Jesus Christ is our friend

Life is full of change: there is a constant flux between doubts and cares and strong faith and joy. But there is one thing we can always count on, says Chief Apostle Schneider.

A Bible passage that Chief Apostle Schneider made a note of many years ago as a young Deacon and which he recently came across again by chance served as the basis for his sermon in Nürtingen (Germany) on 8 November 2020. He elaborated on our relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible text was Proverbs 17: 17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Jesus Christ is our friend

  • Jesus loves us and wants our best. “He always wants our best,” Chief Apostle Schneider said.
  • Jesus maintains fellowship with us. He invites us again and again: “Come to My house, come to the divine services. Come, let’s share a meal together. Come, I want you to dwell with Me in My kingdom forever.”
  • Jesus opens His heart to us. “Jesus told His disciples: ‘You are My friends. I will teach you everything I have learned from My Father. I will not hide anything from you.’”

And the love of Jesus is constant, the Chief Apostle said. “Jesus loves us even when we forget Him sometimes. And He continues to love us even when we leave Him. Nothing changes His love!”

We are friends of Jesus Christ

  • We love Jesus and do His will. “Jesus told us: ‘My friends are those who do the will of My Father or who do My will’” (Matthew 12: 50). Chief Apostle Schneider made clear: “We do His will and serve Him because we love Him, because He is our friend. That is our motivation.”
  • We seek fellowship with Jesus. “We want to be with Him in His house, in the fellowship of His disciples. We yearn to be with Him forever.”
  • We open our hearts to Him. “Jesus is our friend whom we can tell everything and whom we entrust everything to—especially in prayer.”

There is nothing worse than closing one’s heart out of anger or disappointment, the Chief Apostle said. “Tell Him everything, even if you want to criticise Him,” the Chief Apostle continued. “As long as you talk to Him, He can and will help you.”

We are brothers and sisters of Jesus

  • He shares our joy and sorrow. “If we are in distress let us never forget that we have a big brother who shares in our pain!”
  • He became man, like us, to save us. “Through His merit, His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus earned the glory.”
  • We have the same Father. “Through the rebirth out of water and Spirit we have received the life and nature of God and to this extent are brothers and sisters of the Lord.”
  • We are co-heirs with Christ. “Jesus received everything from His Father. And because we are His brothers and sisters, He shares it with us. He does not say: ‘Now let’s see how you are going to get at that.’ No, He shares His glory.”

The love of Jesus is characterised by consistency, Chief Apostle Schneider said: “We have a good friend, who will always love us. Nothing will change. Even if I were to do something stupid like leaving Him, He would still love me.”

His friends are our friends

  • Our fellowship is built on the love for Jesus Christ. “We are not together because we like each other. We are together because we are friends of Jesus Christ. And this love for Jesus Christ is what unites us.”
  • We help our brothers and sisters in need. “We are so grateful that our brothers and sisters are willing to make sacrifices so that we can support other District Churches who need help.”
  • As the governing body of the Church we support the District Churches. “I thank all donors, I thank the executive boards, the national assemblies, all who are involved so that they give their approval every time,” so that the governing body of the international Church can help those District Churches who are not financially independent.

Chief Apostle Schneider added, addressing those members who no longer attend the services: “We are serious about this. We love our brothers and sisters. We love one another. And when a brother or a sister has disappeared and no longer comes to church, it hurts us. We miss you.”

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Oliver Rütten
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service