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WiseDecisions

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MAKING WISE CHOICES IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

II CHRONICLES 10

FEBRUARY 11, 1996 A.M. SERVICE

INTRODUCTION

A. OPENING ILLUSTRATION: A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER TOLD HIS CLASS

ABOUT THE STORY OF LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN. HE HIGHLIGHTED

THE PLIGHT OF LAZARUS, AND THE BLATANT NEGLECT OF THE RICH MAN.

ONE WAS PRIVILEGED IN THIS WORLD AND THE OTHER FOUND PEACE IN

HEAVEN. AFTER THE TEACHER HAD SHARED THESE TRUTHS, HE POSED

THIS QUESTION TO HIS CLASS, "NOW, WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER BE,

BOYS, THE RICH MAN OR LAZARUS?" ONE GUY RAISED HIS HAND AND

REPLIED, "I'D LIKE TO BE THE RICH MAN WHILE I'M LIVING AND LAZARUS

WHEN I DIE."

B. THAT'S NOT UNLIKE MANY OF US IF WE WILL BE VERY HONEST. WE WANT

WHAT IS EXPEDIENT NOW, BUT WE WANT THE OUTCOME TO BE GOOD

LATER.

C. THE TRUTH IS, CONSEQUENCES ARE A NATURAL PART OF CHOICES. WE

CAN'T HAVE BOTH WORLDS, WRONG DECISIONS AND GOOD OUTCOMES.

OUR LIVES ARE A SUM TOTAL OF THE DECISIONS AND CHOICES WE MAKE.

D. IN THE BIBLE WE HAVE A STORY THAT ILLUSTRATES THIS WELL. THE

STORY IS FOUND IN II CHRONICLES 10. IT IS THE STORY OF A KING WHO

HAD A MAJOR DECISION TO MAKE. HIS CHOICE WOULD AFFECT AND

ENTIRE NATION FOR YEARS TO COME.

1. HIS DECISION WAS CONSEQUENTIAL.

ILL. WE ALL MAKE THESE DECISIONS. OFTEN THEY COME IN CRISIS

TIMES:

COUPLE HAVING TROUBLE IN THEIR MARRIAGE.

TEENS WHO ARE DATING REGARDING SEXUAL PURITY.

PERSON ON THE VERGE OF A CAREER CHANGE.

PERSON WHO IS CONTEMPLATING TURNING HIS LIFE OVER TO

CHRIST.

2. IT IS OBVIOUS HE MADE THE WRONG DECISION.

3. WHAT COULD HE HAVE DONE TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION?

I. THE DEMAND FOR CONSEQUENTIAL DECISIONS.

A. THE DEMAND FOR DECISION MAKING IS WRITTEN INTO THE VERY FABRIC

OF OUR LIVES.

1. THERE IS NO WAY REHOBOAM COULD GET AROUND MAKING A

DECISION.

2. THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN ESCAPE IT EITHER.

3. LIFE IS A SERIES OF CHOICES.

B. AS OUR RESPONSIBILITIES INCREASE SO DO THE NUMBER OF DECISIONS

WE HAVE TO MAKE.

ILL. A PRE-SCHOOLER HAS TO MAKE DECISIONS, BUT THESE DECISIONS ARE

NOT NEARLY AS GREAT AS THE DECISIONS MADE BY THE PARENTS

RAISING THIS PRE-SCHOOLER.

C. AS OUR POSITION OF INFLUENCE INCREASES SO DOES THE

CONSEQUENCES OF OUR CHOICES..

1. CHRISTIAN LEADERS HAVE A TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY WHEN

MAKING DECISIONS BOTH PERSONAL AND CORPORATE.

2. CHRISTIAN LEADERS WILL INCUR A STRICTER JUDGMENT.

D. DECISIONS HAVE TO BE MADE IN SO MANY AREAS.

1. AUTHORITY. WHO WILL BE THE AUTHORITY IN OUR LIVES?

OURSELVES, OTHERS, OBVIOUS GODS OF THIS WORLD, OR THE

OMNIPOTENT GOD OF THIS UNIVERSE?

2. RELATIONSHIPS. SUCH AS MARRIAGE. ONE OF THE BIGGEST

DECISIONS A PERSON WILL EVER MAKE. MANY MAKE THIS DECISION

WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE CONSEQUENCES.

ILL. MOST SPEND MUCH MORE ENERGY AND TIME PLANNING THE

WEDDING THAN PLANNING THE MARRIAGE.

YOU MENTION TIME AND COUNSELING TO SOME AND THEY ARE

OFFENDED.

