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A Work in Progress

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A WORK in PROGRESS

Joshua 1:1-11

Young people YOU are a WORK in PROGRESS!

Folks, every single one of you here today – YOU are a WORK in PROGRESS.

You are marching straight into an UNCERTAIN world.  Have you noticed young people?

Have you noticed that in the last two or three years that you’ve learned to drive – when you go fill up your car/pickup it takes a lot more money?

Have you heard that people are suffering all over the world?

Did you know that nearly three years ago a tidal wave of unprecedented proportions – called a tsunami – literally wiped a country off the map – hundreds of thousands of lives were lost? 

That’s a world away, right?  Do remember what happened in New Orleans just a year and a half ago?  A city will probably be rebuilt – but it may take us 25 years with the very brightest minds and the latest technology.

Fires and floods, tornadoes and cyclones, terrorists and suicide bombers – young people, this is the world to which you are called.  You are called to live as FULLY DEVOTED FOLLOWERS of Jesus Christ into a dark world. 

Doesn’t that just excite you? 

Are you uncertain about it all?

In quiet moments when you are all alone, do you wonder, “Will I have what it takes to make it in THIS world?

Parents, how about you?  Do you have moments of apprehension as the days have slipped by so quickly?  Do you ever wonder in your quiet moments, “Have we prepared our son, our daughter – are they really ready to face all this UNCERTAINTY? 

This morning if you have more feelings of FEAR than you do of FAITH, God has a WORD for you today.  God wants to bring us all in very close to Himself, so we’ll all get His most important message.

When you have FEAR – I WILL BE WITH YOU TO GIVE YOU THE FAITH YOU NEED!!!

What will it take for you to continue to be A WORK in PROGRESS all the days of your life?

1.  You will need God’s WORD if you will be a WORK IN PROGRESS…

·       There have been PHYSICAL attacks on the WORD OF GOD.

Men like TYNDALE and WICLIFFE – just two men, I could mention many, many more – these Good and Godly men – risked their very lives so you and I could worship freely with God’s Word in a service like this today.

·       There have been INTELLECTUAL attacks on the Bible.

A man named Jerome got it all started – he lived in Bethlehem – because he so wanted to walk literally in the steps of our Savior as he tried day by day to translate the Bible so that one day – people could read and understand God’s Word.  That LATIN Bible so encouraged and equipped Christians through the DARK AGES that they looked to God.

John Wycliffe in about 1379 prayed over that LATIN Bible – painstakingly he poured his life into a written ENGLISH Bible so that we could learn today to live by FAITH!  For this Wycliffe was terribly tortured and finally he was burned at the STAKE. 

Tyndale got a hold of that Bible, published it into English – and became public enemy number ONE.  He had to leave the country or be killed.  He smuggled English Bibles into England in barrels of flower.  But today, you and I can take our English Bibles to school, take our Bibles to work, carry them with us to class – but most importantly, we can READ this Book and apply its truth to our daily lives.  What a gift!  What a blessing!!

Maybe the GREATEST challenge to the Word of God came from a man named VOLTAIRE – a French Philosopher who said, “I make it my goal that in 100 years – you can go to the FUNERAL HOME to see the BILBLE”

“I will make the Bible an antique that in years no one will remember!”

In less than 100 years VOLTAIRE was gone – and his home was sold to the GENEVA BIBLE society.  And from Voltaire’s home millions of copies of the WORD of God were sent out – all over the world!  One hundred years from the time Voltaire made his “Bible is dead” statement – his entire life’s work was sold in Paris France for the grand total of 11 cents!

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the WORD of our God shall stand forever!”

Young people, take your stand with God’s Word – His promises, His challenges, His rebuke, His encouragement – and YOU WILL continue to be a WORK in PROGRESS!

2.   You MUST OBEY God’s WORD if you will continue to be a WORK in Progress.

Joshua introduces us to one of the GREAT Theme’s of Sacred Scripture:

OBEDIENCE brings VICTORY – DISOBEDIENCE brings DEFEAT.

Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

JOSHUA listened when God spoke.  Joshua obeyed the WORD God spoke to him.

APPLY:

You say, “But wait a minute, PREACH, you’re mistaken me for someone I’m not – I’m not going into the “ministry”!  I’m not going to Preach!  I’ll never be a missionary to AFRICA!  I just want to continue my education!  I want to go get my college degree, or my master’s one day.  Why all this “GOD”S WORD” stuff?

Remember that Moses wasn’t called to “Preach”.  Joshua wasn’t ever a PASTOR or a STAFF MEMBER – never led a choir; never worked with YOUTH. 

Joshua was called to be a LEADER!

Before you can ever be a LEADER – you must learn to be a SERVANT!

3.    Let God replace your FEAR with HIS FAITHFULNESS and you will continue to be a WORK in PROGRESS…

God doesn’t want to be a STRANGER to you – God wants to be your dearest friend.

God keeps whispering to Joshua in this passage:  “I will be with you!”

·        God promises to be with you when you FAIL.

Chinese proverb:  “Failure is not falling down – failure is refusing to ever get up again.”

·        God promises to be with you when you SUCCEED.

In fact, no success will be complete until you give God the GLORY in your life!

This week, you will receive gifts, money.  These gifts you receive will be given from people who love you, accept you, care about you and want you to go far in this world – to be successful.  I want you to remember what you receive for graduation – will be more than nearly one half of the world’s families have to LIVE on for an entire year!

Of all the gifts you receive young people; I want to remind you of the MOST SPECIAL, and SIGNIFICANT Gift you’ve ever been given.  This gift is not given you by your parents, your teachers, band directors or coaches.  The GREATEST Gift you’ll ever be given is the gift of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s gift is offered to all of us here this morning.  He offers you peace in the place of your UNCERTAINTY.  He offers LIFE for our DEATH; 

Joshua brought God’s people into a land of PROMISE.  Another Joshua would come hundreds of years later – Jeshua, Jesus Christ and He died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, and three days later – the world was changed forever – HE LIVES!!!

Let me ask you this morning – “Does Jesus LIVE in you?”

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