OUR CHOICE

God does not oppose our choice. He gave us a free will and lets us test our ability to manage our life as well as our affairs. He is not some horseman that puts bids in our mouth and makes us obey Him. There are people that have made such claims and still do but their end results contradict their claims. I too had such notions; only, at the end I got what I had set out to do. I had to make my choice and no one else.

SERMON

A friend stopped attending church because the pastor had preached one type of sermon for twenty years. The topics were different but the content and conclusion were the same. Jesus does not change, why should a pastor? The friend's assessment was not entirely accurate, because a sermon does have a number of objectives. I do not feel comfortable when I agree totally with a sermon. It turns me into a fully-grown vegetable that turns stale and tasteless. People that have disagreed with my thoughts have greatly added to my growth and usefulness. Below are a few things that a sermon does for me.

BRANDED

Recently, I had the misfortune of spotting my garments with paint. People do wear spotted clothes but I am not comfortable. It reminded me of the branding of Cain after he had killed his brother Abel (Gen.4: 1-16). It set him apart from his family, his country and even his God. Sin in our life is like paint. It puts a brand on us that cannot be removed. And like Cain, we have to find an environment where we are feared but tolerated. In time, the entire environment would become like Cain or Canaanites. This was precisely what the world was like in Noah's day and again in Paul's time (Ge.6: 5-7; Ro.1: 28-32).

Knowing What Is Best

Two years I had spent preparing for an entrance examine in Theology and be told that my answers were more conducive to Biblical exegesis. Fortunately I was willing to take the examining board's advice and my studies became more productive. I was after all not to represent the great theologians but Jesus the Christ. More to the point, I had to be stopped from pursuing a field of interest that was not beneficial for me.

Trade Off?

Jesus compared our settling of our accounts with God to a king that settled his with his servants (Mt.18: 21-35). The head of the servants owed the king a very huge sum of money. There was no way he could repay his obligations. He pleaded before the king and the monarch out of mercy cancelled all his debts. It was an act of grace that set this servant free. Next, this recipient of grace goes to one of his fellow servants that owed him a few dollars and demanded that he be repaid immediately. This servant also pleaded on his knees but received no mercy or forgiveness. Instead, he was imprisoned and the report about this merciless servant reached the king. The monarch rescinded his act of grace and committed this man to the mercy of the jailor. Jesus concluded," This is how my heavenly Father will treat each one of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."