It Is Time to Choose
It Is Time to Choose is a sermon teaching us that our labor on this Earth will not be in vain. If we keep the faith, we will earn a crown in Heaven.
It Is Time to Choose sermon starts with verses from Joshua 24:14-16:
14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
Joshua chapter one opens with these words, the Lord speaks to Joshua and says “Moses, my servant, is was dead.” He calls Joshua to replace Moses and Joshua gets a promotion. Think about Moses; God called Moses who has led the people of Israel for 40 years. During that time, God has used Moses to do miracles. He’s used him to write the beginning of the Bible, what we call the Torah, the first five books. Moses also wrote some of the songs and Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery and bondage in Egypt through the Red Sea, all the way down to the Dead Sea and around it, up on the east side and up to the border to the Jordan river to cross over into the land that God had promised to Abraham centuries before.
And then the Lord called Moses home, Moses died. All that time for 40 years Joshua has been working under Moses. Joshua has been Moses’ minister, his servant. And now after the death of Moses, God comes to Joshua and says that he’s taking Moses’ place. How do you replace a man like Moses? How do you step up? And yet the Lord said, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage for the Lord, thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest.” God promised to be with him and He was with him in a mighty way.
We come to the 24th chapter and it’s the end of Joshua’s life. The words here are some of the last words Joshua ever spoke to the people of Israel.
For twenty-four years plus, Joshua led the people of Israel. He led them to go in and conquer the inheritance that had been promised to them and to their ancestors, but here at the end of his life, the end of his ministry, he’s going to challenge the people of Israel to make the choices they need to make in order for them to continue accomplishing God’s will for their life. What is God’s will for their life at this point? It is God’s will for their life at this point for them to go into the land, possess the land, and create the nation of Israel in the land. They’re already a people group, but they’re supposed to be a people group in the land.
In the land we call Israel for probably 70, 75 years, there’s been controversy over who rightfully owns that land, which people group, and so forth. God promised it to the people of Israel. They have a deed to it. Where do they have it? In the book of Genesis. God promised it to them, and it’s first mentioned in Genesis and reiterated throughout the scriptures. So it is their land given to them by God himself.
Joshua gives this challenge to the people of Israel in his day, as they are in the promised land. He’s led them there, but his challenge isn’t limited to that time and place and those people. It’s a challenge for all ages.
It’s a challenge for all people and it is particularly appropriate for us in this day, time, and place. In Joshua chapter 24 verse 14, Joshua says “now, therefore at this point in my life, one of my last times to speak to you now, therefore at this time fear, the Lord fear, the Lord.”
The Fear of the Lord
Now, what does it mean to “fear the Lord”? The fear of the Lord is not some sort of spiritual paranoia. It is not going through life being terrified that God is out to get you. And if you don’t do everything exactly right, dot your I’s, cross your T’s, and walk the straight and narrow, God is going to zap you with the lightning bolt out of heaven. That’s not the concept of the fear of the Lord at all. Where do you get ideas like that? Mainly from Greek mythology. Zeus was the angry god who sat up there and wanted to zap people with lightning bolts and things. That is not the God of the Bible.
There are some preachers who preach that people sometimes get punished by God and then, ultimately, some people are going to go to a place in eternity that they call Hell. But God is not out to “get you.” Not that anything bad is never going to happen to you. God cares about you.
And Paul puts it this way in Romans 8:28. He says, “We know that all things work together for good…” It does not say that everything that happens is going to be good. It doesn’t say that. It says all things work together, like the pieces of a puzzle for good. But then that promise is not for everybody. Things work together for good “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” So there’s a prerequisite there for all things working together for your good, and that is that you love God and that you’re following his calling.
At this point, it’s obvious that the people of Israel loved God and they were following their calling from him. Now, did they always do that? No. Oh, they always did it under Moses. No. They always did it under Joshua. No. They always did it after. Why didn’t they? Were they especially bad people? No. They’re just people and that’s how we are as people. We don’t always do what we should do. Even when we have good intentions, we don’t always do the right thing. Now that’s not an excuse because we should do the right thing. And God is calling through Joshua, to the people of Israel to make some choices.
