Thompsonville Worship Hour

The Power of Choice

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Pr John Lomacang


Series Code: TWH

Program Code: TWH000018A

00:30 Before we pray, I'd like you to open your Bibles
00:32 this morning to Joshua 24:15.
00:36 God has been really tapping on my forehead lately
00:45 and when I say "lately," I mean that toward the ending of
00:51 last year and the beginning of this year,
00:55 my wife and I have really, by God's leading,
00:58 revolutionized our study life, not just a quick devotion
01:03 in the morning, if we only had time to do that,
01:06 we would at LEAST do THAT, but we would pray
01:10 in the morning, pray in the evening, pray in the afternoon,
01:14 read our Bibles chapter after chapter;
01:16 now we're in the book of Judges...
01:22 And if you want to strengthen your relationship as a family,
01:25 as a couple, as parents with children, as husband with wife,
01:29 you really need to take the time to put in your mind
01:32 those things that could make the difference.
01:34 The word of God - the entrance of God's word gives light;
01:40 the entrance of God's word gives nourishment;
01:44 the entrance of God's word gives wisdom.
01:48 You may have read the Bible or read through the Bible,
01:51 or read portions of the Bible for years,
01:54 but I believe that the closer we get to the coming of
01:57 our Lord, the more we need to be fortified with the
02:03 truth of God's word.
02:05 And this passage in Joshua 24 is synonymous with making
02:13 a conscious, deliberate decision about where your life is headed.
02:21 Joshua 24:15, and the Bible reads...
02:31 ... That even sounds strange to say..
02:50 Let's read the last part together...
02:52 Are you ready with some strength...
03:02 Let us bow...
03:04 Loving Father in Heaven, Speak to our hearts
03:07 that we may make eternal decisions that we will determine
03:13 and make decided measured effort that we will take hold
03:20 of Your power and ask You to come in and help us to make
03:26 decisions that will impact our lives for eternity.
03:33 In Jesus name I pray... Amen
03:39 The single most powerful gift God has given to every one of us
03:47 is the power of choice.
03:50 If you trace your life, you will see in the fingerprint
03:58 of your journey - bad choices and good choices;
04:05 uninformed choices and well-informed choices.
04:12 As you look at the unfolding of the history that is behind you,
04:18 you will see that every moment of every day,
04:22 you have made a choice and who you are and what you are
04:29 becoming, and what you have been, and what you are now,
04:34 going to be, and where you're headed and where you're
04:37 not headed - all is hinged and predicated on the
04:43 power of choice.
04:45 I mean, becoming very real about it, we can think of
04:51 the fact that we are wiser now...
04:53 As we get older, we ought to get wiser...
04:55 come on somebody, say Amen...
04:58 Sometimes you get a hiccup and you make dumb decisions
05:01 when you get older and I had eliminated from my vocabulary
05:05 the word "mistake" because somewhere along the way
05:09 you've got to come to the conclusion that you are not
05:12 where you are by mistake, but you are where you are
05:16 by choice.
05:19 To choose to study or not to study your Bible will determine
05:22 who you become.
05:23 To choose to worship or not to worship will determine
05:26 how strong you are.
05:27 To choose to follow God or not to follow God
05:30 is a decision you will make.
05:34 Nothing about your life happens coincidentally
05:37 or by proxy - meaning...
05:39 No one decides to put you where you don't willingly want to be.
05:45 God has not created us as slaves.
05:48 Every one of us will be either in the Kingdom of God
05:53 or not in the Kingdom of God because we have exercised
05:58 the power of choice.
06:01 Now it may seem very elementary, but I need to make
06:03 it very clear what choice is...
06:05 CHOICE is an act of selecting or making a decision when
06:09 faced with two or more possibilities.
06:13 To have at least two choices, you gotta choose one...
06:18 To go to the left or go to the right.
06:20 To say "yes" or say "no."
06:23 To plan or not to plan.
06:24 Someone once said, "To fail to plan is to plan to fail."
06:29 To not say "yes" to God is to choose to say "no."
06:34 To even say "wait" to God is the choice to say "no"
06:38 to God for now.
06:42 Synonymously, to choose means to make a decision, to decide,
06:46 to select, to consent, to pick one, to follow through on an act
06:53 that you desire, to yield to a craving,
06:55 to give in to an inclination.
06:58 CHOICE is the most powerful thing that God has ever
07:04 gifted to humanity, POWERFUL!
07:13 When I sat down this week and began to go through notes
07:18 of the last few months, we don't only study,
07:21 but we begin to chronicle the things we study.
07:24 We begin to look at our notes, we begin to read,
07:26 and I thank God for the servant of the Lord, Ellen White,
07:28 what do you say? Amen!
07:30 A plethora of wisdom and when you look at the Bible,
07:37 and you look at from Genesis to Revelation, you'll see in every
07:40 story, even in the book where God's name is
07:43 not even mentioned, choices are being made
07:47 for or against the plan and the will of God.
07:50 Choice to me, as I've looked at that - choice is more
07:55 powerful than the thundering waters gushing
07:58 from the heights of the walls of the Niagara, Upstate New York.
08:02 Thundering walls, thundering water gushing,
08:06 crushing to the earth, CHOICE is more
08:08 powerful than that.
08:13 God has not given us choice to waste,
08:17 but to use to make decisions about our future,
08:22 about our tomorrow.
08:25 You see, because of choice, develops an action...
08:33 Follow me carefully...
08:35 An action develops a habit, a habit develops a character,
08:44 and a character determines your destiny.
08:47 So something as simple as a little choice to choose
08:52 or not to choose, in the end you will discover
08:54 that your destiny can go back to the simplicity of the choice
08:59 you chose NOT TO or to make.
09:03 When Joshua was standing there with the children of Israel,
09:06 he began to recount how God had led them.
