Hear Us From Heaven-Independence Day Sermon December 30, 2008Posted by preacherwin in Occasional Sermons, Sermons.
Tags: 2 Chronicles 7:12-15, 4th of July, America Founded on Christian Principles, Basis for our inalienable rights, Basis for the family, Biblical basis for constitution, Christian Nation, Declaration of Independence, Humility, Imago Dei, inalienable rights, Independence Day, National Repentance, redefining gender, repentance, Thomas Jefferson, turn from evil ways
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Westminster Presbyterian Church
“Hear us From Heaven: An Independence Day Sermon”
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.
(2 Chronicles 7:12-15, ESV)
Two-hundred and Thirty-two years ago, fifty-six men gathered together for the purpose of pledging to one another their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, and to gather to sign a document drafted by young Thomas Jefferson. A document that began with the following words:
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which would impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
It is worth noting that the 4th of July not only remembers the signing of the Declaration of American Independence, but it also remembers the death of its author, Thomas Jefferson as well as his friend, John Adams, another signer, who both died within hours of one another on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of this document.
I think that it is also interesting to note, that Thomas Jefferson, who would become the third President of the United States, and who would accomplish many things as a historian, a philosopher, and as a public official in his lifetime, desired as his epitaph to be remembered only for three things:
The First—of writing this Declaration of Independence
The Second—of writing the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom
The Third—for founding the University of Virginia
With this in mind, on the celebration of the birthday of the signing of this document, I would like to essentially talk about three things: 1) I would like to talk about the character of the document and of the men who signed that document, 2) I would like talk about the character of our nation now as we have departed from the heart of this document, and 3) of the character of the solution as God reveals it in scripture.
The Declaration of American Independence, though no verses are explicitly cited, is an intensely Biblical document. Why were there no verses cited within it? They were working on a certain assumption—they were working on the assumption that the Bible is the cornerstone of all good and just political systems of government. The Bible had been the cornerstone of all humanitarian governmental documents up to that date and they were working on the assumption that it was a given that all future governmental documents would also be based upon Biblical principle.
But the text of the Declaration of Independence is especially built on two very important Biblical ideas.
Firstly, that men and women are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. You need to understand what that word “inalienable” means because it is a word that we don’t commonly use anymore. The word inalienable means that it cannot be taken away; that it cannot be given away; that it cannot be deprived of someone; it is part of the warp and of the woof of the very being of their existence; it is part of who they are, and it is impossible to strip or to separate somebody from that which is inalienable to them.
And they held that these rights were inalienable to all men: The Right of Life; the Right of the Pursuit of Happiness. Why is it that they are inalienable? Because they understood Genesis 1:27. That God, when he looked down upon his creation and he decided to make man, he decided to make man and woman in a very particular and special way. That we would be made not in the image of the natural world, but that we would be made in God’s very image. To use technical, theological terms, we call this the Doctrine of the Imago Dei, the Image of God in man. That we are image bearers, from conception unto death we bear the image of God. Men and women, throughout the world, throughout history, and for all time, we bear God’s image. And because God has those rights within himself, as something that is inseparable, as something that is part of God’s inseparable character, we who are created in the image of a God who has these rights and freedoms unto himself also have these rights and freedom within ourselves as part of our very being. To take those rights away, they understood, was to make someone no longer human.
We need to understand and be reminded of that. That everyone, men and women, children, young and old, the embryo within her/his mother’s womb, the elderly who is dying in a sickbed, the person who is laying there, barely able to move, eat, or breathe. The homeless man begging on the street corner, the hooker, the prostitute, the indigent, all bear the image of God. And our founding documents remind us of something very important. Because they bear the image of God, these rights and privileges to them are inalienable. They cannot be taken away. And we that understand that not only have the right to protect it for ourselves, but have an obligation to protect it within others. They understood that the British government of the day was stripping them of those inalienable rights—that it was treating them as if they were no longer human and that they had a responsibility to those that they served to stand up and to protect those rights within them.
To Life: Genesis 9:6 (ESV) reads as follows—
Whoever sheds the blood of man,
By man shall his blood be shed.
For God made man in his own image.
Because you bear the image of God, it is sin for somebody to kill you, period, no ifs, ands, or buts. That makes abortion murder. That makes euthanasia murder. Beloved, that gives us a responsibility to stand against these things—that our founding fathers understood, we must stand against.
To Liberty: The state of being free from oppressive restrictions or forced enslavements. The ability to act and be responsible for one’s own actions. Is not man accountable before God? Is not man accountable before God’s divine judgments? Indeed, they understood that this is part of the Biblical model that has been presented to us, that we need to understand ourselves, and when we understand ourselves, these rights cannot be taken away from us.