And I believe God is calling you and me to make some choices. But the first thing Joshua says to the people is this, “fear of the Lord.” What does it mean? It means to have a reverence for the holiness, majesty, and authority of God in our lives. God is Holy. We ought to reverence Him. We ought to reverence God and come before him in humility and in worship, God is Holy. We need to recognize the holiness of God. Don’t take the things of God too lightly.
I heard somebody on the radio yesterday talking about not taking God’s name in vain. We all think we know what that means. It means don’t use God’s name as a swear word. We should not use God’s name as profanity. It’s tragic that people use God’s name as profanity. I recommend you don’t use profanity at all. It just sounds better.
Years ago, one of my language teachers, a brilliant man, said, “profanity is the effort of a person with a weak vocabulary to express themselves forcibly.” That’s a pretty good definition. But particularly we ought not to use God’s name in a profane way. God says don’t take his name in vain. It means that, but it means more than that. It means don’t just take God’s name lightly. Don’t joke about the name of God. Reverence God and come to Him and recognize His holiness and life.
Then recognize His majesty. Isn’t that the same thing? No, it’s not the same thing. God is majestic. He is the creator of the universe and is also the King of the universe, more closely related to majesties.
The third thing we need to recognize about God as part of the fear of the Lord, and that’s to recognize his authority in our life. I dare say, there are people who genuinely in their heart believed that there is no God, no God at all, no God exists. There are people who genuinely believe that. I feel bad for those people.
“Don’t feel bad for me.” They say, “I don’t need your sympathy.” They probably don’t need my sympathy. That’s probably true. Particularly since they may not even know who I am or care. So why would they need my sympathy? I feel bad for them because they are missing so much, and probably don’t even realize it.
But besides the folks who say and genuinely believe in their heart and mind that there is no God, there are people who won’t say, “I don’t think there’s God, I don’t believe God exists. I don’t think there is a God.” But they live as if God doesn’t exist. What do you mean? I mean, they don’t factor God into their daily life. They don’t factor God into their decisions. They don’t factor God into their actions. They don’t factor God into their choices. They don’t factor God into their life at all. What do you think they do? They generally just do what they want to do.
“Well, is it wrong to do what I want?” Depends on what you want. If I want to do something wrong, then that’s wrong. But if I want to do something right is it wrong for me to want to do something right? No, I don’t think so.
The point is we need to recognize God’s authority in our life. Again, God’s not out to get us, but he does have authority over us. He is our creator. He is our King. We need to recognize his holiness and his majesty. We need to recognize his authority. And we need to say, “You know, God has told me certain things that he wants me to do. And he’s told me certain things he doesn’t want me to do. And I need to pay attention to that. In addition to that, he’s also given me wisdom in His word to guide me in decisions and choices that I’m going to make.”
So that’s recognizing the authority of God in our life. All of that together: reverencing and recognizing the holiness of his majesty and the authority of God — that is what is meant by the phrase, “the fear of the Lord.” So again, in verse 14, Joshua says “now therefore, fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity with an honest and earnest heart.”
Serve in Sincerity
Serve the Lord in all sincerity. Don’t serve the Lord in hypocrisy. The word hypocrisy literally means to be putting on an act — the person you see them portrayed on a stage or on a screen, that’s not really who they are. They’re acting, they’re pretending to be someone else. They may be pretending to be an actual historical person, or they may be pretending to be a totally fictional character. Either way, they’re pretending to be someone else. And that’s really the root meaning of the word “hypocrisy,” to pretend to be someone you’re not.
It’s not wrong to act if everybody who sees you understands that’s what you’re doing. You’re acting on a stage, on a screen, or whatever the setting is, and people understand you’re playing a part. Is that wrong? No, it’s not bad, not in and of itself. But to try to put on an act to deceive people and cause them to think that you’re somebody that you aren’t, there’s something wrong with that.
“Well, what if I want people to think I’m better than I am?” That’s still an act. “Well, what do you think I should do?” Here’s another way to look at it. Instead of putting on a show to make people think you’re better than you are, why not strive to become better than you are and be the real deal? “Well, I might fail.” Good chance. But, what if you give it your best shot, you’ll be farther along than you will if you don’t try. We should be constantly trying to improve. We should constantly be trying to get better and make ourselves better and not be putting on an act. Just be that person who’s trying to be better. Serve the Lord in all sincerity.
