Bible Study 2022
The Fight of your Life
Look at Joshua 24:15. Israel at that moment has to make a choice, and similarly it is a choice that we too have to make every day. And Joshua gave the Israelites three options. So let us read Joshua 24:14-16, “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 16 So the people answered and said: “We would never forsake the Lord to serve other gods.”
Joshua gave the Israelites three choices, and I want to relate that to the same choices that you have to make every day. Notice the first choice that Joshua gave was to delegate. I mean what is in verse 15, you can worship the gods your fathers served. Joshua is saying your family has raised you not to follow God, in fact they have their own idols. Now this might look very different in each of your families.
Some of us have inherited generational sin habits from the people in our lives. That is just a reality. Some of us have seen our parents and our family and you realize that you look a lot like them. I work like them, I make my job an idol like my dad does, and I spend time away like he does. For some of us it is a lot deeper, I drink like he does, I criticize like she does. For some of us that generational sin haunts us.
For some of us the idols that our ancestors worship actually look a little different. If you ask a young person today what their testimony is, they start their testimony in this way, well I grew up in a Christian home. And that is a blessing. I am blessed that my parent knew Christ and followed Him. But for a long time my faith was something that I just inherited from my parents.
How many of us have just inherited a faith? We don’t have an actual relationship with Jesus. We just grew up in Christian homes. I want to say for a minute that perhaps, may be, to have a legitimate faith in Jesus that is marked by holiness, godliness and evangelism, it has to be ours. The question of faith is not one that we can have our parents answer for us.
It is not one that we can answer by legacy. We are blessed to have a legacy but the question of faith is a question that we have to answer individually. To take it further, when someone asks us about our relationship with Jesus we can’t just say, we attend church. We are blessed to have a church, but the question of who we will serve is not a question that a pastor can answer for us.
If you are one of those people that come along because your spouse attends the church, I’m glad, but it is not a question that a spouse can answer for you. And Joshua is saying, you can actually choose to serve the idols that the people in your life have worshipped historically. I have to have my own faith. So my question today is, is your faith your own? Or are you the product of believe from your parents?
For some of you, you did not grow up in a Christian home. And the god that your parents worshipped looks a lot different, right? Perhaps the thing you thought you would not inherit from your parents is the exact thing you are afraid of getting. Perhaps your dad worked a lot and you are doing the same thing, and making work an idol. Perhaps you believe the way they did.
But you have a choice to make. For some of you, you want to look like your parents. Maybe you worship your parents. Maybe even today you long for your parent’s approval. What Joshua is saying to Israel is that we have to make our faith ours. No one can make this decision for you. We are all accountable for our own decision to God and we cannot depend on someone else to do that for us.
Joshua gives us another choice and that is to deny God outright. Joshua says, you can worship the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. And who are the gods that people serve in Denver? For some of you, your god looks a lot like the Bronco’s logo or the Rockies logo, right? For some of you your god is a snowboard, right? You maybe worship those beautiful mountains.
God created things and He wants us to enjoy it, but the reality is that when good things become like gods, we have exchanged the created things for the Creator and we have committed idolatry. I am not accusing you of that, I don’t want to ruin your ski trip next week, I’m just saying that if we treat our pleasures like god instead of worshipping our Creator God, we have by definition committed idolatry.
Are you worshipping your work, your tech job, are you worshipping money or is your goal in life to have that perfect family? What have you build up in your head as your god unique to where you live? Because Joshua says you can choose to worship those gods where you live or you can make a third choice. You can choose to declare: “As for me and my family we will serve the Lord.”
We can read this in two ways, first we can say that Joshua is speaking for his house, for his family, those who are close to him. He is stepping in the gap for them, taking control over what they do as the man of the house. Or we can say, I, Joshua will be accountable for the people in my house, I desire them uniquely to serve the Lord. I will tell everyone the choice that we have made.
Joshua is asking the Israelites, and he is asking us now, do you really believe God and that He is better than all the others? Do you believe that a personal relationship with the God of the universe is better than all your other desires for created things or an implanted faith from your parents? Created things can never really help you or give you peace and joy or give you the promise of eternal life.
Now here you see the answer of the Israelites in Joshua 24:16-25, “So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed.”
Verse 18, “And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.” The Israelites have been really serving other gods, and then Joshua asks them to choose and they make the right choice. Verse 19, “But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God.”
He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” 21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord!” 22 So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.”
And they said, “We are witnesses!” 23 “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.”
Now this sounds real good, but the reason there is so much in the Bible is that the Old Testament is really a reflection of who we are as people. We make a lot of promises, just like the Israelites, but then trials come and we forget those promises. As Joshua ends the book of Judges begins. After his death Judges 2:11 says, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals.”
They thought that if they made the right choice, that the fight is over. But the reality is the fight has just begun. Look at Judges 3:1-2, “Now these are the nations which the Lord left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan 2 this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know how to fight, at least those who had not formerly known it.”
I want to remind you of the world that we live in, we live through Facebook and we talk about cultural issues a lot, and sometimes we don’t realize how few people have even read the Bible and know about God. The world is lost and unreached because we have not learned how to fight. Perhaps we have become a generation that does not know that there is a spiritual war going on right now.
The Lord has left us here because we are the ones who need to fight. As a believer we have the Holy Spirit in us and we are the hands and feet of Jesus. And as a generation we need to learn to fight against all ungodliness. The reality is that it takes sometimes 12 times of hearing the gospel before a person becomes a believer. The answer to all political problems, to violence, the pro-choice issues and sin is the gospel.
Now in lots of movies the end of the movie shows us how two people get to know each other and finally through lots of drama, the couple is getting married and that is the end. But in life, in reality that is just the beginning. Similarly becoming a Christian is not the end of our relationship with God, it is just the beginning. God accepts us as we are, with all our faults and weaknesses.
But He does not leave us there, God wants to make you more like Himself. He wants to teach you how to love, first to love your God and then to love your fellow men. And that means to fight for what you believe in. When you get married you begin a relationship with you wife that lasts a lifetime, and learning ‘to become one’ involves a lifetime of learning how to see the world through biblical eyes.
And that involves fighting against the wiles of the devil, fighting against your own fleshly lusts and against the world. Deciding to serve the Lord comes with a price tag that requires us to fight in a war. Jesus says the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Are you fighting the correct fight? Here are three ways to start on this fight: If you are a Christian you are a missionary.
First you have to make the right choice to serve the Lord. Secondly you have to have the right strategy. This is your responsibility as a person. You are the training ground for other saints. You need to be raised up so that you are willing to embark on a mission. You need to find the courage to share your faith as much as possible, to your friends, neighbors and even strangers. And lastly you need a real reason.
You need to know that this is the fight of your life. The emotion behind that thought for me was clear, it is fear. I was afraid of dying, I was afraid of what people might think, I have to fight. But look at what Jesus is motivated by, He was not afraid of dying, He said for the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross despite the shame. For the joy that was before Him He did all that for you.
So for the joy in heaven that is before me, I must fight. I have to make that choice anew every day. I must fight for the things of God, for the people of God, I must fight for my personal holiness, I must fight for sanctification, I must fight to use God’s gifts to be the hands and feet of Jesus to serve others, I must fight to tell others about Jesus, and I know that God is with me through it all, Amen? Let us pray.