COLOMBO THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
CHARGE TO THE GRADUATES 2003
From the President of the Council
What has happened today is a key step in your going to the church and the world as accredited servants of Christ. As ministers of the gospel you represent Christ as his ambassadors in this world. Many will form their opinion about God and the gospel by observing your life and hearing your words. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:17).
Therefore I charge you to make it your highest priority to be conformed to the image of [God’s] Son” (Rom. 8:29).
- May you be known as one who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Therefore “draw near to God [daily], and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8) and “Strive… for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
- May all you meet, especially those in your family and in the sphere of your ministry, be exposed to God’s holy-love through you.
- May you never seek to achieve your ends by breaking the laws of the land or the church
- May you never succumb to the culture of corruption that permeates our land. Therefore seek never to tell a lie, make a false promise or give a bribe to achieve some end.
- May you never succumb to the culture of violence that permeates our land. Therefore never seek revenge or the humiliation of those who hurt you; rather “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).
- May you never succumb to the culture of dishonour that permeates our land. Therefore seek never to break your promises to people or to betray their trust in you. Never use underhand methods to achieve your ends, and never try to climb in church or society by hurting others.
- May you never succumb to the culture of racial, class and caste sin that permeates our land. Therefore never treat anybody as inferior to you. Rather as a servant of Christ may you serve with utmost dedication all whom God gives to you whatever their status on earth.
- May your vision of the glory of God be such that you would recoil from all such unholy behaviour. They are below your dignity as an ambassador of the King of kings.
Just as your life shows people what Christ is like, I charge you to strive to make your ministry to exhibit to people the nature of God. As Paul said to Timothy about his ministry tasks “Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress” (1 Tim. 4:15).
- May people who are exposed to the events in your ministry realise that you have a great God because of the Spirit’s anointing in which you operate, the intensity of your preparation and the excellence of your programming.
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Therefore saturate yourself with Scripture through prolonged and daily exposure to it.
- May you know our world well, and the people who live in it and the techniques of ministering to them. With this knowledge you can communicate the message of Scripture with penetrating insight that will result in the transformation of many to the image of Christ. Towards this end be diligent in reading, in study, in observation and in personal ministry. Your studies at CTS are just the foundation for a lifetime of study.
- As all Christian ministry is done in the context of the Body of Christ may you be known as a faithful servant of the church.
- Finally, because of your ministry may many lost sheep find Christ and be gathered to the church. May you always be able to say like Paul, “…necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).
Your road will often be hard and lonely. You will be tempted to give up the ministry or the high principles of your high calling. But remember, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thes. 5:24).