Title: Your Calling
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
God intends Evangel Iloilo to be a Holy Spirit church. God has never ordained Evangel Iloilo to be anything less. God has never intended any church to be anything less. Yes, we have received the Holy Spirit, especially recently, but we are not filled with divine power as I imagine what divine power is to be.
The divine power that flows from the throne of heaven is much greater than it should be. The purpose of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is not commensurate (having the same measure of equal extent; corresponding in amount, magnitude or degree) with the resurrection power for the church of Jesus Christ.
I believe the greatest work Christ has done for mankind is His death on the Cross of Calvary. Therefore I believe that Christ has made possible the greatest power for the Church. The heritage of the church should be so equipped with the power of God that God can lay hand on any member in a church at any one time to do His perfect will. I repeat; God can lay hand on anyone in this church to do his will. There is no stopping when we live the Spirit filled life.
We all start at the cross, the place of disgrace, shame and even death in everything around us. We all started life as sinners, many are disgraced by life, shame and lost expectations, and most of the time see death in everything around us. And it is that death that brings the power of resurrection life in us. Then being filled with the Holy Spirit, we go on from glory to glory. But we must not forget that possessing the Holy Spirit means that there must be an ever increasing holiness. Evangel Iloilo needs divine anointing. Evangel Iloilo needs to see God’s presence and power so evidenced that the world will recognize it. People know when the tide is flowing; they also know when it is ebbing. Evangelites, Pastors, leaders, members people know when your spiritual life is flowing or when your spiritual life is flowing away, receding. The spirit filled life cannot be imitated.
In the Philippines, it is the people’s power, power of the ordinary citizen that brought down, the Marcos Regime. In Thailand, it is the farmers, the rural people, the poor that voted out the Elite people that runs the government. In Singapore, business cannot be usual as before for the people’s action Party. When the ordinary citizen says, the price of government houses are too high and out of reach for the ordinary citizen, the minister in charge, says it is not too expensive actually. When the citizen says, the trains is too crowded, and they can never find a sitting place inside the train the minister in charge replied, it is not as crowded as Japan. When the ordinary citizen says that the foreigners are given more job opportunities than the average Singaporean, they turned a deaf ear. So it is the ordinary citizen that voted against the government. Sensing his party is losing touch with the citizens, at the height of the election campaign, the Prime Minister, had to apologise publicly that they made a mistake and did not listen to the public and he had to remove the minister for housing, the minister for transport and even the minister for foreign affair.
I always believe that when something natural is taking place it is always followed by the spiritual or the supernatural. I believe that the devastating earthquake that move the axis of the earth by one car park will be followed by a spiritual earthquake that will move the church as never before. I believe that as the ordinary people of the world are changing society like the Middle East (Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia), Thailand, Singapore, and the ordinary members of the church is the next biggest thing that will shake the church of Jesus Christ. I am talking to ordinary members in this church. They are the ones that will transform the church. Of course God doesn’t want you to be ordinary but God wants you to be extraordinary. God wants you to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that a revival always follows wherever you go. God wants you to be filled with divine power and although you are going about your daily tasks, the unction is upon you. God has a greater vision for you. God will fill you with a baptism of fire, with power and divine anointing that will take you on to the climax of your life where you can see heavens open before you, see Jesus literally in heaven, angels coming down, the treasures of heaven available to you. This morning I want to talk about your calling. For the ordinary members your calling is twofold.
I want to read again 1 Corinthians 26-31. It says ‘For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.’
This passage of scripture is talking about ordinary members of the church. Some folks like to give emphasis to the prominent folk who have accepted Christ – the entertainment greats, the leaders in industry, and the prominent in government. But God majors in average people. He is calling simple folk like you and me. This is the dispensation of the members of the church. This is the dispensation of the lay workers. This is the dispensation of the workforce of the church, not the senior pastor. But of course first you have to do very well in your secular calling. Then next you should remember your true calling, your spiritual calling.
