THE CALLED, CHOSEN AND THE FAITHFUL by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere

SERMON PREACHED AT THE 3RD COUNCIL MEETING OF ETSAKO DIOCESE HELD ON THURSDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER, 2009. @ THE OPENING SERVICE AT 4.00PM

 

THEME: THE CALLED, CHOSEN AND THE FAITHFUL

TEXT: Rev. 17:14: These will make war with the Lamb and the lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful.

Lets start the background of this statement from verse 12 mentioned of 10 horns, God told John: The ten horns you saw are Ten Kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with beast.” This is apocalyptic literature. The number 10 is not to be taken literally. These are ten kings who make war against the Lamb. But they are also more than 10 kings. Like the 7 heads, they represent the full member of earthly powers that has persecuted the church throughout human history. The numbers of these kings are not so important but their time “ONE HOUR”. They will receive authority for “one hour”. One hour is the smallest measurement of time in the Ancient world. That the kings of the earth, in their opposition to the church and the Gospel, will reign for only the briefest of times. But today is seems  long, never ending, lasting forever, this is what we are now  feeling as a church and as Christians. In Asia minor then they suffered under Rome. But when one hour is measured against eternity, it is nothing. John now says their time is nearly up, the destruction of the beast, the prostitute and the dragon. Why is it that their destruction almost here? The answer is the Theme of the Council Meeting Rev. 17:14 “They will war against the lamb but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and king of kings”. Here somebody, one person, overcome the 7 kings, the 10 kings, the kings of the earth, the beast, the prostitute, the dragon. Not the Lamb with His angels, not the Lamb with the great multitude beyond number. The lamb alone wins the victory. But the lamb is not alone. “With him will be His called; chosen and faithful followers” Does this include you.

What does it mean to call?

When Jesus saw Peter and Andrew, he invited them (called them) to become His disciples Matt.4:18-22 “And Jesus walking by the sea Cana, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. Then He said follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebede and John his brother, in the boat with Zebede their father, mending  their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.

Therefore, the idea that one must be ‘called’ and ‘chosen’ originated with Jesus Himself, who told His disciples that “Many are called, but few are chosen”. Matt. 22:14. These concepts are both biblically legitimate but they are rarely understood and routinely misused.

In most cases the calling of God is the work of the Holy Spirit through the agency of the gospel. II Thess. 2:13-14 “But we are bound to give thanks to God always  for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from  the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Noah was called when God became dissatisfied with the behaviour of His people. The numbers of people saved during Noah’s day were 8, Noah and his household. Noah did not find it easy with his people during his days.

Moses call experience is narrated full in Exodus 3 and 4. The charge was for him to go and lead the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. Ex. 3:10. He offered some excuses ranging from “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:11) to “Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person, God, however, had answer for all his excuses.

Isaiah’s call came to him in worship experience. Isaiah 6:1-8. He was at worship in the temple when he had a vision of the Lord presence. He was a lost sinner who needed cleansing. His guilt was taken away and sins forgiven. It was only then that the voice of the Lord became clear to Isaiah “who shall I send, and who will go for us? He then willingly responded “Here I am send me” (vs 8). The presence of Isaiah in the temple showed he had all along been a religious person. The acknowledgement of his guilt ad the consequent experience of forgiveness prepared him for a positive response to the call for the service.

Paul was threatening Christians and unfortunately thought he was pleasing God. But had a bitter service that of wining people to the faith in Jesus Christ through love and of His word.

God is ever calling people to become partners with him in the fulfillment of his purpose for the world, he calls and assigns various tasks to them. He expects them to join Him or become His instruments in meeting the needs of people, in drawing them into his salvation process. He calls people to be preachers, teachers, musicians, group leaders, or to be saving in other capacities.

To be called therefore is to say that you heard Jesus speak to you and called you first to new life of faith, righteousness and holiness unto the Lord.

To be called is to say, I am no longer like this world and desire to come from among the world and be separated (light from darkness).

The scripture then tells us in Matthew 26:16 & 22:14 that “for many are called, but few are chosen” i.e. because I heard the call does not necessarily mean I am chosen, but if I answered the call, I am at least in the race to be chosen. Are you chosen by God? Are you walking in your calling.