09:09 You see, when you look at the divisions of the Scripture,
09:11 you have Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy,
09:14 Leviticus - you have all these five books of the Bible,
09:16 then you have Joshua and Judges and these books are
09:21 chronological because when God led the children of Israel
09:24 out of Egypt, there were adults among those that were delivered
09:31 out of the bondage of Egypt, but they were children,
09:35 so when Moses took the people of God to Mt. Sinai,
09:41 and delivered to them the law of God and they said,
09:46 "All that the Lord had said, we will do,"
09:48 they made a choice to do God's will, but what they did...
09:51 they made a MENTAL choice, but they never connected
09:55 their hearts to the choice that they had verbally committed.
09:59 You see, to commit with your mind and not put your life
10:02 into it and not put your heart into it, even the desire
10:06 to do good - if that's all you have is a desire
10:11 to do good and don't do anything but have a desire,
10:14 then you're going to do wrong.
10:17 So they had a desire to do good.
10:22 So Joshua now - the children that came out of the
10:26 land of Egypt, even the children born during the wilderness
10:31 sojourn, are now adults and Joshua is standing on the
10:37 border of the Promised Land and he is saying to
10:39 Israel, "Look at the history of your fathers, look at the
10:45 genealogy of your family line, look at the things that have
10:49 happened to them," this is not a Scripture,
10:52 this Scripture is not actually in my script,
10:53 but God just tapped me on the forehead and said, "Go there."
10:56 Come with me to 1 Corinthians 10,
10:58 go there with me, 1 Corinthians 10, notice
11:01 what the Apostle Paul says to us...
11:06 Thank you Lord for additional wisdom.
11:09 The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:11...
11:18 We are told, the Bible says now...
11:20 "Now all these things happen to them as what?
11:23 As examples."
11:25 "And they were written for our what?"
11:28 "Admonition."
11:29 Get this... "On whom the ends of the ages have come."
11:35 So in other words, God is saying, "If you pause for
11:38 a moment"... and I'm learning, you know sometimes
11:41 we learn the hard way... Come on somebody, say Amen.
11:43 Sometimes we learn the hard way...
11:44 I used to have this saying that God has told me to go back to...
11:47 I used to say, "I learn from other people's mistakes,"
11:50 but you know that when you live from day-to-day,
11:52 sometimes you feel that there are days that you feel really
11:55 godly and nothing could touch you - you ever had those days?
12:03 But then there are those days you wake up in the morning
12:05 and you said, "What is wrong with me."
12:11 Am I right? Am I telling the truth?
12:13 There are those days where you say, "Lord, tell me I didn't
12:17 just do that?"
12:23 You see, according to the law of averages,
12:26 you're supposed to make all the dumb choices
12:28 when you're young. Amen... lights.
12:32 But sometimes, those dumb choices tend to seep
12:37 into your life even as you get old!
12:40 No Amen is required, just listen...
12:44 When you look at the life of Abraham...
12:48 Oh, I never forgot when the servant of the Lord said,
12:51 that Abraham's greatest choice, Abraham's greatest test
12:55 came when Abraham was an old man.
13:02 So don't ever get to the place where you think you've been an
13:04 Adventist Christian so long that you can't be tested...
13:08 At every stage in your walk with God, He's going to
13:13 bring the test NOT to reveal you to Him,
13:16 but to reveal YOU to YOU!
13:20 Because sometimes, I'll be honest, sometimes we don't know
13:23 who we are. Can I get a witness?
13:27 Sometimes you say, "Lord, I know You didn't see that."
13:31 And He said, "Yes I did."
13:34 And you say, "Lord, please forgive me."
13:37 And so as Joshua chronicled the journey of the children of
13:43 Israel, he is saying to us today, "That a single choice
13:47 has more impact on your destiny - hear me carefully,
13:52 than ALL the forces that hell can unleash against us."
13:57 You remember the quotation, "The weakest saint is more
14:00 powerful... the weakest saint is more than a match
14:05 for - and I'm paraphrasing, for Satan," more than a match.
14:10 When we get on our knees and pray - the weakest saint is
14:14 more than a match and Paul the Apostle says it this way...
14:18 "for we are more than conquerors through Him
14:21 who loved us."
14:23 So I'm getting to the place in life where I'm saying,
14:25 "Okay Lord, I'm getting gray and sometimes I see a little bit
14:30 of scalp peeking through... Come on help me out somebody.
14:38 And I say, at this stage in life, I should have a list
14:42 of do's and don'ts - if you don't have a list, get a list
14:52 because at some point in our walk with God,
14:54 we've got to exercise the intelligently informed
15:01 divinely supplied decision- making to just decide
15:08 by God's grace, "I'm going to do what's right."
15:15 The power of choice!
15:17 I was so moved... you see the right focus informs the will
15:21 which results in the right choice.
15:23 When I found this quotation, I stood up and praised
15:26 God by myself at home.
15:28 In the book, "Education," the servant of the Lord says,
15:31 "Everyone may place his will on the side of the
15:35 will of God," everybody.
15:37 You got a will - the focus though - get me,
15:41 what you focus on will determine how you think,
15:45 and how you THINK will determine how you ACT,
15:50 and how you ACT will determine the outcome of your character,
15:54 and the outcome of your character will determine
15:56 your destiny.
15:57 So the question is... I begin today by saying...
16:00 "What are you focusing on?"
16:03 Because by beholding, we become changed,
16:07 and this world is designed in such a way that it wants
16:11 you to focus on the wrong thing.
16:14 I love what David said...
16:17 He made a covenant with his eyes that he will put no evil
16:22 thing before him.
16:23 Job made a covenant with his eyes.
16:28 And David said, "Lord, open my eyes that I may behold
16:32 wonderful things."
16:35 And how amazing it is that the last message to be given
16:39 is the message to Laodicea which means - we need our eyes
16:44 to be anointed - spiritual anointing because we don't
16:50 see the things that we ought to see and sometimes,
16:52 we choose NOT to see the things we ought to see.
