Your Stone of Testimony

07/04/2019 13:16

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Date: 2 April, 2019
Text: Joshua 24
Title: Your Testimony Stone
Theme:
Proposition:
Rhetorical:
Introduction:
 
Joshua 24
1  And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
2  And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3  And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.
4  And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
5  I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.
6  And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.
7  And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.
8  And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.
9  Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:
10  But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.
11  And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.
12  And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.
13  And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
BASED UPON ALL OF GOD'S GOODNESS & FAITHFULNES, GOD DEMANDED THEM TO COME TO A DECISION ABOUT HIM THAT DAY.
14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
exp. As the leader of the children of Israel, Joshua knew what he was going to do. "BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD."
EVERYONE GATHERED HERE THIS MORNING - You need to chose today if you are going to serve the LORD! Have you made that choice?
- Maybe it is a choice you made in the past - it would be good today to evaluate if you need to rededicate yourself. (We are going to look at what this decision involves and you may find that you haven't really made the choice though you said it with your mouth.)
- Maybe it is a choice which you have rejected in the past - but you need to make that decision today.
- Or perhaps you made it and are keeping it - or have never thought about making it.
 
Regardless of where you are at this morning - you need to have decided that you will definitely serve the Lord. So - what does the chosing to serve the Lord involve?
 
 I. The choice involves - Your sanctification. "But as for me...."
exp. Joshua has just challenged the children of Israel to make up their minds and if they are against God - HE IS NOT. They can all run after their idols BUT JOSHUA WOULD RUN AFTER JEHOVAH.
def. Sanctification is to set apart for it's intended use. 
ill. God's intended use of his people is found in our text in v.14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
exp. Joshua was going to sanctify himself WHETHER OR NOT anyone else did.
note: The problem we have as men is that we often wait to see what everyone else is going to do.
ill. Handing out flyers - if the first person takes it - the other's feel obligated to. If the first person rejects it - you may as well stop until those who saw the rejection are passed. It is much less likely they will take a flyer. Why? BECAUSE MOST OF US MAKE DECISIONS IN THE FEAR OF MEN.
Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
ill. Acts 4:18-21
exp. Peter and John have by the power of the name of Jesus healed a man who had been lame for 40 years. The Sanhedrin are rightly concerned that people would glorify God by putting their faith in Jesus and so they opposed Peter and John.
18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
21  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
app. Would Joshua be disappointed if the children of Israel didn't chose to serve Jehovah? (Yes) But, it wouldn't change what Joshua was going to do. Are you letting the fear of man keep you from chosing to serve the LORD? "BUT AS for me.....
 
 II. The choice involves - Your self. "But as for me...."
Ill. During our weekly camp counselor meetings at the Wilds Christian Camp, we would often quote a saying, "There are just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self."
ill. 
- Camp Counselors are tired - with kids doing activities from sunup until considerably after sun down. (swimming, ropes course, giant swing, fireside activities, preaching sessions....)
- Camp counselors are cold at times.... - Moving from duplex to bird house
- Camp counselors are bug infested - gnats (I would get car sick - accept when riding in a fellow counselors t-top car - standing up - bugs smashed on my forehead but I felt good.
exp. You didn't always feel like getting up and being a camp counselor. (Like basic training for God's army) You had to decide DAILY - am I going to please God or please myself?
app. To please God - self has to be put on the altar.
Jesus said it like this in Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
 Paul (we think) said it like this in Hebrews - Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
app. Joshua was not just giving God lip service. He was putting himself on the altar. Chosing to serve God is not a simple prayer at the end of a convicting service. IT IS A DAILY CHOICE TO BE ON THE ALTAR AS A LIVING SACRIFICE. The choice involves yourself.
 
