We’ve looked at when God doesn’t make any sense, then we looked at when God Gets Your attention, but today I want to examine the times when God calls you to follow and obey Him. (1 Samuel 3)
Eli the priest and Samuel the trainee were sleeping in the temple. Samuel was around 12 years of age, and he heard a voice call his name… Samuel. He went to Eli, and Eli said, “I never called you.” This happened twice, but on the third occasion the old man twigged as to what the young boy was hearing…
1 Samuel 3:7-11 (ESV Strong’s)
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.
PRAY… Today when I you call Lord, let me hear and obey.
YOU’VE GOT ONE LIFE… AND GOD CALLS YOU
This life you are living is the only one you get. This is your one life.
Hebrews 9:27 (ESV Strong’s)
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
It’s not a dress rehearsal, it’s not a trial run, it’s not a computer game… This is it! You can’t rewind and replay your life, this is all you get. Unlike a video game, you can’t click some magic heart or button and get a new life, this is the only one you have.
So when I think about when God calls in your one life, my question is, what are you doing with your one life? Are you wasting it? Are you investing in things that are temporary, not eternal?
2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV Strong’s)
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Let make this clear… The Bible teaches that only 3 things are eternal…
Psalms 90:2 (ESV Strong’s)
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Matthew 24:35 (ESV Strong’s)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
The Souls of men and women
2 Thessalonians 1:9 (ESV Strong’s)
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
Anything you build in this life that does not focus on these eternal things will, in the end, amount to naught. Your comforts, your castle, your car, your career? Zip. Food, fitness, fun amounts to none!
Only one life, twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last!
You get one life, one life only, and you can waste it by pursuing the wrong things, by harbouring Unforgiveness, by sitting in front of the TV or giving into your lusts and pleasures, or you can decide right now to make your one life count!
ARE YOU TUNED IN?
When God calls every one of us constantly, but are we listening, and do we hear?
TV channels broadcast constantly. If you could see digital TV and radio waves, you’d see they are all around us, all the time. When you turn on your TV, it receives all of the channels all of the time. Imagine how confused it must be.
But when you tune to a specific frequency you receive only that channel. If you tune to 564.5 MHz you will only see channel nine, but 550.5 gets you channel 10. What you tune to is what you hear. We have millions of voices demanding our attention constantly, and you can tune yo any one if them. You might tune into your needs, your desires, your lived ones, your career, your house. But God calls constantly, there’s no question. The only question is, are you tuned to Him, or tuned to something else?
John 8:47 (ESV Strong’s)
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Are you of God? Are you tuned to hear when God Calls?
ARE YOU HARD OF HEARING, OR HARD OF HEART?
Hearing God’s call is one thing, and I understand that some of you have trouble hearing God, but responding is another thing. Some have sensed a call of God on your life, but ignored it because you hesitate to respond, because you are worried about what it might cost you. Every calling has a cost. Remember, you have only one life,
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong’s)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV Strong’s)
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Today every person who hears God faces a choice… It’s either hearing or hardening. Which will it be for you?
So let’s look at some of the possible responses to when God calls…
1. TOO YOUNG
Some of you here feel too young when God calls.
Jeremiah 1:6-7 (ESV Strong’s)
Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
You are not too young to be used by God. People might look down on you, but God doesn’t do that. Obedience is key, not age.
1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV Strong’s)
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
2. TOO OLD
Some of you here will say you are too old when God calls.
Psalms 92:12-14 (ESV Strong’s)
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
I want you to flourish and bear rich fruit in your old age! I also want to do this! In this church I am never going to withhold opportunities for someone because they are older.
3. TOO INADEQUATE
When you come closer and closer to God, you will contrast the greatness of God with your unworthiness, your sin, your uselessness, your pride, your self-exaltation, your inexperience and your lawlessness. It all comes to the light of the Gospel.
Moses said: Who am I? Ex 3:11.
Gideon said: How can I save Israel? Judg. 6:15.
Saul: I am from the smallest tribe. I Sam 9:21.
David said: who am I? I Sam.18:18
Solomon Said: I am only a little child? I Ki.3:7
Jeremiah said: I am only a child. Jer. 1:6
Job says: my mouth would condemn me (Job. 9:20).
All of these great moments when God calls saw the man of God feeling totally inadequate for the task. If you feel inadequate, not only are you in good company, but you are probably right where God wants you to be! I ran 100 miles from the prospect of pastoring a church because I felt, and often times still do feel, inadequate.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV Strong’s)
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight
4. TOO BUSY
This is one excuse a lot of people here will trundle out… God, I’m too busy to answer your calling! Remember what Jesus told Martha…
Luke 10:41-42 (ESV Strong’s)
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
If you are too busy for God, you’re too busy! If nothing else, the COVID pandemic has caused us to stop and reset, so if you go back to the business of before, you do yourself a disservice. This is a never before chance to reset and get it right! There’s lots of things you can do, but you get one life, so stop wasting it on things that simply have no long term value!
