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Msindisi latest Newsletter #134

December 8, 2015

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER: 134. Dec 2015

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

 

It’s very hard to know where to start this newsletter. We have been traveling since the start of the month with about 8 days at home. Our truck has become our mobile home.

Home

Our homestead, where we stayed for 8 days this month.

We returned to Joberg at the start of the month as a little of the previous filming needed to be shot again as the sound quality wasn’t so good in a few of the frames. We hit the road after filming Phumlani that morning. While in Joberg we got to attend the Sunday service at “Bread of Life”. Afterward we shared a lovely lunch with the Nathans and Sue Wells and another couple with their little one from the fellowship.

Film Phum

Phumlani being Interviewed

Nathans

With David and Jackie Nathan

When the filming was completed in Joberg we headed to the “Union Bible College” in Hilton to interview and film the principal for the DVD project. Sal had been asked earlier to prepare a lecture on Ephesians 5 for the college students. Before the lecture began we were able to attend the graduation assembly for the 2015 group. This was a wonderful time of giving thanks to lecturers, staff and the principal. Many had started the 3 year course in faith and were giving praise and thanks for the way the Lord had supplied for them. The college is mainly attended by African students, large percent being men but a small number of woman also. We were really encouraged by the students and enjoyed meeting them after Sal had shared his lecture.

UBI sign

The Union Bible Institute, not far from Pietermaritzburg

Goerge interview

Interviewing George Mnisi, principal of Union Bible Institute

UBI lecture

Sal Lecturing on Ephesians 5 at the Union Bible Institute

Richard Murray

Salvador with Richard Murray from Union Bible Institute

After leaving the college we traveled to Pietermaritzburg to interview a Xhosa man, Thadikhaya Manciya, for the DVD then traveled onto Balito , as we had to return the wireless microphone which Graeme had kindly lent to us for a limited time. We are very grateful for the loan of the microphone kit, which to buy would cost R12,000. While there we visited Calvin and the Indian fellowship on the Sunday as we hadn’t seen them all for a long time. We also got to share a meal with Mark and Vanessa from “Coming King Ministries ” and catch up quickly with Leslie Crickmay.

Thandikhaya

Interviewing Thandikhaya in Pietermaritzburg

We returned back home on Sal birthday. We had 8 days before we were due to head off again. Those 8 days entailed washing, haircuts, visiting Neighbours, teaching kids club and catching up with the cell group on the Friday night at Johnny and Kim’s. The last 2 days we had the care bear graduation where Sal shared the word and we sang with the kids.

Care bear sal

Sal preaching at Care Bear creche

Care Bear

Kids Singing at Care Bear

Straight after we drove to Pretoria for the wedding of our friends son. Sal had been asked to share a message and to take the vows. The wedding was lovely and it really was great to be able share in it with Riaan, Sonet and family and friends. We pray they continue to grow together as a married couple and grow together in the Lord.

Wedding

Riaan and Sonet’s wedding

 

After the wedding on the Friday we we headed to Springs. Sal was asked to take the service on the Sunday by a dear brother called Dumisani. His fellowship is in an informal settlement outside of Springs called Putfontein. We where able to stay with Allen and Sue over the weekend. We got to meet Dumisani when Anna from “Bread of Life” had taken us to the township to introduced us to him in our last visit.

Sal and Dumi

Dumisani Madi who is a missionary in the informal settlement just outside Springs

 