And the Pursuit of Happiness—that is so long as that said happiness does not rob others of their life and of their liberty.
The second principle is a principle that Peter affirms in 1 Peter 2:13-15. That the role of the government, that the job of the government was to do primarily two things: to reward those who do good and to punish those who do evil. And they thus affirmed in a case where a higher government abuses their privilege and role severely, no longer serving the Biblical mandate for what a government was called and set to do, the lower or lesser powers of government had a responsibility to protect those who are under them. This is the concept of what we call Federal Headship. It goes down not only in terms of our governments, but it applies to our families as well, where fathers have a responsibility to protect and care for their children and their wives.
It is important for us to understand just how important our founding fathers understood that these Biblical principles were. Benjamin Franklin, who was not by any means a Christian, held that these Biblical principles were fundamental to a free society.
George Washington, in his farewell address said, that national morality is impossible without religious principles.
Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a representative from the state of Maryland, said:
Without morals, a republic cannot subsist for any length of time; those, therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free government.
You know, that could be written today. Do you understand what Carroll is saying to us? He is saying that if you are seeking to undermine Biblical principles in our culture, in our society, in our families, in our children, you are undermining the very foundation of the nation that we live in.
John Adams wrote that, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” See what he is saying. There is an expectation that the writers of the Constitution had, that we would be a religious and moral people—explicitly a Christian people.
Noah Webster, the compiler of the first dictionary of American usage and Federalist political writer, though he was not one of the signers of the Declaration or Constitution (though he taught or influenced the teaching of some of the signers’ children) wrote in his preface to the 1828 edition to the American Dictionary of English Usage, the following words:
In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. No truth is any more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
Are you hearing the words? He is saying that the government of our nation—if our government is not functioning from a Christian perspective, if it is not grounded in scripture, that it will strip us of our freedoms and of our securities. Abraham Lincoln would echo these words later by one day saying: “the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”
And beloved, how far we have gone. Let me begin by noting the mis-construal if you will of the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights –the amendment to the constitution, to mean that church and state can have nothing to do with one another. Let me read for you the first part of that amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting free exercise thereof.”
The language of “church and state” or to quote Jefferson, of the “wall of separation” developed when he was writing to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut who were trying to develop a state religion. He said you cannot do that and that this is the reason for this amendment—so that the government cannot mandate to us what religion that we can be.
But at the same time we need to remember the second document that Jefferson wanted to be remembered for—the document that was written to preserve the religious freedom in Virginia. Now what he wrote that document for was along similar lines. He said understand that the government cannot compel you as an individual to pay money to a particular church, or denomination, or affiliation, of different set of beliefs than that of your own Christian peculiar ideology. In other words, the Baptists weren’t to be required to pay for the Presbyterians, and the Presbyterians were not required to pay the Methodists and all around the circle this is developed.
This document was never meant to strip religion out of public life. It was never meant to strip religion out of government life, and it was never meant to even begin to suggest that government officials should not take their religion and their religious ideas into the realm of government and guide them in the writing of government documents. Because that is exactly what all of our founding fathers did. They took Christian beliefs into their roles in state.
Yet this misunderstanding—this mis-construal—has allowed secularists to radically transform the educational system and the legal system of our nation from what is intended to be an explicitly Christian system of government and education has become an explicitly secular one. Now don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that Christians abandon government or abandon the world of teaching, but what I am suggesting is that a secular model is fundamentally corrupted and mis-construing what our government was meant to be. And it has led to a breakdown of morality that has infected all of our society.
Since 1973 and the Roe vs. Wade decision, approximately 48 million babies have been aborted. That is 342 times more people that were killed at Hiroshima when we dropped the Nuclear bomb there. That is approximately 1 out of every 4 American pregnancies is terminated through abortion.
School shootings is on the rise. There were four in February of this year alone—all of the way down on the Middle School level. Violent crime statistics are on the rise. “Pornography floods the streets like open sewers,” to quote one Christian speaker. Homosexuality is becoming the norm. Redefining the marriage is on the legislation in multiple states. Do you understand, that when we understand the Bible, going back to Genesis chapter 2, that the family—the husband and the wife and their children—is the most fundamental unit within society. Beloved, when you change the definition of the family, you change the definition of the society. When you change the culture of the family, you change the culture of the society that that family was meant to be a foundation for.
They are redefining gender, not simply in terms of roles, but even what it means to be male and female. Beloved, these things are infecting the church. Homosexuals are being ordained, adultery is on the rise even in evangelical churches amongst evangelical church leaders. There is secularization not only in church services but in the way things are done. And Christians so often no longer live every aspect of their lives—or live outside of the church—in the same way as they live inside of the church. I could go on, but I don’t expect that I need to.
