Devotional Thought for Today – 09/03/21

Romans 8

CONTEXT: We need to look back at Chapter 7 for a moment and note that Paul had ended that chapter v.14-25 speaking about the conflict he had between knowing what was right and doing what was right. In otherwards his sinfulness kept getting in the way of his striving to be Holy (more like Christ).

Paul then begins Chapter 8 with a profound statement v.1, Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. he spends the first 25 verse speaking about how we, true believers have escaped the bondage of sin.

Then beginning in v.26 until the end of the chapter, Paul explains why, because our Victory [over sin] is found not in ourselves but in Christ.

I want to point out a few things about the Victory in Jesus, from the bondage of sin to the fellowship with Christ:

It is only for those who are called according to his purpose.

God knew from time eternal, those folks, those whom He would call For whom he did foreknow

God had a predetermined plan for His chosen, he also did predestinate

God plan was for His chosen to be like Christ, made holy through Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary, to be conformed to the image of his Son

The important thing we all need to recognize immediately is our role in all of this, it is missing as it were. It is never about us and always about God. Yes, we must surrender all in the Order of Salvation, our conversion, when we willingly respond to the Holy Spirit pricking our hearts with the Gospel call. Yet that response is only because God calls, not because we desire Him on our own.

The last thing in the Chain above is Glorification the hope that drives true believers. The thing we get to look forward to in eternity that can never be achieved here in this, the ultimate and final removal of all sin from our lives.

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/26/2021

GOD ORDAINED

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ROMANS 8

Overview of Romans 8: The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God. (28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39) – Matthew Henry

Often called the “more than conquerors” chapter in obvious reference to v.37, it is our main text v.30, shown above along with v.28-29 that contains the greatest of Biblical doctrine concerning God-Ordained Salvation.

In v.28, God says; them who are the called according to his purpose.

The called of God and of Jesus Christ; not to any office, or by the external ministry of the word only, but by special grace; from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from the company of sinful men to fellowship with Christ, from a trust in their own righteousness to a dependence on his, to grace here, and glory hereafter; which is done according to the purpose of God: the persons called are fixed upon by God; none are called but whom God purposed to call; those who are called can assign no other reason of it than the will of God; and no other reason but that can be given why others are not called; the time when, the place where, the means whereby persons are called, are all settled and determined by the will, and according to the purpose of God. – John Gill

In v.29 God says; For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… In other words, God predetermined whom He will save to conform them to the image of Christ.

Our main text v.30 for today tells most of the story if you will, of how we get there. When it comes to Salvation most folks think it all about them, I gave my.., or I went forward and… The fact is this and many other bible verses make it clear that it is all about God and His amazing Grace and not at all about us. God Predestined, Called, Justified, and will eventually Glorify everyone of His Elect.

Below are some posts on the subject of Salvation and the actual order in which the Bible says we are saved. 


Visual Theology – The Order of Salvation

“Ordo Salutis” The Order of Salvation, Part I

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part II

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part III

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part IV

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part V

Ordo Salutis, the Order of Salvation; Part VI

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VIII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation – Part IX

What is the Ordo Salutis / order of salvation?

The Order of Salvation

The Ordo Salutis PDF by A A Hodge
 
The Ordo Salutis by Geerhardus Vos

Daily Devotional – A Light

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CSB and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

Many today challenge the authorship of Isaiah son of Amoz as writer of the whole of this book. I would disagree citing two key factors, first his is the only name cited and second the consistent use of the phrasing  “the Holy One of Israel,”  throughout. 

The first 39 chapters are known as Book of Judgements as Isaiah lays out the judgement of God against the nations.  The remaining Chapters 40-66 are known as the Book of Comforts, here God lays out His plan for the hope and restoration of Israel and all the nations. 

In our Chapter 49, we have the beginning of the Servants call to Ministry.  As we see in v.5, God calls His servants from the womb, for a specific purpose (that Israel might be gathered to him). 


BREAKDOWN:

 And he said, – Reading other translations we see  this later in the verse, here in the KJV it is front and center, GOD is speaking, so pay attention. 

It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant – Okay (rhetorical) raise your hand how many think that their calling from God is a light (read simple, easy, undemanding ) thing.  Well God thinks so! 

to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: – God calls men for a specific purpose, if you think you want to serve God but say I do not know in what manner, PRAY, the Holy Spirit will show you the way.  Far to many head out to a “mission” field without God’s calling and fail, do not be counted among them. 

