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The Gift Of Choice

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2020 8:00 am

The Gift Of Choice

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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October 7, 2020 8:00 am

Choice is a gift God has given all of us.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ.

There's very few things that can compare to the gift that God has given every human being. The gift to choose. You can choose the broad way.

You can choose the narrow way. You can choose to serve the Lord. You can choose not to serve the Lord. You can choose to say you're going to serve the Lord and then choose not to serve the Lord. He will let you. You see, you can choose to live in the Promised Land or you can choose to live in Sodom.

That's your choice. One of the greatest gifts God ever gave. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt.

Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. Abel and Cain, both sons of Adam and Eve. Abel chooses God. Cain chooses murder.

And God lets him. Abraham and Lot, both pilgrims in the land of Canaan. Abraham chooses God.

Lot chooses Sodom. And God lets him. David and Saul, both kings of Israel. David chooses God and Saul chooses power. And God lets him. Peter and Judas, both deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter chooses mercy.

Judas chooses death. And God lets him. In every age of history and virtually on every page of scripture, there is this truth that is revealed. God allows us.

To make our own choices. Open your Bibles to Matthew Chapter seven. The last of the Sermon on the Mount. Verse 13. Jesus is speaking to the crowd. We're so familiar with our Lord. I mean, we just sung that he was born to die. To take the fall for us. But in the interim, in his ministry, he reveals himself over and over and over again to his culture. For one reason.

So that they have the opportunity to choose him. Or not. And so in the Sermon on the Mount in verse 13. Jesus says this, enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to the destruction. And many are those who enter through it. He said for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are only a few that find it.

He sort of sets the parameters but notice what he does. He implores the listeners to enter. Please enter. Please choose. Choose. He says no, you have to understand only a few will choose to go through the narrow gate. Many will choose the wide gate that leads to the destruction.

But they all get to choose. Verse 24. He says therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who has built his house on a rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against the house and yet it did not fall for it had been founded on a rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who has built his house on sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house and it fell.

And great was its fall. Jesus said here go my words. Here they are. Now choose. Choose. If you choose to act upon my words you'll be a wise man. You'll be like someone who built his house on rock, on bedrock.

And no matter what kind of storm came it held. But if you choose to reject my words then you'll be like a foolish man. Choose.

You choose. It's not just a New Testament phenomenon. Turn with me back to the book of Joshua. Right at the last chapter of the book of Joshua. Joshua chapter 24. Verse 15. Joshua speaking he said if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve him choose for yourselves today.

Hey if you don't want to do this choose. He said if it's disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. Whether the gods which your father served which are beyond the river.

Or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my house I choose to serve the Lord. Joshua understood it choose.

In fact by the way it even gets more intriguing. Verse 21 the people said to Joshua no but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said to the people you are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen yourselves the Lord to serve him. And they said we are witnesses. Now therefore put away the foreign gods which are in your midst and incline your hearts to the Lord God of Israel. And the people said to Joshua we will serve the Lord our God and we will obey his voice. They said they chose. But by the way when you read the rest of the story it chose not to. And by the way God let them. And by the way it is with you and with me God let you.

There's very few things that can compare to the gift that God has given every human being. The gift to choose. Choose. You can choose the broad way.

You can choose the narrow way. You can choose to serve the Lord. You can choose not to serve the Lord. You can choose to say you're going to serve the Lord and then choose not to serve the Lord.

He will let you. You can choose to follow God or you can choose to murder your brother. You see you can choose to live in the promised land or you can choose to live in Sodom.

That's your choice. One of the greatest gifts God ever gained. But there's no place in the Bible that you find more impact about this particular choice than in Matthew 27. Would you turn with me now to Matthew 27.

Verse 27. And then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and they gathered the whole Roman cohort around him and they stripped him. And they put a scarlet robe on him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns they put it on his head. And with a reed in his right hand they knelt down before him and they mocked him saying, Hail, king of the Jews.