Serve in Truth
And serve him in truth. We are in great need of truth. I heard somebody say recently on the radio that we’re living in a post-truth era, what a horrible thing to say. You know what I think so horrible about it. It’s probably accurate. What they were saying is we’re living in a post-truth era, they weren’t saying that truth doesn’t exist. They’re saying people are ignoring the truth. It doesn’t matter to them. They’re going to do what they want to do. They’re going to think what they want to think, regardless of what the truth is. And if they have an opinion that is not validated by the truth, well, they’re still going to hold with that opinion. It’s like the old saying “my mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
So that’s what they meant when they said we were living in a post-truth era and we are in great need of truth, which is fact and is reality — that is truth. And can I share something with you? Something that’s genuinely true, something that’s genuinely fact is unchangeable. Real truth is unchangeable.
“Well, I mean, Pastor. I don’t agree with you. There are little things that are true, but they change every day.” Yes. Today is November 1st. Tomorrow will not be November 1st. So this is true today that this is November 1st. It won’t be true tomorrow, but you know what will be true tomorrow? That today was November 1st. That’ll still be true. So you see, real truth doesn’t change. Our perspective on it’s going to change, but real truth doesn’t change. So we’re to serve him in sincerity we’re to serve him in truth.
Put Away the Gods
And then the next thing it says, verse 14, “Now therefore fear the Lord, serve him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods, which your fathers served on the other side of the flood and in Egypt and serve ye the Lord.”
Here’s what that means. First of all, it says, “put away the gods,” the words “put away” there literally translates as “divorce them,” to divorce those gods, divorce these gods. What gods? The ones that your “fathers served on the other side of the flood.” Now, some people have read this in English and all of us probably do.
And you get the idea, maybe that’s talking about Noah’s flood and the God’s people served on the other side of Noah’s flood. And, you know, honestly, it could refer to that. But the word translated “flood” here has more the idea of a river. So, if Joshua is saying don’t serve the gods, which your father served on the other side of the river, what river do you think they were talking about?
He wasn’t talking about the Jordan river but probably the Red Sea that they crossed when they came out of Egypt. God called the people of Israel to leave Egypt and go to the promised land. Do you know what God’s doing today? He’s calling people today to leave the bondage and the slavery of sin. He’s talking to people today and calling them out of the world to come to Him and He will take them to the promised land. “You mean we’re all going to go live in the land of Israel?” Well, maybe someday, but not anytime soon. No. I mean, God is calling us to live in His kingdom and to live with Him.
So now they left that old land behind and they left those gods behind. And so God tells them to “put away the gods, which your father served on the other side of the flood before you crossed over and in Egypt,” now that’s a clue, Egypt. The Egyptians had more than 700 gods that they worshiped. Can you imagine 700 gods? If there were 700 gods and I’m going to assure you that there are not, but if there were 700 gods, how would you even remember all their names?
How would you even remember which one was God of what department? Keep that in mind. When God used Moses to bring those ten plagues upon Egypt, each one of those was an attack on one of Egypt’s gods. Really? Yeah. The Nile river was worshiped. The Egyptians weren’t the only people that ever worshiped a river, but they may have been the first. Others have done that too and some do it to this day. But there were other gods that they worshiped. And when you think about how the plagues that God brought through Moses upon Egypt represented gods, you think, they worshiped some pretty strange things.
Like what, for example? Like flies. You will come across in the Bible, the term “Beelzebub.” It comes from Baal, the name of a god. The name Beelzebub literally means “Lord of the flies.”
There was the god Geb, the god of the earth. Now we have many today who are earth worshipers. And I don’t mean that in a, in a humorous way. It’s quite a serious situation. You and I have a God-given responsibility to be caretakers of the world that God has given us. When God created man, the first man, Adam, where did he put him? He put him in a garden. He didn’t put him in a living room with a TV set. He put him in a garden. And He gave him a job. Now, this was before the fall. This has nothing to do with being under a sin curse. And He told Adam you’re supposed to dress the garden and keep it. So what was Adam’s job? To take care of the garden. I don’t think God ever changed his plan on that. We are supposed to take care of the place, based on where God has put us. Should we be environmentally responsible? It is our God-given duty to be environmentally responsible. But there are those who take that to extremes as they do in many cases.
