The word “dedication” has many shades of meaning. Sometimes we call it “consecration” of ourselves. Sometimes it is called “devoting” ourselves to service of Jesus. In the Bible we are to “sanctify” ourselves, which means to set ourselves apart for the service of Christ. It suggests utter loyalty, utter devotion to Jesus. We are going to express our commitment this way, “Go all out for the Lord Jesus Christ!” Now you know and I know that many people who are members of the churches do not go all out. Let’s not kid ourselves; we can see that lack all around us. Why should you do so if others do not? Indeed, why should they go all out for the Lord? Why should anyone do so?
I. The Bible Calls for Dedication
We are told in God’s Word to present our bodies as a living sacrifice for the work of Christ (Read Rom. 12:1-2). Many people say they would die for Christ. What the world needs today is for people to live for Christ. He needs a lot of people to live for Him. I encourage you to be part of the band that lives for Him each and every day. The world needs to see your light shine! If you are afraid to dedicate yourself to all out service for the Lord, read II Tim. 1:12. Do you believe this strongly in the power and love of Jesus?
Will you commit your way unto Him? You believed He could save you. Now believe that He can keep you.
Jesus asked for three things from those who accept Him. These three things call for us to go all out for Him. Read Mark 8:34. The three things He asks are these: first, deny yourself; second, take up your cross (task, job) for the work of Christ; third, follow Him wherever He leads you. Deny self, take up your job, and follow Jesus---that is going all out for Him. And what about those who do not? Well, we must not put ourselves up as judges of other people, but Jesus gave us a very stern warning in Matthew 7:21 (Read it now). That is the voice we must hear.
Remember you must choose for yourself and so must others choose for themselves. You are in control of your life; no one else can answer for you.
II. World Needs Calls for Our Dedication
Look at the conditions in your world. Those conditions call for those who love Christ, believe Christ, to go all out for Him that they may help this lost world. You see, you once were lost, as many of the people about you are lost today. Someone witnessed to you about Jesus. Don’t dare to let that witness die with you! That is selfishness, and selfishness is sinful.
People all around you live in confusion and uncertainty. They are in sin; they can’t get out without help. We read in Acts 4:12 that the only Savior available to them is Jesus. If you passed their home and saw that their house was on fire, you would warn them, wouldn’t you? Their lives are in danger of eternal punishment. Warn them. I will give you some direction on how to do that in our discipleship study, “Becoming a Disciple”.
There is hatred and strife all around us. Races hate and strive with each other. Neighbors hate and strive with each other. Everybody wants peace but there is no peace. There is war and bloodshed and unspeakable inhumanity between humans. There are physical and spiritual hunger, heartache, soul-sickness, and the loneliness of sin all around you. The needs of the world cry out for living Christians. Be one!
A terrible doom is impending for the wicked of this world. Jesus may come back any day now. We are warned in the Bible of the terrible times that will precede His return. Then comes the judgment. And even if we do not live to see that second coming and to suffer the terrible times that precede it, death shall not keep us from it. Life is like a short candle, soon out. So will it be with you, with your lost friends. All this calls for you to dedicate yourself to the service of Jesus; to go all out for Him.
III. Jesus, Our Example in Dedication
You know, of course, that Jesus is the Son of God, that He has all the nature of God in Him. Someone has said that, “Jesus is God taking such short steps that we can walk with Him.” So, He becomes our example in how God wants us to live and walk. Let’s look at the example He set for us.
He gave us a fine example in self-committal (Read I Peter 2:21-23). Good, kind, gentle, loving, tender --- yet He bore evil and brutality and hate and death just to save you and your friends. He committed Himself to that job, and He set us an example. Always put Him first. That is what He asked (Read Matt. 6:33).
Jesus gave everything for us (Read II Cor. 8:9). He was rich, but He became poor. He was God, but He became man. He lived in the clean whiteness of heaven, but He came down to the dirtiness of the earth. The profane and obscene language of man was in his sinless ears. The dust of man’s camel trains settled in the folds of His robes and in His hair and on His face. Why? Read Luke 19:10. And He did this joyfully, not with all the complaints we often make about our work for Him (Read Heb. 12:1-2). And He expects such devotion from us, even to die for Him if necessary (Read Matt. 6:24; Mark 10:20-22; Luke 9:52-62). Go all out for Him!
