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Msindisi Newsletter #136

October 11, 2017

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

 

NUMBER: 136        March 2016  

 

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

 

Hi all

 

I, Di, am writing this after a day of washing….. There was so much in fact that I had to hand wash at least 4 loads, then spin them in the machine, then use the machine for the other 4 = 8 loads. My back is really sore, from hanging it out , bringing it in, folding it …… and I could just sit and stare into space. Warning never leave your washing that long before you do it !!!!

 

Its newsletter time and It must go out ….. So today is that day.

 

Just got up to look for my calendar but it’s not here. Left it at home. This should be interesting now, having to go off my memory. All the omega 3 doesn’t seem to help. I have trouble remembering what happened last week let alone a month ago. Bear with me as I think …………

 

I do know we have stopped filming now, think that was last week that we stopped. Now Sal is 100% tuned into editing it.  However, sadly on top of this he has had to step up in ministry as Phum is getting married in 2 weeks and is stepping down from ministry. We see this now as a good opportunity to address some areas that we see as vitally important for growth in the church and our lives. We are asking for prayer concerning labourers as the work and the DVD project added together is rather large.

 

We filmed all of Hamilton’s scenes and a few weeks ago went to Ballito to film a dream sequence. Lee Pauls, who made our model Ark said it looked like we would not be able to film as there was high probability of rain and storm. He had a cordless drill to use. Salvador said, “The Lord’s held back cloud and blown away mist for this film so he can hold back the rain.” Everybody was skeptical and we were praying that the Lord would be merciful. Well the rain was held back till the following day. We also did not have someone to play the Noah Character in the dream but last minute found someone by the side of the road who was willing.  

 

We came back and got straight into helping a visiting evangelist, Cecil Peasley, with outreaches. Salvador interpreted into Zulu for him. We were also blessed no challenged by his messages at Bethany Baptist Church. It was after we got back we received the news from Phumlani of his future plans.

 

For the last segment of filming we travelled back to Ballito to film movement sequences with Isabella Pauls and Connor. We were supposed to have a professional dancer, who is a big guy but sadly his grandmother passed away so Connor stepped in last minute and was the only person to answer the call. He is a young 17 year old .  The time frame was very tight but we are grateful it went well. Lorna Pauls was amazing and went the extra 50 miles for us. Organising Connor last minute, getting the dance studio booked for us, doing make up, driving etc. Many many thanks Lorna. While there in Ballito Sal was asked to to a teaching at Coming King Ministries as they are planning on doing a Shabbat once a month for the fellowship. This happening on the Friday night after filming. Come Saturday we literally crashed and both needed a day of rest so we relaxed, chilled, went down to the sea. While away, a friend of ours called Mandla, came and did a teaching at our Zulu church.

 

While we were away Celani got started on the building of her second hand clothing shop. It’s all very exciting and once again we thank those who are giving clothing and other things for the community.

 

Pause …… Trying to think again.

 

Salvador went to Alpha on Tuesday and is challenging the brethren to keep their eyes on the Lord and keep praying and fellowshipping with one another. There is one testimony that I recall which blessed me greatly. On Friday afternoon we went to kwaBhekephi where a bible study takes place with 3 lovely ladies. This week only 2 could make it. Near the end of the study they said they have news which they wanted to share.  Earlier in the year someone had given cash to help with education in their area. These ladies been running a crèche in a mud hut but a storm flattened the crèche building. The money was given to help with rebuilding the crèche. On Wednesday this week they went to town to start buying the cement but they said the Lord told them to wait and they felt Him say so again so they put the money in the bank. The following day the mayor visited their area and said their application for a new crèche building was approved and they need to get quotations from contract companies. They glorified the Lord with joy.

 

This month Salvador is busy editing the film with a computer and software on loan. He is picking up the extra responsibilities with the Church. There are no gospel outreaching now for the time being. He is also getting documents together so he can apply for another three year extension on his visitors permit, and this is his tenth year of being in South Africa on a Visitor’s permit. Please pray. We need Zulu speaking workers for the vineyard, but people with a calling and that are not looking for a job opportunity.

 

I guess you could sum the month up with many words, shock, discouragement, overwhelming, enlightening, dependence, hope, joy, anticipation.

 

We praise the Lord that He knows the beginning to the end

We trust Him daily for His grace and spirit to fill our lives

We know He works all things together for good for those that love the Lord

We thank Him for His unfailing love, that He never leaves or forsakes us

We serve an amazing God who reveals himself to us daily through his word and the body of Christ.

 

We ask for your on going prayer support as we labour together.

