You may be referring to the phrase that was used in a sermon that “you have to be sold on the Way of Life” to be a true Christian.
When someone is called into the true Church of God, it is a unique calling from God, as we read in John 6:44 where Jesus said: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” In fact, Jesus repeated this in verse 65 of the same chapter, prefacing His comments with: “I have said to you…,” and then reiterating that a calling from the Father was necessary.
Unfortunately, today there are those who say that they have been seeking God and join a church of their choice, but that is not a calling from God. It is a priceless privilege to be called by God at this time, and He places in His church those whom He chooses.
The Free Dictionary online describes the phrase “to be sold on something” as an idiom, and idioms are classified as figurative language which is the use of words in an unusual or imaginative manner. It describes the phrase as follows:
“…to be confident in or convinced about something’s viability, veracity etc., often to the point of being enthusiastically supportive of it.”
When applying this phrase to our calling, it is surely much deeper and stronger than this dictionary definition. Our calling is not something to be taken lightly, and in the context we are discussing, it must also mean to be convicted or convinced of something, not just on a temporary whim but on a long term and permanent basis. Why? It is really very simple, as Matthew 24:13 reveals the answer: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved,” showing that our calling from God is one from which we must never shirk or on which we must never turn our back.
The famous parable of the sower in Matthew 13 is a perfect example of having to be sold on God’s Way of Life. Let us briefly review this parable, starting in verses 3-4: “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.’” This is explained in verse 19: “‘When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.’” A clear case of not being sold on God’s Way of Life.
Continuing in verses 5-6: “‘Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.’” This is explained in verses 20-21: ‘‘But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.’” Another clear case of not being sold on God’s Way of Life.
We read a further example in verse 7: “‘And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.’” This is explained in verse 22: “‘Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.’” A third case of not being sold on God’s way of life.
After three negative examples, we move on to verse 8 where we see positive outcomes: “‘But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’” This is explained in verse 23: “‘But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’” That must be our standard.
One of the most important things that anyone must consider when being called is to count the cost and to think through all of the implications of a complete change of lifestyle.
On the website gotquestions, under the heading of counting the cost, these observations are made:
“Jesus said a lot in those simple illustrations. He quickly put an end to the idea that He offered some kind of welfare program. Although the gift of eternal life is free… [it] requires a transfer of ownership… ‘Counting the cost’ means recognizing and agreeing to some terms first. In following Christ, we cannot simply follow our own inclinations. We cannot follow Him and the world’s way at the same time (Matthew 7:13-14). Following Him may mean we lose relationships, dreams, material things, or even our lives.
“Those who are following Jesus simply for what they can get won’t stick around when the going gets tough. When God’s way conflicts with our way, we will feel betrayed by the shallow, me-first faith we have bought into. If we have not counted the cost of being His child, we will turn away at the threat of sacrifice and find something else to gratify our selfish desires (cf. Mark 4:5, 16-17). In Jesus’ earthly ministry, there came a time when… public opinion turned ugly. The cheering crowds became jeering crowds. And Jesus knew ahead of time that would happen.
“Jesus ended His description of the cost of discipleship with a breathtaking statement: ‘Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple’ (Luke 14:33; the New King James Bible says: “forsake”). ‘Renouncing’ may mean we give up something physically, but more often it means we let go emotionally so that what we possess no longer possesses us. When we become one of His, we cannot continue to belong to this world (1 John 2:15-17).”
We read in 2 Peter 2:20-22 what happens when someone who has been called by God turns his back on his calling: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”
That is hardly a compliment to those who leave the true Church of God and go back into the world, as many have done over the years. We would certainly recoil or shrink from the comparison of returning to the mire but it applies clearly to those who have done so. If the sow was washed, she would revert to type and go straight back into the mire, and that is precisely what those who leave the true Church of God have done! Having come out of the world into the knowledge of the Truth, they then returned back into their former sinful worldly ways.
It certainly shows how deceived some can be, and we read in Jeremiah 17:9 that “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Being sold on God’s Way of Life means accepting, fully and completely, that it is the only way, and this will ensure that we will remain steadfast and loyal to Him, whatever life may throw at us. It is a full-time commitment that we buy into, and being sold on God’s Way of Life is the inevitable outcome which will ensure that we live forever in the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
It is a lifetime’s activity that has tremendous rewards in our life now for all eternity!
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)