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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 13) - Knowing your calling # 1

Sunday English Service - 04 FEB 18

Transcript

Please turn with me to Ephesians chapter 2, we've been teaching on about work, what the Bible teaches about work. And last week I spoke about calling, job, work, profession, and so on. Showed you what the differences between calling and all these things. Today I want to talk about calling and how you may know your calling. What are you called to do? It's a very important subject I think and specially for the young people who are beginning their professional life, or about to begin their professional life. I think it will be very useful and even for others who are here, we need to know what the Bible teaches concerning these things because we need to clearly guide others, even others who have lived out our lives. I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about... we need to be able to guide others biblically, showing them how to do it, alright. I'm going to read to you a definition, I'm going to then go to the scripture and show you where the definition comes from. Where I think it comes from, and then go on from there and talk about how you may find your calling.

The definition comes from a man named Os Guinness, he's a very famous person, written a lot of books and wonderful teacher of truth and he says this about calling. He says, "Calling is a truth that God calls us to Himself, so decisively, that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism, lived out as a response to his summons and service." Let me read it one more time a little slow, "Calling is a truth that God calls us to Himself, so decisively, that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism. Lived out as a response to his summons and service." Now let me explain what this is all about, he means to say that calling is about how God has, first of all, called us to Himself, our calling is to Jesus Christ. Calling to Himself, and He has called us to Himself so decisively so that knowing that we are called by God to Himself we then offer everything that we are and everything that we have and everything that we do. With special devotion and dynamism, enthusiasm, and energy. And live out our life in response to his summons and his service.

Now turn with me to Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10 I'll read to you and explain how... what we can make of this definition and then we'll talk about how you may find your calling. Chapter 2, verse 10 -- For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. -- I have to explain this if you read the definition again, it will really make sense. What the apostle Paul is saying is this, if you read from verse 1, he's talking about how we were dead in sins and trespasses, and how God who's rich in mercy saved us from that sin and brought us to Himself. So that, verse 8 says, by grace are we saved through faith. And verse 9 says, it's not of works, lest anyone should boast. There is nothing to boast, it's all God's grace, he says. And then he says, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, he refers to this new creation, not the original creation. This new creation after sin and the fall has happened. Now we needed to be recreated, he's referring to that. We are His workmanship, he's got the picture of God making the world and making man in his mind. He says, once again the same God who took the dust of the earth and formed man's body and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and made man a living being and gave him work and purpose and meaning and so on. That same God, once again gone to work to His redeeming work now, and we are His workmanship. Because we were lost, because we have perished in our sins, we were dead in our sins, the God who first formed man and breathed into him the breath of life and made him a living being, has now once again, through the cross of Calvary through the redemptive work on the cross of Calvary where He gave His life and shed His blood. Through that in a different way, He has again worked on us and formed us as new creation, given us new life. In that way, we are God's workmanship, created or recreated you may say, in Christ Jesus for good works. Now this is very important, for good works, or if I say it a little differently I think it will make more sense in our context. He has created us in Christ Jesus so that we may do the works or the work or the things, which God had prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The 'beforehand' refers to how before the foundation of the world, God in His infinite wisdom, has determined and decided what we should do. He has prepared beforehand means not just a few days ago, beforehand refers to before the world was even begun. If you read the amplified version it's more clear, that's what is implied there. Before the world even began, God had determined and had some purpose for us and because of that purpose, He came to us and we were lost in sins and we didn't know God. We didn't know what the purpose was and we were living our own life, we were living it our own way, not fulfilling God's purpose. And He reached out to us and saved us so that we may do the works that He has ordained for us to do, from the beginning.

That's the way this verse must be understood, before the world began He has purposed something, but we are lost, we don't even know about it. We don't know God's purposes, we're living our own life. Just look at Paul, he's a wonderful example. Paul's whole story is amazing testimony to how God works things out in our lives. This man Paul, he says in Galatians chapter 1, where he defends his apostleship and his ministry. Everybody is accusing him saying he's not one of the apostles, don't listen to him and he's not a original one, he's not an authentic apostle and so on. There's some questions raised about his ministry and his apostleship, that he's not like the others. So he defends his apostleship, the greatest defence of his apostleship is found in chapter 1 of Galatians. And he says, God has separated me when I was in my mother's womb for the gospel, for this apostleship. This man has a sense of calling in life, when I was in my mother's womb, God separated me. Now what he's saying is that God designed him and formed him in his mother's womb in a certain way, to do a certain task.

He was made different from all the other apostles, see the other apostles were local guys from Galilee and surrounding areas. They're a different mentality, they're a different... their capacity and everything was limited in their own way. That's why when God wanted to send Peter to Cornelius' house, Cornelius is a Gentile. He had a very difficult time trying to persuade Peter to go to Cornelius' house and preach the gospel. Just a simple thing of just going to Cornelius' house and preaching the gospel, was such a big deal for Peter, he just wouldn't want to go. Because he had such a block in his mind as a Jew, he was a close-minded local guy, who thought Jewish thoughts and lived a Jewish life. So it was very difficult for him, so God had to make a sheep descend from heaven in a trance, you know. He gives him this vision where a sheep descends from heaven, all kinds of four-footed beasts are there and a voice says, "Arise, kill and eat." And Peter objects, he says,"Oh Lord, you know I'm a Jew and you're also a Jew, how can you say kill and eat? We don't eat these things you know." There are a lot of restrictions on what to eat and what not to eat, we can't eat. And God says, no... Jesus says, no, what I call clean, you don't call unclean. He's trying to tell him the Gentiles are not unclean, I want you to go to them, present the gospel. The gospel came to the Jews first for a reason, because they've been trained to receive the gospel. But it must go to the Gentiles, it is for everybody, because God began the world not with Abraham but with Adam. These are Abraham's children, they think the world began with Abraham, but God began with Adam. So he says, you go on but this guy has a mental block and how to persuade him to go? So God gives him a vision in a trance and God says, Jesus says, rise, kill and eat and this guy refuses. And while this is happening, somebody's knocking on the door in the house where he's staying downstairs.

