Summary: This sermon calls hearers to make three vital commitments: 1) To A Person; 2) To A Purpose; 3) To A People.
TITLE: Three Vital Commitments
SUBTITLE: You Present You
TEXT: Romans 12:1-2
[Adapted from a sermon by John Hamby, A Call To Commitment, which can be found on Sermon Central.]
I want to introduce you to a hypothetical church member that we will call Kenny.
§ Kenny began his ecclesiastical journey at First Church, but he left because the congregation was too large and every one on the platform wore a tie.
§ After leaving First Church, Kenny and his family moved to Christian Worship Center because they had a great choir.
§ Before long, Kenny found fault with the pastor of Christian Worship Center, so he moved his family to Christ Community Church because of the great bible teaching.
§ In August of last year the youth program at New Life caught his eye, so Kenny moved his family to New Life.
§ Two Sundays ago Kenny and his family moved to Temple Revival Center. Temple is in the seventh week of a revival that started the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The evangelist has oil coming out of his hands and is telling people their Social Security numbers. Kenny and his family are now members of Temple, at least until something else better comes along.
John Hamby, A Call To Commitment
According to pollster George Barna, 40% or about 110 million of the adult American population attends church on a typical weekend.
§ Where are these millions on any given Sunday morning?
§ On any typical Sunday morning thousands of churches have more empty pews than full ones?
§ Some Churches have closed there Sunday evening services, not because they have a better plan, but because of low or no attendance.
§ Why is it that the average Sunday School in America has less than 66 in attendance and that the average worship service is attended by 84 people?
§ Why is it that only 50% of the number on any church membership roll can be expected to attend?
You might be interested in knowing that George Barna’s 40% includes Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and so on. A more accurate figure for the evangelical community is 8%.
According to a 1996 Barna Research statistic, "three in ten adults (31%) see hell as an actual location: ’a place of physical torment where people may be sent.’" (1996) Yet less than one out of every ten regular attendees of Christian churches give 10% or more of their income - a "tithe" - to their church. In addition to this, 5% of those who claim to be Church members do 100% of the work.
10% of the Church’s membership supports the Church financially.
05% of the Church’s membership does 100% of the work.
If 110 million people really believe in a real heaven and a real Hell, how can they be so uncommitted in their attendance, their finances and their labors?
Charles Stanley’s answer to all of these questions is tragically simple:
QUOTE: God’s people have made a decision about Jesus….but have never made a commitment to Him.” [Charles Stanley. Confronting Casual Christianity. (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985) pp. 23-33.]
There is a difference between a decision and a commitment, between commitment and involvement.
According to statistics at least 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Why? Could it be that 50% of these couples make a decision but do not make a commitment? Every one of them made a decision! They stood before a preacher and made promises, recited vows and exchanged ring. They made a decision! They kissed each other and walked out together, but they weren’t committed to the health and welfare of their marriage. They made a decision, but they did not truly commit their lives to each other. On the other hand, the other 50% made and kept their commitment to one another and today they are living in holy matrimony instead of a hellish mess.
The same is true of the Church. The reason that some Churches are not making more of an impact in our society is that many church members made a decision about Christ, but have not made a commitment to Christ.
QUOTE: George Barna suggests that many Americans may have fallen in love with faith rather than the object of their faith. He said: "It’s much less demanding to be devoted to the idea of faith than to invest yourself in a true relationship with the living God. The data raise the question of just what people have become infatuated with: the idea of being a person of faith or the reality of having an intimate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ."
ILL: When the pilot of a giant airliner is speeding down the runway, there is a point where staying on the ground is no longer an option. When he crosses that line, he is committed to being airborne. Either he will take off or a disastrous crash is imminent. He can no longer change his mind. He, by virtue of his actions, is committed to fly or die.