Our commission: to love unconditionally

Not with but against Jesus? Anyone who loves their family more than Jesus is not worthy of Him? The slightest violation makes you guilty of the whole law? Harsh words from the Bible, but if you look closer you will see Christ’s message of love in them.

The Bible text which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used on 8 April 2017 in a divine service for ministers in Panama City (Panama) is well-known: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12: 30).

“… with Me …”

“Jesus wanted to make clear that one has to make a decision,” the Chief Apostle said. “Anyone who wants to follow Jesus has to do so fully. If we want to be saved we cannot agree to compromises with the Devil.”

You cannot choose which part of the law you want to follow and which not, he said to explain James 2: 10. The law, however, must not be confused with the rules which ministers establish to help them organise the work in the Church. “What is important for salvation is defined by Jesus, by God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.”

We cannot resort to sin to satisfy the needs of our own family, he explained the words of Matthew 10: 37. And then he added that this should in no way be seen as an excuse not to care for our own family. On the contrary, even on the cross Jesus was still concerned about His mother. “Let us be a source of blessing for our family.”

“… against Me …”

Those who want to act in the mind of Jesus need to be one with Him, the Chief Apostle emphasised. If anything, you will achieve the opposite of what Christ wants.

Threatening believers with terrible consequences if they do something wrong is not Christ-like. “If we want sinners to be punished, we are not one with Jesus.” His message is a message of love, the Chief Apostle said and referred to Luke 9: 54–57. “Jesus needs us so that sinners can experience His love,” he added.

“It is definitely not our task to tell God what to do.” This is the lesson the Chief Apostle draws out of Matthew 16: 23. To promise someone who is ill that he or she will be healed is tantamount to forcing the hand of God. “Our task is to pray for our brother and sister and to help them remain faithful.”

“We should never use our ministry for our own advantage,” he said with reference to Matthew 6: 24. Because those who misuse their ministry are acting contrary to Christ, which means that He can no longer be recognised in the ministry.

Gathering instead of scattering

Christ wants His people to be one. Therefore it is our task to overcome all differences. That is how the Chief Apostle interpreted James 2: 1–4. Everyone should experience our love and God’s love in the same manner—irrespective of whether they are like us or are very different from us.

The main focus here is eternal salvation. The Chief Apostle said, “It is not our task to change the world we are living in. It is not our task to solve the problems of our members. Our task is to gather the bride of Christ.” And belonging to this flock, he said, are also the so-called lost sheep. Let us not give up on them.

Conclusion: “We have decided for Jesus. We will not make any compromises with the evil one. We want to be one with Christ and contribute to the gathering of the bride.”

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Andreas Rother
Panama, Divine service, Chief Apostle