Called, Chosen & Faithful
Make your Calling and Election Sure!
Let’s peek prophetically into the future; the Lord of Lords and King of Kings has just arrived on the scene. We are told, “. . . and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev 17:14).
Do you see yourself as one of those “with Him” at His coming? If we wish to be certain of appearing with Him at His coming, then we need to carefully consider what it is to be “called,” “chosen,” and “faithful.” We will want to be sure of our understanding of these things!
We can start by taking note of Paul’s calling. From the beginning the Apostle Paul clearly understood his “calling” from God. We see this through the words he shared with king Agrippa regarding his initial meeting with Jesus, “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee. Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee” (Acts 26:16-17). God gave Paul a clear picture of his calling! God always shows His intentions.
Through those words Paul was given an obvious revelation of a “promise!” We need to remember that Adam and Eve also received a revelation of a “promise,” “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion” (Gen 1:26). Two verses later the scripture says, “and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion” (Gen 1:28). Here God promised “dominion” to them. However, they did not continue in God’s “promise;” instead they harkened to a different voice and lost their dominion!
The “called, and chosen, and faithful” of Rev 17:14, turn out to be Lords and Kings who will have received Adam’s “promise” of “dominion!” They will have realized the promises made to Adam. We begin to realize that when God gives a “promise” or a “word,” it is a phenomenon that is never, ever lost; God’s promise (word) always retains its power! No matter what we do or how poorly we respond, we never loose a “promise” from God! It is impossible that any “word” that God has given should not produce what it was sent to do, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa 55:11). Man has not yet taken dominion over this world since satan is still it’s god. If God’s word has gone out in power what is our responsibility, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:15). This verse teaches us two things: (1) we are to hear; (2) we are not to harden our hearts!
When Jesus came in physical form he was rejected! Now that He comes to us personally in “word” form, we are not to harden our hearts! The promise remains, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Heb 4:1). Keeping the context of that chapter, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword . . . is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:11-12).
Without “the promise” from God we can never get to “our purpose!” We must receive our promise! Without “the promise” we will never get to our “dominion” that was guaranteed in Adam and Eve!
We clearly see that our first parents did not enter the rest of God; the children of Israel did not enter the rest of God, “ . . . If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein” (Heb 4:5-6). The question is, “Why didn’t they enter into the rest of God?” According to the Book of Hebrews, “they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief” (Heb 4:6).
We will begin in this Bible Study with insight given through Peter, “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). Peter teaches here that we can be sure or certain of our calling and election.
Since God’s word is so potent, we should all desire to hear His voice regularly. If we will press in, seeking close communication and fellowship with the Lord, eventually we will grow comfortable with regularly hearing His voice. In due course we advance by walking in obedience to His voice and become as Paul said, “in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor 10:6). In other words, God authorizes us to help others in various spiritual problems such as demonic oppression since we ourselves have become obedient. By this point in our spiritual development we are certain of both our “election” and our “call.”
Let’s examine the difference between our “election” and our “call!” An “election” is actually “a promise” made by an utterance, “Neglect not the gift (Gk. charisma – a divine gratuity, a spiritual endowment, or a promise) that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy” (1 Tim 4:14). This means that God will use somebody to speak into our lives. We were elected by the promise given to us through an audible voice. We cannot simply apply an election to our lives of our own accord! Just because we may want some specific calling on our lives does not mean that we have that election from God! We must receive “a promise” made by an utterance in order to receive our “election.”
Once we receive an utterance of our “election,” then we need to find the Biblical character that most closely walked in that “calling.” For example, suppose that I have been called to be a prophet, I next need to find out what kind of prophet I am called to be. For example, there is Jeremiah the “weeping prophet;” and, Jonah, “the prophet who ran from God;” the works of each individual prophet are distinctively different from all other prophets!
Once we have discovered which prophet is most akin to our election, then we are to closely identify with that individual and his life. Through that process we naturally determine who we are not, as we discover who we are. We can easily catch sight of this process in the life of John the Baptist, “And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet (meaning the Messiah)? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:21-23). John knew exactly what his “election” was; his understanding was probably made easier since Jesus was his close cousin and they surely spent a great deal of time together while they were young. God somehow showed John the Baptist that it was his job to herald the Messiah (Anointed) of the LORD. From the Book of Isaiah, John accurately found the specific scriptural reference that he could identify with, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed” (Isa 40:3-5).
