New Apostolic Church USA

Jesus: our "Ruler"

Part 1 of 4

"Growth" from the Summer 2014 VISION Newsletter

 

The growth in disciples:

Often we define growth in terms of numbers. It is easy to define by counting the number of members, ministers, congregations and offering. Jesus gave the Church, through the first apostles the great commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing 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… (Matthew 28:19-20).

Here we see growth defined as new disciples of Jesus and this is an important measurement of the Church as an institution.

The growth in discipleship:

But interwoven within this commission is a more subtle measurement of growth. How do we measure discipleship? This is a measure of the inner struggle to grow in the nature of Christ. It is interesting to see that Jesus defined how we should grow as well as how we should measure our growth quite precisely: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39) At the Last Supper, shortly before His death and resurrection, He provided further clarification: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, (this is the measurement)… By this all will know that you are My disciples… (John 13:34-35).

Our Chief Apostle recently elaborated on this further:

“It is not my intention to criticize or caricature the past, but rather to show the way we have come. There was a time when we used to say that the Lord will return when “the last soul” was sealed. To be worthy meant to be sealed, to remain faithful, and to overcome the world. Faithfulness essentially consisted of attending all the divine services and of bringing one’s offerings.

“Today we have a different understanding of the preparation of the bride. Now our concern is to fight against sin and “the old Adam”, to align our lives to the gospel, and to become like Jesus. As a result, the love of Christ has become the standard of perfection. The mission of the New Apostolic Church, as it is understood today, reflects this development. To begin with, this is a matter of reaching out to all human beings in order to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ and to dispense the sacraments. However, the Church is also to cultivate a warm fellowship in which everyone experiences the love of God and the joy of serving Him and others…”

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