The Holy Spirit works powerfully
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow … the Holy Spirit works powerfully, and can comfort in suffering and need. This is what the Chief Apostle told the worldwide congregation in the Pentecost service.
About 100 countries across the continents were set to receive the divine service from Goslar (Germany) on 9 June 2019. The sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 12: 13: “For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
Pentecost is the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. “This is a bit abstract,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said. God the Father is tangible as the Creator and the caring and kind Father. God the Son can be recognised concretely as Jesus Christ. But it is hard to conceive the Holy Spirit.
In the church of Christ
“The Holy Spirit can only be experienced. You recognise the Holy Spirit by His works,” the Chief Apostle said. And this is how it becomes concrete: since the establishment of the church of Christ, many people have come to recognise Jesus Christ as the Son of God, have been incorporated into the body of Christ through baptism, and have spread the message of the gospel into the farthest corners of the world.
Whether in persecution, suffering, or need the Holy Spirit has always strengthened Christians. In spite of human faults and inappropriate behaviour in the church, human beings have not given up their belief in Jesus Christ. “We thank the Holy Spirit that He has been active and worked so powerfully over all these centuries.”
In the Apostle ministry
Since the reoccupation of the ministry, the Holy Spirit has been active through the Apostles in a powerful manner: believers can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, receive Holy Communion, and allow themselves to be prepared as the bridal congregation.
“Also the Apostles are only human,” the Chief Apostle said, seeing faults also there. But such imperfections have never prevented the Holy Spirit from developing His full power.
In the congregations
Globally, the New Apostolic Church has about 60,000 congregations. “The fire of the Holy Spirit is burning there,” he said. That not only applies to the International Youth Convention with its more than 30,000 participants, but also to the handful members who gather for divine service elsewhere. “The Holy Spirit is not bound to a number.”
And He is active in all circumstances, the Chief Apostle said, referring in particular to congregations in refugee camps or in prisons. “They have nothing, but they can receive the fullness of salvation through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
In the hearts
The Holy Spirit also works powerfully in the sisters and brothers. The Chief Apostle said that many are an example in how they bear up under burdens and remain faithful to Jesus Christ in spite of them. “You can only be amazed and admire them,” he said. And there are many others who serve in their congregations and continue to do so in spite of all inconveniences. “They allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them.”
By calling on Apostles to assist, Chief Apostle Schneider presented examples of what all our brothers and sisters are able to master with the power of the Holy Spirit. The District Apostle Helpers David Devaraj, Kububa Soko, and John Fendt represented Christian persecution in India, the refugee crisis in Africa, and the economic hardship in Central America. They all agreed: “Nothing could stop the Holy Spirit, and nothing ever will.”
“No one can stop the development of the kingdom of God,” the Chief Apostle reminded the congregation of Jesus’ words concerning the seed in the ground. “There are many reasons to thank God the Holy Spirit. Glory be to God the Holy Spirit. He will complete and perfect His work.”
Photo: Oliver Rütten