October 27, 2017
The Presiding Bishop urges members to cherish and cling to their faith
la Kiinjili la Kilutheri Tanzania
yaliyotolewa na Askofu Dkt. Fredrick Onael Shoo
Neno Kuu: Tunaokolewa kwa neema ya Mungu (Wagalatia 3: 10 12)
Tumekusanyika hapa ili kudhihirisha umoja wetu na pia kuungana na wakristo wenzetu wa Kilutheri kote duniani ambao wanaadhimisha miaka 500 ya Matengenezo ya Kanisa. Miaka 500 siyo muda mfupi. Napenda kuwashukuru nyie ndugu zangu wote mlioweza kufika.
Neno kuu la kilele cha maadhimisho haya yaliyoanza na Warsha jana 7 Oktoba 2017 ni: Tunaokolewa kwa neema ya Mungu na mada ndogo tatu: Wokovu si wa kuuza, Wanadamu sio bidhaa ya kuuzwa na Uumbaji sio wa kuuzwa.
Tunaokolewa kwa neema. Tunatunzika kwa neema ya Mungu. Tumeona katika kuadhimisha hii miaka 500 tukumbushane mambo haya kwa sababu nyakati zetu kumezuka mitindo mingi na mbinu mbalimbali za wanadamu kujipatia fedha kwa kuwafanya wanadamu wenzao watumwa kwa kufanya biashara hata kwa vile vitu ambavyo Mungu amewapa watu wake bure kwa upendo wake. Sasa wapo watu walioaminishwa kuwa hata wokovu huu ambao Mungu pekee amelipa katika Yesu eti unaweza ukanunuliwa kwa fedha.
Ndugu zangu, watu wanaacha kweli ya Injili. Wanaacha kufurahia uhuru huu wa kweli tunaopewa na Yesu Kristo. Wanaacha kukumbatia uhuru huu. Kwa kujua mimi ni mwanakondoo kundini mwa Yesu; Yesu alikwishaniweka huru. Badala yake tunarudishwa nyuma katika kumkumbatia tena utumwa. Katika Injili ya Yohana, Yesu mwenyewe anasema ukiishafahamu kweli na kweli itawaweka huru. Na mwana akiwaweka huru mnakuwa huru kweli kweli.
Tunapoadhimisha miaka hii 500, ndugu zangu, tunaadhimisha uhuru tuliofunguliwa kutoka minyororo ile. Na uhuru huu Martin Luther alionesha ndio ukweli uliopo katika Neno, kwamba ni kwa neema ya Mungu katika imani katika Yesu Kristo ambaye alimtoa Yeye ambaye alijitoa na nafasi yake ili sisi tuwekwe huru. Mbona tunarudi katika utumwa? Neno tulilosoma toka waraka wa Wagalatia ni miongoni mwa vifungu vilivyomfanya Martin Luther akaanzisha matengenezo ya kanisa katika karne ya 16.
Haikuwa lengo la Dkt. Martin Luther kuondoka katika Kanisa Katoliki wakati ule. Yeye alitaka kanisa lisimame katika ukweli wa Neno la Mungu kuhusiana hasa na suala la wokovu yaani kuhusu jambo la mwanadamu kuhesabiwa haki. Alitaka kuelewa napataje kuhesabiwa haki na Mungu? Napatataje kuhesabiwa haki na Mungu mimi mwenye dhambi. Je ni kwa matendo yangu kwa kufanya jambo la kumpendeza Mungu? Je naweza kweli kulipa adhabu ile ambayo nastahili kama mwenye dhambi?
Martin Luther aligundua kwamba kuna ukweli unaotuweka huru bali si kwa matendo yetu. Si kwa nguvu zetu tunapata kuwekwa huru. Jambo la kusamehewa dhambi, jambo la kuokolewa ni jambo la neema kwa kuamini katika kile ambacho Yesu alifanya pale msalabani. Ndugu zangu hili ndio kiini cha Injili. Huu ndio msingi wa matengenezo ya Kanisa. Wokovu unaopatikana kwa neema na kwa njia ya imani kwa kumwamini Yesu peke yake.
Mwanadamu anayemwamini Yesu anapata msamaha na anaokoka hata kabla ya kutenda jema lolote, wala hajatambua upendo wowote moyoni. Pengine anachokisikia moyoni ni hukumu na mauti, na hicho ndicho kitu kilimwondolea Luther amani moyoni. Akahangaika kwa maombi, akahangaika sana kufanya mambo mengi yaliyodaiwa na Kanisa kwa wakati ule hadi pale Mungu alipomfunulia kwamba kuhangaika kwako ni bure. Akamfunua macho aweze kuelewa alichofanya Yesu pale msalabani.
