Filled with the gospel
It is important and good to believe in it, but the Christian message of salvation should also inspire and excite us. What this does to the individual believer and how the people around us perceive this, is what the Chief Apostle focused on in his sermon in Angola.
Three divine services in four days, plus a concert. To conclude his trip to Angola in January 2019, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted a divine service in Benguela, on the Atlantic, on 13 January 2019. He based his sermon on Colossians 3: 16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
The word of Christ is, first and foremost, the preaching of the gospel, the Chief Apostle said. This includes the incarnation of Jesus, His sacrifice, His resurrection, and His promise: “I will come again and receive you to Myself.”
The good news of the gospel fills our lives
The Chief Apostle said that the word of Christ must live within us. It is not just a question of us saying, “Yes, I believe in it. I am convinced that this is the truth.” Rather, it must inspire and motivate us, he said. And it generates enthusiasm and excitement. “Enthusiasm means being passionate about God: ‘God lives in me, and I am enthusiastic about Him!’” And this knowledge is driving force, energy, and joy.
We are determined to follow the teaching of Jesus as a whole
The teaching of Jesus also includes the commandments. They are not to be a law that comes from outside, in the sense of: “Watch it, if you don’t do this or that!” the Chief Apostle continued. If this were the case, then we would obey Christ’s commandments merely out of fear of being punished. There are many Christians who understand God’s commandments in this way, and that is sad, he added. “The commandments of Christ live in us, and we keep them out of love for God. And because we love God we obey His commandments and do His will.”
Our common vocation helps us to overcome our differences
“The most important thing for us is that our neighbour has also been called by God. God loves him just as much as He loves us. That helps us to bridge any differences. The important thing is not what my neighbour is like, but that God has called him and loves him.” And referring to the absolution in the divine service, the Chief Apostle said: “How can I still accuse or blame my brother at the end of a divine service if God has forgiven him?! I must say that sometimes we do lack respect for God here.”
The gospel determines the content of our conversations
“People always want to talk about what they think, what they have done, and what they are doing. And yet it’s so unimportant. Let’s talk about what God has done and is doing. It would be great if in our conversations we were to speak more about what God has done than what we have done, if we were to speak more about God’s thoughts than about our opinions.” And with reference to the Golden Rule the Chief Apostle added: “God expects us to comfort and strengthen one another, and to support one another with the word of God. He even says that we should teach and admonish one another, and at the same time adds ‘in all wisdom’. Because none of us likes it when someone comes and lectures us or preaches down on us. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is how we can teach in all wisdom.”
Let us share the word of God with our children and the people around us
The wealth of God is so great that we can share it with other people without impoverishing ourselves. If the word of God dwells among us in abundance, let’s share it with others. The Chief Apostle referred to Matthew 12: 34: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” This is a direct allusion to the conversations of the members in the congregation and the conversations with our children. “Remember, what we harbour in our hearts is our treasure.” We feel a need to share our treasure with our fellow human beings and let them know that God became Man and that He will return.”