Bible Ballistics: Vol. 18 No. 15 You Are Free To Choose???
“Now therefore fear the LORD,
and serve him in sincerity
and in truth:
and put away the gods
which your fathers served
on the other side of the flood,
and in Egypt;
and serve ye the LORD.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,
choose you this day
whom ye will serve;
whether the gods which your fathers served
that were on the other side of the flood,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
What does it mean to serve The Lord? It is a choice that we all face! I think Jesus answers the question better than I can so, let’s consider what HE has to say. Yet remember that when we know what Jesus says, then we are faced with a decision–to hear and obey or reject HIM and HIS Word and walk in our own darkness. Why is this important to me? Because as Joshua proclaimed we will choose—and hear me well–refusing to “choose” is choosing; and there is a consequence to every choice. Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus (the religious leader who came to him by night for answers) that all choices have consequences.
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world through him
might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him
is not condemned:
but he that believeth not
is condemned already,
because he hath not believed
in the name of the only begotten
Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness
rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil
hateth the light,
neither cometh to the light,
lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest,
that they are wrought in God.” John 3:16-21
God will not ask where we went to church, or if our parents were believers, whether we impressed others with our works; but as HE told Nicodemus the question will be simple, “have you been born again”? As Jesus said in verse 3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”! Have you been born again, or are you depending on something else to be right with God? As Jesus says above, whoever “doeth evil hateth the light”; rejecting the light so their deeds won’t be reproved—in other words, they don’t want their own personal sin to be called “SIN”! Or, as Jesus addresses in Matthew chapter 7, just “saying so”, (just ‘saying’ that you’re right with God, that you ‘know’ The Lord) “doesn’t make it so”!
“Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree
cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down,
and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will
of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many
23 And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you:
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:17-23
Just as our vernacular of “saying so, doesn’t make it so”, James reiterates with “faith without works is dead” (dead faith—or as Paul called it, “vain” faith). Our actions display our real beliefs!
“If a brother or sister
and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them,
Depart in peace,
be ye warmed and filled;
notwithstanding ye give them not those things
which are needful to the body;
what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith,
if it hath not works,
is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say,
Thou hast faith,
and I have works:
shew me thy faith
without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith
by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well:
the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know,
O vain man,
that faith without works is dead?” James 2:15-20
James refers to the evidence of real faith not the “source” of faith. We don’t work for our salvation, but when we genuinely belong to Jesus there will be evidence of our faith (See Ephesians 2:8-10). Paul also mentions ‘vain’ faith, referring to the same thing that James is talking about—they didn’t disagree!
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel
which I preached unto you,
which also ye have received,
and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory
what I preached unto you,
unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all
that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried,
and that he rose again the third day
according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas,
then of the twelve:” 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
I know it seems like I am “beating a dead horse”, but I am so burdened for our whole culture (including many churches in America); including people that you and I love who have bought into an ‘easy believe-ism’ that says just use Jesus’ name, pray in HIS name, go to church in HIS name, carry a Bible, even be baptized, if you like, but don’t believe the “gospel” that Jesus came to “save HIS people from their sins” (See Matthew 1:21)—after all, sin is irrelevant today, right? NOT true. SIN IS THE ISSUE, and Jesus IS the only cure, as Peter said so well right from the beginnings of the ministry of the church.
“Be it known unto you all,
and to all the people of Israel,
that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom ye crucified,
whom God raised from the dead,
even by him
doth this man stand here before you
11 This is the stone
which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation
in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven
given among men,
whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12
Paul gives a description of those who have been born again and transformed by the power of Jesus’ blood, for our reconciliation and transformation cost Jesus’ own blood at the cross! Yet so many today discount the blood of Jesus—they want to use His name to purchase fire insurance with no recognition of HIS Lordship, or that they are “bought with a price….you are not your own“! (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us
the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit,
that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him
to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness
of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Let’s continue and see what Jesus said about HIS sheep?
“Jesus answered them,
I told you,
and ye believed not:
the works that I do in my Father’s name,
they bear witness of me.
26 But ye believe not,
because ye are not of my sheep,
as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them,
and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life;
and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them
out of my hand.” John 10:27
Jesus’ sheep are called to live transformed lives; transformed by the power of the blood and the continuing work of The Holy Spirit who indwells every genuine believer. Who said so? God’s Word says so!
“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you,
the body is dead because of sin;
but the Spirit is life
because of righteousness.” Romans 8:8-10
Who have you chosen to follow? There is a consequence to every choice so choose wisely—there is a test. Every knee shall bow—so the question isn’t “Will you bow?”; for you “will bow”! The question is when? (See Philippians 2:5-11). Will you bow before Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or will you bow before HIM as your judge when it is too late for salvation? I pray that you will choose Jesus, for I believe HE IS coming soon!
Amen and Amen!