Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

09/10/2017 P.M.

 

Living Out Our Decision

Becoming God’s Dangerous Men & Women

 

Joshua1.1-9

 

We have spent the day with Joshua... Learning what it means to make a choice to follow Jesus... Become the people and person God would have us be.

 

We heard Jim Elliot encourage us to rise above the ordinary... Above the common... Not be Christian bystanders... But become dangerous people... Forks in the road... So that those who meet us... Become acquainted with us... Are caused to make a decision about the Jesus they see in us.

 

We heard Elijah ask... Why do you waver between tWo options... Why do you stand in the forks of the road in indecision... If God be God... Serve Him... If Baal be god... Serve him.

 

Jesus told us that we cannot have it both ways... We cannot serve two masters... God and money... But are to seek first His Kingdom Righteousness.

 

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

 

Paul tells us... Today is decision time... Now is the moment God has given us to decide.

 

Joshua settled the issue for us by saying... Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

 

Question...Have you and your preacher made our decision?... Have we really?

 

Are we just... Common Christians?...Ordinary believers?... Bystanders?

 

Or are we… among the committed... Dangerous people... So that the very way we live calls for a decision on the one called Jesus?

 

Joshua is a book...

• About victory... How to live the decision we’ve made…

• About how to drive out the enemy...

• About defeating life’s problems...

• Overcoming Satan...

• How to cross flooded rivers and bring down walled cities...

• It’s a book about strength and courage...

• How to overcome discouragement...

• And how to take possessions of the blessings God has given to us.

 

Access a Worship Bulletin and let’s read some Scripture together... Beginning with verse one of the book... After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant... Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west. No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

The Book of Joshua is about how we here tonight can rise above the ordinary...Above the common... And become dangerous people in god’s service...

Are we interested?... Are we?... really?

Let’s see what we can learn

 

First... We must hear God’s call.

This narrative is not about a conversion... We’re looking at a man who has been God’s person for eighty years.... Now God is calling him to a greater commitment.

 

God is calling Joshua to do some things he has never done before.

Do you believe that God is calling you and your preacher...

• To a greater faith?...

• To a deeper commitment?...

• Calling us to put... Greater fidelity... Greater loyalty... Into our faith?...

 

Or...Are we satisfied with where we are spiritually?... With no plans for future growth?

 

Are we satisfied with... Our prayer life...

• Our giving...

• Bible study...

• Our daily... Worship... Praise... and Service... to God?

 

Here it is church... Joshua was an old man when this call came... This tells us that Age is not an excuse for maintaining spiritual status-que.

 

God expects us to grow spiritually… Regardless of age… amen?

 

We’re here tonight because God has something for us to do... Do we believe this?

 

Now that we’ve made our decision... We must make ourselves available.

• God’s not looking for talent... He can gift & equip anybody... Even cause a donkey to talk.

• He is not looking for ability... God enabled David to kill Goliath with a sling shot.


He is looking for availability...

 

He wants us to be like Isaiah... Here am I lord... Send me... Use Me...Let me become dangerous as your INSTRUMENT of righteousness.

 

You see... God promises to... Equip us... Gift and talent us... To accomplish what He wants us to accomplish... But He won’t Use us against our will.

 

Listen to these Scriptures...

Hebrews 13.20-21... May the God of peace... That great Shepherd of the sheep... Equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

 

Ephesians 3.20... He is able to do immeasurably... More than all we ask or imagine... According to His power that is at work within us.

 

Philippians 1.6 & 4.13... You can be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.... I can do all things through Jesus Who gives me strength.

 

Church...Do these verses sound like God will equip us with what we need to live out our decision to be His instrument?... His dangerous person?

 

Here’s a strange point... But an important one... We must understand that Moses is dead.

I don’t know how much you know... Even though short... Since 1979... This church has… A tremendous history... A great heritage.

 

• Joe Banks was a great preacher... He was a man of insight... vision... leadership...He had a tremendous influence upon me and Georgia beginning in our teen years...And upon this church… But Joe is dead… And has been for 32 years.

 

• Oran Smith… Warren Welker... Bob Massengale... Ray Pinner... Bob Cox... Ken Nowlin… were outstanding Elders... Men of vision... With a determination to keep this church united and doctrinally sound... But They’re dead.

 

• Deb Smith... Arley Bontrager… Harold Dial… Harold Culwell… Freddie Banks... Bill Montgomery... Don Fry... Jay Channell… Bob Harris... Dave Mowry… Tom Alyott…Lowell Carmical… Larry Royer… Larry Watson… Darrell Smith… Brian Beaty… Jack Lessly…. Lawrence Rhodes… Were servant men of faith... They heard God’s call...They were men of availability... But they are all dead.

 

• I remember women... Thelma Priddy... Louise Welker... Gaye Cox… Edrie Hare...Jessie Pinner... Ruth Fancher… Olga Smith… Osa Branstetter… Lela Davis… Frances Bontrager… Jean Stennett… Gladys Watson… Glenda Wise… Zoe Culwell... Who fixed hundreds of meals in service to others... Taught Bible classes... Led devotionals… But they are gone.

 

Church...We cannot rest on the mighty works of great men and women before us.

God is pointing out that... Moses is dead... Now... Now!!...

We are the ones standing before the burning bush...

• Today it’s our name that is being called...

