Robert Morris — My Christian Calling
So, let's begin the series, "Why Am I Here"? And if you want to, turn in your Bible's to Luke 9 and Mark 3. And what we're going to do, is we're going to start in Luke 9, we're going to go to Mark 3, and then we're going to come back to Luke 9. So, you might want to hold your place there. So, we're talking about our Christian calling. OK? We're all called to be saints. Let me show you a scripture. First Corinthians 1:2 says, "To the church of God, which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints". Called to be saints. When we think of calling, I thought immediately of that Jesus called 12 disciples. And when we think about the disciples, He called them to do things. And those three things are repeated a lot, but there's something more important that He called them to do that helps us to understand the rest. OK?
So, let me show you. I'm going to give you three words to help us define our Christian calling. So, if you'll write these down, please. Here's number one, knowing. Knowing. Now, I'm going to explain this a little more fully, but let me show you a verse first. In Luke 9, if you're there, Verse 1, "Then He called His 12 disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick". OK, several places in scripture it says that Jesus called them or sent them to preach the kingdom of God, to preach the Gospel, to heal the sick, and to cast out demons.
I want you to think about this. It's several places, just read it in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons. Preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons. When I was studying this, it hit me as I've never thought about it before, that He was actually referring to all of you. That, I mean, all of you, as a person. In other words, He's concerned about you. Think about this. We are three parts, spirit, soul, and body. Preach the gospel refers to your spirit so that your spirit can be saved and live eternally. Heal the sick refers to your body. And cast out demons refers to your soul because that's where the area where demons torment us is in our mind, will, and emotions. They torment our thoughts. They torment our emotions, how we feel. And, they hold us captive in our will, so that we can't do what we want to do.
So, He's saying, preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons. He's saying, "Listen, set people free, spirit, soul, and body. Set them free; I want you to set people free". And if you want to boil it down, it's help people. Help people. Help people. I want you to help people. I want you to help them in their spirit. I want you to help them in their bodies. I want you to help them in their souls. So, we know what He called them to do. But, did you know that He called them to be something before they did something? It's very, very important because the power to do comes from the power to be.
So, if you want to look at Mark 3 and hold your finger there at Luke 9, we'll come back to Luke 9. But, Mark 3, this is one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. Mark 3:14-15, "Then He appointed 12 that they might," now watch this carefully, these three words, "be with Him". He appointed three that they might be with Him. "He appointed 12 that they might be with Him and," and, "that He might send them out to preach and they had power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons". But, before He appointed them to do, He appointed them to be. And He said, "Listen guys, I want you to be with Me. This is your number one thing. It's your priority".
And this is our priority as disciples, to be with Him. Because the power to do comes from the power to be. I want you to be with Me. And the disciples needed to learn to be with Him because — here's what He said, "And I'm going to give you power. Power to preach, power to heal, and power to cast out". Can I say something, though? Power, without peace is poison. You think about it. Think about the dictators. The horrible men that have done horrible things in many different nations around the world because they had power, but they didn't know the Prince of Peace. So, that power without peace was poison. And He said, "I'm going to give you power, but you need to know Me first. You need to know how to use that power. Because we use that power to help people not hurt people". So, that power comes from being connected to Jesus. Knowing.
So, this is my first point is knowing. This is the first thing we're called to do, to know Jesus. To get to know Jesus. To know Jesus better. Think about it this way. Think about an extension cord. If that extension cord is not plugged into a power source, you can take the other end of that extension cord and plug in many different things to it, but none of them will work. There will be no power. Because the extension cord, by itself, has no power. But, when it's plugged into the power source, the exact same power that the power source has is available at the end of that extension cord.
So, maybe you've never thought of this, but as your pastor, I just want to tell you, all of you, are extension cords. You're extension cords of God's power. And not just His power, His love and His grace, and His mercy, and His peace, and His kindness, and His truth. You're an extension cord. But, if you're not plugged in, there's no power. No one's going to get anything on the other end. So, you stay plugged in.
You know, we just came back from this sabbatical, Debbie and I. And we had a great sabbatical. And on a sabbatical, I take a rest from work. My occupation is a pastor. But, I don't take a sabbatical from being a Christian. I stay plugged in. When I was on sabbatical, I got a phone call And he immediately just apologized. He said, "Pastor, I'm sorry to call you and bother you". He didn't know I was on sabbatical or vacation or whatever, you know. He just said, "Pastor, I'm sorry to bother you". He started crying. He said, "But my friend's in the hospital. I just left. It doesn't look good. And I didn't know who else to call. I just didn't know who to call".
