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No Applications, Only Commitments

Kyle Allen
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Commitment in a non-committal world: What does this look like for God's people living on the threshold of eternity?


Kyle Allen

Vice President for Adventist World Radio. 




  • August 5, 2017
    8:00 PM


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Father in heaven tonight. Lord we come before you pleading with you that you would send your spirit into this auditorium. Father I pray that you would hide behind the cross. That Jesus would be lifted up. And that you would speak to our hearts. What you would have us to do as we close this convention. Lord Jesus please come to be with us here right now. We ask this in your name Amen. I don't know about you but I loved hearing stories from my grampa and I especially love hearing stories when he was talking about his experiences in the war and I remember as a kid I would listen to him talking about what it was like when he was in the Marines and going to battle my one grandpa my mom's dead had a harder time talking about it though because because he went through some very hard times in war and when he did talk about it it was hard for the words to come out and often tears would come into his eyes and he would just clam up and stop talking but there were a few times when I remember him talking. About his experience in the battle of. One of the bloodiest battles of World War two twenty five thousand men died in a nearly month long struggle for that small Pacific island. And I remember my grampa telling me what it was like when they stormed the beach when that ramp opened there was no there was no you didn't have a decision a decision at that point you had major commitment you were going through the water and going on that beach. And I remember him telling me that the bullets were flying by and his got the guys around him guys he knew were falling and they they had just one mission and that was to take that island. They were committed to their mission even if it meant paying the ultimate price. Yes. You know a number of years ago the Marine Corps actually had a slogan a slogan to recruit new young people into the Marine Corps and that slogan said no applications. Only commitments. No applications here if you want to be a part of the Marine Corps you are going to be committed committed. Totally even to possibly paying the ultimate price. You know some of call that generation of my grandfather the generation of my grandparents the greatest generation. But today we often look around the world and we when we see with the society that we live in it's hard to find commitment is it not in our families in our in our communities and yes even in the church it can be hard to find commitment. George Barna in a study a few years ago said that less than one half of the people who call themselves Christians say they are absolutely committed to their faith. Tonight as we close this twenty seventeen A.S.I. convention I want to ask you this question. Are you and I fully and totally committed to this message. Are you and I fully committed to the mission that Jesus has given us as soldiers of the cross. So tonight turn with me and Scripture we're going to look at a couple passages that talk about commitment and we're going to see what the Lord wants us to know as we leave this A.S.I. convention turn with me to Luke Chapter five Luke Chapter five starting with verse one we're going to just look at this story the calling of the disciples Now you remember Jesus is at the Sea of Galilee and he's teaching the people and that there are so many people that he has to get into Simon Peter's boat and he pushes out a little bit from land he's teaching and then and then it's as soon as he's finished he tells he tells. Put out the boats and and put down your nets and they go and they put down their nets and they catch more fish than they can even hold in that boat so they pull the next boat over and Peter is so overcome by by the fact that Jesus knew where the fish were I mean he had been fishing all night and it hadn't caught anything but Jesus tells him where to go in and his boat is overflowing that he he's convicted that Jesus is the Son of God. And at that moment Jesus comes to him and in verse ten of Luke Chapter five Jesus says to SIMON Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men. And the Bible says in verse eleven so when they had brought their boats to land. They forsook all. And followed him. The call of Christ. This is a call not from human beings this call to Peter James and John came from the Son of God. Now why would they simply leave their fishermen's nets I mean Jesus just comes along and they leave why. Because they sensed in Jesus one whose vision was so great one whose mission was so broad so much bigger than anything in their lives there was more to God's plan for their lives than catching fish nothing wrong with catching fish but they had a higher calling. Similarly tonight Jesus comes to you and to me here at A.S.I. and he says I have called you I know you I have seen you're working hard I know you know how to make money you know how to be a banker you know how to be a doctor or a lawyer or a nurse or an entrepreneur you know how to catch fish but he comes to you and he says tonight. I have called you and I have chosen. I