Matthew 22:14 - For many are called, but few are chosen
Many are called; few chosen - Many hear; few believe. Yes, many are members of the visible, but few of the invisible Church.
This is how my witnessing goes sometimes: I meet someone at work and we start talking about God. I ask them whether they believe in God, they respond, I tell them that God is real and if you want to get to heaven you have to believe in Jesus. They might ask a few questions or stare blankly, but I try to ensure some future action and make a note to follow up and feel pretty good about it!
So, what happens next? What do I do next?
One thing I’ve found is that I don’t tend to have a conversation about eternity with the next person I see. I feel good that I’ve sowed some seeds and slink back into more conventional easy going discussions.
What happened was that I had chosen to do the work of God at one point, and chosen not to do it at another.
When I choose to speak to people about Jesus, I find it useful and more effective to use God’s words from the Bible.
How can we explain the ways of our Lord without His word? He has given us testimony of His works in the Earth as well as His purpose, and ours. For God knows the lans He has for us, plans to prosper us and keep us from harm. Plans to give us hope and a future.[Jer 29:11]
The Bible tells us that God is perfect, and that His word lasts forever and will not change. It needs nothing adding, nothing taken away and nothing altering. We already have enough to respond to our calling.
With a mustard seed-amount of faith we can move mountains, when we are weak God is strong and all things are possible for our God who is mighty to save.
The provisions of God are all encompassing, totally sufficient to overflowing. There is no limit to what He has prepared for us except the limits we put on ourselves.
God's love is so great that He sacrificed His only begotten son for us. Just so that WE may have hope of eternal life [John 3:16], so we can hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful [Hebrews 10:23]. Hope is important, otherwise we make the sacrifice of Jesus of no effect for us.
And our hope is in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, forever!
Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we, dear church, are not of those who draw back to perdition [complete & utter ruin], but we are those who believe to the saving of the soul [Hebrews 10:39].
It’s true that many do hear; but how many believe like this? Few truly believe to the saving of the soul.
Many are members of the visible, but few of the invisible Church. Many people have beliefs on their own terms and are not submitted to the will of God because they have not the understanding.
They are deafened by the calling of possessions, they are taught the philosophies of man. Children are taught that God doesn’t exist before they have a chance to consider the facts. And weren’t we all there once? We’ve felt the pressure to conform to the ways of man and to forsake God. It may sometimes appear tempting, but I encourage you to consider the facts.
No person can evenly consider the facts of life and conclude God doesn’t exist. We have to be taught that he doesn’t exist before we can question with an open mind.
As a result of this, many fall short of the calling that God has for them and lose the race. They are incapable of humbling themselves.
Would they make the same decision and fall into the same trap if they knew the consequences, and knew that they were real?
How much are we choosing who hears and who doesn’t? To some extent could we be the ones who are doing the choosing and doing the calling? Remember in Jesus’s parable from Matthew 22 that the King sent out his servants to call those who were invited, and God has invited the entire human race!
Well, how do people respond to their calling?
So many people have issues with a God who also created hell and suffering. This is a childish logic that forgets that God is God and he’s given us dominion of the world, and people forget that the God of this world is Satan.
Whilst Satan doesn’t want us to know the truth about God, Jesus’s chief concern is that we learn about God and have a choice and that we choose to follow Him as our one and only God.
And, as God is spirit, this means putting more importance on the things we cannot see than those things we can. For example, Jesus didn’t say that the sin in adultery was just the physical act, but the indulgence of the thought also.
Intentions, desires of our heart, our calling is to fill these with God. He is the only thing we can truly trust to profit us if commit wholeheartedly.
It is interesting that we are seeing increasing acceptance in society of all things except our living God. We live in an increasingly sanitised world, that seems to be working to push people away from their calling, where theories are taught to our children as fact, and the Bible is taught as a nice story.
Our society is dominated by people who do not know God and yet decree that we accept the every indulgence of man as long as it doesn’t harm the physical body. What about the spirit and our souls? Doesn’t the body eventually perish and the soul lives forever?
