Community Group Study Notes
- What place do Jesus’ words have in your life? How would you know? How would others know?
- Some people view Jesus as a consultant but not as Lord. What do you think the difference is? Why is this important?
- How can you help others see Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor?
The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. -Psalm 119:130
Well, good morning everyone.
Welcome from the Cheektowaga team. I was reading this article in a leading edge journal not too long ago that said that on average the typical person on a daily basis makes about 30 to 35 thousand decisions a day. That seems absolutely absurd but the typical person on average makes 30 to 35 thousand decisions a day. From the mundane all the way to the monumental, 30 to 35 thousand decisions a day. And you're saying to yourself, I said to myself was, there is absolutely no way possible I make that many decisions in one day. But here's what I want you to do, just track with me for a minute and see how we can maybe get to that.
Your alarm clock goes off in the morning. You hit it, is that snooze or get up? Yeah, there's one, there's one right there. You get up whenever you decide to get up and then the next thing, what are my apparel choices for the day. Ladies, where you at? There you go. 500 for you right there, I know that. You just got up and you already have 501 choices just right there.
Now it's time for breakfast and there's all the choices that come with that, right? Then you say, okay, well it's time to go to work. You get out of your driveway, is it 990, 190 or 290? More choices, more decisions to make there. So is it left or right? Do I pass, do I not pass? You get into work, you log on to the computer for the day and let's see, do I check Facebook or not? Okay, we all employers know everyone's checking their Facebook. So you decide to make that choice. Do I friend or do I unfriend. I see a response that needs to be made. Do I respond or do I not respond? Then my decision becomes how do I respond at that point.
The day goes on and you get home and it's time for dinner, okay, do I cook tonight? Do we go out, do we order in? What are we going to order in? There's another couple hundred decision between just that right there. That right there hasn't even talked about or spoken to the decisions that you make at work about work. Hasn't even touched that. What about the decisions that you have to make every day at school. Hasn't even touched those decisions. What about the decisions that you make every day relative to the relationships in your life and all the people that come into your circle of influence in one day. Doesn't even touch those. Tons and tons of decisions, from the mundane all the way to the monumental as well.
You and I have been given the opportunity to make multitude of decisions by God, a multitude of decisions on a multitude of things, mundane all the way to monumental about the course of our days. And understand that our decisions do in many cases have a compounding effect, don't they?
Take for instance, there was a time in my life and I won't say when but I used to love peanut donuts and Cheetos. Not together, but every single day, I would have a peanut donut in the morning and after work a bag of Cheetos. And I knew exactly every bodega on the west side to get a cheap bag of Cheetos from, trust me. But that's what it was, I'd be home I'd get home and I'd smell like Cheetos and have that orange stuff all over your fingers that you lick off and everything right. And then I give my wife a Cheeto kiss. That is a lucky woman. A Cheeto kiss, right?
At one point, I was doing a stewardship class with Jason and Jessica Pappas, big ups for the stewardship ministry but we had to calculate what our expenses were over the course of the year. Mundane to the monumental. So, I put in my stuff and everything for my wife and I and I put in my Cheetos. I put in my peanut donut. I hit enter. $1100 a year in Cheetos and donuts. Absolutely positively, I was sick, I'm like, there is no way. When Leroy hit that button again, boom, $1100 a year in Cheetos and donuts. Not to mention the compounding effects of what that does from a health perspective to a person but all of the decisions that we make as small as they are monumental in our lives.
In fact, it was pretty funny, a couple weeks ago, kind of putting all this together and I was at the office in Cheektowaga in the Dick-Urban Plaza. And I needed to go over to the new campus to see how construction was going. And I get in my car and I look down and this is what I see. Yeah. I'm like, are you kidding me. But hey, let me tell you what, it's a small bag these days. It used to be the big bag, now it's a small bag.
But listen, in every area of our life, we need to steward our decisions and we need to steward them well. Why? Because how many decisions does it take to alter the course of our life? One. One decision is all it takes. You could make 34,999 awesomely godly decisions in one day. Make one unwise ungodly decision and you can see the course of your life and your trajectory of your life and your relationships begin to spiral out of control. Just look at all the news that we've been here and recently about decisions that men have made as it relates to sexual harassment. Lives destroyed because of one decision that was made.