I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, – So if raising up the tribes of Jacob, and restoring the preserved of Israel was not enough of a challenge God tells Isaiah you will also be a light unto the Gentiles (those non-jews of his time and unsaved of the world today)

that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. – We know that Salvation is in no one except Christ, so God is not telling Isaiah the he will be salvation, but that through his actions people will a light that draws folks to Christ Acts 13:47.


APPLICATION:

BALNAM Patch – Mission:M25

The patch above is worn by all of us associated with Mission M25 Ministries. It means Be a Light not a Mouth, and while of course God expects us to speak he does not expect us to ram stuff down folks throat. 

Here in Isaiah God calls Isaiah to be a light unto the unsaved; that is be an example they want to emulate, be there for them in there time of need, be that person they can count on. God DOES NOT call Isaiah, stand on the corner and preach condemnation and scorn. 

Do not get me wrong there is a time and place to point out error and biblical unrighteousness, yet even that must be done with the light of Christ and God’s Grace shining brightly.  


So today’s question is simple; are you a Light or just a Mouth? 

Follow in His Footsteps

Image result for I PET. 2:21

For [as a believer] you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps. (AMP)

Since I can remember, I have heard folks say that being a Christian means being a follower of Christ. I do not want to here today get into how imprecise that is, instead I would like to focus on what it means to be a follower of Christ.

The word follower has so many meanings. It can be used to describe someone who literally trails behind another, someone who adheres to the principles of another, one who beys or worships another, a disciple of a system, a companion or friend and a few others. The second meaning in Websters 1828 dictionary has the best application to verse 21: One that takes another as his guide in doctrines, opinions or example; one who receives the opinions, and imitates the example of another; an adherent; an imitator. So we are to imitate Jesus, but how so?

The Apostle Peter under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us a great deal about the character of Jesus while he was on earth in the next two verses of Chapter 2 (1 Peter 2:22-23 ). These traits that we are to follow included:

    • He committed no sin: That is a standard no man (or woman) can live up to yet everyone who calls themselves a Christian should be endeavoring to live for.
    • Deceit ever found in His mouth: never ever misrepresented the truth in any way shape or form, not even tells the story about the really big one that got away. Again it is a standard that no human ever lives up to in their entire (birth to death) life.
    • While being reviled and insulted (SUFFERING) he did not respond in kind: First note that Christ suffered during His ministry on earth and if you are a “true follower” you too should expect to suffer. What distinguishes a true Christian from those pretenders is how they respond in their troublesome times.
    • Made no threats [of vengeance]: Jesus used self control, he did not lash out at those who would oppress him unfairly. Life is not always fair, how you respond to those who would  disagree with your Biblical Worldview or a post on Facebook lets everyone know who you really are. 
    • Entrusted Himself to Him who judges fairly: Most importantly through it all, Jesus trusted God the Father not the earthly judges who presided over Him but He who ruled in Heaven who’s plan was before time as we know it. It is in Him, His plan no matter our circumstance that we need to have our confidence daily.

Despite what many today profess to know about following Jesus, true followers always turn to the Word of God for His examples to live by not the examples man thinks He would live by today. 

Today’s Study help is Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions Of Holy Scripture on 1 Peter 2:21. * Note it is long so follow the link at the end to continue reading 🙂

