Summary: Do we have a choice or is everything that happens according to God’s plan? Using the 1975 movie "The Stepford Wives" as an illustration, this sermon deals with free will.
God Doesn’t Want Us To Be Stepford Children
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
There are a few words I want you to notice in our Bible passage.
In Verse 2, it says: be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
In Verse 3, it says: not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly,
These words encourage us to use our brains.
God’s word tells us to "think".
Have you ever heard someone say
"That child has a mind of his own!"
What does that mean?
It means that child thinks for himself.
You can’t easily make him do things!
He makes his own choices!
He doesn’t always do what we want him to do!
God is omnipotent (all-powerful),
and omniscient (all-knowing).
God knows everything!
He knows what has, and what will, happen in any circumstance.
Nothing ever happens that surprises God!
Some Christians believe that everything is ’God ordained’.
They claim that God has our lives mapped out for us.
He knows what we are going to do before we do it!
Therefore, we really have no choice in the matter.
If that’s true,
did Judas Iscariot have any choice when he betrayed Jesus?
Or was he a helpless victim of the plan God had for his life?
Are we nothing more than actors on a stage?
Do we merely speak words from a scripted written by God?
Do we merely follow the actions of a God-authored play?
Remember the movie "The Stepford Wives"?
I’ve written a summary of that movie.
The Stepford Wives is a 1975 movie based on a novel by Ira Levin. The story involves the married men of the fictional town of Stepford, Connecticut and their flattering, submissive, well-dressed, impossibly beautiful wives. The central character is Joanna Eberhart, a talented photographer who reluctantly moves from New York City with her husband and children. Walter is an attorney who takes to his new environment with real enthusiasm and joins the local Men’s Association, headquartered in a large mansion. It is headed by "Dizz" Wellington who had formerly worked at Disneyland. Joanna, on the other hand, finds that Stepford is just a bit too quiet and well-groomed for her taste. She is taken aback by the aggressively cheerful and servant-like attitude the women of the community.
A notable exception is Bobbi Markowitz , a woman who displays a lack of enthusiasm for housework. Joanna and Bobbi become close friends. Bobbi, her husband, and children had moved to Stepford only a month before. Like Joanna, Bobbi is disturbed by what she sees in the women of Stepford.
The Bible teaches that we do have a choice!
We can choose to believe (have faith) that there is a God.
He gives us the freewill to worship Him.
He gives us the freewill to try and live a holy life.
He also gives us the freewill to reject Him, to mock him,
and to turn away from Him.
The first example in the Bible about freewill being exercised
is the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall.
Genesis 2:16-17 says:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Is God giving Adam and Eve a choice to make here?
Genesis 3:6 says: So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Eve exercised free will by refusing to accept God’s command!
Adam exercised his freewill when he listed to his wife.
Adam chose to disobey God.
Turn now to Genesis 4:6-10 So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?" 10 And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.