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Steps To Commitment

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STEPS TO COMMITMENTTEXT: Matthew 8:18-23INTRODUCTION:             One of the serious problems facing religious minded people today is that while lip service is given to God, many are not TRULY committed to Him.  This lack of commitment is seen in a variety of ways:·    No growth in Bible knowledge.·    Not attending worship services on a regular basis.·    No giving of their means back to God.·    Easily discouraged spiritually.·    More important things than GodWe, if we truly want to go to heaven, MUST make a true commitment to God.  Failure to do so jeopardizes our soul The Purpose of this message is to determine what the BIBLE says about what it means to be COMMITTED TO GOD.·    To many young people commitment is getting "Turned on to Jesus", "Getting high on Jesus", going to some religious rally, some baptism of the Holy Spirit, or something of a spiritual flavor that is exciting.·    Commitment in the denominational world means getting involved in social action, marching for some cause, writing letters to a Senator on some social or moral issue.·    The word COMMITMENT has a much deeper meaning in the New Testament.§    In the life of Jesus we can understand the depth of the meaning of the word COMMITMENT.§     "To commit; delivering or entrusting something to a person, to give over"§     Jesus lived a committed life.  he went about doing the will of God §    "Commit our souls".1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

§     "To entrust, commit to one's charge; deliver or entrusting to another".§     The New Testament sense - "Delivering or committing our lives, putting them in the hands of God and trusting God to do what is best for us."! I.          THE FIRST STEP TO COMMITMENT IS CONVICTION.

A.        We were not born alienated from God.

1.      Born in the image of God.

2.      Born in a pure state before God

3.      Sin has drawn a barrier between man and God

B.        It is true that we have separated ourselves from God by sin.  Yet not all have been convicted of that fact. There are various reasons for this:

1.      Self-righteousness - If good deeds outweighs the bad deeds, God will somehow accept them

2.      Moral reprobates - compare themselves with dope addict, skid row bum, murderer,.

a)      We have a higher standard we are to compare ourselves to

C.        The purpose of the Holy Spirit coming into the world was to bring about this matter of conviction of sin.

1.      REPROVE "To convict, refute, by conviction to bring to light; to expose".

2.      Acts 2 - When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles that is exactly what He did - vs. 36, 37. They reached the point of conviction!

3.      Everyone must reach that point at some time. It may come as a result of:

a)      Time of tears.

b)      Regret.

c)      Remorse

(1)   Peter - Close friend of Christ for 3 1/2 years.  Denied Christ. Cursed and swore, "I don't know the man".  Jesus looked at him Luke 22:56-62.  Wept bitterly - he realized he was a sinner and had done wrong.

d)      Sometimes a man's life collapses Paul - Acts 9:1-9.

(1)   On the road to Damascus, proud, sure of himself, certain he was accomplishing God's will. The rug was jerked out from under him.
(2)   1 Tim 1:12-15 - "Chief of Sinners".

e)      Self-evaluation - Luke 15:11-32.

(1)   Typical of a lot of people -"Do your own thing".
(2)   "Came to himself" - decided to acknowledge he was a sinner and determined to go back to his father.

f)       Upon hearing the gospel

4.      We need to recognize that not only are we sinners but that Jesus is the ONLY answer to that problem

D.        Until we reach the point of conviction we haven't even started on the road to heaven.

II.       The second step to commitment is CONVERSION

NOT EVERYONE WHO IS CONVICTED OF SIN IS CONVERTED TO CHRIST.

A.        Felix - Acts 24:24-26

1.      It got to him.  He was terrified.  He was convicted.

2.      No indication in scripture or history he was ever                  converted to Christ.

B.        Conversion is not convulsion.  It is not some "feeling better felt than told".  It is not some kind of a highly emotional experience ONLY.

1.      It includes the intellect as well as the emotion.

2.      Matt 13:15 - Before anyone can be converted they must understand the gospel and take it into their heart.

C.        The Greek word translated CONVERSION in the New Testament means - "A complete and radical change" -2 Cor 5:17.

1.      EXAMPLE:  If you change water power into steam and steam into electricity, you have made a complete and radical change.

2.      When you take a sinner who is lost and separated from God and put him into God's Kingdom, that is a radical change

3.      That kind of a conversion (radical change) first begins by a change of mind brought about by a change of faith.

a)      People in Acts 2, fifty days earlier, stood in the multitude and cried, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him".

b)      Now they are hearing they have murdered the Messiah.

c)      They were convicted of that fact and realized they had sinned and the awful consequences awaiting them in that present state.

d)      Their mind was changed by hearing the truth.  This Jesus, whom they had looked upon as an imposter, a fraud, they now saw as the real Messiah.

