Understand Your Calling

Understand your calling by Rev. Shine. P Thomas

What is Our Calling, and do we Understand?

We Are Expected to be Christ Like

God’s objective for us is to be like His Son Jesus Christ. When we strive to be like Jesus God has a specific plan for each of us. He has a position of leadership, privilege, and authority within His Church for each of us which goes beyond this world into eternity. A Christian is expected to be Christ like. A policeman is expected to be an example of the law. A doctor is expected to heal the sick with the right treatment. A farmer is supposed to bring in a great harvest as food for thousands. Likewise, a Christian is expected to be like Jesus portraying godly values into this darkened world.

Ephesians 4:1

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Brief Background

Ephesians was written by Paul to the church in Ephesus while he was imprisoned in Rome in the early AD 60s. This letter is written specifically for believers. Paul here was directly speaking to the elders and members of the church. In the first three chapters Paul is speaking about what Christ has done for us. Now in chapters four onwards Paul is speaking about how we are to live our life based on what Christ has done for us. First of all Paul is asking us to understand our high calling.

Ephesians 4:1 

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Paul wrote this letter as a prisoner of the Lord, not to ask for sympathy for his imprisonment but to add to the intensity of his plea – I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

What Is Our Calling?

First of all we must understand that we are called out of this world.

Ephesians 2:1-10 

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are called out of this world

OUR PREVIOUS LIFEOUR PRESENT LIFE
Worldly ways/lifestyleGodly ways/Biblical lifestyle
Sin and transgressionsRepentance and holiness
Disobedient to God’s WordObedient to God’s word.
Gratified the cravings of our sinful nature
Followed sinful desires and sinful thoughts
Dead in sinRisen with Christ.

We are all called out of this world by Christ. God has seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus by his mercy and grace. God wants us to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. Our calling is not based on our merit or good work but by his grace and the least we can do for God is to live a life worthy of the high calling we have received.

Illustration

We have two sisters who are working with Kingfisher Airlines. I know them right from the time they came to Bangalore and they have worked different jobs before. If you notice right from the time they got into Kingfisher Airlines they have had a total makeover. Their dress, their outlook, their talk, their hairstyle all have changed and anyone looking at them can just figure out they are working for the airlines industry. Their calling and job is different and they are expected to keep up to their calling.

Likewise have been called by God out of this world and God expects us to lead a life worthy of our calling. The people looking at us must see Christ in us.

The Bible gives us a big list of the great calling we have received. – we are called to be light/salt of this world, called as children of God, called a disciples of Jesus etc. I want to highlight 2 basic qualities of our calling and all others can fit into these 2 qualities. Understand we are called out of this world. Even though we live in this world we do not belong to this world. What qualities in a believer make him/her separate from this world and also portray the qualities of Christ in him?

Ephesians 1:3 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

1. We are called to be blessed

God does not want us to lead a life of disgust or failure. He wants us to have a blessed life.

a. Our blessing has already been accomplished

Ephesians 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us

It is past tense. The blessing upon you has already been accomplished. No one can take it away. It is the devil who makes you think you are a failure. God has already blessed us; we just got to walk the blessed walk of life.

In Numbers 23 Balak the king of Moab summoned Balaam to curse the Israelites. Understand the Israelites have been blessed by God. See what happens.

Numbers 23:16, 19-20 

16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

God has already blessed us. God does not change his mind and curse anyone. Our blessings are already promised and accomplished by God and no one can take it away. Turn to someone and say ‘I am blessed.’ No harm can come to us.

b. Our blessings are comprehensive 

Means all kinds of blessings, inclusive of everything we need.

Ephesians 1:3 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. It is comprehensive. It constitutes all blessings you and I need. We lack nothing because God has blessed us with all blessings. Blessings needed for your life, family, studies, work, business, children everything comprehensively has been given to us.

c. Our blessings are spiritual

Ephesians 1:3 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Our blessings are spiritual. They do not originate from or depend on the natural realm. So our tribe, race, family line, blood line, education, or ability has nothing to do with this blessing. The source of our blessings is spiritual but we experience these blessings in our natural realm, in our physical life.

d. Our blessings are heavenly

Ephesians 1:3 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Our blessings are based on the heavenly realm.

