Nearly a hundred thousand people took part in the divine service in Kinshasa, either directly or on television. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider addressed the current situation in the country and called on the members to overcome evil with good. Jesus leads by example.
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” This Bible passage from Revelation 3: 21 served as basis for a divine service by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in the central church in Kinshasa (DR Congo) on 16 July. “Here Jesus is telling the faithful that if they want to reign with Him in His kingdom, they must overcome as He overcame,” the Chief Apostle explained at the beginning of his sermon.
Fighting against the power of evil
First of all, Chief Apostle Schneider made clear what evil is. “It is not people who are evil,” he said. We don’t have to fight people and bad guys,” he explained. Rather, it is a power that we have to deal with and fight against. The Chief Apostle quoted Ephesians 6: 12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” And then he explained that evil is a spiritual power that wants to separate us from God. The means used are lies, greed, and violence. The results: “Every time people fall into evil and commit sins, the result is disorder in society. There is injustice and inequality. There is violence. There is hatred and division.”
Jesus was also confronted with evil: “Already then, evil had unfolded its whole range of devices,” the Chief Apostle said, citing a few examples.
- Terror: “Israel was under the rule of the Roman army and it was an extremely cruel and violent army.”
- Corruption: “They had set up a tax collection system that was totally corrupt.”
- Inequality: “Some people were very rich and many very poor.”
- Division: “Jewish society was divided between Jews and Samaritans or between the Pharisees and other scribes.”
Jesus set the example
“Jesus Himself experienced the effects of evil,” the Chief Apostle continued. “He was tried and sentenced to death even though He was innocent.” Jesus had enemies: the religious leaders, merchants in the temple, hypocrites, and many of those who were disappointed that Jesus had not delivered them from the yoke of the Romans.
“But Jesus did not fight against these people,” the Chief Apostle said. He went on to explain how the Son of God dealt with the evil that He was faced with.
- “He kept silent and trusted in God.”
- “He fought against the spirit of evil by believing in the words of His Father.”
- “He remained steadfast in His love for God.”
- “He remained steadfast in His love for His neighbour.”
Many of our brothers and sisters also suffer from evil today, the Chief Apostle said.
- “We have brothers and sisters who live in countries where there is war. Some of these wars have been going on for decades.”
- “We have many brothers and sisters who live in very unjust societies, who are poor, who have nothing at all.”
- “The internet is full of insults and outrageous things. The bigger the lie, the more people believe it. There is no respect for our fellow human beings.”
“My message today is that Jesus can understand you,” the Chief Apostle comforted the members. “He is near to you in your suffering. He understands you. He loves you, and He supports you.”
Overcoming evil with the help of Jesus
The Chief Apostle went on to say that Jesus challenges Christians to fight against evil like He did. “We want to be and remain true disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter what happens.” To this end, he had some advice for the brothers and sisters:
- “If we are insulted, if lies are told on the internet, in the social networks, then do as Jesus did and keep silent.” – “Don’t answer evil with evil. Don’t respond to insults with insults. Don’t answer slander with slander. Don’t respond to violence with violence.”
- “Let us keep the Ten Commandments.”
- “We keep the laws and regulations of the country.”
- “We respect our neighbour and we respect her or his freedom. The fact that people are leaving our Church should not prevent us from loving them,” he said with reference to the current situation in the country.
Jesus tells believers today: “With My help you can overcome evil with good. Behave like a true Christian, and then we will reign together.”