Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Valley Of Decision

Temple Baptist Church - 5-31-2020
Luke 23:33-43

A.  Someone once said, “Life has many choices; eternity only has two.”  We need to learn that choices have consequences: either good or bad!
1.  I am more than a little sure that these two thieves would rather be somewhere else on this day!
2.  Yet, for both thieves, it was the best place in the world to be on this day. 
3.  As they faced certain death and eternity, the Son of God—the Saviour of the World, hung dying between them and for them.
B.  Our lives are so full of decisions that could have been made, should have been made, must be made that we make many without much thought while others are thought provoking.
1.  Most of our choices are not as consequential.  They involve little “brain matter” to make because, as the old saying goes, “Are six of one or half a dozen of the other.”  We choose when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, etc. every day of our lives.
2.  Many of our choices are more important as they have to do with life changing things.  Choices such as, “What do I want to do with my life?”  What do I want to do for a living, who do I want to marry, are consequential and life changing ones?
3.  A few of our choices are monumental!  In our verses for this morning, we find choices made that concerned eternal things.
C.  Many people on that day made choices concerning who Jesus Christ was. 
1.  Most rejected Christ and, after the crucifixion, went about their lives.  They may have lived many or few more years with time to reflect on the Son of God and reverse or continue in their decision.
2.  Two men on that day made monumental decisions!  These two men were going to die!  They had entered “The Valley of Decision” for the final time.  The ultimate decision making!
D.  The Lord sometimes uses valleys (hard places in life) to bring the lost to a place of decision. 
Joel 3:14  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
E.  These Valleys of Decision are brought about through His infinite mercy.  When all continues to go well for the sinner, he fails to see his need of salvation.
Ecclesiastes 8:11  Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
F.  These Valleys of Decision are brough about though the goodness of God.  Romans 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?.)
1.  God uses the Valley of Sickness to bring sinners to decisions.  Our health is in God’s hand, not the Doctor’s hands.
Psalms 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

2.  God uses the Valley of Family Problems to bring sinners to decisions. 
Psalms 127:1  Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
3.  God uses the Valley of Bankruptcy to bring sinners to decisions. 
Proverbs 23:5  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. 
Haggai 1:9  Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
4.  God uses the Valley of Funerals to bring sinners to decisions. 
Hebrews 2:15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
1)  The Providence Of God In The Valleys – He is in total control of the lives of both saved and lost.
a)  These valleys cause the lost to lose faith in material things.
1a)  People have too many worldly goods to occupy their lives.
2b)  People have too little need for faith in this world of plenty.
b)  These valleys cause the lost to face their mortality and death.
                                                1a)  The valley of sickness.
                                      2b)  The valley of death.
                             c)  These valleys cause the lost to seek something better.
                                                1a)  They have financial ruin.
                                      2b)  They have family problems.
                                      3c)  They have personal problems (jail, etc.)
                             d)  These valleys are places of decision.
                             e)  These valleys are sometimes places of last resort.
2)  The Purpose Of God In The Valleys
                                    a)  He allows valleys to accomplish His will.
                             b)  He allows valleys to teach His lessons.
                             c)  He allows valleys to maneuver the lives of men.
                             d)  He allows valleys to show His great power.
                             e)  He allows valleys to force man’s decisions.
                             f)  He allows valleys as a means of persuasion.
g)  God uses valleys to bring the lost to a place of decision.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;  In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.  But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;  I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:  That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
3)  The Power Of God In The Valleys – Job asked, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?”
4)  The promise is that the Lord is near in these Valleys of Decision.
Joel 3:14  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
G.  This morning, I want to look at a classic example of a valley that brought a sinner face to face with his eternal destination.  The thief was going to die today.  THE DECISION TO BE SAVED WAS HIS TO MAKE AND HIS ALONE!
1.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Realization – vs. 33, 39-41
            a.  That Death Was Near – He was faced with his mortality.
          b.  That Judgment Was Impending – He was faced with accountable to God for his sin.
c.  That He Was Hopeless – He was faced with an eternity without God (without hope in this world).
d.  That He Was Helpless – He was faced with helplessness as he could do nothing in himself to change the situation.
2.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Recognition – vs. 34, 38, 40-42
            a.  That Christ Was The Only Lord – He cried, “Lord!”
          b.  That Christ Was The Only Way – He cried, “Remember me!”
3.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Repentance – vs. 41-42
          a.  He Faced The Reality Of Who He Was.
          b.  He Faced The Reality Of What He Deserved
4.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Redemption – vs. 42-43  (He Was Gloriously Saved!)
a.  He Turned From Sin To The Saviour
b.  He Turned From Hopelessness To Hope
c.  He Turned From The End Of  Life To The Beginning Of Eternal Life

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