All the way through the Bible, we find God choosing specific individuals for specific assignments, according to His own divine purposes. Let’s consider Saul of Tarsus, who for some time did not believe that Jesus was God, the Savior of mankind.
· He persecuted those who followed Christ.
· He was fanatical in his views about Christ.
· But, one day he had his own dramatic encounter with Christ, and his life was forever changed. (Acts 9)
Romans 1:1 “This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His good news.”
1 Corinthians 1:1 “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus…”
1 Corinthians 1:1 “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ…”
Galatians 1:1 “This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.”
Ephesians 1:1 “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus….”
Philippians 1:1 “This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Jesus Christ.”
Folks, I could go on and on with statements made by Paul that show he recognized he was chosen for a special ministry by the will of God. We have people in the Old Testament like Moses, Abraham, Esther, David, Daniel, and many others to carry out God’s divine purposes. In the New Testament, we have Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and others like Paul, Timothy, James, and others chosen by God for special purposes. In John 15:16 we hear Jesus saying —
· You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for using My name.”
Many years ago, when I was seeking the Lord and His will for my life, the Holy Spirit led me to this passage of scripture and used it not only to confirm that I belonged to Him, but also that He had a special purpose for my life. For sixty-two years I have been seeking, by God’s grace, to fulfill that purpose. On another occasion when I began to wonder what God was up to, the Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 43:10-11 where we read –
“But you are My witness, O Israel!” says the LORD.
“You are my servant (Leonard).
“You have been chosen to know Me, believe in Me and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God – there never has been and there never will be. I, yes, I am the LORD and there is no other Savior.”
Have you really locked in on what God was saying in these verses?
· “I alone am God.”
· “There is no other (true) God.”
· “There is no other Savior.”
· “You have been chosen to know Me, and believe in (trust, rely on) in Me.”
Let me share with you one other personal example. In the early 1980s, God put a burden on my heart for the Missionary Church, worldwide. They were going to select new leadership to guide the church worldwide. I felt it was so important that we find out who God wanted at the helm. For months, I prayed with others for the will of God to be made clear. Frequently, when I prayed about the matter, I would break down and weep, almost uncontrollably. It never crossed my mind that I might be the one God was choosing for that role — until one day my phone rang and the caller wanted to know if I would let my name stand. I was stunned and quickly declined. Soon after that, I sensed my LORD saying to me … “You never asked Me what I wanted. Do I have to leave you where you are or don’t I have the right to use your life wherever I need you?”
I was crushed in my spirit because I was unwilling to be available for my LORD to use me wherever and whenever. I prayed for His forgiveness. But I also used the Moses routine in explaining to God why I was not qualified for the position being considered.
· It would mean a major upheaval in our lives if I was elected.
· We would have to move clear across the country.
· I would be walking into a hornet’s nest.
· Finances would be uncertain.
· What if I failed?
At that point, the Holy Spirit led me to Isaiah 41:8-10
“But as for you, Israel (Leonard) my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham, my friend. I have called you from the ends of the earth. (Do any of you know where Galahad, Alberta Canada is?) saying ‘You are my servant. For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Some of you know the rest of the story. I was elected and during the six years in the role, I never wanted but accepted, we witnessed some amazing things wrought by the strong arm of God.
· Folks, God has a plan and purpose for your life.
· He has chosen you to be a part of His family.
· He has called you to represent Him wherever He plants you.
· There isn’t anything too hard for Him to accomplish in and through us if we are surrendered to His perfect will for our lives.
My prayer is that each of us will see ourselves chosen by God, called to His purposes, and strengthened by the Holy Spirit to know Christ and make Him known.
I would love to hear your story and your journey of faith as God has called you for His eternal purposes.
Blessings, Pastor Leonard