On Wednesday 07 July 2021, District Apostle Helper Mandla Mkhwanazi conducted the midweek divine service at Sandton congregation.
He was accompanied by Evangelist Randall Jantjies, the NACTV crew and a small musical team. This divine service was made available on NACTV, YouTube and 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: Our God is true (EH:206)
Bible word: ‘I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord.’ (Hosea 2:20)
District Apostle Helper:
My dear brothers and sisters, dear congregation here in Sandton, and the virtual congregation, thank you for taking the time to come to the Lord now to praise our heavenly Father. And while we praise our heavenly Father, we still want to express our gratitude, for our heavenly Father continues to provide us with all our natural and spiritual needs. Even though sometimes we find ourselves in a very challenging time period, especially when we think of this pandemic during this time period. And it's not so easy when we look at the rate of infections that is escalating so rapidly. However, my dear brothers and sisters, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, we need to look up to the Lord because He is the author and the finisher of our journey.
So now, tonight, it's the night that our heavenly Father has planned that we could still come together in this fold, so that we can be enthused with the power that comes from above. I've read a beautiful word, sometimes the word is so confusing because it's a prophetic word that I want to repeat, ‘I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord.’ These are prophetic words. I think it's good because it will connect us with the service that took place on Sunday, the service for the departed, where our Apostle also taught us that our heavenly Father loves us. He also loves those in the yonder world, and this love is just an equalizer to all of us. That on its own makes us recall the divine personalities of those who have been also called into the yonder world. Some of them were called in 2021, some of them were born on this day, the families are celebrating their birthdays, and I would imagine that these also come with various emotions. So therefore, we remember each one in this time period.
Hosea, in this instance, was the prophet who brought some prophetic words to the Israelites. These words are sometimes regarded as words of condemnation because not everybody can understand these words. When you go back to the first chapter, when you hear how the Lord also had to mention, through His words, or through the mouth now of this prophet when He said, “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry, and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.” The meaning of these words is not that good. When the prophet pronounced all these words, I can simply imagine that those who the words were directed to, sometimes, could not understand what the prophet was trying to convey to them. So, dear brothers and sisters, we thank our heavenly Father’s ordained servants who have gradually brought the message of God into our generations, to the point that the message in our time is being understood better.
Remember, Israel, unfortunately, compromised the love of our heavenly Father. They didn't want to comply with the commandments of God. That on its own disappointed God greatly. However, our heavenly Father never forsook them, but He continued to show His deep love to Israel, His people of the first covenant. So that is why the prophet brings the word so nicely as it says, “I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord.” In other words, the word ‘betroth’, in our time, is regarded as an engagement. When you want to marry someone in the future, you first get engaged to the person. Now can you imagine our heavenly Father also continued to show that the promise that He had made in the past, He still wants to observe it. He wanted to call Israel to come to Him. But Israel continued to disappoint God, but our heavenly Father's love was still valid. Our heavenly Father still remained with them.
So now, as a first point, we want to deal with the unfaithfulness of Israel, because God was faithful. That is why the topic of today says that God is faithful. Imagine now when Israel was unfaithful, remember they were accused of being adulterous. Why adulterous? It is because Israel began to adopt some foreign gods. The gods of these other nations. But why? It was because Israel came to a point where they became frustrated by various issues of life. And when they saw that these foreign gods had a certain element in what they were going to provide. In business terms, normally we ask, ‘What is your competitive advantage?’ So, these idols had a competitive advantage that they would bring to the people that would just worship them, these idols. So, in this instance, this competitive advantage was that the men were given a guarantee that they would become fertile. I hope you can understand that even in our time, if somebody would come with a product that would improve the fertility in us, I can tell you that the product will sell like hotcakes. So let us put ourselves in Israel’s shoes. Israel was being lured to worship these foreign gods because they believed that their fertility was going to be improved, and more so, when it comes to their live animals. Their livestock was going to flourish, so, therefore, they were attracted by this. But that instance disappointed our heavenly Father. So, therefore, that is why Israel was regarded as the one that was committing adultery.
