Our Commitment to God

Our commitment to God must be complete; Joshua challenged the Israelites to
choose (Joshua 24:14-24) which says “now therefore fear (reverence) the Lord
Yahweh, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your
fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt, and serve you the Lord
Yahweh.  And if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord Yahweh, choose you this day
whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served, that were on the
other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell, but as
for me and my house, we will serve the Lord Yahweh.  And the people answered and
said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord Yahweh, to serve other gods.  For
the Lord Yahweh our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land
of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight,
and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through
whom we passed.  And the Lord Yahweh drove out from before us all the people,
even the Amorites which dwelt in the land, therefore will we also serve the Lord
Yahweh, for He is our God.  And Joshua said to the people, you cannot serve the
Lord Yahweh for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your
transgressions nor you sins.  If you forsake the Lord Yahweh and serve strange
gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He has done
you good.  And the people said to Joshua, nay; but we will serve the Lord Yahweh.  
And Joshua said to the people, you are witnesses against yourselves that you have
chosen you the Lord Yahweh to serve Him.  And they said, we are witnesses.  Now
therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline
your heart to the Lord Yahweh God of Israel.  And the people said to Joshua, the
Lord Yahweh our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey”.

The people had to decide whether they would obey the Lord Yahweh, who had
proven His trustworthiness, or obey the local gods, which were only man made
idols.  It’s easy to slip into a quiet rebellion, going about life in your own way.  But the
time comes when you have to choose who or what will control you.  In making a
definite stand for the Lord Yahweh, Joshua displayed his spiritual leadership.  
Regardless of what others decided, Joshua had made a commitment to God, and he
was willing to set an example of living by that decision.  The way we live shows
others the strength of our commitment in serving God.

In spite of the Israelites commitment, the Bible tells us that Israel served the Lord
Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua
and which had known al the works of the Lord Yahweh, that He had done for Israel”
(Joshua 24:31), then they fell back in serving strange gods.

Elijah also challenged Israel to choose (I Kings 18:21) “Elijah came to all the people,
and said, how long will you hesitate between two opinions?  If the Lord Yahweh be
God, follow Him, but if Baal then follow him.  And the people answered him not a
word”.  He then challenged the prophets of Baal to call on their god, and he would
call on the Lord Yahweh; and the God that answers by fire let Him be God.  After the
challenge the Lord Yahweh showed up with such force, that He burned up the
sacrifice and licked up the water all around it.  “And when all the people saw it, they
fell on their faces, and they said, the Lord Yahweh, He is the God; the Lord Yahweh,
He is the God. (I Kings 18:39).

Our commitments should be lifelong (Psalms 37:3-5) “trust in the Lord Yahweh, and
do good, so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed.  Delight yourself
also in the Lord Yahweh, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit
your way to the Lord Yahweh; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass”.  In
other words commit everything you do to the Lord Yahweh, trust Him, and He will
help you.  David calls us to take delight in the Lord Yahweh.  To delight in the Lord
Yahweh, we must know Him better.  To commit everything to the Lord means
entrusting our life, family, job and possessions to His control and guidance.  
Believing that He can care for us better than we can ourselves.

Our commitment begins as we yield and submit ourselves to Him (James 4:7-8)
“submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw
near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and
purify your hearts, you double minded”.  When you submit yourselves to God, you
submit to His word.

Jesus as He called His disciples, told them to “follow Me”; and they left all and
followed Him.  When the man came and said to Him, Good Master, what good thing
shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  After telling him to obey the commandments,
the man said that he had obeyed the commandments from his youth.  Then Jesus
looked on him and said “if you be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the
poor and you will have treasures in heaven, and come and follow Me.  But the man
was sad because he had great possessions (Matthew 18:16-22).  When the
disciples heard this they said “we have left all and followed You”.  Jesus then said
“every one that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father or mother or
wife, or children, or lands for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall
inherit everlasting life” (verses 27,29).

Jesus was always direct with those who wanted to follow Him.  He made sure they
counted the cost and set aside any conditions they might have for following Him
(Matthew 8:19-22) “a certain scribe came, and said to Him, Master, I will follow You
wherever You go.  And Jesus says to him, the foxes have holes, and the birds of the
air have nests, but the Son of Man has not where to lay His head.  And another of
His disciples said to Him, Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.  But Jesus
said to him, follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead”.  This seems harsh, but
Jesus did not hesitate to demand complete loyalty, even family loyalty was not to
take priority over the demands of obedience.  Luke 9:62 Jesus said, “no man having
put his hands to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.

Jesus when He had called the people to Him with His disciples also, He said to them.  
Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow
Me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for
My sake and the gospels, the same shall save it” (Matthew 8:34-36).  Luke 14:26-27
says “if any man come to Me, and hate not his father and mother and wife, and
children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life, also, he cannot be My
disciple.  And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My

When you consider that Jesus committed Himself for us first; while we were yet
sinners, God sent Jesus Christ to die for us, not because we were good enough, but
because He loved us.  God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for
us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), you should read 5:1-11, which details it
for us.  If God loved you when you were still a sinner, He will surely strengthen you
now that you love Him in return.  As you consider and meditate on this, it will give
you strength to make that commitment to Him.  The decision to follow Jesus should
not be put off, even though other loyalties compete for our attention.  

Nothing should be placed above a total commitment to living for Him.  Paul says
something that we all should consider (Philippians 3:8-9) “I count all things but loss
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for who I have suffered
the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.  And be
found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which
is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God in faith”.  He goes on
to say that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.  Remember that you
are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart”.  

I hope that all of you have seen the movie “the Passion”, because it revealed some
of the suffering that Jesus went through for our sins.  He suffered for our sins, laying
down His life so that we could have life.  Reconciling us back to the original state of
mankind, as Adam was before the fall.  He looked past the pain; Hebrews 12:2 says
that Jesus “who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

So let us dedicate ourselves totally and completely unto God, surrender our life to
Him, and let Him make something out of it.  We have to be empty of our self will and
yield ourselves to His will.  After all He has a plan for our life, a plan to do us good
and not evil.

Sermon by: Harriet Bond
Date: March 1, 2009
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