What God has done is He has gone to Cornelius' house and given him Peter's address, can you believe this? God has given Cornelius Peter's address, where he's staying, so that Cornelius a Gentile, military officer, is sending his men to go and fetch Peter so he can tell him the gospel. He says go get him, he'll tell you what you need to know. Here's a God-fearing man, who believes you know and so on. And God says, you call him and he'll tell you and he sends men, and they're waiting downstairs knocking on the door. While their knocking on the door, here in his trance, he's told rise and go, there are men waiting for you, go with them. So much God had to do to persuade him to go. Then he comes down and goes, and after he goes, he hesitates a lot in preaching you know. The way he begins, if he came into your house, you would have sent him out, you know. You know how he begins? Men and brethren, you know that we Jews have nothing to do with you Gentiles. Is that a way to begin a sermon? What an insulting sermon, you know. We have nothing to do, you know that we don't have nothing to do with you, you know. Look at his mental block, then he preaches, and those people listen, amazing. And while their listening the Holy Spirit is poured out because this guy would not have given them a chance to get saved, you know. He would not have given an altar call, he would not have baptized them, he would not have encouraged them, he would not have even offered salvation to them, as much as offering salvation. He would not have done it, he would have simply preached and got out of there. So God poured out His Holy Spirit, what an amazing thing. And so he says, well God has poured out His Holy Spirit, and all I've got to do is pour some water, you know. Just let's baptize these guys. If God has poured out the Holy Spirit, why should I stop these fellows from being baptized in water? And that is how things happened there because of the way Peter was and the rest of the disciples were similar.

Now Paul was a different breed, he was born in Tarsus among the Gentiles, raised in a very wealthy home. Raised as a very highly educated person, he came to Jerusalem and got educated there under Gamaliel, one of the greatest theologians of that day. And went back to Tarsus, seemed to have gone back to Tarsus before Jesus started His ministry in Jerusalem. So that he had never met Jesus, he got educated in Jerusalem but went back to Tarsus and Jesus now started preaching here. And during the three and a half years of ministry, he never met Jesus, he had no chance to meet Jesus. When Jesus died and rose again and went back to heaven and the church started and miracles were happening. The whole Jerusalem was filled with the doctrine concerning Christ, the Jews didn't know what to do. Here these Christians are totally taking over the city, street to street there are meetings happening, and people are meeting and gathering and teaching the Bible and so on. And the accusation was you have filled the whole Jerusalem with your doctrine, that Jesus has risen. That's the accusation, that's a good accusation, isn't it? I wish they'd accuse us of the same thing. Whole Jerusalem is filled with your doctrine, they said, so how to handle this new advance of this new religion, new sect called Christians? How to attack them? How to stop them from becoming more well spread, you know.

So they call this man Paul who they think is great in the study of the law and he's a very capable young man and he can come and stop these Christians. They call him, and he comes, and he organizes a big effort to persecute the church. He shuts down many churches, arrests pastors and preachers and any Christian is persecuted by Paul. And he organized a way to persecute, he would receive letters from the authorities and go to towns and arrest Christian leaders and so on. This is what he was doing. But God had separated him for the gospel, from the womb of his mother, from the time that he was in the womb. He's born for the gospel, to preach the gospel, he didn't know it. He was in sin, he hasn't met his savior, the redeemer. He doesn't know his purpose so he's living exactly opposite to his purpose. And one day Jesus meets him and saves him on the road to Damascus. From the very next day he started preaching that Jesus is Lord. The very Jesus he hated, the churches he closed, he now started preaching Christ and started opening churches. He opened more churches and preached to more people that Jesus is Lord, than he persecuted, he made up for all that.

That's a wonderful story, but he has a sense of his calling now, he tells it as it is. He said, from my mother's womb God has separated me to the gospel. That means God has designed me for this, he calls himself an apostle to the Gentiles. He realizes that God made him born in a particular area, among the Gentiles, live among the Gentiles, so he can be a very broad minded man, able to handle Gentiles and so on. And also be trained, very highly trained in the Jewish law, so that if anybody comes teaching against the Jewish religion, he can counter them, you know and be a great apologist for the Jewish religion. So he was trained in that way. So here is a man that is so well trained, but Christians, Christianity needed him, Christ needed him, why? Because the Jews will bring a big opposition to Christ and Christianity, because this gospel of grace is unacceptable to them because they're people of the law. And here is a man who was very thorough and familiar with the law, he's the only one that can explain grace in a satisfactory manner so that the message of Christ can go forth. He was prepared from the time he was born, even the place where he was born, even his Roman citizenship was designed by God that way.Because of Roman citizenship, he was entitled to certain privileges because Roman citizens, you know Roman Empire ruled the world in those days, had great respect in other countries, you can travel freely. And all the privileges of the law was yours, so that they can't simply arrest you, and punish you, and beat you, or kill you, or do things like that. You had to... if you arrest a man for wrongdoing, if he's a Roman citizen you gotta take him to court and the judge has to convict him and then order how many lashes he can be given and so on. And only that you can give, you can beat him only with permission from the court. As a punishment, not just take a person and beat. But a Jewish person can be simply taken and beaten and so on. So here was a man, that's why when, remember one time they beat him, and he said, how can you lay hands on me knowing that I'm a Roman citizen, you know. And they got afraid, they took their hands off and treated him with some respect, and he appealed to Caesar. Because a Roman citizen can appeal to Caesar and to appear before Caesar, so that Caesar can render justice to him. That's why they sent him to Rome.