Jambo la kuokoka na kuokolewa ndugu zangu ni kwa ajili ya Kristo pekee. Bwana Yesu asifiwe. Huu ndio ukweli kuhusu wokovu wetu. Ndio ukweli wa Neno la Mungu na sisi tunasimamia hilo. Tunaposema na kuwaambia wengine kwamba tukae katika Neno la Mungu linavyotufundisha na kubaki katika ukweli wake.
Kuna upotoshaji wa Neno la Mungu, upotoshaji wa Injili ambayo ni Habari Njema inayotuambia mwanadamu wewe mwambie Yesu kwa imani kutokana na kazi yake aliyofanya pale msalabani. Kuna upotoshaji unaotafuta kumwondoa mtu katika Yesu na kazi yake ya ukombozi aliyoifanya msalabani. Na badala yake kukaza kwamba kile alichokifanya Yesu pale msalabani hakitoshi bali lazima na mimi niongezee kitu kidogo. Lakini sivyo ilivyo kwa jambo la wokovu wetu.
Hata leo hii tunaona upotoshaji huo ambapo watu wanarudishwa katika utumwa wakidhani kuwa wanaweza kujinunulia neema ya Mungu kwa kutenda matendo mema au kuongeza vitu; lakini huu ni upotoshaji. Tumefika hatua ya kufanya mambo ya ushirikina kwa kukubali vitu kama hirizi tukifikiri kwamba vitatupatia neema ya Mungu; lakini Neno tulilosoma litukumbushe kwamba haya hayajaanza leo. Mambo ya kupotosha ukweli wa Injili inayowaweka watu huru hayakuanza leo.
Hata wakati wa Mtume Paulo kule Galatia, walijitokeza watu waliofundisha kwamba mtu ataokoka tu kama anatimiza sheria kama ilivyo katika Torati kwa kuwataka watimize sheria yote. Ndipo Mtume Paulo, katika Wagalatia (mimi napenda sana waraka huu wa Wagalatia, waraka huu ulimtia nguvu sana Martin Luther) mlango wa kwanza, anakemea kwa ukali akisema ninashangaa maana mmemwacha upesi hivi Yeye aliyewaita katika neema ya Kristo na kugeukia Injili ya namna nyingine. Wala si nyingine tu bali wapo watu wawataabishao na kutaka kuigeuza Injili ya Kristo.
Lakini na ijapokuwa sisi au malaika wa mbinguni atawahubiri ninyi Injili yoyote isipokuwa hiyo uliyowahubiri na alaaniwe. Huyu ni Mtume Paulo. Anawastaajabu na kuwashangaa watu wa Galatia watu ambao wamekwisha kumpokea Yesu ndipo pale katika mlango wa tatu anaweka lile swali. Anawaambia enyi Wagalatia msio na akili, ni nani aliywewaloga? Ninyi ambao Kristo aliweka wazi mbele ya macho yenu yakuwaamesulubiwa, nani amewaloga?
Ndugu zangu, kama leo Mtume Paulo angekuja atazame KKKT, aingie katika ibada zetu asikilize mahubiri yanayotolewa na awaangalie baadhi ya washarika kwa jinsi wanavyo hangaika huku na huko: Ataona watu wenye mahangaiko kutoka kwa mtumishi mmoja au nabii mmoja hadi kwa nabii mwingine na wanaokwenda hata kwa waganga wa kienyeji.
Mtume Paulo angefika katika Kanisa letu leo sijui kama hili swali angeacha kutuuliza. Enyi Walutheri ni ni nani amewaloga? Kwenye baadhi ya sharika zetu unajiuliza nini kimetokea? Nani amewaloga? Nani amekwambia njia za ibada yenu haina utukufu, haina upako? Nani amwewaambia? Mbona hiyo imani mmeondokana nayo? Mbona ndio imani wazazi wenu waliikulia wakabarikiwa sana. Ni nini kinachowahangaisha? Sijui kama leo angeuliza maswali haya. Nimesema wakati wa Wagalatia kulikuwa na hali hiyo na sasa iko hivyo hivyo.
