Summary: A biblical view of what it means to be chosen by God and be called to his service
“14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last."
Many of us who are actively involved in the life and ministry of the church of Jesus Christ and who have learned what the scriptures teach, understand five basic truths pertaining to the subject of serving God:
1. Serving God is the greatest, most urgent and most rewarding of all the tasks of life. What we do for God and in God’s name is the only key to living a fulfilling life here on earth, and to experiencing ultimate joy in the life to come.
2. Serving God, if it is to be done right, must be rooted in a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ and in a genuine commitment to his teachings and the ministry of his church.
3. Serving God is the privilege and the responsibility of anyone who has made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Those of us, who believe that ministry belongs only to talented or skilled individuals, have not understood the teachings of Jesus and his disciples.
4. Serving God is the scriptures’ command to all who believe. Some Christians assume that when it comes to getting involved in the work of the church, in serving and loving others, and in witnessing for Jesus Christ that the matter is optional or up to them. No. The word of God is clear about this. In Acts 1 Jesus reminds his disciples, you and me included, that once the Holy Spirit indwells with power, we instantly become witnesses for him. “You shall be my witnesses” is not a suggestion; it is the natural result of Holy Spirit indwelling.
5. Serving God is a calling which God himself initiates. This is very helpful. The scriptures are very clear about how we are saved: We are saved by grace through faith. God in his mercy came to us as one of us to save us from sin, death, and hell. Not only that but everyone whom God has saved is God’s personal choice of becoming an ambassador for of his kingdom.
It is this fifth aspect of serving God that is my focus with you this morning. The subject of how and why God has chosen us to serve him is worth every minute of our attention this morning and later in your private time with the Lord.
The following is a brief guideline on this business of God’s choice of us.
1. GOD CHOOSES US AND NOT WE HIM. Every follower of Jesus is his follower by divine choice. This is extremely incomprehensible and remarkably astonishing. To know that we are part of Christ’s ministry, not by choice of our own but by God’s own choice and free will, is beyond human logic and understanding. Our text reminds us of how it all began. It began with Jesus walking on the shores of Galilee, calling people to follow him, people to whom he said later, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.”
There was a time, a long period of time, in church history, when the church taught otherwise (that the ministry was the work of only ordained priests) until of course the Reformation exposed that misconception and proclaimed that all who follow Jesus are part of the “priesthood of all believers”. Almost every biblical record of ministry brings to our attention that when it was time to give birth to his church, God chose average men and women.
Peter, the chief of the disciples understood that concept and proclaimed in his letter to the church of his time and ours: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood”, 1 Peter 2:9.
2. GOD CHOOSES US NOT TO MOLD US IN ONE MECHANICAL DIRECTION OF MINISTRY (causing us to serve as robots), but to use our diversity so we can take his ministry on waves in different and new directions.
It is obvious that when the scriptures speak of unity, they don’t mean unity of style, but unity of purpose and mission.
The apostle Paul, on several occasions, brings this concept to life as he speaks of the unity within the human body. Each member in the body has a different gift, and therefore a different method—but you find all the members united in serving the whole body—with the head in charge. Jesus Christ is the head.
We must not then fear diversity. Diversity is not a bad word. Conflict is. Diverstiy speaks of a variety of gifts. Conflict speaks of opposition.