Beth Moore - The Caller and The Called - Part 2
One of the things that I will do very often with the Lord and very often on my face, is I will just say to him take it, take it all. Take it all. Take it all. Here's my physical body, use it up. Here is my mind. And Lord, we've only used, what, this much of it, so go in it, go in it, in all those places. Go. Go for it. Use it. My whole mind belongs to you. Lord, take my heart, all of my emotions, everything. Everything in my personality. I'll just go through the whole thing. Take it all. Take it all. Take everything that I have. Use it. Use it. Go ahead and just take it. And this is what the idea is behind this holy calling. It's holistic. It's the whole person.
I want to read to you. I'm going to read out of Guinness's book. He's talking about calling. He says, "First, calling has a simple and straightforward meaning. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word that has been translated as 'call' usually has the same everyday meaning as our English word. Human beings call to each other, to God, and to animals". Then he goes on to say, "When you 'call' on the phone, for example, you catch someone's ear for a season". So there's that. You'd see that. If we looked up... oh, my goodness, the word call or calling is in the Scripture some 600 and something times, at least in the CSV. So some of those are just going to be and he called out to so-and-so. So they're not about a dramatic divine calling. They're just the usual, and he called that person to him. It could be person to person. It could be calling the donkey too, and it' s just calling. But then it gets into the holy calling.
It says, "Second, calling has another important meaning in the Old Testament. To call means to name, and to name means to call into being or to make. Thus, in the first chapter of Genesis, 'God called the light "day" and the darkness he called "night".' This type of calling is far more than labeling, hanging a name tag and something to identify it. Such decisive creative naming is a form of making". When he called you, he was already fashioning, let me put it this way, he has already made us who we are not even beginning to yet be. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Like when he called us, he made us that, that his words had creative power. I know you've heard this a thousand times. It's why Jesus had to say, "Lazarus, come forth," because if he had just said come forth, all the graves, out they come, out they come. And then he'd go, "Oh, you know what, I just meant the one. All of you are going to need to go back in".
You know what I'm saying? But no, no, it was just the one because when he speaks, it's just done. Remember when the Centurion's servant said, listen, you say the word. You just say the word. So this is what it's talking about. "Thus when God called Israel he named and thereby constituted and created Israel his people. Calling is not only a matter of being and doing what we are but also of becoming what we are not yet but are called by God to be. Thus 'naming-calling,' a very different thing from name-calling, is the fusion of being and becoming". If you are in Christ, something enormous and miraculous and marvelous happened to you. Literally, he called your name and you may not have heard it with your ears, but you somehow responded.
You responded with your faith. You did not know that what he had done is literally call your name. And somehow, that even though you may have the same name as a thousand other people on planet Earth, he knew he meant you, and the spirit in you knew he meant you too, and you answered, but you have no idea that you were made a miracle that day. I know we all want one, I do too. I have some areas where I really want a miracle, but I hope it helps someone to know you already are one. You already are one. You're already on your way. You're on your way. The creative aspect of God calling. Now, the verb form, to call, when it says he called us, to call, that is Greek kaleo, the Greek word for church in the New Testament.
Now, when the New Testament uses the word church, it's not meaning just a specific local group of believers. The church was everyone who believed in Christ, Jew or Gentile, everyone. So it had nothing to do with denominations. It had everything to do with have you placed your faith in Christ, by grace and not by works to the power of his death and resurrection. Then you were part of this thing called the church, which is the word ecclesia. And ecclesia means the called out ones. I want you to understand if you are in Christ, you are part of the called out ones. Mean, it's just marvelous and miraculous.
Now, right here in 2 Timothy, look at verse 9 again. "He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began". I can't help but think if we got this, there's no way we would resist this. Because I need you to understand, there's this thing called time, so it's set out of eternity. Eternity like no beginning, no end, eternity. And then God really technically, the very first thing that God ever created was time. Because it says, "In the beginning". And by, "In the beginning," that means that the clock went, "Tick". For the very first time, "Tick". And time will tick until time is done.
So there's beginning of time and there's the end of time. So here's where it began, here is where it will end. And before he ever told the clock to tick tock, he had already called your name out of his own purpose and grace. I need somebody to get that with me. I love what a friend of mine says. He's the photographer, David Lowe, that you'll see here. I just love the way he says it, 'cause he says, you know, "Jesus knew what he was getting when he got us". I don't know if that's freeing to anybody else, but like, he saw it all coming, it's not like, "Whoa, did you turn out to be a mistake". You know what I'm talking about?
"Whoa ho. I did not see that coming". That's just not him. He knew what he was getting. Saw the whole thing. All of time before time began. I want you to try to wrap your mind around this. And it says, "According to his purpose and grace". I want you to see the definition of the Greek word, out of a Greek dictionary, for purpose, for God's purpose because I just think it's so powerful. Purpose. Purpose. You'll see on the screen the transliteration for it. It's próthesis. It would have the accent on the first syllable. Próthesis. And it is a word that means, "A setting forth, presentation, exposition, determination, plan, or will. It involves purpose, resolve, and design". Purpose, resolve, and design. It is, "A placing in view or openly displaying something". So there is nothing haphazard happening here.
