How God tells us: “I love you.”
Who could claim that he always feels God’s love? However, there is plenty of evidence that it is always there. This is what the Chief Apostle made clear in a divine service in Brazil recently, riveting people’s attention.
No, the baptism referred to here was not a Christian baptism, yet it elicited a response from God. With this remark, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider began his sermon on 12 October 2018 in Brasília. He based the divine service on Mark 1: 11: “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
What baptism professes
“By having themselves baptised by John the Baptist, the people expressed their will to model their lives on God’s will,” the Chief Apostle said. That was their way to say, “I want to renounce sin.”
Jesus also submitted to this baptism, namely to show that obedience to God was a prerequisite for salvation. “In order to be accepted by God you must renounce sin and align yourself with God’s will.”
We too, were baptised with water and Spirit, the Chief Apostle said. At our baptism we made a promise to God: “I want to follow the example of Jesus. I want to enter into Your kingdom. I want to fulfil the mission You have given me.”
How God responds
As a response to the profession of faith inherent in baptism, God shows us His love, the Chief Apostle said. God did not only tell His Son, “I am pleased with you because You do everything I tell You.” God also actively demonstrated His love to Jesus by granting Him the strength He needed to fulfil His mission, by protecting Him, by giving Him some friends—the disciples—by allowing Him to resurrect from the dead, and letting Him enter His glory.
Through the rebirth out of water and Spirit, God tells the believer, “I love you,” and provides proof: “My Son died for you. You have been freed from original sin. You are no longer separated from God, you can come to God. You have free access to fellowship with God.” He also tells the believer: “Now you are my child. I have reserved a wonderful inheritance for you. You will inherit the glory of God in His kingdom.”
God loves us in the same way He loves Jesus. He gives us everything we need in order to reach the goal of our faith. He grants us His strength and help through the ministers and the members. He provides comfort and grace. And when Jesus returns, He will give us the resurrection body, and we will be able to enter into the glory of God.”
What still needs to be done
“Let us follow the example of Jesus,” Chief Apostle Schneider appealed to the congregation.
- “The fellowship with God is so important for us that we don’t want to damage it.”
- “We do not want to misuse our childhood. Let us trust our Father, even if we do not understand what He does.”
- “Jesus always fostered His relationship with God. He needed to keep in touch with His Father. We remain in touch with God through prayer, the divine services, and the celebration of Holy Communion.”
- “Because God has showed us His love, we want to fulfil our mission and profess our faith in word and deed.”
- “Let us persevere to the end, even if nobody listens to us today. God needs you in His kingdom of peace to proclaim the gospel to all people.”
“You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This is what God said to Jesus. And to us He says through the Holy Spirit, “I love you. You are my child. Don’t forget that.”