have chosen you to take my message to the world I have chosen you to fish for men. You may know how to have a career but our lives mean so much more than a career that is the mission of A.S.I. because as lay people we are called and we are chosen to have a higher purpose Jesus says to you tonight I have called you to take the Gospel the three angels messages to the world in this generation. And there is always a call when Jesus gives a call there's always a call to something and a call from something. In this case Jesus is calling all of us Jesus is calling us to witness Jesus is calling us to a vision greater than ourselves and he's calling us away from something as well he's calling us away from our nets away from our boats away from nothing wrong with the Nets in the boats but away from a preoccupation with secular employment. He's calling us to live a life of complete commitment to the things of eternity. But you say will Kyle I know God is called We always talk as pastors about how God called us I mean we know a shared a little bit of my testimony and I wish I could share it here tonight and it's been a struggle for me to know what God told me to do in my life but one thing I've been convicted of is as time has gone on is that the reality is I may be called to have been a pastor but each one of you is just as called do you believe that tonight. The call comes to each one I want you to look at this statement from prophets and kings page twenty two powerful statement. To everyone who becomes a partaker of his grace the Lord appoints a work for others individually we are to stand our lot saying here I am send me whether a man be a minister of the word or a physician whether he be a merchant or a farmer professional man or mechanic the responsibility rests upon him it is his work to reveal to others the gospel of their salvation. Every enterprise in which he engages should be a means to this in. Every enterprise in which we engage should be a means to spreading the three Angels' messages What are you saying tonight. But you say Lord that's scary I mean I know how to make money I know how to run my business but I don't know how to witness. Jesus says to you just like he said to Peter what did he say he said Don't be afraid. Do not fear because I am with you. Jesus understands he is the one who called you and he is the one who will empower you to fulfill the mission he has given you remember James was the first disciple who was martyred John who was on that boat that day the longest living disciple wrote Revelation but suffered a life of persecution and Peter crucified upside down. But none of them ever lost sight of the fact that Jesus was always with them. There's a story. Of a self-supporting missionary that I want to share with you tonight it's just such a powerful story that I had to share it. A guy named Abrams how many of you have heard of Casey if you hand some of you have got to tell this story. He was a seaman he had traveled around the world but in his fifty's he settled in San Francisco and he invested all his life savings into his property he bought some property there only to have it destroyed by fire a short time later he lost all of his savings so discouraged and penniless he moves out of the city but God had a plan for this man because just a few months later someone gives him a Bible tract the signs of the times and he reads the track and he gets so excited about what he's reading he starts reading his Bible he's converted and not only is he converted he gets so on fire now he wants to go to the mission field there's only one problem he's in his sixty's and he feels well all. People think he's too old he writes to the General Conference and he says please I really have a burden I have a burden to go to China to share with the Chinese people the three Angels' messages of the gospel and you know what the brother in say. They said. Thank you for your commitment thank you for your interest why don't you I forgot to say that he had been serving a little bit of time in Hawaii as a call Porter why don't you just stay in in the islands of the Pacific thinking he just stay in Hawaii. Well he said OK I'll tell you what he looked at a map islands of the Pacific he saw that Hong Kong was an island in the Pacific it was a little bit on the edge but it was right next to China so he said let me go to Hong Kong so he goes to Hong Kong he opens up a mission by himself by the way he begins passing out tracks studying the Bible with people he converts the soldiers and sailors there in Hong Kong some of these sailors by the way go back to England take the Gospel and start work in places where the work in places where it hadn't started in England all over the world people carry the tracks that they had given them in Hong Kong. Fourteen years he labors from eight hundred eighty eight until nineteen zero two when the next missionaries come. And shortly after those next missionaries come nine people were baptized. And just a year later in one thousand through Avram live through pass through his rest a committed Christian he stood alone fourteen years in a distant land carrying on a self-supporting work this was a true A.S.I. missionary. The power that urged him onward was his firm belief in the soon coming of Jesus a few days before he died. He gave a little money he had to the work in China. Totally committed to following the