So all these privileges were available that this entitlement, this freedom as a Roman citizen, entitled him to all these privileges so that he can take the gospel everywhere freely and spread it everywhere throughout the world. Because God designed him for that purpose, made him born in a certain town, among a certain community, raised in a certain setting, then trained by this great Jewish leader, you know. And all the way he's trained like that, that is why we have half the New Testament written by Paul. If Paul was not there, you know New Testament will not have all this doctrine that we have today, Romans and Ephesians, and Galatians and all of these things. Wonderful Christian doctrine that we teach today would not be available. And I love Paul and I love to preach from Paul, there'll be nothing. If Paul was not there, all these meaty doctrine that we have in the New Testament would be missing, he gives us the Christian teaching. So Paul was made for the gospel. And I tell you God makes you and me, something like that. You and I are made for a purpose, that's the truth. That is what he's saying here, we are his workmanship, he realizes what salvation is all about. Salvation is a recreation where God has taken us fallen beings, and has recreated us. Same God who took with His hands the dust on the earth and formed man, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, has once again through the cross of Calvary, He has taken the dead, spiritually dead human beings and made them alive in Christ Jesus. But why did He do that, why did He die on the cross? Why did He give us spiritual life? Why did He quicken us from spiritual death, and make us alive spiritually? Why did He bring us back to God? He says, so that we may do the good works which God had prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. So that we may do those good works that God has prepared beforehand.

Now if you read the amplified version, I think I've read it some time ago, talking about something else going to the same passage. I read amplified version, if you have one you should read that, very enlightening. Instead of simply saying, God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, that walk in them is translated as God has prepared the good works for us, beforehand,that even before the foundation of the world, that we should travel along those paths. That is the maps are drawn, that is the way it is mentioned there. The map, the route is specified, God has thought about what we should do and determined what we should do. And has drawn out a map for our life so that the plan for what route we must take in our life and in what way we should travel, where we should go, what we should do, is all specified. That map is very clear, he says, that we should walk in the map that is already drawn by God, he says. Now this definition will make sense, he says, calling is a truth that God calls us to Himself, so decisively. So decisively means that God has purposes and plans already fixed, and having fixed the purposes and plans for us, He calls to Himself. Doesn't call us straight away to our work, He calls us to Himself to a life, to a new kind of life, to Himself. And once we realize that we're called to God, so that we can be what God wants us to be and do what God wants us to do, that there is a decided purpose, determined purpose that was made up before the world began, and a map is drawn out. When we understand this, see salvation is about understanding that.

I think we have a very narrow view of salvation these days, we think it's salvation where sins are forgiven and when we die, we go to heaven. How narrow it's become, you can't simplify it any further. It's not about just sins forgiven and then going to heaven, it's about sins being forgiven, so that we can become the people that God intended for us to be. And then we may go forth and do the redeeming work in this world because God is not only interested in redeeming us from our sins, He wants to redeem the world, entire cultures and civilizations from the fallenness, so He has called us to go into the world to redeem the world, to do a redemptive work for Him in the world, that's the work He has for us. So we realize that he has called us, the forgiveness of sin, salvation, all of these things is to do a work, a redemptive work. Where God wants to turn the world into the kind of place that He wanted originally, which vision was ruined by sin and fall that happened. God wants us to go there and contribute to His redemptive work and turn the world around, and make it the world the He intended originally to be. That is the meaning of this definition. In other words, we get saved because God has already decided and determined everything and He comes and reaches out to us. And He has died on the cross, sent His son to die on the cross, made the salvation ready then reaches out to us, saves us so that we can be a new kind of people doing the things that He wants done in this world. So that not only we are redeemed, the whole thing is redeemed, all of God's creation is redeemed. That His redemptive purposes are carried out, alright. That's work, that's a lot of work isn't it? So we are here for a purpose, we have a big project going on. God has a huge huge project, and He wants to make our contribution there. Your work, and my work is about that. Whatever work I'm doing right now is contributing towards the restoration of all things back to God. To take it back to God so that God can redeem everything that is lost. What I'm doing is a small part in the whole big redemptive work, and what you're doing is another part. That's the way we should understand work, hello.

