On Sunday 27 September 2020, Apostle Armindo Mazuze conducted the morning divine service at Malhangaleni congregation in Maputo, Mozambique. The divine service was conducted in Portuguese and translated into English at the altar by Fernando Munguambe.
He was accompanied by Bishop Alvin Witten, Priest Dércio Mabunda, a musical ensemble and a small NACTV crew. 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: Lord, my Saviour and my Shepherd (EH: 96)
Bible word: “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one…” (Matthew 6:13a)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, once again the joy is enormous to be here at the altar. Many months have passed, around 6 months that we were last at this altar, and the desire was there to be at the altar once again and God gave us this day. And we want to take care of this day that God gave to us because of the anxiety that was there; we wanted to hear the word of God, we wanted to be with the Lord because He elected us to be with Him. He loves us and He will remain loving us. That’s why this morning we are in our homes, and here I am with a few people – the technical staff who are broadcasting this service, and we give thanks to them.
But now going into the divine Bible word out of Matthew: We know that he was a Jew, but he was also a Roman publican and we know that he was called by Jesus Christ. He left everything and he followed Jesus. Why did he do that? Because he was seeing the Lord, he was seeing his Shepherd, he was seeing Someone who was preparing a place for him beside God. And following this context, we can see the Sermon on the Mount and we know that Jesus used to go to the mount. He used to go there to speak to His Father. We know that Moses was also one who used to go to the mount to speak to the Father because it was a safe place, it was a place free of disturbance – there was no noise from the city and other things – that’s why they used to go to that place. And on that mount, He used to speak about many things to God; here God made revelations to Jesus. He spoke about things that He had to do, and that’s why He was with His disciples there. We know that in that place, Jesus Christ taught His disciples how to pray the Lord’s prayer. That’s why we read in our Bible word: “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” We know that many times things happen, and sometimes God allows those things to happen. But when God allows these things to happen, it doesn’t mean that He wants us to fall into temptation. But there is something He wants. He wants us to make the right choice. That’s why we pray to Him and ask Him to help us in many circumstances. If we talk about choices - if someone gives you something that has no value, and someone else gives you something of value, what is the thing that you prefer? It is better to have the thing that has value – we need the things that have value, not the things that do not have any value. That is why we have to choose the right path. We know the right way, it is the way to our heavenly Father, it is the way to salvation – this is the right way. This is the way we all wish to go because one day we all wish to live with the Father and the Son. And it would be good if we could all choose this way, and not the way of evil. Because we know what we can find in the way of evil. There we will find jealousy and many bad things. And we do not want to go that way, the way of jealousy. We want the way of truth, the way of peace and the way of joy. That is the way we all wish to go.
And if we continue, we know what happened to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our role model in relation to temptation because He was tempted in many ways. We all know that He was tempted because many people wanted to see how Jesus Christ would react. And in this case, we are talking about the evil one. He wanted to see what Jesus could do. And we can see something that happened when He was baptised: After He was baptised, He was led by the Spirit to the desert, and we know that this is a place that has nothing. There was no water, there was no food. So, what happened with the evil one? We know that Jesus Christ was hungry because He had been in the desert for 40 days. He was hungry and weak. And we are talking about a meal now, and maybe some of us will get hungry. But we will not get that hungry now because we are seeing what happened with Jesus Christ. The evil one commanded Him to turn stones into bread. But Jesus was a step ahead. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” And He was hungry for the word, and the word is the word that we are given today. Let us take care of it; let us make use of this word and the Father will help us and strengthen us to overcome evil. We know the evil one’s intentions, he wants to disturb our lives, he wants to do bad things to us, and we don’t want that to happen.
My dear brothers and sisters, we won’t give way to the thoughts of the evil one because he wants to take advantage of us. That is something that can happen to us because deficiency can sometimes make us doubt God. That’s why we ask our Lord to help us overcome doubt. Speaking about hunger, we know that Esau sold his birth right because of hunger, he sold his birth right because of a meal. We won’t sell the things that we receive from God because God gives us something important and special – He gives us spiritual gifts. Let us take advantage of these gifts. These gifts can make us stronger and we won’t have to sell the things that we have. Because if we sell the things that we have, we won’t be equipped with what we need, to go to the place that God prepared for us. God prepared a place for everyone and we want to reach that place. He prepared something good for all of us, and we all want to be part of that, not part of the evil one because we know his bad intentions – he wants us to go against the will of God.
