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Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost 

Option One: Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Taking God Seriously"
Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18

A. Spiritual Amnesia
    1. Salvation by serving unreal gods
        a. Powers of the occult
        b. Chance and accident control life
        c. Security in mere things
        d. Human nature, societal pressures, Satan

   2. Spiritual slavery
        a. To masters (gods) that are ultimately powerless
        b. To gods that ultimately bring defeat

B. The Antidote
    1. The real God saving us (from bondage in Egypt, to sin)
    2. The real God serving us ("signs" and protection)

Notes:
1. "Fear" (verse 14)=both "afraid" and "awe-filled"--not either/or
2. "Serve" (ibid)="work, labor"
3. "Faithfulness" (ibid): one meaning is "with integrity"
4. "Choose for yourselves" (verse 15): "Modern 'decision theology' claims that unconverted people have the power within themselves to choose the Lord and become believers. Sinful humanity has no such power of its own to turn from unbeleif to faith in the Lord. That power comes from God (1 Corithians 12:3). Joshua is here calling for a choice from people who already own the gift of faith from the Lord. They can choose to abandon the Lord or, by the Spirit already given them, to confirm their God-given faith and renew the covenant he put in place. But if they reject the Lord, the only choice they can make is which worthless idol to serve. The spiritually dead can only make deadly choices." (Adolph L. Harstad in "Joshua," People's Bible
Commentary
, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis)

Option Two: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"Throw Away Those False Gods"
Joshua 24:1-2a; 14-18

I. Their form and appeal
A. Then
1. Man-made--as in Deut. 28:64 and Isa. 37:19
2. Pleasure--As in Ex. 32:6-8; Num. 25:1-2

B. Now
1. Not often visible, but just as real--1 Cor. 10:19-21
2. Pleasure without responsibility--an impersonal god who is no Judge--Deut.
4:28
3. No personal accountability, but the true God has the final word, as in
Dan. 5:23-30.

II. Choose to serve the true God
A. What He has done for you
1. Freedom from the slavery of a cruel 'lord'--Pharaoh then --The Exodus was
the "resurrection event" of the Old Testament--Ex. 18:10-11, Deut. 6:21-23
2. Jesus' resurrection frees one from sin, death and the power of the
Devil--Rom. 6:18 & 22

B. What He promises you
1. Being "family" with Him now--Heb. 2:11-16, John 8:35-36
2. Eternal life in the Father's house--John 14:2-3

Adam Clarke: Joshua 24:14
Fear the Lord-Reverence him as the sole object of your religious worship.
Serve him-Perform his will by obeying his commands.
In sincerity-Having your whole heart engaged in his worship.
And in truth-According to the directions he has given you in his infallible
word.

Put away the gods, etc.-From this exhortation of Joshua we learn of what sort the gods were, to the worship of whom these Israelites were still attached.
1. Those which their fathers worshipped on the other side of the flood: i.e.,
the gods of the Chaldeans, fire, light, the sun.
2. Those of the Egyptians, Apis, Anubis, the ape, serpents, vegetables, etc.
3. Those of the Canaanites, Moabites, etc., Baal-peor or Priapus, Astarte or
Venus, etc., etc.

Believer's Study Bible: Josh. 24:15
Joshua was not inviting, but demanding that Israel serve the Lord. The choice he laid before them only existed if they refused his demand. The issue was whether to obey or to choose. If they refused to obey the Lord, they had to choose which pagan god to serve. Our contemporary pluralistic society presents us with a confusing display of values, goals, and life-styles. It is not a godless society, but a society full of gods pleading for our attention. The issue is whether to obey our mighty and loving Creator, or to be lost in a hell-bound madhouse of confusion.

Bible Knowledge Commentary: 24:14-15. 
The stipulations of the covenant renewal were then stated: Israel must fear the Lord and serve Him. In the Hittite treaties all other foreign alliances were to be rejected; so in this covenant Israel was to reject alliances with all foreign gods. Joshua boldly challenged them to choose between the gods of Ur their ancestors worshiped (cf. v. 2) beyond the River (i.e., the Euphrates), the gods of the Amorites in Canaan, and Yahweh. Then, adding example to exhortation, Israel's venerated leader assured them that whatever their choice his mind was made up, his course clear: as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Copyright 2000 Ministry Health, LLC 
All Rights Reserved
Ministry Health Sermon Starters
http://ministryhealth.net

