Message: ‘A committed heart’
Text: 2 Chronicles 16:9a; Joshua 24:14-15
Introduction: ‘Will you commit to…’ For many, even many Christians, it really doesn’t matter what they hear after the words ‘Will you commit…’ because they’ve already tuned out the one asking the question.
As a society, and as Christians take on too much of society’s mindset, we’re reluctant to make any commitments that we can’t see a way out of, should we change our minds later.
- Marriages are no longer ‘To death do us part’
- Having a career has evolved into just one job after another.
- Regular church attendance is a thing of the past, because our overloaded schedules have squeezed God out of our lives.
Commitment has changed to ‘keeping our options open.’
Making a commitment, in the spiritual arena means choosing, each day, to invest our time, passion and resources, to furthering the cause of Christ.
- And making a commitment to Jesus Christ each day, will not only reap benefits in your life,
- it will also affect the lives of those closest to you, in particular, your children.
What I want to talk about this morning is having a committed heart.
- Let me be more specific… having a heart committed to Jesus.
I chose our texts this morning, because as I’ve been praying over our GYM Missions Trip,
I see that commitment,
- Not only in our young people who have made sacrifices to choose to go,
- but in their parents who have chosen to live for Jesus in their homes.
At last Wednesdays Mid-Week Prayer & Praise, we read Psalm 145 and talked about choosing to be committed to Christ. And about displaying that commitment to our children.
Read: Psalm 145:4 One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
We talked about how that’s not happening much anymore and that we, parents, in some ways are to blame.
- Our lives are not demonstrating the choice of being committed to Jesus, above all else.
- Instead we’re demonstrating a life of ‘keeping our options open’ and our children are seeing it.
As a result, many of our children don’t have hearts committed to Jesus, and aren’t making choices that further His cause.
BUT, thank God that’s not always the case…as seen in the lives of our 5 young people who have chosen to serve God on a Missions Trip and have made sacrifices to keep that commitment.
- Trevor, Lauren Matt, Emily, Sarah, I am extremely proud of each one of you.
Transition: Open your Bibles to 2 Chronicles 16:9. As we begin our examination of having a committed heart.
- 2 Chronicles 16:9a A fully committed heart
Read: 2 Chronicles 16:9a
That text is pretty clear, is it not?
And it begs the question:
Does God see us, me, when He searches for those who hearts are fully committed to Him.
A little back story:
Read: 2 Chronicles 16:1-5, 7-9
Chapter 16 of 2 Chronicles begins with the prophet Hanani confronting King Asa for not having a heart fully committed to God.
- Instead of choosing to trust in God to deliver him from King Baasha, he makes a treaty with a rival king to have him fight Asa’ battle.
Allow me to put it into terms we’ve already used:
- Rather than keep his commitment to God, King Asa kept his options open,
- by choosing King Ben-Hadad of Syria to fight his battle for him, instead of choosing to trust in God.
I don’t think Asa’ sin was complete disobedience, I think it was choosing the easy way over the right way.
That day, as God was searching for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him, God didn’t see that heart in King Asa.
What does a heart fully committed to God look like? That would take a series of sermons. I’ll just summarize:
- It’s a heart that’s surrendered to Jesus.
- It’s a heart that’s humble.
- It’s a heart that’s obedient.
- It’s a heart that’s faithful.
- It’s a heart that serves.
- It’s a heart that loves Jesus above all else.
It’s those hearts that God looks to display His mighty power and lend His bountiful support to.
Listen, God cares about and is intimately aware of the condition of your heart.
- Is it fully committed to Him?
- Or do you often find yourself, keeping your options open? Doing what’s easy, rather than what’s right.
It would have been much easier for Trevor, Lauren, Matt, Emily, Sarah, Kim and Ellen to do what was easy; by staying home, relaxing, or working to get some extra money.
- But they all chose to serve God on this missions trip… because their hearts are committed to Jesus!
And listen, team,
- when we’re in Altoona and it’s hot and we’re doing more work than we would have done if we stayed home…
- trust God, guard your heart
- and He’ll strengthen and give you the support you need.
That’s a promise from God Himself!
Transition: In our next text we’ll find someone who did just that and encouraged all Israel to choose to have a heart fully committed to God. His name was Joshua.
- Joshua 24:14-15 Choose this day…
Read: Joshua 24:14-15
What we read about in this text constitutes a defining moment, not only for Joshua and his family, but for all Israel.
- A defining moment is any time in your life when you make a choice that changes your life in some way.
ILL: In 1519 Spanish explorer Cortez landed at Vera Cruz to begin his conquest of Mexico with only 700 men. It’s been said that before they set off into Mexico’s interior, Cortez ordered the ships to be burned…
while his men watched their only means of retreat sink to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Now there was only one direction they could take. (Dennis Lee)
Trevor, Lauren, Matt, Emily, Sarah, when you made the choice to serve God on this Mission trip that was a defining moment for you.
And as I’ve seen from your commitment to go, you too have burned the ships that would have kept you from keeping your commitment to God.
And here’s something I hope will be true for each of you.
- Joshua was old here in chapter 24. But, he’s making the very same choice, the very same commitment he made when he was young.
(see Exodus 33:11)
What that tells me is that Joshua was faithful to God when he was young, and that never changed, even when he got old.
- I pray the same will be said you.
Now, understand that when Joshua made his choice to serve God and when he asked all Israel to do the same, he was saying this:
- We choose to follow God, we choose to serve God, we choose to have hearts fully committed to God… no matter what.
It’s the same thing Jesus tells us: If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
ILL: James Calvert was a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands. The ship’s captain tried to change Calvert’s mind about going. He told Calvert that he’d lose his life if he went. But Calvert said that he had already died before even making the trip. (Dennis Lee)
Folks, that’s the very heart of Joshua’s challenge to the Israelites and it’s still the challenge to all Christians today:
- Choosing to serve God means dying to self and living for Him…
- every day, even when it’s not easy, even when you don’t want to, even when everyone else is telling you, you don’t have to.
Conclusion: That’s not easy, I know and so does God. So He tells us in Proverbs 4:23:
- Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
When we put all of this together, it’s saying that we become whatever it is we’re committed to.
- If I believe that making money is the most important thing in life, then my life is going to be shaped by that.
- If I believe that being liked and popular is the most important thing in life, then my life is going to be shaped by that.
- If I think that having a good time is the most important thing in life, then my life will be shaped by that. (Steven Trail)
Christian, what is that’s shaping your heart?
God is searching for hearts that are fully committed to Him.
- What does He see when He looks into your heart?