Choose You This Day

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Turn with me in your Bibles to Joshua chapter 24.

Joshua is an old man now, ready to retire as the General of Israel’s Army. Joshua made a decision as a young man to follow God. He has led Israel through battle after battle, to victory after victory, because he followed the Lord. At the end of the road Joshua had many more blessings than he had cursings. Why? Because he chose to follow God. He chose to rest in God’s Grace.

Someone asked me the other day, “If God is all powerful, if God is everywhere, and if God is ultimately in control, then why is our country – our world – in such a mess.”

The problem is not God’s, but ours. God is gracious. God is faithful. And we consistently keep choosing to walk apart from God. You are the sum of all the choices you have made in life. And Beloved, you are responsible for the choices you make.

Joshua is resigning as the leader of Israel. He wants to share the secret of his success. We read:

Joshua 24:1 … And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua brings ALL ISRAEL to Shechem. Shechem is an interesting place. The Bible tells us that …

  • Shechem is the place where God promised Abraham the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:6-7), and there Abraham built an altar to God.
  • One of Abraham’s descendants named Jacob purchased land there, and dug a well. It is at Jacob’s Well that Jesus would meet a woman of Samaria (John 4:5-6) and present Himself as Messiah.
  • When Joseph (of the coat of many colors) dies in Egypt, he makes Israel promise not to bury his bones anywhere but in the Promised Land. Joseph’s bones will be buried in Shechem (Joshua 24:32).

Shechem represents GRACE. God shares with Israel all the instances where He bestowed GRACE – undeserved mercy – on them.

God Speaks GRACE At Shechem

Joshua 24:2-7 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. 3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. [This is GRACE.] 4 And I gave unto Isaac {sons} Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir to possess it; [remember that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentils? This is GRACE.] but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. 5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. 6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: [God saved Israel from Egypt. This is GRACE.] and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. 7 And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. [even though Israel betrayed God, He loved Israel. This is GRACE.]

Everything that God recounts to Israel – His people – is GRACE. When God called Abraham, it was not because Abraham deserved it. This is GRACE. Oh, how gracious our God is. “For from His fullness we have all received, GRACE upon GRACE (John 1:16). God called, and Abraham followed. God called, and Jacob followed. When you follow God, you follow GRACE upon GRACE.

When was Peter, James, and John blessed in the life of Christ? When Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” – and they followed!

When was the Apostle Matthew blessed of Christ? When Jesus told him, “Follow Me” – and Matthew got up from the tax collection table and followed. God forces no one to follow Him. When we follow the Lord, we enjoy the benefits of Grace. When we heed His command, and choose to obey Him, this is when the salvation starts.

Joshua wanted Israel to know this great truth. I want you to know this great truth. When you follow the Lord, Grace abounds. When you follow the Lord, the enemy is defeated. God said …

Joshua 24:11 … I delivered them into your hand.

Listen to these Gracious and Faithful words of God to His people. He told them:

Joshua 24:13 … I have given you a land for which ye did not labor, [this is GRACE] and cities which ye built not, [this is GRACE] and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and olive yards which ye planted not do ye eat. [this is GRACE]

Everything that Israel had, they had because of the Grace of God. Everything that Israel accomplished, they accomplished because they followed God.

Do You Choose Grace? Then you must follow God. Joshua, that old warrior, speaks, saying:

Joshua 24:14-15 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Everyone Follows Someone or Something
Choose Carefully Who You Follow

Joshua 24:15 … choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Life is all about choices, and you WILL serve someone or something. The Apostle Paul told the Church at Rome:

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

If you follow SIN, that is, what God has said is WRONG and UNRIGHTEOUS, then you will not find GRACE but DEATH. It’s your choice. It’s my choice. We can choose to serve the gods of this world, whatever they might be, and they lead to nothingness and death. The Bible is very clear that to follow any god but the God of Scripture is to go down a dark and empty valley. Before Israel entered the Promised Land with Jacob, Moses told the people:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (ESV) … “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 BUTif your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish.19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days

Where God is, there is GRACE. Where GRACE is, there is LIFE. Jesus said:

John 5:40 (ESV) … you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that {my sheep} may have life and have it abundantly.

The thief is the person who attempts to trick you into following idols. The thief is the false prophet who tells you that you may be saved and yet continue to hold on to your old gods. Beloved, the devil is a liar! “When the devil lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).

God NEVER promised salvation and GRACE apart from following Him. The believer is to follow the Lord. The believer is to follow Christ.

The choice is yours – but you must choose. No one can make the choice for you. Hear what the great Evangelist Billy Graham said:

When you come to Christ, you must give up all other gods.”

You choose the master you will follow. Joshua said, choose YOU THIS DAY Who you will SERVE. The choice is yours. But you are responsible for your choices. What you do effects not only you, but your family, your church.

Make the choice. You have free will to choose. Make a choice.

