29 November 2023

Jesus turned things upside down. And this message must be passed on and shared with everyone. Because we do not talk about the end of the world, but about a marvellous future. This message is not just for preachers.

They are among the most popular Bible verses of all. And that was the focus of a divine service for ministers on 26 November 2023, which was broadcast throughout Europe. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19–20).

Making disciples

“The mission of the Apostles is to invite people to become disciples,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider emphasised.

WWhat is a disciple? “In the epistles of John it says that disciples live and behave like the Master because they want to become like the Master in heaven. This is a true disciple.”

And who can become a disciple? “This has nothing to do with human characteristics, human origin, or our cultural background,” the Chief Apostle said. “We have been sent to call all people of all nations to follow the Lord. We must be aware that in doing so disciples are called by Jesus and not by human beings, or by the Apostles.”

Teaching the commandments of Jesus

The Lord also said, “Teach them to observe.” The Chief Apostle asked, “Observe what?” and gave the answer: “The teaching of Jesus is quite simply a reversal of values. This is not something that goes down well in our world.”

The Chief Apostle gave the following examples.

  • Jesus taught: you must believe. That does not fit into our world, definitely not. Today you have to explain and prove everything.
  • Your relationship with God must be more important to you than anything else. This is out of place in our world, where all that people talk about is self-realisation.
  • Jesus exhorted: “Do not judge your neighbour.” Just think of social media, where people are constantly judging others.
  • He washed the feet of His disciples. That was slave labour. That means that any work done in the work of God should and must be rendered as a service. Do it for the good Lord, but not for your own honour and publicity.

Observing the commandments of Jesus

“Observing the commandments does not just mean doing them. You must also adhere to them even if it is and becomes difficult,” the Chief Apostle emphasised. “We love our neighbour, even if he or she does not conform to God’s law, even if people love neither God nor their neighbour, even if they do not love us but reject us. We continue to love them and work for their salvation.”

His exhortation: “Let us make sure that in the future, at least in our congregation, there is still a place where everyone can come and feel accepted, respected, and loved in this crazy world.”

Jesus is with His own

“Jesus is with us as the Father was with His Son,” the Chief Apostle said. “He did not spare Him from suffering, but He saw to it that Jesus Christ was able to accomplish His mission.”

And with respect to today Christ tells us: “I will not spare you everything, but don’t worry, I will use My almighty power to ensure that the mission is accomplished, that the first resurrection can take place, and that the bride is prepared.”

To the end of the age

Jesus’ reference to the end of the age in our Bible text is a reference to the dominion of evil. His promise therefore indicates: “I will be with you as long as you have to live under the dominion of evil. But I will come back and deliver you from it.”

“In the New Apostolic Church we do not preach the end of the world. We preach the new world, where everything will be as God wants it to be. Let us raise our voices and say: the best is yet to come.”