Did God Call You?

Or did you just decide to join the Church of God?

Friends and brethren, there are many people who grew up among the Church of God and were taught to believe in and accept the teachings of the Holy Bible. When these young people reached adulthood, they were persuaded by their parents and ministers, as well as by their own reasoning and church piers, that they should get baptized and become a converted member of the church. These children were raised to respect their parents and the ministry, so many of them did end up getting baptized and were assumed to be a full-fledged member of the first-fruit body of Christ, which is the Church of God.

I don’t want to cast doubt on the conversion of anyone who is truly called and converted to Christ, but for the good of these people, they should not be led to assume that they are truly converted Christians if they in fact are not. Understand this brethren: God has a wonderful plan to offer spiritual salvation to all people that will desire it, but not all in the first-fruit harvest. Those who will ultimately make up the first-fruits harvest of saints will only be 144000; and that is from all ages past and present. (Rev. 14: 1-5) The point is that we don’t need to try and pretend that we are called to be a first-fruit Christian if we are not. Jesus said that no man can come to Christ unless God the Father draws him. (John 6: 44) That does not mean that all people who know too, should not be trying to live according to God’s Law and way of Love.

Whether we are called to be a first-fruit Christian or not; one thing is for sure: Those who honor God and keep His Commandments are blessed, and shall have favor with God. Also, those people who value God’s Law and live by it will reap great blessings in this life, as well as when they are eventually given their calling and opportunity to really get to know God and Christ. God’s Law is a way of living that produces good results in yours and your family’s relationships and lives. That is what the Law of God is all about, it gives guidance so that your relationships with God and man will be good. To disobey the commandments of God will automatically bring curses on your relationships. That is why God gave his Law to the Israelite nation, that they may be blessed and happy in all their relationships.

This Law is a very broad-reaching tool to help us to know the difference between the paths of Good and Evil. If we desire good, we must practice God’s way of living, and if we don’t we will experience the bad results in all of our relationship with God and Man, including our own families. So let it be completely understood that I endorse the keeping of God’s Commandments and His Holy Days, even if you have not been called to be a first-fruit into the Kingdom of God. The Israelite nation was not called to have a part in the first-fruit harvest of people into the Kingdom of God, but God did expect them to keep his commandments and obey him. It is the only path of life that will work and produce lasting good results.

Those who did obey God’s Law reaped blessings and those who were rebellious reaped curses. The same is true today.

Now brethren I want you to understand that the first-fruit harvest of saints is near to being fully filled. When Jesus returns we first-fruits that have been faithful to Christ and God will be born again into the immortal family and Kingdom of God. Remember that will only be 144000 people. Then the next harvest of people that will be in preparation for the kingdom of God will be those Christians represented by the Fall Harvest of Ingathering, when salvation will be offered to all people that are alive on this earth. You see, just because that most people were not predestined and called by God to be in the first-fruit harvest, doesn’t mean that he hasn’t got a wonderful plan to offer salvation to them also if they can have respect for it enough to completely surrender to obey God and Christ in truth. Understand this brethren: This fall harvest of people will be surrendering to God and Christ even in the time of Great Tribulation. (Rev. 7: 9-17) They will also be spared from the wrath of God. (Joel 2: 28-32)

Because of the troubles of that time and their fear and anguish, they will then begin to more seriously have respect for God and his purpose for their lives. At that time they will realize that their human devised purposes for their lives are all in vain anyway, and they will be willing to truly seek after God and his purpose for their lives. In those last days God will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, so that any who is willing may be led unto Christ, and to work with them to lead them to real repentance; the same way that the Spirit of God was working with us, the first-fruits to lead us to repentance even before we decided to completely surrender to God and let God baptize us, and impregnate us with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In those troubling times, anyone who will call upon God in sincerity and truth shall be delivered from God’s final wrath upon the wicked who refuse to repent; read and study this in (Joel 2: 28-32). In those days all people alive on earth will be given a calling from God. As the scriptures bare out, a great multitude from all nations, tribes, and languages will repent and surrender to Christ, and his shed blood will cleanse them of their guilt. (Rev. 7: 9-17) No man could know that number because unlike the First-fruits, there is no pre-set number of people who can be in that latter harvest of people. God’s calling will be to all people alive on earth. There will also be many who will refuse to repent and they will suffer the wrath of God, even the seven last plagues, (Rev. 16: all). Revelation Chapter 19 reveals that all of those people who continually refuse to submit to Christ, will be slain with the sword of Christ’s mouth, and they shall be fed to the fouls of heaven. God will make a great feast for the birds with their carcasses. Those wicked people will become bird dung upon the face of the earth. The point is: No one will be allowed to live over into the “World Tomorrow” unless they are willing to (Put on a wedding garment) submit to Christ and his Kingdom. That great multitude of people from all nations, tribes, and languages who believe and surrender to Christ in times of the Great Tribulation; they will not be a part of the First-fruits, but they will be the Guest at Christ’s wedding that is spoken of in Matthew Chapter Twenty Two. These people are also the ones that are rejoicing over the Bride of Christ in Revelation Chapter Nineteen. You should also read my article on my website titled Who Will be the Guest at Christ’s wedding”.

