Theme: Choose Life!
Other Lessons: Psalm 1; Philemon 1–21; Luke 14:25–35
A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace from God our heavenly Father and from our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
707 Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways
Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep His statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace
To know and do His will!
Order my footsteps by Thy Word
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.
A. Here are some words that make some Lutherans nervous:
B. This shouldn’t be so.
1. The Father in heaven has laid a beautiful choice in front of his people
and this fallen world: life or death, blessing or curse.
2. If you are for death and destruction, you walk that road alone.
3. If you are for life, the Holy Trinity blesses this path in abundance.
C. May he, in his Spirit, bless us this day to Choose Well—That Life May
Abound in, through, and around Us, that our heritage, too, could richly
prosper in and because of him.
*I. Through Moses, God called Israel and us to choose well, to choose
A. The children of Israel, about to enter the Promised Land, view life and
death, blessing and curses.
1. Moses spoke to Israel these words of life and death to be fulfilled
after his own death.
2. Joshua brought Israel into the Promised Land, where the words became a
B. Practically speaking, in terms of Law and Gospel and life in Christian
homes, we see the connection between:
1. hearing and not hearing,
2. obeying and not obeying,
3. loving God and not loving God,
4. living life bountifully and dying horribly, especially outside of the
5. These directly correspond to life and death.
*II. Choosing foolishly—to disobey God—brings curses and death, while
choosing well brings blessing and life.*
A. We see the curses and death that come when Israel is unfaithful to the
1. The Promised Land was also full of devastation and curse:
a. defeat after Achan’s sin (Joshua 7),
b. Israel subject to other nations for their idolatry in the days of the
judges (Judges 2:11–23),
c. conquest by Assyria of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:1–18),
d. exile to Babylon of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 25:1–11).
2. Moses’ warning and Joshua’s leadership couldn’t prevent Israel’s deathly
B. Sadly, we also see around us such deathly choices in our own
congregations, in our families, and in the lives of others we love.
1. Choices such as:
a. Having an abortion (whether for the sake of convenience or not),
b. Suicide (someone has lost all hope and the will to live),
c. Young people being lured away from faith into sexual sins,
d. Money becoming a god
e. Deserting one’s faith at the moment of death.
2. When God’s Word is not followed, the consequences of sin often result in
C. But we also see blessing and life when Israel is faithful.
1. The Promised Land was full of life:
a. huge grapes,
b. milk and honey.
c. It was the Lord’s doing, and it was marvelous in their sight.
2. These were temporal blessings even while Israel reached for eternal
D. All this we observe in our lives as well, as we consider the blessings
God has given to each of us.
1. Loving God results in blessing for the Christian.
a. God’s blessings come to us:
1. in the Gospel,
2. gifts he gives absolutely freely, apart from our work
b. his daily care,
c. eternal life.
b. God’s blessings also come to us:
1. as he grants us to keep his Law
a. avoiding dangerous choices,
b. remaining sexually pure and faithful to our spouses,
c. obeying our parents.
2. We see the Father and his love in our heritage and in these temporal
a. The Church knows the blessing:
1. of heritage,
2. of children,
3. of those gifts fathers and mothers in the faith give to us.
b. We see blessing that comes when life is pursued according to the gift of
God, that which he lays before us.
*III. We choose well—choose life—because God has loved us with life.*
A. Christ chose to give us eternal life.
1. He is the Joshua who brings us into the heavenly promised land.
A. Joshua is Hebrew for “Yahweh saves” or “The Lord is salvation.”
B. Jesus is Greek for “Yahweh saves” or “The Lord is salvation.”
2. He brings us into this promised land by choosing death in our place.
A. This is the only death that blesses.
B. This death even undoes so much horrible choosing on our part.
B. The Father therefore gives us the eternal gifts according to his promise.
1. He loves his children.
2. He blesses those who love him.
C. The Spirit helps us choose well, choose life.
1. He works in and on and through us by his Word and the Sacraments.
2. He moves us to choose well because in the Gospel he turns our hearts to
know how much we’ve been loved.
3. This is why we Lutherans need not be uncomfortable heeding God’s
invitation to choose life;
A. he chose us, so now, yes, we choose to obey him.
B. Not because we have to (Law)
C. But because we want to (Gospel)
A. When considering our lives and the many choices placed before us day to
day, we should consider that they come from the God who loves us.
1. He would have his Church always stand on the side of life, knowing he
will deal with death!
B. In him:
1. we choose life,
2. We want to defend it,
3. We proclaim it,
4. We praise it.
5. “Choose Life!”
6. Some wear that on their shirts and sleeves.
7. All the more important that we wear it on our hearts!
C. The Father has given life and laid it before you.
1. The Son has redeemed it and breathed new life into the world.
2. The Spirit has chosen you for his own and filled you with good works,
that Christian life might extend to others—including your heritage.
D. Blessing the Christian is God being who God is.
1. His nature is to bless.
2. This was a promise he made to Israel’s fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and
3. To be gracious to his Church, to fill it with life, to protect it from
death, is his promise to all of us, as now in these last days he has spoken
to us in his Son.
4. As Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were Israel’s fathers and Israel their
heritage, so we are Christ’s brothers and sisters; we are his heritage
5. He has chosen life, and we are blessed for it.
6. As we choose life in his Spirit, so our heritage will be blessed for it.
7. In Christ, countless promises are made to the Church.
8. As Joshua and the people of God came into the Promised Land filled with
life and blessing, all the more shall the Church come through this
wilderness of danger to the heavenly promised land.
E. Let us pray:
Assist my soul, too apt to stray,
A stricter watch to keep;
And should I e’er forget Thy way,
Restore Thy wand’ring sheep.
Make me to walk in Thy commands—
’Tis a delightful road—
Nor let my head or heart or hands
Offend against my God.
Text: Public domain
F. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
G. In the Name of the Father…Amen.