Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

09/10/2017A.M.

 

Decision Time

Today is the Day of Salvation

 

Joshua 23. 1-4 & 6-8  24.14-20.

 

A few weeks ago Jeff used a quote byJim Elliot… I had told him to not use Jim Elliot quotes because I wanted them all… He did it anyway!

 

The good thing is that we both have an awesome respect for Mr. Elliot and his commitment to the Lord… Wishing we were more like him than we are.

 

Listen to this quote… See if we can’t all relate…

We are so utterly ordinary… So commonplace…

While we profess to know a power the twentieth century does not reckon with.

• We are HARMLESS… And therefore unharmed.

• We are spiritual pacifistS…. Non-militants…Conscientious objectors… In the battle to the death with principalities and power in high places.

 

We think… Meekness must be had for contact with men…  But brass… Outspoken boldness… Is required to take part in the comradeship of the cross.

 

We’ve become sideliners… Coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged.

 

The world cannot hate us… We are too much like them… O that God would make us dangerous…

 

Church… Here is Jim’ prayer… Father…Make of me a crisis man… Bring those I contact to decision… Let me not be a milepost on the single road… Make me a fork that men must Turn one way orthe other on facing the Jesus in me.

 

Jim’s prayer sounds a lot like Elijah’s challenge to Israel in First Kings 18.21…

You remember that Elijah had become a dangerous man… He was called the TROUBLER of Israel...

 

He Challenged the world of Baal Worshipers with a choice at Mount Carmel… How long will you waver between two opinions?... If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.

 

The idea was that they needed to choose… God or Baal!

 

It was Jesus who said… No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money… God & the world… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.

 

His Apostle John indicates that a choice must be made between loving God and loving the World... The two are mutually exclusive... We must decide.

 

Joshua calls all Israel to Shechem… He’s 110 years old and knows that he will soon pass from the scene… So he gives them his final charge in Joshua 24.15…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

 

Paul addresses this issue of choosing... Deciding... He affirms the fact that we must not procrastinate in our decision making… Second Corinthians 6.1-2… We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For in the time of my favor I heard you… In the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you… now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

 

Church… I ask you this morning… What kind of decisions do we need to make?...

• Do you need to decide to… Accept Jesus… Become His disciple… A Christian?... Some do.

 

• Do we need to make a decision to deepen our faith and commitment to Him?

 

• Do we need to decide to add fidelity and loyalty to our faith… Thus becoming more faithful?

 

• Do we need to be more serious about our priorities… Choosing God before all others?

 

Come… Let’s see what we can learn from Joshua’s challenge to Israel…

 

First… Our choice to serve God is based upon faith in what God has done.

In his final address… Joshua reminded the people of God’s work in history… Their history…His activity on their behalf… Saying…

I took your father Abraham from beyond the River… Led him to Canaan…. And as promised… Gave him many descendants… Made of him a great nation... Blessed him with many blessings.

• I sent Moses and Aaron to afflict Pharaoh and the Egyptians with plagues.

• I parted the Red Sea before you… Then covered the Egyptian army.

• I fed you manna and quail in the dessert… Provided water from a rock…

• I miraculously brought you across the flooded Jordan…

• I delivered Jericho…

• I gave you a land you did not toil for… Cities you did not build… Wells you did not dig…Vineyards and groves you did not plant.

 

It was Paul who tells us that Scripture… Genesis through Revelation… Was written for our learning…

• Scripture was written to help us choose…

• Help us make a right choice.

 

John ends his Gospel saying… These thing are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ… The son of God… And that believing we have life in His name.

 

Here it is church… These historical facts should make our choice a no-brAiner… Right?

 

The Gospel was not written to present and prove our arguments about religious principles and doctrinal issues… The Gospel is not just another philosophy.

 

Christianity is a witness to certain… Historical facts… Events… Hopes fulfilled… Realities experienced.

 

Christianity is a Person…

• Who lived and died…

• Has been raised from the dead…

• And forever reigns in Heaven.

 

Church… Not only should we be making our choices based upon this Biblical History… But God’s history in our ownlife… Amen?

• I mean… He has… Forgiven our sins… Saved us…Placed us on Heaven’s Road.

• Given us… Family… Friends… Fellowship in Hisfamily… This family.

• Blessed us with children…

• Given us good health…

• Blessed us with every physical and spiritual blessing.

 

It was James who wrote… Every…Every good and perfect gift is from above… Coming down from the Father.

 

So… Church… If there is anything good and perfect in my life and yours…It comes from God.

 

So… With His history in our life… Why would we make any other choice?

• Why do we wavier between two options?

• Why do we stand in the forks of the road?

Choose today whom you will serve… Seek first the Kingdom of God… Today is the day of salvation… Now is the accepted time.

