On 28 March 2021, Apostle Ndodomzi Nene conducted the central AVT Palm Sunday divine service at Silvertown congregation. The divine service was conducted in English and interpreted into South African Sign Language (SASL) at the altar by Beryl Botha.
He was accompanied by Community Evangelist R Fortune, a small music ensemble and the 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. For members who were unable to watch the divine service, please find a detailed summary of the sermon:
Opening Hymn: With glad psalms (EH:488)
Bible word: ‘So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.’ (Matthew 21:6)
My dear brothers and sisters, and all those who are connected with us, I bid you a hearty welcome at the living altar of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we know, today is a special day, Palm Sunday, when Jesus Christ walked into Jerusalem. So, before we can continue, there's a Bible reading for this occasion.
Bible reading: Zechariah 9:9 & Psalm 118: 22-26
My dear brothers and sisters, today, as we all know, it is Palm Sunday. And Palm Sunday is significant to us and that is why we celebrate, and we commemorate this day. It means a lot to us. The message of today is to obey and to do what Jesus tells us to do. We know the story of when Jesus Christ went into Jerusalem because He said, ‘let us go to Jerusalem’. And He knew that in Jerusalem what was going to take place in His life. And, as a human being, He also had His fears, and He did not allow His fears to dampen His Spirit to go to Jerusalem. His love for mankind and redemption, and to do the will of God was greater than His fears, and that is why He went to Jerusalem. And then we hear in this story that Jesus Christ, as He was approaching Jerusalem, He was coming from Jericho. And we know that in Jericho He also worked when He healed the blind man. And He proceeded now to Jerusalem. And as they came closer to Jerusalem, He instructed two of His disciples, and He said to them that they must go to the nearby city, and they will find a colt, the foal of a donkey and they must bring it to Him. If anyone asks you why do you take it and then you must say it is needed, and the disciples did not question this. They did not weigh the options, they did accordingly, as the word of today expresses. So, the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. My dear brothers and sisters, this is also very important, obeying the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, obeying that which He tells us to do. And that was also fulfilled as Jesus Christ also told them, it was touching their souls because whatever Jesus told them to do and commanded them to do, it came to fruition. And that is why it was the beginning of the fulfilment of the salvation plan. This plan was made by God and therefore it had to be fulfilled. That is why when they went, they brought the colt. As we heard, Jesus Christ did so in order for the prophecy of the prophet Zechariah to be fulfilled. If Jesus Christ did not come into Jerusalem, then that which was prophesied would not be fulfilled. And that is why it was the fulfilment of the promise. We need to believe in this promise of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also need to accept that God does not make mistakes. Whatever He tells us, He fulfils it. Therefore, the prophet Zechariah, as we heard from the Bible reading, I also want to refer to that, in Zechariah 9:9 where the prophet Zechariah said, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey.’
My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ came into Jerusalem on a donkey. It is not because He wanted to spare the strain of walking to Jerusalem, but it was to fulfil that which was prophesied. How did the people of Jerusalem expect the Lord to enter Jerusalem? Maybe they expected the Lord to come in a different way, but He came on a donkey, lowly riding. And the people, when they saw the Lord Jesus Christ, they also recognised that this was the Messiah. We can also ask ourselves today, do we recognise the Messiah in His word? Do we recognise the Messiah in the house of the Lord when the word is spoken to us? Do we accept Him also as our Redeemer, or do we look at Him in a different way? No, we want to accept Him as the people of Jerusalem did. That is why it is important for us that when the Lord speaks to us, we also become the recipients of the word that He spoke to us.
Jesus Christ also came to bring salvation; therefore, we need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because He came to bring comfort. He came to bring joy to the people; He came to bring advice and also to give us the new commandment. And what was that commandment that Jesus Christ gave unto us? It was the commandment that we must love God above all things, with our soul, mind and spirit, and to also love our neighbour as we love ourselves. That is the commandment that Jesus Christ brought to us and also to those people in Jerusalem. Dear brothers and sisters, the Spirit tell us that God holds everything in His hands, that God is in control of everything. The Spirit tell us that God knows all our situations and, therefore, we do not have to fear. We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; we also believe in His ministry as the Son of God. Therefore, we do not doubt what the Spirit tells us; we also do not question what the Spirit tells us. We are going through difficulties and challenges in our lives, but we do not have to draw back. We want to be strong and remain following the Lord because Jesus comforts those who want to follow Him. He also gives advice to those who are willing to accept it. And He also gives us the commandments. Let us also adhere to these commandments.
Let us look at the instruction that the Lord gave to the disciples. If the disciples did not follow accordingly then it would have been a failure. But because they accepted the instruction of the Lord and they went and did accordingly, they did not increase or decrease what Jesus Christ said to them, they did exactly as He said. And this is also expected of us – we must do the same. When the Lord speaks and addresses us, we must do it according to His word and commandments. This will also bring us to salvation. If we want to attain salvation, we must believe in the Lord, we must follow His instructions, we must take His advice and also hold on to the commandments He has given us. If we want to attain salvation, if we want to be in the kingdom of heaven with God and Jesus then we have to do so. There is no easy way out; there is no shortcut. That is the only way to receive salvation.
