On Sunday 21 November 2021, Apostle Patrick Liwakala, who serves as an Apostle in Namibia, conducted the central AVT divine service at Dinwiddie congregation. The divine service was conducted in English and interpreted into South African Sign Language (SASL) at the altar by sister Natasha Parkins-Maliko.
He was accompanied by Priest Brian Basson, 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. 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: Jesus, Thou art our salvation (EH:94)
Bible word: ‘There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.’ (1 Corinthians 15:40-42)
My dear brothers and sisters, from wherever you are joined, together with us. I want to take this opportunity to bid you all a hearty welcome here on holy ground in the presence of our God and Father who has brought us together out of love because what He wants, is for all of us to be with Him in His kingdom for time and all eternity.
And this morning, the message for you and I is, we believe in the resurrection of the dead and also in life with the triune God. This issue of the resurrection of the dead in the world today, and in the world that existed amongst the people that were there before you and me. There were groups of people who did not believe in the resurrection or did not understand what the resurrection was all about. Who maybe posed and asked questions. What are these people talking about? What is it that they need? What are they referring to? What do they want? They believed in the life of today in that when a person dies, it's finished. It's no more. There was no issue whether the body was going to rise in the future. When Jesus walked on the face of this earth, He preached about the resurrection of the dead. And during His time, there was a group of people that were referred to as the Sadducees. This was one of the religious sects or groups, if one can put it in that way. And this specific group benefitted mostly from all the dealings that would happen during that time. They were in control and in charge of the temple in Jerusalem. And they were always of the view that Jesus was not such a good guy because He was always frank with them. He told them what His mission was all about and why He came here on the earth. And one day, while He had a discussion with them, He spoke to them about the resurrection of the dead. They then thought to themselves, let us take advantage of this. And we corner Him, ask questions and twist the information. We turn the situation around to see how He is going to respond to this issue that He is talking about. And they read from the Scripture, and they said from what they read that Moses taught them that when a man dies and leaves his wife behind, one of the siblings should marry the woman so that he can raise the children on behalf of the one that has deceased. They wanted to know whether Jesus knew about this teaching of Moses and how He felt about it. Unfortunately, the Bible is a little bit silent on this. It doesn't say what Jesus’ response was. But I believe He responded in the affirmative. He could have agreed with that which they posed to Him because it was His manner not to object or refuse the truth. Why do I say so? Because at the end of the statement which they put across before Him, they also said to Him, now, we have a scenario for you within our ranks.
There were seven brothers. The eldest got married to a beautiful girl. Unfortunately, this man died, and there were no children that were brought forth. And then the second son had to take care of this woman. And he also unfortunately died. And it continued repeatedly until the last son also died. And at the end of it, the woman also unfortunately died. And now they posed the question about the resurrection that we are talking about. When the resurrection comes, what is going to happen? Amongst these seven siblings, who is going to be the husband to this woman? Jesus utilized the moment and the opportunity to teach them. Because in His teaching, He said you don't understand Scripture. He utilized the moment to teach them. And in His teaching, He said to these people, that is not how the resurrection works. That is not how things are going to be. There is going to be no husband and no wife, but all will receive a resurrection body. I don't know whether they understood. I don't know whether they accepted the teaching of Jesus Christ. But we can already see from that time, there were people that had an objection to the resurrection of the dead. And now, here Apostle Paul also finds himself being confronted with the same situation where a lot of people during his time did not believe in that. They felt and they thought if one dies, that is the end of the story.
But maybe this shouldn't surprise you and me because if we look back at the time of Jesus when He died and went into the yonder world, and He made that promise that He will come again. He will rise from the dead. And when they heard on that Sunday morning when the women, Mary and the others, went and told Simon Peter and the other disciples that yes, indeed the Lord has risen. And those in authority in Jerusalem heard this. They said no you should not believe that. You cannot believe that. You cannot be entertained by such a lie. Because whenever you are going to be asked, you should tell the people that His disciples came, and they took away the body. Sometimes I pause for a moment and ask myself a question. The disciples were ordinary people. They were not soldiers. They were not in the military. So, they probably knew nothing about the war because many of them were fishermen. And when one goes to the river or to the sea to catch fish, you don't need to carry a gun with you. You don't need to carry any weapon with you. Maybe a knife because you might need to use it in your catching of fish. But the people that were placed at the tomb had the background of the military. And one wonders, how could those in the military have been overpowered by ordinary people who knew nothing? Who would not know how to protect themselves from the police? That is what they said already during that time because they did not believe in the resurrection, because they thought Jesus Christ came to confuse the people. He came to bring this teaching which had no logic at the end of the day.
