Festive divine service for the departed at Abuja Central Church, Nigeria, conducted by District Apostle Michael Enrich on Sunday 5th November, 2023.
It was a great fellowship of the children of God at the central church in Abuja Nigeria, during the visit of District Apostle Michael Ehrich. A lot of activities and events, such as synod meeting, city tour and musical concert, marked his visit, having all serving and retired Apostles, Bishops and wives in Nigeria, Apostle from Cameroun, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in attendance.
The programme of events came to a climax in a festive divine service for the departed on Sunday 5th of November, 2023. This was a great blessing for brothers and sisters in Nigeria as many were connected via live transmission.
Summary of the Divine Service
Text: Matthew 4: 24: “Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demonpossessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them”
Message: The spiritual help of God is marvelous
At the commencement of the divine service, the District Apostle made a warm welcome to brothers and sisters in the physical congregation, those connected online via live transmission and guest who took out time out of busy schedule in their earthly life to attend the divine service. He further stated that Sunday is holy day and sacrificing day for Christians and it is expected of us to always be in the divine service.
Elaborating the text word, the District Apostle stated that the fame of Jesus went throughout Syria. The Lord went with His disciples from place to place. Many people heard of him and He performed miracles. He healed the sick and raised the dead. Among whom were Jarius’s daughter who was healed of her sickness and Lazarus who was raised from the dead.
The people knew that Christ Has huge power. When they heard He is in an area, they brought people with various diseases and torments and they were all healed.
The District Apostle told the congregation that the reason which Jesus Christ perform miracle, wasn’t primarily to help people in their earthly life. The foremost goal of the Lord was to show His Godly power. His intention in performing the miracle of raising the dead and healing the sick was to show the power of God. The priority of the Lord is to help all humans in their spiritual lives.
Concerning the Spiritual help in the yonder world, the District Apostle gave a reference in the book of 1 Peter 4:6. As recorded in the scripture, after the Lord brought His Holy Sacrifice in His death, He went to the yonder world to preach the gospel to those who had died in the time of Noah. Today Christ sends His Apostles that His gospel should also be preached.
He said: This is the situation today. We see each other in the congregation, and we are convinced that many souls from the yonder world are in our midst. We cannot see them with our earthly eyes. Sometimes we feel the nearness. Many of our relatives who already died, sometimes we have the feelings that they are close to us. We remember how they looked and acted while on earth. We see them in spirit and feel their closeness. We are connected to them in love.
The bond of love could not be destroyed by earthly death.
Many souls are invited by the Lord Jesus Christ in the divine service for the departed to receive Holy Baptism and Holy Sealing- This is a miracle we cannot understand by human thinking.
As per the condition of the souls in the yonder world: the District Apostle said.
There are souls who are far away from God. This refers to souls who do not believe in God, who suddenly realizes their condition in the beyond.
To be far away from God means to be unsecured, and to live in darkness and coldness. These souls need the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
The other category are souls who are close to God. These souls believed in God while on earth and they have left the earthly world to the beyond in a good state and relationship with God. Being close to God means to live in light, peace and freedom.
The area we belong to when we leave this earth depends on our believe in God and how well we have lived our earthly lives.
Physical death do not change the condition of the soul. We do not take anything from this earthly world when we go to the yonder world. We cannot take our earthly richness there. Everything is left here on earth.
The District Apostle said, as read in the text word, the people brought the demon possessed to Christ for His help. This stands for those people who go after earthly possessions like money, honour, fame and earthly power. They want to have more earthly possession. And these can’t be taken to the yonder world. The most powerful men of the world can’t take their earthly possessions to the beyond.
All are left here on earth. They receive a shock in the yonder world. Over there, their hands are empty. On earth they were obsessed by earthly possessions. Like the demon possessed, those in this state in the beyond has been brought to receive the help of Christ.
They brought the epileptic to Christ for healing.
Epilepsy is a disease also called the falling disease. The people who suffer from this disease can’t control their body, they always fall down. This is a picture of the life of some people in the yonder world. They feel guilty. Now, they have to learn to live in the past, to forgive and draw near to God through Jesus Christ.
They also brought the paralysed to Christ for healing.
This is a situation when one is depending on other people. Such people can’t provide help for themselves or solve problems. This is the condition of some people in the yonder world. They need help. They could not turn to God for some reasons in their earthly life. But now in the yonder world they can get the help of Jesus Christ to turn to God.
Maybe some are blind, not in the earthly way but spiritual way, they could not see the miracle of God. They are so blind and they could not recognize that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Our heavenly father will open their eyes so that they would recognize that there is help.
Some are deaf in the spiritual way, they couldn’t hear and believe the word of God. The Lord Jesus can open their ears to hear the words of love and be moved by the power of His word.
Some people in the yonder world were dumb. They cannot speak in spiritual way; this means they do not thank God. They have to learn to thank God for all what He gave them. They have to learn that God will give them grace.
Some are really dead. Not only in earthly way but spiritually. There is no life in the soul but the Lord Jesus can call them back from spiritual death. What is necessary? They are welcomed in the name of the Lord. All those who have been brought from the yonder world to receive the salvation of God.
The departed faithful.
On the other hand, we have brothers and sisters who went before us to the yonder world who were faithful. What do they do there? They bring the testimonies to others. The testimony of their faith. They can say to those far from God, we know the way, and show them how they can come to Jesus Christ. Believe in Jesus Christ, believe in His Apostles, they can be baptized and get the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the path of the faithful who went before us.
The role of the living:
Our part is to pray for those who have preceded us to the beyond. Have empathy for them. Forgive those who have gone to the beyond, who offended us while on earth. Let’s put the past in the past in other not to restrict ourselves from God’s blessings.
In conclusion, the District Apostle said our Lord Jesus Christ will give a lot of love and blessings to those in the beyond in the divine service, so we want to also demonstrate our love for them through our empathy, prayers and open mindedness.
Lead Apostle Geoffery Nwogu and Apostle Felix Kpegasin were called to the altar for further sermon contributions.
In the divine service, District Evangelist Paul Osaro Edobor in West Apostle working area was placed on retirement after 38 years of active service in the Lord’s vineyard. A total of eight (8) District Rectors were appointed while eighteen (18) Deputy District Rectors in various Apostle working areas in Nigeria were assigned, to work alongside.