TITLE: A TIME FOR RE-DEDICATION
Joshua is now an old man and realizes that his days are numbered and that the last great act of service to his nation must be a bold challenge to them to Repent and Re-dedicate their lives to the Lord. Their repentance and rededication must be TIMELY and TOTAL. I believe that every older person surely must see that our beloved Nation is in dire need of a Revival in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every Parent and Grandparent needs to see the mess we have made of our Nation, a mess we are passing on to our Children and Grandchildren. Having seen this mess we need to like Joshua, spend the last days of our lives no longer living for ourselves, but we must, for the sake of the coming generations, give the rest of our lives, committed to cleaning up the mess we have made so that our children and grandchildren will not have to inherit this mess we have made of our Nation.
As Joshua gathered the Nation together he stood before them and boldly challenged them to join him and his family in re-dedicating their lives unto the Lord. Let’s break his message down and let us repeat it to our Nation that stands where Joshua’s Nation stood so many generations ago. Let us be as committed to seeing Revival among the Lord’s people before we die, as was Joshua.
1. THE MOTIVATIONS TO CONSIDER
To call them to Re-dedication Joshua gave them two Motivations to Consider.
A. The Lord’s Past Blessings (24:17)
Joshua calls his nation to remember what their life was like before the Lord had led them out of Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
i. Their Salvation (24:17a)
Their former life in Egypt was one of bondage. They were a nation of slaves with no freedom. They got up every morning to the cruel orders of their taskmasters. They were never to have any plans, but their master’s plans. They never had a future except what their slave masters had planned for them. Their whole lives and the lives of their loved ones were dominated by slave masters and slave labor, under the poorest of conditions.
All of that changed one day with the arrival of one who would become their deliverer, Moses. In a short space of time Moses would be used of the Lord to bring the mightiest nation upon the face of the earth to its knees, begging the Jewish Nation to depart from their borders. They would be so eager to see them leave that they would enrich them with lavish gifts. Oh, what a day of rejoicing that was. What a love affair they had with the Lord in those early days of their salvation.
Every person who has ever been saved has a similar testimony. Our lives before we were saved were ones of being enslaved to our passions, with a future without God and without hope, and then one day our Savior come to us in conviction, leading us out of our life of sin and into eternal life. We too had the joy of our First Love with Jesus, but through the years that love and devotion to Him has become just a faint memory for many, just as it had done with Joshua’s generation.
The memory of those early days, when we came fresh from Calvary, ought to be a great motivation for each of us to examine our lives and relationship with Jesus and to rededicate our lives to Him if we find ourselves wanting.
ii. Their Preservation (24:17b)
Not only had the Lord brought them out of Egypt, the house of bondage, and into the Promised Land, but He had preserved them through many dangers, toils, and snares. He had enriched every part of their lives with His favor. He had given them homes they had not built, vineyards they had not planted. Their children had a future now that they had not once had. They were owners of their land and no longer another man’s slave.
Since we have been saved the Lord has also preserved us in all of our ways. [Psalms 34:19] “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Each one of the Lord’s children could write a book on all the times the Lord has preserved us from the time He saved us until this very day. What a motivation for a wayward Christian to re-dedicate their life to the Lord.
The Hymn, AMAZING GRACE could have been Joshua’s Invitation Hymn!!
“Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!
Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath bro’t me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”
AMEN! AMEN! and AMEN!
B. The Lord’s Future Blessings (23:11-16; 24:20)
Joshua knew that all of the bounties of his nation were from the Lord in response to their devotion to Him, but he saw their future was being put in jeopardy by their waning devotion to the Lord. He knew a TIMELY and TOTAL re-dedication was the only thing that would keep them from throwing away all the Lord had had done for them , as well as all the Lord had planned for them in the future hope. This Indifference to the Lord and Idolatry must be turned around if there was to be any hope for continuing to be the beloved and blessed nation that he had fought and sacrificed to build.
All of us have known people whom the Lord saved out of the pig pens of life, and blessed them with a good job, beautiful family, a nice home, and a good church family, only to see them later throw it all away, as they fell away from the Lord and went back into sin. All the Lord had for them and theirs go up in smoke, and their lives are filled with the pangs of what could have been.
