The Yamuna River

Bible Reading:
2 Corinthians 2: 14-17

Text verse: 16
To the one we are the savour of death unto death;
and to the other the savour of life unto life.
And who is sufficient for these things ?

In the Old Translation of the Afrikaans Bible
- which most of us in this Church use -
you will notice that this portion of Scripture comes under the heading:
The Nature and the Fruit of the Ministry of the Apostle Paul.

The Bible contains the WORD of the LORD for us !
Therefore whenever we read HIS word - the Bible - we ought to answer the question:
What is the LORD saying to ME though HIS word ?

Our Bible reading today consists of only four Scripture verses.
What is the LORD saying to us - today ?
In this Scripture passage we have a number of questions that need to be answered.
The Lord is talking to each and everyone present, this very day.
The message is not for those who are not present at this service
- it is for those present - Yes - you and me -
We need to answer the questions raised in the passage.

Verse 14 raises the question:
Is the savour-aroma of HIS knowledge been spread abroad
- made manifest by us in every place we visit ?

Verse 15 raises the question:
Are we, the sweet savour - pleasant perfume of Christ to those we meet,
both the lost and the saved, as we pass them by on life’s journey ?

Verse17 raises the question:
Are we sincere when we proclaim the Word of God
or are we guilty of corrupting the Word of God
- by our actions ?
- do we really live the Gospel ?
- our lives - our daily walk - is it faithful to the “way of Christ”
or merely a corruption of the true path of a Christian ?

Different Translations of the Bible give different shades of meaning to different verses
of Scripture and it is interesting to note that the Old Translation of the Afrikaans Bible
gives an almost completely different meaning
to verse 17 of the English King James Bible
and in doing so, it raises another extremely important question ?
Instead of saying “many, which corrupt the Word of God”
it translates these words as
“many that trade in the Word of God” !

Sorry, but it must be said:
Are we mere “Christians or Church Attendees”
because it is profitable to our “business or career”.
Because it is to our advantage
- Let’s be honest -
Certain Churches have “prestige” value
and people join them not because of the “doctrine” they proclaim
but because it is profitable to their political, business, social or career aspirations.
More “business prospects” are to be found in a larger Church ?
A large Church offers better chances of a profitable “singing career” ?
Are we guilty of “trading” in the Word of God ?

Remember - the Welfare Parcels - you had to attend certain Churches in Welkom -
on a Sunday night if you wanted to qualify to receive the Government Food parcels ?
You could only receive Welfare help if you belonged to the “right church” !
Remember, how many people left our Church because it was more profitable to belong
to another Church - It did not matter what “doctrine” they preached
- material things were more important to some !
BUT are we not also perhaps guilty of “trading in the Word of God” ?
Is our Church merely a “business” concern ?
It should be a beacon of hope to those who are “lost” ?
Are we more concerned about our finances or reaching the lost ?
We need to examine our motives for attending Church
and the motives behind our Church activities very carefully ?

These are questions raised by our Bible Reading, this very day !
If we are honest in saying Lord speak to me though Your Word today !
- Then each and every one present this day will need to answer these questions
before we leave this building !

But why am I sharing this Scripture with you today,
A little while back I received an illustration - newspaper article quote,
on The Yamuna River - by e-mail from:

Pastor John Gillmartin of Sermon Outlines

The article has remained uppermost in my mind - “haunted” me for almost two weeks
now and especially the words of Paul quoted in his e-mail - “the savour of death” or as
stated in the Afrikaans Bible “the smell of death.”
These words of Paul are found in our Text verse:

2 Corinthians 2: 16
To the one we are the savour of death unto death;
and to the other the savour of life unto life.
And who is sufficient for these things ?

Most of you are aware that Georgie and I spent many years working
amongst the Hindu - Indian community in Chatsworth, Durban, Kwa Zulu - Natal
proclaiming the Gospel.

Chatsworth, the sprawling Indian Township outside of Durban
has the largest consecration of Hindus outside of India
- more then 1 million Hindus of Indian descendant live in Chatsworth.
Georgie’s late Father was a Missionary, working amongst the Hindu Community in Chatsworth
- In fact I met Georgie in Chatsworth.
In our hearts I think Georgie and I will always remain Missionaries
- I often tell my Missionary Pastor friends that I am the only real missionary amongst them
as they all preach in their mother tongue while I preach in Afrikaans
which is neither my home nor my mother language or tongue.

