Isaiah 49:1-4 ESV
“Listen to me, O coastlands,
and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb,
from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, ‘You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’
But I said, ‘I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
and my recompense with my God.’”
The one speaking here is regarded to be Jesus Christ, our Messiah. This was a foretelling of the Messiah who was yet to come and of his birth and of his ministry to all people, not just to the Jews. But it also mimics the calling of Jeremiah, the prophet of God, who was called of God from the womb of his mother to be a prophet to the nations, and the calling of Paul, called of God to be an apostle and a minister of the gospel to both Jew and Gentile.
But in reality all of us who are in Christ by faith in him are the called of God and we were chosen in him even before God laid the foundations of the earth (Rom 8:29; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Eph 1:3-4). Jesus Christ/God formed us in the wombs of our mothers and all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before any one of them even came into being (Psalms 139:13-16). And we are a holy people belonging to God that we might proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet 2:9; Matt 28:18-20). So we are to be ministers of the gospel, too.
Yes, Jesus Christ did call and he is calling all people to listen to him and to give attention to him and to his word. And we who are his representatives on this earth are also to be calling the people of this earth to listen to the Lord Jesus and to give attention to his words, which are the words of life to all people. But we need to first of all be listening to him and walking in obedience to him in faithful surrender to his will before we can call others to listen to him and to follow him in obedience.
When Jesus Christ walked this earth he was fully God and fully human. He began his ministry at around the age of 30 and he was put to death at around the age of 33. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, comforted the sorrowful, fed the hungry, and he performed many miracles. As well he preached repentance for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God. And he called on all people to forsake their lives of sin and to follow him in obedience (Luke 9:23-26).
He had many superficial followers at the beginning, who were following him because of the miracles he performed – because he healed their diseases and he fed their hungry bellies. But when he began preaching that they had to die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Luke 9:23-26), and that they had to “eat of his flesh and drink of his blood” (John 6:35-58) – which is symbolic for sharing with him in his death and resurrection and in his suffering – many of them deserted him.
And then there were the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Scribes and the rulers of the temple of God, many of whom opposed Jesus Christ and who he said he was and the things that he did and said. Many of them hounded and harassed him continuously, always looking for ways to trip him up with his words so that they would have cause to accuse him falsely. And eventually they were able to carry out his death on a cross, hoping to finish him, but then God resurrected him from the dead, and he still lives.
And when we follow the Lord Jesus in obedience, and we become his servants and witnesses and messengers in taking the gospel of our salvation to the people of the world, we will be opposed, too, if we are teaching the same gospel Jesus taught and that his New Testament apostles taught. And sometimes it may feel as though we have spent our strength for nothing when so many people ignore and reject the truth of the gospel in order to follow after the lies of Satan. But our responsibility is just to obey the Lord in doing what he says and he will draw the hearts of people to himself.
Isaiah 49:5-6 ESV
“And now the Lord says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’”
Again, this is a prophecy about Jesus Christ, our Messiah. But in many ways it applies to us, his servants, as well, for we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. And we are to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, teaching them to obey whatever our Lord commands. We are to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ, for this is the essence of the gospel. And we are to be his witnesses to the people of the earth.
[1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom. 10:14-15; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn. 14:12; 1 Jn. 2:6]
And we are to take to the people the true message of the gospel of our salvation that we are to be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer enslaved to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23). And that if we are to be followers of Jesus that we are to deny self and take up our cross daily (daily die with Christ to sin) and follow him in obedience (Lu 9:23-26).
And then we need to let them know that we don’t “get saved” once and therefore heaven is now guaranteed us when we die. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for those who love and obey him, when he takes us to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation is completed. But this is conditional upon us walking in obedience with our Lord and us no longer walking in sin, in deliberate and habitual sin, and it is dependent on us continuing with Christ in obedience to him until the very end.
[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]
He Gives Purpose
An Original Work / June 9, 2012
“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”
Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.
“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”