So what is the solution?
I was talking with someone the other day about some of these things and he pointed out that all of these issues—whether homosexuality or abortion—are symptoms. Sin is the disease. The symptoms are a result of us fleeing from scripture.
So lest you think that my text for this morning is the Declaration of Independence, what does scripture say the solution is?
Look with me back at 2 Chronicles 7, verses 12 and following:
“When the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him, ‘I have heard your prayers.’”
Notice historically, what this is following. Solomon has just finished building the Temple and they have just finished celebrating and sacrificing to the Lord—this is a high time! This is a time of celebration, a time of rejoicing, a time of God’s glory! And God says to him… “when I shut up the heavens…”
Wait a minute! What is going on here! We are glorying in your name, what’s this shutting up the heavens! The tendency of man is to slip into sin.
“When I shut up the heavens, so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence amongst my people…”
Note the language of “my”—he has not rejected them as his people, even under discipline.
“If my people who are called by my name…”
Notice the emphasis on my people and called by my name. Beloved, that is us. As born again believers in Jesus Christ we are called “my people” by God in his word.
“If they humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land”
I am going to make two comments:
First, note the heart’s attitude. We are to humble ourselves before God when pray and when we seek his face. How oftentimes when we go to the Lord in prayer we go fairly casually, we go thinking of it as an obligation or something that we simply must do. Scripture says that we are entering into the presence of an almighty God. That should make our knees quiver a little bit. Rejoice, yes in the privilege that we have been given, but it should make our knees quiver. It should humble us knowing that a God of might and a God of glory, a God who is above all things has said, ‘yes, you may come into my presence—in your sin and your wickedness, let me draw you to myself.’ Humbly—what a model for us—how we should be convicted of those words.
Secondly, note our actions. Not only are we to pray and seek forgiveness. But God says that there is something more. That we are to turn from our wicked ways. Beloved, that takes action. That takes simply not saying, ‘Lord forgive me for all of my idolatry,’ and leaving those idols in place. Read the Old Testament historical accounts and you will find that when God blesses his people, it is a result of the king standing up and destroying and tearing down the idols that the sinners have set up before them. What are the idols around us that need to be torn down? If we want to repent, if we want to expect God to heal our land and to bring revival as we so often pray for, what are we doing to tear down the idols of our culture? To bring them into wreckage. And beloved, we need to begin that task not simply engaging the culture out there—we do need to do that—but we need to begin that task by engaging the culture in our own lives. What are the idols that you need to tear down in your own life? What are those things that are stumbling blocks between you and God?
I want to leave you with two verses that stand in contrast of one another:
Verse 14b—“Then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land…”
Verse 22—“Then they will say” (this is those who will refuse to repent and turn from their wicked ways) “because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore he has wrought all this disaster upon them.”
Beloved, which of these two verses will you choose to pursue? Which of these two verses do you yearn to see, to secure the blessings of liberty for yourself and for your posterity?
Beloved, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Circumcise Our Hearts! (Deuteronomy 30) November 03, 2008Posted by preacherwin in Occasional Sermons, Sermons.
Tags: Baptism, Church, Circumcision, Circumcision of the Heart, Covenant, Heart, Paedobaptism, Sacrament, seal, sign
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Westminster Presbyterian Church
Circumcise Our Hearts!
We have the great joy and privilege this morning to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism with the Fuentes Family. Ivan and Adrian will soon be presented by their parents by the profession of their parents’ faith and the covenant sign and seal of God and of his covenant community will be placed upon their heads. And this is not a guarantee of salvation for these boys, but it is, as Peter would word it, an appeal to God of a good or of a clean conscience, that as believing parents, as Zach and Jenny raise these children in the faith and in the presence of the covenant community, and under the means of grace, that God will bring these two boys to faith in himself. For God’s word will not go out void, as Isaiah tells us. And if we train up a child in the way that he should go, he will not depart from it, Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs.
With this before us, I thought that it would be appropriate for us to spend some time reflecting upon baptism and its role within the covenant community. And particularly as Presbyterians who baptize our children, understanding Baptism to be the New Testament replacement for the covenant of circumcision, to briefly lay out its purpose and its role in the light of God’s covenantal promises.
