The Compelling Force of the Call

making call
Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

Beware of refusing to hear the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact of his salvation. That, however, is not the same as the call to preach, but is merely an illustration which can be used in preaching. In this verse, Paul was referring to the stinging pains produced in him by the compelling force of the call to preach the gospel. Never try to apply what Paul said regarding the call to preach to those souls who are being called to God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved, because it is solely God’s sovereign work— “Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22). Our Lord never requires the same conditions for discipleship that he requires for salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Christ. But discipleship has an option with it— “If anyone…” (Luke 14:26).

Paul’s words have to do with our being made servants of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us as broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated to the gospel” means being able to hear the call of God (Romans 1:1). Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains— “…separated to the gospel…” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him. The Bible Training College exists so that each of you may know whether or not God has a man or woman here who truly cares about proclaiming His gospel and to see if God grips you for this purpose. Beware of competing calls once the call of God grips you.

by Oswald Chambers

Desires of Your Heart

Psalm 37:1-8

You may have read God’s promise to give you “the desires of your heart,” but too quick a glance at verse 4 of today’s reading will lead only to frustration and disappointment. To understand the scope of the Lord’s awesome promise, it’s important to explore the conditions He set in this passage.

First, Psalm 37:1 instructs us not to fret about “evildoers” or envy them. That is, we’re not to be consumed with the success of unrighteous people. God will deal with them; our responsibility is to watch our own actions.

Next, verse 3 instructs us to “trust in the Lord,” “do good,” and “cultivate faithfulness.” God is interested in our maturity. He wants us to be responsible with the big things in life, which relate to our deepest desires.

In verse 4, we are clearly told to “delight . . . in the Lord.” This is another way of saying we are to seek His desires. If we truly pursue God’s good pleasure, our own desires will fall right into place.

Then, verse 5 commands that we “commit [our] way to the Lord” and trust Him. When we focus our steps on His path, we know we’re heading in the right direction. God will not bless our sinful missteps; our duty is to keep to His purposeful plan.

Finally, verse 7 calls us to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” God’s timing is perfect. If we see no immediate response to a faithful prayer, we must trust Him for His flawless timing.

When it comes to your desires, are you frustrated by God’s seeming lack of response? Pray through Psalm 37:1-8 and ask Him to bring your will in line with His.

Great Reward

“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:23)

Sometimes great rewards are promised to those who help locate dangerous criminals, or to those who win a lottery, but such pecuniary rewards are trivial compared to those awaiting all the faithful servants of Christ. The “great reward” promised by Christ in our text is specifically for those believers who willingly have endured hatred and ostracism, reproach, and slander “for the Son of man’s sake” (v. 22).

Such rewards are distinct from salvation, of course, for that reward is given only “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5-6).

That is, salvation is a free gift, received only through personal faith in Christ and His sacrificial death for our sins. Rewards, on the other hand, are earned by faithful witness and work for Christ. In that day when “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10), many will learn to their dismay that, although they have indeed received everlasting life, they will have very little reward. For “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13)—not the quantity, but its quality and fidelity to God’s Word. Then, “if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved” (v. 15).

We need to remember that one of the last and thus most significant promises of Christ was: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). HMM

Moratorium on Activity

The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. —Proverbs 17:3

I suppose my suggestion will not receive much serious attention, but I should like to suggest that we Bible-believing Christians announce a moratorium on religious activity and set our house in order preparatory to the coming of an afflatus from above. So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church, so shockingly irreverent are our public services in some quarters, so degraded are our religious tastes in still others, that the need for power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history. I believe we should profit immensely were we to declare a period of silence and self examination during which each one of us searched his own heart and sought to meet every condition for a real baptism of power from on high.

Lord, I do pray that You would move in the hearts of leaders in churches everywhere to prompt this time of silence and self examination. Stimulate our hearts and quiet us to hear from You. Amen.

Faith Must Rest in the Adequacy of Christ

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25

Science and philosophy are more arrogant and bigoted than religion could ever possibly be, and still they try to brand evangelical Christians as bigots.

But I have never taken my Bible and gone into the laboratory and tried to tell the scientist how to conduct his experiments, and I would thank him if he didn’t bring his test tube into the holy place and tell me how to conduct mine!

The scientist has nothing he can tell me about Jesus Christ, our Lord. There is nothing he can add, and I do not need to appeal to him.

Studying the philosophers may clarify my thinking and may help me broaden my outlook, but it is not necessary to my salvation. I have studied Plato and the rest of them from the time I was knee-high to a rubber worker in Akron, Ohio. But I have never found that Plato added anything, finally, to what Jesus Christ has said.

You know what Jesus said: “I am the Light that lighteth every man. I am the Bread that feedeth every man. I am the One who came from the heart of the Father, and I am the Eternal Word which was in the beginning with God, and which was and is God, and that’s who I am.”

So, we are assured in the Word that it is Jesus only and He is enough! It is not Jesus plus a lot of other religions. It is not Jesus plus a lot of other philosophies. He is the Eternal Word, and so we must listen to Him!

Sharing God’s Nature

Precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature. 2 PETER 1:4

Our heavenly Father disciplines us for our own good, “that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). God’s motives are always loving!

I have known people who seemed to be terrified by God’s loving desire that we should reflect His own holiness and goodness. As God’s faithful children, we should be attracted to holiness, for holiness is Godlikeness—likeness to God!

God encourages every Christian believer to follow after holiness. We know who we are and we know who God is. He does not ask us to be God and He does not ask us to produce the holiness that only He Himself knows. Only God is holy absolutely: All other beings can be holy only in relative degrees.

Actually, it is amazing and wonderful that God should promise us the privilege of sharing in His nature. He remembers we were made of dust. So He tells us what is in His being as He thinks of us: “It is My desire that you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Me. I want you to be more like Jesus, My eternal Son, every day you live!”

Lord, thank You for allowing us to share in Your divine nature. I want to become even more like You, but I need Your Spirit’s help and encouragement.