God’s Calling for Believers
January 17, 2017
      Gods-Calling-for-Believers-Dennis-Lee

God’s Calling for Believers

After last week’s Sunday night message and again this morning, I think it’s important to lay out how we’re to go about fulfilling the third dimension, the dimension of commission. And how we do this is to know and walk in God’s will and calling. For our lives

Further, what I’m going to share with you is not new. I’ve taught this many times and in many ways and have written about it in my book, “From Here to There: A Journey to Spiritual Transformation.” But like the Apostle Paul I’m not tired of sharing it because it goes to the heart of our calling as Christians.

Paul said, “For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.” (Philippians 3:1 NKJV)

I believe that the Lord is crying out today the same as He cried out in the day of the prophet Isaiah saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” And Isaiah stepping up to the plate said,

Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV)

One of the main questions most people have is “What is God’s call upon my life.” “What has God called for me to do?” and “How will I know that it is God who is doing the calling?” In other words, how do we distinguish God’s voice over all the other voices that are vying for our attention?

Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do, but God rarely gives people information that direct and specific.

Further, the will of God is not mysterious, nor is it found in some formula or set of rules that we follow.

There is only one indispensable thing when it comes to God’s calling, and that is to fulfill His purpose according to His will. It’s to be what God wants us to be so that we can reach our God given potential, and God given destiny.

Our problem is that when we’re unsure of God’s call we start making up our own.

For years a middle-aged farmer desired to be a preacher. One day while planting his crop he looked up in the clouds and they looked as if they formed the letters “P” and “C.”

Immediately he took this as a sign from God telling him to Preach Christ. Soon afterwards he sold his farm and started a small church. The only problem was that he was horrible at it. After one particularly bad sermon his neighbor whispered in his ear, “Are you sure God wasn’t telling you to Plant Corn.”

God wants us to know His will. God’s will is meant to be discovered and understood, because God wants to keep us in the center of His will.

But if God wants us to know His will, why isn’t it laid out plainly? Well, when it comes to His revealed will it’s the specifics that are somewhat sketchy.

So what is God’s will and calling and how can we know it? The answer is found in those things God has definitely called all of us to, and then finding out how we fit in with the specifics.

God’s calling always begins and ends with God, and so the first thing is to Love God.

  1. To Love God

To Love God is actually at the heart of what it means to be a believer in Jesus Christ. It is the greatest of all God’s commandment, and therefore it’s the statement of faith for all Jews, known as the “Shema,” or hearing.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NKJV)

It was with this very law that a Jewish lawyer tested Jesus asking which law was the greatest, to which Jesus replied,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 NKJV)

Now if this is what God wants first and foremost, the question becomes, “How are we to go about doing it? How do we show it?” We can’t throw our arms around God and give him a great big hug and kiss on the cheek.

I think Jesus knew this, so He gave to us a second commandment as our way of showing God our love for Him. In other words, the Second Commandment is the First Commandment in action.

Jesus said,

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:39 NKJV)

The way we show God how much we love Him is to love those that God has placed in our path, those that He has placed within our sphere of influence.

And so God’s call upon our lives begins and ends with our loving Him with the whole of who we are, and then loving others in the same way He has loved us, and that is He gave His life for us.

The Apostle John said, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

The second aspect of God’s calling is our need…

  1. To Be Missionary

Whenever I bring up our need to be missionary people automatically think about the specific calling of being a missionary. It’s the same when I talk about being evangelistic. To be missionary is the same thing as being evangelistic, and it’s literally the calling of every Christian.

Jesus said,

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19a NKJV)

After his resurrection Jesus told his disciples “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)

The Father sent Jesus, and during His time on earth He bore witness of the Father in everything He said and did, and in the same way He is sending us to bear witness of His amazing saving grace in everything we say and do.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord we become children of God, and thus have tremendous joy of sharing with others what we have discovered. Whenever I go over to one of our children’s homes, all the grandchildren want to do is share the joy of their new discovery or toy with me.

The reason we find it difficult to share the good news is because we’ve become inward focused. It’s where we’re more interested in our own needs rather than at the needs of others.

But we also fear being ridiculed, ostracized, and persecuted. Now if losing friends and family is preventing us from being those witnesses, then let’s consider what Jesus said.

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12)

So the call of God on our lives is not only to love God, the Great Commandment, but also to be missionary and fulfill the Great Commission.

  1. To Worship God

Worship is an integral part of God’s calling.

