Chosen by God and Ordained Joel 2:32 – “It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
Acts 2:21 – “It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Romans 10:13 – “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the LORD shall be saved.” You may say immediately, “I'm saved. I'm a Christian.” Thank the LORD for that! Would it then be wrong also to say, “God wants to save you today”? No. He wants to save us from anything and everything that interferes with His Divine will. He wants to save us by bringing sorely needed benefits into our lives. (Is that going too far?)
Thank You, LORD. Save us, LORD, unitedly as a group this morning! I call on Your Name, knowing that I cannot call for another. But I can call for myself. LORD, save me! Save me from my fears. From my anxieties. From my coldness of heart. Save me, LORD, from indifference. From laziness. From prejudice. From bitterness. From anything and everything that prevents a full flow of Your Spirit in my life and through Your people everywhere. These are times, oh God, when Your people should be led to call upon the LORD. Call upon the LORD! Save our towns! Save our cities! Save our youth! Save our homes! Save our wives from maltreatment! Our husbands from abuse and neglect! Save our leaders from greed and graft and corruption! Oh, save us, we pray! Save Your Church from ritual. Save Your people from a custom of hearing-but-not- doing. Help us, we pray. In Jesus' Name.
Brother PETER SLY stopped his part of the lesson with the choice of Joshua . . . The name “Joshua,” of course, is the same as “Jesus.” “Joshua” is Hebrew; “Jesus,” Greek. Old Testament Joshua was a forerunner – a ‘type’ – of Jesus. In our day, the field of the Spirit has been greatly enlarged. (I mentioned that “whosoever” takes in the whole world.)
Now, in John 15:16 we have the momentous statement that He has chosen us. “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you...” It's true that Jesus was talking to His 12 disciples at that particular time. But, I think it's also true that His plan was to be enlarged with those who would later believe on Him. I think it's safe for us to say, “He has chosen us.” Every one of us – any one of us – can confidently affirm, “He has chosen me.” This is a very, very tremendous truth! We can never get adjusted to it. To think, of all the myriads of people in the world, He just stopped and said, “I want you! I want you!” Choice. Specific. Individual. God chose me. The only thing I had to do, was to agree with Him. And once I agreed, keep the agreement. Then, He's in charge . . .
Now, this whole field of leadership . . . Human leadership – Divine leadership – is continually up for review and examination. And it creates problems. You still remember the JIM JONES situation. That human leadership led 900 people to commit suicide. There are human leaders who religiously lead their people into the darkness of sin and hell.
Nonetheless, God still uses human leaders. Evidently, we need leadership. Even if we're only a class of 5 or 6 people studying the Bible, there needs to be leadership.
Again, let this impress itself upon us: God says, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” And His choice has to do with eternity. It has to do with forever and ever.
There's a verse from Hebrews that I want to join hard onto this one, joining the two together. (I've been really amazed at how often I've been directed to the Epistle to the Hebrews. Those to whom this letter was addressed were a pilgrim people.)
Hebrews 3:1 – “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling . . .” Let's join those two verse together: “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you; holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” Isn't that stupendous? “Partakers” is a very intimate word. It has a sense of fellowship, companionship, partnership; of being joined together for a common purpose.
If a medical doctor can write, after the initials M.D., that he's a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, I tell you, that's a prestigious position. He can identify himself with all the weight of that tremendous body. He has prestige and standing in society. Well, I don't think I'll ever make it to that level of prestige. It's very doubtful that I'll ever make it. But, I can confidently say that I'm a Fellow of the Heavenly Calling. Oh, that it were possible (we strive toward this end!) for each of us to realize the lofty station to which God has taken us! He's taken us into His Royal Family – into the Royal Household. That's something, isn't it?
And then, no sooner do we come into the Royal Family than we find there are rules and regulations; that our behavior should be “fitting” and consistent with the High Calling. This call for a good deal of examination, doesn't it? It calls for careful planning. I think it is a good thing to start each day by praying, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.”
A Fellow . . . a Partaker of the Heavenly Calling . . . chosen of God . . . Nothing could be better. Nothing could be more wonderful. Let's go back to John 15:16 – “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you . . .” We have quite a time with this “ordained” business. I get more confused, the longer I think about it. I don't know what tradition and superstition has done to us to make “ordained” mean something other than what the Bible says. But, it's gotten out of bounds, really! We've taken it out of context. We say, “He's an ordained minister.” As though that made him a different species altogether. (One lady was quite surprised to find her minister shopping in the mall. She never thought he'd come down to such an earthly level as that. She was disappointed, I suppose.) “. . . and ordained you, that you should go and bear fruit.” Amen.
We're ordained. What does it mean to be ordained? It means to be set apart for service. That's not just certain "nice, nice" individuals who make "suitable timber" for the ministry. Everyone who comes into the Royal Household is ordained to look after some chores - some work. There is something to be done. There is a service to be offered.
“You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:10). If our time is taken up in serving God, we won’t have time to get into mischief. God will see to it. If our time is taken up with serving God . . .
We are in trouble, really. I'm speaking of the world-scene. A great resistance is building up against human leadership, “We're not going to submit to it!” I have no doubt but there are thousands of people in this city – professing Christians – who would attend church, except that they don't believe in it. They'd be coming under human leadership if they came. They don't believe in "submitting" to the discipline of authority.
Now, when the Good Shepherd looks after His sheep, He sends out under-shepherds. These under shepherds can't really measure up to Him in all His wonder, glory and power, but they do have a part in it. They share something of His wonder and His blessedness. If only we could get this idea across – that to be a servant of the Living God, in the Household of Faith, employed by the Spirit, encouraged by our fellow brothers and sisters, makes life a really delightful affair, after all.
It's good to know that He has chosen us. We are chosen vessels. We are “partakers of the heavenly calling.” Nothing, then, can ever be mediocre or commonplace. Any kind of service we do is colored with Divine purpose. It has a heavenly destiny. We can't trifle with it. We can't afford to do it casually, lightly or frivolously. It's worthy of our very best. It is! It's worthy of our very best.
It is disturbing to see some people serve God with "scraps" – with "leftovers." They as much as say, "If there's any time left, we'll give it to God. If there's any money left, we'll give it to God." One man said, "I'd give God my last dollar." God doesn't want your last dollar, He wants your first one! God is not to be served in a casual fashion. He is to be served with all our heart! Amen. Thank You, Heavenly Father.
Thank You for those whom You have appointed leaders over us. We pray for them. Wheresoever we find ourselves, we are subject to guidance and instruction and help. So, go with us through the day. And may the ministry of Your people enrich the community in which we live.
In Jesus' Name. Amen. Amen.