(Hint: it’s not the US elections.)
America wakes up to the reality of four more years of President Obama. Some are euphoric and almost as many are depressed. Most feel it was a most important election. I agree. The course the USA will take domestically and internationally will be dramatic, I feel. I gave a sermon recently stating that I feel believers should make their voices heard especially about issues like the Biblical and traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman, the sanctity of all human life starting at conception, obeying the laws including citizenship laws of who can vote or be president. So much is at stake and the Almighty either orchestrated this victory for President Obama or allowed it. It’s the difference between YHVH’s “perfect will” and His “permissive will”. I believe strongly that God gave America the president the country wants and deserves. Though He has final say in who our leaders are (Romans 13:1), He also says He allows us the leaders we want, even though they would not have been His choice (Hosea 8:4; I Samuel 8:7). Either way, Father is involved and so we believers have peace, as we know our main citizenship is in heaven and that is where our heart resides. Read this blog to hear about a far more important election that involves YOU.
But now there’s a far more important election at stake: our own!
Whether we like the elected leaders or not, both campaigns put extraordinary effort and time into making “ their election sure”. How about you and me? In a way, our “election” is in reverse. In the US elections, though there is a popular vote, ultimately it’s the vote of the Electors in the Electoral College who decide the president. So each side spent enormous time and money trying to get the undecided states, as they needed those electoral votes.
In our case, the Elector who decides whether or not you or I will be part of what HE calls His “elect” – or “chosen ones” in the first resurrection – is not a mere human, but is Yehovah, God Almighty himself.
The US election pales into insignificance compared to our own election. We get only one shot at it. And that’s not to be president of the USA, but one of special “first fruits” group of the series of callings. Being “a first fruit” is not so much about having more power or being “the leader”. Neither is it so much about “being in charge” or ruling the nations, as I heard repeatedly as I grew up in the “church”. Sure, it includes that. But power without love is just brute force and meaningless. So being a “first fruit” is not so much about in charge as it is being able to be an effective “first responder”. It’s about being “in service”. The world will be in dire straits. Children, babies, men and women will need to be healed. Millions will need food and water and assurance that all will be well. Now, power underpinned by genuine love and humility will be something they’ve never really witnessed in their leaders before this. Think of all the times you wish you could have been more effective to help -- but were unable to. As a glorified child of the Highest changed to immortal spirit, we will be just like He is (read 1 John 3:1-2), for He is spirit.
Now let’s transition to us. Are we taking OUR OWN election – being chosen by God - -for granted? Or are we doing everything we can to be sure we are part of the elect of God? Are we not working as hard, or even harder, than “the other side”? Governor Romney’s side in the US elections lost because millions of their own registered voters didn’t bother showing up. They actually had the votes to win, had they been more organized, had they been more successful in getting people to act. That’s a huge lesson for us. A huge lesson. At some point, there’s no more time.
Are we “pulling out the stops” to make our own calling and election (being chosen) sure?
2 Peter 1:10-11
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So I ask again, are we earnestly seeking Father and Yeshua with all our hearts to make our own calling and election (being chosen) sure? Are we working anywhere nearly as hard for our spiritual election as the re-election teams did who worked so hard for President Obama’s election? At some point, Yeshua says the doors are closed and some are found outside wanting in – when it’s too late. The “it’s never too late” message is a dangerous one and not really Biblical. Ask the millions of Israelites who were not permitted into the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:10-18; 4:1-2). They heard the warnings and the message, but didn’t mix faith with fervent action into the equation. Are we living like someone who knows time is short and we need to be close tour God, who is also our Elector? Our faith is demonstrated by our deeds and actions.
Quick definitions are in order. There’s a sequence. Being “called” is not the same at all as being “chosen” – though we have to be called/invited before we are chosen. Many are called (Matthew 22:14) but few are chosen. And when you study it carefully, GOD does the calling as well as the choosing/election. But we do have a part to play.
• Calling, called: think of this is as the invitation. It’s used to mean choice, selection, and invitation as to a banquet or wedding supper. Please read all of Matthew 22:1-14, especially verse 14. In that whole passage, the Greek word “Kaleo” (Strong’s 2564) is the word translated as “called, invited, bid, bidden or summoned”, depending on your translation. That word is used five times in 14 verses! Five is the number of grace.
But those invited/called to the wedding were not interested enough to respond, to come, to take action or to obey – and so they were rejected, and others called instead. If we’re being called, we must not make the same mistake. I believe, in fact, that I’m witnessing Father starting to call and work with a different set of called-out ones from around the world, because the first ones He called during the previous 70 years simply aren’t doing anything with their calling.
• Chosen/elect, election – the Greek word in 2 Pet. 1:10 is ekloge, Strong’s 1589. It refers to a chosen vessel prepared for useful service. The choosing is by God (2 Thess. 1:4). He’s the “Elector”. His election of us is by His grace (Rom. 11:5), not because of any intrinsic special value any of us present to Him. But we have a part in this: to live in conformity to His kingdom’s way, to His nature (2 Peter 1:4), to let the mind of Yeshua reign in our lives more and more each day UNTIL we grow to become more and more like Him (Ephesians 4:12-13). Other verses speak of us being formed in his image. If we did it perfectly, we would be able to say “If you’ve seen me or watched me, you’ve seen Messiah, just as He is just like Father, so are we – His brothers and sisters – just like Father.” Alas, we’re far from that, but that’s the goal.
