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The Power Of God's Call

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The Power Of God’s Call

Jeremiah 1:1-5

       As I thought and prayed about what God would want me to preach tonight, I believe the Spirit impressed me to take about the call of God upon all of our lives.  Those who are ordained to the Gospel ministry, usually give testimony to the call of God upon their lives.  However, they aren’t the only ones who should be able to testify of the call of God upon their lives.  Each of us who are believers in Jesus, the Christ, has the call of God upon our lives.  This call is going to becoming increasing important in the future, because of what we are facing in America.

(So, what are we facing in America?)

       We are facing an insidious, almost undetectable philosophy that is eating American’s alive—both unbelievers and believers.  The philosophy is called “Nature,” which a capital “N,” but before I can tell you about that philosophy, we need to understand just a little bit about philosophy in general.  Because of our nature, as Human beings, “…we cannot rest contented with a mass of unrelated experiences scattered at random throughout life.  We must take our experiences and weave them into some kind of a pattern, a whole which is more or less satisfying.  This pattern, this whole, is our philosophy.

       Your philosophy, then, is the meaning which the world has for you.  It is your answer to the question, ‘Why?’ Having fitted your experiences into a whole, having related them to each other, you say of the world, ‘This is the way things fit together.  This is the world as I understand it.  This is my philosophy.’”[1]

       Please understand that our philosophy is not always equal to our theology.  For Saints, in America, their theology is a part of their philosophy, but their philosophy is not their theology.

       Nevertheless, America is teaching a philosophy called Nature, with a capital “N.”  In fact, it is a theology, because it is believed by faith, but I don’t have time to cover that.  “Although we don’t often see it capitalized in writing, we often hear it spoken with a capital N.  Try tuning in to (any) …nature programs (on T.V.) …and you will hear It’s name mentioned frequently.  On the screen, you (will) see an extraordinary example of a particular animal’s behavior, only to hear the voice of the narrator attribute this awesome wonder to the amazing work of ‘Nature.’  It is amazing what Nature has made of itself!”[2]

Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines “nature” as

4 : a creative and controlling agent, force, or principle operating in something and determining wholly or chiefly its constitution, development, and well-being:  a : such a force or agency in the universe acting as a creative guiding intelligence.”

Did you get that?  “Nature” is a force that has created the earth and controls the earth al by itself!  “May the force be with you!”  “Nature” is, in fact, evolution.  This philosophy is being taught and reaffirmed in our schools and on our T.V.’s every day, but we are oblivious to it.

       Every time I go to any attraction at Disney World that has to do with “Nature,” this philosophy is promulgated.

This was not the original philosophy of America!  Let’s listen to Noah Webster’s definition from his original 1828 dictionary.

“Nature” is “a word that comprehends all the works of God; the universe.”  “By the expression, ‘trees and fossils are produced by nature,’ we mean, they are formed or produced by certain inherent powers in matter, or we mean that they are produced by God, the Creator, the Author of whatever is made or produced.  The opinion that things are produced by inherent powers of matter, independent of a supreme intelligent author, is atheism.  But, generally men mean by nature, thus used, the Author of created things, or the operation of His power.”

There was a time, when we considered nature to be God’s creation, not some force operating by itself.

(Right about now you ought to be asking the question, “So what?”)

       Well, this philosophy, even though it is almost undetected is destroying the foundations, freedoms, and hopes of America.  If all that we know has been brought into existence by “Nature,” then there is no God!

       If there is no God, then there is no creation or Creator!

       If there is no Creator, we are no more than the chance meeting of chemicals and amino acids.

       If we are no more than the chance meeting of chemicals and amino acids, then we are no different from a rock, frog, or pig.

       If we are no different than a rock, frog, or pig, then life has no real design, meaning, purpose, or value.

       If life has no real design, meaning, purpose, or value, then life is vanity, meaningless, and hopeless.


If you will look closely at the young people of America, you will see a hopelessness that manifests itself in depression and no value for Human life.  The philosophy of “Nature” underlies the hopelessness we see in our children and feel in all American, in general!  In the light of these circumstances, Paul’s warning to the Colossians is particularly poignant.  He wrote in

Colossians 2:8 (NASB-U), “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (bold type added).

       Paul is not decrying philosophy or thinking.  He is decrying philosophy that is according to the world, rather than Christ.  Please don’t think that this has bypassed us, Saints.  We are a part of America and this philosophy has been unwittingly added to our intellectual diet.  Even though we are saved, I see just as many depressed, despairing, hopeless Saints, as I do sinners!

