On Wednesday 21 July 2021, Bishop Werner Von Schaeffer conducted the midweek divine service at Sandton congregation.
He was accompanied by Evangelist Joshua Wyngaardt, 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: In Jesus I have found salvation (EH:323)
Bible word: ‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’ (Romans 8:26)
Bishop Von Schaeffer:
My dear brothers and sisters, God wants to constantly assure us that we are never alone. He will always be at our side. He will always allow us to have this deep longing to be with Him. And therefore, He will make everything possible for us to understand Him, and to see our future. As we heard now, the words were sung, Come, Spirit, come. Many times, we underutilize this part of the Trinity. The triune God, is God our Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and then the Holy Spirit. And each one has His role with the same substance, but the emphasis is on God our Father, He is the Creator. Jesus Christ, He is our Redeemer. And the Holy Spirit, the creator, or the maker of the new creation. And we are part of this new creation, and therefore the Holy Spirit knows exactly what we need. He knows what goes on with God the Father. He knows the desires of Jesus Christ and Their love for us. And on the other side, He sees us as His children. And then the Holy Spirit wants us to understand who we are. We are the children of God, and He wants us to understand our needs. What do we really need? Because He knows what is in the beyond, He knows the eternity, He knows what awaits us. And now He looks at us and wants to inspire us and show us what we really need.
So, our message tonight as it says in the Bible word, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. And these weaknesses can be in our prayer life. The Spirit wants to teach us what we really need and, therefore, the Spirit teaches us how to pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this prayer is not only based on the natural, but it is based on what our souls really need. And firstly, we all need to be in fellowship with God. And that is what we pray. That must be part of our petition. That must dominate our prayers. I want to be in fellowship with God. This was God's original plan. It says in Genesis one verse 26, ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image”.’ This is the triune God, in perfect fellowship, in perfect unity with one another and then they decided to bring us to be part of this fellowship. Our prayer life should include, ‘I want to be in fellowship with God’. Because of sin, a gap can be created. But we want to be back in this fellowship. This is, if I can call it the ‘factory setting’, the soul was made to be with God, and not to be away from God. In this period of the pandemic, we long to be with our children and with our loved ones. But because of the pandemic, we cannot. That's the circumstance we find ourselves in. The pandemic does not diminish our love towards our loved ones. But still, there can be this gap. And therefore, as we long to be with our loved ones, we long to be in fellowship with God. He gives us everything, but we must place more value on the fellowship with God, instead of the gifts that we receive from Him.
Secondly, a prayer that is inspired by the Holy Spirit, that can end in the words ‘in Jesus’ name’, is where we pray for our transition into our resurrection body. My dear brothers and sisters, we know when Jesus comes to fetch us, we will be changed in the blink of an eye. And then we will be like Jesus Christ. And therefore, today already, we work towards that resurrection body, that astral body that we will receive one day. And to do this, we need to get rid of the old Adam, the old creature. As Apostle Paul said, ‘I die daily.’ And death is not a nice thing. We all experience it in this time in which we live. It's something that goes with tears. But spiritually, the old creature must die daily. And the cause of death is sin related, constantly. Anything that comes between me and God, should be removed. And that must be part of our prayers: God please grant me the strength to overcome the old Adam so that I can move towards this resurrected body. As children, we were taught about how the caterpillar changes into this beautiful butterfly. But the caterpillar actually dies. It dissolves itself, and only the vital parts remain. And this must be part of my prayer, my dear Father please help me to overcome that which keeps me back from being clothed with this resurrected body.
And then thirdly, a prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit will always intercede for my neighbour. And more so, the salvation of my neighbour. I attended a seminar in Cape Town in the 1990s, the keynote address was delivered by someone and it's still with me today. He spoke of us in South Africa, that's in the early 90s, he spoke about this digital divide. You know those that can connect and those that can’t connect. And we can still see the prevalence today. We saw it last year where teaching had to take place from home. But some schools were not connected and there is still this digital divide. Is there still a spiritual divide? Surely there is. And we should be ambassadors of those that bridge this gap. I want my neighbour to experience that which I experience. I want my neighbour to be part of this plan of salvation. I pray, I intercede, as we do with the divine services for the departed, where we intercede for those in the beyond. Do the same for my brother and sister on this earth because God wants all man to be saved.
And then lastly, a prayer that is also inspired by the Holy Spirit, is a prayer that we pray to be united. A prayer of unity. We want God's children to be one. I want my family to be in oneness. I want the congregation to be one. I want the church of Christ to be one. Jesus prayed, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” My dear brothers and sisters, this unity is not based on the natural. If we measure it in human terms, it will never be possible to be perfectly one. But this unity is based on our striving to be like Jesus Christ. Despite our cultural differences, upbringing or social status, all of us have this ability to strive to be like Jesus Christ. And that makes us one. That is the unity that Jesus wants in us. Then the world will see this is the bride of Christ.
So, when we have these petitions: I pray for fellowship, I pray for my old Adam to be destroyed and the resurrected body to come to the fore, I pray for my fellow brother and sister, and I pray for unity. When we do this, we are allowing the Spirit to guide us. Come, Spirit, come, enter my heart. I want you to show me constantly what I need. And then my dear brothers and sisters, we need to pray this prayer constantly. We need to persist in this prayer. And we must not only say the words. My actions must match my prayer. It must be congruent, it must be consistent, it must be in sync. That which I pray for and that which I do, should be the same thing. I always need to concentrate when I do this, to nod and to say no. It's very difficult to nod your head forward and to say no. It's very difficult because the two are not in sync. My dear brothers and sisters, if I pray to be in fellowship with this Triune God, surely my life should reflect it. Surely, each and every opportunity that I have, I need to be in the house of the Lord, when circumstances change. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God’, that is a sign of someone that wants to be in fellowship. It's congruent with the prayer. My actions will show it. When I'm consistent with this prayer of allowing the Holy Spirit to break down the old Adam, then the natural things will move into the background. My striving will just be on these things that have eternal value. Then the two will be in sync. Nowadays, we use smartphones, and when you take a photo, and when you select a certain function, it allows the image to be in focus. And when you take the photo, only the person in front is in focus and everything at the back is blurred. Spiritually, if a photo is taken of my soul, what is blurred? The natural things, the things that have temporary value should be blurred. And Jesus Christ and His characteristics should be in focus. If this is so, then I am in sync with my prayer. I am in sync with my prayer of interceding for my neighbour when I help my neighbour on a daily basis. Recently, our Apostle sent us a nice video where he asked and pleaded with us to do something good every day. My dear brothers and sisters, when we intercede for our neighbour, we also have similar actions to help him to progress to also attain soul salvation, but also in a natural sense. And when I pray for unity, surely, I strive for unity in my house, in the congregation, wherever I find myself. And to strive for unity is a striving for peace. Our greatest strength is unity, but our greatest danger is disunity. And therefore, we strive for unity. And we do this by promoting peace. One day, myself and Apostle Ngqunge were driving to a village. And then he said, “Werner, you know, if you want to have peace in your house, in your marriage, always be the least.” My dear brothers and sisters, let's seek this unity.
To summarize our divine service, we want the Holy Spirit to guide us. And He helps us to be able to pray a prayer that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. And this prayer includes fellowship with God, to be able to prepare myself for this resurrected body, to intercede for my neighbour, and lastly for unity. And continue in this, by our prayers being congruent with our actions. Amen.
Thoughts from Bishop Werner Von Schaeffer