More than just sharing accommodation
“Fellowship of life with Christ” is the overarching theme of the Sunday services in February. And that means more than just leaving a little room in our lives for Jesus and His gospel. Fellowship with Christ fills our whole life—today and in future.
It starts with the cause, which is followed by the effects, and the future is also discussed: the Sunday services in February take a close look at “Fellowship of life with Christ”. The sermons will look at how this fellowship comes about and what its effects are.
How an impossible dream can come true
Having eternal fellowship with God is not just a dream. It can become reality. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The New Apostolic Church understands baptism with water and the Spirit to constitute the rebirth, the building blocks of our new life in Christ. Whoever grasps these two sacraments, Holy Baptism and Holy Sealing, in faith can be born again and become a completely new person and receive eternal life. This already starts today: in Holy Communion, the Christian can develop and grow into the image of Christ.
The effects of fellowship with Christ
Robbers attacked a man, beat him, and left him lying there almost dead. Several people passed by without helping the dying man. Finally, a man passed by who was not very respected by Jewish society. He stopped to help the injured man. This parable was related to a lawyer after he had asked Jesus: “Who is my neighbour?” The divine service on the second Sunday is about being sensitive to the needs of our neighbour. Showing that we are not indifferent to the misery of our fellow human beings is one of the effects created by fellowship with Christ. Instead of wondering who our neighbour is, we could ask the question: “Whom can I be neighbour to?” and ask Jesus to help us recognise the needs of others so that we can reach out to them and show mercy like Jesus did.
Why we do not need to be afraid of death
People know that they are destined to die. Yet many banish any thoughts of death. The fear of death is something that can also affect Christians. But on the third Sunday in February, the sermon will look at the hope of New Apostolic Christians that will endure even in the face of death: the hope to be clothed with the resurrection body, the new existence. This body is the condition for fellowship with God. In the verses following the Bible text, 2 Corinthians 5: 1–2, Paul urges us to seek fellowship with God already today though. The divine service will provide some valuable inspiration.
When God has other plans
The last Sunday in February will serve to prepare the congregations for the divine service for the departed, which will take place in early March. The sermon will explore the fact that both the living and the dead can receive salvation and should have fellowship with Christ. The basis for this divine service is taken from Acts 16 and mentions Paul’s plans to preach the good news in Asia. But God thwarted his plans and this is how the Christian faith was brought to Europe. Like Paul, we too experience that our plans are sometimes thwarted. Then we have to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us. And those who allow the Holy Spirit to guide them not only desire salvation for themselves, but want all people—both living and dead—to be saved by Christ. The divine service invites us to pray for the salvation of all. Neither our own worries nor difficulties should keep us from praying for the dead.
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