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How Many Are Really Called By God To Do What They Are Doing?
"As God calls, He makes what He calls." - John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
For a minute, let's examine the ministry of the Apostle Paul.
Was he called by God to be "an apostle of Jesus Christ" to the Gentiles?
Romans 1:1 says - "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God."
1 Corinthians 1:1 says - "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God..."
1 Timothy 1:1 says - "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, Which is our hope."
In each of the above verses of Scripture, we specifically read that Paul was "called" by God for this office. He was appointed...chosen...and set apart to it.
But also note some of the other phrases that are added to his call like - "through the will of God" and "by the commandment of God our Savior." Immediately, our minds begin to infer about this man that being an apostle was not of his own impulse...nor derived from the authority of man...nor owing to any worth or merit on his part. This office of apostleship - on the contrary - was something willed of God... issued strictly by His authority...and given by a particular appointment or decree of His alone.
No one knew this fact more than Paul himself. He knew - beyond any shadow of doubt - that he was called, commissioned, and sent by the Lord Jesus and not by men.
We read his very own words verifying this fact in Galatians 1:1 which says - "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, Who raised him from the dead;)" He was not an apostle because some assembly, council, or committee commissioned him to be so. No body of believers assigned him to this task. His calling did not come through man nor by man.
Something definitive happens to an individual who is strictly called by God for a purpose or task. A deep sense of responsibility falls upon his shoulders which he cannot seem to shake off - come Hell or high waters!
Look how Paul reacted under the pressures of the ministry God called him to - "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me"(1 Corinthians 9:16-17).
He knew that he could do no other work. He was "under necessity." There was no question of hesitancy or debate in fulfilling this call. He was arrested by the Truth. Providence hemmed him in his goings and barred his way. He was shut up to it. "Woe is me, if I preach not the gospel."
He had no other choice than to "take heed to the ministry" that he "fulfill it"(Colossians 4:17). He was to persist in it unto the end - giving all diligence to follow it out fully.
He understood that it was "not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy"(Romans 9:16). His calling had nothing to do with having an inward desire or wish to do something for God. It was not the effect of the will or works of man. It was solely based on the Lord's grace and power. In fact, it didn't matter if Paul had certain desires, inclinations, or affections and demonstrated a strenuous, intense effort. The beginning, progress, and end of it was dependent upon God and Him alone.
So many today are going around saying - "I am called...I am called...I am called." That is true to some extent. Everyone is called by God to do certain tasks like being a witness for Him in this sinful generation.
However, not every one is called to the five-fold ministry of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher.
How do we know this?
In Jeremiah 23:21, we read God Almighty's words - "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied."
Today we have many pretenders and phonies - yes, who are even in the pulpits throughout the land. They were not called by God to do the work that they are doing. For one thing, they do not carry the weight of the responsibility upon their shoulders which is - "...necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
Many of them are not preaching the Gospel! They are preaching some kind of fluffy, seeker-friendly, user-friendly, and sinner-friendly "mush." God does not have such a Word for His preachers Who are called by His name! He doesn't fill their mouths with nonsense that only seeks to blind and harden the people's hearts to Himself, His Word, and His Holy Ways.
Just because many are "running" today - doing all kinds of activity in the name of the Lord - does not mean that He commissioned them.
Nowadays, any one with a little bit of money can start some kind of ministry for Jesus. But this does not mean that He is behind it. It is neither "through the will of God" nor "by the commandment of God."
Let's not forget one very important thing - when God calls an individual, there will be such an element of His fear that goes along with the call. No matter how hard the devil fights the work and tries to stop it, this person can only say - "...necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
Expressed another way - "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10).
Who called you to do what you are doing?
Was it man's idea or God's?
May God Bless His Word.