IT WAS VOICED BY SOME A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN I BEGAN

REQUIRING PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING BY OUR COUNSELORS THAT

I WAS TRYING TO CONTROL WHO GOT MARRIED AND WHEN. OH NO!

THAT'S NOT TRUE! MY NAME ISN'T CUPID. I JUST DON'T LOOK GOOD

IN RED LEOTARDS. I'M JUST TRYING TO PREVENT SOME GRIEF IN

SOME PEOPLE'S LIVES.

PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE.

THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE INSTITUTION. THE PROBLEM

IS WITH MANY WHO ARE GETTING MARRIED. OFTEN THE WRONG

PEOPLE ARE MARRYING FOR THE WRONG REASONS, AND THE

OUTCOME IS WRONG.

3. TIME. HOW WE SPEND OUR TIME IS

A MAJOR DECISION. I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME IS A COMMON

STATEMENT. THE STRUGGLE IS WITH PRIORITY.

II. DELIBERATIONS BEFORE MAKING DECISIONS.

A. WHAT DOES HISTORY REVEAL?

1. YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST TO MAKE THE DECISION YOU ARE MAKING.

ILL. REHOBOAM'S FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE SAME DECISION. HE MADE

THE WRONG ONE AND ALMOST DESTROYED A NATION.

THE PROBLEM IS MANY FOLLOW THE FOOTSTEPS OF THEIR

PARENTS EVEN WHEN IT IS DAMAGING AND DISASTROUS TO DO SO.

2. "THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DESTINED TO

REPEAT IT."

B. DOES THE DECISION FIND SUPPORT IN THE BIBLE?

ILL. THE BIBLE IS A ROAD MAP TO RIGHT DECISIONS. ALL THE DANGERS ARE

WELL MARKED.

C. WILL THE DECISION TRULY BETTER MY LIFE?

1. BE CAREFUL. NOT EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS TO BE BETTER

REALLY IS.

2. THE QUESTION MUST BE ASKED. "WILL THIS MAKE MY LIFE BETTER

IN THE FUTURE, OR DOES IT JUST FEEL BETTER RIGHT NOW?"

D. HOW WILL THIS DECISION AFFECT THE SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE IN MY LIFE?

E. WHAT WILL BE THE CONSEQUENCES OF MY DECISION? TOTAL HONESTY

IS REQUIRED HERE!

F. WHAT KIND OF TESTIMONY WILL THIS DECISION GIVE?

III. DEVELOPMENT OF THE RIGHT DECISION.

A. BE SKEPTICAL OF YOUR HEART.

1. MY HEART SAYS DO IT. THIS MAY BE A GOOD REASON TO DO

SOMETHING, OR IT MAY BE A GOOD REASON NOT TO DO I.

2. IT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN A COMPASS AND A WATCH.

ILL. A COMPASS IS ALWAYS RIGHT, BUT A WATCH MUST BE SET RIGHT.

a. God's Word is a compass.

b. The heart is a watch.

B. ESTABLISH AN AUTHORITY IN YOUR LIFE.

1. EVERYONE NEEDS AN AUTHORITY. ONE THAT IS:

a. Truthful.

b. Accurate.

c. Able to look ahead.

2. THE GREATEST AUTHORITY IS JESUS CHRIST.

3. FILTER ALL ADVICE, COUNSEL, FEELINGS, AND DESIRES THROUGH

THIS AUTHORITY.

C. KEEP YOUR WALK WITH GOD UP TO DATE.

1. REMAIN TIED TO GOD'S WORD.

ILL. "SIN WILL EITHER KEEP YOU FROM GOD'S WORD, OR GOD'S WORD

WILL KEEP YOU FROM SIN."

2. ALLOW CHRIST TO DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTER.

a. Submit what you are to Him.

b. Remember character is not made during crisis; it is only revealed

then.

D. TRUST IN GOD'S WISDOM NOT YOUR OWN.

1. PROVERBS 3:5-7 "TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND

LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING; IN ALL YOUR WAYS

ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT.

DO NOT BE WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES; FEAR THE LORD AND SHUN

EVIL.

E. DO WHAT IS RIGHT; NOT WHAT IS EXPEDIENT.

1. DO WHAT THE WORD STATES; NOT WHAT THE WORLD WANTS.

2. JESUS' DEATH ON THE CROSS WAS THE RIGHT DECISION, BUT IT

WAS NOT AN EASY DECISION. BUT, BECAUSE HE MADE THE RIGHT

DECISION YOU CAN MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS IN YOUR LIFE

TODAY.

serfeb96.a11

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