District Apostle J Kriel conducted a divine service in Nampula, Mozambique during July 2019. With all church activities currently suspended until further notice, the broadcast was made available on Wednesday 17 June 2020 at 7 pm for all members to watch.
For members who were unable to watch the divine service, please find a detailed summary of the sermon:
Bible word: “But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you.” (Galatians 4:18)
Today, we have a word out of the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians, and the Apostle Paul was worried about those people in Galatians because when he was with them, they were very faithful, but when he was away from them, he didn’t hear such good stories about them. Now, the Apostle Paul says it’s a good thing to be zealous in good things – always, and he says to them ‘not just when I am with you’.
I am happy to see you all in God’s house today, and I am convinced that it’s not only so when the District Apostle comes; it is also so when the Priest comes to conduct a divine service. We want to remain zealous under all circumstances because, after all, we don’t keep the commandments for the benefit of our neighbour. We don’t keep the commandments for others to compliment us. We keep the commandments because we love God. Remember, Jesus says: “if you love Me, keep My commandments.” We must do what is right even if we are all on our own. I want to give you an account out of Holy Scripture: there was a young, good-looking Israelite man named Joseph, and he worked in the house of the governor, Potiphar was his name. But when his wife saw Joseph she thought this was a nice man. And she said she wants this man. But when she approached Joseph, he knew that was not right, and she said to him that it’s fine; no one will see or know anything. And he said: “no, I cannot do this before my God; my God sees everything and I love Him too much to disappoint Him.” Joseph did not fall to the temptation of this beautiful woman. Because he did good before God, you would think that God would take care of Him and say something like ‘good, well done My boy.’ But do you know what happened next? Potiphar’s wife went to the authorities and said to them that Joseph wanted to molest her, and he was put in jail for a very long time. One could say that he got into trouble for doing the wrong thing. He went to jail for remaining true to his God, but he did what was right in the sight of God. And, although it took a long time, eventually the Lord God blessed him. He became a great blessing for his country, his family and for the people of God. The lesson for us dear brothers and sisters: let’s do the right thing; let’s be zealous in a good thing, not only once but always. That is the message for us today: let us be zealous in doing what is right in the sight of God. It may not always appear as if it is beneficial. Sometimes, the people who break the law become richer than the people who do what is right and we are tempted to break God’s commandments so that we ourselves can benefit. So, we want to be zealous in good things always, whether I am with you or not. That is what we teach our children: do the right thing whether I am with you or not. Our God is with us always, so we want to do the right thing. We want to come to God’s house whenever we are called to come to a divine service. Here and there, someone might say the service was a bit boring. Not every service we come to will be a ‘wow’ moment. So, not every service will be all that great and wonderful but remain zealous in coming to God’s house. Remain zealous because it’s good to remain in that which God gave us. There is something in every divine service for each one of us. Take something out of the service and allow it to change my life. Remain zealous in coming to God’s house. Remain zealous in bringing your offering to God. It may appear that God doesn’t bless me or He doesn’t know me, but He does. And like Joseph, at the right time, you too will experience God in a beautiful way.
Remain zealous in prayer whether I am with you or not because prayer is speaking to God. Don’t ever grow tired of praying. Don’t ever get tired of thanking our God. Don’t ever grow tired of asking for His grace. Don’t ever grow tired of asking the Lord to come and fetch us. We remain zealous in good things always. We don’t want to grow tired of loving our neighbour. Sometimes, our neighbour is not so kind to us. Sometimes, our neighbour makes it difficult for us to love them. But, remain zealous in loving our neighbour even if he or she does not love us back. We love our neighbour enough to share the gospel with them. Don’t grow tired of doing good. It is important that we remain zealous in these good things because our God wants to complete in me the things He started. And our responsibility is for me to make it easy for God to finish the work He started within me. He wants to finish His image that we must become like Jesus and God, and He has given each and every one of us that which we need in order to become like Him.
There was once a man who was doing a sculpture, and someone came past and saw him with a hammer and a chisel. And the man wanted to know what he was doing, because all he saw was a block of stone. The man wanted to know what was going to be made of this, and the man said he is sculpturing an elephant. The man replied and said it must be a difficult job to make an elephant out of a block of stone. But the sculptor said no it's actually very easy. He said all he must do is take away everything that is not an elephant. If I take that away, the elephant comes out. God, our father wants to make us part of His kingdom, and He wants to create the new creature in us. Allow Him to remove from our life all that which does not belong to the new creature. Help Him and make it easy for Him to complete His work.
Beloved, we want to take with us the message: be zealous in a good thing always, not only when I am with you, but also when I am not with you. And we can measure ourselves. If I want to say something, ask yourself if Jesus stood next to you, would you still say it? Or if I want to do something and Jesus was next to me, would I still do it? So, we will not grow tired of doing good. We will not grow tired of coming to the house of the Lord. We will not grow tired of praying. We will not grow tired of loving our neighbour. And we will not grow tired of spreading the gospel of Christ. We will not grow tired of serving God even if it appears that we are not successful. We will continue to do good come what may. Amen.
Thoughts from District Apostle John L Kriel