Monday, May 29, 2006

God's Call in Your Life (Pt.1)

What do you think of when you hear the word "ministry?" Do you think of pastors, staff, missionaries or evangelists? God has a call for everyone! Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us about those He has called to be His equippers in the church so that the saints can be equipped for ministry. It says, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Where does God’s call begin? It begins with a call to follow Jesus and that begins at salvation.

The Call to Follow Jesus

The gospel is a call to follow Jesus. In Matthew 16:24, "Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." The greatest invitation of Scripture begins with a call to deny yourself. Thomas Winslow said, "Dying! It is the privilege of the child of God to "die daily." Dying to the power of inbred sin, the lusts of the flesh; the pride of life; the attractions of the world; the idolatry of the creature, and the still greater idolatry of self. Before you can take up [your] cross, you have to die to self.

If you’re not willing to die to yourself, you will never die to Christ. Included with denying your self is denying your possessions. Jesus said in Luke 14:33, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all he has cannot be My disciple." You don’t have to sell all you have to follow Jesus but you must do all that Jesus says to follow Him. If He says "Give your money or possessions away and follow Me," that’s what you need to do. But to state it any further Jesus says you must deny your family. In Matthew 10:37, He says, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" To follow Jesus you must be willing to put you and all the things dear to you aside and put Christ first. That means you must love Him more than any thing or any person. This is something that continues throughout your walk with Jesus. To follow Him, you must die daily.

The Call to Follow Jesus is Also a Call to Ministry

Everyone is given a general call to ministry or service. This is proven by the simple fact that all believers have a spiritual gift. Romans 12:6 says, "Having then gifts..." According to 1 Corinthians 12:11 the Holy Spirit decides what gift you have. Paul says, "But one and the same Spirit works all these things (referring to the list of gifts in vv.8-10), distributing to each one individually as He wills." Since the Holy Spirit decides what gift you have that means your gift is unique. Though there may be many in the church with the same gift, it’s function will be unique to each individual. But whatever your gift, it is to be used (Rom.12:6-8) and it’s to edify the church (1 Cor.12:7; 14:12).

Have you come to Jesus? Did you deny yourself, take up your cross to follow Him? If the answer is yes, are you using the gift the Holy Spirit has given you to minister in the church (Christ’s body)? If not, then you are a spectator rather than a participant in the function of the body. And just as the human body needs all it’s parts to function, so does the body need you.

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