Whenever I think of our worship of God, the story of a 10-year-old boy’s birthday party comes to mind. He invited his eight best friends over. They played football and basketball, and ate hot dogs and hamburgers and topped it off with a large birthday cake.

After opening his presents he took them the local high school basketball game. He envisioned them all sitting together eating popcorn and rooting for their team. But once he paid their admission price, they all scattered and sat with others leaving him all alone.

I believe this is how we treat God in our worship. We come to a worship service where God is the guest of honor. We give Him our routine gifts, sing a few songs, but totally neglect Him when it comes to living our lives, even though He paid our admission price. And the saddest part is that we’re totally unaware of it, believing we’ve fulfilled our religious obligation.

Worship is an Anglo-Saxon word better-pronounced “worthship,” which meant to give worth or reverence to something or someone. In both the Greek and Hebrew language it means to bow down in humility and submission.

To worship God is then to humble ourselves in complete submission to Him. It’s having the same attitude that John the Baptist had when he said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV)

Further, our worship of God is not an option; rather it’s a command. When Satan told Jesus that if He worshipped him all the kingdoms would be His, Jesus said,

“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Matthew 4:10 NKJV)

True worship is not just going to a Sunday morning worship service; rather it is a daily way of life. In other words, what begins in the House of Prayer, needs to end up in the Public Square.

  1. To Be Holy

God wants us to walk in His calling, but He’s not as interested in the calling as He is in our walk. God’s primary concern isn’t in the type of work we do, but rather in the type of worker we are. To be holy is all about Character over that of calling, and maturity before ministry.

The word holiness belongs to the same word grouping as sanctify and sanctification. It means to be separated and set apart for God, and implies living a life of service for God; conforming and becoming like the God in which we serve.

Therefore, to be holy is to be separate from sin and set apart for God.

Now, it doesn’t mean we have no sin, because within us the sin nature exists.

The Apostle Paul said,

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 NKJV)

Further, holiness is not an option; it’s a command just like all the others.

But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ (1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV)

Holiness doesn’t begin with a set of rules; rather it begins with the Lord. He is holy and calls us to be the same, that is, separate from sin.

Some Christians live their lives based upon cultural holiness, that is, they adopt their character and behavior to the culture around them.

But God hasn’t called us to be like others; rather He’s called us to be like Him. And so holiness is conforming to the character to God, who is holy, pure and separate from sin.

The holiness of God, and His command for us to be holy, should make us all sit up and take stock in our lives, praying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV).

  1. To Grow in Faith

God has designed all life to grow. To Adam and Eve He said, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28 NKJV).

From the moment we were conceived God designed us for growth. God designed us to grow physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually. But our spiritual growth doesn’t begin at conception like the others; rather it begins at conversion, that is, when we become born again. And that’s because prior to this we were dead in our trespasses and sin.

The Apostle Paul said,

Even when we were dead in trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:5 NKJV)

God is the primary agent for our spiritual growth. He is our source of life, but at the same time we have a responsibility as well. This dual aspect is seen in the Apostle Peter’s second letter.

First we see that God has given to us everything we are ever going to need to grow, both physically as seen in the word ‘life,’ and spiritually as seen in the word ‘godliness.’

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV)

And while God has given to us everything, including the faith to believe, we are told that we have to add to that faith so that we can live a bountiful and fruitful life.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:5-8 NKJV)

And while Jesus makes it clear that we can do nothing outside of Him (John 15:5), we need to commit ourselves to grow in both our conduct and character.

  1. To Serve God

Through the parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus taught about the coming judgment in the End Times. And the determining factor the Lord will use to separate the sheep from the goats, the good from the bad is our service to others, because in serving other we are serving God.

The Lord said,

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36 NIV)

And the people replied,

When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” (Matthew 25:38-39 NIV)

And the Lord said,

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV)

It is in our service to others that we serve God. Actually this is how God created us. You could say that it’s a part of our spiritual DNA.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

God designed all of us with a unique temperament, personality, characteristics, and capabilities. Each one of us is different and unique in order to fulfill God’s purpose while we are still alive.

But to work properly we need each other. We need to be a part of the body of Christ, that is, the church.

In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:5 NIV)

We need to be plugged into God who works within us His will and purpose to effect a godly change in the world around us.

Conclusion

God’s calling for our lives is to love Him, be missionary, worship Him, to be holy, to grow in our faith, and to serve God by serving others.

How God has uniquely designed us to fit within this overall picture is what we’ll be looking at next week. But for now, let’s get this part firmly established.

And so let the light of Jesus shine through your uniqueness so that God will be glorified.

Jesus said,

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV)









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