With love, no matter what

A determined effort to do good. This is how the believer demonstrates how important the proximity of God is for him. And what is “good”? Learn to love as God loves. Here are some thoughts from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

Already during His time on earth Jesus Christ saw the suffering of the people. And He still sees man’s suffering. “He sees the many souls who are weary, exhausted, and scattered like sheep without a shepherd; they are helpless and defenseless,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said on 29 October 2017 in Dublin (Ireland). “Jesus is aware of this and wants to save them: He is working on their salvation.”

God’s plan is for all human beings to have eternal fellowship with Him in the new creation. Is that a nice dream, a promise so that people forget their suffering for a moment, the Chief Apostle asked. “No,” he said. “This is none other than God speaking,” and went on to refer to the Bible text from Revelation 21: 6–7: “And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”

And He said to me, ‘It is done!’ “God is not bound by time. For God everything is present,” the Chief Apostle said. “His word has already been fulfilled, but we cannot see it yet because we are bound by time.”

I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. This is an image for the Holy Spirit, the Chief Apostle said. He is preparing us for eternal fellowship with God: through the word of God, through the baptism with water and the Spirit, and through Holy Communion.

I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. It is free. It cannot be bought or earned, the Chief Apostle said. Everybody can have it; it is a gift of grace. But there must be a desire for it. God will of course never force anyone. Human beings have to make a conscious decision: “I want to be saved, yes, I believe!”

He who overcomes shall inherit all things. – “A simple yes without a strong desire is not enough,” the Chief Apostle said. Our will, our determination, must be manifested in the endeavour to overcome everything that separates us from God:

  • our concerns: “Of course we have to earn our livelihood. But let us not forget that our priority is to be with the Lord.”
  • our sins: “If there is a strong desire to be with Jesus then it is not a problem for us to overcome sin.”
  • pride: “Because we have the strong desire to have fellowship with God we forgive our neighbour. That means that we want our neighbour to receive the same we will receive: the gift of grace.”
  • suffering: “Even if we have to go through hardship and suffering we will remain faithful, because our wish to be with Jesus is stronger than anything else.”

And I will be his God and he shall be My son. This is an image for the fellowship with God, the Chief Apostle explained. Jesus wants to save all souls here and in the beyond. He has called us to be His witnesses and to help Him with this task.

And how can we help Jesus? By showing souls the way. That is our task: to draw their attention to the source and to encourage them to go and drink from it. The Chief Apostle went on to say that this will not work if we try to convince people with arguments: “But through own determination and by overcoming we can prove just how important eternal life is for us.”

And that means, the Chief Apostle said, “No matter what happens, we want to love God. No matter what happens, we want to love our neighbour. We must learn to love as He loves.”

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Andreas Rother
Ireland, Chief Apostle, Divine service