INTRO: I could probably be called a worrier! I prefer, though, to think of myself as honestly concerned. And, while it may sound trite, I worry about us! I feel great care for the people of this church. And I am truly concerned for the church of our Lord. One of my concerns, cares or, if you prefer, worries has to do with the way we make our decisions. The reason for my concern is that it seems that more and more of our decisions are made in favor of the world.
I. SOME WAYS WE SEEM TO MAKE DECISIONS ...
A. On the basis of personal taste/desire
1. I like this, and Im going to do it.
2. and this is o.k. if there is no spiritual issue
3. Gen 3:6 there was a spiritual issue she ignored in favor of desire
B. On the basis of convenience
1. here is the path of least resistance
2. no doubt, this is often an attractive choice
3. Gen 37:20-22,29ff there was an issue of right and wrong which Reuben ignored ... and went along
C. On the basis of emotion, feeling
1. follow your heart, is the advice we hear
2. so many decisions are made in this way
3. 1 Ki 11:1,2 a spiritual issue was compromised, violated by feelings ... great harm followed
D. On the basis of popularity
1. oh, you have to do this to be popular, in
2. 1 Ki 12:19,20 Jeroboam, the popular king ... note vv.26-29 - popularity led him to bad decisions with spiritual impact
3. fact: popularity can be fleeting - maintaining popularity can be costly (Gal 1:10b)
E. On the basis that every one does it
1. the majority cant be wrong
2. oh, but how wrong, the everyone can be! (crucify Him - Mt 27:20-23
3. right and wrong, where spiritual and moral values are concerned, are decided by God - note by majorities, legislation, monarchs, dictators
4. and we are so group conscious that the idea of going it alone is repugnant to us
5. Ex 23:2a has become a great admonition to me
F. On the basis of ignorance
1. I didnt know that
2. 1 Tim 1:13 I expect a great many choices are made in ignorance ... but can we be indifferent about knowing since so many life decisions are not matters of indifference?
3. Acts 17:30 with Ps 25:4,5
G. On the basis of thoughtlessness
1. I just wasnt thinking
2. lifes decisions are too critical to our present and future not to think through them
3. Ps 90:12 this is the answer to thoughtlessness
II. IN OUR DECISIONS, CHOICES ...
A. Are we educated, informed by the word?
1. or do we immediately plead ignorance and choose?
2. Ps 73:22-24 let God do the guiding!
B. Do we consider that we are Gods children?
1. or does that even occur to us?
2. Rom 8:14,16,29 His children are supposed to be acting like Jesus!
C. Do we even think of the spiritual side of our choices?
1. is it possible we are just worldly people?
2. consider Rom 6:10-12,16
D. Do we consider the power of our influence?
1. if we make an unwise spiritual, moral decision, how many others will be affected?
2. Rom 14:7!!
CLOSE: I implore that all of us think carefully in the decisions and choices of each day. Do our decisions and choices bring us closer to God?
Cecil A. Hutson
21 May 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)