Summary: This sermon sets forth what God has called each Christian to as they live their lives for Him.
Phil. 3:14 "The High Call of God"
by Rev. Mark Hiehle
Have you ever said something that was taken the wrong way? You said a word that you thought would be clearly understood but somewhere in the translation a different meaning came out? That is one of the problems with the English language. Words can have more than one meaning. For instance, I can tell my wife that I love chocolate cake, I love my dog and I love her. She could ask the question, "Which does he love more, the dog or me?" In the Greek language there are three different words for love. There is an "eros" or physical love expressed by a husband and wife. There is a "phileo" or brotherly love that is expressed by friends. This is where the city of Philadelphia gets its name - the city of brotherly shove (just a joke). And there is "agape" or unconditional love. This is the kind of love our Heavenly Father has for us. It is not a love based upon performance or with strings attached. "I love you because you do this or that for me..." or "I’ll love you if ..." God simply loves us as we are for that is one of His characteristics and nature.
Another word is the word "call." This word is what I want to share with you this morning. Much like the word "love," the word "call" can have many different meanings.
call back - as in return a call or recall something as in tires
call for - as in summon someone
call in - a debt or to check your messages
call off - your dog or from work
call up - the Marines or someone on the phone
call down - a speaker
call around - just for fun
call on - a friend or pay a visit
call into being - as in creation
call into question - to raise doubt
You can make a call :
the umpire makes a call behind the plate - you’re out!
the kind you use when hunting deer, turkey or duck
the kind a bird makes
a game due to bad weather
to predict a pool shot - 8 ball in the corner pocket
forcast the weather - it will be partly cloudy today with a high in the 80’s
demand to see anothers hand of playing cards
but my favorite call is when I’m called to dinner!
"Call" is the most common verb in the Bible. It represents over 20 Hebrew and Greek words. As I prepared for this message, I found that the Biblical word "call," fell into 4 catagories.
1. To speak out in the way of prayer
"Call on me, and I will answer thee." - Jer 33:3
"Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." - Rom 10:13
2. To summon or appoint
"I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the earth." - Jer 1:15
"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners..." - Matt 9:13
3. To name a person or thing
"...and God called the light day..." - Gen 1:5
"...the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." - Luke 1:35
4. To reveal God’s will or desire
"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." - Eph 4:1
"To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints." - Rom 1:7
In Philippians 3:14, Paul states his desire and goal. Paul’s statement should be ours as well, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." This word translated "high calling" is only found in the Bible here in this verse. Literally translated it means "to be filled up to the brim." Just like a glass filled with water to the very top, so Paul wants to be filled up to the very top with all that God wants for him in Christ. As I did my study, there are four areas of calling that God desires for us. I heard a seminar speaker say that you always need to let people know an overview of any speech you are about to give. The reason he said, was that people can endure just about anything if they know it will end. With that in mind, the four areas of "calling" that God gives to you and I are, Holiness, Intercession, Godliness and Hearlding. Each of these calls is in the form of an acrostic for the word HIGH.
1 Thess 4:1-7 tells us that we are to be pure.
2 Tim 2:19-24 tells us that purity and holiness is what God uses. Do you want to be used by the Lord? Then you must be committed to holiness and living a life of purity. Notice verse 19 carefully. The Lord clearly tells us that "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." As a believer, you can not continue to live as you did before coming to Jesus, there must be a change. Paul put it this way in Galations 5:16-23, you must live by the Spirit and not after the desires of the sinful nature. He then clearly lists some of the acts of the sinful nature beginning in verse 19. Do any of these acts sound like what takes place on a regular basis in your life, in your home or in your church? If the answer is yes, the only conclusion you can make is that you are witnessing acts of the sinful nature. It is carnality at work not the behavior of someone who is Spirit lead or filled. On the other hand, Paul also gives a list of what to expect from a Spirit filled life beginning in verse 22. Can I ask you again, does this list typify you, your home or church? If so, it is because the Spirit is at work and in control. Are you fulfilling the call to holiness? The answer is in your actions.