Dumi township

Shacks in the informal settlement, just outside Springs

Dumi town

More Shacks

The last few days of the month was taken up with us beginning the filming of the re-enactments of Karabo’s story. Sal had story boarded the scenes that were to be shot and the angles and footage that he wanted. It was incredible hot in Pretoria but we were pleased with the scenes that were shot. Karabo did a fantastic job in acting out his story and we both feel that Hollywood is just around the corner for him. We were encouraged to see the footage and story line taking shape. On a more serious note, there is much to do with trying to get the script translated into all the various languages. At present we have the Afrikaans done and the Zulu, Venda, Tswana and Tsonga languages are under way. This still leaves us Xhosa, Pedi, Venda, Ndebele and Swazi to do. In late february we plan to record some of the languages in audio to dub over the final edit of the film later on in the year. There is a lot of preparation taking place in casting and finding suitable locations but it is amazing to see who the Lord is bringing across our paths. While in Joberg we were also fortunate to catch a coffee and meal with Tony and Maria Verlaan from New Tribe Missions before they head to Australia for 6 months. We are so grateful for the many people who opened their homes to us and let us stay over our travels. Sadly we are unable to catch up with everybody on each trip as time is limited. Nevertheless we thank those whom we stayed with for their warm hospitality and friendship.

Tony-and-Maria-Verlaan-Oct-2014

Tony and Maria Verlaan from New Tribes Mission

 

Along our travels we have been able to collect more clothes and other things for Celani to be able to sell in the local community. She has saved enough cash to purchase blocks to start the building for her small shop that she will build on her property. We thank those who have contributed to this project with all the clothes. It is a wonderful way to help her and her family and the community. We are always continuing to collect clothes in various areas, so please let us know if you have any that you want collected and we will put our Afrikaans thinking caps on, for as they say, “’N Boer maak ‘n plan” (An Afrikaner -literally farmer- makes a plan).

 

Celani block

Celani with the blocks for her shop

Cel

Celani sorting through some clothes

Our truck has been doing a huge amount of mileage. It has needed to have a few things sorted but we are so grateful for it. Especially the air con and all the room. Dec we will be staying put in Vryheid as Jan will be another busy month. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thanks for the many friends who have embraced this project with us and are helping in so many ways. The last days are upon us and we really desire to get this DVD out as quickly as possible. We appreciate your prayers.

 

Please pray for:

Tony and Maria from NTM, they get some rest time while in Australia

The on going filming that is ahead. The translation of the DVD audio from English into the African languages. Wisdom, strength,and skills for the filming and coordinating actors and locations.

Safe travels on the road

Thankfulness for the many people who have opened their homes and shown us hospitality

The faithful walk of Phumlani and the Zulu fellowship

 

FIFTEEN

THE SACRIFICIAL LIFE IN SUBMISSION

ROMANS 13

In the last two chapters we have looked at the sacrificial life from the perspective of our ministries and our fellowship together as believers. In Romans 13, Paul switches to our conduct in the secular world; for if God is the God of reality, He is not only the God of the religious domain but He must also be the God over the secular domain too. Hence He is entitled to make certain judgments on the secular world. These chapters are all part of Paul’s ministry in trying to bring about the obedience of faith from among the Gentiles. From Romans 12 onwards the whole flavor of the epistle has changed. It ceased to be a heavy doctrinal thesis, majoring on certain spiritual truths, and has become very practical. And this is the thing with God. God is theological and God is practical. God is the God of orthodoxy and he is the God of orthopraxy. If you want to delve into the issue of the relationship between doctrine and life, I would highly recommend Francis Schaeffer’s book ‘True Spirituality’ since he explores the themes in a very searching and honest way. But it is important that we realize that everything that we are looking at in these chapters is not disconnected to the first eleven chapters but rather is the natural outflow of Paul’s theological treatise. The theology creates a base, an understanding and a motivation for the practice of love, submission and obedience. If we do not have this theological base, it changes everything about our Christianity. This is not merely about semantics but about the whole reason of why we do what we do. This is not only important but it is totally fundamental to everything about us. We can not simply brush away the theology for the sake of being practical. The scripture has said explicitly that we are saved by grace, through faith. The just shall live by faith and Paul is seeking to bring about the obedience of faith. Therefore, if we do not work from the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross and from the basis of God’s revelation through His word, through the illumination from the Holy Spirit, then no matter how much of these chapters we implement into our lives, it will all be fundamentally false and wrong.