16:54 Come on now... Yes, you get old,
16:56 but you know there are certain movies you should
16:57 not be watching.
17:02 Certain places you should not be going on the internet.
17:07 Certain things you should not be writing on Facebook!
17:15 Some people think that Facebook is the place
17:19 to put all their business, not knowing that
17:22 what you put out there is going to come back to you
17:25 pressed down, shaken together and running over.
17:32 But why do we make these kinds of choices?
17:35 Why do we choose to put stuff on Facebook that will be a
17:39 witness against us in the Judgment?
17:43 I've made a covenant, I put a picture of my wife
17:46 and I on Facebook, but I have almost all my
17:50 content is spiritual stuff.
17:51 I like to start spiritual battles on Facebook,
17:54 and what I mean by that is agitate people's minds to
17:58 think about truth and point them back to Christ,
18:02 to let them know that we can make decisions to choose
18:06 or not to choose.
18:08 We can make choices that will impact our lives today
18:12 and our lives for eternity.
18:15 God, when He created man, He created man with
18:20 the inalienable right to make a decision between
18:24 what they're going to do and what they're not going to do.
18:26 Some people think that when God made Adam and Eve,
18:28 He made them perfect.
18:30 He made them... He made them SIN-LESS,
18:35 but He did not take from them the ABILITY to sin...
18:40 Because if God had taken from them the ability TO sin,
18:46 then they would have been robots.
18:49 But God created man with free moral agency -
18:54 the ability to make decisions.
18:59 In other words, intellectual choices
19:05 are not always intelligent choices.
19:09 Did you hear what I just said?
19:11 Intellectual choices are not always intelligent choices.
19:14 We are where we are because we make intellectual choices.
19:18 We are what we are because we make intellectual choices,
19:21 but intellectual choices are not always intelligent choices.
19:27 A wise man who messed up his life
19:34 wrote these following words...
19:36 Solomon said, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
19:40 but he who heeds counsel is wise." Proverbs 12:15
19:54 When Paul the Apostle chronicles the reason why the
19:57 antediluvian world fell, he said, "They knew God,
20:00 but they chose not to glorify Him as God."
20:03 They didn't like to keep God in their knowledge.
20:06 They did not like to retain God and professing themselves
20:09 to be wise, they became fools.
20:15 It always amazes me that when people get degrees,
20:18 somewhere along the way... I don't know how many
20:20 degrees it takes for you to kick into foolish mode,
20:23 but somewhere along the way, some people think that
20:25 they so educated that they don't need God anymore.
20:31 And somehow the devil also makes us think
20:34 at moments of our lives... follow me carefully,
20:38 that the pleasures of this world...
20:40 this is how the devil works... he makes us think
20:43 that the pleasures of this world are greater
20:47 than the pleasures that we find in serving God.
20:51 I mean, what other reason can you give for people
20:54 going down a path that they know is going to lead them
20:57 to destruction, but they go down that path anyway.
21:03 Isaiah says it carefully, Isaiah 5:21...
21:12 The single act between who we are and who we can be
21:16 is choice.
21:18 And I want to say this carefully because right now
21:20 we're living in a very fragile world.
21:22 The only thing more powerful than an atomic bomb
21:25 is the choice not to use one. Amen?
21:31 More powerful than an atomic bomb is the choice
21:34 NOT to use it because whether they know it or not,
21:37 there is no such thing as limited nuclear exchange.
21:43 Have you heard that before?
21:45 Limited nuclear exchange.
21:47 I'll just shoot one nuclear weapon you way,
21:49 and you just shoot one my way and we'll call it a day.
21:53 Somebody ought to pray that wisdom prevails
21:57 in the leaders of the world. Come on, say Amen to that. Amen!
22:01 Choice is so powerful, it is the checkbox
22:04 between life and death, the thin line between failure
22:07 and success.
22:08 If you condemn it, if you condemn the choice
22:11 that God has given to you, if you use it wastefully,
22:16 you'll discover that who you have become
22:18 is not who you wanted to be.
22:21 God is calling His people back to making wise choices.
22:27 You remember the story of Nebuchadnezzar...
22:30 Nebuchadnezzar chose to continue to exalt himself.
22:34 He choose to continue to contribute all of his successes
22:38 to the work that he had done, and God had warned him
22:40 incessantly not to exalt Himself, but He exalted
22:43 himself and when God ripped Nebuchadnezzar from his golden
22:47 dishes and gave him a 7- year diet of grass.
22:50 After that 7 years, his reason returned to him and I'm sure
22:54 somewhere along the way, Nebuchadnezzar must have said,
22:57 "What was I thinking?"
23:03 Brothers and sisters, we are on the borders of eternity.
23:06 We've got to make decisions for eternity - what do you say?
23:09 Gotta make decisions about eternity.
23:12 We cannot leave our eternal destiny
23:14 in the hands of somebody else.
23:16 We cannot say, "Well YOU choose for me."
23:19 Each one of us must examine ourselves.
23:22 Each one of us must mold our choices,
23:25 must choose our focus, must influence our
23:28 own thoughts, must get the proper
23:30 information because nothing shapes our thoughts like
23:33 the information that we embrace...
23:36 the things that we read;
23:38 the Bible that we expose ourselves to.
23:42 The Bible says, "As a man thinks in his heart...
23:44 what does it say? ... so is he.
23:50 When you look at where you end up,
23:52 it comes down to something as simple as...
23:54 CHOICE is born in the mind before it is carried
23:58 out in the life.
24:01 We sit down and we think about things...
24:03 I found myself throughout life...
24:05 Sometimes did you ever sit down and just think?
24:06 Somebody said, "What are you thinking about?"
24:08 And you know what you say? "Nothing."
24:10 You know, there is not a moment of the day that
24:13 you're not thinking about something.
