Summary: This sermon is about making those commitments that are going to matter for all eternity. It deals with three major commitments we're asked to make entailing our will, finances, and agendas. It also talks about the barriers we set up to prevent commitment.
A Godly Commitment Needed
In 1519 Spanish explorer Cortez landed at Vera Cruz to begin his conquest of Mexico with only 700 men. Legend has it that before they set off into Mexico’s interior Cortez ordered the ships to be burned while his men watched their only means of retreat sink to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Now there was only one direction they could take.
Commitments are quickly becoming outdated, as people are reluctant to make commitments without having loopholes built into them.
Take marriages for example. One comic strip had one man speaking to another saying, “You know, it’s odd, but now that I’m actually engaged I’m starting to feel nervous about getting married!”
The other man replied, “I know what you mean. It’s only natural to be nervous! Marriage is a big commitment. Seven or eight years can be a long time!”
Today marriages are no longer long-term commitments. No longer are they until death do us part. Rather it’s until people no longer feel like it, and that’s because marriages today are built around feelings, not commitments. Instead of working it out it’s “Let’s call it quits and go our separate ways. And we can still be friends.” Yeah right, and what planet are they from.
We live in a world where long-term commitments are no longer wanted or desired. This is true in marriage, work, and even the church. Today we fear commitments and live by the creed, “I want to keep my options open.” In other words, we don’t want to get to the end of the buffet line and find out we have no more room on our plates for the cake and ice cream.
People today just don’t want to make commitments, and because of it they’re missing out on building a great life for themselves and for their family. When we make a commitment we’re choosing how we’re going to invest our lives, time, and resources. And when we refuse to make life’s most important commitments, that that is faith in Jesus Christ, we’re missing out on a life that will count for all eternity.
The sad reality is that a lot of those who go to church today won’t be seen in the next two to five years in the church. Some will leave the community, be a part of another church, but the majority won’t be found in any church.
One of the main reasons is that they didn’t or wouldn’t fully commit to God. They refuse to burn the ships in the harbor, and so when things get rough they retreat to the comfort of the ships and the old land they left behind.
Today’s churches are filled with casual Christians, and while they say they’re following the Lord, in reality they’re following the world, or worshiping in ways not prescribed by God.
If we’re ever going to see a spiritual revival, then a commitment needs to be made by Christians much like the commitment made by Joshua.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV)
What’s so fascinating about what Joshua said is that he was at the end of his life and was reaffirming the same commitment to the Lord that he made early on. As a young man Joshua was committed to God as he would stay at the tabernacle day and night. Even at the prospect of being put to death, Joshua stood firm on God’s promise when the whole of Israel threatened him.
Because of his commitment to God, God honored him making him Israel’s leader after Moses’ death, which saw him leading Israel into the Promised Land. And now, after they were securely settled, Joshua asked them to make a commitment to God, and then before them all he states his commitment saying, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15b NKJV)
This wasn’t some hidden decision where if things didn’t work out he could silently slip away with nobody knowing the difference. He said it loud and proud. It was open for all to see and hear.
As Christians when we come into that saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we’re making that same commitment. We’re saying yes to Jesus, that we will follow Him, keep His word, and serve Him with the whole of our lives.
So what does our commitment to God entail? What does it look like in real time?
In reviewing Joshua’s commitment what we see is that it involves two aspects. It begins with a personal commitment, “But as for me,” and then a commitment to others, “and my house.”