On a cool night when the heavens held up the rains, the glory of God descended on His sanctuary at Community 8, and the faithfuls were rewarded with gladness. The brothers and sisters sang in Deutsch (German) and District Apostle Michael Ehrich spoke Twi (Akan dialect) to inspire the gathering.
The South Germany Church Leader based his sermon on Philipians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”.
Why divine services?
Acknowledging the difficulties of mid-week services, the District Apostle expressed his thankfulness to the many brethren present and reemphasized the importance of divine services.
The Leader explained that divine services are like a retreat from our regular and natural lives, where we “concentrate on what is important for us, not only for our earthly lives but for all eternity.” No matter how long we live, we eventually die. However, our souls live to eternity and divine services provide nourishment for our souls.
Our minds reflect our inner attitude
District Apostle Ehrich explained that although our actions may look edifying to everyone, our mindset may be flawed before the Lord. Illustrating with the example of why God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected that of Cain, the Leader remarked: “God looks at our inner attitude. You see, from the outside they both did the same thing. The both brought a good sacrifice to the Lord. But the inner attitude was different.”
Likewise the prayer of the Pharisee and that of the tax collector. Both went to the temple to pray. From the human perspective, the Pharisee was deemed righteous, and the tax collector a sinner. On the face of it, they both went to the temple to pray, a right thing to do. However, the humble and self-confessing prayer of the “sinner” was exalted above that of the “righteous” Pharisee.
Nourishing our souls with the Word
Using the parable of the sower, the District Apostle explained that the seeds spread by the sower is the nourishment we receive for our souls at divine services. However, the image of birds feeding on the seeds that fell by the roadside, can be likened to allowing the worries and cares of our daily lives to interfere with the proper nourishment of our souls.
Patiently growing in the mind of Christ
The journey to think and behave like Jesus is a committed and patient journey. Our Lord Jesus always offered help to others. “The Lord was humble. He washed the feet of His disciples; He bowed before them. He was the master, but never lorded His position over His disciples”. He continued, “Are we humble before God? Are we able to serve our brothers and sisters?”
“The Lord Jesus always looked to His Heavenly Father and was continually encouraged and strengthened to help all people, both young and old. Let us never look down on anyone nor reject anybody.”
“Let us grow step by step into the mind of Jesus Christ, kakra nkakra (meaning ‘step-by-step, one day at a time’ in Twi)” .This is a task for our lives, my dear brothers and sisters; that this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ. Amen.”