Joshua: All In

All In full sermon manuscript

Joshua: All In

Joshua 8:1-35

January 14, 2018

 

As we read Joshua 8 today, we are going to see all of the Israelites were all in. They believed God, trusted His command, and followed Him fully. Let that be true of us as well.

All through the description of the battle plan is the repeated focus on God’s plan and God’s Word. Verse 7 tells the ambushing force that the LORD your God will give it into your hand and when they had taken the city they were to do according to the word of the LORD. Again, it’s not about the battle but about the LORD who gave the victory. The Israelites focused on who was fighting for them not what they were doing to fight.

After the battle, their second in the land of Canaan, it appears the Israelites traveled some distance away to worship and refocus their hearts. Joshua made an altar, wrote a copy of the Law, and read it to the entire nation.

Last week we saw that God takes sin seriously, and so should we. This week we see that God wants His people to be all in. He doesn’t want pieces of us. He doesn’t want some of us. He doesn’t want us to follow just a part of the Word of God. He wants all of us to follow all of His Word. Here is where the hard work really begins. Where would you say your heart is? Psalm 139:23-24 is a great passage to help examine that. We are good at justifying our sin and letting ourselves off the hook. Psalm 139:23-24 puts the focus on God examining us and then us needing to do the hard work of accepting what God points out and repenting from it. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (NLT)

Where are you holding back? What parts of your life are offensive to God? What do you need to repent and turn from? Allow God to examine your heart and test your thoughts. Then do something about it. Give over to Him what you’re holding back. Confess, repent, and seek accountability and forgiveness from others if necessary. Are you willing to go all in for God? It is a process, not a one-time decision. You have to make this decision new every day, and usually multiple times throughout the day. When faced with temptation, we have to answer the question: Am I going to go all in for God and say no to temptation or am I going to be all in for myself and say yes to temptation?

 

Joshua: God Takes Sin Seriously, So Should We

God Takes Sin Seriously full manuscript

God Takes Sin Seriously, So Should We

Passage: Joshua 7

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Pastor Trent Broussard

 

Last week, we watched as Joshua led Israel to a most improbable victory. The walls of Jericho were built to withstand any army and would have most assuredly survived an assault from Israel had not the Lord been on their side. The story is well known. Israel did exactly as the Lord instructed and the walls came down. The instruction once the walls came down was simple: save Rahab and those in her household and save all the gold, silver, bronze and iron for the treasury of the Lord. Everything else was to be utterly destroyed. No prisoners were to be given quarter and no bounty was to be taken by any soldier. By and large, this happened exactly as the Lord commanded. Almost everyone obeyed the Lord.

 

Achan’s Sin Affects Others

Joshua 7:1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.[1]

It is interesting that the Lord holds all of the people of Israel accountable for the sin of one man. Remember the command from Joshua 6:18: But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. One man stole the things devoted for destruction, not the nation. But God holds all Israel responsible. Romans 5:12 says Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. Just like in the Garden of Eden, when the sin of one man brought a curse upon all men, one man’s sin in Jericho brought the anger of the Lord upon the people of Israel. Achan’s sin brought the anger of the Lord upon all of Israel. Sin not only affects the sinner but everyone around them. Sin destroys community.

 

Sin Destroys Hope

Joshua 7:2-5

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

Joshua doesn’t know about Achan’s sin. Joshua doesn’t know the Lord is angry; he is simply making a strategic decision based on good intelligence from his men. Israel should have easily defeated Ai, just as Jericho should have easily defeated Israel. But instead, 36 men are killed as the 3,000 Israelites turn and run from the army of Ai. And look what the Scripture says in Joshua 7:5: And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. Just a couple of chapters earlier it was the Canaanites whose hearts were melting as Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground: Joshua 5:1 …Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted…

The sin of one man destroyed the spirit of an entire people. The people who crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, the people who marched around Jericho, played trumpets, gave a shout and watched the walls fall down, were now without hope and fearful. Jim Hamilton writes: This episode demonstrates that Yahweh’s righteousness is not limited by his commitment to Israel. His commitment to them does not cause him to show an unjust favoritism toward his chosen people. When they sin he punishes them, showing the glory of his justice.[2] Sin destroyed hope for Israel. Even though they were God’s chosen people, the effects of sin brought them to despair.