Incredibly some people ignore the negative and the positive because of the negative. In other words because of the sheer horror of hell, they choose not to believe it. It’s not what they would expect of a benevolent God.
How can this God tell me I’m wrong? This is the problem when there is no moral right and wrong. Even the concept of judgement by God is alien. In this country in particular, Satan has done an excellent job of removing the compass of morals and ethics, right and wrong.
As Christians we cannot and will not accept this. There are rules given to us by our Father that we must live by, and we as the soldiers of Jesus Christ, work towards the overarching goal set out by our leader Jesus Christ, which is to carry on His work.
That is our purpose; to usher people towards their calling from God so that they can have a chance to decide to believe or not. Remember: if we know nothing, we perish. We are born into sin, and sin leads to separation from God and eternal death. Therefore it is the default position of man to perish and suffer for eternity rather than being glorified in the presence of God. Unless we do something about it. Unless the servants of the King go and call those who are invited.
It is the work of the devil to tempt us to forsake or compromise the word of God and suffer the consequences.
Suffering is terrible, and God promises us an eternity of suffering if we forsake Him. The origin of the word suffer is the Latin word sufferre, from sub- ‘from below’ + ferre ‘to bear’. So the very word suffer is based upon the fact that we have to bear things that come from below. And we know where hell is and where the evil comes from.
This is why we need to “go tell”, people need to realise their hopeless state and position in relation to God before they can even begin to hear the call. Otherwise they will see no need to do anything. Why change? People who do not have any understanding of God will not have enough information to justify changing.
Let me try a practical experiment! Who is the best here, who does tells the most people about Jesus?
Get someone out of the room and ask them to tell us something about Jesus. Did we hear anything? Could we do anything about it? Has that person had any impact at all on anyones life? No
We are called to be in the world. We need to be in the world, we cannot only talk to saved Christians and pray for God and others to do all the work of letting God’s kingdom come or increasing the church.
Once we are saved the Bible says that we are to stay with our calling, stay in our position unless we are instructed by God to do something else.
Isa 41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. God calls us all, no impartiality with God.
So what are we called out from? God calls us all and, once we know, challenges us to make a decision whether we come out of the all the sin and selfishness and trust God with how we live our lives, or not. This ‘once we know’ is so important because the world has chosen not to know even though that is our calling. The systems in the world have obscured the truth about God and have chosen for the people. Our calling is to know God.
And how we respond to that results in being chosen or not. Thanks to the work of Jesus, through to death on the cross, in defeating death, we now actually have a choice. To continue to die as we would have before Jesus, or to receive life, everlasting life in the presence of the Lord. We can choose to be born again and inherit the blessing set out for the Son of God himself.
This is the calling that the Bible talks about, when people respond to the call of God and realise they need to repent, get baptised in the name of Jesus, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Eph 4:1 - “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, AND IN YOU all” That is our calling! Once we know God and do what he says, we become chosen and he promises to work in us and through us.
Think about it. If we have a calling and respond to our calling, is there going to be anything more satisfying than that. So often we seek satisfaction in the world or in our relationships with other people, but it doesn’t last. The satisfaction doesn’t last.
Just from looking around we can see that people are born with purpose. We see this in nature, the purpose of nature is to grow and reproduce. If you’ve seen an abandoned town or city, it’s amazing to see that after a few years nature begins to take it back and eventually breaks down the man-made structures. This planet literally teems with life. We see life at the most extremes you could imagine, and all it tries to do is to grow and reproduce. Except us.
People are born knowing very little, everyone has to be taught the things they know. It is the responsibility of the current generation to teach and guide the next generation. People are born with much more potential and capacity to do both good and evil.
When we apply the purpose we are born with, to God’s will for us, there is a fit, a perfect fit that just works and feels right. It’s when we resist that the wheels start coming off and we lose the ability to judge right and wrong, which is why we have a society like this, and we just eek out our days trying not to think too much. This is when people forget God and start teaching their children to resist God.
