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Understanding the Call of God - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2023 12:00 am

Understanding the Call of God - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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June 6, 2023 12:00 am

Find out the four types of calls that God issues to His people.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, June 6. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to hear the voice of God the way Moses, Joshua or Isaiah did? Today, we will spend some time understanding the call of God. When you think about God, how do you think about Him?

Do you think about Him as a power or as a person? God is a loving, warm, intimate Father who desires the best for His children, who desires a relationship with us, who desires to communicate with us. And because He desires to communicate with us, He wants to give Himself away to us. It is one of those aspects of His communication with us that I want to talk about in this message. I want to talk about the call of God.

And I want, if you will, to turn to 1 Samuel in the third chapter. And this is the event of God's call to a young man. And there's more than one type of God's call.

And so what I want to talk about in this passage are those calls that God sends into every single one of our lives. And you may be one of those persons who says, well, I've never heard God speak to me. It just might be that you'll discover why. It just may be that you'll discover this message that He has been calling. Maybe you've not been listening.

Maybe you couldn't identify it. And therefore, you may have missed some wonderful opportunities had you only been listening. To give you a little background, Eli is the priest. Young Samuel has been taken to Eli to be a helper to him. And in the process, God has chosen to call young Samuel to be a prophet in Israel. And I want you to notice beginning in verse 2. And it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place.

Now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he couldn't see well. And the lamp of God had not yet gone out and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was. It was then that the Lord called Samuel and he said, here I am. Then he ran to Eli and said, here I am for you call me. But he said, I didn't call, lie down again.

So he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. So Samuel rose, went to Eli and said, here I am for you call me. But he answered, I did not call, lie down again.

So he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. So Samuel rose, went to Eli and said, here I am for you call me.

But he answered, I did not call my son, lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and he said, here I am for you call me. Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, go lie down and it shall be if he calls you that you shall say speak Lord, for thy servant is listening.

So Samuel went, lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. And Samuel said, speak for thy servant is listening. And the Lord said to Samuel, behold, I'm about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. And then he tells him what his message is. And that is what is going to happen to Eli because of his children and because of his sons, the way they've been acting around the temple. And God gives him a very ominous message which Eli asked about. He tells him what the message is. And it's interesting what Eli says when he heard it. The Scripture says in verse 18, so Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, it is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.

Now let me ask you a question. Have you ever felt like that God had spoken to you very clearly, very personally? Oftentimes we think that God only limits what he says to certain types of people. God is interested in every single one of us.

No matter who you are, God has a personal interest in your life. And what I want to talk about in this message is the call of God, not limited to some particular staff member of a church, but God's call to every single one of us. And I want to talk about the nature of that call for a moment and simply say that first of all, when God speaks and God calls us to a particular task or some aspect of our life, God makes it very clear. It doesn't mean that I always hear it the first time clearly. It doesn't mean that I always understand it clearly, but he always speaks clearly. Sometimes it may take us a period of time before we understand because oftentimes when our minds are made up, when we're looking in a particular sense of direction for our life, God comes along and begins to speak through our heart about something totally opposite. It isn't that God has garbled his language.

It isn't some supernatural divine language that he knows we don't understand. It is very clear, very simple, but oftentimes he speaks until finally we begin to realize that it is God speaking. And then finally as we sift through all kinds of things in life that may be confusing to us, regardless of how we may feel about what he's saying, it doesn't seem to fit our plan.

Finally we catch on, oh, God is speaking to my heart. And so that's why I believe that God has spoken to many people and that God does call oftentimes and people do not hear, they do not understand because they're not expecting it to begin with. Sometimes a person says, well, why would God want to speak to me? Why would God want to call me to anything? They look at their life, they evaluate their life and say, well, why would God want to? Because he cares, because he loves you, because he has something in mind for you, and because God has a plan for every single person, he says in his word in the Psalms that God perfects those things that concern us. He is personally interested in every aspect of your life, and therefore when you trust that Jesus Christ is your Savior, establish the relationship with him, you and I have the right to expect God to continually be dealing with us and speaking to us and calling to us in every single area of our life. Well, when you think in terms of our response to God's call, and he has called all of us and all of us who believe us certainly have responded to at least one of those calls, how do we respond? How can we respond? Well, you respond in one of several ways. You can either say yes to God's call, whatever it may be, or you can say no, or you can say, well, not now, Lord.

Now, that sounds rather neutral. Well, God probably will, but not now. What you're saying is no.

Or we might add one more. We could just simply say that a person ignores God's call, which is absolutely a disastrous decision. Whenever God chooses to speak to your heart and my heart, God does not do anything haphazardly. God is not casual in his relationship to us.