 

Sin Causes Grief

Joshua 7:6-9

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. [7] And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! [8] O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! [9] For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?” 

Remember that only Achan sinned, but the whole nation is suffering and grieving. A defeated Israel mourns the loss of 36 men. They grieve, and Joshua understands that the Lord has done this. Joshua’s appeal is not based on Israel’s goodness or deserved standing. Israel has no goodness. They do not deserve any standing with the Lord. Joshua appeals to the reputation of the Lord; he appeals to God’s name and his character.

 

Without Faith, Man Cannot Please God

Joshua 7:10-15

The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the LORD, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the LORD takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the LORD takes shall come near by households. And the household that the LORD takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”

God does not allow Joshua to continue his mourning and questioning of God. Instead God gets right to the point: Israel has sinned. Note God does not say Achan has sinned, but Israel has sinned. For the sin of one man, the entire community was held accountable.

What was Achan’s sin? Yes, Achan took what God had forbidden, but the heart of Achan’s sin was unbelief. He did not believe that God would hold him accountable. He did not believe that God would even know that he had taken the items. He did not believe. This was the root of his sin. Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Achan did not have faith, he did not believe, so the Scripture says it was impossible for Achan to please God.

 

God Is Not Mocked

Joshua 7:16-22

So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. God did see Achan sin. God did know what Achan had done. God does what he says he will do.

God created perfection in the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned, and death was the penalty. Adam and Eve deserved immediate death, but God was merciful and promised redemption through their seed. God destroyed all the population of the earth save Noah and his family due to the wickedness of the people. When Noah left the ark, it was like a new opportunity in Eden, yet Noah sinned and man's downward spiral continued. Here in Canaan, God has brought his people victory and given them the land. This is a new opportunity, a fresh start for the people of God. The faithless generation was gone, yet the pattern of sin continues, this time through Achan. The truth is, man has failed at every opportunity he has been given to follow God, and the truth is that all are deserving of destruction.

Notice the progression of sin in 7:21: I saw…I coveted…I took…I hid. We see the same progression with David and his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11: He saw her that she was beautiful, he inquired about her (coveted), he took, and then he murdered her husband to conceal his sin. In case you may be thinking this is an Old Testament issue and does not matter today, consider James 1:14–15: But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

 

Sin Is Costly And Cannot Be Ignored

Joshua 7:23-26

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the LORD. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.

 

Jim Hamilton writes:

We must not too easily pass over this. A man received the death penalty, and his family died with him, because he plundered a cloak from Shinar along with some silver and gold (Josh. 7:21). It is only the majesty of Yahweh that makes this just. For this to be just, the greatness of Yahweh must be such that trusting in what one can see, rather than what Yahweh has said, is a crime that warrants the forfeiture of life. The ancient Israelites were not a barbaric, bloodthirsty people, but Yahweh is a God whose holiness is a consuming fire. Achan himself gives “glory to God” and “praise to him” and confesses his sin against Yahweh (7:19–20). Israel is saved from Yahweh’s wrath through the judgment that falls on Achan. Yahweh is shown to be just and merciful, and the awful demands of holiness thunder transcendent greatness.[3]

 

Consider the story of Uzzah the priest who was helping transport the Ark of the Covenant in an ox cart for David. The ark slipped and was falling. Uzzah reflexively put his hand onto the Ark to steady it and was immediately struck dead by the Lord for his disobedience. God had strict rules for the holy things of the Tabernacle. Not only was Uzzah forbidden to touch the Ark, he was forbidden to even look at it. RC Sproul writes:

