Five good reasons to rejoice
Reaching for success is a wonderful thing. But what happens if it fails to materialise at some point? There are better reasons to rejoice: here are the top five from a divine service with the Chief Apostle.
They were quite excited, the disciples. Jesus had just sent them out. And in His name, they had succeeded at making the impossible possible. However, when the men returned from their mission, the Lord put a damper on their euphoria by telling them: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” This Bible text from Luke 10: 20 served as the basis of the divine service on 7 April 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The source of transitory joy
Why the damper? Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained this clearly. Jesus knew exactly that if the disciples were only to rejoice because of their successes today, they would be sad tomorrow, when times of failure would come. And it was quite clear that these would indeed come: after all, many people refused to accept Jesus—which meant that they would also refuse to accept His disciples.
“We too have been elected by God, and God has also given us a commission,” explained the Church leader. But “today we no longer seem to be having as much success. The message of the gospel, which is also the message of the Apostles at work in our time—namely that the Lord is coming soon—no longer meets with as much acceptance as it did before.
“But even if the message is not accepted today, that does not—by any means—signify that God is no longer with us,” he emphasised. After all, the same was true for Jesus, who had been sent by God Himself. Even though people refused to accept Him, He understood: “That does not mean that God has abandoned Me!”
The source of eternal joy
“Rejoice in the salvation you have received.” This is how the Chief Apostle interpreted the Bible text. “First and foremost, remember that the gospel applies to you. Rejoice about the good news!”
- The joy of knowing our Deliverer: “Jesus is the Son of God. By no means do people automatically accept this fact when the message is preached to them today. God has granted us the grace to recognise the gospel, to recognise Jesus Christ, and to recognise the Apostles.”
- The joy over God’s activity upon us: “When I think of the fact that God is forming and shaping my soul such that it will be able to enter into the perfection and sanctity of His kingdom, I find it simply fantastic! God is doing great things upon us!”
- The joy over our activity with God: “Jesus has not given us the power to drive evil from the world. He has given us the power to overcome the evil in our hearts.
- The joy of helping others: “Despite all the rejection He encounters from people who no longer want anything to do with Him, God continues to love them. We are the sign of His love. He still sends us out and says, ‘Let us not give up on people. Just carry on!’”
- The joy of knowing the end of the story: “God will see to it that each and every human being who has ever lived—whether they are here on earth or in the beyond, or even in the kingdom of peace—will be able to hear His message. That is our joy, namely that all human beings who desire to come to God will also be able to come to Him. God will complete His work!”
“I am absolutely aware of the fact that it is not always easy to be a New Apostolic Christian today,” said Chief Apostle Schneider in closing, “but nevertheless, let us be aware that we are rich in Christ!”