“Chosen for Obedience”

Mark 3

13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

When I was still a teenager I said to the Lord, “oh that I might have lived during the time when You were on the earth, follow You and walk with You”. But when I received the Holy Spirit I was satisfied and realised that I am even better off than the disciples of Jesus.

It is no small thing to be numbered among the apostles of the Lord. It’s a very high position. It also goes together with the promise that there are twelve thrones in heaven reserved for them. Peter was one of them, as well as Judas Iscariot.

The word Peter (petros) is a stone while the word for rock is petra, like the rock of Gibraltar.

To James and John, Jesus gave the name of Boarnerges, meaning sons of thunder. Why? It seems that it was because of their spiritual lives. If we read what John wrote, we see that he shook things through what he wrote. If he lived today he would’ve been condemned by most Christians.

1 John 3

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Do you hear the thunder? Today’s generation would not have been able to bear them, but condemned them and even killed them.

So we can go through the names of the apostles and note each one’s characteristic. The one mentioned last is Judas Iscariot. He was the treasurer, and would receive the money people gave them. He had a very responsible position but he was unfaithful and stole of the money. God said that if you’re unfaithful in financial matters, He cannot bestow on you the true heavenly riches.

So if you’re unfaithful with money your eldest brother is Judas Iscariot and your end will be like his unless you repent.

So even though he had that wonderful promise that there was a throne prepared for him in heaven, he lost out on that because of his unfaithfulness.

Judas did eventually admit that he made a mistake but he went to the wrong people to confess his sin. He went to the priests who murdered Jesus. He even brought the money back saying, “I have betrayed innocent blood”. But they couldn’t help him.

Don’t go for help to those who cannot help you. He should have gone to his fellow disciples, telling them that he has sinned and had been stealing all along. Peter could have shared his testimony with him that when his eyes met with the eyes of the Lord he realised the depth of his sin and the Lord forgave him.

As a counsellor you must be sensitive to the Lord that you are not one of the blind leading the blind. If you as a doctor cannot help a patient you send him to the specialist to be helped. So too as a counsellor you should be worried when someone comes back to you with the same problem again and again and you should call in the help of the specialist.

We read that Jesus prayed through the night before He chose the twelve. Apostle means “send one”, and He was in earnest as to whom should be chosen. When he came down from the mountain the multitudes met Him, but He chose the twelve by name. It wasn’t just open for whoever wants to come. When Judas Iscariot forsook them and died, the apostles came together and prayed that God would lead them as they chose another one in his place, “one who was with them all the time from the beginning”. Jesus said the harvest is ready and great but the workers are few. We need to pray that God would raise up and send forth workers.

Why did Jesus choose twelve apostles? The New Testament is a continuation of the Old. The Old Testament was a shadow of what was to come. Jesus did not come to do away with the Old Testament, but rather to fulfill the Old Testament.

So Jesus called the twelve to Him from the crowd and they all responded, left everything and came to Him. Why did He choose these men specifically? Because they were intelligent, or respected, or they had faith, or were powerful, or had many gifts and talents? No. He called them because they obeyed Him. When He called them they didn’t argue but obeyed.

Are you obedient, or are you stubborn and stiff-necked against authority?

Jesus said not everyone who says to Me “Lord Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only the one who does the will of the Father in Heaven.

God also give the gifts of the Holy Spirit to each one as He wills. You cannot demand which ones you want. He gives according to His will.

Even when all the twelve were together He chose Peter, James and John separate from the others from time to time. It was according to His will.

We might say that they were privileged to be chosen. Yes, they were privileged, but the Bible says that before the foundations of the world were laid He had chosen and appointed you. Often we read of the prophets that He chose them already from their mother’s womb.

But it goes even further than that, that even before the foundations of the earth were laid, He knew you and has called you by name and has chosen you. God has chosen His Church before the foundations of the earth were laid. Do you live accordingly from morning till sunset and from sunset to sunrise? Woe to you if you just live like the other people of this world.

How can you preach to others to repent if you haven’t repented yourself and turned from your sin. If you want them to hear God’s voice you must hear His voice first.