And here, the Apostle also addresses people in the congregation of Corinth. Where a group that also did not believe those who felt that when you die, it is the end of the story. There is no resurrection of the dead. And when he started teaching, he reminded them that first and foremost, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He set an example for all mankind. He became the first fruit of those that fell asleep, those that resurrected from the dead. And He was seen by so many. He was seen firstly by the women. Sometimes maybe the women feel they are not as important as the men here. But they are also important because they were the first ones to see the resurrected Jesus Christ. They were the first ones that the resurrected Lord spoke to. They were the first ones whom He told, go back to Jerusalem and tell Simon and the others to meet Me as I have promised. And He was also seen by the disciples. He was also seen by Paul. When did he see Jesus? There was a time when he was not seen as Paul yet, when he went to the authorities and asked to be given some certificate that would allow him to prosecute all the Christians. All those who believed in Jesus Christ. All those who professed that Jesus has risen from the dead. And there is also an opportunity for those who believe in Jesus to rise at the sound of the last trumpet. And while he was on his way, that is where he came into contact with Jesus. And he was converted, and he also became a disciple of Jesus. He went to the very people that he prosecuted to tell them that I am now one of you. I too believe in the resurrected Lord. I also believe that there is a resurrection. There is life after death. I also believe that the Lord will return one day to come and receive us to Himself. And he continued to say that if life after death did not exist in any way, then there was no need for us to teach. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then our teaching, our conviction, our belief, is useless. But I want to say to you that our belief is not useless. Our teaching is not in vain. Because, yes, indeed, Jesus rose from the dead. And those who believe in the resurrection, those who believe in Jesus Christ will also rise at the sound of the final trumpet.
The Bible word also reminds us of our third article of faith. Because at the end of it, it says we believe in the resurrection of the dead. We also believe in everlasting life. That is who we are as New Apostolic Christians. Already during the time of the first divisions, this was also included in their articles. And life after death and resurrection carry very significant weight in the faith of the Christians. One cannot separate Christianity from the resurrection and life with the triune God. Because this is what makes us Christians. That is what our belief is. That is what brings us to church each and every day. The dead in Christ will rise first, and then those who will still be found alive, will be changed. And for us to wear the same body. What is this body and how is this body? This body will not fall ill. This body will not experience death. This body will not experience any harm. This is a resurrection body that those who believe, will occupy at the sound of the trumpet.
In the olden days, the Sadducees believed that maybe when someone is raised from the dead, it is going to be like when Lazarus was raised from the dead. Because when Jesus came there to raise him from the dead, he retained his old body. But after some time, he died. How many years did it take? I don't know. But he died at one point. When I was preparing for this divine service, I was reminded of a story that I heard that somewhere in Zambia, there was an active Apostle there many years ago. And one of the sisters had died. And the Apostle was on one of his long journeys. And they sent a message to the Apostle that this person has gone into the yonder world. And then he sent a message and asked them not to bury the sister until he returned. How long did it take him to return? I don't know. Because probably during that time, the roads were not as good as they are today. But after he returned, he brought the close relatives together and they prayed where the body was. And when they said amen, the deceased woke up. And the Apostle said please give her a glass of water. And there are many people that say they have come into contact with this sister of ours. I don't know whether she's still there, or if she has already gone into the yonder world. But the body that she got was this mortal body. And that is not the resurrection body. That is not the resurrection that the Apostle Paul speaks about to you and me this morning. But the resurrection body is the one that will not experience death, which will not experience that which this current body goes through. And at the end of it, you and I, as Christians and to be more specific, as New Apostolic Christians, we get delighted when we hear about the resurrection of the dead. When we hear about the kingdom that is to come. The one which Jesus Christ has gone to prepare for us. We get delighted in that we feel happy, we feel comfortable because we have strength in all this. This is what we desire. This is what we look forward to. This is what we want to share with others. Those out there who still might not believe. We want to say to them, please come with us and experience that which we experience each and every day. Because there is a resurrection at the end of the day. Jesus has gone to prepare a place and He will come again and receive us to Himself. Amen.
Thoughts from Apostle Patrick Liwakala