Called According to His Purpose

by Jerry Olson and Dave Palcsak (12/23/22)

In the western world, we have all heard the name Jesus. To varying degrees, we believe (or doubt) who He is and what He did. Those of us who take His name (Christian) and believe He is the Son of the only true God, should certainly view the Bible as God’s word. Otherwise, there is no valid reason to worship Him. It would certainly seem as if recognizing and knowing the Creator of everything would profoundly alter anyone’s life. Generally speaking, does it?

Some of us go to a meeting every Sunday to punch in and out, thus fulfilling our weekly hour of duty. Many do so because of family pressure, social constructs or even business connections. Others enjoy attending services featuring talented musicians.

More and more, it’s become a casual thing and as the years go by, study after study demonstrate that true faith and genuine commitment continue to wane, both here in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, a recent Barna Research poll showed that over sixty percent of paid pastors don’t believe in Biblical inerrancy while less than ten percent of professing Christians do. Sacrificially following Christ is just not that big of a thing for the vast majority. As a Church, we have devolved into a “How can You serve me?” rather than a “How can I serve You?” mentality. Jesus tells us what He thinks of this in Revelation 3:16: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” C. S. Lewis said, “I can understand how people fervently believe; I can understand how people don’t believe at all; what I can’t understand is how people casually believe.”

If you’re in the casual camp with no desire to “catch fire,” stop right here. This isn’t for you. If, however, you have a burning desire to understand God’s calling in your life, open your mind and consider the depth of what it means to be a child of God!

What I am going to propose came to me by revelation from the Holy Spirit. I ask that you refrain from dismissing or judging this before considering the case put forth by support of Scripture. For convenience, I’m going to use the NKJV for all Scriptural references. Keep in mind, it’s always a good idea to check multiple translations when studying the Bible.

Take a look at what Jesus says in Matthew 23:38-39: “See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’“ (Matt. 23:38-39 NKJV). Most, if not every commentary on the above verse, come to the same basic conclusion: Christ will come in the clouds as a conquering Messiah upon His return. I agree with that statement, but I feel it misses an incredibly important aspect of the bigger picture. I ask that you open your mind and consider Scripture in an expansive and exciting new way!

Let’s begin by analyzing Matthew 23:39. Does the claim that “you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” sound like Jesus is referring to Himself as the “he who comes?” Why does virtually every translation (with rare exception) fail to capitalize “he” who is coming? The answer is simple yet hidden. This verse is actually referring to those who have Christ in them. Jesus is returning, but not before His servants first come in His name. This is the beginning of the so-called Second Coming. Jesus coming to earth in the clouds is the culmination of His Coming!

His people (in whom He dwells) will be revealed before His glorious appearance. Will you be one of those saints to be revealed, or will you be one who fails to recognize them? If you understand, pursue, and obey the Scriptural truth, as a follower of Christ, that you are literally called to be a member of His family, that is exactly what you’ll be! Enduring vigilance and daily focus on the Word of God will protect you from deception. “For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many.” (Matt. 24:5). Notice here in this statement that many people will be proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ – that He is the Lord, yet they will be misleading many. Jesus is warning us about the religious, not unbelievers. The clerical Jewish ruling class pressured the Romans to crucify Jesus. Do you think leaders today, with their flowing robes and big hats, or their thousand-dollar suits, will enthusiastically receive prophecies from lowly nobodies? Jesus warned: “They will put you out of the synagogues [churches]; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2). The true road to righteousness is narrow and difficult, but most folks will take the wide road (see Matthew 7:13-14).

Acts 17:11 talks about searching Scriptures to find truth. This is all I ask of you. Put aside the teaching of man and consider the Word of God. The allures of the wide road lead to death, while the narrow road, which will test you, leads to life. We are never promised easy, but the rewards of following Christ surpass any wealth, fame or other material trappings. There truly is no high like the Most High! Philippians 1:6 assures us: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” It doesn’t matter where you are right now, it matters where you’re going. Turn to Him now!

