Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade

August 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, Uncategorized | 19 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Have you ever heard someone say that he was “called to preach?” Or “called to teach?” Or “called to join the choir?” How does this work? Is it like when someone says, “God laid this on my heart?” “God told me to go back to that person and ask her if she’s okay?” Have you ever felt left out and lonely because it seems like everyone but you is getting private messages from the Lord telling them what to do? Did it make you feel like the sterotypical broken-hearted lover staring at the phone – just trying to will it to ring?

Christian publishers and booksellers have capitalized on this idea with books and devotionals like Jesus Calling, in which a young lady claims to have written down what Jesus told her privately, so she can pass it on to the readers.

I will confess that I am not sure what to do with all this. I have never to my knowledge heard the audible voice of God. There have been a few times when I have felt like He wanted me to do something, and I am often convicted about my sin – in my heart – but I never know for sure how to discern whether I’m hearing directly from God, or if it’s just something that occurred to me.

I don’t know what God might be calling you to do, but I do know that there are some things that He calls all Christians to do in the Bible. I like these much better than ambiguous feelings and nudgings which are open to my own private interpretation. Some of them are pleasant, some are not. “Die to self daily.” That’s a calling, but it’s not always easy to do. “Give your spouse a lot of hugs.” That’s easy (for me, anyway. My wife may see it differently!) In this short series I want to point out three things that you have been called to – in the Bible. They are specifically for Christians (and even more specifically for church members), and they are found in I Corinthians Chapter 1.

I Corinthians is a letter that the Holy Spirit used the Apostle Paul to write to the church at Corinth. Paul had been there for about 18 months before moving on, and now he was writing to address the problems they were having.

I. We are Called to Pure Upgrade

Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

I Corinthians 1:1

Now, Paul was directly called by God. He didn’t become an Apostle by finding a Bible verse that told him to do it, but the age of the capital A Apostles is over, so that call – in the truest sense – is not for us. It is the next verse that lists a calling which every Christian has received, and which every Christian needs to answer.

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

I Corinthians 1:2

Notice that the Holy Spirit is addressing the church of God which is at Corinth. This was a local church body – an organized local fellowship of believers meeting together. You don’t have to go to a local church to be a Christian. You also don’t have to go home to be married, but I would be a terrible husband if I never went home, and I would be a poor Christian if I didn’t go to church frequently and regularly.

Notice also the two types of sanctification in Verse 2: positional (“are sanctified”), which means that Christians are set apart in Christ Jesus, marked by God as belonging to Him; and progressive, which deals with our participation (“called to be saints”). God has called us to be special – sacred – set apart – set apart from the world – and set apart unto Him.

Our sanctification classification comes with gifts, too. The Corinthian church members were wealthy in gifts.

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

I Corinthians 1:4-5

They were especially wealthy in revelatory gifts. Our spiritual gifts are given to us by God so that we can use them not as trophies to brag about, or toys to play with, or weapons to fight each other with, but as tools with which to build Christ’s Church.

So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

I Corinthians 1:7

We are building a building of fleshly stones – believers brought into the Kingdom and placed in the body of Christ to serve and glorify Him.

This is one of the clearest callings for Christians: the call to pure upgrade. When we get saved, the blame for our sins is taken away, but we are still blameworthy on a daily basis. Our sanctification is about going from being blameworthy to blameless.

Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:8

Blameless is not sinless, but it does have to do with the purification of our motives.

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

I Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful to get us to a state of blameless sanctification. We could not do it on our own, but we are “called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ,” and that fellowship is promoted and enriched by our sanctification, just as it is hindered and strained when we move backward from blamelessness.