He touched it anyway. He stretched out his hand and placed it on the ark, steadying it in place lest it fall to the ground. An act of holy heroism? No! It was an act of arrogance, a sin of presumption. Uzzah assumed that his hand was less polluted than the earth. But it wasn’t the ground or the mud that woiuld desecrate the ark; it was the touch of man. The earth is an obedient creature. It does what God tells it to do. It brings forth its yield in its season. It obeys the laws of nature that God established. When the temperature falls to a certain point, the ground freezes. When water is added to the dust, it becomes mud, just as God designed it. The ground doesn’t commit treason. There is nothing polluted about the ground.[4]

 

God gave specific rules about the ark, and as a priest, Uzzah knew the rules but ignored them anyway, arrogantly assuming the ground was more defiling than he would be. God gave specific rules for the destruction of Jericho. Achan knew the rules, but ignored them, believing that either God was not serious, or that he could actually hide his sin from God. Either way, his sin ultimately was a sin of disbelief. He did not believe that God would do what God said he would do. This is not simply the way God worked in the Old Testament. Consider Acts 5:1–11, the story of Ananias and Sapphira:

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

 

Sin is big deal. It was big deal for Achan and the nation of Israel and it is a big deal for you and me.

 

Truths for the passage:

1. Sin always destroys communion

  • Between God and man
  • Between peopl 

2. God sees it all

  • There is no secret sin.
  • God is aware of everything that you have ever done.

3. Death is necessary to pay for sin

  • Achan’s life and the lives of his immediate family members was the required payment for sin.
  • Christ has died for our sins.

 

Applications:

1. Since God is serious about sin, we should be too.

Just because we are forgiven in Christ does not mean we now have a license for sin. Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  

If we are walking in sin, we are not walking in newness of life. Why do you think Paul wrote this to the church at Corinth? 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! Sin is serious. We cannot take it lightly or simply make excuses. God expects us to change. He has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. We need to take inventory of our lives and confess our sin and repent. Christ died for our sin. It is that serious. If it wasn’t serious, Christ didn’t need to die.

 

2. Forgiveness restores relationships.

We will see in the passage next week that after Israel dealt with the sin of Achan, God’s blessing returned. We confess our sin and repent, and our relationship with God is restored. Likewise, when we confess our sins to one another and repent, our relationships with one another can be restored. This is why we are given this command in Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

[1]Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is from the English Standard Version (Crossway, 2008).

[2]Hamilton Jr., James M. God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. (Crossway, 2010).

[3]Hamilton.

[4]Sproul, RC. The Holiness of God. (Tyndale, 1985).

Joshua: Faithful Followers

Faithful Followers sermon manuscript

We are back in the book of Joshua this morning, looking at the Battle of Jericho. This is one the most famous battles of the Israelites as they capture the Promised Land. The focus of the book of Joshua can really be summed up in Joshua 1:7–8[1] Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. God called the Israelites to faithfully follow Him. That is what God wants from us.

Most of us are easily distracted. C.S. Lewis said: "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (The Weight of Glory).

As we move into Joshua 5:13-6:27, we see that spiritual preparedness mattered more to the Lord than military prowess. The Lord would do battle for the Israelites if they maintained the proper priorities and faithfully followed their Lord.

Even when it didn't make sense, when God gave the Israelites a confusing battle strategy, they faithfully followed. What a lesson we can learn! Even when we doubt, when we are confused, when we are uncertain, when it doesn't make sense, we must faithfully follow the Lord.

God wants us to be faithful followers not because He’s narcissistic and arrogant, but because He is Holy and He knows us. He was there when sin and deception entered the world. He knows the promise it makes and the devastation it brings. He knows that if we are going to live righteous, holy lives pursuing Jesus, we have to be all in, or else we will live a shell of the life He has offered.

Life is better when we faithfully follow God and His Word.

What’s the one thing to walk away with from today’s message? The one point today is this: Determine today to faithfully follow the Lord no matter what.

God With Us

God With Us sermon manuscript

God With Us

Passages: Genesis 2:18-24, 3:6, 15:1-6, 17:1-8; Joshua 1:9; Matthew 1:18-25; Hebrews 1:1-3; Galatians 4:4-5

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Pastor Ben Marshall

 

There is nothing as powerful as presence. I have a 14-month-old daughter, and I had this thought last Christmas, as she was two months old, that she desires my presence over presents. The same is true this year.