 

Lord… Make us dangerous… Make us a fork in the road… So that all those we meet will choose the Jesus they see in us… Amen?

 

Secondly… A choice to serve God is an exclusive one.

Joshua encouraged in 23.6-8… Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law ofMoses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

 

God was to be their only God…His Word was to be their only Guide.

 

Elijah said… If God be God… Serve him… If Baal be god… Serve Him.

 

Jesus said… We can’t have it both ways… We cannot serve two masters.

 

Our God will have no rivals… No other God’s before Me… Love God will allyour heart… All your mind… All your soul… All your strength...

 

He wants all our being… All our attention.

 

The Jehovah God we serve demands top-drawer status in our life… Or no status at all.

 

His Word is to be consulted for every decision in life… His will must rule and reign supreme in every arena of life.

 

Jesus and Paul indicate that in all we do... thought… Word… deed… All must be done in the will of the Father.

 

Let me ask you this morning… What idol competes with the One true God in your life and mine?

 

Before we answer… Let me remind you that idolatry is simply moving God out of His rightful place in our day-to-day thoughts and activities… Replacing Him with something or someone of greater interest.

 

In our culture it could be many things...

• Entertainment….

• Career…

• Pursuit or maintenance of wealth…

• Unholy relationships…

• Fashion…

• Materialism…

• Personal power…

• Politics…

• Prestige…

• Fear and uncertainty of tomorrow… etc.

 

Here’s the question we must answer…

• What preoccupies or rules our heart?

• Our thoughts?

• Our time?

 

What compels us… Constrains… Controls us…

• What motivates us to think about what we think about…

• What prompts us to do the things we do?

• What defines our worth?

• What defines our identity?

 

What do our children… Extended family… Friends… Neighbors… Working companions… Our enemies… See in us?...Is it Jesus?... Is it Jesus??… Or are we showing them… a wrong road… a wrong option… A wrong life priority?

 

Why do we waver between two opinions?

 

Why do we stand in the fork of the road?

 

Why are we trying to serve two masters?

 

Choose today whom you will serve… Seek first the Kingdom of God… Today is the day of salvation… Now is the accepted time.

 

God help us to become dangerous people in whom others see no one but Jesus… Amen?

 

Thirdly… Our choice must be a personal one.

Joshua shows this to be a personal choice when he said… As for me… I’m choosing to serve the Lord.

 

Christianity is not a proxy religion…

There’s no such thing as a proxy faith.

 

As much as we would like to… We can’t decide for our children or grandchildren… parents… friends… and other loved ones.

 

Choosing Jesus is an intensely personal matter… He must be a personal Savior.

 

We are not saved as a family… As a nation… As a church… But individually.

Jesus said…

• You must believe…

• You must be born again of water and spirit…

• You must believe and be baptized.

 

Peter insisted that those on Pentecost… Repent and be baptized to be forgiven and to have the presence of God’s Spirit in their life.

 

Even the casual Bible student is familiar with the fact that…

• From Adam in the Garden…

• To John on Patmos…

Faith and obedience to God were on a personal level.

 

We are pleasing to Him or not… Based upon our personal faith and fidelity.

 

The Hebrews’ writer is heard saying… Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for…. Listen now to the personal names… By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did… By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; By faith Noah… Being warned of God built an ark…By faith Abraham… When he was called obeyed going to a place he had yet to see… By Faith Moses refused to enjoy the pleasures of sin… By faith Rahab welcomed the spies. And what more shall I say? I don’t have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets… Without faith it is impossible to please God…. Because… Anyone… ANYONE who comes to Him must believe.

 

For some… The challenge this morning is to make your faith personal… By repenting of your sin…Acknowledging Jesus for who He is… And being born again in New Testament baptism.

 

Why do we waver between two options?

Why do we stand in the fork of the road?

Choose today whom you will serve…

Seek first the Kingdom of God…

Today is the day of salvation… Now is the accepted time.

 

Lord… Make us dangerous… Make us a fork in the road… So that those we meet will choose the Jesus they see in us… Amen?

 

Well… We’ve come to decision time…

• Have you made your choice to follow God?

• To be His person?

• To conform to the image of His Son?

• To live in such a way as to share His Son with everyone we meet?

 

Have we become dangerous people?

• Or are we harmless…

• Spiritual pacifists…

• Non-militants…

• Sideliners…

• Those who are content to sit by and leave God’s enemies unchallenged…

• Or conscientious objectors in this battle for the souls of men and women and boys and girls?

 

Have you made your choice?... If so…

 

• How are we doing?...

 

• How deeply are we involved in God’s Kingdom Work?...

 

• Do our choices show Jesus to those around us?...

 

If there are changes to be made in your life… Today is the day of salvation… Now is the accepted time… The Spirit and the bride… God and His church… Say come… As we stand and sing together.