Nehemiah 9:32 - 10:39
tone of American commitment to Christianity could be described
as trivial, blas?, casual, and shallow at best.
Today, Christianity seems to be less a matter of commitment and
more a matter of convenience.
People will commit themselves to monthly payments of $300-$400 for a new vehicle stretching over 5 years. But, when it comes Christianity, the average American could be identified as "Mr. or Mrs. Uncommitted." Most Americans are like those the prophet Elijah challenged when he said, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him NOT A WORD" (1 Kings 18:21). They refused to commit themselves one way or the other.
COMMITMENT (Webster- 1828): 1. The act of committing [Delivered in trust; given in charge; deposited]; a putting into prison; imprisonment. 2. The act of pledging or engaging. And with the reciprocal pronoun, to commit ones self, is to do some act, or make some declaration, which may bind the person in honor, good faith, or consistency, to pursue a certain course of conduct, or to adhere to the tenor of that declaration.
We would say a committed person is one who is "sold-out;" "dedicated;" "devoted;" "loyal;" "going all-out, full tilt, full blast, whole hog, to the max, on all cylinders;" "for all one is worth." "Glory-bound with the hammer down."
The following true story illustrates REAL COMMITMENT: During the confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia in 1964 a group of Gurkhas from Nepal were asked if they would be willing to jump from transport planes into combat if the need arose. The Gurkhas had the right to turn down the request because they had never been trained as paratroopers.
The Gurkhas usually agreed to anything, but on this occasion they rejected the plan. However, the next day they sought out the British officer who made the request and said they had reconsidered and were prepared to jump under the following conditions: The ground was marshy or reasonably soft with no rocky outcrops and they wanted the plane to fly slowly as possible at no more that 100 feet high.
The British officer assured the Gurkhas that all these conditions could be met except one. To jump from only 100 was impossible, because the parachutes would not open in time from that height.
Then the Gurkhas said, "Oh, will we be wearing parachutes? You didn't mention parachutes before. In that case we'll jump anywhere with parachutes!" Not many people today fit that description when it comes to the Church of Jesus Christ.
It's a cryin' shame when
Mormons and J.W's are more committed to leading people into error
than Christians are to winning souls to the truth.
It's a cryin' shame when Mircosoft is more committed to it's product than Christian's are to the Word of God.
It's a cryin' shame when Democrats and Republicans are more committed to their agenda that Christians are to God's agenda!
It's a cryin' shame when the homosexual crowd and the abortion crowd are more committed to their cause than Christians are to the cause of Christ.
It's a cryin' shame when Hollywood is more committed to getting people in the movie house than Christians are to getting people into God's house!
It's a cryin' shame when people spend more money on liquor and tobacco than Christians do in sending out missionaries.
The background of our text is the confession of the Jews over their lack of commitment to the Lord that resulted in their captivity. They conclude by making a commitment to prevent that from happening again. It was a written commitment and was signed by those who made it (10:1-28). It is a pattern of the kind of commitment we need in the church today.
I. Commitment to Scriptural
FIDELITY (10:29). Committed
to do what the Bible says. We must have a pre-disposition to submit
to it's demands.
A. We must concede to the Bible's authority.
B. We must be convinced of it's answers. The Bible works.
date: February 15, 1921. The place: The operating room of the
Kane Summit Hospital in New York City. Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane
is performing an appendectomy. There were two things that made
this operation unique.
First, was the use of local anesthesia in major surgery. Dr. Kane is a crusader against the hazards of general anesthesia. He contends that a local application is far safer. Many of his colleagues agree with him in principle, but in order for them to agree in practice, they will have to see the theory applied.
Dr. Kane searches for a volunteer, a patient who is willing to undergo surgery while under local anesthesia. A volunteer is not easily found. Many are squeamish at the thought of being awake during their own surgery. Others are fearful that the anesthesia might wear off too soon.
Eventually, a candidate volunteers. The patient is prepped and wheeled into the operating room. The local anesthetic is applied. As he has done thousands of times, Dr. Kane dissects the superficial tissues and locates the appendix. He skillfully removes it and concludes the surgery. During the procedure, the patient complains of only minor discomfort.
Dr. Kane had proven his theory. Thanks to the willingness of a brave volunteer, Kane demonstrated that local anesthesia was a viable, and even preferable, alternative.
But I said there were two facts that made the surgery unique. First: the use of local anesthesia. Second is the patient-- Dr. Kane performed the surgery on HIMSELF! To prove his point, Dr. Kane removed his own appendix!
That is commitment! The doctor became a patient in order to convince the patients to trust the doctor. If people do not see a commitment to the authority of the Bible in your own life, why should they believe what you say about it?
II. Commitment to
a Separated FAMILY (10:30).
A. Involves separation-- Commitment to the family unit means separation from whatever would threaten that unit. We must commit everything to God, and leave nothing for Satan to use against our family.
This parable illustrates our need for total commitment to Christ: A certain man wanted to sell his house for $10,000. Another man wanted to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one nail protruding from just over the door. After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail. The conclusion: If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it a stench instead of a blessing.
involves education. We must teach our family.
C. It involves conviction. Conviction that divorce is not an option.
III. Commitment to Sanctified FINANCES (10:32, 37, 38).
IV. Commitment to
Serving FAITHFULLY (10:39
cf. Heb. 10:25)
A. Do not forsake it in prayer.
B. Do not forsake it in promotion.
C. Do not forsake it in participation.
CONCLUSION: Will you make the following commitments:
1. I will make the Bible the final authority in my life. You need to read it!
2. I will raise my children for Jesus Christ.
3. I will never seek a divorce from my spouse.
4. I will give God at least a tithe and offering of all He gives to me.
5. I will attend all church services unless providentially hindered.