Battling with the Holy Spirit against false promises
Appeasing, whitewashing, relativizing … The false prophets that Jeremiah had to deal with told the people only what they wanted to hear. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider saw an image in this for our time.
The congregation that had gathered at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tama City near Tokyo (Japan) on 29 May 2016 was small. At the beginning they heard the following words from the Bible: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29: 11).
A vivid image
The Chief Apostle first explained the biblical context. While the people of Israel were being besieged by the powerful Babylonians, Jeremiah had to deal with false prophets who told the people what they wanted to hear. They tried to make the people believe that the enemy did not pose a danger for them. Then they told the people that as long as they stayed in the temple nothing would happen to them. And finally, when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, the false prophets told the captives that their captivity would end quickly. Every time, God sent His prophet to tell them the truth.
“The story of the prophet Jeremiah is a nice image for us,” the Chief Apostle said. “As children of God, reborn out of water and Spirit, we are citizens of heaven. One could say we are captives in this world and are waiting to be delivered.” But instead of the prophet it is the Holy Spirit who now tells us God’s will.
“But not even the Holy Spirit will tell us everything,” the Chief Apostle said, citing the future and God’s plan of salvation as examples. “The task of the Holy Spirit consists in telling us what we need to know to be saved. That’s it! And actually that’s enough for us.”
Admonisher and guide
“The Holy Spirit also warns us of false prophets,” the Chief Apostle went on. He warns us
- not to downplay the dangers of sin: “Sin is serious. You can never be sure that you will get grace. You have to act according to the will of God, that’s your task.”
- not to think we are safe as long as we come to church, give our offering, and pray: “That is not enough. If you don’t change, if you don’t mend your ways, you will not be saved.”
- … not to neglect the commission given us by God: “God wants us to be a source of blessing for the people around us so that they can find Jesus Christ and discover His love and truth.”
The Holy Spirit also shows us the way to deliverance. “He shows us Jesus Christ and His love. And He tells us, ‘Look at Jesus and trust Him. You can trust Him.’” The Holy Spirit “tells us about the wonderful future God wants to give us: eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ.” And finally the Holy Spirit reinforces our hope and tells us, “Our hope is solid and well-founded because it is based on Jesus Christ—His word and His love.”
“Let us fight against sin,” Chief Apostle Schneider urged the congregation in conclusion. “We don’t just want to stay New Apostolic; we want to change! We are aware that we have a mission on earth. We are part of society and want to be a source of blessing for our neighbour.”