Victory with Christ – taking stock
“Victory with Christ.” That was the motto of the New Apostolic Church in the past year. What has remained of it? A retrospective taken from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
Two languages, one community: both the French-speaking as well as the German-speaking congregations participated in the divine service which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated in Bienne in Switzerland on 31 December 2016. The sermon which he conducted in French was interpreted into German at the altar.
Time to take stock
The end of the year is of no significance for God because He is not subject to time, the Chief Apostle said. For us human beings, however, the end of the year is an occasion to reflect over the fact that we are subject to time: God has given us a limited amount of time to prepare for the return of Christ.
This is a good opportunity to take stock of our own development in the past few months, he said. He used the Bible text he read, 2 Timothy 4: 7, as a criterion: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Time to fight
“At the beginning of the year we were determined to celebrate victories with Christ,” the Chief Apostle said with reference to our 2016 motto. “We spent a whole year fighting against evil. And you will agree with me that we certainly noticed how powerful evil is and how effective sin is.” But “the Lord strengthened us repeatedly, motivated us, and taught us to keep on fighting. If we succumbed to temptation, He forgave us.”
“At the end of the year we are still determined: we are for all that is good and against all that is evil,” he concluded. “Even if our lives could have been made a little more pleasant by committing sin, we continued to fight against evil. This is a victory we were able to gain with the help of Jesus Christ.”
Time to pray
“The year 2016 gave us ample opportunity to realise that the world needs the gospel,” the Chief Apostle said, remembering the victims of terrorist attacks and wars. “All these events made us discover the importance and value of prayer once again. We know that we can pray, and that helps! We can tell others about Jesus and His love. That is the mission we were able to accomplish this year.”
Time to serve
“Many brothers and sisters once again served God in the past year. If we have served God and the Church in the past year then it was out of gratitude to Jesus,” the Chief Apostle made clear. “Had we helped along for another reason, we could have stopped in June. But we served Jesus Christ because of Him. His blessing was the joy and peace that we were able to experience in many situations.”
Time to contemplate
“Paul said, ‘I have kept the faith.’ He knew that faith is the most important thing and that it determines access to salvation,” the Chief Apostle said and urged the congregation: “Now and then it is a good idea to check where we stand in terms of our faith. We have the ten articles of our Creed for this. Do you still believe in the resurrection, in the church, in the sacraments, in the Apostles?”
“If we discover that there are things we no longer really believe in, then let us go to the Lord and ask Him for help,” he advised. “If our motivation is genuine, He will help us so that our faith becomes perfect. We cannot be without sin, but we can have a perfect, childlike faith.”
Photo: Werner Jaggi