My dear brothers and sisters, once again, we can doubt, so we want to ask God to overcome the doubt. That is why we have spiritual gifts and we want to make use of them. We have many opportunities here. We have the opportunity to pray, and that is why we do it. Before we sleep, we pray. When we wake up, we pray, before we eat a meal we pray, and we pray whenever it is necessary to do so. Our prayer is our communication with God – it means we are having a conversation with Him. We are telling him what we have and what we are feeling. It is like the relationship between a son and a father. The son, when he has something to say, he goes to his father because he knows when he goes to his father, his father will have good things to say, not bad things. When a son talks to his father, and perhaps ask him for drugs, the father will tell the son that he did not raise him with drugs. That’s why we need to speak to our children so that they stay away from drugs because it belongs to the evil one. Those things destroy societies. That’s why we want to ask for the good things. That’s why the children go to their fathers and speak about what they wish for.
But the things do not end there. We do not only have the opportunity to pray, but we can also read the Bible. That’s why in our homes we have a Bible. We want to read the Bible so that we can get a better understanding of the divine plan of salvation and the will of God. That is why we must try and read the Bible every day – the same way we eat meals every day. Reading the Bible is a meal for our souls.
There is also something else we can do – we can listen to the sermon. We listen to the sermon at the altar because here our heavenly Father is speaking to us. And it is good if we form part of the church. What does it mean to form part of the church? It means to participate in activities at the church. There are many activities in the church. At the moment, one might ask how can I participate if I am at home? We can participate. That is why we have the virtual choir. It means we are participating in the activities at church. When we send messages to greet others, our brothers and sisters, in that way we are forming part of the church. It means that we are together. Let us remain together. We can’t allow the devil to separate and destroy us. That is why we don’t want evil thoughts to come into our mind. Let us look into our hearts. If we look into our hearts, what do we have in our hearts? Do we have good things or bad things in our hearts? If we have bad things, please take it away because we are the temple of the Lord, and we want to remain the temple of the Lord.
My dear brothers and sisters, we know that the things did not stop at the temptations. We know that the devil also showed Jesus Christ the kingdoms of the earth. He thought that he could convince Christ by showing Him the great things of this world, but it didn’t go that way. Jesus Christ didn’t bow before him. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” We all know that we are passengers here on this earth, we won’t be here forever. One day we are going to leave this earth and live with our Father. We won’t have to bow ourselves to the evil one because he showed us the treasures of this world, because this world doesn’t have anything for us. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have anything, because one might interpret it as not being able to buy anything. That’s not what we are saying. We can have things, but we do not want things that can separate us from God. That is why the world doesn’t have anything for us – we want to go to the kingdom and live with our heavenly Father.
The evil one also told Jesus Christ to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple. And he said that the angel will bring Him up. Let us imagine someone telling us to throw ourselves from the pinnacle of the temple, will you do it? No. What is the intention when we do so? We will die and, in that way, we can see our heavenly Father? What does that mean? We cannot force God to do our will. What we can do is show our neighbour love because we don’t want to impress others with the things that are not necessary. We know that we can’t impress people with miracles, but we do not follow Jesus because of the miracles. We know that He is our Saviour and that is why we follow Him – He wants us to have eternal life.
My dear brothers and sisters, this is the word our Lord prepared for us this morning. And in summary of this divine service, the Lord wants us to overcome evil so that we can overcome the doubt and our own will. All of us have to make the right choice on the path to salvation and serve God. Jesus Christ came to the earth not to be served, but to serve, and all of us are to serve our God and our neighbour. If we do that, we will have a place in the heart of our Lord. Amen.
Thoughts from Apostle A Mazuze
Divine service conducted in Portuguese and interpreted into English at the altar