Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Choose Life

The notes from my sermon on Deuteronomy 30:11-20...


Moses, the man who has led the people of God for the last 40 years is about to die and is giving his farewell address to Israel. As a people, they are on the verge of crossing into the land God had promised to give to their forefathers about 500 years previously. They were about to step into a great calling as a nation. Through the laws Moses was giving them, it would be their privilege to showcase to the world the greatness of the coming Messiah and something of what the New Creation would look like. He had a simple parting word to give them. Choose Life.

Choosing life meant simply this: Loving, trusting and obeying Jesus - the Lord who had led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, through the desert, who had sustained them with food and drink and now would lead them into the promised land. (Jude 5, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13). Jesus, who had mentored Moses, would now mentor Joshua as he picked up the baton to lead the people on.

Loving Jesus, for the Israelites, meant obeying all 613 laws that he had laid out for them. Following these commands were the way in which they could express their devotion and love to him. Whilst God in his mercy has always made provision for human weakness (for all of us sin and need forgiveness), he has never made provision for a divided heart. Their need was not intelligence, but humble trusting obedience of Jesus.

How does this apply to us today?
In 2010 our calling is the same as Israel's: to showcase to the world the greatness of Jesus and something of glory of what the New Creation will look like. For us choosing life means the same for us as it did for Israel: Loving and trusting Jesus and evidencing that by obedience to all his commandments.

If you are in Christ, then know the truth that neither your past failures nor the present limitations of your circumstances can disqualify you from loving Jesus and trusting him. This life may not turn out to be all you hoped for, but it will be all you need to prepare you for the new creation and life with God. Therefore say no to a divided heart, a compromised allegiance and say yes to whole-hearted devotion to Jesus.

Choose life by trusting Jesus and making good and wholesome choices. Say no to lust, greed, selfishness, negligence, intoxication, gossiping, slander, deceit, manipulation, peevishness and the like and say yes in Christ to love, sincere generosity, diligence, honesty, self-control, self-sacrifice and the like.

We don't live for the routine of eating, we have the routine of eating so that we can live. Our attitude should be the same with the spiritual disciplines. For example, I don't live for the routine of reading the bible, I have the routine of reading the bible because I want to truly live in fellowship with the God who loved me and gave himself for me.

The Israelites did not have the Holy Spirit, like we now have him. They failed in their mission. We who have the Spirit of God living with us and in us to lead us in all these things can be humbly confident that God will not see us fail.

1 John 3:1-3: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Suggested Questions
  • What reaction does the phrase: "God makes provision for human weakness, but not for a divided heart" provoke in you?
  • Do you have any spiritual routines? If yes, are they life or death to you? Why/why not?
  • What goals/resolutions have you set for this year that require you to throw yourself onto Jesus and trusting him? If none, have you set your sights too low?

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