There's an old saying that says you can tell the depth of a well by how much rope has to be lowered. I'll just tell you right now God lowered a lot of rope into my pit to get me out of it. And real men will remember where they come from and real men will be in touch with what God has done in them. Our past can weigh us down or it can move us to share how God has rescued us. And to Skip Heitzigs and shares in today's teaching, real men will share their testimony of what God has done to redeem them.
In spite of their past mistakes. But right now, here's a resource bundle that will make a great gift for a special woman in your life. Betty White said, it's not easy being a mom. If it were easy, fathers would do it.
That's not a sly shot at dads. It's a compliment to the wonderful work of mothers. Here's a great way to show your appreciation for a mother in your life. It's the heart songs package, which features a teaching series on the Psalms led by Lenya and Janae Heitzig. Psalm 45 is a love song and in it you're going to find a groom and a bride and it's their wedding day. And it includes an ornate dress and bridesmaids and perfume and gifts and guests. The heart songs package also includes a beautiful sheology quiet time journal and a bag of skips library roast coffee. It's a great gift to honor a special woman in your life with encouragement and strength as she studies God's word and spends time in prayer. All while enjoying a delicious cup of the coffee Pastor Skip loves. The heart songs package is our thanks for your gift to help share biblical teaching and encouragement with others through the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig.
So be sure to request yours when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, let's go to Joshua 24 as we join Skip for today's lesson. So they cried out to the Lord. He put darkness between you and the Egyptians and brought the sea upon them and covered them. And your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. Then you dwelt a long time in the wilderness.
Yeah, 40 years is a long time. And I brought you into the land of the Amorites in whose who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan. And they fought with you, but I gave them into your hand that you might possess their land and I destroyed them before you. Then Balak, the son of Zippor, the king of Moab, arose to make war against Israel and sent and called Balaam, the son of Beor, to curse you.
But I would not listen to Balaam. Therefore, he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand. Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the men of Jericho fought against you, also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Gergashites, the Hittites, the Jabbusites, the Termites, and the out-of-sights, and everybody else. But I delivered them into your hand. I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. I have given you a land for which you did not labor, that's grace, and cities which you did not build, that's grace upon grace, and you dwell in them. You eat of the vineyards and the olive groves, which you did not plant.
Now, therefore, stop there. What does he do? What is he doing? He's telling a story. He's an old guy, kind of like talking, reminiscing about way back then, then this happened, and then, why is he doing this?
He's reviewing their history. They loved history geographically and spiritually. Geographically, you started in Mesopotamia, I brought you to Canaan, then you went down to Egypt, then I brought you back here to Canaan. Then I brought you back here to Canaan.
But more than that, spiritually, understand where you have come from. Your ancestors were idol worshipers. I brought them out of that idol worshiping area into this land. These people here were idol worshipers. Then you went down to Egypt.
Those guys were idol worshipers. Then I brought you back here, and now you serve me, the only true and living God. Something else I want you to notice, you notice that Joshua speaks in the first person in much of this, as if God is speaking through him. He says, Thus says the Lord, I took you, I gave you, I sent, I brought you out, I brought your fathers out, I brought you into the land, I delivered you. Why is Joshua reaching all the way back in their history in this final speech that he gives to men?
Here's why. Joshua is using hindsight to produce insight. Listen, men, hindsight, properly utilized, will produce insight.
He's calling on them to make a choice in the final two verses that we're going to read. Before he calls on them to make the choice, he wants to use hindsight to produce insight. It's always good to look back and remember your past. Let me qualify that. As long as you don't let your past weigh you down. Some people just live in their past. It's what happened 10 years ago.
It's what happened 20 years ago, okay? It's good to be in touch with that, but now get over it and move on. But your past properly used can be a great motivation. Don't let it be a weight, let it be a wing. Don't let it be an anchor, let it be a sail. But it's good to remember where you've come from. Because that helps you know where you're going. Listen to Isaiah chapter 51, God speaking to the prophet says, Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. There's an old saying that says, You can tell the depth of a well by how much rope has to be lowered. I'll just tell you right now, God lowered a lot of rope into my pit to get me out of it. And real men will remember where they come from and real men will be in touch with what God has done in them and the goodness of God to them.
I'll give you a simple suggestion. Learn to recite your personal testimony. Some of you don't even know what a personal testimony is perhaps. Your personal testimony is how you came to Christ and your testimony should include who you were before you met Jesus, why you were attracted to Christ, how he changed your life, and what you've become since then. Those are elements of your testimony.
You can do it in a short, sweet presentation, but you can pull that baby out, and it can be a very powerful tool, and it helps you remember where you've come from. You present yourself to God, you peruse your spiritual journey, and those two steps lead us now to the third. And that's the step of choice.
That's where you pick your course of action. The last two verses, verse 14 and 15, that's what we're going to cover here. Now, therefore, says Joshua, fear the Lord, serve him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your father served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord. 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 father 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.
It's a funny thing about people and these people notwithstanding. Joshua says now it might seem wrong for you to serve the only true and living God. In other words, he knew that these people had a proclivity, a propensity, a bent to go backslide and to worship false gods. It had been part of their history.
It was even part of their ongoing process. So he calls on them publicly presenting themselves in the presence of God to make a choice. And what are the first two words of verse 14? Now, therefore. And those words simply mean based on all that I just said, therefore, that's the transitional word, make a choice. In other words, the choice that I'm demanding that you make is the logical result of what God has done. By the way, every sermon you and I hear should always have a now, therefore. Every truth you're ever exposed to should always have a now, therefore.
Every radio program, television message book that you read should always have a now, therefore. That is, when you and I hear truth, we should make a choice to implement it, because you know what happens if you don't make that choice? You've just made a choice not to do it. And when you choose not to do it, pretty soon you just get good at hearing sermons, hearing sermons, hearing sermons, marginalizing what you hear, not applying it to your life, and your heart gets calloused. And all you do is become a sermon connoisseur.
I give a scale of one to 10, I'll give that a six. Who cares if you grade it or not? Now, therefore, when we're confronted with the truth. Now, why is that so important to make a choice? Here's why. I think it's safe to say that you are today a summation of the choices you have made up to this point.
Would that be right? You are who you are. Your personality is simply the totality of all the choices you have made in your life, because here's the dynamic. You make the choice, and then your choice will turn around and make you. You make the decision, and then the decision will turn and will make you. So he says, choose this day whom you will serve. Notice that the choice must be personal. You can't borrow somebody else's choice for your family.
And what is the choice? Notice he says, fear the Lord. Serve him in sincerity and in truth. You don't hear many sermons on the fear of the Lord. You used to in old preaching. It was a common theme, fear the Lord.
You say that today and people go, what is that? And fear the Lord. This is like the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the Scarecrow. Fear means a reverential awe, and it includes real fear, fear that I am somehow not pleasing my God. And so here's this 100-year-old man saying, fear the Lord. I think there is a deplorable lack of the fear of God in many Christian families today. It's all about the fear of man and what will people think, rather than how does God think?
What does he want me to do? We react in the fear of man rather than respond in the fear of God. Several years ago, I had this bright idea, I thought, of taking a poll of this congregation. Many of you weren't even here at the time.
Some of you were, perhaps. But I wanted to take a poll. I wanted to get my pulse on what people were thinking. And so I asked them to write on little pieces of paper questions that they had. And I would do a series based on the questions they felt they wanted answers from the Bible. Perhaps I hadn't given them yet.
And so I wanted to hear from them. Now, I expected, honestly, to get questions like, are dinosaurs real? Or what about the rapture? Or is hell viable?
Any of those kind of things. And we got a smattering of that. But by and large, over 90 percent were questions about how do I heal my broken family? How do I raise my children?
How do I work this out in my marriage? And I discovered that a large group of Christian people that go to churches are not playing according to God's rule book. Marriages that don't have God at the center. So the choice must be personal.
Josh was saying to the people as a whole for them to make individual choices. Fear the Lord. Serve him. Second, notice that the choice has to be total. Has to be a total choice. You've got to be all in. He says to them, put away the gods.
Your father served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Put them away. Get rid of them. Don't live according to them and serve the Lord.
Now, if I could apply that to us in our situation and in this series, I would say that the principle means this to us. Stop copying the world when it comes to your relationship. Stop emulating. Worldly values, worldly examples. When it comes to your family, your relationships, the surrounding world that you live in does not believe in moral absolutes. Don't do that. The surrounding world in which you live is redefined, reconfigured.
The family don't do that. I'm not here to pound the pulpit and say I'm going to curse the darkness. The world's bad, bad, bad.
It is, but that's not why I'm here. I want to simply ask you a question. What is molding you? What is shaping you? What examples are you trying to be like that you look up to that shape your family life? Do you want to be like the Kardashians? No, no, no. I model my family after the Simpsons.
Yikes. Or is it a godly family model that you're looking toward? A scriptural one. See, good marriages don't just happen. They're the result of a firm choice, hard work, and God's grace.
That's what produces them. Now listen to Joshua's choice. It's both personal and total. As for me and my house, he says in verse 15, last sentence, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Here's a husband and a father being committed before God, even at 100 years of age, and he wants to pass that commitment on to the next generation. Here's Joshua saying, look, I can't speak for you. I can't choose for you. I can only pick for me and I can only choose for me.
I don't know which way you're going, but I know which way I'm going to go. And I'm proud to say as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. He didn't just say as for me, but as for me and my house, that means he was the leader over his house.
He was the covering of his house. Here's the principle. Your spiritual relationship with God must spill over into and affect every other relationship in your life. The great missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, said, your father, your mother.
Now, let me let me redo it. If your father, your mother, your sister, your brother, the very dog and cat in your house isn't happier for you being a Christian. There's a question as to are you really a Christian? Your relationship should affect every other relationship. Now, doesn't it make sense to you that for Joshua to be able to say as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, that he has to have spent some time in his house, that he has to be in touch with his household, because that's what the word house means. Not my four walls made out of adobe with a little roof on top, my house, but my household. For him to say as for me and my household, he has to have spent time in and with his household. Jim Dobson said, if if homes, if houses, if families, if marriages in this country are going to survive, it's because husbands and fathers make it their highest priority and reserve part of their time and energy for leadership in the home.
I want you just to think about that, because we're about to close this message. Several years ago, there was a family researcher, kind of a guru of family development called Dr. Yuri Brofenbrenner. Yuri Brofenbrenner was studying the time that fathers spend with their children to see what correlation there was as to influence. So he looked at and cited one study in particular that asked fathers, how much time do you spend with your kids? Your little children, especially preschool kids, because those are the years where you may not be teaching them verbally, but it's not taught.
It's caught. They watch and you are setting a template for the rest of their lives. So get this in this study. First of all, they asked dads, how much time do you think you're spending with your children? The average father said between 15 and 20 minutes per day.
I spend with my children. The second part of the study after asking the dads the question was actually put microphones on the children. Just to get the verbal interactivity between father and child.
Here's the result. According to Yuri Brofenbrenner, who cited this study, the average time that a middle class father spends with his children is 37 seconds per day. The direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting 10 to 15 seconds each. Compare that with the well-known statistic that the average preschool child watches between 30 to 50 hours of television a week. And you don't have to ask very long. Who's the influence in that family? Here's Joshua saying, as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. That is the commitment I have made. That is the commitment I have passed on to them. And we make it together. I want you to quickly and we'll close with this passage.
I promise. Deuteronomy Chapter six. It's turn left one block. It's the book right before Joshua. Deuteronomy six. Famous passage. Just a few verses.
We'll look at. Here is God's pattern for passing on truth about himself to children and grandchildren. It's very simple, very basic. Deuteronomy six. Now, this is the commandment and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded you to teach.
You may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess that you may fear the Lord. There it is again to keep all of his statutes, his commandments, which I command you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore, hero Israel, and be careful to observe it that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly. As the Lord God of your fathers has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.
Hero Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.
That's the pattern. First of all, you live them. That's part of believing them.
Let's back up. You believe them in your heart. You live them in your life. You discuss them with your children and your grandchildren. That's part of your topic at home in your conversation. And you keep doing that and you keep doing that as those children are raised.
And eventually you will watch your children and grandchildren reap the benefits. That's why whenever we dedicate a baby, we meet with the parents first before a baby dedication to make sure the family is dedicated, the parents, the marriage is dedicated to Christ. It's not some little ritual. We just add to a church service. Are they committed?
Are they devoted? At the beginning of this message, I gave you a challenge. Will you be one of God's thousands of disappointments or one of his few successes? You can be a success.
That's the aim of this study. Many years ago in the deep south, two paddle boats left Memphis, Tennessee on the Mississippi River for the city of New Orleans. That's how you say the word.
I have been corrected in that town when I called it New Orleans. So these two boats were on their way to New Orleans. And they were just tugging along, tugging along, going next to each other. But one of the crew members shouted to the other boat as if to say, you guys are slow, we're fast.
Words were exchanged, heated, and soon a race was on. And so they just kept putting fuel, coal in the oven to burn. And the boats were neck and neck, neck and neck.
And one of them gradually fell behind. And it was the problem. It was running out of fuel. It had enough fuel to make the trip, but not enough fuel to win a race. So as they were getting behind, one of the crew members thought, well, this is a cargo ship, let's burn the cargo. And they discovered that the cargo burns, furniture burns, wood burns as well as coal. So they were stuffing cargo into the ovens, burning it, and they won the race.
They won the race, but they burned the cargo. Men, God has given you precious cargo. A wife. Women, forgive me for comparing you to cargo, but I think you know where I'm going with the illustration. You have a wife, you have children. That's the precious cargo that is to come along you.
Some men are going to win the rat race and they're going to burn the cargo. And in that sense, you have lost altogether. Where do you begin? You begin with God. You fear the Lord and you serve Him. Men, simple question, how many sermons do you have to hear?
How many messages will it take before it's bing, I get it. I need to be a holy man in my home to lead them the way God wants His home led. To be dedicated, not just have your wife dedicated, your children dedicated, but you as a leader dedicated to God and leading your home in a godly manner. And the first step to be one of His few successes is to be yourself, a man committed to Him.
It's our choice. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from his series, Keep Calm and Marry On. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at ConnectWithSkip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's word.
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We hope you'll tune in tomorrow as Skip begins his message, How to Have a Love Affair with Your Spouse. Sex is much like that dark soil in your garden if you have a garden. Yeah, dark potting soil, that nutrient-laden, rich, dark soil that looks so great in your garden.
You put that on your white carpet? Not so much. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection. Connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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