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The Power Of God's Call 2

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The Power of God’s Call 2

Jeremiah 1:1-5

Wanted:  Faithful Workers

       Early in this century a London newspaper carried an advertisement that read:  “Men wanted for hazardous journey:  small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, and constant danger.  Safe return doubtful.  Honor and recognition in case of success.”  The ad, signed by famous Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, brought inquiries from thousands of men.  Commenting on this in his book Be Faithful, Warren W. Wiersbe said, “If Jesus Christ had advertised for workers, the announcement might have read something like this:  ‘Men and women wanted for difficult task of helping to build My church.  You will often be misunderstood, even by those working with you.  You will face constant attack from an invisible enemy.  You may not see the results of your labor, and your full reward will not come till after all your work is completed.  It may cost you your home, your ambitions, even your life.’”

       This call to service sounds strange in our day,

·        When values for service, hard work, perseverance and a higher calling are almost impossible to find;

·        When waitresses and waiters in restaurants think you are there to serve them;

·        When employees think they are doing you a favor by coming to work;

·        When modern parents think that children were given to serve them; and

·        When work consists of four eight-hour days, with an hour and fifteen minutes for lunch and four fifteen minute coffee breaks.

However, God is still calling some to special service!  Most of us desire a leader’s calling but there is no greater ministry than serving the Lord and your fellow man!

       We come this evening to ordain, set apart to ministry, or recognize those whom God has uniquely gifted and called to serve.  The concept of ordination to a Church office does not play a major role in the New Testament.  However, there is evidence of a solemn ceremony marking the setting apart of individuals to specific church functions.  This ceremony or rite is called ordination.

       The fundamental idea of ordination is identification and representation.  Ordination identifies those so esteemed with the local congregation and bestows upon them the right to represent that congregation.

       While the act of ordination is the acknowledgment by the church of its God-appointed ministers, it is never the basis for their ministry.  The basis for their ministry is the call of God!

(Tonight, I want to briefly consider God’s call of Jeremiah, the prophet.  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 diaconate, i.e. the ministry of being a deacon, 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 probably denote some alternate state of consciousness 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.  Likewise, deacons should have received a call from God!

(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, the deacon’s commissioning, and every Saint’s 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 entail 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 are setting apart deacons who have already been set apart 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 an official license or ordination to serve God to do the stuff of ministry.  God has already sanctified you and 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.

       The same must be true of deacons, because it is true of every Saint!  We have also been preordained or preappointed to Kingdom purposes, because we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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.

       The deacon’s commission is to be an extension of the senior pastor and do the work of service and ministry.

       In addition, every one of us—i.e. every Saint—has been commissioned.  That commission 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!”

       According to Ephesians 4:11-16, there are prophets who serve as gifted persons that Christ gives to the Church.  However, I don’t want to talk about them.  I want to talk about how every one of is called to prophesy.

       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.”[1]

       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

4.     Makes sense out of pain.

       I thank God tonight for the power of His call in the lives of the ordained leaders of the church.  I thank God tonight for 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] Jack Hayford, Gifts, Fruit & Fullness of the Holy Spirit, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1993, p. 138.

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