Seven good reasons for the Apostle ministry
What exactly is the mission of the Apostles today? What have they been called for? What are they supposed to preach? These are some of the questions that are regularly asked. Here are some answers.
Sunday, 19 May 2019. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted a divine service in Stockholm (Sweden), based on 2 Corinthians 1: 24: “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.” By means of seven points, he explained to the congregation what this means for him specifically. He made it very clear that the Apostles are servants of the congregation. “In the work of God there is only one lord, and that is Jesus Christ.” Sometimes we hear the wish expressed that the Apostles should adapt the gospel to the present reality, the Chief Apostle said, “but we can’t do that. We are only servants of God. He makes the rules. We cannot change the gospel of Christ.” Although the Apostles baptise with water and Spirit, they do not decide who gets to enter the kingdom of heaven. The dispensation of the sacraments is only the beginning: “The new creature in Christ must develop.” He went on to say that Jesus Christ decides, and only He, who gets to enter the kingdom of God! The role of the Apostles is to help along, but every believer has to work on his own salvation.
The Apostles contribute and help by
preaching eternal wealth. The Lord explained to His disciples that spiritual riches are more important than earthly ones. “Seek first the kingdom of God.” That does not mean that believers should despise earthly life and deny themselves beautiful things and should be poor. “We have clear priorities. We are glad that our names are written in heaven. We are happy about the fact that salvation is being offered to us.” This joy accompanies us in good and in bad days, because Christians know: “I have received salvation, Jesus Christ has died for me. He redeems me. He leads me into His kingdom.”
proclaiming God’s commandments. Jesus repeatedly urged His Apostles to keep His commandments. “Some people are reluctant to do this. They think it restricts their freedom.” Continuous obedience is a thing of the past, they say. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him,” Jesus said. Admittedly, this is not the way that leads to prosperity and success in life, but it allows you to experience the nearness of God!
preaching repentance. Jesus explained to His Apostles that they must repent and change their ways, that they need grace. “The mandate of the Apostles is to preach repentance and tell the believers: we need grace, we are poor sinners.” When the Apostles preach repentance and call on the faithful to change their ways, they do so with a single purpose: to enable believers to obtain a full measure of grace, to gain freedom in Christ.
teaching us how to pray. The Lord taught His disciples how to pray. This too, is part of the mission of the Apostles, to help the congregation in praying in the name of Jesus Christ. “Whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16: 23–24). The intention is not to frustrate us. “In fact, the mission of the Apostle ministry is to help us formulate our prayers in such a way that God can answer them, that we can be sure that He will answer them.”
teaching Jesus’ example. The Lord Jesus taught His disciples how to serve. Before His sacrificial death, He gave them an example by washing their feet. “Let us serve the Lord, let us serve one another. Those who serve the Lord will be able to regularly experience that, although they are weak, they can accomplish great things through Jesus Christ.” This is not a theory, but a very concrete reality.
addressing afflictions. Jesus spoke to His Apostles about affliction and persecution, asking them to be joyful in spite of all of this. This is a central theme in the gospel. Paul too preached about this: whoever suffers with Christ will also rejoice with Him. “It is not our mission to abolish affliction and tribulation and restore order in the world, but to strengthen faith and assure the believers of the following: those who suffer with Christ and because of Christ will share eternal joy with Him.” That is a fundamental principle of the gospel.
preaching about the return of the Lord. Jesus told His disciples that He will return in order to take them unto Himself. “I know of no greater reason to rejoice than this: the Lord will come soon! He will come for me and lead me into His kingdom.” Whoever accepts this with a believing heart, will have profound joy already today. “God loves me. He will come and take me with Him very soon!”