God promises us that we reap what we sow and that if we sow is what He asks us to sow then we will reap the harvest of peace, joy and abundance that He has promised to us. That is where deep satisfaction that is independent of the things that go on around us comes from. This type of satisfaction cannot be linked to people who aren’t perfect or objects that decay.
So let’s have a closer look at the calling of God. What are we called to do?
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 1:29 Thaet no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Co 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1Co 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
So we are called out of the natural flesh race (no flesh should glory in His presence), which some people call the survival of the fittest, to grow and reproduce. And we are called into a spiritual race to put righteousness first, to promote the importance of the spirit, to save the lost, to save souls.
Some people I have spoken to have said that they don’t believe in God because they haven’t had one of those life-changing moments. They miss the point that this doesn’t happen to everyone, neither is that a requirement, and that everyone I know who has had this kind of epiphany was already looking and searching for what they later found to be God’s calling.
Again, people get it wrong because of a lack of knowledge of God. That He is a God of principles and has given us His methods already.
So why are we called out of the ways of man and into the ways of God? Clearly this is the basis of repentance through to salvation, that there is something deficient in our ways, in our approach to life. But once we have realised this, then what? What is our calling once we are saved?
Paul shed light on this to the Corinthian church, saying:
1Co 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
Paul tells us that it’s okay, take up the cross, follow Jesus and be a blessing to those around you. Keep doing the things you were doing (minus the sin of course!) before you were called. Before you got saved.
This is brilliant! It reminds us, especially in this time of growing polarity and divisiveness, of the all-inclusive nature of God. He doesn’t care about, colour, intelligence, etc.
He doesn’t want you prepared, He doesn’t want you to come to Him in any way changed of yourself. He wants you as you are. Exposed and vulnerable before Him.
He wants your imperfect, struggling, troubled self with all its flaws. Only when we are open and honest with God, can He get to work in us, and we can realise our calling to become more and more like Jesus.
This is why He tells us to come to Him as a child would. In fact unless we come to God as a child we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven [Matt 18:3]. Why? Because we are not letting God work in us, we think we can do it ourselves and create a veneer or approach that we think God will like.
This is wrong and the source of it is pride. We need to be honest and open with God in our lives so that he can come and work us to perfection. We are walking witnesses of God.
Peter tells us that there will be a point when everything is perfect, until them we need to do the best we can in an imperfect world.
1Peter 5:8-10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
The more we can be honest with, and trust God, the more He can do with us. He’s put His Spirit into us for this very reason so that God can literally work in us and through us. This is the power of Christ dwelling in us which cannot happen if we are fearful of Him.
So once we have responded to His call, God is telling us not to get puffed up, not to think of ourselves in anyway different to how we were except for the grace and power of God working in us. This is how we can be completely obedient to His word; because we have hope, a confident expectation for the future. According to the Gospel of John, this is exactly what Jesus died for. Not what we think, but what God says.
Once we are saved, God tells us to use the situation in which we were saved We continue the passage from 1st Corinthians 7 because I think there is more to get from this:
1Co 7:21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
1Co 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
1Co 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
Whatever skills and resources we are blessed with should be put to use for God’s purposes. We are told by God, not to sin and to stay in the situation we found ourselves before we responded. It is our calling to be a light in the spiritual darkness, to the lost, so that God can call other through us.
The flesh can find this difficult, but as long as we listen to God and keep coming to church, studying His word and praying in the spirit, our faith shall be strengthened and eventually perfected. It’s when we stop doing this that we fall back, and the soldier gets fat and loses his personal battle.
When we are called and respond to the calling, we become chosen. We are chosen to receive the priceless gift from God. The remission of our sins so that God can come and dwell in us, and guide us to eternal life…heaven. This is life changing stuff!
One of the reasons it is life changing is so that we can testify the works of God in our lives. But if as soon as we are chosen, we change what we are and we don’t go back into the world, how can they see the work of God in us. The change God has wrought in us.
So let’s thank God and promise to abide with Him in our calling so that those who do not know, may know the saving grace of the Lord our God.