March 7, 2020
Most Christians think they are relatively sensitive to the Lord’s calling in their lives. They live out their lives, anticipating that ‘if’, God needs them to do something, he will be sure and let them know. Unfortunately, most are not prepared for any specific calling from the Lord.
The fact remains that sadly the vast majority of Christians, are in a state of neglect in regard to their calling. If you ask them just what God has called them too, they may softly shrug and bewilderedly tell us that they haven’t received their calling as of yet.
But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Luke 12:48 (NLT)
The bulk of believers have been lulled into a false sense of accomplishment in their walk with Jesus.
Believe me when I tell you there is nothing to be ashamed of in what I’m telling you. The fact is, we all a subject to the flesh and while we remain in these bodies, we will also be subject to the frailty that is the flesh. It is the product of sin. It is in escapable under our own power. It is only as a result of Grace and the Spirit’s presence in our lives that we have a prayer of beginning to perform to the level we are called to in scripture.
You see, when most people talk about a calling from God, they don’t consider what is written and given to every believer in the Word of God. I can’t speak for every Christian, but it would seem to me that they are saying to God, “when you come up with what you want me to do, just let me know!”
The issue with this approach is that God has let all of us know precisely what he is calling us to do for him and his kingdom. We simply have turned a deaf ear to what he is saying.
But that deafness isn’t necessarily intentional. Remember our advisory?
While the devil can’t force us to disobedience, he can, will, and does do everything in his power to lull us through our flesh, to normalize behavior unbecoming of being a disciple of Jesus.
Let’s start out examining this by looking at one of my favorite passages, The Great Commission.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
I’d like diagram this passage in simple terms, for a bit.
It begins with a proclamation, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” Jesus had paid it all, and he was announcing to his disciples that he was transferring part of that authority he had been given, to them, in order to accomplish those things which he was commanding them to do; you might just consider that being ‘called to a set of specific tasks’.
This is why it’s called a ‘commission’. Jesus was commissioning us to do the work he was appointing us to. It is referred to as ‘great’ because while there are numerous other callings, he directed us to, this specific set were appropriated to accomplish his intended purpose for us to remain here and serve him.
With that out of the way, lets press forward and look at the remaining portions of this passage.
Verse 19 begins with the word ‘therefore’, which means because I have been given all authority and I am sharing part of that authority with you, I expect that you will do this (and then a list of specifics follows).
Of all nations, no less. There is a bit of a caveat with the calling to be a disciple maker. If we are going to ‘make disciples’ for Jesus, we necessarily need to ‘be a disciple’ of Jesus.
The role of disciple is no minor role, in the service of the Messiah. In fact, he said…
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9:23 (NLT)
“He said to the crowd.” He didn’t say this to seminary students. He wasn’t talking to the board of directors at the local synagogue. He was addressing the crowd of followers that had gathered to hear him. He was addressing you and me.
Later on, in Luke Jesus reinforces this much stronger.
“If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26-27 (NLT)
If we are unwilling to take up the cross that lay before us, we simply “cannot” be his disciple. That also means his disciple maker. Therefore, the first directive in The Great Commission, is out of bounds.
But I don’t believe that many who would consider themselves followers of Jesus, would intentionally neglect taking up that cross. I would rather pray that this a vision problem which the Great Physician can and will address if we ask him to.
Baptism is the public personal declaration of faith and allegiance to Jesus. As we are making these new disciples, we need them to be committed, understanding their callings, and willing to follow through to the best of their ability under grace, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Teach These New Disciples
All we can from what we have been given by God in our understanding of His Word. Provide for these new disciples a foundation of understanding that will allow them to grow and mature in grace.
Then the promise. Jesus commits to being with us constantly, always. Right through to the end. And the amazing part of that is that the end, isn’t the end, but only the beginning of our abiding with him.
Now if these few commands were not enough, there is more; much more, we are called to in His Word. Callings that are critical we address and seek to fulfill with the best of our abilities, leaving the rest to grace and the supplemental assistance that he has promised to provide.
We can’t do it on our own, we can only do it when we rely, allow, and depend on the strength and ability that he places in us.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
So, when we read in Thessalonians, pray constantly, we know he is there to help us engage that calling. When we see that we are to forgive others as Christ forgives us, that calling is our obligation. While we may be blinded by pain and fury when we have been wronged, it is of minor consequence to the pain and suffering Jesus endured at our hands. When he says love your neighbor as yourself, and your wife as he loved the church; these are not suggestions, but a calling to a purpose he architected before the dawn of time for each of us.
Every word, every commandment in that Word is a calling to us, which though daunting, that good and faithful servant will do everything in their power and reliance on the strength Jesus infuses us with.
To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.
Matthew 25:29 (NLT)
We often think of this verse as the value that the master gives us, but you see, Jesus doesn’t deal in the commerce of gold and silver. The riches he cares about and imparts are of the heart and soul. The callings which we conveniently disregard, are our treasures and our vestments, resulting from being faithful to them. These callings result in bounty immeasurable, today, and for all of eternity.
Taking to heart the callings he has written in His Word for all of us will result in him calling us to more, beyond these directives given us in His Word. When we faithful in the general callings he has for all his disciples, he almost certainly will assign us specific callings, which he will make us aware of.
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.”
“We Are Called”, all of us are. Initially to obedience and faithfulness to all that he has commanded of us, and as we take up the cross before us and follow the master, there will be other callings as well. “We Are Called” to service of the King!
In His Grace,