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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, April 30, 2005
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:24-25).
Moses did two things. First, he refused Egypt. Second, he chose to be identified with God's people. This shows clearly that, on the human side, this was a decision regarding salvation. This is not "decisionism." Decisionism rests in the decision rather than in Christ. But, having said often that we must not rest in a decision itself, that does not mean that you don't have to make any choice at all to become a Christian. You do have to make a clear-cut choice, just as Moses did. God gives the grace, but you have to make the choice. This is not synergism because God gives you the whole thing - even the ability to make the choice. The whole thing is from God. But you must not just sit passively and quietly and wait for something supernatural to happen to you. Moses didn't do that, and neither should you. Moses "refused" sin and "chose" salvation. And so must you!
Dr. Harvey Cox is a liberal, a professor at Harvard University. But, even though he is a liberal, Dr. Cox said something that is very wise. He said, "Not to decide is to decide not to." Why do I say his statement is wise? Because it puts the problem in its right perspective. "Not to decide is to decide not to." Let's think of several examples in the Bible of this.
I. First, people who would not decide.
King Herod is the first example that comes to mind. We heard about him last Sunday night, in a sermon from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones titled, "Missing the Mark." The Bible says,
"For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly" (Mark 6:20).
Dr. Lloyd-Jones pointed out that Herod wavered between what John said and what his illegitimate wife Herodias said. He wavered back and forth and never chose between who he would listen to. Herod liked John. Herod listened to John again and again. But he refused to choose sides. It never happened. He never chose. What does this show? Why, it shows that "not to decide is to decide not to." Refusing to decide is a decision not to do what you need to do to be saved. Not deciding is deciding not to. Wasn't that true of Herod? His indecision really meant he was deciding not to do what John the Baptist said. "Not to decide is to decide not to."
Then there is the example of Pilate. Do I need to go into that story very deeply? Surely you remember that Pilate wavered back and forth concerning Christ. The people delivered Christ to Pilate. He was the governor. He was faced with a clear-cut decision about what to do with Christ. But he wavered back and forth, trying to get out of having to make a clear decision. He finally said to the people,
"I find in him [Christ] no fault at all" (John 18:38).
He tried to get out of his dilemma by releasing a murderer, Barabbas, to the people. But that didn't satisfy them. So he was again faced with that same decision - what to do with Christ. He then scourged Jesus. He thought that would satisfy them. He brought out Christ, all covered with blood, and again said,
"I find no fault in him" (John 19:4).
But they still weren't satisfied. They cried out,
"Crucify him, crucify him" (John 19:6).
Pilate still wavered. He didn't want to make a clear decision. He said,
"Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him"
But that wouldn't do, because it was his choice and his alone whether Christ would be crucified or not. "Not to decide is to decide not to." Pilate decided not to release Christ by his indecision. At last Christ was crucified, as an old creed says, "under Pontius Pilate." He had not released Christ. "Not to decide is to decide not to."
I could give more examples - like Judas. Judas wavered back and forth in indecision. He listened to Christ, but he also wanted money. He pilfered money from the sack that the Disciples gave him for safe keeping, but he also worked for Christ. Back and forth he went, from stealing to witnessing and working for Christ. He went back and forth - failing to make a clear-cut choice. But "not to decide is to decide not to." His very indecision led to his betrayal of Christ at last.
"And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5).
He did not choose Christ. "Not to decide is to decide not to."
And what about remaining speechless? Someone may say to you, "Will you come to Christ? Will you trust Christ?" You think you can get out of it by remaining speechless. But you can't. "Not to decide is to decide not to." Remember a man who was speechless. The King said to him,
"Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless" (Matthew 22:12).
Did that get him out of it? It did not! "He was speechless" - and the King said,
"Cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22:13).
He was lost by indecision. Though he was speechless, he had decided by not deciding. "Not to decide is to decide not to." He went to Hell because of his indecision.
II. Second, people who did decide.
Moses is a clear example of a man who did decide. He "refused" the sin of Egypt. He "chose" to be on the side of God's people (Hebrews 11:24-25). It was a clear-cut choice - and he made it like a man. He did not waver. He did not dilly dally. He did not keep silent. He made a clear-cut choice. And God honored his choice.
Then there is Noah. God said to Noah,
"Come thou…into the ark" (Genesis 7:1).
What did Noah do? He didn't waver. He didn't keep silent. He didn't put it off. Oh, no! God said,
"Come thou…into the ark" (Genesis 7:1).
"And Noah went in" (Genesis 7:7).
God said "come in" and "Noah went in." He made a clear-cut decision. He went in to the ark when God told him to do it! What if he had been indecisive? What if he had put it off and refused to go in? Why, he would have drowned in the Flood! Simple! Clear! "Come into the ark." "And Noah went in." Nothing complicated about it. And the choice you have to make is just as clear and simple.
I could give many examples from the Bible, but our time is gone. One more will have to do.
"…Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went" (Hebrews 11:8).
There it is again, plain and simple. "Not to decide is to decide not to." But Abraham decided to do what God said. He left Haran when God told him to do so. He went out, though, "not knowing whither he went."
You say, "If I decide to come to Christ, it might not happen. It might be false." Yes, there is that risk - just as there was a risk for Abraham. There's always a certain amount of risk. But saving faith takes the risk. I am asking you tonight to risk all on Christ. What do you really have to lose? Not much - since "not to decide is to decide not to." I ask you again, Will you come to Christ? Will you let Him save you?
(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"What Will You Do With Jesus?" (by Albert B. Simpson, 1843-1919).
THE OUTLINE OF
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:24-25)
I. People who would not decide, Mark 6:20; John 18:38; 19:4, 6;
II. People who did decide, Hebrews 11:24-25; Genesis 7:1, 7;