On 17 April 2022, Apostle Ndodomzi Nene conducted the Easter Sunday central AVT divine service at Kabega Park congregation. The divine service was conducted in English.
The Apostle was accompanied by Priest Lester Peters, a music ensemble, the NACTV crew and sister Tashlin George who did the Bible reading. This divine service was made available on NACTV, Cape Town TV on DSTV channel 263 and 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: Christ the Lord is risen today (EH:508)
Bible word: If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
My dear brothers and sisters, here in Kabega Park Congregation and those who are connected with us, I take this opportunity and welcome you all at the altar of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, in the Christian world, everybody knows that it is Easter weekend which is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are here also to attest to that, that our Lord Jesus Christ is risen. This is our belief. And this is what we also live by, that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen. Nevertheless, before we can go into the sermon, there is a Bible reading for this special occasion.
Bible reading: Matthew 28:1-8
So dear brothers and sisters, we heard now about the events that took place on the morn of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Where Mary Magdalene and Mary went to the tomb, and they found the tomb open because the angel of the Lord rolled the stone. And to their surprise when they got there, it was open. And I think that it is human that you have a shock when you left somebody there and you come back, and that person is not there. But there was a response, a quick response because the question was asked, why do you look for somebody who is alive amongst the dead? And then they were told to go and tell the disciples, tell others that He is risen, He's not here. That is the story behind this day that took place.
Now Paul writes to the congregation of Colossae. Colossae was a town or city, and today we can refer to it as Turkey. That is where the congregation was. And therefore, he sent the letter, in order to make them aware. And according to the theology, there was a theme that he wrote to them so that they could understand the purpose of his writing. Number one, he wrote to them, in order to make known to them that Jesus Christ is the ruler. He is the ruler and therefore He has everything in His hand. The second letter that he wrote to them was to warn the church in Colossae that they must also know there are threats about the heretics. The heretics are the people who have their own belief system and do not want to change in the way they believe. And therefore, that could have an influence in the congregation. Paul warned them that they must be careful. Then the third one he wrote to them was to seek things that are above, not earthly things. Things that are a reality. Things that are important. Things that will bring about life. He warned them that they looked forward to that. And today, we also attest that Jesus Christ is risen. This is the caption of the divine service. Christ is risen. That is what we believe. That is what we live by. We trust that Christ is risen.
Jesus Christ was seen by many when He died. There were many people that saw Him. When He breathed His breath, He was seen by many. But from the time of His death and also His ascension, He only appeared to those who believed in His word, not to all those that were there, but only to those who believed in His Word. Those who believed in Him, He appeared to them. What does it tell us? It tells us that belief in Jesus Christ is also associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us not lose sight that it is important to believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Belief in Jesus Christ is power. This is how we can overcome because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ also shows no one can stand in the way of the work of redemption of God. Because God makes His decision, and it is finished. The rebirth out of water and the Spirit also allows us to look up to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are born out of the Spirit. We are born out of the rebirth of water. And therefore, it makes us also believe in the Lord. And therefore, those who are born out of the Spirit and also out of the rebirth of water, they will always look up to the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? First and foremost, they will look up to Jesus because Jesus is the victor. He is the one that conquered. He conquered death and He conquered evil. That is the power of the resurrection. Secondly, those who are baptized with water and the Spirit will always look up to Jesus Christ. Why? Because He is the living one. He lives. He is not just a mere prophet. No, He is not like the prophet of the past, but He lives amongst us, and He shares with us. That is why we can profess that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Saviour. He lives and He shares with us. And when He shares with us, we have a responsibility to do the same, to tell others about the resurrection of the Lord. It is so nice that we know that Jesus Christ really lives with us. How does He live amongst us? He meets us in the divine service, in the Holy Communion, in the sacraments that we partake of in the divine service. That is when we meet our Lord Jesus Christ. He shares with us. And therefore, let us also have faith in that. And thirdly, those who are baptized with water and the Spirit, they will always look up to the Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus is the first who resurrected. He is the firstborn of those who resurrect. That simply means that He is the only one that has the resurrection body. The Apostle Paul attests to that. If we read in the book of Romans chapter 8:21, he refers that He is the firstborn of the resurrection. That simply means that when we know that, then Jesus Christ, will allow us also to have a resurrection body. And our resurrection is founded in His resurrection. He is the foundation of our resurrection.
