Decisiveness- A 4-Minute Sermon with Sermon Outline
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed By Michael C. Lyons
Editor of Faith Outreach, Character Council, Cincinnati, OH
Paul’s Decisiveness in the Face of Suffering
I. Decisiveness in Following Christ
Decisiveness does not necessarily mean we make a quick decision and storm ahead with it, regardless of the consequences. No, that would be a different quality—recklessness. Rather, a decisive person has the ability to make a well-thought out decision and stand by it, holding to the truths of that decision. In the Christian life, the most important decision we should stand by is following closely in God’s path. We should resolutely decide in this endeavor to stay the course.
II. Decisiveness in the Face of Suffering
Paul was decisive and did not waver about staying the course. Despite the consequences of persecution and even the threat of death, Paul stayed the course. The promise of suffering only enhanced his decisiveness and exhibited his firm commitment to his decision to follow Jesus Christ at all costs.
In Acts 21, Paul came to Caesarea, bound for Jerusalem. While staying at the house of Philip, one of Philip’s daughters prophesied that Paul would be captured in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles. The crowd in the house quickly urged Paul to avoid Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Paul refused to be persuaded from following what he felt to be the path of God. He stated to the people, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (21.13).
Paul decided to follow Jesus, despite the consequences. He did not waver in his decision; he was not indecisive. His ability to stand firm resulted from ordering his priorities earlier. In the chapter before (20), Paul admitted to the Ephesian elders that he knew he would not see them again and that the Holy Spirit was warning him of the hardships to come. He stood on his decision to continue, however, because of his firm understanding of his relation to Christ: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace” (20.24).
III. Indecisiveness: A Result of Fear
Oh that we too might be decisive about our commitment to Christ! How often do we fear being decisive for him? We wallow in indecision too often because of our lack of commitment. Why is it that Paul was firm and decisive with his choice to head to Jerusalem, knowing he would die, but we struggle making a simple decision as going to our next door neighbor to share the Gospel? Why do we struggle with decisions of where to serve, minister, and live? Is it because we fear hardship and suffering? Indecisiveness can be a cover up of a much deeper problem: fear. We fear that if we are decisive in our lives for Christ we may suffer.
And suffer we will.
IV. The Lasting Rewards of Decisiveness
II Corinthians 11 reveals only the surface of what Paul suffered—prison, floggings, beatings, shipwrecking, starving, and the list goes on. The problem with decisiveness for Christ is we will suffer. But I suppose the real question is, am I willing to see past the suffering to exalt the only man worth exalting, Jesus Christ? Hebrews assures us that the momentary rewards of this world are not worth it. Speaking of Moses, the author states, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (11.25-26).
Be decisive for Christ. You will be grateful for all of eternity if you choose Him firmly and resolutely.