VERSES 1 – 14:

OUR CONDUCT IN SECULAR SOCIETY

It is all well and good loving one another in our meetings and being a Christian in the company of other Christians. But what about being a Christian in the middle of a relativistic, pluralistic society that has no reverence for the creator God? What about a society where blatant immorality and idolatry is the norm of life? How do you uphold godly standards when the whole of the system gravitates away from it? How do you conduct yourself in reverence and fear when the government that runs the country is anti-christ? Should the government be opposed for its godlessness? Should the church rise up and take over? We have had a strange phenomenon in church history that was never a factor in the early church. That is, from about 365AD onwards, certain churches have been political entities, wielding worldly power and governing whole nations. We think that the church can, at times, join hands and help to make the world a better place. Some of us may think that if the present government is ungodly, then some Christians in the church can take up arms towards the overthrowing of the present rulers. But when you read the New Testament and Eusebius’ history of the Church, you get the impression that this was not the mind set of the early Church. Rome was cruel and it ruled with a heavy hand. The Emperor demanded worship. The followers of Christ in Rome had already endured persecution from their unbelieving Jewish brethren and there had already been an expulsion of Jews from Rome. How far should a Christian be supportive of their own government before the government should be overthrown? At the time of Paul, Christianity still enjoyed the privilege of being a legal religion because, being Jewish in its inception, it was merely seen as a sect within Judaism. But the time would come when it would lose that status and many, many Christians would become food for the lions.

OUR INHERITENCE

Back in Romans 8 we saw that we are living in the hope of receiving the adoption as sons. We are receiving an inheritance. This inheritance includes certain things. Firstly, as Romans 8: 23 teaches it includes a resurrection body. If we look at Psalm 2: 7 – 9 we read a messianic promise that the Messiah will receive the nations as an inheritance over which He will rule and reign. And yet, in Revelation 2: 26 – 27 we read that this promise, that was specifically made about Christ, is also promised to those who overcome in Christ. In other words, Jesus gains the inheritance through His efforts alone and yet He shares His inheritance with those who would believe in Him. We live in the hope of a new world order brought in by the return of Christ. In the Church, we are to judge minor disputes between people; and the decisions made by the church are binding. Therefore, the power of discipline is given unto the Church over its members. 1 Corinthians 6: 1 – 6.

1 Does any of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that, there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?”

There is a reason that this aspect of ruling authority within the Church is supposed to be a present reality. This is because although it is a future reality that will be realized with the return of Christ, the future kingdom is already present on earth when the body of Christ comes together. We will even judge angels, Paul says. So if this authority is already present in the Church, and if the world is supposed to be subject to the people of God, then what should our attitude be in the contemporary social and political arena? Is the Church to overthrow governments? Is the Church to be the answer to all the world’s problems? It is too simplistic to say that the Church should not have any influence upon the society in which it lives because the early Church had a very real presence. In the late Roman period historians wrote about the believers conduct and their charitable deeds. Jesus Himself said that His followers were to let their lights shine so that others may see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven. It is true that Jesus said this to His disciples that lived amongst the Jewish nation; a nation in covenant with the creator God. Yet the principle still stands among other nations. We are to do what is good and right to all men. So how far should the Church interfere with matters of the state and should the Church ever be involved in the upheaval of a government? What does Paul say in the opening couple of verses?

DO WE ACCEPT OUR GOVERMENTS UNQUESTIONABLY?

One thing Paul is not saying is that we should never speak against the acts of a government. He does not mean that we should always accept what the state does unquestionably, or else Paul himself would be guilty of breaking those rules that he is commanding us. Paul preached against immorality and against idolatry. What Paul is saying is that we should not oppose the authority that these rulers have. Rome was imperial, heavy handed and yet Paul said that their authority was from God. If we oppose the government that God has placed over us then we are opposing God Himself. But how does this hold when these rulers use that authority to oppress and to persecute God’s people? Surely they have forfeited the authority that God has given them and, therefore, we can take up arms and put an end to their regime! No, we may not take up arms in this situation, unless our own governing authority, which is over us, commands us to. Before proceeding on with this counter argument it is important that we do not think that this means we believe in a God who teaches non-resistance as an end in itself. God commanded the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanite tribes and to take over their land. The same God who commanded this invasion and judgment is the same God who said to turn the other cheek. It is not that God is against the use of force and arms, though God is never a promoter of violence, (these things being done out of necessity). Rather the reason God has told us not to take arms is because God has set aside a time where His Messiah will ride into battle and bring judgment to the world system. Jesus said, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting’! The age which we live in is called by some theologians, ‘The dispensation of Grace’. It was not that God was ungracious before and it is not that God has refrained from all forms of judgment. Rather it is that God is showing great patience to the people of all nations in order to see as many of them saved before venting out His wrath.