call of his savior friend it doesn't matter how old you are you can be young you can be old Jesus is calling you tonight Jesus is calling you Jesus is calling each one of us to a life of commitment. So Jesus calls us. Yes Christ calls us and also Christ calls us to commitment and I want us to turn to our next passage Luke Chapter nine and we're going to look quickly here at Luke Chapter nine because the problem is that when we get the call sometimes we make excuses don't we sometimes we make excuses and Jesus speaks about this in Luke Chapter nine in this story Jesus meets three men on the road and he gives three responses that shed light on the excuses we often give that keep us from living a committed life. Verse fifty seven and fifty eight say Now it happened as they journeyed on the road that someone said to him Lord I will follow you wherever you go. And what does Jesus say he says to him Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his hand. He calls this man to a commitment of sacrifice the call of Christ to the human heart is the call to make the sacrifice Jesus is saying the things of eternity far outweigh the things here on Earth there's something you give up there's a surrender that you make Martin Luther we're celebrating five hundred years of the rest since the Reformation Martin Luther said a religion that gives nothing costs nothing and suffers nothing is worth nothing. One of the former vice presidents of the General Conference was traveling far back in a mountain region of Asia as he's there he's talking to two Pioneer missionaries traveling from village to village there preaching the gospel and as he's talking to them he asked them a question he says is there anything you need they look at each other they put their heads down they say well there's there's one thing very important to us and he says well how can I help you he says we only have one pair of shoes. And so whoever walks to the furthest village gets the shoes for that day. Or past or if we only had one pair of shoes one. More pair of shoes so both of us could have shoes. And yet that didn't stop them from sharing the gospel. This is the commitment of those who follows Christ no no excuses willing to make sacrifices. The Bible continues in verse fifty nine of Luke Chapter nine. Jesus said to another man follow me but he said Lord First let me go and bury my father. And Jesus said Let the dead bury their own dead but you go and preach the kingdom of God Now some of you might say Well that's strange why would jesus respond like that well think about this for a minute if the man's father was dead he would have been there because in Jewish culture when a person died they were buried that same day you see what Jesus was saying with the man was saying was that let me wait until my father is dead and buried and then I will come and follow you Jesus just let me go back and care for the affairs of my father whether it be six months or a year or however long and then I will follow you in other words he was putting off what Christ wanted him to do. And oftentimes we make that excuse will we won't commit because there are other things that come first first let me do this first let me do that friends Jesus needs us to commit to being available when he calls us so a commitment not only requires sacrifice it requires availability number three in this passage in Luke nine Another man said to Jesus verse sixty one Lord I will follow you but first let me go and bid them farewell who are in my house. But Jesus said to him. No one having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God. For this excuse the man is saying that he's occupied primarily with other things nothing wrong with taking care of your family right right but the problem is when the things in your life begin to overshadow the greater purpose to which we are called even if they are good things they can become problems in and of themselves Jesus called him to have an. Undivided heart so commitment requires sacrifice it requires of it a built veil ability and it requires an undivided heart. When I think of a story that talks about people that had no excuses nothing could be better than the story that we heard this afternoon I don't know if you were here but we talked about the history of A.S.I. and the history of self-supporting work and when I think of the story in particular of Sutherland and McGann the men who founded Madison college and who were the founders of A.S.I. they were so committed to God's work they were so committed to leaving the comforts of normal life they knew God's plan for education they were committed to following it wherever it led they were committed to whatever sacrifice it took you know it's interesting and I read that book God's beautiful farm have you guys read it I encourage you to pick it up before you leave we have it still at the booth but in that book there are a few stories that stand out and one of that stands out is when they first moved to college to Andrew's what is now Andrews in Varian springs that first winter you know they were trying to be out in the country and have a more rural setting for the college they endured a winter in those cabins without heat can you imagine Varian springs without heat. I've been there with heat and it's still freezing. They were willing to follow wherever God led them because they were so committed but once they got