And to worship the earth as a god that is going to an extreme, and it’s going to an extreme that is destructive. Some in our day and age even worship plant and animal life. And I’m not saying they don’t matter. They do matter. But they place them as more important than human life. That is not God’s design, that is not God’s plan.
Mankind is the crown of God’s creation. No question about it. Now animals serve a purpose, plants serve a purpose, and actually, they can serve many purposes. So, are they important? Yes, they are important. God put them here with a purpose, but they’re not more important than human life. If you had a choice between saving your cat or saving one of your children, you should save your children in a heartbeat. Children come first.
Another one of the gods of Egypt was Seth. Now there’s a name of Seth in the Bible. This is not the same, Seth. The Egyptian god Seth was the god of chaos and violence. We’re living in an age of chaos and violence, but that’s not entirely a new thing.
In 1970, Gordon Jensen published a song, and part of the lyrics that he wrote would be very appropriate today. If I told you he had written it in the last couple of weeks, you’d probably believe it. He wrote, “Wars and strife on every hand and violence fills the land. Still some people doubt he’ll ever come again, but the word of God is true. He’ll redeem his chosen few. Don’t lose hope, soon Christ Jesus will descend.”
So what is Joshua saying in verse 14? He’s saying fear the Lord, serve him in sincerity and truth and divorce yourself from the gods, which your father served in Egypt. That’s what he’s saying.
Choose You This Day
Now, verse 15. There is an interesting question that Joshua puts forth here. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord…” can you imagine anybody thinking it’s evil to serve God? There are people who think that. I saw a photograph a month or so ago of a young man holding up a sign that read, “If Jesus comes again, kill him again.”
Here is what I can tell you. Jesus is going to come again. Those who would want to kill him aren’t going to succeed. So Joshua says, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord…” if you believe that’s the wrong thing to do and not just wrong, but the evil thing to do to serve the Lord, then in verse 15, “it seemed evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day, whom you will serve.”
If serving the Lord is not where you need to be. If serving the Lord is not your life. If that is evil to you, that’s a bad idea to you, then who are you going to serve? “Well, not me. I don’t serve anybody. I am my own independent person.” Then you serve self, don’t you? And you might get surprised and find out that you’re actually serving people or things you don’t even realize you’re serving. But first of all, you are serving self.
When he says, “choose you this day, whom you will serve.” He’s saying you have to make a choice. You have to decide. And thankfully God gives us the right to decide. He gives us the privilege of choice. He gives you, he gives us all kinds of choices. There are all kinds of choices that we make in life. You make choices every day. Now, depending on where you live, what your lifestyle is, and what your circumstances are, your choices may not be the same as everybody else’s, but you make choices every day.
Your circumstances may cause you to make choices that not what everybody makes, but you make them. There are certain things that all of us are going to choose and all of us have the privilege of making these choices. Let me give you a few of them.
We choose whether we’re going to believe in God or go our own way. We make that choice. Some people genuinely in their heart and mind in life do not believe there is a God and they’ve made that choice. Generally, because they were taught that way and didn’t come up with that on their own. But, they made that choice. You’re going to either believe in God, and you’re going to acknowledge that there is a God. And if you do acknowledge that God exists, you ought to acknowledge his holiness, his majesty, his authority. You should recognize these things or you can choose to go your own way. And as we said before, not being an actual atheist where you say God doesn’t exist, but be a practical atheist so that you live as if God didn’t exist. You ignore God, but you make that choice. Now, the choice we make is the choice of life or death.
Well, most everybody, when it comes to choosing life or death, they’re going to choose their own life. For yourself, generally speaking, you’re going to choose life for yourself. Some people don’t. Somebody would choose death for themselves. I’d say most people choose life for themselves.
What about choosing life for other people? Mankind is created in the image of God. And He says, “thou shalt not kill.” What does God mean when He says, “thou shall not kill.” He literally means thou shalt not do murder. That’s what it means. And he says that we do not have a God-given right to murder other people.
We do have a God-given duty to save and protect life and we ought to. So what about wars and capital punishment? Well, all that’s covered in the Bible. God gives specific instructions about war and about capital punishment. And by the way, should we execute everybody who commits a crime? If we did, we’d all be gone. The issue of capital punishment is addressed in the Bible beginning in Genesis and then later but also addresses the issue of war. But the commandment is “thou shalt do no murder.”