Matthew 6:19-21, 24Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. … 24 No {one} can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Some say, “I am a free man. I serve NO master.” That’s not true. If you do not serve God, then you are serving the gods, you are serving sin. Before a person meets Christ they are “servants of sin”. Giving your allegiance to Jesus, you are …

Romans 6:18 … made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

If you are saved, your god is not sin but the Savior. When you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness” (Romans 6:20). But once you come to Christ your allegiance is to be to God your Savior. The Apostle said,

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Choose you this day whom you will serve! God gives you the freedom to choose. Choose God and Grace.

Salvation is a gift from God, but you must go to Him to receive it. You must reject the false gods. You must not follow yourself as a god. Didn’t Jesus say:

Mark 8:34-38 Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

We Are Saved From This World To
“Fear” The Living God!

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

God demands first place in our lives. Israel was saved from Egypt to “serve the Living God”. The Christian is saved from this world “to serve the Living God”. This is why Christ died. He died not just to get you into Heaven, but to get HEAVEN INTO YOU. Last week I spoke on without shedding of blood is no remission {of sin}” (Hebrews 9:22). But the Blood of Christ goes beyond just a covering for sin. We read in:

Hebrews 9:14 … the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Israel saved from Egypt was not to be double minded. The Christian saved from the world is not to be double minded. We belong to God – we are bought with a price – His Blood.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

When you come to God, you become God’s possession, God’s Child. The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all sin. You are no longer an idol maker, but you are an idol breaker. (I got that from Billy Graham :).

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

The phrases fear the Lord or fear God are found frequently throughout the WHOLE Bible – not just in the Old Testament. The Apostle commanded:

Colossians 3:22-24 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as pleasanter; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

And again,

1 Peter 2:15-18 {It} is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.

The Angels of God cry out:

Revelation 14:7 … Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

When we “Fear God”, we recognize and respect God as God, and seek to please Him as sons and daughters.

Pastor Justin Camp of Gather Ministries notes:

“… what does it mean to fear God? Well, mostly it means keeping our thinking straight. It means seeing God, in all his power, in proper relation and proportion to the people and problems in this world. Though we sometimes act as if he were, God isn’t smaller than financial hardship, difficult work situations, difficulties with children. He’s not equal to them. He’s so much bigger, so much more powerful, even comparing doesn’t make sense. He’s alpha and omega. He’s the beginning and the end of everything. What’s astonishing is this fearsome God, for some reason, chooses to love each of us with a fierce love—a love that’s good and will never relent.”

To “fear” God is to put Him first and foremost. A rich young ruler came to Jesus one day …

Mark 10:17 … came one running, and knelt to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

Jesus told the young man:

Mark 10:18-23 … Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

Jesus loved that young man. But that young man had a god – riches – and he was not willing to release that god and follow Jesus. Do you want to inherit eternal life? Then you need to understand there is none good but one, that is, God. This is why Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary. He died, giving up His perfect and sinless life for ours. Jesus Christ is WITHOUT SIN (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was “offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).

It is only by kneeling at His feet we receive salvation from sin. It is only by our unconditional surrender to Him that we have …

Romans 3:21-25 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a {covering or atonement} through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

We bend the knee to Jesus. We put away all gods that we once followed, and surrender to the God of Scripture. King David wrotein Psalm 51:5, “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. We are born to sin. When we reach the age of accountability we choose to sin. We practice sin daily, redefining it and getting better at it. We must have the Savior. We must have Jesus.

God made a choice to provide salvation for us through Jesus Christ. We must now make a choice that we will put away our gods, and come to Jesus surrendered. The Prophet said: I set before you the way of life, and the way of death” (Jeremiah 21:8). Moses said, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. Joshua said, choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Jesus said,

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Choose To Run In The Right Direction:
Jesus Calls You To Him!

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

Illustrate: On October 25, 1964 Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings took a fumbled football 66 yards in the wrong direction into his own end zone. Though the Vikings went on to win against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshall was – needless to say – mortified. Jim was sincere. He was certain. He was positive that he was right. And he was absolutely wrong.

We must choose Jesus. We must choose to give our lives to God. What does this look like?

  • We REPENT. We turn away from the gods of this world, and acknowledge that we are weak, sinful, and totally unable to do any good without Christ’s intervention.
  • We RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As Billy Graham once defined faith, he said, “We put our whole weight on Jesus”.
  • We daily RUN OUR RACE looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). We follow Jesus. We do this publicly, and unashamedly every day of our lives. We believe what our Lord said,

John 14:6 … I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE: no one comes to the Father BUT BY ME.

You cannot sit on the fence and expect to be blessed. You must CHOOSE God. You must CHOOSE Jesus. James said, “A double minded person is unstable in all their ways” (James 1:8). Choose life. Choose Jesus. Let not the double minded think that they shall receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7). We must surrender to the Lord. It is not me you are surrendering to. I am nothing. But like Joshua, I can tell you – God is faithful. Jesus never leaves us. He has never left me. So I repeat the words of Joshua:

Joshua 24:15 … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

What about you? May God through His Spirit touch your hearts with His Word. To Jesus Christ be the glory forever! Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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