24:15 You just don't want other people to know
24:17 what you're thinking about... am I telling the truth?
24:19 You sit there like you stare in his face...
24:22 "Honey, what are you thinking about?" "Nothing."
24:25 There's no nothing moments in our minds.
24:33 We're always thinking about something.
24:35 And unfortunately... I want to add another component
24:39 to this - unfortunately sometimes we're thinking of
24:44 how people need to change... when God is saying to us
24:47 how WE need to change.
24:49 Sometimes we're saying, I wouldn't be in the
24:53 mess I'm in if it weren't for so and so.
24:55 NO! You wouldn't be in the mess you're in if it wasn't
24:58 for YOU!
25:02 Go back to our first parents...
25:03 At the infancy of our world, the power of choice was
25:07 the gift that God had given to Adam.
25:08 Look at Genesis 2:16... God gave Adam the right
25:12 to choose - I didn't say Eve because God gave Adam
25:15 stewardship.
25:17 He gave him stewardship over all creation,
25:19 and the destiny of humanity was based not on the choice
25:22 that EVE made, but on the choice that ADAM made.
25:25 Well you couldn't blame Eve, Adam had a choice.
25:29 God gave him the right to make the choice.
25:32 Genesis 2:16...
25:44 Saying of every tree of the garden you may what?
25:51 ... freely eat.
25:52 In other words, the choice to eat or not to eat
25:56 was Adam's, but not only did God give him a choice,
25:59 he said - and this is something that the devil does...
26:02 The devil says, "Is there anything you can do?"
26:05 And GOD says, "You can do ANYTHING BUT...
26:13 How amazing - the devil makes the abundance of the good
26:19 choices of God - the devil makes them look bad,
26:23 and the one BAD choice, the devil makes it look good!
26:27 Isn't that amazing?
26:30 How does that happen?
26:33 If you follow the trek of Eve, the tree was pleasant
26:37 to the eyes, a tree desirable to make one wise.
26:43 It was good for food, pleasant to the eyes,
26:45 a tree desirable to make one wise.
26:47 She focused more on what God told her NOT to partake of,
26:52 than what God told her she COULD partake of.
26:56 It began with a focus and when we focus on what God
27:00 tells us NOT to do... One psychologist said,
27:04 (I don't know how true this is, I'm not a psychologist,
27:07 but I take the psychologists at their word because, you know,
27:10 they're supposed to be the learned ones)
27:12 They said, "When you pray, "Lord help me to stop smoking,"
27:15 ... you know what they said, "You're gonna smoke."
27:18 One said when you say, "Lord, help me NOT to eat this donut,"
27:24 "You're going to eat that donut."
27:28 Have you seen it in your children, you say...
27:30 "Don't do that," what do they do?
27:31 They do exactly what you tell them not to do
27:35 because the human nature we have LEANS
27:38 in the direction of disobedience
27:40 because that's what we got from Adam.
27:41 God told Adam not to eat, God informed Adam of the
27:45 consequences of the wrong choice.
27:49 Look at verse 17, Genesis 2.
28:06 I spent a lot of time on that text.
28:08 I'm not going to spend a lot of time on that this morning,
28:11 I want to say it this way, "Sin is not incidental."
28:15 Hear me carefully, "Sin is not incidental."
28:17 Sin is the result of the choice we make based on
28:21 our intentional rejection of the information
28:25 that God has already given us.
28:28 Let me say that again, it was a long sentence.
28:30 Are you ready?
28:33 Sin is not incidental.
28:34 Sin is the result of the choice we make based on the
28:39 intentional rejection of the information
28:43 God has already given us.
28:47 You gonna die! I reject that Lord.
28:50 I ain't gonna die.
28:52 You gonna die! I'm not gonna die.
28:55 Intentional rejection of what God already
28:58 told us is going to happen.
29:00 To confirm that, go to James 4:17, look at this...
29:03 Confirmation of the statement...
29:05 The thesis is confirmed in James 4:17.
29:08 Notice what the Bible says...
29:09 When you reject information that God has...
29:12 When you intentionally choose to ignore what God
29:16 told you is going to happen, it's gonna happen anyway.
29:24 James says... "To him who knows to do good...
29:26 (How does he know? God told him.)
29:28 To him who knows to do good and does not do it,
29:31 Together what?
29:32 To him it is sin."
29:37 So after Adam sinned, God asked him a question
29:44 that exposes the reality of information.
29:46 You see, God's word... you might have God's word
29:51 on your shelf... Let me say this, let tell you...
29:53 God's word on your shelf can't keep you from sin.
29:55 God's word in your heart can keep you from sin.
29:58 David says, "Thy word have I hid in my... heart,
30:01 not in my glove compartment, not in my trunk,
30:04 come on... not in my backpack.
30:07 It's amazing to me that... okay I'm not going to go there.
30:12 Let me stick with the topic.
30:19 When you look at Genesis 3:11, God asked Adam a question
30:23 that exposes the reality that Adam had information
30:27 that he rejected and he chose to focus in a different direction.
30:31 Look at verse 11 of chapter 3...
30:33 "And he said - that is God said, God came and found
30:38 Adam hiding behind a bush... big old 17 foot man,
30:44 21 feet tall - trying to hide behind a bush - can you see it?
30:50 And God said... He knows where he is...
30:53 Adam, Adam - where ARE you?
30:58 You ever hear that song on 3ABN radio...
31:00 Adam, Adam - where ARE you? God knew where Adam was.
31:05 God wasn't asking for a location,
31:08 God was asking for a confession. Amen!
31:11 The same way He said to Elijah, "Elijah, what doest thou here?"
31:16 Same thing He said to Jonah, "What meanest thou, oh sleeper?"
31:19 When God asks you where you are, God ain't asking for
31:22 GPS coordinates. Laughter Amen?
31:26 God is asking for heart condition... Where are you?