Na wakati wa Martin Luther hali hii ilijitokeza kwa nguvu watu wakadanganywa kwamba wangeweza kusamehewa dhambi zake kwa kujinunulia vyeti vya msamaha. Na vyeti hivi viliuzwa na makasisi, mapadre na kiongozi wao alikuwa ni padre mmoja aliyeitwa Johana Tetzel. Eti kwamba ili Mungu akusamehe dhambi lazima ununue cheti na hivyo vyeti vilikuwa na bei tofauti tofauti kulingana na dhambi zako. Kanisa likakusanya pesa kwa kuuza msamaha wa Mungu unaotolewa bure.
Lakini wakati ule wa Martin Luther jambo hili lilivuka mpaka kwa kusema haitoshi tu wewe mwenyewe kujinunulia cheti ili usamehewe, bali eti hata ndugu yako aliyefariki hata bila toba. Yaani mtu aliyekufa katika madhambi yake eti unaweza kumnunulia cheti cha msamaha. Na hivyo viliuzwa ghali kweli kweli. Mnaona upotoshaji huo. Kwamba mkimnunulia mtu aliyekufa kwenye dhambi huko aliko toharani atafunguliwa, atasamehewa dhambi zake atawekwa huru. Huo ni upotoshaji.
Ndipo Martin Luther akaweka mkazo katika mambo yale ambayo ni msingi wa wokovu hata kwetu sisi wa leo. Neno tu, neema tu, Kristo tu, imani tu. Tena akakaza kwamba tunaokolewa kwa neema. Tunawekwa huru . Mwisho akasema ni kwa utukufu wa Mungu pekee asije mtu akajisifu. Asije mtu akajiona ni bora kuliko wengine. Maana siku hizi kuna watu wanaondoka na kuwa na vikundi vyao wakidhani kikundi chao sijui kilichopo kwenye Kanisa lao au chini ya mtumishi fulani ndio eti kina upako kuliko vingine. Halafu mahali pengine watu wamefika mahali wanapotangaza Ibada hizo na mikutano hiyo, siyo tena Yesu wala msalaba wake unaoinuliwa, bali kinachoinuliwa ni picha ya mtumishi husika. Watu wamefika mahali ambapo wameondoa imani yao na utii wao kwa Yesu. Anayetetemekewa na kuabudiwa ni mwanadamu yule ambaye anayeitwa mtumishi. Tunakwenda wapi?
Neno la leo ndugu zangu, linatuasa tusidanganyike wala tusidanganywe kwamba kuna njia nyingine ya kupata wokovu isipokuwa kwa njia ya imani. Ibrahimu aliye baba wa imani ni mfano wa kweli. Yeye aliamini katika ahadi ya Mungu kwamba Ibrahimu hatuambii alifanya nini kabla lakini alimwambia Ibrahimu nimekuteua wewe, nimekubariki wewe na uzao wako na wewe utakuwa baraka kwa mataifa. Ondoka toka katika nchi ya baba yako na mimi nitakuonyesha mahali utakapo enda. Kilichofuata ni Ibrahimu kuitikia tu kwa imani kwamba kwa ahadi hii yeye Mungu amefanya tena katika Yesu Kristo kwa kuweka ukombozi pale msalabani. Ametuambia aminini katika hili. Katika hili nitawasamehe dhambi zenu. Muamini kwamba Yesu amewalipia deni lenu. Mwaminini yeye.
Lakini angalia tunamwamini hivyo? Tunategemea kwamba wokovu wangu, usalama wangu ni pale kwenye msalaba wa Yesu? Amini utii. Ibrahimu akatii akaenda kama vile Mungu alivyoagiza. Hebu watu wa Mungu turejee katika hilo. Msalaba wa Yesu unatosha. Kazi ya Yesu msalabani inatosha. Ninamwamini huyu. Namtegemea huyu. Hakuna kitu kinachochangia katika wokovu unaotolewa na Mungu ni kwa neema yake tu. Huu ni uhuru tunaitwa kumwamini huyu Yesu. Ukimtegemea mpaka kufa utapata wokovu.