Now how do we know what we need to do? What is my part? What am I supposed to do? Alright, I'm ready to do the redemptive work. Alright, I understand, I'm saved for that, God has saved me for those works, to do those works. I understand what you're saying, but how do I know exactly what to do? What kind of work should I do? Now, in order to go into that, you need to remember four things, let me quickly mention these four things. And then we'll talk about finding our call. The four things are these, first of all we need to understand that we belong to Christ, our calling is first of all to Christ. Which is what I explained right now. Calling is first of all to Christ, not just to be forgiven our sins and be saved but also the calling is to participate in his redemptive work in this world, alright, that's one thing. Secondly, you read in the Bible about various people that are called and sometimes you can be misled into thinking that your calling will be similar. Because some of these guys are called very dramatically, you know. Paul on the road to Damascus, Jesus appears to him, talks to him, Saul why do you persecute me? And he sees Jesus, he talks to him. I mean we're experiencing something like that to happen down Purasawalkam high road, you know. When I'm going down the road, maybe Jesus will appear to me, I'll fall down and I'll be made blind and then I'll ask Jesus... no, probably not, sorry. I'm not saying it won't happen like that, I'm saying those are things that are very rare.

God is not going to come and talk to you just like He talked to Noah, or Abraham or something like that. Those are very outstanding revelations of God, specially in those days where there was no Bible, there was no real spiritual life like we have today. You know, and what we understood they never understood, in those days those were even more necessary. That's why God appeared in dreams and so on, and talked to them and called them and so on. It happened to Joseph, it happened to Abraham, you know, it happened to Moses, spoke from the burning bush. Now you don't go and start looking for a burning bush to happen, right behind your house or something like that. Because that's not a good idea, you're going to go crazy looking for that, you know. Because some people think, if God calls me then something like that must happen. Plus we have people these days going around, they're saying, "I had a dream, I had vision, God came and spoke to me." I understand, I am a dyed and dipped Pentecostal, you know. And I believe all of these things, you know, I have... really I am not joking, I believe that God can appear to you, and talk to you and all of those things. But what I am saying is that's not something that happens to everybody, I hope you'll agree with me. Just because it happened to one preacher or somebody you heard talking, it doesn't mean that everybody should have the same... sometimes these fellas when they talk about it, they make it look like this is the way God speaks. Have you had a vision? Have you seen Jesus? Have you gone to heaven? This is the kind of questions they ask, you know. I have never been to heaven, I've never seen Jesus, I've never even heard a voice from heaven, but I'm doing ministry. I could feel like I had nothing you know, if I didn't know the word of God, I'd feel like, my God I have nothing you know. Because I've never seen Jesus, I never heard a voice, I never had a vision of Jesus. All of these things could happen, even now at some point in my life it could happen but I'm not looking for it. If I look for it, I'll go crazy. Let it happen when it happens, I'm not saying it won't happen, but to think that everyone is led like that and particularly that everyone is led into the calling of their life in that way. To think like that is wrong. Because you see the Bible, how many personalities, people are there, only a few are led so remarkably into the calling of their life like that.

Look at... we talked about Moses but look at Saul, in the Old Testament Saul, you know. King Saul, his father lost some donkeys, this is how the story begins, you know it's a donkey story, you know. Father lost some donkeys and this young man goes looking for his father's donkeys, and he couldn't find them. Somebody proposed a solution, they said, there is a prophet in Israel named Samuel, this man is very good, he knows where your donkey might be, he will tell you. So Saul thinks prophets are like that, you know they're here to find your donkeys, you know. Even today some people think that prophets are in donkey-finding business. So he goes to Samuel to find his father's donkeys, that's what he's interested in. But God has anointed that man as a prophet, remember the calling of Samuel. Voice comes to him, and he's called to be a prophet and God raised him up as a prophet of Israel. Great man, called by God, he's not called like that to do some flimsy work of finding a few donkeys, I mean you know. Donkey was a big deal back then but even then you know. It's like losing a car or something. But even then, prophets are not just about finding donkeys, Saul goes there to find his donkeys hoping Samuel will tell him where the donkeys is. But God speaks to Samuel the day before, and tells him tomorrow a young man will come, and he is the one I want you to anoint as the king of Israel. So he's waiting, so he says, what about my dad's donkeys, can you tell me where it is? Don't worry, he said, that donkey is already found, but I got something else for you. This donkey is the one they're looking for, you know. He said God needs you man, God wants you to be the king, this is not about finding your daddy's donkeys, this is about finding you. Commissioning you as king, anointing you as the king of Israel. What a great thing this is. Don't reduce a prophet to a donkey-finder, you know. So Saul is anointed as the king.

So some people are today saying, well I must also search for a prophet brother, I lost my donkey. One fellow said, so what gift have you got? Can you tell me where my husband has gone? He has left me and gone, where has he gone? See you don't have any gift to tell me where my husband is right now, you should be able to close your eyes and tell me where my husband is. I said, lady believe me I have a gift, I can tell you why he left, and I can tell you how to get him back, if you just come and listen to me. And when you get him back I can tell you how to keep him staying at your house, permanently. Now that's better than just telling you where he is, because what's the use of telling you where he is. Even if you find him, he's going to run away in the next few days, you know, by the kind of trouble that he has you know.

