Summary: Christians need to make a commitment to become totally devoted to Christ in every area of their life.
INTRODUCTION: Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Community church, was talking with one of his members about some of the "tough topics" he had taught on over the years—hell, money, sex, relational confrontation, self-discipline. The man asked, "Of all the topics you’ve preached on, which has been the hardest to get across?" Bill states, ‘I didn’t even have to think about it. Becoming totally devoted to Christ.’ Bill considered getting across the aspect of a completely self-sacrificial lifestyle was his greatest teaching challenge. He states that for many people, total devotion to Christ means squandering the only life they have. What about us? Do we consider total devotion to Jesus a goal worth striving for? Or do we see complete commitment as something that would infringe on our comfortable lifestyle? Let’s take a look into living totally devoted to Jesus.
1) WHAT’S INVOLVED IN TOTAL DEVOTION? What does a totally devoted Christian life consist of?
· Daily death. 1ST Corinthians 15:30&31. What did Paul mean when he said, ‘I die every day’? Paul was living out Luke 9:23 when Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” When Jesus said, take up your cross, he didn’t mean a literal piece of wood. The cross represents death. Therefore, we need to die to self. Paul said in Rom. 12:1 we need to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Every day we need to sacrifice our desires and our will for the sake of God’s will for us. Paul spent a lot of time denying himself in order to do God’s will. If we are going to be totally devoted to Jesus we will need to die to self every day. And we’ll be better prepared to die to self when we define the areas where we haven’t done that. What areas of my personal and spiritual life need improvement or even an overhaul? What do I need to do in order to become totally committed in my marriage, character development, health, work ethic, prayer life, church service, bible reading, etc. It’s important to remember that becoming totally devoted is a process. The key is to have a definitive plan and then stick to it.
· Giving it your all. Jesus said in Matt. 22:37 that the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. I used to downplay these words. I convinced myself that this was impossible and therefore, Jesus couldn’t have meant it as he said it. I wanted to believe that half-hearted was good enough. I wanted to give credit to my good intentions. Some people make a genuine decision to follow Jesus without a whole-hearted commitment to follow him. A decision is in a moment, a commitment is in a lifetime. Sometimes our commitments lack enthusiasm and we have a tendency to be fickle. A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated. This involved removing it from the frame. In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph: “My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity.” It was signed "Helen,” and it contained a P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.” Jesus said in Matt. 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both ‘God and Money.” You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have one foot in the kingdom and one in the world. That’s not even half-hearted devotion. Jesus said you can’t be devoted to both. You will be devoted to one and despise the other. Ill. What would you think if I said, we’ve decided that sometimes instead of having praise and worship music we’re going to listen to Marilyn Manson? And sometimes instead of celebrating the Lord’s Supper with bread and juice we’ll celebrate it with Jack Daniel’s. And why not every once in a while instead of having a sermon we’ll watch an X-rated movie instead. You know, not all the time, just once in a while. If we did that, would you think Cornerstone was a church that was totally devoted to God? If we wouldn’t tolerate such behavior on Sunday morning, why would we tolerate it on Saturday night? If doing those things would be considered an abomination to this temple (gesture to the church building), what would convince us that it’s no big deal to do that to this temple (gesture to self)?