On Sunday 24 May 2020, Apostle Robert Worship conducted the Sunday morning divine service at Silvertown congregation. The divine service was conducted in English and translated into sign language at the altar.
He was accompanied by Bishop Johan Bucchianeri, a small NACTV crew and a musical ensemble. This divine service was made available on NACTV, Cape Town TV on DSTV channel 263, as well as Radio KC, Radio Teemaneng and SABIE stereo. Members could also listen to the divine service by calling in from either a mobile phone or landline. This divine service was also streamed live on the NACTV Facebook page.
For members who were unable to watch the divine service, please find a detailed summary of the sermon:
Opening Hymn: Striving onward, pressing forward (EH153)
Bible word: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
My dear brothers and sisters, hearty welcome to this divine service. On our Christian calendar, we use this divine service to prepare ourselves and place a particular focus on the day of Pentecost which we celebrate next Sunday. For the children, I give you a little bit of a challenge – the number 3 will come up on 2 occasions in the historical context so try to listen and remember it so that the history also becomes part of what we share.
Our Bible word comes from the Epistle Paul to the Galatians. He wrote to the congregations in Galatia. It is not clear who established the congregations, but there is view by historians that it was established by those who attended the first Pentecost service. When I read this, I was really thankful as it links our divine service to the Pentecost divine service next week. In Galatia, there was a young congregation consisting of Jews and Gentiles who had converted to Christianity. In the congregation, the voice of the Jewish congregants was a strong one leading them to focus on the laws of the Torah. Paul knew the congregation since he visited them on his third missionary journey. There were three laws which they observed. The observance of the Sabbath - pertaining to what was allowed on the Sabbath. We remember when Jesus healed a man and he was found walking with his mat on the Sabbath, the Jews were upset. Furthermore, Jesus healed a woman who had been bent over for 18 years. Once more the Pharisees questioned Jesus’ actions since He had healed this woman on the Sabbath. Another focus was that of adhering to kosher practices. Food had to be prepared in a certain way, while some food was forbidden. The last focus of adherence to the laws pertained to that of circumcision as this law required the men to be circumcised. When Paul writes this Epistle to the congregation, he expressed his dissatisfaction at their moving away from the gospel so soon. He reminded the congregation about the important aspects of being a child of God. These were that Jesus died on the cross thus taking all the laws upon Himself. He suffered so that we are freed from the constraints of these laws. Secondly, Paul expressed that the sacrifice of Christ is all that is needed for salvation. Paul refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit and explained the dissimilar effects of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Paul reiterates “if you live in the Spirit, then you must also walk in the Spirit.” This is the challenge for all of us today. It is not enough to merely be a carrier of the Spirit. We must live by the Spirit and this refers to our way of life. Our way of life must reflect that we carry the Spirit of God, therefore we need to be able to show the presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, in our lives. Pentecost, in the Christian world, is celebrated as the feast of the sending of the Holy Spirit. It was the first time that the gift of the Spirit was poured out in the congregations. Furthermore, it was the first visible way showing how church was experienced - through the Apostle ministry sent by Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship. The Acts of the Apostles recalls this event. In a sense, we celebrate the birth of the church of Christ on Pentecost.