CHRIST THE EXEMPLAR

These words are a very striking illustration of the way in which the Gospel brings Christ’s principles to bear upon morals and duty. The Apostle is doing nothing more than exhorting a handful of slaves to the full and complete and patient acceptance of their hard lot, and in order to teach a very homely and lowly lesson to the squalid minds of a few captives, he brings in the mightiest of all lessons by pointing to the most beautiful, most blessed, and most mysterious fact in the world’s history–the cross of Christ. It is the very spirit of Christianity that the biggest thing is to regulate the smallest duties of life. Men’s lives are made up of two or three big things and a multitude of little ones, and the greater rule the lesser; and, my friends, unless we have got a religion and a morality that can and will keep the trifles of our lives right there will be nothing right; unless we can take those deepest truths, make them the ruling principles, and lay them down side by side with the most trivial things of our lives, we are something short. Is there nothing in your life or mine so small that we cannot bring it into captivity and lift it into beauty by bringing it into connection with saving grace? Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example. This is the first thing that strikes me, and I intend it also by way of introduction. Look how the Apostle has put the points together, as though there are two aspects which go together and cannot be rendered apart, like the under side and the upper side of a coin. ‘Christ also suffered for us,’ and so for us says all the orthodox. ‘Leaving us an example’–there protests all the heretics. Yes, but we know that there is a power in both of them, and the last one is only true when we begin with the first. He suffered for us. There, there, my friends, is the deepest meaning of the cross, and if you want to get Christ for an example, begin with taking Him as the sacrifice, for He gave His life for you. Don’t part the two things. If you believe Him to be Christ, then you take Him at the cross: if you want to see the meaning of Christ as an example, begin with Him as your Saviour. ‘Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps.’ These are the words, and what God hath joined together let no man put asunder. With these few remarks I shall deal with the words a little more exhaustively, and I see in them three things–the sufferings of Christ our gain, the sufferings of Christ our pattern, and the suffering of Christ our power to imitate… Continued at Source 

 

 

Called to be set Apart

Image result for II Cor. 6:17

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Therefore, come out from among them
and be separate, says the Lord;
do not touch any unclean thing,
and I will welcome you. 2 Cor 6:17 (CSB)

This is another bible verse I have often heard taken out of context. I Paul, under the hand (inspiration) of the Holy Spirit really telling all believers to have nothing to do with the world? Absolutely NOT! You can not justify that position and the Great Commision at the same time. “Jesus came near to them and said… Go therefore and make…(Matt 28:18-20)” Yet some would have us believe that to do anything resembling worldly affairs, like dance, movies, or even playing card games,whatever means you are not clean, a heathen, condemned.

I like how John Calvin puts it on commenting on this verse: Now all our members are vessels, set apart for the spiritual worship of God; we are also a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9.) Hence, as we are redeemed by the grace of God, it is befitting that we keep ourselves undefiled in respect of all uncleanness, that we may not pollute the sanctuary of God. As, however, while remaining in this world, we are nevertheless redeemed, and rescued, from the pollutions of the world, so we are not to quit life with the view of departing from all uncleanness, but must simply avoid all participation. The sum is this. “If with a true affection of the heart, we aim at the benefit of redemption, we must beware of defiling ourselves by any contamination from its pollutions.”

Once again one should never take a verse out of context, we need the “whole counsel” of God to clearly understand His word. Paul has just finished speaking (2 Cor 6:14-16) about being yoked or bound (by agreement, contract, etc.) to a non-believer someone who does not share your faith.

Although most often associated with marriage in context to the church Paul is writing to it seems they have an idol problem. Sound familiar with some in the church today? If a church is not centered on The Bible, teaches anything but Salvation through Faith alone by Grace alone, in Christ alone, to God’s glory in all things it may have an issue with idolizing something else.

The bottom line is certainly the Lord wants all Christians to “come out from among them and be separate,” but that seperate ourselves from sinful ways. We are all fallen creatures from birth, we will all sin, the point is to Glorify God at every opportunity and not Satan in our actions. We can do this and still reside in the world today.

– Mike

 

 

 

 

 

Called by Name

Isaiah 43:1 Fear Not I Have Redeemed You (red)

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
 Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)

While many focus on the “fear not” aspect of this verse I think the key is the last part I have called you by name, you are mine. Yes in context this verse is speaking to Israel (we were obviously not around) but taking the “Whole Counsel of God” come to understand it is applicable to us today. 

With that in mind lets take another look; the obvious Fear not, why because we (God’s chosen people, Jew and Gentile who from before the foundation of the world were laid Eph 1:4have been redeemed. Then things get real personal God says I have called you and not just any call but personally by name. Why does God do this and not just send a messenger after all He is pretty busy one would think running the universe; because you are mine (we are His).

Maybe it is just me, but that brings me comfort in knowing my God is a personal God, a God that knows me.  – Mike

MacLaren Expositions Of Holy Scripture

THY NAME: MY NAME

Isaiah 43:1. – Isaiah 43:7.