The message of the divine service is we look up to the Lord Jesus Christ and we seek His fellowship. Seeking means that we make an effort in order to get there. We do not do it only once. We don’t only do it for a limited time. We persistently and continually seek the Lord Jesus Christ until we find Him. This is now what we need to do as children of God. The second part of this divine service speaks about setting our minds on the things above. What does the Bible tell us? We must concentrate on those things that are important. That simply means that we seek things that are not earthly, things that are not perishing, but the things that are everlasting. Seeking things that are above. Paul also speaks to that. And he said it is my wish that when I am with you or not with you, that your conversation is about the things which are from above. That your affairs must be the affairs of the above, that is what we want to do.
Yes, we understand that Jesus Christ and His church is not visible. The people do not understand. They do not see. They do not know. And on top of that, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, also have misfortune like those who do not believe in the Lord. And this makes it difficult to understand. But we know that the church of Christ exists. It is the only one, the one, the holy and the universal. And the church of God that exists, is not seen in the eye of man. It is there. That is what we seek that makes us also have some kind of peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we have a responsibility. And the responsibility is to also focus on seeking the Lord. That is why we are here in the divine service. That is why we pray. We are also on the journey of seeking the Lord. Let us seek the Lord. And seeking the Lord is something that brings about joy in the heart until we find it. Let us set our minds on the things that are above. Setting our mind on the things that are above is only focusing on Jesus. Jesus is our Redeemer. He is our Saviour. That is very important for us. And this day also reminds us of that when we attest that Jesus Christ is risen. Therefore, we search and we seek those things until we find them. We do not become weary or tired. We do not lose hope. Even though there are things that disturb us, but we do not lose hope. We always continue to seek the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, it is important that we proclaim the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We heard in the Bible reading that when Mary Magdalene and Mary went to see the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus commissioned them and said, go and tell the others that I am risen. They were the first ones. They were the ones that proclaimed the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And Jesus also commanded His disciples and He said to them, let them also proclaim to all the nations and prepare them. We can read also in the same chapter, Matthew 28:19-20. And He gave them that sending commission, I am with you until the end of age. The Chief Apostle said we are also sent to do the same because we are also the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore, the message that we must send out to tell others about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus God lies with me and with you. That we must tell them that the Lord Jesus Christ has risen. It is not the task of the ministers only. It is the task of everybody. Everybody in the divine service. Everybody who follows the Lord Jesus Christ. Everybody who serves the Lord. It is the task of those to proclaim that the Lord has risen. And we need to proclaim the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We proclaim the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We proclaim the ascension of the Lord. And we proclaim the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those are the things that are important in our lives. We have been sent to do so to proclaim this message. The message needs to be spread out. And Jesus Christ said to the Apostles, go to the end of the earth or to all nations. And we are not exempted from that because we can also tell others that Jesus is the victor. Jesus lives and Jesus is the firstborn.
Now the question is, how can we do that? How can we proclaim to others that the Lord has risen? Simply, we proclaim the Lord is risen through word and with our deeds. Those things must work together. You cannot do something different and say something different. They need to be working together. That is our task for all to proclaim that the Lord Jesus Christ has resurrected through our deeds. And it is our task that together in Christ we can make known to others that Christ is our future. We can make known to others together, because this needs to be a group effort. We must not isolate ourselves, but work together. Then we can also make known that Christ is our future. That is our responsibility. The togetherness is important in this work of salvation. Jesus Christ also said, Me and My Father are one. And He also asked us to be one like Him. Let us also do that.
So, it is important for us to proclaim to others that the resurrection of the Lord is power. And through Him, the power that we receive from the resurrection of the Lord, it tells us that nothing could stand in the way of the work of redemption of our God. Nothing. We need to live by that and believe in it. Secondly, our resurrection with the Lord enables us to be with Him for time and all eternity. And, lastly, we need to proclaim the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ together and make known to everyone that Christ is risen. That is our task. And we are all sent. And if one can focus on the task, and we put it together, greater will be the results because we do that which is important. The word says to set your minds on the things that are above. It means that we fine-tune our minds and then we focus on that which is important. And what is important is that we are with the Lord in His Kingdom for time and eternity. And here it warns us that we do not look at the things that are on earth. Earthly things perish. I've never heard anyone who said he was buried with his money or his car or whatever he had. No. Whatever we have we leave behind. But we will take our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with us. Let us continue to do so and proclaim that our Lord is risen. Let us continue to proclaim that our Lord is risen. Let us take home the message of today: we look up to the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just merely looking up to Him, but we seek fellowship with Him, and we want to be in fellowship with Him. And ultimately, we'll be in fellowship with our heavenly Father. Amen.
Thoughts from Apostle Ndodomzi Nene