This is God’s plan for His own: “Serving and reigning with Christ”. It is also the motto issued by the New Apostolic Church for 2023. In his New Year’s address, the Chief Apostle explains just how little this has to do with exercising power or ruling over others. (Video with Japanese caption)
Dear brothers and sisters,
A new year is a gift. No matter what the coming months hold in store for us, we can be sure: God is still at work. He will continue to work on drawing us to Himself through His love, to lead us into His fellowship, into eternal glory.
A central component of His plan of redemption is the kingdom of peace. This is when the participants in the first resurrection “shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”. This is what we read in Revelation 20: 6.
We want to be together with Christ as soon as possible and work alongside Him. We are preparing ourselves for this already today. And that is why our annual motto for 2023 is: Serving and reigning with Christ.
To understand the motto correctly, let us take a closer look at the kingdom of peace:
Serving: This is the actual purpose for the “priests of God and of Christ”. Their service consists of worshipping, praising, and glorifying God, but also of preaching the gospel and leading people to God.
With Christ: We are not only to serve alongside Him, but to work on His behalf. Today we are still trying to become more and more like Jesus. But His priests in the kingdom of peace will be so permeated with His essence that they will literally embody His love and mercy. They will also be endowed with the authority of Christ. For this reason, nothing and no one can prevent them from accomplishing their mission.
Reigning: This has nothing to do with worldly rule. The point is to embody the love of Christ with every fibre of our being. Those who succeed in this endeavour will help the love of Jesus to prevail. And they make the kingdom of God visible, just as Jesus did. His rule has nothing to do with compulsion or pressure, but is solely defined by the drawing power of love. Ruling without exercising power… We are back to serving.
Serving and reigning with Christ: We not only want to begin with this in the kingdom of peace, but already do so today. And that is why this task is on our training programme for 2023.
Serving: How can we do this today? On the one hand, by leaving our day-to-day lives behind to come to church. This is where we worship God and praise and glorify Him in the fellowship of believers. On the other hand, we do so by putting the gospel of Christ into practice in our daily lives. Our service to others is to love them as Jesus loves them.
We have also been called to rule today. This does not mean that we try to somehow exercise power over our neighbour. Certainly not! Rather, the point is to rule over our own thoughts and actions.
We can master this with Christ, with His help, and by following His example. Here are some examples:
- His love does not divide, but unites.
- His grace picks us up when we fall.
- His wisdom helps us to learn from our mistakes.
The best way to remain in control of our own destiny is to let Christ reign in our hearts. May this idea guide us—particularly throughout this year.
These are just some initial thoughts on our annual motto. But the year is still young. And if the Lord does not come first, we will still have the opportunity to experience many more divine services. I look forward to discovering the additional aspects that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us.
Together with all the Apostles, I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a blessed and fulfilling year 2023!
Author: Andreas Rother, Kevin Sargant