Those people who surrender to Christ and wash their spiritual robes in the blood of Christ so that they have Christ’s shed blood cleanse them from their sins and the death penalty; they will be allowed to live over into the “World Tomorrow”, and will be led by Christ and his born-again wife unto the fountain of living waters. God the Father is the fountain of living waters, and the Holy Spirit is the living waters (John 7: 37-39) which we all must have flowing in us from God and flowing out from us to produce the righteous good works toward God and toward our fellow humans. It is Gods Holy Spirit in us that enables us to truly overcome our own sinful human nature, and practice the righteousness of God and his Law. This is the very reason why it is so important that we all not kid ourselves into thinking that we have been called by God to be a first-fruit Christian if we have not been called yet.

You see I don’t want to be judgmental of other brethren, but we do have to be honest, and we do have to make judgments based on the truth even if it is unpleasant to do so. Back when we were all still assembling with each other in the “World Wide Church of God” it was obvious to anyone that truly was called and converted by God, that there were a lot of people who were not truly converted, even if they had been baptized. Their works and their speech exposed them.

I tried not to judge others and I would try to give them the benefit of the doubt; but when Mr. Tkach and the whole ministry went astray after false doctrine and perversions, then those who were truly converted were angered and speaking out among some of the brethren about this departure from truth and righteousness, and we ended up being cast out of their fellowship. But the important thing to notice was that the majority of those people who claimed to be converted were continuing to follow those ministers who taught false doctrine, and cast out the faithful saints of God who still loved the truth. It makes you wonder: Were they grieving God’s Holy Spirit? Or did they simply never have the Holy Spirit in the first place? I personally believe there were many of both categories.

Those Christians who were grieving the Holy Spirit in themselves were endangering their hope in the family and Kingdom of God. Unless they deeply repent and turn back to God in humble sincerity, then they would eventually lose the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. That would be fatal for a truly called and converted Christian. For those who never were truly called and converted, and begotten with the Holy Spirit; they were not in as much danger, for they were not being judged yet. (John 12: 47, 48)

Now I want to help you see the importance for people not to be deceived into thinking they are one of the predestined and called first-fruits when they are not. Back during the days of the World Wide Church Organization, the ministers got the idea that if they were doing their jobs well, then there should be growth and baptisms taking place. Since the ministers were basically only pastoring local church congregations and not preaching to the public in general; therefore most of their efforts to grow the number of baptized members were to get the children and spouses of baptized members to get baptized. Well to make a long story short, there was pressure put on young people by the ministers as well as by their parents and peers to get baptized and become a member of the first-fruit body of Christ. Again I remind us that no man can come to Christ and become a first-fruit member of the church unless God the Father calls them and draws them. And also remember that those who were called, were predestined by God to be called in this age and that there will only be 144000 members total from all ages that will actually overcome and be born again into the Kingdom and family of God at the second coming of Christ. (Rev. 14: 1-5)

Even though we know these things, it seems hard to actually “get it” that we can’t get our children saved in this age along with our selves. Even Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong acknowledges in his book that even though he did partially understand it as a point of doctrine; yet he didn’t fully get it, on this point until “very recently”, before the writing of his last book, “Mystery of the Ages”. Read of this in the Author Statement, page xiii.

