What Has God Called You to Be?
A. He has called you to be a priest (1 Peter 2:4-10) (Rev. 1:6) (Rev. 20:6).
The Priest under the Old Covenant ministered to people for God and to God for the people (Heb. 5:1). Their primary work was to represent the people in offering sacrifices for sin and making intercession to God. They also represented God as they taught His Word to the people. Today we fulfill this office a little differently. We now offer only spiritual sacrifices of praise, prayer, and intercession (Heb. 13:15) (1 Tim. 2:1,2). The sacrifice for sin has been once for all offered by Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:12-14). Yet we still continue to minister His Word to the world as we, "Proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into light" (1 Peter 2:9).
B. He has called you to be a servant
To be called a servant of Christ is a great privilege. Paul thanked God that he had been counted faithful to be put into His service.
(1 Tim. 1:12) Most of the apostles would specifically refer to themselves as servants of God and Jesus Christ. (James 1:1) (Rom. 1:1) (2 Peter 1:1) They saw this as an essential priority of their relationship and calling before God. Jesus had taught them that this was the example He wanted them to follow. (John 13:12-17)
(Luke 20: 26-28) They obviously followed His example. Will we hear His call and follow His example? This is what it means to take up the cross and follow Him. (John 12:26) (Matt. 16:24)
C. He has called you to be an ambassador
This means to act as a representative for Christ in all aspects of the Kingdom of God here in this world. You represent the King of kings here in this dark world. You are to make His will and Word known to those who don't know Him! You are to plead with them to be reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:17-20) This entails speaking only as His Word speaks, not adding to it or taking away from it (1 Pet. 4:11) (Prov. 30:5,6). Also, it means being an example in all that you do that you might represent correctly what your words declare (1 Tim. 4:12) (Phil. 4:9). You are an ambassador in a foreign land. Your true citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).
II. What You Must Do Practically To Fulfill This Calling
There are three basic priorities
A. Before God
You must always keep the priority of worship, intercession, and personal fellowship with the Father (John 4:23,24) (Phil. 4:6) (1 Tim. 2:1,2) (Phil. 3:8-10) (John 17:3). This is where all true service to God begins and will be sustained. Without a real and vital relationship with God, you have nothing to give anyone. This is the first service you must give to Him. First, give yourself to Him. Wait on Him, seek Him and worship Him.
B. In the Body
The second priority is Body ministry. God has called you to be a part of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12,17).
Yet before a Body can take in its ultimate function and purpose in the world, it must first be healthy. Each of us has been joined and knit together. Every joint and every part supplies an essential aspect to the body, that someone else can't. When each part is effectively working, it causes growth in the Body and each member is built up (Eph. 4:16).This occurs, as we all find and exercise the particular gifting God has sovereignly appointed to us. As we minister to one another, we build up the Body as a whole (1 Peter 4:10). An unhealthy Body is revealed, when only a few members are carrying the majority of the ministry on their shoulders. This church is paralyzed from real growth and effectiveness.
C. To the world
Ministry to the world is a natural result of the first two priorities. As you are built up in your relationship with God and are receiving in the Body, you naturally want to reach out to the lost. Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8). The disciples said, "We cannot but speak the things we have and seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). Jeremiah said the Word in his heart was like a "fire shut up in his bones" (Jer. 20:9). He had to share and give what God had given Him. The more real Christ is in your life, the more you want to share Him with those who are lost. Because you care, you reach out to others.
III. How You Can Be Equipped to Fulfill This Call
A. Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the One who equips you for the Father's service. Before He sent the disciples out for their ministry, Jesus told them to wait upon the Lord for the Spirit to empower them. The word baptism means to engulf, to cover completely, or to overwhelm.
1. What is the purpose of this baptism?
a. To empower you to be His witness (Acts 1:8).
b. To enable you to proclaim the gospel (1 Pet. 1:12).
c. To enable you to serve and work with Him (Col. 1:29).
d. To enable you to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-12).
2. How can you receive this baptism?
a. Through prayer and the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17) (Acts 19:6).
b. Through your personal prayer (Luke 11:13) (Acts 1:13,14).
c. Through God's sovereign working (Acts 2:1-4)(Acts 10:44).
B. Walk in the Spirit on a daily basis
Paul tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The word filled is a verb in the present tense describing a continuous action. If we walk under the control of the Holy Spirit, seeking His infilling, we will be kept from our fleshly desires and we fulfill His will (Gal. 5:16,17). When He controls your life, He equips you for any service He requires.
C. Receive the gifts of the Spirit
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are His divine enabling for service. God wants to bestow His gifts upon you according to His sovereign will. (Heb. 2:4) (1 Cor. 12:11) Yet at the same time God wants you to earnestly desire, seek after, and pray for these gifts (1 Cor. 12:31) (1 Cor. 14:1,13).
What are these gifts?
1. There are communicative gifts.
a. Gift of teaching (Rom. 12:7).
b. Gift of exhortation (Rom. 12:8).
c. Gift of evangelism (Eph. 4:11).
d. Gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 12:10).
e. Gift of tongues & interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:10).
f. Gift of the word of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8).
g. Gift of word of knowledge (1 Cor 12:8).
h. Gift of discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:10).
2. There are organizational and oversight gifts
a. Apostle (Eph. 4:11).
b. Pastor Teacher (Eph. 4:11).
c. Elder (1 Tim. 3:1).
d. Deacons (1 Tim. 3:8).
e. Government or administration (1 Cor. 12:28).
3. There are service gifts
a. Helps (1 Cor. 12:28).
b. Giving (Rom. 12:8).
c. Mercy (Rom. 12:8).
4. There are gifts of power
a. Gifts of faith (1 Cor. 12:9).
b. Gifts of healing (1 Cor. 12:9).
c. Gifts of miracles (1 Cor. 12:10).
D. Study the Word of God
Paul told Timothy that if he studied the Word diligently, he would never be ashamed in his ministry (2 Tim. 2:15). Paul told him that the Word would make him complete and thoroughly equip him for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Jesus reproved the Pharisees many times for not knowing the Scriptures. He felt this was the source of their flawed ministry (Matt. 21:16,42) (Matt. 22:29).
How does the Word equip you?
1. The Word sets you free (John 8:32).
2. It produces faith (Rom. 10:17).
3. It makes you strong (1 John 2:14).
4. It teaches, convicts, corrects, and trains you in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
E. Be obedient to God
Knowing the Word of God is not enough. You must be obedient to His Word in your personal life. This is the only way you will fulfill the ministry God had given you.
Where must you be obedient?
1. To abstain from fleshly lusts (1 Pet. 2:11).
2. To lay aside every weight and sin (Heb. 12:1).
3. To keep His commands (John 15:10).
4. To love Him and others (Matt. 22:37-40).