On Wednesday 12 August 2020, Bishop Neville Barron conducted the midweek divine service at Silvertown congregation.
He was accompanied by Shepherd Zane Pillay a small NACTV crew and an organist. This divine service was made available on NACTV, YouTube and 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: God will take care of you (EH: 182) verses 1 and 3
Bible Word: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
My dear brothers and sisters, it is a joy for us to be together after such a wonderful time that we had this past weekend. We can’t believe that it’s behind us; it brought us such a lot of joy. It was an activity that was filled with great excitement and joy. And, it is wonderful to think that we come back and we can still refer to it – we don’t just want to move off and leave it behind us. ‘Dare2Care’ did so much for us, but, you know, it was the talk of the town, and it’s still trending. And you know, we know, that when joy is experienced it is shared. And, in conversation with our District Apostle leading up to this divine service, referring to the concept of Dare2Care, he said the following: “it shouldn’t just be a weekend of our life, but Dare2Care should be our life.” Dare2Care should be our life. And dear young people, to think that you developed all of this under lockdown when you were at home. We applaud you for your efforts, you have done well and we pray for you that as the future beckons, you may experience the blessing of our God. It is also wonderful that this has come about in a time where belief in the word of God is on the decline. The word of God that is our life; the word of God that is God – as we heard on Sunday – is on the decline in the hearts of many. And thank you for coming up with such a wonderful activity that got us all involved and we want to continue with that.
That is our service tonight. It is about the word of God – it is an extension from the Sunday service where we were taken back right to the beginning where God is the word. He is the One that started it all. And we have a Bible word dear brothers and sisters: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” This is a Bible word that comes out of the book of Hebrews. And we know, we have heard in recent divine services that the author is unknown and it was written after year 90 after the death of Christ. The author uses the illustration of a sword which is quite a destructive weapon and on face value; one might think that is the word of God, but on the contrary, the word of God is filled with love. And what is so beautiful about this is that the writer says it is sharper than a double-edged sword – it is sharper! This means that it can go deeper than where a normal weapon cannot reach, and that is wonderful. The word of God is our life. The word of God is the source of eternal life.
Our Bible word says that the word of God is living and powerful. Why is it living? Because it is alive and it is the source of eternal life. That is what we long for; that’s where we want to be. And it is the word of God that will take us there. We have to believe the word of God. So, the divine service tonight is about the word of God and that God saves us through His word. The word is living it says. The gospel of Jesus is not some old story, but the gospel of Jesus is the current reality. What was valid years ago has come to expression today. The Lord speaks to our heart. It means it’s not outdated; it did not have a sell-by date – it is valid today. The word of God is valid. God wants to save us through His word. Beloved, let us believe it, and let nothing tamper with our belief. Let nothing that happens in the church or congregation unsettle our belief in the word of God. Let us hold onto it. The word of God is living, as it says in our Bible word. It is living because it is still preached today. The gospel of Jesus is preached today and teaches us to live in accordance with the will of God. That’s something that we have come to love because that is the mission of the Apostles today. They have received this commission: go and teach all nations and that’s exactly what they are doing. The word of God is alive; it’s delivered today.
The word of God is powerful. It contains all the power of God. We know the origin of the creation is the word of God. The word of God contains the full power of God. Even before the birth of Christ, when the mother of Jesus went to Elizabeth and Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby in her womb leapt. Such is the power of the word of God. It can penetrate where no one else can. The power of the word of God dear brothers and sister, wants to deliver us from this earth. The message for us: God wants to save us through His word. And through His word, Jesus healed the sick. Through His word, God’s word, Jesus raised the dead. And that’s exactly what happens today through the word, it is the gospel of Jesus. Sins are forgiven, and sinners are healed. And we are prepared for our resurrection. That is the power of the word of God. It excites us when we hear of our ascension: the resurrection. It will be wonderful when we leave this earth; away from everything here. We want to be with God. We want God’s word to save us. We want to do it in our lives so that we can be transported from this world to the other world: the future eternal one. And when we consider the word of God that is living and the word of God that is powerful then we realise that to be saved we must be active in it. Therefore, the word of God is our lifeline to our eternal home. We must believe it; we must practice it. That will strengthen our hands that we can hold onto this lifeline that will take us to our God.
And then the word goes further and it says that it is sharp. In other words, both sides of the blade are able to cut; you can just turn it either way – it cuts. The word distinguishes between good and evil and differentiates between that. The word of God that we hear tells us what is good and what is evil. And it comes up in our mind; in our spirit that we need to incline with the good and refrain from going towards the evil. That is why the word is clear cut. Jesus is definitive in His teaching, and we, as His people, we want to follow the word that He brought to us.
The word of God is also piercing; it goes right into the soul. Right into the soul where the true nature of man is experienced – that is where the word dwells – that is where we want to absorb the word; into our soul so that it can point us into the direction of where we are going. And when the word is piercing in our soul, we want to live both from it and according to it. We want to live both from it and according to the word – that is what we want to do.
So, dear brothers and sisters, the word of God is living and the word of God is powerful and it is sharper than any two-edged sword. The Lord wants us to believe the word; to act upon it; to do it and to be active therein. And through it, the Lord wants to save us and take us to our eternal home. The word of God, when it pierces and penetrates our soul, our whole being will permeate godliness. And it is our responsibility to make it come alive so that it can be evident in our marriage, in our home, in our congregation, in our places of work or places of study, in society, in our community. It must become evident there – that is our responsibility so that humankind can get to know God through our practising of the word of God. Let that be a joy for us to do dear brothers and sisters. Amen.
Thoughts from Bishop Neville Barron