Welcome back to this series on “How to Fulfill Your Calling”. We’re now in episode four and in episode three we looked at “what is genuine salvation?”. We talked about how salvation can only come through Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and actually, eternal life is to know God. And we talked about how Jesus dealt with that which was separating us from God, which was sin, and we talked about the incredible promise of the Holy Spirit that is given to those who believe and repent and become the children of God. And so if you have received genuine salvation and you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit (and those are the two things I prayed with you at the end of session three to receive), you are ready! You are ready to step forward into the calling that God has for you. I’m going to talk a little bit in this episode about the framework that we need to understand in order to move forward into our calling, and of course the Holy Spirit doesn’t only fill us but He also calls us and gifts us, and then he opens doors for us to serve Him. And the amazing thing about the ministry of the Spirit, which we’ve been speaking about in the last few episodes, is that the ministry of the Spirit cannot be contained and cannot be achieved by just one person. And so all of us, the whole Body of Christ, every single one of us has a part to play in what God is doing on the earth, and therefore every one of us, including you, has a calling. So let’s jump into episode four. We’re going to be talking about the gifts, the service and the work. And this comes from first Corinthians 12 verses 4 to 6 and it says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same god at work.” So God wants to work through me and God wants to work through you, but there are three things that are going to be maybe different between my calling and your calling. The first one is the gifts, the second one is the service, and the third thing is the working. And so we understand gifts, and we’re going to unpack that a bit later in this series, but if we look at that second word ‘service’, that’s the greek word ‘diakonia’. Sometimes it’s translated ‘administration’, sometimes it’s translated ‘service’ or ‘ministry’. Now it can mean a ‘ministry’ or an ‘office’, or it can mean ‘to attend as a servant’, and I like to call it your God-given personal calling. It’s the way that God has called you to serve. So this personal calling is not the same as your career or your occupation or the job that you do. Your calling is not subject to change. God has placed a calling upon your life and it’s not going to change. Although how it works out practically may change in different seasons of your life, and of course that will depend on the doors that God opens for you. And we could say that depending on the opportunities presented to us, we might change the way that we work out our calling. But then that would be the third
thing which is the working. So we’ve got the ‘gifts’ with which we fulfill the calling, we’ve got the the ‘service’ or the ‘personal call’ on our lives, and then we’ve got the ‘working’ which is what we’re actually doing today, and I’m going to unpack all of this and try to help you to understand it. So let’s start by talking about the difference between the call and the gifts, and of course this is not a perfect illustration but it might help you to start to understand the difference. So if you think of your calling being like your profession or that which you’ve been trained to do, like for example a mechanic – he’s trained as a mechanic and so then if you think about the gifts being like the tools that he uses to to do his job, and you know a car mechanic has lots of different tools but he’s still a car mechanic. If we were talking in spiritual terms we might say that his ‘calling’ is to be a mechanic and his ‘gifts’ are the tools he uses – so a spanner, a ratchet a screwdriver. Now, a dentist also has tools and some of the tools that the dentist has look very similar to the tools that the mechanic has, but if you really needed your tooth to be repaired or pulled out you would not welcome a mechanic coming towards you with his tools because he’s not a dentist, he’s a mechanic! So sometimes the gifts that we have might look similar to somebody else’s gifts but it doesn’t mean the calling on our lives is the same. God has a unique way that you will use the gifts that He’s given you and He has a unique way that He will call that other person to use the gifts that He’s given them. Now let’s think about the working now. So we’ve talked about the calling and the gifts, let’s think about the working. Let’s imagine that we’ve got a mechanic and he works in a local garage near where he lives and he is just fixing normal everyday cars. Now
one day he gets offered a job at a formula one team, and he can decide whether he takes that job or not, but the reality is if he takes that job he’s still a mechanic. So his calling is the same, his gifts or his tools are the same. Now perhaps he might need some new tools for the job on the formula one team that he didn’t need for the job at the local garage, but what’s happened is his workplace has changed. His ‘working’ has changed and so sometimes we have a situation where the call on our lives is the same, the gifts that we’re using are maybe the same or maybe we need some new gifts for a new season, but God opens the door for us to serve in a new way and in a new place. And so those are the three things that make up this framework for how we fulfill God’s calling on our lives and I just want to say about that – don’t limit the plan of God for your life to the gifts that you currently have, because when God changes the working, when God opens a new door in that area, often he’ll have new gifts for you as well because as the calling grows and develops, the gifts grow and develop in you. Now is it possible to have more than one calling? Well technically it is, because in second Timothy 1 verse 11, Paul is speaking and he says, “And of this gospel I was appointed (or you could say ‘called’) a herald (that’s a preacher) and an apostle and a teacher.” So Paul lists three callings on his life. One is to to preach, one is to be an apostle, and one is to be a teacher. So he knew that God had called him in those three different areas and in Ephesians 4 it talks about five clear callings that God has given to people in the Body of Christ to equip the church and Ephesians 4:11-13 says this, it says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles (there’s one), the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers (so that’s five), to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” And it is amazing to sit under a Holy Spirit called and anointed teacher. You see, some people