IV. Why Does He Ask So Much?
There is a very good reason why He asks so much. You see, He is not here any more to tell people about God. He has put that message in our hands. He wants us to tell others the word of reconciliation (Read II Cor. 5:19). If we do not spread that word, many people will be lost. So He calls us as witnesses. In Mark 5:19, He tells us where to go, to whom we are to go, and what we are to tell people. Be sure you read that and study it. But He wants this Word to go to the distant places too. So He tells us to be witnesses even to the utmost part of the earth (Read Acts 1:8). He wants us to be lights to show others the way (Read Matt. 5:16). He has no feet to carry the good news but our feet, no hands to help but our hands. He has trusted us with the Word. Let us not fail; let’s go all out for Jesus.
V. The Dedicated Do Things
Sure, you see a lot of people who live carelessly and yet claim to be Christians. But those are not the people who really do things for Christ. It takes a dedicated person to get things done. The people who go all out are the builders. They have a mind to work (Read Neh. 4:6). They never get into fusses and tear down things. The undedicated do that. The dedicated build, they leave a little better world behind them.
The dedicated turn the world upside down (Read Acts 17:6). The undedicated have no good effect upon the world. Lost people do not pay much attention to them. They laugh at them. But when a really dedicated Christian comes along, he makes the world sit up and take notice. He has a good effect on the world, even though the world may not act like it. Jesus shakes things up and so does the dedicated.
And the life and work and witness of a dedicated man or woman, boy or girl, makes the sinful tremble. A dedicated Christian makes the sinful person want to be a Christian (Read Acts 26:27-28). People know the witness of the dedicated is true and that it has something behind it. They see the results of Jesus in the dedicated person’s change life. Yes, indeed, the dedicated does things. That is why Jesus wants you to go all out as He did.
VI. The Dedicated Are the Happy
In Matthew 5:3-12 Jesus told us who is happy. The word “Blessed” means “spiritually happy.” The dedicated practice the things that Jesus taught here and they are happy, even though they may be persecuted. They know they are living for Jesus. They know that in the end, they will win. They know they have life eternal (Read John 17:3). They live close to God (Read Matt. 5:8); they are filled with God’s goodness (v. 6); they bless other people (v. 9). And as they go to work and witness, they have the assurance that they will win some other people (Read Psalm 126:6). This too, brings joy to their hearts. They have a good time that the world does not even know exists.
VII. The Ways of Dedication
You dedicate yourself when you go to the altar of prayer. In many ways baptism is a dedication before the world. There is dedication in your faithfulness. There is also dedication in your church membership. When you unite with the church and put yourself at its disposal to be used for Christ in its work; that is a meaningful and lasting dedication. So we will talk about your church membership in Chapter Seven.
Like before, write down your answers --- it helps you to remember them.
1. The dedicated (sanctified) is defined in II Timothy 2:21. He is---
2. Three things we must do to dedicate ourselves (Mark 8:34).
3. What Jesus gave up in His dedication for us (II Cor. 8:9)?
4. How He felt about doing this (Hebrews 12:2).
5. What Jesus has committed unto our care (II Cor. 5:19).
6. The witness goes where? To whom? What does he tell? (Mark 5:19).
7. The command to a young Christian (I Timothy 6:20).
8. What is the farthest extent of our witness? (Acts 1:8)
b. What if we can’t go? (Acts 13:3 & Romans 10:15)
9. Why are the dedicated also the builders? (Nehemiah 4:6)
10. What did the dedicated Paul force the sinful Agrippa to say? (Acts 26:27-28)
11. If all who say they are Christians would go all out for Christ, what could we do to this sinful world? (Acts 17:6)
12. What three things are done by the dedicated? (Psalm 126:6)
13. What will happen because of his work? (Psalm 126:6)
14. What kind of a sacrifice is the dedicated? (Rom. 12:1)
15. How does the Bible describe the path which the consecrated (dedicated) follow? (Hebrews 10:20)
16. Repeat the prayer of the dedicated (Hebrews 10:7)
17. What prayer of dedication did Jesus pray? (Matt. 26:42)