Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
It seemed right that we should have a commitment service this morning which we had maybe a year or more ago. Do you have anything in your own life that keeps coming back and bothering you? Something, which is a constant center of restlessness in your own heart?
Most of us can determine what that is, by examining what we're thinking about in those twilight hours just after we wake up. Or, we can determine what that is by what we're thinking about in those twilight hours just before we go to sleep. That twilight zone between the conscious and subconscious is often when worries or anxieties come to the surface. So that's one way in which you can tell the things that you worry about and are anxious about.
With some of us, it's big things like the whole marriage question, both for guys and girls. With some of us, it's the whole direction of our career. With others of us it is the future we keep on worrying about. It nags us and keeps on nagging us and we keep thrusting it out of our minds. But it's the thing that comes up to the surface of our conscious from our subconscious in those twilight hours in the morning or at night. With some of us it is what we call a besetting sin- a thing that we will not deal with, or something that the Bible plainly says is sin and we will not allow it to be summoned. We keep going around and around. We stop it for awhile, then we go back to it, then we go round again. There's enough doubt about the thing to make us question undoubtedly whether it's wrong or not.
Whatever is not of faith is sin. We can know without doubt that if it is not of faith it is sin. So we have doubt about certain things. This person says it's a sin, but this person doesn't. We side with the people that support our view but we keep coming back to it uncertain. With some of us, it's something that is definitely wrong that we need to commit to God. With others of us, it's not something that is wrong. Rather it's an area of our lives which we're still trying to take care of and that keeps getting out from under us. We can't control it and so we keep worrying and are anxious about it.
In other words, some of us are really trying to be God about things that we don't have control of. We don't have control of the job market. We don't have control over the marriage market. We don't have control of the financial market. We don't have control of the future market or the career market and yet we try to keep holding these things under our control and they keep getting away from us. They stir up worries and anxieties within us.
Now loved ones, the fact is, God means us to be here on earth in peace. Our dear Father put us on this earth with all the provision available for us to live in peace. That's why I say to you some about the tranquilizers. I am not trying to make life hard for you. I am not talking about being a goody-goody and not taking tranquilizers. It is not a moral issue. The fact is, our Father made it possible for us to live without tranquilizers. He made it possible for us to live in peace.
We joke at certain times of life that we don't live quite like we did when we were seventeen or eighteen. When we hit twenty-five or twenty-six, depending on how athletic you are, you begin to see "Oh, I'm getting older." There's an aging that is beautiful, but there is an aging that isn't. There are wrinkles and gray hair that are good to have. But there are wrinkles that are not good to have.
It's that frown that you waken up with in the morning. You only realize from time to time that you are frowning but maybe over time you begin to realize how perpetual that frown is. The phrase 'uptight' is a good one, except that the uptight times are just the times you are aware of your uptightness. But there are normal uptight times where you find you have some strain and tension all the time. You have it perpetually, either in a crowd or at work or even at home.
Now, the Father intended us to live in peace. He intended us to live relaxed lives. You have often seen a little child, and remember when you were six or seven yourself. Oh it was fun, wasn't it? I used to drive my mother mad. I didn't know it was bad to pinch a lady but I would come in and pinch her because it was sheer joy. The way you run, and the fun of life- it was just great. I was so delighted to be alive and I had no worries. For five, six, seven, eight years of age it goes that way. Then the things begin to close in on you.
Well, we were meant to be as free as five, six, seven year olds throughout our lives. I know we were meant to carry responsibilities but we just do what our Father tells us to do. He carries the responsibilities and we get into trouble when we take these on our own shoulders and we lose the fun of living in the present.
I don't know if you realize it, but most of us here are capable of far more than we're doing. If we were only free to live fully in the present. We'd have a wonderful afternoon if we would leave all that is tomorrow in the Father's hands, and all that was yesterday in the Father's hands. We'd see that we've got this moment to be alive. Let's live and commit the things into His hands. That's what I am talking about loved ones. It is good from time to time for us to do what that Psalm said, "Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act".
In the past, at least once before, we have just come up the altar while the organ was playing during the last part of the service and we've used this altar as a symbol of us putting certain things into the hands of God. Just say, "Lord, I am letting go of this." That's what committing means. I let go of this. Lord, I have been worrying how to bring this daughter to you. Lord, I have been worrying how to get my wife or my husband right. Lord, I have been anxious about my job. Lord, I have been fiddling around with this sin. Lord I am letting go of that now, once and for all. I am letting go of it, I am committing it to You.
The Hebrew word is galal which means, you roll it over into His hands. You just roll it over into His hands. In fact, there's a translation that says it's wallowing, wallowing in God. I throw myself upon God. Wesley has a phrase, "a recumbency upon Jesus Christ." Committing is just, "Lord, it's over into Your hands, I am letting go of it."
You need to ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Is there anything where I have a grim grip on life? Is there anything that I am holding onto and won't let go? You need to let go of it. Loved ones that's what committing it to the Lord is. You take your own hands off. You can't have two gods operating on this one thing. I can't be god operating it, or have God himself operate on it. "Lord, I am going to stop being God here, I can't control it. I let go of it. Lord it's in Your hands." Then commit your way to the Lord, and trust in Him. Trusting in Him means leaving it in His hands. It's taking your hands off and keeping them off.
Let's say you commit something into His hands today but tomorrow morning the outward appearance is no different. That's when you exercise faith. Faith isn't believing when it looks as if it's succeeding. Faith is believing precisely when it looks as if nothing is happening. So leaving it in His hands is trusting Him. Commit your way to the Lord and trust in Him. You trust in Him when nothing seems to be happening. That's what faith is. That's what enables God to act-- when He sees you trusting in His promise and not trusting in appearances.
It means letting go of it this morning, then leaving it in His hands. You take your hands off, and keep your hands off the thing. Keep your hands off, commit it and say, "Lord it's Yours for good or evil, for good or ill whatever You want to do with it, I put this into Your hands", and then that's it. You commit your way to the Lord. That's what it is.
It's not just committing a worry that you have so that He'll work it out the way you want it worked out. It's not just committing your career to Him so that He'll bring you the desires of your heart. It's commit your way- derek in Hebrew means --it's your whole way, the whole way you're traveling. "Lord I commit my way to You, the whole way of my whole life. If You want me married, good. If You don't want me to marry, good. If You want me to be poor, good. If You want me to be rich, good. Lord if You want me not to have any of the satisfactions that I have had before out of these little sins, good. If You want me to be a failure, good. If You want me to be a success, good. Lord whatever You want, I commit my way to You now and I let You have whatever way You want with my life."
Brothers and sisters as you do that, you feel the strain draining out of your body. You will feel the strain draining out of your body and out of your mind and emotions. You'll begin to hand over to the Father what you should never have taken out of His hands in the first place.
So that's what it is. For some of us it will be the commitment of our own lives to Jesus for the first time. We can't tell who's doing that but you'll know yourself. But some of you have taken a lot of things back from God that you gave to Him years ago and you need to commit them into His hands. And so, that's what I ask you to do and that's what I think God wants me to say to you.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act. He will begin to move in those areas that you commit to Him this morning. So I'd encourage you now as the organ plays to come up. When you've committed it to Him and you feel it's done, then go back to your seat and I'll close may be about 12:10. At that time I'll get up, introduce the song and then any of us that still feel we need to pray some things through, we can go to the prayer room or back to our seats at that time. Let's pray.
Dear father, we thank You that You have given us this direct command, "Commit Your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act." That's our part. Lord, we would do that this morning. We would commit our way to You and trust in You and know that You will act.
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