A Call to Endurance

The 12th Chapter of Hebrews begins with the following verse: 

 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

let us run with patience the race is clearly a metaphor for a call to “endurance” but even so much more than that; note what is said: 

  1. We have a goal set before us 
  2. This aim, goal, calling is known and defined
  3. God appointed it and the path we shall run towards it
  4. There are many witnesses some fellow believers to encourage us and some non-believers to mock and discourage us on our journey
  5. We are to make steady (patient) progress in our race
  6. Out efforts will be encumbered or weighed down with sin and worldly issues making the race very hard

So how is one to actually finish strong or endure until the end of the race? How can we proclaim like the Apostle Paul I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Tim 4:7). That is the answer FAITH, Sola Fide, Faith ALone  in Christ Jesus, Sola Christus, in Christ alone. 

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Where are you in life’s race today? 


MacLaren Expositions Of Holy Scripture

 

God’s Goal

Image Source

Image result for Philippians 3:13

Reaching Forward to God’s Goal

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV)  

Paul begins Chapter 3 of Philippians reminding them to rejoice in the Lord, beware of evil workers and to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.  Then we find the above, Paul humbly admits that even he has not obtained that which he seeks and it is an ongoing process (Sanctification).

The key verse in this section, for me at least is verse 13, Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Paul is seeking perfection, that is spiritual maturity, not earthly faultlessness as only Christ had.  He uses what many consider a race analogy in verse 14; I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

I am not so fast to dismiss this as just an analogy. I for one hold that the bible is inerrant (without any errors) inspired (God wrote it using man) and therefore we need to not add or take away from it original meaning. Paul has made very clear and no one seems to dispute the goal is in fact “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection” (v.10). Also not in controversy is the fact that prizes or rewards are biblical (Matthew 5:12Luke 6:23351 Corinthians 3:149:18) especially those promise the faithful in heaven. Can you think of a great prize this side of heaven than spiritual maturity in our Lord and Savior? Paul says no, and in our main verse he makes it clear no one looking back, sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be told what to do will ever obtain it.  

One of my favorite authors, preachers, men of the past century Dr. Martian Lloyd Jones has a quote that is think is appropriate to this: 

I have always found it depressing to listen to the kind of people who, whenever you meet them, will always for sure tell you the story of their conversion many years ago. They tell you that story every time. I have known people do exactly the same thing with revival. There is always something about an initial experience that is remarkable and outstanding. And a time of revival is so amazing and wonderful that it is not surprising that people go on talking about it. But, if they give the impression that they have had nothing since that wonderful experience, that ever after they have been walking through a wilderness, and travelling through a desert, then it is absolutely wrong. Their idea of the Christian life is of a dramatic experience, perhaps at the outset, after which they just trudge along, living on the strength of that and partly keeping their eye turned backwards as they go forward.

 

Worthy of the Calling

 

Image result for Eph 4:1

Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ

Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope[a] at your calling—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:1-6 (CSB)

Note how Paul starts this by saying he is a “prisoner in the Lord”, not of the Lord but in the Lord. He is referring not to physical chains put on because of some misdeeds or debt, but a spiritual prisoner who has gladly given his life to the cause of the cross (see chap 1).

In all of Chapters one through three is Paul expounding upon God’s mercy and Grace. Then here in chapter four he says: therefore, in other words, because of everything I have previously explained we must come together as a body of believers. 

If you look at the vast number of denominations within the “protestant” church in America today one would wonder how this could be possible. Then there is the ever present charlatans, the fakers and shakers, the fluff and stuff folks, snake charmers who are so far from biblical truth (2 Tim 4:3) you wonder how anyone could be so deceived.   

Paul as always gives us the answer in pretty plain language; live worthy of the calling you have received.”  So what is this calling that I must live up to? I am going to interject Dr. John Gill’s commentary here:

That ye walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye are called;
by which is meant, not that private and peculiar state and condition of life, that the saints are called to, and in: but that calling, by the grace of God, which is common to them all; and is not a mere outward call by the ministry of the word, with which men may be called, and not be chosen, sanctified, and saved; but that which is internal, and is of special grace, and by the Spirit of God; by whom they are called out of darkness into light, out of bondage into liberty, out of the world, and from the company and conversation of the men of it, into the fellowship of Christ, and his people, to the participation of the grace of Christ here, and to his kingdom and glory hereafter; and which call is powerful, efficacious, yea, irresistible; and being once made is unchangeable, and without repentance, and is holy, high, and heavenly. Now to walk worthy of it, or suitable to it, is to walk as children of the light; to walk in the liberty wherewith Christ and his Spirit make them free; to walk by faith on Christ; and to walk in the ways of God, with Christ, the mark, in their view, and with the staff of promises in their hands; and to walk on constantly, to go forwards and hold out unto the end: for this walking, though it refers to a holy life and conversation, a series of good works, yet it does not suppose that these merit calling; rather the contrary, since these follow upon it; and that is used as an argument to excite unto them: but the phrase is expressive of a fitness, suitableness, and agreeableness of a walk and conversation to such rich grace, and so high an honour conferred on saints.

