Summary: The American church is in trouble! We have chosen consumerism and convenience over service. We must be challenged to follow Jesus at all costs.
1. Video clip of New US Citizens https://youtu.be/0pvonsToYA0
a. Becoming a Christian reminds me of the excitement with becoming a US Citizen
b. BUT, something happens along the way and the “new” wears off.
2. What do these slides have in common? [Convenience Slides
b. Garage Door Opener
c. TV Remote Control
f. DIY Checkout at Walmart
3. WW quote: “The difference between ‘interest’ and ‘commitment’ is: ‘Interest’ is when it is easy; ‘Commitment’ is all the time.”
4. The Challenge for the American Church – get past the convenience and being consumer-driven; stop with the “entitlement” mentality.
a. Convenient is when something is favorable to one’s comfort; easy to do, use, get to
b. Church stats are down [Apologetics Press Post 5.28.19
For several years, polls have shown that only 39% of Americans say they attend worship at least once a week (“How Religious...,” 2009; cf. Newport, 2010). However, more recent research suggests that the actual “head counts” of those who actually show up for weekly church services is half that figure, i.e., 17.7% (Barnes and Lowry, 2018). That means that the vast majority of Americans no longer attend church of any kind.
c. Small group participation is down
d. When was the last time you fasted for a spiritual purpose?
e. Contrast our treatment of Jesus with His treatment of us. Who is committed and who acts out of convenience?
I. The Heart of the Matter is the Heart
A. The True Beginning – Self-Examination – Nehemiah 9:1-2
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. 2 And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
1. History: Personal and National
2. Moved to Repent – fasting, etc.
3. Confession and worship – Nehemiah 9:5-6a
Then the Levites, . . . said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 “You are the LORD, you alone.. . .
B. The True Commitment
1. In writing – Nehemiah 9:38
38 “Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.
2. On hearts – 2 Corinthians 3:3
3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
II. Action Matters!
A. Actions Reveal Hearts – Matthew 15:18
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
B. Commitment (All the Time) to: (Nehemiah 10:28-39)
1. Follow the Instructions of God – Nehemiah 10:28-29
28 “The rest of the people, . . . 29 join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God's Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his rules and his statutes.
2. Care for Our Children – Nehemiah 10:30
30 We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons.
3. Keep Sabbath (rest and worship) – Nehemiah 10:31
31 And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
4. Give of Resources as Well as Selves – Nehemiah 10:39
39 For the people of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the chambers, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, as well as the priests who minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.”
1. In our mission we go against and change the culture.
a. Our culture – apathy unless about “ME” [MAGA hat provokes violence
b. Kingdom Principles:
• Self-Denial – Luke 9:23-24
• Service – Matthew 23:11
• Count Costs – Luke 14:28
• WHAT IF we tithed just our waking hours to God? 168-56 = 112 x 10% = 11.2 hours/week
2. How to accomplish this mission? – Philippians 2.5-8
a. Let Jesus into our lives – His commitment becomes OUR commitment (not convenience)
Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”