Believers Are Called Out and Called Together
We are called out.
God has a unique plan and place for His church in this world. Paul tells us in Romans that we as Christians are “The called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6). What does this mean? The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which comes from the verb meaning “to call out.” So, this verse means that God’s people have essentially been called out of the world system that is hostile to God.
Jesus, speaking of His followers, said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).
That does not mean that we are to isolate ourselves from this world, for Jesus also told us that we are to “let our lights so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16).
We are simply not to love it.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).
We are called together.
As God’s people, we are not only called out; we are also called together. Remember, Acts 2:44 says, “All who believed were together.”
- They worshipped and prayed together.
- They studied the Scriptures together.
- They ate together.
- They gave their tithes and offerings together.
- They shared the gospel together.
Compare this description with what we find among churchgoers in this age. The New Testament church knew nothing of the trend among many today, where people shop for a church as though they were looking for a supermarket. They embark on a quest to become more spiritual, wanting nothing to do with anyone else.
This problem arises when we think of ourselves as consumers instead of as a congregation. The minute we feel a bit uncomfortable or challenged, we leave. Yet, a pastor is to both comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
The Bible compares the church and our involvement in it to being in a family. It also compares being part of the church to being a part of the body. A hand cannot exist without the rest of the body to support it. God has commanded each of us to be a functioning, vital part of the church:
“Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15–16).
Everybody has a part to play, a job to do, a need to serve.