We have just observed the annual holiday of Thanksgiving. We all have so much to be thankful for at a time in which the world is in great turmoil. One of the keys to receiving the peace of God that surpasses all understanding is that of thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7 Philippians 4:6-7 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×). Indeed we are thankful for the great bounty of physical things that God has blessed us with.
But the greatest blessings that we should be so very thankful for reside in the spiritual domain. The apostle Paul writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 Ephesians 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
American King James Version×, King James Version throughout).
Perhaps our greatest spiritual blessing is our calling. In order to enter into the covenant of sacrifice with God and Christ we must hear the word and respond to it (Romans 10:10-17 Romans 10:10-17 10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.
13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias said, Lord, who has believed our report?
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
American King James Version×). That is, we must repent, exercise faith in the sacrifice of Christ, be baptized and receive the laying on of hands. Do we grasp, understand and appreciate the significance of our calling? We have been called to: (1) the great battle of the ages; (2) the hope of the ages; (3) the work of God; (4) the Church of God; and (5) the body of Christ, the family and Kingdom of God. Do we remotely grasp, understand and appreciate the significance and importance of our calling?
According to the apostle Peter we were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2 1 Peter 1:2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you, and peace, be multiplied.
American King James Version×). This means that God has personally called you. It is sobering to realize that we have been called according to the foreknowledge of God. Our calling is a holy and sacred calling and we must never take it for granted or take our eyes off the goal of becoming a glorious, radiant spirit being in the family of God. Note the words of James: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:17-18 James 1:17-18 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
American King James Version×).
It is because of God’s love and grace that he has called us. Because He loves us, He has called us into the work of God and the body of Christ. God’s great care and concern for us and all of His creation is beyond our comprehension. His thoughts are ever toward us (Psalms 139:17-18 Psalms 139:17-18 17 How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with you.
American King James Version×). The hairs on our head are numbered. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge. He calls the stars by name. God is acutely and keenly aware of every facet of His creation (Matthew 10:29-30 Matthew 10:29-30 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
American King James Version×).
You must never get the idea God has gone off somewhere—or fall into the trap of ancient Israel by asking where is the God of judgment (Malachi 2:17 Malachi 2:17You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, Wherein have we wearied him? When you say, Every one that does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
American King James Version×)? God is on His throne where He has always been (Malachi 3:6 Malachi 3:6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
American King James Version×). Jeremiah writes, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 Lamentations 3:22-23 22 It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
American King James Version×).
We are involved in the hope of the ages. You are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8-12 Zechariah 2:8-12 8 For thus said the LORD of hosts; After the glory has he sent me to the nations which spoiled you: for he that touches you touches the apple of his eye.
9 For, behold, I will shake my hand on them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.
10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, see, I come, and I will dwell in the middle of you, said the LORD.
11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the middle of you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
American King James Version×). God has called you personally—given you the pearl of great price and placed His great truth in sacred trust in your heart and mind. Do you count it an honor to be called now?
God has called you to bear fruit. Every person has been given some gift. Never underestimate the gifts that God has given you—to do so would be to take your calling lightly. God has not called you to just sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. He expects you to be in the arena fighting the good fight of faith with all your might.
God expects us to use whatever He has given you to edify, exhort and comfort others. In fact, the purpose of spiritual gifts is to edify, comfort and exhort the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3 1 Corinthians 14:3But he that prophesies speaks to men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
American King James Version×).
Never discount just your presence at Sabbath services. Through fellowship we draw strength and encouragement from each other.
Some might ask, How can I bear fruit seeing that I have no talents? To say that you have no talents is to deny the graciousness and generosity of God. God gives talents to every person (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
American King James Version×). God expects us to use our gifts and talents to bear fruit: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:6-10 Romans 12:6-10 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
American King James Version×).
Usually the first question that I am asked when I go to church anywhere, if it is not readily apparent, is: “Is Mrs. Ward with you?” Her gifts are totally different from mine—but just as important, or more so, than mine.
A touch, a pat on the back, a good word and a smile may make all the difference in a person’s life. Remember God has called us to bear much fruit. The fruit you bear is best measured by how much you can help another person to achieve his or her God-ordained potential. Christ said greater things than He has done, we shall do (John 14:12 John 14:12Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.
American King James Version×). That is what Christian leadership is all about. That is, helping another person achieve his or her God-ordained potential. Our God-ordained potential is eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
You must never draw back. To do so is to begin to deny the one who redeemed you and blessed you with spiritual gifts—so you could bear much fruit and fulfill your God-ordained calling. We must not let so great a salvation slip.
The apostle Peter admonishes us to make our calling and election sure. He writes: “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:3-12 2 Peter 1:3-12 3 According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Why I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.
American King James Version×).
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:31 Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
American King James Version×: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” God commands us to walk worthily of our calling (Ephesians 4:1-6 Ephesians 4:1-6 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
American King James Version×; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-14 1 Thessalonians 2:10-14 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how piously and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 11 As you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father does his children, 12 That you would walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom and glory. 13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe. 14 For you, brothers, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
American King James Version×). The God and Creator of the universe through Christ has called us to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:1-14 1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like to a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatted calves are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then said he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go you therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
American King James Version×). We are now espoused to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2 2 Corinthians 11:2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
American King James Version×). The espousal will be consummated at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelations 19:6-11). We all look forward to the day when we hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21 Matthew 25:21His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord.
American King James Version×).