Adam and Eve had a decision to make as well and they followed some ungodly, unwise decisions. They made one decision and that altered the whole course of humanity ever since then.
Now, you and I will probably never have an opportunity to make a decision that alters the course of humanity. We're not that important. However, we do have one decision to make that will ultimately determine our eternity. One decision will decide that. So despite what Adam and Eve did, you and I until we make the right decision are just as susceptible to follow unwise and ungodly decision making for that decision. But make one wise decision there and that can reverse the whole impact of what Adam and Eve did in their one decision.
Just for grins here, the same study said that the typical teenager makes 5000 decisions a day. So your teen is making 5000 decisions a day. So when you're driving home just kind of look up in the rear view mirror and say to yourself, you mean the tell me that kid back there is going to make 5000 decisions today. It should make us all scared and make us all parent more effectively.
Well listen, I did just want to say welcome again and thank you so much for coming this morning. It's a pleasure to be here, to continue on and our road to Christmas. And before we get started now, let me just take a moment if we could just go before the Lord in prayer.
Father, we thank you so much for this day and just ask that you prepare our hearts for what you would share with us this morning. I pray God that I have been faithful to what I believe you have asked me to communicate and share this morning. I pray that these words would fall on fertile soil if you will God. And God, you know, we also just want to take a second and just pray for the Church at the Game this morning. Just an awesome opportunity to share Jesus Christ before the game and while everyone's probably going there and praying for a victory in the Bills but my prayer and our prayer is that your word would be spoken this morning and that people going to see a silly little game of football will hear the truth of your word and be able to experience what true victory is through relationship with Jesus Christ. We just want to pray for those folks there this morning God. SO thank you, we love you, In Jesus' name. amen.
So we've been pretty much in the same book of the Bible for the past couple of weeks. We've been in the same verse and we've been in the exact same chapter. So, there's going to be some pop quizzes going on and it's okay for you to kind of talk out loud because they're going to pop quiz to make sure that you're tracking along with pastor jerry and pastor Jonathan and myself in this series that we're doing here. So, the text this morning comes from the Old Testament book of ... That was week. I can see already half of you are going to stay after class today, all right.
So, what book of the Old Testament are we studying from?
There we go. Now we'll really see. Chapter what.
Nine, okay, better. Verse?
Oh, it got week. There we go. I heard you over that though. So, Isaiah 9 verses 6 and we'll journey into seven as well. So if you have a copy of God's word with you please turn to or swipe to, it'll be on the screen. Isaiah 9:6.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." You know, one of the things I encourage everyone to do when we're reading in Scripture is to really get a better understanding of the context and what you're going to be reading. It's really, really important to understand a little bit more about what's actually taking place and so I would encourage you all to get a good study Bible.
A Bible that tells you a little bit of the summary of the chapter that you're reading, who wrote the book, why they wrote the book, who they wrote the book to and then also just a little bit about the nuggets that you should be looking for because many times, specifically in the Old Testament, you may be reading about something that is specific to an area or a people but in that specificity of that right there that you're reading in the Old Testament, you can almost always find some contemporary principled application to what you read in the Old Testament. So that's why we always want to make sure that we're doing that, okay.
For instance, you may be reading something really specific and ancient but there will be a contemporary learning in that right there. So, say amen if you think Isaiah was a prophet.
Amen, awesome, there you go. Say amen if he was a prophet to the kingdom of Judah.
We're getting there, close, right, remember, because there is the Israel kingdom right there, was the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah and Isaiah was a prophet in the southern kingdom. The Northern Kingdom Israel was kind of the more of the dominant culture if you will, the dominant Kingdom and Judah was the lesser Kingdom. He was the profit of about five, through about five different kings. One of those kings being Ahaz and we'll talk a little bit about that as well.
The role of a prophet was pretty simple. Call the people back to God and into obedience. But you can be certain though that the role of a prophet involves confrontation. Yes, it involves hope, it involves comfort, but it will definitely involve confrontation, be reminded of that. And whenever we read prophecy in the Bible, I want to make sure that we have God's perspective of what prophecy means. Prophecy, if you look in Second Peter, this what it says about prophecy, that above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the Prophet's own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in human will but prophets though human spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
So Isaiah is a prophet and the job description of a prophet might read something like this, come, be God's earthly messenger, warn people of judgment because of their own faithfulness and their sin. People won't listen to you, they won't even like you and chances are you're probably going to get killed. Because Jewish history tells us that Isaiah was actually sawed into.
