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On Sunday, we looked at this horrible, disgusting C-word: Commitment. At least, we’ve come to understand it as a bad word. We joke about commitment. We undermine commitment. Plainly stated, we don’t like commitment. Why?

The kind of commitment that God speaks of throughout Scripture is hard! We don’t naturally like doing what Scripture tells us we need to be committed to God. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Proverbs 3:5-10 both teach us that commitment means giving everything- our whole heart, mind, and soul- to God.

And Jesus took it a step further, teaching that the most important thing for us to do is commit everything to God: “Love the LORD your God with all your HEART, all your SOUL, all your MIND, and all your STRENGTH (Mark 12:29).” There’s no part of us left out of that command! This kind of commitment is about being ALL IN!

Like many of the topics we will look at this year, I’ve realized that we could spend several weeks on the topic of commitment and barely begin scratching the surface. Yes, even after a half hour sermon on it, there’s still more; it’s a hard concept. We looked at what Scripture says about it as an idea and an ideal, but there’s more to it than just an idea. What does it mean to live a life committed to God? Practically speaking, what does that look like? What kinds of things should we be doing if we want to live committed to God? What does it mean to be ALL IN? What does it look like?

Commitment is about taking our beliefs and actually living how God calls us to. And the place to start is with Church. When Jesus was preparing to finish His earthly ministry, He formed the Church. He called together those who believe in Him, and formed them together into communities where they could worship, learn, grow, and live together. Regardless of how humans have sometimes really messed up at being the Church, it’s still the place God wants us to be. It’s the body of Christ. [Check out 1 Corinthians 12 to read more about this.]

We are called to live out our faith with other people, as the Church. See, Church is much more than the building, the chairs, the worship, or the activities. Church is the people. And we can’t be the Church that God wants us to be if we’re missing people. If you’re not here with us, living with and growing with us, then we can’t be what God wants us to be, and neither can you!

Committing to God means committing to be a part of His people in the Church. It means coming to church to worship and fellowship- even if there’s someone there that annoys or angers you; even if they don’t worship the way you want; even if you’re tired or frustrated or bored; even if that preacher talks to long! It means being a part of the activities, the events, and the leadership. It means making the church your church. It means getting rid of the excuses and distractions. It means actively participating in the life of the church.

If you want to take seriously your faith in God- take seriously discipleship- then you need to take seriously your role and activities in the Church. You need to step up and be active, be involved. As United Methodists, when we go through the process of baptism, we commit ourselves to serving God and the Church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. We commit to connecting with God, through prayer, and with people, through our physical presence with them (that means being at church for worship, activities, ministries, leadership, and outreach). We commit to using our gifts- our talents, abilities, resources, and time- to serve God and others. And we commit to telling others about God through our words and actions. We commit to being ALL IN!                                                                                                                                       
Are you living this kind of commitment to God and to those He has called you to be with? Are you tired of just pew-sitting, just being a passive observer in the church? Are you ready to live committed to God, actively serving God and the Church with EVERYTHING? Are you ALL IN?



Sermon Notes for "Foundations: Commitment" from Jan. 19, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, Commitment is not a bad word           
             It’s foundational for our understanding of and growth in discipleship

Commitment defined:

            Dictionary definition:

                        Being dedicated to or obligated to a cause or activity, and doing what needs to be done for that

            Biblical commitment:

                        An obedience and trusting; a serving and surrendering of our action, decisions, and will to God

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

            Verse 4 contains the Sh’ma, the foundational prayer of the Jewish people

                        Shema Y’israel, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad

                        Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

This was prayed, taught, and repeated often because it was a testament to their commitment to this One God they were serving

            Verse 5 continues with what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment: “Love the Lord your God…”

            Verses 6-9 show how to stay committed to God: by constantly remembering how God calls us to live

Being committed to God is loving Him with everything- heart, soul, mind, and strength

            Proverbs 3:5-10 spells out what this looks like practically in our life

                        Trust God with all your heart

                        Don’t depend on your own understandings

                        Seek His will in all you do

                        Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom
                                 (curious that this is included twice in this short passage!)

                        When we do this, we will be spiritually healthy

                        Honor the Lord with your wealth and the best of all you produce

           

So, being committed to God means that we are fully there, completely on board with our devotion and obligation in all parts of our lives, including our wealth.

Commitment is so foundational to what it means to be a disciple:

        It’s about being fully devoted and obligated to God

        It’s about proclaiming the truth of who God is

    And it’s about living that commitment out



Contrary to popular belief, Commitment is not a bad word

            It’s foundational for our understanding of and growth in discipleship

Commitment defined:

            Dictionary definition:

                        Being dedicated to or obligated to a cause or activity, and doing what needs to be done for that

            Biblical commitment:

                        An obedience and trusting; a serving and surrendering of our action, decisions, and will to God

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

            Verse 4 contains the Sh’ma, the foundational prayer of the Jewish people

                        Shema Y’israel, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad

                        Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

This was prayed, taught, and repeated often because it was a testament to their commitment to this One God they were serving

            Verse 5 continues with what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment: “Love the Lord your God…”

            Verses 6-9 show how to stay committed to God: by constantly remembering how God calls us to live

Being committed to God is loving Him with everything- heart, soul, mind, and strength

            Proverbs 3:5-10 spells out what this looks like practically in our life

                        Trust God with all your heart

                        Don’t depend on your own understandings

                        Seek His will in all you do

                        Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom

                                    (curious that this is included twice in this short passage!)

                        When we do this, we will be spiritually healthy

                        Honor the Lord with your wealth and the best of all you produce

           

So, being committed to God means that we are fully there, completely on board with our devotion and obligation in all parts of our lives, including our wealth.

Commitment is so foundational to what it means to be a disciple:

It’s about being fully devoted and obligated to God

It’s about proclaiming the truth of who God is

And it’s about living that commitment out

 


Comments

Ross Conran
01/22/2014 8:56am

“We can only achieve perfect liberty and enjoy fellowship with Jesus when his command, his call to absolute discipleship, is appreciated in its entirely. Only the man who follows the command of Jesus single-mindedly and unresistingly lets his yoke rest upon him, finds his burden easy, and under its gentle pressure receives the power to persevere in the right way. The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy, and the burden is light. "His commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). . . . Jesus asks nothing of us without giving us the strength to perform it. His commandment never seeks to destroy life, but to foster, strengthen and heal it.
And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey's end. But we do know that it will be a road to boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.”
~ The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Very stirring, Ross!

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Denise Sernick
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Cori, I thought your clarification of "we don't want you if you're luke warm and like it that way" was excellent. But if you're luke warm and you want to be warmer, let us help, right? There are some wonderful mentors in our church that will walk with you on your journey:-)

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