Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Club of Clubs

People love to feel as though they are part of some exclusive club.  Whether it be children in Boy Scouts, students in Honors Societies, college kids in fraternities or sororities, career people is various professional groups and unions, and religious people in their special churches.  Of course, if you are a veteran, there is the VFW.  If you are any ethnic group, there is probably a club or society for that as well.  At one time, you could even buy you way into the "Inner Circle" of Joseph Prince.  I am sure you can still do so with other ministries.  The point is that we love to feel that we are special and somehow better than others. We like to feel like we were chosen or that we somehow deserve to be recognized.  If that is you, and perhaps this is a bad thing, I am going to tickle your pride today. 
But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
Christianity is a very exclusive group.  First of all, we are chosen.  In fact, another part of the Bible amplifies this point. 
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  Ephesians 1:3-6 NKJV
God tells us through Paul in Ephesians that we were chosen.  Did you honestly think you, while spiritually dead in your sins, were spiritual enough to choose God?  God chose you!  Not only that, He chose you before the world was even created.  Please understand that this club we are in has its membership hand-selected by God.  What earthly group can possibly compare?  Can any man, any committee, any judge, any anything in this world compare to being chosen by God Himself?  I can not imagine any greater honor and privilege to being hand-selected by God. 

Now that I have inflated your pride, I need to deflate it a bit.  First of all, I am not teaching predestination.  I believe that God chose us because He knew we would choose Him.  God did not force us to choose Him, but knew that we would choose Him and so He chose us.  He saw our hearts before they were even created knowing that our hearts would, at some point, turn towards God.  It may sound like I am contradicting myself a bit, but that is the mystery of the doctrine of predestination vs. personal choice.  Both have to be right to some extent, but how that works out in the end is mystery only known to God.  Furthermore, God did not choose us based on any great attribute that we have.  We were chosen "according to the good pleasure of His will."  In other words, He chose us because he felt like it.  In other words, it has nothing to do with any great life we lived or work we have done.  Why did He feel like it?  I gave you my idea, but God has not completely shared His heart and so anything we come up with is only conjecture. 

Next we are a royal priesthood.  Yes, we are royal and we are priests
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him], that we may also be glorified together.  Romans 8:16-17 NKJV
We are royal in that we were adopted into the family of God with God as our Father.  In that, we are coheirs with Christ, sharing in the reward earned through His sacrifice.  Furthermore, we are royal in that we are the bride of Christ who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  As royalty, we are destined to rule and reign with Christ during the millennial kingdom.  Can any group on earth offer you a chance to literally rule the world with God?  There are not. Sure there are others who make that claim, but unfortunately for them they never checked with God.  As for priests, we are a kingdom of priests.  We are given the responsibility of glorifying God on earth.  It is our responsibility to share the Good News of the Gospel with the world.  It is our responsibility to share the light and love of God with the world.  And it is our responsibility to intercede for the world in prayer. 

And, finally, we are a "holy nation, His own special people."  We are a holy nation as we are a people set apart to God and we are special because God has chosen us to be in that set-apart nation.  We are a nation of people set-apart unto God. 
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.  1 Peter 1:1-2 NKJV
We are God's elect.  We were elected to be a member of this nation set apart unto God.  Many times in the New Testament, Christians are referred to as the "elect."  That is such a wonderful word.  We did not somehow end up as Christians, but we were elected for this special privilege and we were chosen before the foundations of the earth.  Again, please do not let this get to your head.  You are not special for any reason of your own.  You did not do something that made you special.   Its not about your talent, your looks, your money, your family, or anything else. 

And that really sums up the message of today.  For any of us in Christ, we are part of a very exclusive club.  You can not enter this club unless chosen by God before earth even existed.  You can not earn your way into this club.  You can not have enough talent to be allowed into it.  You can not know the right person to be a part of it.  You can not be in the right family and accepted based on your family heritage.  And if you had all the money in the world, you could not purchase your way into it.  Quite honestly, no one, not me, not you, not anyone else, even deserves to be members in this club.  Membership in this club is by invitation only and the only one who can extend that invitation is God. 
Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke [is] easy and My burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV

For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Romans 10:13 NKJV
If you are not a Christian, that is your invitation.  The invitation did come from God and it goes out to the whole world.  How do you know if God has chosen you?  Choose Him and you will know that He chose you.  There is no such thing as "wishing" God would choose you.  Choose to choose Him, making Jesus Lord and Savior, and you will know that you were chosen of God before the foundations of the world.  Invite Jesus into your life and you will know that God has invited you to be a part of His holy nation.  It really is that simple. 

But what about the membership fee?  Does it cost anything to be a member of this club?  A club of this magnitude surely is not free and the cost is greater than anyone can manage,  You can not accumulate enough gold or earn enough money to even come close to making a dent in the cost of membership.  Gladly, we do not have to.  Jesus paid it for us and He paid for it with His blood. 

Of all the things we can be part of, in the end, this is the only club that matters.  You see, once you are a member, your name is written in the membership rolls and that book is known as the Lamb's Book of Life.  Why is that important?  Because that Book is a list of the citizens of Heaven.   
But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  Revelation 21:27 NKJV

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