Now, he might have been calling me because, "Pastor". But, I prayed with him because I'm Christian. See, I was on sabbatical from being a pastor, but I'm not on sabbatical from being a Christian. I pray for people. I pray for the sick. That's what I do as a Christian. And I prayed for him and I prayed for his friend. He texted me back the next day and said, "Everything's changed and turned around. He'll be released in a few days". So, I prayed for him. OK? Now, here's the point, though. We all do that. That's our calling as Christians. But, there's no power if I unplug. So, we don't unplug from Jesus. We don't pull away from Him. We know Him. That's our primary calling. To know Him.
All right. Here's number two. Knowing was number one. Growing. I'm giving you three words to help you understand or define our Christian calling. Number two, growing. John 15:5, "I am the vine, you're the branches". What do branches do? They grow. "He who abides in Me and I am in Him, bears much fruit". Grows. "For without Me, you can do nothing". That's the same analogy of the extension cord. Without Me you have no power. You can do nothing without Me. "But, if you abide in Me, if you know Me, you're going to grow. And as you grow, you're going to bear fruit". Second Peter 3:18, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". That's actually an incredible verse. We can grow in grace. That's amazing to me. We can grow in grace. And grow in our knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This is a calling, part of our calling we have as believers. We should be growing. We should be going to church. We should be going to small groups. We should be going to equip classes. We should be taking stewardship classes. And we should be going to freedom ministry. We should be going to habitation services. We should be growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Because if we're not growing, how are we going to help anyone?
I've got a question for you. Are you still growing? No matter how long you've known the Lord, are you still growing? First Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow". Some mature believers dismiss this and say, "Well, he's talking about newborn babes in Christ". No, he's not. He's saying, "As a baby desires milk, you desire the Word. You should desire the Word the same way". So, we grow because we're with Him. He appointed the 12 to be with Him and to minister, but you need to be with Me, so you'll grow. And, these disciples needed to grow. Now, I'm not at all putting these guys down because their heroes of the faith. They're heroes. But, there were some things they did in that three-year process that weren't exactly the best things. They needed to grow.
Let me show you just a few verses. All right, back in Luke 9, if you want to go back to Luke 9. Look at Verse 49, "Now, John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name and we forbade him because he does not follow with us". Now here's what he said. We saw someone helping someone, but he doesn't go to our church, so we chewed him out good. You know, he might not believe exactly like we believe. He might be pre-trib, or mid-trib, or post-trib, or pre-millennial, or post-millennial, or all millennial, or he might be a Calvinist, or he might be an Armeniast, or he might not believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or he might not believe in a prayer language, or he might not believe in this or he might not believe in that, and so, wait, we're just going to have to be careful about these other people who don't go to our church.
Did I ever tell you what Jesus said, "Idiots"? No, he didn't say that. But, think about what He did say. He said, "Guys, if he's not against us, he's for us. He might not be in our little group. He might not even understand everything you understand, but if he's not against us, he's for us". Can you imagine, can you imagine the impact that the body of Christ would have on the world if we quit dividing and we came together to win the world to Jesus Christ? That's verse 49 of Luke 9. Just a few verses down, I think they still needed to grow. Look at Verse 52. Luke 9:52, "And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans to prepare for Him, but they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples, James and John, saw this, they said, 'Lord, you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?'"
That's a great Christian attitude, isn't it? You know what Jesus said? "Idiots". No, He didn't. But, what He did say was almost the same. He said, "You don't even know what spirit is motivating you right now. I didn't come to consume people. I came to help people. And the more you're with me, the more you're going to get that. I'm going to show you one more. Matthew 19:13, "Then little children were brought to Him, that He might put His hands on them and pray. But, the disciples rebuked them". Rebuked them. "Hey, hey, little girl, get away from Jesus. Do you think He's here to pray for people or something"? Jesus' thinking, "What are you doing? You're telling the children that I can't pray for the children. Think". OK.
These guys did think and they did grow. Because let me tell you how they were referred to later in Acts. Acts 17:6, "These two have turned the world upside down, have come here, too". These men did grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, they grew so much in their relationship with Jesus Christ, that all but one, of course I'm not talking about Judas now, but the other 11, plus the 12, Matthias, that they replaced Judas with, all but John died a martyrs' death.
Let me tell you just a few of them, what happened to them. Matthew was killed by a sword in Ethiopia while he was preaching the gospel. Peter was crucified upside down because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus had died. James, the Great, was beheaded in Jerusalem. Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, was flogged to death. James, the other James, was thrown over a 100-feet down from the Southeast pinnacle of the temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club.
Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips. Andrew was whipped severely by seven soldiers in Greece and then crucified. His followers reported that when he was led toward the cross, Andrew said these words, "I have longed and desired and expected this happy hour". He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died. I would say they grew. They grew because they were with Jesus.
