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Msindisi Newsletter 138

May 9, 2016



NUMBER: 138       May 2016  


PO BOX 1481





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Another month closer to the viewing of the DVD. Slowly but surely the recordings for dubbing and the editing have been going on over the month. Also Alistair Gordon for setting up the web page. We have been checking with variates people for locations, dates and times for viewing the dvd over the month of June around South Africa. There are still a few to finalize but the response has been good. Sal is still editing but the bulk of the DVD is complete. A special special thanks to Graeme Duane for his huge input into editing.

Those who would like to see the trailer can do so at the following link:

Trailer for Allegiance Movie 

We had 3 weeks at home before heading back to Ballito, so we were able to visit the kids at Carebear Pre-school who we have been missing and also Victory school for teaching and singing.

Sadly this month we saw another farm murder take place just outside of Vryheid. The farmer was shot and has left behind his wife and two children and his father in law was also shot. So many lives are tragically lost due to farm murders here in South Africa. As Johnny is a farmer from our friday night cell group, we always see first hand the effect these murders have on those who are vulnerable in the community.


farm attack

The latest Farm attack near Vryheid. Please pray for this country.


We have had some bakkie problems this month with the gear shift being very difficult to move. This has meant we have been in town while it is being seen to. But the Lord has been so gracious in providing all our needs through His body. Sal finished his teaching on the Holy Spirit at the last meeting of the month for cell group on Friday. This month he is wanting to work through a series of practical teaching on the Jewish festivals. We started this Friday with Shabbat.

kim painting

Kim’s painting of Jonah. Kim attends our cell group.

 Near the end of the month Di came down with strep throat, her glands were way up and she was very sick with it but she is back to normal now. Thanks for your prayers. We are also grateful to Bruce and Moyra who had us to stay over the last few weeks of the month in Ballito. We got to spend a lovely morning at Shefield beach which Di said far outweighs antibiotics.  Sal submitted his visa application in Durban, so we now wait for the outcome, end of June we will return to pick up the results.


us time

Getting some us time in Ballito.

The month ended with the meeting together of like minded fellowships at the midlands retreat. This was the fellowships second gathering, Phumlani attended last year with us and this year we were so blessed as Mesuli was able to attend. It was lovely to meet new people from other fellowships that had been invited and to see many young people there. We also would like to thank Mandla for bringing a teaching to our local fellowship while we were away.


golden harvest

Golden Harvest where we had the retreat.

mesuli weekend

Mesuli, Di and Leonie at the retreat.

mesuli young

Mesuli when he was young and attending the kids club Salvador taught back in 2004.

The start of May is already proving to be a full one as we head up to Joberg on Tuesday for more organizing concerning the DVD.



Thabi came to stay with us one weekend. Her mother is a widow with four children.

Prayer needs


– the organising for viewing the DVD


– the protection of the files holding all the DVD material


– the viewing of the DVD in Vryheid at the end of this month 27th May


– the viewing of the DVD here by us in Zulu on the 28th May


– the viewing of the DVD in Secunda on the 30th


– people’s lives to be touched in the viewings


– we desperately need rain in our local area, we are dry dry !!


– safe travels and good health


  • South African farmers















Now Paul has finished his treatise on justification by faith (with its implications for the Jewish people); and he had also given his instructions in order to promote the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles. The Gospel message promises power unto salvation for the believer, which the Law of Moses was ineffectual to accomplish. The Law of Moses was legal but the law of Christ, which is the realization of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31: 31 ff, is a relational covenant. One law is to do with physical descent but the other is to do with the power of a spiritual life. Because this new covenant, which was made with Israel, is not based on a physical birth but on a spiritual birth, the way is therefore open for both Jew and Gentile to be saved and treated as equals in that salvation. Paul was convinced that the Church in Rome was full of goodness, filled with knowledge and able to admonish one another. (Rom 15: 14). Therefore, the things that Paul has addressed concerning the fellowship of Jew and Gentile, especially in Romans 14 and 15, should have been evidenced in the life of this Roman church.




