Faith in our commitment
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
The first day of spring brought many memories of Jones Male Academy (1932-34). The frozen ponds were over with. The ponds were really frozen. We were permitted to take our shoes off and went barefooted. One of our commitments then was a cross-country race. We ran across the hill to Belle Star cave (hideout). We were rearing and ready to start running at the beginning but along the route some runners begin to drop out before finishing the race.
The Bible teaches God’s faithfulness to us in a race He has called us to run.
As we think on these things here is a verse in Philippians 1:6 that we should learn to keep in mind as we run this life of faith: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
It is God’s faithfulness to us that empowers our faithfulness to Him. But faithfulness to Jesus Christ and our service to Him is also important.
The Bible reminds us that it is required that those who have been given trust must prove faithful. And we know that true Biblical faithfulness is more than just showing up for work as Christians and performing our required duties.
Today we are going to look at four things that should characterize our faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
The first one is joy. Faithfulness without joy becomes difficult and exhausting.
We read in Psalms 51:12-13: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit. “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
Jesus said to His disciples in the gospel of John 15:11: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” God wants us to have joy.
We read in the book of Nehemiah 8:10: “… for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The joy of the Lord produced by the Holy Spirit is a supernatural joy that He gives us. It helps us to endure. What a joy in serving our Lord Jesus Christ.
The second characteristic of a Christian is compassion. This means to suffer with another, it means that when another person is in pain or sorrow we feel that pain.
Throughout the gospels we read that Jesus was moved with compassion – compassion for the multitudes, for two blind men, for a leper, for a widow whose only son had died. He wept over the city of Jerusalem and at the grave of His friend Lazarus, and he told of a good Samaritan he had compassion for, a man who was stripped of his raiment, and wounded and left half dead.
It wasn’t easy for the disciples to learn this type of compassion. While Jesus had compassion, then said in Luke 9:54: “… Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?”
Jesus said in verse 56 of Luke 9: “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them …”
The place to learn compassion is here, right now. The Apostle Peter wrote in Fist Peter 3:8: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” The third characteristic is vision. There is much that can be said of a picture of God’s work today.
Our focus as Native Americans among over 550 federally recognized tribes in North American is only 5 percent are affiliated with any Christian church. We do pray for all of our Native American people everywhere, they are scattered practically all over the world.
But there is something more important than a vision of our ministries and work, and that is maintaining a vision of the One, The Lord Jesus Christ we are serving.
The writer of the book of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus was constantly trying to raise the vision of His disciples. He knew that difficult days were coming, and He knew what the disciples would have to go through.
Without a daily time for personal fellowship with Jesus Christ, it is likely that we will become a spiritual casualty.
Start the day with Christ. Let those first thoughts when you wake up be of Christ.
We need a vision, a vision of starving people around the world, a vision of terrible events – tornadoes, bombings. A vision of the judgment in Hell that awaits men and women who have rejected Jesus Christ, a vision of Heaven and the joys and glories there. But most of all, we need a vision of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The fourth characteristic of the Christian is commitment. In Mark 10:17 we read of Jesus’ encounter with a man who had become known to us as the rich young ruler. Mark tells us that this man ran to Jesus and: “… kneeled to him, and asked him, ‘Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life’?”
Then Jesus recited in verse 19: “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.”
And we read of the rich young ruler in verse 20: “And he answered and said unto him, master, all these have I observed from my youth.”
And we read in verses 21 and 22: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, one thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
“And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
In the keeping of the commandments the rich young ruler was faithful, but he was not willing to commit himself to Jesus Christ unreservedly and accept God’s will for his life and to follow Jesus.
You have to make a choice. For some of you it is between life and death, because you are not absolutely sure that you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You cannot say: “I know for sure that Jesus Christ is in my heart; that if I die, I will go to Heaven; that my sins are forgiven.”
What do you have to do?
First, you need to repent of your sins. What does repent mean? It means to turn, to change, it means to make an about-face. It means to change your mind about God and about yourself, about what sin has done to you and about Christ who died for you on the cross. It means you need to change your way of living. You cannot repent by yourself. No person can repent himself. The Holy Spirit has to help you repent. And He will help you. Just say: “Lord, here I am with all these doubts. I am not sure, not certain, Help me to repent and change my way of living.” He is calling you, even right now, to make a change.
After repentance you need to believe and have faith. That word “faith” means putting your all upon Jesus Christ; trusting in nothing else, not your own righteousness, not your good works, not your family, not your church, but totally in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ who hung on that cross and shed His blood for you.
Repent, believe, and then third, be willing to follow Him and to study the Bible, to pray, to be faithful to Him/ be willing.
What about you? Are you willing to serve Him wholeheartedly so that the gospel may be proclaimed in a way pleasing to Him. The Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Today, if you don’t face seriously God’s call for you, I want to tell you that is a terrible sin and tragedy.
The Bible tells us that the time is short. I believe it is very short.
Today you can trust Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior by faith. Will you do that now? Pray for USA.