Summary: Keeping one foot in the world and one foot in heaven just does not work. There is a danger in being uncommitted to Christ.
WARNING! STRADDLING CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!
INTRODUCTION: A woman getting onto a sky lift was given instructions that the moment the lift’s chair touched her backside she was to sit down and lift her feet from off the ground. Instead when the chair came against her she sat down but was nervous about the height of the lift. Her hesitation caused her to keep her feet firmly planted on the platform. She wanted to see the magnificent view from the top of the lift but also wanted to be firmly attached to the ground. With her feet on the platform, the seat began to wind back and then like a slingshot hurled her off the platform causing severe injury to her legs and back. Indecision is a dangerous thing. Straddling between two positions can be hazardous to your health.
Throughout the Bible, we have recorded the stories of people choosing between faith in God and faith in something else. In the passage that we have read this morning, King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel had turned Israel Baal worship. God sent Israel three years of drought and famine. They called upon Jehovah to deliver them, but continued to worship Baal. On top of Mt. Carmel, Elijah confronts Israel for their teeter tottering between a commitment to God and a life yielded to a false deity. He calls them to move off center and to decide whom they will serve. Just as in Elijah’s day, there are many that are uncommitted and unaware that their indecisive straddling is hazardous to their spiritual health. There is a fable of a hungry ass that was put between two bundles of hay. It looked at the one, then at the other, and could not decide which to eat first, till it died of starvation. Just about as stupid and foolish are those who halt between two opinions till they die in their sins. Let’s examine who are the uncommitted, what is the risks or dangers of being uncommitted, and the call to commitment.
I. The Uncommitted
A. Those who are under conviction - but are not convinced.
1. Acts 24:22-27 "And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound."
2. Felix had a good understanding of Christianity. He knew enough about the Christians and their teachings of righteousness to know that Paul was telling him the truth. Yet he postponed or teeter-tottered about doing the right thing.
3. Repentance is always difficult, and that difficulty grows greater by delay.
B. Those who are spectators - attending church but not part of the church.
1. The New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion.
2. Acts 2:41-42 "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
3. "Can I be a Christian without joining the church?"
Answer: Yes, it is as possible as being: A student who will not go to school. A soldier who will not join an army. A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote. A salesman with no customers. An explorer with no base camp. A seaman on a ship without a crew. A business man on a deserted island. An author without readers. A tuba player without an orchestra. A parent without a family. A football player without a team. A politician who is a hermit. A scientist who does not share his findings. A bee without a hive. (Robert G. Lee, SERMONIC LIBRARY, pp. 115-16.)
4. Many are interested in church but are not committed. - Art Turock, [Getting Physical (Doubleday)] made this distinction between interest and commitment. "There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results."