LIVE OUT YOUR CALLING
The early church was a loving, learning, worshipping, joyful, and witnessing community. However, in Acts 4, challenges began to appear as Satan tried to stop the church by persecution and corruption. Jewish religious leaders arrested Peter and John for preaching in public about Jesus as the crucified and resurrected Messiah (after they healed a lame beggar). Ananias and Sapphira exercised deceit in giving.
In Acts 6, the apostles were tempted to distract from their primarily calling of the Ministry of the Word and Prayer in order to do social work.
A. The problem (Acts 6:1) - There were widows among them who had no relatives to support them and could not earn a living. The early church assumed the responsibility to look after them.
B. The solution (6:2-6) - In doing so, the apostles recognized that administration would consume their time and cause them to neglect the ministry of the word. The apostles called a church meeting to share the problem with the congregation, and proposed that they (v.3) “choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
The community presented seven men - Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas- to the apostles, and these men were commissioned and authorized to carry out the ministry to look after the Hellenistic widows.
C. The outcome (6:7) - By delegating the social work, the apostles were able to focus on their calling and task of attending to the ministry of the word. Luke further writes that “the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” (v. 7b)
Know your calling - The apostles were conscious of their calling and were deliberate in following it. They would not allow challenges such as the issue of food distribution steer them away from pursuing their calling. What is God’s calling for you? David Platt suggests four categories of God’s call.
God’s call to salvation.
God calls everyone to come to faith in Jesus Christ, to turn away from their sins and turn toward God and His plan for salvation in Christ. Peter preached this message on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38b-39). This call was not just for the Jews but also the Gentiles (1 Cor. 1:23-24).
When we received God’s call to salvation and responded in faith, according to the Holy Scriptures, something supernatural happened to us - we became a new creation, united with Christ and having our identity rooted in him. As Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
God’s call to mission.
In John 20:21, Jesus tells his disciples, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Every person who receives God’s call to salvation also receives God’s call to mission to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20).
God’s call to station.
Our station in life includes our family, church, and country where God has called and placed us. What is the station that God has called you to? Are you faithful to God’s calling to be a father, mother or child? Do you participate in the local church through volunteer service and giving? Are you a responsible law abiding citizen of your country?
God’s call to service.
We discern God’s call for our vocation through prayer, by examining our gifts, talents and skills, our temperament, our life circumstances in terms of our education and training, etc. We also invite others to join us in mutual discernment in seeking God’s call to serve in a specific vocation.
How can you be faithful in God’s calling?
Anchor your life in God’s Word. One of the frontal attacks of Satan is to distract us from knowing the Bible which reveals God’s will on how we can be faithful in living out our calling. The bible is like a GPS, we must follow its directions, otherwise we will not get to our destination.
Identify the distractions in your life.
It is not always the bad things that cause us to go sideways in our faith journey. Sometimes, it is the good, nice things that steer our hearts away and deviate us from the path that God has called us to. As Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
We live life to the fullest when we live out God’s calling for our lives. Do not allow distractions in life to steer us away from God’s call to salvation, God’s call to mission, and God’s call to station as God leads us to changing vocations at different times, different places, and in different ways.
What aspect of last Sunday’s message most encouraged or challenged you? Why?
In Acts 6:2,3 what calling/ministry were the apostles very clear about? What was the outcome of the apostles’ action in addressing the problem by delegating the social work in order to focus on their calling and task of attending to the ministry of the word according to verse 6:7? How would being clear about God’s call for your life and focusing on it help you finish well? What do you think will be the outcome if you are focused on fulfilling God’s call for your life?
Read Ephesians 4:1-6. Paul describes how a follower of Jesus can walk in a manner worthy of Christ’s calling. Please identify each step. How would walking in them impact your family and those whom you are sharing the gospel with?
Read 1 Peter 5:8-10. Trial/persecution is one of Satan’s tactics to distract us from living out God’s call. According to this text, how will we overcome Satan’s distractions?
Read Hebrews 12:1-3. Give examples of the hindrances that you are facing. What steps will you take to overcome or remove them from your life?
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