Last week, we began our series on the Gospel of Mark: Walking With Jesus and considered the voice of God.
Mark presented the Voice of God in the following forms:
- Prophecy (Old & New Testament)
- Apostolic Proclamation
- Audible Voice of God
In today’s message, let’s look at the Call of God.
God has called people throughout the ages, and the Bible records many of those times of calling, but God CONTINUES to call people, even today.
We had the honor of hearing about the call upon the Miller family.
We’ve seen their calling in action serving with us in our ESL ministry.
We recognize the call.
People must be able to hear God’s voice so that they know the call of God on their lives.
I mentioned last week three gifts that help us hear God’s voice; they help us understand His Call, too:
Three Gifts to Distinguish God’s Voice/Calling:
- The Holy Spirit, Himself, though prayer
- The Written Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit
- The Body of Christ with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit
So, with prayer and on the authority of God’s Word, I participate with the Church by declaring the Call of God.
All of us are called by God
Sometimes a statement like that is followed by the word,
“All of us are called, BUT we are called to different things.”
Sometimes we consider particular “call” as greater, and therefore miss the most important.
All of us are called.
Remember, Jesus IS God in the flesh.
Mark knew this and referred to Him as the “Son of God.”
Such a term is different than “child of God,” since Jesus is “THE” Son.
So, what comes from the mouth of Jesus is God’s Word.
Jesus IS the Final Revelation of God to man.
Let’s read the next several verses and lookout for the call of God and how this relates to us:
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. Mark 1:14-28
The title of my message today is
“The Call of God,”
Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending Jesus. We thank You that Your kingdom has come in Him, and that we are invited to belong to Your kingdom through Jesus.
As we grow in our relationship with You, we offer to You the throne of our hearts. We believe in You and follow You.
In Jesus’ Name,
- All Called to Follow
- Kingdom of God
What is a kingdom?
It is the realm or territory that is controlled by a king or a queen.
There are about 25 kingdoms around the world from Saudi Arabia to Great Britain and from Bhutan to Denmark.
In some of these kingdoms the king is only a figurehead, but in others, he has absolute rule.
Jesus, too, is from a Kingdom: God’s Kingdom. He began his ministry with this declaration:
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Kingdom has come near…in Jesus.
Therefore, God calls us to respond and our response to the kingdom of God is repentance and belief.
Can you imagine going to Saudi Arabia and insulting the king? What would happen?
Probably you would be deported.
But what if a citizen insulted the king? He would be severely punished.
God calls us to come into His Kingdom.
Actually, he warns us that God’s Kingdom and rule is coming, really, whether we like it or not.
The kingdom came in Jesus, but when we die, we will either enter His kingdom in heaven, or we will be punished in hell.
Thus, let us be people who welcome God’s kingdom and rule, rather than to rebel against it.
Instead of rebelling against God’s kingdom, we must repent and continue to repent.
How do we know what is rebellion? We must hear the revelation of God’s Word.
God calls all to repentance.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Today, powerful men are being held accountable for sexual misconduct…
Our response out to be looking deep into our hearts and repenting of what we’ve done, rather than cheering and judging.
All sin is rebellion away from the kingdom of God.
- Sin declares
“I am the king of my own kingdom!”
- Jesus calls and declares,
“The Kingdom is near, repent and believe.”
Sin separates us from God
Jesus went to the cross because of our sins.
When we excuse sin, we rebel against the kingdom of God.
What are we to believe?
That the kingdom has come near.
Mark was writing to a young church that was about 30 years old at this time.
The Church did not have much of the New Testament, but they did have the Old Testament.
Can you imagine what church gatherings were like in the first 30 years of the Church?
They met in homes and read from the Old Testament.
Letters from James and Paul were circulated, but the only Gospel was most likely the preaching that the apostles and their associates and followers.
I Timothy has an example of the Gospel that was preached:
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:15, 16
Christ came to save us, and display His love in and through us.
When the Gospel of Mark was first published, it was helpful for building the belief of the original audience, as it is in building our belief, today.
Belief and Repentance must go together, as James described that Faith without works is dead.
Yet, belief without repentance is the norm, today.
There are many who believe in God, but they don’t repent, and they don’t follow.
Faith must have evidence in order to be real.
As we believe and as we repent, then we are following Jesus.
If we stop repenting, we will stop believing.
So many times, when I’ve counseled people, they’ve admitted to something sinful that they began with which then led to something else, and in time, they even stopped believing.
- Are we following Jesus?
Q How do we know if someone is following us?
A We turn and they are behind us
Q How do we know if we are following Jesus?
A We should see Him in front of us
Q If Jesus turned to look, would He see us following Him, or are we not following Him?
In addition to begin called to follow Jesus, we are all called to serve
- All Called to Serve
- The call to service is specifically shown in the lives of Simon, Andrew, James and John
- They left their nets and even their family to not merely follow Jesus, but to serve with him.
