Summary: Sometimes our commitment is more words than action...
Our Total Commitment
Romans 12:1 – 2
Introduction — Doing something that really matters will always come at a cost. At the 4th of July and on Veteran’s day we always think about the high cost of our freedom. Soldiers, sailors, and airmen in untold numbers have died to keep us free, and we need to remember their sacrifice. But have you ever thought about what it costs to start something? Recently, I ran across an article that amazed me when I read it. If it would be all right I would like to share a portion of it with you this evening. This article was written by Kenneth Dodge and was published in Resource magazine.
Fifty-six men signed the United States Declaration of Independence. Of the 56, five were captured by the British and tortured and killed. Twelve others had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons as they fought in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two of his sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. One, Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty.
At the battle of Yorktown, British General Cornwallis took over Thomas Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly asked General George Washington to open fire on his home. It was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying, leaving their thirteen children to flee for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.
Somehow I think these men must have had a great vision of what might be for them to willingly sacrifice so much to their cause. It is from their sacrifice that all the freedoms that we so often take for granted were born. Theirs was not a spiritual battle, we know that, but they have afforded us the opportunity to fight some important spiritual battles. Let’s think about how we are doing.
In America there are nearly 100,000,000 people who claim to be church members, and that’s a good thing. The problem is that in more ways that we want to think about we are not making the moral and spiritual impact on our nation and in our world that you would think we would be able to make. Have you ever wondered why that is? I have. I wonder why it is that Sunday after Sunday churches are only partially filled? I wonder why so many churches decide that Sunday morning is enough for them. Honestly, the only reason I can come up with is lack of commitment. So this evening I want to talk about commitment for a few minutes. But I have chosen to share this message because I think we have the opportunity to become powerful examples for less mature Christians, and in some ways I think we have failed.
I. Total Commitment to Christ can Only be Measured in Light of God’s Mercy Towards Us
Let’s take a minute to think about the extent of God’s mercy.
Obviously to most of us, thinking about God’s mercy takes us immediately to thoughts of salvation. And honestly, there is no greater demonstration of mercy that Jesus’ willingness to save us. But that not the only way He has shown us mercy, is it?
When God gave us His Word as a guide for our lives He was showing mercy. In 2 Timothy 3 we read “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do." (NLT)
That sure sounds like the actions of love and mercy
towards us. He didn’t have to give us the bible. He could have let us try to figure things out ourselves, but I’m sure glad He didn’t.
What about prayer? Isn’t that an act of mercy as well? It baffles my mind to think that God would take the time to even listen to my prayers let alone answer them. Prayer gives us the opportunity to open our hearts to someone who will never turn away from us. The ability to pray has to be an act of God’s mercy because it affords us the opportunity to get things right when they’ve gone wrong.
This all being true, the question comes to mind that if we are really committed to Christ, and to His way for our lives…Why don’t we tell more people about the salvation that God offers? Why don’t we read His word more fervently and obey it more closely? Why don’t we pray as our first option rather than our last?