III. The choice involves - Your sphere. "...and my house...."
 exp. Joshua wasn't content to just give himself to God. He would give God ALL FOR WHICH HE WAS RESPONSIBLE. He couldn't tell the Israelites what to do, but he could tell his home what to do. They may not serve God - but His house would.
def. Your sphere of influence is - everything under your control. 
note: Joshua - would make sure that everything under his control would serve God!
 ill. Hearing my dad preach growing up - I heard an illustration more than once - one of my favourites is when he would tell the story about the cows getting out on the Lord's day. Uncle Verle and Dad said they would say and grandpa told them to get in the car.
note: My grandparents lived 20 miles from church - but they didn't miss being in the house of God. 
Uncle Verle - missionary to Brazil
Aunt Jaxine - married a church planter, Stan Blake - Good News Independent Baptist Church in Albuquerque New Mexico
Dad - pastored fifty years
Aunt Bonnie - married Steve Blanka, smuggled Bibles into Communist Countries with Brother Andrews ministry.
question: Is everything under your sphere of influence directed to serve the LORD.
1.) Your time.
2.) Your talents.
3.) Your hobbies.
4.) Your finances.
5.) Your family.
app. You won't give your self and your sphere - until you submit your will....
 
 IV. The choice involves - Your surrender. "....we will serve...."
exp. The thing about chosing is that we must make a decision of our will.
ill. Have you ever waited on someone who couldn't make up their mind.
- watch the kids in the que to get sweeties and see how they react to someone who is taking a long time looking in Mr. Alec's sweetie bag.
- Trying as a family to decide where to eat out. That double mindedness is frustrating.
ill.  San Mateo Bridge - accross San Fransisco Bay - 25th longest bridge in the world - 7 miles long - traffic was stopped because of an accident. I remember a police man trying to get through traffic saying over his loudspeaker - "Come on folks - one side or the other...." 
exp. He was obviously frustrated by the double minded people...
ill. Elijah got frustrated by people who refused to decide for God
21  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
ill. In a wedding their are vows that are agreed. The minister says to the bride, Do you Stephanie take this man to be your wedded husband .... forasking all others... until death do us part.... question: What would the groom say if the bride said..... Can I hear those options again? Would you mind if I spoke one more time with my parents? What do you mean by death? Death of love....
exp. He doesn't want to hear that - because their relationshp is no good if she doesn't decide that he is the one to marry!
app. Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. You are no good in your relationship with God if you have not EXERCISED YOUR WILL towards God. Is God's purpose for your life frustrated this morning because you refuse MAKE THE CHOICE. The choice involves - your surrender!
 
 V. The choice involves - Your service. "... serve the LORD...."
exp. It was not a choice to sit and believe in God. It was a choice to get up and to serve God.
ill. We live in a spectator Society.
- Tynecastle stadium (Hearts) - 20,099 seating capacity - 27 total players on team
- Easter Road stadium (Hibs) - 20,421 seating capacity - 
- Michigan stadium - 2nd largest in world - 113,065 - watching about 100 guys.
exp. Millions of other people are watching the game on their tele. The fans feel important - but other than encouraging their team they are doing NOTHING to win the game.
 note: That is fine in sports - but if it was military and 100 guys were fighting while thousands watched from the sidelines - we would have a problem with that.
 exp. We are in a battle. Satan the enemy of God is seeking to damn the souls of all mankind. God in His love sent THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF OF OUR SALVATION AS A SOLDIER TO LAY DOWN HIS LIFE - SO THAT OTHERS COULD LIVE.
God's army is getting beaten back by the enemy.....
1.) How often is the baptismal pool being filled?
2.) How many seats are open at how many services?
3.) How much is being given to the work of the Lord and foreign missions?
4.) How many participate in weekly evangelism?
5.) How many are working in their local church?
 exp. God's army is getting beaten back while a lot of believers....
1.) Sit on the sidelines in their homes.
2.) Sit on the sidelines in the pews.
3.) Sit on the sidelines while JESUS TOOK THE FIELD AND DIED.
App. Nobody today has chosen to "serve the Lord" who is not doing service for the Lord. Our service may be different - but if we have chosen to serve the Lord we should be able to say WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR THE LORD. (Who did you share the Gospel with? What effort went into your walk with God? Are you seeking opportunity to serve Him and/or serving Him?)
 