Great stress is laid on names in Scripture. These two parallel and antithetic clauses bring out striking complementary relations between God and the collective Israel. But they are as applicable to each individual member of the true Israel of God.

I. What does God’s calling a man by his name imply?

1. Intimate knowledge.

Adam naming the creatures.

Christ naming His disciples.

2. Loving friendship.

Moses, ‘I know thee by name, and thou hast found grace in my sight.’

3. Designation and adaptation to work.

Bezaleel- Exodus 31:2; Cyrus- Isaiah 45:3; Servant of the Lord- Isaiah 49:1.

II. What does God’s calling a man by His name imply?

1. God’s possession of him. That possession by God involves God’s protection and man’s safety. He does not hold His property slackly. ‘None shall pluck them out of My Father’s hand.’

2. Kindred. The man bears the family name. He is adopted into the household. The sonship of the receiver of the new name is dimly shadowed.

3. Likeness.

The Biblical meaning of ‘name’ is ‘character manifested.’

Nomen and omen coincide.

We must bring into connection with the texts the prominence given in the Apocalypse to analogous promises.

‘I will write on him the name of My God.’ That means a fuller disclosing of God’s character, and a clear impress of that character on perfected men ‘His name shall be in their foreheads.’

John Gill’s Commentary

I have called thee by thy name; with an effectual calling, which is of particular persons, and those by name, even the same that are redeemed by Christ; for whom he has redeemed by his precious blood, they are called by the grace of God to special blessings of grace, with a high, holy, and heavenly calling; and have no reason to fear anything, since they are the chosen of God; have a right to all spiritual blessings; all things work together for their good; they shall persevere to the end, and at last be brought to glory, to which they are called:

thou art mine; such as are redeemed by Christ, and called by his grace, they are his Father’s gift, and his own purchase; they voluntarily give up themselves to him, under the influence of his Spirit and grace; they are his by profession and possession; they are his portion, people, sheep, and spouse; and his interest in them, and theirs in him, serve to prevent fear; such need not fear wanting anything, nor any enemy, nor perishing, or miscarrying of heaven and happiness, to which fears they are subject.

 

 

God Doesn’t Call The Qualified, He Qualifies The CALLED|

Are you called to a ministry?

The Whole Armour Of God

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Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead …..

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED|

Like, Comment or Reblog  this if you know you are NOT perfect, but that God is working in your life anyway…

Stephen Salmon (Brother in Christ)

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Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation – Part IX

GLORIFICATION

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

– – – Romans 8:28-30

 

            As we close our series on Salvation we come to what I believe should be the great hope of every believer, Glorification.

 

            Our main text is often referred to as the “Golden Chain”.  That it is an expression of the Ordo Salutis cannot be denied. Let’s break it down:

 

v.28:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of:

 

Those (The elect) who love him (not by their own efforts), who have been called (effectually not universal) according to His purpose. For

 

Those (The elect) God foreknew He (also) (v.29) predestined (determined beforehand) to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that Jesus might be the firstborn among many brothers. And

 

Those (The elect) those God predestined, He (also) (v.30) called (regenerated)

 

Those (The elect) those God called, He (regeneration, through repentance and faith) He (also) justified (found righteous because of Christ alone)

 

Those (The elect) those God justified, (adopted, sanctified and preserved) He also Glorifies

 

Glorification is the final stage of the Glorification is the final stage of the Ordo Salutis and an aspect of Christian doctrine on Salvation or soteriology. It is also a part of Christian eschatology or last things. . It refers to the nature of believers after death and judgment, “the final step in the application of redemption.[1] The theological doctrine of glorification goes on to describe how believers will be resurrected after death and given new bodies that have a degree of continuity with their mortal selves. [1] c Wayne, Grudem (1994). Systematic Theology. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press. pp. 828–839.and an aspect of

 

In the Scripture the idea of glorification deals with the ultimate perfection of believers. The word “glorification” is not used in the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament, but the idea of glorification is conveyed by the Greek verb doxazo (“glorify”) and the noun doxa (“glory”) as well as in passages that do not use any word from this root. Although the Old Testament may anticipate the theme to some extent ( Psalm 73:24 ; Dan 12:3 ), the New Testament is considerably fuller and richer in its development, making it explicit that believers will be glorified ( Romans 8:17 Romans 8:30 ; 2 Thess 1:12 ).

