Category Archives: Evangelism

The Missing Illustration

Yesterday we looked at “Are You A Christian, Evaluating Your Claim To Christianity” at Kitwe Church.  In Mark 4 Jesus answers the question why so many professing Christians “fall away” and never bear fruit.  Here is the “missing illustration” that for sake of time was dropped from that sermon, but is so helpful to our understanding of sharing the gospel message.  It comes directly from the book, Hells Best Kept Secret, written by Ray Comfort.

The way we present the gospel determines the kind of response the sinner makes. Let me illustrate.

Two men are seated in a plane. A stewardess gives the first man a parachute and instructs him to put it on because it will “improve his flight.”

Not understanding how a parachute could possibly improve his flight, the first passenger is a little skeptical. Finally he decides to see if the claim is true. After strapping on the parachute, he notices its burdensome weight, and he has difficulty sitting upright. Consoling himself with the promise of a better flight, our first passenger decides to give it a little time.

Because he’s the only one wearing a parachute, some of the other passengers begin smirking at him, which only adds to his humiliation. Unable to stand it any longer, our friend slumps in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart because as far as he is concerned, he was told a lie.

Another stewardess gives the second man a parachute, but listen to her instructions. She tells him to put it on because at any moment he will be jumping out of the plane at 25,000 feet.

Our second passenger gratefully straps the parachute on. He doesn’t notice its weight upon his shoulders nor that he can’t sit up upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without it. When other passengers laugh at him, he thinks, “You won’t be laughing when you’re falling to the ground!”

Inoculated Backsliders

Let’s now analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience.

The first man’s motive for putting on the parachute was solely to improve his flight. As a result, he was humiliated by the passengers, disillusioned by an unkept promise, and embittered against the stewardess who gave it to him. As far as he is concerned, he will never put one of those things on his back again.

The second man put the parachute on to escape the danger of the coming jump. Because he knew what would happen to him without it, he had a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart. Knowing he was saved from certain death gave him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward the stewardess who gave him the parachute was one of heartfelt gratitude.

Now listen to what the contemporary gospel says: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ; He will give you love, joy, peace, and fulfillment.” In other words, He will improve your flight. In an experimental fashion, the sinner puts the Savior to see if these claims are so.

What does he get? Temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock his decision. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ; he is offended for the Word’s sake; he is disillusioned and embittered, and quite rightly so.

He was promised peace, joy, fulfillment, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed at those who gave him the “good news.” His latter end is worse than the first – another inoculated, bitter backslider!

When the sinner sees the awful consequences of breaking the Law of God – that he cannot escape the certainty of judgment – he will see his need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. When we preach future punishment by the Law, the sinner comes to Christ solely to flee from “the wrath to come.”

Instead of preaching that Jesus “improves the flight,” we must warn men about the inevitable jump. Everyone must pass through the door of death.

It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27.

But doesn’t Christianity offer the abundant life? You bet it does! Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of the Spirit. But we do sinners an injustice by enticing them with only the benefits of salvation. Our misguided efforts only result in sinners coming to Christ with an impure motive void of repentance.

Remember why the second passenger had joy and peace? Because he knew what that parachute was going to save him from. In the same way, the true convert has joy and peace in believing because he knows that the righteousness of Christ will deliver him from the wrath that is to come. “The kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Why is righteousness coupled with peace and joy? Because “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4).

Man-Centered Preaching.

Now let’s take a look at an unfortunate incident on board the plane. During some unexpected turbulence, the stewardess accidentally drops a cup of hot coffee onto the lap of our second passenger.

What is his reaction? Does he cry out in pain, then rip the parachute off his back in anger?

No! He didn’t strap it on for any other reason than the jump. In fact, he doesn’t even relate the incident to his parachute. Instead, it only makes him cling more tightly to his hope of salvation and even look forward to the jump!

If we put on Christ to flee the wrath to come, when tribulation strikes we wont get angry at God. Why should we? We didn’t come for a better lifestyle. Trials drive us closer to the Lord, and we cling more tightly to Him. Like the apostle Paul, we only stay around to encourage other passengers to put on the parachute. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Sadly, multitudes of professing Christians lose their joy when the flight gets bumpy. They are the product of “man-centered” preaching.

