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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - The Choices of Judgement

Tony Evans - The Choices of Judgement

Tony Evans - The Choices of Judgement
TOPICS: Judgment, Choices

When it comes to our standing before the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ, what will matter will be choices. And to help us out in this life and in the life to come, the apostle Paul writes about choices so that the young people here get to make 'em early so they do not have to live with ongoing negative consequences of bad choices. And so that those who have consistently made bad choices, will make new and better choices to change to some level the trajectory of the rest of their lives, and be better suited for eternity at the judgment seat of Christ. Paul says that "We must value God's Word". In verse 6, that "The teaching of God's Word is to be highly valued because that is where God gives the standard for how life is to be lived".

And then he says, he wants you to know God cannot be tricked. "Do not be deceived". Don't get it twisted. "God is not mocked". The Greek word for mock means to snub your nose at something or someone. God cannot be duped, he cannot be tricked, he cannot be mishandled. You need to know he cannot be fooled, don't be deceived. He's writing to Christians not non-Christians. Don't think that we can sin with impunity. Impunity means without consequence. Don't think that we're getting away with something when it comes with God. People we may fool; God we cannot fool. Be not deceived. Don't think God didn't see it, doesn't know it and missed it. God will not be made fun of in the end.

"Do not be deceived God is not mocked" and then he gives one of those invaluable laws. An invaluable something is something that can be not be violated. Science for example, has inviolable laws: the law of gravity, that's an unchangeable reality in our existence. Just as they are scientific laws the basis of which allows us to operate with certainty in our environment, there are moral laws, laws of life. And it gives one of those key moral laws here; "Whatever a man sows that he also reaps". That is a non-negotiable moral law of God that he won't be tricked by. "Whatever a man sows," whatever anyone sows, "That he also reaps".

If you plant cabbage, you get cabbage, you don't get oranges. If you plant greens you get greens, you don't get corn. In other words, what you plant, you get. Not only what you plant do you get, what you plant you get and you get more of it than you planted. Because once it reaps, it has been seeded to grow, expand, become bigger. When it comes to sowing and reaping, the farmer starts with what he wants to reap, because that'll tell him what he's gonna sow. He says, "When it comes to living life, when it comes to our existence on earth and our expectations in the life to come, we must think agriculturally and not industrially. We're to think agriculturally and not technologically".

In other words, when it comes to living life, think like a farmer. Sowing and reaping is farming. Planting and harvesting is farming. Consider yourself a moral farmer. And in this grid that cannot be violated whatever a man or a person sows, that he also reaps. You must look at your life as a seed that is planted and that is going to produce whatever is planted. Let's compare it to our physical lives. When a child is born, they're born into a world of choices. The job of a parent is to guide the child into making the right choices. But we all know children don't always make the right choices as children of our parents didn't always make the right choices, and therefore everybody's life does not wind up being lived out to its maximum potential because of choices they made.

And so the fact that they were born again doesn't automatically mean they're going to have a well lived life. So for you young people who are here today, it is very critical that early on you learn this law because it will save you from a lot of heartache and headache that many of your parents have gone through or are going through, and for those who are already adults, it is time to live out this law so that we don't keep repeating the same mistake, so the law is non-negotiable. Whatever is planted is gonna pop up and become fruit from that root. He goes a little deeper into the agricultural perspective on life. "For the one who sows," verse 8 says, "To his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the spirit will from the spirit reap eternal life".

There are only two fields of life. There are only two plots of ground you can sow your life on, only two there's no third option. One option he says, "You sow to the flesh, the other option is you sow to the spirit". So he's talking to Christians because Christians have the spirit. He says, "You've sowed to one of these or the other". So let's define them. Your flesh is your unredeemed humanity that seeks to please self independently of God. Your flesh is your unredeemed humanity that seeks to please self rather than pleasing God. That is, when I have to choose between what God wants and what I want, I choose me. That's flesh, okay. That is to satisfy oneself independently of God. Conversely, the spirit is our redeemed humanity that seeks to please God over and against our self.

