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Joshua 24:1-28


Intro: These were exciting times for the people of Israel. They had defeated their enemies and claimed the promised land. Each of the tribes had received their inheritance and now they could settle down and enjoy life a little. It was a time of hope, prosperity and blessings.

It was also a very dangerous time for these people! There was the danger that they would forget where they came from, how they had gotten to where they were and what the Lord had done for them. There was the danger that they would begin to adopt the idolatrous religion of the Canaanites who still lived around them. There was the danger that they would fall into a state of complacency. A state in which they might feel that they could let down their guard just a little. These were dangerous times for Israel indeed!

In the midst of this situation, Joshua stands up to deliver to the people a challenge from the Lord. God wants them to dedicate themselves to Him and to His work. He does not want them trying to live for Him on the one hand and the gods of Canaan on the other. He wants wholehearted dedication or nothing! That is the clear message of this passage.

I would just remind you that these are dangerous times for the church as well. We are seeing the church develop an appearance that is more and more like that of the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22. A church that has everything it needs, except for the presence, power and glory of God. Just as the Lord issued a call through Joshua, all those centuries ago, for His people to make of their minds as to whom they would serve, so He issues the same call to His people on this day. Let's take some time this morning to look into these verses and hear the call God is giving to us this morning. I want to preach for a few minutes on the thought, It's Time To Make Up Your Mind! And, it is! You will have an opportunity today to decide who will have your worship, your love and your obedience: God almighty, or you and all the things that want to capture your minds.


(Ill. Joshua begins his remarks by calling them to a time of contemplation. He wants them to remember who they are ,where they came from and what the Lord has done for them. It would do us good to think back on those things ourselves!)

A. V. 1-12 To Contemplate God's Power In Their Lives - They are reminded about God's choice and call of Israel. How He redeemed them and delivered them from Egypt. How He manifested His power and glory on their behalf time and time again. They are reminded of the victories they have enjoyed and the blessings that have been theirs because of the Lord's work in their lives. (Note: We need to contemplate all the Lord has done for us! Remember where He found you. What He did for you. How He has blessed you. How He has worked on your behalf time and again. How He has answered prayer and met needs. Remember His power in your life.)

B. V. 1-12 To Contemplate God's Presence In Their Lives - Israel is reminded that God has ever been with them. In everything they faced, He was there to help them and to see them through. (Note: We need to remember that since the day we were saved by grace, God has never left us nor had He forsaken us, as He said, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. Remember His presence in your life.)

C. V. 13 To Contemplate God's Provisions In Their Lives - Now they are reminded of how they enjoy blessings that they do not deserve. They are clearly partakers of grace and have more then they could have ever imagined! (Note: We need to contemplate the fact that we have much this morning that we simply do not deserve! Think of it! We are saved, secure and headed to a home in Heaven! We are hell prove and in the body of Christ. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and live in the presence all the time. We have more than anyone can understand or imagine! God has been so good to us!)

(Note: In light of these truths, I wonder why so many of God's children seem to have a hard time just simply loving and serving Him as they should. Of course, this is nothing new! Israel was guilty of walking out on God even when He had been so good to them, Jer. 2:5-19! I wonder if we would not have to admit to the same kind of sin? Everything under the sun is allowed to come before the Lord in our lives. This simply is not right! Perhaps we need to contemplate what the Lord has done for us once again. Remember where He found you and all that He has done for you.)