Next time, we will see another clear call for Christians: the call to proper unity.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] 1. Wholly Holy 2. Noisy Neighbors 3. Acts and the Apostles: Activated, Authorized, Audible, and Accountable 4. Friends or Foes? 5. Panicked Pressing 6. Naming Neighbors 7. From Power to Proclamation to Prayer 8. Pouting Pastoral Pathetic Pity Party Permanently Postponed 9. From Frequent Formal Faithful Following, Flows Full Foundational Fellowship 10. Preaching, Pressing, and Pushing On 11. Insincerity, Inaccuracy, or Incompletion? 12. Porcine Predilection Predates Powerful Prevailing Pardon, Prompting Personal Purity 13. Falling, Flooding, and Facing Facts 14. Lord, Leader, and Ladder 15. Comparisons, Calculations, and Christophany 16. Beware of Fabrics, Frolicking, and Friends 17. Rehearsing Repetitive Roman Reigns Really Recognizes Right Reckoning 18. Bold Mouths, Beautiful Fee, and Blindfolded Eyes (*) 19. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 1 20. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 2 21. Sacrificially Submitting Surrendered Sanctified Service 22. Doubtful Disputations Deter Doxological Demonstrations Displaying Desired Decorum 23. Leavnless Lump 24. Heaping Helpings of Holy Hatred? Or Refusing Revenge for the Right Reasons? 25. Saved, Sure, and Serving? Or Suspicious, Sedentary, and Slothful? 26. Preaching and Praying in Prosperity and Predicaments 27. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful? 28. Prayer, Protection, Praise, and Posture 29. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious? 30. Quick Quiz Quietens Questioning Qualms 31. Inhabiting and Investigating Your Marriage 32. Influence, Intercession, and Inheritance in Marriage 33. Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance 34. Scorn, Schemes, Scoundrels, Schizophrenics, and Scares 35. Learning, Loving, and Living the Word 36. Condemning the Princes, Prophets, and Priests 37. Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade […]

  2. […] 1. Discipleship Lessons Promo 2. A Match Made in Heaven Part 1 3. A Match Made in Heaven Part 2 4. The “Great” that Doesn’t “Grate” – Part One 5. The “Great” that Doesn’t “Grate” – Part Two 6. The Great Trading-Post 7. What Is God Like? 8. Brain “Washing” Produces “Clean” Living (Part 1) 9. Brain “Washing” Produces “Clean” Living (Part 2) 10. Turning Up the Heat – Part 1 11. Turning Up the Heat – Part 2 12. Turning Up the Heat – Part 3 13. Careless Love – Part 1 14. Careless Love – Part 2 (Divine Rapid Heart Rate) 15. Careless Love – Part 3 16. T.K.O. Your Pastor (#1) 17. T.K.O. Your Pastor (#2) 18. The Solemn Ascension 19. Is It Wrong to Ask for an Overt Response? (Part 1) 20. Is It Wrong to Ask for an Overt Response? (Part 2) 21. The Lord’s Leftovers 22. The Last but Not the Least – Part 1 23. The Last but Not the Least – Part 2 24. The Last but Not the Least – Part 3 25. Dr. Law and Dr. Grace 26. Healing for Truly Broken Hearts 27. The Husband of One Wife – Part 1 28. The Husband of One Wife – Part 2 29. The Devil’s Math 30. Setting Up Your Own Place 31. Testing Your Testimony 32. The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 1) 33. The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2) 34. Practical Intentional Evangelism 35. High and Mighty 36. Calling Witnesses (Part 1) 37. Calling Witnesses (Part 2) 38. Calling Witnesses (Part 3) 39. Faithful to Him and to Each Other 40. Leading Instead of Watching 41. The Hard Work of Encouragement 42. The Redeemer Is Prophesied 43. Christian Lifeguards 44. Leavenless Lump 45. How Tall Was Jesus? (*) 46. Do You Have Plans for Lunch? 47. What Are You Hungry For? 48. The Breathtaking Wonder of God 49. The Helmet of Salvation 50. Being At-TENT-ive to God 51. Home Is Where Your Lord Is 52. It’s Time to Grow Up 53. Biblical Men 54. Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part One) 55. Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part Two) 56. Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part Three) 57. Fathers and Daughters 58. Only Jesus 59. Snakes on a Plain (Part 1) 60. Snakes on a Plain (Part 2) 61. Snakes on a Plain (Part 3) 62. Servant Movers (Commitment) 63. Servant Movers (Character and Conduct) 64. The Lord’s Love Song 65. Don’t Grieve the Holy Spirit 66. Four-Dimensional Love (Part 1) 67. Four-Dimensional Love (Part 2) 68. From What Were You Saved? (A and B) 69. From What Were You Saved? (C) 70. Sharpening Your Focus 71. Preparation for the Battle 72. The Day of Distress 73. Getting Full (Part 1) 74. Getting Full (Part 2) 75. God Knows Something about Everything 76. How to Get High in Christian Ministry 77. How to Read the Bible (and Get Something out of It): Part 1 78. How to Read the Bible (and Get Something out of It): Part 2 79. How to Read the Bible (and Get Something out of It): Part 3 80. Christian F.R.I.E.N.D.S.hip (Part 1) 81. Christian F.R.I.E.N.D.S.hip (Part 2) 82. Put It On and Pack It On 83. Pass It On and Pour It On 84. Preparing to Hear from God: Ready 85. Preparing to Hear from God: Receptive 86. Preparing to Hear from God: Responsive 87. Remembering the Garlic 88. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Revelatory) 89. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Restrictive) 90. Three Reasons for Ten Commandments (Reflective) 91. Your Vocation 92. Why We’re so Difficult 93. Where Is Jesus in the Bible? (lesson 1) 94. Where Is Jesus in the Bible? (lesson 2) 95. Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade […]

