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Free to Choose, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2021 8:00 am

Free to Choose, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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May 12, 2021 8:00 am

Freedom of choice is a gift of God and it’s a wonderful thing! But Dr. Tony Evans says it has a tendency to backfire on us when we don’t use it properly. Join him as he’ll talk about the trouble we get into when we cling to our rights and use them all wrong.

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You and I have been given the freedom to choose. The freedom to choose for God or the freedom to choose against God. Dr. Tony Evans explains why the world doesn't work like it was created to work.

In giving mankind choice, evil was made possible, but men make it actual. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. The Lord created each of us with the freedom to choose. Today, Dr. Evans explores how our choices actually have an impact on how God chooses to respond to us, individually and collectively. He draws today's lesson from the book of Deuteronomy.

Let's join him. When God created mankind, He gave him a will with a capacity to choose. Like a football field that has lines that do not move, that you cannot cross without a whistle being blown, there are sovereign boundaries.

But within those boundaries, teams can make choices about the play they call, about the action they take, but it all has to happen within the sovereign boundary lines allowed by the league. In creation, God is sovereign. That is, He has lines that are non-negotiable in creation. But within those lines, He gives freedom, and He allows us to choose.

He told Adam and Eve, for example, every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the midst of the garden, you shall not eat it, lest you die. You choose. I'm going to give you the options, and I'm even going to tell you about the consequence. You shall die, but I'm going to allow you to make the decision. He gave them choice. In giving mankind choice, evil was made possible, but men make it actual. And so you and I, when it comes to our lives within sovereign boundaries that God allows, have been given the freedom to choose. The freedom to choose for God, or the freedom to choose against God.

Now God would determine the consequence, you shall die. That the freedom to choose was not the freedom to determine the consequence. When a parent tells a child, do this, whatever this is, the child really does have a choice. They can choose the decision. What they can't choose is what you're gonna do when they've made the decision.

That's up to you as the parent. So one of the beautiful things that God has given us is choice. That certain things within His boundary are not imposed on us.

We get to choose. In our passage today, Moses, in his old age, is giving one of his final sermons. The children of Israel are about to cross over into the Promised Land, which is the book of Joshua.

Before they cross over into the Promised Land, Moses wants to give them a final word. And in this final word, he wants to talk to them about their freedom to choose. That they can make the decision, based on their choice, of how life will work out for them.

Now follow this. This was not a decision about where they were going to spend eternity. It was not a decision about heaven or hell. It was a decision about the kind of life they were going to live. Would they live a life of favor or would they live a life that was not favorable?

And that would be affected by their choice. In introducing the sermon—we're at the end of this portion of Moses' sermon— it is critical to understanding the sermon, the conclusion of the sermon, and the choices that you and I have available to us. The word is the word covenant.

If you will look in chapter 29, here's what you read. Verse 1 says, These are the words of the covenant. Verse 9 says, So keep the words of the covenant. Verse 12 says that you may enter into the covenant. Verse 14 says, Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath. A covenant is a divinely ordained agreement. It's a divinely authorized bond. A covenant was an official arrangement. It was official.

It was not a casual discussion. For example, when a couple gets married, we call that a marriage covenant. That means that a legal action has occurred, not just a casual hookup or get-together.

It means by law we are now related. Israel was God's covenanted people. They were His officially arranged people. To understand this, you have to understand that when I use the word covenant, I am talking now legally. That's why He says down in verse 19, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today.

He's in a courtroom, witnesses, because this was a formal gathering. A covenant was designed to bring people who were related to God under His covering. So a covenant provided a cover, an umbrella, if you will, over God's people because they were related to Him.

He says, you have a choice. I have established a covenant with you, but the question is, do you choose to operate under my covering? You can have an umbrella and still get wet because the umbrella is closed. You can have an umbrella and stay dry because you open up the umbrella and you are covered. While Israel was God's covenant, the question is, are you going to open the umbrella or keep it closed?

Will you be covered or not covered by the covenant? Let me put it another way. You can have a personal relationship with God because you are converted. You're a Christian. You've trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life, but at the same time not enjoy the relationship.

Like people can be married but be unhappy. You can be official, but not benefiting from that which you are officially tied to. I was traveling on one occasion and my son Jonathan was with me and I went up to the agent and I said, are there any upgrades available, any first-class seats available based on my knowledge with you? And they said, oh yes, we do have a few seats so I'll be glad to bump you up. I said, well, my son is with me.

Would you, because you have American Airlines has companion upgrades. He's my companion. Will you bump him up too?