A. V. 14 Confronted By A Command - Joshua's command to the people was three-fold. They were commanded to "fear" God; clean up their lives by putting away their other gods; and they were to serve the Lord. This would put them in a position to put God back in the forefront of their lives. (Note: This is a command that God's people need to take heed to today! We need to 1.) Fear the Lord - That is, we need to reverence and honor Him for Who He is. He deserves to be respected and loved by those He has redeemed! 2.) Put away our other gods! All those things in our lives that come ahead of the Lord need to be put away forever! 3.) Serve the Lord with sincerity. The word "serve" means "to fulfill the role of a slave." We are His possessions and should live as such, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. The word "sincerity" means "wholeheartedly, completely, with integrity" The English word "sincere" comes from two Latin words which mean "without wax". It was used to refer to scrupulous pottery dealers who sold first class pottery that did not have cracks patched with wax. When patched pottery was held up to the light, the wax patch was easy to spot. So it is with people who live insincere lives. When they are held up to the light, their hypocrisy shows! The implication for us is that God does not want His people to live lives of hypocrisy! He wants us to be what we claim to be!

B. V. 15a Confronted By A Choice - Joshua challenged the people to choose who they would serve and to get about it! (Note: The same choice stands before us this morning! It's about time people got off the fence and made up their minds who's team they are on. Ill. The people Elijah confronted on Mt. Carmel - 1 Kings 18:21. Friend, you cannot have both God and the world! You cannot have Him and all your distractions. Either He is in first place, or you have a different god!) (Note: The question that comes to my mind is this: "Why would anyone think it evil to serve the Lord?")

C. V. 15b Confronted By A Challenge - Joshua set the example and laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the people by stating his clear intention to serve God. (Note: We need some Joshuas in our day! We need some men and women who will settle it in their hearts that Jesus Christ and His Word and will are going to come before everything else in life! We need some who will set the example for others. We have too many who, by their lives, give justification for slackness in life. We need some who have a backbone of steel and who would rather die that let something come ahead of God in their lives. (Ill. Daniel - Dan. 1:8-19; The 3 Hebrews - Dan. 3:1-30; Daniel - Dan. 6:1-28; Ruth - Ruth 1:16-17.)) (Note: does your life stand as a challenge to godly living, or as an encouragement to godless living? It is one or the other!)


A. V. 16-18 The Resolve Of The People - The people consider all that the Lord has done for them and they declare their allegiance to Him alone! They seem almost incredulous when offered the opportunity to serve other gods. (Note: Is the Lord your choice this morning? If He has to compete for your time, your attention, your money and your love, it calls your whole profession into question! If you had to rank God on a list of priorities in your life, where would He end up?)

B. V. 19-23 A Reminder To The People - Joshua takes the opportunity to remind them that God is holy and righteous. If they serve Him, He will bless them, but if they renege on their end of the agreement, there will be a high price to pay. (Note: God's people need to remember that while God is a God of love, grace and mercy; He is also still a holy and righteous God. He will not tolerate sin in the lives of His children! Friends, there is a terribly high price to pay for disobedience, Heb. 12:6-12. Sadly, many people pay the price for their sins in their children, their health and in their homes. You better understand today that you will reap exactly what you sow, Gal. 6:7.)

C. V. 24-28 The Reaction Of The People - The people respond by setting about the business of serving the Lord. They and Joshua set up a memorial, a record if you will of their decision. There was a record of their decision and it would be used to hold them accountable. Sadly, Israel did not keep their vows to the Lord and they paid a terribly high price. Just read Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. (Note: God keeps good records! He will hold us to the vows we have made, Eccl. 5:1-7. He wants us to serve Him, love Him and honor Him. When we do that, He will bless our lives. When we choose to walk in a way that does not please Him, then we can expect Him to chastize us, if we are truly His children.)

Conc: Don't you think that it's time to make up your mind? If the Lord be God then serve Him. If He isn't, then go ahead and serve whatever has your heart. Whatever you do, stop trying to have the best of both worlds! A Christian that refuses to live for the Lord is a poor advertisement for the Lord Jesus Christ! While a life lived in His power and victory is a powerful advertisement indeed! Which are you?

Perhaps you aren't even saved. You know that if you were, your life would be vastly different than it is. Today would be a great day to come to Jesus. Others may want to come before the Lord and just let Him do a spiritual checkup on your heart. Let's get it right so that the church can grow and go for the glory of the Lord!

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