The impact of a present is temporary, but the impact of the presence of those around us is lifelong.

 

When we look at Scripture, we can see one overwhelming characteristic of God: He wants to be with His people.

First, we see God with Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:18-24; 3:8). At the very beginning, in the creation account, we see that God didn’t just create and leave. He created, and He was close and interacting with creation. 

Second, we see God with Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 15:1-6; 17:1-8). God brought Abraham outside in verse 5 and promised him heirs and offspring innumerable. Abraham at this point was very old and had zero children. But as God was there with Abraham, He promised to make Abraham the father of many nations. 

Third, we see God was with the people of Israel (Joshua 1:9). Our regular sermon series, continuing next week, has been going through the book of Joshua. We see at the beginning of that book that God promised His presence. God didn’t just promise a one-time presence, but a “wherever you go” presence. The LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Fourth, we see God with us (Matthew 1:18-25). This is what we celebrate and remember at Christmas time. Jesus Christ came to be God with us (Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT)

 

Every one of these “God with us” moments followed God’s timing, not the timing of mankind.

Galatians 4:4-5. At the perfect time, at just the right time, God sent Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary, subject to the laws of man, so that we might become children of God. John 1:12, which we read at the beginning of the service, says But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

The question is, “Have I received Jesus Christ, have I believed in His Name and become a child of God?”

Joshua: Covenant-Keeping God

Covenant-Keeping God sermon manuscript

Joshua: Covenant-Keeping God

Passage: Joshua 5:1-12 & various Scriptures

Pastor Ben Marshall

 

We have come from Joshua 3-4, where the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground and set up 12 stones, symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel, as a reminder of what God had done. Today. in Joshua 5, we see another of God's promises coming true in the form of circumcision and Passover.

God commands and Joshua follows. The Israelites, according to Genesis 17:14, needed to be circumcised in order to be inside the covenant of God. However, Joshua reveals none of the Israelites in the wilderness, during their 40 years of wandering, had been circumcised. They were living outside of the promise of God!

Once they had all been circumcised, God told them: “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” They were no longer ridiculed because they were now back in the covenant promise of God and He protected and provided for them.

As we continue through Joshua 5, the focus turns to Passover. The Israelites celebrated Passover 40 years after the first Passover in the land of Egypt. The first signaled the exodus from Egypt, and this celebration signaled the entrance into the Promised Land.

What can we take away from this passage? I fear that some, maybe even many, of us don’t experience the full promise of God. Jesus says in John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Are we living life abundantly? It doesn’t mean monetarily or with possessions—but are we living life abundantly in the promises of God?

I don't think we always live like we trust or believe in the promises of God. 

Today the action point is this: live like God keeps His promises.

Here is just a small sampling of the promises of God for His people:

• God has promised to supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)

• God has promised that His grace is enough in our struggles and weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

• God has promised to always provide the way of escape when temptation comes (1 Corinthians 10:13)

• God has promised that Jesus Christ paid with His blood the debt we could not, and righteousness is available only through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (Romans 3:21-25)

• God has promised His Holy Spirit to intercede for His children and that all things work together for the good of those who are His (Romans 8:26-28)

• God has promised to forgive us our sins if we confess and repent from our sins (1 John 1:9)

• God has promised eternal life through Jesus Christ for all who believe (John 11:25-26)

 

What would be different in your life if you lived like God keeps His promises? 

Joshua: Follow the Lord

Joshua: Follow the Lord

Joshua 3-4

November 26, 2017

Pastor Ben Marshall

 

The Israelites are getting ready to enter the Promised Land, but God has specific instructions for how they will cross over. He is going to do a miraculous thing for the Israelites, but they have to be willing to follow Him. They have to trust and obey God! 

The purpose of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River on dry ground is to make much of God. God performs this miracle so the Israelites will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will, without fail, be with them in battle. God has gone before them and prepared the way.

What can we learn from Joshua 3-4?

1. Obedience is hard, but worth it. Obedience is hard when we live packed lives. We are too busy...often too busy to pray, to meditate on Scripture, to write it on our hearts. We need to slow down. Obedience is hard, but so worth it. Obedience opens up opportunities for God to do miraculous things.

