A Guide to Commitment

February 26, 2023

David Sorn

On this very important Commitment Sunday, we take a look at what the Bible has to say about commitment.

A Guide to Commitment

February 26, 2023

David Sorn

On this very important Commitment Sunday, we take a look at what the Bible has to say about commitment.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | 2 Corinthians 8: 10-15


Hey everybody. Morning to you. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here.

For 4 Sundays now, we’ve been talking about how God is moving mightily in this church, so much so that we are going to run out of space here sometime in the next 6 to 18 months

And thus, so we can continue to reach and disciple people for Christ, we are attempting to add 24,000 more square feet to our building here

That expansion will cost 8.75 million dollars.

And so, we are attempting to raise 4 million dollars in 3-year pledges

And we know we actually need to raise OVER 4 million in pledges if we’re going to break ground this summer, like we increasingly think we need to

And…Today is our very important Commitment Sunday.

Toward the end of this service, we’ll be asking you to hand in your Commitment Cards for Illuminate…for our building expansion.

If you haven’t filled yours out yet or if you never received one, there was one on your chair when you walked in if you’d like to take a look at it.

As we are all thinking about our commitments for Illuminate today…I want to talk about that very topic from God’s Word, commitment.

And so, we are going to pick up where we left off last week in 2 Corinthians chapter 8

Page 792

2 Corinthians 8:10-15

So everybody grab a Bible and go ahead and turn back to that chapter, page 792.

For context, chapter 8 is where Paul is asking the Corinthians to financially give towards the Christians in Jerusalem who are struggling

While you’re looking that up, I want to tell you that next Sunday, things will get a bit more back to normal around here, as we will be done with our Illuminate series, and we will be starting a new teaching series

(Parables Slide)

The new series is called Parables of Eternity, and it will be a teaching series on Jesus’ parables in Matthew 13

I’m excited to kick us off in that series next Sunday!


Okay, let’s take a look at our passage

Page 792

2 Corinthians 8:10-15

(2 Corinthians 8:10-11) – NIV

10 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. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.

While we study this passage in God’s Word, we’re going to see 3 ways that Paul wants the Corinthians to be committed to God’s cause

Here is the first way that we see it in these first 2 verses:

In Being Committed to God’s Cause:

#1: We commit to finishing the work

So the Corinthian Christians were the first people to indicate to Paul (the year prior) that they wanted to give to help out the church in Jerusalem

The Corinthians had essentially pledged to give.

But now, as we saw last week, Paul’s co-worker in the ministry Titus, is coming to visit them, and Titus is going to collect the funds to bring to Jerusalem

And so it’s important, as verse 11 says, that these Corinthians “finish the work”

And this is a good Scripture passage for our church this week.

Because even though it’s Commitment Sunday, we’ve got to remember that commitment isn’t a one-day thing.

It’s a decision to be committed in the future, in our case, over the next 3 years.

It’ll take more than just pledging today…for us to actually be able to pull this off and let God continue to use this space to Illuminate the darkness

If we pledge 4 million, but then we only actually give $800,000…well, then…the consequences would be more than significant for our church body.

(A Guide to Commitment Title Slide)

It’ll take commitment over the next 3 years.

That’s why Paul says in verse 11 that our “eager willingness to do it must be matched by our completion of it”

In a way, pledging is the easy part

Anyone can write a number down.

But staying committed (finishing the work) is the hard part

After today, the sacrifice, as we talked about last week, begins.


Let’s keep reading now about this commitment:

Page 792

(2 Corinthians 8:12-14) – NIV

12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality,

So Paul shares how the Corinthian Christians and the Christians in Jerusalem can help each other.

This is the second way Paul is guiding them regarding committing to God’s cause

In Being Committed to God’s Cause:

#1: We commit to finishing the work

#2: We commit to taking care of each other

Now Paul isn’t saying that in taking care of each other that everyone in Jerusalem and Corinth has to live at the exact same economic level.

The equality that Paul is talking about in the New Testament is about equality of sacrifice, not equality of income

The New Testament describes proportional sacrifice.

Right now, the Corinthians Christians have the material needs to help the church in Jerusalem, and so, they should help

And then in the future, it might be the Jerusalem church helping the Corinthians.

Because we as Christians, are all apart of one body.

We are to take care of each other.

This is part of why we believe in House Groups so much.

It’s critical that you don’t see church as just a service you attend.