So that when I have to choose between God and me, I choose God and not me. So that is the distinction between flesh and spirit. Your salvation was a new resident moving into an old house. This humanity is going to decay, it's going to die, it's going to the grave. The Bible says, "Flesh and blood cannot inhabit the kingdom of heaven". Why? Because it has been contaminated. We were born in sin, shaped in iniquity, we commit sin. This humanity is contaminated and it is unfixable. So therefore, God is going to give every believer a new humanity it's called a glorified body, a body that is not contaminated due to sin, okay. But your redeemed part that is your spirit that takes your real life, which is your soul, is your real life to God, that is been and being redeemed.

So your life will go into a new house. But right now when you became a Christian a new resident moved into the old house. So the old house is still operative and it's full of termites, okay. The old house is unfixable and the longer you live in it the more breakdown becomes part of it, because this is an unsalvageable reality. But the inner man, the spiritual man is supposed to be getting younger while the outer man is getting older, okay. So this new resident, the spirit, that has inhabited the old location, our physical humanity, where sin the Bible says, "Expresses itself through the body," is where this conflict occurs.

Just as you can't turn fat into muscle, you can't turn flesh into spirit. The only thing you can do with your unredeemed humanity is try to manage it better, okay. So what the world has to settle for is flesh management. To try to keep the flesh from expressing how fleshy it really is. That's why we have laws, we have laws to hold people's flesh at bay. That's why we even teach moral principles so people will manage their sinfulness better, okay. But that doesn't turn it into spirit. Spirit has to be God's work inside because he has now taken resident in the life, that's what happens at conversion. So these are two specifically distinct realities.

Galatians 5 says, "The flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit wars against the flesh". They are in conflict with one another. This is an offensive line and a defensive line and they are against each other, okay. The victory over the flesh doesn't come because you changed the flesh into the spirit, the victory over the flesh comes because the spirit gets to override the flesh. He doesn't cancel it, that's when you get to heaven, but he will override it, okay. And what overrides our unredeemed humanity? Choice. Here it is, God will not make the choice for you.

Let me say that again, God will not make the choice for you. He will tell you what the choice ought to be, but he will not make the choice for you. He made us free moral agents within his sovereign boundaries of course, but he has said, "These are my boundaries but on the field of play called life, you get to choose, and you can choose for me or against me". He gave Adam and Eve the boundary but he says, "It's your choice. I'm gonna tell you what the rule is, but you can bucket".

So what you have to understand is, that choice matters because you get to make it. What the Holy Spirit does, is empower the right choice but he does not make the choice. Until we learn to walk in the spirit, the flesh will stay in control even if you're a believer. But that involves choice and that involves you, God doesn't make the choice for you he tells you what the choice ought to be. So we have these conflicting realities. Every Christian faces them. The apostle Paul faces them. We have AM and FM. We got standard transmission and automatic transmission. We got a rowboat and a speedboat. In other words, these two dynamics working with the believer and that is the battle. If there is no battle, it's because there is no spirit. That means you're not a Christian.

The thing that is normalized in Christians is the battle, the fact of the battle. He says, "Now you must sow on one of these two fields". See what many Christians do is visit the spirit, they don't walk in the spirit. See those are not the same thing. See, Sunday is a spirit visit, that's not a spirit walk. Walk in the Bible means lifestyle. It's how when you're walking, that's how you're rolling. I mean, that's your movement, that's your normal. What happens is, the world is full of flesh and so when we are operating in that realm, God is trying to show us a whole 'nother way of operating but if we don't move there and live there rather than just visit there, it won't become a normalized way of operating.

So it is the spirit's goal to dominate, to take over, to become the normalized way of operating and the Spirit is God's perspective on a matter. God's perspective on a matter is what the Spirit deals with. That's why the Bible calls the Holy Spirit, which infuses our human spirit, calls it the spirit of truth, because it will only operate on biblical information. It won't operate on non-biblical perspectives, okay. So if it's against God's Word, the spirit shuts down, it won't operate, it will only operate on truth. Which is why you need or your first question needs to say, "What does God say about this? What does God think about this? How does God feel about this? What does God want with that"?

That should be your first question because then you know which way to go and which choice to make. When you sow to the flesh, then you're gonna reap decay, you're gonna reap negative consequences. So he says, "But if you sow to the spirit, you will reap eternal life". Let's talk about eternal life. Eternal life is not first of all discussing how long you live. Everybody lives forever. Once you are born you are given an eternal soul. Jesus defined eternal life. John 17:3 he says, "This is eternal life that they may know you, and me whom you have sent".

