"Preparing people to make an impact for God in their generation and to be fit to enter His Kingdom"
Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Jeremiah: 33:3
“The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Ah, Sovereign Lord, I said, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’ The Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said, ‘Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant’.” Jeremiah 1:4-10. NIV
When God calls, it is like the Army. He says, “I don’t want you as you are. I’ve got a spiritual boot camp in mind. And on the other end of this spiritual boot camp, you are going to be vastly different than when you went in. And you are going to feel more equipped to answer the call.”
So I want you to think of the points of this teaching as God’s loving, sometimes challenging, prodding to get us into shape because as you see Jeremiah was called to be a prophet. And the word prophet – “nabe” — means “One who has been CALLED” and God has called you just as clearly as God called Jeremiah. So think of these three encouraging thoughts or reminders about God’s call on your life. And you know that God’s call on your life can change many times. It’s not just one call and that’s it. God may be calling you to something new or different or a new challenge in which you never imagined that God would be calling you. So, whenever God calls, listen to these three thoughts and reminders as a way of moving to boot camp to prepare you to answer and respond:
Think of Ephesians 2:8-10. I am just going to provide them for you below, if you would like to open your Bible you can, but just listen. Think how this parallels Jeremiah’s call. “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has called each one of us to an incredible ministry and works.
So if anyone here today is tempted to feel insignificant, I want to ask you a question. Why? Why on earth would anyone feel insignificant in light of these texts? You are unique. God knew you before you were born and before you were good for anything. God said you are good for what I want to do. I appointed you. I gave you. That’s what the word appointed means. “I gave you to others.” And that makes sense because God is a God who gives. “For God so loved the world that he gave“, and God has given you and me so that others might be encouraged and brought to him. Your place in God’s plan is not based on having enough votes. It is not based on an entrance exam. It is not based on having a certain personality. You have been chosen to bear fruit for God by God’s grace. You have been chosen for God’s purposes. You are called to ministry not because of anything other than God’s grace has chosen you.
“Call to me and I will answer you and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know.” That’s God’s phone number. That’s why God had to give Jeremiah his phone number because he says, “I will supply to you that which you lack.” And when we draw near to God in prayer, we gain strength. God will supply what we lack.
Now listen to me: You are not an accident. You are not an afterthought. You are God’s agent in this world. I ask you, “Are you tired?” Call God’s phone number. Are you cynical? Remember that God has a plan that affects the destiny of nations and people and you are part of it. Are you despairing over the size of the task that God is calling you to do? God will sustain you. Do you fear lack of ability? God will touch you at the point of your weakness. Did you see in the text how God touched Jeremiah’s lips right at the point of his weakness? He says, “I don’t know how to speak,” and God touched his mouth. God will touch you. He just wants you to be available. Do you need strength? God says, “I am with you. I am all the strength that you will ever need.” Do you lack assurance? God says, “I want you. Do not be afraid.” If you don’t understand these three things — that you have been called intentionally and intimately by God, that it is normal to recoil at God’s call and that God will supply what you lack — then you will be rendered ineffective in the kingdom.
When an adult bird knows it’s time for its babies to fly, it starts to push. Now if the chick doesn’t get it, the adult bird starts to peck at the talons or the feet of the baby. And it gets to a point where it becomes more painful for the little bird to hold on than to let go. You see, the adult bird knows there is no danger in making the baby bird to do what it was designed to do. Birds have feet and they can walk and birds have talons and they can cling, but walking and clinging was not what they were designed to do. And the mother bird knows that it is no big deal to force its babies to do what they were designed to do, which is flying. Flying is what birds do best and so like that, God knows that giving ourselves to his work and his kingdom and to others is what we do best. That’s the design of the universe. And some of us look pathetic clinging to the dead branch of this world, the dead branch of bank accounts, and of things; clinging to a nest of selfishness. We don’t think we can risk because we have never let go and God is calling you today to let go. And when you do, you will be amazed at the experience. You will soar. You will soar in God’s grace that you are given. Throw yourself into it because God wants you!
Prayer and Application
Please take some time to read 2 Timothy 4: 1-5. Pray and Meditate on it. Below is the Amplified Version of it:
I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom:
Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry.