A Recent Sermon Prov 9v1-6 Eph 5v15-20 John 6v53-59

It is calculated that the average American adult makes 30,000 choices every single day. Most are very easy simple ones which we spend no time contemplating. However in every aspect of life we are confronted by choice all the time. Not only that but in every aspect of life we are able to make a choice. From the mundane of what to watch on television and how we watch it to what we buy and wear, to where we live. how we are educated and the jobs we do.

Our culture today has even allowed us choice in terms of morality and truths. We are able to decide what we think is right and wrong in many areas,  even when to choose life and when to end life.

Choice is everywhere and has infiltrated every part of society. Choice has become a right.

Now, the problem we face is that because we are so used to having choice and to exercising OUR choice, we have lost the gravity that faces us in some choices. Whether we watch Fox Sports or ESPN, or CNN and MSNBC, or shop at Giant or Walmart or Trader Joe’s are ultimately irrelevant choices. We can exercise the choice but the outcome is of no consequence.

However there are choices which are very important – and I fear that these important choices, or at least the gravity of the choice has been lost in the sea of choice.

As someone has said When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice

Today we have made the acknowledgment of God a choice – take it or leave it. Believe it or not. The issue with a a so called atheist is not so much they have made a choice not to believe, as if it is on the same level as whether to watch Fox News of MSNBC – the issue is the so called atheist has decided to be foolish. To rebel and to reject and ignore God. It is a foolish choice and a dangerous choice. It has grave consequences. And yet our culture covers this up. We, as followers of Christ, are called to show people the gravity of the choice.

This is exactly what our reading from Proverbs 9 is saying.

If you read the whole of Chp 9 you will see that it is about a choice between two things – wisdom or folly. Each has their stall set out to entice people. The thing is, when you compare the two stalls – what wisdom and folly offer, the wisdom stall outstrips everything. The description we have in our reading shows how obvious the choice should be – wisdom has built a house with seven pillars. The number seven is the number for perfection or completion in scripture. We don’t have time to talk about the number seven in detail but: The seventh day was the holy day; the seventh month was specially hallowed by its number of sacred festivals; the seventh year was the Sabbatic year of rest for the land: while 7 x 7 years marked the year of Jubilee (Lev 25:4,8).

Wisdom’s house, what it can offer is perfect. And what wisdom provides in terms of food and drink is exactly what we need – perfectly nourishing.

To choose not to enter this wisdom, God’s wisdom, or to choose to be without it is foolishness. It is also rebellion against God.

Also notice that the choice to enter or accept God’s wisdom is not because you are already wise – we do not choice God because we have wisdom, we choose God because we acknowledge we are without wisdom.

Jesus shows us this in Luke 10:21 “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Paul echoes this a number of times not least in 1 Corinthians: 1 Cor 1:26 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  1 Cor 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. fIf anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”  20 and again, i“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

Paul never equates wisdom with human wisdom. We see this in our epistle reading in Ephesians. Walk not as unwise but as wise. The word for wise is sophos – it does not relate to brilliance or scholastic training but the ability to apply with skill what one knows. The New Testament uses this word in regards to applying spiritual truth to ones life.

When we choose to apply spiritual truth to our life we are sophos or sophia – wise.

v17 of Ephesians 5 lays it out clearly. To not be foolish or unwise you must understand the will of Lord – application of spiritual truth to our lives.

The problem is that when we try to apply spiritual truth to our lives the world will either scream at us that we are foolish, or that the choice is irrelevant. The world does not see a live given over to the worship and following of God as a wise thing to do.

Some of you have heard me say that when I was in Lloyds Bank in the city of London, just after I was converted, I had started to be involved in church more and more. This meant that I would leave work on time, not staying behind to do overtime and I did not work on the weekends. When my annual review came up with my senior manger he said to me that I needed to make the same choice he had to make as a young banker. He was in a rock band and he had to decide whether to pursue music or a career in the bank – I now, he said, hd to choose between the bank or God.

Now looking back that seems like an obvious choice but as a young man, recently married, the world was screaming at me that I would be a fool to choose God over a career in a premier global bank.

I have appeared foolish to may people over my life – the decision to leave a career in banking to go to seminary – to become a youth minister – to sell everything we had and leave England to move to America.

Eleanor Roosevelt said:

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die.

So in the midst of the 30,000 choices we are going to make today and tomorrow, we must each day make one vital and all encompassing choice – that today we will walk as one who is wise – we will follow the Lord.

How do we do this? We must absorb wisdom. What do I mean. Wisdom has her food and drink and the invitation is to eat and drink. Food and drink enter our body and nourishes us and the food and drink become a part of our body.

That is the wisdom we are called to choose. And the food we are to eat is the word of God. And who is the word of God? Jesus.

And that is the point of our Gospel reading in John this morning.

The whole of John 6 is about what really nourishes a person. Jesus begins chp 6 by feeding 5000 people. They then want to follow Jesus about because they think they will be feed for free all the time. Jesus challenges them on that in v26 “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

Jesus then goes on to tell the real issue – v27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life. That is what Jesus is doing for the rest of chp 6.

And in our reading this morning we reach the climax – the choice he lays before the people v53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 

[54] he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

That’s the choice before the people right here.

Of course we know that Jesus is not talking about eating his literal blood and literal body and that Jesus is making an illusion to the Lord’s Supper. But it is more than that. It is an image of Proverbs 9 – Jesus is wisdom – and we are to eat and drink of God’s wisdom – we are to be nourished by it and this is the choice we must make everyday – that the by the Holy Spirit, through the word of God and in relationship with him in prayer and worship we have Christ in us.

This is the wisest choice we make in our live and we must choose it everyday – to walk in the ways of the Lord. Out of this we will find that all our 30,000 other choices  will come from the foundation of this one choice of Christ in us.

v56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

In a few moments we will come the Lord’s Supper. This part of our worship is a remembrance of Jesus’ words here – and it is also to testify that we have chosen wisdom – that Christ abides in us and we abide in Christ.

And it is only from this place are we able to say to others that their choice regarding God has eternal consequences and that they should turn to the living God and recieve wisdom.

May it be so!

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