Men challenged to walk their talk
The biblical book of Nehemiah’s message of the physical reconstruction of Jerusalem and the restoration of its people is valid for South Africans today, according to Port Elizabeth pastor, Afrika Mhlophe, who will be bringing God’s word to the fourth Karoo Mighty Men Conference (KMMC), which is set to take place from April 25 to 27, 2014 on the outskirts of Middelburg on Rusoord Farm
Mhlophe, who has a gift and a calling to spread the gospel of reconciliation with both God and our neighbours, regardless of race or creed, says his message to KMMC 2014 will be from the book of Nehemiah, which has many similarities to the needs and rebuilding of the South African nation today, especially the need for our return to a life based on ethical and Godly values.
The book of Nehemiah is concerned with: the reconstruction of Jerusalem; the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from exile; the rebuilding of the physical life of the nation of Israel; the reforming and repenting of the Jewish people who had fallen back into a state of sin; and the renewal of their covenant with God and submission to His will.
Nehemiah was a man sensitive to both God and his people. He was a man of faith that wept over his people’s sins and earnestly interceded on their behalf with God in prayer.
Indeed, Nehemiah was a man of prayer – he prayed to God for guidance before he undertook any task or made any decision.
Mhlophe says the book of Nehemiah challenges us to show our faith in God by the way we live and our obedience to God’s Word.
“As South African Christians we need to help bridge the gap between our national experience and God’s kingdom, His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Spirit-Filled Bible says four lasting principles stand out in Nehemiah.
“First, compassion is often the springboard to obedience to God’s will.
“Second, cooperation with others is required to carry out God’s will. Third, confidence results from fervent prayer and the exposition of the Word of God, which reveals God’s will.
“Fourth, courage will manifest itself as sanctified tenacity in refusing to compromise on the conviction that one is doing God’s will.”
The book of Nehemiah emphasises that God keeps his word and His promises. He promises His people two things: that He will bless their obedience and curse their disobedience. He promises to reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
Nehemiah also teaches us that God prepares the hearts of all people, both Christians and non-Christians, in the accomplishment of his will and that God also raises-up the right leaders for His people at the right time to accomplish His will, which is pertinent to our country in this time of elections.
“I find many South Africans want to know what their role is now,” says Mhlophe.
“My view is that as followers of Jesus Christ we have authority to address the poverty, sickness, inequality and unethical behaviour that confronts us around every South African corner.
“We have to overcome our differences and contribute to unity in our country, which takes much effort and often requires sacrifices.
“We have to come to a place, as children of God, where we understand that the only distinction that remains is that of believers and nonbelievers. It is our task to extend the gospel of repentance and remission of sins to all nations in Christ Jesus.
“However, it is necessary for us to walk our talk and live our faith, for ‘faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’ (James 2:17).”
Mhlophe says it is vital that we live our Christian values through our roles as South African citizens.