Life is a gift from God. If we take that gift away from someone, we can never give it back. You’ve taken something, the most precious thing a person has and you can’t give it even if later you regret and say, “Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that.” You can’t change it.
We need to choose life for ourselves. We need to choose life for others as well. And then we need to choose to either serve God or serve ourselves in this world. We get that choice. You’re going to either choose to serve God or you are going to choose to serve self, or you may just choose to serve the world. Isn’t choosing the world better than just serving self? It could be, depending on how you serve the world, but if you serve God, you’re serving your fellow man, and you’re taking care of yourself all at the same time.
We’re told to love our neighbors ourselves. Human beings are naturally selfish, and we live in a selfish world, but we ought to love our neighbors as ourselves. And what does that mean? It means don’t treat other people the way they treat you. Most people do that. Most people live that way. If somebody is nice to you, you are nice back to them.
If somebody is mean to you, you show them, you can be even meaner than that. And that’s the way most people react. “Oh, I’m not like that.” Somebody cut you off in traffic. Somebody honks the horn at you. And you sit and smile at them, and say, “God bless you, brother.” Is that what you do? Yeah, probably not. “You cut me off. I’m going to show you, I cut you off. You honk your horn. I’m showing you mines louder.”
By the way, I can’t even do that. My horn is not very loud, but some people do. The point is, that’s not loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, is it? And, you know, treating other people, not as they treat us, but as we want them to treat us, that’s the golden rule. Then we choose whether we’ll live in the fear of the Lord or the fear of man.
Making a Difference
What does it mean to live in the fear of the Lord? Well, what does it mean to live in the fear of man? It means you are constantly afraid of what man is going to do to you. You’re constantly afraid of what someone is going to think about you. Honestly, we should live a good testimony before other people, and we should live in such a way that makes other people want to trust us, makes other people want to come to us when they know they have a need, and makes people want to come to us and say, what makes you different?
Years ago, I was working in a warehouse and I’d been there a while. And one day we were working and another fellow working in the warehouse says, “I’ve noticed something about you.” Well, you never know what’s coming after that. Maybe you think, “Did I used the deodorant this morning?” He said, “I noticed something about you.” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “I noticed you don’t swear.” I said, “No, no, I don’t.” He said, “Why not?” And I thought, “What, am I supposed to say?” I said, “Why not?” He never asked me about it again, but you know what he noticed, I didn’t work in that warehouse thinking that I’m not going to swear. Hoping people will notice what a great guy I am was not the motive. I didn’t swear because I chose not to. But he comes and says, “I’ve noticed that’s different about you,” but he went the extra step, which he should have.
What makes that difference? And that, gives you an opportunity not to talk about self, but to say, you know what? I know the Lord and the Lord has been gracious to me. And I choose in honor to him and not to use that kind of language. It’s simple, but get that we should live in such a way that people notice the difference and let them know what the difference is particularly if they ask.
Then we choose, we choose all this world has to offer, but can I share something with you? All this world has to offer is temporary. Everything in it is temporary. You could have a fine house, you could have fine clothes, you can have a fine automobile. And by the way, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to have those things.
So don’t misunderstand. You work hard and you do well. Should you enjoy the benefits of your hard work? Why not? “Well, I think you ought to give it all the way.” If you think you ought to give it to all the way, my friend, then give it all away, by all means, do so. That’s the right thing to do, but there’s nothing wrong with a person who’s worked hard, and they’ve done well and enjoys some of the fruits of their labor.
That’s not bad. “Well, that guy has got a billion dollars. He ought to give me something.” Why? “What do you mean? Why he’s got so much. I got so little.” Did you do anything for him that he owes you money? “Oh, you’re, you’re sticking up for billionaires.” No, I’m trying to get you to understand reality. God is primarily interested in your heart, not your bank account. Don’t say God doesn’t care about your bank account. He cares about everything in your life, but that’s not his main interest. His main interest is your heart.
We choose; whether we’re going to choose all this world has to offer and everything it has to offer is temporary. A lady I know reportedly had 53 million. She passed away one day. You know, how much of it she took with her? None. It’s temporary. If you got everything this world has to offer, it’s temporary. Or, you can choose to receive all that God has to offer, which lasts for eternity. That’s what Jesus was saying. He says, “Lay not up treasure for yourselves on earth, which moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt and thieves do not break through and steal.”