Today Marks Two Years Of Ministry For Kitwe Church!

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Kitwe Church exists to glorify God by making gospel-centered, reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Our identification as Christians is not national, ethnic or cultural, our identification is that we are children of the King. The church is the place where the world can see in microcosm what the Kingdom of God looks like.  People from every “tribe, tongue and nation” together in gospel unity for the purpose of bringing glory to God!

There are people in Kitwe and its environs who are not being targeted by any existing church. Some are Zambians who have been turned off by “the church” and have nothing to do with it. There are also people living in our city who are from Chinese, Indian, South American and European backgrounds who are effectively unreached by an intentional gospel witness.

Kitwe Church sprang from a burden to reach out to all of these groups with the gospel. In 2014 Philip Hunt family and the Nathan Washer family banded together with the blessings of Faith Baptist Church of Riverside to begin an evangelistic Bible study outreach. Kitwe Bible Study Fellowship held the first meeting on February 23, 2014 at the Polo Club next to the Agricultural Showgrounds in Kitwe. A small handful of unchurched people attended that first Bible study.

For the first three months an apologetics approach was taken that answered questions and arguments about Christianity. The remainder of the year was Bible studies from the Gospel of John explaining the deity of Christ and the need to submit to Him for salvation. During this same period the children were being taught a survey of the Bible using the various stories from Creation to the return of Christ.

A variety of people began to attend the study, and began to invite their friends and acquaintances. Visitors came to the study from Kitwe, Chingola, Mufulira and Chiliabombwe. Attendance grew during the first year from a handful to between 40-50 people each week.

In December 2014, the executive committee from the M.O.T.H.S Club in Parklands reached out and invited our Bible Study Fellowship to use their hall at no charge. The change in venue coincided with a spike in weekly attendance.

Jamie & Mandy Smith joined the leadership team in December 2014 and plans were made to transition the ministry from a Bible Study Fellowship to a church plant that would be known as Kitwe Church ( In early 2015 the Bible study transitioned from an informal Bible study to a more structured service format. A music team was organized and congregational singing was incorporated. Attendance continued to grow through the year with a high attendance in 2015 of 135 attendees. By the middle of 2015 Kitwe Church opened a bank account, began to collect offerings, instituted Small Group Bible Studies and began a monthly teen activity and Bible study.

Several people have professed faith in Jesus Christ, and in December 2015 the first baptism service was held with 9 persons following Christ in believer’s baptism. A series of messages were presented the second half of 2015 that dealt with all aspects of local church membership, structure and duties. During the last quarter of 2015 the Elders completed work on a doctrinal statement and adopted a Church Covenant, Mission Statement, Core Values and a Church Constitution.

The first Membership Orientation will be held the first three Sundays of March 2016 followed by a Chartering Service scheduled for Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016.

We are thankful for what God has done over the past two years and eagerly anticipate what He will continue to do in the years to come!  Our goal is to Know Truth, Love God & Serve Others! If you reside in the Kitwe area and do not have a church you call “home” please join us this Sunday!

Accomplishing The Mission of Jesus

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Do we really understand the desperate needs that exist around us?

Late one afternoon staff at Faith Children’s Village brought a lone visitor to see out Administrator. The young visitor was a little girl, 11 years old.  She had walked all day, crossing the Kafue River to find this place where she heard that people cared for kids.  Both of her parents had died when she was a baby.  She was cared for by her grandmother who later died.  She was then in and out of various homes, some places she was mistreated and she was not in school. Finally she ran away. She would dance at bars for money.  Someone told her about Faith Children’s Village so on this day she came searching and pleading to be taken in.

Few of us here have faced a situation like this in our lives!  Desperation, pain, suffering, a loss of hope for the future.

We have been studying the church and today we will look at the mission of the church.  God has called us for a purpose – to glorify Him!  But what are we to do?  Why does the church exist, why do we come together in fellowship, to study the Word, encourage and edify one another?  What is it that all of this enables us to do that will bring God glory throughout eternity?

Let us look at our text in Romans 10.  Have you ever encountered something that so deeply affected you that you felt deep searing anguish and grief in your heart? That is exactly what is happening with Paul in our text today!

