CALLED; CHOSEN; AND FAITHFUL

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CALLED; CHOSEN; AND FAITHFULCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)

There are three levels of consecration to the Lord Jesus. First, we are called. If we show ourselves worthy of the Kingdom, we are chosen. Then, if we endure all the trials that are applied to the chosen, we will be regarded as faithful. If we are among the called, chosen, and faithful, our reward is to be always with the Lord Jesus.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)

We see from the above that to be caught up to be forever with the Lord Jesus when He appears requires much, much more than making an initial profession of belief in Christ.

We must be "called" by the Lord.

And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:6)

First of all, we are called to belong to the Lord Jesus. Not everyone who lives on the earth is called. This is an invitation to partake of the Divine redemption and to become part of the Royal Priesthood.

Because we think in terms of fairness, and have been indoctrinated with the principles of democracy, it is quite difficult for us to accept the fact that not everyone is called to belong to the Lord. Our evangelistic efforts do not always take into consideration the biblical principle of "calling."

One part of this question has to do with the purpose of our being called out of the world. It is so we can start on the path that leads toward becoming part of the Royal Priesthood. This is a different matter from being "saved."

We spend out energy, time, and money, on getting people "saved." To be saved is to be preserved from Divine judgment so we will be permitted to be a part of the new earth, and not be confined in Hell or the Lake of Fire.

To be "called," on the other hand, is to be invited to become part of the priesthood. We are called to be saints, holy ones, not called to be saved. God is willing that all will receive Christ as Lord and be saved from wrath. But not everyone is called to be part of the Royal Priesthood.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. (I Corinthians 1:26)

Jesus said whoever believes in Him and is baptized shall be saved, so the Apostles were charged to preach the Gospel to every person. We will have to leave it up to God as to who is called and who is not. The written Word cannot be changed in any manner.

We just have to accept that the Church consists of people who have been called out from the world; and just let God figure out who is called and who is not called. Being called to the priesthood, and being saved from wrath, are two different situations.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

Each true Christian is called to be a saint, a holy one. The Christian Church is called out from the world to be a holy priesthood. When we have been prepared sufficiently, our role in the creation will be to represent God to the people He has created, and to represent the people whom He has created to God.

Christians may be occupied with the need to be saved from wrath. God is occupied with His need to have representatives who will enable Him to govern, bless, and enjoy His children.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

The purpose of God was established at the beginning of the world. Those who are called to be part of the Royal Priesthood were distinguished in God's mind from the remainder of mankind. This may be difficult for some to accept.

I think it is important that people who have received Christ understand what a high honor it is to be selected by the Lord to be holy and to serve Him as a priest. This is why we are to be holy in character and in behavior, always keeping in mind that we belong to God in a way that is not true of all the people in the world.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)

We have just thought about being "called," which is the beginning of our journey toward becoming a priest of God.

Now we will turn to the idea of being "chosen."

"For many are invited, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)

Many people are called to the Divine priesthood, but only a few are "chosen" to be a priest of God.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

The question is, once we have been called to the priesthood, how do we pass into the ranks of the chosen few? The answer is, we must show that we are worthy of this high honor.

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37,38)

We do not hear much preaching about the need for us to be worthy of Christ and His Kingdom. Why is this, do you suppose? I think it is because we are so afraid of saying something that frightens people we don't present the full Word of God. People will be turned away, we suppose, and not get "saved."

The result of this fear of preaching the truth, Christians—at least in America—do not understand how strict the demands of Christ actually are. Consequently the churchgoers may not be as mature as Christ could wish.

No doubt the Divine judgment that is on the horizon for America will cause many immature believers to follow Christ as they have not done previously. By so doing they will pass into those who have been chosen.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (Ephesians 4:1)

It is true that Jesus Christ is worthy to be praised. It must be true also that we live a life worthy of our calling as priests of God. In this manner we pass from the ranks of the called to the ranks of the chosen.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27)

We have been called. Now we must be worthy to be chosen.

Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (I Thessalonians 2:12)

We understand therefore that there is more to being a Christian than just "accepting Christ" on one occasion, and then going back to our former manner of living. Being found worthy of Christ and His Kingdom requires a life of total consecration to the Lord. We must come out of the world and cleanse ourselves from all that is morally unclean. With the guidance of the Spirit of God we must keep on washing our robe in the blood of the Lamb.

It is fashionable in America to suddenly become conscious of the need to repent. Then a great meeting is held in a football stadium attended by thousands of Christians. Everyone repents on this occasion and calls on God to heal our land.

