Five dangers and how praying can help
Believers can look forward to a wonderful future with God. However, we first of all have to get there. There are dangers along the way. Jesus Christ shows us what these are and how best we can deal with them. Thoughts from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
“It is important that we come together to pray, because we know that when we come together in the name of Jesus Christ and pray in His name, God will always listen to us.” These were the opening words of Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in the service in Madang in Papua New Guinea on 8 May 2022. He based his sermon on Luke 21: 36: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
God is above time
“As human beings we do not really know the future,” Chief Apostle Schneider admitted. It is a bit like a weather forecast or a specialist who can predict the outcome of a country’s elections, for example. But these are only forecasts, which may or may not come true. God, on the other hand, knows the future because it is as real to Him as the past and the present are. “When He speaks about the future, He does not predict something that will likely happen, but describes a reality that is already present for Him,” explained Chief Apostle Schneider.
God reveals the future to mankind: “At least the most important part of the future, His plan of salvation.” And for the rest we have to trust in God. He does not reveal when Jesus Christ will return. “No, God only tells us the plan of salvation and what we have to do and know to be saved.”
There are certain risks on the way to God’s promised future. “And Jesus, who knows everything, warns us.”
- The danger of placing too much importance on earthly riches. Jesus warns us: “Be careful, you risk missing out on salvation if earthly life becomes too important to you.”
- The danger of false prophets. “Many today present the gospel as a recipe for success in life,” Chief Apostle Schneider warned, referring to false prophets.
- The danger of being lulled into a false sense of security. Some overestimate their own strength, while underestimating the power of the evil one. “Be aware of the power of temptation.”
- The danger of drowsiness. “Be careful, because Christ will return when you least expect it.” Some have already been waiting for a long time, and others say, “When you look at the church, Jesus just cannot come back now.” We then run the risk of not being ready at His return.
- The danger of division. Christians need one another to be able to persevere until our redemption: “They can only resist temptation if they are one.”
Jesus tells believers how to deal with these dangers. “Pray so that you are strong enough to avoid all these dangers.”
- Praise and glorify God. “To avoid focusing on earthly matters we must praise God, Jesus Christ, and His glory,” the Chief Apostle stressed. Then we become aware of God’s love. “When we know how great His love is, we love Him in return. If we are aware of His glory, we realise that there is nothing more important than the glory of God. We want to be there!”
- Plead for His word. To resist false prophets we can pray to God: “Give us the true word of God, the word of life.”
- Beg for His grace. “I know I cannot earn salvation. I need Your grace,” is the prayer of humble believers who recognise that they must not allow themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security.
- Plead for His return: “Because we love Christ we pray, as the Bible says, day and night: ‘Come Jesus, we want to be with You,’” the Chief Apostle reminded the congregation.
- Plead for unity. Anyone who is isolated cannot be saved. That is why we pray: “Please help us to remain together in Christ. Because we need to be together in Christ to be saved.”
“Let us take these warnings seriously and act accordingly,” was the Chief Apostle’s appeal at the end of his sermon.