1 March 2023 at 19:48:00 JST

The Chief Apostle described Joshua as a true servant of God and presented him as an example. Here is what this figure from the Old Testament can teach us about our 2023 motto: “Serving and reigning with Christ”.

Joshua had been on the trek through the wilderness with Moses and the people of Israel and believed in the promise of God. When Moses died, Joshua became his successor and entered the Promised Land. Shortly before he died, he reminded the Israelites that God had kept His promise and told them: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used this Bible verse from Joshua 24: 15 as basis for a divine service in Nairobi in Kenya on 8 January. At first, Joshua served God because he trusted Him. “And later on, seeing that God had fulfilled His promise, he served Him out of gratitude.”

Serving and reigning

The Chief Apostle transferred this Old Testament episode into our time. “This also applies to us. God has given us a wonderful promise.” Namely to enter into His kingdom and serve and reign with Him in eternity. “We will serve the Lord, we will praise and worship Him, and as I often say, even after 10,000 years we will still have reason to praise and thank God,” the Chief Apostle said and added that we will participate in His dominion over sin and evil.

We have much to be thankful for: the sacrifice of Jesus, divine election, and the sacraments. “The victory is already here, but the full effects of this victory are not yet visible,” the Chief Apostle said. “We are already children of God, but what we will be is not yet visible.”

The what and how

Christians serve God out of gratitude and trust. This is expressed in

  • their attendance of divine service: “We gather in divine service to worship God, to praise His name.”
  • acknowledging His will: “Those who want to serve the Lord and acknowledge Him accept His law and His commandments and accept the fact that His will is more important than their own will.”
  • helping others: “We want to help people find the way that leads to God,” the Chief Apostle said. “And it is our wish that our neighbour can experience the love of God through us.”

“We want to serve with Christ. Christ said that we should not serve Him by obeying a certain number of rules.” Instead, we should serve

  • with love: “Jesus said that the most important commandment is the commandment of love,” the Chief Apostle said. “We serve the Lord out of love and that is why we serve Him alone. We don’t need another god, another idol.”
  • to the glory of God: “Let us serve God with Christ, not for our own glory but for the glory of God.”
  • in order to have fellowship with God: “Serving with Christ means that the most important thing for me is to be with Christ and not to be successful.”
  • in suffering: “Serving with Christ means that I am willing to serve the Lord even if I have to face afflictions and tribulations because I serve the Lord.”
  • without wishing to punish our neighbour: “Many people pretend to be servants of God and they are convinced that their mission is to punish sinners and straighten things out. But Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. I want you to love sinners, not punish them.’”
  • by loving our neighbour: “You cannot serve the Lord if you hate your neighbour.”
  • by serving our neighbour: “Serving the Lord also means to be the servant of your neighbour.”

Serving the Lord with the whole house

Joshua said that he and his house will serve the Lord. This is something Christians want to do too. “But we cannot force our neighbour to serve the Lord.” Everyone has the freedom of choice. “The only thing we can do is motivate our neighbour to serve the Lord.” This works best if we are sincere and truthful in

  • being grateful: “Our gratitude is sincere when it results from humility and we are really convinced that we owe everything to God.”
  • being patient: “Even if we have to wait for a long time to see the effects of our serving, even if the blessing is not yet visible, we are confident and trust God. We do not give up because we are convinced that God will keep His promise.”
  • loving God: “Nothing that happens on earth can destroy our true love for Christ.”
  • loving our neighbour: “Those who really love others want them to have the same thing they have—they do not want to have even a little bit more.”
  • sacrificing: “Sincerity can be measured by the sacrifices we are willing to make, by the things we are willing to do without in order to have true fellowship with God.”

“When people see that their siblings, their parents, or their friends are sincere and true in serving the Lord, and can see that we are truly willing to serve the Lord with Christ,” the Chief Apostle said, “then many of them will react as the people of Israel did.” They too wanted to serve God like Joshua.

Author: Katrin Löwen

nac.today:New Apostolic Church International

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