We thank you for all your prayers and giving.

 

Prayer needs :

 

Khethiwe as she runs the New kids club.

 

Thank the Lord for the help of so many people concerning the DVD project

 

Phumlani’s new marriage and family life.

 

The Lords strength, wisdom and protection.

 

Thankful for His mercy for the rain that has arrived, was badly needed, but need more

 

SIXTEEN

THE SACRIFICIAL LIFE IN TOLERANCE

ROMANS 14

I would like you to contemplate the following paragraph and see if you can discern the error in it.

If we turn to verse 22 of Romans 14 it tells us that we are to have our faith as our own conviction and that we are happy if we do not condemn ourselves in what we approve. In 1 Corinthians Paul says that an idol is nothing in itself and, in having knowledge of that, there is no problem eating meat sacrificed to idols if we buy it in a market place without asking questions. Now here is the issue: What if I do not condemn myself in eating those meats in a pagan temple? What if I do not condemn myself in getting drunk on a weekend? What if I do not condemn myself in sleeping around? What if I do not condemn myself in going around and getting into fights? Etc. Paul says it is my own conviction and I am happy if I do not condemn myself in what I approve. It is my conviction and it is personal. What we are dealing with in Romans 14 is tolerating each other when we have differing sensibilities. Paul actually tells us in verse 10 not to judge our brother. So when someone denies the trinity, should we just accept them as part of the fellowship, because after all that is their own conviction and we are not to judge our brother?

When we take a verse away from its context we can use it to advocate something that the bible is fundamentally against. It is true that this chapter advocates tolerating one another in our differences of sensibilities but there is a fundamental mistake made here. The above paragraph fails to differentiate between what is black and white and what is grey. There are definite verses in the bible that speak against drunkenness such as 1 Corinthians 6: 10, which says that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 5: 11 it tells us that we are not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler – not even to eat with such a one. So there are black and white issues in the bible. But in Romans 14 we are dealing with grey issues. Though the Bible is against drunkenness it speaks favorably concerning the consumption of wine and strong drink. Let us read the first thirteen verses which I will entitle, ‘Do not judge’. Then we will look at verses 14 – 23 which I entitle, ‘Do not cause offense or stumbling.’

VERSES 1 – 13:

DO NOT JUDGE!

In this passage we are dealing with the living reality and the temporal outworking of the doctrine set forth concerning Jew and Gentile that was presented in Romans 11. You will remember that when we started the epistle we saw that Jew and Gentile are equally sinners. As Romans 3: 23 says, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ But then again Paul also said that there is much advantage in being Jewish and in being circumcised. There is one thing that we must never forget when we read Romans and the epistle to the Hebrews. Just because believing Jews are not under the Law of Moses anymore does not mean that they are to stop practicing aspects of the Mosaic covenant. We cannot turn round and say that it is wrong for a Jew to circumcise their baby boys or to keep the Jewish feasts because they are not under Moses but under Christ. Early Church Fathers such as Tertullian would say that the Holy Spirit rebuked the Jews for their holy days. This is not the truth. The reason that the Holy Spirit hated their worship was not because they kept Shabbat and the Jewish feasts. He could not have been angry at those things because God was the one who commanded the Jews to observe those feasts. Rather the Holy Spirit was grieved because they drew near to the Lord with their lips but their hearts were far away from the Lord. God did not hate circumcision but He was appalled at the fact that their physical circumcision lacked the internal reality of having the circumcision of heart. If it is wrong for Jews who believe in Yeshua to obey the writings of the Old Testament, then the Apostle Paul was wrong to keep the nazirite vow and then have his hair cut. (Acts 18: 18) It was wrong for him to go into the Temple and purify himself to show that he did not speak against the Law of Moses. (Acts 21: 26). It was wrong for Paul to do those things if that was the case.

JEW AND GENTILE, ONE IN MESSIAH

So here is the crux of the matter. If believing Jews who follow Yeshua still maintain observance of Moses, and as we read in Romans 11, that we Gentiles, according to the flesh, are grafted into Israel’s olive tree, then how can we have complete fellowship? Believing Jews will still eat Kosher, I do not. Some believing Jews will have issues about stuff that I do not have an issue with concerning certain observances. How can we meet together? You only have to read Acts 10 to see how radical an idea it was for Jews to eat with Gentiles. Well maybe the answer is that we separate the believers into two different fellowships. In one fellowship the Jews can maintain their culture and in the other we can maintain ours. But is this how they did it in the times of the apostles? If you read acts 15 we see that the Apostles loosed us Gentile believers from everything in the Mosaic Law apart from 4 things. These four things go back to Noah, and the covenant God made with all of humanity. These things are to abstain from blood, not to eat meats strangled, from fornication and things offered to idols. James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, set these laws in place for us so that fellowship between physical Gentiles and physical Jews may take place. But Paul goes even further than this.