Zechariah says, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey.’ That was also sort of a warning to them; the King shall come, and this King will come to bring salvation to mankind. It is nice to see that the people of Jerusalem recognised the Lord because those who were there put the Lord on the donkey, they put down palm trees and they also shouted as Zechariah said, ‘Hosanna, the King has come.’ The King is still with us, that is why He also sent us His Apostles and said that they will prepare us for His coming. Therefore, it is also important to understand those things that Jesus Christ also mentions, statements that culminate or cultivates to what Jesus Christ also said in the beginning. If you read in the book of John 14:1, it says there, ‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.’ What does it mean to believe in God? It means that we trust God even if we do not understand His actions. We trust God even if it is not clear to us what He wants to do – we put our complete trust in Him. That is why Jesus said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me’ because, through Him, salvation is attained. If we do not go through Him, no one shall enter the kingdom of God – we can only do so through Him – believe in Him. We can say today that we do not doubt Jesus Christ; we will follow Him, and our following will be an unconditional following. We will not follow Him because there is something or we have conditions where we draw certain lines. We will follow the Lord Jesus Christ unconditionally for we trust Him as we trust our heavenly Father for we know that He is God. Believing in Jesus Christ also brings us closer to the kingdom of God. He leads us. And we need to trust Him. There are many things that trouble us. When we look around, there are certain things that make us become uncertain. Are we still on the right path? Are we going to the kingdom of God? Where is our heavenly Father? We find ourselves in a pandemic, but that does not stop our heavenly Father because nothing can stop God from fulfilling His promise. Nothing can stop God from taking His people unto Himself. The Chief Apostle said that the pandemic does not announce the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it also does not prohibit the coming of the Lord. That is very important – Jesus can come at any given time. As He went into Jerusalem, He comes to us today and He will come again to fetch us so that we are with Him in the kingdom of God. That is the statement that Jesus Christ made, ‘Let not your heart be troubled.’ Do not also be shaken by the things that happen around us. Do not fear because fear plants doubts. We do not want to fear. The only person we fear is God and with God, we have our Godly fear. We do not fear for we know our God is a God who does not change – He fulfils that which He has promised.
If we go back to Zechariah, he says, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ It is also important that we welcome the Lord who comes to us and tries to bring us to our readiness when He comes, He will find us all worthy. Many people fear that which they do not know, therefore, they focus on themselves. We do not want to focus on the personal things. Jesus also made that statement in the book of Matthew 6 where He says, ‘Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord made this statement so that our trust in Him can increase. In this chapter, He also says (Matthew 6), ‘Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?’ Let us trust in our Lord and not worry. What we need to worry about is our future. Our preparation for the future is more important than our human desires. We are looking forward to this future. We must not worry because our heavenly Father knows what we need. He knows our desires and He will fulfil them. That is the statement Jesus Christ made. He said that we should not worry, and He spoke in a position of strength, He did not say that the prophet says, but He said, ‘I say to you,’ – He used His authority as the Son of God, ‘I say to you do not worry.’ We are secure in the hand of Christ, in fellowship with the Apostles and with Jesus Christ, therefore, we do not have to fear. When Jesus Christ announced His death, the Apostles were distraught, worried and afraid. And then Jesus gave the comfort by saying do not worry, do not be dismayed. Dear brothers and sisters, seek first the kingdom of God, prioritise, seek that which is important – the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then the other things will be added unto us. That is quite important. And therefore, we must also take heed of that.
Jesus Christ also said to His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” When we hear those words of the Lord, He gave the commission to the Apostles, and the Apostles must proclaim the gospel of the Lord and also dispense the sacraments – that is very important that we believe that which Jesus tells us and that we focus on the ministry which He has given the power and the authority so that we can attain salvation. Those who want to attain salvation, they must follow the instruction of the Lord. And the instruction of the Lord is to adhere to the teaching of the Apostles today. We must understand that salvation doesn’t come by coincidence, but it comes by the will of God. It is the will of God that He sent His Son to bring salvation on earth. It is not a coincidence. It is something that was planned. That is why if we hear about the fulfilment history of salvation, we understand that there was a plan and now this plan was taken into action. On this Palm Sunday, it opens our understanding so that we know that which God planned, we need to live by it, we need to believe in it, we need to follow the Lord Jesus and we need to trust in God.
In summary, we must understand that salvation does not come by coincidence, but salvation comes to mankind through the will of God. Those who believe must follow the Lord and the Lord gives instructions, He commands, He advises so that those who follow Him can attain salvation so that they can also be with the Lord for time and all eternity in His kingdom. This is what we want to do and to experience. As Jesus Christ came into Jerusalem, He comes also into our hearts. May these words prepare us so that we always look forward to the fulfilment of the promise and we remain trusting our God even though the situation here and there does not favour us, but we trust God. And when we trust God, it is easy to obey His word, it is easy to do what Jesus Christ tells us to do. A beautiful example of the disciples – they did exactly as Jesus Christ told them. Let us also go and do that. We know that the Lord will not mislead us, but He leads us into His kingdom, He wants us to attain salvation and He wants us to receive the crown of eternal life. Amen.
Thoughts from Apostle Ndodomzi Nene
For the benefit of those who were not connected to the divine service, please find the announcements below:
The first announcement is for the information of all members across Southern Africa:
The NACTV team has compiled a survey that aims to ascertain and verify which platforms our members use to connect to the AVT divine services. During the coming weeks, your local Rector or Priest will contact you and ask you to answer this anonymous survey. Please note that the information in the completed surveys will assist us in our decisions in relation to broadcasting and expanding our reach to members.
On Friday 2 April, Apostle Jeremia Joubert will conduct the central Good Friday AVT divine service from Sandton congregation. Then on Sunday 4 April, Apostle Peter Lambert will conduct the central Easter divine service from Silvertown congregation. These divine services will commence at 9 am and will be made available via all current radio, television and online platforms.