MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
Matthew 20:16, “So the last shall be first and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Luke 23:25, “And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.”
We read twice basically the same words, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Then we read the statement, “Jesus Christ chosen of God.” The Bible says in Matthew 20:16, “…for many be called, but few chosen.” It says the same thing in similar words in Matthew 22:14. These verses have been so misunderstood and misinterpreted. Our hyper-Calvinist friends say that this means many are called to salvation but everybody who’s saved is chosen by God thus God chooses some to enter Heaven and some to end up in a devil’s Hell. These people are full of prunes! God said that He was not willing that any should perish. God leaves the decision of eternity up to, “Whosoever will…” God offers man salvation but man must partake himself of what God has provided. God’s buffet table is set and He is waiting for man to partake.
WHAT DO THESE VERSES MEAN?
It means that everybody can be saved from having to end up in a devil’s Hell and from those who accept salvation there are a few people out of that group that are chosen by God to full-time Christian service. Any one can be saved from going to Hell because God calls all to salvation. Jesus died for the whole world not just part of the world! There is another call a call by God Himself to full-time service.
As we search the Scriptures we find the words chosen of God appears several time. It is a wonderful thing how that the Scriptures are the best commentary on the Scriptures. God explains Himself quite well!
THE NATION ISRAEL IS CHOSEN BY GOD
Isaiah 44:1, “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen.”
There are many nations in the world and people from any nation on earth can be redeemed but God has chosen one nation to be honored and that nation according to God Himself is Israel. This choosing is by grace and not merit. There is no reason for the choosing. God chose this one little nation called Israel not mighty Italy, not intellectual Greece, not powerful Babylon, not famous Egypt, but little Israel out of all the nations of the world.
God calls everybody to salvation through Jesus Christ under every flag of every nation in the world but one little nation was chosen by God Himself and what an honor. By the way it was not because it was a better people or a better nation. It was not because it was a famous nation but because God so chose to do so!
Please do not misunderstand everybody in every city of the world can be saved for God calls all men to salvation but He chose one nation and one little city.
God did not choose Rome, Athens, Cairo, Corinth, Alexandria, Luxor, Carnac, Nineveh, but Jerusalem! WOW! What an honor to be chosen by God to be the ONE city from across the world to be chosen for His own!
GOD CHOSE A HIGH PRIEST
Psalm 105:26, “He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.” Aaron the High Priest was chosen! There was only one High Priest in the entire world and that priest was Aaron chosen by God Himself! Can you begin to imagine what an honor it must have been for Aaron to be chosen as THE High Priest!
The truth is Aaron was not one of the better men of the Scriptures. In fact Aaron in some cases was a very weak man but some reason God chose Aaron to be the only High Priest at that time in the entire world. What an honor to be chosen by God as the nation of the world! What an honor to be chosen by God as the city, Jerusalem, the city of the world! What an honor to be chosen by God to be the High Priest of the world!
GOD CHOSE A MAN AFTER WHOM HE WOULD NAME ISRAEL
Psalm 135:4, “For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.”
Personally I would have never chosen Jacob. A man who stayed home to make chili while his brother goes hunting is not my kind of a man but God chose Jacob and his name was changed to Israel later on in His life!
The name Israel means “prince” and God chose Jacob. Please do not misunderstand everybody is called to salvation but here is one man in the entire world to be selected by God Himself.
· What an honor for little Israel to be chosen
· What an honor for little Jerusalem to be chosen
· What an honor for Aaron to be chosen
· What an honor for Jacob to be chosen
Think about it God by-passed Moses and chose Jacob, by-passed Abraham and chose Jacob, by-passed Joseph and chose Jacob, and by-passed Isaac to chose Jacob. When God chooses it is by grace. He does have the power you know?
God did not choose Israel as THE nation except but by grace. God did not choose Israel, Jerusalem, Aaron, or Jacob by their merit but by His grace. The truth is we do not know why God chose these by His grace! That is the reason He is God and I am Bob!
GOD CHOSE MARY
In Luke 1:26-36 God chose a woman named Mary. What an honor to be chosen by God to bear in her body the Christ child. What an honor to be chosen by God not because she was better than anybody else. The truth is we do not know why she was chosen.
