Summary: A sermon that challenges believers to take a stand for the Scriptures, biblical separation and sacrificial service.
"CHOICE'S THAT CHANGE OUR LIVES"
Joshua 24:15 ...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.
Introduction: I wrote a Trail Mix blog post the other day that received a very powerful response and I'd like to share it with you this morning to set the theme and tone for this message:
"We are seeing the beginnings of a great divide among those who call themselves evangelicals which some of us have been predicting for years. In my mind the foundation for this divide was laid when some evangelical groups began to soften or even jettison their traditional position on inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. This has ultimately led evangelicals to where they are at today. Once you reject orthodox positions where Scripture is concerned it is not a big leap to reject other principles and precepts as well. We are seeing that today. The hot button issue today among evangelicals is the question, "Is homosexual behavior a sin?" According to Romans 1 and many other passages it is a sin along with adultery and murder. This has been the orthodox position of the church for two millennia. Will there come a day when there will be those who will seek to make the case that adultery is no longer a sin or that murder is not a sin? Just yesterday I read yet another article detailing how yet another congregation was petitioning its parent group to leave peacefully and one of the reasons given was a change in the denominational position on homosexual conduct and the redefinition of marriage. This is happening in evangelical groups all over the world and we are seeing more and more of it here in the American church. I predict that all evangelicals will be placed into the situation of having to take a stand one way or the other on this issue in the very near future. In the coming years we will have laws where Biblical positions on homosexually will be defined as "hate speech." That is already the case in some parts of the world. The day is coming when we will no longer be able "...to halt between two opinions..." when we will have to choice who we will serve. Get ready my Christian friend; know what you believe and be willing to stand on the Word of God."
Billy Graham said, "The strongest principle of life and blessings lies in our choice. Our life is the sum result of all the choices we make, both consciously and unconsciously. If we can control the process of choosing, we can take control of all aspects of our life. We can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of our life. So start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. "If you don't make a decision, then time will make it for you, and time will always side against you."
At the beginning of chapter 23 we are told that the 12 tribes of Israel were finally at home and at rest in the promise land and Joshua is coming to the end of his life. What we have in these two chapters is a challenge to them in three important areas of the believers life that have a spiritual application for us today. First is:
I. The Choice to Live by the Scripture - Ch. 23:6
If ever there was a time that believers needed to live by the precepts, principles and practices of the Scripture, now is that time. Believers are being told today that "if Jesus didn't specifically condemn something then it must be okay" and "it doesn't matter what you believe, just as long as you believe," and if you call some type of behavior a sin then you are being unkind and unloving. If we are going to live by the Scriptures then we're going to have to:
a. Be courageous (be...very courageous)
We are living in a day when it takes a certain amount of courage to take a stand on the Word of God and I believe that there is going to be even more pressure to compromise what we believe and conform to the world's way of thinking and believing. Let me give an example that I read about just the other day. This happened in the UK. A church put up a sign with John 3:16 and some flames at the bottom of the sign. A 20 year man who happened to be walking by saw the sign and objected to it, the flames in particular. He reported it to the police who came and investigated and declared that it was hate speech. The church took the sign down. (That's the part that I objected to!)