Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, June 7th. God is speaking, but sometimes we don't understand what He's saying. Let's listen for help in sharpening your listening skills so you can understand and respond to the call of God.
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, 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 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 am about to do a thing in Israel, at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. Now when we think in terms of God's call, let me say again, God does not limit his calls to missionaries and pastors and church staff members and so forth. God calls all of us. So I want us to talk about these four calls of God.
And I ask you to give them back to me in just a few moments. But the first call of God is the call to salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ came to call sinners to repentance. In fact, he said on one occasion, Come unto me, all you that labor, heaven laden, and I'll give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.
You'll find rest of your soul. Rest, listen, rest from the burden of sin and guilt and condemnation, forgiveness and cleansing and joy and peace and happiness and a whole new life. I want you to listen to what Jesus said, and I want you to turn, if you will, to John chapter 6. In the sixth chapter beginning in verse 37, listen to what Jesus said. He said, All that the Father gives me shall come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.
He said, Listen, the Father must work in our life. And notice what he said, All that the Father gives me shall come to me. Then if you'll turn to the 44th verse of the same chapter.
Forty-fourth verse of the same chapter. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. You see, somebody says, Lord, get saved when I please. No, you won't. Well, I'll get saved. You see, people say, Well, I'm going to get saved later in life. Before I die, I'm sure I will.
No, you're not. Listen to what this says. No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. That's the work of the Holy Spirit. You see, the call of God begins with the working of the Holy Spirit doing what? Drawing us to the Savior. Then if you'll turn to the 65th verse, same chapter.
And he was saying, For this reason I've said to you, that no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father. Three times Jesus says, Listen, no one can be saved unless the Spirit of God draws them. Then John chapter 14 verse 6. We most of us know it by heart. If you don't, turn to it if you will. John chapter 14 verse 6.
Notice what he said. Jesus made it very, very clear. 14 chapter verse 6, He said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. Why did Jesus keep saying, Unless the Father draws you to me, unless the Father brings you to me, unless you answer the call, unless you answer the witness of the Spirit to come to me. Jesus says, No man comes to the Father but by me.
If God would accept you apart from his Son, it would be a blasphemous act on the part of Almighty God to ignore his own Son, bypass him when he sent him to the cross to be crucified in order that you and I may be forgiven of our sins and establish a relationship with him. God's first call is the call of salvation. I did not come to call the righteous, He said, but sent us to repentance.
Why did he give the great commission? Why does he send pastors and missionaries all over the world? Why does he send Bible teachers all over the world? To issue the call of Almighty God. We are simply God's spokesman. We are simply the voice of God saying, God loves you, God cares for you, God will forgive you, he desires you to have a relationship with him, he's willing to forgive you of your sins. God is calling you, my friend.
You've never trusted him as your Savior. I'm telling you, the reason you're listening right now and the reason you're sitting here is that God is issuing a call. God is saying something to you about your life, that he created you. God has a purpose and a plan for your life. God issues his call, his first call is the call to salvation. Second call. Second call is the call to sanctification.
You say, what in the world does that mean? It is a call to holy living. It is a call to a life of obedience. And I want you to turn, if you will, to 2 Timothy chapter 2. Now in a large house, there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and earthware and some to honor and some to dishonor. He says, for example, there are things in our lives that are good. There are things in our lives that are not good.
Listen to what he says. Therefore, verse 21, if a man or a woman cleanses themselves, confesses and repents of, from these things he or she will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared for every good word. If you go back to 1 Peter for a moment, go over to 1 Peter chapter 1 and notice how he says it here in this first chapter. He says in verse 13 of 1 Peter chapter 1, therefore, gird your minds for action. Keep sober in spirit. Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Now watch this. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the form of lust which were yours in your ignorance. That is, don't get out there living in the world and doing what the world did, which is what you used to do. He says, as obedient children, don't be conformed to the form of lust which were yours in your ignorance. But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written, you shall be holy for I am holy. What is the call to sanctification? The call to sanctification is the call to obedience. It is the call to holy living.
Now watch this. The call to sanctification is not a one time or a call that ever ceases. It is a continuous call of the Spirit of God within us because every single day of our life we are making decisions.
