Summary: PETECOST 2, YEAR A - A lectionary based sermon which recognizes baptizm and confirmation as the beginning of living with Christ as Lord.
Deut. 11:26 (Deut. 30:19)
Do you have any idea how many choices you made to get here this morning? You had to decide to get out of bed, what you would wear, what to eat for breakfast, and even whether to come to church or not. Our lives are filled with an endless run of choices. There are everyday choices like those you made this morning. Then there are big-time choices like deciding on your education and career, who you will marry, and where you will live. But then there are the ‘once in a life time choices that make all the others pale in comparison. Greg and I have a friend named Anthony who went to see his doctor about his health. Anthony and his doctor knew he had a serious history of heart disease. So his doctor began his consultation by giving Anthony a choice. He asked him, “What kind of coffin do you want?” Now there’s a choice that makes you sit back and think! The doctor then said “Anthony you have only 25% of your heart still functioning- you can either change your lifestyle or die - the choice is yours.” What would you choose? Anthony chose to live - and so he followed his doctors orders and changed his life style. Today in Deuteronomy God gives us the same choice. “Behold I set before you this day a blessing and a curse...” Or as Moses later puts it “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore chose life, that you and your descendants may live...”
Now as far as I know everyone wants the good life, they want to be blessed. We want health, happiness, peace, prosperity. We’ve even made these our constitutional rights. There aren’t too many folks who would say “gee, I think being miserable would be so much better.” So why are there so many miserable situations out there and in our lives. The world promises us so much of the good life- as the advertisers say. There are things in this world money can’t buy, of course for everything else there’s MasterCard at least until you file for bankruptcy. Folks what this really is, is false advertising. The blessings Madison Ave. offers too easily can become a curse. God warns us about following the way that leads to a calamity, but that is not the most important point. God offers us real blessing - real life. So how do we get “the good stuff” the blessing that doesn’t turn to ashes? It is really rather simple and very, very difficult at the same time. It’s this - Obey God! “The blessing shall be yours, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God” There is a direct correlation between doing things God’s way and receiving God’s promises.
Now most of us are focused on the receiving part - Oh yeah, we want the good stuff, we just don’t want to “work for it”. Many couples stand at the altar and joyfully say “I do.” But then they don’t. The idea is supposed to be that when you take that big step you then have to live with the consequences. Every day you are to “live married” or you don’t stay married for long. This is what God is trying to get across. Living the good life is living God’s way. Obedience to all God’s commands, keeping God’s way, doing God’s will is the key to experiencing God’s blessing, God’s intention for good. And that is the hard part. Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God.” Not everyone who says the words finds the life or the blessing. It is only for those who live God’s will who faithfully follow and obey God’s ways, who gain the gift of life God offers. It is not that God wants to punish us if we don’t do it “God’s way.” Rather God wants to give us every help to find the life we are looking for. So God has given us commandments, ordinances and regulations, to direct our lives -for our benefit. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed 1000’s of homes in southern Florida. Yet in one area that looked like a bomb had leveled it there was one house standing among a field of debris. A reporter asked the homeowner why his house had not been blown away. He replied, “I built this house myself. I also built it according to the Florida state building code. When the code called for 2x6 roof trusses, I used 2x6 roof trusses. I was told that a house built to code could withstand a hurricane. And it did.”
Folks there is a code for building a good life, it is called the Word of God. Jesus said those who actually do the will of God are like wise builders. They have a solid foundation for life, real life, because they are building it according to God’s code. God’s commandments. God said, “See I sent before you this day a blessing and a curse.” The choice is ours to make. Today four people among us have chosen the way that promises blessing and grace. They have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. Four people have laid claim to the good life God offers. And now they will have to live by the claim they have made. But all of us, all who claim Jesus Christ as Lord, are challenged to honor the words they say. To acknowledge Jesus as our Lord is to live under his authority, to put our faith into action, and follow our Lord in obedience to God and in service to God’s kingdom. May we all have the wisdom and the strength to live by the choices we have made.