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:21-23). “I never knew you.” The very thought of hearing that from our Lord sends chills up my spine. Going through the motions of “playing” church doesn’t cut it. Do not consider this a bad thing; consider it a sobering thing and realize that you are called to a far higher purpose – to literally be a child of the Most High God.

“The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:26-27). I read the Bible for years before I learned the magnificent truth that we can all be children of God, not only in the heavenlies, but here on this earth. It opened my eyes to Scripture as never before. Consider John 14:12: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.” Frankly, I considered it blasphemy for anyone, much less me, to claim the ability to do greater works than what our Lord and Savior did! But Jesus said it. Can His words be false? Or perhaps Jesus was talking exclusively of His era because we don’t see the kind of miracles that were seemingly commonplace for not only Jesus, but Peter, Paul and others. Does this mean the Scripture has already been fulfilled?

Ephesians 4:11-14 sheds light on this: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” Brothers and sisters, we are clearly far from being where we need to be in unity, perfection, doctrine or otherwise. Notice that all five of these ministries listed here will be in effect until unity and maturity is reached in the Church. This is certain: Ephesians 4:11-14 is yet to be fulfilled. Therefore, despite what most churches believe and falsely teach, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are all still in existence and in effect. Ephesians 4:11-14 will be fulfilled. This is incredibly exciting and also points to the urgency needed for all of us to grow up and become mature and unified in Christ by the leading of His Spirit because the time is near.

My guess is most, if not all, who are still reading this know of supernatural healings, answered prayer, and/or other Godly works. I would also venture that few of you, perhaps none, have seen limbs restored or the dead raised back to life. If we acknowledge “small” miracles but don’t see “major” miracles, does this mean our all-knowing Creator of everything is limited in power? As the Apostle Paul frequently said: “Certainly not!” Perhaps this comes into play then: The vast majority of those who take His name are more interested in preservation of money, power, celebrity or whatever they put ahead of sacrificing for His name. Affluence usually begets spiritual apathy. “I will spit you out of My mouth; because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. (Rev. 3:16-17). In this day and age, in our part of the world here in the West, we are, for the most part, far more interested in chasing riches and power than we are in pursuing God. “Major” miracles, such as we see in the book of Acts, are coming. According to many credible sources, such as third world missionaries, in other parts of the world they are seeing them already.

Jesus left His earthly tent about two thousand years ago. He wasn’t materially wealthy. He had no formal education, no military might and zero interest in politics. Yet He changed the world more than anyone before or since. His power and influence were not of the flesh, they were of the Spirit. So must ours be if we are to serve Him to the best of our ability. It’s not a different Spirit we seek, but the same Spirit that Jesus was filled with! Begin to understand this truth more literally.

Consider one of the greatest servants of our Lord and the author of more books in the New Testament than anyone else – Paul. Before his name was changed, as Saul of Tarsus, he was on the road to Damascus, as one of – if not the primary – Jewish persecutors of Christians. Jesus knocked him right to the ground. Here is part of that encounter from Acts 9:5: “And he [Saul] said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” Jesus had ascended years prior to that. He was not on the earth. How could Saul possibly persecute Him? He was persecuting His followers, those who had the indwelling of Christ! “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2). Saul, by his own definition; a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (see Philippians 3:5), was transformed to Paul, who was taught directly by Christ (see Galatians 1:12). He was the same man in the flesh, but in the Spirit, he became a new creation; dying to himself in order to live for Christ! Galatians 2:20 is one verse of many that explains what this means: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Saul was an extremely “important” Pharisee; Paul was a contemptible outcast (see 2 Corinthians 4:8-11). Is it possible that Paul regretted his transformation from Saul? In his own words we find that answer. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 3:7-8). Are we also, as Paul was, called to count every worldly possession as rubbish in order to gain Christ? If you’re serious about living your faith, the answer is quite obvious. Paul put nothing ahead of following our Lord. Neither should we.