We need to come into our time as well. What about us then? Because in this period of the pandemic, we can fall prey in one way or another, because we might find ourselves in such dire need of what we need to sustain our natural life. When we look at the current rate of Covid-19 infections, it can bring us so much fear to the point that we would want to compromise the power of prayer, and want to divert and go the other way, the way that might not please our heavenly Father. Let us not become disorientated under this situation, dear brothers and sisters. Let us believe that our heavenly Father understands the situation that we find ourselves in because our heavenly Father is so faithful to all of us. His love will never change. So, therefore, in other words, when we think of the idols of our time, it is something that we need to overcome. There are various idols that we can think of. Think of us becoming materialistic. That on its own is an idol of our time - becoming greedy, wanting to amass all these material things to the detriment of our neighbour. This on its own is not good. But with this, dear brothers and sisters, I don't want to demotivate those with an entrepreneurial spirit, please go, by all means, and do what is credible for you to earn whatever you want to earn. However, it will be so detrimental of us to think that your wealth will be the answer. It is absolutely not. So, therefore, those that are faithful to God become aware of these idols. They don't want to worship. They don't want to divert and compromise their relationship with God. Sometimes we come to a point of singing the old song by saying, it was good in those times. We don't want to live in the present, we want to live in the past. This is also something that will not bring good results. By singing this old song, we would come into a position of failing to experience the power of God, now, in our time. Our heavenly Father is never changing. He is always true to His promise. So therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we need to continue on this path of faith, believing in God, and also discerning these cunning spirits that want to sway us or persuade us to take a different direction. In this instance, our heavenly Father warns us that with this idol, sometimes people want to become so exclusive. The word that is used commonly in our days is esoteric. Sometimes this word is not so easy to understand. But these exclusive people come to a position of not wanting to rely on God because they want to rely on what they can amass in this exclusive paradigm or in this exclusive group. It's unfortunate. Our heavenly Father is still there, He has given us a mind, He has given us the knowledge to discern between what is good and wrong. So, therefore, when we find ourselves in this difficult situation, we don't have to make our heavenly Father a beggar so to say. Our heavenly Father is the Creator. He is a preserver. He is a sustainer. Nobody can substitute God. But I must say, others tend to want to create another idol of wanting to elevate themselves above God, wanting to create something. Remember, it is true that we can become so creative, dear brothers and sisters. When we think of what is happening now in the IT world. The technology processes are amazing. However, with all those discoveries, we cannot discount the wisdom of God. God is there. He is faithful. Let us become faithful to our heavenly Father. And now those who are able to come to the point of discerning sending these idols, not wanting to compromise their good relationship with God. They recognize the presence of our heavenly Father. In other words, our heavenly Father, we know that He is there, He is present. In the primitive days, people of Israel never wanted to accept the prophetic words that came from the prophet. When the prophet reminded them about the Redeemer, the Messiah Jesus Christ that was coming, they didn't want to take heed of that. But then Jesus Christ came.
In our time, we recognize our heavenly Father’s workings now through the Apostle ministry. It is so unfortunate that the majority of Christianity fail to see the sign, the sign of our time. We are so thankful that our heavenly Father gave us this powerful sign through the reoccupation of the Apostle ministry. This is the ministry of us reconciling with God. So, therefore, when we recognize that we come to a point of knowing that we definitely want to love God, because no man can elevate himself above God, to the point that mankind will come to the conclusion that He will bring the complete solution over the chaotic situation that we find ourselves in here on earth. Jesus Christ is the answer. So, therefore, let's prepare ourselves for the day of the Lord, because the history will then be completed when the Son of man shall make His appearance.
My dear brothers and sisters, let me summarize the sermon. We have learnt that God is faithful throughout the generations. Our heavenly Father will never change. Therefore, His love is so paramount and important to cover our shortcomings. Therefore, let us not rob ourselves from the love, grace and divine favour of God. If we have adopted other gods, we are regarded as an adulteress. Let us repent and come back to the original path that our heavenly Father wants us to be on, so that He can lead us to the goal of our faith. The faithfulness of God will continue to cover our shortcomings, weaknesses and mistakes. But remember, let us not take that for granted because our heavenly Father is patient to all of us as mankind, because He wants to save us. Let us recognise the love of God and continue on this path of faith. And the last point is for us to be careful to not turn to these other idols. Idols such as being materialistic or becoming an exclusive group and thinking that from that kind of group we can devise some means of getting our own man-crafted salvation. That is not going to be the case dear brothers and sisters. So, therefore, let us allow ourselves to be lured by the love of God because God is faithful, His love is irrevocable, His love will never change. Amen.
Thoughts from District Apostle Helper Mandla Mkhwanazi
For the benefit of those who were not connected to the divine service, please find the announcements below:
On Thursday 08 July 2021, the District Apostle will conduct a virtual meeting for all ministers. This meeting will commence at 7 pm and will be broadcast on NACTV, YouTube and Facebook live.
On Sunday 11 July 2021, the Chief Apostle will conduct a divine service for the members of Southern Africa at 9 am. This divine service will take place in Zürich, Switzerland, and will be broadcast via all current online, television and radio platforms. Current lockdown regulations state that all religious gatherings are prohibited until at least 11 July. Given this, we are unable to proceed with the return to in-person divine services on Sunday. The leaders of the church continue to monitor updates given by the government and will inform members as to when we may return to in-person divine services.