In keeping with the prophecy that he studied, John literally saw the glory of the LORD revealed, “it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he (John in reference to the last noun.) saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him” (Mark 1:9-10). According to the promise from the scripture, John saw the spirit like a dove come out of heaven and settle on Jesus the vision was also accompanied with a Heavenly Voice! Through “election,” John was the first human to recognize the Messiah! This is a key to understanding who the Elijah of the last days will be. The latter day Elijah will be born of a woman that has been barren for a long time and his work will be to prepare the way of the Lord by beginning to walk in dominion.
Election is the big picture or the major duty of one’s life; David knew he was going to be the king and Joseph knew he was going to become the ruler but neither knew their purposes. Let me explain. Neither knew the specific steps they would be required to go through. From the day of his famous dream, Joseph knew his destiny from God was to be placed in the palace; however he had to go through: (1) rejection of his brothers and the pit, (2) the Ishmaelites, (3) the job as Potiphar’s steward, (4) Potiphar’s deceitful wife, (5) stewardship in the prison, (6) experience with the butler & baker. These six steps were each “callings!” “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). Remember, “whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom 8:30). David was “elected” to be a king. However, he first had to encounter several less glamorous callings! For example, God did not tell David about Goliath, Saul, Bathsheba, and Absolom on the day he was anointed by Samuel or“promised” to be the king. His anointing took place twenty years before he became the king of all of Israel. Before achieving the throne he had to experiences many things!
What is the difference between our “election” and our “calling?” The following table should help to establish in our minds the distinctions more clearly:
When we get used to regularly hearing God’s voice we begin the process of discovering what our “election” or destiny is! Whatever assignment God gives us, it is ultimately to show forth the praises of Him who called us! Our election is sure and eternal; it will stand; but our calling is only a seasonal assignment. You might hear a pastor say, “I have been in the ministry for 25 years and I was called to the Pittsburgh Church last year.” His lifelong election is to be a minister/pastor; however, his seasonal call is to the Pittsburgh Church. Our calling will change from one area of calling to another area of calling. Paul was elected to be an apostle, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Titus 1:1), yet Paul was called at various seasons to go different cities and regions and do different things including write much of the New Testament from prison!
We never did do anything to achieve our election; rather, God chose us to fulfill our election before we were born. Satan knows our election! Satan realizes that if we make it to that high calling that we are going to become a formidable foe as we become part of the group who will take “dominion.” This election was chosen for us long before we were called therefore it has nothing to do with our works but only God’s grace, “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth” (Rom 9:11).
We are not elected because we were some sort of a good person, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom 11:5-6). We can never say to God that you owe me because I am good! However, there are blessings that comes with good works, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Notices that even those “good works” that we are allowed to accomplish have been preordained of God! It is through our good works that we move from one season to the next. As we accomplish “good works” we will never begin to think more highly of ourselves as long as we focus on God, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:5-6). Notice the reason that we are chosen by God’s grace, “that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you” (1 Peter 2:9).
Contained within the message of the Gospel is the fact that Jesus died so that we could arrive at our election. If we accomplish anything it is only through His Grace, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (Our calling was made before time began.)” (2 Tim 1:9). Paul was given (promised) a high call from God, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles” (2 Tim 1:11). However, Paul makes it clear just two verses earlier that we all received our election long before any of us were around, “which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began!” Before we enter our election, we need to root out of our minds that our works have anything to do with our destiny, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jer 1:5). However, we do not get to our destiny until we get through an hour and a season, more on that later. God said, “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms” (Jer 1:10). Jeremiah became a prophet to the nations on that specific day. On that day Jeremiah received his destiny and discovered his role.
We must remember that a purpose or a calling is something that changes with seasons. Proverbs teaches, “Every purpose is established by counsel” (Prov 20:18). Solomon went on to explain, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl 3:1). We discover “purpose;” on the other hand God reveals “destiny!”
God does not just place within us the image of Jesus Christ over night. We are conformed to Jesus and formed into his image, “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). God uses what we experience as He forms in us the image of His son. The image of Christ can only be formed in us as we grow through the processes. Through that process we discover our purpose for the hour. Every time that we suffer, and it is not a result of our own ignorance, we conform to the image of Jesus Christ. Also, we qualify to move on to the next level of growth. We qualify for seasonal change as we master our current problems. Through each trial David grew as he said, “I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name” (2 Sam 22:50). When David encountered problems he resorted to his strength and thereby he grew, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise” (Ps 57:7).