2. Take obedience one step at a time. God is not a God of chaos, but of order. He has a plan. We want to sprint, or see the whole thing at once. That’s not usually how God works. Sufficient for today are its troubles (Matthew 6:34). Trust God's plan and follow Him.

3. Remember the goodness and faithfulness of God. Remember who God is. Remember God’s character and nature, His promises. Remember how God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you, not because you have it all together, but in your mess. Remember the goodness and faithfulness of God. 

 

Taste and See the Lord is Good

Taste and See full manuscript

Taste and See That the Lord is Good

1 Samuel 21:10-22:1; Psalm 34

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pastor Trent Broussard

 

David was on the run from Saul. He feared for his life as Saul intended to kill him. As he is hiding, David goes into the camp of Achish and is identified by the servants of Achish. Rather than be taken prisoner, held hostage, or worse, David feigns insanity and secures his escape. Psalm 34 is what flowed from David after these events.

What can we learn from David in Psalm 34? Here are five applications that we should consider as we begin a new-normal phase known as transition:

1. Pray - The Lord hears our prayers and answers them. Praying for our staff, for our leadership, for our search team and for our brothers and sisters in the congregation is not an optional, good idea. It is a necessity. We must cast our cares upon the Lord. We must ask for His grace and His provision.

2. Look to Jesus - Our mission is to passionately pursue Christ. We should passionately pursue Christ in His word, in prayer and in worship. Don’t be half-hearted or reserved. Go all in for Christ. We are not to sample Him and see if He works. We must taste and see that the Lord is good.

3. Share your faith - The second part of our mission is passionately pursuing others for Christ. We need to actively share what Christ has done for us. We don’t need to wait for a new lead pastor before we tell others how we have been redeemed.

4. Live for Christ - Pursuing personal holiness and righteousness is not an optional add-on to your faith. It is the expectation of your life of faith. We cannot pick and choose when and where to be righteous. We must be righteous today, knowing that eternity is in the balance.

5. Serve - Do you want to know how to encourage your church leaders? When the phone call, text or email comes asking you to serve, say YES. We are making changes in our Sunday morning routines that will cause us to need some new volunteers or cause our volunteers to serve in a different way. To quote the famous NIKE ad, JUST DO IT. We will have needs in our Children’s Ministry. Say yes. You may be asked to usher or teach or sing or pray or give. Say yes.

I do not know what the future holds for Calvary, but I know who holds the future, and we can trust Him.

 

Why Missions: A Farewell Sermon

Why Missions: A Farewell Sermon full manuscript

Why Missions: A Farewell Sermon

Various Passages

Pastor Paul Davis

 

Key Goals: (Know) To know God's plan for missions. (Feel) To feel an affinity for missions. (Do) To be humble senders or goers.

Directly expressed commands to proclaim Christ:

  • Acts 1:8
  • Acts 13:47
  • Mark 16:15
  • Romans 10:13-14
  • 1 Chronicles 16:24
  • Matthew 28:19-20

 

For the last 8 years we have served you as lead pastor. It has been the joy of our life, being a part of your children's dedications, baptisms, funerals, marriages, having an opportunity to preach, teach and counsel. I have so enjoyed working with our leadership team. Calvary, I hope you know how blessed you are to have such a godly team of capable men and women leading this church.

As we leave for ABWE I want to leave you with a challenge, but before I do I think that I should answer the question: Why. Why would we do this? Why leave a church we love and go into missions?

1. Because of God's stated goal.

Throughout all of human history, God's goal has been to reunite himself with fallen humanity (Isaiah 49:6; Mark 16:15). More than 86% of the 3 billion Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim individuals do not personally know a Christian and have an almost zero percent chance of even meeting one.

 

2. Because of Revelation 7:9-10.

Right now it is estimated there are still over 6,700 people groups with zero Christian witness. God's plan is to reach every one of these people groups. His plan included using His people to do that.

