11 March 2012

Staying Plugged In



Acts 2:44-47

Commitment is a word that has lost a lot of its meaning today. Many people have watered down its true meaning or it has become something that people want to avoid all together. The proof of this is in the increasing amount of divorces that happen each year. Promises made to others with no intention of keeping them. People suing each other for no reason. Children dropping out and not finishing school. People defaulting on their loans for reasons other than financial difficulties. Sadly, this is even happening in the churches today. Christian’s not willing to stick it out or fight for her as a body of believers. See, there’s something to say about being committed to something that is of great value or something that is worth fighting for. 

The church is such a place, that’s why I love the church.....she is worth defending and fighting for. The Church is a place where people are committed to one another because of the grace given to them through Jesus Christ. In the church, commitment sometimes might require you to get your hands dirty and a willingness to stick it out even when times get tough. Church commitment is saying I'm willing to stand on this hill together with arms interlocked until our final breath......Why? Because it’s my obligation and it's all for His glory and honour. Remember Christ died for the church and we are to be willing to do the same. 1 John 3:16 says “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Can you honestly say that about your life when it comes to the church? The early church could! “they had all things in common”  (v44).

Commitment is something that many people have a problem with even today! Take for example when Jesus spoke to His disciples in John’s gospel. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." John 6:67-69. We have people leaving Christ just as fast as they came in. We have people walking away from the church at the same rate. We have people who seek churches that will fit their needs instead of the other way around. We have people who will leave the church when their physical needs are not being meet. We have people who are afraid to commit because they are afraid of what might happen in the future.

Commitment by definition is...... To give in trust; to put into the hands or power of another; a pledge or promise; obligation. A great example that demonstrates commitment is when a missionary society wrote to David Livingstone and asked, "Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you." Livingstone wrote back, "If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all." Commitment is doing whatever it takes at any cost for the sake of Christ and precious GOSPEL and His church. It’s getting plugged in and willing to stand side by side with other saved sinners as a unified family. This is what a local church is for. This is what the local church is to be filled with. Getting plugged in........ means you are committing yourself to the people and the church that God has put in your life. This is what the early church were doing...they were plugged into each other because of the salvation preached to them......“They had all things in common” (v44) Why are we here together? For the same reasons...nothing has changed except the church has embraced the world’s philosophy and ideology. What does a committed church look like?
  
A COMMITTED CHURCH GLORIFIES GOD THROUGH EXAMPLE

1Thess 1:6-10 “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
  
A COMMITTED CHURCH BELIEVES AND OBEYS GOD’S WORD

2Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

A COMMITTED CHURCH IS NOT SUPERFICIAL

Matt 13:20-21 “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

A COMMITTED CHURCH DESIRES THAT OTHER BELIEVERS GROW

Titus 2:1-8 “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
  
A COMMITTED CHURCH COUNTS THE COST

Matthew 10: 37-40 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.

This is what the early church had in common under the foundation of (v42)And this is what the Lord wants for us today. A desire to live holy and godly lives. Putting Christ as their highest treasure and the church as their family. Willing and caring for the church, caring for others needs. We need to get plugged in...... and attached to people like this. People who are:
  • committed to living Christ like according to His word.
  • committed to battle for the sake of the Gospel and His children.
  • committed to defend the church and His people.
  • committed to going the distance through prayer.

Commitment to the church means giving your all for the sake of unity and for the glory of God. It’s not half in and half out! Come when it’s convenient for me or when I want something.

"There is a story of a house church in the former Soviet Union received a copy of the gospel of Luke. Since in was illegal to possess this Scripture they tore it up into little pieces and distributed it among the body of believers. Their plan was to memorize the portion they had been given, then on the next Lord's Day they would meet and redistribute the sections.
On Sunday these believers arrived inconspicuously in small groups throughout the day so as not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. By dusk they were all safely inside, windows closed and doors locked. They began by singing a hymn quietly but with deep emotion. Suddenly, the door was pushed open and in walked two soldiers with loaded automatic weapons at the ready. One shouted, "All right - everybody line up against the wall. If you wish to renounce you commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!" Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds, two more. "This is you last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ," he ordered, "or stay and suffer the consequences." Another left. Finally two more in embarrassed silence, their faces covered, slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with small children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly. They fully expected to be gunned down or, at best, to be imprisoned After a few moments of complete silence, the other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, "Keep you hands up - but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to a group of believers - "The other soldier interrupted, " . . . but, instead we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot by fully trusted."

Commitment is being all in, not half or three quarters......but Christ has all of me! When we are committed to Him we leave no room for the devil. as a strong family under God's grace. This is what the early church had in common despite the difference in personalities and circumstances. They knew the church was their home and they knew how important it was to be committed at all time. As J C Ryle said “We shall all do well to remember the charge: “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.” (Heb. 10:25). Never to be absent from God’s house on Sundays, without good reason – never to miss the Lord’s Supper when administered in our own congregation – never to let our place be empty when means of grace are going on, this is one way to be a growing and prosperous Christian. The very sermon that we needlessly miss, may contain a precious word in season for our souls. The very assembly for prayer and praise from which we stay away, may be the very gathering that would have cheered, established, and revived our hearts. We little know how dependent our spiritual health is on little, regular, habitual helps, and how much we suffer if we miss our medicine.” Get plugged in and be committed to those whom God has put in your life....which is the Moosehorn Baptist Church family. So let me ask you! Are you truly getting plugged in? Because the answer to that question is, we either have all things in common or we don’t?   

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