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Fully Committed to HIM, part 1
We are going to take the next few weeks for a series of messages dealing with discipleship, specifically looking into the concept of being “Fully Committed” to Jesus.
It has been my observation that commitment is fast becoming a foreign concept to many, especially in our Western culture. And I believe we can see this reflected in many different areas, not the least of which is in the area of marriage. As we think in context of commitment in marriage, one major problem in the area of commitment in marriage is those who choose to live together as opposed to committing to the other person in a lifelong (married) relationship. Unfortunately, cohabitation is a quite common problem in the church as well.
When people do get married, more than 50% end in divorce. Again, while this statistic is slightly lower in the “Church,” divorce among church attenders is much closer to general population number than it ever should be. According to Market Researcher, George Barna, focusing on church attendees, only half of people who attend a Christian Church describe themselves as “absolutely committed” to Christianity, but 92% of Evangelicals describe themselves as “absolutely committed.”
Among Christians 16% say they are involved in a discipleship process of regularly meeting with a group or individual for spiritual growth. As you can likely tell at this point, I’m about to throw the word “Proximity”in here. Because it is through discipleship and self-discipline that we have our best opportunity to grow in Proximity to the Lord. And furthermore they will position us to better be able to help others move closer in Proximity to the Lord.
Now of course we must understand that the word “Christian” is a rather broad word. But, no matter how you cut it, commitment is a big problem in our country and it is reflected within the church as well. Let’s turn to and take a look at our Bible passage for the week…
We are actually going to looking into four segments of scripture – 2 Chronicles 15:1-7, 12-13, 16-18; 16:7-14, but, to get us started we will only a portion of the larger passage starting at 15:1… “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin:The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, 4 but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. 5 In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7 But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.’” Skipping to verses 12-13, “And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman” ESV.
And now moving to chapter 16:7-12 “At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, ‘Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. 8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He gave them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.’ 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time. 11 The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.”ESV.
This is a very interesting portion of Scripture, to me, because Asa was known as a king who “did right in the eyes of the Lord.” After the prophet spoke to him he took heart and began to remove the places of idol worship and even repaired the temple of the Lord.
Medication: A Merry Heart
By the time Ted arrived at the football game, the first quarter was almost over. “Why are you so late?” his friend asked.
“I had to toss a coin to decide between going to church and coming to the game.
“How long could that have taken you?”
“Well, I had to toss it 14 times.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
Today’s readings: Job 17 – 20