The last Sunday in June is of significance to members of the New Apostolic Church. It is the Sunday preceding the celebration of the second Divine Service for the departed in the year. Members begin a preparation to spiritually and physically fine tune themselves over the course of the ensuing week.
On Sunday June 27th, 2021, Lead Apostle Benjamin Ohene-Saffo led this divine service at Vakpo congregation in the Volta North Apostle Area. He was accompanied by Apostle Timothy Akubia and District Rectors Justin Akplorkpoe and Owusu Acquah. About 141 members participated in the service.
The Lead Apostle read a text from Psalm 146:7b-8: “The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.”
“My dear brothers and sisters, here gathered, seen and unseen, I bid you all a hearty welcome. We have prayed that the will of God may be done. And today in this will of God we are permitted to have fellowship with one another and with the Lord” stated the Lead Apostle as he opened the service.
Judgment versus grace
“Between judgment and grace; what would be your choice?” quizzed the Leader. “Obviously our choice is grace” he stated. “Sin brings about judgment, grace pardons our sins”, he continued, “many have gone into the beyond and await judgment on account of sin. However, the salvific sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ have paved the way for them to access the grace of God”, explained the Lead Apostle.
A message for the future
“The Psalmist made an insight into the future; the time of the Lord Jesus Christ” the Lead Apostle avers. Referencing the Lord Jesus’ affirmation of His mission as recorded in Luke 4:18-19, the Lead Apostle emphasized that, the Lord Jesus Christ came to fulfill the message of the psalmist; liberate the prisoners, open the eyes of the blind and raise those who are bowed down.
Freedom to the prisoners
The Lead Apostle explained that, the souls in unredeemed state in the yonder realm, are prisoners of sin. For many of them, it is not their fault to die without faith in Jesus Christ. They may have never heard of the message of redemption. For others, they simply could not live by the gospel. All these souls are prisoners. They are blind! But there is a way to liberty for them. Their eyes can also see again. This is the mission of Jesus Christ! He has opened the door of grace to all these souls to be saved. The Lord loves the righteous, and wants to make these prisoners righteous.
Our role today
“We are called upon to be helpers in liberating these prisoners of sin, and help the blind gain their sight”. The Lead Apostle intimated. “But how does a wanted criminal stand surety for another criminal?” the Lead Apostle asked. “My dear brothers and sisters, we cannot help these unredeemed souls if we ourselves are entangled in sin. We ought to sanctify ourselves. Let us extend our prayers into these prisons, that is our responsibility over the course of the week.” he emphasized.
Concluding the sermon, the Lead Apostle admonished members to wean themselves of all sinful nature and help in the liberation process of the unredeemed souls in the beyond. “Our forefathers, friends and many souls are looking up to us. Let us play our part. Pray fervently for them. On the day of the Lord, we shall see them in glory.”
The service was supported by Apostle Timothy Akubia and District Rector Owusu Acquah.