But Isaiah's personal call from God came in a vision and it was unmistakable and it was unquestionable and Isaiah accepted it. God had given him a vision in Chapter six that reads this. You can read the whole chapter but I'm going to pick it up in verse eight. "Then I heard the voice of Lord saying," obviously that's Isaiah, "whom shall I send and who will go for us. And I said, here I am, send me. He said, go and tell this people, be ever hearing but never understanding, be ever seeing but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people callused, make their ears dull and close their eyes otherwise they might see with their eyes hear with their ears understand with their hearts and turn and be healed."
"Then I said, for how long Lord. And he answered until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitants. until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, Until the Lord has sent everyone far away in the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land it will again be laid waste but as the terebinth and the oak leaf stumps when they are cut down so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."
Now, can you hear Isaiah saying, oh great, God, when I'm I supposed to start this job here. Basically, Isaiah was to tell Judah that although you think that you are blessed and loved by God, you are about to be destroyed because of your disobedience and your unfaithfulness.
So if you look more even into the context of that book right there, scholars would say that because of how Isaiah was guided by the Holy Spirit in writing this book here that it is by far because of its depth and what it teaches us about God one of the greatest books in the Bible to read when you read from a prophetic standpoint. And that also that the Old Testament the New Testament, Isaiah is the most quoted Old Testament book in the whole New Testament. And it's written to preach repentance and salvation to the nation of Israel and call people back to God and into relationship and to turn from their disobedience. But Isaiah gives clear understanding that impeding judgment is coming because of their on faithfulness.
But he also gives a clear understanding that the coming of a hope of a messiah and the future blessings that will come because of that. So in essence, there will be imminent judgment because of their unfaithfulness but they will be imminent restoration to come as well.
Listen to how as they are closes verse seven there. "Of the greatness of this government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and up holding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this." This wasn't some wishful kind of prophecy that said, man I hope this happens one day. Isaiah closes that by saying that the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this. And as we've learned in the past few weeks that we serve a God that is willing and we serve a God that is able.
So God in essence gave Israel a land that did not belong to them but he gave them that land to be used for his purposes. But Israel and Judah, they became corrupt prideful and self reliant and began to place their trust fully in themselves. In fact, in Isaiah 1, God even calls the nation prostitutes. Imagine having God call you that. Isaiah 2. See how the faithful city has become a prostitute. She was once full of justice, righteousness used to dwell in her, now murderers.
So while Judah worshiped God, here's the deal, they also worshiped other gods as well. And Exodus is clear that thou shall have no other god before me. And Judah having chosen its own way finds itself living in a time of darkness. And a lot of the darkness that they are living it was because of King Ahaz. King Ahaz and the decisions that he was rendering and the decisions he was following based on ungodly counsel and because he also chose to follow and ally with the Assyrians.
If you remember, Pastor Jerry and Pastor Jonathan spoke last week about there was this impending battle between the greater nation of Israel and Judah but God was letting Ahaz know that no, this is not going to happen. Don't worry, it's not going to happen. But nonetheless, here's what King Ahaz did. He allied with Assyria and by aligning with Assyria, the pagan nation, that meant that they would also have to bring into their worship the gods that the pagan gods that they would worship and also practices as well. And all of this led to King Ahaz defacing and desecrating the temple of God.
Listen to this in Second Kings, this is how far it goes when we follow idols and worship things other than God. Second King says this, "As for the bronze altar that stood before the Lord, he brought it from the front of the temple, from between the new alter and the temple of the Lord and put it on the north side of the new altar. King Ahaz then gave these orders to Uriah the priest on the large new altar, offer the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king's burnt offering and his grain offering and the burnt offering of the people of the land and the grain offering of their drink as well. Splash against the altar of the blood all the burnt offerings and the sacrifices but I will use the bronze alter for seeking guidance. And Uriah priest did just ask King Ahaz had ordered."
