Sunday 4th March-Baptism Morning

“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 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life” Deuteronomy 30:19–20

Choice I think is a difficult subject to talk about – but I will be trying to. Even at the mention of it my mind is already abuzz with argument of predetermination and sovereignty. I hope to avoid those topics, and lay a simple groundwork: As Christians we confess that we are saved completely and utterly by Christ’s work and what he Did. God is Sovereign we say and he is King over all things that happen. Yet in his Grace God gives us the ability to choose and make choices, choices about breakfast, about fair-trade, choices in life, about our response to his Grace and choices about wether we will act as Jesus would or not.

Another difficult part of the conversation on Choice we won’t have time to discuss on Sunday is… Sometimes when talking about Choice I think, did I choose God? How does that work? Did I save myself by my choice? As ever it’s easier to leave these things to someone else… John Piper puts it well:
“Suppose that you were drowning in a lake and the Son of God were standing on the beach and he saw you drowning and he tossed you an inner tube and it landed in your vicinity and you flailed your way over to it and got hold of it and paddled your way to the shore, gasping. You’d thank him for the inner tube at least.” You have been mostly rescued and you managed to reach the rescue, you chose salvation.

“But suppose [instead] that you were dead at the bottom of a lake and your family was dragging the lake for you, missing you since the morning. And you had been an enemy of the Son of God all your life, rejecting him and spurning him. And he walks up and says: You can put that stuff away. I will find him. And he swims out and dives down and pulls you up and pulls you to shore, lays you down, kneels down, and works on you all day, all afternoon, works and works. And all of the sudden, there is a twitch of life and you breathe and you are alive again. And he falls at your side exhausted.” In this situation. He chose you, and your choice now is whether or not to live as he Did, and wether to respond in love or not.

“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 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life” Deuteronomy 30:19–20

God recommends we “Choose Life”, but what is that life?

When the bible talks about Life, and choosing life we mean so much more than eternal life in Christ & resurrection. God means the glorious and wonderful life in Jesus Christ in which we can know contentment, guidance, wonder and awe, help in times of need, Joy, peace, personal growth, a church to belong to and a purpose in life. When the bible talks about Life it means Jesus. Jesus IS life. Everything we see in Jesus is what is on offer to those that CHOOSE him and CHOOSE his life.

We can rest in the fact that God has made some amazing choices about us:
Ephesians 1:4 says, “[H]e chose us in him before the creation of the world.” First Corinthians 1:27 says, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” Second Thessalonians 2:13 says, “God chose you . . . to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit”
How do we respond to his choices with our choices? What are the pit falls and dangers in life that lead us to FAIL to choose God?

1 Kings 18:21: And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.

The People of Israel here fall into the trap of making no choice at all, which they think is safe – “wait and see.” However they are warned that no choice is a choice to walk away from God too. God longs for people able to run the race, commit to his path and forsake the worldly path. In this age of choice and freedom how do we learn to freely commit ourselves to a narrow path?

During the baptismal service I’ll be picking up some of these themes for 10 minutes and discuss the need to choose Jesus at least one of the reasons we can choose not to choose Him.

Blessings

Dave