LESSONS FROM A LEADER excerpts from life of Josiah 30/08/09
INTRO: Did you ever put a large and beautiful together and find that a piece was missing? There is something that gnaws at you- deep dissatisfaction at a task not completed. We try just about everything to solve the church numbers problem as we try to appeal to the artsy side of humanity. We use videos, computers, projectors, praise teams, small groups, make motivational speeches, and offer a touch of entertainment. We spend much time and effort assuring that our worship is not only appealing to man but acceptable to God, and we sometimes wish our devotion could be coupled with emotion.
Allow me to say that I have concerns about the future of this church. I am not in alarm mode, I am not disgusted, I am not looking for someone to do something that will please me. I am worried about the lack of desire to study the Bible or even hear sermons that have deep Bible content which require thought, note taking and further study.
That indicates a piece of the puzzle we must find and put in place.
Today, we begin a series that has to do with IMPROVEMENT. Please be attentive to God’s Word. No amount of moralizing or motivation will help us develop true godliness apart from the Word of God.
WE ARE SEEK TO LEARN LESSONS FROM A LEADER- JOSIAH
I) JOSIAH WAS KING OF JUDAH IN A MOST TUMULTOUS TIME
A) He Was Great Grandchild Of Hezekiah. Similarities:
1) Both had close personal relationships with God
2) Both possessed passion for reformation of God’s people
B) Both Had Made God’s “Short List” of “Good Kings” cf David
1) Most of the others were easily swayed by the nations
2) Of Josiah it is recorded, “Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” II Kings 23:25
II) JOSIAH BECAME KING AT AGE EIGHT(not too young to follow)
A) He had lots of help from Hilkiah and others. Good influences.
1) Step One: “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” II Kings 22:1,2
(a) To “do right” = “to walk a straight road.” (op. “being crooked.”
(b) He sought good counsel, followed the godly example of David and Hezekiah and practiced obedience to God.
(c) This is a good start. Have you made that decision: “Lord, I do not know what is involved, but I wish to follow you. Help me to learn and grow.”
III) WHEN HE WAS SIXTEEN JOSIAH BEGAN SEEKING THE LORD
A) Step Two: Josiah Becomes A True Seeker After God.
1) He understood there was sickness in the land. Bandaids?
2) To seek= “to tread frequently before.” He would now be praying often, recalling good influences and learning.
3) The worst of time- “There is none who seeks for God”
4) The best of times- “But from there (among idols) who will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search for him with all your heart and all your soul.”- Deut. 4:28,29
B) This Is Growth; from walking to seeking. It is expected and natural.
1) As you look over your Christian life are you happy with your maturity level?
2) With no reference to anyone here, I say, one can attend worship for many years and never know much about God and the Bible.
(a) It is lack of seeking Him? Commitment to walk with Him?
(b) Perhaps there is not much Bible Teaching taking place!?
(c) Maybe the preacher tells stories or anecdotes!?
(d) Is the puzzle piece found here???
IV) JOSIAH BEGAN PURGING HIS KINGDOM sin explored not ignored
A) Step Three: “In the twelfth year(20 years old) he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and metal Images” (II Chron. 34:3)
B) The church today must beware of the same kind of spiritual decay. Do building, budgets and program make us feel good because other people do them? Is there evidence of true holiness in our lives and worship? Do we frame what we do in Bible terms or those gleaned from corporations?
V) THE PURGING CONTINUED WITH A POSITIVE STEP- Temple Restoration. Age 26
A) Step Four: “Now in the eighteenth year of his reign. When he had cleansed the land and the house, he sent Shapan….to repair the house of the Lord his God” II Chron. 34:8
B) Just as in the first step, Josiah wanted to “go straight,” so he is calling attention to those around him to put God and his worship back as number one.
1) Honestly, how far have we slipped from such dedication?
2) Which of you, when asked to do something or make an important decision, first says, “Let me talk to God about this?
3) Who questions whether his/her decision will lead closer to God or away from Him?
4) Does it matter to others if you God is not #1 in your life?
VI) TEMPLE RESTORATION BROUGHT A BEAUTIFUL BONUS-the book of the law is found.
A) The Nation Of Israel Had Been Built On The Book Of God
1) Deut. 6:4-9-each man, woman and child had it at the core.
2) God, from His Word, was at the centre of all things. Voices from outside were rejected or compared to His Word.
B) Our Nation And The U.S. Were Built On The Book Of God
1) What have we allowed to happen? Even in the church???
2) Churches are under attack from a subtle enemy.
(a) Convincing us to loosen up, don’t quote the Bible
(b) Accept all people as they are “Who are you to judge?”
(c) Try our worldly mold, we are good people!
3) “What does the Bible say?” is still a valid reply
C) The Good King Who Always “Walked With God” Responds:
1) He is reminded of the consequence of disobedience
2) He tears his clothes and asks for more information.
3) “His strong faith in the divine word and his painful consciousness that the woeful and long-continued apostasies of the nation had exposed them to the infliction of the judgments denounced, must have come with overwhelming force on the heart of so pious a prince.” K/D
Please allow me to persuade you to buy your own personal Bible. Use that Bible to find God in a fuller sense. Bring that Bible with you when you come to worship. Carry a pen and some paper to take notes. Listen now, question later. Learn now, teach later.
A lost Bible is as good as an unused Bible.