IT’S TIME TO MAKE UP YOUR MIND

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Joshua 24:1–28 AV
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. 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. 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. 23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. 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.
Intro: These were exciting times for the people of Israel. They had defeated their enemies and claimed the promised land. Each of the tribes had received their inheritance and now they could settle down and enjoy life a little. It was a time of hope, prosperity and blessings.
It was also a very dangerous time for these people! There was the danger that they would forget where they came from, how they had gotten to where they were and what the Lord had done for them. There was the danger that they would begin to adopt the idolatrous religion of the Canaanites who still lived around them.
There was the danger that they would fall into a state of complacency. A state in which they might feel that they could let down their guard just a little. These were dangerous times for Israel indeed!
In the midst of this situation, Joshua stands up to deliver to the people a challenge from the Lord. God wants them to dedicate themselves to Him and to His work. He does not want them trying to live for Him on the one hand and the gods of Canaan on the other. He wants wholehearted dedication or nothing!
I would just remind you that these are dangerous times for the church as well. We are seeing the church develop an appearance that is more and more like that of the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:14–22
“14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that…”
A church that has everything it needs, except for the presence, power and glory of God. Just as the Lord issued a call through Joshua, all those centuries ago, for His people to make of their minds as to whom they would serve, so He issues the same call to His people on this day.
Let’s take some time this morning to look into these verses and hear the call God is giving to us this morning. I want to preach for a few minutes on the thought, It’s Time To Make Up Your Mind! And, it is! You will have an opportunity today to decide who will have your worship, your love and your obedience: God almighty, or you and all the things that want to capture your minds.

I. V. 1–13 IS A TIME OF CONTEMPLATION

Joshua begins his remarks by calling them to a time of contemplation. He wants them to remember who they are, where they came from and what the Lord has done for them. It would do us good to think back on those things ourselves!
A. V. 1–12 To Contemplate God’s Power In Their Lives—They are reminded about God’s choice and call of Israel. How He redeemed them and delivered them from Egypt. How He manifested His power and glory on their behalf time and time again. They are reminded of the victories they have enjoyed and the blessings that have been theirs because of the Lord’s work in their lives.
We need to contemplate all the Lord has done for us! Remember where He found you. What He did for you. How He has blessed you. How He has worked on your behalf time and again.
B. V. 1–12 To Contemplate God’s Presence In Their Lives—Israel is reminded that God has ever been with them. In everything they faced, He was there to help them and to see them through. We need to remember that since the day we were saved by grace, God has never left us nor had He forsaken us, as He said, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. Remember His presence in your life.
C. V. 13 To Contemplate God’s Provisions In Their Lives—Now they are reminded of how they enjoy blessings that they do not deserve. They are clearly partakers of grace and have more then they could have ever imagined! We need to contemplate the fact that we have much this morning that we simply do not deserve!
Think of it! We are saved, secure and headed to a home in Heaven! We are hell prove and in the body of Christ. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and live in the presence all the time. We have more than anyone can understand or imagine! God has been so good to us!
In light of these truths, I wonder why so many of God’s children seem to have a hard time just simply loving and serving Him as they should. Of course, this is nothing new! Israel was guilty of walking out on God even when He had been so good to them, Jer. 2:5–19!
I wonder if we would not have to admit to the same kind of sin? Everything under the sun is allowed to come before the Lord in our lives. This simply is not right! Perhaps we need to contemplate what the Lord has done for us once again. Remember where He found you and all that He has done for you.

