A Personal Checklist for All of Us Before Leaving Earth, Pt. 4
Study Guide, February 7, 2021
Pastor Clay Olsen
So, how many have or have owned a dog? What a great animal, right? Do you think that it’s a coincidence that ‘Dog’ and ‘Discipleship’ both start with the same letter? I think not! It’s almost like God gave us an animal example of how Disciples are supposed to be. We’ve talked a lot about ‘being’ in this series, as in ‘being’ the person God created you and me to be. I like that old saying: ‘Try to be the person your dog thinks you are.’ Yeah, your dog thinks that you’re pretty all around great.
But, really, so many dogs are just all about serving…serving others and helping others. Thank the Lord for dogs, right? And every indication in Scripture is that God’s creatures, our dogs, are part of the redemption that God intended to inhabit His world. So, like God’s redeemed children, His creatures will even be redeemed and inhabitants of the New Heavens and New Earth.
But what stands out about so many dogs is this ‘service’ characteristic about them. They seem to delight in service…in doing the will of their Master. Does that sound familiar? Let’s explore.
In this ‘Checklist’ series of what all people are to check out and check into before leaving Earth are some crucial things that are part of the ‘must be’ statements that God says we are to be all about as we live out our lives. Actually, there are about 200 ‘must be’ statements in the Scriptures. We are just focusing on five of them. But as we have pointed out; Our life is not to be a ‘self-guided’ tour! God did not create us just to have us wander around the Earth for years, just doing life according to our own ideas and plans and opinions and wishes and wants and so on. But the fact is that most people on Earth have no clue about the reason they exist or the purposes for which they exist or the plans that the One who caused them to exist has for them. And it also shows just how great is the need for the Great Commission.
For example, one basis question that people donnot even think about is: “Who has the authority to rule and direct your life?” What does the Great Commission say? Matt 28:18- “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” NASU Question: Does that leave anything or anyone out? Nope! So while most people think that they have the authority to rule and direct their life, Jesus says otherwise…meaning: Jesus Christ alone has the authority to rule and direct every life on planet Earth. And thus, every life on planet Earth that is not surrendered to Jesus’ rule and direction is living in rebellion against God. Which is basically, the Garden of Eden ‘sin of rebellion’ continued. Therefore, many are still living in rebellion against God’s Word and God’s Will. They are making Satan’s job so easy…to just let them continue to think that they are in charge of their life, and even more, just let them continue to think that they have a right to be in charge. And with this kind of thinking…there they are…stuck in the prison of sin and self-pride and self-will.
So that brings us back to the checklist. And, remember, our checklist is basically made up of some of those ‘must be’ charges of the Scriptures that we are to plug into our lives before leaving Earth. They are the ‘essentials’ that require our attention in order that we make sure that they are in place and are active in our daily lives. They are the key areas that the Scriptures point to as being the very things that not only affect our lives here on this Earth, but will continue to affect our lives when we leave Earth. That sounds pretty crucial, right? Yes, it is!
And, these key things we have studied thus far are: You ‘must be’ Born Again, as Jesus said no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven without being ‘Born Again’. Next, God says to His Born Again children – “You ‘must be’ Holy”, as in, we must be seeking to live holy moral lives, because our God is holy and He has commanded us to seek to be like our God. Then, the Scriptures state ‘You must be’ looking for and preparing for the Lord’s return (and that is why we unpacked that study in our last study time together about the Rapture of the Church). And so now we discover this ‘must be’ charge to us: Matt 20:25-28- “But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” NLT
What a readjustment Jesus gives them of the picture of what real life is all about! This instruction was a complete readjustment of their proper focus. They had turned their focus onto their positions…both in this world and in the coming Kingdom. And, of course, how great was it, really, to be one of ‘The Twelve’ that Jesus chose to begin building His Church. How special is that? You can understand why they would start thinking about what they would be doing next when Jesus established His coming Kingdom! But while they were preoccupied with their positions, Jesus injects into the picture a new proposition. He expands their understanding. He essentially tells them – ‘You are focusing on your positions, but I want you to focus on your purposes.’ And actually, what defined their purposes was what was going to determine their positions anyway. We’ll come back to that.
