By Invitation OnlySeptember 16, 2019
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…
— Romans 1:7
Growing up in our church, it was our custom after the sermon concluded to give a public invitation for people who felt some kind of “call” from God. As the piano played and an atmosphere was created for people to respond to the dealings of the Holy Spirit, the pastor often asked, “Is God calling you today?” People would come to the front of the sanctuary, meet the pastor, kneel at the altar, and receive prayer for the various invitations that were made. Whether it was a call to salvation, a call to rededication, a call to join the church, or a call to the ministry — people sensed the Holy Spirit drawing them to respond to Him in those services.
If we know Jesus Christ, God has called each of us — and that call is very special. But what does it actually mean to be called? This is what I want to talk to you about today. I want us to begin by looking at an example of the word “called” in Romans 1:7, where Paul wrote, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…”
The word “called” is the Greek word kaleo, which means to beckon, to call, to invite, or to summon. Although the word kaleo can simply mean to call, it is often used to convey the idea of an invitation. Those who are called or invited should view the invitation as a privilege and a prestigious honor to be treasured, prized, and revered.
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The New Testament abounds with 148 examples of this word kaleo. Two notable examples are found in Matthew 22:2-10 and Luke 14:7-24. In Matthew 22, the word kaleo is used in Jesus’ parable to describe a special invitation extended by a king who was asking people to attend a great marriage feast. Such royal events were closed to the public; a person couldn’t attend without being invited. Receiving an invitation to attend this type of special occasion was therefore considered an honor.
In Luke 14:7-24, Jesus taught two parables in which various forms of the word kaleo are used 12 times to denote invitations given to people to attend a wedding and a great feast. Both parables in this passage of Scripture emphatically convey the idea of the great honor and privilege bestowed on a person who was called or invited to such an event.
The apostle Paul used the Greek word kaleo and its various forms 49 times in his epistles. For instance, he used this word kaleo to describe God’s call to repent — to be set free from spiritual darkness and the world of sin and to become a part of His family. This divine call comes to each person when God opens his or her spiritual ears to hear the Gospel’s invitation to salvation. When the Holy Spirit opens a person’s spiritual ears to truly hear the Gospel message, that is precisely when God’s invitation is extended to him or her.
As believers, we must never forget that we couldn’t have come to the Lord if He hadn’t opened our spiritual ears and invited us to become a part of His family. Yes, Jesus died for all, but only the Holy Spirit opens spiritual ears to hear the invitation to become a part of God’s family. Our being called into the family of God was at His initiative. Our part was simply to respond to the invitation He was offering us.
As a mature believer, I now understand what was happening at the altar of our church when I was a young man. God’s Spirit was touching hearts, calling and inviting them to make various changes or commitments. Then people, by His grace, were responding to the invitation that the Holy Spirit was extending to them.
So why don’t you take the time to ask yourself, What is it God is calling me to do for Him? Whatever invitation you have received from Heaven — whether it is the call to salvation, to the ministry, or to any other assignment for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom — it is your responsibility to recognize the honor of the invitation and to answer His call with a willing and obedient heart. Whatever the Holy Spirit is saying to you, you can know this for sure: It’s a good day to say YES to the Lord!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I thank You for opening my spiritual ears to hear the call You first issued to me when You called me to repentance and salvation. I understand that I “heard” that call only because You opened my spiritual ears to hear. How I thank You for that divine act of grace in my life! And now, Father, I ask that my spiritual ears remain open so that I can continue to hear the invitations You extend to me when You call upon me to do new tasks and assignments. Help me not to be so busy that I don’t hear You. It is my sincere prayer that my spiritual ears remain open to hear You, and that when You speak, I am quick to obey what You have called and invited me to do!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I joyfully confess that God speaks to me and that I hear Him when He speaks. He has opened my spiritual ears, and I have the ability to hear when He calls and invites me to do something new and special. When God asks me to do something or beckons me to a new task, I do not argue. I choose to quickly agree with God so that I can walk continually with Him. I consider it an honor and a privilege whenever God allows me the opportunity to do something in His service.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you remember the first time God opened your spiritual ears, and you heard Him call you to repentance and salvation? When was that time? Do you remember the specific place and date?
- Are your spiritual ears open? Are you are cultivating a sensitive, listening heart that stays tuned in to the Holy Spirit’s leadings in your spirit? You may be sensing a new calling that He is extending to you in this season of your life? Is there a new invitation to take on a new task or assignment?
- To be honest — and we must be honest if we’re going to grow in the Lord — is there any call that He has extended to you that you have not obeyed? It’s never too late to repent for that, and to immediately begin to follow the instructions that the Holy Spirit has extended to you. What is that call that you are supposed to be fulfilling?