Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Can we answer the questions of Joshua or Jesus?

Concordia Lutheran Church

11th Week of Pentecost- August 15, 2009

“Do You Want to…”

John 6:51-69 and Joshua 24:14-18

† IHS †

{My dear friends}, grace and peace has been poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

(Eph 1:3 Message mod.)

A Question, and a similar call

In the gospel reading today, a question is asked, one similar to the decision Joshua asks the people of God to make in the reading from the Old Testament. Both are nice to read, because there, it is not us being asked. It is not us squirming between two options, the one we know we need to make, and the one that is more convenient to make.

But what if they were asked of us today, and a decision was called for, could we honestly face ourselves?

What would happen if I like Joshua, were to demand that you choose to serve, gods of the past, or gods of our present world, or admit and serve the God that we know is good? Are you ready to stop choosing to sin, stop chasing after the false gods of this age, and to get serious about your faith?

Or what if you were asked by God, Do you want to go away as well? Or are you ready to embrace the great mysteries of our faith, and be shepherded by God into places that could lead to death, or worse, to being mocked for believing that which is scandalous, and perhaps from the world’s view, silly? I mean, do we really comprehend the depth of what it means for God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to be not just the source for life, but the source and meaning of that life?

Do we really want to take 10 minutes, and look into what it means, to be in a covenant relationship with God? Are we willing to be honest, to look at our lives, and consider the depth of our commitment to God? To look, not just at Sunday between nine and noon, but to look at Monday morning at eleven, sitting in the doctor’s office? Are we ready to look at 2 a.m., when our sleep Is broken by the worry’s of life? What about Friday night between 7 and midnight for those under 40, or you know 9:30 for the rest of us?

Do our lives testify to a desire that answers those questions as the apostles and Israel did? If not, are we willing to renew the relationship, as God would demand, and yes, welcome?

The Parties

Whose asking?

I wonder if who asks us to make the decision to choose, or who asks us if we are going to leave makes the difference. I mean, were I to ask you, I imagine most of you would, like I would should another pastor ask me, respond with an enthusiastic yes! Of course I would recognize God is good, and that all other gods are worthless! And would I ever leave God behind, and go after something less demanding, less challenging, easier to understand? Like the apostle Peter, I would hastily reply – No, I would never ever, ever, ever leave you Lord!

But what if we were face to face with God, and it was Him asking us to commit to a relationship with Him, a relationship that had some level of accountability, some demand for interaction, some demand for transparent intimacy, basically, that we would be faithful to Him, and grow in our love and service?

Would you answer the almighty, all knowing, all powerful God with such fervor, with such assurance? Would you tell Him, that you are ready to trust Him, to the point that whatever He desired to do with you, wherever He led you in the world, you were ready to follow, without any doubt?

If you answered in positively, how do you deal with the times where, you didn’t uphold your part of the deal?

The Need for Renewal

There was sin

There will be temptation


If you are like me, the times I have tried to respond to God, by my own strength or wisdom, are numerous. The times were my emotions drove me to my knees, to enthusiastically commit my way to God, or to confess him in front of others. So many times I thought that my faithfulness would move mountains, if God would only let me have the power, and then get out of my way! The only problem is, that most of the time, okay, all the time, my good intentions were not support by my actions, and left me open to failure, sometimes spectacularly so.

Just like the Israelites in Joshua’s day, and like Peter in the Gospel, I had two problems. The sins of the past, and the temptations of the future. Remember, by the time the book of Joshua started, the people of God had wandered about in the desert for forty years, because they struggled with being faithful to the pledge they made at Mount Sinai, when they were marked as God’s people, with the blood of the sacrifice that would cover their sin. After Joshua leads them into God’s Holy Land, the place He set apart for them to celebrate in His presence as He provided for them, they would be tempted time and time again. So often, they would choose to do what was right in their eyes, or in the eyes of their neighbors who chased false Gods.

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