Now the point that I want us to understand is that when a person is taught the truth every Sabbath and in between, by their parents in their daily lives; it is possible to persuade a person who is not yet called by God, to go ahead and make a decision to “surrender” to God and get baptized, when they have not been truly predestined and called by God to be in the first-fruit harvest into the Kingdom of God. Now get this, it is very important! Unless God has predestined, called, and brought a person to true repentance, then even if they do get baptized in water, he will not beget him or her with the Holy Spirit! In such cases, the surrender was premature and not based on real living faith in Christ that God had given the person anyway, for God was not calling the person yet.

Now if a person is deceived into believing that he or she is a Spirit-begotten child of God when he or she does not actually have the Holy Spirit in them; then that person is going to try with only his own human strength to be a converted Christian and try do all of the outward signs of a Christian, but he will not actually have the power of God working in his life, giving him complete faith to believe and obey God in all hidden details of his life. This will be very discouraging to that person, for he will not have the power of God to help him actually live the way of God from the heart. It will make the person feel that all others who claim to be led by the Holy Spirit are also only like his own self. This could help to explain why some brethren lack the zeal to do what they know they should do. The sins of the mind and heart are not truly overcome unless you do have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. This tends to cause a person to be a hypocrite in outward appearance to others, yet deep in his own heart he knows that he is weak and sinful, only he will try and hide it from others, and may even refuse to acknowledge it to his own self.

If a person is not truly converted to Christ, then he is better off knowing that he is not converted, than to pretend and further deceive his own self. A deceived person like that is hindered from actually being converted later, for he doesn’t want to admit that he is not truly converted. It is similar to Job’s conversion. It is also kind of like the leading Jews in Christ’s day on earth as a man: They were not about to let Jesus teach them to know God. In their deceived minds they already knew God and Jesus was insulting their holiness. Yet because of the mighty works that he did, which was a witness that he was a man of God; they were envious. I believe that there is also much of this type of problem among those claiming to be ministers, as well as lay members of the Church of God. This is why so many of the brethren were so easily turned to accept false teachings. Many were not grieving their conscience or the Holy Spirit, because they didn’t actually have the Holy Spirit in them. They were just following men in the ministry and were never deeply converted to love the truth. They had just accepted it; kind of like a Protestant just accepts what he is taught. They could also just accept and embrace the new, but false teachings in the same way that they had accepted the true teachings of Christ. They personally didn’t have a depth of heartfelt conviction and faith in the truth. Many of those people may be converted later when God does get their attention.

Now, what about the brethren who were at one time converted, and did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If they embraced the false doctrine and knew better; they were grieving God’s Spirit! Brethren that, is dangerous business. In all honesty, I think that at some point of temptation and weakness, we probably all have grieved the Holy Spirit, but later deeply repented and was restored in our relationship with God by his love and mercy. But if anyone continues to grieve the Holy Spirit, they will lose it, and their conscience will become seared so that they can continue in sin without fear or torment. That is fatal! (Eph. 4: 30) How could we be led and guided by God into righteousness and character development if we no longer have the gift of God’s Holy Spirit working in us?

Brethren, if anyone of Gods called elect have lost their love for the truth, then they are in grave danger. If anyone of God’s called elect have gone to sleep spiritually, and no longer have the love for our hope in the Kingdom and immortal family of God; then that person is in grave danger. If anyone of God’s called elect has not got the zeal to obey the Commandments of God and practice true Christianity; then that person is in grave danger. If anyone of God’s elect has become so seared in conscience that he or she can deliberately practice lying, and hypocrisy when they feel the need to, then that person is in grave danger. If anyone of God’s elect practices following their carnal lust against the Word and Law of God, then that person is in grave danger. Depending upon your personal condition; but with much repentance and chastising yourself with the tool of fasting and through much sincere prayer to God, you may be able to be restored in God’s grace; God only knows.

Brethren the point is that we have been called and given the most precious hope and purpose for living that God Almighty could possibly give to anyone. We should find it to be like what Jesus said: It is like a treasure hid in a field, and when it is discovered to us, we love it and desire it so much that we sell all that we have, so that we can buy that field so that the treasure will be ours (Matt. 13: 44). If we don’t value it that much, then we are not going to labor to purify ourselves so that we may be acceptable to Christ (1 John 3: 2, 3) May God, help all his saints wake up and realize what is set before us!

If you don’t really believe and have a living faith in Christ and his Kingdom, and our hope of being born again into that immortal God family; then you are certainly not a converted Christian with the Holy Spirit. God help all of his saints to wake up and seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, that we don’t miss out on God’s only real purpose for our existence.

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Stowers