Summary: What does it mean to be called by God? Is it for everybody or just a few people? How do we know it when it comes? How do I hear God calling? These are some of the questions we will look at.
How to Hear the Call of God
November 11, 2001
I love the story about the cowboy who was riding along and came upon an Indian lying flat on the ground with his ear pressed to the earth. The Indian said, “Wait. Wagon. Two miles off. Drawn by two horses. One black. The other gray. Four people on board: man in a red flannel shirt, his wife, and two kids.”
The cowboy was impressed. He said, “It’s amazing you can tell all that just listening to the earth.”
The Indian said, “No. They ran over me thirty minutes ago. Go after them!”
One of the hardest things in life is hearing the call of God upon our lives. And fortunately we don’t have to put our ears to the earth to do so. Turn with me to 1 Samuel 3 and we will look at a young man who received a special call from God.
As I read through the Bible, I have realized that there are different levels of calling that God places upon our lives.
Levels of Calling (Rom. 8:28-30)
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who,” what? Love him. “Those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also gloried.”
In this one passage, we see that God calls us to experience three of the four levels.
Those who he called are justified. God calls us to be saved. He already knows who will be able to hear the call and respond. He also calls us to:
We are to conform to the likeness of Jesus Christ, who was sinless and holy. We are called to experience a life that is set apart for God’s perfect use as a living vessel of His Holy Spirit. We are to be holy as He is holy. But not just that, we are called to:
He calls us to a purpose to accomplish and fulfill that He has specifically set aside for us according to the gifts, talents, and abilities that He has already blessed us with.
Every believer is called to move up these three levels: from salvation to sanctification to being a servant of God. However, not every believer reaches the highest level, which is the level of:
This is full-time service to God. And the highest of the highest is full time pastoral ministry. Samuel experienced this level of calling even before he was saved and actually knew the Lord. He was being set apart for a life that was dedicated completely to serving the Lord sacrificially. This, my friends, is the highest calling one can experience. There is no greater honor than being called to full-time ministry. But there is also no greater burden.
1 Tim 5:17: “ The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
Parents and grandparents, there is no greater honor than having a child or grandchild be called by God into full-time Christian ministry. When one has a child that is called into full-time ministry, God blessed one’s house. For what greater way is there to honor thy father and mother than following the instructions in the ways of God that is our duty as parents to be teaching our children? When a child is called by God and responds faithfully, then truly the parents are honored and blessed.
We have strayed from this teaching for a multitude of reasons. I have even heard pastors ask for prayer for their children that they would not.
Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 14:1: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”
What he is saying is that bringing forth the Word of God is the greatest gift to be desired because Paul recognizes the significance that preaching a Word from the Lord can have within the body. It builds up the church, he says, and if the congregation is full of people that prophesize and bring forth God’s Word, the sinner will be convinced that “God is really among you!”
Prophecy is not a fortune telling event like Miss Cleo on TV. It is brings forth the power of God’s Word in our midst and declares that without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior your future will be destruction!
Samuel was a prophet who brought forth the Word of God in a time when visions and revelations from God were not recognized nor were they very common.