Not one step without Christ

Whatever 2021 will bring, God will not be stopped in carrying out His plan of redemption for humankind. In the process, every human being has a companion from start to finish: Jesus Christ. From the divine service introducing our annual motto.

“Christ, our future” is the motto that the New Apostolic Church has issued for this year. And what it all involves Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained on 3 January 2021 in a divine service in Winterthur in Switzerland. He based his sermon on Hebrews 12: 1, 2: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

The endurance race into the future

God’s plan: “There are many questions as to what the coming year has in store for us.” One thing is certain: “The Lord’s agenda is unchanged. He will continue with it. It started after man’s fall into sin and will end in the new creation. Then there will be pace, joy, jubilation, and great delight because everything will once again be as God desires it to be.”

Our plan of action: “The next event in God’s plan of salvation is the return of Jesus Christ. We believe in this and want to prepare ourselves for it.” And how do we do that? “We want to become as God would like us to be. Our example for this is Jesus Christ.”

The race: In the Bible, this preparation is often described using the image of a competition, a race. “The Holy Spirit wants to show with this that the preparation for the return of Christ is not a walk in the park. It requires effort and strength. To win, you have to endure to the end. Those who stop before will lose.”

The rules: “The rules are not made by us, but by God. They are defined by Jesus Christ.” That means: “You have to orientate yourself by the teaching of the Apostles; they proclaim the gospel.” Another rule is: “You can only be saved within the fellowship of believers. A loner cannot reach the goal.”

The strength that keeps us going

The author of our faith: “In order to draw strength and come away with the victory we must always look up to Jesus. He did not make a mistake when He called us. He knew: you can do it if you want to.”

The keeper of our faith: “The drawing power of His love will help us in this! This is the greatest thing! This is our motivation.”

The finisher of our faith: “If we only think about the things we accomplish, earn, and sacrifice, we will never manage this. When we enter into His kingdom, it will be thanks to His grace.”

The people of the future

The future in the present: “The choice we have made for the future, namely Jesus Christ, also defines our present. Let us already today do His will and act in accordance with His example. He was a man of love. He forgave. He helped others. He shared.”

The future on earth: “I don’t know when the Lord will return, therefore we also plan for our future here on earth. Even in these plans we involve Jesus. Whether it is in our job, in our life as a couple, or the upbringing of our children, we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

The future of our children: “This applies to our future, but also the future of our children. We cannot credibly convince our children to believe that Christ is their future, if they do not feel, notice, and experience that Christ is the future of their parents.”

The future of my neighbour: “It is our mission to make it possible for others to experience the love of God. They must know that God loves them. And they will only be able to discover this through us. Christ is also the future of my neighbour.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service, motto