The pledge of divine inheritance for all
“Let us give our neighbour a foretaste of the kingdom of God.” This is the 2018 Pentecost message which the Chief Apostle addressed to all New Apostolic believers across the world. What exactly does he mean?
It is not only because it is the birthday of the church that Pentecost is important, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said on 20 May 2018 in Washington, D.C. It is more than that: Pentecost testifies of the faithfulness of God, because He keeps His promises. His incarnation in Jesus Christ, the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the sending of the Holy Spirit—all these things were inconceivable then and remain inexplicable. “We can only grasp this in faith.”
The same is true of the promises given to believers today. The return of Christ will be accomplished in a way that cannot be explained or imagined. “But we know one thing: it will happen! Jesus will return!” the Chief Apostle insisted. “That is our Pentecost joy: God fulfils His promises. Our God is the faithful God.”
The sign of our special relationship
“We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at Holy Sealing,” the Chief Apostle said with reference to the Bible text from Ephesians 1: 13–14. The image of this seal shows: “We belong to God. We have a special relationship with Him, a relationship we call ‘childhood in God’.”
This implies a double promise. “For one thing, God loves you because you are His child. No matter what you do—even if you do everything wrong, it will not change anything for God. If you come back to God, whatever you have done, He will accept you as His child.” And secondly, “The Spirit who raised Jesus Christ from death dwells in you. You will experience your own resurrection.”
The guarantee of salvation
With our sealing God confirmed His will to save us, the Chief Apostle said. “No power, no spirit can hinder the completion of God’s plan of redemption. Those who are sealed have the guarantee that they will be saved despite their mistakes and weaknesses. Don’t give up. Keep working. You can do it.”
“God will provide all we need to enter into His kingdom.” The Chief Apostle said that God will never allow anything to prevent our salvation. “However, this guarantee will only work for those who are willing to be prepared for the return of Christ, for those who make it a priority.”
The foretaste of eternal happiness
With the gift of the Holy Spirit, God makes man the heir of eternal life. In addition to this promise, the believer already today receives a pledge, that is, a “down payment” or a “foretaste”, the Chief Apostle explained.
Only in the kingdom of glory will man see God as He is. “But already today we can get a rather precise idea of Him. We can perceive His presence more and more, and we can recognise better and better that He is indeed love, that He is omnipotent and that He is grace.”
Eternal peace still belongs to the future. But “if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, if we allow Him to shape our thoughts, desires, and our very being, then we will always be in accordance with the will and nature of God. This is how we can experience the peace of God already today.”
A committed team for and with God
“God is all in all,” the Chief Apostle said with reference to 1 Corinthians 15: 28. “If we allow the Holy Spirit to shape us, we can overcome greed and selfishness.” Also the differences between human beings cannot prevent unity in Christ: “We need our differences. They become a chance and a blessing if we have decided to become a team and fight for God and with God.”
Finally, Holy Sealing implies that we are witnesses of Christ. Let us show that “the gospel is much more than a method for a successful life or a collection of standard ethical values, because the Christian faith is based on a promise: it is about the future, about eternal life”.
“It is up to us that our neighbour can experience: God is love, God is grace, God is patient,” Chief Apostle Schneider said in conclusion. “This is my appeal to you on this Pentecost feast: let us give our neighbour a foretaste of the kingdom of God.”