(1) Your secular calling
It comes to a point in your life that your daily career is secondary. Actually I shouldn’t use the word secondary. I will say that it is a channel to the spiritual calling. Of course you will be doing well in your business of life, and you need to be doing well in the business of life. Smith Wigglesworth was a plumber and he was so good with his plumbing job that his employer says he finished his job so fast and so well that he could not find new plumbing job for him.
When we please God in our daily service, we will always find that everyone who is faithful in the little things, God will make him ruler over much. So please I did not say you must become so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly use. But God has a higher calling for you. Like Stephen, yes he had daily routine and occupation, but he had such a revelation of the mind of Christ, and he went forward with leaps and bounds for a heavenly calling. I am reminded of Daniel. He had such a heavy assignment and holds such an important role for the worldly kingdom of Iraq, but his mind was always the people of God, his heart was always the call of God, the future of the people of God.
Look at Joseph, he was the second most powerful man of the most powerful kingdom of his time, but his heart was for Israel, to protect God’s people in the midst of a very wicked and worldly empire. He tells his children; please remember to bring my bones along with you when you leave Egypt. He was always looking for a heavenly kingdom.
Nehemiah was Persia’s most trusted man because the king would not eat any food on the table until Nehemiah had tasted it. But his cry was for the wall of Jerusalem. Look at Paul; he was a tent maker but he knew his purpose and calling in life, to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Please I am not saying you should quit your job and just concentrate on the ministry. Actually if I know the bible well, you should excel in your worldly occupation. You should excel as a student. Daniel was so respected in his worldly post. Joseph was revered. Paul was a very good tentmaker. Nehemiah was most trusted by his boss. Pricilla and Aquila shared the same occupation as Paul: tent making. Smith Wigglesworth was so good in his plumbing job. When I saw the drama last HOF and heard the message of Pastor Lily, I knew that God wanted me to share this message.
According to Pastor Lily and the HOF drama, one third of working people says ‘I hate my job’. Two-third of the working people labour in the wrong career. Others find employment success, but no satisfaction. To show the wrong attitude of employment, most suicides occur on Sunday nights, because Monday is a working day. Most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings because it is the first day of work. Most people dread their work. Countless commuters begrudge the 83,000 hours their jobs take from their lives.
If you’re one of them what can you do? Change careers? Perhaps. But before you change your profession, try this; change your attitude. Take Christ with you in your work. You should understand that your secular job is also a calling. You should actually excel in your work. Your Job is a calling. To be a student is a calling. Most important of all the supreme purpose of your job is for people to see the God in you; by your success, by the favour of God manifested in you, they surrender their lives to God. Look at the influence of Daniel, Nehemiah, Joseph, Paul, even David as a King. They were the most prominent career people of their communities. Ordinary citizens but a child of God.
Be the best student in your school. Be the best teacher. Be the best professional. Be the best businessmen. And it is possible because God wants you to be the best. And if God is with you how can you not be the best. But the ultimate purpose of the success of your secular life is to show forth the glory of God. If you are successful in your career and you fail to show Christ, you have missed it. You have failed to understand why God made you successful in the first place.
(2) Your Spiritual Calling
God has privileged us in Christ Jesus to live above the ordinary human plane of life. Those who want to be ordinary and live on the lower plane can do so. But I am so dissatisfied recently because the same Holy Spirit, the same unction, the same zeal of Stephen, Smith Wigglesworth, and Paul is at our disposal and is available. We have the same God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Joseph, Paul, and Smith Wigglesworth. We have the same God as Elijah. We don’t have to lag behind in receiving the grace of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Of course we may not possess all the gifts but as we are full of the Holy Spirit and divine unction, it is possible, when there is a need, God can made evident the certain gift through us to use it to meet that need. When we receive power, we are responsible for the need around us. God will supply all our need so that the need of the needy may be met through us.