Na mtunzi wa wimbo Mwamba wangu wa kale anaosema mkononi sina kitu ila msalaba wako. Mimi ni mtupu nipe nguo. Mimi ni mnyonge nipe nguvu. Niondolee dhambi, niondolee takataka zangu nitakase ee, Bwana Yesu kabla sijafa. Hiyo ndio imani ya Kilutheri. Tunaitwa kurejea katika jambo hili la msingi. Tusidanganywe na wababaishaji wanaofanya biashara ya kutuuzia maji kutoka Nchi Takatifu eti, oo sijui kama wapo miongoni mwa watu walionunua maji. Eti ili biashara ibarikiwe. Oo sijui watoto wafaulu masomo, upate mchumba, mume sijui awe nini? Mbona tunadanganywa? Maji toka nchi takatifu, mafuta kutoka Nigeria. Ni Walutheri wanaonunua vitu hivyo kwa bei ghali sana. Sasa kazi ya Yesu pale msalabani ilikua ni nini?
Narudia tena: Mimi ni mwanakondoo kundini mwa Yesu aliyenifia msalabani ninatunzwa vizuri na huyu Mchungaji wangu mwema. Anayenipenda kabisa. Amini katika hilo. Nasema: mafuta, maji au chumvi ndugu zangu vitu hivi haviongezi chochote katika wokovu wetu. Ndio ujumbe tunaoambiwa. Tunaambiwa mwenye haki ataishi kwa imani wala si kwa matendo mema maana hatuwezi kutimiza madai ya torati. Hatuwezi kwa kipimo cha Mungu na utakatifu wake. Je, wewe ni nani unayeweza kusema kwa matendo yangu mema basi mimi mbele za Mungu naweza kujipiga kifua kwamba nastahili? Hakuna. Omba ufunikwe na neema hii. Ufunikwe na kazi ya Yesu pale msalabani. Aliikamilisha kazi ya kutukomboa. Hadai kitu kwako zaidi ya kumpokea Yeye kwa imani na Yeye atakupokea jinsi ulivyo. Na baada ya hapo ndipo anaposema kuwa kwa njia ya imani tunapokea ahadi ya roho. Ukishampokea huyu Yesu Yeye anatupa Roho ambaye anatuongoza na kutuwezesha kuishi maisha ya kumzalia Mungu matunda mema.
Ukisoma pale katika ule mlango wa tano anasema: Ni kweli ninyi ndugu mliitwa mpate uhuru, lakini uhuru wenu isiwe sababu ya kuufuata mwili, bali tutumikianeni kwa upendo. Hiyo ndio kazi ya Roho Mtakatifu anafanya katika wale wanaomwamini Yesu Kristo. Tumewekwa huru lakini ni uhuru wa kumtii baba na Yeye Roho Mtakatifu ndiye anayetuwezesha. Roho ya unyenyekevu na ya toba ndio njia ndugu yangu ya kupokea neema hii ya wokovu tuliyopewa bure kwa njia ya Kristo. Yeye akituweka huru tunakuwa huru kweli kweli. Hutuwi tena watumwa wa ibilisi. Hatuishi tena katika hofu ya mapepo, uchawi na kulogwa.
Watoto nyie mnaogopa eti sijui mtalogwa. Eti kule shule kuna kitu kinaitwa misukule au vibwengo. Yuko rafiki yangu alitoka Dar es Salaam alitaka nimtafutie shule tukapata shule nzuri ya masista. Kukaa kidogo, mara naona mtoto anarudishwa pale nyumbani. Nini mtoto? Aa kule ni vibwengo vinanisumbua. Jamani watu wa Mungu, watoto wangu wapendwa, nawaombeni muamini katika ulinzi wa Yesu. Yesu ndiye anayekulinda. Usikae katika hofu.
Shetani anatumia hofu kututeka, kutuondoa katika imani. Nawaombeni isiwe hivyo. Kristo akituweka huru ndani yake, tunakuwa huru. Na huu ndio mkazo wa matengenezo ya Kanisa. Tunaokolewa kwa neema kwa njia ya imani katika huyu Yesu kristo. Hivyo nakuomba hilo tuendelee kutangaza hili tuwaambie na wengine kuwa tunaokolewa kwa neema kwa njia ya Yesu Kristo peke yake. Amen.
Lutheran Church of Tanzania
presented by Bishop Dr. Fredrick Onael Shoo
Main Theme: We are saved by the grace of God (Galatians 3: 10-12)
We have gathered here to show our unity and to associate with our fellow Lutherans around the world who celebrate 500 years of Church Reformation. 500 years are not short period of time. I would like to thank you all my dear brothers and sisters who are able to be here.
The climax of this celebration began with the workshop yesterday, October 7, 2017. The theme was "We are saved by God's grace" and had three sub themes: "Salvation is not for sale," "Human beings are not an object of sale" and "Creation is not for sale."