4.      A part of conversion is that a person's life must be changed by repentance.

a)      "A change of mind that leads to a change of life"

b)      Jonah 3:10 - What did God see?  The record says God saw they repented in that they ceased from their evil ways

(1)   That's what repentance is, "When you stop doing that which is wrong" -

5.      In conversion our life is changed by repentance and our allegiance is changed by confession.

a)      It is impressive to see a foreigner come to this country, become a citizen and swear allegiance to it. At the same time he is forsaking the old allegiance and loyalties to any other world power.

b)      It is even more impressive to see a person step out, in firm conviction of faith, not caring what anyone else in this world thinks but in humble submission confess Christ

6.      All of the above can be done by a person and he still not be converted because their relationship with God will not have been changed.

a)      They live faithfully to their creed and yet they never had a relationship with God – Matt 7:21-23; Matt 15:9.

D.        A complete change of life is essential in conversion.

1.      It is out of harmony with word of God for a person to obey the gospel and then live essentially the same type of life they lived before.

a)      Same miserable personality and attitudes.

(1)   Same hatred and anger.
(2)   Same worldly thoughts and ways.
(3)   Same selfish attitude of pleasing self rather than pleasing God.
(4)   Same attitude of making religion a matter of convience rather than a commitment.

2.      If Christianity can't make you a better person, can't elevate you and lift you to a higher moral standard, a higher concept of your goal and purpose in life, and a greater usefulness to society and the God who created you, then it isn't worth you while.

III.    the third STEP to COMMITMENT IS CONFIDENCE

A.        Not everyone who is convicted of sin and has been converted as evidenced by obedience to the gospel is going to heaven.

1.      Bible plainly tells us we can fall away - 1 Cor 10:12;

1 Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

a)      ALL - PIPTO - “To fall from a state of uprightness, to sin."

b)      UNBELIEF - APISTIA -"Want of faith and trust; want of faith, unbelief shown in the withholding of belief in the divine power or promises of God".

2.      Biblical examples of those who did fall away.

a)      Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5:1-10.

(1)   "Satan has filled thy heart" - Prov 4:23; Jer 17:9.
(2)   Demas - 2 Tim 4:10.  (What does the term "The world" mean?

b)      Matt 13:2022 - tells of some causes for Christians falling away.

(1)   "Cares of this world, riches, desire for other things, and persecution because of the word".
(a)  CARES - MERIMNA - "Care, anxiety" (Centers on me).
(b)  CHOICE - SUMPNIGO - "To choose utterly, crowd, smother".

B.        2 Cor 5:7 - "Walk by faith".

1.      Faith is defined in Heb 11:1.

a)      Robertson's translation - "Conviction in unseen things and confidence in things hoped for".

b)      Faith is confidence -

(1)   A "Faithful life" is a life full of faith -What does that mean - Eph 3:17 -leads to peace
(2)   A "Faithless life" is a life that has less faith than it ought to have.

c)      That person who worries and doubts and has fear has less faith than they ought to have -Matt 14:31.

(1)   Less is accomplished in some lives because they possess more doubt than faith.  Doubt inhibits, faith propels.

2.      Many are like the "double-minded" man in Jas1:8  "unstable in all their ways"

a)      DOUBLE-MINDED - "Wavering, uncertain, doubting".

b)      UNSTABLE - "Unstable, inconsistent, restless".

c)      Very much a Spiritual Minded person one day, a worldly person the next.

d)      Can't make up their mind, one foot in the door of the Church and one foot in the world - Matt 6:24; Rev 3:15, 16.

(1)   HOT - ZESTO - Boiling hot" –
(2)   Religion in a person's life is not real if their is not enthusiasm.

e)      Those spoken of in Revelation drew the line when their religion began to interfere with their personal life or business.  They were LUKEWARM. Their is no place for neutrality in religion - Matt 12:30; Jas 4:8.

C.        Doubts can be caused by:

1.      Peer pressure; ridicule and tricky questions - Matt 14:9.

2.      Atheistic or agnostic teaching in our schools.

3.      Seeing hypocrisy in the lives of other Christians they had confidence in.

a)      Not normal weakness and faults but glaring inconsistency.

b)      Bad example of parents.  God' child on Sunday, Devil's child the rest of the week. Kids see the inconsistency and it turns them off.

