Summary: The daily choice whether we will open the door of our life or ignoring His request to fellowship with us is ours to make! God, in spite of his great love for us and his vast power, will never kick in the door to our hearts.
A Time for Choice!
With this message, we close this series from Joshua, about possessing our Promised Land, moving into God’s provisions for your life. I pray that you have realized that God has prepared a phenomenal life that stretches from the ‘now’ into the ‘forever’ for each of us. And, I hope that these lessons from an ancient campaign of conquest have spoken to your life! Underscoring the entire series has been the message that there are choices to be made, daily decisions of obedience, of faith, to walk in God’s will.
At the heart of our text today, we find this direct challenge - “...honor the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped... But if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve." (Joshua 24:14-15, NLT)
I love the freedom of choice, don’t you?
Some choices are really so insignificant as to require little thought, i.e., the choice of which suit to wear this morning, to eat toast or muffin for breakfast, which flavor of ice cream for dessert- etc.
Then there are the choices that we make that effect our entire life, i.e.; choosing a spouse, choosing a career, choosing a school for our education, etc.
And there are the choices that will effect eternity; how we respond to God’s will and Word, the choice of obedience that leads to blessing and, to His commendation!
The Bible uses a particularly simple, yet powerful picture to help us to understand this last choice of which I have spoken. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says,
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will go in and eat with him and he with me."
He asks for admittance and gives us a choice to let him in or turn him away. As Jesus knocks at the door of your heart will His request for entry go unanswered?
“Why would anyone turn a deaf ear to God’s invitation?” you might ask.
Some choose to serve other masters, rejecting God’s invitation, not so much by conscious choice, but by default. Thus, they miss out on the privilege of being a friend of God!
Some who once admitted the Savior into their heart have crowded him out. Too many other guests have taken up residence in their heart and he no longer is given room to fellowship at the table of love in that heart.
So I have a message for all this morning.
For the one who has never opened up his life to Jesus, my question is-
"Won’t you let him come into your life and serve him?"
For the Christian my question is-
Is there room at the table of your heart love for Christ to fellowship with you?
Are you serving him wholeheartedly?"
[ pray ]
Turn in your Bibles to a story of a beloved old man’s last farewell.
TEXT - Joshua 23-24. Pew Bible page 368.
Joshua is now in his 80’s. He has faithfully led Israel for years; first as Moses’ assistant, then as God’s man at the head of the people. In his years at the head table, one trait was consistent - faithfulness! He earned the right to speak directly to the people through his own integrity.
As we read his wise words that called this nation to re-examination and re-commitment, we need to allow his challenge to them to help us to respond to the Savior in our daily lives, so that we will live in the Promises!
[ read 23:1-3, 6-11; 24: 1-2, 13, 14-15, 21, 23-24 ]
These chapters are not dual records of the same event. They are separate, yet similar challenges; one for the leadership of the nation and the other for the nation as a whole. Both events followed the same pattern. They become a model of evaluation and commitment for Believers today.
1. Remember God’s faithfulness!
2. Review and renew your understanding of God’s call!
3. Re-dedicate yourself to God’s service with humility!
Joshua brought into focus the total trustworthiness of the God that he was challenging them to follow. A quick summary of their history from the calling of Abram to the present helped the people to see the hand of God at work in preserving their national identity for God’s purposes. Joshua chose Shechem for the setting because it was at this spot that God had spoken to Abraham hundreds of years before concerning the land of Canaan. Here it was that Abraham built an altar and recognized the one true God.
I believe that it still good to review God’s performance! Begin with the cross and review what God has done through the people who faithfully serve him.
"Bless the Lord, o my soul; and forget not all his benefits. He forgives my sins, heals my diseases, redeems my life from the pit, crowns me with love, satisfies my desires!" Psalm 103