We are facing decisions in finances and in your job and with your children and your home and relationships and all the rest. And each time we make a decision, we either make a decision to be obedient to God or not to be obedient to God. The Spirit of God who lives on the inside of us is there.
Caution us, warn us, encourage us, enable us. Every single call of God is accompanied by the power and the resources necessary in order to fulfill God's purpose in that call. That's why He gave us the Holy Spirit to enable us to live a righteous, godly life.
None of us can do it in the flesh. None of us can live a Christian life in our own strength. It is only as God enables us to the power of the Holy Spirit to live that life. It is the call of God. When the Spirit of God comes into your life, whether you are sixteen or whether you are sixty, it doesn't make any difference. The Spirit of God, one of the first things He begins to do is to do what? Is to enable us to begin to discern between what the world has to offer and God has to offer and begin to see that God wants our heart bent toward Him so that our, listen, our immediate, natural, normal response in every circumstances, what's the will of the Father? What does God want me to do? Does that mean that you and I will always do that?
No, it does not. Because we're still in this flesh. We're still in these human bodies. We still have our naturalness. And because we do, even though our heart is bent to Him, there, listen, there'll be those times we'll think, yes, Lord, I do know that's true and that's why we get torn in two directions.
What is it? It is the pull of the world. It is the pull of Satan. Because here's what happens, Satan always offers a very appealing alternative to the will and purpose of God. Sanctification isn't a one-time thing. Sanctification goes on in your life and mine every day. That's why he says we're to cleanse ourselves. That's why he says we're to confess our sins. If we do, he's faithful and just to forgive us.
Why? Because even though our heart is bent toward Him, still have the flesh, still live in our naturalness, still have temptations, still have difficulties, still have trials, still times we doubt. Well, God, here's what you say, but Lord, I'm not sure this will work out. What happens? All of those things are part of the process of God cleansing us.
What does He do? He says He predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. So, listen, God knew that you and I couldn't handle it. So He gave us the Holy Spirit, living on the inside of us, to enable us, strengthen us, to be able, listen, to have spiritual discernment. It is the work of the Spirit, the sanctifying work of the Spirit to cleanse my heart, cleanse my motives, cleanse my desires so I can say, yes, that is the will of God. You remember what Eli said when Samuel told him what God had said? He says that is the Word of the Lord.
He was able to discern that what he heard was from God. The first call of God is the call to salvation. The second call of God is the call to sanctification. What's the third call?
The third call is the call to service. Now, I'm going to repeat again that God does not just call people to serve in a church as a pastor or a musician or a missionary on the field somewhere. God's call takes on all kinds of things. Look, if you will, in Ephesians chapter two.
And what I want you to see is this. It doesn't make any difference. Listen, if you've trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you answered the first call positively, it doesn't make any difference where you are on the second call. This third call God issues to every one of His children. Listen to what He says, verse ten, having talked about our salvation, He says, for we are His workmanship, that He's the one who's created us in Christ Jesus, that is He's the one who saved us, for what purpose? For good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. How does God carry on His work on earth? God, in His awesome, infinite wisdom chose something that most of us would never have chosen.
He chose to do His work through people like us. I mean, you know, we are sinful. We have our naturalness. We are far from being perfect. We fail. We fault. You know what?
I'm using them. God has chosen to accomplish His work on this earth through people like you and me. Now, here's what I want to ask you. Are you serving the Lord in some fashion? Do you have a place of, is there some way you're serving God?
You say, I'm going to one of these days. That's not what He doesn't say one of these days you do that. He says He's called all of us as His servants. Now, our place of service may change. The activity that God has called us to do at this moment may change. But God calls us as His servants.
You say, I'm just this and I'm just that. No, God prepared beforehand a place for you to serve Him and a way to serve Him. You see, service helps us grow. Service enables us to understand the ways of God, how He works. It's in those times in our service to Him when we feel so inadequate, so absolutely incapable of doing what God has called us to do that we just have to cry out in desperation, God, if you don't help me, if you don't do this, God, it's not going to get done.