In order to be chosen you must be in position. Saul was chosen by the people and God allowed him to take the position but David was chosen by God and David reign and became a man after God’s heart.

 

To be chosen means that God has selected those of us who answered His call to fulfill His divine will in this world. We will find in John 15:16 that we did not choose Hum but he chose us. We are all called to salvation but we must choose to be chosen; which means once we are called we are given a choice to live a Christ like lifestyle.

To be chosen tells me that you and I possess the ability to be endowed with power from God enabling us to fulfill and complete the works of Christ here on earth as His – “CHURCH”.

To Peter, every believer is accessible to be God’s choice in Acts 10:34&35. Then peter opened his mouth and said “in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Peter refers to the first century saints as belonging to a “chosen generation” 1 Peter 2:9

The church is not the building but the called, chosen and faithful, we are chosen for a purpose and in order to fulfill God’s purpose, we must walk in obedience and submit as well as commit to doing whatever it takes to build up the kingdom of God.

Faithfulness to the Call and Your Being Chosen

If you are called and have been chosen by God, then we also must be faithful. To be faithful mean to trust God to lead and guide us in the way which he will have to go, we are called and chosen by God to be faithful till death. He said “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life”.

Faithfulness is a life time process through which we learn how to walk with the Lord “When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1).

There are some of you called like Moses, you are giving excuses, and you will have reasons not to come to church, not to serve, even when the call is clear, we are seat warmers. For the fact that you are a Christian means you are called. Remember, only those who serve/obey God’s call, chosen and faithful to the call will be glorified with Christ.

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

 “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:11)

As we tread the second book of the Apostle Peter he is teaching us some powerful truths that we need in order to make a triumphant entry into heaven. If we follow these truths we will receive a rich welcome into heaven. They will barely make it into the Kingdom or be saved only as one escaping through the flames but each will receive the Lord saying, “Well done good and faithful servants”? (Matthew 25:21)

Surely we can not afford to take any risk of not going to heaven. We need to be regenerated and sanctified, and add these glorious establishing virtues and you will never fail? While you do them. Then we will have no difficulty, entering into the entrance of heaven that has been abundantly supplied and prepared for us.

The Apostle Paul describes our life as Pilgrim’s on a journey Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” My physical citizenship is here on earth but one day it will be in the New Jerusalem! We are here visiting on a mission that is to preach the Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon! Through our calling to service of the church and humanity. The whole essence of your call is service, service and service.

Let’s follow along as 2nd Peter 1:1-11 talks about five virtues or truth we need to be equipped with here on earth to enter into the supplied entrance that is facilitate the New Jerusalem.

First Virtue: Faith

V1:1 “… to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” We need to obtain a great faith that only the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ can offer. Our faith is precious because it took the blood of a perfect man. Thank God for the cross. To obtain faith means we have to perform this faith that God has giving us by preaching the Gospel to our precious Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.

Second Virtue: Grace and Peace

V1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” No one is born into a mature Christian life in an instant. Increasing knowledge of Jesus brings grace and peace in abundance. In order to gain spiritual maturity, we need to grow constantly in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. The knowledge of God does not just know John 3:16 but having an insight to the spiritual things of God by studying His Word in-depth. Then, we shall have grace and peace multiplied in our daily walk. Those who know Christ and do not acknowledge Him before men can get no multiplication of grace and peace…

Third Virtue: Live a Godly Life by God’s Power

God has given us all that we need to obtain a good life. He has supplied us with food and health. God is sufficient in his giving of his gifts to the Church and the believer. Christ gives us all things which are required for eternal life, in which he has appointed to glorify us, and also to godliness, in that he furnishes us with true virtues. Ephesians 3:20. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” God has given us power from on high we need to use it in every prayer or though that we may have. Then we shall see the power of God in our daily lives.

Fourth Virtue: Partakers of the Divine Promises

We are partakers of the promises of God. The New Testament has over 250 promises from salvation of sin to the return of Christ. One preacher said we need to be standing on the Promises of God. Cats 2:39: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Sometimes, we may be resting or sitting on the promises of God; in order to be a partaker of His Divine, promises we need to act and perform upon his promises. We need to know the promises of God for our life and never forget them.