Therefore, God called us and has blessed us with all blessings; both spiritual and material blessings. Now God values spiritual blessings more than earthly blessings.
That is why Jesus said: 

Matthew 6:19-20 

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Our blessings are superior to all that the earth has to offer. Our blessings are secure, sure, and incorruptible than the corruptible things of this world like silver and gold. Yes God blesses us physically & materially when we are in this world but more than these corruptible things God has blessed us spiritually and heavenly.

Illustration

The prime minister of India has draws a salary of Rs. 100000. But the Government of India spends in cores for the security, transport, office, staff, and other facilities of our prime minister on a monthly basis. Which is important – Both are important and I would say without the proper facility the PM cannot function as good as he is doing now. While the salary is important the facility and infrastructure is more important.

This is how God blesses us. When God blesses us with material needs more importantly God has blessed us with spiritual blessings.

What is the standard of our blessedness?

 Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

God gives all blessings in Christ to a child of God. The standard of our blessedness is in Christ. As Christ is blessed we are blessed in Christ in the same level. Therefore we have to be rooted in Christ and when we are in Christ 24×7 we become blessed.

2. We are called to be Holy

Ephesians 1:4 

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

God has called us to be Holy. This is the call of God right from the beginning.

Leviticus 11:44 

44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground.

In the New Testament too God stresses the need of Holiness.

1 Peter 1:15-16

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]

In Hebrew the word of holy is Kadesh means – Set apart, something which is cut off.
In Greek the word for holy is Hagios which also means being cut off or being separate.
From both these definitions one that is holy has to be separated from this world and attached to God.

Holiness is the purpose of our calling.

Ephesians 1:4 

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

The purpose of our salvation is to be holy before God. I have heard many Christians say the reason God saved them is to go to heaven when they die. Yes, heaven is a bonus for us but the purpose of our salvation is to be holy, to be separate.

The purpose of the church is to be holy.

Ephesians 5:25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

The basic purpose of the church is to be holy. The basic purpose of its believers is to be holy for He is holy. Our ministry, fellowship, worship everything is secondary. The basic purpose of each one of us to be set apart for the Lord and to be holy.

What is the standard for our holiness?

Christ. As much as the standard of our blessedness is Christ, God expects the standard of our holiness to be like Christ.

1 Peter 1:15-16 

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]

This may seem to many of us like an unreachable standard. But God has kept that standard for us and He expects us to keep up to that standard.
Jesus said:

Matthew 5:48 

48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Listen, King David had a burning desire to build the temple. This was the dream that drove him. But you and I know that this dream was not fulfilled, it remained a dream for David. See what God said about David as said by Solomon his son.

1 Kings 8:17-18 

17 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name.

This is the key to attain 100% holiness. Do not argue about whether you can be holy as Christ, forget the argument and have a passion or desire in your heart to be 100% holy, that is what God sees.

God has called us to be holy.

God has Called Us with a High Calling

Let us understand our high calling. 

Ephesians 4:1

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

God has called us to be blessed. He has called us to be holy. Are you leading a blessed life? If not understand he has already blessed you with both material and spiritual blessings. Are you leading a holy life? Ask God to cleanse us of our sins and make us holy today. Understand our calling.

Illustration

An eagle egg was mistakenly placed in a nest of chicken eggs. When the eaglet hatched it did not know it was different from other chickens. The other chickens started to tease the eaglet. The eaglet was very upset and spent days feeding like any other chicken. One day an eagle spotted this eaglet and came near it and demonstrated how to fly. The eaglet was unwilling. The eaglet thought, “I cannot fly.” Then the big eagle flew back into the sky. When the eaglet saw the eagle fly he realized he has the same features as the big eagle and he too can fly. It realized its high calling. Taking all his strength the eaglet flew and reached the sky never to come back to the chicken and its company again.

God has called us with a high calling, He has called us to be blessed. God has called us to be holy. As Paul said I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Rise up and fly above every worldly hindrance by the power of God. God bless you!

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