31:29 Where are you on what I've said?
31:31 So He comes to Adam... Let me go to Genesis.
31:36 I'm telling you to go there and I ain't even there.
31:39 Genesis 3- "Where are you Adam?"
31:44 Big burly guy... can you see this big muscle bound...
31:47 He was a prototype of what every man wants to be.
31:55 Not tall, dark and handsome, mega tall.
32:00 No clogged arteries, perfect vision,
32:04 a fully operating mind - had more in his mind than
32:09 we have in the most advanced mainframes today!
32:13 Adam was instantly intelligent.
32:16 When God pointed to the animals, God said to Adam,
32:20 "What is that?" Adam said, "That's an elephant."
32:23 Adam didn't go to school, God built into him
32:25 all the knowledge he needed.
32:27 Adam was more informed than us.
32:30 So God comes to Adam... "Where are you?" End of verse 9
32:38 "Where are you?"
32:49 One of the symptoms that we make bad choices is we hide.
32:54 We hide! Where can you hide from God?
32:56 When I don't see people come to church,
33:06 and they run out of excuse vouchers,
33:08 they're hiding because they have made a choice
33:13 that doesn't honor God and now they're naked,
33:16 and they don't want to be seen.
33:19 But what's so beautiful about this story is
33:21 God didn't wait for Adam to come looking for HIM,
33:25 God, in His love, went looking for Adam. Amen!
33:29 You see, when we mess up in our lives, when we make bad choices,
33:32 God doesn't say, "John, come to me."
33:35 He says, "John, where are YOU?"
33:38 He comes looking for us.
33:42 His love does not leave us, even in the moments of bad
33:47 choices - His love does not leave us
33:50 destitute, fallen and naked.
33:54 He came - "Where are you?"
33:55 And Adam comes out and I like what he said in verse 11...
33:59 This is the key that exposes the reality
34:02 that we intentionally reject the information
34:05 God has given to us and then we tune our ears
34:07 to a different voice - He says, in verse 11, He said to Adam...
34:11 "Who told you? Get this... Who told you?
34:14 Who have you been listening to?
34:15 What have you been listening to?
34:17 Who told you?
34:18 Where are you getting your information.
34:20 Who told you that you were naked?
34:22 Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you
34:25 that you should not eat?"
34:27 God knew all the answers to the questions.
34:29 But God wasn't asking questions for information,
34:32 God was asking questions for repentance.
34:35 And Adam was at the place that he could have repented,
34:38 but what did he say instead?
34:40 "The woman You gave me."
34:47 Men have been blaming women for years... Amen scream.
34:54 Laughter!
34:59 Women, I want to apologize on behalf of irresponsible men.
35:07 Now let me tell you why I said that.
35:09 You think I'm making a joke, I'm not making a joke.
35:13 God has called men to be the priest of their homes.
35:16 When you ain't a priest of your home, that's an insult to God.
35:20 God has called you to lead your family in worship.
35:23 When you don't take those responsibilities,
35:25 that's an insult to God.
35:27 God appointed Adam as the priest and the steward of earth.
35:30 He chose not to take the lead,
35:32 so the woman took the lead.
35:34 Led him down the wrong path, but he still had the choice.
35:39 And instead of saying, "Lord, I blew it, forgive me,"
35:43 he blames God because He wouldn't have a woman
35:47 unless God created her.
35:50 So he was saying, "God, if you didn't create her,
35:52 I'd be all right." Laughter...
36:01 I think that where the songwriter got the idea,
36:03 "It's me, it's me, it's me, oh Lord,
36:05 standing in the need of prayer."
36:07 Don't ever blame your bad choices on somebody else,
36:12 and eliminate the word "mistake."
36:14 You know what a mistake is... when you type C instead of D,
36:16 that's a mistake.
36:18 They don't make "white-out" for the junk
36:21 you do in your life.
36:23 It's called "repentance and confession,
36:28 and determination, and determination by God's
36:30 grace not to do it again." Amen somebody! Amen!
36:33 Some people got the idea... and I'm going to be very,
36:35 I want to be very intentional today...
36:37 Some people have the idea that we're going to be
36:39 sinning up until the hour that Jesus comes.
36:42 That's the wrong concept of righteousness by faith.
36:47 You gonna blow out a cigarette and ascend to heaven?
36:50 No, not in God's economy.
36:54 If you are the seed... if the seed of God's
36:57 righteousness is in you... He says, "My seed remains
37:00 in you and you cannot sin."
37:02 Do you know what that means?
37:04 He said, "He that has this hope purifies himself,
37:07 even as He is pure."
37:08 When Peter asked for the Lord to wash him totally,
37:12 the Lord said, "You are already clean, I just need to
37:15 work on the areas that are Not yet where I need them to be."
37:19 And rather than you thinking of me talking about perfection
37:21 of humanity, I'm talking about the righteousness of Christ
37:25 that SEES us... Thank you Jesus!
37:27 That sees us on a moment-by- moment day-by-day basis
37:31 when we CHOOSE to serve God.
37:34 He sees us in the righteousness of His Son.
37:38 And you can't walk around saying, "Well, I'm gonna sin
37:40 today and not sin tomorrow because, you know,
37:42 I need to do that and I don't need to do this."
37:44 NO, you don't need to do anything.
37:45 Listen to what "Education," the book says...
37:47 The book "Education, p.23, paragraph 1," here it is...
37:51 "Though created innocent and holy, our first parents
37:57 were not placed beyond the possibility of wrong-doing."
38:01 God might have created them without the power
38:04 to transgress His requirements, but in that case,
38:09 there could have been no development of character.
38:12 Let me pause right here...
38:13 You know, the reason why you got good and bad choices,
38:16 right and wrong choices, light and dark choices...
38:19 is because God said, "You need to develop who you want to be."
38:27 That's why folks that don't decide to live right are not
38:31 going to be in the kingdom.
