Summary: Ninth in a series on Revival influenced by Rich Atchley. This lesson outlines the necessity of Full Committment to God.
COMMITTED TO RENEWAL
INTRODUCTION: In July 1998, Ann Landers asked for people who lived during World War II to send in the secrets of how their marriages endured. A Mr. King responded, "Dear Ann, In a recent column you asked how those World War II marriages endured. My marriage has endured for over 60 years and we have been very happy. The secret is that she makes the minor decisions and I make the major decisions. So far nothing major has come up." One other story that I think is interesting. A man from Minnesota named David Wymlick got tired of his mother and his friends asking him when he was going to get married so he set a date – Saturday, June 13, 1998. There was only one problem – he didn’t have a bride. So his friends suggested that they send out applications and that they just choose the best applicant. David thought that was a good idea, so more than 20 women showed up that Saturday at a bridal candidate mixer and they were each interviewed by family and friends. It was determined that Elizabeth Runzie, a slender 28 year old redhead would be the best choice. So the two of them went over to the Mall of America that afternoon and got married in front of about 2000 shoppers. Her mother was later asked about all this and she said, "Elizabeth is very serious about this marriage and very committed to the idea and so is he. They will probably be married 67 years." Now, I don’t know if we would suggest that approach for any of our children, but Elizabeth’s mother hit on something pretty important. The secret to marriage is not emotion like popular culture would have us believe, it is commitment. Commitment is the price for a strong marriage. It is also the cost of a genuine revival. So as we begin our lesson today, allow me to give you a principle to guide us – "We ought never separate God’s commitment to renewal from man’s renewal to commitment." We have already said that revival cannot be designed. You cannot obligate God to bring revival, but revival will not come unless it is desired. God waits for us to seek him, chiefly through humbling ourselves, praying and turning away from sin. God is committed to returning to us when we return to Him with commitment. Deuteronomy 4:29 puts it well, "If you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." Now the revival we are going to study today is going to illustrate just that – full commitment. Asa was the third King of Judah during the period of the Divided Kingdom and what makes the revival that took place under his leadership is that there was nothing in his family heritage to suggest that he would lead the people to seek the Lord. His great grand-daddy was Solomon and you remember that Solomon started well but finished poorly and toward the end of his life he had married many foreign women and he had built many foreign places to worship and his heart had been turned from God. Asa’s grand-daddy was a man named Rehoboam who the Bible says did not seek the Lord with all his heart and allowed idolatry to grow in Judah. Asa’s daddy was a king named Abijah and I Kings 15:3 says of him, "He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been." Yet some 10 verses later the Bible says that, "Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life." Nine times the Bible says that King Asa "sought the Lord," and seeking the Lord is not something you can do with a divided heart. So the question is, what does it mean to have a heart fully committed to the Lord. King Asa tells us by his actions.
I. FULL COMMITMENT RELIES ON GOD’S POWER FOR VICTORY
A. Asa became king when he was young and for the first 10 years of his reign he has a pretty peaceful rule. He started some reform in Judah by tearing down some of the idols and pulling down some of the high places and the Bible tells us that God was pleased by all this. But in his tenth year King Asa faced his first major test and it was this test that lit the fire for revival.
1. II Chronicles 14:9-13. Now that’s the first thing we learn about commitment – it relies upon the power of God for victory. See Asa confessed his own weakness and them he acknowledged the limitless power of God. He realized that the strength of man on either side was no the issue. The issue was God. God’s the determining factor.