Summary: Two messages at the end of Joshua's life.
A. JOSHUA’S MESSAGE OF EXHORTATION AND WARNING
1. This is first of two messages at the end of Joshua’s life.
“Joshua called . . . leaders” (23:2). “Joshua gathered all the tribe” (4:1).
Leaders All people
From his heart From God
Separation Covenant with God
“Joshua was very old when he called for all the leaders of Israel to meet him at Shiloh. He said, ‘I am very old and we have seen all the Lord has done for us, and fought for us. I have allotted this land to all the tribes, yet there are unconquered people among us, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.’ The Lord said, ‘This land will be yours when you drive them out’” (23:1-5, ELT).
2. A picture of our Christian life. God has given us peace, but there are still spiritual wars to fight, and sin over which we need victory.
3. This is a call to buckle down and finish the job.
4. Joshua appeals for a life of separation.
“Be strong! Do not turn to the left or right. Don’t associate with these people who have been our enemy. Don’t even mention the names of their gods, much less swear by them, or offer sacrifices to them. Don’t worship them. Don’t intermarry for they will turn you from God” (23:6-8, 12, ELT).
5. Notice the progression toward evil.
a. Don’t look at them.
b. Don’t associate.
c. Don’t talk about anything they do.
d. Don’t swear by their gods.
e. Don’t give to their gods.
f. Don’t worship.
6. Why be separate?
a. God got a greater victory for us over greater enemies.
b. Each can defeat you, unless . . .
c. God fights for you.
7. The ultimate sin was intermarriage because they will turn you away from God (23:12).
“If you violate this principle of separation, the Lord will not drive them out. They will bring you pain and will be a trap for you spiritually. You will be wiped out from the land God gave you. God will bring disaster upon you and His anger will burn against you” (23:12-16, Amplified).
8. With every positive promise from God, there is a negative warning.
B. PRINCIPLES OF SEPARATION
1. Separate from sins that are obviously identified: cursing, stealing, adultery, making idols.
2. Separate from the principle of evil thinking. “Your minds may be corrupted from . . . Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).
3. Separate from things that corrupt your values. “Do not love the world or the things in the world . . . all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
4. Separate from things that corrupt your body. Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, drugs. “You are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).
5. Separate from sexual sins. “Do not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). “He who is joined to a harlot is one body with her . . . flee sexual immorality . . . he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body . . . your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you . . . you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:16-20).
6. Separate from entangling alliance.
b. Business partners.
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers . . . what communion has light with darkness . . . what part has a believer with an unbeliever” (2 Cor. 6:14-15).
7. Separate from places of evil influence. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean” (2 Cor. 6:17).
8. Separate from any activity or association that is condemned by your conscience. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). “A conscience void to offence” (Acts 24:16).
a. Positive. You can’t do everything your conscience tells you to do. A conscience can be “seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:2).
b. Negative. If your conscience tells you it is wrong, don’t do it. “Convicted by their own conscience” (John 8:9).
9. Separate from things that do not build you up. “Whatever is not of faith, is sin” Rom. 14:23).
10. Separation only makes us a clean vessel (negative) to be used of God (position) be filled with the Spirit, i.e., yield, pray, know scripture, train, and grow in Christ.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart: