucas who were notorious for killing whites. They sent presents to the Aucas for about half a year and then went to meet them in order to share the gospel. Sadly a few days after making human contact, in 1956 all 5 of them were killed by a group of Auca Indians, without having shared the gospel with them. Some of us may think, ‘why would God lead 5 young men’ to be killed in a waste of a situation? But ten years later God added the increase to their work when 2 of their killers repented and submitted to Christ Jesus, through the work of one of the missionary’s sisters.

 

Because of a holy fear of God and of faithfulness in obedience to him, God will reward the efforts of His servants. In Luke 18 v 29 & 30 Jesus says “Truly I say to you, There is no one who has left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this time, and in the age that is coming, everlasting life.” We see that God did this for the midwives; He gave them more families and homes. When we leave our old life of sin, we enter a massive family called the church and we gain so much more. It is the same with all of us. Because we are in Christ we are all family and through our sharing of lives we all become so much richer than had ever been.

 

Conclusion

 

At the start of this message I began by questioning is all about how much of the world is in our lives, and in the message I gave a proposal saying, ‘let’s be overboard and radical’. I believe that the only way we will endure any type of persecution without compromising is to be dead to the world and sold out for Christ. To die to our dreams, visions, desires and all that we most live for and to have Jesus as our dream, vision, desire and the one who we most live for in the station of life that we either find ourselves in or that doors have opened up to us. At the age of 22, Jim Elliott wrote, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose’. What is it that has a hold on us? If we had to choose between Christ and the Christian life, and these things of the world, which would we honestly choose? Any worldly thing, we cannot take with us, but anything of God will last for eternity.

 

Foundation for the extension on hut

Foundation for the extension on hut

Salvador and Joe

Salvador and Joe

Beautiful Rainbow

Beautiful Rainbow

Internation Congress on Revival, Drakensburgs, 2013

Internation Congress on Revival, Drakensburgs, 2013

Beautiful scenery outside of our house

Beautiful scenery outside of our house

Phumlani preaching the gospel in Khambi community

Phumlani preaching the gospel in Khambi community

Slabs laid for House extension.

Slabs laid for House extension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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