 

            In considering what to preach on this topic I listened to quite a few sermons from different well know orators of God’s word. Then I found Brad Baggett’s [1] series of Ordo Salutis on sermon audio and decided to share his thoughts with you. I pray you are uplifted as much as I.

 

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=817081743424

 

            In closing as I was listening to the sermon and writing these few words I had the word of the faithful old hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns running through my mind. Verse four is especially applicable:

 

Crown him the Lord of love;

behold his hands and side,

those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.

 

All hail, Redeemer, hail!

For thou hast died for me;

thy praise and glory shall not fail

throughout eternity.

 

            Do you see it? In beauty Glorified of course speaks of Christ but remember our main text. Verse 20 of Romans 8 says in part:  he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Just as Christ, who today sits at the right hand of the Father is described in this song as beauty Glorified. We too who have been Elected, Effectually Called, Regenerated, Converted, Justified, Adopted, Sanctified, and Preserved by God have the hope nor more the promise to be Glorified by God. And not just any glory will be ours but the same that marks the beautiful image of His Son.

 

In HIS Service

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part II

Effectual Calling

… to them who are the called according to HIS purpose. Romans 8:28b

     How many of you can tell me the first half of Romans 8:28? If I was a wagering man I’d recon most of you could. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. This is an often quoted verse in Christianity today. The problem is most folks leave off the second (key) part.

     Last week we began a series on Ordo Salutis or the Order of Salvation with the Doctrine of Election. Today we will look at the second step in the process known as Effectual Calling.

     Faith or Regeneration (made alive spiritually), which happens first in the process of salvation? Far too many evangelical Christians today would claim faith comes first. It is only then after God sees how good and gracious we are by having faith in Him, He gives us a new birth. Really have you see mankind act this way regular like? This is emphatically unbiblical. The bible teaches God through HIS GRACE regenerates us and we in turn express our joy by crying out to Him in faith.

     Tim Challises in his Visual Theology, Ordo Salutis from which the inspiration for this series comes says: Calling God summons people to himself through the human proclamation of the gospel so they respond in saving faith.

     From Trinity Baptist Church Burlington Ontario, Canada comes the following:

The historical definition of effectual calling is given in the Westminster Shorter Catechism as follows: “Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ and renewing our wills, He persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel.”

Effectual Calling, the Rev. Thomas White, LL.B. writes: What is this calling?  It is the real separation of the soul unto God; and a clothing it with such gracious abilities, whereby it may be enabled to repent of its sins, and to believe in his Son. It is our translation from the state of nature—which is a state of sin, wrath, death, and damnation—to a state of grace, which is a state of holiness, life, peace, and eternal salvation.

     The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon’s fine illustration of this subject uses Luke 19:5 as its key verse:

when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.”—

     Spurgeon goes on to say there are eight significant facts in this one verse. They are:

1. effectual calling is a very gracious truth. You may guess this from the fact that Zaccheus was a character whom we should suppose the last to be saved. He belonged to a bad city—Jericho—a city which had been cursed, and no one would suspect that anyone would come out of Jericho to be saved.

     God’s effectual calling is agreeable to all whom He calls. There is nothing robotic or distasteful about it. Through the power of the Holy Spirit those called see this great and gracious truth and desire it.

2. it was a personal call. There were boys in the tree as well as Zaccheus but there was no mistake about the person who was called. It was, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down.” There are other calls mentioned in Scripture. It is said, especially, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Now that is not the effectual call which is intended by the apostle, when he said, “Whom he called, them he also justified.” That is a general call which many men, yea, all men reject, unless there come after it the personal, particular call, which makes us Christians.

     God’s calls individuals to repentance. This is not some mass media broadcast it is deeply personal to each one. Acts 2:37 is a great example of this: When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?”” (HCSB) Listen you do not come under deep conviction unless your own deep dark (evil sinful) secrets are exposed to the light.

3. it is a hastening call. “Zaccheus, make haste.” The sinner, when he is called by the ordinary ministry, replies, “To-morrow.” He hears a telling sermon, and he said, “I will turn to God by-and-bye.” The tears roll down his cheek, but they are wiped away. Some goodness appears, but like the cloud of the morning it is dissipated by the sun of temptation. He says, “I solemnly vow from this time to be a reformed man. After I have once more indulged in my darling sin, I will renounce my lusts, and decide for God.” Ah! That is only a minister’s call, and is good for nothing.

