Summary: The entry points of faith, the results of the faith choice, and the solid and enduring life that is built on faith.
Options, choices, alternative, opportunities! The richness of life is found in these. Part of what makes a trip to the ice cream shop a delight is choosing between cinnamon drop vanilla, chocolate fudge swirl, and oreo crunch mint for your ice cream cone.
Everyone of us makes dozens of choices everyday. Most are routine; which clothes, which cereal, coffee or tea. But some of our choices have the potential to be life-changing. Often we cannot imagine how today’s choice will affect tomorrow. Toss a small stone into a pond. What happens? Ripples spread across the surface of the water from the place where the stone splashed into it.
Our decisions have that kind of ripple effect in our lives and those who live around us.
The central truth of this message is: The choice of obedience to the will of God has eternal consequences.
In the Scripture text this morning, Jesus talks about choices and consequences.
Turn with me to Matthew 7.
2 Gates, 2 Trees, 2 Foundations
[ read 7:13-27 ] [ PRAY ]
All choices have a beginning, an entry point that shapes the process. For those of us who would be followers of Jesus, the beginning point of our decision-making must be our willingness to enter,
to embrace the will of God in our daily choices.
By the will of God I am not so much speaking about the specifically revealed daily plan of action as much as I am speaking of our overall moral framework. We must decide clearly whether we regard our life as belonging to us alone or to God as Lord and Master. Jesus calls on us to understand if we declare Him Lord certain choices and/or options in our life will be limited by that decision.
He uses a powerful illustration of this truth.
In the time that Jesus spoke these words cities depended on walls for defense against invaders. Each night the wide city gates that allowed passages of carts and large numbers of people were closed. Inset in the large gate or to one side of the gate was a narrow door that allowed passage of a single person at a time. That gate was guarded and only those who were known to be inhabitants of the city were allowed in.
Are you entering the narrow gate of obedience to the will of God?
Such a question goes directly against our cherished American ideal of unlimited personal freedom. We value personal choice in every area of life - in ways that become ridiculous.
∙ Conceive a child at an inconvenient time in life? Exercise your freedom, your right, to end the pregnancy.
∙ Want a sexual experience that is not available in your marriage? As long as nobody gets hurt, go for it!
Everyone talks about their rights, but few are discussing their responsibilities. The idea of sacrifice of self for the greater good of a family, a community, a church, or even God is not a popular idea today. Many people’s highest goal in life is simply to be happy at a given moment in time.
Even serving God is being turned into a deal-making proposition. Many people think,
"OK, I do what God wants me to God as long as I feel that there is a direct benefit in it for me."