Building our lives on the foundation

“Let us focus on the basic elements of our faith!” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider urged the faithful during the 2024 Pentecost service. He went on to explain exactly what this means and how it works.

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” This passage from Jude 20 is the Bible text the Chief Apostle used for his sermon in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 19 May 2024.

He explained the context. In the decades following the biblical Pentecost event, new teachings emerged. The epistle of Jude admonishes the believers to reject these teachings and to stop and think about the teachings of the Apostles. Even today, false doctrines emerge that we should reject, the Chief Apostle said. “But that is not really the point now,” the Chief Apostle said, addressing a dangerous development.

A valuable blend

“The message today is: we should not only believe in the message of the Apostles, but also build our lives on it.” But what can be observed is that faith is sometimes only seen as something theoretical, and is no longer being incorporated into everyday life. “This is dangerous for our salvation.”

Why do we become weak in faith? The Chief Apostle sees two reasons: There is disappointment that what we have believed has not been fulfilled. And there is uncertainty when the teaching and preaching change.

“Our personal faith is complex,” he explained. Our faith is based on the Bible, on our own upbringing, on the experiences we have had, on the sermon with its interpretations, on images and stories, and on the promises we have heard. “A nice blend, very valuable.” But: “All this is not to be equated with the most holy faith,” of which the Bible text speaks.

The core of our faith

Chief Apostle Schneider went on to outline what this most holy faith actually is:

  • “We believe in God, the Creator. Nothing is impossible for Him. He can do anything He wants.”
  • “We believe in Jesus Christ, in His death, resurrection, ascension, and return. He has revealed to us: God is love. He wants all human beings to be saved.”
  • “We believe in the Holy Spirit. God works on earth today through the Holy Spirit. We cannot see Him, but we can perceive His activity.”
  • “We believe in eternal life, in the salvation that God will give: eternal fellowship with God.” Those who wish can already obtain this at the return of Christ, all others in the kingdom of peace.
  • “The church of Christ, the sacraments, and the Apostles sent by Jesus are necessary for salvation.”

“Do you notice something?” the Chief Apostle asked: “Nothing has changed in the last few decades.”

The elements of decision

“Let us build our lives on this foundation,” the Chief Apostle appealed. Allow these five elements to determine our decisions in everyday life, he recommended:

  • “I think like this, most people say that. But what Jesus Christ says is more important to me than anything else. The word of God should decide my life.”
  • “No matter what happens, I trust in God’s omnipotence and God’s love.”
  • “I strive first for eternal life, for my personal fellowship with God—in heaven forever, but also today.”
  • “I want to keep the dual commandment of love: love for God and love for my neighbour. What I do, I do out of love and gratitude and not based on calculation.”
  • “Above all, the Church is there for our salvation. Everything else is secondary. And if there is something amiss in these secondary matters, then this should not prevent me from going to church.”

“This is our faith, and this is what we want to hold on to,” the Chief Apostle said in conclusion. “Let us focus on the basic elements of our faith!”

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