Now, if we recall, Uriah is the priest. He already has a king, that's God. So he chose to go with King Ahaz despite the fact that he was desecrating the Holy Temple. King Ahaz cut off the side panels and removed the basins from the moveable stands. He remove the sea from the bronze bowl and supported on the side of the stone base. He took away the sabbath canopy that had been built at the temple and removed the royal entryway outside of the temple of the Lord in deference to or you can read that in humble submission to the King of Assyria.
I thought God was supposed to tell us what was to be in the temple. He's desecrated the sample because of his relationship and his alliance with Assyria. And Uriah the priest did not offer good counsel or wise counsel and King Ahaz followed that as well. King Ahaz sought the guidance of everything and everybody, all parts of the pagan culture, different religions but he would not accept the guidance that was offered by God. And there's a really, really interesting transaction in Scripture in Isaiah seven where God is speaking with King Ahaz as well as Isaiah. Listen to this here.
"Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz. So, when you say again, that means that God had already spoken to Ahaz. But again the Lord spoke to Ahaz. Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights. But Ahaz said, I will not ask. I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said, here now you house of David, is it not enough to try the patience of humans, will you try the patience of God also?"
Here it seems like God is giving Ahaz another chance to just ask me, just ask me. But Ahaz's response which sounds really righteous, well I will not test the Lord. What he's really saying there is I'm going to do it my way. And I wonder how often we do the exact same thing. That God may send warnings in our lives multiple times and God is saying something, he's saying follow me, follow me and my way. But, we kind of give him the stiff arm. I'm going to do it my way God. And when we do that we have the consequences to pay for that as well.
So within the context of understanding a little bit more about Isaiah and the context of understanding the time frame and what was going on with Judah in there darkness because of all the poor decisions that were being followed. I want to read to you again that text of Isaiah nine, six. "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Some scholars have said that that passage right there actually refers to future kings of Judah and to some degree it does. Josiah being one of those kings that really helped point Israel back to God. But, the fact that Isaiah has ascribed here the names Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace goes to show that this is not talking about any kind of earthly human at this point in time. That Isaiah's prophecy it left no room for misinterpretation that what God was going to do was going to bring into the world a child king 100% divine. He would still come to life the same way all people do but he would be 100% divine yet 100% human and remember how Isaiah closed it off that the zeal of the Lord will make this happen, that God was going to orchestrate this to be a fully divine person and that the message of hope would be fulfilled in the wonderful, wonderful counselor.
But what I want to do now is I just want to take my part of that verse and focus the rest of our time on Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor. Jesus, the child king, the Wonderful Counselor because ultimately what I want to take away is this that there is no greater counsel than that of the Wonderful Counselor. That there is no greater counsel than that of the Wonderful Counselor.
You see typically, when you take an Old Testament reading, what we look to do is we want to take this Old Testament Scripture and we want to look into the New Testament see okay, where in the New Testament does Jesus either fulfill or where does he exemplify what's spoken about in the Old Testament. So for instance, in many times in the Old Testament you'll read the word light or the light. In the New Testament when you read you'll see Jesus referred to as the light. So for example, check out in verse two and Isaiah 9:2. That the people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Old Testament reference. But then in the New Testament look at John 8-12. When Jesus spoke again to the people he said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
Folks, let there be no misunderstanding that everything about the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is about Jesus Christ, that it runs all the way through. This book is about Jesus. So when Isaiah mentions this name Wonderful Counselor, in the Old Testament we say to ourselves okay, well, OK Well let me think. Where in the New Testament does Jesus exemplify or fulfill wise counsel? Where is Jesus a wise counselor in the New Testament? How about everything in red. Get a read line Bible and say everything in red is what Jesus' counsel is. Every message could be like this. Read the stuff in red and obey it, we're done for the day. I can do the exact same thing here. Read what's in red and obey it. That's what it is. That's the wise counsel.
However, do you think anyone ever had a conversation with Jesus in Biblical times that walked away saying, did you hear Would Jesus said. Someone better go correct him. Do you think that ever happened in Jesus's life? Absolutely not. So here, let's just go take some verses in scripture that speak to Jesus and his wise counsel and his teaching.