“There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Cor. 12:5-11). Seek Him diligently by focusing on the Kingdom of God instead of on the kingdoms of this world (see Matt. 6:33). Read your Bible EVERY DAY! Run to Him or run away from Him. Either way, don’t imagine that comfortable fence (pew) sitting is a sustainable option. It isn’t. Not anymore.

Study Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.  No one knows the exact day He will come but we are required to recognize the times. We see drag queens reading to children in public libraries while Christians are forbidden to share Godly stories in those same places. Men think they are women and women think they are men. Atrocities such as these (and more) are applauded and considered honorable. There is a lucrative medical field promoting the downright satanic trans-movement involving children. Giving minors drugs to retard their natural (Godly) development, often behind parent’s backs is horrific child abuse.  I could go on and on, but I’ll let Isaiah sum it up: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20). The point is we are fast approaching the end! I don’t claim to know exactly where we are, but as the dark grows darker, the light must grow lighter. And that light is Christ shining forth from His servants. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 2:14-17).

Will an air freshener cleanse a stench if the canister is empty? Is it possible for saints to diffuse the fragrance of God if Christ does not dwell in them? Can one even be a saint without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14). “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19). Shouldn’t all Christians desire to be revealed as children of God? We should pursue Him zealously but with eyes wide open. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the head of all principality and power.” (Col. 2:8-10). If you feel “complete” in Him, what an awesome thing for you! But you may want to consider treading carefully because we are commanded by Jesus, Paul, Ezekiel and others to endure until the end. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Prov. 16:18-19). And “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10:12). Whether it’s THE last days, or simply your last day, you must remain faithful until our Lord calls you home. Keep in mind – only He knows when that will be. Do your part; and a major aspect of that part is focusing on serving Him each and every day.

If you are wondering how to avoid being cheated through philosophy, empty deceit or anything else; consider what counterfeit experts spend most of their time on. You might think it would be the phony, illegal bills, but you’d be wrong. They study and know the real so well that the bogus ones stick out like a sore thumb! Spend your time with the REAL, read your Bible and focus on Christ always!

How do we accomplish this? The recipe for endurance is actually quite simple. You must remain faithful, and you must be obedient. Many more folks believe in God than believe God. One might say they believe in God but then try to live life by their own rules. If this is the case, then they truly don’t really believe in God. If you believe Him, you must obey Him. And the truth is, what you do or don’t do shows and proves what you truly believe – not what you say. Observe Jesus’ response: “And it was told Him by some who said, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’” (Luke 8:20-21).

Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the faith chapter. Study the entire chapter and marvel how faith and obedience are constantly intertwined. The first sentence in verse 6 gives us a summary: “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” James 2:17 puts it this way: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” – it’s non-existent. We are now, and always have been, called to action. But today, the urgency is ramping up as we approach the end. Pray to the Holy Spirit for spiritual understanding whenever you sit down to read your Bible.

In the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “Son of man” and also as “Son of God.” Jesus was given many titles throughout the Bible: Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, King of Salem, etc. As the only begotten Son of the Father, He deserved every title unique to Him. But Son of man is not unique to Jesus. Ezekiel is referred to as Son of man several times. Daniel is the only other servant to be directly called son of man and that was only once, in Daniel 8:17: “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” It’s clear that reference, along with many others in Daniel, point to the end of days. In other words, they are prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. Why are there no references directed to any individual in the New Testament as Son of man other than Jesus? Back to that shortly…
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13). “The old things have passed, and all things are new in Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Saul is just one example of a man who attacked Jesus by persecuting His family. These were saints in whom Christ dwelt and who represented Him on earth. In other words, those who took (and came in) His name. They gladly suffered the reproach of men, many of them even unto torture and death, rather than deny Him (see Isaiah 51:7, Hebrews 11:26, Romans 8:18, 1 Peter 4:12, and so many more). “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is Holy, which temple you are.” (1 Cor. 3:16).