Anybody can be redeemed but God chose this little lady to give birth to the Christ child. What an honor! This is done no by merit but by grace!
GOD CHOSE THE 12 APOSTLES
In John 6:70 God chose twelve! He chose out of all His followers twelve to be His Apostles. I do not know why he chose these twelve Apostles and neither do you! The truth is, between you and me; I do not think Peter was such a red-hot Christian much of the time, which proves it, is by grace. The truth is all people can come to Christ but God according to His own sovereignty choose a few. Many are called but few are chosen and God chose twelve! What an honor to be chosen of God!
When God made me the pastor of the Faith Baptist Church of Bourbonnais, Illinois, on August 27, 1976 with 150 people and 90 of those on buses I felt like the most honored man in the entire world! When God made me pastor of a New Testament Baptist church I was thrilled and overcome to think I was chosen by God to pastor one of one of His New Testament churches. I couldn’t sleep at night! I would rise at 4:30 and go to the church house and just walk around. I would sit at my desk and weep! I would then go to the altar and shout a while!
My friend if God has chosen you then throw back your shoulders and realize that you are a nobody but God has chosen you for Him and you are somebody special to Him! Kings, Presidents, Senators, corporate CEO’s, and educators have not been honored like you have been honored! God has chosen you and before you become proud it is not because of anything you have done to deserve it. It is not according to your merit but God’s grace! I am nothing and I know it but God for some reason only known to Him has chosen and placed me in the ministry. WOW! What a thought!
· God chose a nation by His grace
· God chose a city by His grace
· God chose a man by whose name a nation was named
· God chose a woman to bear the body of Jesus
· God chose 12 Apostles by His grace
GOD CHOSE A MISSIONARY
Acts 9:15, “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”
You who are missionaries are chosen by God; so enjoy being a part of these who have preceded you such as the Apostle Paul, Adoniram Judson, David Livingston, Rick Martin, and a Kevin Wynn and many others!
Wait a minute you were not chosen because of anything you did to attract God’s attention, for you were chosen by grace not merit. If you refuse then you must realize God’s callings are without repentance! You may change your mind but God does not change His mind. You may disqualify yourself but you can still go soul winning in your city and keep people out of Hell for in the final analysis that is what the ministry is all about!
GOD CHOSE A KING
In II Chronicles 28:5 God chose a king named Solomon. WOW! What an honor to be chosen by God Himself! Hold it! God for sure did not choose Solomon because he was a red hot Christian. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 substitutes in case one of his wives was sick. A bus kid one time called them 300 combines! Ha! For some unknown reason God chose Solomon.
I am attempting to emphasize the underserved honor and yet the honor to be picked or chosen out of a great group as a small group of the chosen by God Almighty! AMEN!
GOD CHOSE A MOUNTAIN CALLED MOUNT ZION
In Psalm 132:13 God chose a mountain called Mount Zion and that mountain was chosen to become the Pentagon, the Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court of the Millennium when Christ rules and reigns on the earth. What an honor! God by-passed the great Alps, the beautiful Adirondacks, the Smokies, and the Rocky Mountains to choose one little mount Zion on which Jesus Christ Himself would sit on a throne to rule and reign.
If you are a member of an aggressive soul winning New Testament Baptist church you ought to thank God every day for you are a part of the only institution on the face of the earth started by Jesus Christ to spread the Gospel to the world. Yours is a chosen place and a chosen church! By His grace God has allowed us to be a part of this great miracle of grace.
· We have noticed a chosen place
· We have noticed a chosen king
· We have noticed chosen priest
· We have noticed a chosen city
· We have noticed a chosen nation
· We have noticed chosen Apostles
· We have noticed a chosen missionary
· We have noticed chosen full time servants
THOSE CHOSEN IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION
Isaiah 48:10, “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
There is another group that is never mentioned much as being chosen for full-time service. I find in Isaiah 48:10 those chosen in the furnace of affliction.