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

He is so consumed with grief in HIs heart that he said this:

Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

What are the things that cause your heart to bleed? What are the things that causes you to cry out to God in heartfelt desperation?

Kent Hughes in his commentary on Romans is spot on when he wrote, “Romans 9 teaches divine election—chapter 10 teaches human responsibility. I emphasize this because it is possible to get just enough of the vertical theology of chapter 9 to make us horizontally irresponsible… We humans like being absolved of responsibility.”

Let’s be very clear: “If you are without Christ it is not because you are not elect – it is because you are rejecting Christ!” (21)

Our mission is to carry out God’s mission of reconciling sinful human beings to God through Christ!  So what is the world’s greatest need, and what must you do about it?


In the midst of human suffering, loss and the man ills that afflict modern-day man, why is the gospel the greatest need?

Because they are lost! (1)

Paul had a God-given passionate desire for the salvation of his own people group, the Jews. (10:1, 9:1-3).  They did not realize it, they were convinced otherwise – but they were hopelessly lost!

Isaiah put it this way:  All we like sheep have gone astray…  and Paul wrote earlier in this same letter that “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

Because all people outside of Christ are trying and failing to establish their own righteousness. (2-3)

It is not enough that these people were sincere or zealous for God or committed to their religion. (2)

You can be zealous for church, zealous in Bible study, zealous in the choir, and be lost!

A couple years ago I was was in the USA for some speaking engagements.  On my trip home, I flew out of Boston on a Boeing 747 for Lusaka via London.  After we got up to 40,000 feet the stewardesses serviced the cabin and eventually dimmed the lights for the night flight.  I got up and went to the back of the plane.  In front of the toilet doors near the exit door a man had rolled out his prayer mat and was on his knees bowing in prayer toward Mecca.  There is no one who can question this man’s zeal toward his religion!

And this is exactly what Paul was talking about – these people were zealously working for God in an attempt to establish their own righteousness.  They were trying to be righteous by keeping the law.

Galatians 3: 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

God’s standard is His own righteous perfections, and nobody can pull that off, no matter how sincere they are or how hard they try! The problem is human wickedness and depravity. Everyone, everywhere has sinned and stands guilty before God.

Some people base their confidence of salvation on how good they are in relation to someone else.  Or they base their salvation on what they don’t do.  This is called moralism.  You can be moral, but man’s morality will never meet God’s standard of righteous perfection!

Because there is no other way to be reconciled to God – none! (4-13)

Salvation through Christ is the ONLY way to God. Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross is the only way any person – Jew, Gentile, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu – can be saved.  Jesus Christ is the only way to God! (4-8).  You have to believe that!

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now at this point, you might be asking a very fair question:  How can Paul say this?  If Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, what about those who have never heard of Jesus?

Remember our text is coming from chapter 10, so we are jumping into something that Paul has already been talking about for some time.  In fact he has already dealt with the answer to this very question.  Let’s quickly look at what he has said,

God speaks through creation.

God is a God who loves and calls to all mankind, now matter where they are.  First, God speaks through Creation.  Imagine that our hall this morning is in complete darkness, and I were to light a candle on the table at the front.  Would you be able to see that flame?  Of course!  It would be the one thing in the midst of darkness that jumps out and screams for your attention.  Now what if you rushed toward the light, not to embrace it, but to blow it out?  God has given all men the light of creation, reject that light and you have no excuse.  Here is how Paul explains it:

Romans 1:18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.* 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (NLT)

God speaks through Conscience

Our conscience is that inner voice in every one of us that tells us to do or not to do a thing.  It is true that our conscience can be corrupt or misinformed, but that voice is there speaking to us none-the-less!  It is interesting that anthropologists who reach formerly unreached peoples have yet to discover a society in some remote corner of the earth that is atheist!  Why? Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God “has put eternity in their hearts.”

Ro.2:14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. (NLT)

God speaks through Christ

Acts 17:22 So Paul, standing before the council,* addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. 24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man* he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your* own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. 30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

Salvation requires belief in two things (9-11):

  • That Jesus is Lord – that he shares the nature, character, holiness, power and authority of the one and only true God and thus He I supreme over me – I belong to Him!
  • That God raised Jesus from the dead – true belief of this will cause us to confess before others – “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

The salvation message is for EVERYONE!  It is universal (13)

For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. There is no national distinction, no ethnic distinction, cultural distinction, no depraved condition too deep, no sin too great, no person too lost. The same Lord is over all people and is generous to all who call upon Him!