38:33 This idea that God is going to save everybody is
38:36 a lie from the devil.
38:38 He's not putting people that don't want to serve Him
38:41 in heaven because heaven will be hell for them.
38:44 You gotta choose, you gotta make a decision...
38:46 "I'm not gonna do that."
38:47 "God give me the strength to do that."
38:49 And what you discover is, when you lean your will
38:53 into God's will... the servant of the Lord says,
38:55 "He immediately possesses us."
38:58 You want to talk about spiritual possession...
39:00 when you allow yourself to lean into God's will and like Jesus
39:04 left a wonderful example, He said, "Not My will,
39:07 but what? Thine be done."
39:09 Every day you gotta choose God's WILL!
39:12 But let me give you even some better good news...
39:14 When you choose God's will, God doesn't say,
39:18 "Now go ahead and do that and do this."
39:19 Oh no, brethren, that's not how it works!
39:22 God doesn't say, "Do this and not do that."
39:26 God says, "All you gotta do is choose to serve me." Amen!
39:32 And then God will come in and both will and do. Amen somebody!
39:42 He'll WILL and DO.
39:44 I got proof for that.
39:46 The demoniac was under the control of an evil spirit,
39:51 and the demoniac did what the evil spirit
39:55 determined he would do.
39:57 When we are under the control of the spirit of God,
40:00 there will be love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
40:05 meekness, patience.
40:07 We don't choose a fruit and say, "I'm working on
40:09 the other ones."
40:11 Because in the single fruit of the Spirit of God,
40:14 you got love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
40:19 meekness, patience.
40:22 God gave them the power to choose so that they
40:27 could develop CHARACTER! Amen
40:30 Can I ask you... "Doesn't it feel good
40:33 when you do right?" Yes!
40:35 Not supposed to go on feeling, but it feels so good when
40:38 you could go through the day and say,
40:39 "Lord, I did pretty good today!"
40:42 I don't even do that... I say, "Lord, thank You
40:45 for working through me!"
40:49 Listen to this... "Their service would not have
40:53 been voluntary but forced if God did not
40:56 give them the power to choose.
40:58 Therefore, He gave them the power of choice,
41:01 the power to yield or withhold obedience...
41:04 And before they could receive, in fullness, the blessing
41:10 He desired to impart, their love and loyalty must be tested."
41:18 You don't put somebody in a leadership position
41:21 who hasn't been tested.
41:24 You don't drag somebody off the street and make them the CEO.
41:31 So the question is... "What is the purpose of this life?"
41:34 The purpose of the Christian walk is character development,
41:38 and that's something you gotta choose to do.
41:40 But if self is in the way, then you'll be like
41:48 you'll be like a body that's at odds with itself.
41:56 Some people have diseases that fight against their own
42:01 immune system.
42:02 When we are out of harmony with God,
42:05 SIN will fight against the battle that is taking place
42:10 within us to put self to death.
42:13 We've got to put self to death; only when self is put to death,
42:17 can we understand what it means to live a single day
42:23 giving God the glory.
42:25 I've been talking to my wife lately... we sit down and
42:26 we have some serious conversations.
42:35 I looked into my wife's eyes and said... yesterday, you know
42:39 we talk, we read our Bibles and then we get
42:41 into these discussions!
42:43 I said, "Honey, you know what? Here's the kind of life
42:45 I want to live... I don't want to be a good
42:47 singer, I don't want to be a good preacher,
42:50 I don't want to be a good Bible study guy,
42:51 I want to be a good Christian."
42:54 And I said to her, "Honey, it's been 34 years,
42:57 but here's the kind of life that I have covenanted with God...
43:01 If I go to bed tonight and don't wake up,
43:04 I'm gonna see you in the first resurrection."
43:07 And we both sat and stood there and cried together.
43:12 That's the kind of life... that's the kind of assurance
43:15 you want to have - that if you close your eyes tonight,
43:18 and tomorrow morning didn't come for you,
43:21 you made a choice TODAY.
43:23 You made a choice when? Today.
43:25 Let me show you how simple it is...
43:26 When you make a choice to serve God and you repent,
43:30 He cleanses you from ALL unrighteousness.
43:34 He imputes to you and imparts to you His righteousness...
43:37 that's why the thief on the cross who never gave a
43:40 Bible study has the guarantee that when Jesus comes
43:44 He will be with him in paradise.
43:46 You don' t have to live 45 months in good-standing.
43:51 You gotta be in standing with God TODAY!
43:53 Joshua says, "Choose you today whom you will serve."
43:59 And I want to make it even clearer, we don't choose
44:01 the circumstances of life, but we choose how we respond
44:04 to the circumstances of life.
44:07 In "Ministry of Healing," p.176, listen what Ellen White says...
44:11 God's servant... "God has given us the power of choice.
44:15 It is ours to exercise, but I love what she says here...
44:19 "We cannot change our hearts, don't stay home
44:23 trying to get clean and present yourself before God
44:26 because you can't clean you up."
44:29 We cannot change our hearts.
44:30 We cannot control our thoughts, now you know why...
44:33 your thoughts are all over the place.
44:36 We cannot control our impulses.
44:38 We cannot control our affections.
44:40 We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God's service,
44:44 but here's what she says, "But we can choose to serve God.
44:50 We can give Him our will and then He will work in us to will
44:56 and to do according to His good pleasure.
45:01 Thus, our whole nature will be brought under
45:05 the control of Christ."
45:08 Isn't that good news?
45:10 You trying to fix your thoughts.
45:12 You're trying to control your impulses.
45:13 You're trying to change your affections.
45:14 You're trying to clean your heart... you CANNOT do that!
45:18 Some folks say, "Give me time so I clean some things up."
45:21 That's like saying, "I have a bad heart,
45:23 let me work on my heart before I have heart surgery."
45:26 That ain't gonna work!