But let me share the Newspaper article with you
- The only information I have, is that it appeared in the British press -
Unfortunately I do not know which newspaper or publication,
neither do I know the date that it appeared.

It was reported that Hindus were flocking in large numbers to the Banks of the
Yamuna River, which is surely India’s most polluted river.
The reason was because a sweet smell was emanating from its normally fetid-smelling shore-line,
near Yamuna Pushta, in Delhi.

The Yamuna River is a major Tributary of the Ganges River.
The Ganges River is the “sacred River” of India.
Millions of Hindus visit the River each year to bathe in its waters,
to scatter the ashes of their dead loved ones in it and to worship on its Banks.

To give you some idea of how polluted the river is
- The River, a major tributary of the Ganges, flows through Delhi,
where some 140 million gallons of untreated sewage and
4.5 million gallons of industrial effluents are emptied into it each day !

But why did the Hindu worshippers flock to the Yamuna River ?
They firmly believed that the pleasant fragrance - similar to cheap perfume -
signified the presence of the Hindu deity - Nagmani, the goddess of serpents !
They flocked to the river to worship this goddess !
The official explanation for the “fragrance” was that a nearby perfume factory
had illegally dumped perfume waste in the river.

Likewise, today, the devil - that old snake - that old serpent -
dumps untold tons of sin into the river of life each and every day.

We do not always realise
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sin appears attractive because the devil throws into the river of life
the “cheap fragrance of worldly attractions” !
The River of Pleasure - need I say more - but so often we forget that despite its
pleasant fragrance it remains the vile dirty polluted river of sin !

But Pastor, I'm not a Hindu - I’m not like them -
I don’t worship a goddess at a dirty, vile old river !

Let me ask you a question:
Do you give the LORD - the Creator of Heaven and Earth -
His rightful place in your life and of your allotted time.

There is a river of life and there is a river of death !
Each one of us must decide in which river we will bathe.

I want to warn you today:
Hebrews 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

You can decide today whether you wish to remain in the river of Sin !
And I must say this: How many choose:
the River of the TV - the river of sport
the river of the preparation of the family meal
The river of the Washing machine
above the River of the Church Worship Service ?

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

What must I do to climb into the River of Life ?
Listen to the Words of Paul:

Romans 6:1-4
What shall we say then ?
Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound ?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ
were baptized into his death ?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life.

But friends it is not just enough to climb into the Baptism Waters and to think that,
that action alone will ensure your salvation.

Many people seek the “correct method of Baptism”
- they want to be baptised in the correct manner.
You can be baptised according to the 100% correct method
and by the holiest and greatest preacher and still be lost.
You see there is more to baptism then just the correct method.
Perhaps the time has come to us to ask the same question that
was asked on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:37-39
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart,
and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles,
Men and brethren, what shall we do ?
Then Peter said unto them,
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children,
and to all that are afar off,
even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Did you notice the all important words - REPENT !
Before you enter the waters of Baptism - you need to Repent !

What does it mean to repent ?
It means simply this:
You must leave the river of sin - You must turn away from the River of sin
and then you must turn towards the living waters - Jesus is our Living Waters !
Merely leaving behind the river of sin is not enough
- You must also turn to JESUS !
He alone can grant you forgiveness of sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Listen what Jesus Himself said:
John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Do you believe that Jesus is the way to the Father and Eternal life ?
The only way ?
Have you asked Him to forgive you your sins ?
Do you believe it firmly enough to leave the River of sin and to follow Him alone?

Remember the River of sin is also the river of death !
If you remain in your river of sin then you are as foolish as those Hindus who believed
that home of the goddess Nagmani, the goddess of the serpents
was the vile, dirty river Yamuna !

Eternal life - where will you spend eternity ?
Only by following the Saviour Jesus and leaving behind the river of sin
can you be ascertained of your Eternal Home !
The only way to salvation is the way of CHRIST !
Walk in HIM !


Pastor CSJ Claassen
PO Box 99

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