the work of stablish to Andrews they felt a call to Madison and they went there even though they were severe trials even Percy's wife. Got sick and passed away and yet Percy could still say in one thousand nine hundred three I know that these trials are sent to us not to bring bitterness out of our characters but to bring all the fragrance that God can possibly bring into our lives. That didn't stop these two minute faith they were committed to following God no matter what the sacrifice and they heard the call of Jesus to believe Emmanuel mission. A college and a found Madison college and you know. It's such an incredible story but but the particular scene that stands out in my mind is that is that moment when they the boat breaks down remember and they have to go out of the boat and it happens to be at the property where Ellen White had seen in vision that this is where the school needed to be but Sutherland and again did not want to have the school at this place it looked too foreboding too hard there was rocks and there was old buildings and they struggled with it and yet Ellen White was telling them boys this is the place. And they did all they struggled in their hearts. But as the story goes they knelt down and they agonize with God in prayer and they both knew that they needed to follow the counsel of the servant of the Lord and in the end after prayer they were convicted that they must commit to following it. And to accepting the sacrifice that would come. And so they said yes. And we know the rest of the story God bless them beyond measure it was a hard road it was a difficult road but it was worth it because it was the road Jesus had called them to take. Jesus said If anyone wishes to come after me let him deny himself and take of his cross and follow me Luke Chapter eight. And help in dealing leave it help in daily living page for seventy seven this quote speaks to my heart the servant of God says the Lord has no place in his work for those who have a greater desire to win the crown than to bear the cross he wants men who are who are more intent upon doing their duty than upon receiving their reward men who are more solicitous for principle than promotion. So my friends tonight we've seen the call of Christ each of us is called to a vision greater than ourselves. Taking the Gospel to the world in this generation we've seen the commitment to Christ Christ calls us to a commitment it requires sacrifice being available and having an undivided heart but now let's. At the motivation for all of it which is the cross of Christ ultimately what motivated Sutherland and again what motivated. And what motivated Peter James and John to take the Gospel in their generation was the cross of Christ the one who gave us the greatest example of commitment the only one who can enable us to live a life of commitment the preeminent A.S.I. member. Jesus a self-supporting missionary he worked in a carpenter shop in Nazareth supported by donations his life reveals the ultimate example of commitment. And because he was committed to you into being. As Philippians Chapter two says he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even the death of the cross. In Luke twenty three we read the story of the crucifixion and just to draw our minds to the sacrifice of Christ tonight I'll just look at verse thirty three. And verses forty four to forty six the Bible says when they came to the place called the skull. They crucified him along with criminals one on his right and the other on his left. In verse forty four to forty six the Bible says now it was about the sixth hour and there was darkness over all the earth until the one thousand the sun was dark and the veil of the temple was torn in two and when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice he said Father into your hands I commit my spirit. Having said this he breathed his last. The cross reveals more clearly than any other place in Scripture the self sacrificing ministry of Jesus. It shows the depths that heaven would go to redeem you and me. What is it about the cross that leads us to commitment Jesus was committed not only to death in this life he was committed to giving up his life for eternity for you. For me. I can't fathom why. He believed it was worth it to seize from existing so we could have a chance of eternal life the sacrifice of Christ on the cross reveals the true value of each one of us to God. In the light of this sacrifice can we do anything less. The commitment of Christ should star us to a deep desire to be committed to him. Jesus said in John seventeen verse four. I have glorified you on earth speaking of the father. I have finished the work which you have given me to do. Jesus was committed to the work that the father had given him to do to the very end. When we come to the end of our life. Will we be able to say God I was faithful to finish the work you have given me to do. This week and some of you may have heard little snapshots of a life of someone named Vera and Co but. There was a personal friend of mine. A close friend of my girlfriend Rinella. She was a modern day twenty first century. Committed to the calling of God in her life a nurse by trade and by Ministry. She grew up in a loving home spiritual home and yet in her senior year in college she she wrestled with questions about the true nature of God but she began to study the Bible and and