Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Knowing the general call of a believer, we must also focus on our specific calling. Spending much time in prayer, worship and meditation on God’s Word, will make it clearer. Let the body of Christ assist you in that call and help position you ...

Opening Illustration: God has used this book to cause the conversion of some of the most significant figures in church history. Saint Augustine, the greatest theologian of the first 1000 years of Chris-tian history, was converted while reading the 13th chapter of Romans. Martin Luther recovered the doctrine of justification by faith from reading Romans 1:17, and went on to lead the Protestant Reformation. While listening to the reading of Luther’s Preface to Romans, a discouraged missionary named John Wesley found his heart “strangely warmed” and then and there trusted Christ and Christ alone for salvation. He went on to lead the great evangelical revival of the 18th century. A tinker named John Bunyan was so inspired by reading Romans as he sat in the Bedford jail that he wrote the immortal Pilgrim’s Progress.

Introduction: Has your teacher ever asked for your help? How about your mom or dad asking you to help with chores around the house? What are some of the projects that have needed your attention? What have you been asked to do to help out?

Being asked to help is an honor because the person asking for your help believes that you have the ability to do what is needed. As you help others, you will discover ways to use your special talents. And, we all have talents!

In the Bible Paul tells us that he was called by God to be an apostle. An apostle is a missionary who tells others about Jesus Christ. Paul used his talent as a speaker and a writer to tell others about the love of Jesus. That became his purpose in life.

Paul tells us that God calls all of us. There is something special for each one of us to do. Paul tells us that we "are also called to belong to Jesus Christ" (1:6) which means that each one of us is invited to be a part of the Christian family. Our Christian family needs the special talents that each one of us has. We just need to say, "Yes, I'll help. What may I do?"

God's call is specific for us as well. Although God's call to service is general and for all believers, God's call is specific regarding one's position and location in the harvest field. Some may be sent as missionaries to Africa, some may be called to be evangelists, and some may be sent to a particular local churches as pastors. Some may be Christian educators. Others may be called upon to stay at home as laymen, living for the Lord and serving faithfully in and through the local church. What is important is not how or where we serve the Lord, but that we serve the Lord faithfully to the best of our abilities in the places and capacities of His choosing.

What is every Christian’s calling?

1. Called to be SEPARATED to the gospel (vs. 1-4)

Something else that Paul said of himself was that he had been separated unto the gospel of God. This, of course, refers to the message that Paul was commissioned to carry - the Gospel of God. Perhaps the words "separated unto" might lead to some interesting cogitations and indications. There is nothing special about the word itself - it means what it appears to mean. But following the nine times that it is used in the New Testament opens some interesting doors.

Separated unto the gospel of God implies that Paul had devoted his entire life to the proclamation of God's good news, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day from the dead according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:3-4). Separated unto also implies separated from things which are sinful, wrong, or bad in themselves. Separated unto also implies separated from things which are good but which would hinder one from doing what is best.

The idea of separation is both positive and negative. One of the best illustrations of separation is what occurs in marriage. One of the vows in any marriage which I perform is I take thee only unto me as long as we both shall live. I take thee . . . unto me implies a positive separation unto one's mate. Without this there is no point in being married. At the same time the use of the word only implies that this is an exclusive relation. There are many fine ladies available for marriage who will make good wives and mothers, but when I married my wife, I separated myself not only unto her, but I also at the same time separated myself from all others.

Similarly, when I separated myself unto the Lord to live for him, I automatically separated myself away from all other things which would get in the way and which might deter me from living my life completely for the Lord. In Paul's case this separation was particularly unto the Gospel. In your case or in my case, within the specific will of God for our individual lives, our separation might be to something else such as Christian music, Bible study and Christian writing, teaching and preaching the Bible such as a Bible college professor, Christian education, or prayer such as a George Mueller. At the same time we will still be interested in witnessing and in seeing people saved, but God has not called all of us to be evangelists. We might also move from one stage to another as life progresses.

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