A Call to Service

“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

In wanting to stay in step with what the Pastor has been teaching us this past Sunday I thought then how we should then live as God has called us. I think then that the primary call we all have in our lives for Christ is to teach the gospel to all that we are lead to and all that will listen to His truth and good news of the Kingdom we are a part of. It is also an expression of the love that He has given us to love God and to love our neighbor as we love our self. The last command that Jesus gave to His disciples, which we are looking at  today, and the first command that He gave to those He called to follow Him. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) This then is how we should live called to His service and in service to our neighbor.

The one who follows Jesus is not promised an easy life but will have a life of suffering in this world, as the world does not know and accept Jesus as their Lord. We are called to pick up or cross and follow Him. It could be the cross of service and involve a life of persecution and suffering for His names sake. As the spirit is set against the flesh the righteous life of the Christian is set against the way of the world. God is holy and set apart from His creation and we are to be holy as He is, sanctified from the evil in this world. “Because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) The Christian is to go boldly in the Power of the Spirit as a holy Priesthood planting the seed of the Kingdom into the hearts that will receive it that God will cause it to flourish. If we are ashamed of what we profess, then what we profess is not a part of us. “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

Man is hopelessly in love with the world that he is living in for this short space of time. Man is blinded to the reality of the eternal world that he is bound for. Since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden this world has be under the tempting influence of the god of this world, the Prince of the Air. This is the path that the Christian formerly walked until he called upon the name of the Lord. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:1-2) The Christian life is a life of repentance, turning away from this world of sinful living and turning towards the righteous Kingdom of God that is to come. If one loves the world, then the love of God is not within them. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

James tells us that if we are not only hearers of the Word but doers of the Word. If we do not act upon the truth of God’s Word in faith then we are hypocrites and worse off than the unbelievers. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22) We are to love our neighbor as ourselves and therefore love them as our own. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8) We are told that we are in the world but not part of the world, yet, we are to be lights in the world that shine the truth of God that others may see His glory and be drawn towards it. The Christian is not separate from the world as hidden, but separate in that he reflects the God that we serve. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

Separation from the world is to have a biblical view of the world we live in and of all life. In our view of our work, law, morality, and upon popular culture we are to see it in view of God’s Word. We are to hold every thought captive to the Word of God that we remain unstained by the world. Otherwise our faith would become privatized by our own thoughts which would be powerless in the spiritual battle that we fight each day. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

We are not left here in the world to fight the good fight in our own strength. We are given the present reality of the power of the Holy Spirit residing within us that empowers us to do the will of God while here in the physical realm. It was a promise given to the Apostles and it is the same power that we have today that enables us to overcome the world. “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5) The Holy Spirit is the power that the Apostles had which turned the world right side up two thousand years ago and continues to transform lives today. They grasped the Great Commission and it continues to grip the world today. “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:17-20)

It is easy for the Christian to become discouraged in a world that is in opposition to the life that we live through Christ. We often feel surrounded by the evil of this world. Often we feel that our message is not being heard and the seeds that we plant never produce fruit. But we must remember that we are not called to create the success we are called to be faithful to our call. We must not allow ourselves to believe that we are in control as it is the work of God to open the heats of men to His truth. It is His power that draws men unto Him and He does so in His perfect time. “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)

Even as we stand against the evil of our day, unless the hearts of men are changed the evil will remain. God’s Word is absolute truth and unchanging but the world changes with popular opinion, which falls to evil precepts. For this reason those who reject the truth of God’s Word and deny His sovereign rule will be given over to their lustful desires. “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” (Romans 1:28)

The god of this world has blinded the minds of the rebellious to God’s Word and they cannot understand nor do they want to. The Wisdom of God is foolishness to the mind of carnal man and they cannot see the light of His truth for the darkness they have covered their lives in. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Changing the truth of God’s Word to conform to the world in hope to reach the lost is a fatal error in that is will not attract the lost to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is only one God, one faith, and one Lord who is the one way. (John 14:6) “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6) None can change the truth, as this would make the truth a lie. “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

We as Christians are to believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. We are to be the salt and light of the world bringing the Good News of God’s Kingdom to the world for the glory of God. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant February 14, 2017

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