True Commitment

Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas

INTRODUCTION:

Joke: A young man was very excited because he just won a ticket to an India-Pakistan cricket match. The excitement lessened as he realized his seat was in the back of the stadium. As he searched the rows ahead of him for a better seat, he found an empty one right next to the field.

He approached the man sitting next to the empty seat and asked if it was taken. The man replied, “No.” Amazed the young man asked, “How could someone pass up a seat like this?” The older gentleman responded, “That’s my wife’s seat. We’ve been to every cricket match together since the day we were married but she has passed away.” “Oh, how sad,” the man said. “I’m sorry to hear that, but couldn’t you find a friend or relative to come with you?” “No,” the man said, “They’re all at the funeral.”

This morning we are going to study on the Christian discipline – Commitment. What is true commitment to God? How to be committed to God?

Commitment means the act of committing oneself; pledging, engaging, or promising oneself to the other.
Commitment is a conscious choice to do something. Not just when I feel like doing it, I do it regularly, as a matter of principle.

We live in a time where commitment is not important anymore. Divorce rates are alarmingly increasing by the day. No one wants to be committed to one partner for the entire life. Adults feel that there are hardly any close friends compared to the adults a decade ago. People switch jobs very often. People are not committed to their church. I believe we are living in days where commitment is lacking.

I personally feel only a person who is first committed to God can be committed to ones surroundings and excel in life.

Isaiah 26:3-4 3You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. 4 So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock (the Rock of Ages).

So if you want success in life, if you want hope, peace; you need to stay committed to God no matter what your circumstances are. How committed are you to Jesus? Is every area of your life committed to God?

Illustration: A certain man wanted to sell his house for 10 lack Indian rupees and another man wanted badly to purchase the house. The problem was that the man who wanted to purchase the house could not come up with enough money to buy the house. After a great deal of negotiation, the owner of the house agreed to sell the house for half of the original amount under one condition. He would still own one nail that hung over the home’s front door. The agreement was made and the sale of the house was completed.

After a few years the original owner of the house wanted to buy the house back but the new owner refused to sell. So the first owner went out and found the body of a dead dog and hung it on the nail that he still owned in the house. He also won over his argument in court. Before long the house became so unlivable that the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.

The sad reality is that the same is true of those who leave just one area of their life uncommitted to Christ. The one small un-owned nail can have some rotting garbage hung on it and devastate our spiritual life. Our most desperate need as Christians is to have every area of our lives committed to walking with Christ.

WHAT IS TRUE COMMITMENT TOWARDS GOD?

Luke 9:57-62 The Cost of Following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke records for us in this passage an account of three men who Jesus met as He traveled along with His disciples. Two of these men declared that they wished to follow Jesus; to become His disciples. The other was one whom Jesus summoned to follow Him. It is interesting that all the three backed out because they did not have the commitment to follow Jesus. Let us study these three men one by one.

Luke 9:57-58 57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

1. True commitment is more than involvement.

This man makes a very powerful and profound promise to Jesus that he would follow Him wherever he went. I believe that the man was sincere, he wanted to follow Jesus, he wanted to be a part of what Jesus was doing, and he wanted to make a difference. I also believe that his decision was based on all the popularity and miracles that Jesus was performing. He did not think about the cost a person has to pay for being a disciple and blindly committed to be Jesus’ follower.

True commitment has a cost to pay. Many of us commit to do things, commit for ministry but we do not weight the cost. True commitment is, “I have decided to follow Christ, no matter what come against me, who opposes me, I will be committed to Jesus as long as I live.”

When Jesus discerned this man such a commitment was lacking in him. See what Jesus said to him: Luke 9:58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” I believe this man never came back to become a follower of Christ because he did not want to commit himself to Jesus when the going got tough.

The sad reality is that most people settle for being involved without ever making a commitment. Being involved means that you can do what you want, as you want and when you feel like doing it. Commitment means that you are at the call of Jesus 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Illustration: There is a story told about a pig and a chicken walking down the road together. As they walked along they read an advertising signboard, ‘Donate for a breakfast to benefit the poor.’ The chicken said to the pig, “We both should donate to the poor.” “You give your meat, you give ham and I will donate an egg.” At first the pig agreed but soon he taught about it and said, “Oh! No, for you it would just be a contribution, but for me it would be a total commitment.”

The difference between involvement and commitment is like an eggs and ham breakfast – the chicken was involved but the pig was committed. This is a funny story but how is our life when we honestly look at the commitments we have made in our lives. True commitment is more than involvement.

Let’s look at the second man. Luke 9:59-60 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Jesus calls the second man but he asks permission from Jesus to go and bury his father. Jesus gives him a blunt reply, “Let the dead bury their own dead.” Why did Jesus talk so tough? Does he not have any compassion when our loved ones die? This is where we miss the scripture. Let us see what is going on over here.

Listen, this man was not asking to attend his father’s funeral because if his father died he would not have been with Jesus now. He was asking to stay and care for his family before following Jesus. His priority now was his family – first family, then Jesus.