DO NOT JUDGE!

The first philosophy Paul expounds is non-judgmentalism. If you are Jewish and have been laid hold of by your Messiah and follow Him, you are saved by faith and not by works of the Law. So why should you be upset if your Gentile brethren or even your Jewish brethren fail to keep Shabbat or one of the feasts? These things do not procure salvation or make us more spiritual. In fact we are sometimes prone to think that someone is spiritual because they keep religious observance, they can preach a good sermon, and they have a good knowledge of scripture. These things are necessary but you can do all this without being spiritual. Such was the case with the Corinthian church. They had all the knowledge and they were praised by Paul in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians for their knowledge but knowledge does not make us spiritual. There is not a dichotomy where you can be totally fleshly and totally spiritual. Remember in Romans 12: 1 – 2, Paul said that what we do in our bodies is spiritual. The back bone of the spiritual life is our old friend ‘faith’. Our justification is by faith and not by works of the Mosaic Law. Our sanctification is also by faith and our activity for the Lord must also be by faith. The problem is a little complex because you have two paths that hold out a promise of justification. You have the path of faith and the path of the Law of Moses. The path of faith is totally different to Moses and yet it is not totally different. Now that sounds a contradiction but we are dealing with two different perspectives. Remember the analogy of the two diagrams.

Diagram # 1 Diagram # 2

Righteous: Power of Spirit:

Law of Moses & Law of Christ

Law of Christ

__________________ _________________

Unrighteous: Power of Flesh:

Law of Sin Law of Moses

& Law of Sin

From the perspective of righteousness they are not so different in that the righteous requirement is the same. It is the same God who gave both laws and in essence they embody the same law, which is Love. Love for God first and then love for one another. But from the perspective of spiritual power, Christ is superior to Moses in that His law is kept in the power of the Spirit. It is brought into effect by a spiritual birth but the Mosaic Law is kept only in the power of the flesh. The two laws are also different in properties. The Law of Moses is contained in outward ordinances but the law of Christ is one of faith and the renewal of our heart and mind. Therefore when a Jew gets saved, it is not like he has to leave all his Jewish practices behind as if it was an awful pagan religion. God instituted it. Paul does not regard the path of Moses as something dirty and wicked. Paul’s argument is that the path of Moses is good BUT it does not work because it requires 100% obedience. We must go back, once again to Romans 1: 16 – 17.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.””

The path of faith works. It brings about justification, sanctification, assurance of salvation, hope, and a huge inheritance. As Jeremiah 31: 31ff shows us, this covenant is relational and not merely legal ‘For they shall all know me.’ Though our religion has rules, it is not merely a legalistic religion. But the heart of everything we do must be faith; our obedience must be a product of faith. Some Jews did not fully grasp this it seems, and so what do we do with them? Do we write them off? Not at all! Paul says that we are to accept the one who is weak in faith with out using it as an opportunity to pass judgment, or to wrangle, over his opinions. Just because someone feels they must keep Shabbat, so long as they do not make it a salvation issue and enforce it on everybody else, do not try to wrangle over it and debate the issue. We are entitled to have our own opinion on these issues. Paul presents to us a few issues where someone may be weak in faith. Let us look briefly at each one.

TO EAT MEAT OR NOT TO EAT

According to verses 2 – 3, one person has the faith to eat all things but one who is weak in faith eats vegetables only. Now this has a two-fold application. For one, it can refer to people who abstain from meat because they may not believe it is Kosher. Maybe it is not slaughtered to let the blood drain out. Maybe it is because of the mixture of dairy produce with the meat. Some people who believe do not have the faith to eat non kosher food. Now that person is to be accepted without regarding the guy with contempt. But the one who cannot find it within himself to break kosher should not judge the one who will eat all meats. It is not a justifying issue.