she began devouring the Bible and it's particularly she she loved the book Revelation speaks by Mark Finley every day she would read it God captivated her life every day she would pray and pour over the Scriptures and God began to change her heart. And from there the Lord continued to grow this young woman and give her and gave her many missionary opportunities she began to to do travel nursing so that she could have more money so. She could work less and work more for Jesus. At one point in her life she was so convicted by the words of Ellen White to do literature of Angela's them she would work three days a week as a nurse and the remaining four days every day she would take twelve people with her door to door to do literature evangelism. And then on Sabbath she would train church members she continued this for over seven years through the faithful efforts of this woman churches grew and church members read were revived to a life of witnessing the church never paid her. But she was committed to Christ. And the calling that he had given her. Most recently she was a volunteer Bible worker at a church in Michigan she lived in the basement of some friend's house so she could pay off the last year of her debt and when she wanted more than anything to go be a missionary in the Middle East. She commuted an hour and a half to work every day to the hospital she worked it working the night shift the family that lived with her said sometimes they wouldn't see her until two P.M. and she would come to sleep for a few hours and then drive right back to the hospital that evening. When asked where she was the whole morning she would say that she had developed Bible study contacts in that area and she couldn't come back until she gave Bible studies. She was totally sold out and committed to living God's calling in her life. There are touched the lives of people she had known for years months or even minutes I know she touched my life. Many people knew that when she looked at you she didn't see what you looked like what your social status was or your educational background all she saw was a soul for whom Jesus died. Less than two weeks ago my girlfriend Rinella was on a brief phone call with her asking her to coast speak at a seminar in a total member involvement she agreed she was very excited she wanted to be here this weekend. Little did any of us know that less than a week later she would be lying on a hospital bed fighting for her life. The doctors tried all day and into the night to get her heart to beat again but it suddenly stopped that morning and it was over. She was only thirty six years old. And now after her sudden death those of us that knew her and and interact with her knew that this was a bright light that the Lord that the world had lost. But perhaps the good that God will bring out of it here on earth is the fact that her legacy of commitment to Christ lives on the bright light is still shining and God is shining her example into your hearts tonight to tell you this one thing when it is all said and done. At the end of the day if we take our last breath here on Earth before Jesus comes the only thing that will matter and that will live on is a life of sacrificial commitment that we live for others and the Savior we love the only thing that will matter are the souls that we win for Jesus. There is a life of selfless service the love that she exuded for others her devotion to Jesus that letter to give away almost all of her salary before her death all of this is a testimony to the power that shakes the world when God's people pledged their lives to him holding nothing back. What would happen if we all live like there. What would happen if we all lived. Like Jesus how soon would Jesus return. How much of Christ's love would penetrate the darkest parts of the earth until the earth is lighted with the glory of God. And we would see Vera in our loved ones who have passed away in the Senate death and suffering and separation from God would be no more. Here is a woman who is on selfishly committed to Christ and to his service. My friends tonight. You and I don't know what's around the corner. We never know what's going on in our bodies from a health standpoint I mean many a person has felt well and then the next day they go to the die. When they find out they have cancer. We don't know what's around the corner of the corner Vera didn't know what was around the bend. God calls us to commitment now. God calls us to commitment tonight to faithfulness tonight to service. Tonight. You may not have another A.S.I. convention I cannot guarantee you that tonight. But today is the day that you can say with all of your heart Lord Jesus I've been here at A.S.I. I've heard these messages I've been convicted by your spirit to do something for you a please help me to live for you help me to to delay aside though the sin that so easily ensnares me and to run the race that you have called me to run. Thinking back to my grampa and those Marines who fought to take the beaches beaches of the woods you know they had a mission. They were committed to their mission no matter the cost. But how much greater is our mission. Our mission to take the Gospel to every nation and kindred tongue and people my friends the greatest mission ever intrusted to human beings is given to you. To take the three angels messages to the ends of the earth in this generation