So people think, some prophet, somebody can lead them and guide them into their destiny. They don't know what to do, where to go, who to marry, what work to take up, which town to go live in, what profession to enter, whether to start a business or not. They say, well is there a prophet that can tell me? That will be easy thing to do. Well, God has appointed three or four prophets in a town so that He can speak to them and they can tell you. God has put a receiving station inside of you, a method by which He can communicate to you directly, His will and plan and purpose. See Christianity is about a relationship that you have with God, it's not about just going to some prophet and finding the answers for your life. In the Old Testament times people went because nobody had the Holy Spirit. The New Testament time, one of the greatest blessings of the New Testament time is the Holy Spirit is inside each and every one of us. He can communicate to us directly, God's will and plan and purpose. You should have no problem knowing God's purpose if you walk with God, you know. Don't take shortcuts, because that will land you in trouble because you'll have to go where what some man said. There is a way for you to know whether God has said this. Amen.

So those are very rare ways in which God leads, but God leads in very simple ways now to lead you into God's purposes and plans, especially since the Holy Spirit is given and the Holy Spirit is residing inside the believer. God has a way to directly communicate His will and plan and purpose to you, and you should understand that, alright. Thirdly, you should understand, keep in mind that everyone is called to work, whether you've received a job offer or not, whether you know what kind of work you should do or not. You're called to work, that one is sure, you're called to work. And fourthly, you're called to a life, not just to work. See life is bigger than work, work is an important part of life but don't forget, it's life that we are called to. And in that life, there is work that we do to fulfil God's redemptive purposes, life is bigger than work. See if you get into a wrong philosophy that work is everything, that's the kind of people that work their health away and their happiness away. They work, and work, and work and come to nothing just by working. They lose their family, they lose their peace, they lose their health, they lose everything because they think work is everything, they think work is life. Bible teaches that work is not life, life has work in it but work is not life. Work is part of life, an important part of life. So you keep it in perspective, keeping these four things.

Now how can we know the calling? What you're called for. How can we discern God's calling to a particular kind of work or job or profession? Well, there are three things that you need to consider, when you're looking for God's call in your life and you're trying to find God's call in your life. The first thing is you need to consider the needs of the world around you. When I say world around you, doesn't mean that you need to take on global problems and deal with them and be the great solver of world problems. That's not the way I'm talking about, I'm talking about look at your world around you. Where are you needed? In what way are you needed? In what way can you contribute to making the world the kind of world that God envisioned it to be? That's the first question you must ask, but where must this start? It must start with you and your immediate family first, that's your world, your immediate world. And the Bible teaches so beautifully about these things. I want you to turn to 1 Timothy chapter 5, and verse 8 -- But if anyone does not provide for his own, anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.-- Powerful words, Paul again, he says if anyone does not provide for his own, I mean you don't take care of your own, your family, your wife and your children, and especially those of your own household, you have denied the faith. Faith here refers to the Christian faith, you're denying that you're a Christian. You're saying I'm not a Christian, because a Christian will not be like that. You've denied the faith and you're worse than an unbeliever he says, amazing.

So when I consider work, how should I look at it? My immediate world, why should I work? In what job should I do? What should job do to me? What should I be able to do through the job? First of all I need to be able to deal with my needs and my family's needs, be able to sufficiently provide for them everything that they need. I need to work in order to do that effectively, I need to work and be productive, so that there will be no need, no want, no lack, so that there will be sufficiency, so that I can take care of my own. I need to do that. Now a lot of people think that is not a big concern, but that is you know. That itself will make a you a mighty testimony before the world. It's not about having a badge saying Jesus heals you know, and walking around like this, have you seen my badge, you know. No, it's doing the right thing, especially with ourselves, with our families so that we don't have to stretch our hand out to anybody for any handouts. And so that our family does not have to stretch their hand out to anybody for anything. So that we can go and live respectively, honorably in this world. We need to work in a job that enables us to do that. God expects every single one of us to do that through our job. To be able to provide for our family and do what is right for the family.

Turn to Titus chapter 3, Titus chapter 3, verse 14 -- Let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. -- Let our people learn to do work, that's what he's talking about. Because it says good works, then immediately our mind becomes very spiritual you know. He's talking about something spiritual, good works, you know. No, no it's talking about work I'll prove to you. To meet urgent needs, that's the proof. It's not some good works, it is work so that through that work every need is met, so that our life is not unfruitful. So that you don't live an unproductive life, you're producing something. Now let me read to you Message translation, Message translation sometimes hits it like a hammer, you know. Listen to the same verse in Message translation. Our people have to learn to be diligent in their work, see here no good works, work. Our people have to learn to be diligent in their work, so that all necessities are met, within brackets, especially among the needy. And they don't end up with nothing to show for their lives. Very modern words, so that you don't end up with nothing to show for your life. So that you live and live and live 30 years, 40 years and have nothing to show as a result. No, you should not live like that, he says. No, you should work, you should be a productive person, a fruitful person. A person that is producing some good results, some good benefits.