And here is the glorious crescendo to the gospel! Whoever will call upon Jesus will be delivered from the just condemnation of their rebellion and sin!

So how can verse 13 happen in Kitwe this week?  How can this happen in Blantyre? In Nairobi? In Juba? In Accra? In Mogadishu? 

If this is the world’s greatest need – what must we do to meet it?

How does this gospel get to those who must receive it?  How does it get to little orphaned girls that no one wants?  Little girls like the 11 year old girl who arrived at Faith Children’s Village?

Should maybe we fly over and drop illustrated leaflets explaining the gospel message?  Maybe we could send food to the nearly 1m people on the verge of starvation of S. Kordafan & Blue Nile State, living in caves to escape the bombing raids from Kartoum?  Maybe we should go to rural Zambia and dig some wells so people can have fresh water?

In Jesus’ ministry He went everywhere “doing good.”  But there were always more sick people to heal, more dead people to raise up, more mouths to feed… and they were begging him to do these things.  Mark 1:36–38 And Simon… said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”


Why is proclaiming the gospel the Christian’s greatest responsibility?

Because we were commissioned to this task by Jesus Himself!

Paul was cornered by Jesus on the Damascus Road and called as a gospel witness (Acts 9). We too have been cornered by Jesus and called to be gospel witnesses for Jesus! (Mt.28.18-20)

Because whoever calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved! (13)

Because those who don’t hear will be damned forever! (14-17)

Let us look at verses 14-15 in reverse:

  • If here is no sending, there is no preaching. (15)
  • If there is no preaching, there is no hearing. (14c)
  • If there is no hearing, there is no believing. (14b)
  • If there is no believing there is no calling. (14a)
  • If there is no calling on Jesus – they are DAMNED!  Forever!

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Luke 16:23–24 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 

2 Thessalonians 1:8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 20:13–15 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Let’s conclude with Paul’s summary statement in verse 17: So then, Faith comes through hearing the Word of God! They must hear the word of God in order to believe!  We too must hear the Word of God if we are to believe and obey!

The Gospel:

You must know it!

You must receive it!

Have you received God’s free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus?  Do you believe Christ is man’s only way to heaven?

You must share it (17)

  • Locally – intentional engagement and proclamation of the gospel within your circle of influence.
  • Globally – through gospel partnerships.  For some through obedient abandonment to going cross-culturally to preach this gospel.

You have just heard the gospel – have you received it?  Is this truth your personal reality?

What is the all-consuming desire of your heart?  Does your heart burn for people to know Christ?

Download the pdf copy of Accomplishing the Mission of Jesus

Listen or download the free mp3 of this sermon here.

The Calling of the Church


Back in 2010 I received an envelope in the mail from our local courthouse.  Inside was a letter stating I was being summoned to appear at the courthouse on a specific date for a specific purpose – to serve as a member of the jury of fellow citizens who would decide the guilt or innocence of an individual who was accused of a crime. The word summon is defined as “an authoritatively or urgently call on (someone) to be present, especially as a defendant or witness in a law court.”

Today, as we continue to series on “The Pattern of the Church,” we are going to recognize an important truth that clearly defines what a church is and in doing so we are instructed on how we should behave.

The word church is a translation of a Greek Word, Ekklesia, which means “a called-out assembly or congregation.” The term comes from a Greek verb “kaleo”, which means “to call.” When you think of “the church” that is exactly what you should think of.  According to Scripture, we are “the called – the summoned.”

In Romans 8:28 there is a wonderful definition of the assembly of believers as, “the called according to his purpose.” We meet in a building that is owned by a human organization. This building is the property of the Moth’s Club.  That is a human organization.  The church is something totally different.  We are a group summoned together by God for His purpose.  We are not a human organization resulting from man’s ingenuity or power.  We are not built by good, religious people.  Rather, we have been called into existence by God.

