World of Faith

Fulfilling Your Calling: Part One

July 22, 2007
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Today I am starting a new series here on my blog, but before I go in there, I want to make two announcements. First, I apologize for not blogging last week. I’ve had a busy schedule, and it is a lot to keep up with. Second, I am announcing a unique opportunity for my readers. I would like to open up “World of Faith” for guest blogging. This will allow me to post the submission of others in between the different posts that I make. So, if you are interested in a guest blog submission, these are the policies concerning your post:

(1) Please send your guest blog submission to my personal e-mail at jbkrems@excite.com, so that I may review your content. Your content does not necessarily need to be a part of the current series, but it does need to be Christian and spiritual in nature.

(2) I will review ALL submissions, and then I will either approve or disapprove your submission. If your submission is approved, I will e-mail you back and let you know when your submission will be posted. If your submission is not approved, I will e-mail you back and let you know that, as well as the reasons why your submission was not approved. Please know that all editorial submissions are final.

(3) I will personally post any approved submission, and moderate any comments. If you wish to respond to commenters on your post, you will need to submit your comments by posting them in the normal way, like you if it was a regular post and not a guest blog.

If you have any questions about these policies, or you would like any other information about how your posts might be screened; OR — if you would like to suggest a topic for a new series or a new post, then please contact me at jbkrems@excite.com, and I will be happy to discuss that with you.

Alright, I am beginning a new series today which will take us into August, and this series is entitled “Fulfilling Your Calling.” Everyone in the Body of Christ has a calling or calling(s) on their life — a unique plan, if you will, that God has designed for their life. One of the keys to fulfilling that plan is obedience, and walking that call out. We have a responsibility towards that end, and so for the next several weeks, I am going to be discussing that topic.

Dear reader, I believe that your calling is a holy and precious thing unto the Lord. 2 Tim. 1:8-9 (NAS) says, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord… join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a HOLY CALLING, not according to our own works, but according to His own purpose and grace which which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” Our calling as the Body of Christ, both corporately and individually is a holy calling. Further, Paul wrote in Romans 11:29 that
“the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable,” or in some translations “without repentance.” That means that once God has gifted and called a person, or a group of people, then God does not change his mind (or repent) and revoke such gifting and calling — not only is your calling holy and precious unto the Lord, but it is a permanent aspect of your walk with God, and thus in order for God to protect the holy and precious calling, we need to treat it as such as well.

For Paul also wrote in 1 Cor. 1:26 (NAS) that we should “consider [our] calling,” and in Eph. 4:1, Paul wrote, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” So, the first prerequisite for fulfilling our calling is possessing godly character. 2 Pet. 1:10 (NAS) exhorts us, “Therefore, brethern, 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.” What are these things that we are to practice, in order to fulfill our calling? Let’s backtrack in 2 Peter 1, up to verses 4-8, “He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, if we possess these character qualities, we will be spiritually rooted and grounded, and we will be useful and fruitful in the Kingdom of God. In fact, according to Psalm 92:12-14 (NKJV), “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall STILL bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” Amen, this is a precious promise pertaining to life and godliness for those who choose to walk in righteousness, as 2 Pet. 1:4-8 and 10 exhorts us to do.

Let’s unpack this rich passage of Scripture in 2 Pet. 1:4-8. There are seven key character qualities that we should possess in order to fulfill our calling. The first of these is to supply moral excellence in our faith. What is “moral excellence” – ? The King James Version calls “moral excellence” virtue, which Thayer’s Lexicon defines as a virtuous (or moral) course of thought, feeling, and action. It is moral goodness, and specific examples given are modesty and purity. We need to exhibit godly modesty and purity in our lives, and not just purity in what we do, but purity in our thought life and emotional/feeling life as well. Our hearts need to be pure before God in His holiness and purity. The second character quality we need to have is knowledge. Thayer’s Lexicon provides four different definitions for “knowledge,” and in my opinion, the editor(s) of Thayer’s gave the best definition last, “moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living.” That is really what Peter is after in saying “knowledge,” and that is basically applied moral wisdom that leads to right decision making and holy and righteous living before God. The third character quality we need to have is self-control. Galatians 5 lists self-control as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit (which is next week’s topic), then we will NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and instead exhibit many character qualities, including self-control. The fourth character quality we need to have is perseverance. This really speaks of endurance in our walk and journey with God. Heb. 10:36 (NAS) says, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Paul wrote concerning this very subject in Rom. 2:4-8 (NAS), “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those by PERSEVERANCE in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” Now, I am not saying by this passage that your deeds determine whether you will be saved and inherit eternal life. However, it is very clear in James that faith without works is dead, and we are to demonstrate our faith by good deeds, which come as a natural result of our faith.

The fifth character quality we need to possess in order to fulfill our calling, according to 2 Pet. 1:4-8 (NAS) is godliness. Now, this is a different character quality than “moral excellence” or virtue, which was listed first, and therefore is pre-eminent and from which the remainder of these character qualities flow. Here, “godliness” I believe deals with our self-image. We were created as human beings in the image of God. Thus, we are to exhibit godly qualities in our lives. And that is what “godliness” means — having a godly self-image that is based on modeling and patterning our lives after God’s ways, and not man’s ways. The sixth character quality we need to possess is “brotherly kindness.” Rom. 12:10 (NAS), in discussing spiritual gifts, which has been a previous and recent topic, says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” We are to prefer one another. Paul wrote in Phil. 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” If we exhibit that quality, then we truly will become selfless, preferring one another over ourselves.

The final character quality we need to possess is love, which is also a fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5. According to Eph. 3:16, we are to be “rooted and grounded in love.” If we have all these seven character qualities down, then we will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, and we will be spiritually grounded. We will also be walking in the Spirit. That is the topic I will take up next week, because not only is walking in the Spirit essential to fulfilling your calling, but it is essential to living a godly, righteous life before God, which is God’s calling for everyone. Amen.


