Lead Apostle Benjamin Ohene Saffo on Sunday March 5, 2023, officiated the first divine service for the departed for the year, 2023, at the Akuse congregation in the Battor District of the Volta South Apostle Area. He was accompanied by Apostle Anthony Kuada (Volta South Apostle Area) and Apostle Richard Senyo Osei (Volta Central Apostle Area).
About 135 brothers and sisters participated in the service. They were served with a bible word from Revelation 1:17 –18, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. “I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of death.”
The Spiritual needs of the departed
The Lead Apostle drew a spiritual parallel to a long-held tradition in some families where there is a periodic ceremony in remembrance of their departed loved ones. These events are associated with merry making. It also brings to mind the exploits of the departed soul(s) while on earth. In the spiritual sense, however, he said, these events must be held too. But in this regard, we do much more than merry making. We intercede for them that they may come to salvation. “We want to connect to the state of these souls in the beyond and offer the appropriate help through the offer of grace and belief in Jesus Christ”. The Lead Apostle urged the congregants not to only remember the dead with merry making, but to also extend a helping hand to them spiritually; for the door of salvation is not only open to the living but also to the departed.
The three kinds of death
The Lead Apostle further explained death in three dimensions namely; the separation of body and spirit, the separation of mankind from God (while alive) and eternal separation from God (after judgment). He further expounded that the separation of body and spirit refers to the physical death of the body. This, he said awaits all flesh except they that would be alive at the return of Jesus Christ. Many are also in the bracket of “the living dead”. These are persons who are alive but do not live for Christ. They function physically, but are spiritually dead, without the life of Jesus Christ in them. The third, refer to those who would be eternally separated from the love and peace of God. They, having been offered every opportunity to accept salvation, however failed to avail themselves here on earth, in the beyond, and even before the judgment day. “Out of the love of our Father, He sent His only begotten son Jesus Christ, that we may be saved from death”, the Lead Apostle remarked.
The first and the last, the living and the dead:
Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end because in the beginning, Jesus was the word. He was the one to judge and the word would be used to judge. The Lead Apostle emphasized that, Jesus Christ alone could perform this task, no else did and can do. He offered Himself as living sacrifice thereby granting the opportunity to as many as believe in Him to escape separation from God, be it while here on earth or in eternity. The Lead Apostle entreated the congregants to align their lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ and believe in Him, that they may have eternal life from Him who died and is still alive.
Lamb’s Book of Life
The Lead Apostle averred that, those whose names are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life would be brought to judgment. This brings about the eternal separation from God; the casting into hell fire. The Lead Apostle exhorted the congregants to strive that their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This is the only escape route, the way to the Kingdom of God.
Concluding the sermon, the Lead Apostle stated that, the Lord Jesus Christ has the keys of Hades and death because He died and resurrected. Those who died now have opportunity to hear the word of life and obtain salvation. This they can access through our fervent intercessory prayers. “Let us do our part for our brethren in the beyond to come to faith and be granted the opportunity to escape eternal damnation.” He stated.
The service was assisted by District Rectors Thomas Afun, Harrison Wugah, Agbenyegah and Blibo