Month: June 2016

Steadfastness

apostles_doctrine2

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. — Acts 2: 42

Message

Let us continue steadfastly in our congregation.

With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and the spread of the gospel by the Apostles of the early time, the first church began to develop and grow.

The Bible text mentions four characteristic aspects which were of decisive importance for the development and the steadfastness of this congregation.

  • The Apostles’ doctrine. Important tenets of this doctrine are the activity of Jesus and His sacrificial death, His resurrection, and the promise of His The acceptance of this doctrine by the congregation contributed to unity in faith of the congregation.
  • It says of this congregation: “All who believed were together, and had all things in common.” They divided their possessions among all and “ate their food with gladness” (Acts 2: 44–46).
  • The breaking of bread. This is a reference to the meal of remembrance and fellowship in the congregation and with the risen Lord.
  • Filled with the Holy Spirit the Christians prayed together right from the start. Their attitude was characterized by childlike trust, humbleness, and fear of God.

Continuing steadfastly today

We live in a world that is shaped more and more by various ideologies, excessive materialism, and exaggerated individualism—all things that attribute less and less significance to Christian values.

Some are wanting to make us believe that the gospel no longer fits into today’s world. Others want to adapt the gospel to the circumstances of our time.

But the way to salvation is set; it cannot be changed. As in the time of the first Christians, the Apostles today proclaim the gospel, administer the sacraments, and prepare the bride of Christ for the Lord’s return.

Let us continue steadfastly in our congregation in the biblically attested characteristics of the first congregation.

The Apostles’ doctrine. The proper teaching of Jesus Christ’s doctrine occurred through the early Christian Apostles. This is being continued today by the present apostolate. Today’s congregation orientates itself on this teaching and is, therefore, a testimony for steadfastness.

Fellowship. The fellowship in our congregation— one of the characteristic aspects of the Lord’s church—acts as a stabilizing element especially today; a time marked by individualization, loneliness, and isolation. This is how the commandment of Jesus is fulfilled to love one another (John 15: 12).

The breaking of bread. In fellowship with the Apostle—the ministry which has been authorized for this—we can celebrate Holy Communion. It is not only a meal of remembrance, of fellowship, and of thanksgiving, but the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus is manifest in it. This is how we experience His presence in the congregation today. This sacrament prepares us for the marriage feast in heaven.

Prayers. The prayers of the congregation are also a sign of oneness with God and of trust in Him. In prayer the believer experiences in his congregation: God is present, God hears, God responds.

* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the divine service held on 05 June 2016 at Midrand Congregation.

— We would love to hear from you on any of these topics. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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June 2016: Blessing—enough for each and every day

Blessings

Again and again our minds drift back to the question of how the blessing of God manifests itself—especially when we feel we have not received enough and think to ourselves, “Well, the dear God could actually bless me a little more. After all, I do so much for Him…!” Some wish for their health conditions to improve, others could really do with a little more money in their bank accounts, and still others hope to find a decent job or wish their sons or daughters could find an internship or apprenticeship of some kind.

These ideas and wishes associated with blessing are as diverse as life itself. And all too often we forget that blessing already shows itself in a completely different way, namely in that we have enough for each and every day. Let us recall the account of the widow of Zarephath: after the promise of the prophet, she had as much flour in her barrel and oil in her jar as she needed to provide for herself and her child—until the time of the famine had passed. God did not fill her house from floor to ceiling with flour and oil, but rather gave her what she needed for herself and her child each and every day.

That is true blessing, namely to have enough strength every day to pursue the path of faith and life, to have enough strength every day to do the will of God, to have enough strength every day in order to overcome evil with goodness, to have enough strength every day to gain a victory with Christ, and to rejoice every day over the fact that our Saviour provides for us, each and every day anew!

* Food for thought from a divine service by the Chief Apostle

— We would love to hear from you on any of these topics. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.