45:30 You see, the power of life is in God's hands,
45:32 but the power of choice is completely in ours.
45:35 Look at Deuteronomy 30:19... Go there quickly with me.
45:39 Deuteronomy 30:19, the Lord says...
45:55 Therefore... look at God's goodness... what does He say?
46:03 Gotta choose life!
46:05 My brother - he's dead now, I have a real brother
46:08 that is by birth and by blood, but I had a brother
46:11 that was by association.
46:13 I was raised by an Adventist lady who adopted a son
46:16 in Trinidad and brought him over to America.
46:18 He was the only brother I knew, but he'd fall with alcoholism.
46:21 When he got alcohol in him, you had to plug your ears
46:26 with cotton, there was not a profane word he couldn't find,
46:31 and, he became violent.
46:32 He lived in Queens, Pastor C.A. he lived in Queens.
46:36 We lived in Brooklyn.
46:38 Whenever he got drunk, he'd get on the A-train
46:40 and he was supposed to switch at West 4th Street
46:43 for the F-train... no, sorry, Jay Street and Borough Hall
46:46 Pastor C.A. knows what I'm talking about
46:47 for the other train.
46:49 One night, he woke up and he said to the conductor,
46:55 "When is this train going to leave the station?"
47:00 The conductor said, "You've been on this train for
47:02 3-1/2 hours - we've been at this same stop 3 times already."
47:13 There's a lesson in this story.
47:16 The stops of the train were determined
47:19 before he got on board.
47:22 So if you don't want to stop at a certain place in your life,
47:25 don't make the choice to get on board!
47:28 Did you hear what I said?
47:31 In other words, don't make a bad choice
47:34 expecting good results.
47:38 Don't decide against God expecting God to bless you.
47:42 Don't say I'm gonna live in darkness,
47:44 and you wonder why God ain't pouring out
47:46 blessings in your life.
47:49 Don't say, "Lord, I am NOT gonna follow Your word,"
47:52 and expect God to bless you through His word.
47:54 We gotta make choices!
47:56 I don't know of any parent that's gonna say to the child
48:00 that comes in the house with a gun sticking out the back
48:02 pocket - "Give me the car keys," and the parent says,
48:04 "Here they are."
48:07 Gun sticking out the back pocket.
48:09 "I need your car, I'm gonna rob
48:10 a bank tonight, give me the keys."
48:12 "Here they are on the table!"
48:13 "When you're done, I'll just bring it back
48:15 without any holes in it."
48:17 We don't reward children for disobedience,
48:20 and God does not reward us either...
48:22 But what you need to know, on the other hand
48:25 when we choose to serve God, no matter what situation
48:28 you're in - thank you Jesus, God can deliver you! Amen
48:32 Daniel ended up in the lion's den because of obedience,
48:35 but Daniel's testimony from the king,
48:38 he said, "He will deliver us from your hand."
48:41 The Hebrew said, "The God we serve is able to deliver us,
48:45 even if He chooses not to, we are gonna choose to serve him."
48:50 Why do bad things happen to good people?
48:53 God doesn't always reverse your health situation,
48:56 but you got a guarantee of the first resurrection...
48:58 that's good enough for me! Amen!
49:00 Ellen White says in "Steps to Christ,"
49:04 "Desire for goodness and holiness are right
49:06 as far as they go, but if you stop here,
49:09 you will avail nothing.
49:10 Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians,
49:14 they do not come to the point of yielding the will to God.
49:19 They do not NOW choose to be Christians."
49:24 You gotta choose to be a Christian.
49:26 You can't hope one day
49:28 that you're going to get in the kingdom.
49:29 What I like is the next quotation from the book
49:32 "Child Guidance," I hope you don't mind me
49:35 reading some inspired quotations to you...
49:38 "Child Guidance," p.209, listen to this...
49:40 I thank God for this... "Everyone may place his
49:44 will on the side of the will of God and may choose
49:48 to obey Him and by thus linking himself with
49:52 divine agencies... Oh Lord, HE may stand where
49:56 nothing can force him to do evil." Amen!
50:00 Nothing! How much? Nothing!
50:09 When you put on the whole armor of God in the morning,
50:12 when you get up and you start the day on your knees,
50:16 and in God's word and you're fortified...
50:19 Ellen White says, "Only those who are fortified by the
50:22 word of God will stand in the last great conflict."
50:24 You cannot ignore light and wonder
50:27 why you're walking in darkness.
50:29 You can ignore God's voice and wonder why you
50:33 fall every time - you gotta make choices.
50:35 You MAKE choices - why not make the RIGHT choice?
50:43 He says if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord,
50:46 look at your ancestors; look at our 40-year journey;
50:50 look at what God has done in your life;
50:52 look at where you are today; look at how God has
50:54 delivered you; look at how He has provided for you;
50:56 look at that in spite of the bad choices you made
50:59 you're still alive to make a good one!
51:08 If it seems evil to you, choose for yourselves
51:12 this day whom you will serve, whether the God
51:16 which your father served or the gods of the Amorites
51:19 in whose land you dwell, but today I want to make
51:21 a declaration... "But as for me and my house,
51:23 together... we will serve the Lord."
51:27 We will serve the Lord.
51:29 Just recently, my wife and I were getting on a plane
51:32 to come back home... I always laugh when they
51:35 do this... and I said, "Honey, I'm gonna use that
51:38 in my sermon," they said, "Everybody is checked
51:43 in and we're about the close the doors - if St Louis is not
51:51 your final destination, this is a good time to get off."
51:55 Come on somebody... remember that?
51:57 If St. Louis is not your final destination,
52:00 this is a GOOD TIME to get off!
52:05 Oh I'm gonna appeal... if where your head is
52:07 is not what you want your final destination to be,
52:13 today is a good time to get off.
52:16 Is there somebody here today, as Jill plays softly,
52:21 that wants prayer this morning.