Think of receiving a prestigious wedding dinner invitation. It has an RSVP on it. If you gladly respond, if you prepare and show up, the host gladly opens the door for you and everything is provided for you: your name plate, the table setting, the food and drink, and you’re part of everything that happens. But if we don’t take the invitation/calling seriously, others will be invited to take our place (Matthew 22:8-10).
Once we’re part of the chosen, also called “the elect”, then we have to persevere to the end, remain faithful to our God and Father and to our King/Husband Yeshua. So this is why we see in Revelation 17:14 that when Yeshua returns to fight the armies assembled against Him, with Yeshua are “the called, chosen and faithful”.
These are the elect who made their calling and election sure. I’m hoping to give far more detail in a sermon soon, God willing.
Let’s show up for this “election” – our own! Let’s be getting to know and love the Elector (God) more and more each day (1 Thess. 1:4).
• Let’s get out of bed and pray every single day. Let’s pray before bed. Let’s be praying during the day. Have frequent conversations with Father and our Savior.
• Let’s be studying His word. Do we partake of our daily spiritual manna (Bible study) every single day? We should!
• Let’s be talking about our leader Yeshua. Let’s be open about our beliefs and convictions.
• Let’s share the good news of the kingdom of God and its amazing leader Yeshua and of our Father. He is the One watching to see if our actions confirm our words, that our faith is being demonstrated by a changed life of obedient works (please read James 2:14-26).
• Sharing the good news will have little impact if people’s experience with us before that was a negative one. So let’s find ways to love, to share, to serve, to show acts of kindness.
The proof of your or my election by God is that others can clearly see the changes, the conversion, happening in our lives. We’re kinder and gentler and more peaceful over time. We repent when we sin and fail miserably, as I have many times and will many times more – but we strive to let Him in us overcome the sins of the flesh that encumber me and all of us. When that is evident, that is clearly Yeshua’s life being lived out once again – by Him in us. He will live as he did before: obediently, humbly, graciously, kindly – though He was never reluctant to speak up when He needed to say something. Zealous obedience in a changed/changing life is the proof of my conversion – and yours. It’s the proof we are serious about our calling and that we want to make our election sure. It demonstrates that we are part of the Elect, or chosen ones.
Our biggest part in the process is mostly to stay in touch with our king and Father and letting His divine nature dominate our human nature. It’s letting Yeshua live His obedient life all over again in us, so we are also obedient. But it’s not our righteousness we want, but HIS (Philippians 3:9-11; 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:1). He’s willing to cover us with His perfect righteousness, but we have to seek Him and ask for it. He gifts us His righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 3:21-22; 1 Cor. 1:30-31). We have to really want His righteousness. We seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not our own. We have to LET HIS mind be in us. We have to follow His leadings when God’s spirit is telling us to do something or not do something, or not go somewhere. We’re responding. That’s remaining faithful to the end. That’s working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12) – but don’t ignore verse 13: ‘For IT IS GOD who is working in you both to will and to work for the sake of HIS good pleasure”. We respond, we open the door to our lives when we hear His knocking at our door, wanting into our lives. He then comes inside our lives and HE does the work in us. It’s HIS righteousness, not ours. OUR old way of doing things ceases when we enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10). It’s HIS way now. People should see more and more of Christ in us, and less and less of the old me. More on that in a coming sermon with a similar title.
But again, it’s not a time for us to remain silent or to fall asleep on the job. It’s not a time to be lethargic. We must repent and be more zealous for God than ever before.
We are to be zealous, to persevere, and to be diligent in the things of Yehovah. We are to speak up and act – especially in this most important election: our own! Let’s respond to our calling and invitation. Let’s seek Abba and give him a resounding “Yes, I accept your high calling, I will LIVE your way, I will speak of your Kingdom, and I will praise my Savior openly! Yes, yes, I value your invitation. Count me in! Thank you, yes – I’m coming to your wedding banquet! Yes, I will get ready for the wedding and yes, I will be there. Thank you, thank you my Almighty Maker for even noticing me.”
Have you said that to Father? It’s time to, even if you did a long time ago. Never hurts to tell Father how much you appreciate Him and His calling.
Let’s do everything to make OUR high calling and election SURE. Let’s pull out all stops to make it certain. And again, the hardest work and most time we should spend are in being close, being as one with our Maker and Savior. If we are attached to the Vine of Yeshua, we shall bear much fruit and it will be evident that HE is living in us (John 15:5-6).
And our election will be sure. Being one of the chosen will be more certain.
(Hear the full sermon on this subject with a lot more detail and scriptures. Use it to wake up to the high calling we have and to be sure we are there when it counts.)