11 January 2023

On 27 November 2022, a day after the divine service in Orhei in Moldova, the Chief Apostle conducted a service for the brothers and sisters in Chișinău. Ukrainian refugees were also part of the congregation, as some of the church premises had been converted to accommodate them.

To stay with the theme of Advent, the Chief Apostle used God’s announcement to Jeremiah as basis for this divine service: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth’” (Jeremiah 33: 14–15).

In his sermon, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained that God is not only implementing His plan of salvation, but that from the beginning He announced to human beings what would happen. “One of God’s attributes is that He speaks to human beings and announces the future to them. He tells us what He intends to do and reminds us of it.”

God’s promises

God promised human beings right from the start: “I will send you a Redeemer.” This Redeemer is Jesus Christ. It took a long time before this promise was fulfilled, but He did come—as promised.” The prophets not only proclaimed the coming of Jesus, but also spoke in great detail about His birth and His life, and even predicted His death and resurrection.

Jesus Himself spoke of the future and let His disciples know: “I will send the Holy Spirit. He will comfort you and help you and teach you many things.” This promise was fulfilled on Pentecost, the Chief Apostle said.

Today, the Spirit is at work in the Church, reminding believers of the only promise yet to be fulfilled: the return of Jesus.

“Paul described the first resurrection, and the Lord said what it would be like before His coming,” explained Chief Apostle Schneider. Then he asked a rhetorical question: “Why does God announce in advance what He will do?”

The reason for promises

God’s promises are an expression of His omnipotence and omniscience, the Chief Apostle said. In this way, He shows mankind that time does not exist for Him and that only those things happen which He permits.

“He also wants to show us His love with His predictions,” Chief Apostle Schneider went on to explain. Of course, God does not answer many questions regarding the future, he added. “However, God does make known to us the plan of redemption, which He has devised to save us.”

When He speaks of the future, He also speaks of His faithfulness.God’s love is independent of human conduct and our failings. Regardless of what happens on earth, God will carry out His plan and decide on the future: “Don’t worry, I know what will happen and I am the one who decides. I am faithful.”

Reactions to God’s promises

God expects human beings to react to His announcements, Chief Apostle Schneider said. In fact, He expects us to trust in His promises. So we do not need to be unnecessarily afraid. God is neither surprised nor overwhelmed by what is happening in the world or in your life today. Yet: “Brother and sister, trust Him. The almighty God cannot be stopped.”

On the other hand, God predicts the future so that we can make a decision, the Chief Apostle said. “Jesus will come and take His own unto Himself. Are you interested? Do you want to be part of it?” Regardless of our personal decision, God will complete His plan, the Chief Apostle continued: “It will happen with or without you. It is up to us to prepare for it and to make a decision.”

Whoever makes this decision must prepare accordingly. “Jesus did not just tell us what is going to happen. He also showed us how we can prepare ourselves. He taught us by example.” So Christ not only announced tribulations, He also taught us how we can overcome them. “You suffer, He also suffered. He was deceived and abandoned. What we experience today, Jesus Christ also experienced in one way or another.” And “He kept the faith and loved to the end”.

Anyone who chooses to model their life on the promises of God can be sure: “No one can keep God from saving us.” For this we must prepare ourselves, however: “To participate, let us live like Jesus Christ. Let us believe to the end and grow more and more in our love for God and our neighbour.”

Author: Simon Heiniger

nac.today: the news magazine of the New Apostolic Church International

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