Seeing what makes the invisible visible

It grows in secret, but it’s growing… the new life in and from Jesus Christ. For it to be able to thrive the believer needs the proper focus. Here are some pointers from a recent service by the Chief Apostle.

His opponents saw Him die. The disciples, however, saw the Risen One: “He appeared only to those who believed in Him already before His death. The others had to come to believe through the testimony of those whom Jesus had sent. This shows us how closely Jesus’ resurrection and faith are linked.”

This is how Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider began the divine service in Baden-Wettingen in Switzerland on 4 April 2021. He based his sermon on Colossians 3: 1–2: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

The Chief Apostle highlighted three links between faith and the resurrection.

  • “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus gives us strength. We are very confident that no one can prevent us from coming to God.”
  • “Through the rebirth out of water and Spirit, the believer receives the resurrection life. This life allows us to enter into glory.”
  • Those who believe in the resurrection seek the intimate connection with the Risen One. They do not only look around to see what is happening on earth or see to themselves or look at the things that are visible—they always seek the things which are above and see Jesus Christ.”

And this is where believers see a multifaceted Jesus Christ.

  • „Let us always look up and remember that the victor is sitting there; He has overcome evil; evil will come to an end.”
  • “Jesus is the living one. He is not dead, He is risen. When I unite myself with Him, then I notice that He shares in my suffering.”
  • “He was the first human being with a resurrection body who entered heaven. The firstborn among many means: He opened the way for us.”

“Seek those things which are above” means that we should concentrate on the essentials, the Chief Apostle said, citing some examples.

  • When we look at our own lives we do not really notice the resurrection life. We are just like any other people. Faith, however, gives life a new quality. “I can have peace, I have the strength to love, I have the strength to remain faithful. I have comfort, courage, and I have the future.”
  • This holy and perfect church of Christ exists. We can only make it out vaguely, but it is there. In the visible church, the organisation led by people, there are errors and irregularities. But there is also the invisible church, where there are believing souls, where there is love, where people are able to forgive and reconcile and are able to bring about unity.

„The Chief Apostle also mentioned several aspects concerning the “things above”, our goal.

  • The place is prepared. God did that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through His resurrection, and by sending the Holy Spirit. All we have to do now is get there. Otherwise, everything is ready, the place exists.
  • Perfection in Jesus Christ is something we obviously do not have. For the time being, all we see are our weaknesses. But let’s not be discouraged but continue to work on our perfection. The Lord Jesus will take the final step for us. He will grant us His grace.”
  • The fellowship of the congregation of Jesus Christ exists. It is far from perfect and every now and then there are setbacks. Let us continue with our work also in this respect. We strive to love one another, to become one, to forgive and reconcile in order to make the fellowship more and more beautiful.”

“We have had an encounter with the Risen One through the rebirth out of water and Spirit. He gave us His life and by doing so He gave us a mission.” And this mission is: “There, you have experienced me, now go and tell others about it.”

“This is not about writing books. This is about our everyday lives,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. “People are to notice this hidden life, this confidence that evil will not triumph. The Lord Jesus gives me strength; even if the burden is heavy I can still love. I know the victor: Jesus Christ lives, He is the firstborn. I know where the road is leading.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service