DOES GOD GIVE AUTHORITY TO THOSE WHO ABUSE IT?

So the question still remains; why has God given authority for these rulers to oppress His people? Look at Isaiah 10: 5 – 11.

5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger, And the staff in whose hands is My indignation! 6 I send it against a godless nation, And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. 7 Yet it does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy, And to cut off many nations. 8 For it says, “Are not my princes all kings? 9 Is not Calno like Carchemish? Or Hamath like Arpad? Or Samaria like Damascus? 10 As my hand has reached the kingdoms of the idols, Whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?””

God is saying to Assyria that He has chosen them as an instrument of judgment to deal with His own people. God gave Assyria authority to come against His own people. But did God want Assyria to massacre and annihilate? Zechariah 1: 15 says that God was only a little angry with His people but the nations furthered the disaster. They went too far. God had given them the authority to come against Israel but they misused that authority and went too far. If a nation or a kingdom goes too far God will bring judgment on that nation. Now what about Rome? The time that this letter was written was less than ten years before Nero would blame the Christians for the fire in Rome and unleash a massive persecution against the Church. What did the early Church do? Did they oppose Nero and seek to oust him out while striving to set up their own kingdom? No, they went to their deaths as martyrs. When believers were thrown to the lions for their refusal to worship Caesar, did they condemn the state for unjustly sentencing them to death? No they went willingly to their deaths because their allegiance was to God, first and foremost, and yet they knew that the law of the land was to be obeyed. They died as witnesses to Christ. They respected the authority Caesar had, though Caesar could and would abuse it. God is the one in whom they trusted for avenging their blood as martyrs and in Revelation 6: 10 we see martyrs crying to the Lord for justice. God will definitely do so.

WHY DOES GOD SET THESE LEADERS IN GOVERNMENT?

So if these rulers can misuse their authority in such a gross manner, why does God give such authority to men? Why does God set fallible people in government? The reason for this is found in verses 3 and 4.

3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

The rulers are placed in their positions because law and order must be maintained. What is Paul telling us? Be good citizens and we do not have to worry about authority. If we do what is right and we are helpful and beneficial to society, we will have praise from the authorities. Think about the suffering Church in China and Christians who were imprisoned. They won the hearts of their prison guards because they were loving and helpful people who did not do anything wrong. One guard, I saw on a DVD, turned round and said, ‘I think everybody should be Christians, because if everyone were Christians we would not have anybody in jail.’ No one ever went to jail for helping someone in their time of need. No one ever paid a fine for keeping the speed limit. No one ever went to court for saving a child’s life. People may have gone to jail under the charge of aiding and abetting a criminal but not simply for being charitable.

SHOULD WE EVADE TAXES?

Paul also says that we are to pay taxes to the governing authorities. Tax evasion is a very touchy issue in some circles. It is argued that if our government will spend tax money on promoting evolution, abortion or something else that is ungodly, then as Christians we may and even should evade paying taxes. However, a look at verses 6 – 7 shows us that this argument is not valid. Paul said to these believers that they must pay taxes to their government which was Rome. In fact, for them, it was simply a fact of life. They were already paying taxes and that is why Paul is not commanding them to start paying taxes. He was explaining to them why, biblically speaking, they were to pay them. And who was their governing authority? It was Rome; a system that was antichrist, cruel, pluralistic and immoral. The bible teaches that we should pay taxes but why does it tell us to pay them? Matthew 17: 24 – 27.