and yes I tonight Jesus is calling you Jesus is calling me the work of God on this earth will never be finished until each and every one of us does all we can by the power of God uniting together to take the Gospel to the world. This was for his mission. Her story reminds us of the need for total commitment to Christ. I just want to say is as I. Ask you to pull out this appeal card tonight you handed you were handed this is you came in. Sometimes it's hard to make a commitment. I've struggled with commitment in my own life. I wrestled with the call. But I can tell you tonight that I am so grateful. Because Jesus promises like he said to Peter that he will be with us he is with you. Jesus is calling you tonight to give your heart to him. I want to invite you as we close just take a look at this card and if you if you want to surrender your plans and your heart and your life to God for the first time tonight just check that box. If the second. If you look at the second box on the card. It says I long to have a renewed focus on heaven and I desire to recommit my life to Jesus again tonight check that box make that decision tonight. And the third box is for you I want you to take this card and put it in your Bible and pray over it as you go home. As you have been here in A.S.I. on doubt only the Holy Spirit has been speaking to your heart he has said to you John or Mary or Rinella you need to do something for me you need to volunteer in that ministry you need to work for me in this field you need to this may be a cell your business I don't know what it is but Jesus is calling you to something tonight and I want you to write that on this card and pray over it as you go home. And tonight I want to ask you this question because I know there are some of us here tonight that need to make a change in our priorities. We recognize that Jesus has called us. And we recognize that we need to make a change I want to make a simple appeal tonight to appeals actually for us. Firstly there may be some here who have you have served Christ you've been committed to his work but you realize tonight that you need to make some changes as you go home. You need to rearrange your priorities to be totally committed you want to go home different. Would you just raise your hand. I want to pray for you. Put it down. Secondly there also maybe someone here tonight you have not been involved in service but during this A.S.I. convention you have heard Jesus saying to you follow me and I will make you a fisher of men. And the Spirit is speaking to you tonight for the first time you realize that you need to give your life in service to your master. You cannot go home the same you need to make a radical turn in the direction of your life. Would you raise your hand tonight if that is you. I want to invite you. As. We hear this song. If you have heard God speaking to your heart tonight and during this A.S.I. convention if you want to say to the Lord Jesus Lord Jesus I want to commit my life to your service take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to the. If that is your prayer tonight I want to invite you forward during this song. And we're going to have a prayer of dedication and commitment at the. Father in heaven. Tonight we have seen. That the greatest example of commitment than any of us. Have ever known as you. Gave the ultimate sacrifice. You made the ultimate commitment to us. A commitment and a sacrifice that we can never understand but. Which we will be eternally grateful. Lord Jesus thank you for giving your life to save. Thank you for calling us and for choosing us. And for enabling us to be committed to you. Father forgive us for we have often made excuses we have often been distracted we have often had a divided heart but tonight we want to come to you and those who have come forward and those who are in their seats Lord we recognize that we we don't we're not guaranteed tomorrow. And like Vera. We want to live a life of total commitment. We want others to know that Jesus is your number one. That your mission is the most important thing to our Lord we lay it all on the altar tonight there is someone here tonight that is sensing the call of God. Empower them by your spirit to go from this A.S.I. convention to where you have called them to go. Help us to rearrange our priorities so that you are number one. Lord. We long to see you. Long to be reunited with our loved ones that we have lost we long to see everyone on this earth know you we long to see this world lighted with the glory of God Lord Jesus please how are your church help us to take the green angels messages to the world in this generation we can't do it we don't have the strength but by your power and by your grace we know that you can finish this work help our church lower. We pray. For how your spirit upon this generation. That this baby the generation that finishes the work. And we will give you all the praise when we see you climbing in the clouds of heaven. Oh Lord keep us faithful keep us committed. Keep our eyes on you. Pray this name of Jesus Christ. Our Savior. And are coming to. This media was produced by audio verse forty S. Aves layman's services and industries. If you would like to learn more about. Please visit. The site minister. Or if you'd like to listen for free online sermons visit W.W.W. body of verse.


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