Believing is our responsibility

When someone leaves their home to go on a trip and asks someone else to look after it for the time being, they expect everything to be in order when they return. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider transferred this example from everyday life to our faith.

The Chief Apostle spoke about the subject of responsibility to almost four thousand people in Dhamanahandi in India on 14 November 2023. Jean-Luc Schneider was the first Chief Apostle to ever visit this region.

‌Mark 13: 34 illustrates the task and responsibility of believers: “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained the parable like this: “The man in the parable was Jesus Christ. He was on earth and left it to go to His Father.” He assigned tasks and responsibilities to the servants who stayed behind. And these were not just the Apostles, the Chief Apostle said. When He returns—“we do not know when the Master will return”—He will call them to account.

Responsibility for our own salvation

“The first task,” the Chief Apostle explained, “is our preparation for the return of Christ.” Sure, we cannot sanctify ourselves, he said. God’s word and the sacraments are necessary for our sanctification. God provides them, but we must believe and do His will, the Chief Apostle explained. “We must receive His word and His sacraments, and then we must act in accordance with His word. That is our task and our responsibility.”

The Chief Apostle also pointed out that we must rid ourselves of evil and darkness so that light and good things can develop. This way, the new creation within that has been created by God is given room to develop. He also said, “It is our own responsibility to ensure that the return of Christ and the preparation for it remain priority number one in our life.” That also means, “If you are not prepared for the return of Christ, you cannot blame anybody else.”

Called to serve

“We have all been called to serve the Lord,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider reminded the congregation. “God wants us to proclaim the gospel and be a witness of Jesus Christ.” He also explained what exactly that means. The idea is not to convert the whole of India or criticise the faith of other people, but rather to practise what we believe: “The most important proclamation is through our behaviour in everyday life.” This is how we can show the people around us how important our faith is to us and how much we love God. “No matter what happens, we remain united with Christ to show what we are able to do with the help of Jesus Christ.”

Serving Jesus Christ also includes serving His church. “Each one of us is responsible for the life in the congregation, for the atmosphere there.” The Chief Apostle gave examples of the gifts we can use to make it possible that divine services can take place in our congregation. Our time, our energy, and our financial contributions support the Apostles in their mission.

Being a doorkeeper

Our Bible text refers to the doorkeeper who has been given a special task. He is there to make sure that no one enters the house who is not authorised to do so.

“We are the doorkeepers of our heart,” the Chief Apostle made clear. “We must be watchful and not allow every spirit to enter our heart.” Thoughts and ideas should be scrutinised to see whether they are in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ, he said.

“All of us are also doorkeepers for our congregation,” the Chief Apostle said, “because there are so many spirits who want to enter our congregation and destroy the unity of the members. Make sure that this spirit that wants to destroy the unity of the Church cannot enter our congregation.”

The other task of the doorkeeper is to announce the arrival of the master and let everyone else in the house know, “Hey, the Master is coming. Let’s welcome Him.” This means believing that Jesus could come today. The Chief Apostle reminded the congregation of how Peter was in prison and the church prayed for his release. When this actually happened and Peter went and knocked on the door where they had gathered, they could not believe it was him. “They did not really believe in their prayers,” the Chief Apostle said. “I am pretty sure that all New Apostolic Christians pray, ‘Lord, please come back.’ But do we really believe that He could come today?”

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Katrin Löwen
India, Chief Apostle