However, it is not enough to carry the Spirit and know of Pentecost. We must walk in the Spirit and how is this done? Firstly, we must pray with the Spirit. The disciples of Jesus heard some of Jesus’ prayers when He prayed for them (John 17 verses 9 and 15). Christ’s prayers were personal and powerful and revealed His dependence on His Heavenly Father. The disciples also witnessed the change in Jesus when He came back from His prayers. We know that in one of these encounters, Jesus’ disciple asked Him to teach them how to pray. The Lord responded by teaching the disciples the Our Father. The prayers of Jesus were not all the same. When He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane it was not an easy prayer. In one account we read that during this prayer, the sweat of Jesus appeared like drops of blood. In our congregations, families and society we also experience ‘prayers of Gethsemane’. We pray asking for the ‘cup to be removed’. A special strength for us is Paul’s word to the Romans (Romans 8:15) that through the Lord God we have received the Spirit of adoption through which we can call Abba Father. This is how the Lord Jesus prayed and He is always the best example. If we want to walk with this Spirit, let us pray with the Spirit. This means that our prayer life should be like the Lord Jesus’ prayer life, and we want to be able to intercede for each other. It is special when we can pray for somebody and sincerely intercede for somebody. When we pray with the Spirit, we also pray regularly. Prayer is something we need to do often and whenever we are moved in our souls. Jesus was also an example in this. Jesus was concerned about those who prayed according to the laws – they prayed at certain times in the day and they said certain words. Jesus was free in His prayers and He prayed whenever there was an occasion to do so. Let us do the same. We want to pray in a way that it touches the Saviour. When we pray with the Spirit, it cannot be the same words that have lost their meaning. When we pray, let us do so with sincerity. When we pray with the Spirit let us focus on the things which matter to Jesus and our Heavenly Father. We want to pray beyond just our earthly needs, beyond what we encounter on a daily basis. Therefore, if we live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, let us also pray in the Spirit.
When we walk in the Spirit, we also want to serve in the Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we became children of God – we were incorporated into the body of Christ. We live by the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:28 where He says: “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” This is what we want to do. At times, even in the church, we need to be reminded that we need to bring Christ back into all activities. Christ must be at the centre of all that we do. He needs to be the head of the church. He is the head of my church, and this must reflect in everything we do so that it points towards Jesus Christ. We also want to be able to show that Christ lives in our lives and this is not always so easy. When He lives in our lives then our focus is on forgiveness. Today, however, there is more of an influence that speaks about justice and our rights – not forgiveness. When Christ is in our lives, we can forgive and live a life of reconciliation. This means we seek to build relationships again and create a bridge towards others. When Christ lives in our lives, we have a Godly perspective on our lives. When our conversations always have a Godly perspective, we are pointing to the Saviour’s influence therein.
When our lives point to the Saviour and we serve the Lord in the Spirit, then we live, and we speak the truth. Our Heavenly Father seeks of us that we not only speak the truth but that we live the truth. This is a product of the gift of the Holy Spirit. We read in John 16:13, “and the Spirit of truth will come and it will guide you into all truth.” We carry this Spirit so let us walk in it. Therefore, we want to serve in the Spirit of God to show that Christ rules His church and Christ rules our lives.
Lastly, we also want to battle with the Spirit. At our Holy Baptism and Sealing, a promise was made that we will fight the evil. Today, we want to fight the evil. Paul warns us that our fight is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). At times we have battles because of what we must pass through - we battle because of this. Sometimes we battle with each other because of misunderstandings. We may even find ourselves battling with our current situations. These are the wrong battles – these are battles of the flesh. We should instead, be battling to return to the promises we made when we received the gift of the Holy Spirit. We want to battle the things which break down Godly life – things that to us seem like opulence, prosperity, and a better way of life but diminishes a life with God. We see the imbalance – less of God and more of that which is natural. Let us fight this, even within ourselves. Let us fight the evil within us which do not please the Father so that we can overcome them. We want to be part of the bride of Christ – those who are accepted by Him. This can only happen when we fight and overcome evil. In our time, another evil we want to fight is the lack of spiritual movement in our souls and let us remember what the Saviour did for us - He gave His life for us. He was a human when He gave His life. His suffering was Christ the Man. He gave us the Apostle ministry; He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit and He gave us the church. Let us experience be touched by this. When we walk with the Spirit, we want to be able to do battle. Let us not do not battle flesh and blood but rather the evil and the impulses of evil in our time. When we do this, we fight against all that wants to break the commandment of the Lord when He said, “love the Lord your God and your neighbour as yourself.” We want to fight evil with all our might. Amen
Please pray the Lord’s prayer.
Thoughts from Apostle Robert E Worship