Joshua could see the future was hanging in the balance. The blessings of the Lord were being put in jeopardy.
i. On Our Children (24:15…my house)
Joshua had been a member of a generation that had made their children suffer for their rebellion against the Lord. 40 years they had to wander in the wilderness and suffer for the sins of the fathers. He did not want to see another generation have to so suffer as he had seen those who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
Without a revival in my generation, our children and our grandchildren are sure to be cursed with a dark future. Only a revival of re-dedication to the Lord will save our future generations from that horrible fate.
ii. On Our Country (23:11-13)
Our nation, like Joshua’s, has known the blessings of the Lord as no other people in history, but we are already seeing the death of this great nation taking place before our very eyes. No one over 40 can honestly say that this is the same “God Blessed America” that we grew up in. Without a rededication to the Lord, we are putting the future of our nation at risk just as did Joshua’s people were doing?
iii. On Our Churches
The Church in America was once the pillar and ground of truth, it was once a firewall against the onslaught of sin and wickedness. It was once the moral conscience to our nation, and the assurance that our children would be saved and set on the right path for life. The Church was once a place where the Gospel was preached and spirits lifted and strengthened to face the days ahead of us. It was once the one place a lost and confused world could look for wisdom and guidance to face the challenges before us. It was once the place where Jesus was lifted up and HOPE for the world sprang eternal. What a blessing the Church was to us, our children, and our nation, but that is nearly a thing of the past, and the only hope for fanning the dying embers of the Church, so our nation may once again be blessed by her warmth, is for a timely and total re-dedication of its members. Our churches are dying and our nation along with it. That is a powerful motive that should challenge each of us to examine our hearts and to re-dedicate our lives to Jesus.
11. THE MENACES THAT CORRODE
Joshua had watched the common threats that we all face daily, slowly but surely corrode their commitment to the Lord. All of us today face similar threats to our Faith and Faithfulness, that if not defeated, will eat away at our commitment to Christ as well. What are these Menaces?
A. Times of Temptation
They, like each of us lived in the midst of a godless and wicked world that was always trying to lead them into temptation.
i. There Was The Temptation To Be Worldly (Idolatry…put away the gods…24:14; the gods of the Amorites…24:15)
In Joshua’s day, like ours, there were many attractive, but false gods, whose voices were always crying for their attention and affection. There are the god’s of materialism, the god’s of pleasure, the god’s of power, etc. These are constant menaces that are trying to corrode our devotion to the Lord and more often than not, they take a toll on many of us over the years.
ii. There Was Temptation To Be Wicked (Iniquity…your transgressions nor your sins. 24:19)
Joshua’s people had not only inherited a land in which the inhabitants practiced idolatry, but they also practiced iniquity. Not only were they constantly fighting the temptation to be Worldly, but they were also in a constant battle against Wickedness. Immorality and Perversion was common in the land among the heathens and eventually it had wormed its way into the Camp of the Israelites. The same is true in our generation. Never in America has there been so much temptation to overcome as there is today.
B. Times of Trials (24:8)
Their Fathers had followed the Lord until they saw the Battles they were going to have to fight to take the land and to follow on after the Lord. They then chose to go back and wander in the Wilderness for 40 years. Joshua’s generation had chosen to go on and fight the battles, but these battles, no doubt wearied the people over time. All of us are prone to grow weary fighting the daily battles of Faith, and if we are not careful we will allow this weariness to erode our commitment to the Lord. [1 Corinthians 15:58]
C. Times of Triumphs (23:1)
Often times the greatest menace to our devotion to the Lord is not our constant Temptations and Trials, but our Triumphs.
People backslide more often in their times of Peace and Rest than at any other time. Joshua’s people failed to heed the Lord’s warning in [Deuteronomy 8:10, 11]. “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His ordinances, and His statutes, which I command thee this day.”
Peace, prosperity, and good times are harder on the devotion of more Christians than Trials and Temptations. The prosperous Laodicean Church in America today has produced the least devoted Christians in our history. The old timers may have had to set on hard pews, but they didn’t have to put up with so many hard hearts sitting in soft pews as we do today. The old buildings may have had a chill in the air, but they didn’t have it in their hearts. Today snoring has replaced the shouting, and the feminine little sissy has replaced the fire and brimstone prophet of God.
