The Evening Service A Call for Commitment
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You even wonder if you made the decision to do it. Somehow the zeal at the time of commitment is not so overwhelming as it was in the beginning. Or even before you give of yourself, you question whether you should give all. You might think of giving so much to a certain missionary or commit to teaching a certain class. But then you decide that you are going to qualify your commitment. This is not the way the two and a half tribes handled themselves. They began with zeal, carried on in faithfulness, fully helped their brothers and were fully rewarded in the end.
There is no greater story than this. We will have to wait until the end of the book to see this reward. It is worth looking forward to it. But just remember during some of the battles, those tribes were there and their families far away. What a wonderful example for us. We have looked at different definitions of success. The godly definition was the one that we were concerned with. Godly success always has several key features: obedience, sacrifice, commitment, faithfulness, victory and reward.
We see them all implemented here. Let me mention a bit more about the sin of compromise or should we call it partial obedience.
Compromise reveals a less-than-fully committed devoted heart and love for God. Every little sin that we reserve becomes rotten. Think of the opposite example as we see in these brothers.
They were fully ambitious. Excited without reserve. Clear as to what they should do. Blameless conscience. These are the kind of men God is seeking. It made a wonderful difference for that and succeeding generations. God might be calling you to more faithfulness in some service. He might be asking you to forsake some delight so that you can visit people on a certain evening. He might be calling you to be a pastor or missionary. Full obedience is the only way. There is a wonderful example in church history of a people who made a difference for the Lord.
They are still often remembered today. Often we hear about individuals, but this was a movement among the people of God. Surely they had faithful leaders like Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf. But they had a vision that went beyond themselves. They were known for keeping a 24 hour prayer vigil going for more than one hundred years years. Someone would always be praying.
What about their hopes of a family? They made sacrifices. What a great people these Moravians were. Starting in the early s they are considered the longest surviving Protestant church. By the mid s they had already sent missionaries to West Indies, Greenland and Africa. It is through their sending of missionaries to Georgia that John Wesley came to know the Lord.
He was so impressed by their trust in the Lord even when the ship was falling apart in a terrible storm. All the Moravian missionaries were not trained in theology but as evangelists. They self-supported themselves alongside their prospective converts, witnessing by spoken word and living example. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya , p. Leaders are important but when the people catch a vision for obedience, earthshaking events take place.
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The Moravian church continues to this day with once center in Bethlehem, PA. Some might think what they said here in verse 17 was a show of lack of commitment. They just knew that although their participation was important, it was not everything. They also knew they had no chance if Yahweh would not be with them as He was with Joshua. The Lord likes His people dependent upon Himself.
Sometimes people trust leaders, but when the people of God trust God and follow God, then God is able to mightily use them. I am amazed how many Christians put up with a Christless Christianity. They know of jealousies, worries and selfishness.
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Why tolerate such unholy things when we could choose and be delighted with the best? Should we live our lives without His presence? I should hope not. He is our God and we want Him great in our midst.
Think of it this way. Perhaps there was a special dinner by invitation. They had two choices. One choice you absolutely hated. The other you liked. You of course would choose the one you like. Say it is Roast Beef. What would you do?
Martin Knox: ‘A joy to see people move into deeper commitment’
Just take a bite and be rather unsettled the evening? I think many of us do that with our faith. That adds stress to our lives. With common knowledge about megachurches and superstar pastors, even smaller churches—and most churches are smaller—feel the pressure to do things like the big churches and famous pastors do them.
Rather, each church needs to be the best version of itself it can be and each pastor the best pastor he or she can be. There is always pressure to grow, and many churches and pastors want to grow, but the reality is that most churches are not growing. Statistics tell us that time and again. However, each church can have and does have kingdom impact. It is fun to grow numerically, and I work all the time at helping my church grow numerically, but I also want us to grow in kingdom impact.
C. Respond With A Clear Commitment
Many churches still have traditional roots. They face the challenge of how that heritage is honored while making changes that enable them to reach people today. Baptist are traditionally conservative—theologically, ecclesiologically, politically, morally. How do we express that in winsome ways with a nation that is less so?
How do we share our faith and stand up for our beliefs but do so in a way that expresses who we are without condemning others or being ugly in tone or words to people who are not like us? How do we express who we are so that others will actually listen? How do we set the tone for public discourse about matters of faith, morality, social issues and other important matters so that discussion is encouraged and in a way that people will listen to us?
ovdismeiter.tk We have to listen, and we have to model the way forward.