To combat this depression, despair, and hopelessness, we need to know—beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we were created with a purpose.  We need to know that there is a reason for our being.  I believe we will be able to see just that by investigating the call of Jeremiah.

(Turn with me please to Jeremiah 1:1-5.  Let me read this for us out of the NASB?

Here we see:)

I.     Jeremiah’s Call (vv. 1-4).

In these words, Jeremiah states the basis of his call in the phrase, “to whom the Word of the Lord came.”  Every person who is licensed or ordained to the Gospel ministry must know that s/he is called by God.  However, beyond that, every Saint is called of God for some purpose.  Nobody can say for sure what these words mean, but they denote some experience with Jehovah God, through the Holy Spirit.

Throughout this prophecy, written by Jeremiah under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he constantly repeats the fact that the Word of the Lord had come to him.  He lives, moves and has his being within the sphere of the divine call of God.  In Israel, priests were priests by birth, but prophets were only prophets by calling.

(Now that we have looked briefly at his calling, let’s take a very brief look at Jeremiah’s commissioning.)

II.    Jeremiah’s Commissioning (v. 5).

Jeremiah’s commission is covered in verses 5-10, but we only have time to look at verse 5.

       We see Jeremiah’s commissioning by the Lord, firstly, in the same words as his call.  His commission or charge begins with the words, “The Word of the Lord came to me.”  His authority to carry out the will of God is found in the words, “The Word of the Lord came to me.”

       Likewise, our commissioning is found in the Word of the Lord.  We shall cover that in a moment.

(However, before we do that, let’s look at the credentials which God lists for Jeremiah.)

A.    Jeremiah’s credentials (v. 5).

Jeremiah’s credentials entails more than formal education in one of schools of the prophets!  Jeremiah’s credentials are His calling!

       Like Jeremiah, whether we have an official position among God’s people or we are without a position, our ultimate credentialing is that we have been called and commissioned by God Almighty!

Ephesians 4:4 (NASB-U), “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.”

In fact, we are the ekklesia, the “called-out” body of Jesus, the Christ.

       Moreover, we also have credentials.  Let’s compare Jeremiah’s credentials to our credentials.

(Well, God set Jeremiah apart, commissioned him, and credentialed him through His own divinely providential actions.  Those actions were:)

1.     Precognition (v 5).

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

We see here the sovereign grace of God.  God calls whom He will and chooses whom He will, and God is not dependent upon time.  He knew Jeremiah before he was born.  Not only did God know him before he was born, but evidently He formed Jeremiah in the womb based upon that knowledge.  With God, there are no surprises.  With God, there are no emergencies.  God does not move from crisis to crisis.  God plans.  God had a plan for Jeremiah’s life.

       God has a plan for my life.

       God has a plan for the lives of those who are being ordained tonight.  And,

       God has a plan for your life!  (Even those of us who are called, but not being ordained tonight.)

       Therefore, the power of God’s call is that it gives us purpose, through God’s plans!  I need some people to praise God about this right now.  When we praise and thank God for something, we make it our own.

       To help young people they must understand that they have been taught a lie and they must accept and live in the truth of the calling of salvation.

(But we see something else in this verse.)

2.     Preconsecration (coining a new word) (v 5).

Based upon His foreknowledge, God formed Jeremiah in the womb of His mother, but before He did that, He consecrated Jeremiah.

The word ‘consecrated’ comes from one of the most important words in the OT. ‘qadash’, “Holy.”  God consecrated, or sanctified, or set Jeremiah apart for His special use in the prophetic ministry.

       This evening’s setting apart must be done by God.  We don’t really ordain or set apart, we only acknowledge what God has ordained or set apart.

       God has also set apart or sanctified every believer to serve Him.  You don’t need a license to serve God.  God has already sent you!  Go into the harvest and work, and whatever is right, He will pay you!

       Therefore, the power of God’s call is to give us purpose and a reason for being, through sanctification, i.e. being set apart from the world unto God and His purposes.

(However, that is not all.  We also see here:)

3.     Preappointment (coining a new word) (v 5).

Based upon His precognition and preconsecration God preappointed Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations.

The word ‘appointed’ means to decree, command, or ordain.

       Here is the true ordination.  It is God that ordains a person to be a minister and all the church does is recognize and identify with that ordination.

       Although the ordination is presented as happening in the present, it is—in a sense—a foreordination because God foreknew Jeremiah and (coining a new word) fore-consecrated him.  The whole sequence of God is:  “I knew; I consecrated; I formed; I appointed.

       We have also been preordained or preappointed to Kingdom purposes, because we are fearfully and wonderfully created.