Would someone please tell me what Job ever did? Would someone please tell me of a great revival that Job ever preached? Please tell me of a great church Job every built? Please tell me of a great Ark that Job ever built? Please show me anything that Job did and yet Job was as much chosen by God for full-time Christian service as the Apostle Peter, or John, or Jonah with his great revival at Nineveh. Chosen for what, he was chosen to suffer to show the rest of us how we are to suffer when our burdens come! I am saying to you that Job was chosen for full-time Christian service! Everyone is called to salvation but a few are chosen of God and such was the case with Job.
How about listing some of these honored to be chosen by God Himself!
· R. G. (our grandson)
· Lee Ann (my wife)
· And many others you could name
I am chosen to preach all the time while many of you reading this chapter are just as called to suffer all the time by God! That wheel chair is not a wheel chair it is a calling of Almighty God. That physical pain is not a physical pain it is a calling of Almighty God. Many of you reading this chapter are in full-time service and for the first time in your life you realize this is a calling of God!
· God chose a nation
· God chose a city
· God chose a High Priest
· God chose a missionary
· God chose 12 Apostles
· God chose a mountain
· God chose full time servants
· God chose a woman named Mary
· God also has chosen many for the furnace of affliction
These are just as chosen as the nation Israel, city of Jerusalem, Aaron, Jacob, Peter, Paul, (and Mary! Sorry I could not resist it!), and the twelve Apostles. In every church there are those who are so honored by God. They have been called into full-time service to teach the rest of us! They are chosen by God to teach the rest of us how to suffer and how not to suffer! They are truly full-time servants of God!
By the way God carefully chooses them and if you are one of them you are not the unfortunate ones. I could name dozens of dear precious souls whom I have been privileged to pastor in my 33 years of pastoring who preached much better sermons through their lives than I did from behind the pulpit1 It is the rest of us that are the unfortunate ones!
Just as Aaron was chosen by God to be the High-Priest, Paul was chosen by God to be the missionary to the Gentiles, Jerusalem was chosen by God to be THE city of God, Israel was chosen by God to be THE nation, and Aaron was chosen by God to be THE High-Priest you have been personally chosen by God to full-time service to teach the rest of us something we do not know!
Please tell me what great church John Bunyan built? Tell me the great mission field in which John Bunyan served? Tell me what great college John Bunyan built? Wait a minute I do not believe John Bunyan is any less chosen and less great than Charles Spurgeon. C. H. Spurgeon was chosen by God to pastor the great Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in London, England, while John Bunyan was chosen of God to show all of us how we are to take our stand for right and how to suffer for right!
John Bunyan sat in prison for 12 long years and that was his full-time service. He was imprisoned because he refused to quit preaching on the streets! This was his full-time service.
God chose the deacon Stephen to show us how to die. God chose Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, to show the rest of a nation how to keep on going through the fire of slander, media persecution, law-suits, internet gossip forums, and ex-worldly church members. The Scripture says, “They departed from the presence of the counsel rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame.”
That is not a sickness you have that is a call of God that you have on your life for God Himself has chosen you. That is not a paralysis you have that is a calling of God that you have. That is not cancer that you have that is the call of God that you have. That is not a son with 14 major maladies that you have that is the call of God that you have. That was not an accident when you fell 20 feet from a tree and shattered your knees; that is the call of God.
You have an opportunity to tell the entire world that you can take it, keep on going, and they too can make it! You can praise God while at baby land cemetery at the graveside, at the funeral home and during the persecution!
That is why the Apostle Paul could say, “I rejoice in tribulation. I glory in persecution.” That is not a car wreck when your son was taken it is the call of God! That is not a disease they diagnosed it to be MS that is the call of God. Please hold your head up high for God has chosen you to serve Him full-time. That is not loneliness when Christmas finds you alone that is the call of God. My wife Lee Ann is as much chosen of God as I am! R G. Gray III is as much chosen and called of God as Dr. Bob Gray II is!
Thank God the Gospel came to a little town of 1,000 people in Southwestern Michigan to a little 11-year-old boy in 1957. You see everybody can be saved from a devil’s Hell, but thank God for the time that God chose for you to do something for Him.