INTRODUCTION: A covenant is to be an unbreakable agreement between you and God in which God follows through
on His promises to you while you are to live the lifestyle and follow the commands God dictates. However, while God
has always kept his half of His covenants with man, man has always broken his. In today's world of pleasures, convenience,
technology and entertainment, we must be reminded of the seriousness of 100% commitment required in your relationship with God
May 23rd, 2004, Sunday Morning
"Sincerely Serving God"
Our relationship with God is not to be casual; our devotion not less than 100%
Speaker: Dirk Russell, Minister of Education
OPENING: Joshua 24:14-24
Case in point: God's promise to deliver the land of Canaan to the people of Israel, in return for their
obedience and allegiance to God:
- Deuteronomy 32:48-49: God makes the initial promise to Moses of giving Canaan to the
- Joshua 4:20-24: The Israelites cross the Jordan river (on their way to Canaan),
which God parted for them, just like the Red Sea in Egypt; a particular miracle in which a monument is normally established so
generations of people after may recognize and understand
- Joshua 14:1: The Israelites divide up the countries in the land of Canaan, given to them by God
- Joshua 24:14-24: Joshua warns the people, in no uncertain terms, to serve 100% either God
or the people's invented "foreign gods" (i.e., idols)
God sees His people (those saved) as a "covenant people"--a people blessed by God's promises while the
people carry out their responsibilities designated by God in the covenant
- Matthew 26:26-28: Jesus institutes today's covenant with this world's people by conducting
the first communion at the Last Supper with His disciples; And living by three critical rules of this covenant, you effectively follow all of God's commandments:
- Matthew 22:36-38: Jesus said the first and great commandment is to,
"love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"
- Matthew 22:39-40: And Jesus said the second is to,
"love thy neighbour as thyself"
- Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus' final command (and commission to all of us) before He ascended
to Heaven after His resurrection was to teach the whole world of the Bible and ability to be saved through Jesus Christ
We are living in non-conventional age
- Church membership is considered non-committal by both "devout" Christians and the unsaved--the relationship
with God is seriously lacking
- The people want their needs met but without the "burden" of living God's required way
Joshua 24:14-24: Joshua reminds the people of their serious and sober responsibilities to God;
he charges people to "fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth"
- FEAR the Lord:
- Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10: To fear and be terrified of God is the "beginning of wisdom"
- It is blasphemous to put God collateral to you; I.e., bumper stickers that say "God is my co-pilot" and
"Jesus is my homeboy"
- In today's world of tolerance and resolution through understanding and diplomacy, people only want to talk about
God as "a God of love, who wouldn't want to see anyone hurt"; However, while love is a paramount attribute of God, we
must remember we're gathering before a holy, wrathful, terrible God who dispense justice and is not unrighteous
- John 3:16-17: God's love for us was ultimately demonstrated when He voluntarily sent His only and sinless Son to die
for all of our sins so we wouldn't have to end up in hell when our earthly body dies
- Isaiah 6:1-5: When the prophet Isaiah was brought into God's throne room, he didn't say,
"You're a God of love and it's good to see You" but He fell on face as a dead man and declared himself unworthy to be in
- Revelation 1:17: John, a disciple of Jesus, exiled on island of Patmos, was given a vision by
God that caused him to write the final book of Revelation; When Jesus appeared to John, John doesn't say,
"so good to see you--you're love" but falls on his face "as dead" because God is holy
- We, the saved, do not fear out of judgment but because of the awe of his reverence and presence
- Man can't assume its safe to have a casual relationship with God
- SERVE the Lord
- In his covenant with us, Jesus gives us eternal life (saves us) so in return we are to be obedient to God
by following His commands outlined in the Bible
- Previous to this current covenant, the covenant God made with the Israelites, through Moses, was to give
them peace, prosperity and success in return for obedience to the Ten Commandments, among God's other rules of that
- Joshua 24:14: Joshua charged the people in no uncertain terms: to serve means not only to
be obedient to God but to ALSO permanently discard "foreign gods" that compete for your allegiance to Christ
- It is the First of the Ten Commandments
- "foreign gods" were stone/wood idols of their day but today is T.V., video games, sports, career, money, etc.
- God wants you to have a good time and enjoy life--and T.V. and video games can be wholesome--but you cross
the line when these things negative affect your responsibilities and duties to God (i.e., begin to take all your time,
cause you stop going to church, etc.)
- Joshua 24:15: Joshua calls for the people (you) to make a decision THIS DAY of whom you
- It cannot be a casual decision; you cannot deduce church to be simply, "a place to recharge your spiritual
batteries on Sunday" or a weekly place to go only because you enjoy the singing, fellowship and programs (vs. the real
reason--the pastor's sermon)
- Whom you serve requires 100% commitment, diligence and effort, which outside forces cannot compromise
- Joshua offers the people a choice: If you wish to serve God less than 100%, then don't serve at all and go to
your other "gods"
- Joshua 24:16: A casual relationship with God is to give him less than 100%; it's the attitude of:
- "I like the benefits of God's covenant [like being saved] but I still don't want to go to church EVERY Sunday"
- "I'll apportion my life: I'll serve God a little here and have a little of the world here..." and deny
they're serving other gods
- 1 Kings 18:21: Elijah echoes Joshua's words: "if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal,
then follow him"
Sad, new ideas are described in today's spiritual literature on how to acquire and maintain a
"happy church family":
- Acrobats; gymnastics; the baptistery including a big fire truck to make baptism exciting
- When people go to church, it ought be glorious time of fellowship/worship but if churches have to resort
to gymnastics and fire trucks to retain people's happiness, consider Joshua's words:
"God is God. Serve Him in HIS way. Else, go elsewhere"
- REFERENCE: FOXNews, Feb 3, 2004, "Megachurches"
Joshua 24:19: Joshua makes it clear that your obedience to God does not outweigh or forfeit
your disobedience; In other words, God will not hesitate to immediately take away what He has blessed you with
- If you break your covenant with Him, God has the legal right to do the same
- Joshua 24:20: "If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good."
- Galatians 6:7: You cannot hide your servitude to another from God; "God is not mocked"
Revelation 2-3: The prophet John's warning to the churches in Revelation was, in effect, "if you don't live in God's
obedience, you won't be a church anymore"; The churches of Asia, that no longer exist today, are examples of not heeding this
Our covenant w/God is a serious relationship that carries life-impacting responsibilities
- It is not an easily retractable contract that has no effect if broken--like the way divorce is treated today:
Today's changing church literature and obligations are designed as ways to thwart our constant duties and
responsibilities to the Church and God
Today's changing church doctrine gives tolerance to what God outlaws and defines more ways to enter Heaven than one
- Leviticus 18:22: Homosexuality "is abomination"
- John 14:6: No one can enter Heaven but through Jesus Christ, and Him alone
- Matthew 5:48: We must be as holy as God--and not just on Sundays
- God keeps his promises and has never broken one
- Our relationship cannot be casual; you cannot carry out your responsibilities only when it's convenient to you
- He's the mighty God to be feared and served while we, unworthy, were saved by Jesus to have eternal life
- Joshua 24:15: As Joshua said, "choose you this day whom ye will serve"