To start with, we need to ask the question, what is a covenant? And what is a covenant community? We use that language a lot and we speak in that way quite often, but sometimes I wonder whether those familiar phrases are really phrases that we know what they mean. In the most basic language, a covenant is an agreement between two parties, typically one party is more powerful than the other one, and in ancient times there were regular covenant agreements that were oftentimes called Susrain/Vassal Agreements, where one was a Susrain or a King would make a covenantal agreement with those who were to be his vassals, those who were to be his underlings. “This is what I will do for you—I will protect you, typically—and here are the penalties for you if you are unfaithful to me.” “And these are the aspects of this covenant.” And these covenants were typically sealed with the shedding of blood.
Now if you go back to Genesis 15 sometime you will find the great example of how God was making this kind of covenant with Abram (Abraham). Abram was commanded to go and gather a series of animals and he was commanded to divide those animals in half, separating them into two rows with the bloody entrails stretched out between them. And of course, the typical way in which a covenant would have been ratified then would have been that both parties would come and walk through the gory blood trail as a signification and to say that if I don’t keep this covenant, may what happened to these animals happen to me.
Something very special and unique took place in Genesis 15 when God made that covenant, because Abram (Abraham) was not instructed to walk through that pathway of blood. Instead, God put Abram to sleep and God came in a great vision and God walked through those split animals in Abram’s stead. What God was communicating is here is the covenant and here are the expectations that I am placing upon you, Abram, and upon your children. And if you don’t live up to those expectations, may what happened to those animals happen to me. And indeed that is part of the reason that God’s Son had to come and die upon the cross in a horrible way, that he was the one shedding his own blood that those animals represented—because of our covenantal unfaithfulness.
This is the idea of the covenant and this is the idea and importance of the blood of that covenant. We get to Genesis 17, though, and God gives Abraham a sign of this covenant is circumcision. God tells Abraham that not only must he be circumcised, but all of the children in his household from eight days old and up must be circumcised—indeed, all of his servants who are under his protection—his covenant household—were also to be circumcised. The bloody sign of that circumcision being a sign and a seal of that covenant, God’s bloody covenant which he made with his people beforehand.
Yet, notice something, as we look to Deuteronomy Chapter 30, and this is one of the reasons that I wanted to look at that this morning. Because God speaks in scripture of a second kind of circumcision. Deuteronomy, Chapter 30, verse 6, Moses says, “And the Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring.”
What is the purpose of this second kind of circumcision that scripture speaks of? Moses will tell us: “So that you will love the Lord you God with all of your heart and with all of your soul”—literally, “for the sake of your life.” Do you see what God is doing here? God is pointing back to the external sign of circumcision and saying that this language, this idea, this pointing to the covenant, this seal is a seal of something that is also pointing to an inward reality of faith and the new life that is given.
Paul picks up this language that is given in Romans, Chapter 2 and Chapter 4, to speak of how this outer circumcision is not enough without the circumcision of the heart that accompanies it—the spiritual rebirth that comes through faith. For how can we love God with all of our heart and with all of our soul if God has not first given us new life? Thus one circumcision is an outward sign and the other circumcision is an inward reality that the first circumcision points toward.
Yet, if this is the case, why are we told that outward circumcision is no longer to be practiced in the new covenant age—in the New Testament age of the church of Jesus Christ? The reason is that the circumcision is a bloody sign and Christ has already shed his blood to fulfill the covenant that God has made with his people, illustrated all of the way back in Genesis 15. No longer, writes the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews, Chapter 10, do we need to repeat these bloody sacrifices, for Christ has sacrificed his blood for us once and for all. Thanks be to God for that gift! And as a result, we who are believers stand before a righteous and almighty God, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and not our own righteousness. And we are called righteous, we are called justified, and we are called sons of the living God.
So just as the bloody celebration of Passover, which represented God’s redemption is replaced by the blood-less celebration of the Lord’s Table, so too, the bloody outward sign of circumcision is replaced by the blood-less sign of water baptism—signifying the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Thus, in Acts 2:37-39, when the people were cut to the heart, we are told, under Peter’s preaching, and they asked, “what must I do to be saved?” Peter said to repent and to be baptized—and verse 39—“and this promise is for you and for your children and all who are far off and all who the Lord calls to himself. As the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 3:26-29, “for in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith. As many of you as who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in Christ. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to the promise.”
So as we go into baptism, we understand that it is a visible sign of the covenant of grace, a sign that will be sealed officially and fully when these children come to faith on their own. It is an outward sign of being part of the covenant community and of the fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ.
So how does this tie back into Deuteronomy 30? I think that we have already seen that this language of the circumcision of the heart is what we tie back into. This language of God, in the hope and in the promise of a good conscience, that these two children being lifted up before him and God placing that covenantal seal on their heads. And the hope and the prayer is that as we present these children that God will indeed make real what that sign represents in their lives.
