THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
PUTTING TO DEATH WHAT IS EARTHLY
September 13, 2017
As part of and a key to being destined for greatness,
we are called to be holy. To be holy is to be set apart, to
be not of this world. This is the call to all who profess
to be Christian. “If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand
of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”
the mind of what is above and the mind of what is on earth
are totally different and opposed. This is about the Spirit
and the flesh. The Kingdom of God overturns the values of
the world. Consider:
The world looks to wealth and power. Jesus says, “Blessed
are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”
The world looks to physical and material satisfaction, gorging
on food and the world’s goods. Jesus says, “Blessed
are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.”
The world looks to enjoyment and pleasure and what they
think will make them happy. Jesus says, “Blessed are
you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.” (Lk
Now the blessing is not poverty, hunger and sadness. As ends,
these are contrary to God’s will for His children. But
the blessing, for those who are poor, hungry and sad, is what
God will do for them. Not what the world offers them. It will
always be the choice between God and mammon. So what is one
to do? “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are
earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the
greed that is idolatry.” (Col 3:5). These are all the
opposite of holiness. What is the consequence? “Because
of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.”
consider that being destined for greatness
is about our relationship to God, to brethren, and to the
world (see schema in Part 1 of this series). So we also look
to our relationship with the brethren in the body that God
has established. Here too we are to look to values of the
Kingdom in our relationships. With regard to our earthly inclinations,
“now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice,
slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying
to one another” (Col 3:8-9a). See how these wrong actions
hurt our relationships and weaken the body?
these are about holiness, being set apart, being transformed.
We must stop and put away wrong things “since you have
taken off the old self with its practices and have put on
the new self” (Col 3:9b-10a). Only in this way can we
be destined for greatness. This is as we
are “being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its
creator.” (Col 3:10b).
Now we look to our relationship with the world. A holy people
will be used by God to be His instruments in the world, to
be His prophetic voice. God’s people are to speak about
what is right and wrong, and are to preach the gospel of salvation
in Jesus. When we do so, we will be opposed and oppressed.
But this too will be how we are destined for greatness.
For the very same thing was done to our Lord Jesus Christ.
so Jesus teaches us, “Blessed are you when people hate
you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your
name as evil on account of the Son of Man.” Imagine
the world calling good as evil! Jesus was accused not only
of being out of his mind but of doing the work of the devil.
If we share the lot of Jesus, then we will suffer but we will
be destined for greatness. “Rejoice and leap for joy
on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.”
(Lk 6:23). Great reward for those destined for greatness.
Jesus is priest, king and prophet. We too are called to participate
in the ministry of Jesus in these three ways. Jesus died to
give us new life. We in turn put to death our old selves in
order that we might be renewed in Christ. “For you have
died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ
your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.”
too will appear with Jesus in glory! You are destined