Our 2018 motto: Proving our faithfulness to Christ
“Christ is faithful, and we are faithful to Him.” Behind this simple message is not only the 2018 motto of the New Apostolic Church, but an answer to the question how this faithfulness reveals itself.
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated his first divine service of the new year on 7 January 2018 in Banjul, the capital of Gambia. He based it on Psalm 101: 6: “My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me.”
“God is faithful.” This is how the Chief Apostle started his sermon. He continued:
- “He always speaks the truth. And he always speaks the whole truth. His word is still valid.”
- “His love is everlasting and unconditional. He loves us no matter what we do. God loves all human beings in the same way.”
- “He keeps His promises. He promised the Redeemer, and He sent Him. He promised to send the Holy Spirit, and He sent him.”
“We can trust in God. He is faithful,” the Chief Apostle said. “Let us glorify God by being faithful to Jesus. This will be our programme in the coming year: to demonstrate our faithfulness.”
Following the teaching and example of Jesus
Faithfulness to Christ first of all means following His teaching and example. “May nothing and nobody prevent us from keeping the commandments of God.” Their validity does not depend on the number of people who keep them. “Even if I were the only one who keeps the commandments, I would obey them to prove my faithfulness to Christ.” He is our model, the Chief Apostle said. “We want to become like Him.”
Being constant in love
Faithfulness to Christ also means being constant in love. “Whatever happens, let us be constant in our love for Jesus. He loved us first; His love is unconditional. Let us serve Christ in good as well as in bad days.”
He continued, “Let us also be constant in our love for our neighbour. We do not love our neighbour because he is good to us. We love him because Jesus loves him.” He went on to say that Jesus does not expect us to be friends with everybody on earth. But we want all people to be saved by Jesus Christ, and we want to help them find their way there.
Serving the Lord faithfully
Faithfulness to Christ also means serving Him faithfully. Let us serve Jesus by being His witnesses. “Can people hear His voice when they hear us?” the Chief Apostle asked. “I have to admit: not always. But let us make an effort.”
Jesus also explained that a faithful servant works until his master returns. So, being a faithful Christian means: acting according to His word until the end. A faithful servant is also a reliable servant, who is willing to serve no matter what. We serve Jesus in good and in bad days, regardless of whether people thank us for it or not. We serve Him out of gratitude and love.
Keeping our promises
Finally, faithfulness to Christ means keeping the promises we make, whether at baptism, sealing, or confirmation. We have promised to renounce the evil one. We have promised to fight against sin and our human nature. Are we still committed to this fight? Or are we thinking about making some compromises?
In summing up, the Chief Apostle said, “Let us follow the example of Jesus. Let us remain constant in love. Let us serve Christ in good as well as in bad times. And let us keep our promises. Then we will experience what it says in the Bible text: ‘My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me.’”