“FREEDOM OF CHOICE”                                           Pastor YAU

Text: Joshua 24:14-18                                                   January 29, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   An attractive slogan: The word freedom has been attractive since the beginning of creation. In fact freedom of choice is a God given privilege to man when he was not created as a robot. Many great events in human history, including many revolutions were inspired by the idea of freedom. Countless people gave their lives to the struggle for freedom and many beautiful stories were written on the victory of freedom over oppression. Some even place freedom next to life when ranking the importance of human survival.

2)   An awesome responsibility: While we all value the importance of freedom to choose, we also realize the awesome responsibility that comes from exercising freedom. Countless people have suffered harm and injury because of others who enjoy freedom without responsibility. The abuse of freedom in making wrong and bad choices has ruined countless lives, broken countless families and cost so much harm to the well being of the society. Besides the exercise of personal discretion in claiming freedom of choice, laws were passed to set boundaries on personal freedom and the price of breaking the boundary.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF FREEDOM:

1)    It is the wisdom of God: When God created man in His image He gave man part of His nature—free to make decisions. While there were many discussions on the wisdom of God’s doing so, we all treasure the freedom God has given us. No one would like to be robots who would only mechanically respond to the control of God or any other power. Any act or power purposed to eliminate freedom is against God’s design for mankind. Nations, societies or homes where exercise of freedom is restricted creates tension and degradation on the dignity of man and is a direct violation of God’s design and sovereignty.

2)    It is the dignity of man: It is the freedom of choice that separates man from the rest of creation, particularly all other animals. The freedom of choice set man different and above all other created things. When man is reduced to living creature without freedom to choose, either by force or by indoctrination, he has lost his dignity of being man. That is why wars and revolutions were waged to over throw kingdoms and social systems which prohibit or restrict free exercise of choice.

3)    It sets the boundaries of your life: The extent of freedom of a man pretty much sets the limits or potential of his life. While there is no perfect social or political system in this world, we see the much better potential and opportunity in a society where freedom is valued and encouraged compare to societies where freedom is restricted. Given the freedom to think, to try, to explore, man can do much more and achieve much higher level of productivity for himself and people around him. Freedom creates the environment for man to expand his potential and build a brighter future for life.

 

THE LIMITS OF FREEDOM: There must be limits or boundaries on exercising freedom:

1)   It must be beneficial to your self: This is not being selfish, it is being responsible. Apostle Paul said, “Not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinth. 6:12, 10:23) He was talking about his freedom to do all things but he must exercise wisdom not to do things that may hurt or harm him self. This is a very important principle. We see too many people use their freedom end up hurting themselves.

2)   It must not become your master: We are set free by the grace of God and we should never allow anything or anyone, including freedom of choice, to become a controlling power over us. Paul warned the early Christians not to indulge in sinful nature by using new found freedom. (Galatians 5:13) As to himself, he said when he used freedom, he “will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinth. 6:12b) When you are being controlled by your “desire” in using your freedom of choice, you have lost your freedom of choice.

3)   It must not hurt others.  Not all the things we do under the banner of freedom are good for others: our family, our friends and our church. Paul advised the early Christians that they should not use their freedom to lay down “stumbling blocks to others.” (1 Corinth. 8:9) Because there are things we may do that are not good for the building up of others. (1 Corinth. 10:23b) We are also advised “not to just look after our own interest but the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4) If a brother is going to get hurt by our exercise of freedom, we should give up that freedom for the sack of a brother.

 

THE CHOICE OF A GREAT MAN: (Joshua 24:14-18)

1)    His choice of serving the Lord: At the time of Joshua, there were so many choices of idols people worshipped. Each of the idols was credited with a different benefit for everyday life. Many people chose to serve a certain idol because of the benefits he believed in that idol. Yet at his old age, after many years of leading the people of Israelis in conquering the land of Canaan, Joshua chose to serve the almighty God. Choosing a god you will serve or pay homage is a very serious matter. It means where your heart and loyalty will be. Don’t be tricked that you serve no one. We all serve someone in our life---the one whom we obey the most.

2)    He set great example for his family: There is no sign that Joshua was a dictator over his family. He must have definite confidence in declaring that his family also will serve the almighty God. While we respect the choice of individuals even in our own family, we also recognize the importance of parental influence and example which will lead children to serve God. Setting good example and exercise godly influence in leading our family to serve God is a great way in fulfilling our Christian responsibility. (24:15c)

3)    He helped others to make best choice: (24:16-18) In challenging the people of Israel to make the choice of a god they will serve, Joshua ended up leading the whole nation committed to the Lord. If you are looking for an example of great influence, here is one, Joshua. He challenged the people to make a wise choice between the idols of their fore fathers or the God who had been with them through the journey of the exodus and the people chose to serve the Lord. Through the years following Moses, Joshua undoubtedly had demonstrated great character and integrity so the people chose to follow his choice. What is your influence?

 

THE BENEFITS OF CHOOSING GOD: 

1)     Choose God for provision: You may think this is unspiritual and selfish but it is very practical and basic. Everyone needs provision and God is the best source for that because He is the creator and owner of all things. ”The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good things.” (Psalm 34:10) God knows what we need and He is able to provide all our needs. (Matthew 6:32) He provides more than just material needs but all needs including emotional intellectual needs. If you will ask, He will provide. (Matt. 7:7)

2)     Choose God for protection: God is in business of protection of His children from harm. From his own experience, King David wrote: “The Lord will protect you from all harm. He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8) God’s protection covers you more than just from physical harm He will also cover you from temptation and sin. King David said again, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)

3)     Choose God for Paradise: No one is foolish enough to think he will live forever. For those who confess their sins and ask for forgiveness will be given eternal life in paradise with Jesus as He promised the criminal on the cross. (Luke 23:41-42) Paul, the apostle explained it clearly in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Choose God today and receive from Him provision, protection and paradise.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)   True freedom is in the Bible: The truth of God in the Bible is the right way to set you free. Listen to the Word and receive the true freedom.

2)   Exercise your freedom with responsibility: Be responsibility in using your freedom. Use them wisely for the good of all people.

3)   Choose to believe God: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and choose eternal life. Be prepared for your eternal future.