Summary: As important as the choice of vocation - education, even the choice of a mate may be, none of these are the greatest choice of all. Life’s greatest choice has to do with our relationship with God.

Sermon Central Contributor Account# 12972

Rev. Wayne A. Lawson, M.Min

First Baptist Church

Ardmore, OK

(Preached Sunday August 14, 2005)

Scripture: Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Title: A Today Only Offer

One of my favorite books is a Thesaurus. I ordinarily keep a Thesaurus handy in my preparations for school assignments – Bible study – lectures – sermon preparation. Many of you probably have your dusty little paperback thesaurus from your college days. I need not tell you that with modern technology – various computer software packages have a thesaurus feature. What I like about – a thesaurus is the fact that it gives you choices. If you find yourself stuck using the same word, over and over, or want a different word to make a point, you go to your thesaurus to give you options. For example, if I’m composing a sermon and find myself with a sentence like, "GOD IS THE GREAT GOD WHO SPOKE ALL THINGS INTO EXISTENCE FOR GOD’S PLEASURE,” - I might want to find some other words for God to make that sentence say something easier to understand. The thesaurus provides me with very interesting choices: DEITY – DIVINE BEING – DIVINITY – ALLAH – ALMIGHTY – HEAVENLY FATHER – LORD – SUPREME BEING – EFFIGY – IMAGE. So, I can make a selection from that list and fix my somewhat awkward sentence to say, "GOD IS THE SUPREME BEING WHO SPOKE ALL THINGS INTO EXISTENCE FOR HIS DIVINE PLEASURE.” Choices are great!

Life has been defined as the sum total of all of a person’s choices. From the cradle to the grave, we are faced with many important decisions--the choice of friends, the choice of a career, the choice of a college, and a thousand other things. No, we don’t choose to be born or who our parents will be. We don’t choose to die; nor do we choose the circumstances of our death. But as Joseph Epstein stated: "We do choose how we will live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or adrift.

· We decide what is important and what is trivial in life

· We decide what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do

· We decide - We choose

· As we decide and choose, so are our lives formed

· We make our choices and then our choices make us

· Our choices produce acts which produce character

· Character eventually becomes permanent

This morning, we are going to consider life’s greatest choice. As important as the choice of vocation - education, even the choice of a mate may be, none of these are the greatest choice of all. Life’s greatest choice has to do with our relationship with God. That choice is made first of all when you come to grips with one question: “What will you do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” This is life’s greatest choice because it doesn’t just affect us in this lifetime -- it affects us for eternity.

I want you to notice some things about this choice. First, it is a choice every person has to make. The verb "choose" is an imperative. It is a command that cannot be avoided. Remember that Joshua was a military commander. He was accustomed to giving orders and having people respond immediately. In this passage of scripture, he is not making a request that the people can accept or reject. He is giving an order. They have no choice at this particular time but to choose. They must decide.

The people of Israel were required to make a choice. They were summoned to Joshua and he recited for them the history of God’s dealing with them beginning with Abraham and continuing through the bondage of Egypt - the Exodus with its trials and set-backs - and to that very moment. God had blessed them – guided them – protected them – provided for them. Now the ball was in their court. How would they choose in reference to God? Joshua set a clear Mandate before them, saying, VS. 14-15 -- “NOW, THEREFORE, FEAR THE LORD AND SERVE HIM IN SINCERITY AND TRUTH; AND PUT AWAY THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED BEYOND THE RIVER AND IN EGYPT, AND SERVE THE LORD. AND IF IT IS DISAGREEABLE IN YOUR SIGHT TO SERVE THE LORD, CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES TODAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE: WHETHER THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED WHICH WERE BEYOND THE RIVER, OR THE GODS OF THE AMORITES IN WHOSE LAND YOU ARE LIVING: BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”

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