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Callings in the Church
Now that we have covered the offices of the church we are going to go into detail about some of the callings that can be found in the church. Just as all body parts have to work together for the body to be totally functional so the callings that are in the church will need to work together for the church to be totally functional. Because of this, it is important to truly understand each one why each one of them is important.
Let us begin in 1 Corinthians 12:28-30.
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”
If you notice, here the callings are actually listed in order of importance. Why is the calling of an apostle listed first? What about prophets second or teachers third? Well let’s look back to the lesson on the offices and refresh what the office of each one entailed.
Remember the office of an apostle is one who fulfills any role that is needed in a work. To do the work in the office of the apostle is one case where you must have the calling of apostle on your life. It is the same with the offices of prophet and teacher. While they may be in the office of a prophet or teacher (especially) because someone has put them in this office does not mean they have the calling of prophet or teacher on their life. I would say the office of teacher is probably the most misused of any office in the church and there is a HUGE number serving at Sunday school teachers who do not have the calling of teacher on their life.
Now let us take a look at the rest of the callings that Paul has listed. As we go through these you must be careful not to mix up the callings and gifts which will be covered in another lesson.
The next one mentioned is the calling of workers of miracles. This is one that requires a very close walk with God. A person who has the calling of worker of miracles on their life must be a bold person and one that is dedicated to staying very close to God. They must also be willing to step up as needed and not be susceptible to pride. A worker of miracles will not be seeking fame for themselves but will perform the miracles with the outlook of “Look what God has done, all glory to him” or “Look at God’s power, how could you not serve a God with this kind of power?”
The calling of healings is one that is often confused with miracles. This is a gift that often deals with sicknesses not just physical but also mental and spiritual. It is a calling that is very commonly found in people who serve in the office of pastor. Remember, the office of a pastor is one who cares for his flock. Just as a sheep has its illnesses tended by the shepherd, so those in the church should be coming to their pastor for healing. The nature of healings is not necessarily done to “show the power of God” but is God’s way of showing he cares for you and as a result tends to be more of a private nature. Others that might have this calling upon their life could include elders or perhaps someone who works in a medical field.
Helps is one that many do not even think of being a calling. These are the workhorses of the church. A person who has the calling of helps upon their life is going to be one who has a big desire to do things to help others. It could be their work is delivering food to the shut-ins, keeping the lawn mowed or church cleaned, volunteering at a day care center or any of many other things. A person who is serving as a deacon should have the calling of helps upon their life. A person with the calling of helps will do all the things that are needed in the church and be happy and pleased to do so.
Often people do not think of governments as a calling. A person serving in the office of bishop should have the calling of governments on his life. A person with this calling may also serve in civil government offices. He will be a leader in the church and may serve as a judge between two parties in the church (Remember in 1 Corinthians 6 Paul warns against going to court before unbelievers). A person with the calling of governments on his life will be a diplomatic person with the ability to work with many people and will have the gift of wisdom working in his life.
The last of the callings is diversities of tongues. This is not a calling that is found in a lot of people. Unlike what many people believe, this is not speaking in an unknown language. This is the ability to speak in known languages even though you may not be a native speaker. An example of this would be someone who is a missionary to a foreign land. They go to a land to minister to the people and instead of needing someone to translate for them; they can speak to the natives in their own language and be understood. In the second chapter of Acts on the day of Pentecost when the power of the Holy Ghost came down and filled the disciples they went and preached and people from all nations who were in the city heard the disciples in the their own language. This is an example of diversities of tongues.
We hope that these explanations have helped to clear some of the confusion between callings and offices. Next in this series we will be looking at the Gifts of the Spirit and how they work in relation to the callings and offices
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