The one big idea that I hope you take with you when you leave today is this:   The Church exists because called God called it into being for one purpose – for the praise of His glory. This fact makes the church special and must be regarded as such.

This idea of the church being called is obviously found throughout all of scripture, but for the rest of our time today we are going to focus on Ephesians 1: 3-14 to see several important truths about our calling.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

In the Greek language, this passage is one long elegant sentence to paint the beautiful picture of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit beginning and completing the reconciliation and redemption of the all those who put their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin (Grudem 1661).  At the very core of this beautiful passage of scripture is the word “called”.  Today we will see eight distinct aspects of the church’s calling.

1. Called Before – Election v. 4-5, 11

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

What did God do?

  • He Chose
  • He predestined – determine (an outcome or course of events) in advance by divine will or fate:

When did he do this?

Before the foundation of the world

The church is not something that accidentally came into being.  It is the result of God’s predetermined, sovereign call (MacArthur 119).

2 Timothy 1:9 says, “(God) saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

Remember, God exists outside of time and space.  He created those aspects of the world.  He is eternal.  In God’s mind, there is no time frame.  For Him, everything is an immediate eternal present.  The church was as real to Him before the world began as it is now” (MacArthur 119).

2. Called Out – Redemption v. 7,13

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

What have we been called out of?

  • Sin
  • Death
  • The World System

Romans 6:8-11 says, “8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” I John 2:15-17 says, “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

The church is a redeemed community, born again by the Spirit of God.  Unredeemed people who assemble in a religious/ritualistic ceremony are not part of the Church that Christ is building (MacArthur 119).

Sadly, there are many human institutions that call themselves churches all over the world.  They appear to be “alive” when really there are dead (Rev. 3:1).  Rather than being called out from the world, they are part of it, in spite of all their religious activities (MacArthur 119).  Such groups are only partially fulfilling the definition of a church.  Yes, they are an assembly, but not a called-out assembly.  Really they are just a social club that may or may not promote good morals. Having a church membership that is truly comprised of people who are saved or born-again, is so important.  We don’t want to play church.  We want to be a church.  The church should always have people in attendance who are seeking to understand the truth of God’s Word.  Never a week should go by when we don’t have unsaved people sitting in these seats listening to God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit can open their spiritual understanding and draw them to faith in Christ.  However, never should a person who is still lost in sin, blind to spiritual truths, and living according to the passions of the sinful human nature be admitted as an official church member.

With membership come both privileges and responsibilities that are reserved for those who have been redeemed from sin – called out of the world. What we do not want to see at the end of time when all mankind stands before the Judgment of God is for someone who was considered a “Kitwe Church Member” to be one of those spoken of in Matthew 7:21-23 where it says,

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Before we move on to the next point, let me share with you a quote that can be found on a painting in the cathedral of Lubeck, Germany (MacArthur, 120).

You call Me Master, and obey Me not;

You call Me Light, and see Me not;

You call Me the way, and walk Me not;

You call Me life, and live Me not;

You call Me wise, and follow Me not;

You call Me fair, and love Me not;

You call Me rich, and ask Me not;

You call Me eternal, and seek Me not;

If I condemn thee, blame Me not.

In Luke 6:46, Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”   The church is called out of sin, out of death, and out of the world.  Have you truly been redeemed? Are you part of God’s church?

3. Called From – Sanctification v.4

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

“Christians are supposed to manifest the holiness of our heavenly Father, our Savior, and the Spirit who dwells within us” (MacArthur 121).

I John 2:15-17 says,

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

As a church we must emphasize the importance of humility, confession of sin, and pure worship.  We have been called to live holy lives.  That means leaving sinful pleasures and sinful habits behind.  One of the reasons we often fail to do this is because we don’t have an understanding of the holiness of God.  In our pursuit of holiness, we must first recognize the holiness of God the Father and Christ.  Although God’s love should make us confident to approach Him, God’s holiness should produce within us a profound sense of awe and respect even to the point of fear if we attempted to approach Him in an unholy manner with presumptuous sins in our lives.

4. Called To – Identification v. 4-6

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Here we see three important things about the calling of the Church that each believer is a part of once they have come to Jesus in repentance and faith.

