Romans 8:30 – Called — A Christian Growth Message - Hope 103.2

Romans 8:30 – Called — A Christian Growth Message

We're going to spend four weeks looking at four words considered the "golden chain" of Romans 8:30 – predestined, called, justified and glorified.

By Simon ManchesterSunday 5 Feb 2023Christian Growth with Simon ManchesterFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Now we’re in the middle of a chapter in the New Testament, which has probably comforted more Christians than any other chapter in the Scriptures. And it’s Romans 8, and it says things like this, “that God is at work through all circumstances to do good and if God is for us, who can be against us.” It also says that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.

And in the middle of the chapter are these great words in Chapter eight, Verse 30 which is giving to us the span of the plan of God from eternity to eternity. And it says this that God predestined as his people calls them, justifies them and glorifies them. Or we might say that God chooses his people, calls his people, cleanses his people and carries his people home. Last week we began the little series of four, and we looked at the very great word pre destiny, where God brings his people from death to life spiritually, and then he brings his people from here to heaven.

This past week, I’ve been in our model with pastors, and many of them work as obviously in the country in the bush travelling huge distances between farms but still find the same difficulties sometimes hostility and apathy, which we experience in the city. The problems of the country and the problems of being a Christian pastor. Now how important it is for them to remember that God is at work and that the whole plan of God doesn’t hang on them, but hangs on him that God will save his people and deliver his people safely home.

Today we’re looking at the second word in Romans Chapter eight, verse 30. And it’s just the one word called God is a God who calls his people.

So friends Let me ask you this question. How do you know if God has predestined you? How do you know if God has chosen you? The answer is the call of God has come home to you. It’s reached you. Predestination is not a secret thing. You don’t have to wait till the end to find out whether you’ve been chosen. You know you’ve been chosen. If the call of God to follow Jesus has come to you.

Predestination is something, of course, that God planned before history. But the calling is something that takes place in your history. Maybe you heard the call when you were a child. Maybe you heard the call. When you’re an adult, maybe you’ve not yet heard the call. But when the call of God to follow Jesus comes and it hits home. You know that you’ve been chosen by God. Think of Jesus in Mark, coming to the fishermen and saying to them, “Follow me.”

And they left their nets and their boats and they followed him and think of Jesus today calling people all around the world to follow him. And people all around the world every hour of every day are deciding to follow him.

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One of the most beautiful hymns ever about the calling of Jesus was a hymn written by man called William Thompson in the 19th century. Just read to you a little of it. This was actually sung at the funeral of Martin Luther King.

It says softly and tenderly. Jesus is calling calling for you and for me see on the portals he’s watching and waiting, watching for you and for me. And then the chorus says, Come home, come home You who are weary Come home earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling, calling. Oh sinner, come home.

It goes on to say, Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me, Why should we linger? And he’d not His mercies mercies for you and for me.

It’s a very lovely reminder that the Lord Jesus calls people gently and yet powerfully. So, I want to think with you this morning about two things. One is the power of the call of God because the call of God works and the second is the effect. What happens when the call of God lands on you? First of all, the power of God’s call. It is an incredible thing, isn’t it?

To think that the God of the universe would call somebody like me or you? I mean, there are famous people who have to make, I presume phone calls, I presume The queen at some stage made phone calls President of the United States or a celebrity make phone calls. Well, if you’re on the receiving end of one of those phone calls, it’s a very memorable day.

But to get a call from the God of the Universe through the words of the Gospel, is the most incredible call of all. And God does call people through the words of the Gospel through the words of the New Testament. The second thing is that the call of God is divine and has divine power.

So it’s not just a natural call. It’s too profound to just be natural. It’s supernatural. There are lots of natural calls, aren’t there? You know the call to dinner, the call to come and visit the call to come to church. But the call to follow Christ is a supernatural call.

And the call of God is not just an external call. There are plenty of things which called to us. The creation calls to us. Take notice of the glory of God. Or you could go to the markets and hear somebody calling to you to come to their stall. You could hear in your ear the call to come and buy some fish or buy some fruit or the kids or the grandchildren called to you. Creatures called to you. But these are external. They can all be dismissed.

They can all be resistant. We can say to the call. No, thanks. Not interested. We say to the salesman? No, thank you. We say to the advertisement. No, thank you.

We can say to the preacher, No, thank you. But when God calls a person, it’s internal and the coal gets into the head and gets into the heart.

When I was a boy, I went to the Billy Graham crusade in 1968 with my brother. My little brother Billy Graham, of course, was the evangelist who God has probably used more than any other in the last hundreds and hundreds of years to call people to come to Christ and to cross the line into the kingdom.

And I went to the crusade and I went with my brother and we both listen to Billy Graham. And the call came externally to both of us. But it did absolutely nothing for me at all. I don’t even didn’t even think about what he was saying. I didn’t listen. I don’t know what he said. I made no response, but my brother, he listened and went forward and became a Christian and was wonderfully changed.

