“For [Christ] is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14). Called, chosen and faithful! Are you one of these who will be with the King of kings when He returns to this Earth?
Have you been called by God the Father? If so, are you one of those who has been specially chosen to fulfill a great purpose? Finally, will you remain faithful to God through the obstacles, trials and tests He allows to come upon you?
Do you understand what it means to be called? Did you know that neither man nor even Jesus Christ can call you? “No man can come to me [Christ], except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). It is God the Father who must call us and draw us near to Him before Christ, our Savior, can work with us (Acts 2:38-39). Mr. Armstrong repeatedly taught this profound truth and revealed mainstream Christianity’s glaring blindness and false teaching, “Just believe in Christ’s name and you’re saved.”
No one can be added to the one true Church of God unless the Father draws him or her. It doesn’t matter how much money the person has, his or her job status or popularity; this person can’t just join God’s Church. God drafts the individual as a spiritual conscript into His service.
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called…but God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen…” (I Cor. 1:26-28). The Father selects those who have a childlike attitude , are receptive to instruction and strive to be humble (Matt. 18:3-4).
After being called, the potential Christian must repent and be baptized in Christ’s name for the remission of sins, before he or she will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Christ simply can’t work with you unless the Father has called you, and then you have deeply repented. You must recognize Christ’s blood sacrifice as having paid the penalty for your past sins (I John 1:7) and accept Christ as your personal Savior. Then, through baptism and the laying on of hands, you receive the down payment of God’s Holy Spirit, and totally commit your life to God , allowing Jesus Christ to live His life in you (Gal. 2:20).
Our calling by the Father reconciles us to Him through Jesus Christ and opens the way for family fellowship with the Father and Son via prayer and Bible study. That’s real, daily contact with God. The Father calls you to a new way of life—Christ’s life in you. We are saved by the resurrected, living Christ, the first of the firstfruits.
“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18). This is the Father’s reason for calling His firstfruits who follow after their pioneer, the Son of God. They are called now to become part of the firstfruits of the God family! How prized and unique are those called firstfruits of God (Rom. 8:28-29).
After being called by God, we must “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Eph. 4:1). We are called to a changed way of life—a complete reversal of the direction we were headed before the Father drafted us. God places the called Christian on a path of character building—of trial, test, correction and refinement. We are being spiritually prepared to become like God, formed in the image of His character, as part of His family—spirit.
However, being called of God is merely the first step in our development as God’s firstfruits. To become the very elect of God, we must recognize we have been specially chosen to fulfill a great potential.
Jesus Christ clearly explains this in His parable of the wedding supper in Matthew 22. In this parable, Christ tells of a certain king (representing God the Father) who had organized a wedding for his son (representing Jesus Christ).
Those who were called to the ceremony scorned the invitation and made light of the great responsibility and honor that was offered by the king. The expression made light of mentioned in verse 5 is a translation of the Greek ameleo, defined as “neglect, be negligent, not regard.”
Ameleo is also used in Hebrews 2:3 in reference to those who “neglect so great salvation.” In Malachi’s Message, Mr. Flurry explains Hebrews 2:3 in the context of the sinning Laodiceans: “So God warns us to hold fast to His past instructions. Our spiritual well-being depends on it! God warns us against neglecting ‘so great salvation’ which was conveyed to us by Christ” (p. 19).
Continuing His parable, Christ says, “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment” (Matt. 22:11). This guest was not dressed in the appropriate spiritual clothing. The wedding garment spoken of here refers to God’s righteousness—the keeping of His commandments (Rev. 19:7-9). The Father had called the guest and invited him to the wedding; but, before the ceremony, the guest was asked to account for his sloppy spiritual appearance, to which he had no response. He had not borne the necessary fruits. Now unfit to take part in the ceremony as a chosen guest, he was removed.
The king told the servants to “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:13-14).
Are you chosen of God? Are you loyally obeying God’s commandments, developing His righteousness—His very nature—and producing fruits? “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16).
We must now be individually producing the necessary spiritual character! If we fail to grow in our conversion process, we risk eternal consequences.
