Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Nov 22, 2015 Sermon

“Joshua”
Joshua 1:1 – 9
Ted Jansen  November 22, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        The Bible is a book that contains the inspired words of God telling us truth through the lives of the men, women and children.  Each story in scripture can be our story as we read.  This morning the scripture that I read will be from the International Children’s Bible.  This is the version that we gave to our older elementary children.      Let us look to scripture about the importance of scripture in Joshua’s life.    
 
2.)        As we read the beginning of the book of Joshua we understand that Moses has died. Right after Moses died there was a time of mourning and grieving for 30 days.  (Numbers 34:8)
The Lord reminds Joshua that it is time for Joshua to lead the nation of Israel into the land God had promised. 
            This was the job for Joshua.  He has been preparing for this time.  40 years earlier Joshua was one of 12 scouts sent into this land.  The people were afraid and were left wandering in the wilderness for those 40 years.  Joshua knew that he would be Moses successor and was keeping his heart focused on that role.  Joshua could have been distracted in that time.      
 
3.)        Each of you have an important job to do in your life.  Each of you are needed for a time and a purpose.  You have a job to love your wife, husband.  You have a job to guide your children.  You have a vocation that can give you financial resources to live on.  You have abilities and skills that allow you to bless others and make a difference in your community. 
            God has created you for a purpose.  That purpose is connected to the people that are around your life, to your passion in life, and to your personality in life.   
            Focus on your purpose as we see what God’s message was for Joshua.      
 
4.)        God’s message to Joshua is from Joshua 1:5 – 8. (ICB)
Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. No one will be able to stop you all your life. I will not leave you. I will never leave you alone. “Joshua, be strong and brave! You must lead these people so they can take their land. This is the land I promised their fathers I would give them.   Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do. Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night. Then you will be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.” 
We see God’s promises, God’s encouragement, and God’s commands.  
 
5.)        Promises – I am with you, I will never leave you, I will not forsake you. 
            Encouragement – Be strong and very courageous!  Be brave!    
            Command – Obey the law.  Meditate on the law.  Live the law.  Study the teachings.   
            Promise – You will be successful and prosperous.  You will be wise.    
           
God’s central message to Joshua’s life is that God’s law, the teachings of God, are vital.    
 
6.)        King David, who lived many years after Joshua wrote many words about the law.  David wrote these words in Psalm 19 verses 7 – 11.  (ICB) 
“The Lord’s teachings are perfect.  They give new strength.  The Lord’s rules can be trusted.  They make plain people wise.  The Lord’s orders are right.  They make people happy.  The Lord’s commands are pure.  They light up the way.  It is good to respect the Lord.  That respect will last forever.  The Lord’s judgments are true. They are completely right.  They are worth more than gold, even the purest gold.  They are sweeter than honey, even the finest honey.
They tell your servant what to do. Keeping them brings great reward.”
May we have the same attitude that David did about scripture.  When we look to scripture and obey it we find great reward. 
           
7.)        Why did the Israelites who were ready to enter the land God had promised need to focus on the law, the scripture?  I believe because the people of the land would easily distract them by their lives and practices. 
            In order to prevent them from getting distracted they needed Direction and Devotion.  The scripture would help them in their lives.    
            Let us think about how scripture can help us in our lives as we live in a culture that be distracting to our faith.  We can get easily distracted in our lives as well.     
 
8.)        Direction 
a.)        The nation of Israel had been living in the wilderness for 40 years.  They had been doing their very best to follow the commands of the law and the practices of worship that God set before them.  They needed to be able to have purpose and focus for their lives.  This new land would be very different than the wilderness.  They could easily get distracted as to what is most important as they began to life a comfortable and settled life.  (We can read more about the Israelites and see when they lost direction in their lives.)        
            b.)        We need direction and focus in our lives amidst the comfort we have.  Scripture can give insights on how to apply its words in our day to day living.  Jesus’ words about the Kingdom of God can be read in Matthew 6, 7, 8 when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount.  One verse that we can apply to our lives is found in Matthew 6:33.  “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.”  (ICB)  This was a verse that Jesus wanted the people to focus on instead of food, clothes and the temporary things in life.     
            Scripture gives us direction in our daily living.  The Holy Spirit will use the words of scripture to show us how to spend money, use our time and manage our priorities.   
 
9.)        Devotion 
            a.)        The Israelites were going to enter a land where people worshipped pagan gods, man-made idols, and practiced things in their religion that were not pleasing to God.  The Israelites needed to have a heart of devotion for the Almighty amidst the false gods. 
The worship and devotion that was expresses in the Old Testament was hard to understand but the symbolism of the sacrifices expressed the hearts of the people to God.   
            b.)        Scripture tells us how to be devoted to God.  One day Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was.  He said, “Love the Lord your God.  Love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength…Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”   (Mark 12:30, 31 - ICB)
            Scripture teaches us that devotion to God is linked to our love for ourselves and others.  
As we have processed our ideas and feelings about the Paris bombings and attacks we might wonder how someone could say they love God while they kill others and kill themselves.  This is not the way of Jesus.  This is not the way of devotion as the scripture teaches us.   
 
10.)      Joshua received the message from God about what he needed to do before they entered the Promised Land.  He lived it out amidst the day to day challenges, struggles, victories and blessings.  He reminded the people to be strong, that God was with them, to obey the law and find it a delight.  Joshua and the people did have success and prosper in this new land and this new life. 
            Joshua came to the end of his life and he spoke to the leaders.  Listen to his words found in Joshua 23:1 – 6 (ICB).   
“The Lord gave Israel peace from their enemies around them. He made Israel safe. Many years passed, and Joshua became very old.   So he called a meeting of all the elders, heads of families, judges and officers of the Israelites. He said, “I am now very old. You have seen what the Lord has done to our enemies. He did it to help us. The Lord your God fought for you.  Remember that your people have been given their land. It’s the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. It’s the land I promised to give you. But you don’t control that land yet. The Lord your God will make the people living there leave. You will enter the land. And the Lord will force them out ahead of you. He has promised you this.
“Be strong. You must be careful to obey everything the Lord has commanded. Obey everything written in the Book of the Teachings of Moses. Do exactly as it says.”
            Joshua’s legacy was that God had given him a promise, encouragement, command and promise and that is what he passed down to the next generation. 
 
11.)      Each of us will leave a legacy.  We all have an opportunity to receive the Word of God and make it a part of our lives.  When we die what words will be shared to the next generation about the role of scripture in our lives? 
     
12.)      “While on maneuvers, a battleship lookout noted a light in the dark, foggy night. After noting the light’s coordinates, the captain recognized his ship was on a collision course with the other vessel. The captain instructed, "Signal the ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees." The return signal countered, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees." The captain signaled, "I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees." The response was, "I’m a seaman second class, you’d better change course 20 degrees." By this time the captain was furious. His signal curtly ordered, "I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees." The reply: "I’m a lighthouse. You make the call."
 
13.)      Let us hear the word of the Lord that Joshua heard one day.  Let us make scripture a part of our lives and legacy.  Let us realize that God’s word is not going to change and that we need to veer our lives to line up to what it says. 
I want to ask four practical questions to help you take the next step in making scripture a central part of our life.    
            *Do you have a Bible that you can read? 
*Do you have a Bible reading plan? 
*Do you have a resource or devotional to help you connect the scripture to life? 
*Do you have a mentor, a friend, a group to guide you as you read scripture?        
 
As you consider the answer to those questions please contact me so that I can get you a Bible, a reading plan, a devotional guide and let you know of a class or group or person that can help you grow.