God does not sleep!
Lifting up our eyes to the Lord is the best thing we can do when it comes to the deliverance and salvation of our soul. This does not put an end to earthly suffering, but it does bring us salvation for eternity, the Chief Apostle confirmed.
Finally, he was able to travel to Argentina again! Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider had made several attempts to visit the congregations in this South American country over the last 18 months, but his plans were always thwarted by the ongoing pandemic. On Sunday, 7 November 2021 he was finally able to conduct a divine service in Buenos Aires. He based his sermon on Psalm 121: 1–2: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
We need to lift up our eyes when it comes to the Lord, the Chief Apostle explained unequivocally. Earlier, in the Old Testament, high mountains had been revered as the place where God dwells and where people could meet Him. “Abraham went up a mountain to sacrifice his son. The temple in Jerusalem was built on a hill.”
Help comes from above
The question of where help comes from is one that many people ask themselves to this day, the Chief Apostle pointed out. “They don’t know how to deal with a particular situation, see no solution for their problems, and have no one who can help them.”
And then there is a change: “We believe and proclaim: God can and wants to help every human being. He is the Almighty, for whom nothing is impossible. Jesus Christ has conquered evil and death; they are no longer an obstacle on the way to salvation. God does not sleep: He is aware of each person’s fate, shares in their pain, and makes sure that they can obtain salvation.” His help does not consist of simply putting an end to man’s suffering, or compensating him for all the evil he has suffered, he said. “His purpose is to lead man into His glory, into eternal communion with Him.”
To obtain salvation human beings have to lift up their eyes to God. Those who look up to God and fear Him know that they are dependent on God’s grace. The Chief Apostle cited a few examples from the Bible: Job, who submitted to God’s will and was saved. Or the people of Israel who had to look up to a brazen serpent that Moses had made in order to save them. “God’s help did not lie in ridding the people of the snakes, but in healing those who trusted His word. Jesus explained that this brazen serpent prefigured His sacrifice on the cross.” The Chief Apostle drew the conclusion from this that, since man’s fall into sin, evil has established its dominion over humankind and makes us suffer. And God does not intervene to change the world. “He asks us to look up to Jesus Christ. He who believes in Christ can be delivered from evil and attain eternal life.”
Another example from Scripture: Stephen, one of the early Deacons, looked up to heaven when he was arrested and brought before the high council for preaching the gospel. He saw the glory of God. This vision, the Chief Apostle said, gave him the strength to remain faithful to Christ until his death and even to forgive his murderers! “When we go through affliction and distress, let us not focus on our sufferings and those who caused them. Let us rather follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit and lift up our eyes to God.” Then the Holy Spirit can reveal the glory of God to us, the presence of God, and His promise.
Weekend in Buenos Aires
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider spent an extended weekend in Buenos Aires. On Friday, 5 November 2021 he had a meeting with representatives of the Ecumenical Commission of Christian Churches in Argentina (CEICA), of which the New Apostolic Church has been a full member since 2018. Afterwards the Chief Apostle gave an interview to a group of young people. On Saturday morning he led a meeting with all the active Apostles and Bishops from District Apostle Enrique Minio’s working area. The joy of being able to see each other again was written on everyone’s face and could be seen despite the masks, the Chief Apostle said.
Argentina, Chief Apostle, Divine service