Sunday, May 16, 2010
Text: 1 Timothy 4:1-11
A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated. This involved removing it from the frame. In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph: “My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity.” It was signed "Helen,” and it contained a P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.”
It means that Helen is obviously not completely committed to the relationship.
In this letter to Timothy, Paul mentions about the different teachings that would bring confusions among the believers. In the midst of the confusion created by this spread of false teachings, we must not forget that Christ calls us to a life of commitment. Commitment is to be the mark of our lives. But committed to what? That is the question Paul answered in our text.
I. COMMITTED TO CHRIST (Verse 6)
First, we are to be committed to Jesus Christ. Paul warned Timothy of a time of falling away from the faith and of discouragement for the church. When that happens, this is what Paul suggested in verse 6. Our commitment must go first, not to a certain church or to a certain program or to a certain style of music or to a certain preacher, but our commitment is first of all to Christ. He is to be Lord over our lives.
There's an old story about St Augustine. Early on in his Christian life, he was intensely absorbed in the writings of Cicero. And around this time, he had a dream that he had died. And now he was standing at the pearly gates. And the keeper of the gate said, "Who are you?" And he said, "I'm Augustine." Then the keeper said, "What are you?" Augustine said, "I'm a Christian." The gatekeeper said, "No, you're not a Christian. You're a Ciceronian!" Augustine said, "What are you talking about? I'm a Christian!" And the gatekeeper said this: "All souls on earth are judged by what dominated their interests. In you, Augustine, it was not the Christ of the gospel. It was the Cicero of Roman literature. You are not a Christian. You cannot enter here!"
Augustine was so startled that when he woke up, he resolved then and there to be fully committed to Jesus Christ for the rest of his life and to live for Him.
When we become a Christian, we are no longer our own. We belong body and soul to Jesus Christ. We are completely committed to Christ.
II. COMMITTED TO A CONSECRATED WAY OF LIFE (Verse 7)
This commitment to the person of Christ will lead then to a commitment to a consecrated living. Paul urged Timothy in verse 7. A Christian is committed not only to Christ but also to the way of living Christ laid out for us. That way is one of holiness, purity, and godliness.
The world in which we live in is committed to pleasure and self. Consequently, the life-style of the world is that of immorality and selfishness. That way of living is totally opposite to the life-style commanded by Jesus. On one hand is the world's way. On the other is the way of Jesus Christ. A Christian is committed to the way of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Wilbur Chapman once gave this rule of thumb for determining our way of living. He said: “Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work more difficult is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.”
So must every true Christian. We cannot call ourselves by Christian and still be free to do our own thing. When we call ourselves by his name, we are committing ourselves to do his thing.
III. COMMITTED TO THE CHURCH (Verses 6, 13)
We are also to be committed to the church of Jesus Christ (vv. 6, 13). Translated into today's terms, Paul said that a Christian is one who spends time with other believers in the study of God's Word in the church.
One of the first and foremost acts of obedience that you and I should perform as Christ-followers is to become a part of a local church body.
As believers, we need to pray together, learn together, serve together, give together, grow together, cry together, repent together, worship together, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ together!
Man was never intended to hold onto God alone! The church is to be the believer's life-support system, from which strength comes for the living of these days.
IV. COMMITTED TO THE COMMISSION OF CHRIST (Verses 10-11)
A Christian is also to be committed to the great commission. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Verses 10-11 express the same idea in other words and different context. As Christians we should be committed to preaching the gospel, making disciples and teaching Christ's command to the people who will come under our sphere of influence. We should maintain this commitment throughout our life.
Those who drive a car or a motorcycle know the importance of maintenance. As long as we faithfully maintain our vehicle with regular change oil and check up it will last longer if not forever. It is the same with our house, maintaining our house properly involves painting, cleaning, repair of plumbing and electrical, replacing the leaking roof. If we do not do these things then our house will soon broke down and it will not be a good place to live in.
As Christians, we are commanded by Christ to maintain our commitment as his disciple and to maintain our discipleship ministry. Discipleship follows after we accept Christ and this is not a one-time event of being saved. We need to maintain our Spiritual vigor so that we can go on sharing the gospel, making disciple and teaching the Word of Christ. We should have a total commitment to the great commission.
That is a portrait of a Christian. We commit ourselves to Christ. Then, we commit ourselves to a consecrated way of living.
And then we should commit ourselves to the local church in this world to extend his kingdom.
Finally, we commit ourselves to the commission he himself established for making disciples of all nations.