Read Proverbs chapter 13, go to the Old Testament now, Proverbs chapter 13 and verse 22. -- A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. -- Are you looking at it? Very important verse. A good man, everybody say "a good man" Now Christianity has so gone away from the Bible I think, sometimes, we've become so super spiritual. That if you're a good man, you'll have nothing, that's the definition of a good man. A good man will have nothing, he won't have more than two pieces of clothing, you know he won't even have a place to lay his head. That kind of a concept we have of a good man, but look at the Bible defining a good man. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. Bible is very intelligent, very real, very true. If you're a good man, you'll go to work regularly, if you're a good man, you'll work sincerely, if you're a good man, you'll produce some fruit after you work. You will progress day by day in your work, and do better and better in your work, everybody will want you. If you're a good man, see people say well, if you're a good man it's not, you know the world doesn't want a good man. No, no, no they want a good man. If you're a good man, see unless you're going through some kind of a great persecution where they're cutting off heads or something like that and grabbing your properties and leaving you penniless, then you can say I'm suffering for Christ. Then I would agree, yeah that kind of suffering, it's legitimate. I'm talking about normal life, a good man going to work, earning money and so on. If he's a good man, he will go to work, he will work sincerely, he will put out and there will be results because of his work, he'll produce something for his company or whatever job he's doing. He'll be productive and he'll be rewarded and he will bring his rewards back home and he will not be wasteful, he will not be thoughtless. He will be a good planner, he has good purpose, he has an idea of what he wants to do for himself, for his family. What he wants to do with the money, he not only knows how to earn he knows how to spend. He knows how to save, he knows how to do good things, honorable things, holy things with what God has given to him. That's a good man, don't you think a good man will do that? That's why a good man is able to leave an inheritance for his children's children. If he's not a good man, he's going to drink and roll on the street. I'm sure he's going to even eat whatever he's grandfather has left him and leave the next generation with nothing. If he's a good man, look at the Bible definition of good man.

The other day I heard somebody say, one fellow was speaking and he said, "When you die, you don't have to leave anything just leave a name that you were a righteous man." Now everybody was shouting hallelujah, for it. Well I understand, it's very sentimental talk and it kind of perks up people and say, oh! but really would you do that? Don't leave anything but just leave a name as a righteous man? The Bible says the righteous man, some translations use the word righteous man for good man. The righteous man leaves an inheritance for his children's children. But this man says, don't leave anything, just leave a good name. The Bible says, if you have such a good name you'll leave something, if you're such a good man, you'll leave something. Now I know that man, he says don't leave anything, just leave a good name. But he's got a house, he's got lands, he's got cars, I don't know why he said this, you know. Because it sounds nice, I think. See Christianity has become like that, we have learned to talk what people like to hear, what sounds nice, but it's not real and it's not the truth. Why don't you speak the truth? He's certainly not going to leave... he's going to leave anytime soon but, and he's not going to leave his family high and dry also. He's got some stuff, and it's a world renowned fact, everybody knows he's got it. Why do we then say don't leave anything, all you need to leave is a name. But you go on planning and purposing and leaving something. What I'm saying is why don't you teach it to your people, so that they will also live like that. See we say things because it sounds nice, but it's stupid really. The Bible doesn't say it, the Bible says a good man will leave an inheritance for his children's children. The very way he leaves an inheritance, the very wisdom that he has, and the knowledge and the understanding he has, the help of God and the blessing of God in his life will enable him to do something, to leave something good for his children's children. Amen. He's good, that's why he's going to leave something.

14 chapter, verse 1, I know a lot of these kind of people you know, I come from a background like that. I told one... all of them are my friends you know, so I told one of those guys I said, listen I learned one thing from you guys. I can talk openly to them because I'm their boy, you know. So I said, look I know one thing, no one should do what you say, they should just follow you in what you do. I've learned this one thing, I said I am following your way only, I don't listen to your sermon. Because you're speaking something else, but you're doing something else. I follow what you're doing. He said, oh, how can you say something like that? Yeah that's the reality, that is the truth. Alright, 14th verse, chapter 14, verse 1, Proverbs. -- The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. -- The wise woman builds her house, now this is about women who people think are not employed, they're not doing any work. They say, even the women say I'm just a housewife, you know. Just a housewife, that means I'm not doing anything, I'm not earning any money, I'm just a housewife. But do you know, being a housewife is a call, is a calling. Have you ever built a house? I'm not talking about a brick house, that anybody can build if you just give them some money. But have you built a family, a fine family, raised children in the ways of God? Trained children in the ways of God? That is a big project my friend, only a good woman, a godly woman, grounded in the world of God, a praying woman, a believing woman, a woman that trusts God and believes God for everything. She can be like a foundation that holds the home together. Because she's there, the home will prosper. Because she's there, the children will be good children. Because she's there, she trains them, she is not just feeding them with milk, she's feeding them with the word of God, teaching them to live successfully. She builds her house.

We're talking about work, women who stay home and take care of their children are working. Even that is a call of God, that is a wonderful call of God. And when you realize that you'll take the job very seriously, and you'll go at it with God's help and do it well, you know. A foolish woman is a woman that doesn't understand this is a call of God. So she talks anything, does anything, and she pulls it down with her hands, it says. Most of the times, they don't need their hands, they just need the mouth and a few words. They can pull everything down, destroy everything. Anybody, even men, you can just do it with your words, just the way you speak, the way you believe, the way you talk, the way you think, can destroy the home. But the way you speak the word of God, and the way you teach others to do it, and the way you teach others to believe in God's promises and stand in God's promises. And the way you handle your troubles and situations, and crises and problems that come your way. The way you trust in God and pray, and do those things, that builds the house. Building the house is not ordinary thing, alright.

