Effectively Called to Christ Mark 3:13-19

Text: “And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth (calls, and continues to call) unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him.”

Mark 3:13. 

          “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also CALLED: and whom He called, them He also justified (just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned): and whom He justified, them He also glorified (yet future).  What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:30. 

Good morning, effectively called Christian!  If you and I are Bible-believing, Spiritually regenerate Christians this morning, then it is only because Christ called us with the effectual call of God the Holy Spirit, quickened us (made us Spiritually alive) by that same God the Spirit; redeemed us by the supreme price of His own sinless and precious Blood; and justified us by His bodily resurrection from the dead. 

His full Atonement Sacrifice was made for you and for me – ‘His people’, and no one else.  God is at all times Sovereign Lord over all His Creation, and at all times does exactly as He pleases.  All praise, and thanksgiving, and glory to His Holy Name!  Amen.  (Psalm 115:3)

“And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou (Joseph) shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:21)

This Heavenly and prophetic message from “…the angel of the Lord…” was the truth then, and remains the full truth today – the Word of God given will never change or be denied by Him. (Matthew 1:20-25) Christ came to save His people from our sins.  Glory to His Name!

From before the very foundation of this old world, the Lord God Jehovah has known, “…them that are His…”; and has sent Christ Jesus to save us, according to His own inspired (God-breathed) Word.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth (knows, continues to know, and has always known) them that are His.  And let everyone that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  (2 Timothy 2:19)

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (God-breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

God’s Effectual Call: The late Free Presbyterian theologian, Alan Cairns, in his Dictionary of Theological Terms, notes, “The term used by the Westminster Confession of Faith and catechisms to cover the subject of regeneration.  According to the Shorter Catechism, ‘Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel.’” (Question 31, The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647 AD)

Archibald Alexander Hodge, an American Presbyterian leader, was the principal of Princeton Seminary between 1878 and 1886.  Hodge viewed the doctrine of Effectual Calling: “Effectual calling denotes the internal, special, life-giving call of the Spirit, experienced only by God’s elect, in contrast to the external, general call extended to all who hear the Gospel.  This effectual call is the exercise of Divine power upon the soul, immediate, Spiritual, and Supernatural, communicating a new Spiritual life and thus making a new mode of Spiritual activity possible.’”  (A.A. Hodge 1823-1886)

Cairns further explains: “The effect of this call is to persuade and enable us to receive Christ as He is freely offered in the Gospel.  That is, it leads us to repentance and faith.  This order is important.  Repentance and faith are acts of the regenerate man, whose ability to perform them is solely by virtue of the change wrought by the Holy Spirit in effectual call.”  (Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms, page 133)

“And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth (calls, and continues to call) unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him.  (Mark 3:13)

The effectual call of God’s Spirit through the Gospel of Christ and Him Crucified for sinners, is not only given to God’s elect alone, but it is an irresistible call to Eternal life in Him.

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“Let us notice in these verses, how many of the twelve who are here named, had been called to be disciples before they were ordained apostles.

“There are six, at least, out of the number, whose first call to follow Christ is specially recorded. These six are Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Matthew. In short there can be little doubt that eleven of our Lord’s apostles, were converted before they were ordained.  It ought to be the same with all ministers of the Gos­pel. They ought to be men who have been first called by the Spirit, before they are set apart for the great work of teaching others. The rule should be the same with them as with the apostles, — “first converted, then ordained."

“It is impossible to overrate the importance of this to the interests of true religion. Bishops and presbyteries can never be too strict and particular in the enquiries they make about the spiritual character of candidates for orders. An unconverted minister is utterly unfit for his office. How can he speak experimentally of that grace which he has never tasted himself?”  (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

The Effectual Call of God to sinner’s souls, is irresistible, and always ends in justification.

Thought: Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth – Christ calls us to serve Him today.

Omnipotent – Yet Prudent! Mark 3:9-12

Text: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30.

          “Behold (look, and fully understand), My servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”

Isaiah 52:13. 