And they spit on him. And they took the reed and they began to beat him on the head. And after they had mocked him they took the scarlet robe off him and put his own garments back on him and they led him away to crucify him. And as they were coming out they found a man of Cyrene named Simon whom they pressed into service to bear his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull, they gave him wine and drink mixed with gall and after tasting it he was unwilling to drink. And when they had crucified him they divided up his garments among themselves casting lots. And sitting down they began to keep watch over him there. And above his head they put a charge against him which read, This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.

And then an interesting part of the story. And at that time two robbers were crucified with him. One on the right and one on the left. Do you ever wonder why two? Do you ever wonder why he wasn't just crucified alone? I mean his crime was unique. Did you ever wonder why he wasn't crucified with six or ten?

By the way, normally the Romans crucified a lot of people at a time. Did you ever wonder why two? Have you ever given it a thought? Did you ever wonder why he wasn't behind door number one or door number three? And why he had to be in door number two? Why is he crucified in the middle? Why is there one robber on his right and one robber on his left? Have you ever thought about that?

Could it be that he's in the center to symbolize one of the greatest gifts God has ever given to human beings? The gift to choose. See, the criminals, they had things in common, obviously. They're both found guilty of their crimes. They're both condemned to die.

They're both surrounded by the same crowd and they're both exposed to the same Savior. Notice then, it says, And those passing by were hurling abuse at him and wagging their heads and saying, You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself if you are the Son of God. Come down from the cross.

And in the same way, the chief priests also, along with the scribes and the elders, were mocking him and saying, He saved others. He cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel. Let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him. He trusts in God.

Let God rescue him now if he delights in him. For he said, I am the Son of God. And the robbers who had been crucified with him were insulting him with the same words. So everybody is choosing to abuse and mock him. The Romans are abusing him. The crowd is abusing him. The chief priests, the scribes, the elders, they're all abusing him. And by the way, so are the two guys getting crucified with him.

They're abusing him. Anybody has chosen to abuse the Son of God as he hangs on the cross. Now let's go to Luke chapter 23 and pick up the story.

Verse 32 of Luke 23. Two others also who were criminals were being led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to a place called the Skull where they crucified him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. And they cast lots dividing up as garments among themselves.

And the people stood by looking on. Even the rulers were sneering at him saying, He saved others, let him save himself. If this is the Christ of God, his chosen one. The soldiers also mocked him, coming up to him and offering him sour wine and saying, If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself. Now, he says, there was also an inscription above him, this is the king of the Jews. And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at him saying, Are you not the Christ?

Save yourself and us. But the other answered, rebuking him and said, Do you not even fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly. We are receiving what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. And he was saying, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

And he said to him, Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise. Wow. Two guys. Even started out at the same place, they were hurling abuse. And then somewhere in this process, one of them made a choice.

In fact, both of them did. And he made a choice and he says to Jesus, he prays to him in a sense, Lord, remember me. I'm getting what I deserve, but please remember me. And you know the story and he gets all of the attention. I mean, he's almost like the celebrity criminal. But what about the other guy?

How much attention does he get? He's hanging on a cross. He's making a choice. One is saved miraculously.

The other is condemned eternally. Why not both? I mean, why didn't he just say both? I mean, wouldn't that be a better story?

It wouldn't. You see, why wouldn't you say both of them? I mean, after all, isn't that what he came to do? He came to save the lost, to seek out and save the lost. Well, there they are.

Seek them out and I'll save them. I mean, you know, when I know Luke 15, Jesus gives a whole series of parables and he talks about a lost sheep and a lost coin and a lost son. And boy, that shepherd, he left the 99 behind and he went and he got that lost sheep. And that woman, she swept and swept and swept until she found that lost coin. Oh yeah, but by the way, the father of the prodigal didn't go anywhere.

He didn't do anything. He just waited for a choice. You see, the sheep was lost innocently. The coin was likely lost irresponsibly.

That's how sheep are lost and coins are lost. But the prodigal, he was lost intentionally, willfully. He chose to be lost.

It was different for him. And so his father gave him a choice. Could he have stayed in the land after he squandered it and lived terribly? Yes. Could he have chose never to come back?

