Alert, sober, and jointly

There is no such thing as a free ticket to Paradise. This is what the Chief Apostle said in a recent service and went on to explain to the congregation what all is required to be accepted on the day of the Lord.

For the divine service on 12 December 2021 in Freudenstadt (Germany) Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used 1 Thessalonians 5: 6, 11: “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

The others

The Chief Apostle explained the Bible verses that refer to the expectation of the return of Christ. First of all, he said, we need to ask the following question: who are the others. “I don’t even want to go into that question,” the Chief Apostle said, adding that it was not important whom Paul meant. It simply means: “Let us not be influenced by the things that are happening around us.”

Let us be vigilant

“Let’s concentrate on our salvation,” he said and disillusioned the believers. “There is no such thing as automatic salvation.” Neither baptism, sealing, nor the regular attendance of divine services are a guarantee that we will be delivered by God. “I have to do something, I have to prepare myself, I have to allow myself to be sanctified, I must sanctify myself, I have to allow the Holy Spirit to form and shape me,” he urged.

“To watch also means to fight against tiredness.” Fighting spiritual fatigue requires the right kind of nourishment, such as attending divine services, partaking in the sacraments, and praying. And: “We need to rest regularly.” It is important that we pause to think about God, salvation, and our future.

Let us be sober

“When Paul speaks about being sober, he is obviously referring to wine,” the Chief Apostle said. But sober also means self-control and

  • that we can enjoy the beauty in the world without having to give up our relationship with God and our neighbour.
  • that we correctly assess our own situation. “Those who are sober in the divine sense know that the Saviour is always greater than the distress.”
  • being able to correctly assess the danger: “What really threatens our salvation is not the harm done to us by our neighbour, but the way we react to it.”

Don’t do it alone

“Being sober also means realising that I cannot do it alone, but need help,” the Chief Apostle said. In our Bible text, Paul gave the first believers some tasks. They were to comfort each other and were to be there for one another, to care for and pray for one another and encourage one another and say: God is still alive. To edify one another means “to show one another: you are important to me; I am glad you are there; I love you and I am grateful that you are there; I am grateful for all that you do. I appreciate you, I need you!” It is also edifying when people are prepared to forgive and reconcile with each other.

In conclusion he urged the congregation: “Let us edify one another through our conversations and by appreciating one another.”

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Katrin Löwen
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service