  • How God Sees Us – Holy & Blameless
  • How God relates to us – As sons/daughters – children adopted into his family
  • How God satisfies us – He has blessed us in the Beloved

I once read a story about a high-society luncheon where an actor was guest of honor.  The host asked the famous actor to demonstrate his skill by reciting something for the guests.  The actor asked for any specific requests.  An old pastor in the crowd requested Psalm 23.  The actor agreed as long as the pastor would do the same.  When the actor finished reciting the 23rd Psalm the he received much applause.  However, the audience wept when the pastor was finished.  The actor humbly addressed the crowd saying, “You clapped for me, but you wept for him.  The difference is obvious: I know the Psalm, but he knows the shepherd” (MacArthur, 121).

As Christians, we have a special relationship with God that should be evident to the on-looking world.  They should be able to identify us as adopted children of God. “Romans 8:14-17 teaches that Christians have become intimately related to God, having been adopted as His sons.  That makes us joint heirs with Christ.  The church isn’t a group that you join by signing your name.  It isn’t merely a society committed to a system of teaching” (MacArthur 122). We don’t believe God is an all-powerful tyrant or monster waiting to step on us if we break one of His rules.  Rather, we have an intimate love relationship with Him.  We are called to a sweet intimacy with Jesus Christ – a personal, living relationship with God the Father.  As a loving Father He has rules to protect us from what He knows will be harmful to us, but He is not waiting for us to mess up so he can enjoy punishing us.  No!  He desires that we trust Him and obey Him so we can experience all the joy that comes from this loving relationship.

5. Called Under – Revelation v. 7-9

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ

As a pastor, one of the most common questions I have been asked by Christians over the years has been, “what is God’s will for my life?”

Everyone seems to want to know some inside information from God.  Yet sadly, many people are ignorant of the one place where such information can be found.  The Bible!

“God has filled us in on great spiritual truths concerning life, death, God, man, and eternity” (MacArthur 123). He has also given us many principles for wise living. All of this is found in this book.  The Bible is the very word of God, not the opinion of any man. Therefore, Christians are called to submit to the Word of God.  We don’t get to need to help God out in figuring out how to run His church or run this world.  God’s ways have not been proven to be outdated or unproven.  Sadly, however, they have been untried by most who call themselves Christians and sadder still, they have been largely ignored by the leaders of God’s called out assembly – the church.

“When we meet together to plan. Pray, and serve the Lord, one thing should be central in our minds: What does the Word of God say about the matter” (MacArthur 123).

As I keep asking many of you why you come to Kitwe Church, I repeatedly here that it is because we preach and teach God’s Word clearly.  Excellent!  If we ever stop doing that then you should stop coming.

“Christians mature through the study and application of Scripture.  The job of church leaders is to equip people with the “sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17).  That means more than merely owning a Bible; rather, our people need to understand the Bible so they can use it as a weapon for good” (MacArthur 123).  Why?  Because we are in a spiritual battle.

There is a song I want us to learn here entitled, “O Church Arise,” by modern hymn writers Keith and Kristin Getty.  Let me read to you the words of verse two: “Our call to war – to love the captive soul, but to rage against the captor.  And with the sword that makes the wounded whole, we will fight with faith and valor.  When faced with trials on every side, we know the outcome is secure.  And Christ will have the prize for which he died – an inheritance of nations!

6. Called With – Unification v. 10

10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

“The ultimate purpose of God is together all things together at the completion of redemptive history.”  Revelation 5 paints a beautiful picture of that day when people from every family, tribe, nation, and language will be gathered around the throne of their redeemer Jesus Christ.  No longer will there be cultural, racial, or national barriers.  Their will be total unity caused by the one thing they all have in common – their Savior!  Oh, how I look forward to that day. However, until then the Church is the symbol of that unity.  We are the “sneak preview” of what is to come.

We are called to be one in the family of God. In the earliest years of my life my family was part of a church that called itself fundamental, but sadly that was a code word for “isolationist.” There was not fellowship or unity within the local church.  There was suspicion and fear.  People were more concerned about image than substance.  People certainly didn’t let out anything our about their inner selves for fear of being judged, rejected, shunned, and shamed. The leaders were more concerned about their control than the well-being of the sheep.   Such an environment did not foster spiritual growth.