What is eternal life? It is experiencing God, eternal life is experiencing God. Okay, here it is; when you accept Christ, you receive eternal life, okay. You get the seed of life. When you accept Christ, you get the seed of life. But the experience of that life varies from person to person. When you accept Christ there is life but that doesn't tell us the kind of Christian you're gonna be. That has to do with choices, okay. So when the choices are made, that affects the life because it affects the crop, and the crop is eternal life and eternal life is how much God you get to experience.

So our experience of God's involvement, intervention, answered prayer, deliverance, healing, it could be any number of things but God's work in our lives will be tied to the scope of his glory that we can contain which is tied to choices, and whether those choices are sowing to the spirit or pleasing the flesh at the expense of the spirit. And so he says, he gives eternal life. "Let us not lose heart, let us not lose heart in doing good for in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary". He says, "Don't quit, don't throw in the towel," that's what losing heart means or fainting, exhausted to the point of giving up, and then he introduces a concept. He introduces the concept of due season. The point of due season means appointed time. Opportune moment. A kairos moment.

That is a time of divine intersection. That's where God intersects with your life to bring about his purpose and will. He says, "While you are waiting on God, because you're now sowing good seed," you're waiting on God to intervene, you're waiting on God to turn something around, you're waiting on God to correct something, you're waiting on God to help you through something, why? Because now you have decided to shift what you're planting and the soil on which you're planting, you're now planning on the spirit.

You say, "Okay, flesh, I done giving you all I'm gonna give you, I make the choice". Now the Spirit's job is to help you apply the choice you made. He won't make the choice, but he empowers the right choice. So he says, "You don't get weary because if you sow the right seed," watch this now, while you are waiting on God whatever God's gonna do with your unique situation, 'cause everybody's situation is unique, while you're waiting on God, I don't want you to quit, but I do want you to work. And he calls the work, "Doing good".

While you're waiting on God, I don't want you to sit in the chair being passive, I want you working and I want you working one, to make sure the Word is taught verse 6; two, as you have opportunity through just moving around in life, where you can be a benefit to somebody else take advantage of that. And then he says in verse 10, "Especially the household of faith," that's your ministry to the church. God didn't save you to sit, soak, and sour. He didn't ask you to join and worship selfish, but worship service. He wants every member of his church serving the body of Christ and then doing good as they have generic opportunity in the world.

And when he sees you are sowing in the right ground with the right seed, and you are benefiting others with your life, you have helped shorten the time for your kairos moment, for your opportune time. Some of us are saying, "God, why are you taking too long"? God is saying, "Why are you taking too long? You keep sowing over there in the wrong field. I can't get you to do anything for my name, my glory to benefit others, and you think I'm the slow one? You're the slow one because I can't get you on my field, serving my purpose, planting my seed, doing my work, but you just want me to come over there. I ain't coming over there to that messed up, decaying, decrepit field you're operating on. So you are delaying what I wanna do".

The opportune time is the divinely appointed intersection where God's purpose meets your planting and your good work. That's why we challenge you to get the acts of kindness card so that when you're just moving around, and you see a need that you feel that you can meet and you meet the need. You encourage somebody, you cook a meal for somebody, you help a homeless person, I mean, there're hundreds of things you can do. You give 'em a card, then you pray for 'em 'cause a good work only is a good work when you include God.

So you pray for them and then you share the gospel with them, and that's what you do and so let's have people doing good in the name of God, sharing our faith in Jesus Christ and doing all of that expecting as we sow good seed in the spirit, that we're getting closer to our "Kairos" moment, to our opportune time. God is not going to make your choice for you. He will empower the right choice, he won't make the choice.

When it comes to the judgment seat of Christ you have a choice. The choice is to operate by the spirit or by the flesh. The spirit is that which you do dependent upon God, the flesh is that what you do to serve and please self. When self-trumps pleasing God then we lose reward, but when pleasing God trumps pleasing self, we gain reward. God doesn't make the choice for us, but he gives us the choice for us to make. Sowing and reaping is a natural result of choices we make. Make sure we reap because of the quality of service, we serve.
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