 VI. The choice involves - Your sovereign. "the LORD."
exp. LORD - all caps - Jehovah. The Covenant making God who created all things. Him who is and there is NONE else.
 ill. Justice Clarence Thomas - black chief justice on the Supreme Court in the USA. His biography is inspiring and sad. He was born into poverty and Catholicism. He got out of poverty, but stayed in Catholicism and had a rough life in other ways. He didn't want to be on the Supreme Court and said so. But, President H. W. Bush asked him to agree to be nominated. The court hearings were really rough but he went through them because he was submitting to a human sovereign.
question: Would you obey an earthly sovereign? Are you obeying your heavenly sovereign?
note: Not if you have not chosen to serve Him! You can argue BUT IT IS MY CHOICE. Yes it is - but chosing to not serve God is not the right choice!
 14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
app. If you are here today and you refuse to chose to serve Jehovah - you have made the wrong choice.
1. God may be dealing with your heart about salvation - will you make the right choice?
2. He may be dealing with your heart about baptism - will you make the right choice?
3. He may be dealing with you regarding so many things that you only know - you have a choice but to refuse His will is to chose wrong.
 app. Your choice today involves submitting to your Sovereign.
 
(Read some and then two more points....)
THE PEOPLE CHOSE AS ONE TO OBEY GOD - continue reading text - 
16  And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
17  For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18  And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.
19  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21  And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
22  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
GREAT - THEY MADE A CHOICE - THERE ARE TWO MORE THINGS INVOLVED IN THEIR SURRENDER TO SERVE GOD.
 
VII. The choice involves - Your seperation.
23  Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
ill. To return to the wedding illustration - The bride can not say - would it be ok for me to just go out to eat with these other guys occassionally. If you are chosing a husband - you can no longer date other men or worse. You must separate yourself to your husband alone.
ill. We live in day of perverse Christianity that teaches you can have salvation and keep your lifestyle. (Giving flyer to man beside me - older than me or my age - from Germany, here for Church of Scotland conference on God's call - saved since 22 - big earing in his left ear which in the 1980's meant homosexuality.)
exp. That "kind of Christianity" is confusion. God doesn't want lip service - God wants life service.
2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
 ill. I recently got on an evangelical church website and looked at their music video for their new song for Sunday. If it wasn't for the Christian lyrics I would have thought the woman was singing about lustful pleasure.
 app. God's team is really small today - some churches are trying to talk people into getting on the team by saying - you can serve God and idols! It doesn't matter if this makes God's team very small - GOD'S WORD SAYS THAT TO CHOSE GOD IS TO CHOSE TO SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD.
 
VIII. The choice involves - Your steadfastness.
24  And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
25  So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26  And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.
27  And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
28  So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
exp. They didn't live their lifes in front of Joshua. They lived their lives in front of God. Joshua could not make them keep their word. BUT GOD WOULD HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR DECISION.
ill. To return one last time to the bride and the groom - they have a rock of testimony - Benson found one - engagment/wedding ring. That rock says that she is His wife. If she is ever found breaking that marriage vow - her rock testifies against her that she broke her vow before God.
question: Where is your rock of testimony today? Have you taken it off - hoping that nobody will confront you for being unfaithful to God? Have you refused to have it engraved? Or do you wear it as a great honour.
 
conclusion:
Has God failed to be good to you? Has He not done some great things in your life? Is He unworthy to command you to make a DECISION TODAY TO SERVE HIM? 
 
To put it in God's exact words....
14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;
 
Make your decision! What will it be?  The choice involves....
1.) Your sanctification - You will be set apart for God's purpose.
2.) Your self - (painful death as a living sacrifice)
3.) Your sphere (If it is under your control it goes on the altar as well.)
4.) Your surrender (Your will must decide.)
5.) Your service (You will do something for God.)
6.) Your Sovereign (You do not just call Him Lord - He is your Lord and Master!)
7.) Your Separation (You can't have it both ways - God or the world.)
8.) Your steadfastness (The stone of witness is inscribed - it testifies for you or against you.)
 

