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The Choice of a Lifetime!

Notes & Transcripts

Bible Care (5/20/09)

Cancer Care Services

 “The Choice of a Lifetime!”

Joshua 24:14-32

Teacher: Dr. Randy Rudisell, Chaplain

 

Joshua 24:14-32 (NIV)
14 "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then 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."
16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!
17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled.
18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God."
19 Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.
20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you."
21 But the people said to Joshua, "No! We will serve the Lord."
22 Then Joshua said, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord." "Yes, we are witnesses," they replied.
23 "Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel."
24 And the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the Lord our God and obey him."
25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws.
26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.
27 "See!" he said to all the people. "This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God."
28 Then Joshua sent the people away, each to his own inheritance.
29 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
30 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
31 Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.
32 And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants.

 

In Joshua 24, Joshua reviewed the history of God's redemptive dealings with Israel.  Their God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He was the one who led them to this point in their history.  Joshua quoted the Lord directly time and again to make his point.

  "I [the Lord your God] took your father Abraham from beyond the River" (24:3).

  "I sent Moses and Aaron" to Egypt (24:5).

  "I brought your fathers out of Egypt" (24:6).

  "I brought you into the land of the Amorites...and I gave them into your hand" (24:8).

  "I delivered you from [Balaam's] hand" (24:10).

  "I gave [the Canaanites] into your hand" (24:11).

  "I sent the hornet before you" (24:12).

  "I gave you a land on which you had not labored" (24:13).
After reminding the Israelites of all of God's blessings upon them, he gave an invitation--an invitation to renew their covenant vows just before they settled down to possess the Promised Land--Josh 24:28 (NIV)  "Then Joshua sent the people away, each to his own inheritance."

In verses 14 & 15, Joshua challenged the people to the decision of a lifetime.  They had to choose whom they would serve—the Living Lord of History or the gods of ancestral Mesopotamian tradition, or the Amorite gods of their contemporary cultural environment.

  As cancer patients and their caregivers battling cancer, you must make priority choices. We must make lifetime choices, and we must make daily choices.  Each day you must choose to put God on the throne! Each day you must choose to put yourself on the cross! In Luke 9:23, Jesus said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

        With cancer, there are many battlefields and many adversaries. Facing adversity on our own is a poor choice! The Apostle Paul chose wisely when he wrote in Philippians 4:13 (NIV)—“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

1. Your Choice in Spiritual Matters Is a Priority Choice
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

On another occasion, Elijah challenged the Israelites with these words: “"How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him."”(1 Kings 18:21)

Cervantes, the 16th Century novelist wrote:  “By the streets of ‘by and by’ one arrives at the house of never.”

While the souls of men are dying, And the Master calls for you, Let none hear you idly saying, "There is nothing I can do."  Gladly take the task He gives you, Let His work your pleasure be; Answer quickly when He calleth, "Here am I, O Lord:  send me."--Daniel March.

I quite agree with someone who said pointed out that amoung believers, we need “more ACTION and less FACTION, more WORKERS and fewer SKIRTERS, more BURDEN-BEARERS and fewer TALE-BEARERS, more BACKERS and fewer SLACKERS."

2. Your Choice in Spiritual Matters Is a Personal Choice
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

(Luke 9:23 NIV)  Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

"I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord; Real service is what I desire;
I'll say what You want me to say, dear Lord--But don't ask me to sing in the choir.

I'll say what You want me to say, dear Lord; I like to see things come to pass;
But don't ask me to teach girls and boys, dear Lord--I'd rather just stay in my class.

I'll do what You want me to do, dear Lord; I yearn for the Kingdom to thrive;
I'll give You my nickels and dimes, dear Lord--But please don't ask me to tithe.

I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord; I'll say what You want me to say;
I'm busy just now with myself, dear Lord--I'll help You some other day."

3. Your Choice in Spiritual Matters Is a Present Choice
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

(2 Cor 6:2 NIV)  For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and 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.

(Heb 3:7-8 NIV)  So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, {8} do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,

There is a time to PRAY, and then there is a time to WORK;...There is a time to STUDY, and then there is a time to WORK; there is a time to TALK, and then there is a time to WORK!   There is no short cut.  The key to building a great church is to pray as though everything depends upon God and work as though everything depends upon us.

When as a child, I laughed and wept, Time slept.

When as a youth, I dreamed and talked, Time walked.

When I became a full-grown man, Time ran.

And later, as I older grew, Time flew.

Soon I shall find while traveling on, Time gone.

C.B. Cheever, a 19th Century preacher once said:  “Faith in tomorrow, instead of in Christ, is Satan’s nurse to man’s eternal doom.

Carlyle, the writer, added:  “It is an illusion, that the present hour is not the critical decisive hour.  No man has learned anything rightly until he knows and feels that everyday is doomsday.

Dr. Pierce Harris, a former pastor of the First Methodist Church of Atlanta, Ga., preached to some prisoners.  One of the prisoners got up and introduced him to the others with these words:  "Several years ago, two boys lived in a town in north Georgia.  They went to the same school, played together and attended the same Sunday school.  One dropped out of Sunday school and said that it was "sissy stuff."  The other boy kept on going.  One rejected Christ; the other accepted Him.  The boy who rejected Christ is making this introduction today.  The boy who accepted Christ is the honored preacher who will speak to us today."  Choice made the difference!

Hark! the voice of Jesus calling--"Who will go and work today?" Fields are white, the harvest waiting--Who will bear the sheaves away?"  Loud and long the Master calleth, Rich reward He offers free: Who will answer, gladly saying, "Here am I, O Lord: send me"?

If you cannot cross the ocean, And the other lands explore, You can find the needy nearer, You can help them at your door; If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus, You can say he died for all.

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