Luke 2:46. This is referencing when Joseph and Mary left Jesus back at the temple. "After three days they found him in the temple courts," that's Jesus of course, "After three days they found them in the temple courts among the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers." At his answers? So here you have Jesus 12 years old answering the questions from the teachers of the law. This is seventh and eighth grade guys. This is like taking the shuttle bus over to the apex and looking at those seventh and eighth graders and being amazed at their answers. But the teachers of the law were amazed at his answers.
But moving on in his life, let's go to Matthew seven. This is referencing the Beatitudes and part of Jesus' teachings. "When Jesus had finished saying these things the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he taught with authority."
Let's go Matthew 8:27, referencing Jesus when he's commanding a storm. "The men were amazed and asked what kind of man is this that even the wind obeys him." Folks, if even the wind obeys Jesus, I got to be thinking you and I need to be obeying Jesus as well.
Mark 1:22, referencing when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. The people were amazed at his teaching because he taught as one with authority not as the teachers of the law. And then lastly in John 7:15 referencing when Jesus was speaking at a festival. The Jews were amazed at how he did, how did this man get such teaching without having been taught. No one could ever remember ever teaching Jesus anything. This could go on and on and on about what people thought of the teaching that they were getting from Jesus Christ.
Jesus never needed to surround himself with wise counsel. Jesus has absolutely no equal. Jesus' moral perfection stands contrast to absolutely everything and everyone. Jesus surpasses all wisdom. Jesus is always right, he's always truthful, he's always fair, he's always just and because Jesus is without sin, Jesus could help you and I with our sin and all of this speaks to Jesus' omniscience. Jesus always gives us perfect counsel. Listen to what Jesus tells us in John 28:18.
"All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me." That is who we listen to for our counsel. Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor. Okay, that's great Leroy But what does this mean in my life? How do we take that Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor and how do we make that practical for my every day living. Listen, there are aspects of our lives where we need counsel. More importantly, there are parts of our lives where we need wise and godly counsel because every counsel is not wise and all counsel is not Godly. There are things in our lives that we just don't need counsel, like for instance, I want to buy a new car but I don't know if I should get red or blue. You don't need to pray about that. If you like blue, get blue. It's just that simple.
However, if you want to understand the motivation behind that choice, that financial decision that needs to be made, if you want to understand about good stewardship of the finances that Jesus has placed into our lives, oh, that you can find, both specifically as well as principally. Does your financial decision, does it speak to idolatry? We can look at our bank account, we can look at our houses, we can look at all those material things. Do our financial decisions speak to idolatry? Do our financial decisions speak to jealousy? Do our financial decisions speak to envy. Well, my neighbor just got that car but I make more money than my neighbor makes and I might as well go get the EX model instead, right? Do our decisions of stewardship reflect that God is the Lord of our lives?
So I want to ask you this question this morning. What are the decisions in your life right now where you need wise wonderful godly counsel on? Have you taken the time to press into scripture, what scripture says about the intentions behind those decisions that you need to make. Have you taken the time to press into scripture about what Scripture says about the motivations behind the decisions that you need to make? Right, because, remember the decision King Ahaz made? It sounded nice. Oh, that's okay. I'm not going to test you God. But he had a devious motivation behind that. So have we taken the time to press God's word into motivations behind the decisions that we need to make.
At the chapel, we talk all the time about spiritual formation. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to take those decisions that we need to make and press those into God's word to make sure that we understand that he is not only savior but he is Lord of our life and Lord of all the decisions that we must make as well. Show of hands. How many of you have ever made an unwise decision, ungodly decision that backfired on you? There we go. That should be everybody. If it's not your lying, that's your first ungodly decision, does not raise your hand. See, there's another one, another decision right there.
We have to spend time in God's word principally and specifically about the decisions that we need to make in our lives. If we look at Psalm 1:19, let's read that. The teaching of your light gives light. So even the simple can understand. So what we're looking for and what we need is in God's Word. It might mean we have to dig a little bit. It might mean that we have to spend a little bit more time in prayer. It might mean we need to spend a little bit more time with some godly people but it can be found in God's Word.
One of the things we also talk about quite often is community with accountability, that we need godly people in our lives to seek wise counsel from. People that know to go to the Bible. If you have one of these major decisions in your life that need to be made and no one around you is picking up a Bible or no one around you is referencing the Bible you have good reason to believe that the decision you're about to get is not going to be a wise counsel, just that simple.
And again, I'm not talking about those vanilla decisions on whether or not I should have another bag of Cheetos unless I'm talking about greed. But I'm talking about decisions that can change the trajectory of your life. I'm talking about decisions that can change the trajectory of your relationships. Decisions that speak to character, decisions that beat the conduct, decisions that speak to integrity, decisions that speak to matters of the heart and decisions that speak to, is Jesus really Lord of my life. Because we can speak to a decision that says he is my savior but as the Lord of my life and Lord of all the decisions that I need to make.
You know, often when we counsel people, the stuff in their life that kind has gone off track, we can often backtrack and you can too, hindsight is 20-20 but you can also backtrack to a point that decision went off the rails and you can see where less and less and less wise godly counsel was sought, right? I can do it in my life and you can do it in yours, where I spend less and less time in God's word, less and less time around godly people and then ended up making the decision that drastically altered not only maybe the course of my life but the course of others as well.
So what I want to ask you this morning are there warning signs in your life right now that God is speaking to you about a particular decision that needs to be made. Warning signs that he might be whispering or warning signs that he might be screaming "Danger Will Robinson, danger." If you laughed you're over 50 and you recognize that. But God will often times send us warnings. It maybe a whisper, it maybe a scream. But are you listening to those warning signs.
So I would ask, sir, madam, maybe you're in the middle of a business deal right now and your client, your customer really is liking this deal. They're like, this looks good and you're on the other hand saying, yeah, this looks good as well. They're going to be happy and I'm going to make a little bit more money on this deal but the heart behind that deal you know that they don't totally understand. That you know it's not totally above board. Maybe it's a fine line between integrity or not but you know that there's something within this contract that they are about to sign that you are going to make money that is not above the board. You have a business integrity decision to make, that will you allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your business decisions so that everything is above the board and honorable in the business, whether you don't make as much or not. You have a decision to make based upon business integrity.
Young man, young woman, you're in a relationship right now, let me go back. Maybe not necessarily young, just man or woman. You're in a relationship right now that you say, oh, we're enjoying ourselves, we're having a great time together. We believe God has brought us into each other's lives but the both of you know that from a purity standpoint you have well crossed the line of what God would say is pure for a couple who's not married. And you've defiled the marriage bed. You have a relationship decision to make right now about the integrity of that relationship and whether God will be and Jesus will be the Lord of your life as it speaks to relationships and what he will call honorable and desirable in a relationship. You have a decision to make there.
It was maybe about a year or so ago a gentleman had called me and said, "Hey Leroy, can we get together for coffee? I want to talk about my relationship with my girlfriend." "Awesome cool, let's do that, especially if you're going to buy. So let's definitely do that." So, we went had some coffee and really early in the conversation he said, "My girlfriend's a follower of Jesus Christ but I'm not. I just go with her." I was grateful that he said that but I kind of said, "Time out, here's where we're going to start. First of all, your girlfriend isn't here right now. My first word to her if she was here is run. Okay, run."
Then I told him, I said, "Here's the deal. This can go either two ways now. We can sit here and you can allow me to hopefully speak into your life on what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and allow Jesus to be the Lord of your decisions because anything I say at this point forward, if you're not a follower of Jesus Christ will make zero sense to you whatsoever. And if you're not dating her next year guess what, oh well, that happens, lucky her. So either we can talk about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ or pretty much this conversation is over."
He graciously allowed me to chat with him about that. We probably spent two, two and a half hours talking about what it means to follow Jesus Christ. Had a Bible and we went through some different passage of Scripture. We went through some different themes and theory if you will you know about the Bible. So we had an understanding of what it means, not about his girlfriend, it was about a relationship with Jesus Christ because that was first and foremost the only relationship I really cared about at that point in time. If you never get together, oh well, it happens.
So, we left that time together and I gave him the Bible. He had a Bible now and he had some passages to reference and to pray about and to meditate on which side note there, is always if you can, try to have a spare Bible handy because if God places you in the realm of someone that a conversation is held about him, be able to hand them the word so make sure you have a spare Bible handy. So we left and that was it.
So about four months after that I happened to be here at the Crosspoint campus and they needed some assistance in the James Andrew Chapel. I went in there to assist what was needed and there he was giving his life to Jesus Christ that morning. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now we can talk about your relationship with this girlfriend. Now we can talk about making him the Lord of your life. So ladies and gentlemen I just want to ask you are there warning signs in your life right now regarding a decision that needs to be made that's flashing. That we need to seek the Wonderful Counselor, we need to seek his word and we need to seek godly counsel. But then we have to obey, right? Because we can seek wise counsel, we can get godly counsel and still decide to stiff arm and go the other way and get ready for the consequences.
So it's not enough just to seek but that's where we start but we have to obey as well because when life goes off the tracks, it's typically because we've begun to put ourselves in isolation, that we've drawn further and further away from God's word, we've drawn further and further away from godly people in our lives. And the Lone Ranger Christian, the Lone Ranger Red Christians, they get picked off one by one by one. And that poor decision making has a compound effect on our lives and those again on the lives of those that we claim that we love.
And yes, we're forgiven of our decisions, we as children of God but that does not mean that we will not have to live with the consequences of those decisions, amen. And can God use that bad decision? Absolutely. God can use all of those things to show his grace and mercy in our lives but would you think he'd rather you not hit the brick wall. You don't have to hit the wall. You can stop well before that and all got to heal at that point and not have the collateral damage in our lives because of poor decision making.
So in a couple weeks here is what's going to happen. In fact, next week. Christmas morning, you're going to have a gift or two or you're going to give a gift or two maybe to your child or grandchild or your wife may give you something and you're going to get the manual, right? You're going to say, oh man, this is awesome. 50 screws. You probably don't need 50. Hammer, Phillip's, no, I don't have a Phillip's head, I'll just tighten those by hand. Glue, that's a tight fit. Page eight, then page 40, then page 50. You're going to be like, you know what, I'm just going to put it together. I can look at the pictures and just put it together. And even though we know that the manufacturer of this piece of whatever you're going to put together has put this together for you to follow so that it will work well for you, so that things will go well, you put it aside say I'm ready to do it right now and I'm just going to put this sucker together.
And somehow we know that a table has four legs, yours only has three but you say, you know what, it's still going to work. And all those extra screws, they must've just been extra poor quality control. We use it, it breaks six months later and we're wondering what happened. Why did this not work. We all have done it.
But here's the point. I think also we do that same thing with God's word. That we take the same mentality toward God's word. What we know God is the creator of all and everything that we need for those decisions that we make is right here and the godly people, these place in our lives but we get lazy, we get tired, we get impatient. Oh man, I got to dig deeper now. You mean now I've got to look at something maybe in the Old Testament and then refer to it in the New Testament and maybe have to write some things down now. Let me just go off and do it on my own and push that aside. And a little bit further down the road when the decision falls apart and things roll off the track, then we say, well God, why did this happen. You didn't pay attention to the Wonderful Counselor and the wonderful counsel that he's placed in your life.
Here's what I'm encouraging each of us to do this week. Here's what I want you to do. Take one area of your life where you need or believe that you need wonderful counsel on right now. You may have already hit the wall and it's already exploded. Take that area that you need wonderful counsel on or maybe you are seeing the warning signs in that and it's coming, it's coming but you're not there, it's common. The light is going on the warning sign but pick that one area where you know in your heart of hearts that there is a decision that needs to be made that needs to be a wise godly decision.
And maybe of 35,000 decisions, you may really be in a good place right now. There really might not be anything on the horizon that would require this awesome, awesome decision to be made. Which is not bad but if you're living in that spot, here's what I want you to be cautious about. Something called complacency. Because living next door to you is complacency if you're living in a spot where you don't have that big decision and complacency wants to come over and play. And once we allow complacency into our Christian walk, I don't need to read the Bible today, every things good, I don't have a big decision to make, I'm not going to read today. And then I probably won't read tomorrow, I'm going on Sunday anyway. My prayers become short and the prayers become further and further apart. And we begin to see ourselves drift further and further away from the wise godly counsel and become complacent.