With that in mind, I would like to make three observations. First, note the emphasis on children in the verses of Deuteronomy 30. Verse 2: “repent to the Lord, you and your children as you return to the Lord.” Verse 6: “God will circumcise you and your offspring.” Verse 16: “and you shall live and multiply,” recognizing that the children that God has given us are blessings that come into our lives. And verse 19: “Choose life, that you and your offspring may live.”
One thing that we protestants do exceptionally well is to put forward the reality that salvation is by faith and by faith alone in Jesus Christ. That there is no works that bring us salvation—there is no lineage or family tree that brings us salvation. There are no statutes or roles that will guarantee our salvation. That salvation is through a personal relationship—an intimate relationship—with the Lord God.
Yet, in light of that emphasis, I believe that we have lost a sense that Scripture has put before us that faith is something that is to be taught and passed down, if you will, in principle, from generation to generation. That a church is not meant to start over, if you will, every generation as it goes from scratch, but instead, children are expected to pick up the mantle of faith and obedience to Jesus Christ that these signs that we place on them point toward and that their parents model for them. In our protestant churches, so often it is not the norm that you see two or three or four generations gathered together for worship. But so often, the norm is that of children rebelling against the faith of their parents. I am not advocating that we as protestants should try and fulfill some kind of Roman Catholic or other idea that is part of this—but advocating that we question whether or not we are placing enough emphasis not just on the personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but in raising our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And indeed even raising and pointing our children to that same faith.
My prayer, my exhortation for you, Zach and Jenny, in particular, but also for all of us who have children or even who have adult children who have moved on in life, or who have grandchildren, is that we raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord—that we are being deliberate about pointing our children towards faith in Jesus Christ in a powerful way. That we raise our children in the church, that we raise our children always pointing to the reality that the sign that has been placed upon their head points toward. With the expectation, not the general hope, but the expectation that they will come to faith in God himself. And that we strive, that we not see generations rise up as we read through the historical books in the Old Testament, particularly in Judges, that does not know the things that God has done—not just in Biblical times, but in the history of our nation, in the history of the world, in the history of the church, and in the history of their individual family. Children should know their parents’ witness story—children should know their parents’ confession of faith and how their parents came to faith in Jesus Christ. And we as parents should be deliberate about pointing our children toward that reality and that expectation that they too would come to faith in our Lord and Savior.
Secondly, note too the language of blessing and cursing that is attached to covenant membership. All too often we like to talk about the blessings as comfortable and pleasing to do. But we don’t often talk as freely about the judgments that are given in connection with the blessings. Those who are born again believers—those who are redeemed need to always remember one thing—we have been redeemed from something and that something is the righteous judgment that God brings for sin. If we don’t preach judgment and we don’t preach the threat of judgment at the same time that we preach redemption, redemption won’t have its meaning, it won’t have its power because people won’t understand what it is that they have been saved and delivered from. Eternal Judgment of God. If we are to preach the gospel of redemption to our children and to our neighbors, we must also not be afraid to preach what we have been redeemed from.
Christ did not die to make you nice—he died to make you holy. And he died to deliver you from the wrath to come. Make sure that when you are sharing the gospel with others that you understand the stakes that you are playing with. This is not a kids game of penny poker, but this is a matter of life and death. The stakes are eternal. Do not take them lightly. If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you will be rightfully condemned to the fires of hell. If your children do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they will be rightfully condemned to eternal damnation.
Beloved, are you comfortable with those stakes, because these are the stakes that we are playing with. Are you satisfied in knowing which side of the divide that you stand upon—and your loved ones stand upon. If not, this is the day of decision. This is the day that you have the time to speak these words to your children, to your families, and to yourself.
And Thirdly, finally notice the emphasis on your response to choose life. In verse 16, Moses writes, “Obey the commandments.” How do we do this? Love the Lord our God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes and his rules that we might live and multiply. Do you see what he is saying? That just coming to faith, just saying, “Lord forgive me,” is not simply what you have been called to do—that is a first step. But we are also called to live it out. We are also called to walk the walk of faith. We are also called to walk before the nations proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, loving the Lord, walking in his ways, and keeping his words.
I would like to close this morning with verses 19 and 20 of this chapter. Moses speaks these words to you and to me, and he speaks as follows:
I this day, I call heaven and earth as witness against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him for he is your life and length of days. That you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob to give them.
Beloved, choose this day whom you will serve. Choose this day what inheritance that you are seeking—an inheritance that is here in the wealth of the nations, or an inheritance that is being reserved, as Peter writes, in heaven, free from being defiled and corrupted.