We are saved by grace. We are preserved by God's grace. We have observed, in celebrating these 500 years, the need to remind one another of these things because in our times many ways have arisen for people to enslave others by taking money from them even for things that God has given his people freely in his love. Today, there are people who are convinced that even the salvation that God has paid for in Jesus can be bought for money.
My brothers, people are leaving the truth of the Gospel. They are ceasing to enjoy the true freedom given to us by Jesus Christ. They stop embracing this freedom; they cease knowing that we are lambs in the arms of Jesus; Jesus is free of charge. Instead we are again embracing slavery. In the Gospel of John, Jesus himself says that if you really know the truth the truth will set you free. And if the Son sets you free you will free indeed.
As we celebrate these 500 years, my friends, we celebrate the freedom which has released us from those chains. With this freedom, Martin Luther demonstrated the truth in Gods Word that it is by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ who gave up himself and his position, that we could be set free. Why, then, are we returning to slavery? The word we read from the letter to the Galatians is one of the reasons why Martin Luther instituted church reform in the 16th century.
It was not the aim of Dr. Martin Luther to leave the Catholic Church at that time. He wanted the church to stand in the truth of the Word of God in relation to the issue of salvation, which is about humanity being justified. He wanted to understand How can I be justified by God? How can I, as a sinner, claim to be justified by God? Is it by my actions in doing something that pleases God? Can I really pay the penalty I deserve as a sinner?
Martin Luther realized that there is something that sets us free but it is not by our actions. Not by our power do we get free. The remission of sin, the main thing of salvation, is a matter of grace through believing in what Jesus did on the cross. My brothers, this is the essence of the Gospel. This is the basis for the Churchs Reformation. Salvation is obtained by grace and through faith in believing in Jesus alone.
The man who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness and is saved even before doing any good or knowing any love in his heart. Perhaps what he feels in his heart is judgment and death, the very thing that robbed Luther of peace in his heart. He was worried about prayer; he was worried about doing the many things that the Church required at that time until God freed him from that anxiety. God opened his eyes to understand what Jesus did on the cross.
My brothers, we are saved by Christ alone. May the Lord Jesus be glorified. This is the truth about our salvation. That's the truth of God's Word and we are standing upon it. Thus, we say and tell others that we should live in the Word of God which teaches us and must remain in its truth.
There is a misunderstanding
of the Word of God, a misunderstanding of the Gospel which is Good News
and which tells us to go to Jesus by faith because of his work on the
cross. There is a perversion which seeks to remove someone from Jesus
and the redemptive work he did on the cross. It insists that what Jesus
did on the cross is not enough; rather, I must add something to it.
But that's not the case with the matter of our salvation.
Even in the time of the Apostle Paul in Galatia, there were people who taught that one would be saved only if he fulfilled the law as found in the Torah by insisting that they keep the whole law. And the Apostle Paul, in Galatia (I especially like the letter to the Galatians, the letter which greatly strengthened Martin Luther), asks pointedly in the first chapter, Why have you so quickly rejected him who called you in the grace of Christ and turned to another Gospel? And it was not just them; there are today people who threaten and want to change the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel of heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. This is the apostle Paul. He is amazed at the Galatians, people who have already received Jesus. So it is that, in the third chapter, he puts the question. He asks, You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
My brothers, imagine the Apostle Paul coming today to visit the ELCT. Let him enter our worship to hear the sermons which are given and to look at some of the congregants as they go anxiously about here and there. He will see anxious people going from one servant or one prophet to another prophet and who go even to traditional healers (witch doctors).
If the apostle Paul would come to our Church today I do not know if he could resist asking us, "Who are you Lutherans?" In some of our congregations, one must ask, What has happened? Who has bewitched you? Who has told you the ways of your worship are not glorious but are devoid of anointing? Who told you? Why do you believe such things? Did not your parents grow up and be blessed? What is it that makes you so anxious? I dont know whether today Paul would ask these questions. I do know that the same kind of situation that faced the Galatians now faces us today.
During the time of Martin Luther, this situation became so bad that people were deceived into thinking that they would be forgiven through the purchase of certificates called Indulgences. And these certificates were sold by the clergy. Their leader was a priest named Johann Tetzel. If God is to forgive your sins, he said, you must buy a certificate. These certificates had varying prices depending upon your sins. The church was collecting money by claiming to sell God's free forgiveness!
