On 25 April 2021, District Apostle Helper Mandla P. Mkhwanazi conducted the central AVT Sunday divine service at Sandton congregation. The divine service was conducted in English and interpreted into South African Sign Language (SASL) by Natasha Parkins-Maliko.
He was accompanied by Shepherd Thomas Laasch, 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: At the feet of Jesus (EH: 74)
Bible word: ‘Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.’ (John 14:5-6)
District Apostle Helper Mkhwanazi:
My dear brothers and sisters, this is a Sunday, and I am glad to be forming part of this huge congregation. This is through God's grace, and our heavenly Father still wants to reveal Himself unto all of us as mankind because as I've mentioned in my prayer, that it is His desire for all of us as mankind to come to the knowledge of the truth, and also for our souls to be redeemed. That is God's desire; it shall never change. And He has proven how much He loves us as mankind, how much He wants to save all of us. We understand that through the gift that we received as mankind, through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus Christ. We are still in that period where we are reminded about this passion period when the Son of man had to make this great sacrifice. And fortunately, we have celebrated or commemorated this great event in human history, especially in the Christian community - the crucifixion of the Son of man, His resurrection, and now, we are also looking forward to commemorating or celebrating His ascension, and also Pentecost during next month.
Allow me now to mention the topic of this divine service. The topic of this divine service is about Jesus Christ where He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. That is the topic for this morning’s divine service. How did it come about my dear brothers and sisters? This was the farewell discourse of the Son of man, Jesus Christ because He was preparing Himself for that crucifixion and more so, He was preparing the disciples and the believers that once He is crucified, they shouldn't be sorrowful forever. Because that carried a divine purpose for the Son of man to undergo such a trying time period, just for Him to lay down His life for all of us as mankind. And also at the same time, Jesus Christ reminded them that He was also going to resurrect, and that should bring them the comfort, so that they should know that with the death, and also with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that on its own is part of the great message for our own death in the future, and also for our own resurrection, also from the dead. So, therefore, we need now to come and become serious when it comes to these divine occurrences, these divine events, so to say, when Jesus Christ was referring to Himself as the way. Brothers and sisters, let's think again that as a way, Jesus Christ wasn't maybe referring that okay because now He was going to be crucified, that means now, it was just going to be the end of it. Absolutely not. But Jesus Christ was also showing that He is the way for those that are living. He is also the way for those who died before His coming here on earth, and for those who shall still die during this time period without repenting or without having repented to Jesus Christ. Maybe this can make other people say but this is unfair because we become so serious in the faith, and others sometimes don't take faith very seriously. But then, in the end, they still deserve to attain this eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ. Some people are saying that it's unfair. Who are we, my dear brothers and sisters to dictate terms for our heavenly Father who created us? Remember, we are the clay. As the clay, we need now to comply and submit ourselves to the will of the potter. That is our heavenly Father, He wants to save all of us as mankind.
I love this question asked by Thomas. When Thomas was posing this question, we can see that he was really such an inquisitive person. He wanted to know. He didn't just want to be led blindly. So, therefore, as a good listener, that is why he had to pose this question to the Son of man. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” That's a direct question. From this question, we can simply see that he really needed to know. He listened attentively to the Son of man when He was explaining to them that He was going to leave and return to His Father. ‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.’ This reminds me of a question that was also posed by Peter during that time period. Because brothers and sisters, for us to understand this farewell discourse of the Son of man, we can simply read John 13 until the last verse of John 16, then we can understand the whole gist regarding this farewell discourse of the Son of man. Let me read quickly to all of us just to see how Peter also posed a similar question from John 13:36, ‘Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are you going?”’ Good question, because they were listening attentively to the Son of man. They didn't want to miss Jesus Christ, they wanted to be with Him. ‘Jesus answered him, Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”’ So that also puzzled Peter. ‘You cannot follow Me now’, yet they were followers of the Son of man, they wanted to follow Jesus Christ until the end, now the Son of man claims that no you cannot follow Me now. So therefore, in verse 37, ‘Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for Your sake”.’ That's a commitment, my dear brothers and sisters, honestly, that's dedication. Can I say that's a real comradeship, so to say, because he was a friend, a true friend. In verse 38, ‘Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied me three times”.’ That was such prophetic words from Jesus Christ because He was God, but Peter didn't realize that - what the Son of man was proclaiming what was going to happen. As we know, dear brothers and sisters, it eventually happened, because they never fully understood what the Son of man was saying. So, therefore, Jesus Christ is the way. It means, in other words, Jesus Christ by returning to His father, eventually, it doesn't mean that he actually compromised that element of being the way.
Let us learn from this, especially to young children. The first point here, ‘I am the way’ – that is Jesus Christ, saying. In the past, my dear brothers and sisters, just for the sake of the children, when we would drive to a city, we would use a road map to lead us to our destination. We would page and then write down the street and so forth. But we know that the development has brought us something that is very good. We now use the GPS, dear children, that is what you call in your generation now, because we as an older generation, we were used to the road map, but you are going to rely solely on the GPS to reach your destination. But now remember, we want to reach heaven. We want to reach the throne of our heavenly Father. We want to reach that destination where our heavenly Father has called upon us so that we can have eternal fellowship with Him. But now the question is, how can we get to that destiny? How can we get there to be with our heavenly Father and to be with Jesus forever? Here is an answer now. The answer is no longer the GPS, nor the old roadmap, the answer now is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way. He is the way that shall lead us to be with our heavenly Father forever, that is Jesus Christ, the only way.
