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Summary: Part 4 of study of Philippians

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THE PASTOR’S POINTS

Bible Teaching Ministry of

CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH

Thomasville, NC

Dr. Russell Brownworth, Pastor

The challenge of Christian decision-making

Philippians 1.22b

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What shall I choose? Have you ever been faced with choices? None of us have any choice about being born, the family we have, or the era in which we live. The choosing begins with how we will use the circumstances we inherit.

In 1784 Ben Franklin wrote to his daughter expressing his disappoint-ment at the poor choice the American government had made in selecting the eagle as our national symbol; Ben wanted the TURKEY!

(I’M SO GLAD THEY DIDN’T LISTEN!)

Some choices carry greater conse-quences than others. A student nurse came into the hospital room to give her 79-year-old patient a shot. She asked him, "Which hip do you want the shot?" Said he, "YOURS, HONEY!"

Choosing is important in the Christian life. Alaska’s highway is well-known for its primitive roads, and the long, lonely stretches. A sign located at the beginning of one such stretch reads:

CHOOSE YOUR RUT CAREFULLY...YOU’LL BE IN IT FOR THE NEXT 200 MILES!

Paul had a hard choice in front of him. He was languishing in a Roman prison - a dark, dirty, sickening place. His circumstance of life was appalling. He certainly wished for release (nobody likes prison). But he had a choice that took precedence - should he just sit back and wait to die (at least he’d be with Jesus - that was preferable in Paul’s eyes.) Or should he remind God how useful he could be for the furtherance of the ministry? This was a trying decision.

And we face many decisions about family, job, relationships. We (like Paul) want to make sound decisions, Christian decisions - choices that will be good for our welfare, and pleasing in God’s sight. The question before the house today is,

HOW CAN I MAKE SOUND, CHRISTIAN DECISIONS?

The answer to that question is found in Paul’s diatribe, as in a brief question and answer session he uncovers for us four FACTORS that influence Christian decision-making. The decision that you make is determined by:

What You Want

Philippians 1.22-25

Paul knew what he wanted. Whether in prison or free, he wanted to please God. He chose Jesus in everything. The question becomes, "Do you want Jesus, and the life He offers?"

C.S. Lewis, in "Mere Christianity," wrote: "...every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heavenly creature or into a hellish creature..."

Here is the lesson about choosing - When you choose Christ first, you begin to know Christlikeness firsthand. I often pattern my prayer after Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, "Lord, I want to be more like you when I make choices - NOT MY WILL, FATHER, YOURS!" The reality is that when you begin to want Jesus, you will begin to want to BE like Jesus, and decisions will be more like Jesus makes!


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