Summary: This sermon focuses on how we live our lives for Christ.
Sacrifices Part 3: Multiple Choice or True/False Christian Living
Last week I shared with you from Psalm 109 where David cried out to God for revenge. At the close of that message, I asked you a question. The question I asked was this: “Can your Christianity (how you live for Christ) be best described as a multiple choice question with one or more answers being correct or as a true or false question with only one answer being correct?” This morning as I continue with this series focusing on our making sacrifices, we will examine the choices we make pertaining to sacrifices. The definition we will use throughout these messages for sacrifice is “the giving up of one thing for the sake of another.”
So let’s talk about the question I asked you to consider. Each of you at some point in time has taken a test for school. The test contained questions that were either essay questions, multiple choice or true and false questions. Right now, as I told you a couple of weeks ago, everything you do matters. Because what you do matters, you are actually writing the answer to the first type of question, the essay question, everyday. The essay question is simple, “Are you really a Christian?” You are writing the answer to that essay question in how you live because everything you do is being recorded in books in heaven. But we will not be focusing on the essay question – we are going to break it down into small segments, where the smaller decisions diverge from God’s word.
Back in school, you took a test containing multiple choice questions. Those tests could have one answer that was correct or multiple answers that were correct for a single question. Depending on the number of choices (A, B, C, D, E), your percentage of getting the answer right (if you were guessing at the answer) was lower. For example, if you had five choices to choose from, you had a 20% chance of getting it right if you had to guest. If you only had three choices, you had a 33% chance of getting it right if you had to guess. Multiple choice questions are hard because if you do not really know the answers, you must guess between several options. But, if you have studied, those tests can be easier because sometimes if you have to guess, as you read the different choices, you might remember something that you may have read that leads you to the correct choice. Now when you took a test with true or false questions, regardless of how you chose your answer, you always had a 50% chance of getting it right if you had to guess. Although true or false questions increase your percentage of getting it right if you had to guess, they are much harder. These tests are harder because if you do not know the answer, you do not get a hint as to what the answer could be as you do when you have multiple choice answers in front of you. With a true or false question, you must know if the statement is true or false and it is equally hard to guess the right answer as guess the wrong if you did not know.
So let me remind you quickly of where I am going with these messages. Last week I gave you an example taken from Matthew 5:38-39. In those verses Jesus speaks of turning the other cheek. I called up Justin to be in my example and then I asked each of you what you were taught growing up about defending yourself. Most of you confirmed that you were taught that if someone hits you, you had the right to hit them back. But it did not stop there; some of you went even further. You said that if you turned the other cheek and then they slapped that one, you were free to give them a beating. You were released to do so because you had actually turned the other cheek and since Jesus did not say what to do if they slapped that one too, it was left open to interpretation. So let’s examine this situation as a multiple choice question and as a true or false question.
Depending on how you understand and view your life as a Christian will determine which question best describes your Christian walk. How you answer the question will be determined by how much you understand God’s word.
Many Christians live their lives for Christ as if being a Christian is a multiple choice question. What do I mean by this? Depending on the situation they find themselves in, they will choose the “best” answer based on what they think is the right thing to do – often not based on God’s teaching, but based on what they really want to do. Then there are Christians who live their lives for Christ as if being a Christian is a true or false question where they know that there is only one right answer or response for the situation they are facing. This person does not look for options or loop holes, but what is the right answer. The common denominator between both types of lives is whether or not a person understands what the right answer is versus guessing what the right answer “should” be. Whether your Christian walk is defined as a multiple choice question or a true or false question it speaks to what is in your heart. Regardless of which way you are currently living, the dangers of knowing the right answer in a situation and choosing the wrong one is very real. As I continue in this sermon series, we will examine some Scriptural references to determine how we are living. Once you understand how you are living, I pray that you will begin to make different choices as you understand what lies before you. Remember, our real sacrifice is choosing Christ’s ways over the world ways. This morning we will look at a few of the Ten Commandments from Exodus chapter twenty and some verses from Matthew chapter five.