will stand up and they will just give information but when you sit under a Holy Spirit called and gifted teacher, you will receive so much revelation as you listen to them. And it’s amazing to receive counsel from a Holy Spirit gifted and called pastor. Sometimes you sit with somebody and you share the problems you’re facing in your life and you walk away and you still feel frustrated and you don’t feel like you’ve received any help or advice but when you sit with a Holy Spirit called pastor, somebody who’s got that gift, you sit with them and as you share the issues in your life it’s like the burden is lifted and as they speak it’s like they’re speaking the words of God and the wisdom of God into your situation. You can sense the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit working through somebody who is walking in their gift and their call and they’re in the place that God’s, you know, ordained them to be for that season. It’s the same with a Holy Spirit called and gifted apostle. To work with somebody like that is so exciting, there are always new things happening, there’s always something that God is doing. And then of course you can work with other people who don’t have that calling and don’t have that gifting and it’s just not the same. It’s the same if you see a truly Holy Spirit anointed prophet in action. They will be literally speaking the words of God and you will see the power of those words as they come out of that person’s mouth affecting the people that they are speaking to. And you know I’ve met evangelists – people who are called and gifted in the area of evangelism, who absolutely love to do what makes most of us afraid and terrified, which is to go out on the streets and tell people about Jesus. And I believe that all of us are called to do those things but there are certain people, aren’t there, who have that calling and have that gifting and they thrive in that environment, and of course if you want to learn to do evangelism you need to find somebody like that to learn from. And I believe that this is the the plan that God had for the church, because it says here that the church, the Body of Christ will “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” if those five callings are in operation. And of course it was God’s plan for the leadership of the church to be healthy, and if you have people who are called and gifted by God in those five areas you can have a healthy, balanced and strong leadership team. And it could be that many churches today are suffering because perhaps the way that they choose leaders is not the way that they chose leaders in in the new testament. And it could be that they’ve drifted so far from scripture that they’re not even recognizing the five callings that God has placed in the Body of Christ in order to bring us to maturity. So, not all of us will play leadership positions in the Body of Christ but we all have a vital part to play in the body. You know, the Word of God says that it’s one body with many parts and that every single one of us has a part to play. Now there may be some things that you are naturally good at, but what we need to be doing is we need to be asking God, “God, what am I called to do?”, because it’s when you know what you’re called to do and you walk into that, that’s when you experience God’s supernatural anointing. What does anointing mean? Well we use the word anointing when we’re talking about oil don’t we – to rub oil into something, but the reality is, ‘anointing’ is just a a sign that God is here. So when I say “we will experience the anointing of God”, what I mean is that God will be moving in a way that we could not do as human beings in our natural ability with natural gifts and talents. And so when we know the calling of God on our lives, that’s when we’ll start to see His supernatural gifting operating through us, and that will fulfill us because that was exactly what He made us for. And of course you and I could spend time doing all kinds of things but it’s when we find out what we’re called to do ,
then those things are the things that are going to have eternal value and bear much fruit for god’s kingdom. So I want to really encourage you at this point in episode 4 of “How to Fulfill Your Calling” – maybe you’ve been asking God what you should do (and and that’s okay), but why don’t you start asking God, “God, what am I called to do?”, “What’s the calling on my life?”, “What are the things that you prepared for me before I was even born?” You know I’ve talked a bit about how I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I haven’t told you the story about that (and I will share that in a later episode), but soon after I was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was sitting in my garden and I was just sitting there praying one day, and as I was praying, I had my eyes closed, and I saw a vision of myself standing on a stage and I could see that there were a few hundred people and I was teaching them from the Word of God. And when I saw that vision I thought to myself, wow, that cannot be me! I knew that it couldn’t be me because I knew that at school I had once tried to stand up in front of a group of people and do a presentation and it had gone terribly wrong! I knew I did not have that natural ability but it was interesting that early on in my christian life I had been filled with the Holy Spirit and God was starting to reveal to me my calling. Now, at that point I knew I could not achieve that in my natural ability and I suppose I didn’t realize at the time but that was a sign that it really was God speaking to me! So He gave me a little glimpse, and do you think it took some work to get to that point? You see now I’m regularly traveling all across different countries preaching the Word of God. Well,
absolutely it took some work, but you know what? I was never striving. The calling of God on my life flowed out of a passion to read His Word which came from his Spirit. Can you see, He was working in me to lead me in the direction that I needed to go in order to fulfill my calling. So I had that passion and desire to read God’s word and to share what I was learning with others, and to see the truth set them free in the same way that it set me free, and and it was God’s Holy Spirit revealing to me the direction that I needed to go in, but actually leading me – you see, I was internally led into the areas that He was calling me into, and I believe that He’s going to do exactly the same for you. There will be things that maybe you didn’t have a passion about a few years ago or before you came to Christ,
