Most people think of missionaries as people called of God to preach the gospel of Christ in foreign cultures. We think of evangelists as people called of God to preach to the lost and win souls to Christ. We think of pastors as called of God to preach to and pastor a church congregation. But a lot of people fail to grasp that every Christian is called of God. Missionaries, Evangelists, and Pastors are no more called of God than Christians. The difference is only found in the what they are called to – not fact that they are called.So for the next few Sundays I thought we’d spend some time looking at the call of God and hopefully you will be better equipped to better see that call in your life and motivated to embrace that call!
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:9-17 (NIV)
This passage is found in John’s account of Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples. It is included in the gospels not only as instructions to the 12 who Jesus was speaking directly to on this occasion but also indirectly to all of his followers who read His words. There is much in this particular passage and throughout scripture that we can learn about the call of God…
1. God chooses to have a very unique, personal and real relationship with everyone He saves.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:9-10 (NIV)
In other words, as I shared last week, God chooses each person for a unique, personal and real relationship with everyone He saves. His calling is a personal one. It is a unique one. His first call is simply to Him. As the Father loves Jesus, Jesus loves us! And then Jesus says, remain (or abide) in my love!
This remaining or abiding is not a passive activity. It requires effort, it requires conscious decision, and it requires obedience to what is asked of us, what is expected of us. That is why Jesus says, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love”. It’s one thing to know someone loves us – it’s quite another to remain in their love. It is possible to carry oneself outside of the love of another! Not that the other would choose it – but simply out of our own choices…
The first thing we need to understand and grab a hold of when talking about God’s calling on our lives is to always, always remember that the Call begins with God’s choosing to have a unique, personal and real relationship with everyone He saves!
2. God does not demand of us the same as someone else or treat us all the same. His relationship with me is unique. His dealing with me is unique.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 15:16 (NIV)
Notice that Jesus uses a generic term to describe what He has called us to do. He doesn’t say He called us all to be pastors or missionaries, or evangelists. He simply says, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.”
What He is saying is that whatever call I have put on your life, I expect you to carry it out and not grow weary of it. That is what He means by fruit that will last.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psalms 139:15-17 (NIV)
But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased
Galatians 1:15 (NIV)
Even the call of these three men of God was radically different. Jeremiah call to be a prophet was different from David’s call to be a king and Paul’s call to be an evangelist to the Gentiles.
The way that God chose to deal with each one was unique.
Our problem is that we want God to treat us all the same. If someone messes up then I think God should treat them like I think God would treat me if I messed up. But sometimes he doesn’t and it frustrates us. It is important to understand that God’s calling on your life will never be exactly the same as His calling on another person’s life. You may be called to do something similar as another person but how you do it and the way God works through you will be unique.
The biggest trap people often find themselves in is comparing their calling to another’s or another’s to their own. Don’t do it!
3. God calls us because His primary means to deal with man is through man. And because His dealing with man is varied the callings are varied.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
Genesis 6:11-14 (NIV)
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)
This is one of the things that continues to amaze me. God chooses people and chooses to work through people instead of just snapping His fingers and dealing with things in His omnipotent power and might. God blesses man through man, He disciplines man through man, He challenges man through man. Some of His greatest miracles are accomplished through the work He does through surrendered, available men, women, and even children who obey His calling on their lives. Why does God do things this way? He does it because of His overwhelming desire for us to be in community with Him. God did not create humans to be apart from Him or to be distant from Him – He created us to communicate and commune with Him. But in order to do that God had to create us with the ability and the possibility of rejecting Him. Otherwise there could never be true community or communion.
So God chooses to work through man because that is how we experience communion and community with Him. Because each situation and each action and response of God is different God’s calling on you and me will be different.
The calling of Noah was for judgment. The calling of Abraham was for a blessing. Two men with distinctly different spiritual callings because God was dealing with the people in their lives differently.
It’s also important to remember that…
4. What God has called you to do; He has done based upon your trustworthiness.
On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews.
Galatians 2:7 (NIV)
… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:48b (NIV)
Those who are faithful in small things will be trusted with bigger things. The calling in your life is dependent on your trustworthiness. How God uses you hinges on how obedient you are to the things He has already asked you to do. The outcome of this observation is the realization that:
5. Sometimes God’s purposes do not get done because someone is not found trustworthy to be called to the task.
God spoke to Ezekiel about the depravity of His people and His search for someone who would stand in the gap and plead on their behalf and respond to His call to Holiness and repentance,
“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.
Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)
It would be a terrible thing if God’s plans for this church don’t get accomplished because one or more of us are unfaithful to what He has already asked us to do.
Another sad reality of the call of God is that…
6. My unfaithfulness to the call of God in my life will not only affect me but it will affect others.
Remember the story of Jonah, his unfaithfulness would have a direct impact on Nineveh. It is a terrible thing to think that my rejection of my call will have an impact on others – but the reality is that you have no idea what repercussions will follow your disobedience to God’s calling on your life.
So today I want you to remember this:
1. God chooses to have a unique, personal and real relationships with everyone He saves.
2. God works uniquely in each one of our lives according to His plans and His purposes. God’s calling in your life is not dependent on what others do but is dependent on your choices.
3. God calls people because His primary means of getting things done is through people! Because the things God does are varied His callings on individuals will be unique to the task He has for them.
4. God has trusted you with His unique call upon your life. Will you prove yourself trustworthy?
5. Sometimes, what God desires to happen doesn’t get done because of the unfaithfulness of those He’s called – an unfaithfulness that will affect others.
Will you commit to discovering and living out God’s calling on your life? Will you prove trustworthy?