Make Your Choice

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Joshua 24:14-15

Joshua 24:14–15 NLT
“So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
When you make the choice to serve God it is an awesome adventure.
Many times you have no clue what is around the next turn, but the adventure there is amazing.
In the book of Joshua the people have entered the Promised Land.
That was their goal.
God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and Joshua that the people would get to the Promised Land.
There are many situations that are like a Promised Land for many of us.
Graduation, a new job, weddings, buying a home, getting a raise, having children/grandchildren, reaching retirement,
We have heard about these moments for almost all of our lives.
Once we reach this Promised Land, it is almost like a dream come true for you. And you cannot wait for the fulfillment of that promise.
So it was for the people of Israel.
And they finally made it to the Promised Land. And at the end of the book of Joshua, Joshua, the leader of God’s people assembles everyone and renews the covenant to be God’s people with them.
Joshua 24:1 NLT
Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented themselves to God.
You see, it was not about just getting to the Promised Land.
Once they were there, there was much more to their story.
They had to know how to be God’s people in the Promised Land.
Life is not just about getting to our Promised Lands - having our hopes and dreams fulfilled.
Once you get there, to that point, to that Promised Land, it is great and exciting, but there is much more to your story.
In the passage that we read, Joshua reminds the people that there is more to their story than just a promise.
In fact, prior to challenging them to make their choice he reminds them of all the things God has done for them.
God rescued them from pagan worship (This went clear back to the story of Terah, Abraham’s father…)
Joshua 24:2–4 NLT
Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods. But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.
God sent the plagues in Egypt to free his people that were enslaved
God parted the Red Sea
God helped the people defeat the Amorites
The people crossed the Jordan River by God’s hand, and they destroyed the cities of Jericho, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
They could stand in “their land” not because of the work they did, but because of what God did for them. And so Joshua calls the people to a proper response of God’s work.
You do not stand here today only by your work. Whether you have reached a promised land, or not. You are not here ONLY because of YOU alone. Anna, let me be clear, yes YOU are graduating today, you have reached a Promised Land. BUT, you didn’t get here by yourself. It is no different for any of us. Wherever we are today, we are here NOT because of our own effort alone.
There was the help of others, and there was definitely the help from God.
A proper response to this help is a response of service.
It is not just about what God has done to bring you to this point.
God has plenty of things in store for us to do for Him.
There is more than just entering the promise land.
God wants to use us in the Promised Land.
Joshua gave the people three options.
Serve the god’s that their ancestors served. To serve the gods the people had been redeemed from. This goes back to the time before their slavery in Egypt. This goes back to Terah and Abraham being called out of adultery before God first made the promise about the Promised Land. For the people to serve those gods, they would have to revert back hundreds of years.
Serve new gods. The people are in a foreign land and sometimes the customs and religious ideas of their neighbors and bordering countries might look appealing. They could chose to serve those gods.
The final option (and preferred option) is to serve the God that brought them to this point and respond with lives that are grateful and that chose to serve God. This option is the one that Joshua, the leader will model. Leaders, listen to me for a moment. You MUST model what you want others to do. This is why I have a high bar of church leadership. We cannot be board members, we cannot be team coaches, if we DO NOT model what we request from others. Joshua declares that he will model what he desires and expects from the people!
We must realize that there is an urgency in Joshua’s challenge.
He knows that the longer the people wait to make their decision the easier it will be to be led astray by the appealing options provided by the rest of their world.
And so it is with us! There is urgency in the choice we make as to who we will serve!
The gods, idols, lusts and pleasures of our world are appealing. They seek our worship and service. We MUST make our choice as to who we will follow and serve TODAY!
Please notice...
The word SERVE includes worship, work, and who receives our FULL allegiance. We serve the master who has control over us! Jesus made it clear that we can only serve one master
Matthew 6:23–24 NLT
But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
A little bit of darkness goes a long way in making our entire soul dark. Only one master can have our full allegiance!
So today, I set before you three choices.
You can chose to revert back and serve the gods and idols and devises of darkness that God has freed you from. Some of you have made a choice to follow God, but there are times when your old lifestyle seems appealing. And so you can chose to revert back. You can choose to walk away from that relationship that God has graciously offered. You can choose to backslide. You can choose to revert to your old ways and serve the lusts and desires that God has already redeemed you from.
Colossians 1:19-23
Colossians 1:19–23 NLT
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Some of you will be overtaken by the appealing lifestyle you see in our world. They might look fun and you might chose to live in that lifestyle. God warns us about the corruption that faces our world and that we must make a choice not to follow that corruption. For some, they will choose this lifestyle and way over God’s way...
2 Timothy 3:1-5
2 Timothy 3:1–5 NLT
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
But my preferred choice for you is to chose to serve the LORD. This is an exciting service, not of toilsome, and burdensome labor. But a life lived in an exciting response to the goodness of God upon your life. It recognizes the grace of God that has been at work in your life and commits your thoughts, actions, attitudes, desires and life to bring glory and service to God.
Titus 3:3-7
Titus 3:3–7 NLT
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-10
Ephesians 2:8–10 NLT
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
2 Corinthians 5:17
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
But, the choice is yours.
I plead with you to chose to serve the LORD. And I plead with you to make this choice urgently.
It will be more and more difficult to make this choice the longer you wait.
Before you go to battle, you must know whose side you are fighting for. You cannot make that choice in the midst of battle. And so I plead with you to make your choice today.
Make your faith your own. Claiming it, and stick to it!
Serve the LORD with all faithfulness for He has been good to you!!
There is NOTHING better than GOD!
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