She pulled up his name and she said, oh, I am so sorry. We cannot bump him up. I said, but you have companion upgrades. Well, yes, he's my companion. Well, yes, you're bumping me up.

Well, yes, but we can't bump him up. But I said, why not if you have companion upgrades? She said, because when I pulled up his name, he was not ticketed with you. He was ticketed on a separate reservation and the benefit of the companion upgrade only comes if you are ticketed together. Now what she was saying had absolutely nothing to do with our father-son relationship, but it had everything to do with whether he could piggyback on it for personal benefit.

If you come to Jesus Christ, your relationship is eternally been addressed. But how much you can piggyback on him for life on earth is tied to whether you have ticketed your reservation with him or whether you are getting your own reservation independent of him. It has to do with a choice. And so he introduces this covenant. When you read about this Mosaic covenant, is what we call it, in chapter 28 and chapter 29—you'll have to turn there— but when you read that, he tells them the benefits of operating under the divine umbrella or the loss of benefits. He calls them the blessings and the cursings, which were the opposite of the benefits. He says, Now if you do not choose me, which you have the right to choose, you can not choose me, but if you don't choose me, you need to understand that that which was working for you will no longer be working for you. It will be working against you because you've chosen to keep the umbrella, the covenantal covering, closed, not operate under my shed, and therefore you're going to get wet, not because I'm being mean.

It's just that you're no longer undercover. You're no longer covered by the covenant. Now some may say, But wait a minute. That's Old Testament. That's the law of Moses. But when you look at Hebrews chapter 7 verses 22 to 25, the author of Hebrews says, Jesus has given us a better covenant. He uses the same word, covenant, that is an official covering and agreement.

And he says this covering and agreement is superior to the old one. If you are undercover, that is operating underneath the lordship, rulership of Jesus Christ, because many Christians choose not to do that. He says when you are operating under the lordship of Jesus Christ, you are undercover.

And Jesus Christ has a full-time job in heaven making intercession that is interfering with your life on an as-needed basis. Dr. Evans will explain why we're dealing with many of the issues we are when he continues this message from his current series called Consequences. We'd love to send you a copy of this brand new six-lesson collection as our gift. All we ask is that you include a donation to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. We'll also include his popular booklet, 30 Days to Overcoming Emotional Strongholds.

It explains how in a single month you can be set free from destructive feelings, even if they've held you captive for years. You'll get both Consequences and 30 Days to Overcoming Emotional Strongholds with our thanks when you request them and make your donation online at Or let one of our resource team members help you by calling 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. We'll get right back to today's message after this. Wake up, men. You're more than a job title.

You're greater than the balance in the bank. Status fades. The character and courage leave a legacy that lasts. Don't let your yesterdays define your tomorrow.

You were made for much more. In his sequel to the instant bestseller, Kingdom Man, Tony Evans' Kingdom Men Rising urges men to embody the greatness God's already given them. Look ahead, not behind you. Eyes forward. All God has for you is there for you right now.

But you've got to go and get it. Focus and faith are what's needed right now. Get the book, Kingdom Men Rising today to discover how.

Find out more at Many of the things we are dealing with, we are dealing with because we don't have cover. Not because we don't have a Savior, but the umbrella of His covenant has been closed. The Bible says when you take communion, you enter into the new covenant, the new arrangement, the new agreement, which outpaces the old one in the Old Testament.

Let's go a little deeper. When Moses was preaching his sermon to the Israelites as they were getting ready to get on the banks of the Jordan River to cross over into the Promised Land, they were going to run into problems in the Promised Land, because in the Promised Land were Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites. There were the enemies of God in the Promised Land, so there were problems in the Promised Land. So when you think about the Promised Land, don't think about heaven, because there are no Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites.

There are no enemies in glory for you to deal with. When you go to heaven, you will not have any adversaries that can affect you. So the Promised Land was not a perfect location in the sense that it was not a problemless location. Being in covenant with God does not mean there are no problems, no struggles, stresses, difficulties, trials, temptations, tribulations. Those exist even in the will of God, because when they went to the Promised Land, they were in the will of God with problems that they had to face. The difference is, because they would be under covering, when they ran into the problems, the problems would not have the last say-so.

They would not disappear, but they would not have the last say-so. So what I want you to understand, me to understand, us to understand, is that your choice, the first choice is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior, but the next choice is whether I am coming under His divine rule. If you have a child who says, Mother, I'm Father, I'm not going to do what you say, I don't care what you say, they have made a choice against your rule and authority.