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Leadership and Influence: Part Four

July 8, 2007
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This post will be the fourth and final installment of the series on “Leadership and Influence” here at World of Faith. Next week I will begin a new series on “Fulfilling your Calling.” I believe it is crucial, if we desire to be people of destiny, to do what we need to be doing in order to fulfill the call of God on one’s life, and so I will spend several weeks addressing that.

Last week, in Part Three, I discussed how leadership and influence tie into spiritual gifts, specifically the ascension gifts of Eph. 4:11-16 (NKJV), which says, “And He (Jesus) Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” The first point I made was that the purpose of these five gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. This is ONE kind of leadership and influence. But, the kind of ministry implied in this passage, which the ascension gifts are to facilitate and help grow and develop, is ALSO a kind of leadership, because leadership IS influence, and if you are serving in the church, then you are influencing and leading others, rather you like it or not.

I also shared that the concept of “every part does its share” is also found in 1 Cor. 12:28 (NKJV), which says, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” There is a direct correlation between “every part does its share” and the gift of helps. This gift is not really a gift at all, and is more of a ministry, and is available for all to serve in it. Thus, anyone who is serving, and in the ministry of helps in a local church setting, are in fact influencing others and leading, at least by example, and if not in some more direct way.

The other gift-ministry that is mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:28, and that is directly related to the concepts in Eph. 4:11-16 is the gift of administration, or “kubernesis” in the Greek, which is essentially the same as eldership in the local church, or pastoral ministry. This is the other kind of leadership in Christ’s body.

Now, this week, I am going to discuss the result of godly influence and leadership, and that is a transformed world. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 (the Great Commission), “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” They key phrase here is that we are to “make disciples.” What does this mean? Well, a parallel verse that is significant is Acts 1:8 (NAS), where Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” So, given this passage and others, one aspect of being a disciple is being a witness of the Gospel, that we are to testify of the things that God has done in our life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But there is another aspect of being a disciple. The KJV uses the phrase “teach all nations” rather than “make disciples of all nations.” The Greek verb used for “teach” here is “matheteuo.” According to Thayer’s Lexicon, this word means to make a disciple, to teach and instruct. So, by being an example, and by tapping into our godly leadership and influence, we can literally transform nations and disciple the inhabitants therein, and that is the result of godly leadership and influence.

Next week I will begin the new series on “Fulfilling Your Calling.” Have a blessed week!


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Leadership and Influence: Part Three

July 1, 2007
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Before I begin the third installment of this series on “Leadership and Influence,” I need to apologize to you, my readers, for not releasing the third installment last week. Again, I’ve had some computer problems, and I have been rather busy, so hopefully now I will be releasing a new installment every 7-10 days.

Now, last time, I continued the current series on “Leadership and Influence,” and specifically addressed the concept that true leaders influence by serving, and not just that, but that they are “role models” in modern-day culture. There is nothing more significant than someone leading by example, showing others and influencing others how to think, act, and be a Christian.

This week, as promised, I am going to explore how leadership and influence tie into spiritual gifts, specifically the ascension gifts of Eph. 4:11. Lets start with looking at a key Scripture verse, which has been discussed here before at “World of Faith, ” and that is Eph. 4:11-16 (NKJV), which says, “And He (Jesus) Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Well, that’s a lot to digest. But, here are some key points. First, the purpose of these five gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Rather than going into each of these gifts specifically (and if you want more information, read Part Three of my recent series on “Spiritual Gifts”), I’ll note that each of these gifts have an overall purpose of equipping people like you and me for their ministry. This is ONE kind of leadership and influence. But, the kind of ministry implied in this passage, which the ascension gifts are to facilitate and help grow and develop, is ALSO a kind of leadership, because leadership IS influence, and if you are serving in the church, then you are influencing and leading others, rather you like it or not.

The other key part of this passage is found in verse 16, “according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” The same concept of “every part does its share” is found in another related passage, 1 Cor. 12:28 (NKJV), “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” I strongly believe that there is a direct relationship between “every part does its share” and the gift of helps, mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:28. The Greek word that Paul uses for the gift of helps is “antilepsis,” which according to Thayer’s means “to aid or help.” Specifically, Thayer’s mentions as an example “the ministrations of deacons, who have care of the poor and the sick.” As I shared in the “Spiritual Gifts” series, this gift is really a gift at all. To me, “helps” is a ministry, and not a gift, and the “gift of helps” is a gift available to all, except those who are ascension gift ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers). This is because another definition that Thayer’s offers for “helps” in 1 Cor. 12:28 is “a laying hold of, apprehension, perception, objection of a disputant.” Those who serve in the ministry of helps are to lay hold of, apprehend, and perceive in order to solve a dispute, or a problem, as to effectively render aid to those who are senior church leaders. Thus, anyone who is serving, and in the ministry of helps in a local church setting, are in fact influencing others and leading, at least by example, and if not in some more direct way.

Now, the other gift-ministry that is mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:28, and that is directly related to the concepts in Eph. 4:11-16 is the gift of administration, or “kubernesis” in the Greek. Thayer’s defines this gift-ministry as “governing, government, rendering wise counsel, to steer a ship.” I believe the gift of “kubernesis,” or “governments,” or “administrations,” is essentially the same as eldership in the local church, or pastoral ministry. This is the other kind of leadership in Christ’s body.

So, essentially, every believer should be engaged in at least one of these levels of leadership and influence… either serving and influencing others, which is leadership, or five-fold ministry, which is also leadership.

Next week I’ll wrap this series up with a discussion of the result of godly influence and leadership, and that is a transformed world.


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