- But, we are all called to serve…and in serving, people will hear Jesus’ call, and repent, believe and follow.
The initial call is TO all
All are called to follow.
But the call to SERVE is FOR ALL, meaning, when we answer the call to serve, then we are serving so that all may know. So that the Gospel may be displayed in us and in our service.
The Call is to Serve All by Serving God.
In our reading, today, of these four men, notice how they responded:
18 At once they left their nets and followed him…20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:18, 20
at once and
We who have walked with Jesus for a while have developed a
“lack of immediateness” when it comes to serving God.
This requires us to wait, pray, and postpone.
Let us NOT delay.
Perhaps Jesus called others to serve as his first disciples, but they delayed.
Where would the Church be, today, had Andrew and Peter, James and John delayed, and no one else took their place?
How much can be done in our city and in our church if we didn’t delay?
I don’t mean we need to be haphazard in our work, and I do believe in counting the cost,
but Jesus is calling all of us to SERVE, not to be served.
Jesus washed the feet of those disciples on the night he would be betrayed, the eve of his crucifixion.
Jesus served, and He calls us to serve with Him.
Q Have we heard God’s call to serve?
Q Are we serving God through Jesus?
Q Are we serving as He wants us to serve?
Or have we compromised?
Q Are we serving in the ministry that God has called us to serve in?
Every church can use more people to serve with them.
- All Called to Holiness
In addition to Jesus calling us to follow Him, and being called to serve With Him, we are called to Holiness
The university ministry CRU, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ use the terms
to explain their mission.
Today, we’ve looked at the calling to follow, which centered on believing and acting on that belief.
As well, when we looked at the call to serve, we see that we are to bless others.
The call to holiness is the call to belong.
Holiness is so often misunderstood.
I am holy because of Christ’s declaration in my life, therefore, I need to act on that holiness…otherwise, I don’t belong.
God’s kingdom IS Holy, it is set apart from the rest of the world.
We should not try to walk in both worlds. But when we are in the “world” per se, let’s be in the world but not of the world.
Jesus calls us into holiness.
- Jesus Calls with authority
Jesus is the Son of the Holy God.
He calls us into His Holy family, to separate from the world, the flesh and the devil and to belong to Him.
He is in authority over all, and we need to recognize whether we are serving and following under HIS authority or under our own.
- Are we hearing and obeying His calling and stepping out of wickedness, and stepping into His Holiness?
- Are we stepping out of complacency and stepping into participation?
- Are we stepping out of our kingdom and submitting, fully, to His kingdom?
I believe that is what Jesus is calling all of us to.
Yes, we need to be held accountable for our actions, and Jesus wants us to be careful in our thought life, too.
- If we are following and serving Jesus, are we remembering that He has all authority?
- Are we living as someone who lives under someone’s authority?
We are not to live under our own authority, that is the temptation of Satan to us.
- Jesus delivered with authority
- Notice that there is a great contrast between the Holy Spirit and the Impure spirit…yet, the Impure spirit recognized that Jesus was God.
- Jesus took authority over the impure spirit. We should apply Jesus’ authority to impurity and unrighteousness in our own lives.
- When I pray against something and recognize Satan’s presence, I pray in an authoritative manner
- As well, I pray as the Book of Jude describes, and say, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan.”
- Jesus calls us to walk in His Holiness
- He called out to the spirit, sternly, “come out of him.”
- The authority was recognized.
Throughout the Gospel of Mark we see many occasions in which the demons respond to the authority of Jesus.
- Jesus not only called to the demons and cast them out, he calls to his children, and invites us to come to him in wholeness and holiness.
- Satan tempted Adam and Eve to live under their own authority and to ignore God’s call in their lives.
- Yet, God called out to Adam, and asked, “where are you?”
- Jesus is calling to us:
“Peyton, where are you?”
“Sue, where are you?”
“Terry, where are you?”
- Let’s look at where we are:
4. Where Are We?
- Are we following Jesus? Or are we excusing our sins?
- Are we serving Jesus? If so, how? Do we have room to follow him even more closely?
- Are we walking with Jesus in purity? Are our minds and hearts pure? Are we thinking about what is right and holy? We need to think on the good and right things of life, and not on what would separate us from God.
- Bad thoughts come into our minds, and we need to immediately rebuke those thoughts and think about something else. Otherwise as we think so we will do (Prov. 23:7).
- God offers us His Grace, and His Grace is not a license to continue to sin, but an opportunity to learn to say, “no.”
- Our sins and unholiness sent Jesus to the Cross, His Grace wants to save us from hell, which we deserve, but also from a life of sin.
- 11 For the graceof God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
- Jesus call to us to walking in his holiness
With authority he called out to Adam in the Garden…he calls out to us, too….Adam, where are you? Peyton where are you? Sue, where are you?
The Mission of the River:
Connecting our changing community with the unchanging Gospel