So when God decides, the time is right to call and when he calls a person, it’s effectual. It changes the life. It transforms the person it revolutionises. Think of the apostle Paul the Apostle Paul is a very strict Jew. He’s heard about Christianity. He’s heard about Christ. He hates Christ. He attacks the Christians. Then God calls him, reaches into his life internally, and he’s converted. The spirit of God moves in makes him a brand new person.

And when the apostle Paul, as a Christian, starts writing to the Christians in the different cities of Rome and Corinth and Emphasis, do you know what he calls them? He calls them the called to You who are called, he says, called to follow and trust Christ. So the call of God is incredible and its divine. But it’s also very gracious because the natural state of the human heart is resistant to Christ not receptive. We know this, don’t we? If we start talking to people you know, try taking one of the local school scripture classes. You’ll find the classes against the gospel are not for you. You won’t find the Children in the high school sitting forward and saying, “Tell us more” – you’ll find them looking for loopholes and ways to escape and people you see in the world in which we live across the world are not seeking God. They’re hiding from God.

If we ask the question whether we are by nature sweet, soft, receptive people, the Bible’s answer is no, we’re not.

So why is it that one person does respond to Christ and one person doesn’t respond to Christ? Why is it that a pair of twins could come to church this morning and be sitting in the pew together? One of them? Here’s the call to follow Christ. One of them doesn’t hear the call to follow. Christ. Why is that?

Or perhaps you’ll say, Well, the reason is that we’ve got the power to choose. We can say yes or no. And of course, people today are very, very adamant that we are very, very free.

But the Bible has a much more realistic view of our hearts, and that is it tells us that we’re not spiritually free. For example, in Ephesians, Chapter two, we are by nature, says Paul, dead in our sins and God mercifully, graciously, powerfully changes us. He changes us. He changes our disposition. He changes our resistance into willingness so the I will not follow becomes I will. God changes the person.

And there’s a beautiful picture of this in the Old Testament in Ezekiel in the prophet Ezekiel, where the prophet says, there’ll come a day where God will take out the heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh. And then it says in Ezekiel, 36 that God will put his spirit into people and move them to walk in his ways. That’s a miracle.

It’s a work of God. So imagine I’m walking down the street this afternoon and I see a brick in the middle of the road and I say to the brick, Please get off the road. The brick will not respond.

But if I could change the brick into a willing animal or something like that, of course it could cooperate. God gives a new nature to people in this world so that we respond. One of the Christian workers this week, when I was away, a girl told me how encouraged she was that a young couple had come to the Christian explained course, and they sat there in the Christian explained course. And they’ve heard really, for the first time, about the person of Christ and the work of Christ, and they both become Christians together.

And, she said, They are just so keen. They want to grow. They want to get more information about Christ. They want to follow Christ carefully. They want their Children to know about Christ. They want their friends to know about Christ. We, of course, get quite sleepy about the things of Christ.

But here is a couple hearing for the first time, the great wonder of the Gospel and are completely revolutionised. So that’s the first thing I want to say to you that God has the power to call people.

The second thing is the effect. What happens when God’s call comes to you? What takes place in people’s lives, you know, does the call of God just brush people like a feather? Or does it land like a hand grenade in their world? And the answer is the second.

There’s a lot of meaningless words around at the moment, and in the UK they held a competition for the most annoying cliches that are around today. One of the answers which was put together was, I hear what you’re saying, but with all due respect, it’s not exactly rocket science. Well, there’s a string of fairly meaningless cliches. Here’s another one. Our own cost analysis of the original target shortfall is that we must address things proactively. There’s a string of cliches, and this is the one that won the competition.

The bottom line is that when all is said and done, it’s just part and parcel of the ongoing big picture. There is a string of fairly meaningless cliches, and you’ll notice that they’ve left out two of my favourite cliches, which is getting out of your comfort zone. And at the end of the day, which is just said all the time, fairly harmless, meaningless cliches. But when the call of God comes, it’s not music. It’s not meaningless. It’s not a feather. It changes a person completely. And I want to just tell you some things that will mark the person for whom God’s call comes. Here’s the first.

When God’s call comes, a person will abandon anything and everything that keeps them from Christ to some of you. Remember when the call of Christ came and you decided that there would be nothing that would keep, you know, one who would keep you from following Christ. We abandon anything and everything. You think of John the Baptist going out to preach to the crowds before Jesus arrived and the crowds just poured out to listen to him. And what do they do?

They confess their sins, and they got baptised in the river to say, I want to make a new start and everybody poured out to John the Baptist. All the people of the towns, the tax collectors and the soldiers. They all came out when John the Baptist saw the Pharisees and the suggests. He’s pretending. He said to them, You’re snakes. You’re not really serious about this. So nobody who’s called by God will fail to see their sin as terrible.

And it’s something that needs to be confessed and forsaken. No one who is called by God is going to play a game with Christ again, which goes like this. I’ll follow you. But I’m also in charge of what I do. I’ve often said that, you know, it’s very difficult, isn’t it to walk down the street with your wife on one arm and a mistress on the other arm, and it’s very difficult to walk down the street, holding as it were Christ and holding a secret sin. When the call of God lands on us, we are ready to give up anything and everything that keeps us from Christ.