A. Spiritual Amnesia
    1. Salvation by serving unreal gods
        a. Powers of the occult
        b. Chance and accident control life
        c. Security in mere things
        d. Human nature, societal pressures, Satan

   2. Spiritual slavery
        a. To masters (gods) that are ultimately powerless
        b. To gods that ultimately bring defeat

B. The Antidote
    1. The real God saving us (from bondage in Egypt, to sin)
    2. The real God serving us ("signs" and protection)

Notes:
1. "Fear" (verse 14)=both "afraid" and "awe-filled"--not either/or
2. "Serve" (ibid)="work, labor"
3. "Faithfulness" (ibid): one meaning is "with integrity"
4. "Choose for yourselves" (verse 15): "Modern 'decision theology' claims that unconverted people have the power within themselves to choose the Lord and become believers. Sinful humanity has no such power of its own to turn from unbeleif to faith in the Lord. That power comes from God (1 Corithians 12:3). Joshua is here calling for a choice from people who already own the gift of faith from the Lord. They can choose to abandon the Lord or, by the Spirit already given them, to confirm their God-given faith and renew the covenant he put in place. But if they reject the Lord, the only choice they can make is which worthless idol to serve. The spiritually dead can only make deadly choices." (Adolph L. Harstad in "Joshua," People's Bible
Commentary
, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis)

Option Two: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

"Throw Away Those False Gods"
Joshua 24:1-2a; 14-18

I. Their form and appeal
A. Then
1. Man-made--as in Deut. 28:64 and Isa. 37:19
2. Pleasure--As in Ex. 32:6-8; Num. 25:1-2

B. Now
1. Not often visible, but just as real--1 Cor. 10:19-21
2. Pleasure without responsibility--an impersonal god who is no Judge--Deut.
4:28
3. No personal accountability, but the true God has the final word, as in
Dan. 5:23-30.

II. Choose to serve the true God
A. What He has done for you
1. Freedom from the slavery of a cruel 'lord'--Pharaoh then --The Exodus was
the "resurrection event" of the Old Testament--Ex. 18:10-11, Deut. 6:21-23
2. Jesus' resurrection frees one from sin, death and the power of the
Devil--Rom. 6:18 & 22

B. What He promises you
1. Being "family" with Him now--Heb. 2:11-16, John 8:35-36
2. Eternal life in the Father's house--John 14:2-3

Adam Clarke: Joshua 24:14
Fear the Lord-Reverence him as the sole object of your religious worship.
Serve him-Perform his will by obeying his commands.
In sincerity-Having your whole heart engaged in his worship.
And in truth-According to the directions he has given you in his infallible
word.

Put away the gods, etc.-From this exhortation of Joshua we learn of what sort the gods were, to the worship of whom these Israelites were still attached.
1. Those which their fathers worshipped on the other side of the flood: i.e.,
the gods of the Chaldeans, fire, light, the sun.
2. Those of the Egyptians, Apis, Anubis, the ape, serpents, vegetables, etc.
3. Those of the Canaanites, Moabites, etc., Baal-peor or Priapus, Astarte or
Venus, etc., etc.

Believer's Study Bible: Josh. 24:15
Joshua was not inviting, but demanding that Israel serve the Lord. The choice he laid before them only existed if they refused his demand. The issue was whether to obey or to choose. If they refused to obey the Lord, they had to choose which pagan god to serve. Our contemporary pluralistic society presents us with a confusing display of values, goals, and life-styles. It is not a godless society, but a society full of gods pleading for our attention. The issue is whether to obey our mighty and loving Creator, or to be lost in a hell-bound madhouse of confusion.

Bible Knowledge Commentary: 24:14-15. 
The stipulations of the covenant renewal were then stated: Israel must fear the Lord and serve Him. In the Hittite treaties all other foreign alliances were to be rejected; so in this covenant Israel was to reject alliances with all foreign gods. Joshua boldly challenged them to choose between the gods of Ur their ancestors worshiped (cf. v. 2) beyond the River (i.e., the Euphrates), the gods of the Amorites in Canaan, and Yahweh. Then, adding example to exhortation, Israel's venerated leader assured them that whatever their choice his mind was made up, his course clear: as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Copyright 2000 Ministry Health, LLC 
All Rights Reserved
Ministry Health Sermon Starters
Website: http://ministryhealth.net

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