Good morning, prudent Christian!  You, like the author, when Spirit-empowered and used of the Lord God to do some service to King Jesus Christ – have learned the lesson well, that it is most prudent to give God the glory, and to acknowledge at all times, His power at work.  Praise God for prudent Christians who have served the Lord God without seeking to steal His glory for doing so!

“I am the Vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for (a conclusion) without Me ye can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

In today’s selected verses of our Marching In Mark series, we find the Lord Jesus exercising Divine prudence instructing His disciples to procure a “…small ship…”, for them to escape from the multitude, “…lest they should thong Him.  For He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him as many as had plagues.”  (V.9-10)

The Lord God is never the author of confusion, and instructs you and I and all His ‘church’ to perform our duties to Him in a manner that is at all times done, “…decently and in order…”

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”   (1 Corinthians 14:33)

“Let all things be done decently (properly) and in order.”                           (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Dictionary Definition: Prudent – (adjective) cautious and wise in conduct; discreet; characterised by, behaving with, showing, having or dictated by forethought… (The Chambers Dictionary, page 1326)

Using what I have referred to as our ‘sanctified imagination’, we can paint a picture of what was taking place at that time.  Great crowds from Galilee, Judaea; from Jerusalem and Idumaea; beyond Jordan; and even from Tyre and Sidon had heard that Christ was come and was performing wondrous miracles of healing; and delivering many from demon possession.  Is it any wonder that these multitudes had sought to bring their sick, diseased, and demon-tormented family members and friends to Jesus to be healed? 

“For He had healed many (not all!); insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as many as had plagues.  And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.”  (V.10-11)

The Lord was, no doubt, swamped by this great thong of needy people, imagine the scene, people pleading, crying, screaming out to be healed; screaming out for the Lord to heal their loved ones and friends; even the very demons of Hell were falling down before the Lord of all life, for all Hell knew that Jesus was the Christ of God; God the Son, the Creator Lord of all things!  All had to yield before the Almighty Lord of all life.  Hallelujah!  Glory to the Lamb!  

The scene was a scene of pure mayhem and uproar, and amazement!  Therefore, the Lord Jesus sent His disciples to procure a vessel to take Him and his group out of the immediate area of confusion, and even charged the demons that they should not make Him known.

“And He straitly charged them (the unclean demons) that they should not make Him known.” (V.12)

The Lord Jesus, throughout His earthly ministry, never sought fame, or publicity, He always acted with great Divine dignity, prudence; and humility.  What a Saviour/Lord!

Look also at the enemies of Christ, what they were doing while observing all this miraculous activity; all this Divine healing and putting souls at peace by the Lord Jesus.  For in doing so, we who seek to follow and serve the risen Lord today shall be forewarned of similar danger, hindrance, and ill-will.

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“It is good for all Christians to keep this before their minds. Wherever we go, and whatever we do, let us remember that, like our Master, we are “watched.” The thought should make us exercise a holy jealousy over all our conduct, that we may do nothing to cause the enemy to blaspheme. It should make us diligent to avoid even the “appearance of evil.” Above all, it should make us pray much, to be kept in our tempers, tongues, and daily public demeanour. That Saviour who was “watched” Himself, knows how to sympathize with His people, and to supply grace to help in time of need.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

With all this opposition, Spiritual warfare, in mind therefore, we 21st Century Christians – Bible-believing and born again – should be mightily encouraged by the fact that even the “…unclean spirits…” knew exactly who the Lord Jesus Christ was at that time.  Not only did they know that Jesus was “…the Son of God…”; but because He was also God the Son, with a Name that is above all names; they had to also “…fall down before Him…” (V.11)

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name.  That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven…earth…things under the earth…to the glory of God the Father.”  (Phil. 2:9-11)

Thought:  Jesus Christ: Omnipotent, yet remaining prudent, Lord God Almighty.

Good Or Evil? Mark 3:1-8

Text: “And He (Jesus) saith unto them, ‘Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil...?'”

Mark 3:4.

