Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hope of His Calling

Ephesians 1:17-18 - [I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints...

What is the hope of His calling? Are you washed in His blood? Do you know in Whom your salvation lies? Do you know for sure you will be in heaven one day with the Lord? Do you know that your redemption draws near?

All very important questions to consider. Some are seeing the world crumbling around us. Some see strife and turmoil. Some choose not to notice but rather pull the covers over their eyes, put their heads in the sand or purposely distract themselves in other ways to not notice. However, daily we read about things we don’t want to think about...loss of freedom, socialism arising in our own country, a new world order, pushing all things of God away. We are, as the Bible states, living in perilous times (2Timothy 3:1).

We may be living every day as though these things are so very far away but I believe, because the Bible predicts it, that these days are numbered. What will happen if we don't have an honest answer to all those questions? We need to know the answers. We cannot take lightly the things of God.

The hope of His calling. If we are not heeding the words of God or embracing them, not asking Him to spend His day helping us with even the mundane things in our life, we don't know Him. We haven’t a clue what the hope of His calling is. We don't know the love He has for us...all people, all of us who ARE sinners. We don't know the power He has in our lives, how He can protect us. This is important to know we have in the days ahead. The hope of His calling is death to life. Eternal opposed to eternal death. Yes, eternal death. Check it out.

Washed in His blood. If we have not taken seriously God’s call to confess His Son Jesus and allow God’s Spirit to change the way we view things, the way we live, we are not washed in His blood. This is serious stuff, people. We don’t share His inheritance if we do not take this step. It’s simple...confess you are a sinner, since we all are, and ask Jesus to reign supreme in your life. Will we ever be perfect? No. But we are to daily walk in the light of Jesus, in His truth. We are to listen for His voice and allow the nudging of His Holy Spirit to direct our paths.

Where our salvation lies. Our salvation does not lie in what church we go to or how many good deed we do. Like I said above, we are all sinners. No one denomination can claim they are better than another. We are ALL sinners. Period. And we all are in need of a Savior for our salvation, for our eternal life’s direction. Do you know that you know Jesus? Say what? Have you asked Him into your life, into your heart? Have you felt the true need for Him as part of your life? Or are you still wandering through life in your own strength, being directed by your own wisdom and knowledge instead of asking Him to guide you?

Do you know you will go to heaven? A church can’t tell you for certain you will if you adhere to these doctrines, pray these prayers, do these deeds. Only a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ can bring the assurance of a heavenly home. Again, it’s giving yourself to Jesus, confessing Him, letting down walls of unforgiveness, pride, addiction, any sinful thing, and confessing your need for Him and leaving your old life behind for a new life in Christ.

Our redemption draws near. I alluded to the state of this world above. We see turmoil on a world level, country level, state level...and many see it in a personal, physical level. In the last days, the Bible also says, this will escalate. Things will grow darker with no end of evil in sight. Tyrants will gain momentum. Evil will replace (and already is) all that was good. And when we think it can’t get any worse, it will. Maybe in our lifetime. If not, do you wish this to happen in your children’s lifetime? Our redemption is Jesus. Time is getting short.

Salvation comes from the Lord. It secures our heavenly home. It secures our righteousness by His blood. It IS the hope of His calling. Is He calling you? Do you want to know that no matter what happens in this life He is beside you and will take you unto Himself when necessary? He won’t take everyone, though. He will only take those who have listened for His call, seriously considered the risks of not knowing Him and living on the wide road instead of considering the narrow road that Jesus walks. That narrow road is fraught with rejection and opposition, but comes with the greatest end if adhered to.

Revelation 14:9-11 tells us that: If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.  If we choose to live our own way, and that is bluntly the way of the world as Romans 12:2 tells us (Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.) God would prefer that we live with His help and strength and stop worshiping something (which is all worldly things) other than Him. He will turn His back on those who choose to do this.

Sounds harsh but it’s really God’s perfect plan for our eternal life, our safety and provision. He does not rule with an iron fist. He is not some tyrannical God. We are not to fear Him. He knows what we need better than we do, but we tend to think otherwise. We are to have a reverent fear of Him, but that’s based on our knowledge of His love for us...and we return that love by reverently fearing Him.

It’s all about relationship with the God who created all things. I can’t get over that. The greatest Being in the world who is so hugely talented, hugely wise, hugely powerful...and He wants to be in relationship with us. He doesn’t want denominations to get in the way. He wants people. He wants all people. We cannot be in the right church or the best person or do the most and greatest things to get His attention. No. He wants us, as we are, to love on Him, to obey Him, to seek know His Son Jesus with every fiber of our being. He wants us in relationship with Him. I know, I sound like I’m harping on this. I am because it’s true!

We reject Him if we do not come into this relationship and take hold of this new life in Christ and live for Him, share Him with others, trust in Him for our lives, provision, protection. But we must confess Him, not just hear about Him, not just say we know who He, that we call ourselves Christians, but say we KNOW Him deep within our hearts and souls. There’s a quotation I’d like to add: Just because you go to church doesn't mean you're a Christian. I can go sit in the garage all day and it doesn't make me a car. - Joyce Meyer.

Do you hear Him speak? Are you touched by His words? Do you love to hear about Him? Do you talk to Him? Have you ever felt His arms wrapped around you when you've needed it most? If not, you don't really know Him. Has your view of things in the world changed or do you live under the assumption that the way things are now will always be? Do you believe that one day He WILL return to reign with His saints on earth or is that just something that doesn't compute? If the Bible said it will happen, it will.

Jesus said that following Him would be a narrow way of life. There's no compromise with Him. He has made us new and He expects us to live that out as best as possible. The rewards are great when we do this. He will be the rock we stand on. He will be the firm foundation. He will be our exceeding joy. He will be our strength and our shield. He will stick closer than a brother. After all, He died a horrific death for you and me. This should be an encouragement. Know the hope of His calling...

Colossians 2:2 - My purpose is that [you] may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that [you] may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that [you] may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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