THE LASTING EFFECT OF ANSWERING THE CALL OF THE LORD
THE LASTING EFFECT OF ANSWERING THE CALL OF THE LORD
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
American Baptist - United Methodist
1 MAY 1994
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
I truly believe that every single person is called by the Lord to believe in Him and to serve Him.
I also believe that many of these people are also called into special service; but not everyone is willing to answer that call.
Let’s take a look at Isaiah 6:1-8 and hear the conversation that took place between the Lord and Isaiah:
1. In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
2. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3. And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4. And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
5. Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
6. Then one of the seraphim flew to me, with a burning coal in his hand which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7. And he touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is forgiven.”
8. Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
What do you think would have happened if Isaiah had not answered the call? How would this have affected the people in his day, and even those in this very day?
And what do you think happens when we fail to answer God’s call? How many people and situations are affected?
But fortunately, as we have just heard, Isaiah did hear the call, and he was willing to serve the Lord.
Now, I am going to take you more than 700 years into the future, from the time of Isaiah’s acceptance to become God's prophet to the time shortly after Jesus' resurrection, a time nearly 2,000 years ago.
Philip was not one of the apostles, but he was a disciple of Jesus, as every one of us should be.
Philip willingly became a deacon in the church, serving in whatever capacity he could, according to his calling.
He, like Isaiah, accepted God’s call.
Let's join Philip on a morning back then, when an angel spoke to him, beginning at Acts 8:26.
26. But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)
27. And he arose and went; and behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship.
Since the time of King Solomon there has been a Jewish population in Ethiopia, not of the descendants of Abraham, but from among the Ethiopians themselves.
The Queen of Sheba went up to Jerusalem, and became so impressed with what God was doing for His people, and the wisdom He had given Solomon, that she became a convert and believed in God.
Because of her obedience to the call of God, many in her country also believed.
And more than 900 years afterwards, this eunuch, in obedience to God, goes up to Jerusalem to worship.
28. And he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.
29. And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."
30. And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
31. And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
There are many such occasions in all of our lives, when the Lord sends someone to us to help our spiritual life.
As with Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and Isaiah, and Philip, and this Ethiopian, we each have the free will to accept God's call, or to reject it.
32. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:
"He was led as a sheep to slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.
33. "In humiliation His judgment was taken away;
Who shall relate His generation?
For His life is removed from the earth."
34. And the eunuch answered Philip and said, "Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or of someone else?"
35. And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.
There have been many times in all of our lives when we’ve had the opportunity to answer such a question for someone.
Such an opportunity was not a coincidence; it was from the Lord.
It was from the Lord, whether or not we were prepared to answer it.
If we were prepared to answer it, we were there to help that person.
If we were not prepared, it was to convict us in the depths of our heart and soul that we are to become prepared, for we fell short of the calling of God.
But when we are prepared, as was Philip, note the results:
36. And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?"
37. [And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."] *
38. And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Now look at how all of this has tied together over a span of 1,000 years.
The Ethiopian official was there because of the faith generated in the Queen of Sheba by the presence of God in Solomon.
It was Isaiah's obedience that left the lasting prophecy that pointed to Jesus.
And it was Philip's obedience and preparedness that explained the Scriptures to the Ethiopian, and led him to salvation through the Holy Spirit.
39. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.
40. But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea.
Now, we find ourselves here nearly 2,000 years later, and everything that took place has been recorded for us, and was heard by us this very day.
There is no one who is a Christian, who has not been called.
So, I ask you, are you prepared to accept that call, and prepare yourselves for that calling, that no matter where you are led by the Holy Spirit, each of you will perform at least as well as did Phillip?
And, are you willing to be led into higher callings?
Let us pray!
* Many early manuscripts do not contain this verse (Acts 8:37).
Your Comments are welcome
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