Writing in an August 1962 Plain Truth personal, Mr. Armstrong gravely warned, “If you are not bearing good fruit, you will be thrown into the lake of fire. Now can a carnal human bear good fruit? Is there good in a human? In John 15, Jesus Christ compares us to branches of a vine—it could be a grapevine. He is the vine, we are the branches (v. 5).” The good in us is produced by our attachment to the vine and the source of that goodness, Jesus Christ! (see p. 12).
Many have been called to the wedding, but few have been chosen. Again, those who are chosen are the ones producing spiritual fruit in their lives. The precious few chosen of God must remain faithful to God and hold fast to His revealed truth (Rev. 3:11). God’s chosen must prove their faithfulness to Him. They must recognize who and what they are.
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” (I Cor. 1:27-29).
“God had chosen us before we were born—before the foundation of the world—being predestined to be called to spiritual salvation. God has richly lavished on us His grace” (Incredible Human Potential , p. 139). Can you capture the vision of the firstfruits? Do you really understand the fact that God’s firstfruits have been chosen for this stupendous opportunity in the end time, to support God’s end-time work and be fashioned into His very form and shape in preparation to enter His family, inheriting all things (Heb. 2:8), to rule alongside Jesus Christ in His throne? (Rev. 3:21).
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits ; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (I Cor. 15:23). We must not fail to fulfill our responsibility that we undertook at baptism to follow Christ our pioneer, the first of the firstfruits.
Christ asked a vital question of His disciples, recorded for us in Luke 18:8: “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” How important to God is faith?
I Peter 1:7 tells us, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” One of the most precious and valued commodities on the face of the Earth is gold. Yet true faith is far more precious than gold! God sees faith as a rare quality. Praise, honor and glory will be bestowed upon you if the faith of Jesus Christ is found in you when Christ returns (Gal. 2:20).
In Luke 18:8, God asks that question about each and every one of us. Will He find His faith dwelling in us at His return? We must all examine ourselves closely, as God will try and test us to reveal the quality of our faith. Judgment is on God’s people now (I Pet. 4:17). We are individually being measured (Rev. 11:1).
We must not give up! We must continue to struggle for the faith once delivered. This has been the Achilles’ heel for many of God’s people in the end time. You can be called; you can be chosen; but if you don’t remain faithful, you will not be God’s wife. The quality of our faith is that serious to God. Christ cannot have a faithless bride. We can only be heirs of the kingdom if we are rich in faith (James 2:5).
Today, remaining faithful requires that we support the one daily, continual work of our Husband, Christ. We must finish the work God has given us to do, as He did! (John. 4:34). We do that by supporting His one man charged with the responsibility of following the example of the end-time Elijah—raising up the spiritual ruins of God’s spiritual temple (Amos 9:11) and prophesying again (Rev. 10:11).
Let’s ask again. When Christ comes, will He find faith? Yes! He must find it in the firstfruits! But will He find it in you?
Bride Made Ready
If we remain faithful to our calling and election, we will, at Christ’s return and upon our instantaneous change, qualify for the glorious, joyful and eternally rewarding honor of being God’s own firstfruits.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). Mr. Flurry wrote in the Ezekiel Watchman booklet, “Christ’s wife must be ready when He returns. We are now to be preparing for that fabulous marriage—which Christ looks upon as already being consummated! That’s why we are called His ‘wife’—not His fiancé. We must be getting ready to be Christ’s wife for all eternity! This is the most exalted reward ever offered to any human being at any time!” (p. 60).
How does the Church, Christ’s bride, make itself ready for marriage? Simply by submitting to Christ today,before He returns. Many physical marriages today fall apart because the wife fails to fulfill her role as the helpmeet for her husband. We can learn a powerful lesson from this failure.
God’s firstfruits have already been made His king-priests in embryo through their willing submission as helpmeets to Christ! (Rev. 1:6). Willing, cheerful obedience to God’s family government prepares us for our eternal support role as Christ’s wife—the first lady of the universe!
“…He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Be very encouraged! Christ is coming to put an end to faithlessness. He’s coming for your sake (Matt. 24:22). He’s coming for the called , chosen and faithful. What a marvelous opportunity we have!