Actions speak louder than words
Simply saying “I love you” is not enough. “Do something concrete and give what is needed.” Some food for thought on Christian love from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
In November 2018 Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider visited South-East Asia. Over the last week of his trip, he was in Indonesia and celebrated several divine services and had meetings with the leading ministers. On Sunday, 25 November 2018 he conducted a divine service in our church in Bandung Andir (Java, Indonesia), which was transmitted to congregations throughout Indonesia. The Chief Apostle based his sermon on Matthew 25: 40: “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
In expectation of Christ’s return
“We want to prepare our souls for the return of Jesus Christ. That is the main reason why we attend divine services,” the Chief Apostle said at the beginning of the service. Remaining faithful to Christ means modelling our lives on His teaching. “And in every divine service we hear part of the teaching of Jesus Christ.” The Chief Apostle explained that the Bible text was taken from the parable of the Last Judgement. Jesus announced that He will judge everyone at the end. “That doesn’t apply to us, though,” someone might object, the Chief Apostle pointed out. “But we will be judged at the return of Christ, because Jesus will decide: this one is ready, this one is not; they are worthy, they are not.” It is important to know how Jesus will judge, he said. “One of the first things He will definitely consider is our love for God and our love for the neighbour.”
Believing in Jesus and following Him
Jesus declared those to be His brothers and sisters who do the will of His Father (Matthew 12: 50). And what was the will of the Father? That they believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him (John 6: 40). Later on, Apostle Paul said that those who are reborn out of water and Spirit are children of God. For through the rebirth out of water and Spirit they became children of God, and thus brothers and sisters of the Son of God. And these children of God have been called to be joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8: 14–17).
Being there for one another
In the parable Jesus speaks about the lot of His brothers and sisters. Some
- are hungry and thirsty. They are poor and cannot afford even the barest necessities. “Just give them what they need and then their suffering is over. Do something concrete and give them what they need and the problem will be solved. That is also part of the gospel.”
- are sick, are in a desperate situation, or are suffering otherwise. “There are situations in which there is little we can do. But we can provide comfort. We can show our compassion. We can encourage and pray for them.”
- are strangers and feel misunderstood. “If they are strangers, accept them as they are. Don’t ask them to change, just love them and accept them even if they are different.”
- are prisoners, are being persecuted because of their faith, or have made a mistake and are now bearing the consequences of it. “Even if they face hardship, are sick or weak or different, it must be our main objective to help them remain faithful.”
This is something we all have to digest, the Chief Apostle said. “All of them are brothers and sisters of Christ. And now Christ says that He can identify Himself with all of them.” The Chief Apostle went on to say that Jesus wanted to say: “We belong together. When you suffer, I share your suffering and pain. When you are sad, I share your sadness. And now He makes it clear that He wants us to help His brothers and sisters.” And there are many possibilities to do so with the love of God. Our love for our neighbour is the standard that Jesus uses to measure our love for God. In this context, Chief Apostle Schneider went on to remind the congregation what it says in John: “You cannot love God without loving your brother. Those who love God must love their brother.”
Achieving the goal
In conclusion, Chief Apostle Schneider said, “Following Christ does not mean that we are spared tribulations. The Lord loves His own, without exception. He desires all men to be saved and calls us to contribute.” He added that what we do for our neighbour, we do for Jesus. “And those who do it will inherit the kingdom of God. That is our goal. That is our future.”