Many often ask, “Why am I experiencing this hour of trouble? What is the purpose?” King Saul wrote, “to every purpose there is time” (Eccl 8:6). We need to realize that our trials are only seasonal, “though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations” (1 Peter 1:6)! Remember! A season takes more than a day or even a week! We must remain patient through our season of trial, “on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (the analogy is clearly that of a seasonal span of time from planting to the harvest season)” (Luke 8:15). The only real question is, “How will we survive through our season?” We must see beyond our personal cross, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb 12:2). Jesus endured His cross focusing on the joy that was ahead!
We should thrive but often we merely survive through our hour of trial! One of the keys to thriving is that we need to learn to pray wisely! Our prayers need to be focused in order to be effectual, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Sometimes our prayers are ineffective because we are asking God for the wrong things. Jesus always knew the purposes (or specific calling) regarding what was taking place. Likewise we need to learn what is His purpose in our hour of trial. If we do not discern the purpose of the hour then it is likely that we will merely survive through the experience. If we do not learn form the test, we may need to undergo another one before we advance.
Here is an example where Jesus understood the purpose of His hour, “Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified” (John 12:23). Yet notice just a few verses later what Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled (didn’t Jesus just say that this was the hour for Him to be glorified?); and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27). Jesus understood the purpose or the calling of His hour; He was careful not to ask the father, “Please take this hour away from me!” Rather, Jesus knew that His hour of trial was the stepping-stone to glorification! Notice the very next verse, “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28). Realize! Through His words, Jesus was praising God during His trial, “Father, glorify thy name!” We need to learn to praise during our hour of trial while discovering our specific purpose for that hour! This concept is powerful, and if we get hold of it; it will make us powerful! Out of our praise we will hear the voice from heaven! The voice says, “Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out!” (John 12:30-31).
Remember that when Jesus was baptized, the voice of God came out from heaven! Immediately after the “word” satan tested Him! We will return to that “word” test a little later. The scripture reports concerning the events of the day of Jesus’ baptism, ‘the heavens were opened unto him . . . And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Matt 3:16-17). We see that the heavens were opened; however, the children of Israel wanted the heavens closed! The Ten Commandments had just been delivered to the people and it is recorded, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off (Josephus writes that the Israelites ran for a great distance that day; some up to 16 miles!). 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex 20:18-19). The people were actually so fearful of God’s voice that they wanted a surrogate to hear God for them. They wanted God to speak through Moses and not directly with them! Just like Adam they feared His voice!
God Speaks His “Word” to us!
Realize that just one time during Jesus ministry, did He actually marvel at what He experienced! The creator of heaven and earth literally marveled at what He experienced in His creation! Do you know why the Bible says that Jesus marveled? Do you know what was the subject matter of that event? The theme was actually two-fold; first it was “faith,” and secondly, it was concept that there is power in “speaking” the “word” of faith! Matthew wrote, “The Centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matt 8:8-10). Jesus saw many who had faith; what was really extraordinary about the Centurion was that he understood that there was power in Jesus’ “word” of faith! He saw that through His “word,” Jesus commanded the spirit world!
Jesus prophesied that we would hear his voice, “the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name (personal relationship), and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4). We must realize that Jesus is the “word!” We enter through Him; He said, “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7). From where does Jesus speak to us today? Hebrews teaches, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (Heb 12:25). Jesus speaks to us today from heaven! We must not refuse Him that speaks! How important is it that we hear Jesus when he speaks to us? Jesus promised, “if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Rev 3:20). Three verses later John records, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither” (Rev 4:1). So how do we hear Jesus’ voice? . . . . .
There are two primary, yet distinct and separate words in the Greek translated into English as “word.” To help distinguish between the two lets use a sample text from the Book of Acts which uses both Greek words in the same verse, “While Peter yet spake these words (rhema), the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word (logos)” (Acts 10:44). We also find these two different words in the passage, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words (rhema), hath one that judgeth him: the word (logos) that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). A rhema word tends to be an inspired message or a quickened “word” from God that is used to impress upon us some specific spiritual significance. The rhema word penetrates into our innermost being, while the logos word tends to be the actual spoken/written expression(s). Both are important when spoken by God!