24 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt. 27 However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you shall find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”

The two-drachma tax was something paid towards the service of the temple. This tax was voluntary and yet there was peer pressure for people to pay it. Now here is the question? Was Simon-Peter obliged to pay it? The answer is no. The temple was Jesus’ Father’s house and because we are adopted children there is an exemption for us. And yet Jesus said that his disciples should pay it in order not to offend. If that is the case with the Kingdom that we belong to, then it makes sense that Jesus commanded us to pay taxes to secular government. As Jesus said, it belongs to Caesar anyway. It was his head and inscription that was on the Roman coins and therefore it all belonged to him. Render unto Caesar what is Caesars.

And this is the issue throughout this chapter. We are kings and priests and judges being prepared to take responsibility in a kingdom that has not yet been fully realized. We experience it in the sphere of all things that have been redeemed, (i.e. the Church) but not all things have yet been fully redeemed. That kingdom is in our midst, amongst those who are saved, but it has not yet come as a world power. But just because we are still waiting for the return of Christ to establish His kingdom, does not mean that we can live lawless lives in the face of present governments, no matter how anti-God they are. We are to live in the light of the future in the experience of today. Thus, instead of breaking the law, Paul tells us in verses 8 – 10, that we are to love, which is the embodiment of the Law. But this is the thing. Though these governments are bad, some much worse than others, there are a couple of pointers that we must bear in mind before we think about revolt.

PRAYER INSTEAD OF REVOLT

Firstly, read 1 Timothy 2: 1 – 6.

1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”

Instead of opposing the government and taking arms against them, we are to pray for our leaders in order to live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. Why does Paul say this? Is it because he would love for us to have it easy in this life? No, but rather he explains the reason in the next few verses. The reason is that the Gospel may go out because God wants to see people saved. This is essential because there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus. It may be true that revival is the biggest in countries where there is great persecution but on the other side of the coin; you try to go to North Korea and buy a bible! In a free country the publication of scripture and the promotion of the Gospel, is possible in a more widespread and open way. In South Africa I can go out and preach in the open air while smiling as the police walk past. You try and do that in China and they will arrest you. There is a saying that goes, ‘let us make hay while the sun shines.’ In other words, Paul is telling Timothy to take opportunities to share the Gospel and to pray that God will keep the window of opportunity open. Take the opportunity to witness while you can. Because in the future that opportunity might get taken away.

SUBMISSION IN THE LIGHT OF JESUS’ RETURN

But secondly, as Paul argues in verses 11 – 14, the day is near. Jesus is coming back and He is going to establish His kingdom. God does not want us to wait until the last minute, but He wants us to prepare ourselves now! We must not think, ‘well this kingdom is going down the drain, I am not going to respect its authority!’ We must not think it is okay to live a live of sensuality and then, just before we die, we may get ourselves straightened out. Rather, our position and responsibility in the Millennial reign is linked to our faithfulness in this life.

Micah 4: 1 – 2. 1 And it will come about in the last days, That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about his ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem;”

Why will people stream to Jerusalem? Because they will want to learn God’s ways so they may walk in it. Why do they need to learn God’s ways? Because the nations have been walking in their own ways throughout time, as Paul taught in chapter 3 of Romans. So when Jesus establishes His Kingdom, people will realize that they do not even know God’s ways. Now here is the thing. The scripture says that we will judge the world. We will rule and reign with Him. And, therefore, God will be using us for ministerial functions in the millennial reign. Jesus taught that, when He gives his riches to His servants, he will give them according to their faithfulness. The parable of the talents shows this to be the case. He who is faithful with little, will have more added to Him. Often we are like fish in polluted waters. We see the way the world works and we think, that is the way it is. What we are doing is spiritually falling asleep because we have forgotten that salvation is nearer to us now then when we first believed. Do we really believe that Jesus is returning? Do we realize that we will rule and reign on this earth in the millennial reign? If so, we must learn to submit to the authorities that govern this world. We must walk according to the light, in a dark world. We must live according to our future hope in the day to day experience of this life.

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