This is how Luke 17:21 ends: “For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
Now, look at Luke 17:24-30 from a fresh spiritual perspective: “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man: they ate they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day the Son of man is revealed.” Think of these verses in light of Matthew 23:39: “For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Jesus died once for all (see Rom. 6:10). Our Lord and Savior will never die again. This is true. Absolutely. But as we see from Saul, He WILL be persecuted. Those coming in His name are going to face very real challenges for staying true to the Word! Think about His triumphant return and ask yourself if perhaps the Son of man, indicates followers of Christ, those with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as well as Jesus Himself. Remember, when Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting Him, he phrased it in the singular: “Why are you persecuting Me?” When Jesus frames Son of man in the singular, could He be referring to many followers as a single body? “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12).

We are clearly called to be part of His Holy Family. But we must answer the call. Have you been falling short? That’s ok. Just humbly repent (change) and become hot for the Lord. Hunger and thirst to know Him, and He will surely reveal Himself to you. It’s not too late but the clock is ticking. Now is the time to make serving the Kingdom of God the most important thing in your life. I love the way the twentieth-century martyr, Jim Elliot, said it: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
It doesn’t matter what condition you’re in. “For you see your calling brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29). Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Cor. 1:25). Surrender, get baptized and give your life to Christ. Begin to fulfill your purpose in Him, and do it NOW!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with     thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7). Great responsibility goes along with being a child of God; but with that, comes great reward. But is it really important to also take on the accountability that comes with that responsibility? Absolutely! As Jesus said, “That servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes… For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47-48).

Read the book of Exodus and carefully study Hebrews chapters 3-4. The ancient Israelites were called to be a royal priesthood. All of them! They didn’t want the responsibility. They preferred that it fall on Moses and a few others. Yet, they all died in the wilderness as a punishment and consequence of their disobedience (Heb. 3:16-19). It’s easy to claim that we would never err as they did. Are we certain of this? The Bible says that it’s all recorded there as a warning and admonition to us who live in these last days (I Cor. 10:5-11).

What’s going on in Churchianity today? The same thing! Only now, the pastors, priests, reverends, etc. act as the congregations’ Moses. In many churches the “lay people” are sadly looking to them to lead and “mediate” for them. But the difference is this: Moses didn’t want the people looking to him; he wanted the people to turn to the God he faithfully served and personally pursued. Today, it’s a poor business model to get members of the congregation weaned off the teat of the pulpit. Strong, independent followers may be led by Christ out of a building, into another ministry. This should be the norm. Unfortunately, it’s not. The simple reason is that anything hurting the financial bottom line is taboo. If you look to anyone as a spiritual advisor and they are not encouraging you to focus on a vertical relationship with God rather than a horizontal relationship with man, they are doing you a grave disservice. Remember, an anointing from man, neither confirms nor denies an anointing from God.

I am not suggesting in any way that you should go it alone. For it is written: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the Day [of Christ] approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25). If you find yourself with “Christians” who don’t follow the Bible, and who don’t strongly encourage you to grow up and mature in Christ, then get away from them and find folks who do. Unless, of course, you have been sent there by God to help stir them up to spiritually grow up and mature in Christ! “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5:32). Obedience cannot be emphasized enough.

Catch fire and zealously seek our Lord with renewed vigor. But don’t expect every day to be amazing. If that were the case, this would be too easy. Your faith will definitely be tested – because untested faith is no faith at all. Take heed of the Parable of the Sower and the Seed as taught in Matthew 13:3-8. Be the good soil. Never let your spiritual guard down. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Pet. 5:8-9).

The importance of reading your Bible daily cannot be over-emphasized. There are so many, many more Scriptures I could have referenced to show the necessity of being a child of God and the sobering consequences of the alternative. But Romans 8:9 sums it up perfectly: But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

Know Him, Trust Him, Live for Him!

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”’ (Matt. 9:37-38)

Blessings to each and every one of you. Go forward by the leading of the Holy Spirit on this marvelous journey following our Lord Christ Jesus. He will always sustain us if we constantly seek His guidance.


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