A Lasting Impact
We need to make choices. We have the will to choose. The choices we make are going to determine the direction and impact of our lives. And they will, in many cases, determine eternity.
Not long before He went to the cross, Jesus said to the disciples, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” A lot of people read that and they’ve kind of misinterpreted it.
The Lord wasn’t saying, you’re going to go around and say, “I bind you. I loose you.” It’s not what He was saying. People do that and that is not what He is saying. What was He saying when He says,” whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth is loose in heaven.” What he is saying is what you do here and now in this life has eternal results. That is what he was saying. That is what that means. So don’t go around binding and loosing people. Just understand that what you do here and now matters forever. We have choices to make.
Dr. Curtis Hudson, former editor of Sword of the Lord wrote “When the honest, sincere Christian is faced with a decision regarding whether a thing is right or wrong…” Do you ever come to that point? You ever come where you’ve got to make a decision, whether something’s right or wrong? Sure you have, and you will. Dr. Hudson said, “When the honest, sincere Christian is faced with a decision regarding whether a thing is right or wrong, he should ask, ‘Does it agree with all that the scripture has to say on the subject?’”
He’s saying use your Bible as a guide. Does the Bible talk about this decision you’re trying to make? If it does then follow the Bible. Is there anything about this decision you’re trying to make, or are you trying to decide whether something’s right or wrong that contradicts or goes against or violates anything in the Bible — whether that will help you make your choice?
Let’s do a simple, obvious one: “Thou shalt not steal.” Is it wrong to steal? Sure. How do you know? God said so. Is everything stated quite that simply and clearly? No, not everything is, but where things are stated simply clearly follow that, and where they aren’t, look for principles that will guide you. You’ll find them.
Time to Choose
It’s time to make a choice. Joshua says to the people, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose…” Many people choose the savior. Many people choose to follow God. Many people choose to reject God and the Savior. Why? A number of reasons, I think we could find a strong clue in John 3:17 to 21, where Jesus said “For God sent not his son into this world to condemn the world.”
Jesus didn’t come in this world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. That’s why he came. But then he went on to say, “He, that believes on him is not condemned, but he, that believeth not is condemned already.” Why? “Because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
And He continued, “and this is the condemnation” — this is why some people rejected the Lord. “This is the condemnation that light is coming to the world. And men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” Nobody likes the spotlight on them when they’re doing something they know is wrong “for everyone that doeth the evil hateth the light.”
Jesus continues, “Neither cometh up to the light, lest those deeds should be reproved, but he that do a truth, come up to the light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.” A couple of chapters later, Jesus says, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin.”
So, it’s time to choose. It’s time to choose if it is evil to serve God. It’s time to choose if it is a good thing to reject God. And if you think it is, then Joshua says, “Choose you this day, who you will serve…” What god or gods are you going to serve? The gods on the other side of the flood, those gods, who your ancestors served before they entered the promised land?
Will you serve the Roman god Bacchus? A lot of people do, a lot of followers. His Greek name is Dionysus. Who is that? The god of drink. Many people have surrendered their lives to this god. Many people had their lives ruined by this god. Will you serve Molech? Who’s that? The god of child sacrifice, many people serve this god today. Will you serve Hedone? The Greek goddess of pleasure has many, many followers in our day and time.
Will you serve the 33 million gods of the Hindus? Westerners have a hard time conceiving of having 33 million gods. I’ve heard them ask those from the east, “How can you have that many gods and why would you need that many gods?” And the answer comes back, “in your U.S. government, do you have a president?” Yes. “Do you have a vice president?” Yes. “They do everything?” No. Well, how many people are in the U.S. government? Oh, lots of people. Why? Because they do lots of different things. Well, that’s why they have 33 million gods. They’re all in departments and they all do different things. They’re administrating the universe in different ways, that’s what they believe.
Or, will you serve the gods of the Amorites? Joshua says, “in whose land you dwell…” Who are the gods of the Amorites? Well, there’s Amurru, the god of the sky in storms, or here’s one that many people are serving today. Yarikh, the god of the moon. Yarikh’s symbol is the crescent moon. Just let that dwell on your brain for a little bit.