that all of a sudden you’ll notice a passion for certain things rising up. We’re going to talk a lot more detail about how to be led by the Holy Spirit and how to find your personal calling but for now I just want to say this: God does not call us according to where we are now but He calls us according to where we are going. In Romans 4:17 it says this, it talks about a God “who quickens or gives life to the dead and calls those things which are not as though they were.” So, often when God speaks He speaks about things that are not yet, but he speaks about them as though they already are happening. And when God called Gideon to save Israel out of the hands of their enemy, He said this in Judges 6:12, it says, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The lord is with you, mighty warrior.” So He said to Gideon, “you are a mighty warrior” but then a few verses later we see what Gideon thought of himself. In verse 15 it says, “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Can you see the massive difference between how God saw Gideon and how Gideon saw himself? So God saw far more for Gideon’s future than Gideon himself did. But why is that? If we look back at those words that the angel said to Gideon, he said, “The lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Can you see that? It’s exactly the same as what Jesus said to the disciples, and we looked at that in episode one, when Jesus gave the disciples the great commission he said, “go into all the world make disciples”, you know, he gave them this impossible task really, but then he said, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” You see Jesus knew about the disciples, and God knew about Gideon, that Gideon was not going to do this by himself – that the Holy Spirit was going to come and fill him and enable him to do, and enable us to do, all the things that God is calling us to do. That’s why when God gives us a glimpse of the future and He shows us what our calling is, it’s way beyond what we know we can achieve in our ability. Now sometimes people think that because they’ve operated in a particular gift then that must be their calling, and I just want to say that that’s not quite right. So you may have operated in the gift of prophecy, you may have given a prophetic word, you may have received something from God and shared it with somebody else and it has touched them and impacted them because it was from God, but that doesn’t mean your calling is to be a prophet. So let’s distinguish between using a gift and the calling of God on our lives. So just because you’ve operated in a gift once, doesn’t mean that that’s your calling. You know, I once replaced a fuse box in my car but that does not make me a mechanic. My brother is a mechanic and he can fix any car, and he also has shared his testimony in church before but my brother probably wouldn’t be able to sit here and give all these episodes on how to fulfill your calling. You see, he shared his testimony in church, he could sit here for five minutes and share his testimony now, but his calling is different to mine. He can do things consistently that I can’t do, and I can do things consistently that he can’t do. So just because you’ve operated in a gift once, doesn’t mean that that is your main calling, and we’re going to talk a lot more about the gifts of the Spirit in this series but let me just summarize what we’ve looked at in in this episode. Knowing our calling is important because it can bring focus. It can help us to make decisions and it can help us to understand what things we should say yes to and what things we shouldn’t say yes to. For example, a mechanic should not apply for a job as a dentist! Now, if I think about my own life, my gift of teaching and communication would probably also work in the business world, but I’m not called to the business world and the potential that God has placed on my life will not be maximized if I don’t do it the way He has called me to do it and I can’t imagine being anywhere near as passionate or excited speaking about products that I’m going to sell as I am talking about the Word of God because God has put a call on my life to teach the Word of God to the Body of Christ that they might be equipped, encouraged and inspired. And when you walk in your calling, you are fulfilled and you are inspired, and you’re excited, and there’s always something new happening. And I just really want to encourage you at this point in the series to pray and to be asking God, “God, what is my calling?” and don’t worry at this stage, you don’t need to know everything at this stage, but sometimes God gives us a little glimpse of the future and I know some of you might have things in your life that are going on now that you’re struggling with or that you don’t understand and I just want to say that you might not even realize it right now but many of the things that are happening in your life now and the things that have happened in the past, they’re happening because God is preparing you for the call that He has got on your life. And all these things that we’re talking about are going to become more clear as we go on in this series but I’d like to pray for you at this stage. So Father, we just want to thank you so much that you have work for us to do and that you have clearly shown us in this episode your framework Lord, that there are gifts that you give us, that there’s a calling on each one of our lives, and there are different seasons of how that works out. I want to thank you Lord that you don’t call us according to where we are now, but you call us according to where you know we’re going, and you call us according to how you are going to empower us and be with us in what we’re going to do. And I thank you that you have promised to be with us every step of the way, and may we just receive peace in this moment. Would you just pour out your peace on every one of us Lord, that you know where we are now and you know where we are going, and you are going to make sure that we fulfill the call you’ve placed on our lives as we walk closely with you, and Father I just pray for everybody watching this, Lord that you will speak to us all, Lord that you would help us to know what you are calling us to do, Lord that you would help us with every decision that comes, Father, and that we would continue to find ourselves walking in the plans that you have for us, and doing what you called us and prepared for us to do before we were even born. In Jesus’ name, Amen. In future episodes we’re going to look at how we can find our personal calling, we’re going to look at how we can be led by the Holy Spirit in each decision, and we’re going to look at how we can operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m also going to be talking about when difficulties come and how we can persevere through those and actually how that enables us to have the character and maturity that we need to fulfill the call of God on our lives so, I’ll see you in episode 5!