1 Corinthians 1:26 says, "Brothers and sisters, consider your calling". A few blatant descriptions of your calling based on the Scriptures; one, the first one would start right here in 2 Timothy 1, verse 9. I tell you this. Your calling is holy. It's holy. It's a holy calling. I can tell you that according to Hebrews 3:1, it's a heavenly calling. And also, it's also called an upward call, and it's called a high calling in Philippians 3:14. In that same segment in Philippians 3:12-14, we find that the goal he has set for us, that if we're going to fulfill it wholly, it's going to take straining forward and pressing forward. It's going to involve forgetting what is behind us and pressing to what is ahead of us. But it's upward, it's not downward, and it's a holy calling.
And I also want to say this to you, it is God's calling. It is God's calling. 2 Thessalonians. We would see this a number of places. But 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, is one of my very favorite places when it talks about it. It speaks about God making us worthy of his calling, his calling. And so, the best news I have for somebody here today is that you did not call yourself, and that ought to be a relief. Because, I mean, if we called ourselves, there's nothing like thinking you're just really in the middle of something that God has given you to do in his name and you going like, you know, the thing of it is, 'cause it's about to kill you, and you're thinking yourself, "You know, I got myself into this". It's just nothing like that kind of pain. Look at somebody and say, "You did not call yourself".
Jesus just blatantly, John chapter 15, you know what, you did not choose me. I chose you. You chose me because I chose you. And it's one of the most important truths we can get. And here's what else, so it's God's calling, but here's what you got to know. It's also your calling. It's also your calling. So like 2 Peter 1:10 calls and it talks about making your election sure, your calling sure. It's your calling. So, it's God's calling, but it's also your calling. And by that, I mean that it's nontransferable and nobody can fulfill your calling for you. Nobody can. That really spiritual person in your life, your aunt Marge, your grandmother or your grandfather who has prayed for you so many times, and you felt like, you always know like they've got the anchor.
They've got me. They've got me. No, they don't. No, they don't, mm-mmm. They're interceding for you, praise God, but they cannot fulfill your calling for you. So some us, we're going to say okay, I've got a divine calling, but you know what, I think I am too busy to fulfill it. See, this is what I've come to say. I do not think, if we understood it, we would do that. I just don't think we would. Maybe I just have more faith in people than I ought to. But I just, wait a second, what does it, so we're going to be too busy for this? What you've got going better than this?
Now, let me tell you where this has gotten confusing because we will think as soon as I have my master's degree, I am going to fulfill my calling. Your calling ain't waiting three solid years. Listen, I'm all about go get your doctorate in theology. Man, you need that in certain areas where God may call you. Go get your doctorate in original languages, in Greek or Hebrew. Yes, praise God. But you're not waiting till then to fulfill your calling. Your calling is right now. You may be dead by then. You know, I hate to be that blunt, but we're planning on fulfilling our calling and he's going like, you know what, actually, you and I are going to have seen one another face to face by then.
What you waiting on, 'cause like, it was like now. It was today. It was today with someone you encountered. It's today, this season, in your workplace and your school at the University, in your mothering. You're trying to figure out how on earth you're going to stay married. Trying to figure out how you're going to get married. Everything waiting. Everything waiting. Everything waiting. Everything waiting. Here's God calling, we're just going, am I going to accept it or not? 'Cause I'm on the phone. I'm on the phone. Call back. Leave a message. But I want you to know something, there's no one way in the Scriptures. If you look in the Old Testament and the New, there's no one way that original call of God looks on a person.
For instance, God called out to Moses from a burning bush. We know nothing about Elijah's calling. He was the other real big, I mean big, big mover in the Old Testament, along with several others, but Elijah and Moses, huge. But here's what we do know, is that Elijah then, 'cause he just whined and whined and whined and whined, I'm the only one. I'm the only one. I'm the only one. God goes, okay, I'm going to give you Elisha, for crying out loud, and so, God doesn't even say anything to Elisha that we know of. He sends Elijah to him. Elisha's ploughing the field like this, just doing the work in his father's farm and Elijah just comes over to him, like, throws a cloak on him. I mean, it's just so weird. It's so weird. It's so weird, but that was how his calling came.
And so, to the Galilean fisherman in the gospels Jesus just went, "Follow me". And I mean they just dropped everything and did. This is intriguing to me, in John 1, here's what we see. So Jesus goes, it says, "Jesus found Philip and said, 'Follow me.'" Then Philip went and told Nathaniel about Jesus. He brings Nathaniel. Nathaniel now comes to see Jesus, and then he's going to be connected with his call. Reason why I'm saying this is because, I mean, like was one, since one was so, like, Jesus found him. Now listen, Jesus found all of us. Even if Nathaniel thought I found Jesus. No, no, no you didn't. You found me because I found you. That's it, that's it, that's it. I saw you under the fig tree. That's it. So both of those are callings.
