What if one day we opened the
newspaper and the headlines read: "God Is No Longer Committed
to His Creation." And when we read the article we learn that
God no longer forgives sin, God no longer loves
unconditionally, and God is no longer active in our daily
lives. This would be devastating, wouldn't it?
How would you react if you knew God
would no longer be active in all that you do, or that God
would no longer forgive you? Would you feel betrayed, angry,
Now we know how God must feel when we
deny him, or when we show a lack of commitment to him, his
church, and the Gospel. We ought to be as committed to God as
God is committed to us. Are we placing God first in our lives?
Are we supporting God's church in the giving of our time,
money, energy, and gifts, or do we worship and attend strictly
out of religious obligation? Once again, are we as committed
to God as God is committed to us?
As I read John's Gospel this week the
one thought that kept jumping out at me was commitment. As
Jesus explains why he must die I couldn't help but be in awe
at how committed he was to doing his fathers will even though
he had the power to say no.
Jesus was committed to fulfilling
God's will, to save this world from eternal damnation. Jesus
was committed to God.
It's ironic that for Jesus to follow
God's will meant a cruel death. However, if we follow God's
will it means life, eternal life. Therefore, the truth is,
commitment is a profoundly spiritual matter with eternal
implications. Commitment is NOT church doctrine or something
at the fringe or edge of the Bible; rather commitment to God
comes out of the very heart of the Bible, both in the Old and
When we commit ourselves to God we
surrender our "whole_life" to God. Meaning we love and serve
God out of gratitude for all that he has given us.
God has given each one of us many
gifts so that our needs might be met; and God has also given
us gifts so that we might share with others, to help them meet
Sharing with others is what helps
build God's kingdom, because God uses us through our giving
and serving to bring others to Jesus. Therefore our faithful
commitment to serve God, or lack of, does have eternal
Unfortunately, when God gave Adam and
Eve the job of managing the kingdom, they disobeyed His
instructions. And, ever since then, human beings have been
mismanaging God's creation and God's Word with devastating
We as human beings often times act as
if we own whatever we can get our hands on, and we believe we
have the right to establish the values by which we use what we
But if we are to live as committed
Christians, we need to focus on the very heart of commitment.
We need to live as people of the Gospel, committing our whole
selves to love of God and love of neighbor.
Our commitment to God can not be lived
out in isolation, it must be lived out in Christian
When God entrusted to us his Holy
Word, God expected us to protect it, proclaim it, and live it.
And lets face it, this isn't easy. After a busy day dealing
with work, home, children and everything else we don't have a
whole lot left.
We've gorged ourselves with the things
of this world to the point it's become hard to find the time,
money, and energy to serve God. Instead of giving God our
first fruits, we often find ourselves giving God what ever we
have left over.
We need to go on a diet if you will,
to shed the pounds of worldly excess, replacing it with God's
After all Jesus didn't say, if you
feel like it, follow me, he said follow me. Jesus didn't say,
if you feel like it, love your neighbors, he said love your
neighbors. Jesus didn't say, when you feel like it serve, he
said serve. Jesus didn't say, if you feel like it go and make
disciples, he said go. The Gospel is meant to lead us to
action in the name of Jesus, it's not simply to be absorbed
and thought about.
Now what does it mean to be living the
Gospel? In my mind it comes down to two issues: one is
motivation, and the other is setting priorities. So what
motivates us to commit ourselves to living the Gospel? Is it
love, is it faith, or is it simply out of family tradition.
Our commitment to God and the Gospel
must be active in love, and our lives must reflect our
profession of faith.
Christianity and life are not separate
existences; they are very much linked together. And we should
never forget that in the end God knows what motivates us and
what the desire of our heart really is. We may fool others,
but we can't fool God.
Let me ask you, do you believe the
Gospel? I'm sure most, if not all of us, would say of course
we believe the Gospel or we wouldn't be here this morning. But
my challenge this morning is for each of us to honestly answer
the question, do we really believe the Gospel?
