It Is Required
For it is
written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation be made desolate. Let no one
dwell therein;’and, ‘Let another take his office.’ (Acts
While this scripture is speaking of Judas, it has
application to us today. To me, one of the saddest things possible is for our
calling and purpose to be given to another because we did not fulfill it.
Remember that Judas walked with Jesus just as the other disciples. He heard the
same teaching as the other disciples. He worked miracles just like the other
disciples. He went forth when Jesus sent them two by two just like the others,
yet his position in the Twelve was taken by another. What is the difference
between Judas and us? To me, that is an important question to answer.
Teacher or Lord?
Judas was a zealot. His primary focus was on the
overthrow of Rome and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. He was very
sincere in his goals and purpose. When he heard Jesus speak of the Kingdom, I
think that he thought, “here is one I can follow who can accomplish my desire”.
He fitted Jesus to his political purpose rather than fitting himself to Jesus'
purpose. We can see this in the Scripture when we look at the way the disciples
addressed Jesus as they spent more time with Him.
As the disciples came to Jesus at the beginning
they called Him Rabbi, that is, teacher (John 1:38 among others). As you follow
them through the Gospels, the way each addressed Jesus moved from Rabbi to Lord.
The fullest expression of this transition is at the last supper when Jesus was
speaking of His betrayal.
As they were
eating, he said,
“Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me.”
They were exceedingly sorrowful, and each began to ask him, “It
isn’t me, is it, Lord?”
“He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray me.
The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to
that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that
man if he had not been born.”
Judas, who betrayed him, answered, “It
isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?”
He said to him,
“You said it.”
(Matthew 26:21-25 WEB)
In their relationship with Jesus, each of the
disciples had moved from Rabbi (master, teacher) to Lord except for Judas, who
still referred to Jesus as Rabbi (master, teacher). Judas never made the
transition to the Lordship of Jesus. As long as you are motivated by your own
desires you will only look to Jesus as Teacher. To see Him as Lord requires that
we die to our own desires. While you would find it very difficult to betray
anyone whom you thought of as Lord, it is not nearly as hard to betray someone
whom you think of as teacher.
We should learn a clear lesson from this. Judas
didn't betray Jesus for the 30 pieces of silver. The money was not his
motivation merely an extra benefit. That is why he threw the money on the floor
of the sanctuary in front of the priests [Matthew 27:5-8].
Judas was a zealot. He saw Jesus as the one that
had the power to establish the kingdom of Israel and throw off the yoke of Rome.
He thought that he could manipulate Jesus into proclaiming his kingship. He
never dreamed that Jesus would actually allow himself to be put to death. Judas
thought that his betrayal would cause Jesus to use his power in a political
manner. That is why he threw the money on the floor and went out and killed
himself when he realized how wrong he was.
We too must transition to the Lordship of Jesus.
We cannot manipulate Him for our own agenda or for our own gain. He is Lord and
King. We do His will; He doesn't do ours.
Worthy of the Work
Paul was also concerned about this. He disciplined
himself for the ministry like an athlete disciplines himself for an athletic
contest. His reason for doing this was to ensure that he would not become a
castaway himself after ministering to so many others.
Do you not know
that those who run in a race all run, but
one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who
competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then
to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such
a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but
discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to
others, I myself will not be disqualified.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NASB)
Paul was certainly not talking about salvation. He
was speaking of his calling, his work in the Lord. If this was a concern for the
Apostle Paul, where does that put us? While contemporary teaching may make us
feel good by telling us everything is all grace and there is no qualifying for
the work that the Lord has called us to do, common sense and even a cursory
reading of the New Testament tells us otherwise.
Paul said that we should prove ourselves in all
things as ministers of God. The list of areas that approve us is certainly not a
we entreat also that you
do not receive
the grace of God in vain,
for he says, “At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I
helped you.”Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of
We give no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our
service may not be blamed, but in everything commending ourselves, as servants
in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in
imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; in pureness, in
knowledge, in perseverance, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, in
the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the
right hand and on the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good
report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying,
and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always
rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing
Corinthians 6:1-10 WEB)
While we can never be worthy of our salvation, we
do need to be worthy of the work God has called us to do.
Therefore I, the prisoner of
the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with
which you have been called, (Ephesians 4:1 NASB)
It is a constant theme with Paul in his other
you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,
in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the
knowledge of God;
(Colossians 1:10 NASB)
just as you know
exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father
his own children,
so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who
into His own kingdom and glory.
Thessalonians 2:11-12 NASB)
In each of these cases, walking worthy is always
related to God's calling and His work.
Peter gives us clear instruction on the things
that need to be added to our lives and continue to increase as we grow in the
Lord. The first part of Chapter 1 of Second Peter details these things and then
in verse 8, Peter tells us why they are so important.
are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful
the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these
short-sighted, having forgotten
purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren,
be all the more
diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you
practice these things, you will never stumble;
for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Peter 1:8-11 NASB)
The Greek word here means idle, useless, inactive,
and interestingly, unemployed. If we don't have the qualities that Peter listed
in the previous verses and if they are not increasing in our life, we could find
ourselves unemployed in the kingdom of God. To be called to work and then be
unable to fulfill that work would be most tragic. Peter says that we are to be
diligent to make our calling and selection steadfast, stable. If we practice the
things listed, we will never fall or fail.
It is Required
There are some minimal requirements that are
necessary before God permits us to go on with the work that he has assigned to
us [Hebrews 6:1-3, Ephesians 2:10].
So let a man think
of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. Here, moreover,
it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful.(1
Corinthians 4:1-2 WEB)
If the Lord is going to entrust to us any of His
mysteries, it is required that we have been found faithful in our
stewardship. That says to me that present revelation from the Lord is a result
of previous faithfulness to His revelation.
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who
is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
(Luke 16:10 NASB)
The way that the Lord teaches us faithfulness is
by starting with little things. As we are faithful in the little things then the
Lord can add to us bigger things. He grows our faithfulness because it is
required as we mature into the deeper things of the Lord.
Faithfulness is the minimal requirement. It is
aspect of the nature of God. We must cultivate faithfulness if we are to fulfill
our work and calling in the Lord.
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