You know what happens? That grows our faith. God has the privilege of demonstrating His awesome power and His presence and His care and His love and His concern for us. Your abilities, your talents, your skills, your time, all that's a gift to God.
Why did He give it to you? To be invested, to be invested in the, listen, in the work of ministry in some fashion. There are many, many ways to serve God. The issue is this. Have you heard the call to service? Now, the fourth call, it's unavoidable, inescapable and inevitable.
Every single person will hear this call and when they hear it, they will know where it's coming from and what it is. It is the call to accountability. There are many passages of Scripture in the Bible about accountability. The whole parable about the talents is all about accountability.
Man has one talent, two talents, five. The steward calls them back to give an account. And then in Romans, for example, he says, 14th chapter, every one of us shall give an account of himself to God. Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.
You know what? We're going to hear the call of accountability. That means that God's going to call us before Him to give an account for what?
The gift of life, all of our time, which is life, our possessions, our gifts, our talents, everything that He placed at our disposal, we're going to give an account for it. Based on three things, the truth that we've heard and known, the opportunity He gave us, and then what we did with that opportunity so that God's judgments and God, listen, accountability is absolutely fair with God. And so, therefore, the question is, how did you answer the call to salvation? Did you say yes, or have you said no? How are you answering the call to sanctification? Are you saying yes, God, the will of God, or no?
How do you, have you answered the call to service? Yes, God, I'll serve anywhere you want, do whatever you choose, and Lord, I don't have time, I can't do that now. Those three, you have some sense of freedom.
The fourth one, you have no freedom. Every single one of us will give an account. Every single one of you, you'll give an account for how you've served on your job.
Did you give them a full eight hours? You'll give an account for what you've done with your money. Did you give God the first ten?
And what did you do with the other 90%? What did you do about your gifts and your talents and your abilities and how you related and how you grew up your children and all these things? We're going to give an account. You see, you know what God desires to say to you when you stand before Him? Here's what He wants to say. Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done, good and faithful servant.
That's what He wants to say. Now all of us, because we know we're sinful and so far removed from everything we could be before God, all of us are going to say, oh dear Lord, how could you ever say that? I'll tell you why. Because He washed you in His precious blood and He made you holy and He sanctified you. It won't be a question of whether you're holy or not standing in His presence.
It is a matter of accountability for time, talents, testimony, treasure, truth, trials, all these things we're going to give an account for. Now you say, well, I'm not a Christian. I've never trusted Jesus. What's He going to say to me? You don't know what He's going to say to me.
Yes, I do. I know exactly what He's going to say because here's what He said in the Bible He was going to say. He tells us in the Scriptures exactly what He's going to say. That when you stand before Him, my friend, having rejected the call of salvation, here's what He said I'm going to say.
He says, I will say in that day, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity. My friend, I know you can't possibly understand the awesome tragedy, horrible, indescribable, overwhelming terror that will pierce your heart when the Son of God whom you rejected, who loved you enough to down the cross for you, says to you, because you rebelled against me, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity.
Depart where? Into everlasting torment and separation from God. Because you made a choice. You refused the call of God. You spurned the conviction of God and you had it your way. My friend, with all of my heart, I plead with you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. He's calling you right now. If you're not saved, I know He's calling you.
Because when the, listen, when the gospel message reaches an unbeliever's heart, it is a call of God. And I want to encourage you to tell the Lord Jesus Christ you're trusting Him as your personal Savior. You need Him. And the moment you're asking Him to forgive you of your sins and place your life in His hands, He'll save you in this very moment, change your life. And you know what He'll do?
He'll start doing what? Bending your life in the direction of holiness and righteousness and peace and joy and all the things you want, cannot find and have found no substitute for it. It is my prayer to Almighty God, you will not reject this specific, clear call of God to you to be saved. And Father, how grateful we are that your message is simple. You said if we confess our sins to you, you're faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. Trusting Jesus Christ's death on the cross at Calvary is full payment and therefore to receive Him by faith means our salvation. Granted to multitudes of people who hear, this message is my prayer in Jesus' name.
Amen. Thank you for listening to part two of 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. We'll see you next time on It's Supernatural!
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-07 08:43:02 / 2023-06-07 08:52:48 / 10