So look at your world around you, you're needed, you need to work. You need to work, a woman needs to work and build her house. A man needs to go to work so he can provide for the needs of the family and so on. All these things are evident, and that is where we need to... that is where we find that there is something for us to do. We need to do something, we need to work. Another example as we look into the world, you see the needs of other individuals, right. Let me read to you a few verses, 14 chapter Proverbs the same chapter, verse 21. -- He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. -- It says happy is he, actually is blessed is he, that's what it really is, blessed is he is a better translation. A man who has mercy on the poor, that means who gives to the poor and upholds the poor and helps the poor, is a blessed person. So every single person must have spare to be able to help a poor person. It is not God's will that we say, well I have enough just for myself, I can't think of giving anything to anybody. No, it is God's will that you have more than what you need, and much more than what you need so that you can be of help to others. That's the way God wants us live, that's the meaning, that's the thing that gives meaning to our work. That's the thing for which we need prosperity, so that if God tells us to do something, we can do something about the needs of others. When God inspires our heart to do something, we can do it immediately, we don't have to say, Lord, I don't have anything. Most people's thing is, they say well if I have, I'll give brother. The problem is I don't have. Well, that's why we need to work, the Bible says, alright.

And then turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 11 and 12. -- That you aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, -- I like that. -- And to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. -- Look at that, to work with your own hands. Paul is encouraging the believers, a great apostle, he's encouraging the believers. He says, work with your own hands, it won't hurt, it won't kill you. He says work with your own hands, mind your business, he says. -- Lead a quiet life-- and one more in this, Ephesians chapter 4, verse 28. -- Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. -- See work should produce enough for yourself, as well as give you something with which you can help those with some kind of need. That's the way the Bible looks at it. So when you say what kind of work should I do? You better know that you need to do a work that will provide sufficiently for your family, sufficiently so that you can do things for others that you would wish to do.

Thirdly, there's a greater purpose, turn to Jeremiah chapter 29. There is a larger society in which we live, we live in a country, we live in a town, city and so on. And our work must bring something good to that city, to that country, it must be beneficial to that country, to the city in which we live. Our work is needed, we are needed by the country, we are needed by the city. That's the way we need to look at it. And look at chapter 29, and I'm going to read and before I read let me give you the context. In 6th century BC, Jerusalem was taken over by the Babylonians, they came in, they plundered Jerusalem, killed people, destroyed their houses, and destroyed the temple, destroyed that city. Took away their things, their wealth, everything that they owned and took people into captivity. A lot of people into captivity and took them to Babylon. And Babylon was the great metropolis of that time, it's like something like New York City or something. Just imagine this great group of people have now come from Jerusalem and surrounding areas, taken as captives by the Babylonian army and they arrive there in the Babylonian city. And they are parked outside the city probably in tents sitting there, you know, loathing their plight, wondering what is happening. God has already warned them of their ways and they will again be taken captive if they lived like that. They'll fall prey to the devil's hands and so on. But they never listened, they kept on doing what they did and they again ended up in captivity. After Egyptian captivity, here there is Babylonian captivity again. Come as slaves again, they've become slaves, they're thinking what is happening to our lives.

And there a prophet Jeremiah who was living in Jerusalem, he was not taken as captive, he's writing a letter and sending it to them to comfort them in the plight, in the situation they find themselves in. And the letter arrives, and look at what the letter says because that man is a prophet, he's saying what God has said. And that man is saying -- Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they bear sons and daughters, that you may be increased there, and not diminished. -- He says you find yourself in a bad situation, you've become a slave now, you're own wrongdoing, you've ended up your life like that. That's not God's will, but even there God is able to help. God says there you build houses, there you dwell in those houses, there you plant gardens, there you eat the fruit, there you marry and give in marriage and so on, and bear sons and daughters and so on. And increase there, don't diminish, prosper, increase there he says. And then he says -- And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. -- God is telling... see they're probably angry at the Babylonians, cursing the Babylonians, praying probably for the fire to come down from heaven to consume them for what they've done. The way they've plundered and dishonored the city of God, and the temple of God and all that. Calling fire down from heaven probably, but God says pray for them because now you are there. You want to live well? You want to enjoy some kind of prosperity, wellbeing? Only if the city prospers, you will prosper, so you pray for the city where you find yourself. So that in their peace, in their peace, in its peace, you will have peace.

What an important exhortation for us, we need to pray for our country and the place where we live. It's not enough to just complain about everything bad and everything wrong, you see. It could be, you know there may be things wrong and so on but the thing is, our job is not just to complain, our job is to pray because the wellbeing of this country and this city is important. Because our wellbeing is tied to this country and to this city. Only if the economy goes well, we do well. Only if everything goes well, we can also enjoy peace and prosperity. We can live in peace, we don't have to be afraid, we can live you know a life of peace. So we need to take that in our heart as we look for what work to do. I have something to give to this city, to this country, that is valuable. Because of me the city, the country will be richer, more blessed, more prosperous. I can give jobs, I can give this, and I can give, my knowledge can be a great contribution. My work, my skills can be a great contribution, that's the way you need to look and the city will prosper and the country will prosper because of me. That's the way the Bible wants you to think, alright.

The second consideration is your skills and gifts, this is very important, skills and gifts. Now you should now think in ordinary terms about skills and gifts, God has endowed us all with skills and gifts, we all have different skills and gifts, we're all made differently and I would say uniquely. So you need to think about what God has put within you. You need to pay attention to the skills, because God has put some skills and gifts which can be a guide to your destiny. If you just listen and look, see where you're interested, what comes naturally to you. What comes easily to you. What is the thing that you would love to do. If you just look at it, what comes so fluently for you. That is probably a good indication of some kind of a thing that you need to do, because God has given to you that ability. Even though it may have come from birth itself, it is God-given. And many times God is even able to put you in a position and then He'll give you gifts to do that job well.

