Summary: Today we will be looking at the topic of Commitment. The essence of commitment is expressed in the words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi...
Today we will be looking at the topic of Commitment. The essence of commitment is expressed in the words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi:
"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." (Ruth 1:16-17)
Ruth’s level of commitment seems to cut against the grain of the disloyalty and unfaithfulness that is practiced today. Today the sentiment towards commitment is expressed in the words, “I’m free to do whatever I please.”
Some years ago, the New York Times referred to this as “The Uncommitted Generation.”
Gone is the commitment to marriage – The “seven year itch” has been replaced by the “seven month itch.” Marriages of 20, 25, and 30 years or more are ending in divorce.
Gone is commitment in the marketplace – People used to be loyal to certain stores and their products. Store owners used to be committed to their customers—many would “know them by name.” Today we are no longer customers, we are consumers.
Gone is the commitment to the job – Gone are the days when the “average Joe” retires with 45 years and a gold pocket watch. Some say, “I’m just here for the paycheck” or “I’m just using this job as a stepping stone to expand my resume.”
Gone is the commitment to the local church – Gone are the days when people spent a lifetime at the same church. People used to be born, married and buried at the same church but today church hopping is just as common as bed hopping. The Uncommitted Generation says, “I’m committed to my church family as long as my needs are being met.”
Every church struggles with uncommitted followers of Christ. The problem is that we have a very committed adversary. As far as we can tell from Scripture, the devil does not take a break. He comes to kill, steal and destroy. He comes seeking whom he may devour. Satan is committed to do what he does best to hinder the advancement of the Gospel.
Larry Burkett (who’s gone home to be with the Lord) recalled that in the days of Communism, communist leaders had some radical ways of testing new party members’ commitment.
An FBI agent who attempted to infiltrate the Communist Party in the United States said they made him stand on a street corner in New York City and hand out copies of the Communist Manifesto. He would get spit on, even beaten up. But they made him do it for 30 days just to see what his commitment level was. They wanted to weed out the people who weren’t really serious about joining the Party.
Burkett said he didn’t recommend that strategy for churches (even though the Jehovah Witnesses do it), but the thought is on target because commitment is the key to success when you are going up against an adversary who doesn’t promise to play fair.
Many Christians dream of doing great things for God but few are the ones who actually see those dreams come to fruition. What is the difference between a dreamer and a doer?
The difference is commitment. Today we are going to listen to the words of Jesus in order to discover what commitment is all about. My desire is that God will use this message to transform God’s people from dreamers to a church of committed doers.
1. The Pattern of Commitment
2. The Path of Commitment
3. The Passing On of Commitment
4. The Person of Commitment
5. The Pursuit of Commitment
1.) The Pattern of Commitment
Luke 23:46 records the seventh utterance of Jesus as He hung on the cross. Luke writes, “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Jesus’ cry from the cross wasn’t a last minute confession of faith. His wasn’t a “deathbed confession” or like a “jailhouse conversion.” His wasn’t an “up against the wall" cry of desperation. Commitment to the Father was a way of life for Jesus. From the beginning to the end of His public ministry, He made it known that He was on the scene to keep His Father's agenda.
(John 5:30 NKJV) "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
(John 6:38 NKJV) "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.