Throughout our Christian walk we will receive rhema words and much less frequently actual audible logos words from God. God gives us a “promise” or a “word,” and we have discovered that it is a phenomenon that is never lost; God’s promise “word” always retains its power! No matter what we do, we never loose a “promise” from God, “There remaineth therefore a rest (a “promise” as Heb 4:1 describes) to the people of God” (Heb 4:9). Anytime that we receive a powerful “word” from God, soon thereafter we will encounter a “word tests.” What do I mean a “word test?” The essence of the “word test” is that satan poses a question such as, “Do you really believe that you actually are what you claim to be? The “word test” is usually couched in terms that magnify our unsatisfactory performance or frail abilities rather than upon the things that God’s word has said!”
When the “word test” comes upon us we will usually enter into a figurative wilderness (an undesirable situation or a setting where our abilities seem woefully inadequate!) I recently experienced a “word test;” several months earlier I experienced a supernatural healing from God that manifest through a simple belief in Jesus; I suppose I got confident in my Biblical knowledge rather than the simple confidence in Jesus! Then suddenly an unexpected manifestation of a different medical condition came along and cast me into a spiritual wilderness as I experienced a “word test!” All I could do was cling to God’s promise of healing! I simply kept the word of God on my lips and ignored my circumstances.
Jesus taught about “word tests!” Notice in the parable that Jesus declared as the key to all parables, “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word” (Mark 4:13-14). From Mark’s account we get more illumination, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). The point is that Jesus regularly sows His “word” in us. We should get the concept that God continually plants seed or His “word” in our hearts and He returns regularly to inspect the seed’s progress. God fully expects that the very next thing after a seed is planted is that satan will test the “word,” “Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15). Just like birds seeking seed, satan is looking for a “word” to steal from what has been sown in our hearts, “the thief cometh not, but for to steal” (John 10:10).
Let’s observe a specific example in the life of Jesus. He clearly heard the “word” from God immediately after his baptism, “Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:16-17). Let’s recognize that for Jesus, this voice from heaven was a “word” from God sown in His heart. Jesus actually received His “promise” from God! What do you think happened next? That’s right, Jesus was tested regarding the exact “word” that had been sown by God, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God” (Matt 4:1-3). Jesus was taken into the wilderness that he would experience a “word test!” Notice the skeptical undertone that satan interleaved in his question, “If thou be the Son of God!” This was a “word test” based upon what forty days earlier had been sown in His heart! Satan cast doubt on Jesus’ divinity! He was urged to cast himself down in a test of God to see if He actually meant what He said concerning His offspring. Satan tried to confuse Jesus through the word of God, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Ps 91:11-12). But notice Jesus’ retort, “And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Luke 4:12).
Here is a powerful point that is valid for us today! Jesus used the written word of God as a powerful tool to tread upon satan! Notice the very next verse in the same Psalm that satan had earlier quoted, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet” (Ps 91:13). Now who is the lion, (“your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion”( 1 Peter 5:8) the adder and the dragon,“the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Rev 12:9). Jesus actually realized that when he used that specific scripture during His “word test” that He was trampling on the serpent. This ought to give us great reason to rejoice, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19-20)! We need to realize that when we pass our various “word tests” we actually trample on the power of the enemy. When we pass these “word tests” we also move into the next level. It should encourage and reinforce our resolve to resist satan who has no real ability to work in our lives; Jesus “was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)!
Just like Jesus, our mouth is the most important tool that we make use of during a “word test!” If we speak doubt then we will receive those negative results that come from our words! On the other hand, if we speak faith, even against overwhelming evidence contrary to our belief, then we will experience the result of our words like our father “even God, who quickeneth the dead, and who calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom 4:17). You will receive “word tests;” settle them right now in your heart, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard” (Col 1:23).
Usually the “word test” comes when our performance is down or our human capabilities seem so inadequate and we tend to think that we are not deserving of God’s “word.” However, we must realize now prior to encountering a “word test” that our performance has nothing to do with the destiny that we have received through the grace that God has given to us!
