When we look around at this unhappy world, what do we see? We see war, greed, dictatorships that destroy lives, hatred, murder, drug addiction, drunkenness that destroys families and lives, unfaithfulness in marriage, slander and gossip, lying etc.
God gave mankind a choice of sinning or remaining righteous. I John 3:4 – “Whosoever COMMITS SIN transgresses also the LAW [10 Commandments]: for SIN IS [=] the transgression of the Law.” Paul backed up John’s definition of sin in Romans 3:23: “For ALL have sinned [transgressed the Law], and come short of the glory of God.” That’s where repentance comes in – a change of mind from transgressing to obeying.
It all started with our first parents. Genesis 3:4-6: “And the serpent [Satan] said unto the woman, You shall not surely die [a lie]: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”
Our first parents participated in sin. I John 2:15-17 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the LUST of the flesh, and the LUST of the eyes, and the PRIDE of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.”
When Jesus walked the Earth in His fleshly body, He made a very important statement. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
It took a God [“I AM THAT I AM”] to come into human form, Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Mary and Joseph were told to name Him Jesus, meaning “Savior of the people.”
God sent Jesus to SAVE all who will accept Him in their due time. Nearly all churches today believe that if you don’t accept Jesus now you will go to a burning inferno forever and ever. Yet, Jesus said He did not come to condemn the world. There is a Biblical understanding to this seeming dilemma. What is it?
If Satan is the deceiver of the WHOLE world (Revelation 12:9), then it is God’s responsibility to reverse the results of sin – DEATH!!! God the Father and Jesus have a Plan that the world does not understand. Not everyone is being converted to Christ today. Notice Jesus’ words: John 15:16 – “You [any human being] have NOT CHOSEN ME, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:…”
What does it all mean? The world is blinded, but Jesus said He has called some to understand God’s Plan!!! Ephesians 1:7-14 – “In whom we HAVE redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins [and reversal of the death penalty], according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; HAVING MADE KNOWN UNTO US THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL,according to His good pleasure, which He has purposed in himself. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: In whom also WE have obtained an inheritance, being PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: That WE should be to the praise of His glory, who FIRST trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were SEALED [confirmed] with that holy Spirit of promise, Which [the holy Spirit] is the earnest [down payment] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession [new spirit composed body], …”
The word PREDESTINATED tells it all. Predestinated is # 4309 in the Greek Section of the Strong’s Concordance. It means: “predetermine, to LIMIT IN ADVANCE.” God is limiting, today, the number of people to understand His Plan of salvation for the whole world!!! That’s why the Bible says “many are called but few are chosen.” God puts out the call, but only a limited number will respond to the truth of the Bible. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines predestinate as: “to appoint or ordain beforehand by divine purpose or decree; to pre-elect.”
Paul explained it to the Roman church. “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. 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 8:29-30).
Paul bears this out. Romans 11: 25-27 – “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery … that blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles [other nations] be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, THERE SHALL COME OUT OF SION THE DELIVERER, AND SHALL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB: FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT UNTO THEM, WHEN I SHALL TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”WE have had mercy poured out upon us today, our eyes opened to the truth, and being predestinated to understand before the remainder of the world. Will we be faithful to that calling?
The word predestinated in the Strong’s Concordance means limited in number. God is limiting the number of people He is calling to understand His purpose today. Notice what James wrote: “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of FIRSTFRUITS of His creatures (creation)” (James 1:18).
Romans 8:28-30 – “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. V.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. V.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.”
God not only called the prophets of old for a particular purpose, but He continued His call when walking the earth in human form. Example: Matthew 4:18-22 – “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. V.19 And He said unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. V.20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. V.21 And going on from there, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.”
This was the foundation of the NT church being called, that later became known as Apostles. A list of them is found in Matthew 10:2-4. At the end of a riddle concerning people who had been called, He said: Matthew 20:16 last – “…for many be called, but few chosen.” Something prevents the many from continuing faithfully. Jesus tries the reins and the hearts to determine who will remain as a called and chosen one!!! Whatever it is – a root of bitterness, misunderstanding, gossip, slander, etc. – it becomes deadly spiritually.
Jesus used another example of someone not coming to a wedding properly robed. They did not develop righteousness, so Jesus concluded: Matthew 22:14 – “For many are called [to the wedding super], but FEW are chosen.” We need to make sure our calling is sure by developing the righteousness of Jesus.
Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, had a very unusual calling. Acts 9:1-17 – “And Saul yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, v.2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. V.3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: v.4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecute you Me? V.5 And he [Paul] said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks. V.6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do. V.7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. V.8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus, v.9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. V.10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. V.11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prays, v.12 And has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. V.13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem: v.14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on your name. v.15 But the Lord said unto him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: v.16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake. V.17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
This is why Paul talked about keeping on the course toward eternity – he suffered much for Jesus’ name sake. Paul recognized what Jesus was doing in the churches, when he wrote: Romans 1:6-7 – “Among whom are you also THE CALLED of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: …”
Paul wrote half of the books placed in the New Testament. He wrote of vessels of wrath and those vessels for God’s glory. Romans 9:24 “Even US, whom he has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Paul pointed out that the saints in Rome were THE CALLED of God. What about the saints today? We are not written about, because the books were closed with the writing of the Book of Revelation in 90-96 AD.
Jesus said we needed to endure until the end. Paul said he did not want to be a castaway. He encouraged the church at Corinth by saying: I Corinthians 1:2 – “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, CALLED to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord …” This should be an encouragement to all of us also! This encouragement is powerful. Notice: I Corinthians 1:9 – “God is faithful, by whom you were CALLED unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” We were called to be unified in Christ according to v.10. We should all strive to be one in Christ. Look at: I Corinthians 1:24 – “But unto them which are CALLED, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
Brethren, on many occasions I feel just like the Apostle Paul, when he wrote: Galatians 1:6 – “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that CALLED you into the grace of Christ unto another [or different] gospel:” He even wrote to Timothy about all in Asia leaving him. Remember, Jesus said “many are called, but few are chosen.” It’s discouraging to see people called, then turn around and go. Apparently, they weren’t chosen – just called to be given a chance to be chosen.
Paul was an encourager: Ephesians 4:1, 4 – “I … beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are CALLED. V.4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling;” He encouraged the Colossian church in Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and BE YOU THANKFUL.”
Paul even backed up Jesus’ statement of who calls us! I Thessalonians 2:11-12 – “As you know how we exhorted [or urged] and comforted and charged [or directed] every one of you, as a father does his children. That you would walk worthy of God, who has CALLED you unto His kingdom and glory.” But notice what else God has done: I Thessalonians 4:7 – “For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”2 Thessalonians 2:14-15 – “Whereunto He CALLED you by our gospel [or preaching of Christ’s gospel], to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, STAND FAST, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle [letter].”
Paul wrote to the young evangelist Timothy: I Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on [this phrase means ‘deliberately seek’] eternal life, whereunto you are called, and has professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Paul said we are to deliberately seek eternal life after we have been called. This means NO turning back if we have been and chosen.
Remember Jesus said “He called us, we did not seek Him out.” Paul wrote Timothy a second letter and wrote: 2 Timothy 1:9 – “[referring to God] Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was GIVEN us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” The Father and Jesus planned salvation for the whole world before the world was re-created in Genesis One. Out of all humanity, they would call a “limited number” to become kings and priests to rule under Christ for 1,000 years. This is the time period when all mankind will be resurrected and taught (Ezek.37).
James 2:7 – “[referring to rich men] Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which you are called?” Look what Peter instructed in: I Peter 1:15 – “But as He which has CALLED you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation [or conduct, living];”
What did Peter call the saints? I Peter 2:9 – “But you are a CHOSEN generation, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar [or special] people; that you should show forth the praises [or virtue] of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:”
Following the real Jesus Christ is not always easy! I Peter 2:21 – “For even hereunto were you called: BECAUSE Christ also suffered FOR US, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” We must follow Christ through easy as well as hard times. We lay our burdens upon Him. He will see us through them.
Those called today that meet God’s requirements and endure unto the end will inherit a blessing. I Peter 3:9 – “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing: knowing that you are thereunto CALLED, that you should inherit a blessing.” That blessing is immortality as kings and priests with Christ (I Cor. 15:50-54; Rev. 1:5-6; Rev. 5:9-10; Rev. 20:4, 6). I Peter 5:10 – “But the God of all grace, who has CALLED us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”2 Peter 1:3 – According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has CALLED us to glory and virtue:”
Notice who will return with Jesus Christ to destroy the end time Satanic world system. Revelation 17:14 – “These [ten global grouping of nations] shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are CALLED, and CHOSEN, and FAITHFUL.”
Hebrews 11 if time permits.