Summary: This sermon gives 4 reasons why it is wise to choose to live life God’s way.
January 21, 2001 Deuteronomy 30:11-20
“Choose New Life”
This morning, I made a choice. I chose to heed the warning of the alarm clock and get out of bed. Then, I chose what clothes to put on for the day. I chose what to eat for breakfast or whether or not to eat breakfast at all. I chose to leave a little earlier than I normally do so that I could be here when our guests for the day arrived at the church. This day has already been filled with choices. This afternoon, Jeff, Melva and their daughters are going to join my family and me as we go out to eat together. We will choose what restaurant we are going to; we will choose to sit in the “no smoking” section when we are asked; and we will choose who is going to sit where at the table – which you know can be a real chore whenever you have a large group of people together. The men want to sit near each other so that they can talk, the women want to sit near each other so they can talk, and both kids want to sit next to momma because they so love her company. Once we have those difficult choices settled and have overcome that minor crisis, we will sit down to the table and have to make a choice about what we are going to drink. On a cold day like today, I’ll probably choose decaf coffee. But if my mouth is really dry like it is many times after I speak on Sunday morning, I might choose instead to have a tall refreshing glass of Coke. Then, after that decision is made, I pick up the menu. Do I want the beef stroganoff, the blackened salmon, the medium rare ribeye steak, or do I want to go healthy and just get a salad? Naw, let’s tack on the fat, the cholesterol and the taste! You only live once, right. Might as well live it to the fullest.
That brings us to our topic for today. Moses was nearing the end of his term in office as the leader of the nation of Israel much like President Clinton ended his term this past Friday. And like President Clinton, Moses had some parting words that he needed to pass on to the people. These people were at the brink of the promised land. They were poised and ready to go in and take it for their own. But they like their fathers had to make a decision about whether or not they were going to follow God’s way and live or follow their own way and die. Their fathers had chosen badly. They paid the consequences. They died in the wilderness. Moses told them to learn from the mistakes of their fathers and to choose life. Live life to its fullest. Wring every drop of preciousness out of it. Take every second, use it for God, and reap the rewards for doing so.
Already today, you too have made many choices. The wisest one you made was to be here today. I commend you for that. There are many people who did not make that choice and are still home in bed. It is good that you made the choice to meet with God’s people to worship Him. As we go through this passage of the Bible this morning, you are going to have to make some other choices. You are going to have to choose whether or not you are going to listen – both to me and to God’s Spirit. I believe that He is going to say some things to some people here this morning. He’s going to convict some people about some bad choices they have made in the past, maybe the recent past. He’s going to remind some people about some choices that they have made but have failed to follow through on. He‘s going to show some people that choices they have made have caused them to establish wrong priorities and that they need to reassess those choices. And He may even cause someone to make a choice to follow Christ for the very first time.
Moses came to the Israelites and told them, “Choose life!” I come to you this morning, several thousand years and later and say the same message, “Choose life!” But why should you? I want to give you four reasons why you should choose life for yourself. Turn with me to Deuteronomy 30:11-20.
1. Choose life because it is available. (vs. 11-14)
In these verses, Moses talks about two potential roadblocks that someone might throw up as to why they could never choose to follow God and for that reason could never choose life. Roadblock number 1 is that it is too difficult to know what God’s requirements on me are. Jeff, I need your help up here for a few minutes. [have Jeff Clark come up on the stage. Make sure that he brings a balloon and his pump with him] Hand me that balloon for just a minute. Now, I’m going to put a rolled up piece of paper in this balloon. Let’s say that this paper represents a message from God concerning what I need to do in order to choose life. Instead of a message in a bottle, I have a message in a balloon. Now that this paper is in the balloon, I can’t reach my finger down in there to get it out. The only way that I’m going to be able to get it out is to have Jeff blow it up. I know Jeff, that you normally use a pump to blow up these balloons, but I want you to do this one with just that hot air of yours. [have him attempt it] Was it difficult? Next to impossible. [if the attempt was successful, then say] Jeff managed to be able to do this, but most any of the rest of us would not have been able. So the message is still unknown to me because it was too difficult to blow up the balloon. It’s still a secret. Roadblock #2 [if the balloon still needs inflating, have Jeff inflate it with the pump] It’s out of my reach. When I was a kid, I always hated the game of keep-away. Jeff, hold that balloon as high as you can. Now, the balloon is blown up so the message could be read if I just had the balloon and could pop it, but the balloon is too high up. It’s out of my reach. There’s a gap between me and it, because Jeff is tall, and as you are all aware, I am not. I can’t get to where Jeff is – I can’t grow anymore. What is going to have to happen in order for me to get a hold of that balloon and the message inside? Jeff is going to have to lower his arm, bring the balloon down from where it is and give me the message. [allow Jeff to sit down]