  3. I’m thinking that first image may not be the one you intended 😦

    I haven’t ever heard the audible voice of God. There have been times when I have thought I’ve received a pretty direct message from Him somehow, and still I questioned it one side and down the other.

    I was in a small church once where several of the members would frequently say, “God told me that you ____.” Even as a teenager, I thought it bizarre that God would use Brother (or Sister) so-n-so to deliver His very specific message.

    My mind is full of family, work, obligations this morning as I sit at the computer ready to pound out some more on this manuscript. I am thankful for your reminder about sanctification and blameworthy / blameless which helped refocus on what Christ would have me accomplish today over the demands of my day timer.

  4. Yeah, I’m not sure what happened there, but thank you for reading and commenting. Seems like the safest thing is to always question any “word from God” against what’s in the Bible. I’m certain that He can’t contradict Himself.

  5. […] I. We are called to Pure Upgrade. Additionally: […]

  6. […] I. We are called to Pure Upgrade. II. We are called to Proper Unity. and III. We are called to Point Upward. […]

  7. […] hard work. Our encouragement is in the reminder that “doing” something in response to God’s calling is doing something that is “well,” something that is “good.” And that, eventually, if we […]

  8. […] and humbly serving, then helpful and gifted women will be better able to exercise their callings in Christ liberally and without a weight of worldly oppression constraining them in a container of guarded […]

  9. […] conversion is not the permission to lapse into spiritual activity. Instead, it is the beginning of our call to serve our Master, King, Lord, Older Brother, and Best Friend, the Lord Jesus […]

  10. […] Paul did not become an Apostle because that was his goal and he worked hard for it. He recognized that it was God’s decision God’s action that caused it to happen. […]

  11. […] calling is to glorify God. Therefore our conduct – the way we behave – must bring glory to […]

  12. […] Corinthians beleivers had been “washed” (regenerated), “sanctified” (set apart for God’s use and identification), and “justified” […]

  13. […] should feel left out or “giftless,” but it also means that you are depriving the Body of Christ of something that God wants it to have if you are neglecting to exercise your spiritual gift or […]

  14. […] is likened to the wind in Scripture. Those who trust in Christ receive the Holy Spirit, and the process of practical sanctification begins. The “chaff” – that which is useless and […]