Psalms 39:6-7 (ESV Strong’s)
Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
5. TOO DISQUALIFIED
Have you done something in your past you are ashamed of? Maybe something that you feel disqualifies you from serving the Lord at all right now?
For Moses, it was a murder, but he bounced back to be the greatest leader of his people. For David it was adultery and murder. For Gideon, cowardice. For Elijah, it was failure and running away, which it also was for Jonah. For Paul it was persecuting Jesus, while for Peter it was denying Him 3 times.
Yes, our past sins have consequences. Even when we repent, they still can carry a devastating consequence. If you sin, you can disqualify yourself from the calling of God…
1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV Strong’s)
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
But if you repent, if you truly turn away from that sin, you can be restored.
1 Peter 5:10 (ESV Strong’s)
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Sin eats you from the inside out. It destroys your walk with God, but also relationships, your reputation, your ministry and your life. But there is only one unforgivable sin, which means all the others are forgivable. They are also restorable!
Joel 2:25 (ESV Strong’s)
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
Sin, guilt, shame, fear, they can all rob you of your destiny, but God wants to restore you. Restore means to make new. There is still a calling on your life. It may be different as a result of your sin, but God is still calling you to serve Him.
Have you done something in the past you feel disqualifies you from the calling of God? It might be a divorce, an adultery, a failure, a stupid decision. It could be an Unforgiveness you are holding onto, a loss you’re still feeling or a fear you have chosen to live under. Whatever it is, I declare to you today that God is still calling you, and He has a plan to restore you to full fruitfulness!
TODAY IS THE DAY TO ANSWER HIM
God is calling you today to serve Him, to honour Him and to trust Him. Every one of you has been given gifts, and these are not for you to enjoy, they are for you to serve the Lord in some way.
1 Peter 4:10 (ESV Strong’s)
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
So what are the step you can take to answer the call of God on your life, to serve Him and serve others?
1. DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR ONE LIFE COUNT
It starts with a decision. You can decide right here, right now, to make your one life count for the Lord. A simple decision. If you direct your own life, the DIY Christian thing, then one day you will face death and look back on your one life with regret, and you will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ with regret.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV Strong’s)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” Dwight L. Moody
Just decide now to stop directing your one life, because you won’t get another shot at this life. Here at Ignite we can find a way for you to move towards your destiny and the unique calling God has on your life.
2. LET GO OF THE PAST
CS Lewis said, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
You cannot move forward if you hang onto the hurts of the past, so whether your past is good or bad, whether a triumph or a failure, let it go and look forward.
3. TUNE INTO GOD
God is broadcasting, but are you receiving? If you don’t feel that you and God are on the same wavelength, make a decision today to reconnect. Get our Bible reading plan, come to church every week, stay connected, because very often God’s calling will manifest and be based out of your church.
This church is committed to helping you reach for your dream in Christ. So tune into God, stay close to Him and He will call you again and again, leading you step by step into the calling He has for you.
Isaiah 30:21 (NIV-WS)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
And do 101 and 201 at church, because this will help lead and guide you into the calling on your life using the vehicle of Ignite church.
4. ASK HIM TO USE YOU
You can love God, live for God and still miss His calling on your life. The missing piece is this… Pray Lord, use me!
Isaiah 6:8 (ESV Strong’s)
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
If you ask for bread, He will not give you a stone. If you say Lord, here am I, use me, He will, but only if you’re serious. Paul wrote…
2 Thessalonians 1:11 (ESV Strong’s)
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfil every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
Please understand, I’m not forcing you to do something you don’t want to do, and I’m not trying to burden or over commit you. I’m simply offering you the chance to be all you can be in Christ.
WHEN GOD CALLS, PICK UP!
This morning God is calling you. You may not know what your calling is, but He’s calling just the same. Make yourself available and He will call you to serve somewhere. You can just attend church your whole life if you like, but I’d rather make a difference in the world, not just pass through it.
He’s saying come to me, be committed, be available, be true to me, ask me to open up a destiny that goes beyond anything you could imagine. He’s saying, come and let me transform your one life into a life that matters, not just now but long into eternity. He’s saying,
John 15:5 (ESV Strong’s)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.
And let me add, don’t harden your hearing.
So let’s pause right now and listen for when God calls.