 

3. The Money.

That may sound weird to you, but consider this: Until recently, American Christians gave less money to reaching the unreached than they did for buying Halloween costumes...for their pets. Calvary and The Church @ Hamilton gives about 14%, or fourteen cents for every dollar we collect, of our overall budget to missions, but the average church gives less than 2%, or two pennies of every dollar, it collects to missions. We can do better.

 

This is the burden God has given me. This is why we have said yes to this opportunity. This is why we are leaving the comfort of a church we love. This task, this mission, is what we have and will devote our life to.

We love you all deeply, and plead with you as we have many times before: Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel. If you cannot go, then give and send someone to the task.

 

Acts 13:47 - For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, "I have made you a light for the nations, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."

Joshua: The Fear of the Lord

The Fear of the Lord full manuscript

Joshua: The Fear of the Lord

Passage:  Joshua 2; Heb. 11:31

Sunday October 22nd, 2017

Pastor Paul L. Davis

Today, as we approach the second chapter of Joshua, God’s people are ready to enter the land. They are camped on the edge of the river separating them from the Promised Land. This is an exciting time in biblical history. Think of the anticipation. There had been 400 years of slavery and another 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

What will be our first glimpse into the Promised Land? A prostitute named Rahab. She is mentioned eight times in Scripture (Josh. 2:1, 3; 6:17, 23, 25; Matt. 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), and in six of these occurrences she is described as a prostitute. I think it is important to note that this would not have been a good woman; she was the kind of woman that Proverbs 7 warns young men to stay away from. But these spies went to her house and lodged there.

The reason why she hid these spies in Joshua 2 is because Rahab had a fear of and belief in the Israelites’ God, YHWH.

This series in Joshua is helping us to live above our circumstances, so let me pull several truths from today’s passage that will help us do just that:

  1. Rahab’s strong belief in God’s power brought her great courage.
    • Rahab had heard of the mighty acts of God and she was afraid—afraid of judgment, being under God’s wrath, being killed. But that fear did not paralyze her. Instead, it gave her the courage to act in faith, and that faith saved her, not just physically but also spiritually. James 2:25 And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
    • Don’t underestimate the power of your faith to give you strength in crisis.
  2. Rahab’s appeal to God’s loving-kindness brought her mercy.
    • God not only saved her life and the lives of her brothers, sisters, father, and mother, his mercy and loving-kindness went way further. You may not know how this story ends. For that you have to go all the way to Matthew 1:5–6 …and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king… Rahab became the great grandmother of King David, putting her in the lineage of the Messiah. When she asked for hesed, YHWH gave her his Son.
    • When you are in difficult circumstances, do not be afraid to ask for God’s loving-kindness. Pray for hesed! Pray for his mercy, steadfast love, loving-kindness, grace, favor, and compassion. He is a God known for dispensing it freely.

Joshua: The Lord is With You

Joshua: The Lord is With You full manuscript

Joshua: The Lord is With You

Joshua 1:1-9

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pastor Paul Davis

 

Our entire passage today is God speaking directly to Joshua. Let's see the context where we are: It is the 40th year of Israel wandering in the wilderness. Every single person of Joshua’s generation has died except for Joshua and Caleb who are both alive and well. All the people are situated in what was called the plain of Moab, a valley east of the Jordan River and just northeast of Mt. Nebo. Mt. Nebo is the mountain from which Moses viewed the Promised Land just before he died. The people have just spent 30 days mourning the death of Moses, and it is now time for Joshua to take the people into the land that he promised to Abraham. Let’s walk through God’s conversation with Joshua. As we do that, we are going to spot five truths about our God that are critical for us to know if we are going to rise above our circumstances.

 

Truth 1: God's mission continues even as leaders change (Joshua 1:2-4)

The plans are made, the mission is clear, leaders are interchangeable. It was true then and it is true now. The mission of the church is not contingent upon one or two people. God’s mission continues even as leaders change.

 

Truth 2: God's presence, not Joshua, will be the people's source of strength (Joshua 1:5)

Our mission is different from Joshua’s, but the promise is the same: God will be with us as we pursue his mission. Here is the important truth we need to catch: it is God’s presence, not Joshua’s, that will be the people’s source of strength. Having a great new leader like Joshua is nice, but in the end, it is the presence of God that makes the difference.