4.      Success of worldly people - Psm 73.

D.        In the life of most Christians, especially young people, there comes a time when the Bible gets in the way of some things they would like to do, some associations, they would like to pursue, feelings they would like to experiment with, etc.

1.      They know they can't go all out with these things and still be a faithful Christian.

2.      Unless we are very careful, we can rationalize the Bible right out the window at times like that in our lives.

E.        From time to time all Christians doubt – Matt 14:31.  At those times we need to check the issue out by study Rom 10:17; 2 Tim 2:15; Heb 11:6; 2 Pet 3:18.

1.      How can we expect to be faithful Christians if we leave the Bible untouched day after day?

2.      Matt 5:6 - Fulfilling that desire is where strength comes from.

IV.    the fourth step to Commitment IS CONSECRATION

A.        CONSECRATION - "Full handedness; set apart, devoted; reserved for God's use."

1.      Caleb.

a)      A "Different" spirit - Num 14:24.

b)      Deut 1:26-36; Josh 14:8.

c)      "Full handedly" (Wholly followed the Lord) - He gave his life to God.  He didn't keep back a little bit to be on friendly terms with sin and the Devil.

d)      He didn't say, "Lord, here is 90% of my life, 10% of it I use in doing something I don't want you to know about".

2.      Paul - Rom 1:9; Gal 2:20.

3.      Matt 6:33 - Anything less than that is hypocrisy Matt 15:7, 8; Tit 1:16.

a)      Expressing things with the lips they didn't feel in their hearts.

B.        In the lives of a lot of Christians there is a need for a second conversion.

1.      Peter - Close personal friend of Jesus for 31/2 years.

a)      Denied Christ, cursed and said, "I don't know the man" - Matt 26:69-74.

b)      Jesus made an amazing statement to Jesus - Luke 22:32.

c)      Jesus knew there would be a second

d)      Conversion in the life of Peter

2.      I have known Christians, in the past, with one foot in the Church, and one foot in the World.  Sporadic attendance to worship services, got growing spiritually, poor giving, little Bible knowledge, etc.  No way you could describe them as consecrated Christians.

a)      Something happens that causes them to get with it:

(1)   Death in the family.
(2)   Financial crises.
(3)   Serious illness threatens.

b)      They begin to study God's word, become excited about their Christianity, live faithful and devoted lives in their service to God.

3.      When one decides to quit playing with Christianity and get with it - that is commitment.

V.       The fifth step to commitment is CONSUMMATION - "END OF THE ROAD" - Jas 1:25; 1 Pet 1:9.

A.        Moses made a decision about the matter - Heb 11:24-26.

B.        Paul lived a committed life.  What did it get him?

1.      2 Cor 11:16-28 - Persecutions, privation, abuse, prison, etc - Mark 10:28-30.

2.      Paul's comments about his life and his future - 2 Cor 4:16, 17; 2 Tim 4:6-8.

C.        How much do you think of heaven?

1.      Do you allow yourself to get tied up with the things of this world - 2 Tim 2:4; Eph 5:11.

2.      Have you ever thought of the beauties of heaven Consider the beauties of earth.

a)      As Christians, it is what we hope for-Heb 6:18, 19; Phil 1:21-24; Heb 4:3-11.

(1)   Won't fade - 1 Pet 1:4.

b)      Rev 21:9-27 - Symbolic language.

(1)   God has selected terms of the utmost beauty, of peace and tranquility, and of wonderful associations to picture to us what heaven is like.

c)      Associations of heaven - Face to face with Abraham, David, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, Jesus, etc.

3.      One day of that kind of company would be worth a lifetime of service to God.

a)      It isn't for one day but for a never ending eternity.

b)      There are none of the things that mar our happiness in this life there in heaven - No pain, death, separations, worry, etc.

 CONCLUSION:Whatever else you have accomplished in this life if you are not a Christian; your life has been an eternal failure.  However much education you acquire, however high in the world of finance, however much of the things of this world you acquire, however prominent or popular you might be, however much fun you think you might have, when you come to the end of life's journey, if you hear then the words, "DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU", you'll know then you made a tragic, irreversible mistake. You may not realize it now but you will know it then - you made a bad bargain - Mark 8:36, 37.On the other hand, it doesn't matter how hard you have to work, how many worldly things you have to give up, how much persecution you have to suffer to be a Christian, it at the end of this great journey of life you hear the words, "WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, ENTER THOU INTO THE JOYS OF HEAVEN", you'll know it was worth it, it was a bargain – Psm 31:1-5.   

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