Now let me read to you from Isaiah 28, verse 24 to 26, Isaiah 28:24-26. -- Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? When he has leveled its surface, does he not sow the black cumin and scatter the cumin, plan the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place? For He instructs him in right judgement, his God teaches him. -- Now when you read passages like that it looks like what is it talking about you know, the plowman plowing all day, sowing, breaking the clods, levelling the surface, sowing black cumin, scattering the cumin, planting the wheat in rows, and barley in the appointed place and so on. When you read something like that, what is he talking about. In other words he's talking about the skill of a agriculturalist. This guy is involved in agriculture, look at the skill, he says. This guy is working all day doing something, plowing, sowing, doing this and that. He knows his job, he's very highly skilled, he can take a land and produce, and literally bring forth fruit from it. And the last verse it's the most important, it says, He instructs him in right judgement, his God teaches him. Where did he get that skill? Where did he get that ability? His God gave it to him. Has God given you something? Just like this guy in agriculture, who knows his job so well, who can be very productive, skilled, very good at his work. Has God given you something? The Bible says that God instructs people with wisdom, right judgement it says. It means wisdom and understanding about when to do, what to do, how to do. Right judgement, has God given you some skill, some wisdom, some understanding, has God taught you anything? Do you depend on God to teach you something? Has God given you some abilities, and gifts, and talents?

In Romans chapter 12 there's another passage, Romans chapter 12, verse 6 to 8 says -- Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; -- See it's talking about everything, not just prophecy and stuff, or teaching or some kind of... that kind of ministry. It's talking about giving, leading, which means leadership. -- He who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. -- That is social work, doing something out of mercy. Everyone is gifted and talented in their own way, all these are gifts that are given to various people by God. And gifts and talents are a very good indication of which way you should go and what you are called to do. God did not give you those gifts and talents to while your time away with it, so simply not do anything with it. God has given it to you, so that you can be very productive through it and bless the world through it. The place where you're living through it, bless all the people around you with it. That is why God has given it to you.

Finally, let me say this and close, but I want to continue next week because it's not over. The third consideration as you look for the call of your life, is to look for your truest, deepest desires that is there in your heart, your desires. I'm going to read just one verse, but next week I'm going to go to a lot of verses and cover this thing very thoroughly because this is very important. 37 Psalm and verse 4, everybody knows it. -- Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. -- From a very young age I've memorized it and I knew it, and I always thought delight yourself in the Lord means that you live for God, pray, read the Bible, go to church, do all those things-have a spiritual life. And what will happen if you do that? He will give you the desires of your heart, so I thought if you do that, if you live a good spiritual life, then God will give you whatever you want. Whatever you ask, whatever you desire, God will give it to you. That's the way I thought, but then when I got into studying the Bible, became more interested in probing into things and finding the real meaning of the scriptures. It's very exciting to look into some of these things.

I was reading one guy that has written a great commentary and looking into this. That guys says this verse can be taken in two ways, one it can mean delight yourself in the Lord and He'll give you whatever you desire. Because it says He'll give you the desires of your heart, can be taken this way, that He'll give you whatever you desire. Or you can read this in this way, he says delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. In other words, He'll give you not just what you desire, He'll give you the desires. Which one is true? It can be taken both ways, he believes that it should be taken both ways. But first of all, he believes that it should be taken in the way that I mentioned second, that is He will give you desires. Why? Because if God simply gave you what you desired, you'll be a failure in your life. Because the problem with most of us is the problem that I had, I didn't even know what to desire, that's the problem. I didn't even know what to desire, what to ask. If God came to me and said, what do you want? What I asked would be so little, so useless compared to what God's plan for me is. Because I had no vision, I had no understanding of who God is and what He would have for me to do. I didn't understand why I'm called and what I'm called for, no idea of this. And if you asked me what I wanted, I would not go for anything. My asking will be so flimsy, nothing really.

So first all I need to be taught what I must ask, what I must desire. Delight yourself in the Lord, that means when you live closely with God, pray, read your Bible, come carry on a communion, fellowship with God, He will put desires in your heart. Desires are what become prayer later on, you pray what you desire. What things you desire when you pray, believe that you'll receive them and you will have them. So desires become prayers, so you must get desires first. Have you got some desires? Have you checked on the desires? God has designed the human heart to be anabode of desires, you're capable of desires. But I want to handle something next week, because this can be dangerous because when you say God will give you desires, I know, I hope by next week nobody commits that mistake. I know some guys and girls are going to go out thinking I got that desire, I think I know where it's from, you know. This is the problem, because the problem with the desires is sometimes it is our carnality, our sin, our sinful nature that gives place to some wrong desires. And the problem is we are not often able to differentiate between what is a right desire and what is a holy desire. If you take the wrong desires and go with it, you will fail in life. It will lead you in the wrong direction, you'll waste away your life. But if you take God's holy desires and understand that this is a desire from God, and go with it, your life will turn into success. I will talk about how to discern between good desires and wrong desires. How you can know that certain desires are from God, and not from your own carnal self, or your selfishness, or from your even lust of things. You can be certain that God is speaking to you through those desires. When you order your life in a certain way, it is easy to follow His guidance through the heart and the desires of your heart.

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