Call For Commitment – INVOVLED IN A MIRACLE

Title: Call For Commitment - INVOVLED IN A MIRACLE

Bible Book: Nehemiah 7

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Commitment; Calling of God; Building Program; Stewardship


[Editor's Note: This sermon may be used in a call for commitment to any church plan or program. I delivered this sermon the week before a pledge commitment day for a building program in a church i pastored. I share it in the hope that some pastor may find it helpful in developing a sermon of your own for a commitment to a building project, an evangelism plan, a mission trip or any other call for commitment from God's people.]

In the Book of Nehemiah we discover a great miracle that took place. It began with a man praying, a vision from God, and a people committed to complete the task at any cost. Leaving captivity, the people of God made their way back to Jerusalem. Once there, they faced enemies on every side, a daunting task and numerous obstacles, but they overcame them through commitment and the power God granted to them.

We are ready to begin a great building program in our church. The cost is great and the way will not be easy, but we have a word from God, and we have a united people. We will see this through to completion and victory – not for ourselves, but for the glory of God.

Let’s look at two principles that caused the people in Nehemiah’s day to be personally involved in a miracle. We can apply these as we step out to do what God is leading us to do as a church family.

I. The Call to Personal Participation

Each Christian is called to be personally involved in God's work. Jesus did not just call the disciples to be saved, also called them to become fishers of men – to follow Him in service to the Father in heaven. In Matthew 9:9 we have the record of Matthew's call to follow Christ. The word used by the Lord when He called Matthew means to be “in union with, to accompany”. The word for follow comes from the article “a” and from the word for “road”. Christ calls us to the road of service, which He turns us unto the road of divine miracles!

Nehemiah was called into service by the Lord in a time of great need. He was ready to follow and obey the Lord. But, Nehemiah could not carry out the task He was given alone. So, Nehemiah was used of God to call others in follow in the miracle work that was divinely planned. I want you to see some important issues regarding the call of God to be personally involved in God's work and will.

A. It is an Individual Call

God speaks to all of us as individuals, not just as a group. In fact, there are some occasions when God uniquely calls upon a person for service. For example, God calls all of us to witness, but he has a unique call to some who are set apart to be evangelists and who are called to go forth and preach the evangelistic message. The call for each of us to share our faith is just as important as the call of Billy Graham to be an evangelist. Though Graham has been used to bring many souls to Christ, there are some who will never come to Christ unless you and I share with them individually. So, the call of some person who seems important on a large scale does not negate or reduce the importance of my call and yours.

Nehemiah received an individual call to go back and rebuild the wall at Jerusalem. Perhaps someone else had been called to do it and had refused – we are not told that in the Bible – but it is possible. Maybe God had another chosen for the job but that person rebuffed and rejected the call as being too dangerous, too costly or too difficult. God simply turned to another until He found a man willing to obey.

When we get to heaven, it just may be that we will learn how many opportunities we have missed because we were too selfish, too busy or too pre-occupied to listen to God's voice. Many are called, but few are chosen. That simply means that many are called but few make themselves available for the work that God has for them to perform.

B. It is an Inspirational Call

We need to note that God speaks through people to inspire other people to serve him. Proverbs 27:17 states, "Iron sharpens iron; as one man sharpens another." The last part of this phrase has an unusual Hebrew structure. It can well read, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man who is sharp can help another become employed and endure." The idea in this passage is that one person can influence another for good works in the kingdom of God.

Nehemiah inspired many people by his willingness to follow the Lord and be obedient to the task set before him. You and I can do the same. Our willingness to obey the Lord can serve as a model for other people to follow. Your faithfulness may inspire the faithfulness of others who may not immediately have the courage to follow. When we obey, it has a reverberating effect on the work of God. Likewise, when we refuse to follow, it can hold back the effectiveness of all that God has planned for us and through us.

I was told the other day about a wonderful stewardship testimony. It seems a church was planning to build and needed funds. Like us, they employed a ministry to help them accomplish the task. In the midst of the campaign, an elderly lady came to the pastor and shared her heart. The pastor asked that her testimony be shared with the church. She told her story. Her husband had been dead for a number of years and her income was very limited. When her church decided to build, she began to pray about what she could do. She was praying one day when she noticed her wedding rings on her left hand. Just then a thought entered her mind. So, she took the rings down to the pawnshop and pawned them for some money. She brought the money and gave it on the building program. She explained that since her husband was with the Lord and she would be there with him soon, she did not need the rings anyway.

When she testified before the church, there was hardly a dry eye in the fellowship. People were moved to tears. The next week the deacons of that church went out and bought the rings back from the pawnshop and the following Sunday they called her forward to present them back to her. She just stared at the rings. When encouraged to take them she replied, "I can't take them. You see, I didn't give them to you, I gave them to God."

Needless to say, her devotion moved the entire church. They had no problem meeting their goal. Why? They had no problem with the goal because one person had sharpened another – one person had sharpened many – with an act of love and obedience to God. The call of God had gone out through this woman. People were individually touched and divinely inspired.