I believe it was Adrian Rogers that once said; “Our blessings have become our cursing’s, and one day it may be that our cursing’s will become our blessings.”
111. THE MOMENT TO CHOOSE (… choose you this day…24:15)
Joshua was insistent that they Re-dedicate their lives to the Lord then and there, or go on and serve the gods of the heathens. Why was Joshua so insistent that the Moment to Choose was that very day? Here are a few reasons he may have had.
A. They Were Some Who Were Already Drifting (24:14…out away the gods…)
Joshua saw that many of them were already Drifting away from the Lord to other gods and immorality. They were slipping and drifting away from the Lord as he spoke. [Hebrews 2:10]
B. They Were Some Who Were Deliberating
Joshua knew as every Pastor knows when he is preaching to his audience, that in the every crowd there are those who, as you speak are deliberating in their minds and hearts on whether or not to have an affair, to drop out of Church, etc. Preacher, don’t let them leave before you challenge them to re-dedicate their lives to Jesus. If you do you may lose them to the World and the Devil. If you are reading this message and are deliberating to drift away from the Lord into sin and worldliness. I want to beg you not to do so, only disaster and heartache awaits the backslider.
C. They Were Some Who Were Dying
Like him, there were dying people in his midst who were in danger of dying out of fellowship with the Lord. Death was not only a danger for the elderly, but Joshua knew that death was no respecter of age. The old window peeper may be peeping in the windows of anyone who is reading this message. [Jeremiah 9:21] Today is all you have. You do not know what a day may bring forth. [Proverbs 27:1; 29:1] You do not want to die and go out into eternity to meet the Lord in a sinful backslidden condition.
D. They Were Some Who Were Deadening Their Hearts (Ephesians 4:19; Hebrews 3:7,8)
Joshua knew that every time a man heard the voice of the Lord and refused to heed it, that it hardened his heart and deafened his ears until he would come to a time that his heart would become so hard that they would be past feeling [Ephesians 4:19] and their ears so deaf that they can no longer hear God’s Voice. At that point a man’s fate is settled!! Some of you that are reading these lines can remember a time that the Lord’s Word moved you and now it no longer does. You have come to this state by your continual refusal to act upon the Word the Lord spoken to you time and time again. All of us remember those old alarm clocks that we would wind up and when they would go off to wake us up, we would jump out of our skin. Many of us would get so used to the alarm that we didn’t even hear it when it went off anymore. That is the way it is for those who choose to turn a deaf ear to the Lord. Joshua knew that was a danger many of his people were even then facing.
As it was time for Joshua’s Nation to Repent and Return to the Lord with a new Dedication that was both TIMELY and TOTAL, so is it for the Lord’s people today!! Today the Choice is in your hands, but if you fail to see the need or heed the Lord’s call, He may very well make the decision to take you in hand for your deliberate and repeated defiance. Today the Choice is yours, Tomorrow may be too late. “Wherefore, as the Holy Spirit saith, TODAY if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts…” [Hebrews 3:7, 8]
My friend, CALVARY is the only thing that stands between you and the Lord’s Judgment. To be perfectly honest, CALVARY is the only thing that is holding back the Destructive Flood of God’s Wrath upon this vile and wicked generation. Jesus’ Death and Shed Blood at the Cross has Atoned for the Sins of us all. The Lord took our judgment at Calvary and the Father is satisfied with His payment and is now able and willing to Forgive You as a Sinner and to Make You His Child and give unto you Everlasting Life. And it is just for the asking. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved.” [Romans 10:13] If you have never done so, won’t you bow your head right where you are and ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart and forgive you of your sin and unbelief and save your soul. Repenting of your life of Unbelief and Trusting Jesus and Jesus alone for your Salvation!!
If you know that you are a Born Again Child of God, but you also know that, for whatever reason, you do not have the Devotion to Jesus you once had then you too need to Repent, not to be Re-Saved, but to be Restored to Sweet Fellowship with Jesus [1 John 1:9].You would not want to meet Jesus in your back-slidden condition. Neither do you want to continue to slight Jesus and sooner or later have to face His Chastening. [Hebrews 12:6-15] Like the Prodigal Son of [Luke15], won’t you come to your senses and get up and come home TODAY!!
Romans 8:28/1Peter 5:7