The Great Call – Part Four

The Great Call

Part Four

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

Jesus continues in John 15 by presenting the disciples with the way for them to enter the Great Call and to remain in His empowering love and grace.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”
John 15:10

There can be no misinterpretation of the enormity of His call. Discipleship is not a comfortable teaching. It is not a popular invitation, nor an aspiration for those who seek a life of ease and respectability. It is a call of full surrender to the Will and purposes of God, a life of subservience to His Ways. A true disciple obeys His commandments to abide in the power of His Love. Love is the only motive able to transform a selfish, egotistical, and lost soul through the workings of the Cross. In dying to self, we discover the pure wonder of a Love so encompassing, so vast and so freeing that the cost is considered nothing in comparison to the “weight of glory” we will know.

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

There is something radical, even unnerving in His Call. Accepting the offer of Christ is not a trendy and popular decision. It is a Call to selfless living and selfless giving. Obedience is not optional to the disciple. But the Love we hold, or more correctly which holds us to His Way, culminates in pure joy. The context of John 15 leaves little doubt as to His Call or His purpose. Let us see through the eyes of the Spirit the power of all Jesus is implying.

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

In verse 9 Jesus presents to us the all-encompassing love of God; a Love of heavenly origin. It is a Love that knows our condition, that feels the agony and the lostness of humanity. It was a Love that sent Jesus into this world to walk as a man, to feel the oppression of mankind’s sorrow, to experience the corrupt and self-serving religious and political systems of the day. He spoke the truths of love in the parables of everyday life. The common man, the addicted, the afflicted, and the wounded were His focus. He exposed the religious elite who walked in the pride and arrogancy of hypocrisy. The Parable of the Good Samaritan revealed the beauty of a selfless life, caring for others more than ourselves. He called out to the poor and the needy to come and find the solace of heaven. He took notice of the offerings of the poor widow and saw the value of her mite; He was unimpressed with the rich who flaunted their offering. He was God in the flesh. His compassion, His uncompromising and unflinching walk was a source of anger and hate for the religious but a source of inspiration for the common man. He was the breath of heaven clothed in human form. He was and is the image of God’s purpose for all humanity.

Mat 20:25 “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.”

Mat 20:26 “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”

Mat 20:27 “and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,”

Mat 20:28 “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The nature of man apart from Christ is one of self-seeking, self-pleasing, and self-gratification. This focus on ourselves is the source of our own misery. Ask the addicted, the abused, and consider the countless stories of human sorrow which we have all known. It is to this crisis of human nature that the Cross is presented. In its deep work, we find rest, freedom, and the Divine enablement to love as He loved. We are free to forgive injustices and the tyranny of the human condition; to offer to all who would hear the wonder of freedom found in the Love of God!

Feel the depth of the Great Call of God in Christ:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

The Call goes forth to all who would hear and respond. The “yoke” of Christ is His invitation to enter a rest for our weary souls. The “yoke” of Christ is His Cross whereby we are freed from the poison of self to know His Joy in our hearts. This life of joy cannot be known by sitting in a pew, believing in a teaching, or adherence to a doctrine. It can only be known through the intimacy of a relationship, walking in the yoke of His grace and love.

Jesus spoke of His true intention for us being captured by His Love to a growing obedience:

“…that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full”
John 15:11

See: The Great Call
See: The Great Call – Part Two
See: The Great Call – Part Three

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – The Call

Letters to the Church – The Call

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

It is important for us to reacquaint ourselves often with the words of Jesus during his earthly walk. Let those words reverberate within our hearts and pierce through the rhetoric. There is something so uncompromising about His Call. May we meditate upon these words of His and allow them the full and undivided attention of our hearts. The solemnity of His Call to us is not to a mere forgiveness of sins (as overwhelming and precious as that is). His Call is to Himself. Our redemption is for His glory and the following of Him. His whole design is to bring forth a people who are no longer their own, but rather “As He is, so ARE WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).

Look at the depth of His conversations with those who heard His Call:

“He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”
Luk 9:59

Jesus responds:

“But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.”
Luke 9:60

Again:

“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house”
Luke 9:61

Jesus responds:

“And Jesus said unto him, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
Luke 9:62

There is power in the Call of Christ that defies logic. There is a stark contrast between then and now; between the perception of Jesus in our day and the Jesus presented to us in the Gospels. The Call of Christ is to the “whole” of us, not just a portion. Our response is not to be a casual one where we fit His Call into our daily life as if it were a part-time occupation. The Call is to Him; to sacrifice and to a determined relinquishment of all that we are.

Paul reiterates this in his plea to the Church at Rome.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
Romans 12:1

There is a pleading in the ministration of the Call of God that this becomes an experiential truth. The things we allow in ourselves, and in the lives of those who claim to know Him, reveal our ignorance of His claim upon us. Sin no longer disturbs the majority. We look lightly upon the issues of others because we look lightly upon the issues within our own hearts. Lethargy is contagious; as contagious as any pandemic with eternal implications far beyond the loss of life here on earth.

Paul left no doubt with the Church at Colosse as to the purpose of the true ministry of God.

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus
Colossians 1:28

What did this intensity of heart look like?

“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

The mighty working of Christ within is revealed in a life of labour without; it is the exposé of His claim upon us. There is no place for the lethargy and indifference men and women display to the Call of God.

We Are Not Our Own

We may declare such things, we may present our claims of following God, but the reality of the life we live may reveal something different. The works of a life reveal the faith of the life. In Revelation God declared unto every location of the Church in that day, “I KNOW THY Works”. God is ever beholding our works for by them He knows our faith.

The validity of our love for Him and the power of Him working within us is readily expressed in our interaction with our brothers and sisters. Paul sums up his expression of the workings of Christ within: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom…”. If mere confessions of faith were sufficient (as is commonly taught today), why did Paul express warnings, admonitions, and exhortations to the people of God? To the church at Ephesus, one of the crown jewels of the early church, Paul declared:

“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The deception and lethargy of a confession-based gospel has produced the slumbering church of our day! It produces a blindness to the magnificence, grandeur, and enormity of His Holiness. We have reduced Him to professions which require nothing more than a mental assent which consequently requires nothing, costs nothing, and correspondingly produces nothing. A confession without sacrifice leaves people without resources to face what lies ahead. Ministries must heed the Call of God to build up His Church and to prepare His people for the storm which is about to engulf our land. He is coming first of all to judge His church to the intent that in righteousness He may then be free to judge the world.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1 Peter 4:17-18

The time IS COME upon us! Let those who have ears to hear tremble and seek Him afresh that we may be found “doing” when our Master returns. Take no comfort in confessions and doctrines which do not produce the Fear of the Lord, that do not bring forth a growing holiness and purity of heart. Forsake the delusion of heart which enjoys hearing the word, discussing the word, while yet refusing to obey the word.

A New Ministration of Mercy

It is a day to seek a new ministration of His Mercy; a mercy which produces sacrificial living and bringing forth of a new worship which is costly, pure and holy.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
Romans 12:1

The true mercy of God enables men and women to give themselves wholly unto God, not to comfort them in their sins and rebellion.

May we as His redeemed rise up to respond wholly to the Call of God in Christ!

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power
2 Thessalonians 1:11

Brian Troxel