And let me tell you this, Satan loves complacent Christians because next thing you know, we're in a decision that needs to be made. We make a rash decision and we've got nothing behind us but maybe the disaster of a poor relationship or a poor decision that's been made.
So I want you to take that area of your life or those areas maybe where a wise decision is needed and I want us to apply Second Timothy 3:16 and that should be familiar to all of you. "That all Scripture is God-breathed and it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
And here's where you take that study Bible all right, you take that concordance in the back and you take that issue that you're working on, the issue that you realize I have a decision to be made and maybe it's not specific but it might be principally and you spend some time in your concordance finding those key words and keep passages and key phrases and key things and you get a note book out and you get your journal and you get your Bible and you go to the New Testament, you go to the Old Testament. You pray on the scripture that you're reading and you ask yourself these questions about that.
What does God's word teach me on this because God's Word will teach us? What does rebuke look like for disobedience because God is gracious not to even tell us what's going to happen if we're disobedient? What does correction look like for this decision that I need to make? Evan, what does training look like and training may actually come in the form of encouragement because scripture is wonderful, it speaks of the obedience that we have and the righteousness and the blessings because of our faithfulness to God. So take whatever that is, rub it up against Scripture, rub it up against other godly people that you can have conversations with and allow ourselves to come under the wonderful counselor.
Listen to what Isaiah speaks to Judah in Isaiah 30. "Woe to the obstinate children declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine forming an alliance but not by my Spirit keeping sin on top of sin." So many times when we read Israel, we can take Israel's name out and put our name right in right there. Forming an alliance that is not of his spirit. Heaping sin on top of sin because those bad decisions that we make foster another bad decision. Then there's a little cover up, then there's another lie and you can see the trail that happens right there.
If we live out of our fear, if we live out of our anxiety. If we live out of our anxiousness or if we live out of greed or we live out of our pride you and I are just as apt to make unwise decisions, take on wise counsel so that we can get a quick easy answer to what we're looking for but what we need to be doing folks is that we need to place our decisions under the wonderful counselor and the wonderful godly people that he's placed in our lives.
But what I want to do now is I want to go back to those 35,000 decisions that a person makes on a day to day basis. I mean, you can do the math on that and how old you are, base is 35,000, there's a lot of decisions that need to be made or have been made but it all boils down to this, how many decisions does it take to drastically alter the trajectory of your life. One decision. How many decisions does it take to drastically alter the eternity? One decision is all that it takes.
So if you're a follower of Jesus Christ on the day that you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, that one decision has trumped every decision that day, be it mundane or monumental, and has trumped every single decision that you've ever made from your life since on the day that you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and as your Savior and because the end dwelling of the Holy Spirit, that gift that we get, the guarantee of our faith, we are able to not only live for Christ, we are able to live like Christ as well in all of our decisions that need to be made
There's a lot that we're going to be held accountable for but the main thing will be that decision as God asks, what did you do with my son? Maybe you're here this morning and you've never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and you're saying to yourself, well you know, I just don't know enough just yet. I'm kind of on the fence on this whole Jesus thing and God thing. Yeah, I've got some friends that talk about it but I'm really kind of on the fence on this thing. Let me be clear, there is no fence to be on. That we are born sinners, we are born with the answer no until we decide to say yes to Jesus Christ. There is no fence you are on. It's like this water here. Well, either I'm drinking it or I'm not. Well, I'm thinking about it. Okay, you think about it all you want. But until you're drinking it, you are are not drinking of the living water. Until you say yes to Jesus, your answer is no, emphatically a no.
listen to Matthew 12:30 here. As Jesus says, whoever is not with me is against me and I know that sounds harsh because you're like, well, I'm not really against you Jesus, I just don't believe it just yet. Whoever is not with me is against me. There is no fence that you're on. But there is hope. Because Hebrews tells us this, Hebrews 3:15, "Today if you hear his voice do not harden your heart." There is no other decision today or in any other day that will come anywhere near the magnitude of the decision to follow Jesus Christ to make him your savior and the Lord of your life over all of your decisions. So I don't know where you are in your 35,000 but I would implore you to consider accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior today.
I can't believe that he's not speaking to someone in one way or another but allow him to be the Lord of your life and be your wonderful counselor.