Our assembly meetings should be a safe place to let down our guard, confess our questions, fears, doubts, and sins so that we can help one another grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Everyone should sense that although we hate sin, we love the sinner.  And everyone should recognize that even after our salvation, we still have a sin nature.  We must recognize that there is no sin that anyone has ever done that you and I are not still capable of doing.  When we have these two mentalities then we will join together in unity to attack sin, but love one another.

In Philippians 2:2 Paul says that Christians should be “of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in the spirit, intent on one purpose.” 

That is why I love inter-church fellowships, where one local church gathers with others.  That is why I love conferences.  We can unite with those who are equally committed to the truths of scripture to encourage and strengthen one another. Of course, there is danger in going to far.  We want to avoid both extremes of isolationism and ecumenicalism.  We do not want an ecumenical fellowship which promotes unity at all costs – including doctrine.  We must be in agreement on the core doctrines of the faith,  but let’s make sure we are not being isolationists and dividing over traditions, or small differences in interpretations. If we can agree on the major doctrines of the Bible then Scripture says there can and should be unity.

7. Called Unto – Glorification v. 11

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

An inheritance is something that is promised at one point in time and given in another.  The focus is on the future. Paul says, that in Christ we have obtained an inheritance.  What is it?  It is the final state that we experience only on the other side of heaven.  It is glorification.

“Christians are committed to glorification.  Our focus is future.  We are not citizens of this world” (MacArthur 124).

Colossians 3:1-2 says,

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Can we say that we are investing in eternal things?  Sadly, I think all too often we get sidetracked by less valuable, temporary, earthly treasures.

8. Called For – Proclamation v. 12

12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Yes, if we have been saved, if we are part of God’s called-out assembly of believers in this world, then there are privileges that await us in our glorification.  But notice, God has not taken us to heaven yet.  The glorification is still a future reality.

That leads us to take note of an important truth.  God has left us on earth for a reason.  We were “called for” something.  We have a job to do.  We were saved to serve!

“We have been called to proclaim the glory of God’s grace.  God should be glorified in how we live and in what we say” (MacArthur 124).

We have been called -we have been summoned to be witnesses of God’s grace! Think back over your life this past week.  Have your words, actions, and attitudes pointed people to your great God?The unsaved, unbelieving world should look at us and say, “Look at the group of people.  What a gracious God they have.”

In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said,

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.”

My fellow believers, we are the primary manifestation of God in this world because many of those who are lost in sin will never read the Bible.  As you life out the truths of scripture, your life may be the only Bible they read.  Are you being faithful to proclaim God’s glory in word and deed?

Those who are religious, but have no relationship with Christ – those who have a form of religion, but deny the power of the Gospel should look at Kitwe Church and say, “What is different there?  They have God’s power.  They have God’s peace.  That must mean they have God’s presence.”  And it should drive them to abandon empty religion and come to seek a relationship with Christ as well.

Perhaps some of you in this room would fall into that category.  Perhaps you know that before you leave here today you need to respond to God’s free gift of righteousness, forgiveness, and eternal life.  Perhaps you need to trade in your religious activities for a relationship with Christ and become a true member of God’s church – His assembly of called-out ones by putting faith in Jesus Christ.


The entire church has been called into existence by God Himself.  That helps to explain the church’s overall success and blessing.  However, we all have seen instances when a church has failed to live up to this holy calling.  The weaknesses and failures of the church are explained by the fact that God has chosen to work through human agents to accomplish His purpose – His will.

We must remember that when we succeed it is because of Him, not us.  When we fail it is because of us, not Him.  The main goal of the church is to let God work and build His kingdom as we obediently submit to His Word and Spirit (MacArthur 118).  I pray that our study of Ephesians 1 has helped us to understand the extent of what it means to be called.

If you would like to study this more for yourself, I would encourage you to read chapter 9 of John MacArthur’s book, The Master’s Plan for the Church. Bibliography: Grudem, Wayne Dr. editor, ESV Global Study Bible Notes (Wheaton: Crossway Publications, 2012) MacArthur, John. The Master’s Plan for the Church (Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1991)

Download the audio sermon here.