When God speaks to us He shares His Bible based “word” with us by means of three different expressions; Revelation, Illumination, or Inspiration:
Revelation – (“apokalupsis” – meaning to be revealed), to discover or learn something that you previously knew nothing about; however, even after learning the “new truth” you might not understand it as Daniel experienced, “I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8 And I heard but I understood not” (Dan 12:7-8). Paul said regarding his revelation of the gospel, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12). Revelation or new truth just appears! We can observe an example of “revelation” through an incident involving Jesus and His disciples, “But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, 44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears (Jesus here sets them up for new truth): for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men (here was new truth – “revelation” was presented.) 45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not” (Luke 9:43-45).
Sometimes as in the case of Paul, immediate understanding does follow “revelation;” however, in the vast majority of cases, full understanding does not immediately come with “revelation.” Therefore we may need à illumination.
Illumination – (“photizo” – meaning to cast a light in a dark place) to obtain understanding of the new truth that you have recently discovered through “revelation.” God often at a later time imparts the understanding of a “word” of revelation that he has previously given. After we hear a “word” from God, how do we get understanding? The Psalmist says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Ps 119:130). This verse means that God’s plan is unfolded to us through his “word.”
Paul prayed for the Ephesian Church, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (notice that the tense here is future) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” It is as if God wants us to chew on His word for a while; only then does He give us “illumination” regarding the meaning of the “word.” After the crucifixion, Jesus spent an anonymous afternoon with some of his disciples on the road to Emmaus (which means the warm hours of the day). He taught them many things regarding the Messiah during their journey. However, it was not until the end of the journey that they were able to discern who He was, “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him (here the disciples are given illumination); and he vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:30-31).
Inspiration – (“theopneustos” – meaning God breathed) to communicate the revelation of truth that was recently illuminated. Regarding the truth that has been revealed and subsequently illuminated, when it is finally communicated with others it is considered inspired, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). When the Almighty has delivered His word through all three of these aspects, it is considered God breathed, “there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8). Paul teaches that speaking under inspiration of God is for three distinct purposes, “But he that prophesieth (speaks under Divine inspiration) speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor 14:3).
Have you ever heard of the saying, “make hay while the sun shines?” We are now in the harvest season of the “word” from God. However, that will not always be the case, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)
Examples of Rhema Words
The scripture is full of examples where individuals received various rhema words from God, “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Matt 26:75) – “And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Mark 14:72). Jesus often spoke a “word” to his disciples which was designed to later quicken their hearts, “For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying (rhema), and were afraid to ask him” (Mark 9:31-32)
What about the Faithful?
Hopefully we have a better understanding of “election” and “calling;” but what about being “faithful?” Let’s remember the “law of first mention.” For those of you that are not familiar with our Bible Studies, the “law of first mention” teaches us that the first time that we see a subject or word mentioned in the Bible there is a greater significance attached to that occurrence. So we discover with the word “faithful!” It is first mentioned with regard to Moses; the passages states, “My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches” (Num 12:7-8)! Notice that God says that He will openly disclose himself to a faithful man, “With him will I speak mouth to mouth!” It is very interesting to note that Moses’ faithfulness is referred to four times in the Bible! However, Moses was not the first man in the bible that is referred to as faithful. Nehemiah records, “Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram . . . And foundest his heart faithful before thee” (Neh 9:7-8). Daniel was also referred to as faithful. David writes of the church, “O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful” (Ps 31:23). Later we read, “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.” (Ps 101:6).
Solomon asks a profound question, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Prov 20:6); Jesus also asked something close to that question; “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Matt 24:45)
Are you faithful? We all should be; especially if we seek the blessings of God, “A faithful man shall abound with blessings” (Prov 28:20), “they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:9). If we wish to be faithful we need to see something that Jesus ties to one who is faithful, “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own” (Luke 16:12). It appears that God indicates that He wants you to take care of something that is His! This is called stewardship, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). Paul writes of Timothy and claimed that he would carry Jesus’ message, “faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ” (1 Cor 4:17). Several early Christians were called faithful and it was required of those who would minister.
We have learned many of the qualities of faithfulness and powerful examples of many who were so considered. However, we might need to look at faithfulness in yet another light. The secret is hidden right in the word! One who is faithful is full of faith!
Are we full of faith? The scripture could say, and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and (full of faith!)”(Rev 17:14)
“If any man have an ear, let him hear!” (Rev 13:9); but hear what? John teaches, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)
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