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Text Sermons : Erlo Stegen : Abide in God's shade, warmth and light

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Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 19 Oct 2014

Uncle Waldemar passed away this morning. He was the first to start a branch of the mission after the revival started. One day I flew to Johannesburg and needed someone to pick me up. I tried to phone him but couldn’t reach him. When I arrived at Johannesburg, Waldemar was there. He said that nobody contacted him, but that he was busy in the garden and felt the Lord tell him to go and fetch Erlo at the airport, and so he obeyed and went. I told Waldemar I would always try and phone first, but it didn't work out. At another time, again the phones weren’t working. I thought I would try and phone from the Durban airport but again I had to go without getting hold of him. Before I could phone from Johannesburg on arrival, Waldemar was there and I asked, "Waldemar, did they phone you?" He said, "No. I felt I should go and fetch you. I doubted but it was so." He heard the voice of the Lord and obeyed. That’s why I say the Lord brought us together and he was my friend. He has gone home before me.
The Bible says in Luke 12:42-43, that blessed is the servant whom His master finds busy with giving His household their food in their time. Waldemar has been doing this till the end, giving spiritual food to God's children. Often he would also send me verses that had blessed him and was a blessing to me, and he did the same with Arno before the wedding of Jonathan at Malelane.

Engagement of Pierre and Anita.

Anita is still young but she has brought joy to my heart. I rejoice how God leads and guides her and the wisdom He has given her. Pierre is a missionary. Their wedding is on the 30 November. Their parents can be glad that their children get married in this way of purity.

Numbers 9:15

When the children of Israel erected the tabernacle and were finished a cloud came and settled on it. In Ps 105:39 it says God covered the tabernacle with a cloud by day and with fire by night. That was a visible sign of God’s presence with Israel. In the beginning there was the cloud but it was high up but now it came down and settled over the tabernacle symbolizing the presence of God with his people. At night, that cloud changed into fire. The Bible describes it as the fire of glory. It is very hot in the wilderness in the day but God with a cloud was an umbrella of shade to His people. In the desert it is also very cold at night but then they were warmed by the fire. The nation of Israel was a huge nation – about 3 million people. Think how powerful the fire was to give warmth to all those people and the cloud to give shade and God’s glory was in them. That glory was the sign of God’s presence. Such a life is awesome when you are God’s sons and daughters. They could see His beauty. It was the cloud of the presence of God. That fire wasn’t just any fire; it was the fire of God’s presence. What a privilege that the children of Israel could experience God’s presence in that way. God told them that if the cloud stopped, they had to stop. If it stopped for a week or a month, they had to stop. Even if it stopped for a whole year, they had to stop for that year. The children of Israel were in a hurry to get to the land of milk and honey, but God led them. Should the cloud go up and move they had to break camp and follow the cloud and the fire. They gazed on the cloud and the fire. There is nothing in the world like this, but if the cloud had moved and the people had stayed, they would have been left behind. Anita and Pierre keep your eyes on God. Never run ahead of Him or stay behind Him. There is no life of glory greater than this. If you lose this, there is no tragedy bigger than that. Nothing is as glorious as clinging to God and not taking one step outside of Him. If they hadn’t stayed with Him, then they would have been godless and left behind by Him.

When Pierre said he felt lead to marry Anita, it wasn’t about romanticising; it was about listening to God. And so too Anita had to hear God's voice in the matter, and not feel obliged. You must do what God says to you. It is God’s way. No Christian has a right to take a step without God. If you are taught to make a decision without God, no matter what church you are from, you are at the wrong place.

Much can be said about this. Look at God’s care. God gave a cloud for shade. At night there was a fire to warm them. God was there to help them. In Ps 37:23 we read that the steps of a man are established by God when God delights in his way. You go where God goes and when he stands you stand. No matter whether in bright sunlight or at night, keep your eyes fixed on God. Pierre, may your family know that you don’t do anything unless God tells you to. This will turn your life into heaven or it will turn your life into hell if you don't do it. Nobody is too old or too young.

We don’t have a cloud or a fire that leads us anymore. We don’t have the glory that they saw but we have something better, and that is the glory and beauty of the Lord Jesus. May He always be before your eyes. May your eyes be fixed on Jesus alone. If He is in you, the glory of that fire will be in you. God covered them and kept them and lead them. Can you think of anything better? God covers you. You’ve got Jesus to cover you and His fire is there for everyone to see.

In closing I ask you a personal question. Is this true of your life every second or isn’t it? Is this what you are teaching your children? I delight to see His beauty. As the psalmist says, "He will establish your way." If you don’t want this, remain in Egypt. If you are not on this way, repent right now. Say, "Lord, forgive me. I don’t want you to leave me Lord but rather that you cover me always. I want your fire to be in me forever." I pray that God will engrave every word into your heart. You have no right to say you walk with God if your life is not like this.

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