FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A call to preach is more than a general call to all believers, Erwin Lutzer, pastor of The Moody Church, told a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary chapel audience.
All believers are called to follow Christ but a call to preach is a special calling, said Lutzer, who has led the Chicago church since 1980.
“[The Apostle] Paul went into the ministry not because he read a want ad but because he was called by God,” Lutzer said. “Paul writes that he was appointed by God as a preacher, apostle and teacher.”
Lutzer, in his first time to speak at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus, preached from 2 Timothy 1:9 in a message he titled, “Was You Called or Did You Just Went?”
“There are many people who may be gifted but are not specifically called to the ministry of heralding the Word of God,” he said. “It is also more than a desire to preach. You don’t preach the Word because you feel a little more comfortable doing that than something else.”
There is no substitute for the man of God taking the Word of God and expounding the truth of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, Lutzer said.
Specific qualifications accompany the call, such as a Christian character, giftedness, a mature perspective, inner compulsion of the Holy Spirit and confirmation by the body of Christ, he said.
“The definition of a call is simply an inward conviction birthed by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the Word of God and the body of Christ,” Lutzer said. “A call may come in several different formats. Sometimes there is an audible voice, like there was with Paul. There may be human mediation or special prophets. Sometimes there is a gradual awareness, an increasing desire and conviction.”
Lutzer also noted the call can be exercised in different ways, such as ministry in a small church, a large church or a para-church organization.
For those called, Lutzer closed his sermon by pointing to three exhortations found in 2 Timothy.
“First, you should renew your calling,” Lutzer said. “In verse 6, Paul encourages Timothy to keep ablaze the gift God had given him. Secondly, in verse 12 and verse 14, Paul warns Timothy to guard his calling. As ministers of the Gospel, we need to constantly guard ourselves against any disqualifications. Finally, in chapter 4, verse 2, Paul says to exercise the calling.”
Lutzer is the author of more than 20 books and the featured speaker on three radio programs: “The Moody Church Hour,” “Songs in the Night” and “Running to Win.”