Good morning, Spirit-led Christian!  Being made free from the letter of the law by Christ Jesus, you walk at perfect liberty in the paths of the Holy Spirit - happy indeed are you!  Your own personal, Spiritually regenerated, conscience determines your actions, not some rigid list of dos and don’ts - and that’s how the Lord God always intended it to be.  Amen!  (2 Corinthians 3:3-6)

The letter of the Mosaic Law killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.  But what exactly does such a Scripture verse mean?  More precisely, what does it mean for your Christian life and for mine?  What understanding of God’s Way does such a statement impart?

Our Bible-reading for today furnishes us with the answer - learn the lesson and live at liberty in God the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 8:1-14) Amen.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  (Romans 8:2)

God gave the Law to Moses for one profound reason - to show His called-out people that they, by their own efforts, could not keep God’s Commandments; to reveal unto their rebellious hearts how short humankind has fallen, and will always fall, of God’s perfectly righteous standard, as manifested, exclusively, in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ.

Since Adam and Eve sinned through disobedience in Eden - all born in their fallen image have fallen short of God’s glory; fallen short of the original glory God gave His perfect human creation on the sixth day. 

“...There is none righteous, no not one...there is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God...”   (Romans 3:10;22-23) (Psalm 51:5) (Job 14:1-4)

If mankind were capable of keeping the Law of God, Christ would not have had to suffer for us on Calvary’s Cross.  It’s as profoundly simple as that.  (2 Corinthians 5:21) (John 3:16)

Once regenerated, or born again of God above, in Christ Jesus, and through faith in His Atonement at the Cross, we are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, and He guides us into all truth.  (John 14:26) (John 16:7-15)

Therefore, we are no longer under bondage of the Law of Moses, we are led rather by the Spirit of God, to do what pleases God, in Christ, according to His Word revealed to us in our Bibles.  (Romans 6:6-18)

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

By faith we enter into co-Crucifixion with Christ on the Cross, that is, our old sinful natures are nailed to Christ’s Cross by faith, and we seek to live in newness of life by the power of God’s Spirit contained in the new nature God gives us when we are saved.  (John 14:16-17)

This does not mean we never sin again.  But WHEN we do sin, we immediately discern the weight of sin’s conviction and turn from it to repentance and progressive sanctification.  Thus, we are indeed FREE!  Hallelujah!  We now know the Truth (Christ Jesus) and the Truth makes us free.  What a Saviour!   What grace indeed!  (John 8:32)

Our anti-Christian enemies will always seek to find fault in us, and there are plenty of faults to find in each of us.  But there is no fault to be found in Christ Jesus, our Saviour/Lord.

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“These verses show us our Lord again working a miracle. He heals a man in the synagogue, “which had a withered hand.” Always about His Father’s business, —always doing good, —doing it in the sight of enemies as well as of friends, —such was the daily tenor of our Lord’s earthly ministry. And He “left us an example that we should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2: 21.) Blessed indeed are those Christians who strive, however feebly, to imitate their Master!

“Let us observe in these verses, how our Lord Jesus Christ was watched by His enemies. We read that “they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath Day, that they might accuse Him.”

“What a melancholy proof we have here of the wicked­ness of human nature! It was the Sabbath Day, when these things happened. It was in the synagogue, where men were assembled to hear the word and worship God. Yet even on the day of God, and at the time of worshipping God, these wretched formalists were plotting mischief against our Lord. The very men who pre­tended to such strictness and sanctity in little things, were full of malicious and angry thoughts in the midst of the congregation. (Proverbs 5:14)

“Christ’s people must not expect to fare better than their master. They are always watched by an ill-natured and spiteful world. Their conduct is scanned with a keen and jealous eye. Their ways are noted and diligently observed. They are marked men. They can do nothing without the world noticing it. Their dress, their expenditure, their employment of time, their con­duct in all the relations of life, are all rigidly and closely remarked. Their adversaries wait for their halting, and if at any time they fall into an error, the ungodly rejoice.”  (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

Go to, then, Spirit-led Christian.  As the Lord leads, seek always to do good and not evil.

Thought: For Spirit-led believers – in a sense, there is no Law!  (1 Timothy 1:9-11)