Summary: This sermons encourages the type of commitment that all beleivers should have for the cause of Christ.
Ten Marks of a Prevailing Church
Mark #2: Uncommon Commitment
July 1, 2001
A. [A Flag of Rags, Citation: John McCain. From the files of Leadership.]
In the final years of our imprisonment, the North Vietnamese moved us from small cells with one or two prisoners to large rooms with as many as 30-40 men to a room.
We preferred this situation for the companionship and strength we could draw from our fellow prisoners.
In addition to moving us to new quarters, our captors also let us receive packages and letters from home.
Many men received word from their families for the first time in several years.
The improved conditions were a result of public pressure put on the North Vietnamese by the American public.
In our cell was one Navy officer, Lt. Commander Mike Christian.
Over a period of time Mike had gathered bits and pieces of red and white cloth from various packages.
Using a piece of bamboo he had fashioned into a needle, Mike sewed a United States flag on the inside of his shirt, one of the blue pajama tops we all wore.
Every night in our cell, Mike would put his shirt on the wall, and we would say the pledge of allegiance.
I know that the pledge of allegiance may not be the most important aspect of our day now, but I can tell you that at the time it was the most important aspect of our lives.
This had been going on for some time until one of the guards came in as we were reciting our pledge.
They ripped the flag off the wall and dragged Mike out.
He was beaten for several hours and then thrown back into the cell.
Later that night, as we were settling down to sleep on the concrete slabs that were our beds, I looked over to the spot where the guards had thrown Mike.
There, under the solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling, I saw Mike.
Still bloody and his face swollen beyond recognition, Mike was gathering bits and pieces of cloth together.
He was sewing a new American flag.
B. There are many who gave their lives in service to this country who had an uncommon commitment.
1. There have been countless men and women in many different conflicts and wars that had an uncommon kind of commitment in order for us to enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.
2. There are countless numbers who displayed an uncommon kind of commitment so that others in the world (outside the US) could be free as well.
3. Our country has a history of people who displayed uncommon allegiance and commitment to the cause of freedom.
C. But there is another freedom that demands a much higher commitment than the commitment to the cause of physical and political freedom.
1. That freedom is the freedom from the bondage to sin.
2. That freedom gives us the hope of eternal life.
3. There is a country that demands a much higher commitment than the commitment to the USA.
4. That country is heaven.
D. But sadly, our veterans (in many cases) have displayed much greater commitment to the USA than Christians have to the Kingdom of God.
1. Sadly, Christians get far too comfortable and are so easily distracted from having an uncommon commitment to the cause of Christ.
2. But if a church is going to be a church that prevails against the gates of hell, it must be made up of people who have an uncommon commitment to the cause of Christ!
3. So today I want to ask us to focus in on three areas where we need to see this kind of commitment in order for Somerset to be a prevailing church; first…
I. Commitment to Worship
A. What worship is…
Romans 12:1, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
1. Worship means to ascribe worth; to tell how much someone is worth.
2. Paul says here in Romans that worship is how we live our lives, seven days a week.
3. Paul says that we are living our lives should be our spiritual act of worship.
4. Well if what we do here in on Sunday mornings is worship, then how can the way we live our lives be worship?
5. Because the way we live our lives is a choice: do we live it to ascribe worth to ourselves or to ascribe worth to God?
6. Are we living our lives to please God or ourselves?
7. Are we living our lives to please God or someone else?
8. Prevailing churches consist of people who live their lives (seven days a week) to ascribe worth to God!