Luke 10:38-42 The Importance of A Choice This is the story of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Most likely, Martha was the older of the two because she had the mother hen complex. She wanted every THING to be just right and every ONE to be doing what she felt they should. Mary, likely the younger sister, may have had the reputation of trying to get out of her share of the responsibilities. However, on this day, Jesus did not rebuke Mary. He rebuked Martha. For on this day, Mary wasn’t shirking her duty. No. She was making a wise choice! How important is a choice? Very, very important. Your entire life is but a tale of the choices you have made. Your attitudes, your habits, your diet, your education, your job, your income, your debt, your church, your walk with God, and much, much more. Your ability to choose is one of the three greatest gifts that God has given to you. Could I list the three? 1. The greatest gift is salvation. God has made it possible for you to have your sins forgiven, your debt paid. With that gift came so many others: adoption, new life, the Holy Spirit, renewed fellowship with God, heaven, purpose, peace, love, and more. 2. The second greatest gift is life. To live and be loved, to live and to love, to behold the beauty of this world, to feel a fall breeze blowing across your face, to see the wondrous colors of this world, to laugh uncontrollably, to be happy, to be satisfied, to work and accomplish. Even to grow old, to hurt, to lose, to cry, and to die are parts of life that need to be experienced; but I would rather not have life at all, to never have been conceived or born, than to have life and not have salvation. 3. The third greatest gift is to choose. To have a free-will. God created man in His image and that is a lot more than to have an eternal soul. It is also to be able to think independently and to choose. Our free will is what separates us from all other life forms. Animals have life and some intellect but they have little choice. Even the angels which are made a little higher than man no longer seems to have a choice. That is not a boast for after our deaths, we will not have a choice about sin and salvation either but I trust that God will still leave us as beings of a free will. Yet, having a free will, a choice, is not without responsibility for we must bear the consequences of our choices. This morning, for a moment, let’s discuss choice. I. Choice is given to most every human being. A. Does God give to human beings a choice? The Bible says yes. Jos 24:22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. De 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Isa 56:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; B. I know there are some exceptions. Not everyone gets to make choices. 1. Some people are born and die in infancy or without ever having attained to the place where they know and understand. 2. One of the things that most Baptists believe although there is not a lot of Scriptural evidence for it, is that if a child dies before the age of accountability, the age before they understand the consequence of being lost, they are safe—not saved, but safe. a. Safe means that God will take them to heaven if they die. b. However, that age of accountability is likely much different and much younger than most people think. c. Why? Because at some point, the ignorance and rebellion and of the child comes into play. d. Instead of being a case of them not having had an opportunity it becomes a case of them not wanting to know. 3. However, if a person ever gets to the place where they understand what "no" means and can remember it, they are making choices. a. Might I say, children start making decisions pretty early in life. b. They may not understand the full weight of their choices for a bit longer, but once they understand what no means and can remember being told no, they are making decisions. c. It then becomes the burden of the parent, to help the child to understand what the consequences of their decisions are. d. That is one of the primary jobs of the parent. There are others (providing food, shelter, clothing, safety, and other things as life allows.) C. Not only are there some exceptions to making choices, there are also some limits. 1. In this country, you and I have a great many choices. a. We can decide to go to school; we can decide where we will live, what we will do, what we will eat, where we can work, and on it goes. b. I have a Facebook friend in Russia who does not have all of those choices. The country he lives in limits his choices. 2. People’s health may limit their choices. a. A person’s mobility and ability can limit their choices. b. Our country has made great strides in making places accessible to those with mobility issues, but there are still places not everyone can go. c. And if you if you are mobile if you cannot breathe well, you still cannot do some things. 3. Sad to say but people’s skin color might limit their choices. D. But let’s assume that all those gathered here this morning are blessed with the ability to choose. II. What are some of our choices? A. Going to heaven or hell is our choice. 1. Here is a choice that nothing but ignorance can limit. a. If you don’t know about Jesus, you can’t chose Him. b. One of the reasons some Christians are so pushy in their witness for Jesus is that they want everyone to have a choice. 