Our calling here is not some special gift, not a call to the ministry simply the call to redemption predetermined by God, before the foundation of the world  by Grace alone through Faith alone for His glory alone. 

I just completed my second “All the Way” Run for the Wall as a Platoon Chaplain on Southern Route with Mission M25. I am a Reformed Baptist and an advisor the the Reformed Baptist Network (RBNet) Missions Committee. Mission M25’s comes under the umbrella of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC). While we maybe different in some ways we are quite capable of Unity in the Body of Christ when we put the triune God and His Glory first. It should be our daily prayer that the “church” would live this way. 

 – Mike 

 

Spurgeon writes in regards to this verse:

The apostle uses the perfect tense and says, “Who hath saved us.” Believers in Christ Jesus are saved. They are not looked upon as persons who are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved. Salvation is not a blessing to be enjoyed upon the dying bed, and to be sung of in a future state above, but a matter to be obtained, received, promised, and enjoyed now. The Christian is perfectly saved in God’s purpose; God has ordained him unto salvation, and that purpose is complete. He is saved also as to the price which has been paid for him: “It is finished” was the cry of the Saviour ere he died. The believer is also perfectly saved in his covenant head, for as he fell in Adam, so he lives in Christ. This complete salvation is accompanied by a holy calling. Those whom the Saviour saved upon the cross are in due time effectually called by the power of God the Holy Spirit unto holiness: they leave their sins; they endeavour to be like Christ; they choose holiness, not out of any compulsion, but from the stress of a new nature, which leads them to rejoice in holiness just as naturally as aforetime they delighted in sin. God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but he called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by his workmanship in them. The excellencies which we see in a believer are as much the work of God as the atonement itself. Thus is brought out very sweetly the fulness of the grace of God. Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord is the author of it: and what motive but grace could move him to save the guilty? Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord works in such a manner that our righteousness is for ever excluded. Such is the believer’s privilege—a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it—a holy life. (Morning and Evening)

 

Some Things to Consider When You Consider Your Calling

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Considering your calling is not always easy. It’s not black and white or formulaic. Someone else’s calling is not your calling, and the means by which that other person discovered his or her calling won’t be the same for you. We’re all different. But some sort of practical guidelines can help you discern where to move forward with a calling or where to end it.

Continued at Source: Some Things to Consider When You Consider Your Calling

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 04 March

p-day-byTRUE PREACHERS AND MINISTERS

 I am appointed preacher – 2 Timothy 1:11

A good minister of Jesus – 1 Timothy 4:6

A minister of holy things – Hebrews 8:3 (R.V. Margin)

 A sleepy preacher cannot expect a waking auditory. – William Jenkyn

 Three things make a preacher: reading, prayer and temptation. – Jean Daille

 If I were to choose my calling, I would dig with my hands rather than be a minister. – Martin Luther.

 Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent “Walking with God” daily devotional.

How Does a Man Know if He is Called to Pastoral Ministry?

Part 1 of a series by a friend Pastor John Divito. While directed specifically at “Pastoral Ministry” the principles (biblical or otherwise) apply.

Over the years, I have struggled to know if God was calling me to pastoral ministry. And I know that I am not alone. I have talked to many men … More

Source: How Does a Man Know if He is Called to Pastoral Ministry?

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.

Visual Theology – The Order of Salvation

Copied from http://www.challies.com/ ; TIM CHALLIES

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Aileen and a father to three young children. I worship and serve as a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, and am a co-founder of Cruciform Press.

 

If you have read this blog for any length of time, and especially the daily A La Carte posts, you know that I’ve got a thing for info graphics. What appeals to me about them is their ability to display information visually. Just as there are many words that can be used to describe any one fact, there are also many ways to display facts.

Today I’ve got an info graphic for you, and one that I is going to kick off a series called “Visual Theology”—an attempt to display theology using a combination of words and pictures.  I have asked one designer to take a shot at displaying the ordo salutis, which is to say, the order of salvation, which refers to the sequence of conceptual steps involved in the salvation of the Christian. I will let the graphic explain it from here.

OrdoSalutis_Infographic_HIGH

Please note this is a PDF file and takes a few moments to load.