     When you hear the call do not delay. In fact a true effectual call will always result in an immediate response.

4. it is a humbling call. “Zaccheus, make haste and come down.” Many a time hath a minister called men to repentance with a call which has made them proud, exalted them in their own esteem, and led them to say, “I can turn to God when I like; I can do so without the influence of the Holy Ghost.” They have been called to go up and not to come down. God always humbles a sinner. Can I not remember when Gold told me to come down? One of the first steps I had to take was to go right down from my good works; and oh! what a fall was that! I have pulled you down from your good works, and now I will pull you down from your self-sufficiency.” Well, I had another fall, and I felt sure I had gained the bottom, but Christ said “Come down!” and he made me come down till I fell on some point at which I felt I was yet salvable. “Down, sir! come down, yet.” And down I came until I had to let go every bough of the tree of my hopes in despair: and then I said, “I can do nothing; I am ruined.” The waters were wrapped round my head, and I was shut out from the light of day, and thought myself a stranger from the commonwealth of Israel. “Come down lower yet, sir! thou hast too much pride to be saved. Then I was brought down to see my corruption, my wickedness, my filthiness. “Come down,” says God, when he means to save. Now, proud sinners, it is of no use for to stick yourselves up in the trees; Christ will have you down. Oh, thou that dwellest with the eagle on the craggy rock, thou shalt come down from thy elevation; thou shalt fall by grace, or thou shalt fall with a vengeance one day.

5. it is an affectionate call. “To-day I must abide in thy house.” You can easily conceive how the faces of the multitude change! They thought Christ to be the holiest and best of men, and were ready to make him a king. But he says, “To-day I must abide in thy house.” There was one poor Jew who had been inside Zaccheus’s house; he had “been on the carpet,” as they say in country villages when they are taken before the justice, and he recollected what sort of house it was; he remembered how he was taken in there, and his conceptions of it were something like what a fly would have of a spider’s den after he had once escaped. There was another who had been distrained of nearly all his property; and the idea he had of walking in there was like walking into the den of lions. “What!” said they, “Is this holy man going into such a den as that, where we poor wretches have been robbed and ill-treated. It was bad enough for Christ to speak to him up in the tree, but the idea of going into his house!” They all murmured at his going to be “a guest with a man who was a sinner.” Well, I know what some of his disciples thought: they thought it very imprudent; it might injure his character, and he might offend the people. They thought he might have gone to see this man night, like Nicodemus, and give him an audience when nobody saw him; but publicly to acknowledge such a man was the most imprudent act he could commit. But why did Christ do as he did? Because he would give Zaccheus anaffectionate call. “I will not come and stand at thy threshold, or look in at thy window, but I will come into thine house—the same house where the cries of widows have come into thine ears, and thou hast disregarded them; I will come into thy parlour, where the weeping of the orphan have never moved thy compassion; I will come there, where thou, like a ravenous lion hast devoured thy prey; I will come there, where thou hast blackened thine house, and made it infamous; I will come into the place where cries have risen to high heaven, wrung from the lips of those whom thou hast oppressed; I will come into thy house and give thee a blessing.” Oh! what affection there was in that!

     Hear this; God’s effectual call is a loving call. Only a loving God would; chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1 Cor 1:27)

     Do you see it? It has to be an affectionate call why else would God chose a sinner such as I?

6. it was {and is} an abiding call. “To-day I must abide at thy house.” A common call is like this: “To-day I shall walk in at thy house at one door, and out at the other.” The common call which is given by the gospel to all men is a call which operates upon them for a time, and then it is all over; but the saving call is an abiding call. When Christ speaks, he does not say, “Make haste, Zaccheus, and come down, for I am just coming to look in;” but “I must abide in thy house; I am coming to sit down to eat and drink with thee; I am coming to have a meal with thee; to-day I must abide in thy house.” “Ah!” says one, “you cannot tell how many times I have been impressed, sir, I have often had a series of solemn convictions, and I thought I really was saved, but it all died away; like a dream, when one awaketh, all hath vanished that he dreamed, so was it with me.” Ah! but poor soul, do not despair. Dost thou feel the strivings of Almighty grace within thine heart bidding thee repent to-day? If thou dost, it will be an abiding call. If it is Jesus at work in thy soul, he will come and tarry in thine heart, and consecrate thee for his own forever. He says, “I will come and dwell with thee, and that forever.

