You were born for a time such as this!
If people who attended the Sacred Assembly from different congregations, denominations, social circumstances and race groups, but from the same towns, could have follow-up gatherings to ascertain what the Sacred Assembly means for their district and seek to work out the implications together, it would be a powerful Christian statement of encouraging the nation back into the Lord’s ways.
So says Reverend Moss Ntlha, general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and convenor of the committee of Pastors facilitating mobilisation for the Sacred Assembly.
“An illustration is that in a week’s time we celebrate the Day of Reconciliation as a nation and it would be great if Christians took the leadership as to how the day plays-out in their town, but instead it is almost as if government is expected to give meaning to an ideal that lies at the centre of our faith, and even though brother Angus spoke to issues of reconciliation at the Sacred Assembly,” says Ntlha.
“It would make sense for Christians who attended the gathering from the same town to flesh-out what reconciliation means for their district, which would also help overcome believers’ inclination to retreat into their individual cocoons,” he adds.
Ntlha emphasises that as important as it is for followers of Jesus to deepen our relationships with the Lord individually, our accountability to the body of Christ is also critical — including our relationships with specific members, the whole body and the Lord.
Breaking free of individualism
“It is individualism that is often our weakness, but if we are willing to submit ourselves to other believers, for example the local Church, then we can create a community of encouragers that is more likely to achieve effective discipleship on personal, local and national levels,” says Ntlha.
The Sacred Assembly heralded a season appointed for the strengthening of our relationships with the Lord by returning to His ways as a nation and as members of the body of Christ.
Now that it is behind us, we should not allow the purpose of the Sacred Assembly to merely fade into memory, instead we are called on to give life to the act of repentance undertaken at the gathering on the November 19, as it has moved us into right standing with the Lord and has given us the opportunity to cultivate a closer relationship with Him.
It is time to focus on pressing deeper in our relationship with Lord God Almighty, as well as our congregations, neighbours and communities that we live in redeeming the time, because the days are evil — Ephesians 5:16.
Real discipleship needed
Ntlha contends that the biggest criticism of the evangelical movement is that it is very good at inspiring people to want to change, but weak at discipling people in their journey of change.
“Discipleship kicks-in when people go home from an event such as the Sacred Assembly. The hope is that firstly, some will go home to their families, friends and congregations and share the experience they had and the message they heard, and that, as a result, lifestyles will be changed from corrupt tendencies, tribalistic inclinations, and racist views.
“So at a micro level it is hoped that the Sacred Assembly will change the spiritual climate and the conversations people engage in among family, friends and congregations.
“The second level at which it is hoped the Sacred Assembly will motivate change is at the local church, which is critical to confirm, consolidate and give direction to the journey of discipleship in Jesus Christ. Churches are essential to easing the journey from the old lifestyle to the new lifestyle.
“Thirdly, we hope to see that people who have are open to sharing with people who do not have, as in the early Church of Acts.
Task for the whole Church
“However, these changes are the task of the whole Church, it would be unfair to place responsibility for such transformation on the Sacred Assembly, all of us together must make these changes work,” says Ntlha.
He says the way the Sacred Assembly converted a theatre of play and merriment into a solemn sphere of encountering God was a powerful image of the hunger for God to move among us.
However, Reverend Ntlha had to leave the assembly shortly before it ended as a friend had been shot dead in nearby Riverlea, which is an equally powerful image of the need for repentance, reconciliation and revival in South Africa.
“The shooting brought into sharp contrast the crime and violence in our country against our call to conversion for South Africa as a society from all that dehumanises us, for which we are seeking God’s intervention.”
Ntlha says all of us are called to be the light of God as we relate to fellow South Africans in our daily walks.
“As David was called by God from being a shepherd to being king of Israel, so we are called to be God’s light in the world, which, similarly to David, starts with the small things we do that God will grow so that we become blazing lights lighting up the nation and the world.
“Like Mother Theresa who started doing good in a small corner of India, which grew to the point that she became synonymous with doing good throughout the world, we are to start being the light in small things, which God will grow to big things.
“It never starts big, but starts small, and heaven knows there is such a hunger for light.
“All of us are called to disrupt the darkness around us in ways that God will bless and grow into a blazing light, which together with other lights, will radiate throughout South Africa dispelling darkness,” said Ntlha.
Now that the Sacred Assembly is behind us, we are called to co-operate with the Lord by:
- Walking in the authority of Jesus Christ and taking responsibility for being the light of repentance, restoration and revival in South Africa as accountable and active members of our congregations and citizens of our towns and nation;
- Giving life to our repentance by applying God’s Word and Kingdom values through our own lives to the lives of our congregations and communities, thus lending material action to our faith and prayers as “mighty men and women of valour” for God’s Kingdom come and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.
In the same way that John the Baptist preached repentance preparing the way for Jesus, so our repentance can help prepare the way for the Saviour by igniting our flames of light, rousing us to reach for His holiness, and actively making the unsaved aware that His Salvation is available to them by the grace of God, thereby glorifying His Father’s holy name.
What we were born for
That is what we were born for . . . that is the reason we live in this time; our task is to be ambassadors for Jesus and to intercede for our neighbours, fellow members of the body of Christ and South Africa.
Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean. And I will receive you.
I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. — 2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1.
Now is the time, more than ever before, to stretch toward that which: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God — 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.