“Let us trust in the power of the Holy Spirit”
“Pentecost is a feast of joy celebrating the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in the church of Christ.” This was the message that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conveyed during the central Pentecost service in Lusaka in Zambia. He called on the faithful to, “Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
He based the sermon on Revelation 22: 17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’” Tens of thousands of members witnessed the divine service directly in Lusaka’s National Heroes Stadium. Millions of others worldwide watched video broadcasts via satellite or internet or listened to a radio broadcast.
The power in the sacraments
Wherever the gospel is preached in the church of Christ, the Holy Spirit is present and active, the Chief Apostle said. The Holy Spirit calls mankind to come into the fellowship of the faithful. His power becomes effective already in Holy Baptism, because those who are baptized have the power to resist sin. They are able to say, “No, I don’t have to be an instrument of the Devil.”
“The power of the Holy Spirit develops its full potential through the Apostle ministry,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. “There is no doubt about that.” Those who are called by God and sealed through the Apostles have the task to prepare the bridal congregation.
The power of the Holy Spirit is something we also experience in Holy Communion. “It is the power of the Holy Spirit that brings about the true presence of Christ in the consecrated wafer. We cannot see His presence, but we can feel it,” the Chief Apostle said.
The power of fellowship
Referring to the Bible text he said that when the individual soul and the entire congregation are filled by the Holy Spirit, they say the same thing that Christ said, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’” The Chief Apostle went on to address the fact that this is not only an invitation of the Holy Spirit, but also an expression of the longing of the congregation to have fellowship with Jesus Christ.
The call of the Holy Spirit means, “Come as you are! God loves you. He has forgiven you.” The bridal congregation joins in this call and says, “Come, God has forgiven you! And so have we.” There are additional powers that the Holy Spirit inspires in us: forgiveness and the plea for forgiveness, reconciliation, and unity.
Following the call
At the beginning of the divine service, the Chief Apostle had addressed the large membership of the New Apostolic Church in Zambia and in other parts of Africa, but also mentioned the demographic developments in Europe, for example. “Some brothers and sisters are maybe sad that things are not going so well where they are.”
But throughout the development of Christianity, he went on, there has always been a focus on certain regions: starting in Jerusalem, then on to Asia Minor and into Europe. But such things as boundaries or cultural differences are completely irrelevant for God, the Chief Apostle said, “Important is that those who are called by God answer and follow the call. Believing and remaining faithful to the end is what counts.”
For more on Pentecost 2015 in Zambia: Dossier Pentecost