VERSES 1 – 16:



The letter to the Romans has the longest list of farewell greetings of all the epistles. The reason for this will be evident as we go through. In fact this part of the Roman epistle has been under scrutiny in past years, with certain people believing that it was originally a letter for the Ephesians. There are a few reasons why people have said this.


  • Firstly, Paul is sending greetings to 26 individuals; so much more than he sends to any other church. So the question arises, would Paul have sent so many greetings to a Church he had never visited?


  • Secondly, Paul sent greetings to Aquila and Priscilla and to the church in their house. However when we look at 1 Corinthians 16: 19 and Acts 18: 26, these verses seem to show that Aquila and Priscilla had been living in Asia Minor and more specifically Ephesus.


  • And thirdly, Epaenetus is sent a greeting, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia which was the area that Ephesus was located in and not Rome.


These arguments, though somewhat convincing, do not prove that Paul was writing to the Ephesians. In verse 26, Paul expresses the same desire he wrote of in the first chapter, which is to see the obedience of faith in connection with all nations. The fact that there is a long list of names should not trouble us in the slightest. The fact that Paul had never visited this Church would give a substantial reason as to why this list of names should be so long. Paul is showing them that he is well known and these people would have been able to attest to his ministry. In Dave Hunt’s message ‘Christ betrayed by friends’, he showed how people can get a platform in many churches, even though they teach error, simply because they were recommended by a well known church leader such as Billy Graham. This would also work in a positive sense. A biblically based church would be more likely to try out a message by some unknown guy that Bill Randles recommends than some unknown guy that is recommended by Ray Macaulay. So these people that Paul lists would be able to defend Paul’s apostleship and that would encourage the Roman believers to fulfill Paul’s requests for prayer, to help Paul on his way to Spain and to watch out for those who cause hindrances. For this reason we would say that these people must have been in fellowship with the rest of the Church in Rome.


The fact that Prisca and Aquila had a home, and a house church, in Ephesus should not make us think that this salutation was not directed to Rome. Originally Aquila and Priscilla were from Rome as we see in Acts 18: 1 – 2. Although verse 26 of Acts 18 would show that they resided in Ephesus, verses 1 – 2 rather indicate that they lived in Corinth. There is no reason why this couple could not have had a house in all three places. Just because they had to leave Rome, under the decree by Claudius, did not mean that they lost their property in Rome. FF Bruce argues that they could have left stewards over their property. Rome was the ancestor of western civilization and culture. The Romans created sewage works and revolutionized travel through the construction of bridges and a network of roads. Thus it was possible to get around, especially if you were a Roman citizen. Trade always had an element of travel involved whether it is local transportation of goods or international.


As for Epaenetus being the first fruits of Christ from Asia does not imply that he necessarily had to spend the rest of his life there anymore than the fact that I was saved in the UK means that I must be a missionary to the British. So these arguments, intended to cause us to doubt the sincerity of those who handed down and copied the Greek manuscripts, should not cause us to doubt God’s preserving hand on His Word. But let us next look at the list of names and see what we can draw from there.





The first thing that we note is that Paul commends a lady called Phoebe and asks the Roman believers to help her in any way she had need of them. For this reason some people believe that she is the one who bore this letter to the Roman believers. But Paul commends this lady to them as a servant of the Church, which is at Cenchrea. The word servant in the Greek is the word ‘Diakonos’. This may imply she was a deaconess; but before we move on to that point I want to draw out the fact that Phoebe is a living example of what Paul has commanded us to do in Romans 12 – 16. Paul urged us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is our spiritual or reasonable worship or service. Phoebe was a servant, in that she obviously did present her body as a living and holy sacrifice.


Now some people argue that even though the word servant is the same word for deaconess, it does not necessarily mean that Phoebe was a deaconess in the official sense of the word. They would say that the bible does not allow for women to be officially regarded as deacons because leadership is male in the church. However when we look at 1 Timothy 3 verses 8 – 13 we see that there are some criteria for women in the role of a deacon. These same people say that this does not refer to a female deacon but the wife of a deacon. For it claims that deacons must be husbands of one wife but not that deaconesses are to be the wife of one husband.