2. True commitment is giving priority to God.

There is nothing wrong with caring for your family because your family is a gift from God and you are instructed by scripture to take care of them. Jesus is driving at the issue of priority. Jesus wants us to make Him first in our lives and no other place will do.

Secondly, it is urgent for his disciples to commit to be a disciple of Christ because the work for us is plenty. What did Jesus ask him to do? Follow me. Does this word ‘follow me’ sound familiar to you?

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Jesus is telling if you truly want to follow him then everything in your life has to be denied and give him the number one priority in your life.

Deny yourself: Say no to self and yes to God. It is to dethrone our self and enthrone God in us. Give up yourself.
Take up his cross: Sacrificial, concerned about others, concerned about the Kingdom of God, sacrificial to the duties of a Christian than our personal comfort.
Follow me: Be willing to go wherever God leads you.

Why does Jesus want us to follow him and give him priority? Jesus has some work for us. See how he called Simon and Andrew: Matthew 4:19 Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men

We need to give Jesus priority and be committed to him because God wants us to be fishers of men. There is no time to waste. His coming is very near and God wants our prioritized commitment in bringing others to him. There is work to be completed and God needs our urgent commitment and 100% priority. True commitment is giving priority to God.

Luke 9:61-62 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

3. True commitment keeping your focus on God.

The third man comes to Jesus and says I want to follow you Lord but I have a request to make. He makes a reasonable request to go back and say goodbye to his family and again Jesus makes a statement that sounds rather harsh when He tells the man that he is not fit to follow. Why does Jesus do this?

Notice what the man says to Jesus: Luke 9:61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” See first his commitment was for his family then Jesus. God wants your first commitment otherwise he does not want you.

Many ancient customs called for a prolonged goodbye filled with festive parties. It is likely that this man had intended to have several farewell parties from both family and friends. This could take days or even weeks before it was finished.

We are much like this man because we are far too often focused on what we lose by following Jesus. Choose Jesus first, and choose only Jesus.

Illustration: Luciano Pavarotti who was one of the leading tenor singers of all time tells his story about how he made the choice to be a singer. At a young age his father introduced him to singing. As he grew he was enrolled in both vocal lessons from a professional tenor and studied also to be a teacher. When he graduated from school he faced a dilemma to either become a signer or to become a teacher. When he asked his father about which course to take, his father responded: “If you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.” Commitment is that key. Choose one chair. Choose Christ. It is absolutely impossible to live a Christian life without having a complete commitment to following Christ.

True commitment is more than involvement. True commitment is giving priority to God. True commitment is having our focus on God.

HOW TO BE COMMITTED TO GOD?

Before I end I want you to help you with three tips to be committed to God. I believe success and excellence of our life starts when we are committed to God. This is based on the supposition that you have already made a personal commitment to follow Christ.

1. Be committed to yourself.

We have been called to commit ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples. Disciples always learn. We should never reach a point in life at which we are no longer learners of faith.

Illustration: My commitment to learn.
See what apostle Paul said: Philippians 3:10-14 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Apostle Paul is writing this approximately 2 years before his death. He is telling about himself that he has not finished learning, he is still leaning, he is still striving and committed to God.

Make a commitment to continue to grow spiritually. Take positive steps to do so. Start a Bible reading plan. Set aside time each day to pray. Read good Christian literature. Never give up on learning.

2. Be Commitment to your church.

We need to commit ourselves to be responsible members of one church. The local church is the first level of commitment outside of our personal relationship with the Lord.

Illustration: I want to introduce you to a mythical church member that I am going to call Br. Thomas. When we first meet Thomas he was attending services at First Church but he left because the services were too formal, every one on the platform wore a tie. He and his family then wandered over to Grace Church because they had a great choir. But before long, we hear they are “happy” at the Christian Worship Center. But before long they moved their membership to the Community Church because of the great bible teaching. After that the youth program at New Hope Church catches their eye. Now at least for the moment, they are at City Harvest, at least until something else catching their eye. What ever happened to commitment?

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The first commitment to church is going to one church, regularly and punctually. Be sure you choose the right church.

Now listen, commitment to church is deeper than just attendance to the worship services, but it does begin there. You will never truly feel a part of this church by attending the Sunday morning services and going home. Be involved, get to know people, get into a cell. Commitment is also loyalty. Be loyal to the services and programs.

3. Be committed to your call.

We all have been called with a divine calling. When God called you God also gave you the gifts and talents to you to accomplish that call. In other words be committed in using your gifts and talents for God.

Paul reminds us in Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

Commitment to ministry means putting those gifts to work. God has given you gifts and placed you here to use it at City Harvest. If you are not using your gifts your commitment is not complete. We must commit ourselves to the ministry of the local church and use the spiritual gifts that God has given us.

CONCLUSION

Will you make a commitment today? If you have not committed yourself to the Lord, then you need to begin there. Once you have committed yourself to the Lord will you commit yourself to personal growth, institute some practical steps to do so beginning today? Amen.