God Has Chosen You
By Carter Conlon
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 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" (1 Corinthians 1:26–29).
The point that the apostle Paul is making here is that God is the one who has done the choosing. Just as He has chosen to reveal Himself to others throughout history, God has chosen to reveal Himself to you. You see, there is going to be a last-day awakening before Jesus Christ comes for His Church. He is going to raise many people up in this last hour of time, and their lives are going to become a testimony of His glory. Let's take a look at an example of this in the book of Acts.
"Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me; and he stood and said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard'" (Acts 22:12–15). This is the apostle Paul sharing his own testimony.
If you and I were in charge of the kingdom of God and we were looking for somebody to be a witness, probably the last person we would select would be Paul! Before he was the apostle Paul, he was a man called Saul—an angry man who stood against the Word and ways of God. He was so enraged at a certain people group that claimed to know God in a different way from what he did that he began to resist them vehemently. In fact, he was willing to hurt them in attempts to cause them to turn from their testimony. Yet, while on his journey to bring more people into captivity, suddenly a light from heaven shone round about him, and he encountered the presence of God.
Paul recounted the incident: "I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' So I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting'" (Acts 22:7–8).
A lot of people today have been resisting God. It may not necessarily be that they hate God or His people the way Saul did, but rather they just have a deep sense of unworthiness. They hate themselves and simply do not believe that God could ever use them. When they look in the mirror, they see a failure. They have embraced a view of themselves that God does not share. However, the Lord sees each of us as the person we will be when we have a living encounter with Him—when we allow Him, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to begin to change our life.
Have you ever considered that humans are the only creatures in all of creation that have the capability of resisting God? The geese do not resist Him; they fly south in the winter. The birds do not resist Him; they sing their songs in the morning. The clouds do not resist Him; they go wherever they are directed to go. Even darkness could not resist Him, for when He spoke, light had to come. The only thing ever created by the hand of God that has the power to resist Him is you and me! But when we stop resisting God and begin calling out to Him, suddenly darkness gives way to light; purposelessness gives way to a divine calling that God has for each of our lives.
PRAYING FOR THE LEAST EXPECTED
Let's return to the passage in Acts where we saw Ananias praying, and God instructed him to go and lay hands on Saul. Ananias replied, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.' But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine'" (Acts 9:13-15).
Can you imagine being in a time of prayer like that? You are praying and suddenly the Lord says, "I want you to go to this violent man and lay your hands on him because I have chosen him for a divine purpose." Talk about having to step out in faith!
I believe God is calling us as His Church in this last hour to do what Ananias did—to step out of our places of prayer and believe that one more time God is going to choose the nothings, the nobodies, the vile, the violent—all the people that nobody else wants. The Lord says, "I want you to go and pray for them because I have chosen them to glorify My name in this last hour. I am going to raise them out of death, open their prison doors, and give sight to their blind eyes. They are going to become my endtime army of witnesses to show the world who I am and what I can do!"
"And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized" (Acts 9:17–18). In other words, "Let me put my hands on you. When I do, you are going to see the purpose for your life, and you will be filled with the Spirit of God."
This is what the end-time spiritual awakening is going to look like. People that you least expect are suddenly going to see things that the religious cannot see. They are going to see God's plan, His power, and the reason He has chosen them!
CHOSEN TO KNOW GOD'S WILL
"Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you'" (Acts 22:14). Imagine how hard it must have been for Saul to believe this at that moment. "This God that I have fought against—whose people I have hurt—has chosen me?"
This is what I believe God is going to do in this last generation. It will not be by any might or power that we possess. Instead, the presence of God is going to come one more time to a people who least expect it. The apostle Paul considered himself the greatest of all sinners. He truly understood that he was chosen and stood only by the mercy of God!
Ananias continued, "...that you should know His will" (Acts 22:14). When the Spirit of God comes upon you, you will know His will. It will be engraved deeply within your heart. The Bible promises that you will hear an inner voice that says, "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). You will begin to see the giftings that God has for you—abilities that will come into your life to do things that you cannot do right now. You will be able to speak words that you do not have the power to speak without the presence of God; you will possess humility and courage you do not naturally have. You will have all that you need to do the work God has called you to do.
YOU WILL BE HIS WITNESS
Ananias said, "You should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth" (Acts 22:14). Just as Saul did, when you yield your life to God's will, you will begin to hear His voice. And he continued, "For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard" (22:15). Your life will be so touched by God that you will serve as a witness of His mercy and power!
Then Ananias asked Saul, "Now why are you waiting?" (Acts 22:16). This is my question to you today. Why are you waiting? What is your hesitation? God has chosen you and wants to use your life for His glory. "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (22:16).
It really is that simple. Arise! Stand up in your heart, stand up in your mind. Whichever way you can, arise and call out to God! God is about to raise up a Church in this last hour—people who may be the least likely candidates—confused and angry, addicted and in distress. God is willing to meet anyone who is willing to meet Him.
The Bible says that as you behold the victory of Christ, you will be continuously changed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and you will become a witness to others of what God has done for you. You see, that is the whole story of my life—telling others that God will do for them what He did for me. I had my struggles and problems; I had things that were spoken over my life that had me in captivity. I had a lot of fear in my heart as well. But I heard about who God was and what He was willing to do, and I made the choice to arise. I simply decided, "God, if this is true, I am going to go with You."
As you make the choice to arise and believe that God has chosen you, I encourage you to do one more thing as well: Start telling the good news to everybody you know who needs Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Invite the struggling, the addicted, and the depressed to come in and pray with you. You do not need a degree; you do not need to have it all together to do this. Simply bring whoever you can into your home—people you know from the streets—and say, "I want to tell you something. God has chosen you, and He is going to use your life for His glory!" And as you gather in prayer, in the simplicity of faith, start calling out to the Holy Spirit. Just lay hands on one another and pray that you will all be filled with the Spirit of God.
You see, this is where spiritual awakening starts. It starts with just ordinary people coming together and saying, "God, we need You," and knowing deep in your heart that you truly do need Him. You begin to pray "Lord, give us everything that we are told is ours because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Fill this room with Your Holy Spirit. Raise us up and let our voices and our lives become a testimony of the reality of who You are. Let us be part of Your end-time army that will bring glory to Your name!"
This newsletter is an edited version of "GOD HAS CHOSEN YOU", a sermon given on May 4, 2021. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Scripture taken from the New Kings James Version ©. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from other versions are noted.