We must strive for a biblical view of the roles of males and females in the church, and not one that is dictated by our own personal, culturally accepted norms. (Whether that be oppression of women or liberation of women.) The Bible stands above culture and is the slave of none. My own culture is one that stresses the rights of women. At my high school we looked at authors who praised the virtues of the women who freed themselves from the constraints of society. However, the scripture, in antithesis to a view that women are to perform the same functions as men, says in 1 Timothy 2: 11 – 12 that women are to receive instruction quietly with entire submissiveness. Paul did not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man. Therefore, should it not be argued that, with deaconship being an integral ministry in the church, it is a male ministry?


I do not agree with the assertion that the deaconship criteria for women, relates only to the wives of deacons for the following reasons.


  • Firstly deaconship is not a position of doctrinal authority in the church, though deacons should be doctrinally sound. The first deacons that were appointed were to be men but their function as deacons was not the ministry of the word but to distribute the support of widows in a way that no widow was neglected. (Acts 6: 1 – 6). These first deacons were specifically to be males but it does not necessarily follow that what Paul writes in 1 Timothy does not refer to a female deacon but only the wife of a deacon. In Acts we are dealing with a specific situation where a small number of deacons were appointed.


  • Secondly the criteria for an elder, or bishop, have 15 points, but there are only 12 points under the section of a deacon. Why are the criteria sterner for an elder? Because the elder must maintain the doctrinal integrity of a flock. The doctrinal sets the foundation and the base from which the practical should flow. Hence, for the first 11 chapters of Romans, Paul expounds the theology before moving onto the practical outworking in Romans 12 onwards. If the criteria for the elder are sterner and if the criteria for women in deaconship refer only to the wives of deacons then why are there not any criteria for the wives of elders? If the eldership role is more foundational than the role of a deacon then why have implications for the wives of deacons and not for the wives of elders?


I do not believe that Paul is simply referring to the wives of deacons. I believe there is a precedent for female deacons. I do not believe that deacons are a source of doctrinal authority or else why is there a criterion to be able to teach for elders and none for deacons. You have to be able to teach if you are going to be an elder but not necessarily if you are a deacon. Therefore, it makes sense why there is no criterion for women under the role of an elder, because there is no such thing, biblically, as a female elder or a female pastor. A woman is not allowed to teach or have authority over a man but is to receive teaching quietly and in full submission. And, if I am correct, then you would expect someone like Phoebe to be a deaconess because of the way Paul commends her as someone who has helped many and that she is to be helped in any way needed.


Secondly, we see that even though the Church was predominantly Gentile, as Romans 1: 13, 11: 13 and 15: 15 and 16 all indicate, there were a sizeable amount of Jews that were a part of the Church. This would make sense of how Paul, in part of the epistle, can speak to his readers as if they were from a Jewish background and in other places refer to them as Gentile according to the flesh. Prisca and Aquila were both Jewish. Mary is a Jewish name. Andronicus and Junias, although they are Gentile names, are both referred to as Paul’s kinsmen and thus, must have been Jewish. Apelles is a name that, according to FF Bruce, was common among the Jews at Rome. Herodian is also Paul’s kinsmen and suggests a link to the family of Herod, which was part Jewish through intermarriage with the Hasmonean family, descendants of Maccabeus’ father. And then there was Rufus. Mark writing his gospel to the Romans says in 15: 21 that Simon of Cyrene was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Because Mark names them without any further explanation we must assume that the Romans knew to whom Mark was referring. Thus, when Paul calls Rufus’ mother his own, he must have referred to her as being a mother in the Lord and not his mother by birth.