Do we believe the Gospel enough to
never again think that faithfully serving God is merely not
committing any sins? Do we believe the Gospel enough to place
our whole trust in God to make decisions on how we live?
Do we believe the Gospel enough to
want to make a difference in the lives of others? Do we
believe the Gospel enough to want to make disciples?
Do we believe the Gospel enough to
allow love alone to motivate us to support God's ministry
through his Church, knowing that the church is the primary
means through which God reaches the community and the world in
mission. Is the Gospel at the edge of our life, or is it the
heart of our life?
These are the fundamental questions
that we each ought to ask and honestly answer. And I encourage
each of us to reflect on these questions over the coming weeks
as we approach Easter, and to discern if we are as committed
to God as he is committed to us. To truly be committed to the
Gospel, means to be living the Gospel, and following the
teachings of Christ. It's more then giving lip service to the
wonderful stories of Jesus, and attending worship on Sunday
The Lord says, "These people come near
to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their
hearts are far from me…" (Isaiah 29: 13). I'm convinced those
who live their life, with the gospel as the foundation, and I
mean really live the faith 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
not just one hour on Sunday mornings, do more for winning
disciples and growing God's kingdom then any one single act we
can engage in.
Today we live in a culture where far
too many people have decided to place their hope in the world
rather than in Christ, choosing instead to ignore the gospel,
or at best keep the gospel in their hip pocket just in case
they need it.
Know that true hope is only found in
the Gospel, the hope bought for you and me through the birth,
suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A hope
that is freely available to all people. A gift from God that
we ought to treasure and share with others.
You know the world is starving for the
good news of Jesus. People are looking for appropriate role
models. And folks are looking for something real to grasp onto
to help them through the rough times.
There's no doubt many people are
thirsty for spiritual meaning and are looking for hope. And
the church needs to help these people come to know what real
The church is an instrument of God's
grace, and the ministry, which takes place through the church
is a means of sharing God's grace. This is why ministry is so
important. Not just the ministry of the few, but the ministry
of all professing Christians.
All who claim this local church as
their church home are to be in ministry for the Lord. This is
why God has created so many opportunities right here to grow
in faith, and to serve others.
But for us, the church, to become
vital in the lives of others, we must first commit ourselves
to living the Gospel. [PAUSE] We begin by acknowledging and
confessing that we have fallen short, and recommit ourselves
to practice a renewed sense of holiness, meaning changing our
priorities from the worlds to God's.
Is this easy to do? No it's not, but
if we all work together, and help one another, I'm convinced
we can all be committed believers. Here today, during our time
of Communion, let us all commit ourselves to God's Holy Word.
Let us commit to living the Gospel, making God the number one
priority in our life, and love our sole motivation! Let us
commit ourselves to Christ's church.
As Christians we need to actively seek
God and freely surrender ourselves to his will. We need to be
role models so others might learn what a blessing being a
disciple of Christ is. We need to connect beyond ourselves and
beyond our local church to win disciples for Christ.
Our motivation and desire must be
nothing short of wanting to please and bring glory to God in
all we do, through our giving and sharing with others. Seems
to me this is what Jesus did.
And as followers of Jesus, we need to
implement his teachings in the way we live, beginning with the
two greatest commandments, love the Lord our God, and love our
But if we truly want to experience a
better reality, where all people openly share the love of
Christ, if we want to live a more fulfilling life, then we
need to stop sitting in the bleachers, and start being
participants in the Gospel.
No longer should we live our lives on
the fringe of the Gospel, rather we ought to live with the
Gospel firmly rooted in our hearts, turning away from the sin
of our past, and demonstrating that we are Easter people. Let
us boldly show the world, that by the power of the Holy
Spirit, we know the way, we know the truth, and we are
committed to the Gospel!
My brothers and sisters, I challenge
you today to seize the opportunities to give and to serve,
here in this place we call Trinity (Catoctin) United Methodist
Church. Don't waste another day living for the world. Get on
fire for Christ, be a beacon of hope, and glorify God's name
in all you do!