 

Truth 3: God expects His people to step out in strength and courage (Joshua 1:6-7)

God gave Joshua the law; he was to follow it. The same is true for us. We can move forward in strength and courage, but only if we are committed to learning and doing everything that is in the Bible. We must not veer to the left or to the right. The church must be committed to accurately handling and understanding the Word of God.

 

Truth 4: God calls His people to know and do His will (Joshua 1:8)

Read verse 8 again. See that promise of success at the end? The Hebrew word for “success” is also translated as “instruct, understand, thrive, prosper.” The idea is this: if you truly understand God’s Word, you will conform your life to it, which will make you thrive and prosper. There is only one place in the entire Bible where we are told how to thrive and prosper in this life, and it is here: meditating on the Word of God and being careful to do all that is written in it.

 

Truth 5: God commands us to walk in confidence with no fear (Joshua 1:9)

God is commanding Joshua to act a certain way based upon who God is and what he has promised. These are Joshua’s marching orders. Remember, these are God’s commands that flow from his presence. Look at the last part of verse 8 again: for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

 

Wrap-Up: God’s mission has never been leader-dependent—God used Moses and Joshua interchangeably—but the success of God’s mission in us has always been dependent on our adherence to His Word and His presence. My prayer for us as a church is that, even as we look for a new leader, we would be strong and courageous; that we would push forward and take new ground. There is no reason for us to veer to the right or to the left.

Joshua: The Man

Joshua: The Man full sermon manuscript

Joshua: The Man

Joshua 1:1

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pastor Paul Davis

 

We are starting a new series today, beginning a journey through an incredible book of the Bible that is all too often overlooked: Joshua. We are going to stay in verse 1 today because it brings up so many questions we need to answer before we can move on. For example, where are we in the timeline of the Bible? Who is Moses? Who is Joshua? How did he become Moses' assistant? Why did Moses need an assistant? 

 

The Journey to Joshua:

  • Creation (Genesis 1-2)
  • The Fall (Genesis 3)
  • The Flood (Genesis 6) 
  • The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11)
  • Abraham & Sarah (Genesis 12-24)
  • Ishmael & Isaac (Genesis 22-27)
  • Esau & Jacob (Genesis 26-50)
  • Joseph (Genesis 26-50)
  • 400 years (slavery in Egypt, the book of Exodus, God raising up Moses)
    • It is during these events we first find Joshua

Joshua's original name was Hoshea (Numbers 13:8), which means "salvation." Moses changed his name to Joshua, which means "YHWH is salvation" (Numbers 13:16)

 

What do we know about Joshua?

  • He was born into slavery in Egypt and learned here to endure suffering
  • He served Moses from his youth and was a young man during the Exodus (Numbers 11:28)
  • Joshua was a warrior for the Lord (Exodus 17:8-15)
  • Joshua knew how to wait well and be patient (Exodus 24:13)
  • Joshua understood rejection (Numbers 14:6-10)
  • The real story of Joshua's life begins with him at about the age of 70 (Numbers 27:15-23)

 

4 Tools for Living Above Our Circumstances:

  1. We need to learn to endure suffering (2 Timothy 2:3)
  2. We need to learn how to be number 2 (Matthew 20:26-27)
  3. We need to develop a warrior spirit (Hebrews 12:3-6)
  4. We need to develop the ability to stand alone

 

Special Message: Taras Dyatlik

Jesus Calms the Storm

Passage: Mark 4:35-41

Taras Dyatlik

Sunday, October 1, 2017

 

Jesus initiates this journey with His disciples, and they encounter a situation they are not ready or prepared for. They come upon a situation where they are completely out of control and have to trust God.

Have you ever been in a situation like that? You feel powerless, unable to change the situation or get out.

Jesus doesn't leave these men alone in their situation, but goes through it with them, and brings peace and calm that only He can.