The second mark of the call of God coming is that we believe that everything we need for salvation is found in Jesus and his cross and his death on the cross in the suburb where I live and I live on the dark side on the other side of the bridge, the council clear up reminds us once or twice a year that we can put anything we like on the curb and it will be taken away.

There’s one or two things they don’t like, but basically they’ll take away anything that you put on the curb. And if they’re in a good mood, they’ll take away anything. Jesus says to people, because I have lived and died, whatever you bring to me to be forgiven, whatever it is I will remove and take it away, I will completely remove the danger and the penalty for the sins you’ve committed.

So the day you put your trust in Jesus, he removes your sins completely. And every time you feel something of the fresh guilt of sin and you go back to him, he says to you, I’ve taken it away because I died for you. And so we find in Jesus’ forgiveness and hope the great preacher deal media is to say, You prove to me you’re a sinner and I’ll prove you’ve got a Saviour.

So the mark of the call of God is that we abandon anything that will keep us from Christ, and we believe that his life and death is completely sufficient for us to be safe and secure with God forever. The third mark of a real call from God is that we call to him.

Sometimes, you know, when I’m talking to a young mum and I’m describing things about myself, which are absolutely fascinating by the way I noticed that she gets a clone, a glazed look over her face because she’s not listening to me anymore. She suddenly heard the child, which is in another room, calling or crying, and so her ears prick up because she hears the call of her child.

Now the wonderful thing about God is that when he calls us and we call to him to be forgiven and saved. He hears our call. He hears our cry, and it’s the mark of a real call from God to us that we call to him. As Paul says in Romans, we call on the Lord in order to be saved.

This is not the pious, formal dead prayer where we just basically tell God what we want as if he’s Santa. You know, there’s a lot of praying that goes on in the world that never leaves the ceiling. There’s a lot of praying that goes in hospitals. It’s got nothing to do with belonging to Christ. It’s really got to do with treating God as an ambulance. There’s a lot of praying that goes on in airports, but when God’s call comes to us, we call to him and we really do want to be forgiven. And we really do want to be saved, and we really do want to be adopted.

And so the call of God lands on us, and it produces a call up to him as well. And the fourth and the last mark of the call of God to us is that we do decide to follow. Christ, we suddenly say I have a Saviour. I want to walk with him through this world until I meet him. I don’t want to just follow rules and regulations and religion.

There’s a person called Christ, I want to follow him. I’ve got a king, I’ve got a shepherd, I’ve got a bride Groom, I’ve got a lover and we begin to learn at Jesus’ feet as we read his word and we begin to speak to him as a disciple to a master or as a child to a father. And we learned to trust him in the good times and the bad times, and we learned to return to him when we drift away. And we learned to keep going when the doubts come and we learn to obey him because we discover that his word is good and right.

One of the most famous calls that ever took place in church history, which has been told many times, is the call of the great preacher Spurgeon and I thought I just read to you as we finished this morning, how Spurgeon was called as a young boy in England back in the last century. well, actually, back in the 1800s, he went to his church and there’s been a terrible snowstorm and the minister didn’t turn up.

At last, says Spurgeon, a very thin looking man, a shoemaker or a tailor or something of that sort went into the pulpit to preach. And his verse, his text was from the Book of Isaiah – look unto me and be saved all the ends of the Earth.

When the man had managed to spin out about 10 minutes or so, he was at the end of his stuff and he looked at me under the gallery. And I dare say, with so few present, he knew that I was a stranger, fixing his eyes on me as if he knew all my heart. He said. Young man, you look very miserable.

Well, I did. But I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance, However, it was a good blow and it struck right home, he continued. You’ll always be miserable, miserable in life and miserable in death if you don’t obey my text. But if you obey this moment, if you look to Christ, you will be saved. Then lifting up his hands, he shouted as only a primitive Methodist could do. Young man, look to Christ. Look, look, look, you have nothing to do but look and live. I saw it once – the way of salvation.

“I know not what else,” he said. “I didn’t take much notice of it. I was so possessed with that one thought I had been waiting to do 50 things for Christ. But when I heard the word ‘look’, what a charming word it seemed. I looked until I could have looked my eyes away.”

And the word we’re thinking of today is this wonderful call of God – that God calls to us to follow Jesus. It’s an incredible call. It’s a divine call, and it’s a gracious call. And when it lands on God, we abandon things that will get in the way. We believe Christ is completely sufficient for our salvation. We call to him because we want to belong and we decide to follow and keep with him forever.

Let’s bow our heads and thank him,

Heavenly father of all the voices which we hear through the week and of all the messages that come to us, there’s no voice and no message more precious than the call from you to follow your Son and to be forgiven and to belong to you forever. We thank you that you are a God who calls and we pray you would help each one here this morning to hear the call of Christ to look and be saved.

We ask that you would work in us what is pleasing to you and helpful for us and help us as we follow, to trust and obey in Jesus’ name, amen.