The Nehemiah Project
Are You Committed?
by Jan Sommer
When we first accept the Lord we are so excited! Our sins are forgiven: past, present and future. We are a new creation and we become part of a wonderful body of believers called the church. All groups have expectations, so what are the expectations of this group called the church? Let’s look at the journey each of us will take as we walk with the Lord before we talk about expectations for the church.
At the point where you realized that you were not acceptable to God because of your sins and accepted Christ as your savior, you were JUSTIFIED. God erased your list of sins and replaced it with Christ’s list. Christ has no list of sins, so you have a clean slate! Suddenly you are totally righteous before the Creator of the Universe. When you die and face God, if He were to ask you if are good enough to spend eternity with Him, your answer is a resounding ‘Yes’ because your sins were paid for on the cross. God only sees Christ’s sinless behavior in you. Your sin is gone, as far as the east is from the west, they are remembered no more. Therefore, the starting point of each believer’s walk with the Lord is being JUSTIFIED by your faith in Christ as your Savior.
Then something happens. You are filled with the Holy Spirit and your Christian walk begins. Between the time you were justified and the day you physically die, there is a stretch of time God tells us in Philippians 2:12 to ‘work out our salvation’. This is called SANCTIFICATION. The Bible is very clear that we can’t work our way to heaven. It is our faith that justifies us. God, however, wants us to become like Christ. This then becomes our work, to become more like Christ. We are throwing off our old self so the new creation is fully visible. This sanctification process is a roller coaster ride for most of us.
We may start out great and then one day we have an ‘oh no’ moment. We let our heart and mind slide back into dabbling with what we know is untrue – trying to control our own life by doing what WE want! Pride and rebellion begin to rear its ugly head and we veer off course. Perhaps using God’s name in vain, telling lies, or satisfying a sensual desire. (Sensual doesn’t mean sexual, although it can imply that. It simply means things that our 5 senses can pick up on.) Jesus tells us in Matthew 5: 21-22 that sin can be seen in our actions, can be present in our thoughts, emotions and in the words we speak. Our sanctification process is to get control of actions, thoughts, and words. This is a big, audacious goal for each of us, but God, through the Holy Spirit is there to help us on our way. We are people in process, but so often we don’t allow for mistakes or setbacks in that process. The world loves to laugh at the failing sinner in the church because they don’t understand that believers are in process, not perfect. Unfortunately, members of the church can fall into this finger pointing, thinking their sin is less offensive to God than someone else’s sin. We need to give and receive lots of grace from one another as we walk through the SANCTIFICATION process.
Let us fight the good fight and never give up on working out our becoming more like Christ. Let us encourage one another as we move along. This sanctification process will continue our whole physical life until we are GLORIFIED! When God calls us home, He will finish our transformation into having the character of Christ fully functioning in us forever!
As we fully understand the process that God is using to make us into a perfect reflection of Christ, let us as a church and as individuals commit ourselves to do the following:
Let us ENDEAVOR to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. (Deuteronomy 6:5 Matthew 22:37)
Let us STRIVE to obey His commandments. (John 14:15)
Let us PROMISE to be a part of making disciples of all nations by being a part of baptizing and teaching people to obey God’s commandments. (Matthew 28: 18 -20)
And let us ACKNOWLEDGE that we can do all things in Christ only through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Philippians 4:13 Acts 1:8)
To read more about the Nehemiah Project, click HERE.
On November 4th Pastor Jerry Ingalls will be preaching on Nehemiah 8 & 10, The Call to Commitment!