"Goodness or Severity: Our Choice"
Introduction
I.  The Bible teaches that man is a free moral agent that has the power to choose his
    choices in life.
II. We live in America "The land of the free."
    A.  Where choice has become our god!
        1.  Moral issues.
        2.  Religious issues.
            a.  But we are choosing our destiny.
                (Prov 14:34 NKJV)  Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any
                people.
III.    God has created us with the ability to choose.
    A.  But that doesn't mean God approves of our choices.
    B.  We choose either the goodness or the severity of God in our choices.
        1.  Adam and Eve.
            (Gen 2:16-17 NKJV)  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every
            tree of the garden you may freely eat; {17} "but of the tree of the knowledge of good
            and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
        2.  Cain.
            (Gen 4:7 NKJV)  "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well,
            sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
        3.  Israel as a nation.
            (Exo 19:5-6 NKJV)  'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My
            covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the
            earth is Mine. {6} 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'
            These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
            (Deu 30:15-20 NKJV) 
        4.  Joshua.
            (Josh 24:15 NKJV)  "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for
            yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served
            that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land
            you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
        5.  Samuel said it Israel & Saul
            (1 Sam 12:14-15 NKJV)  "If you fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice,
            and do not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then both you and the king
            who reigns over you will continue following the LORD your God. {15} "However, if
            you do not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the
            LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
        6.  Elijah
            (1 Ki 18:21 NKJV)  And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you
            falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."
            But the people answered him not a word.
IV. Freedom of choice does not equal freedom from sin.
    A.  Freedom can become bondage.
        (John 8:34 NKJV)  Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits
        sin is a slave of sin.
V.  Care must be exercised in making choices.
    A.  Our choices can be made the wrong way.
        1.  "It feels good, it's fun, I enjoy it" (Prov 14:12).
        2.   "All my friends are doing it."
            (Exo 23:2 NKJV)  "You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a
            dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.
        3.   "But everybody's doing it"
            (Num 25:1-3 NKJV)  Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to
            commit harlotry with the women of Moab. {2} They invited the people to the sacrifices
            of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. {3} So Israel was
            joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel.
                (Num 25:9 NKJV)  And those who died in the plague were twenty-four
                thousand.
        4.  "My conscience tells me it's right."
            (Acts 23:1 NKJV)  Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and
            brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day."
        5.  "I'm doing it because I believe it to be right" (Jer 10:23).
    B.  Our choices can affect our lives for a lifetime and eternity.
        1.  Look at Easu in the O.T.
            (Heb 12:16 NKJV)  lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for
            one morsel of food sold his birthright.
        2.  Look at Judas in the N.T.
            (Mat 27:3-5 NKJV)  Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned,
            was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and
            elders, {4} saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What
            is that to us? You see to it!" {5} Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple
            and departed, and went and hanged himself.
    C.  Our choices must be guided by the God given Guide–Bible.
        1.  Our God has spoken to us (Heb 1:1-2).
        2.  Our God can be understood (Jn 8:32; Eph 3-5).
        3.  Our God can be ignored.
            (Rom 1:18 NKJV)  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
            ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in
            unrighteousness,
    D.  Our choices must be made wisely.
        1.  We are making choices between the goodness and severity of God.
            a.  When we sin the first time the default is set to severity.
Discussion
I.  WE MUST CHOOSE GOODNESS OR SEVERITY AS TO A RULER.
    A.  We must choose Jesus or Satan.
        1.  Jesus is the crowned ruler.
            (Heb 2:7 NKJV)  You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have
            crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.
            a.  Mat 28:18-20; 1 Cor 15:24-26
        2.  Satan is the condemned ruler.
            (2 Cor 4:4 NKJV)  whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe,
            lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should
            shine on them.
                (Mat 25:41 NKJV)  "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart
                from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his
                angels:
                (1)  Mat 7:21
II. WE MUST CHOOSE GOODNESS OR SEVERITY AS TO LIFE.
    A.  We must choose either the sure foundation or the unsure (Mat 7:24-27).
    B.  We must choose either the safe road or the unsafe (Mt 7:13-14).
    C.  We must choose either the sanctioned religion or the unsanctioned.
        (Psa 127:1 NKJV)  Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it;
        Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.
        1.  Plan (Jn 8:24; Luk 13:3; Mat 10:32; Mk 16:16).
        2.  Place (Mat 16:16-18; Ax 2:47; Rom 16:16).
        3.  Praise (Jn 4:24; Mt 15:9 – P, G, S, P, L.S).
III.    WE CAN CHOOSE GOODNESS OR SEVERITY AS TO DEATH.
    A.  We can die in our sins or to our sins.
        1.  If we die in our sins, we're lost.
            (John 8:21 NKJV)  Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will
            seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come."
            (John 8:24 NKJV)  "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do
            not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
        2.  If we die to our sins, we're saved (Rom 6:3-4; Gal 2:20).
    B.  We can die out of the Lord or in the Lord.
        1.  Die in the Lord: (Rev 14:13; 1 Thess 4:13-18).
        2.  Dying out of the Lord can be seen in Luke 16:19-24
IV. WE CAN CHOOSE GOODNESS OR SEVERITY AS TO ETERNITY.
    A.  We must choose heaven or hell.
        (Mat 25:46 NKJV)  "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous
        into eternal life."
        (Rev 20:13-15 NKJV)  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades
        delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his
        works. {14} Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second
        death. {15} And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
        (Rev 22:1-2 NKJV)  And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
        proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. {2} In the middle of its street, and on
        either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its
        fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Conclusion
I.  God wants you to enjoy His goodness in this life and the one to come.
    A.  But the choice is yours.
        1.  You can choose His severity.
II. Let us choose life; let us choose goodness.
** If you have any questions or if you would like to become a Christian, please let us know. 
Alan C. Cole
26th St. Church of Christ
101-26th Street Huntington, WV 25703
Phone - (304) 522-0717
E-Mail - mailto:Cole8@marshall.edu
Homepage - http://mupfc.marshall.edu/~cole8/