That’s not a fully Biblical version of a church.

It’s a part of it, but not all of it.

The church is a body, and a body that serves and takes care of each other.

(A Guide to Commitment Title Slide)

I was thinking about my house group this week as I was studying this passage.

When I was out doing Illuminate Q&A’s at 17 house groups in 5 days, the house group that my wife and I personally attend knew that that was going to be hard for me, their friend, their fellow house group member…and hard for my family.

And so they rallied around us, and brought us meals every day that week.

They blessed us in our need.

In fact, so much so that when I was finally home that Friday night when there were no more House Groups, one of my kids said, “Dad, do you have more house groups tonight?”

And I quickly said, “No, I’m here tonight”

And they said, “Oh, I was kind of hoping we’d get a special meal again”

HA, but that’s the church serving each other.

And Lindsey and I have done, and will do the same for people in our house group when they’re hurting or in need.

By the way, if you’re not in a House Group yet, sign up for one today online or at the table in the lobby

In the church we bless each other, and I’m struck by the fact that the people we’re trying to bless with the Gospel in the future of this building…will one day bless us

Let me give you an example: I was teaching our Theology 201 class in Renovation U one year, and I looked out at our class, and it hit me that almost 25% of the class that year had come to Christ at our church.

And they were already deep into studying systematic theology

And not only that, one of them was a Ministry Leader, and another had become a House Leader.

These people that we set out to reach, we’re now, blessing, and leading us.

See, “church,” when done right (when discipleship works) is a body that takes cares of each other like Paul says


Okay, let’s read another verse

(2 Corinthians 8:15) – NIV

15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

So to make his case for why we should be generous and give, Paul quotes a verse from the Old Testament.

And context on this verse helps a lot.

Paul is quoting from an event in the Old Testament when God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt

And while they were living in the desert on their way to the promised land, God fed His people with Manna, a breadlike substance

And the people were told to gather only as much Manna as they needed that day.

And if the elderly or disabled couldn’t get what they needed fast enough, folks helped them out, and everyone had enough.

That’s what Paul was quoting.

And God warned them, don’t take more Manna than you need

And, this might not shock you, some people did anyway

And to their utter dismay, the next morning, those who had gathered an excess supply of manna for themselves, would always find their hoarded manna full of maggots and a rotten smell.

And so the principle was, if you gathered extra manna, you were supposed to share it…because what good what it do you anyway?

And, you were to trust…that God would provide more for you…tomorrow.

And if we believe these Biblical principles about caring for others and trusting God, then here’s the 3rd way we should be committed:

In Being Committed to God’s Cause:

#1: We commit to finishing the work

#2: We commit to taking care of each other

#3: We commit to focusing on what matters most

You can see this principle in the story of the manna

If you are always focusing on money, and getting more money, for money’s sake, that pursuit will begin to rot (like the manna), even your spiritual life.

God wants us to open up our eyes to those who are in need around us

Both in material poverty and spiritual poverty

And Christians, we’ve got to remember that our money won’t be of use to us when we die.

There is no UHaul behind the hearse.

You can’t take anything with you.

And so you want to find ways to invest in the things that will matter for eternity.

And I can’t think of a better investment than helping people meet Jesus and go to heaven for all of eternity instead of hell?

When you get to heaven someday, what will you say when God asks you how you used the money He gave you to steward on His behalf?

If you’re a person who is into the financial world, think about this, literally, from an investment standpoint.

Your house, is a good investment…

But think LONG term in your investment strategy

A few hundred years from now…your house will be flattened…or have trees growing through it.

Your car…a few hundred years from now…will be in a landfill.

But that person that you had a part in helping know Jesus?

They’ll be standing right next to you!

In heaven instead of in hell.

THAT is why the Bible talks so much about finances.

God wants us to have an eternal perspective on what we invest in!

One example that has been inspirational to me regarding this subject is the life of Viggo Olsen

(Daktar Book Slide)

His biography, Daktar, is excellent. It was on my reading list for our church a few years ago. I’d highly recommend it

And while Viggo Olsen was in the Navy, he had an experience that really impacted his life.

He was almost finished with his training to be a doctor in Internal Medicine, but the Navy, for a while, had him stationed on a beautiful island in the South Pacific.

And as a doctor, he and his wife were put in a huge home on this island with a million dollar view of the ocean.

And he initially thought, “Yes, this is exactly what I want my future to look like!”

