Today Pastor Choi talks about life worthy of God’s calling: God the Creator and the Sustainer of all creations has chosen us to be His adopted children before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). His choice was intentional and He called each of us by name. The same God calls us to live a life worthy of His calling. Pastor Choi exhorts God’s people to make God proud through a lifestyle that is worthy of His name.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Life Worthy of God’s Calling
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (New American Standard Bible)
11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (New American Standard Bible)
4 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
It’s hard to believe that we are already in November. Two more months to go, and another new year! In January this year, I designated 2015 to be the year of knowing Jesus. I encouraged every one of you to get to know Him personally. I myself was blessed to know Jesus in a newer and deeper level than before. I pray and hope that all of you made progress in knowing Jesus personally. Let’s continue knowing Him every day.
Whatever and however we get to know Jesus, one thing we want to make sure is this: to know Him right. Here’s why: after many years of serving Him in many capacities and doing many things in His name (prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles), there’s a chance that we still could get Him wrong. E.g. Matthew 7:21-23 “I never knew you.” We may think that we have known Him well, yet He could say to us in the end of our heaven-bound journey, “I never knew you! Depart from Me.” Now, none of us wants it to happen to us, right?
Therefore, let us come before Him with humility and a prayer that He would illumine us with the true and correct knowledge that it would bring forth in us the lifestyle of which He would be proud and say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your master!” (Matthew 25:21).
Please look at the sermon title: life worthy of God’s calling. I am going to highlight three things here. First, God who has called us—we are going to ponder on the greatness of God. Next, we are going to think about the object of God’s call: us. Thirdly, the life worthy of God.
The Greatness of God: The life worthy of God’s calling cannot begin without the right understanding of how great our God is. Most of us have a general and shallow understanding of God. Some believers even call Him “a man upstairs.” We all know that God exists and He is greater than we are. But, that’s just about it. We seldom take time to think or meditate on the greatness of God.
I don’t have enough time to give you a sermon on God’s greatness, so I am going to give you a brief summary of who God is. First, God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He created all the things visible and invisible; every living creature that has breath in it. By the way, folks, He doesn’t share the credit of creation with anyone else, not even with evolution. Check yourself. Numerous times in the Scripture, God claims that it is He alone who willed every single creature, designed them, and created them all (Isaiah 45:8, Revelation 4:11).
God is not only the Creator, but also is the Sustainer. He gives life and health to all the creatures. He provides their needs every day, too; food, shelter, and clothing. He takes care of them all. E.g. One day, Jesus was talking about worries. He says when you are worried, lift up your head and look at the birds of the air. They don’t sow, reap, nor gather into barns, yet the Heavenly Father feeds them. Look at the lilies in the field, He continues. They do not toil or spin, yet even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these (Matthew 6:26-29). If God cares about the creatures like that, Jesus concludes, how much more He will take care of your needs? (Matthew 6:30).
Thirdly, God is the One to be worshipped. He is the only One worthy of our worship and devotion. Here’s why. He has created us; He sustains us; He provides every need of ours. We owe Him everything we have and enjoy. Therefore, He deserves our total devotion to Him, and we render it in worship. Look at the first commandment of the Ten Commandments: you shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3). You shall worship Me alone (Exodus 34:14). We worship God alone, because no one else deserves our worship but God.
Speaking of worship, some people say that they don’t go to church because they don’t get anything from the sermon. Even though you get nothing out of the sermon, it doesn’t exempt you from worshipping the Lord with fellow believers. E.g. A history book describes Pilgrims as folks who loved to travel by sea. Seriously? They came to America for the freedom of worship. I am afraid that some textbook writers in future may describe Christians as folks who love to get together once a week to have fellowship; as the folks who love to sing songs; as the folks who love to give offerings. No, all these are on the surface. The center of worship is God. He is the main focus and object of worship. That’s why even when we get nothing out of sermon, we still worship the Lord.