That is better than nothing, I suppose, but that is not how the Christian is found worthy of the Kingdom. We continually must walk in confession of sin and repentance. This is what it means to wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb. It is not by attending some citywide celebration of repentance, in which people shed tears over the moral state of our nation, and then go home to live as they always have.

Another related problem is that because of the preaching of lawless grace, people are not certain they have any real need to repent. If we are perfect in Christ; if God is seeing us through Christ, what need is there to repent.

The truth is, we are not perfect in Christ in that sense, and God does not see our sins through Christ. God sees our sins as they are. We are on the way toward perfection in Christ, if we continually, as the Spirit points them our, confess and turn away from our sins. Otherwise, be sure that God sees all that we Christians are doing, whether our actions are good or evil. Any teaching contrary to this is not of Christ.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

We never will pass from the ranks of the called to the ranks of the chosen until we show by our actions that we are worthy of Christ and His Kingdom.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)

When Christ appears, the promise to those who are found in Him is that they forever will be with the Lord. This is an honor superior to all others.

However, as we consider Revelation 17:14 (above) we realize that to be forever with the Lord requires that we be not only called and chosen, but also faithful.

To accept our calling, our invitation, to belong to Christ, ordinarily is not remarkably difficult. It may require a little humbling of ourselves, but in most situations is relatively a simple act.

I am aware that in some instances, such as in a country dominated by the Muslim religion, even this first step toward Christ may cause persecution, torture, or death to the convert and even to his or her family.

To pass from the state of being called to that of being chosen requires that we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ every moment of every day and night. It is my opinion that such stern consecration is not the case with numerous churchgoers in the United States. Therefore they are among the many who have been called but not chosen.

Those who have been called and chosen are now facing the challenge of being proven faithful. This is a difficult step and requires every bit of determination and patience possessed by the candidate.

Those who are between the states of being chosen and being proven faithful understand well what I mean when I say it is a difficult step, requiring much patience, determination, and courage.

"We must to through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God," the Apostles warned. This certainly was the case with the Apostle Paul. Paul lived with the sentence of death in himself such that he did not trust himself but God who raises the dead.

After we have been chosen, we have so much to learn! In our mind we hear voices. Sometimes it is almost impossible to tell whether the voice is from God or from Satan. We have feelings and emotions. Is this God or not? We may lapse into passivity and indecisiveness, trying to be an "empty vessel."

All kinds of deceptions, traps, enticements, lies to the mind, false feelings of all kinds. As many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God, the Bible states. But learning to be led by the Spirit can require a long period of time, as we stagger through the false impressions thrust upon us by the demons.

We may be afflicted seriously with some disease. We pray, and we are not healed. Then we assume that the Lord is using the sickness to keep us weak and humble, when such is not the case. We should not assume this, unless Christ tells us this is what happening, just as He did to Paul. It well may be that if we will keep praising God for His goodness and requesting healing that we will be healed.

By the way, we do not try to heal ourselves with some technique we read in a book that purports to tell the relationship between what we are suffering and our attitude or behavior. When we have trouble we are to call on the Lord, not attempt to apply faith or some other metaphysical principle.

Call on the Lord when you are in trouble. You do not know anything at all. Place yourself in the nail-scarred hands.

We have so much to learn. God gives us some kind of vision or idea of what He has in mind for us. It is in the years between the vision and its fulfillment that the saints are formed.

"God is His own Interpreter," as the poet said (William Cowper). If He tells you, you are going to dance with Him among the stars, you should not assume He means Hollywood stars. It may be the stars in the heavens. Or it could be among grade-school children who get stars when they do well in their lessons. Let God be His own interpreter.

We have to follow one step at a time without knowing the destination. Sometimes we feel like the heavenly Archer is drawing His bow and lifting it toward the target, but the bullseye is not in sight for several years.

Decades can go by, and we do not know what God is doing with us. We may make a lot of false moves, only to discover we have gone off the true path, or have moved too quickly.

Until you have gone through the curriculum that leads to your being proven faithful, my words may not mean much. But when you look back you will realize they came from the same kinds of trials that you are having.

God is totally faithful. If we are to be in His image we must be totally faithful. There is to be no compromise. If we are a lover of pleasure, it is difficult to endure the dance with the Fire of Israel. There must be enough iron in our soul that we do not quit no matter how long we are in prison; no matter who long our most intense desires are deferred.

If we want to be with the Lord Jesus forever, being with Him wherever He goes, there must be no lie in us. We must have no idols. He has given up His privacy so we always can be with Him. We must give up our privacy so He always can be with us.

Iron righteousness; fiery holiness; stern obedience to the Father. This is the way. We must walk in it. There is no other way that leads to the fullness of the relationship with Christ that we so desire.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)