II. CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
Calling on the name of the Lord is the easiest, the fastest, and the best way to exercise our spirit, to touch our spirit, and to maintain a strong spirit. We began our Christian life by calling, “And it shall be that everyone, whoever calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved’’ (Acts 2:21). “And now, why do you delay? Rise up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name’’ (Acts 22:16). May we continually call upon His name every day to be saved (Rom. 10:13).
A. Calling in the Old Testament
[Calling on the Lord began in the third generation of the human race with Enosh, the son of Seth (Gen. 4:26). The history of calling on the Lord’s name continued throughout the Bible with Abraham (Gen. 12:8), Isaac (Gen. 26:25), Moses (Deut. 4:7), Job (Job 12:4), Jabez (1 Chron. 4:10), Samson (Judg. 16:28), Samuel (1 Sam. 12:18), David (2 Sam. 22:4), Jonah (Jonah 1:6), Elijah (1 Kings 18:24), and Jeremiah (Lam. 3:55). Not only did the Old Testament saints call on the Lord, they even prophesied that others would call on His name (Joel 2:32; Zeph. 3:9; Zech. 13:9). Although many are familiar with Joel’s prophecy regarding the Holy Spirit, not many have paid attention to the fact that receiving the outpoured Holy Spirit requires our calling on the name of the Lord. On the one hand, Joel prophesied that God would pour out His Spirit; on the other hand, he prophesied that people would call on the name of the Lord. This prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17a, 21). God’s outpouring needs the cooperation of our calling on Him.]
B. Practiced by New Testament Believers
[Calling on the name of the Lord was practiced by the New Testament believers beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:21). While Stephen was being stoned to death, he was calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 7:59). The New Testament believers practiced calling on the Lord (Acts 9:14; 22:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:22). Saul of Tarsus received authority from the chief priests to bind all that called on the name of the Lord (Acts 9:14). This indicated that all the early saints were Jesus-callers. Their calling on the name of the Lord was a sign, a mark, that they were Christians. If we become those who call on the name of the Lord, our calling will mark us out as Christians.
Paul the apostle stressed the matter of calling when he wrote the book of Romans. He said, “For there is no difference between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord of all is rich to all who call upon Him. For, Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’’ (Rom 10:12-13). Paul also spoke of calling on the Lord in 1 Corinthians when he wrote the words, “with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours’’ (1 Cor. 1:2). Furthermore, in 2 Timothy he told Timothy to pursue spiritual things with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22). By all of these verses we can see that in the first century the Christians practiced calling on the name of the Lord very much. Therefore, throughout the Old Testament as well as in the early days of the Christian age, the saints called on the Lord’s name. How regrettable that it has been neglected by most Christians for so long a time. We believe that today the Lord wants to recover calling on His name and to have us practice it so that we may enjoy the riches of His life.]
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 20, by Witness Lee)