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Before There Were Kings 6 - Joshua: The Choice is Yours

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Reading: Joshua 24:1-27
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” Joshua 24:23 (NIV)

I.   Remember what God has done

     A.  God called you out of False religion

           1.  Abraham is the son of an idolater

                 a.  I called him out of that (vv.2-3)

                 b.  I gave him descendants he could not have on his own. (v.3)

           2.  You lived in Egypt: a place full of idols

                 a.  I called you out of that (v.5)

                 b.  I showed that I am more powerful than the gods of those powerful nations(v.6-7)

           3.  You are now surrounded by people who practice false religion

                 a.  I defeated them too and showed that their gods are nothing. (v.8)

                 b.  I would not allow them to curse you, only to bless you (v.10)

                 c.  I’m calling you to stay out of that.

     B.  God called you out of Slavery

           1.  You lived in bondage in Egypt (v.17).

                 a.  You were victims of the power of people who practice false religion

                 b.  You used to serve someone else

           2.  You were also in bondage to false gods.

                 a.  Abraham’s father worshiped false gods.

           3.  God calls us out of our slavery to sin:
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34-36 (NIV)

     C.  God brought you to the Promised Land

           1.  I drove out all your enemies (vv.11-12)

                 a.  Not Joshua, not the soldiers (v.12b)

                 b.  God did it for them.

           2.  I gave you what you did not earn (v.13)

                 a.  God provided a place to live and food to live on.

                 b.  God has a city and a garden yet in store for us!

           3.  God gives us what we cannot create with our own hands:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)

II.  Make a Choice

     A.  The choice is Yours (v.15)

           1.  An example of solid spiritual leadership.

                 a.  God wants those who choose him

                 b.  No spiritual leader can badger people into a relationship with God.

                 c.  It is one of the great tasks of spiritual leadership to confront people with their need to make a choice.

           2.  Joshua presents a case like a lawyer — weigh the evidence and decide yourself

                 a.  Look what God has done, look at what happened to those who relied on other gods. Make up your own mind.

           3.  Do what you want

                 a.  If it “seems undesirable” don’t do it.

                 b.  The question isn’t what you ought to do but what do you want to do about God.

     B.  You Cannot serve God and other gods

           1.  No such thing as religious eclecticism.

                 a.  Only watered down truth.

                 b.  There is real money and counterfeit. Don’t mess around with the fake stuff.

           2.  The first commandment “You will have no other gods before me.”

                 a.  Before=in my presence.

                 b.  It is an offense against the True God to give homage to false gods.

           3.  Jesus: You can’t serve two masters:
“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Luke 16:13 (NIV)

     C.  As for Me and My house. . .

           1.  Joshua publicly declares his allegiance.

                 a.  Religion is not merely a private thing (though it is an intensely personal one).
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32

           2.  He does this as leader of the Israelites.

                 a.  Joshua took Moses’ place after Moses died.

                 b.  As the leader God chose for them, he wants them to know where he stands.

           3.  He does this as a family man.

                 a.  Not just me, but me and my house.

                 b.  Joshua is spiritually leading his family.

III. Make an Honest commitment

     A.  You Cannot do it by yourselves

           1.  Joshua objects to their commitment !?

           2.  We are too fickle to serve God in the way he wants

                 a.  We can’t serve completely

                 b.  We can’t serve him solely

           3.  We can’t serve Him without His help.

                 a.  We can accomplish nothing
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

     B.  The cost of Half-Hearted devotion

           1.  God does not look the other way at divided loyalties.

                 a.  He won’t ignore it. He will fix it.

           2.  He will bring disaster on them, if they pay Him only lip service.

                 a.  And He did, over and over again.

           3.  God finds half-hearted devotion appalling
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)

     C.  Be Single minded

           1.  Throw away the false gods! (v. 23)

           2.  Look in your pockets, your closets, and wherever you keep things,

                 a.  If you find false gods there, throw them away.

                 b.  Don’t say “but everybody else has one”

           3.  Yield to God completely.

                 a.  He withholds no good thing from those who serve him completely (Psalm 84:11)

                 b.  God is your God in everything, or He is not your God at all.

The Bottom Line:

Serve God Whole-heartedly or not at all. Make your choice Today. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Hymn: Red #396 I have decided to follow Jesus

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