Note: Sermon Audio begins about 5 minutes into the sermon.
In October we are talking about Four Calls to Discipleship. Last week we spent time with the Call to Love – to love God which leads us to love others. The call of Discipleship for today is the Call To Commit.
Commitment is a cornerstone of discipleship and it is actually the cornerstone of any endeavor in life that holds meaning. Education, Marriage, Career, Recreation – all demand.
“I would say that the quality of each man’s life is the full measure of that man’s commitment of excellence and victory – whether it be football, whether it be business, whether it be politics or government or what have you.”Vince Lombardi
Nothing Shapes Your Life More Than The Commitments You Choose To Make.Rick Warren
Our commitment to be disciples of Jesus is the same.
The Bible Encourages Commitment.
Psalm 39:5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him…
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
1 Timothy 4:14-16 Don’t neglect the gift that is in you … Practice these things; be committed to them…Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Mark 8:34-35 Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it.
Someone defined commitment this way: Commitment is courage to change. Commitment speaks ‘YES’ over and over. There is no room for ‘NO’. Commitment is loyalty. Commitment is reliability. Commitment is devotedness. Commitment is not quitting when it’s getting boring, challenging or discouraging. (Kathryn)
A Great Example of Commitment: Ruth
Ruth’s story takes place in the times of the judges. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted.
The story of Ruth is told around the plight of her mother in law, Naomi. Naomi was married to Elimelech and they had two sons: Mahlon and Chilion. They moved to Moab. Sons married Moabite women: Ruth and Orpah. Sadly, Naomi’s husband died and also her two sons. There were limited options for widow in ancient Israel. Widowed / childless, Naomi had no one to care for her. This is worst fate an Israelite woman could experience. Naomi prepares to go back to her home in Bethlehem, she urges daughters in law to return to their families. Through tears, Orpah says goodbye and heads home.
Ruth’s Famous Reply:
Don’t plead with me to abandon youRuth 1:16-18, CSB
or to return and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May the Lord punish me, and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.
This well-known statement is a demonstration of great commitment. Ruth’s Commitments:
Your people will be my people – Naomi didn’t have any people waiting on her in Bethlehem, but whatever her plight, Ruth was with her.
Your God will be my God. Ruth was committed to Israel’s God as her Lord.
Where you die I will die and be buried. Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi would not be “until death” but transcend it.
Ruth abandons all primary markers of her identity as a Moabite -putting Naomi’s needs above her own.
Our commitment to Jesus must be the same: we will be His people, we will serve His Father, and we will give our lives to Him.
Discipleship: The Decision to be His People
His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.” He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”Mark 3:31-35, CSB
Commit to God – whoever does the will of God. What is different about your life now that you have given it to God? Discipleship is the decision that doing God’s will is of supreme importance. Not just a partial interest.
Vance Havner: A Wife Who Is 85 Percent Faithful To Her Husband Is Not Faithful At All. There Is No Such Thing As Part-Time Loyalty To Jesus Christ.
Commit to the people of God. – is my brother and sister and mother. Daniel Akin wrote, “The family of God is a spiritual reality and not a physical one, joining together Zealots, tax collectors, thieves, murderers, liars, cheats, legalists, self- righteous religionists, and all kinds of other diners just like you and me.”(Akin)
Discipleship is not an individual journey in every way – it is also a team journey, taken with others who love God. Loving and serving others on the way,
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”John 13:34-35, CSB
Commit to a new way of life. When we do the will of God with the people of God, we are entering into a new life. Just as Ruth joined with Naomi in her new life, we commit to God and one another to live differently than the world.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17 , CSB
What must we get rid of that belonged to the old life?
- Ruth is a wonderful example of the kind of commitment to which God is calling his Disciples.
- Commitment is foundational to Discipleship. Jesus committed to save us and put us in His church. Are we committed to Him for daily living and loving God and others?
1 Commitment is a cornerstone of discipleship.
- Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?
- What does Christian commitment look like?
- Why do you think many people struggle with commitment to Christ / the church?
- What is the danger of demanding rigorous commitment of fellow disciples?
- What is the danger of never expecting commitment of fellow disciples?
2 What does commitment to God through Jesus involve—both positive and negative? (John 16:33)
3 Ruth’s story is a beautiful account of commitment.
4 Why do you think Naomi discouraged her daughters-in-law from going with her? (Ruth 1:11-13)
5 Ruth’s famous statement to Naomi is in Ruth 1:16-18. What does Ruth give up as she makes these vows to Naomi?
- Why do you think it fits so well in a marriage ceremony?
- How do you think this could be used as a reflection at baptism?
6 In Mark 3:31-35 is a surprising response from Jesus when he was told his family wanted to see Him.
- How does Mark 3:20-21 help fill in the background to that story?
- What does it mean to you to be Jesus’ mother, brother, or sister?
7 How could Colossians 3:17 make a difference in the various areas of our lives?
Workplace Home Marketplace Neighborhood World
8 . What did you see in our texts that you wanted to discuss?
Daniel Akin – Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Mark