Summary: What is eternal life? Most would say, “Living forever.” The only thing wrong with that is some are so miserable right now that the idea of existing forever is eternal misery. What is eternal life? It is knowing God; it is knowing Jesus Christ.
Life is full of choices and today I want to talk to you about “Life’s Greatest Choice.” When I was growing up in south Alabama you went down to the local drugstore if you wanted ice cream, but you only had three choices: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Today we live in a Baskin & Robbins society where people walk into an ice cream store and can’t even decide because there are so many choices! When I was a kid there were only three channels on television: ABC, NBC, or CBS. Today it is amazing how many channels there are, and they keep on adding!
When I was a kid, you had only one long-distance service. It was just called “long-distance.” And today there are a lot of different options and choices. Life is full of important choices. You are going to choose where you live; you will choose if you’re going to marry and to whom you will be married to; you will choose some kind of career; and those choices involve commitments. Maybe you’ve heard the story about the man who was performing a marriage ceremony. A preacher and the bride and groom were standing there and the preacher said to the groom, “Do you promise you’ll take her for better and for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health?” And the groom thought for a moment and said, “Yes. No. Yes. No. No. Yes.” That’s not commitment. Choices involve commitment.
The big choices in life are ones you’d better pay attention to. Awhile back, there was a time management consultant speaking to a group of CEOs about managing their time. To illustrate his point, he had a large clear Plexiglas container and he placed several large rocks in it until he couldn’t fit another large rock in there, I guess there were 6 or 7 large rocks in there. Then he turned to the CEOs and asked, “Is the container full?” They answered, “Yes,” and the consultant said, “Not quite.” Then he poured pea gravel in until it was full to the top. He asked, “Now. Is the container full?” They said, “Yeah,” and he said, “Not quite.” He then took very find sand, and poured it into the container. It was amazing how much sand he could get in there. He filled the sand right up to the top and said, “Now. Is the container full?” By now, everyone figured out where he was going so nobody said yes. And he said, “You’re right.” Then he took a pitcher of water and he poured it into the container and it was amazing how much water went in there! He then asked, “What is the lesson that we’re learning about time management?” And a number of the CEO’s immediately said, “Well, this teaches us that no matter how busy you are, no matter how full you think your schedule is, there is always room for something else.” The consultant said “Absolutely wrong! You’ve missed the whole point.” The point of this lesson is this: “Unless you put the big rocks in first, you never can fit them in.” In your life and in my life, there are some big choices. There are some big rocks we’d better put in our lives and pay attention to because if we don’t pay attention to these big decisions, we’ll never have room for them again. And, I suppose the greatest choice you’ll ever make in your life is “What are you going to do with Jesus Christ?” “What are you going to do about your relationship to God?”
Now Romans 6:23 is one of the most evangelistic verses in all the Bible because it tells the person simply how to be saved, to become a Christian, how to go from East Texas to heaven, how to go from a miserable life to an abundant life. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Has anybody ever read that and wondered why it’s not grammatically correct? It should read “The wages of sin are death,” right? But no, this is correct, and I’ll show you why it is correct in a moment.
I. THE PAYCHECK WE HAVE EARNED: DEATH
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” These are two contrasting truths. First of all, look at the bad news. Here’s the thing we need to understand. Number one: We need to talk about the paycheck we have earned and that paycheck is death. Now you all understand “paychecks.” You understand “wages.” You understand about “getting a salary,” getting paid for work you have performed. That’s something you’ve “earned.”
Death = Eternal separation from God
The Bible says because I am a sinner, and because every one of you in this room is a sinner by nature and by choice, you have earned something because of your sinfulness and that is the paycheck of death. So you say, “Well okay. I’m going to die–big deal. Everybody’s going to die.” But that’s not the kind of death that it’s talking about. It’s not talking about just physical death – kicking the bucket – it’s not talking about expiring, it’s talking about spiritual death. Do you know what death means here? It means eternal separation from God. The Bible calls that place “hell.”