Home > Brandenburg, The Ministry > A Primer in The Call (to the “Ministry?”)

A Primer in The Call (to the “Ministry?”)

December 6, 2006

“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”  God calls man for the first time in Genesis 3:9.  God very specifically told Abraham to go somewhere in Genesis 12:1:  “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”  Jeremiah certainly had the plan laid out for him in Jeremiah 1:5,  “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.”  David found out God’s will in a unique way:  “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13).  God will let people know what He wants them to do.

The Call

“The call” technically does not relate with ministry occupation.  Men are called unto salvation.  “The called” is synonymous with those who God saves.  You can see that here:

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.  Romans 1:6.

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.  Romans 8:28.

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  1 Corinthians 1:24

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called. Jude 1:1.

A text like Romans 11:29 fits into this too:  “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  And 1 Corinthians 7:20:  “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”  And 2 Timothy 1:9:  “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.”  Called people are converted people.

So if you say that the Lord called you, you really are saying that you have been saved from sin and Hell.  The New Testament call of God really is the salvation call.  However, everyone who is saved is saved to serve.  Therefore, every believer is called to serve the Lord.  That is absolutely what 1 Timothy 4:1 tells us:  “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”  So every Christian is a full time servant of God.  Every believer has been called by God to serve Him  Someone doesn’t have a secular career anymore once he’s been saved.  He has been called to a new vocation.  Every believer is a “minister of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

The Ministry

The reason I have put “ministry” in quotes is because ministry is also a word that has been altered from its intended meaning.  Every believer is a minister of God.  “Ministry” comes from a Greek word which simply means “service.”  To be saved someone must turn “to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).  God ordained the pastor to perfect (equip) the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).  The pastor is a minister, but no more than any other Christian.  The pastor’s unique goal among all the ministers of a church is to prepare them to do the work of the ministry.

The Desire for the Office

How does someone know he is supposed to pastor?  1 Timothy 3:1 says he will have a “desire.”  “Desire” is the Greek word orge, which was used to describe the sap rising in a tree.  Pressure in a tree comes from the inside out, the orge resulting in sap running.  That desire will come out of a man, but where does it start in a man?  1 Timothy 4:14 provides the answer.  Paul writes to the young pastor Timothy:

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Laying on of handsPaul says that Timothy got the gift in him through prophecy (preaching).  That gift was validated by other men through the laying on of hands.  Timothy was saved under the Scriptural influence of grandmother Lois and mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5).  The Bible they taught him made him wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15).  He continued to hear preaching of the Word of God from Paul and others.  The Word of God is the sap in the tree that rises.  It starts small inside a man and then works its way out.  This is exactly what Jeremiah described in Jeremiah 20:9 in the life of Jeremiah:

Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

As God works in a man’s life through His Word and he cannot but speak the things which He has seen and heard (Acts 4:20), that desire will manifest itself through the discipline of fulfilling the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 2.  The qualifications are a gauntlet through which someone must pass to prove himself worthy of the office he desires.  Someone may think he does fulfill them, but that is up to the church to decide (Acts 13:1-3).  The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).  God has ordained judgment for the church (1 Corinthians 6).  The same Holy Spirit indwells each church member, so that agreement on a matter is the means by which God guides and directs (Matthew 18:15-20; Ephesians 4:1-6).  The Holy Spirit guides the church (John 16:13) and since each church member only possesses a measure of God’s grace (Ephesians 4:6), every church member is behooved to listen to the whole church as a means of determining the will of God.

So every Christian is called to the ministry.  That ministry is done in and through a church. Through the preaching, some men will have the desire for the office.  That desire will qualify them for the office when they fulfill the qualifications based upon the testimony of God’s church.  Any and every task or office in a church will be determined by means of the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the church, using the God-ordained officers to equip the saints to know and do God’s will for their lives.

Categories: Brandenburg, The Ministry
  1. December 6, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    So would you say that the “call” is a little more on the practical side than the mystical side?

  2. December 6, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    If I thought the Bible taught something mystical, I would go with it, but I just look for what the NT teaches. I do see some people as getting some special choosing for a particular task–John the Baptist, Jeremiah–but what I read in the NT is that we get converted, lots of Bible from home and preaching in church, that turns into desire, which turns into qualifications that are recognized by the church, and God uses the church to “call.”

  3. December 6, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    OK, you showed us your “hand.” What are you going to write about for the rest of the month?

    And, do I know anyone in that picture? The posture of the fellow kneeling looks familiar.

  4. December 6, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    How about each one of you men give a testimony of your particuliar call? 😮

  5. December 6, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    I have ideas about the rest of the month, but I don’t want to discourage anyone from writing on anything. I’d like to write on how God appoints and guides through a church in this area, the clergy/laity issue, what someone with the desire will look like, etc. That picture was completely random based on a yahoo image search of laying on of hands Baptist.

    Maybe we can do a joint thing for how we were “called.” I’d like to tell my story, actually. I think it could encourage some men who think they need the weirdo call.

  6. Juan Carlos Asmat
    December 7, 2006 at 9:49 am

    Pastor, I do appreciate what you wrote and for me is a good reminder. Now that I am in the ARMY, I am looking at myself and see exactly where I stand because there are several people around me that say that they are “Christians” but their fruits are worldly. This helps me to ask my myself these questions: Am I preaching the gospel faithfully? Am I a light in this darkness? Am I confronting wrong doctrine/teaching/believes? I am thankful that by God’s grace I still seek Him and have a desire to serve Him in a church in this part of Georgia. I do know that I need to be bolder and not be laughing at jokes that might not be wrong, but does not edify any of us (sometimes I do say aloud, why am I laughing? and they laugh at me because I say that). Lord willing, two people will come with me to church this Sunday.
    I do believe that if a man is serving full time in his congregation (preaching when there are opportunities, evangelizing, etc); then, he should be praying to know if is God’s will for him to serve God as a pastor, evangelist, or a deacon.

  7. December 7, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Hey, Kent, that is really an excellent article. I think in particular you turned on the light a bit with the ‘orge’ definition. We get our English word ‘urge’ from that word, which might be a good translation of it. Paul talks about ‘necessity’ in 1 Cor 9, which I think describes the same thing.

    Perhaps another topic you could address is the notion that ‘you won’t stick with it if you don’t have a call’. Personally, I think you won’t stick with it if you quit. (Yes, I have an incredible grasp of the obvious.) Unfortunately I have known men who swore they were called, but then quit.

    I could go on, but I’ll leave that with you for now.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

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