They do not lose their biological relationship with you, but they do lose their intimate benefit from you. He wants us to understand that there is a choice, and between choosing God or not choosing God, there is no twilight zone. There is no in-between area of non-choice. So not to choose is to choose.

So He says, I come before you and I set this before you. I'm putting it on the table. You can choose. You can make the decision.

I'm going to give you the options. Everything relates to your relationship to the covenant, your alignment to the covenant. Are you in line with the rule of God, or are you out of line with the rule of God, regardless of whether you're a child of God or not?

It's an alignment issue. And what many Christians do not understand is that because they insist on being out of alignment, they are not experiencing what Jesus said in John 10-10, I have come to give you life, and then He says, and to give it to you more abundantly. I came to give you two things, not one. I came to give you life, salvation, as we normally speak of it. But then on top of that, I came to give you abundant living.

Not problemless living, but fulfillment in living. But the alignment must be there. I think I've mentioned once before, when I went to the garage and pushed the garage door, it wouldn't open. Pushed the garage door, it wouldn't open. Pushed the garage door, it wouldn't open. Called the garage repairman. He said, walk over to the door.

I walked over to the door. He said, those canvases on the left and the right, which way are they facing? I said, well, one is facing the other. The other is facing out.

He said, that's your problem. They're not in alignment, so stuff is not working. I simply turned to one to face the other. They got the message, the door opened.

Doors that refused to open before, doors too heavy for me to open on my own, opened once the alignment was straightened out. And so today, we have Christians who insist on not being aligned to divine rule while at the same time asking God for divine favor. That's a contradictory request because of the nature of a covenant. It's a divinely created bond to which we must be in alignment. So what would be the problem of God's people not being in alignment?

He tells you in verse 17, But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare that you will perish. What would be the problem? Well, you've heard it over and over again. It would be a problem of idols. See, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, Amorites, they had other gods.

Watch this. So they would be going to a promised land ruled by pagans. Their whole environment would surround them with anti-God philosophies, worldview, perspectives, education, entertainment. All of that would be surrounding the people of God in the place of blessing. God says, Now when you go to My place of blessing, which for them was the promised land, which is for us, our salvation, our new relationship with Jesus Christ, when you go into that land, you're going to be surrounded by anti-God sentiments, anti-God worldviews, anti-God philosophy, anti-God perspective. If you go after them, if you renege on Me because they sound good to you, then you have to understand you have removed yourself from My cover, because you have chosen another god.

So let me make it easy. How do you know when you've chosen an idol? Remember, an idol is any unauthorized noun, person, place, thing, or thought. An idol is any unauthorized noun, person, place, thing, or thought.

God hasn't okayed it. You know it's an idol, or you know what you're truly worshiping, watch this, by who gets to make the final decision. Whoever makes the final decision is God, because they're the ones that you obeyed.

They're the ones that you served. So if the secularists make the final decision, if the entertainment industry makes the final decision, if the economics makes the final decision, unauthorized trumping what God has said, whatever that person, place, thing, or thought of, at that moment, in that decision, became your God. And you move from under the umbrella.

The covering no longer works once you choose an idol. Dr. Tony Evans, with a look at the covering God provides for our lives when we choose to follow His direction and divine standard. Now I want to encourage you one more time to take advantage of that special offer I mentioned earlier. If you can help us continue this broadcast by making a donation to The Urban Alternative, we'll send you all six messages in Tony's current series, Consequences, along with the companion booklet, 30 Days to Overcoming Emotional Strongholds, as our gift and appreciation.

This special offer ends tomorrow, so don't wait. Drop by our website,, where you can get all the details and make the arrangements. Or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 to get some in-person help with your request any time of the day or night. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. God gave us boundaries in life, but He also gave us the freedom to choose.

So what happens when we abuse that freedom? Well, Dr. Evans will continue our exploration of this topic tomorrow. I hope you'll be back with us for that. Right now, though, we'll wrap up our time together with this quick shout-out recently received in celebration of 40 years of God's faithfulness to the ministry of The Urban Alternative. Here's Dr. Ed Young. It's my privilege to say a word of congratulations for 40 years of service to none other than my brother and my friend, Dr. Tony Evans. He rightly divides the word of truth day by day and weekend by weekend not only to his church, but really he's a spokesman for Christ around the world. Tony, what a ministry. What a blessing you've been to countless millions of people in these 40 years. And I'll tell you a secret, the best is yet to be. Congratulations. I'm thrilled to be your brother, and I'm thrilled to just follow in your wake as you make a wide swarf for the Kingdom of God throughout this world. God bless you and your terrific family. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 09:40:46 / 2023-11-19 09:48:59 / 8

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