Jesus can be experienced everywhere: in everyday life, in our congregation, in emergency situations—this is the message the divine services in January will convey. The sermons in January will look at the relationship that we believers have with our Lord Jesus Christ and explore it from different angles.
Starting on the second Sunday of the month, the Sunday sermons will shed a whole new light on our relationship with our Saviour, Jesus Christ. The first divine service of the year, New Year’s Day, of course revolved around the Church’s new annual motto.
Serving and reigning with Christ
The annual motto for 2023 is “Serving and reigning with Christ”. The first service of the new year was dedicated to the analysis of the related Bible text from Revelation 20: 6. In the verses before it becomes clear that God wants to liberate people from evil and reign with them in the new creation. In the New Year’s Day service, churchgoers learned how they will reign and serve with Jesus in the new creation and in the kingdom of peace. However, the annual motto can be put into practice already now: we can serve Christ already now by attending the divine services, bringing both spiritual sacrifices and material offerings, supporting one another, and by professing Christ and His gospel in everyday life. And the best way to have control over one’s own life is to let Jesus reign in one’s heart.
On 6 January Christians celebrate Epiphany, the Christian holiday commemorating the appearing of the Lord Jesus as Saviour and King of all mankind. It closes the Christmas season and once again allows us to pose the question of whether Christ is truly present in our lives and in our everyday reality.
The message of the service is: Christ appeared as the Saviour and King of all people. New Apostolic Christians will learn in the divine service that they will not be spared affliction because of their faith, but that God will help those who trust in Him. Nothing and no one can prevent God from fulfilling what He has promised.
Jesus, the head of the church
The relationship with Jesus can best be experienced in the church, because He established it to impart salvation to human beings and to give them the sacraments. As the head of the church, He determines its path, but it is the task of the faithful to help shape it and keep it lively and inviting.
Unlike Jesus, the church is imperfect. Jesus elected human beings to impart salvation, dispense sacraments, and spread His word. But human beings are sinners and not perfect. So one must always keep in mind that within the church sinners proclaim salvation to other sinners.
Come as you are
Christ wants to build a relationship with all people. This is the focus of the sermon on the fourth Sunday in January. Jesus invites all who are heavy laden and in despair: victims of natural disasters or serious illnesses or dramatic accidents, or those who feel they have been belittled or rejected because they are different in one way or another. He wants to give them freedom, offer them grace and forgiveness, and strengthen and comfort them.
Experience God’s love
In the final service with the theme “Our relationship with Jesus”, worshippers can experience the love of God through Jesus. The Bible text, John 3: 16, is found at the end of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus and revolves around the fallen state of mankind and the possibility of redemption, and around questions such as how human beings can enter into the kingdom of God and live in fellowship with God.
The participants in the divine service will quickly notice that these topics are still relevant today. Although human beings have drifted away from God because of the Fall, God still cares for them. Through Jesus He reached out to human beings and gave them the opportunity to come out of this state of remoteness from God. Whoever is filled with God’s love, which is conveyed through Jesus, can also let the people around them share in it.
Author: Katrin Löwen
nac.today: the news magazine of the New Apostolic Church International