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Tunnel Vision

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=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right'>1) 9-14-08…AM…SBC     2)“Tunnel Vision”

Joshua 23

Introduction:   v1-5

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Proposition:               The people of God must have tunnel vision for God.


Medical Condition:

-          In medical terms, tunnel vision is the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision

-          Show slide of what tunnel vision looks like

  1. In Chapter 23 we encounter the first of two farewell speeches by Joshua

  1. It was understood that Israel’s enemies as a whole had been subdued, it was each individual tribe’s responsibility to purge its own land of the presence of any remaining idolatrous people.[1] – v5

  1. In this speech, Joshua passionately urges Israel to be steadfast in loving God, in obeying his law, and in keeping themselves uncontaminated by the religious practices of their neighbors.[2]

  1. The RJ Factor – The Clarity of Scripture

·         The Doctrine of “the clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help.”[3] – Perspicuity of Scripture

·         This doctrine gives great encouragement and hope to Bible reading Christians

-          God superintended in our text today (as in all Scripture) so that the message is understandable to all who read it

-          Don’t assume that because you don’t know Greek and Hebrew or aren’t a Pastor that you can’t understand the Bible correctly

-          Know that God arranged His Word so that whether together in a formal church setting or separately in your own Bible reading His message is clear, understandable and applicable for all issues that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)

 

Ø      What this means for Joshua 23 is that God intended the message of this chapter to clearly communicate to God’s people that God desires passionate, unadulterated love for Him.

Transition:  With that in mind let’s look this morning at how to have tunnel vision for God

Setting the Stage         v1-4

Ø      Joshua is nearing the end of his life which took place at age 110 (24:29)

Ø      The Israelites had experienced a long time of rest from war              v1

Ø      Joshua called for all the leaders of Israel to gather to hear his farewell speech         v2-5

To have tunnel vision for God…

1) God’s People must perform       v6a

 

Ø      a few English translations insert “therefore” most likely to make the connection between God’s activity (v5) and Israel’s responsibility (v6) in light of God’s activity

A-    The duty of the Israelites as commanded by Joshua was to diligently perform the initiatives of God

1-                           חָזַק (be strong) -  to be firm, courageous, confident (prefaced by the adverb very)

2-                           שָׁמַר (to keep or watch) – the idea behind keeping something is that there is value to it

3-                           עָשָׂה (to do) – this verb carries the ethical response to God’s commands

Application:

1.      Numerous contexts show that this concept of doing is an important ethical response to God which goes beyond mere mental abstraction and must translate into obedience which is evidenced in demonstrated act.[4]

2.      For Israel, faith in God was not to be just passive agreement to the initiatives of God

3.      For the people of God, God’s initiatives are to be something that we…

-          can be confident in – they are sufficient to help us because they came from God

-           are to keep watch over – their value is found in their source

-          can perform – a mental assent to God’s initiatives is always reflected by obedient actions

 

James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (ESV)

The value you put on God’s word can be measured by the activities of your daily life.

Transition:  To have tunnel vision for God one must not only perform, but…

2) God’s People must not conform           v6b-7; v12-13

 

A-    The Israelites were to keep themselves uncontaminated by the nations who remained among them and by the gods they worshiped (v. 7).[5]

1-      The problem of mixing with the peoples of the land and adopting their worship loyalties was the most severe problem throughout Israel’s history in the land, affecting it in almost every era.[6]

2-      It quickly became the dominant problem in the period of the judges (Judg 2:10–19).[7]

Application:[8]

1.      The theological reason behind non-conformity to the world is so that we may conform to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ

a.     Christ was unique in his presence here on earth – He had no equal in character and conduct

b.    We are called to have the same mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) and to conform to the image of His son (Romans 8:28)

c.     From the point of salvation we have been called to be non-conformists

·         Christ’s non-conformity was established on the character of God

·         Christ would not conform to anything that contradicted God’s Holiness

·         God demands that all people, especially believers, be like Him in character and conduct

·         Matthew 6:; Romans 12:1; Ephesians 1:4; 5:27;

Ø      if separatism is based on God’s holiness and is commanded in Scripture, then it is the right position.  [Our response] should be to commit ourselves to the biblical position of Separation.

2.      The practical reason behind separation is so that those that are lost may see that genuine change is possible

·         Lost people need to know that there is hope for change from their dead end direction

·         It is Christians who must be modeling the change that only Jesus Christ can make in a life

Transition:  Not only are God’s people supposed to perform God’s commands and not conform to the world but also…

3) God’s People must swarm                v8

 

A-    Instead of following the Canaanites’ gods, the Israelites were to cling (דָּבַק) to their own God (v. 8).[9]

1-      the Israelites are to cleave to the Lord in affection and loyalty (Deut 10:20; 11:22; 13:4 [H 5]; 30:20; Josh 22:5; 23:8)[10]

Application:

1.      What is described in v8 was the way that Israel could prevent themselves from being contaminated from the influences of the nations around them

2.      Through loyalty to God and His word we can live a life of separation that glorifies God

If the only time you touch your bible is on Sunday then you are on a dangerous path to contamination

Transition:  Lastly we see that…

 

4) God’s People must reform               v11

 

            Definition:  the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory

A-    Obedience to God, separation to all that is contrary to God’s holiness and clinging to God are all matters of the heart that Joshua addresses in v11

 

B-    Everything that Joshua commanded the people to do was a means to an end, which was that Israel should have a close and loving relationship with its God.[11]

C-    Throughout Scripture God’s people are repeatedly challenged to reform or amend what is wrong and corrupt in the eyes of God

D-    Reform is at the heart of love - God wanted a loving relationship with his people: he promised to be with them (Josh 1:9), and in return he desired their loyalty and their love.[12]

Conclusion:

 

  1. Tunnel Vision for God is only possible if you make a dicision to become a Christian

·         Christianity doesn’t come automatically based on how you grew up or where you went to church

·         To follow this line of thinking will land your soul right in the pit of hell

·         Regardless of other factors, every person is required to make a decision for or against Christ

·         You cannot remain neutral – no one can decide for you – you must make the decision for yourself

·         To affirm that we are sinners, that Jesus was God and that He is the Savior of the world doesn’t make one a Christian

·         True faith will translate a mental affirmation into a decisive act of trust – Salvation

·         Intellectual conviction must lead to personal commitment

·         Will you make a decision to trust in Christ for salvation – if not then you are saying you are against Christ

  1. Tunnel Vision for God is to lose one’s peripheral vision for all of the world’s contamination and obey Christ

  1. Tunnel Vision for God comes when we lay aside the sin that so easily entangles us

  1. Tunnel Vision for God comes when we evaluate where our heart is compared to where God is

·         love that doesn’t come from the heart is nothing but a mirage of real love and will disappear in time

  1. Tunnel Vision for God comes when we are diligent to meet God and follow His initiatives in all areas of life

·         in parenting – Shepherding a Child’s Heart

·         in conflict resolution – Matthew 18, Galatians 6:1;

·         in marriage – understanding headship and submission

·         in separating from the ungodliness of the world

What in our life is causing you to not have tunnel vision for God?


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[1] Jensen, 121.

[2]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 417.

[3] Grudem: Systematic Theology, p108.

[4]R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 701.

[5]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 421.

[6]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 421.

[7]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 422.

[8] McLachlan: Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism – Implementing Authentic Separation, p115.

[9]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 422.

[10]R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 178.

[11]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 423.

[12]David M. Howard, Jr, vol. 5, Joshua, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1998), 423.

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