Let me tell you about the true nature of worship: worship is an encounter with God where we acknowledge who God is in our life (Creator); and we acknowledge who we are before God (Creature). E.g. Heavenly worship in Revelation 4 & 5. Every creature, including the 24 elders and four living creatures, along with angels and multitudes of God’s saints, worships God in His throne prostrating before Him (Revelation 5:12-14). They all declare, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory, honor, and power” (Revelation 4:11). What about Jesus? In the same Heavenly worship, they too worship Him declaring, “The Lamb of God who is worthy of power, riches, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). “He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). That’s how majestic our God is. That’s how great our Christ is. That’s the Christ we follow and serve. That’s the God who has called us to be a part of His kingdom.
We are called by God: Have you ever played “bingo?” As you play, have you not always desired to be called the winner? How exciting it is to be chosen! How much more exciting it is to be chosen and called by God to be in His family! The sad reality is this: some believers have no idea of this blessing to be called by God.
God has called us from darkness to light; from bondage of sin and death to freedom; from fear to love; from condemnation to forgiveness; and from death to life. Furthermore, in Christ, He has adopted us into His family and made us His own sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:5). If God is the King, what would it make us to be? Princes and princesses, right? Hello, how many of us feel that way let alone realizing this great blessing?
It gets better. God’s choice is intentional. God hasn’t chosen us on the spur of moment. Rather, He carefully thought it through and executed the adoption. Listen to God’s Word: He has chosen us to be His children even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Mind boggling, isn’t it? Yes, long before we were even conceived in mother’s womb, He has chosen us to be His children. God knows this. Jesus knows this. The Holy Spirit knows it, too. God’s Word confirms it. Angels know this. Even the devil and his followers know this. Yet, do you? God has not chosen you by number, either. He knows you by name. He called out your name and invited you to join the family. It can’t get any better than that, can it? Such a God expects us His children to lead a life worthy of His calling. That leads us to the final part.
Life worthy of God’s calling: E.g. The story goes that a young boy was brought before Alexander the Great for stealing a horse. Alexander saw how young he was and heard his story and decided he would go easy on him. Getting ready to release him, Alexander asked the young boy, “What is your name?” He replied, “Alexander, sir.” Alexander the Great was furious and asked him again, “What is your name?” The boy, this time with fear in his voice said, “Alexander, sir.” In anger, Alexander the Great threw the boy to the ground pointed at him and said, “Boy, change your conduct, or change your name.”
Think of the life worthy of God’s name. We carry the name of Christ. We are Christians. Are you proud of the name you carry? Is Christ proud of you carrying that name?
Let’s not forget: You and I represent God and Christ. We are His children. We belong to God. We belong to Christ. We are a Christian. By the way, let’s not be ashamed of being a Christian. We are living in a society where the mockery and persecution of Christianity is ever increasing. Let’s not be ashamed of Christ whom we follow. In fact, if we are ashamed of Him before people, Christ will be ashamed of us in front of the angels (Mark 8:38). Let’s be proud of the name we carry. We are a Christian!
Now, God considered us worthy of calling, and the same God calls us to live a life worthy of His calling. In terms of what entails of the life worthy of Christ’s name, such as humility, gentleness, patience, and love, you can find them in today’s texts. Do your homework.
Now, I am going to close my sermon with a story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17).
One day two armies gathered for battle: Philistines and Israel. “The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath whose height was [about 10 foot tall]. 5 …a bronze helmet on his head,…clothed with scale-armor which weighed [125 pounds] of bronze. 6 He also had bronzegreaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed [15 pounds] of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “…; give me a man that we may fight together.”
6 The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand. 24 When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid.
One day David delivered a care package for his three brothers who were in the army of Israel. “23 As he was talking with them, behold, …Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them and said, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”
40 He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
42 When [Goliath] looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance.43 [He] said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And [He] cursed David by his gods.44 …said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.46 This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”
The rest is history. I want to be that David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). I want to live a life that is worthy of God’s name and His calling. I want my God to be proud of my words and actions like He was with David’s. I pray that all of us live the life worthy of God’s calling.