But after living there for a while, he realized that he was no more happy living there than he was in their tiny apartment back home in medical school.

Most of us don’t get that opportunity to “try out being rich first” 😊

But he did…

And he resolved to himself in that moment that he wouldn’t chase after the temporary pleasures of this world, but after the things that would matter most for all of eternity.

On that island in the South Pacific, Olsen felt God firmly calling him to be a medical missionary…

…specifically to start a hospital in a place where there were no Christians, so he could not only care for people, but also use the hospital as an opening to lead people to Christ.

But to pull that off, he would have to be an expert in many medical fields.

SO much so, that he would have to complete, not 8 or 9 years, but 15 years of postsecondary education before he went.

And at the time for him, that meant another 6 or 7 years.

And then, just 3 days after Olsen made this commitment to the Lord that he would become a medical missionary, a letter came in the mail to him.

The return address read: The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

The letter read, “Mr. Olsen, we are happy to inform you that you have been accepted for a fellowship in the Department of Internal Medicine of the Mayo Clinic”

And let me tell you, when you make a commitment to give of your finances and your time to God…you will be tested.

Some of you today, are making a huge leap of faith.

You will be tested.

Decide now how you will respond.

Olsen wrote the Mayo Clinic back, and said, “No Thanks”

Because he knew he had to do what he committed to God to do.

And so he finished 15 years of post-secondary education…becoming a surgeon, and an expert in many area of the hospital.

And people thought he was nuts for doing so.

Yet, if he went to that much school, just so he could make a LOT of money here in America, people would pat him on the back!

They’d say, “That’s a great strategy. You’re going to be so rich! I love it!”

But the fact that he put in 15 years so he could start a hospital in Bangladesh (where he’d make no money), all so he could share Christ with people, that made him basically crazy to everyone else he went to school with.

But let me assure you, in eternity, Viggo Olsen isn’t going to look foolish…he’ll be a hero of faith.

He invested his time and his money in the things that will matter 10,000 years from now.


(A Guide to Commitment Title Slide)

And so here, today, we’re inviting each of you to invest in what will matter 10,000 years from now…and beyond:

People being reached for Christ!

At this point, if you haven’t grabbed a commitment card yet, please do so.

If you haven’t yet...you’ll want to start to fill it out because in just a few minutes, we are going to have you turn it in.

(put up Commitment Card slide)

Let me mention a few details on it:

What you are doing here is making a pledge of what you intend to give over the next 3 years.

You’re not actually giving right now

This is a declaration of your intentions.

It’s not a legal contract…

It’s a pledge, a commitment.

We do ask that you mark on here how often you intend to give (whether you prefer weekly, monthly, etc.)

You might want to use your calculator app, and then you’ll simply pick ONE of those four rows on the right, and figure out what it would be to give weekly or monthly (whatever you prefer)

And then, put your total 3-year pledge on the far right of the line you choose

You just need to fill out ONE of those lines on the right.

If you don’t have a calculator or math is scary to you…at minimum just fill out one of the far right lines with your total 3-year pledge…that’s okay.

I know that many of you will want to know what the total number is today.

However, we know that many of our people who weren’t able to make it here today are still pledging online or through or app, or are bringing it next week

So, we will be announcing the total on March 19th to give people a couple of weeks in case they forgot.

At this point, I’m going to call the band back on stage to lead us in worship.

And we’re actually going to do something we don’t do a whole lot, but I think it’s important we do this.

What you’re doing this morning…is not just making a pledge.

This is an important act of worship.

So what we would like you to do is this:

Anytime during this last song, I want you to get up, and take your commitment card and bring it to the front.

You can then place it one of these 4 baskets on stage here

And you’re bringing it up as an offering to God.

You’re saying, “God, I’m going to sacrifice for you…for your people…for the lost”

I know SO many of you in this room are making amazing sacrifices for this.

And I want you to know that this is a powerful act of worship.

This is, as the Bible sometimes says of Old Testament sacrifices, a fragrant and pleasing offering to God.

So at any time during this last song, get up and bring your commitment card to the front.

If you’re married, or your family is in here…do it together as a family.

If you’d like, or you want, you can even pray together first before you bring it up.

And let me just say, as the leader of this church, on behalf of all our leaders…we are so thankful for you.

Together, we are Renovation Church.

And someday…(even if it’s not until you’re in heaven) someday…someone will put their arms around you…and thank you for what you did for them. Thank you!

Let me pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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