In a cautioning but reassuring tone, District Apostle Michael Ehrich delivered an illustrative sermon on the importance of gratitude and focusing on Jesus. The service, held at Accra Central on 11th September, 2022, also concluded his week-long visit to Ghana.
The South Germany District Church Leader based his sermon on the text Luke 17:17-19, “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ 19 And He said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.’”
“The Church belongs to Jesus Christ”
Perhaps, having pleasantly acknowledged the beautifully performed anthem, Joyfully singing, by the Accra United Choir, many did not expect the change in tone of the District Apostle’s introductory sermon.
His message was clear: “The Apostles are important, but the ministry is more important.” He said: “The ministry is given by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the case that the New Apostolic Church belongs to the District Apostle or Apostles. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all servants. No one is more important than the other in the service of the Lord.” He further elaborated that the Church will continue to be cared and provided for by the Lord Jesus Himself, no matter who leaves.
Gratitude releases blessings
Recounting the story of the ten lepers, the District Apostle figuratively explained that leprosy is compared to sin in the bible. Consequently, the return and expression of gratitude by one Samaritan leper healed by Jesus, attracted significant blessings to this Samaritan, both physically and spiritually. The Samaritan was cleansed of his physical leprosy (sickness), and spiritual leprosy (sin). He received eternal salvation from the Lord.
“What can we learn from this?” he asked. “Let us always be thankful to the Lord and remain connected to Him always.” “If we make Jesus the centrepiece of our lives, follow Him diligently, we will have a great reward in the future. Let us always focus on Jesus, and the more we do so, the more we assume His nature”, in word and deeds.
Jesus works through the Ministry
The District Apostle further enlightened that although Jesus healed the lepers, He asked them to show themselves to the Jewish Priest in fulfilment of the orders at the time. He explained: “It is the same today. The Lord will not conduct divine services. He sends us to the Apostles and ministers, to receive the word of God and forgiveness of sins through the divine service.”
“We, as Apostles or Priests, do not have power to forgive sins; it is the Lord Jesus who forgives sins.” Likewise, it was not the Priest who healed the lepers but the Lord Jesus.
The constancy of our Christ-like nature
Being Christ-like also means being ready to offer and sacrifice ourselves, preached the Leader. “Jesus Christ brought His Holy Sacrifice for all. This also means we are being asked to bring our offerings, physically and spiritually. Of course we cannot compare our sacrifices to that of Jesus, but our nature in Christ means we are willing to offer ourselves to Him. And in all these we must do so constantly.”
What is our expectation in the Lord?
Judas lived with the Lord and was taught in the same way as the other disciples. However, he had different expectations of Jesus and lost his way. “What is your expectation of the Lord?” he asked.
“Let us wish for the Lord to lead us in the right way, to lead us to our eternal goal. It must not be our wish that He helps us achieve our worldly gains first. Of course that He can do, but it must not be our primary goal. The main objective must be our eternal salvation for our souls. Amen.”