11 Pentecost Sermon 2019

This morning our text presents us with a choice. Now, this choice is nothing new. In one way or another, we make this choice many times each day. It is the choice between obeying God’s Holy Spirit within us, or obeying our sinful inclinations. As Jesus made His way through the towns and villages of Galilee, He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many will seek to enter and will not be able.”

The time the Hebrews spent in the wilderness after leaving Egypt was all about learning to make “God pleasing” choices rather than “people pleasing” choices.” That is what God taught His people to do as they prepared to enter and take-over the “promised land” under the leadership of Joshua. Joshua encouraged the people to submit to God and obey His commandments. These words of Joshua reflect the choice God expected His people to make: 

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the god of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)

Have you ever wondered why God chose the Hebrews to be His people? The answer is found in Deuteronomy chapter 7: “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath He swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of ‘Pharaoh, King of Egypt.’” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8) God’s people were not chosen because they were special; they were special because they were chosen. 

So it is with you, God’s “New Testament” people. God’s Word says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the wonders of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

We can even go one step further. You are a unique individual, and you are special to God. You were chosen in Christ before this world was even created. Again, we turn to God’s Word. In Ephesians chapter 1 we read, “For He chose you in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined you to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ. In Him you have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” You weren’t chosen because you’re special; you’re special because you have been chosen.

Of all the people in the world, God chose you to be His own. You are God’s chosen child. You can depend on Him and trust Him. When faced with hardships and difficulties, remember you are not alone – God’s Holy Spirit is in you, His holy angels surround you, and God Himself watches over every part of your life

Let’s go back to the choice God placed before His people. We see it expressed several ways, the choosing of good or evil, blessing or curse, life or death. Blessings and good things follow the choice of life; curses and bad things follow the choice of death. Yet, what seems to be a simple choice actually runs much deeper that life and death. The deeper issue is whether or not you trust God. That was Israel’s constant problem, sometimes they turned to other gods. That’s why God warned, “But if your heart turns away and you will not hear me, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, that’s when evil and curses will come.” (Deuteronomy 30:7)

When we make poor choices, we block the joy and blessings that God wants us to experience. But there was one exception to that. Jesus chose suffering and death to pay the debt we owed to God because of our sins. God chose death so that He could destroy death for us forever. Through His resurrection from death and the grave, God has given us life, everlasting life with Him in His Kingdom. 

Because of all that Jesus did for us, this is your assurance: when you choose life, you can depend on and trust God, because of the love He has for you through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior. You can trust God because He promises that nothing can separate you from the love He has for you. You can trust God because He has promised never to leave you or forsake you. You can trust God because He cares about every aspect of your life and everything you do. You can trust God because He loves you – and He has proven His love through His Son Jesus. That was the price God was willing to pay to save you from death and the devil. You are His chosen one!

When you choose to trust God, it can change everything. That trust, or faith becomes evident in the things you say, in the things you do; and in the things you don’t do. Your trust in God can even have an influence on the people you care about.

Please choose wisely! There is one thing I promise you is true – the more time you spend reading God’s Word, the wiser you will become in your choosing. And when faced with a difficult situation, you will find great comfort in trusting God. The strength and power of His blessings will surround you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the House of the Lord, forever! Amen.