Date: 2 April, 2019

Text: Joshua 24

Title: Your Testimony Stone

Introduction:

 

Joshua 24

1  And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

2  And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

3  And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.

4  And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

5  I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.

6  And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.

7  And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.

8  And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.

9  Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:

10  But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.

11  And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.

12  And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.

13  And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

BASED UPON ALL OF GOD'S GOODNESS & FAITHFULNES, GOD DEMANDED THEM TO COME TO A DECISION ABOUT HIM THAT DAY.

14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

exp. As the leader of the children of Israel, Joshua knew what he was going to do. "BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD."

EVERYONE GATHERED HERE THIS MORNING - You need to chose today if you are going to serve the LORD! Have you made that choice?

- Maybe it is a choice you made in the past - it would be good today to evaluate if you need to rededicate yourself. (We are going to look at what this decision involves and you may find that you haven't really made the choice though you said it with your mouth.)

- Maybe it is a choice which you have rejected in the past - but you need to make that decision today.

- Or perhaps you made it and are keeping it - or have never thought about making it.

 

Regardless of where you are at this morning - you need to have decided that you will definitely serve the Lord. So - what does the chosing to serve the Lord involve?

 

 I. The choice involves - Your sanctification. "But as for me...."

exp. Joshua has just challenged the children of Israel to make up their minds and if they are against God - HE IS NOT. They can all run after their idols BUT JOSHUA WOULD RUN AFTER JEHOVAH.

def. Sanctification is to set apart for it's intended use. 

ill. God's intended use of his people is found in our text in v.14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

exp. Joshua was going to sanctify himself WHETHER OR NOT anyone else did.

note: The problem we have as men is that we often wait to see what everyone else is going to do.

ill. Handing out flyers - if the first person takes it - the other's feel obligated to. If the first person rejects it - you may as well stop until those who saw the rejection are passed. It is much less likely they will take a flyer. Why? BECAUSE MOST OF US MAKE DECISIONS IN THE FEAR OF MEN.

Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

ill. Acts 4:18-21

exp. Peter and John have by the power of the name of Jesus healed a man who had been lame for 40 years. The Sanhedrin are rightly concerned that people would glorify God by putting their faith in Jesus and so they opposed Peter and John.

18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

20  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

21  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

app. Would Joshua be disappointed if the children of Israel didn't chose to serve Jehovah? (Yes) But, it wouldn't change what Joshua was going to do. Are you letting the fear of man keep you from chosing to serve the LORD? "BUT AS for me.....

 

 II. The choice involves - Your self. "But as for me...."

Ill. During our weekly camp counselor meetings at the Wilds Christian Camp, we would often quote a saying, "There are just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self."

ill. 

- Camp Counselors are tired - with kids doing activities from sunup until considerably after sun down. (swimming, ropes course, giant swing, fireside activities, preaching sessions....)

- Camp counselors are cold at times.... - Moving from duplex to bird house

- Camp counselors are bug infested - gnats (I would get car sick - accept when riding in a fellow counselors t-top car - standing up - bugs smashed on my forehead but I felt good.

exp. You didn't always feel like getting up and being a camp counselor. (Like basic training for God's army) You had to decide DAILY - am I going to please God or please myself?

app. To please God - self has to be put on the altar.

Jesus said it like this in Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 Paul (we think) said it like this in Hebrews - Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

app. Joshua was not just giving God lip service. He was putting himself on the altar. Chosing to serve God is not a simple prayer at the end of a convicting service. IT IS A DAILY CHOICE TO BE ON THE ALTAR AS A LIVING SACRIFICE. The choice involves yourself.

 

III. The choice involves - Your sphere. "...and my house...."

 exp. Joshua wasn't content to just give himself to God. He would give God ALL FOR WHICH HE WAS RESPONSIBLE. He couldn't tell the Israelites what to do, but he could tell his home what to do. They may not serve God - but His house would.

def. Your sphere of influence is - everything under your control. 

note: Joshua - would make sure that everything under his control would serve God!

 ill. Hearing my dad preach growing up - I heard an illustration more than once - one of my favourites is when he would tell the story about the cows getting out on the Lord's day. Uncle Verle and Dad said they would say and grandpa told them to get in the car.

note: My grandparents lived 20 miles from church - but they didn't miss being in the house of God. 

