Summary: This sermon emphasizes the individual's responsibility to choose to follow Christ -- today.


A. The Context

Moses led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land about forty years before. At that time the people rejected God’s promise and they refused to go on. So they all died in the desert. An entire generation of rebellious adults died. All but Joshua and Caleb. They were the only ones who urged the people to enter the land.

B. The Ceremony

This time Moses wanted to prepare the people to enter the land. He gave them directions for a ceremony they would perform once they entered the land. About half of the groups would stand on Mount Gerzim and pronounce blessings on those who obeyed God’s law. The other half of the groups would stand on Mount Ebal and pronounce curses on those who disobeyed God’s law. The priests would stand in the middle holding the Ark of the Covenant that contained the Ten Commandments. Joshua would read the law of God and the people would respond.

C. But Moses didn’t want the people to wait until that ceremony to commit themselves to living for God. He challenged them to choose immediately. Listen to what he said to them.

DT 30:11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. [12] It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" [13] Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" [14] No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

[15] See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. [16] For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

[17] But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, [18] I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

[19] This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live [20] and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

D. This life-or-death-call to choose resounds through the whole Bible.

 Several years later as Joshua challenged God’s people with these words: (Joshua 24) [14] "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. [15] But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

THE CHOICE IS YOURS! The people chose to follow God.

 When a rich young man came to Jesus seeking peace with God, (Mark 10:21) [21] Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

THE CHOICE IS YOURS! The young man left in sorrow because he would not let go of his stuff.

 At another time in Jesus’ life, hundreds of his followers deserted him because of his teaching. (John 6) [60] On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" [66] From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. [67] "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

THE CHOICE IS YOURS! [68] Simon Peter answered (Jesus), "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. [69] We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

 In fact the last book of the Bible closes with an invitation. (Revelation 22:17) [17] …Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

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