CHOICE IS NECESSARY
Among the general population, in the month of December, Americans resent the
necessity of choice. "David, what are you talking about?" At least in this nation,
December's events demand that we make choices. Those from the ages of children to
the ages of grandparents have to make choices.
"We do not have to make choices in December!" Oh yes we do! When wrapped
packages begin to appear in your home, do you openly immediately or does your family
wait? The common December question, "What do you want for Christmas?" demands
that you make a choice. Do you like surprises, or do you prefer to pick out the gifts you
want to receive? Young families, do you face any challenges deciding where you will
be December 25th?
Then there are those who are convinced they can bypass the necessity of
choice. They attempt to give everyone everything they want, and fail. They attempt to
be at every place December 25th, and fail. They attempt to give everyone exactly what
they want, but surprise them, and fail.
December is filled with choices. Some choices are enjoyable. Some choices
are not liked.
In regard to choices, December is really not that different to life the other eleven
months of the year. December just reminds us over and over and over that choices are
inescapable and necessary.
- From the very beginning, the person who lived in relationship with God chose
to do so.
- Every person whose life was lived in relationship with God made that
Why? Why would these people make such unpopular, uncommon,
- Genesis 3 tells us evil became reality in this world when two things
- Eve chose against relationship with God.
- Adam stood there silently, without saying a word, and let her decide for
both of them.
- Genesis 4 explains that Abel chose to honor God while Cain chose to honor
- Genesis 5 says Enoch made such extraordinary choices for relationship with
God that God did not permit Enoch to die.
- Genesis 6 says Noah chose for God when the entirety of human population
wanted nothing to do with God.
- Genesis 12 through 22 states that Abraham repeatedly chose for relationship
with God among people who did not know that God existed.
In reference to Moses and his choices, the very same chapter makes this
- Hebrews 11:13-16 explains their choices in this way:
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them
and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and
exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of
their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they
would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly
one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
- Their choice to live in relationship with God was incredible.
- They had a basic understanding that God would send this world a
blessing which would be available to all who lived.
- They had full confidence God would keep His promise.
- But they all died before God sent Jesus who became the Christ,
before Jesus died and was resurrected as the Christ.
- They had so much confidence in the fact that God would keep His
promise that by faith they could look into the far distance and see God
doing what He promised to do.
- They had so much confidence that they lived in ways that proved they
did not belong to this world.
- They knew they did not "fit" in this world.
- They were looking to live in a place where they "fit," a country of their
- The result: God was not ashamed to claim those people as His people.
- God was delighted to be known as their God.
- Because they were perfect?
- No, because they chose relationship with Him over relationship
with this world.
- God was not only happy to be known as their God, but He Himself
also prepared for them a place where they belong.
Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of
Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy
the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of
Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
- As an adult, Moses made some extremely difficult choices.
- He lived in Pharaoh's palace [the king of Egypt's palace] when Egypt was the
leading nation in the Mediterranean world.
- He had opportunity to chose to be a part of the king's family.
- He had opportunity to chose a life of pleasure.
- He had opportunity to live his life enjoying the "passing pleasures of sin."
- But he chose to endure the wrongful treatment of God's people who were
slaves in Egypt.
- He did not know all the details about Jesus, but he understood God had
something very special in mind for the people of this world.
- He understood that the reward involved in God's plans far exceeded the
"passing pleasures of sin" even when they were experienced in the
palace of a wealthy, powerful king.
- So, by choice, he spent his life leading some ungrateful, liberated slaves
through a dessert.
The one thing all the people who chose relationship with God had in common
in their choices was faith in God (confidence or trust in God).
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must
believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
- To belong to God, a person must have faith in God.
It grieves me that there is so much evidence that we as God's people have
forgotten the necessity of faith.
- Faith is a choice.
- If a person does not chose to place his or her trust (confidence) in God, he or
she cannot please God.
- God requires two things of those who come to Him.
- They must believe that He exists.
- They must have confidence in the fact that He rewards those who seek
- Repentance without faith cannot and will not please God.
- Baptism without faith cannot and will not please God.
- Godly acts without faith cannot and will not please God.
- Our fundamental choice is not repentance, or baptism, or godly acts.
- Our fundamental choice is faith in God.
- Faith in God means trusting God as we make our choices.
- Faith in God means confidence in God as we make our choices.
- Faith in God means choosing to live for Him instead of the passing
pleasures of sin.
"The floor is now open for nominations for the hardest thing about being a
- Whether you are married or unmarried, have children or do not have
children, have small children or have grown children, you can make a
So, in your mind, right now tell yourself your nomination for the hardest
thing about parenthood.
I wish I had a list of all your nominations.
- All of us here have been children.
- That means all of us have interacted with a parent.
- That means all of us are qualified to nominate the greatest difficulty of
If your goal is to get your child to attend church as an adult, or to be
baptized, or to live a lifestyle that does godly deeds, your goal is too small.
- I suspect that our nominations would be influenced significantly by our
- Perhaps the unmarried would nominate an unmet parental expectation
rooted in their childhood.
- Perhaps couples who have no children would nominate the loss of
freedom and privacy.
- Perhaps couples with infants would nominate the loss of sleep.
- Perhaps families with small children would nominate financial or time
- Perhaps families with teens would nominate some form of exasperation.
- Perhaps families with grown children would nominate children leaving
- May I share my nomination?
- Thus far in my life I would say the hardest thing about being a parent is
watching your child become a person who makes choices.
- Our children will do the same thing we adults have done: they will make
their own choices; they will decide for themselves.
- And included in those choices is the choice to be a person of faith in God.
- None of those things will please God without faith.
- Our goal can be nothing less than helping our children discover and accept
faith in God.
- The first thing that is essential for that to happen: your children must see that
faith in you.
- The second thing that is essential for that to happen: our children must see
that faith in us.
Are we being religious without having faith in God? Or, are we learning to be
spiritual people who build life's foundation on faith in God? What choice do we make?
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 16 December 2001
Link to next sermon
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell