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A Call for Decision - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
October 29, 2023 12:00 am

A Call for Decision - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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October 29, 2023 12:00 am

“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” (Joshua 24:15).

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The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! The praise of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace! This is LeSaire Bradley, Jr., inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. I am weak, but thou art strong. Jesus, keep me from the wrong.

I'll be satisfied and tall. As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. Through this world of toil and snares, If I fall to Lord, who cares.

Who in Thee my birth shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. When my feeble life is o'er, Time for me will be no more. Guide me, send me, save me, Lord, Till I kneel down sore, till I soar.

Just a closer walk with Thee, Grand is Jesus, his might be. Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, Lord, let it be. I'm glad you've joined us for the broadcast today, and if the program is a blessing to you, I hope that you will write us and let us know. We do depend on our listeners for support, and so if you can help us, we'll be very thankful for it. Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. I also encourage you to visit our website. There you can hear both the Sunday and daily broadcast, and see our publication, The Baptist Witness, as well as have access to a lot of other materials.

If you would like, you can make a donation to our broadcast when you go to the website at BaptistBibleHour.org. Today we come to our final message in our series from the book of Joshua. We concluded last time with Joshua chapter 24 verse 14, which says, We talked about Joshua's call for perseverance, for continuing to follow and serve the Lord.

Now we come to a strong appeal for decision, verse 15. This is Joshua chapter 24 verse 15. And if it seemed evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Well, obviously Joshua is not suggesting that if you choose to serve these other gods, that's a viable option. He's trying to hold up the fact that the idea of serving these false gods is an absurdity, and that you must make a firm commitment to serve the living God, and he is an example. Because as for me and my house, the decision has been made. We will serve the Lord.

So first we consider the necessity of decision. God expects total commitment. We read from the book of Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord our God with all thine heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might.

So this idea of total commitment didn't just come up in the era of Joshua's leadership. This is a message that God was continually directing to his people through Moses and in other times. Our God is one, and here's commitment. Thou shalt love the Lord with all your heart, not loving him partially and loving some other god as well. Thou shalt love him with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Verse 14, ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you. He was giving instruction concerning their obligation and responsibility to the Lord when they would enter into the Promised Land and be surrounded by pagans that you're not to go after their gods.

You're not to be influenced by those that are around you. Well, just as God expected total commitment from his people in those times, he expects it today. In the Gospel of John chapter 4, John chapter 4 verse 23, it says, But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship him in spirit and in truth. True worshippers, those who are able to truly worship God acceptably are to worship him in spirit and in truth. Not to be divided, not to be distracted, not to be tipping their hat to other gods, but to worship him in spirit and in truth. For the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. So a total commitment is required.

A true heartfelt decision is necessary. And then John in his first epistle concludes with chapter 5 and verse 21 by saying, Little children, keep yourselves from idols. We notice repeatedly in the Old Testament scriptures there is a warning against idolatry. And of course there was a need for that because they were surrounded by pagans who were worshipping all kinds of gods.

Not just one other god, but many gods. And so they're being warned not to be influenced and not to go after these gods. So you might assume that idolatry was a problem in olden times, but that we've outgrown that. And everybody today knows better than to worship an idol. Worship a god made with hands. But here's John in the New Testament telling us, Little children, keep yourselves from idols. It's still a problem.

Because our human nature is still like those Israelites who were constantly being distracted. You're not looking at an idol that was carved out of wood or hewn out of stone. But the idols of the heart are always a problem. Those things with which you become enamored.

Those things which become so important and uppermost in your life. To which you give greater attention and affection than you do to God himself. The admonition is, keep yourselves from idols. Now Joshua knew that some of the people, while professing to serve God, secretly held onto idols. That they weren't let it be known generally, but stashed away in some of their belongings. They had some little treasure that they considered to be a god that would bring them some advantage. And were worshiping these idols. But devil-mindedness is totally unacceptable with God.

We see that at a later time. When in the days of Elijah, the people were of a divided mind. And in 1 Kings chapter 18 verse 21 it says, And Elijah came unto all the people and said, How long halt ye between two opinions?

How long are you going to continue in this unstable status? Halting between two opinions, wavering, can't make up your mind. If the Lord be God, follow him.

If Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him, not a word. Make up your mind. God is not satisfied when you're wavering. When you go from one side to the other.

How long halt ye between two opinions? Well, Elijah says we're going to have a contest here. The prophets of Baal were present. He said, we're going to build an altar and put a sacrifice on it.

And the God that answers by fire will be recognized as the true and living God. Well, the prophets of Baal cut themselves. They shouted. They prayed to their God. The day passed on.

They made a lot of noise. But there was no fire. Finally, Elijah says, I want you to bring water. Pour it on the altar.

Three times. The water filled up the ditches that were around the altar to be demonstrating the fact that there were no tricks here. This altar was soaking wet.

So if it caught fire, it was going to have to be supernatural. And then he stood back and prayed, Lord God of heaven, rain down fire that this people may know that thou art God and I'm thy servant. The fire licked down from heaven, consumed the sacrifice, burned up the altar and licked the water out of the ditches. And so at that point in verse 39, it says, and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, the Lord, he is God. The Lord, he is God.

Pretty good time to say that. Clear evidence. Here was something supernatural. The Lord, he is God. He demonstrated it and so we see how vital it is for his people not to be influenced by false gods and by the gods of this world that are attracting people today. And then we see the problem with that wavering spirit when in the book of Revelation chapter 3 verse 15, it says, I know thy works of thou art neither cold nor hot, I would that thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, neither cold or hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because you're lukewarm, you're half-hearted, you're not really committed to the Lord. You may in lip service say, oh, I believe in God. I love the Lord. And maybe it's one day out a week that you do come to church and feel, well, I've contributed my part as a Christian. I came to worship God, but the rest of the week give little thought to serving him, little thought to communing with him in prayer. Well, if you're lukewarm, he said to this church, being lukewarm, being half-hearted, being divided in your spirit, I'll spew you out of my mouth. I'm not going to continue to recognize you as a church or bless you as a people.

If you continue in the lukewarm state, you need to be warmed up and be zealous and totally committed. Well, one of the problems with these people was self-confidence. In verse 16, here's the claim of the people. The people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord and serve other gods, for the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt. Now, it's commendable that they are recalling the mercies of God. This is something that Joshua recommended on a regular basis, and so they're reiterating what God has done for them. Brought their fathers up out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage and which did great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way wherein we went and among the people through whom we passed.

And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites, which dwelt in the land. Now, after reviewing all of that, what God has done for them, they make a reasonable conclusion. Therefore, will we serve the Lord, for he is our God. Now, you would think at this point, Joshua would be delighted with what they have said, that he's gotten the message across. He said, you got to choose who you're going to serve. And for me and my house, we're going to serve the Lord. So now they say, we will serve the Lord, for he is our God. But Joshua wasn't pleased, and we learn why. As we go on to verse 19, and Joshua said unto the people, ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is an holy God. He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

Now, that seems like a strange response, doesn't it? Here these people have gone over the list of mercies that they've enjoyed, and they have now concluded, we will serve the Lord. And Joshua, instead of rejoicing and saying, I'm so thankful, he says, ye cannot serve the Lord. Why would he make such a statement? Well, he knew a lot about these people, and he knew that they were still holding on to their false gods.

He knew that their heart was dividing. So he said, under these circumstances, you can't serve him. You can't claim you're serving God and still hold on to your idols. So, it says God will not forgive your transgressions. He's not going to forgive your transgressions when you claim we're turning from our sin.

We're turning from our idols, but you don't do it. I think a lot of people today are confused on that issue. I feel like they can just say, well, I believe God's forgiving me, my sin, but God expects repentance. There has to be a turning from our sin, not a continuance in it. Not assuming that because of his forgiveness that we have no obligation. And so, therefore, he says he will not forgive you. And if you 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.

Could be a complete change in this situation because you talk about the blessings of God. But when you serve strange gods, he's going to do you hurt. He's going to send judgment upon you. And the people said unto Joshua, nay, but we will serve the Lord.

So, they come back the second time and say, we will serve the Lord. But Joshua knew how fickle they were. Joshua knew that even at this very moment when they're saying we'll serve the Lord, they had their gods stashed away and their belongings. See a clear evidence of the fickleness and divided mind that sometimes possesses those who claim to be God's people. Moses was on the mount receiving the law of God. The people down at the foot of the mountain said, we don't know what's happened to this Moses. He's been up there a long time.

He may never come back. So, we need a God to lead us into worship. And incredibly, Aaron tells the women to take off their golden earrings and bring them and he fashion it into a golden calf. And the people bowed down and worshiped it. So, here comes Moses down from the top of the mountain with two tablets of stone, the law inscribed thereon, one of them thou should have no other gods before me. And here are the people already having erected another god, violating the law, doing what they were inclined to do in human nature. And so, you can see the folly of those who sometimes give lip service to serving God, but there is no real decision.

There is no real commitment. There was a need of humility since these people had stumbled and faltered many times along the way. Yes, it would be good for them to say, as for my house, we'll serve the Lord and join with Joshua in his decision.

But you couldn't do that in truth unless you were ready to get rid of the false gods that you still embraced. Sometimes people may question, why do we spend time in an Old Testament book like Joshua? Is it really relevant today? Well, indeed, I believe it is.

And I hope you've been able to see that in the various messages that we brought over the past months. But here's a New Testament confirmation that it is relevant. We go to 1 Corinthians chapter 10, reading in verse 5, but with many of them, God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Here then, going back before the day of Joshua, there were those who were overthrown in the wilderness. Now, these things are written for our example to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

Why do we have a record of it? Why do we have it as a part of the inspired Word of God? They were written for our learning that we might not follow their example, that we might not trip up as they did, saying one thing and doing another. And so to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted, neither be ye idolaters. So if you think idolatry is only an Old Testament problem, here it is once again in the New Testament. On the basis of what you have learned from these Old Testament accounts, it says, neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them, as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play, neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Oh, the attitudes are changing in our day. The Word of God is not changing, the truth is not changing, but the ideas, the thinking, the attitudes of multitudes are changing. Just recently, in one survey, a large number of young people who are professing evangelicals, of course it's gotten to the place that that term is hard to define because so many use it, now have come to the conclusion that it is not wrong for them to be intimate once they are engaged.

They need not wait for marriage, that engagement entitles them to have that intimate relationship. So here are young people who are going to churches, many of which would claim we believe the Bible, but they've set their own standard, they've set their own rules. Here is God's Word, let us not commit fornication, as some of them did. It can't be defended and justified.

Many today are living together without the benefit of marriage. Just because it's now socially accepted doesn't mean that God has changed its standard, it's still sin. It still violates God's law. Now in verse 11, it says, See, these people were not saying, yes, we want to make a change here, we're going to get rid of our idols and we need prayer that God will bless us to follow him.

No, they are not taking into account the history of their own people and their own conduct in the past. They're just saying, oh yes, we will do this, we will serve the Lord. But we're reminded to take heed. Let not a man think he stands because he's on dangerous ground when he thinks that. Few say today, well, I know a lot of people need this kind of admonition, but I'm standing strong.

I don't have to be concerned about that kind of temptation. All of us are subject to satanic attacks and temptations of every sort and we need to recognize that we must not boastfully stand thinking we stand but take heed, lest we fall. Verse 14 says, wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. Once again, here in the New Testament, talking about idolatry, flee from idolatry.

Get away from it. Don't see how close you can get, but flee from idolatry. Anything that takes over your mind and heart, whether it's a desire for material gain, for social recognition, for pleasure and entertainment, the lust of the flesh, says abstain from fleshly lust because of the war against the soul.

I've had people say, well, what I'm doing really doesn't hurt anybody else. Well, if it's in the category of fleshly lust, it's hurting you and it's dishonoring God. Abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul. More holiness give thee more strivings within, more patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin, more faith in my Savior, more sins of His care, more joy in His service, more purpose in prayer. Well, the people in Joshua's day were plagued by the influence of the pagans around them and periodically gave in to worshiping false gods.

Now we can all sit back and say, well, I'm not guilty of that, but as we've just pointed out, idols may be the idols of the heart, those things that take the place of putting first the Lord our God and serving Him completely. I hope that the message has been a help to you and that you will write us and let us know. Until next week at this same time, may the Lord richly bless you all. More gratitude give thee more trust in the Lord, more pride in His glory, more hope in His word, more tears for His sorrows. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. More purity give me more strength to overcome, more freedom from earth's chains, more longings for home, more fit for the kingdom, more useful I be. More blessed and holy, more savior like thee.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 02:18:34 / 2023-10-29 02:27:42 / 9

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