Will we live out our decision?... Become dangerous men and women?... God’s instrument of righteousness.

 

We must be strong and courageous.

Joshua had some real weaknesses... So do we!!!... We all do!... So... God reminded him and us that He will strengthen us in these areas.

 

The first weakness is found in Verse 6... Be strong & courageous in leadership.

Because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.

 

Here it is church... Each and EVERY ONE of us has some sort of leadership role… women included!

• We’re here to lead others...

• We’re here to be a fork in the road...

• We’re here to show them Jesus and encourage them into their own personal decision...

• We’re here to lead others into the promised land of Heaven... This is our task.

 

Elders...Spiritual shepherding is not an easy task... It takes... strength...Courage.

 

Fathers...Parents... Strength and courage are a must as we lead our family spiritually...Amen?

 

Teachers...It takes strength and courage to stand for truth in today’s culture.

 

Verse 7... Be strong and courageous in doctrine.

Don’t turn to the right or to the left...  Keep the law... Stay on the straight and narrow.

We’re to be a people and person of the Book...

 

Paul writes… Now that you have made your decision to follow Jesus... No longer be infants... Tossed back and forth by the waves... And blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

 

We could all name some who have left our fellowship... Simply because it was easier to walk in error... Than to be strong and courageous... Standing for truth.

 

Verse 9... Don’t be… fearful… Terrified… Discouraged.

It’s not easy to go against the grain of culture... Always doing the right thing regardless of what others think or say.

 

But Hebrews 13.6 tells us that we are to become today’s Joshuas... We too can say with confidence... The Lord is my helper... I will not be afraid of what man can do to me.

 

Becoming God’s person in today’s world demands we be faithful to the word.

Verse eight reads... Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

 

Did you note the three things we need to do with God’s Word?...

 

Know it... Study to show yourself approved of God...

 

Meditate upon it... Because all Scripture is inspired of God... Useful for teaching... Rebuking... Correcting...  Training in righteousness... So that we’re equipped for every good work...

 

Obey it... Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

 

Don’t let it depart from your mouth. Wow!!... Are we guilty here?...How often are we found talking about… The Word of God?... Jesus?... Things spiritual?

 

Consider this… What have we talked about with others?... Have our conversations included anything spiritual?

 

Here’s God’s admonition on this matter... The commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on yourchildren. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

 

And…And… There are blessings that come with talking about God and His Word... Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly... Nor stands in the way of sinners... Nor sits in the seat of the scornful... But whose delight is in the law of the Lord... And in His law does he meditate day and night. He’ll be like a tree planted by a river… He will prosper spiritually and be productive… Not so with the sinner.

 

Church... Our making the decision to become God’s person is useless unless we are willing to… walk in the Word... Walk in the light of His Truth... Amen?

 

Living for Jesus is best done with a sense of His presence.

Note the end of verse 9... For the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go.

 

• This same promise is made to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31.6... Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them... For the Lord your God goes with you... He will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

• Jesus promises us that He will be with us until the end of the age... To the end of the world.

 

• The Hebrew writer repeats this promise... Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

 

I suggest that... Understanding God’s PRESENCE...

 

One... will make us better people.

I can hide my life from most... If not all of you... I can hide my thoughts...But never... But never have I hidden anything from Him.

 

Understanding His omnipresence& omniscience is a tremendous force... An intense motivation for us to be better people... Because there is an all seeing Eye watching us… He’s known us before we were ever in our mother’s womb until this moment…. We’ve hidden nothing.

 

Two... A sense of His presence helps us overcome our fears.

God says... Joshua... Do not be afraid.

 

Jesus asked... If God feeds the birds of the air... And clothes the grass of the meadow... How much more will He care for you... Have faith.

 

Think about it... The Creator... Provider... Sustainer... of the universe is walking with us... So what have we to worry about?

 

His promise is.. If we live... He’ll work all of life to our benefit.

If we die... He will take us home to a utopian existence that is beyond our comprehension.

 

Three... His presence will help us deal with discouragement.

Paul asked in rhetoric... If God be for us... With us... Who can be against us?... In Him we are more than conquerors!

 

Let’s end our thoughts with this... Our decision has its rewards.

 

Verse 3 & 6 contain God’s promises of abundance...

I will give you every place where you set your foot... As I promised Moses... You will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.

 

• Our promise is found in Matthew 6... From the lips of Jesus... So do not worry,... Saying... What shall we eat?... Or... What shall we drink?... Or...What shall we wear?... For the pagans run after all these things... And your heavenly Father knows that you need them... But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

• And from John 14... In My Father’s house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you... And if I go... I will come again to take you where I am.

 

Verse 5 speaks of our victory.

No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.

 

• Our promise is from First Corinthians 10.13... No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful... He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted... He will also provide a way out... So that you can stand up under it.

 

• From Romans 8.28... We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

• From First John 5.4... For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

 

Well...Here we are... It’s decision time again... Have you made the decision to become God’s child by... Faith... Repentance... Confession of Jesus’ identity... and Baptism?

 

How are we doing with this choice...

• Are we adding to our faith the Christian virtues?...

• Are we daily producing the fruit of the Spirit?...

• Are we becoming dangerous people... Calling others to Jesus by the way we live?

 

The invitation and challenge is ours as we stand and sing.