More probably it has to do with the fact that in various cities in the Roman Empire meat was sacrificed to Idols. Now we were already told in Acts 15 that we were to stay away from things sacrificed to idols. Paul even reiterated that in 1 Corinthians 10: 21 – 22. But here is the issue, the meat that was sacrificed to idols was often mixed with non-sacrificed meat and sold together in the market. You could never be sure that the meat that you were buying was not sacrificed to idols. Some people would have seen all the meat as being contaminated by virtue of the fact that there was some meat sacrificed to idols being sold there. Other Christians thought there is no such thing as an idol anyway, they were not seeking for anything sacrificed to idols and they wanted some meat. But Paul has taught that a person may buy it without asking any questions. But if the person selling meat says, ‘Nice bit of meat here just sacrificed to the gods, extra lucky.’ Refuse it for the sake of that person’s conscience. If he does not tell you, feel free to buy the meat there. But other Christians might object saying that that person might be bringing in cursed meat and allowing a demonic influence into their home.

People say these things today. You must not celebrate Christmas, (though I do not personally care about celebrating December 25th). They say you must not read secular literature or go to a pub or to the movies or to any other such place. If you tell them that you are not involving yourself in immorality or drunkenness or even pagan fertility rites they sometimes say that nevertheless you might open a doorway for a demonic spirit to come in and then you will be in trouble. What would Paul have to say to that argument?

Verse 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Who are you to judge the servant of another master? They are not your servant, but God’s. Just because the meat they have bought may or may not have been sacrificed to an idol does not necessarily mean that that person will fall. He will stand for the Lord is able to make him stand.

SHOULD WE KEEP THE SABBATH?

There is the aspect of Shabbat which we have looked at already. We cannot say that Jewish believers must not keep Shabbat and neither can Jewish believers say that we, Gentiles, must keep it. The key that Paul gives us here in verse 6 is that if we observe the day we must observe it for the Lord. And if we do not observe it we do so for the Lord. Either way the motive has to be to honour the Lord. However there are some in the church who say that although Shabbat has been done away with, we must keep the Lord’s Day, which they call the ‘Christian Sabbath’, as a day of rest. What they say is that this was something that was instituted in the early church. Therefore, to fail to observe this on a Sunday is a sin. Now I have nothing against meeting on a Sunday and using that day as a day of rest. I think it is a great day to meet on and it is a special day in the Bible, being termed the Lord’s Day. But neither do I regard Sunday as a Sabbath. But to reject another church because they might meet on a Saturday would be something that I would have a problem with. There are Christian churches in Israel that meet on a Friday night or a Saturday. There is nothing wrong with this.

But people will protest by saying, that there are scriptures in the New Testament that teach us that Sunday was the day that the Church set aside to meet on. Rev 1: 10 is used to say that Sunday is the Lord’s Day and as such it is the day of meeting. But this verse does not specify that John was actually meeting with other believers on the Sunday. It only says that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. What about 1 Corinthians 16: 2? Does this mean that Sunday is the day that Believers are supposed to rest on? It tells the readers to lay aside some of their income, on the Lord’s Day. Does this prove that Sunday is a ‘Christian Sabbath’? No it does not. The saving up of income in the text is shown to be individual and not in the context of a collection. Each person is to store up as they prosper so that no collection would have to be made in the meeting when Paul came. This verse is not saying that Sunday was to be a day of rest.

I am not saying believers did not meet on the Lord’s Day, because they did. In the churches of Gentile lands it seems that Sunday afternoon or night was when they met. I am only speaking against the imposition of it as a Sabbath for all believers and then applying Old Testament scriptures such as ‘Remember to keep the Sabbath holy’, and Isaiah 58: 13 and other such scriptures to prove it. In fact we know that people did meet on Sunday because of Acts 20: 7 which talks about the believers meeting and breaking bread when Paul was in town on the Lord’s Day. In the early Church it was called the Lord’s Day because Jesus rose from the dead on the Sunday. But there is no indication in the New Testament that this day was set aside exclusively as a day of rest, especially when we look at the fact that Paul in 1 Corinthians 11: 20 – 33 alludes to the fact that slaves had to work. Therefore, they could only arrive late for the breaking of bread, whether that would have been on a Sunday or any other day of the week.

In fact the precedent set in Jerusalem by the early Church was of meeting, not only on a Sunday, but every single day. They met in the Temple and were breaking bread from house to house. You cannot appeal to the writings of pre-Nicene Church Fathers to back up Sunday being a Christian Sabbath because the Scripture is the sole authority for all matters of faith and morals. To appeal to Tertullian or to Origen as doctrinal authority is doing what we accuse the Roman Catholics of doing, which is to treat Church tradition as equal with the scripture. We are doing what Jesus said, in that we are teaching the inventions of men as doctrines of God. Therefore, we should not argue over these issues amongst ourselves. Each person is to have his own conviction. Only the scripture says ‘do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together’, whenever that might be. Some people will come up with many excuses not to meet with a church. I am not talking about people who do not have the opportunity to meet at particular times, due to work commitments or because there is no biblical church that they can get to. I am speaking of people who would rather not meet together and would rather stay at home.