In fact Simon of Cyrene was an African and we can see that there were blacks in church leadership in Acts 13: 1. One such man was called Simon Niger. Niger means black and his name is pitted with the African Lucius also from Cyrene. So if this is the same Simon as the Simon from Cyrene then we can see how Paul regarded Rufus’ mother as his own because they were well acquainted. Rufus could have been an African Jew because Simon of Cyrene visited Jerusalem either as a Jew or a Proselyte. Simon, or Simeon, is a Jewish name. So many of the names on this list are definitely Jewish and there are others that are Gentile. Thus, the Roman church was a living epistle of what Paul was writing concerning the fellowship between Jew and Gentile being one in Christ. No wonder Paul urges the readers to give one another a holy kiss. It is a Mediterranean practice to kiss one another on the cheeks. If such love is given in the world how much more is it to exist in the church? Paul wishes that the unity that is in Christ would in no way be jeopardized. Thus Paul next gives his readers a warning in verses 17 – 20.





VERSES 17 – 20:



Keep your eye on people who cause dissensions. Now this phrase, standing on its own, should cause us to put down any desire to cause division in the body of Christ. We should never desire to stir up strife or division and if we are indulging in such a desire we need to repent. However, what if we stand up for truth and thereby see a church split? Are we guilty of disobeying what Paul writes here? People say that the Word is a sword and we should be careful how we use swords because we could cause some damage! However, if we stand for fundamental truth and see a church split over it that is not disobeying what Paul says here for he writes that we are to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances CONTRARY TO THE TEACHING WHICH WE LEARNED! In other words, if we are standing for biblical truth, it is not us who are causing the division. Look at the description that is given of those who cause division. They are slaves of their own appetite. They are good talkers who twist the word to satisfy their own fleshly lusts. More money, more food, more pleasure and they misuse the word with smooth and flattering speech to gain what they want. Paul does not want to see the quality of this Roman church’s fellowship lost to a bunch of deceivers. We are not to let deceivers simply slide by and get away with it but we are to keep a watchful eye on those people.



VERSES 21 – 27:



There is a reason why it was important for the quality of fellowship to be preserved between the believers in Rome. This group of Christians would under go a test a few years after this letter was written. In AD 64 Nero would unleash a massive persecution against the Christians, blaming them for the fire in Rome. Their fellowship would be tested, but as Paul says in verse 20, the God of peace would soon crush Satan under their feet. From man’s perspective this is a lie. The Church in Rome was overtaken by a great whore centuries later and still in the 21st Century we are still waiting for Jesus to crush Satan under our feet. But from God’s perspective, Jesus is coming back soon. When Jesus returns, His judgment will be swift and His rewards eternal. We need to be established in this truth and this vision. As we saw with the Mosaic Law, we cannot do this in the flesh. We need God’s help and that is why Paul writes in verse 25 that God is able to establish us. He is able to keep us and strengthen us but this work of God does not happen in a void.


God establishes us according to the Gospel that Paul preached. Therefore, we repeat that the Gospel is not something that belongs to the conversion experience and then is forgotten about. Romans 1: 16 – 17 tells us ever so loudly, that the Gospel is that dynamic power of God unto salvation to them that believe. When we speak of salvation we are speaking of full salvation. We have it by faith, but whatever is by faith still has to be realized. We do not simply get saved or justified by faith but the righteous man, (that is the man that has been declared righteous based on the finished work of Christ on the cross) shall live (present tense) by faith. This is not a new invention by Paul but is something that was attested to all the way through the Old Testament and is so powerful that it actually has an effect in our lives. It causes us to live a life of obedience. It brings us to see the living reality of God’s predestination over the lives of those who believe. This predestination being that we are not only saved to be servants but God’s intention is to elevate us to the position of Sonship. This Sonship is something that is a reality by faith but one day we will receive in at the resurrection. Thus, when Christ returns we will share in the inheritance that He gained when He rose from the dead. To do this we must become Christ-like. For us to become Christ-like we must be obedient. And for us to be obedient we must believe, because it is all by faith. We must take this message seriously and acknowledge the wisdom of God in His foreseeing and planning of the whole plan of salvation. We must cry out to the Lord for His grace and thank Him for what Jesus has done. We must accept salvation by faith and let that knowledge and the Spirit’s guidance lead us to new heights of appreciation, worship, knowledge, obedience and revelation of the hope that we have and the fellowship we are to share in. All this is to be done till Jesus comes back. And when He does He will reveal to us the fullness of everything we ever hoped for concerning His Word. Amen.



















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