Free Bible Study Guides

Series 5 - What God Wants for You

Hi, friends! Welcome to this exciting series on "What God Wants for You." God wants only the best for us in the long run, but He tells us that to receive the awesome future He has in store for us, we must change, grow and endure through the challenges of this life. These challenges mature and perfect us and prepare us to be all we can be in the Kingdom of God for eternity.

This series of lessons examines the steps God has designed for us to take to move closer to Him and to become more like Him.

We pray your study will help you realize more and more how much God loves you and will inspire you to take the steps God has laid out in the Bible.

And remember, we would love to hear from you and serve you in any way we can.

Lesson 1: Is God Calling You?

God's calling is His invitation to have a relationship with Him. Are most people called today? Have you been called? If so, how should you respond to God's calling?

Is God Calling You?Jewish people from all corners of the Roman Empire gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost, one of the three appointed pilgrimage festival seasons. This was always an exciting occasion as the crowds swelled through the streets and around the temple area. The followers of Jesus, who had seen Him risen from the dead seven weeks before, were all together to celebrate the festival as well.

"Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages" (Acts 2:2-4, New Living Translation).

These miracles quickly attracted a crowd of passersby who were amazed and perplexed.

"'What can this mean?' they asked each other. But others in the crowd were mocking. 'They're drunk, that's all!' they said" (Acts 2:12-13, NLT).

Peter recognized the opportunity God had provided, and invited the crowd to understand the true significance of all these events. He used a prophecy from Joel to show that they weren't drunk, then he explained:

"'People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But you followed God's prearranged plan. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to the cross and murdered him. However, God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life again, for death could not keep him in its grip" (Acts 2:22-24, NLT).

Then Peter drove the truth home. We all have killed the Son of God by our sins! But Jesus the Messiah was raised from the dead just as their beloved King David had prophesied.

"Peter's words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, 'Brothers, what should we do?'" (Acts 2:37, NLT).

God sent out an invitation through Peter's inspired sermon. The New Testament Church of God began with these 3,000 converts who responded—who believed and wanted to obey God.

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Is God Calling You Now?

God's calling is His personal invitation to us to have a close relationship with Him. The Greek word kletos is often translated "called," but can also be translated as "invited."

Is God calling everyone to participate in His plan of salvation now?

John 6:44
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Romans 11:7, 25-26
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded...
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob..."

We human beings, cut off from God by our sins, don't have an automatic connection to God (Isaiah 59:2). God must act first to invite us and open our eyes to see the way to Christ.

How does Jesus describe His called-out people?

Luke 12:32
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

The Church of God was and is a "little flock." From the Bible record and our experience today, it seems few have been called and chosen during this age.

What are we called out of?

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light...

Darkness and blindness are symbolic of this darkened and deceived world ruled by Satan (Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9).

Why are people blinded from understanding God's truth?

2 Corinthians 4:3-4
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Satan, our adversary, blinds human minds from understanding God's good news in his attempt to thwart God's plan. But the Bible shows he will not succeed.

What is God's intention for everyone, even those not called now?

1 Timothy 2:3-4
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

God loves us all so much He gave His Son as a sacrifice to pay for all of our sins (John 3:16). He has a plan that will eventually extend His invitation to everyone! This is explained in our lesson "The Second Resurrection: Humanity's Opportunity for Salvation!"

Is being called first a reason to boast?

1 Corinthians 1:26-27
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

God makes it clear that His Church has no reason to boast. To be called now is to be given a responsibility to help preach the gospel and prepare to serve more in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20). This responsibility should humble and motivate us, not make us proud.

How should we respond to God's calling?

Ephesians 4:1-3
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

2 Peter 1:10-11
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Paul encourages us to "walk worthy of the calling" and Peter tells us to be "diligent to make your call" sure. The lessons in this series will explore how we should respond to God's calling in much more detail.

Are you being called now?

1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

If you understand what you are learning in these lessons so that you see the need to change your life and obey God's commandments from the heart, God is working with you. He is drawing you toward Him.

Our loving, all-powerful God has great plans in store for us—if only we will respond to His calling!

 

Apply Now

Read Isaiah 55, which the New Living Translation gives the title "Invitation to the Lord's Salvation." This chapter expresses poetically and forcefully how far apart we are from God until He invites us to draw near Him. It also tells us some of the steps to take to respond to that invitation.

A key section is in verses 6 through 8:

"Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord."

The action steps to apply from this section include:

  1. Don't put off praying to God.
  2. Examine your life for wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts to forsake.
  3. Fill your mind with God's thoughts through Bible study.

Keep studying this series to see more about how to respond to God's calling in the way He wants us to respond.

Next Lesson: What Is Faith?

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

Who Are God's "Called, Chosen and Faithful" People? from the booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion

How do people truly know if God is calling them?

What Is a True Christian?

3 Bible Tips: What's the Cause and Cure of Spiritual Blindness?

3 Bible Tips: God's Calling

3 Bible Tips: Who Is God Calling?

3 Bible Tips: How Should We Respond to God's Calling?