Giving up what is harmful

Staying away from things that are unhealthy and tucking in when it is good for us … What has been proven to work in daily life also seems to make sense spiritually. Here are some thoughts from Chief Apostle Schneider on the topic.

On Sunday, 22 November, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted a divine service in Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg. The service was transmitted throughout Luxembourg and Belgium. The members in France, where churches are currently closed on account of the pandemic, were able to join the service online.

The Chief Apostle based his sermon on 1 Peter 2: 2–3: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

The authorship of the epistle is disputed, the Chief Apostle explained by way of introduction. What is undisputed, however, is that the epistle was addressed to a Christian church that was already undergoing persecution: Christians were considered to be unfaithful subjects by the Roman authorities and were persecuted. The epistle was supposed to comfort and strengthen the church and guide them in the things that were essential.

God gives spiritual life

Christians carry new and eternal life within them. This is confirmed by the author of the epistle and this is what believers today are told as well: “We too have received this eternal life. And now we are being advised to preserve and nourish this eternal life.”

Believers stay away from what is harmful

The Chief Apostle said that if we want eternal life to exist and for it to take over in us, we must nourish it and reject all food that could harm it. That means: “Let us always ask ourselves the question: if I follow this thought, will it bring me closer to Jesus or will it take me away from Him?” Previously, the Chief Apostle had explained that believers should not heed everything they hear and should not repeat everything they see or read on TV, the Internet, or in newspapers. Not everything is necessarily true and correct only because it has been published or because half a million people say that it is true.

Believers are eager for things that do them good

The gospel of Jesus Christ nourishes eternal life. And with reference to the pure milk in the Bible text, Chief Apostle Schneider explained: “This milk must be pure. It must not be mixed with something else.” The gospel must always remain our reference point, adding that the following still applies: “We certainly respect everyone’s right to think what they want. In order to be saved, however, we must believe in Jesus Christ. This is essential and we will not accept that this doctrine is watered down.” He said that this includes the thought that God in His love will save all human beings in the end. “We do not believe in this. The path laid down by Jesus is the path of repentance.” And that means: “If there is no repentance, if a person does not regret his sins or does not recognise and acknowledge Jesus, if he does not turn to Jesus, he cannot have grace and will come under God’s judgement.”

God is good

God sustains the spiritual life, the Chief Apostle continued.

  • God does not enslave us, but delivers us from evil. “The only thing that God wants is the salvation of my soul. He wants me to be safe.”
  • God gives us comfort, strength, and peace: “Each one of us can tell at least one experience where the word of God did them good. This is not something that we have heard from someone, it is something we have experienced ourselves. And that is why we want to hear this word of God because we know from experience that it does us good.”
  • God shows us the right way: “God’s word assures us that we are safe. This word will still be valid even if the whole world collapses.”

Believers want to grow in Christ

The Chief Apostle said that when we look at things from the perspective of the gospel, we will recognise that there are still shortcomings. “We want to receive the word of God, accept His teaching, because we want to grow,” he added.

  • Let us resist temptation. “I must become even stronger to resist evil.”
  • We want to become like Jesus Christ. “Because we have set ourselves the goal of wanting to become more and more like Jesus, we must grow. That is why we need to accept the word of God.”
  • We would like to contribute to our neighbour’s salvation. “There are so many people who are lost because they have lost God.” It is our Christian mission to show them the way to salvation.

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Oliver Rütten
Luxembourg, Chief Apostle, Divine service