You that are ordinary can become extraordinary under the Holy Spirit’s anointing until in many ways you stand supreme among members of this church. You outshine the rest in your vicinity. As you press in and go deeper with God, He enlarges your capacity and places an open door. Of course when you go into the life of the Spirit, the devil will get restless and cause a dispute in your home, your working place, and even in the church. Look at Daniel. Look at Moses, look at Paul; there are people who cannot stand the truth. The Pharisees threw Jesus out of the synagogues, Daniel into the Lion’s Den, Paul into the roman’s prison. But praise God, Smith Wigglesworth says ‘It only shows you are real and you will have the victory in all the attacks of the enemy.’
Maybe some of you are tired in the midst of the move of God. I want you, as the author of Hebrew wonderfully said, to ‘consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.’ When you are weary and tempted and tried and all men are against you, consider Jesus who has passed through it all that He might be able to help you in the trial you are passing through. He will sustain you in the strife. When all things seem to indicate that you have failed, the Lord of Hosts, the God of Jacob, the salvation of our Christ will so reinforce you that you will be stronger than any concrete building that was ever made.
Ephesians 4:1-13 says ‘I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We must always clearly see that the baptism with the Spirit must make us ministering spirits. Peter and John had been baptized only a short time on the day of Pentecost. Did they know what they had? No. No one knows what he has in the baptism with the Holy Ghost. You have no conception of it. You cannot measure it by any human standards. It is greater than any man has any idea of, and consequently those two disciples had no idea what they had. For the first time after they were baptized in the Holy Ghost they came down to the Gate Beautiful. There they saw the man sitting who for forty years had been lame. What was the first thing after they saw him? Ministration. What was the second? Operation. What was the third? Manifestation, of course. It could not be otherwise. You will always find that this order in the Scripture will be carried out in everybody. They minister to the lame man, then they operate by laying hands and finally they see the manifestation of healing.
(3) OUTWARD MANIFESTATION
Beloved, we must see that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is an activity with an outward manifestation. When Smith Wigglesworth was in Norway, God was mightily moving there, though he had to talk by interpretation. However, God always worked in a wonderful way. One day he met a man on the street who stopped the two men Smith was with, one being the interpreter. Then the man was walking on, but Smith saw he was in a dilemma, so Smith turned back and said to the interpreter, “What is the trouble?” “This man,” he said, “is so full of neuralgia that he is almost blind and he is in a terrible state.” As soon as ever they finished the conversation Smith said to the spirit that was afflicting him, “Come out of him in the name of Jesus.” And the man said, “It is all gone! It is all gone! I am free.”
Another time Smith was in Sydney, Australia. A man with a stick passed a friend and him. He had to get down and then twist over, and the tortures on his face made a deep impression on Smith’ soul. Smith asked himself, “Is it right to pass this man?” So Smith said to his friend, “There is a man in awful distress, and I cannot go further. I must speak to him.” He went over to this man and said to him, “You seem to be in great trouble.” “Yes,” he said, “I am no good and never will be.” Smith said, “You see that hotel. Be in front of that door in five minutes and I will pray for you, and you shall be as straight as any man in this place.” Smith came back after paying a bill, and he was there. Smith will never forget him wondering if he was going to be trapped, or what was up that a man should stop him in the street and tell him he should be made straight. Of course Smith was in the Spirit and moved with compassion for that man. Never say anything do anything for bravado (boasting), Always be sure of your ground, and that you are honouring God. If there is anything else, it will only bring you sorrow and defeat. Your whole ministry will have to be on the line of grace and blessing. Smith and his friend helped him up the two steps, passed him through to the elevator, and took him upstairs. It seemed difficult to get him from the elevator to Smith’s bedroom, as though Satan was making the last stroke for his life, but they got him there. Then in five minutes’ time this man walked out of that bedroom as straight as any man in this place. He walked perfectly and declared he hadn’t a pain in his body. Oh, brother, it is ministration, it is operation, and it is manifestation! Those are three of the leading principles of the baptism with the Holy Ghost. And we must see to it that God is producing these three through us.
God wants manifestation and He wants His glory to be seen. He wants us all to be filled with that line of thought that He can look upon us and delight in us subduing the world unto Him. What did Isaiah 61:1 says ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meet; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. And so you are going to miss a great deal if you don’t begin to act. But once you begin to act in the order of God, you will find that God establishes your faith and from that day starts you on the line of the promises. When will you begin?