But Jesus informs them that the ones who are considered great in His kingdom are the ones who consider themselves as servants of the One who is the Greatest of all. So think about it: Jesus really rocked their boats and their brains when He said: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” What? And what a purpose statement for your life! For even the Son of Man – God incarnated upon the Earth – God in human form on the Earth that He created and was now living among the creatures that He created (who should have all been serving Him), but instead, He tells them that even God did not come to this Earth to be served, but to serve others! Again, how much did this purpose statement rock their world…how much did it change their thinking about what their purposes were also to be in this world? It changed everything!
Jesus revealed to them that this was the purpose statement for His own life. So think about it: We are His disciples. We are Jesus’ apprentices in how to live life and how to do life on planet Earth. So the natural question is: Do we not have the same purpose statement for our life that Jesus had for His life, apart from His unique ability to give His life as a ransom for our sin and grant us His salvation? It’s pretty clear that the Biblical answer to that is: Of course we do! In other words, Jesus gave them and gave us a new motto for living: “I have not come to be served, but to serve others, and to give my life as a servant to others.” What if hundreds and thousands and millions of Christians all across the Earth, had that motto as their purpose statement for their lives, and then lived their lives according to this daily purpose? What kind of an impact would that make…in our homes, in our churches, in our jobs and communities, in our country, in our world?
What if you brought that attitude into marriage, as in: “I did not come to this marriage to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a servant for you.”? What if you brought that attitude into your church, as in, “I did not join this church to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a servant for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.”? What if you brought that attitude into your job and community, as in, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a servant to my fellow employees and neighbors.”? What if those in government positions brought that attitude into politics, as in, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a servant to my fellow Americans.”? And what if you brought that attitude into your world, as in everywhere you travel, somehow and in someway, you showed other people of other tongues, and tribes, and nations this fact – “I did not come here to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a servant to my fellow human beings.” And all for why? Why would we have this attitude about our life everywhere we live and everywhere we go? Because even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for our soul! How can any saved, secured, born again follower of Jesus Christ do any less?
What an amazing transformation that would set into motion? And what drastic differences the world could then see between the normal nature of mankind and the new nature of followers of Jesus. Human nature is focused on positions and power and status and being served. But then comes the follower of Jesus Christ into the mix, and he or she is focused on their purpose and their privilege of serving Jesus and their security of belonging to Jesus and being called by Jesus to be a servant to others, just like Jesus had done. What a difference between the two!
This is one of the clearest answers to the question of: “What would Jesus do?” Wherever He was and whatever He was doing, Jesus would not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life for others. And that’s just what Jesus’ servants are called to do.
Do know what the greatest and most desired activity in Heaven will be? Serving the King. Serving God and getting to serve God in as many ways as possible is going to be the most fulfilling activity of Heaven. And Jesus wants to grant us the privileges of special service assignments in His coming Kingdom; these are part of the rewards God wants to give to His children. However, those privileges in Heaven are connected to our purposes on Earth. And we are to understand that to the degree that we fulfill our purposes in this world, to that degree we will be privileged to fill other positions in the new world. Remember, Salvation is a gift, but service assignments in the coming Kingdom are earned by our service offerings on Earth. That’s how important our ‘good works’ are in this life, and this shows again, what place ‘good works’ have in the Christian life. Good works are not the basis of our salvation for Heaven, but they are basis of our service privileges in the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s what Jesus’ parable of the Talents was about, and that’s what Paul’s instructions concerning rewards was about, and so on. Remember, serving God on Earth is training ground for serving God in Heaven.
And, although this ‘servant mindset’ is counter-intuitive to natural thinking, don’t worry, serving God in His way does not deplete you, it completes you. And we’ll have to flesh that out a bit more in our next study. But how inspiring and motivating it is to know that Jesus had the same purpose statement for His life that you and I are to have for our lives…not to be served, but to serve, and to give our lives for others. Make Jesus’ purpose statement be your own purpose statement day by day and watch how much it will make you more and more like Jesus.