2. Some things you should know about this choice. a. Going to heaven is better than going to hell. (1) Some seem to have forgotten this. (2) Hell is a place of torment. Lu 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…. (3) Hell is eternal. Re 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: (4) Someone says, "You are just trying to scare us." Some things you need to be scared of. I saw a weather forecaster warning Florida residents about Hurricane Matthew. He was encouraging people to evacuate and said, "If this thing moves 20 miles to the west and you are there, you will die. Your friends and your family will die." He seemed blunt but in his professional opinion the people needed to be scared of what that hurricane could do. b. There are your only two choices: heaven or hell. (1) You can pretend that you will talk God into a third if you want. (2) In fact, you can pretend there is no God, no heaven and no hell. (3) But I will tell you that a child who pretends to be a princess is still just a child pretending. (4) You have a choice, you need to face it squarely. c. If you don’t choose heaven, you do chose hell. (1) Hell is the default choice. Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (2) No action on your part is a choice. d. The only way to choose heaven is to trust Jesus Christ and to surrender to Him. (1) God has made salvation so easy that a child can do it; but adults make it so complicated that few want to do it. (2) You must chose to believe that Jesus is God’s Son, that He came into this world to die for you, that He did die to pay for your sins, and rose on the third day. (3) You must chose to surrender your life to Christ. (a) No one, including God, is expecting perfection—just obedience. (b) You will fail sometimes but God does expect you to seek Him, to work at obeying Him, to turn away from your rebellious life. 3. When you chose salvation, you are making other choices as well. You are also choosing… a. God’s gift over your debt. b. Grace over the law. c. Freedom over bondage. d. Hope over despair. 4. While there is a lot of misinformation about heaven, hell, and salvation, you must find the truth and make a choice. B. Obeying or disobeying is our choice. 1. This choice is really much more important than most people think. a. The choice you make in this matter will influence the choices you make in all other matters. b. It is been my experience that a person who will not obey their parents won’t obey anyone, including God. 2. Just in case you do not know, obedience is usually a better choice than disobedience. a. Usually obeying your parents, laws, police officers, employers, and supervisors is the better course of action. b. It is always better to obey God. No exceptions. 3. What are the advantages of obeying? There are many but some are: a. There is no punishment. (1) God instituted authority. (2) Authority is ordained by God to set boundaries and to enforce those boundaries. (3) Parents, our job is to teach our children what good choices are by setting godly boundaries and then enforcing them with punishments. (a) Punishments include rebuking the children, putting the child in time out, grounding the child, and spanking the child. (b) But there is joy in being the child which has no punishment. (4) Employers have the same obligations but for different purposes. Again, it is good not to be sent home early or have your paycheck docked or be fired. (5) And the government too. b. There is peace. Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; (1) How good it is in the home to have peace. (2) To live in a place where the parents and the children to not yell and scream at one another, where there is genuine joy in coming home and seeing one another. (3) And even more so to obey God. Ps 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. c. There is reward. (1) Granted, most of the time the good ones get overlooked in this life. (2) The good child, employee, and citizen usually get no parades or parties. (3) But God will not overlook them. 4. What does one get for disobedience. They get one short minute of selfish pleasure. Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; a. It matters not whether you are five or fifty. To disobey brings only one reward, a brief time of selfish pleasure. b. Some people are the captain of their own lives. The only problem is their ship is sinking because they knowing drove their ship headlong into a hurricane. c. You can brag all you want about how you… (1) Disobeyed your parents while you stand in the welfare line. (2) Showed that police office you were not afraid of him while they are taking your mug shot. (3) Lived life the way you wanted while the angels of God are casting you into hell. d. And what will be your payment for a life poorly lived and an eternity of eternal torments? (1) You will have your short minute of pleasure. (2) Friend, you need to make wiser choices than to live in the moment of pleasure. There are many other choices that we make and many other truths that I would like to share with you about, but I have chosen to stop at this point. Let me close with these two thoughts: 1. Some choices you only get to make once. I have wondered many times why it is that some people get to hear about Jesus twice before some people get to hear about Him once? If this is the only choice you get to make about Jesus, make sure you make it count. 2. Every choice has to be made for the last time. What’s for dinner tonight? What do you want to watch on TV? Do you want to go for a ride? Maybe you have made those decisions a ten thousand times; but one day, you will make it for the last time. Make sure you can live for eternity with the decisions you make.
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