But before you can do the ministration, the operation and see the manifestation, you have to be full of the Holy Spirit. None of you can be strong in God unless you are diligently and constantly hearkening to what God has to say to you through His Word. You cannot know the power and the nature of God unless you partake of His inbreathed Word. Read it at morn and at night, and at every opportunity you get. After every meal, instead of indulging in unprofitable conversation round the table, read a chapter from the Word and then have a season of prayer. I endeavour to make a point of doing this no matter where or with whom I am staying.
The Psalmist said that he had hid God’s Word in his heart, that he might not sin against Him; and you will find that the more of God’s Word you hide in your heart, the easier it is to live a holy life. He also testified that God’s Word quickened him; and, as you receive God’s Word into your being, your whole physical being will be quickened and you will be made strong. As you receive with meekness the Word, you will find faith upspringing within. And you will have life through the Word.
Again I want to concentrate on the ordinary members of the Church. This message is for the ordinary members of the Church. The twelve apostles told the rest to look out seven men to look after the business end of things. They were to be men of honest report and filled with the Holy Ghost. These were just ordinary men who were chosen, but they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and this infilling always lifts a man to a plane above the ordinary. It does not take a cultured or a learned man to fill a position in God’s church; what God requires is a yielded, consecrated, holy life, and He can make of such a flame of fire. Baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire!
The multitude chose out seven men to serve tables. They were doubtless faithful in their appointed tasks, but we see that God soon had a better choice for two of them. Philip was so full of the Holy Ghost that he could have a revival wherever God put him down. Man chose him to serve tables, but God chose him to win souls. Oh, if I could only stir you up to see that as you are faithful in performing the humblest office, God can fill you with His Spirit and make you a chosen vessel for Himself, and promote you to a place of mighty ministry in the salvation of souls and in the healing of the sick. There is nothing impossible to a man filled with the Holy Ghost. It is beyond all human comprehension. When you are filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, God will wonderfully work wherever you go. This is the day of calling that prophets had been talking about; this is the opportunity of our lifetime. This is the place where God increases strength and opens the door of a new way of ministry.
When you are filled with the Spirit you will know the voice of God. I want to give you one illustration of this. When Smith was going out to Australia recently, their boat stopped at Aden and at Bombay. In the first place the people came round the ship selling their wares, beautiful carpets and all sorts of oriental things. There was one man selling some ostrich feathers. As I was looking over the side of the ship watching the trading, a gentleman said to me, “Would you go shares with me in buying that bunch of feathers?” What did Smith want with feathers? Smith had no use for such things and no room for them either. But the gentleman put the question to him again, “Will you go shares with me in buying that bunch?” The Spirit of God said to him, “Do it.”
The feathers were sold to them for three pounds, and the gentleman said, “I have no money on me, but if you will pay the man for them, I will send the cash down to you by the purser.” Smith paid for the feathers and gave the gentleman his share. He was travelling first, and Smith was travelling second class. Smith said to him, “No, please don’t give that money to the purser; I want you to bring it to me personally to my cabin.” God showed Smith that He had a purpose in my purchasing the feathers. At about 10 o’clock the gentleman came to his cabin and said, “I’ve brought the money.” Smith said to him, “It is not your money that I want; it is your soul that I am seeking for God.” Right there he opened up the whole plan of his life and began to seek God; and that morning he wept his way through to God’s salvation.
You have no conception what God can do through you when you are filled with His Spirit. Every day and every hour you can have the divine leading of God. To be filled with the Holy Ghost means much in every way. I have seen some who have been suffering for years, and when they have been filled with the Holy Ghost everything of their sickness has passed away. The Spirit of God has made real to them the life of Jesus and they have been completely liberated of every sickness and infirmity.
Look at Stephen. He was just an ordinary man chosen to serve tables. But the Holy Ghost was in him and he was full of faith and power, and did great wonders and miracles among the people. There was no resisting the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. How important it is that every man shall be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Preached at EFC Iloilo
August 14, 2011