II. V. 14–15 IS A TIME OF CONFRONTATION

A. V. 14 Confronted By A Command—Joshua’s command to the people was three-fold. They were commanded to “fear” God; clean up their lives by putting away their other gods; and they were to serve the Lord. This would put them in a position to put God back in the forefront of their lives. This is a command that God’s people need to take heed to today! We need to
1. Fear the Lord—That is, we need to reverence and honor Him for Who He is. He deserves to be respected and loved by those He has redeemed!
2.) Put away our other gods! All those things in our lives that come ahead of the Lord need to be put away forever!
3.) Serve the Lord with sincerity. The word “serve” means “to fulfill the role of a slave.”We are His possessions and should live as such, 1 Cor. 6:19–20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
The word “sincerity” means “wholeheartedly, completely, with integrity” The English word “sincere” comes from two Latin words which mean “without wax”. It was used to refer to scrupulous pottery dealers who sold first class pottery that did not have cracks patched with wax.
When patched pottery was held up to the light, the wax patch was easy to spot. So it is with people who live insincere lives. When they are held up to the light, their hypocrisy shows! The implication for us is that God does not want His people to live lives of hypocrisy! He wants us to be what we claim to be!
B. V. 15a Confronted By A Choice—Joshua challenged the people to choose who they would serve and to get about it! The same choice stands before us this morning! It’s about time people got off the fence and made up their minds who’s team they are on.
The people Elijah confronted on Mt. Carmel—1 Kings 18:21 “ 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.”
Friend, you cannot have both God and the world! You cannot have Him and all your distractions. Either He is in first place, or you have a different god! The question that comes to my mind is this: “Why would anyone think it evil to serve the Lord?”
C. V. 15b Confronted By A Challenge—Joshua set the example and laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the people by stating his clear intention to serve God. We need some Joshuas in our day! We need some men and women who will settle it in their hearts that Jesus Christ and His Word and will are going to come before everything else in life!
We need some who will set the example for others. We have too many who, by their lives, give justification for slackness in life. We need some who have a backbone of steel and who would rather die than let something come ahead of God in their lives. Daniel—Dan. 1:8–19
The 3 Hebrews—Dan. 3:1–30;
Daniel—Dan. 6:1–28;
Ruth—Ruth 1:16–17.
(Note: does your life stand as a challenge to godly living, or as an encouragement to godless living? It is one or the other!)

III. V. 16–28 IS A TIME OF CONSECRATION

A. V. 16–18 The Resolve Of The People—The people consider all that the Lord has done for them and they declare their allegiance to Him alone! They seem almost incredulous when offered the opportunity to serve other gods.
Is the Lord your choice this morning? If He has to compete for your time, your attention, your money and your love, it calls your whole profession into question! If you had to rank God on a list of priorities in your life, where would He end up?
B. V. 19–23 A Reminder To The People—Joshua takes the opportunity to remind them that God is holy and righteous. If they serve Him, He will bless them, but if they renege on their end of the agreement, there will be a high price to pay.
God’s people need to remember that while God is a God of love, grace and mercy; He is also still a holy and righteous God. He will not tolerate sin in the lives of His children! Friends, there is a terribly high price to pay for disobedience, Heb. 12:6–12
“6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;”
Sadly, many people pay the price for their sins in their children, their health and in their homes. You better understand today that you will reap exactly what you sow, Gal. 6:7 “ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
C. V. 24–28 The Reaction Of The People—The people respond by setting about the business of serving the Lord. They and Joshua set up a memorial, a record if you will of their decision. There was a record of their decision and it would be used to hold them accountable.
Sadly, Israel did not keep their vows to the Lord and they paid a terribly high price. Just read Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. God keeps good records! He will hold us to the vows we have made,
Eccl. 5:1–7 “1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.”
He wants us to serve Him, love Him and honor Him. When we do that, He will bless our lives. When we choose to walk in a way that does not please Him, then we can expect Him to chastise us, if we are truly His children.
Conc: Don’t you think that it’s time to make up your mind? If the Lord be God then serve Him. If He isn’t, then go ahead and serve whatever has your heart. Whatever you do, stop trying to have the best of both worlds! A Christian that refuses to live for the Lord is a poor advertisement for the Lord Jesus Christ! While a life lived in His power and victory is a powerful advertisement indeed! Which are you?
Perhaps you aren’t even saved. You know that if you were, your life would be vastly different than it is. Today would be a great day to come to Jesus. Others may want to come before the Lord and just let Him do a spiritual checkup on your heart. Let’s get it right so that the church can grow and go for the glory of the Lord!
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