Yes, he could have. The father gives him this great gift of choice. Do you realize in many areas of your life you don't get a choice? Nobody asks you. I mean, you don't get a choice of your gender.

I mean, in our world you can sort of fake that. But you don't get that choice. You don't get a choice of your IQ. You don't get that choice. You don't get the choice of your place of birth. You don't get to choose your parents. You don't get to choose your siblings. In fact, in the Word of God, you don't ever even get to choose whether you'll ever sin or not.

Because you will. Don't say for a moment, well, that's not fair. That's not fair then. Well, the fairness issue was settled completely in Eden. They had a choice.

And they made it. But ever since then, just think of how wonderful the grace of God is. Any injustice in this world, any sinful act in this world is offset by the privilege of getting to choose the destiny for the next world. Anything you've ever done is offset by the choice that God gives you of where you're going to spend eternity.

And it's a choice. And the thieves on the cross, they have it. You see, that's the grace of God. Isn't that a wonderful thing? No matter how much you've failed, no matter how you've fouled your life up, no matter how many bad choices you've made, just like a thief on a cross, you can actually pray to the Lord, remember me.

They're all erased. Just think if it was the opposite, by the way. And that is you get to choose everything in this life. It's all you.

But you don't have any choice in where you go for the next one. I mean, if I could choose anything in this life, everything, man, just think, what would you choose? Handsome. Choose to be handsome. Tall. Thin. Musically inclined.

Fast metabolism. I mean, if we could make all those choices, we would. But we don't get those.

But we do get to choose about the next world. You see, look at that text. He said, indeed, we are suffering justly, we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. And he was saying, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And he said to him, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.

Wow. I mean, what do we know about this guy? Well, I know one thing, he made a lot of bad choices in his life.

That's pretty clear. That's usually how you end up on a cross. I'm guessing he likely hung out with the wrong crowd. I'm pretty sure he had the wrong morals.

I'm certain he had the wrong behavior. In fact, I bet his life was a litany of bad choices. But he made one choice. This one. And he gets to spend all eternity celebrating that choice.

Isn't that an amazing thing? Ten thousand bad choices ending up getting crucified. One choice on the cross.

And he's dancing today. The grace of God. You see, we'd want to say, no, no, he has to spend all eternity dealing with the consequences of all of his bad choices.

No, not at all. That's why he called paradise. Jesus says he's celebrating on the basis of one choice. See, the gift of choosing, but think about it in this one sense. One choice overcomes ten thousand bad ones. That's the grace of God and the gift of choice. Turn with me to John chapter three, verse sixteen. Why does God give us the gift of choice? He says, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him, whoever chooses. That's why he did it.

I love them so much, I'll give them a choice. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Verse eighteen, he who believes in him is not judged. He who does not believe in him is judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son. In fact, verse thirty-six, the last verse of that chapter. He who believes in his son has eternal life.

But he who does not obey the son will not see life, but the wrath of God will abide on him. It's a choice. One of the greatest gifts God has ever given human beings. The gift of choice. He lets you choose. And Jesus even tells us, by the way, when it all comes down to it, most people will choose not me.

It's broad. Few will choose me, but everyone gets to choose. It's the greatness of the choice. See, of all the things we are thankful to God for, I am so thankful for the ability to choose.

Not just choose Jesus Christ, but choose to live life as Jesus says abundantly. It's a choice. You see, the quality of your marriage, it's a choice. You make choices. See, the amount of joy and happiness, the amount of peace and hope in your life, it's a choice. You can choose to have it or you can choose not to.

And by the way, don't we know so many people that choose misery? They choose it. And God lets them. Because of the gift of choice. How can two men see the same Jesus and one chooses to mock him and the other chooses to pray to him? I don't know.

But they did. And when the one prayed, Jesus loved him enough to save him. And when the other mocked, Jesus loved him enough to let him. He allows the choice.

He does the same for you. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word, 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word, 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana, 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website, fbcnola.org.

That's fbcnola.org. At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online. Or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is fbcnola.org. For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-23 00:05:31 / 2024-02-23 00:14:13 / 9

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