Who Will You Serve?
Joshua verse 15 says, “If it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served, that were on the other side of the flood, the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell…” Choose who you’re going to serve. Who’s going to be an authority over you? Who are you going to be working for? Choose who you’re going to serve.
Joshua finishes verse 15 with that phrase that, most of you here know, he says, “but as for me and my house, we’ll serve the Lord.” You make your own choice. You make your own decision. Joshua is telling, what he’s going to do: “Me and my house. We’re going to serve the Lord.”
Verse 16, “And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.” That was the right answer. And the people made the right choice that day. Now there’s more to the chapter, that’s not the end of the story. That’s where we’re going to stop for now.
The people made the right choice that day. They chose that day whom they would serve. What about you and me? You make choices. Are you going to serve God or are you going to serve man? Who are you going to serve?
Make an intelligent choice. It does matter what worldview, what philosophy, what morality, and what truth we choose. And there are in our world and always have been, and always will be until the Lord Himself comes and redeems the Earth, there’s always going to be different worldviews. What’s a worldview? That worldview is your philosophy, or it’s how you view everything. It’s the filter through which you view everything else in life. Your theology will determine your philosophy. And I’ve heard people challenge that say, “No, I don’t believe in God, therefore my theology doesn’t form my philosophy.” Yes, it does. The fact that you do not believe in God is the filter through which you look at everything else.
But I’m talking about decisions, decisions of the heart. We need many things in our society today, but I don’t think there’s anything that we need as much as we need a true spiritual revival. Who’s going to win the election? I don’t know. What issues are going to pass? I don’t know.
Keys to Remember
I want to share something we did that came in from the Christian Law Association, just yesterday, keys to remember about the election results. There are just four of these, but these keys are this, no matter who or what wins or passes or doesn’t win or doesn’t pass. Number one, God’s still on the throne. No question about this.
Number two, you may not like this one at first. But follow me through on it. I didn’t write this. I copied it from the Christian Law Association, but I’m going to share it with you. Number two, the United States. And then before I go, one word farther. Let me tell you, I consider myself a very patriotic individual. I’m just stating a fact, the United States, while beautiful and the greatest country on Earth, and I agree with that, is not our final home.
Number three, fretting about anything is wrong. Number four, put all your hope in Christ. Pray, vote, pray, no matter what people win or things passed in the election, continue to pray, we need to pray.
Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, “Seek ye first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Take that verse in context, all of these things are added to you as your necessities of life.
Choices, are you saved? If not, or if you’re not sure, you just say, “I don’t really know.” Choose. Choose to believe in Jesus. Choose to trust him, to forgive your sins, to save your soul. He paid for your sins at the cross. Choose to trust him to forgive you and to save you, give you eternal life and he’ll do it. He said so.
Are you surrendered to him? Have you fully turned your life over to him? Choose. Are you leading other people to him? Are you influencing and are you speaking to other people? Are you trying to get other people to believe in Jesus so they can have the same forgiveness and eternal life that you have? Choose.
Are you leading, by word and example in this dark world, to the only hope that this world has, or are you leading by example toward the ideas of atheists and rebels? Choose. Are you preparing your heart for the spiritual revival that our church, our city, our country, and our world needs? Are you doing that? It’s time to choose. “Choose you this day, whom you will serve whether the gods, which your father served that were on the other side of the flood, the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we’ll serve the Lord.” Is there a choice you need to make? Is there a series of choices you need to make? It’s time to choose.
Lord, our society, our world, our nation, our state, our county, our city, our church, all are in need of great revival. We know that an election is not going to bring revival. That needs to start with our hearts being surrendered to you and our will being given over to yours.
Lord, we pray for our world. We pray for our nation. We pray for our county. We pray for our state, our city, and we pray for our church. We pray for your will to be done in this upcoming election. We pray that people will vote not according to selfish motives, but according to God-given principles and Lord, we pray.
We pray that you would help us all of us, not just those of us in this room, but all of us do accept the results, whether it is what we wanted or not. And we pray Lord that you would help us to see your hand working and that we might have the national revival that we need, help us to do our part, not just wait for others. Lord also help us to keep our focus upon you and not turn aside.
Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: It Is Time to Choose
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