We all make decisions daily. These decisions vary from the mundane to the very important, with significant consequence for our lives and futures.
The Christmas story as recorded in the Gospel, is as it is because of several decisions made by the different “players” in it
- God decided to give His only begotten Son for the world (John 3:16)
- Jesus Christ left His glory above, took on the nature of man and came in flesh as a man – child… “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil 2:5-8)
These divine decisions are the bedrock of our faith, and the foundation of the Christmas story. But they are not the only decisions. There were also decisions by men and women like you and I that enabled the fulfillment of prophecy and the divine purpose. We will be looking at a few of these today.
My subject – “I have decided” – is a challenge to understand and make some vital decisions today for your life and future. Why is this important?
- Decisions determine destiny
- Your decision will determine your distance in life
So, what will you decided to do?
Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
The vital decisions by Joseph and the Wise men
- A decision to trust in God and His word
Trust in His plan for you
Jer. 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Will you trust in His plans for you?
The toughest thing for some of us is to let go… even when we say we’re trusting in the Lord, we want to control the situation…but trusting God is giving up control
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;”
Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. It is an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
In scriptural terms;
Trust is to be bold confident, secure, sure, careless, put confidence, make to hope… in the Lord (1 Kings 17:1-7)
a. When there are no visible supporting signs (v.1)
b. When the instruction seems unreasonable, improbable and unlikely to work (v.2-4)
c. When you cannot control any of the factors involved – i.e. you no longer have control. This is probably the toughest challenge for most of us…. (v.5-6)
d. When your God given solution dries up – i.e. brook or supply (v.7)
Will you decide to trust in the Lord?
2. A decision to believe
Believing precedes the miraculous
“…if you would believe you would see the glory of God” (John 11:40)
Life’s experiences and seemingly delayed answered may have battered (injured) your faith… but “…if you would believe you would see the glory of God”
A miracle awaits only if you will believe
3. A decision to obey
This is a decision to walk with the Lord. You can’t walk with Him except you obey and rely on Him…
4. A decision to follow
The decision to follow the star was a decision to follow the Lord, no matter the dangers and uncertainties
5. A decision to wait
Delayed gratification…though you have the power (or right) not to, but choose to wait because it honors the Lord
“24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”
God honors those who honor Him (1 Sam 2:30)
Simeon & Anna – Luke 2:25-38
Your decisions will determine your distance.
What have you decided to do today?
David’s: “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16:8)
[NIV: “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”]
Joshua’s: “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Zacchaeus’: “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Luke 19:8)
What is yours?
I have decided to follow Jesus…