So how can we then see that Jesus Christ is the only way? It's through belief. We need to believe in the Son of man, Jesus Christ. By believing in Him, that is, where we can eventually come to see and realize that God actually is love. By him being love, He wants to save all of us as mankind from our sinful nature. So, therefore, Jesus Christ is the only way that would lead us to our heavenly Father. That means we can’t compromise this belief, the faith that we have in Jesus Christ. So now when it comes down to this faith and belief in Jesus Christ, it doesn't come automatically. No, it needs to be nurtured. So that is why young children, you need to be grateful to have your parents who are believers, parents who brought you into the faith, for you to know Christianity, for you to know Jesus Christ. Dear brothers and sisters, thank you also for that you still believe, and you find yourself also upon this path that leads us to this eternal fellowship with our heavenly Father. Let us not go astray. Let us become firm on this path of faith because Jesus Christ is the way. He wants to lead us to His Father. By us now understanding Jesus Christ, we would get to understand God, our heavenly Father because Jesus Christ on His own was God incarnate. Jesus Christ was born as a natural human being so that He could dwell with us, because He was showing that He understood and still understands our earthly trials and tribulations, He understands them. So, there is no point for us to say, oh, but Jesus Christ will not understand my situation. He really understands. So, therefore, let's keep ourselves on this path that leads us to Jesus Christ, to our heavenly Father. This is the way.
The other point says, ‘I am the truth’, according to His answer to Thomas. Let me repeat that. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’. Jesus Christ is the truth. Brothers and sisters, we understand when John the Baptist began preaching, preparing the way for the Son of man, Jesus Christ, whom he had never seen at the time But he believed because our heavenly Father made a revelation to him - how John the Baptist was going to see and recognize Jesus Christ, because he had to prepare the way for Him. Our heavenly Father revealed the way in which John was going to see Jesus Christ as a truth. We understand that John, in his teaching, he said from the beginning there was this word, and this word was from God, referring to Jesus Christ Himself. We are going now to see the light, we're going to get the grace of our heavenly Father, from this light, Jesus Christ. God was going to reveal Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. So, therefore, Jesus Christ is grace and truth. Let me read these words quickly, John 1:14 and 17, it says here, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ In verse 17 it says, ‘For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’. That on its own gives us the confirmation that even what Moses had to preach; Moses as a judge had also to bring across to the believers, those who followed Him. Jesus Christ actually compounded that with a greater, deeper and higher understanding. Brothers and sisters, He is the truth. Definitely, He is the truth. At one stage, Jesus Christ also said the truth shall set us free. In actual fact, whenever we put into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ, we shall then be kind of feeling that divine freedom. Because remember as human beings, it's not so easy sometimes to understand all the dynamics of this life. Sometimes the world would want to dictate certain standards to us as human beings, but as long as we adopt the truth that we received from the gospel, we shall then become overcomers. Remember, the world will sometimes dictate to us to compromise our divine standard. Sometimes our peers or our friends might see it as those that are not that gifted individuals. But when we consider the principles of the teaching of Jesus Christ, His gospel, we shall be seeing ourselves that we are filled with the talent of this faith; we are still on these truths. Then that on its own, will make us free, instead of crucifying ourselves, did I act right? Was it correct how I responded? But when we consider the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, that shall definitely set us free, and then we move forward. Because by doing that, we shall have satisfied Jesus Christ, we shall have glorified Jesus Christ, but the evil one shall have been disappointed because our standard is the standard of the gospel. That is the truth, that shall always set us free.
‘I am the life’. That is the last point that comes from our Bible word. When we come to understand that Jesus Christ is the life, we need to understand that is the central message of the activity of Jesus Christ. He brought life to mankind. He said to us, because He lives, we shall live. Because He lives, He is in existence, we shall also live. Jesus Christ brought this life to us to be such an abundant life. As human beings, we want to live longer here on earth. I understand that sometimes we become so worried when we are getting older. When we turn 65, we say oh my word, maybe the light is dimming. Okay, and then we become so concerned about so many things that we couldn't accomplish during our time. That on its own might make us unsettled; it might disturb us in one way or another. Maybe, the other one at the age of 80, would come to a point where he would wish that he can still go further, maybe reach the age of 100, or 150 years. But dear brothers and sisters, what is 65-100 years compared to life eternal? That is the life in its abundance, so therefore Jesus Christ came to bring us this life in abundance. So, therefore, let's walk on this way, let's stay on this truth. Let's experience this life, preparing ourselves for His return. Remember, He shall return, and then when He shall return, that's when we shall then be transfigured. We shall be changed. Because our heavenly Father, through His Son, wants to take us to be with Him for life eternal. That is an unending time. Let's pursue that, dear brothers and sisters.
So, allow me now to summarize our teaching for today. To the children, let me rather make it easy, A, B, C. We know ABC, we say Jesus Christ is the way, He is the truth, He is the life 1, 2, 3, to the children, just count that, it is simple - A, B, C or 1, 2, 3. Jesus Christ is the way, Jesus Christ is the truth, Jesus is the life. So, for us the message is simple, therefore, we are saying, Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Amen.
Thoughts from District Apostle Helper Mandla P. Mkhwanazi
For the benefit of those who were not connected to the divine service, please find the announcements below:
On Sunday 02 May 2021, District Apostle John Kriel will conduct the central AVT divine service from Gezina congregation. This divine service will commence at 9 am and will be made available via all current radio, television and online platforms.