Mission is possible
Credo (I believe) and confessio (I profess) are two entirely different things. Many keep their belief to themselves because they are not able to explain and describe it in detail or because they are afraid of going public with it.
The divine services of the New Apostolic Church will explore the topic “Our mission” in the month of April. To begin with, it sounds like work, especially on oneself. Some do not want anyone to dictate how they live their faith. Others have long since given up professing their faith and have made a kind of secret mission out of it. However, the mission the Lord gave to His successors was clearly formulated: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
What can Christians profess?
- That Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. “Christ is risen!” is an old Easter message of the Church. Whoever does not want to say this central point of the Christian gospel any more cannot be Christian. The message of the empty grave is at the same time a commission to preach. “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15: 12–19).
- That words and deeds belong together. Profession has to occur through word and deed, otherwise it is not credible. We cannot say one thing and do something else. True followers of the Lord are recognised by their personal conduct. And this should be characterised by love and patience. This is how the profession of Jesus Christ becomes credible. Agreement in word and deed. This is how Christians can “tell” their fellow human beings about all the good God has done—without respect of person.
- That Jesus Christ is our life. It takes knowledge to be able to profess one’s faith. In Luke 8: 16 this reads as follows: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.” Jesus Christ is the light of the world, because He leads human beings out of the darkness of a wrong conception of God and grants them true knowledge of God and eternal life. Christians point out that Christ, and only He, is truth and life.
- That there will be a Last Judgement in the end. With the Apostles’ Creed, Christians around the world profess the coming of the Lord Jesus for the Last Judgement: “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” Among other things, this early church creed goes back to Jesus’ parable of the Last Judgement (see Matthew 25: 31–46). It raises the issue of the relationship between faith and works. Good works alone do not lead into fellowship with God. No one can earn salvation! However, good works also belong to a living faith, such as ethical action and conduct. The love for God and human beings belong together.
- That Jesus Christ is Saviour and Redeemer. The salvation of human beings is founded on Jesus Christ. Through Him they receive the strength to overcome evil. Because every person has to grapple with evil, after all. And the only thing that helps is belief in the Son of God. This faith changes one’s view of the world and tells the Christian that every human being is a creature of God! Every human being can receive salvation! Every human being is to get to know the gospel.
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Doctrinal instruction, Congregational life