ALL Christians Are Called
Jesus said this while the Old Covenant was still in effect:
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)
Under the New Covenant the exact same Greek word and others related it were used repeatedly in the New Testament to refer to ALL Christians being called regardless of their roles in the Body:
“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:5-7)
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.” (1 Corinthians 7:20)
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…” (Ephesians 4:1)
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began...” (2 Timothy 1:8-9)
“…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
Between the first century, when Jesus instituted the Church, and the present a lot has come against the simplicity of God’s design for His Body. The Church has become institutionalized, meaning that it has absorbed many of the world’s systems, and many Christians have come to believe that the corporate and other business-world ideas that currently saturate it were really intended by God to be how the Church should operate.
God did NOT intend this.
(So, WHY are we doing this???)
"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" (Galatians 3:1)
The Galatians are not the only ones who have been bewitched (maligned; fascinated by false representations) in the Body of Christ in the last 2000 years.
In the world, people rise to places of prominence at the top of organizational charts because of appearance and performance. They enter a career path that begins with formal training, proceeds through a series of steps in which “progress” is only a matter of numbers and ever increasing pay and which culminates in retirement.
That’s how the institutional world of business and the workplace operates.
A quick survey of how Christianity is now practiced reveals that many in the Church have adopted these ideas and the infiltration of the world into the Church in this way has saturated it so much that it is considered to be the norm and God’s plan for His Church.
God did NOT intend this.
He appointed some to be leaders and even uses two words that mean “to rule” (1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24) in reference to people in spiritual authority in His Kingdom – leaders. However, there is no place that I know of in the New Testament in which a human is considered to be in any way superior to another, no matter what his or her role is in the Body of Christ.
The Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus paid a high price for each Christian:
“…you were bought at a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23)
The SAME price was paid for each of us; therefore, we ALL have the same value.
In fact, it is pertinent to see all that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:23.
“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)
The Holy Spirit, through Paul, told us this yet there are many in the Body of Christ whose names have migrated to the tops of organizational charts and who expect to be treated like kings. Sadly, there are many under them in their institutions that treat them like kings and consider themselves to be less valuable than those people they exalt.
God did NOT intend this for His Church.
ALL Christians are called and are equal in Christ.
Since we are ALL called….He WILL equip us all for the roles and tasks HE has intended for each of us:
“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…” (Ephesians 4:11-14)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It’s long past time for the Body of Christ to reject and abandon the unholy idea that there are levels of value among us. The same price was paid for each of us: the blood of Christ.
We’re all valued the same.
There is no place in Christianity for a caste system.
That is Hinduism. That is how the systems of the world are managed by the devil.
It is not to be so among us.
Jesus challenged this idea when He walked on the earth.
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.’” (Luke 22:24-26)
Many who read this will be ones who find themselves leading others in the Kingdom of God. These will be Christians who are parents, husbands, teachers, government officials, pastors, and others in various ministry roles.
We will, because we were born into the world, be tempted to adopt the world’s systems and will often find ourselves slipping into the mentality that since we are “ruling” (especially when we do so in a blatantly spiritual context such as is the case with those “in ministry”) that we are somehow superior to those over whom we watch.
It would be wise to consider that if we do so pridefully we won’t be accurately representing Jesus.
This is how Jesus operated (and He IS, after all, our model):
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Having humbled Himself, the Father responded to the Son like this:
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
God has established a similar dynamic in HIS Kingdom and in HIS Church that we can experience if we live in a trusting relationship with Him – depending upon Him alone.
“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:8-11)
As leaders, we can either depend upon a temporary earthly system and some humans to exalt us, OR we can walk in humility and experience the inestimable thrill of experiencing God exalt us.
As for those who aren’t currently operating in a place of authority in God’s Kingdom or who are…but find themselves functioning in a place in which someone else has authority, how shall we behave in that place?
We are to recognize that it is God who has tasked them with that authority in that place and for that purpose in GOD’S Kingdom. We are to honor them and, in so doing, we honor God.
“Remember (literally, “be mindful of”) those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.” (Hebrews 13:7)
“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
These leadership roles are functions in God’s Kingdom, NOT indicators of greater value.
Let’s never forget that ALL Christians are called and are equal in Christ.
Let’s purpose in our hearts to live out that beautiful privilege.
Let’s waste nothing God has intended for us and let’s harvest ALL He has for us.
God is restoring His Church to its original splendor and simplicity.
It is an exciting time to be alive and in His hands!
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© November 16, 2016
(For use with permission)