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The Nature of Your Calling

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  1. The Nature of Your Calling Dr. J.L. WilliamsJL, Patt & Friendswww.JLwilliams.org Biblical Principles for Living Series

  2. Introduction • I and II Corinthians are two of Paul’s most personal and emotional letters • We get to see inside Paul’s head in I Corinthians • II Corinthians shows us Paul’s heart • Through the following texts, the true nature of our calling, conduct, and character will be revealed • The confidence of our calling • The convictions of our calling • The conflicts of our calling • The comforts of our calling

  3. Texts • “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me his prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” • “…partakes of a heavenly calling…” (Heb. 3:1) • …” I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling (KJV) of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14)

  4. 1. The Confidence of Our Calling • Jesus said: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit…” (Jn. 15:16). • We are “draftees”, not volunteers • Because he had confidence in God’s will, Paul had confidence in his work – but not his worthiness • “I am the least of the Apostles because I persecuted the church of God.” (I Cor. 15:9)

  5. 1. The Confidence of Our Calling • We all have something in our past that we feel will disqualify us from being used by God • …“For if I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (I Cor. 9:16) • God sent these words to Paul • “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16)

  6. 1. The Confidence of Our Calling • Here we see how Paul reflects upon his calling: • “I am under obligation both to the Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish…” (Rom. 1:14) • How does this apply to you? • As a servant you are called to move from the superficial to sacrificial; as a steward you are called to move from the shallow to the spiritual. • We represent God! • “Therefore, we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us…” (II Cor. 5:20)

  7. 1. The Confidence of Our Calling • What is the role of an ambassador? • “Therefore, we have as our ambition…to be pleasing to Him” (II Cor. 5:9) • Displeasing to the world • Paul had a great sense of partnership with him • “For we are God’s fellow-workers…” (I Cor. 3:9) • Other religions do not work with who they believe in

  8. 1. The Confidence of Our Calling • The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit • “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you anotherHelper that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive…but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in You.” (Jn. 14:16-17) • You must have confidence in our resources • You must believe that God will provide all of your needs

  9. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • You must have a good attitude • Paul positively speaks of “This gracious work…” (II Cor. 8:19) • He reminds the Thessalonians of their “Labor of love” (I Thess. 1:3) • Ministry is a work of grace- grace is love • It is a co-ministry • No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (Jn. 6:44) Jesus further said: “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.” (Jn 6:65)

  10. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • We cannot save anyone • The Holy Spirit was there before us • He will continue to nurture and water after we leave • We must keep a clear conscience and honest motives • For our proud confidence is this: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relationship with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God.” (I Cor. 1:12)

  11. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • You must have the conviction that you are an example to others • “Be imitators of me…” (I Cor. 4:16 and I Cor. 11:1) • Note the dependence upon Paul as their spiritual father to complete dependency upon God, their Heavenly Father

  12. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • After Paul demonstrated humble servant leadership by washing disciples feet, Jesus said: • “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (Jn. 13:15) • We must have the conviction to be sensitive to others • “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.” (I Cor. 8: 9-13)

  13. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • We must have the conviction to maintain financial integrity • “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift.” (II Cor 8: 20) • We must have the conviction to control our bodily appetites • This is not in a “food” sense- it speaks of worldly possessions • We must never forget that “Self-control” is one of the “fruits of the Holy Spirit.” (Gal. 5: 23)

  14. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • We must have the conviction to never abuse by authority • “This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority – the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” (II Cor. 13: 10) • We must have the conviction to be a professional lover • We are called to agape love • “…The greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13: 13) • Pauldoes this in his own life “I have you in my heart” (II Cor. 7: 3; Phil. 1: 7)

  15. 2. The Convictions of Our Calling • Paul could summarize his ministry by: • “Let all that you do be one in love.” (I Cor. 16: 14) • We must have the conviction to be an affirmer • “I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” (I Cor. 11, 2) • One of the greatest ways to “build” others is through praise • The greatest affirmation is love

  16. 3. The Conflicts of Our Calling • When you have strong confidence and deep convictions you will have great conflicts. • As faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must be prepared for our external suffering and afflictions • “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Cor. 12: 10)

  17. 3. The Conflicts of Our Calling • Suffering is purposeful! • Comfort in others • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (II Cor. 1: 3-5) • Humility in me • “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” (II Cor. 12: 7) • Reward in heaven • For our light and momentary trouble are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (II Cor. 4: 17)

  18. 3. The Conflicts of Our Calling • We must be prepared for internal doubts and fears • “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair…” (II Cor. 4: 8b) • Note the relationship between the internal and external • Domino principle: physical>emotional>mental>spiritual • We must learn to deal with pressure and being over-worked • “For you recall, brethren, our labor, and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of your, we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God” (I Thess. 2: 9; II Thess. 3: 8)

  19. 3. The Conflicts of Our Calling • We must learn to pace ourselves • “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?” (II Cor. 11: 28-29) • We must learn to deal with criticism and misunderstanding • “Blessed are you when men revile you… persecute you…say all kinds of evil again you falsely…” (Matt 5: 11)

  20. 3. The Conflicts of Our Calling • How will you deal with criticism? • Negative • Anger • Retaliate • Vengeance • Bitterness • Positive • Is it true? • Is it deserved? • Am I being persecuted for foolishness or righteousness, obedience or disobedience, maturity or immaturity, spirituality or carnality, child-likeness or childesness?

  21. 4. The Comforts of Our Calling • We can take comfort in the assurance that our labors will be fruitful • “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Ga. 6: 9) • “Are you not my work in the Lord?” (I Cor. 9:1) • We can take comfort in the eternal relationships that are born and grown in ministry • “Jesus said them, ‘I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sate will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.’” (Matt. 19: 28-29)

  22. 4. The Comforts of Our Calling • You must build your life and ministry around being a team player • The Acronym TEAM • T-ogether • E-veryone • A-ccomplishes • M-ore • Paul speaks of the comfort of a team • “they have refreshed my spirit.” (I Cor. 16: 18)

  23. 4. The Comforts of Our Calling • There are spiritual rewards • “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (I Cor. 3: 8-15)

  24. Review The confidences of our calling The convictions of our calling The conflicts of our calling The comforts of our calling