What exactly is the right thing to do? How do we make decisions as people who are in Christ? This excerpt from the Sermon on “The Right Thing” by Pastor Benjamin Kuria, will show us how best we can handle decisions in life. The context of this sermon was on a series on Baptism. The message is however so profound it applies in all other aspects of our life. Oh, the sweet Gospel!
“John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.”Matthew 3:14-15 ESV
God gave the man a variety of choices/ options. He gave man will. So that he would choose what we want. The Lord will never coerce us to do things. He gave us a choice and when we look around, we can see from the results of the world that indeed there is a free will that man misused at some point. I am urged to pay close attention to the choices I make every single day. I am more a product of my decisions more than the environment around me. I must therefore purpose to make the right decisions/ to do that which is right. Every decision I make will have some consequence attached to it. My focus should be on making the right decisions. with the understanding that I am of the Kingdom of God, these decisions need to be Godly as well. Because we can also have good decisions that are not Godly. We are constantly faced with the question: “What do I do?” Below, are 4 ways we can respond to that question.
Failing to do Anything.
Failing to do anything is already doing something. By choosing not to act/respond/ not engage, I have already made a choice. We see many examples from scripture and one significant one is that of the House of Eli the High Priest of Shiloh. In 1 Samuel 3: 13-14 “And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” Eli knew what his sons were doing in the temple and Eli chose not to do anything about it. Phinehas and Hophni were priests who committed evil deeds, along the lines of greed and immorality. This household was cursed.
From this, we learn that we need to be courageous enough to take action. Failing to do anything or not taking action is an action in itself. Our indecision will not make God fail to act. The indecision of a man does not affect the decision of God. It doesn’t hinder the repercussions from hitting us. There is nothing like the graph has been drawn. Contrary to popular belief, ‘there is a curve of destiny that is drawn for us,’ and that whether we do anything or not, things will fall into place. It does not work like that. It is the choices we make in life that lead to the things around us.
You’re either a goat or a sheep, wheat or tares. There is no in-between. As a parent, for instance, I have to make the choice for my kids. I have to make the choice to guide my children in the right way. As a leader in the marketplace, family, church, or elsewhere, I have to make the choice to lead those under my lead in the right way. Choices have to be made. See how specific this decision-making process will be for the King in Matthew 25:31-33 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (ESV) also, remember the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:30 `Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”(NASB)
The woman with the issue of blood made a decision to wade through the crowd and touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. Luke 8:43-44 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. (ESV)
The 4 lepers thrown outside the city in 2 Kings: 7 Made a decision… – They better die doing something, because either way, death was their fate. But see what the Lord did in that situation!!! 2 Kings 7:3-4 Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” (ESV)
Choosing What is Good in Their Own Eyes.
1 Samuel 13: 8-10 “He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.” Saul gave excuses for why he went again the will of God. Urgency, risk fear, is not an excuse to go against God’s will. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”. ESV
What appears good in my own eyes will definitely lead to destruction. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”. Jeremiah 17:9 ESV I should not rely on my knowledge, experience, and wisdom. They have proven not capable to do that which is right in the eyes of God. This is where now we start being exposed to the concept of right and Godly. Or maybe let me put it as right and in ‘God’s will’ In my own eyes also extends to not wanting to be accountable. I must do something but not what appears good in my own eyes.
Choosing What is good in the Eyes of Men.
We are at times good at seeking advice and seeking consultation. Seeking the opinions of men instead of doing what the Lord has expressly told us to do or consulting with God before doing anything. A classic example is found in 2 Chronicles 10:4-6. “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now, therefore, lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”(ESV) [Read to verse 11] This affair led to the splitting of the Kingdom of Israel. Though the advice of men sounds good there is no assurance with the advice of men. Trying to please everybody is one way where you will surely fail (ESV). The word of the Lord says, “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5
We also find another example where King Saul was too impatient to wait for the designated process of sacrifice. You know that favorite verse 🤔”Obedience is better than sacrifice?” Here is the context. 😃1 Samuel 15:21-22 “But the people took of the spoil, sheep, and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” ESV And that is how Saul fell. That is how he was rejected as King by God. It is key to note that there are repercussions to choosing what seems right in the eyes of men, as compared to what the Lord says is right.
Doing What is Right in the Eyes of the Lord.
This is the will of God. It is the perfect place to be and what we should all strive to be. We need to strive to do that which is right in the standard of God. We have an example in 2 Chronicles 14:2-4. “Asa did good and right in the sight of the LORD his God, for he removed the foreign altars and high places, tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment.” (NASB)
Another key example to emulate especially in this season is that of Jesus. The same man who John the Baptist wouldn’t untie the shoes came to be baptized by him so that all righteousness could be fulfilled. He was the Son of God – God himself yet he was baptized by an ordinary man. We need to fulfill all righteousness like Jesus Christ and that first step is baptism.
Matthew 3:13-15 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. (ESV)
The benefits of doing what is the will of God are numerous both in the spiritual realm and in the physical. The structure of our life in Christ is in an attempt to live righteously towards heaven. There is no other way to do it but to live in the will of God. This is where we derive blessings. The full sermon is attached.