God is calling us to as a church to do our best for His glory. He will speak to us individually. He will inspire us to give, to serve, to obey, and to do His will. Some will do and others will not. Look at Nehemiah 7:70-71. "Some," of the people gave! It is estimated that 20% of the people give 80% of the money in the average church. Actually, George Barna has recently shown through surveys and studies that the figure is closer to 17% of the people give 83% of the money and 83% of the people give only 17% of the money. His studies show that giving during times of great wealth - when the stock market is soaring in America - is actually less than when times are more difficult. No wonder our economy is reversing. If God can bless this nation the way He did in the years past and the average church member actually gives God less, then it is only natural that the well of heaven is going to dry up!

Notice a second thought - not just a CALL to personal participation, but...

II. The Commitment to Personal Participation

God does not call us to work, pray or give as a first priority. God calls us first and foremost to merely follow Him. He calls us to trust His plan for our souls and our lives. In other words, He calls us to COMMITMENT to HIM!

God calls us to a deeper relationship with Himself. God did not primarily call me to preach - He called me to obey HIS will for my life. It turned out that part of that plan was for me to be a pastor. My first commitment is not to pastoring, it is to God. Not understanding this principle is a mistake many young preachers make. You can be committed to the ministry without being committed to God. That is a disaster in the making.

The same can be said for Sunday School teachers, church musicians, deacons, etc. When the thing we are doing for the Lord is more important than the Lord we are doing it for, we are out of step with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, if Christ is first and foremost in my life, He will not have any problem making me into the person and pastor He wants me to be. Jesus said, "Follow ME, and I will make you fishers of men." It is in following Him that the disciple becomes what God intends!

The same is true when you are building a wall or building a church building. The building is not the important thing. The money is not the important matter. Lordship is the important matter. That has been our emphasis for the last few weeks. As we move toward Commitment Day in our building program, we need to stop and realize that the important issue here is obedience to Christ. The important matter is FOLLOWING Him!

My wife and I have had to pray about this matter like you have. We have been giving to the building program of our church for the past eleven years. When this building was paid for, we just kept giving. As we saw God's will in moving onward toward the realization of the dream for our church campus, we have had to re-think our commitment. Yesterday's plan might or might not be God's will for us now. As we have prayed about this, we have asked God to show us how to follow Him in this great plan.

This is a very personal matter, but you need to know our hearts. A few years ago God convicted Jayne and I that we should pay off our home. We prayed about it, decided it was of the Lord, and began the process of making two house payments a month. Believe me, it wasn't easy. We knew we could not cut into our gifts to the Lord, so that meant we had to leave off some plans we had. It meant being more frugal and careful in our spending. As the years passed, we wanted to give up on the plan. At times we would talk about how hard it was and we would think about quitting, but then we would remember that we were doing this because the Lord told us to. We didn't know why we were being led in this manner, but we knew it was of the Lord.

Finally, the big day came. We paid off the home! We began to think about what we could do with the money. We could put away some money for retirement and maybe buy some things we had put off buying. But as we moved toward this building project, God revealed something to us. He had led us to pay off our home so we could make our house payment to the church building program. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that this was an easy decision. But we know what the Lord wants from us. So, that will be our commitment on the day we bring our card to the church and make our pledge. We are doing this after considering three things.

First, we have prayed and sought God's leadership.
Second, we believe this is God's plan for FBC.
Third, we are acting in faith.

We know that things could change in our lives and we might not be able to do all we want to do. But we are making this pledge in faith. We are simply trusting God to help us. That is how all of us must make our commitments.


Every commitment to God must be personal. Salvation is like that. No one can be saved for you. A husband can pray for a wife or child, and a wife can pray for a lost husband or child. But, in the end, the individual must decide. It is not God's will that anyone perish, so we know God wants that person saved. The church of Jesus Christ wants that person saved. The loved one wants that person saved.

Did you know that even people in hell people are praying for their loved ones to be saved? Jesus revealed that in the story about Lazarus and the rich man. When the rich man went to hell, he prayed for five brothers who were still alive. He prayed that would not come to that awful place that he occupied. He prayed that someone would talk to them so they could believe. Yet, in the end, it is up to that individual to decide. Even today, in this very service, some lost person will make a decision. The decision will be either to turn to Christ and be gloriously saved or to walk out that door and leave here lost. It is an individual decision.

A poor building contractor was a good friend to a wealthy businessman. The businessman commissioned his friend to build him a fine home. Prices and plans were agreed upon, and the contractor went to work. Thinking this was a good opportunity to make a fat profit, the builder decided to skimp on both the quality of the materials and the workmanship. After several months, the house was finished and turned over to the wealthy friend.

At that point the business executive turned to his friend and said, "John, I've always wanted to do something for you, and I figured this was a good way to do it. You have built this house especially for me, but I know you have poured yourself into it. So now I want to give it back to you free and clear. I just hope you will enjoy living in it as much as I've enjoyed planning it for you." [450 Stories from Life, Judson Press, 1947. Pages 214-215.] You see, that man was building the house he was going to have to live in. In some ways, we all do that. The decision to do what you ought to do – what God desires you do – what is best for you in eternity, is one you must make alone. No one can make it for you.

It is decision time in this service. What will you do with Jesus? What about your church membership? What are you going to do about giving to the church building program? If we simply love the Lord and obey Him in these matters, all will be well.

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