But that was not all. During Luthers time, they went on to say that it was not enough for you to buy a certificate for yourself to be forgiven; you could even buy one for a relative who had died without repentance. That is, you were told you could buy a certificate of forgiveness for a man who had died in his sin. And so these certificates were very expensive. You see the mistake here, dont you? The mistaken belief that, even if a person had been public and open in his sin when he was alive, you could pay money to have him forgiven after he was dead. That is a perversion!
And the things Martin Luther emphasized are the very things which are the basis for our salvation even today. Word alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, Faith alone. Luther argued that we are saved by grace. We're free. Lastly, he said that all this is for the glory of God alone so that no one should boast. Let no one think that he is better than others. For today there are people leaving the congregation and forming groups some of these groups are still under their Church or under some particular leaders they consider to have more anointing than others. Even in the announcement of an evangelism meeting it is no longer Jesus or his cross which are exalted but rather the image of some man they call the servant. People have come to a place where they have lost their faith in Jesus, and their obedience to him. Instead, they tremble before and worship a mere man who is called the servant. Where are we going?
Gods word for today, my friends, is meant to keep us from being confused or deceived into thinking that there is another way to gain salvation apart from faith. Abraham, the father of faith, is a true example. He believed in God's promise. Abraham does not tell us what he did before but God told Abraham I have chosen you, I have blessed you and your descendants, and you will be a blessing to the nations. Get out of your father's land and I will show you where you are going. What follows is Abraham only responding in faith. And it is through this promise that God has acted again in Jesus Christ by setting redemption on the cross. He told us to believe in this. In this I will forgive your sins, he says. Believe that Jesus has paid your debt. Trust him.
But look; have we trusted him so? Do we trust that our salvation, our security is there on the cross of Jesus? Faith and obedience. Abraham obeyed and went as God had commanded. Let God's people come back to this. The Cross of Jesus is sufficient. The work of Jesus on the cross is sufficient. I believe this. I rely on this. Nothing contributes to the salvation which is provided by God through his grace alone. This is freedom; we are called to believe in Jesus. If you rely on him until you die you will get salvation.
The composer of the hymn, "Rock of Ages" (Mwamba wangu wa kale) says:
Nothing in my hands
That's Lutheran belief. We are called to return to this basic understanding. Do not be deceived by the merchants who sell us water from the Holy Land. I do not know if any of the people here have been deceived into buying water. Some will say, Oh yes, it is for my business to be blessed. Oh yes, it could help my children pass their exams. Or it could help me get a boyfriend or girlfriend. Why are we deceived? Water from the Holy Land, oil from Nigeria. Its Lutherans who are buying these items, and at very high prices. But, if so, then what was Jesus' work on the cross all about?
I repeat: I am a lamb in the flock of Jesus who died for me on the cross I am well cared for by this Good Shepherd. He loves me very much. Believe this! I say to you: whether oil, water or salt, my friends, do not add anything to our salvation. That is the message we are told. We are told that the righteous will live by faith and not by good deeds we cannot fulfill the demands of the Law. We cannot do so according to God's measure and holiness. Who are you to say that By my good works I can stand before God and beat my chest saying I am worthy? No. Pray to be covered by his grace. Be covered by Jesus' work on the cross. He completed the work of deliverance. He wants nothing other than for you to receive him by faith and he will receive you as you are. And then he says that through faith we receive the promise of the Spirit. If we receive this Jesus he gives us the Spirit who guides us and enables us to live a life of good fruitfulness for God.
Reading now from the fifth chapter, Paul says: " For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. That's the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ. We are free but are free to obey the Father and the Holy Spirit who enables us. The spirit of humility and repentance is the way, my friend, to receive this grace of salvation given us through Christ. He sets us free we are really free. We are no longer slaves of the devil. We no longer live in fear of demonism, magic and divination.
[Turning to the childrens group] You children, are you afraid that you might be bewitched? In school there is fear of zombies or spirits. I had a friend from Dar es Salaam who wanted me to search for a good Catholic school for his child. After a while, I saw the child heading back home. Whats the matter, child? Ah, back there is a spirit which was troubling me. Dear people of God, my beloved children, I ask you to believe in the protection of Jesus. Jesus is the watchman. Do not live in fear.
Satan uses fear to carry us off, to get us to leave the faith. I pray that you will not do so. When Christ sets us free, we are free. And this is the emphasis of the Churchs Reformation. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So I pray that we continue to proclaim this and tell others that we are saved by grace through Jesus Christ alone. Amen
For more information contact: