Responding to a Calling

March 2, 2016

 

Roman 9:15-18

15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 

Responding to a Calling

The Lord has called His own from the foundations of time.  He knows His own long before they ever know Him.  Why He has chosen some and not others only He knows.  Many of us have testimonies where we have seen the grace and calling of God upon our lives.  We have seen Him, in many cases, miraculously save us and draw us to Himself.  There are a people on the earth that have a calling and election upon their lives.  If God has given you a calling, having given you spiritual ears to hear and a heart to receive, how are you responding to your calling?  Do we believe because we have a calling that there is no responsibility on our part?  

2 Timothy 1:8-10 exhorts us, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  That holy calling upon our lives solicits a response on our part to not be ashamed of the gospel, but to join in the suffering it often brings with it.  Why would we want to suffer? If we are willing to suffer with Him we will also share His glory as Romans 8 tells us.  It is because we have seen that Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  We, His people, His called ones, echo that calling we have in Christ Jesus throughout the world so that as many as are called, the Lord might show forth His mercy and compassion upon them in the face of Jesus Christ.  

Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”  We, who are in Christ, share this common calling, because He placed a faith in us to respond to it, because we are the Lord’s house.  Verse 6 goes on to say, “But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”  “If” always brings a condition with it. In this case it is in our faithfulness and courage to continue in the hope in which we boast.  2 Peter 1:10-11 reinforces this by saying, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

 We will never understand in this life why God in His sovereignty decided to have mercy upon us, but He did.  May we never take that for granted because it was not something that we earned, but a grace that He gave.  He has placed within us a calling to conform us unto His glory and likeness.  We have a tremendous challenge before us.  Let us respond as Paul did in Philippians 3:12-15 when he says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”  It is our time to come into maturity by pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us.  We have received the mercy of God, now let us respond to that mercy in an obedient and faithful commitment to press into Him with all that He has placed within us.  Responding to His calling will bring you into your purpose for being.  To God be the glory for ever and ever.  Amen 

Blessings,

#kent

A Different Culture

January 8, 2014

Ephesians 4:17-19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 


A Different Culture



Do the principles of the kingdom of God make sense to those that are in the world?  Of course not, for 2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.”  The natural man and the spiritual man live under the dominion of two different kingdoms. One is the kingdom of light and truth and the other is the kingdom of sin and darkness.  When we came into Christ and received Him by faith into our hearts, the Word says that we were translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.  Colossians 1:13 says it this way, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.”  We were transplanted, transposed into a whole new realm while physically we didn’t change and our local we didn’t change; yet inwardly a transformation began to take place.  A life that is given by surrendering its will to its Creator and Redeemer is no longer a life lived for self, but instead it is lived to the One who redeemed it.  Sin hardens a person’s heart toward God. It robs a person of the ability to discern, understand and know the ways of God.  Just as hate blinds a person to love, so sin blinds a person’s eyes and heart to “The Truth”.  Because the natural man has become insensitive to spiritual things they are foolishness to him and as a result he becomes ignorant to the truth.  That ignorance and unbelief keeps him in a state of separation from God and in a place of the judgement that is already in place against all ungodliness and wickedness.  Some have deluded themselves by thinking that because they are a pretty good person and they do lots of charitable acts that God receives them because of that and they can earn their way to heaven.  The Word declares in Romans 3:23,  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Ephesians 2:1-9 tells us where we were and how we came back to God. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  It is because of this wonderful undeserved grace that has translated us out of darkness and into light, that we can no longer live as those who are still in darkness do.  We have changed our culture.  If I am truly a Christian how can I live contrary to my culture?  Just as a Muslim or a Buddhist can’t live as a Christian, because it is contrary to their beliefs, a Christian should no longer live as the world, which is contrary to his or her beliefs.  My being, culture and moral compass is now rooted in Christ.  He has made me His temple and dwelling place; to now live as the world, is a betrayal and defilement of His sanctuary and of the covenant I have entered into with Him.  A covenant is a life binding agreement and commitment unto death.   Christ sealed it in His own sinless blood.  How can we then live as the world when He has given His life to take us out of it and into His righteousness?  How can we adulterate any longer His holy covenant with actions that are conformed to this world?  We, who are in Christ, are a holy people set apart for God’s own possession.  We must realize who we are, what we were called for and what our responsibility is to the holy calling and salvation we have graciously received.  Obedience is to honor Him you proclaim as Lord.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Fullness

November 25, 2013

Fullness

Ephesians 1:22-23
And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Some of us are pessimist and some of us optimist. Some of us see the glass half-empty and others see it half full. Many see what they can’t do while a few see what they can do. I would probably tend to categorize myself more on the pessimist side. I believe one of the reasons for this is that we see things often through the eyes of our perceived abilities and capabilities. While we don’t wish to be pessimistic, we see ourselves as more pragmatic and practical. While that may be of some advantage in the natural world as we move into the spiritual dimension of God’s calling and purposes that ideology becomes often impractical to our call of faith. As we read the Word and understand more and more of God’s high calling for us who believe, it demands that we leave off with our natural reasoning and thinking. This takes place as we begin to put on the mind of Christ and by the Spirit comprehend and lay hold of the mind and will of God. The Lord can often lead us in some very impractical ways according to our natural reasoning. Our faith begins to lay hold of God’s thinking and His plans and promises rather than our own. This is often difficult for us to do. The Lord says in Isaiah 55: 8-9, “For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” As some of us are truly grasping who we are in Christ and the high and holy calling and plans He has for us, it strains the natural mind to fully see ourselves in that place. We comprehend the concept that we are the body of Christ, but sometimes it is not as easy for us to comprehend that the body becomes the full expression of the head. We often try and see, as well as understand, this concept in terms of our immediate lifetime, but God sees it in the light of His eternity. While that may tend to put it out of the realm of our immediate grasp and concern we need to realize that the body of Christ is a culmination of Christians throughout the ages and that the body of Christ is not a function of time or space. It is an embodiment of the All Mighty, a holy temple of His divine presence, and as it says here in Ephesians 1, “the fullness of Him that fills all in all”. The divine destiny of each believer is incorporated in this truth. How we live out our individual lives in connection with the will and purpose of God is what determines what part we are in this plan. As we are yielding our hearts and lives to the life of the Spirit we are being incorporated into the fullness of Him that fills all things. “Christ in you” is your hope in glory. It is what takes you and translates you out of the perishable and corruptible into the incorruptible nature and life of God.
If we do one thing today, let’s take a moment to step outside of our natural thinking and religious reasoning and begin to grasp what it is that our God has called us too. It is that place that is so far beyond us and what we could ever hope to be in ourselves. The Lord our God has adopted us into His bloodline through Christ. The blood that flows through His body ebbs with the life of the Father of all eternity and creation. What a humble and awesome privilege to grasp that He desires to make us so much a part of Himself. Is it of little wonder, in light of these things, that He has called us to a place of separation from the world and the unclean things of this life? We have become a part of a different bloodline and lineage than that of our natural man. With the eyes of faith and confidence we must lay hold of the revelation of who we are in Christ and live our lives accordingly. Our growing and abiding relationship with Him is causing us to grasp in an ever increasing way the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus, that even as He walked, lived, suffered and died all of those things are incorporated in our lives as we live by the Spirit. He is that hand and we are the glove in which it moves and ministers it’s divine service.
Let us open up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants us to comprehend right now. We need the vision of who we are and the calling that is upon us in order to pursue with our whole hearts the high and precious promises of His Word. Begin to imagine the fullness of Christ in you, for Ephesians 3:20-21 concludes with, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Blessings,
kent

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