So, knowing, growing, and here's number three, glowing. I've given you three words to try to help you remember our Christian calling. Knowing, growing, and glowing. Now, I know that all these words rhyme. What can I say? I'm a genius. No, I do that to try to help us remember. I want you to remember what God said to us this weekend. Not some sermon that I preached, but what did God say to you? How do you apply this message to your everyday life? Glowing. We are to be light in a dark world. We live in a dark world. Would you agree? And it's getting darker. We're going to have to be light. But, how are we light?
Look at these verses, John 1:6-8, "There was a man sent from God whose name was John". This is John the Baptist, now. OK? "This man came for a witness to bear witness of the light, that all through him might believe". Now, listen, he was not that light. "He was not that light but was sent to bear witness of that Light". OK, let me say something. We're not the light. We are not the light. But, we know the light. And the more we know Him, the more He shines through us. Just like we can't produce fruit on our own, we have to abide in Him. Right? We can't shine on our own. It's like we're the moon and He's the sun. We just reflect the light. That's what we do. But, we got to be around the light, we got to know the light, to be able to reflect the light. OK.
I want to show you a picture. It's a picture of my watch. And what I did is I went into my closet at home, turned the light off, shut the door, and took a picture of my watch. It's a beautiful watch. I want you to see it. This is my watch. Isn't that gorgeous? That's a beautiful watch. You don't think it's beautiful? Can't see it, can you? It's in the dark. But, after I took this picture, I turned the flashlight on. Put it on the face of my watch for five seconds. Five seconds. And then I took this picture. You can see it pretty well, can't you? You can see what time it is, everything. You want to know why? It glows as long as it's been around the light.
But I tell you what I've discovered, if it's not in the light for two or three days, it'll stop glowing. Now, it'll glow all night. It'll glow all night. I discovered that, because if I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which I now have the privilege of doing because of my age, I can glance at my watch and see what time it is, because it glows all night. It glows for a while. OK? But, if it's not in the light for two or three days, it doesn't glow. See, my watch has no ability to produce light on its own. It only has the ability to reflect light. If it's not in the light for two or three days, it doesn't glow. See, my watch cannot produce light on its own. See, you're still saved. You're saved by grace. But, some of you know, you're not glowing any more. It's been a long time since you've spent time with Jesus. You need to spend time with Him every morning. And then you glow in a dark world.
All right, one more illustration. What one word do we use to describe the face of a pregnant woman? Glowing. Right? She glows. And they do. Pregnant women glow. They glow in the dark. I don't know if you noticed it. They glow. Why? Why do they glow? Now, by the way, just speaking on that, when we were on vacation, I saw this — we were at a breakfast buffet and I saw this husband and his wife going to the table and she was pregnant. And, I was just drawn to them. And when they got down, sat down at the table, they prayed and blessed their meal. When they prayed, I got this word for her. I got a word for her.
Now, I would like to say, that if you're going to give a word to a pregnant woman, make sure she's pregnant. Now, this one was pregnant. OK. So, I was OK. So, anyway, I walked across the room and I said to the couple, I said, "I don't mean to bother you or disturb your breakfast, but when you prayed and blessed your food, I feel like the Lord spoke something to me. Do you mind if I share it with you"? And they said, "No, please do". And I looked right at her and I said, "Your child is going to be blessed and going to bring great joy to many people". And they started crying and they said to me, "Last week, our pastor said the exact same words to us, gave us the same prophecy last week".
So, God used me to minister to someone because I was plugged in. But, I want to go back to this, why was she glowing? Why do pregnant women glow? Think about it. She has had an intimate relationship with her husband. Remember Adam knew Eve and she conceived. Joseph did not know Mary. Mary had not known a man, had not been intimate with a man. A pregnant woman glows because she's been intimate with her husband and life is growing inside of her and people recognize it.
I'll show you one more scripture. Look at Acts 4:13. It says, "Now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated common men, they were astonished, and they recognized that they had," watch the last three words, "been with Jesus". Remember what Mark 3 said. "Then He appointed 12 that they might be with Him". Acts 4, "They recognized they had been with Jesus". They had been intimate with their husband. Life was growing in them and people recognized it. Do you know what your Christian calling is? We do need to be a light to a dark world. We need to glow. But, we're not going to glow unless we grow. And we're not going to grow if we don't spend time with Jesus.
God has called us to be like Him, to be His light in a dark world. So, I want you think about this. Our Christian calling is to be just that, Christians. Christ-like. That's what the word Christian means. But, the only way we're going to be like Christ is by spending time with Him.