District Apostle visit to Northern and Southern Luzon

On Monday, 22nd of August 2022

It has been two years and six months that the District Apostle has been unable to visit Northern and Southern Luzon due to the pandemic Covid-19. Recently District Apostle Edy, accompanied by Apostle Samuel Handojo Tansahtikno and Bishop Armando Cao, was able to visit the district from Sunday, 14 to Sunday, August 21, 2022. This time his visit started from the southern part of Luzon to the congregations: Basagan, then to Carolina, Siembre, Vergana and Lucena. Thereafter he proceeds to the northern part of Luzon, to the congregations: Isabela and Magrafil. And the last one is in Makati, in the sub-district of Metro Manila.

The Apostle had arranged the trip in such a way that the District Apostle could visit congregations that had not been served, especially the congregation that was still relatively young in age, in Magrafil. This was the furthest from Makati, located in the northernmost proximity to Taiwan.

During his serving, 36 souls have received Holy Sealing, 1 Deacon in Siembre was given retirement, 2 Deacons were ordained for Magrafil, and 1 Rector for Basagan congregation was appointed. The District Apostle was very joyful and was so grateful for the visit and he could experience how joyful were the brothers and sisters.

On Sunday, August 21, 2022, he conducted divine service at our central church in Makati. The Divine Service was based on Matthew 13:52 “Therefore, every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” A scribe is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.

Jesus said that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. For Him, God’s law was eternally valid. Yet, He did not follow all the regulations of the Law of Moses, particularly those concerning the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-9). This attitude is explained by the perfect understanding that Jesus Christ had of God’s will:

God wants humankind to believe in Him; God is love – He wants humankind to love God with all their heart and their neighbour as themselves; He gave the Ten Commandments to show humankind how they could express their love for God and their neighbour in concrete terms.  Through Moses, God also gave Israel rules about how to worship and live their faith daily. These rules had to be adapted according to the circumstances. The scribes, the experts, were often needed to interpret the rules and apply them correctly in a given situation.

Jesus fulfilled God’s law perfectly because He perfectly loved God and His neighbour: love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13:10). The Pharisees, on the other hand, placed more importance on practical regulations than on love for God and neighbour.

Jesus established a new law, following God’s will. The fundamental law remains valid: we must believe in God, recognize Him as our Master, love God and our neighbour and follow the Ten Commandments. What is new is that God revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God. We must therefore believe in Him, accept Him as our Master, and obey His law. Jesus Christ said that to attain eternal life, we must be reborn out of water and Spirit, eat His flesh and drink His blood; deny ourselves and follow Him, meaning to adapt ourselves to His example, to become like His image.

He entrusted His Apostles with the mission to teach believers to practice all that He had commanded them. The Apostles, in the early church and today’s, proclaim God’s will: we must believe in Jesus Christ, love God and our neighbour, follow the commandments, receive the sacraments and become like Jesus.

The first congregation in Jerusalem, they shared everything, all their belongings, and had everything in common. But then the church grew and there were many congregations. And thereby the believers no longer had to share everything. The apostles had adapted the law to the local circumstances. When more Gentiles became Christians and they told them, that the Gentiles Christians need no longer respect the law of Moses. Just be Christian. What the first apostles did, today’s apostles do. They announce exactly the same message, and they explain to the children of God how to put their faith into practice today.

We see the same evolution in our time. Our doctrine has changed in some respects. Some orders given in the past by the Apostles are no longer relevant today. Some believers are unsettled by these changes. This is understandable. But let us not become irritated by it, or even go far as to reject the whole apostolic message. Because the heart of the message, what is essential to our salvation, has not changed! Let us continue to believe in Christ and do His will!