He is not crude or rude. God is specific. God is very clear. God is serious about everything he does in your life and my life. He's always watching over us and always looking out for our best interest and therefore you and us believers can expect God to speak, expect God to call us, expect God to make great strong impressions upon our life in those particular times.

So when you look at this passage and you see what God was saying to young Samuel, he was calling to get his attention. I had to ask myself the question, God, how many times do you have to call me to get my attention? Lord, could you just speak to my heart and get my attention immediately? I'll tell you how he's gotten my attention in times past in different situations and circumstances.

When I have certainly been running too fast and doing my own thing, sometimes he's decided to get my attention by laying me flat out. And lying flat out, I usually know, God, you must be trying to say something to me. You know the interesting thing that I've discovered in my own life, and of course everybody has to discover for themselves, I can look back at times and realize that usually if God is trying to get my attention about something and I'm in too big a hurry or too busy doing His work to listen to what He has to say because I wasn't expecting it or I didn't particularly fit or did not fit what I planned, usually when He lays me out, the moment I understand what's going on and get His message, I start getting well, just that quick. So it made me realize that when somebody wants to rush over to you and pray and anoint you and get your will quick, that may not be the will of God. And I can remember on one occasion when I had been laid out with a sinus infection for about two weeks and people kept coming and praying for me and laying on hands and anointing me with oil, and I wasn't getting a bit better, not a bit. Oil didn't do it, prayer didn't do it, nothing did it. Finally got my attention and I thought, Lord, you're trying to say something to me.

These were years ago before I learned a few things I hope I've learned. And so finally it dawned to me, God, what are you saying to me? As soon as I recognized what He was saying, start getting well immediately. God calls us in different ways. He knows exactly how to get our attention and He knows what it takes. And sometimes we don't listen until we get to the point of desperation and pain and hurt and sorrow and suffering in our life.

Somehow hurt and pain and suffering opens our ears, opens our heart, gets our attention, as oftentimes nothing else does. Now, when we think in terms of how to respond to His call, always we know that it's wise to say yes to God. Lord, whatever you want me to do, the answer is yes. It's always wise to say yes.

Why? Well, look who's calling. I mean, this isn't just some friend calling, this is Almighty God. When I think about the fact that the sovereign God of this universe loves you and me enough to personally, listen, His calls are personal, they are clear, they are definite, not garbled. When I think about the fact that He loves you and me enough to speak to us quietly, and I love going to sleep at night and talking to the Father and asking Him to speak to my heart and waking up in the middle of the night and God say something so crystal clear. I'm telling you, there's not enough money you could ever stack up that I would ever exchange just to hear the voice of God. Just know that God has spoken, that He has made something very clear. He's answered my question, answered my prayer, confirmed something that I was thinking about, or maybe getting my attention to help me to begin to think about something that He wants to get my attention about. Tell me anything any more valuable than being able to communicate, to converse with the living God, that He loves you and me enough to take time to speak to us when He has a whole world He's operating and a whole world He's sovereignly overruling in.

God is not, listen, He's not in the mystery business. He's in the business of speaking to His children. It's always wise to listen.

Now I want to say this to you parents for a moment and grandparents, listen carefully. When we think in terms of when God speaks, I don't think any of us know when God begins to speak to someone else in life. But one thing for certain, parents oftentimes build the environment for their children to be able to hear God very, very early in life. I think about my own life, that my mom would read the Bible to me and talk to me about God and the best she knew how, and at least made me aware of God and of Jesus and the Word of God.

Think about going to church and Sunday after Sunday, listening to the gospel, probably didn't understand a lot of it because I started so early in life. And yet what was happening? God was laying the foundation, building the environment in my own life. My mom would come in and kneel down by the bed and pray with me. And oftentimes I didn't always understand what was going on.

But you know what she was doing? She was creating the environment for me to listen to God. And I think oftentimes parents wonder why their kids grow up and do what they do.

Let me ask you a question. Are you building an environment in your home where your children will listen to God? And I think you begin before they ever understand while they're still in arms, you get down by their bed, you talk to God over your children.

And as your children grow up month by month, year after year, what happens? Etched into their minds never to be forgotten is the sight of mom or dad or both kneeling by their bed, ever ringing in their ears. And I can still hear some things that my mom, who is in heaven, said on her knees by my bed. I can still hear it.

It's just as clear as it was today. Etched into my mind, etched into my thinking, brought me to God, established an environment in which it was easy for the Lord Jesus Christ to get to me very early in life so that by the time I was 12 years of age, I trusted him as my personal savior who built the environment, who laid the foundation, my mom kneeling by my bed, talking about Jesus, talking about God, telling me to pray to him that he would answer my prayer, that he would take the both of us through a very difficult trying time as they arose in our home to always cry out to God. You know what happened in this passage of scripture? Eli said to Samuel, Samuel, the next time you hear that, I want you to know that's God speaking.