52:23 They want to come down and say, "Father, I need a better
52:26 final destination and I want to be nearer
52:30 to you than I've been before.
52:32 And TODAY I'm exercising my power to choose.
52:39 I don't want to postpone, nor do I want to forfeit
52:46 the life that You have for me.
52:49 I don't want to choose death, I want to choose life,
52:53 and I'm gonna make that choice today...
52:55 And if my eyes close tonight, and I don't get up tomorrow,
53:03 I want to be in the first resurrection.
53:06 Is there somebody here today that's smart enough
53:10 to choose that destiny?
53:13 That road I'm choosing today, I'm choosing today.
53:22 God is saying to you today, there's the door
53:26 I want you to walk through, but the other choice is death.
53:29 I'm calling you today to choose life.
53:32 And sometimes we choose death because we don't know
53:36 what it means to choose life and there's a door there
53:38 waiting for us to walk through.
53:40 I heard a story that just so revolutionized my life
53:43 about a general of a Persian army,
53:48 and he would always give his prisoners a choice of
53:51 their method of death.
53:52 He said, "firing squad or the black door?"
54:01 Most of them chose the firing squad because they didn't know
54:05 what was behind the black door and they said,
54:06 "Man, if they ain't showing it to me,
54:08 it's got to be worse than the firing squad."
54:10 Well what could be worse than being shot dead?
54:14 But the prisoners were never told what was behind the
54:16 black door, so they chose the firing squad.
54:20 Somebody came to the general and said,
54:22 "What's behind the black door?"
54:23 He said, "Freedom."
54:30 He said, "In all my years of being a general,
54:32 I only know a few men that were brave enough
54:35 to choose the unknown.
54:39 Today I'm asking you, God is asking you
54:42 to commit the unknown to the known God.
54:46 God is not asking you to figure out how you gonna live,
54:48 God is saying today, "Choose life,"
54:51 it's behind this door...
54:54 "Behold, He's standing at the door today and knocking."
55:00 Somebody has gotta make eternal decisions.
55:02 Somebody has gotta say, "The devil wants to hold
55:05 some of you in your seat."
55:06 He wants to say to some of you, "You can't do it,
55:09 you can't do it, you can't do it."
55:11 "You messed up, you can't do it - look at your life,
55:14 you can't do it" - that's the devil talking to you.
55:16 Say, "Lord, I rebuke that."
55:19 "I know I could do it by Your strength,
55:20 I'm not too dirty to stand up, I'm not too unworthy
55:24 to give my life to the Lord."
55:25 If you think you're unworthy, that's why God wants you to
55:28 stand - so He can make you, by His righteousness,
55:30 worthy today.
55:32 So if you ain't standing up, I'm encouraging you now
55:34 to stand up... Stand up for Jesus,
55:37 break the shackles that bind you.
55:39 Break the shackles that have been holding you for years.
55:43 You don't have to worry about what's behind the door,
55:47 just say, "Lord, I know what the firing squad is going to be,
55:50 it's certain death... I'm going to put my life
55:54 in your hand and walk through the door that I don't
55:57 know about."
56:01 The door of uncertainty leads to a certain God...
56:03 Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed...
56:07 Father in Heaven, We've been choosing all our
56:12 lives - all of our lives we've been making choices,
56:19 and frankly, some of us are sick of ourselves,
56:22 but when we look at the choices we've made when we
56:25 look back at the ridiculous decisions, the crazy choices,
56:28 the things that, if we had a chance to do all over again,
56:32 we would NEVER MAKE THAT CHOICE.
56:36 We've argued with ourselves, we've beat ourselves up,
56:39 we have been angry with ourselves,
56:43 but today, Lord, this is not a beat-me-up session,
56:46 this is a standup-for-Jesus session.
56:49 God is not condemning you anymore than He condemned
56:52 the woman, anymore than He condemned the paralytic,
56:55 anymore than He condemned those who come to Him.
56:58 "Whoever comes to Me," He says, "I will in no wise cast out."
57:04 So Father, today, today Lord Jesus, we're standing
57:09 because this is the best choice we can make...
57:12 to put our lives in the hand of a God who wants us to be
57:14 in His kingdom by His side walking in a perfect
57:17 sinless environment and being blessed in every step
57:22 we take in this life - to live with the assurance of salvation,
57:26 to live with the assurance that "I am saved by Your grace."
57:31 Possess us today, Lord, may Your Holy Spirit
57:35 come in and turn us inside-out, filter us.
57:40 File us down - there's only one desire...
57:45 Joshua said it, "But as for me and my house,
57:48 we will serve the Lord."
57:51 I'm so glad, Lord, I don't know how to figure out
57:53 how to do that - You're going to come in,
57:55 You're going to possess me, You're going to work Your will
57:57 in me and then You're going to work it through me.
58:01 I'm no good Father, but You are nothing but good.
58:06 I'm unrighteous, but You are nothing but righteousness.
58:12 So today I throw myself on Your mercy, on Your grace,
58:16 on Your goodness.
58:18 As Your people stand here today, Lord, we've made a decision...
58:21 Heaven has recorded it and hell has taken notice of it.
58:27 But when we leave this place of worship today,
58:29 help us not to leave trying to figure out that
58:31 we have to do the next thing, but we leave here today
58:35 determined that now we're giving You the power
58:38 to do what we could NEVER HAVE DONE!
58:41 And we have the assurance that He who has begun a
58:44 good work in us is going to complete it.
58:47 Father, continue working that we may see You in peace.
58:52 So as we are dismissed, Father, bless us, keep us, guide us,
58:56 strengthen us and may Your kingdom be furnished with
59:00 souls saved by grace because we have chosen today
59:06 to serve You.
59:09 This we pray, this we thank You for,
59:13 this we give You the glory for.
59:16 In Jesus Holy and precious name we pray... Amen


Revised 2018-01-17