November 11

As you know our elders have designated November 18 as Commitment Sunday for our South Fork family. While each of us is to commit his/her entire life to Christ as Lord, our shepherds are challenging us to commit in 2013 to specifically:

• pray for our congregation without ceasing;
• use our time and talents to serve others;
• deepen our relationships with one another;
• give financially.

All of these things are consistent with the teaching of Scripture and the call of Jesus to deny ourselves, take up our own crosses every day, and follow Him if we are to be His true disciples (Luke 9:23). They are also consistent with our South Fork church mission statement which we will refer to in the sermon and which you can find at the bottom of this page. As we consider these things, let’s be reminded of the teaching of 2 Corinthians 8-9. The apostle Paul calls on the church at Corinth to give willingly, generously and cheerfully. But he also expects them to plan/purpose/decide what they should give—to intentionally and purposefully plan their contribution—and to come through and actually give what they had committed/purposed/planned to give.
And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have… For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you that unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 8:10-12; 9:1-8)
Note 2 Cor. 9:7—“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give…” Clearly, the apostle expected the Christians in Corinth to put thought and prayer into their contributions, to decide/purpose in their hearts what they should give, and to come through on their commitment. As we look ahead to next week, and to next year, we are to do the same—plan/decide/purpose to give a certain amount, one that we will willingly give generously and cheerfully. And we do this knowing that our God will continue to bless us in order that we might be a blessing to others and bring glory to His name.
Psalm 24:1; Proverbs 3:9-10; 22:9; Mark 12:17, 41-44; Luke 12:13-34; Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37
Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12-13; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Ephesians 2:10; 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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