And here's what you say. You say, speak, Lord, thy servant listens. And I think that's what we should teach our children. Speak, Lord, thy servant listens, teaching them very early to hear the voice, to hear the call of God in their life. You say, well, when does that begin? No one knows when God begins his first listen, his first endeavor to reach a child's heart. I think it is very, very early.

It's much earlier, I believe, than most people realize it is. But the issue I want us to understand is it's very important for parents to lay the foundation, create the environment. It isn't just a matter of asking the blessing at the table.

It's a matter of getting down by the bed. It's talking about Jesus, talking about the Bible, letting them see you read the Bible, asking questions and admitting your faults and your failures and that you have to confess and that you have to deal this in your life. And what happens? You build within them a foundation for which makes it easier for God to penetrate that little child's heart very early. And they began to trust Jesus Christ as their savior. And sometimes when a child walks the aisle and and they are very small and oftentimes person says, well, that wasn't very important.

That was just a kid. Let me ask you, when does God want us? He wants us so early in life that he has our entire life.

And I want to say to mom and dad, it is your life before them. What you do with this book and what you do about the names of Jesus and God and how you handle them. You're creating an environment that makes it possible for Almighty God to reach down in that child's heart and get their whole life, not after they spend it as teenagers on drugs and sex and alcohol and all the rest.

You build a list. You build a guard system around your children when you build the truth into their life. Jesus Christ is continually calling us. When does he begin that call?

Don't think anyone knows. Somebody says, Well, I don't know when God began to come in, but I wasn't saved till I was forty. Does that mean that God never tried to call you or never sent out a call till you were forty?

I don't believe that. You see, this is why when we create the environment, then the little child is expecting and listening. Listening does not even know, for example, exactly how God may do it.

How does he do it? For example, he begins to work in the heart of a person in their mind. The Holy Spirit begins to enlighten the person about the circumstances, their situation maybe, the fact that there's something is missing in their life.

And maybe you're one of those persons, as far as the world's concerned, you've got all the world has to offer, but something's missing. The Spirit of God, what is he doing? Making you aware that something is missing is God's call in your life. Then what happens comes the conviction of sinfulness in your life and the conviction that you're separated from God and that you need Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

And so what does he include in this call? The Spirit of God begins to work in your life and oftentimes he will send someone into your life. You'll hear a message such as this. You pick up a Bible you've not picked up in years and maybe you've never read it before.

Heard it the first time, heard the New Testament, spoke to their heart, made them aware of a need. And oftentimes the awareness of the need is there. They don't know how to fill it up.

They don't know what it takes to get it full. And I'm certain that many of you who are listening probably have felt the same thing. I know I have this need. I don't feel right with myself. I don't feel right with God wherever and whoever he is. Things are sort of messed up in my life.

And when it comes to material things, I've got all that. What's going on? I'm sort of confused.

I want to tell you what it is. God oftentimes lets us get to the point of absolute desperation before we recognize it is God's call. Does God send desperation in life? Yes, he does. Does he send chastisement? Yes, he does. Does God allow difficult, terrible things to happen?

Yes, he allows them. Why? Because God is always there to take advantage of every single opportunity to make us aware of our desperate need of him. Listen, when the guilt of sin is in your life, there's not anything that you can ever pile up in your life that'll make it possible for you to remove yourself of that guilt. It is only by forgiveness of sin to the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. The offer of salvation is God's first offer.

Because you see, that's when he establishes his relationship to us. And you'll hear people say, Well, you know, I'm not a Christian. I don't believe the Bible and all that stuff. But I talked to God.

You may talk to him, but I want to tell you something, my friend. God calls in all kinds of different ways. If you believe that you have a personal relationship with God, the Father, and you have bypassed his son, you have ignored Jesus Christ, you put him aside, you don't need him, you've gone to God, then my friend, you are terribly deceived. He said, Well, how can that be? You mean to tell me that God, I can't establish a personal relationship with God without Christ?

No, you can't. Listen carefully. If you could establish a personal relationship with God and bypass, ignore the Son of God, what a blasphemous act it was that God the Father would send his only begotten Son to the cross, crucify him, listen, for the sinfulness of mankind, and then bypass him, ignore him, let you come in the back door in relationship with him and totally ignore his son. It doesn't make sense. It is absolutely totally unscriptural.

And the truth is, you cannot do it. It is not that I don't believe that God is calling you. I don't question the fact that God may be working in your life, calling you, but I can tell you this, God never calls us to himself apart from his son. Thank you for listening to Understanding the Call of God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-06 04:08:42 / 2023-06-06 04:17:00 / 8

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