  15. […] 1. Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade (1:1-9) 2. Clear Calls for Christians: Proper Unity (1:10-23) 3. Clear Calls for Christians: Point Upward (1:26-29) 4. How We Know What We Know (1-2) 5. Pavlov’s Kids (1:20-21) 6. What Christians Want You to Know (1:23) 7. The Foolishness of God? (1:25) 8. Knowers, Growers, and Showers (3:1-13) 9. It’s Time to Grow Up (3:1-9) 10. Wise Watering (3:5-6) 11. Quarterback Commandment No. 9 (3:13-15) 12. What the Knows Have and What the Know-Nots Have Not (3:15-23) 13. Ministers Must be Managers (4:1-5) 14. Faithful to Him and to Each Other (4:2; 12:14) 15. Ministers Must be Meek (4:1-13) 16. Ministers Must be Mild (4:14-21) 17. Pride Is Everywhere (4:7; 5:6-7) 18. The Know-Bodies (5:1-5) 19. Delivery and Birth (5:1-5) 20. Beware the Fight with the Flesh (5:1-5) 21. Spiritual Body Shaming (5:6-13) 22. Leavenless Lump (5:7:11) 23. Know When to Say Know (6) 24. Mercy / Memory (6:9-11) 25. Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to be Detestable (6:9-11) 26. Adiaphora and Analyzing Ambiguous Activities (6:12; 8:13; 10:23, 31, 33) 27. Fooling Around with Celibacy in Marriage (7:1-2, 7, 32-37) 28. Having a F.I.N.E. Marriage (7:1-5, 9, 32-37) 29. Getting Busy in Marriage (7:2-5) 30. A Concupiscible Marriage (7:2-5) 31. Imagination in Marriage (7:2-5) 32. Guarding the Top of the Wall in Marriage (6:15-18) 33. An Irascible Marriage (7:2-5) 34. A Knowledgeable Marriage (7:11-16) 35. Know Your Real Identity (7:17-23) 36. Having a P.C. Marriage (7:25-35) 37. What the Knows Ought to Know about Conscience (8) 38. Know Your Rights (9) 39. A Prize-Winning Run (9:24-26) 40. Know Your Limits (10:1-28) 41. Quarterback Commandment No. 4 (10:11-13) 42. The Blessings of an Unhappy Marriage Part 2 (10:13) 43. Head Knowledge (11:1-15) 44. Order in the Church (11:23-25) 45. The Cause, Confusion, and Consequences: Problems with the Lord’s Supper (11:17-30) 46. Forgetting To Remember – Part 1 (11:24) 47. Forgetting To Remember – Part 2 (11:24) 48. The “Ways” to Remember (11:24, 4:17) 49. Forget-Me-Nots (11:24) 50. How the Knows are Gifted (12:1-6) 51. Discipleship Lesson 6: The Local Church (6:19; 12:14-28) 52. The Determination, Demonstration, Distribution, and Designation of the Spiritual Gifts (12:7-31) 53. Love and Order (13) 54. Suffering in Marriage 55. LONGsuffering in Marriage * 56. Be Kind to Your Spouse 57. Objections to Being Kind to Your Spouse 58. Jump-Starting Your Marriage 59. Performing a Biopsy on Your Marriage 60. Getting the Puffiness Out of Your Marriage 61. More Testing for Puffiness in Your Marriage 62. A C.A.L.M. and Courteous Marriage 63. A C.A.L.M. and Accommodating Marriage 64. A C.A.L.M. and Longsuffering Marriage 65. A C.A.L.M. and Merciful Marriage 66. The Right Kind of Rejoicing in Marriage 67. Practical Principles for Policing the Exercise of Spiritual Gifts in Church (14) 68. Up from the Grave with the Knows! (15) 69. A Major Breaking News Story (15:3-4) 70. Put It On and Pack It On (15:9-10) 71. Vanity Must be Expelled (15:53-58) 72. Immortality Must be Entered Into (15:53:58) 73. Corruption Must be Eliminated (15:53-54) 74. Thankfulness Must be Expressed (15:57) 75. Opportunity Must be Embraced (15:55-58) 76. Reality Must be Encountered (15:56) 77. Yesterday Must be Eclipsed (15:58) 78. The Needs of the Knows (16:1-14) 79. The Addict (His Characteristics) (16:15-18) 80. The Addict (Signs of Addiction) (16:15) […]

  16. […] with Christians getting the victory over sin and fighting against it all the way to our ultimate sanctification and glorification, make it clear that no Christian ever reaches a state in this lifetime where he […]

  17. […] love is revealed to be the motivating attribute behind His “call.” To “draw” is a more forceful term than it sounds like in modern English. It has the […]

  18. […] how marvelous He is. Jesus is not our “product;” He is the Rescuer of our souls and the Changer of our lives. Most people speak with respect about their company or their product or their boss, but they speak […]

  19. […] whom are ye also the called of Jesus […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: