To cause the lamp to burn continually
Before the lamp of God went out
Ex.27:20 â€“ I Sam.3:3
Called to What?
â€œDuring three days of prayer and fasting, God gave birth to a ministry,â€? or so we are told. â€œChrist appeared to me while on prayer-mountain and ordained me as a prophetic voice in these end times!â€? Is that so? â€œThe president and founder laid his hands upon me and imparted the mantle of his anointing into my life.â€? Really? More likely it was the placing of empty hands on empty heads.
If we would believe the self-appointed ministers of this generation, there has never been a greater assemblage of supernaturally endowed servants of God than that of today. Without exception, all adamantly insist that God Himself called them into the ministry; that they are treading upon the holy ground of divine appointment. But such claims stretch the limits of credibility beyond sanctified reasonableness.
Do you expect us to accept that the Lord of Glory has had a hand in ordaining homosexuals to the â€œministryâ€?? Are we to unquestioningly agree that the God of Truth has called men to preach error and religious rubbish in His name? Will babbling, â€œBa-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, mum-mum-mum, soko-soko-soko,â€? convince anyone that this man has therefore been called of God? Will it not rather present persuasive evidence that he is bordering on madness [I Cor.14:23]?
Called to what? Many such â€œministersâ€? received their â€œcallâ€? under the anointing of Adonijah [I Kings 1:5-10]. â€œAdonijah exalted himself, saying, â€˜I will be kingâ€™â€? [I Kings 1:5]. Here was a self-willed man who had never been under discipline, full of delusions of his own grandeur, who promoted himself to a position of rule over Godâ€™s people; and the Lord was not in it.
It is never difficult to find fifty fools to run before such men shouting their praise, especially when there is financial reward attached to their service for the man of God. Definitely when chariots accompany the launching event, it lends an impressive air of seeming sanction to the whole affair. And of course, there must be a father of the day to grace the occasion with his presence, not to mention his money.
Adonijahs are always flattered to have the likes of Joab at their right hand upon the high table despite the fact that his hands are stained with the blood of the innocent, having treacherously defected from David, the true Lordâ€™s anointed. But never mind such embarrassing details; the fact that he is a prominent and recognized leader in the eyes of men will surely compensate for such moral deficiencies.
And, oh yes, there must certainly be a priest to â€œsanctifyâ€? the affair and pronounce his blessing on the proceedings. Letâ€™s see, who can we find? Ah, of course, Abiathar will do. He has been in the ministry for quite some time now even though recently we learned that he is about to be rejected from the priesthood having fallen under the curse of God [I Kings 2:27]. But that shouldnâ€™t affect the launching ceremony too terribly; undoubtedly the men of Judah will attend, they are all religious men with little discernment.
And that is precisely the point; religious men with little discernment congregate at Adonijahâ€™s self-conceived ordination. But the spiritual are not found among them. Neither Zadok, nor Benaiah, Nathan, or Solomon were in their midst. Adonijah did not invite them. It would have been too embarrassing and likely would have scattered his pleasant proceedings.
Zadok was a true priest of Godâ€™s own choosing [I Chron.12:23,28]. Benaiah was valiant among the mighty men of David [2 Sam.23:20-23]. Nathan would undoubtedly have thundered the true Word of the Lord in the midst of Adonijahâ€™s nonsense without respect of persons [2 Sam.12:7-9]. And it would never do to have the genuine anointed king around who had been made so by prophetic decree [I Chron.22:6,9].
We must unhesitatingly inquire of the Rev. Adonijahs of our day, â€œHow did you get your ministry?â€? We must unflinchingly question the presidents and founders of Adonijah Ministries International, â€œWho told you that you are called?â€?
The true call of God upon a man is set forth plainly in 2 Thess.2:14: â€œHe called you by our gospel for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.â€? The calling of God is a call to transformation, not to that of vocation. God is not looking for more servants; He is looking for better men.
The glory of Christ is the ultimate aim of all of Godâ€™s dealings in the soul. Conformity to the Lord Jesus is the predetermined purpose of God who works all things together towards that end in those whom He has called [Rom.8:28,29]. The call of God upon oneâ€™s life is evidenced, not by noise, exploits, and self-promotion, but by godliness, by Christ likeness.