Some of you think you kind of got a Nathaniel thing going, where, you know, after thinking about it, is I think I was a secondhand calling, like there was the firsthand calling. That person really was called, then they came and got me, so I'm a secondhand calling. There's no such thing. Listen, this will set all of us free. God does what he wants. There's just, and lest we think that there's no miracles surrounding call in the New Testament, that's not true at all because we see the Ethiopian eunuch in the book of Acts. And so, Philip is sent by God. This is a different Philip. This is one of the seven deacons.
Philip is sent to meet his chariot out in the middle of what seems to us nowhere. He's sent to meet him. He meets him there. He's reading the book of Isaiah. He asked for help to determine what on earth the book of Isaiah is saying. Philip tells them, leads him to the Lord and baptizes him. And then it says, I mean, so then God has this little mini rapture for Philip, the deacon. I mean, it's a little mini rapture because it says in Acts 8:39, "That as soon as the man came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away and he suddenly appeared in another town". I mean, it's like, whoosh. I mean, he just can do what he wants. He can just do what he wants. If that's not miraculous enough, I mean, he strikes Saul blind, the persecutor, the blasphemer, on his way to Damascus.
Over and over again in Scripture when we see it, some of the most enormous purpose in their lives, lay on the other side. And see, here you are, some of you just like, getting ready to retire. You got no idea that while you're gearing down, he's going, "No, actually, I'm calling you back. I've never let you go, and we still got work to do". If you're still breathing, there's calling on your life and work for your life that has purpose. No estimating the power of a fresh sense of an already existing calling, a reawakening, a reconfirmation, a redirection. We're, of course, not talking about a second salvation here. The Holy Spirit has never left us. He comes in. He stays. We're not talking about a second blessing of any kind here. We're talking about when, for whatever reason, there is a season when God calls. I'm going to give you a fresh direction here, where for whatever reason, he just awakens us, reawakens us in our calling. And puts iron in our blood again and calcium in our bones again.
So I think Peter was the most obvious one in the New Testament because, you know, of course, he denies Christ three times and Christ already tells them that he's going to, and he does it. You could imagine how devastating it was. We downplay it, but I tell you, it doesn't get much worse than that. We always think, well no, this kind of sin, that kind of sin, this kind of sexual sin, all these kinds of things. It is really a big deal to go I never knew Jesus. I've never known him. I mean, I just want to say something to you, That is a very big deal to repeat it. Boom, boom, boom. And so, then we see this blatant reconfirmation in John chapter 21. "Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep". Not once, not twice, exactly three times, and in front of the others so that they will know it.
Peter is the most obvious one. But Peter is certainly not the only one. John Mark, John Mark was traveling with Paul and Barnabas, and we don't know why, but soon he just decides like, I'm out of this. And we don't know did he... it just wasn't what he expected. Chances are, if you look in Acts that they probably like whoa, this really turns out a whole lot worse than we thought it was going to. You could get beaten up around here for faith in Christ. But all we know is he suddenly goes home. Well, listen, we don't know what happens, but all we know is this, that based on the epistles, he ends up going back out there and not only working with Paul, but also working with Peter. In Paul's very last letter, he calls for Timothy to bring John Mark to him because he said, "He is a great help to me in ministry".
Listen, this guy was so annoying to Paul, it split up him and Barnabas. It was like, "No, I don't want him anymore". Barnabas was like, "No, we need to keep him". Well, they end of splitting apart. This is how much it looked over. And here's John Mark right back in it. He's going to write the Gospel of Mark, the very first gospel. You want to think Old Testament for moment. Joshua, We don't see anything big with Joshua. All we know is by the time, I mean, if you look up all the Scriptures about him, he was just a kid when he first started serving Moses. We don't know. It says he was just young. He was young, maybe a teenager, when he started serving Moses.
So he's just faithful, he's just faithful, all these years goes by, he's just faithful, he's just faithful. It's not his fault that they get 40, what would have been at least 38 extra years in the wilderness, and it's not even his fault or Caleb's. They did the right thing, but here they've got it, here they've got it, they're going to have to say, "Faithful, faithful, faithful, faithful".
Moses dies, Joshua opens up, and God even calls him, it even calls him, from the beginning of Joshua, Moses's servant. I mean, am I always going to be somebody's servant? Always going to be somebody's servant. Always going to be somebody's, I'm always, I'm always in the shadow of Moses. Always in the shadow Moses. And he said, "My servant Moses is dead. Get up, because I'm about to send you to take my people into the land of promise". Couldn't have seen that coming in a lifetime.
The entire reformation resulted from Martin Luther's rediscovery of calling. I'll tell you something, if you live by divine calling, I promise you, based on the authority of the Word of God, you're going to do divine exploits, but you may never know it. You may not know it until you're face-to-face, but you can't live according to his purpose and grace and do that without wonders. It's impossible. It's impossible. Sometimes, our divine exploits are cloaked in the normal everyday living of just one foot in front of the other following Jesus through the hard stuff, through the boring stuff, through the suffering, through the joy, through life, not big heroic choices that go viral on YouTube. They were just the continued living out of the one choice to just follow Jesus wherever he's going. I want you to know something today, our calling is the same today as it was. It's still, "Follow me".