Uncle Verle - missionary to Brazil

Aunt Jaxine - married a church planter, Stan Blake - Good News Independent Baptist Church in Albuquerque New Mexico

Dad - pastored fifty years

Aunt Bonnie - married Steve Blanka, smuggled Bibles into Communist Countries with Brother Andrews ministry.

question: Is everything under your sphere of influence directed to serve the LORD.

1.) Your time.

2.) Your talents.

3.) Your hobbies.

4.) Your finances.

5.) Your family.

app. You won't give your self and your sphere - until you submit your will....

 

 IV. The choice involves - Your surrender. "....we will serve...."

exp. The thing about chosing is that we must make a decision of our will.

ill. Have you ever waited on someone who couldn't make up their mind.

- watch the kids in the que to get sweeties and see how they react to someone who is taking a long time looking in Mr. Alec's sweetie bag.

- Trying as a family to decide where to eat out. That double mindedness is frustrating.

ill.  San Mateo Bridge - accross San Fransisco Bay - 25th longest bridge in the world - 7 miles long - traffic was stopped because of an accident. I remember a police man trying to get through traffic saying over his loudspeaker - "Come on folks - one side or the other...." 

exp. He was obviously frustrated by the double minded people...

ill. Elijah got frustrated by people who refused to decide for God

21  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

ill. In a wedding their are vows that are agreed. The minister says to the bride, Do you Stephanie take this man to be your wedded husband .... forasking all others... until death do us part.... question: What would the groom say if the bride said..... Can I hear those options again? Would you mind if I spoke one more time with my parents? What do you mean by death? Death of love....

exp. He doesn't want to hear that - because their relationshp is no good if she doesn't decide that he is the one to marry!

app. Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. You are no good in your relationship with God if you have not EXERCISED YOUR WILL towards God. Is God's purpose for your life frustrated this morning because you refuse MAKE THE CHOICE. The choice involves - your surrender!

 

 V. The choice involves - Your service. "... serve the LORD...."

exp. It was not a choice to sit and believe in God. It was a choice to get up and to serve God.

ill. We live in a spectator Society.

- Tynecastle stadium (Hearts) - 20,099 seating capacity - 27 total players on team

- Easter Road stadium (Hibs) - 20,421 seating capacity - 

- Michigan stadium - 2nd largest in world - 113,065 - watching about 100 guys.

exp. Millions of other people are watching the game on their tele. The fans feel important - but other than encouraging their team they are doing NOTHING to win the game.

 note: That is fine in sports - but if it was military and 100 guys were fighting while thousands watched from the sidelines - we would have a problem with that.

 exp. We are in a battle. Satan the enemy of God is seeking to damn the souls of all mankind. God in His love sent THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF OF OUR SALVATION AS A SOLDIER TO LAY DOWN HIS LIFE - SO THAT OTHERS COULD LIVE.

God's army is getting beaten back by the enemy.....

1.) How often is the baptismal pool being filled?

2.) How many seats are open at how many services?

3.) How much is being given to the work of the Lord and foreign missions?

4.) How many participate in weekly evangelism?

5.) How many are working in their local church?

 exp. God's army is getting beaten back while a lot of believers....

1.) Sit on the sidelines in their homes.

2.) Sit on the sidelines in the pews.

3.) Sit on the sidelines while JESUS TOOK THE FIELD AND DIED.

App. Nobody today has chosen to "serve the Lord" who is not doing service for the Lord. Our service may be different - but if we have chosen to serve the Lord we should be able to say WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR THE LORD. (Who did you share the Gospel with? What effort went into your walk with God? Are you seeking opportunity to serve Him and/or serving Him?)

