If You Believe - If You Do Not Believe (1 of 8) by Tony Nester

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If You Believe - If You Do Not Believe (1 of 8)
Series: Spiritual Choices
Tony Nester
Isaiah 43:10-11; John 20:26-31


Do you remember when your were a young child and your parents forced you into a choice you didn't want to make?

Do you want the chocolate chip cookie or the ice cream cone - you can only have one - which do you want? As soon as we made our choice we regretted it and wished we had the other option.

No matter how old we become we don't like being forced into a choice. The drama of the wildly popular show, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, is based on watching how people cope with making forced choices when the stakes are high. Is that your final answer? With that A-B-C or D choice you win or loose a million dollars.

Choices bring consequences. It's hard to grow up and accept this fact of life.

It's even harder for some people to accept that this is also true in the spiritual life. There are spiritual choices to be made and these choices bring spiritual consequences. That's what this message series is about: the spiritual choices we must make, and the consequences that flow from them.

The Bible repeatedly calls upon people to make up their minds about God. God has a set of ''if's'' he puts before us.

The first of God's ''if's'' shows up in the Creation story:

''but you must not eat the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge of good and evil,'' God told Adam and Eve, ''If you ever eat fruit from that tree, you will die!'''' (Genesis 2:17 NCV)

Moses put an ''if'' before the Israelites just as they were about to enter the Promised Land -

''If your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, {18} I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.'' (Deuteronomy 30:17-18 NRSV)

Jesus placed one of God's ''if's'' in the prayer he taught us to pray:

''For if you forgive ...


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