Speaking the other one’s language
Wherever the Spirit of God dwells He makes an impact. But for these effects to unfold and develop it requires that we believe in our own sealing. Excerpts from the 2017 Pentecost service by the Chief Apostle.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” This Bible text from Acts 2: 4 was the basis of the divine service which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated on Pentecost Sunday, 4 June 2017, in Vienna (Austria).
With the events at Pentecost, the proclamation and promise of Jesus Christ were fulfilled. Later, the people received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands and prayer of the Apostles. “As New Apostolic Christians we believe that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day we were sealed.”
That does not mean that other people cannot be children of God,” he emphasized. “God is the Father of all human beings because He created them.” And: “Every Christian may pray to God as His heavenly Father.”
The concrete effects of the Holy Spirit
“It is very important for me in my commission to strengthen this faith,” he said. Why? Because faith in this is the prerequisite that the Holy Spirit can have its full effect. “That is why it is so infinitely important that we believe in our own Holy Sealing.”
“Let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit: He has a say in our hearts,” the Chief Apostle explained and went on to mention examples of these effects.
- Composure: “Stay calm, your heavenly Father will care for you.”
- Gratitude based on the past: “God has done great things upon me.”
- Vigilance in the present: "No matter what I live through, I do not want to be separated from God.”
- Looking forward to the future: “When we think about the glory of God.”
- Love for every human being: “By receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit you have received the capacity to love as Jesus does. You can do it if you really want!”
Listening to and feeling with others
This love makes it possible to want to share our own salvation with others, to tell them about it. But for this you have to speak the other one’s language, the Chief Apostle made a point of emphasising. He added that in order to learn this language you first of all have to learn to listen. And then, he said, you have to empathise with people and share their fear, suffering, and also their joy with them. This makes them receptive to the glad tidings: “God wants to save you. Come and join us. We have found Jesus.”
The Chief Apostle made a special point of addressing the coming generation. A part of the youth stops coming to church after Confirmation because they are not able to recognise the value of the gift of the Holy Spirit. “How can we explain to them in their language just how important this gift is?”
It is of no use to tell them how terrible life on earth is or to tell them that something terrible is going to happen if they do not remain faithful. Or even to stipulate what they should and should not do. “That is definitely not their language!”
What is really important is to explain to the children and the youth that their faith helps them strengthen their inward being, Chief Apostle Schneider said with reference particularly to composure and the ability to love. “Preaching and big speeches are not enough. This will not convince anyone. We have to set an example. That is our task—everywhere around the world.”
A worldwide congregation
The divine service was transmitted to more than one hundred countries on five continents. Many hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters experienced the divine service live in their own congregation. The total number of participants will go into the millions because in several countries in Africa the service was broadcast on national television. The congregations in North and South America will receive a delayed broadcast on account of the time difference.