Arrogant men show that they have not responded to the call of Christ to take His yoke of meekness and lowliness upon themselves, thus demonstrating that they have not yet been called into fellowship with the Son of God [Mt.11:29; I Cor.1:9]. Any who establish and enforce man-made religious regulations and traditions only testify that the liberty into which believers have been called is not their portion [Gal.5:13].
Immoral men who indulge in the lusts of the mind and of the flesh proclaim to everyone that they are not called of God unto that sanctification which is the purpose of His calling [I Thess.4:7]. Being free of deception, crookedness, slander, envy, unrighteousness, strife, and self-will shows that one has truly been called with a holy calling [2 Tim.1:9]. Those who set their minds on the things below, who are occupied with earthly concerns and carnal pursuits, possess no evidence of being partakers of a heavenly calling [Heb.3:1].
As obvious as this may seem when cataloged in this manner, the disturbing reality is that more often than not, these are the very things observed among ministers; arrogance, man-made doctrines, immorality, lack of holiness, and worldly mindedness. We must ask ourselves and them, â€œAre these men called of God?â€?
The answer is, they are not; yet they are in the pulpits proudly parading like peacocks upon the altars during their weekly religious pageants. From them the delusions of Positive Confession and denominational dogmas spew forth deceptively as if these were the very doctrines of God. Choir members are seduced by them during â€œcounselingâ€? sessions and â€œprayerâ€? meetings in the blackness of the midnight. Harsh words, envy, abuse of wives, disregard of the poor, and religious political scheming are all too notorious among them. Their supposed calling is betrayed by their coveting unrighteous mammon under the guise of Prosperityâ€™s delusion while extorting money from members by divine threats.
Paul sets forth the example of the true calling of God upon the life; it is to character and conformity to Christ and only secondarily to that of service. Apart from the former, the latter is a stench. Character is the bedrock of service in the kingdom of heaven. God first must make the man before He can use him.
The pattern and essence of the calling is recorded by Paul when he says that God, who called him through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in him that he might preach Him [Gal.1:15,16]. This is the purpose of the calling; that Christ might be formed in us. Only then is one qualified to serve.
It is why laborers continue to be few though harvests are great. God does not; no, rather, He cannot send forth workers into His harvest that are neither moved with the compassion of Christ for downtrodden sheep, nor capable of expounding the gospel of the kingdom.
Small boys are unfit to do a manâ€™s work. God is no fool; He does not entrust the eternal well-being of undying souls into the hands of those who are unlike His Son. The whole purpose of the sending forth of the gospel is that men might gain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, that there might be transformation into the excellence of His character, that His moral perfections might radiate from those that are called [2 Thess.2:14].
Lacking this, how then could God conceivably call someone into His service who is unlike the Lord Jesus Christ in character, doctrine, and method of ministry? A laborer, who is lacking in any of these three essentials, could not possibly be fit to serve the purposes of the God of heaven.
Nevertheless, many have gone forth, though few have actually been sent. Multitudes have been â€œcalled,â€? but their lives betray the fact that only a mere handful has evidenced conformity to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus the Lord.
Called to what? To what indeed; to reproach and shame while the name of God is blasphemed among the heathen because of our unconsecrated â€œcalling.â€? Paul was called on the Damascus road but didnâ€™t enter service for some fourteen years. John the Baptist was set apart from his motherâ€™s womb yet did not preach one message until age thirty. Moses was called at age forty but did not lead the people of God until he reached his eightieth year.
The call to ministry regularly precedes the sending into service by long years of preparation. Jesus Himself spent 91% of His earthly life in Nazarethâ€™s quiet seclusion while learning obedience through the things that He suffered. The remaining 9% of His days were spent in what we refer to as ministry. Why are you anxious to engage in ministry? You should rather fear.
We would be better off to shut and bolt the doors on every church in the land than to continue on as we are. Then we can repent with tears over the abominable monster we have fashioned in the name of our â€œcalling.â€? Perhaps then there will emerge a genuine remnant who are truly called of God.
â€œLet them first be tested; then let them serveâ€¦if they are beyond reproachâ€? [I Tim.3:10].