The above is a powerful excerpt from John Piper’s final sermon before beginning his eight-month sabbatical, Consider Your Calling from 1 Cor. 1: 26-31:
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
I would highly recommend you listen to the whole thing as it’s quite moving and encouraging.
The following text is from the sermon’s transcript:
“For consider your calling, brothers.” What is Paul referring to? Their job? Being a carpenter? Homemaker? Teacher? No. He is referring to the work of God in calling them to himself out of darkness into light, out of death into life. You can see the meaning pretty clearly in verses 22-24:
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
So there are three groups in these verses: the Jews, the Gentiles, and “the called.” Or to be more precise: the non-called Jews, the non-called Gentiles, and the called Jews and Gentiles. And what’s the difference? The non-called Jews see Christ-crucified as a stumbling block (verse 23). The non-called Gentiles see Christ-crucified as folly (verse 23). But “the called” Jews and Gentiles see Christ-crucified as “the power of God and the wisdom of God (verse 24).
Which means that the call is the work of God that opens our eyes to see Christ as true and powerful and wise and beautiful and compelling so that we receive him for salvation. God’s call is his life-giving command: Come! If you are a believer today, that is how you got saved. God called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. This call was effective. It produced in you what it called for.
It was like the effectiveness of a command that someone uses to wake you from a deep sleep. You lean over their ear while they are asleep, and you cry out: Wake up! And they bolt upright. They did not hear the command and ponder it and then decide to wake up. The command accomplished what it commanded: Wake up! That is the way God raises us from spiritual death. And only God can do it. And he did it for you. He loved you this way. Ephesians 2:4 says it was because of God’s “great love” that he made us alive when we were dead. You were about to sleep yourself into hell, and God woke you up to the ugliness of sin and the beauty of a great Savior. He loved you with a “great love.”
By John Piper. © Desiring God