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Previous Editorials:         Called, But Not Chosen

Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Read also
The Call of Abraham
by Charles Spurgeon

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Editorial Index


  Called, But Not Chosen  

"For many are called, but few are chosen."   Matthew 22:14

Life is a process of elimination and preparation whereby many are called, but only a few chosen. All of creation follows this principle in one form or another. In nature, it is the survival of the fittest. In the world, it is the advancement of the strongest. In the spirit however, it is the broken and the weak who are the chosen.

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence."   1 Cor. 1:26-29

Jesus said, "...I have chosen you out of the world..."   John 15:19   Those who are yet in the world rest not upon Christ, but upon the arm of the flesh and are of no value to the Kingdom of God. These "carnal christians" are never chosen to do great works for God, they haven't the spiritual capacity to do so. (As a footnote here, don't be deceived because a ministry is big, popular or on tv, most of these will burn as wood, stubble and hay.) One prerequisite of the chosen is that they are seperate from the world.

Jesus told Ananias that Saul was"...a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name..."   Acts 9:15   Saul, who was renamed Paul, was a chosen vessel, and just like the temple and its furniture, Paul became holy unto the Lord. Holiness is a consecrated life, a seperated life unto God. Why? To bear His name. There is no way that a vessel full of the filth of this world can bear the holiness of God. The vessel must be emptied and purged, seperated from the world.

To bear the name of the Lord is an awesome responsibility that can only be done in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the power of His Spirit. To bear His name is to represent Christ just as He is, or as Paul put it, we are "...ambassadors for Christ..."   2 Cor. 5:20.

An ambassador may represents the nation he is from, however cannot make policy, nor can he speak for himself, he is the voice of his goverment alone, anything more or less is treason against that nation. Likewise, we are ambassadors for Christ, we cannot make policy nor can we speak for ourselves. We are a voice for the cause of Christ and must represent him exactly as He in the Word, anything more or less is treason against God.

So few called are willing to take up the cross and follow the example of Christ. Therefore, though many are called, few are chosen. As A. W. Pink put it, "How durst thou claim a share in gospel benefits, when tho hadst no regard to gospel rule?"

To bear the name of Jesus is the same as praying in His name. Both require a personal knowledge of the Lord, both require a total surrender to the Lord, and both require an imitation of the Lord. To do less is to "...take the name of the LORD thy God in vain..."   Exodus 20:7

Less is more in the economy of God. We become strong only when we are weak. To be chosen, you must become nothing, even as Christ our example had done before us.

"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

"He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born.

"He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood.

"While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying and that was His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Such was His human life."     (By James Francis)

But more than just humility, the chosen vessel must always be faithful. "...they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."   Revelation 17:14  Faithfulness to the cause, becuase it is not to the man who runs, but to him who finishes. Faithfulness is the chosen man's motto, faithful to the end, even unto death. "...and they loved not their lives unto the death."   Revelation 12:11

Many are called, but only a few are chosen. They are chosen because they have obeyed the Lord and are known of Him. Remember the words of our Lord when He said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, (called ones) shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father (chosen ones) which is in heaven."   Matthew 7:21

by Randy Munter


Called with an Holy Calling
By Robert Murray M'Cheyne

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Timothy 1:9).

THERE ARE TWO WAYS in which men are called to believe the gospel. There is an outward and an inward calling, an earthly and a heavenly calling. All believers are "partakers of the heavenly calling" (Hebrews 3:1).

The outward call comes to all who hear the gospel sound: "Many are called, but few chosen." Every time the church bell rings it is a call. It says, "Come away sinner, thy sabbaths are numbered. Eternity is at hand. God's people are hastening to the house of God, God's stewards are dealing out the bread of life. Sinner do not stay behind; Jesus is ringing for thee, inviting thee, wooing thee. If thou wouldst but listen, it would sound as joyfully as a marriage bell."

Ah! there are multitudes in Scotland who hear no more of the gospel than the bell, and that will be enough to condemn them in the great day. The open church door is a call. It seems to say, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able". "Go ye to them that sell, and buy for yourselves," lest the bridegroom come and the door be shut.

"Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou wilt win."

The lighted windows of the church at evening are a solemn call. They cry in your ears, "Jesus is the light of the world". "Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you." Jesus hath lighted a candle, and is sweeping the house, and seeking diligently to find lost pieces of silver. "The village spire that points the way to heaven," is a silent call. It says, Look up stedfastly into heaven, and see the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. "Seek those things which are above. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth."

The voice of the preacher is a call. It says, "Repent and believe the gospel, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". "We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God." Every tract given in at your door is a divine call. It says, "I have a message from God unto thee". "Behold I stand at the door and knock." Every leaf of your Bible is a call. It says, "Search the scriptures. I am able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. I am given by inspiration of God, and am profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness."

The death of every unconverted friend is a loud call. It says, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish". "It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after death the judgment." "Prepare to meet thy God." It may truly be said of every sinner that shall read these words, that you are now called, warned, invited to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold on Christ set before you. If you have not got enough to save you, you have enough to condemn you.

But all who are in Christ have received the inward call. All, who like Timothy, have "unfeigned faith", and have received "the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind", have been "saved and called with a holy calling". This is the work of the Holy Spirit; and therefore it is called a holy calling. It is the call of the unseen Almighty Spirit who sweetly inclines the will, and melts the heart of the sinner. It is there a saving call. When Jesus said to Matthew, "follow me", the Spirit breathed upon his heart, and made him willing: "He arose and followed Jesus." When Paul preached to the Thessalonians, he gave the outward call.

Had Paul stood alone, they would have remained as hard as the rocks that dash back the waves of the Aegean Sea. But the Spirit breathed upon their hearts, and so the "gospel came not unto them in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" (1 Thessalonians 1:5). When Paul preached at Philippi by the river's side, many a Grecian matron had the outward call. His words fell pleasantly upon their ears. Still all remained unmoved but one; one heart was opened, a foreigner whose dark eye told that she came from the sunny plains of Asia. "The Lord opened the heart of Lydia" (Acts 16:14).

O sinner! do not think that your reading or hearing the gospel will of itself save your soul. Do not think that because you have a Bible, a minister, and a place in the house of God, that you are therefore on the way to heaven. Remember God must save you, and call you with an holy calling. If you are not quickened from above, your outward calls will only be the savour of death unto death to your soul. It will be one of the chief miseries of hell to remember the texts and sermons that you heard on earth, when you would not come to Christ and have life.

Bless God, you who have been "saved and called with an holy calling", for it is "not according to your works, but according to His purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began". Every saved soul can say, "He hath not dealt with me after my sins, nor rewarded me according to mine iniquities". He has called me out of darkness into marvellous light, from under wrath and curse to pardon and peace with God, from death unto life.

How many He has passed by that were no worse than me. But He has been willing to make known the riches of His glory on me, a vessel of mercy which He had afore prepared unto glory. How sure my sinful soul is of glory. He calls from heaven, and calls to heaven. "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified." "Bless the Lord, O my soul."

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© 1999 The Old Time Gospel Ministry
"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."