If I go to a messianic fellowship I am not to criticize them for meeting together on a Friday night and observing the Sabbath day. And they are not to judge me for not observing the day. I may choose that I would honour God more by meeting on Sundays, especially amongst a society of westerners, where Sunday has traditionally been regarded as special. In fact amongst some people groups it would be a very bad witness not to meet on a Sunday morning.

WE WILL ALL GIVE ACCOUNT TO GOD

If my decisions on these issues are down to my own conviction, what is it that stops us going off the rails with having a Christianity of our own personal invention? Verse 12 says that we must give an account of ourselves to God. Paul is not referring to God as an abstract idea which differs from person to person. God is not a belief that is relative to each person but is the God of the Bible. The same God, who gave the Sabbath as a day for His Jewish people, is the same God who gave us the perfect Sabbath which is in the Messiah. On these issues of food, drink and special days, let us not judge one another in terms of our freedoms. But there is another principle that Paul exhorts us to maintain.

VERSES 13 – 23:

DO NOT CAUSE OFFENCE OR STUMBLING

In Christ we have freedom. I am not bound to Moses, apart from maintaining the four things of Acts 15 that preceded Moses. I am free to eat anything sold in the market place without asking questions. I am free to drink wine. I am free to forego the observance of Shabbat and I do not have to attend the Jewish feasts. No Jewish believer can judge me for this and when I am on my own, there is no problem. However as we saw in Romans 12: 3 – 8, Christianity is not only individualistic but it is also corporal. We need time alone but we also need time together. What happens when Jewish believers and physically Gentile believers meet together to eat and to worship? This Church in Rome would have had to deal with these issues because it was composed of both Jew and Gentile. Paul has already laid down the doctrinal foundation, but how does one experience that in the practical realm? While we have freedom and may use that freedom, we must follow Christ’s example of restricting that freedom at certain times. It is not a law in stone, but the law of love in the heart that is worked out in various ways and in various contexts.

Because of love we are not to cause our brethren to sin and fall away from the faith. Do not put an obstacle or stumbling block before someone in regards to their faith in Christ because the whole point of Romans 12 – 16 is the bringing about of the obedience of faith. We are being made Christ like and so if using our freedom will cause someone to fall away or stumble in the pursuit of being more Christ like, we are to restrict that freedom for their sake. The obvious example of this is found in verse 21. It is good not to drink wine if it causes someone to stumble. I like a good glass of red wine and I can drink it without indulgance. I can limit my consumption in a way that it is respectable to drink. However, if I am in the company of someone who has just overcome a drinking problem, I injure that person if I drink around him. By restraining from drinking I am not saying to him that I think alcohol is wrong, but I do not want to cause his being enslaved to alcohol again. It is the same with food. Paul said that he is convinced there is nothing unclean in and of itself. A saved Jewish person might not keep Kosher but other Jewish people might have a problem with it. Now the one weaker in faith is not to judge the other Jewish believer for not eating kosher in his own home. But the one who has no problem with having bacon sandwiches is to restrict himself for the one who has the problem. When he is around the guy with the problem he is to refrain, if it causes offense. This does not mean that he must agree with the person that one should only eat kosher. If he is pulled up for eating unkosher, the one stronger in faith may defend his position. But here we are dealing with living in tolerance of things that scripture clearly shows are not to be debated or divided over.

Do not destroy that guy with your eating. An example of overcoming this issue was in a different context when I was growing up. We were friends with a certain family in Church, and this family was a loving family that really befriended us. They were vegetarian and sometimes when we ate together they made vegetarian food and we ate it together. We did not despise them for being vegetarians and they did not judge us for being meat eaters. We must have tolerance on the issues the Bible teaches us to be tolerant on. It is wrong to force someone to eat meat that does not have the faith to eat meat. Neither is it right to force someone who only eats kosher to eat unkosher. At the end of the day wine is not important. Food does not matter. What do I care if I eat vegetarian lasagna or a steak? It is food at the end of the day; it goes into the mouth and out the other end. Our focus is not to be the food. Eating food is important but there is something more important than that. It is more important to maintain a good testimony. Paul said in verse 16 that we should not cause someone to speak evil of something that is good for us, by causing someone else to stumble with that good thing. I should not cause someone who has a problem with drink to drink and therefore bring a bad reputation on drinking. Our focus should be verse 17. Peace, righteousness and joy. Our decisions and our freedom must be shaped by our faith and not merely by a set of rules.

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