Sunday Sermon: ‘Walk Worthy of Your Calling’

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Today we begin a new section in our study of the book of Ephesians. Today we begin studying chapters 4-6 which focuses on what it means to be a believer. The New Living Translations says – “Lead a life worthy of your calling…” Years ago I heard someone say  – “Live a life worthy to be called Christian.”

A life worthy to be called Christian seems like a tall order to fill, and indeed it is. Yet what else should the Lord expect from us? Should the Lord be content for us to claim to be one of His followers and yet live otherwise? The title ‘Christian’ means – Christ-like one and therefore, if we’re going to call ourselves Christians, we should seek to be living a life worthy of that title. To not do so brings disgrace upon the name of the Lord.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.

I. The Vocation Wherewith You Are Called

A. Vocation

Most of us are familiar with the term – ‘vocation.’ A vocation is the way we earn our living. Most people choose their vocation because they sense something calling them to it. We could say that they have a calling upon their lives to do this for a living.

The word Paul uses here for vocation refers to a calling to participate in something. It’s an invitation to become a part of something special.

B. The Vocation Wherewith You Are Called

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.

What is the vocation that Paul is referring to? It’s the vocation of being a Christian. It’s the lifestyle of a child of God. Paul uses this same word in his second letter to Timothy -

2 Timothy 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling <2821>, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Regardless of what someone may do to earn a living, the highest calling upon their life is to be a Christ-like one.

Jesus uses this same word in a parable found in the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding …

Weddings are big deals and that was especially so in ancient times. Often a wedding celebration would last for several days. In this parable we see that a king prepared a feast for the marriage of his son. You can imagine how special this event must have been for a king to be involved. Yet like all of Christ’s parables, this one has a spiritual meaning. The king is God the Father and Christ is the Son, and the wedding is our salvation.

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage…

In this parable Jesus teaches us how men respond to God’s call upon their life.

1. Those Who Rejected the Calling

Matthew 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

The king sent his servants to call his friends to the feast; yet many of them wouldn’t come. They were too busy. It was bad enough that they turned down the special invitation, yet even worse, they turned against the king’s servants and killed them. Who would do such a thing? The Jews did when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah.

Stephen preached to those who would stone him – “ Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” The Gospel of John says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Pilate asked the Jewish religious leaders what he should do with the one called the Christ, and they replied – ‘Crucify Him!’

When the king heard how his servants had been mistreated, it made him angry and he sent his armies to destroy those who should have been his guests. Heb 10:31 says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

What would the king do now? The wedding feast had been prepared and he desired to honor his son.

2. Those Who Accepted the Calling

Matthew 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Sending his servants out among the common people represents God’s gracious invitation for Gentiles to be saved. One night, many years ago, when I was only twelve, I heard God’s call and received His invitation. The Spirit spoke to me that night and said – “Terry, you need to be saved.” I responded by going forward and accepting Christ as my Savior. As a result, one day I will attend a wedding feast in heaven known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

3. Those Who Neglected the Calling

Matthew 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

As I said earlier, wedding feasts in those days were major events and often lasted for several days. It was not a ‘come as you are’ event. Expensive garments were often provided for the guests to wear to help heighten the celebration. This was especially needful when you consider that at this wedding, many of those attending were brought in out of the fields and off of the highway.

As the king went around greeting his guests he came upon a man who wasn’t clothed in a wedding garment. Apparently the man wanted to be there, but he didn’t want to make the necessary preparations. He neglected making the decision to be saved.

Can we neglect salvation? The word ‘neglect’ means to make light of something, to pay no attention, to disregard, to be careless of something, to be indifferent. We read in Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…” Knowing that you need to be saved will not save you. Planning to be saved someday will not take you to heaven when you die. Pretending to be a Christian when in reality you’re not, will not fool God. Either you are saved or you’re not. Either you’re clothed in the garment of salvation or you’re not. 

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

4. Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

At the close of this parable Jesus said something very important.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Some interpret this verse to mean that God chooses who can be saved and who can’t; yet that interpretation doesn’t fit in with the rest of the parable. The king sent out his servants to invite – ‘whosoever will may come.’ We read in Isaiah 55:1 – he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.’

Many are called, but few are chosen. Many are invited, but only a few make the proper response that allows them to become a part of the chosen. Here’s something interesting and important to note. The same word translated as ‘chosen’ is most often translated as ‘elect.’ Some believe that the elect are those whom God has hand-picked, but from this parable we see that the elect are those who respond to the king’s invitation and are clothed in the robe of righteousness. Many are invited, but only a few become a part of the elect.

Now lets take what we’ve learned about our calling and go back to Ephesians 4.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (calling) wherewith ye are called.

II. Walking Worthy of Our Calling

Most of those attending the feast in Christ’s parable were off of the highway. They were so unworthy to be there and it was only because the king was willing to be gracious that they had the privilege to attend. Therefore, their response to the invitation should have been total gratitude.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.

No one is worthy to be saved. The worthy walk is not a walk that qualifies us to be a Christian. It’s not the reason for our salvation. It is our response to our salvation. It’s the same thought that Paul used in Romans 12 – ‘In light of all that God has done for you, the only reasonable thing to do is to live for Him.’

Our gratitude for God’s graciousness should change how we life. As we will see in the weeks ahead, it should affect our attitude, both towards others and ourselves. It should affect our attitude towards the things of God. We’re going to learn about the importance of spiritual growth. It should affect our attitude about anger and forgiveness, purity, the home and even our work.

‘In light of all that God has done for you, the only reasonable thing to do is to live for Him.’ Are you walking worthy of your calling?