A mission from God: well equipped and well trained

An entire divine service in one sentence. “You have been chosen, ordained, commissioned, and authorised to preach the gospel: out of love for God and mankind.” What this involves and why it applies to every believer …

From Isaiah to Jesus Christ, from Apostles to Deacons. This was the spectrum covered by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in a divine service for ministers on 6 October 2018 in Setúbal (Portugal). He based his sermon on Isaiah 61: 1: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

God called the prophet, commissioned him, and gave him the authority to proclaim His word. He told him look out especially for the poor and the needy, the Chief Apostle said. Jesus used this Bible text to refer to Himself when He preached in Nazareth (Luke 4: 18–21). Jesus also felt special compassion for the rejected and the despised. And Jesus served with authority. “Anyone who accepted His word was able to experience: in this word lies the full power of God!”

The mission of the ministers

“Jesus Christ returned to the Father and handed this mission and the powers over to the Apostles,” the Chief Apostle said and went on to list some of the tasks.

  • Proclaiming salvation: “When we talk about the authority of God we are referring to the preaching of the gospel, the words of Jesus Christ, the death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ and everything that is connected with it. Those who believe in it receive blessing and salvation.”
  • Comforting the poor and the wretched: “Sometimes I get the impression that today’s poor suffer even more than those in the past, because they are constantly being confronted with the wealth of the others.”
  • Including the rejected and the condemned: “God loves the greatest sinner just as much as He loves the holiest person. He does not distinguish between them.”
  • Reminding the successful: “Fame, success, and money do not buy you happiness. But if you have fellowship with God, life becomes meaningful and you have peace in your heart.”
  • Encouraging the congregations: “Because in spite of having found salvation, the children of God still suffer under the activity and power of the evil one.”

“You have been ordained as a Deacon or as a priestly minister,” the Chief Apostle said to the ministers. “At your ordination you received a share of the mission and authority of the Apostle ministry.”

Accomplishing the mission

“You are not merely a volunteer in the New Apostolic Church,” he said and went on to clarify: “When you proclaim the gospel—from the altar or when making a pastoral visit—you have the power of God behind you. Anyone who believes in this word will experience blessing and salvation. That is the most important aspect of a ministry.”

And this is how the mission can be accomplished.

  • “Where do we find the motivation for our work? We get it out of our love for Jesus Christ. You did not receive your commission from your rector or your District Apostle. No, from Jesus Christ!”
  • “You can help by inspiring the world with hope. There is a place where there will be no more evil: the kingdom of God. You have the possibility to enter it.”
  • “Model your life on the commandments of Jesus Christ, and you will be a blessing for yourself as well as for your neighbour. This is the gospel we are to proclaim through word and deed.”
  • “Let us be close to the brothers and sisters so that they can feel the love of God through us.”
  • “The success of your work will only be revealed on the day of the Lord. Please, don’t stop proclaiming the gospel.

Always on standby

Whenever the brothers and sisters need us, we must be ready to impart the gospel to them, not our own opinion or a piece of good advice, but the word of God. This can be compared to firefighters, the Chief Apostle said. “When there is an alarm, they have to be there, ready to go, well equipped and well trained.”

“You have been chosen, ordained, commissioned, and authorised to preach the gospel: out of love for God and mankind,” the Chief Apostle said in conclusion. “Keep it up!”

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