 

 VI. The choice involves - Your sovereign. "the LORD."

exp. LORD - all caps - Jehovah. The Covenant making God who created all things. Him who is and there is NONE else.

 ill. Justice Clarence Thomas - black chief justice on the Supreme Court in the USA. His biography is inspiring and sad. He was born into poverty and Catholicism. He got out of poverty, but stayed in Catholicism and had a rough life in other ways. He didn't want to be on the Supreme Court and said so. But, President H. W. Bush asked him to agree to be nominated. The court hearings were really rough but he went through them because he was submitting to a human sovereign.

question: Would you obey an earthly sovereign? Are you obeying your heavenly sovereign?

note: Not if you have not chosen to serve Him! You can argue BUT IT IS MY CHOICE. Yes it is - but chosing to not serve God is not the right choice!

 14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

app. If you are here today and you refuse to chose to serve Jehovah - you have made the wrong choice.

1. God may be dealing with your heart about salvation - will you make the right choice?

2. He may be dealing with your heart about baptism - will you make the right choice?

3. He may be dealing with you regarding so many things that you only know - you have a choice but to refuse His will is to chose wrong.

 app. Your choice today involves submitting to your Sovereign.

 

(Read some and then two more points....)

THE PEOPLE CHOSE AS ONE TO OBEY GOD - continue reading text - 

16  And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;

17  For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:

18  And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

19  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

20  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

21  And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.

22  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

GREAT - THEY MADE A CHOICE - THERE ARE TWO MORE THINGS INVOLVED IN THEIR SURRENDER TO SERVE GOD.

 

VII. The choice involves - Your seperation.

23  Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.

ill. To return to the wedding illustration - The bride can not say - would it be ok for me to just go out to eat with these other guys occassionally. If you are chosing a husband - you can no longer date other men or worse. You must separate yourself to your husband alone.

ill. We live in day of perverse Christianity that teaches you can have salvation and keep your lifestyle. (Giving flyer to man beside me - older than me or my age - from Germany, here for Church of Scotland conference on God's call - saved since 22 - big earing in his left ear which in the 1980's meant homosexuality.)

exp. That "kind of Christianity" is confusion. God doesn't want lip service - God wants life service.

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

 ill. I recently got on an evangelical church website and looked at their music video for their new song for Sunday. If it wasn't for the Christian lyrics I would have thought the woman was singing about lustful pleasure.

 app. God's team is really small today - some churches are trying to talk people into getting on the team by saying - you can serve God and idols! It doesn't matter if this makes God's team very small - GOD'S WORD SAYS THAT TO CHOSE GOD IS TO CHOSE TO SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD.

 

VIII. The choice involves - Your steadfastness.

24  And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

25  So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

26  And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

27  And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

28  So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

exp. They didn't live their lifes in front of Joshua. They lived their lives in front of God. Joshua could not make them keep their word. BUT GOD WOULD HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR DECISION.

ill. To return one last time to the bride and the groom - they have a rock of testimony - Benson found one - engagment/wedding ring. That rock says that she is His wife. If she is ever found breaking that marriage vow - her rock testifies against her that she broke her vow before God.

question: Where is your rock of testimony today? Have you taken it off - hoping that nobody will confront you for being unfaithful to God? Have you refused to have it engraved? Or do you wear it as a great honour.

 

conclusion:

Has God failed to be good to you? Has He not done some great things in your life? Is He unworthy to command you to make a DECISION TODAY TO SERVE HIM? 

 

To put it in God's exact words....

14  Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve;

 

Make your decision! What will it be?  The choice involves....

1.) Your sanctification - You will be set apart for God's purpose.

2.) Your self - (painful death as a living sacrifice)

3.) Your sphere (If it is under your control it goes on the altar as well.)

4.) Your surrender (Your will must decide.)

5.) Your service (You will do something for God.)

6.) Your Sovereign (You do not just call Him Lord - He is your Lord and Master!)

7.) Your Separation (You can't have it both ways - God or the world.)

8.) Your steadfastness (The stone of witness is inscribed - it testifies for you or against you.)

 

 

Can you say with Joshua - BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!

Can you say with Joshua - BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!