7. There is one thing, however, I cannot forget, and that is that it was {and is} a necessary call. Just read it over again. “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.” It was not a thing that he might do, or might not do; but it was a necessary call. The salvation of a sinner is as much a matter of necessity with God as the fulfilment of his covenant that the rain shall no more drown the world. The salvation of every blood-bought child of God is a necessary thing for three reasons; it is necessary because it is God’s purpose; it is necessary because it is Christ’s purchase; it is necessary because it is God’s promise. It is necessary that the child of God should be saved.

8. And now, lastly, this call was {and is} an effectual one, for we see the fruits it brought forth. Open was Zaccheus’s door; spread was his table; generous was his heart; washed were his hands; unburdened was his conscience; joyful was his soul. “Here, Lord,” says he, “the half of my goods I give to the poor; I dare say I have robbed them of half my property—and now I restore it.” “And if I have taken anything from any one by false accusation, I will restore it to him fourfold.”—away goes another portion of his property. Ah! Zaccheus, you will go to be to-night a great deal poorer than when you got up this morning—but infinitely richer, too—poor, very poor, in this world’s goods, compared with what thou wert when thou first didst climb that sycamore tree; but richer-infinitely richer—in heavenly treasure.

Sinner, we shall know whether God calls you by this: if he calls, it will be an effectual call—not a call which you hear and then forget but one which produces good works. If God hath called thee this morning, down will go that drunken cup, up will go thy prayers; if God hath called thee this morning, there will not be one shutter up to-day in your shop, but all, and you will have a notice stuck up, “This house is closed on the Sabbath day, and will not again on that day, be opened.” …. We do not believe a man to be converted unless he doth renounce the error of his ways; unless, practically, he is brought to know that Christ himself is master of his conscience, and his law is his delight. “Zaccheus, make haste and come down, I must abide at thy house.” And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. “And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Rev. Thomas White, LL.B writes: There is a call of the gospel that is not effectual: of this our Saviour speaketh, when he saith, “Many are called, but few chosen.” (Matt. 20:16.) How many of the poor ministers of the gospel may complain of multitudes in this generation, saying, with the children that sat in the market-place “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not lamented!”(Luke 7:32.) “Neither the delightful airs of mercy, nor the doleful ditties of judgment, have moved you.” But the election will certainly obtain; and the call that is “according to God’s purpose,” reacheth not ears only, but hearts also: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God.” (John 5:25.)

     The general call and the effectual call Scripture distinguishes between what has been termed the “general” or “universal” call of the gospel and the “effectual” (or individual) call.

The general call of the gospel can be rejected and indeed is rejected by men and women because of their sinful state. This call is seen in verses such as Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 11:28; Isaiah 55:1. This call is genuine and real and is to be issued by God’s servants to all mankind. However, the response to this call is illustrated in the parable of Matthew 22:1-6.

But there is in Scripture an effectual call: that is a call which not only invites and summons but which also carries with it the power to ensure the desired response. The effectual call not only invites sinners to salvation but actually brings them to it. In this call the Holy Spirit makes the general call effectual; it comes through the gospel message to the elect of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:4,5.

It is the effectual call to which the Bible refers most often when it speaks of “call”, “called”, and “calling”. Compare Romans 8:28-30 (our main text); 1 Corinthians 1:23-27; Hebrews 9:15.

     The need for God’s effectual calling should be apparent to call. If you will allow me I will try to not beat a dead horse here as it were. We have expounded many times on just how corrupt the un-regenerated heart of man is. It is totally incapable of real faith in God. Verse Eph 2:5 should provide adequate proof tonight: When did God save us (quicken us); when we were dead in sins. Why, because of your grace? No because of His grace through Christ; together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

     Natural or un-regenerated man has no desire to even attempt a journey on Salvation’s road. All “Christians”, whether they acknowledge the truth or not must be called or summoned to repentance and salvation. We cannot and will not do it on our own.

     Next time we will look at regeneration or being made alive spiritually.