Knowledge that strengthens

The more the better: recognising divine gifts gives strength and comfort. This is a thought that fascinates the Chief Apostle. Here are some thoughts from a divine service on the richness of grace in Christ.

The Chief Apostle paid a surprise visit to the congregation in Strass in the south of Germany on 16 June 2019. He based his sermon on 2 Timothy 2: 1: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

“The Holy Spirit wants to comfort and strengthen us. How does He do that?” the Chief Apostle asked right at the beginning of the divine service. His answer: by allowing people to recognise the richness of divine grace. “This is a thought that fascinates me every time: being strengthened by becoming more and more aware of grace.”

The power of being close to God

“The first grace is a gift of God which He gave to mankind.” He gave man, and only man, the ability to speak and to reason, and the ability to love. That can only mean one thing: “God has given man the ability to establish a relationship with God: to speak with God, to understand Him, and to have fellowship with Him.”

Those who are aware of this already have a special strength. “They can overcome many things because they know that earthly things are not the only things that exist. Material things are not the most important thing. This seems quite obvious, but how many people have not forgotten about this?

Trust in the Redeemer

“God’s grace was revealed in a perfect way in Jesus Christ, the Chief Apostle said. “The Son of God came to earth, died for us, and redeemed us through His sacrifice. We can share in His merit.”

“If we internalise this grace and occupy ourselves with it, then we have a special strength within us,” the Chief Apostle pointed out. “Then I have full confidence in Him. How can I not trust someone who died for me?”

The power of divine life

The Lord Jesus went even further, the Chief Apostle said. He gave us His life, divine life through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a very special kind of grace: the life of Jesus Christ lives within me.”

If we are aware of this power, the Chief Apostle said, we know: we can do it with Christ. I can carry this burden, I can overcome evil, I can remain faithful until the end.

Forgiveness of sins and gifts of grace

“What would we be without the forgiveness of sins?” the Chief Apostle asked. “It is a strength to know that God does not give up on me. He keeps giving me the opportunity to start over.”

Every human being has received gifts of grace. The one has received the gift of prayer, another one is able to comfort, and a third one can offer help in a concrete way. “That is what makes us strong. Everybody can do something for their neighbour.”

A future without cares

“When we think about the future we worry sometimes,” the Chief Apostle said. For example, our completion and perfection: “I am still so far away from it. It doesn’t look anything like perfection.” However, the Chief Apostle said, “When the Lord returns, He will grant His grace to all: to all those who had a true yearning for fellowship with God right to the end.”

Even the apparent victories of the evil one should not discourage us, Chief Apostle Schneider urged the congregation. “Sin will never be so big that God cannot help us. He will continue to offer us His salvation right until the end. The grace of Jesus Christ will remain strong until the end.”

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Andreas Rother
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service