Here again, we see purpose and meaning through ordination or preappointment by God!

(So we can see that Jeremiah’s credentials and our credentials are based upon God’s foreknowledge, fore-consecration, and foreordination.

Now let’s look at what Jeremiah was commissioned to do.)

B.    Jeremiah’s commission (v. 5).

A commission is instructions or a charge to perform certain acts or duties; in this case the acts and duties of a prophet.

(Before we deal with our commission as prophets or to prophesy, let’s look at our primary commissioning.  One such commissioning is given to us in:)

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

We have been called and commissioned to preach or proclaim the Good News or Gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, to all creation!  Therefore, because of the condition of people in America:  “We’ve got to preach!”

We’ve got to preach, because people are in darkness and Jesus is the Light.

We’ve got to preach, because people are hungry and Jesus is the Bread of Life.

We’ve got to preach, because people are thirsty and Jesus is Water of Life.

We’ve got to preach, because people are sick and Jesus is the Great Physician.

We’ve got to preach, because the world is lost and Jesus is the Savior.

We’ve got to preach, because people are sad and Jesus is the joy of my salvation.

We’ve got to preach, because people tired and Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give rest.”

We’ve got to preach, because people are troubled and Jesus brings peace.

We’ve got to preach, because people are trapped and Jesus is the Way.

We’ve got to preach, because people are being lied to and Jesus is Truth.

We’ve got to preach, because people are discouraged and Jesus is the Hope of Glory.

We’ve got to preach, because the storms of life are raging and Jesus is the anchor of our souls., a refuge, a high tower, a strong tower, a fortress, a shield, a buckler, a rock, a hiding place.

We’ve got to preach, because we are on trial for our sins, but Jesus is the Advocate or Lawyer who will plead our case in heaven.

We’ve got to preach, because people are dead and Jesus is the Life.

(Now, we can return to Jeremiah’s commissioning and see another commissioning in our lives.)

       God commissioned Jeremiah to be a prophet!

Today we think of a prophet as one who predicts; but prediction was one small part of the Old Testament prophet’s task.  The task was to be God’s messenger, spokesperson or “announcer.  The prophet was primarily a proclaimer or preacher of God’s Word.  In contrast with the priest, who represented the people before God, the prophet represented God before the people, and his or her most repeated statement was:  “Thus saith the Word of the Lord!”

       In contrast, the New Testament prophet is one of the gifted persons that Christ gave to the Church, according to Ephesians 4:11-16.  We call them “fivefold ministers.”  Their task is different than that of Old Testament prophets in that their relationship is in subjection to the pastor of a church and their task is to pronounce corrective and judgmental words, in keeping with the inscripturated writings of the Word of God.  These are the prophets that we consecrate and ordain to public ministry.

       But according to 1 Corinthians 12:7-12, the manifestation, phanerosis or flashing forth of the Holy Spirit is given to each member of the body of Christ, for the common good, with one of those manifestations being prophecy.  This is not the office of the prophet, but the flashing forth of prophecy for edification, exhortation and consolation of the body, according to 1 Corinthians 14:3.

       Every member of the body, who is baptized in the Holy Ghost, may flash forth in words that build up, comfort, and console the body, through the empowering of the Holy Ghost.  What would our churches look like, if every Saint was baptized in the Holy Spirit and flashing forth in edifying words of exhortation?  Jack Hayford says that this kind of prophecy “consisted of spontaneous, Spirit-inspired, intelligible messages, orally delivered in the gathered assembly, intended for the edification or encouragement of the people.”[3]

       Here is another purpose for our lives, which is wrapped up with the power of the call and commissioning of God.  That purpose is to speak prophetically.  When I talk about speaking prophetically, I mean to speak a fresh application of the Word of the Lord that at least:

1.     Points towards the future;

2.     Reveals the present priorities of the Lord for someone’s life; or

3.     Sheds light on the mysteries of life; or

Tonight, we are talking about the mystery of purpose!

4.     Makes sense out of pain.

Tonight, we are talking about the pain of hopelessness and despair.

       I thank God tonight for the power of His call in the lives of those who are being ordained to ministry.  However, I thank God for the power of His call in all of our lives, which gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for being, a reason for living, a blessed hope!


----

[1] S. E. Frost, Jr., Basic Teachings Of The Great Philosophers, Doubleday, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., New York, New York, 1942, p. 1.

[2] Christian Overman, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives, Micah, Charleston Publishing Group, Louisiana, Missouri, 1996. p. 25.

[3] Jack Hayford, Gifts, Fruit & Fullness of the Holy Spirit, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1993, p. 138.

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