Here are a few lessons we learn from Mark 4:35-41:

1. It is God who initiates a journey with Him, a journey where He expects us to trust Him in spite of the situations outside of our control or power to change.

2. During our journey with God, He allows various situations to come that are outside our authority and power to change.

3. When we find ourselves in situations where it seems God is asleep or silent, it does not mean God is inactive; He is always at work.

4. These situations tend to reveal who we are and how we view the Lord.

5. It is also in these situations God reveals to us who He is and how He views us.

6. God desires for us to know Him deeper and to obey Him like the wind and sea.

7. We expect that God will listen to and love us as we are. Are we ready to listen to and love God as He is?

The Church: A Reaching Community

A Reaching Community full manuscript

The Church: A Called-Out Reaching Community

Pastor Paul Davis

Sunday, September 24, 2017

We have been talking about the Church and misconceptions that have developed over time. We have been attempting to build a greater understanding of what the church is and what she is supposed to do.

The question goes something like this: “If Jesus is the only way to heaven, what happens to the billions of people who have never believed in Him?”

Sometimes our diversions are God’s divine plans.

Acts 26:16-18

There is a powerful glimpse of God’s grace and the purpose of the church in this passage—we must not miss it:

1. We are sent (end of verse 17) – if we are believers in Jesus Christ, we have been sent on the same mission as Jesus and Paul (Matthew 28:18-20)

2. We are sent on a mission to open eyes (Isaiah 35:5, 42:7; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9) – God does not desire that billions go to Hell. God’s desire is that all men be saved.

3. We are sent on a mission to open eyes so the nations might turn from darkness to light (2 Corinthians 4:4) – We, the Church, are God’s gracious provision to bring people trapped in darkness into His glorious Light!

4. We are sent on a mission to open eyes so the nations might turn from darkness to light and turn from the power of Satan to God (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

5. We are sent on a mission to also receive forgiveness of sins  – The Church is God’s gracious plan to share this Good News with those drowning in sin and guilt.

6. We are sent on a mission to receive forgiveness of sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Jesus.

Summary: “Does God really send everyone who does not know Jesus to Hell?” The answer is No! God is sending you and I, His church to the nations to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people.

The Church: A Learning Community

A Learning Community full sermon manuscript

The Church: A Called Out Learning Community

Passage: Various

Pastor Paul Davis

Sunday, September 17, 2017

 

We have been talking about the Church and misconceptions that have developed over time. We have been attempting to build a greater understanding of what the church is and what she is supposed to do.

One distinctively American misconception is “church” is often viewed as a spectator event. It becomes something to come to and watch. We may fit it into our busy week if we can and we may or may not show up based on our availability.

But, the Church is meant to be a community not an event. It is a community whose goal is to proclaim the Gospel to unbelievers and grow to maturity those who have believed.

As the Church we are called out to be a community of believers proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers and devoted to growing as disciples.

 

Here are six community activities of discipleship:

Community Activity #1: Worship (Psalm 100:1-4; Revelation 14:7; James 1:22)

Community Activity #2: Confession (1 John 1:9; James 5:16)

Community Activity #3: Prayer (Psalm 5:3)

Community Activity #4: Word-Study (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Community Activity #5: Fellowship (Acts 2:42-47)

Community Activity #6: Mutual Submission (Ephesians 5:19-21; Philippians 2:3)

 

Church is not a spectator sport. When we gather, let us be intentional to:

Use our minds, emotions, and wills to fear, praise and adore God

Communally acknowledge our sins to the Lord and each other

Communally bring our requests and petitions to the Lord

Read, study, and meditate on the Scriptures, looking for them to renew our minds and make us more like Christ

Care and sacrifice for and with each other to meet the needs of the community

Humble ourselves in our relationship with God and others

The Church: A Giving Community

A Giving Community full sermon manuscript

We have looked at six very different passages. Let me wrap up with some conclusions from them.

 

1. If you are not faithfully, consistently and sacrificially giving to the Lord’s work, your heart is somewhere else.

Let’s quit fooling around; this is eternity we are talking about. If you find it difficult if not impossible to at least tithe, according to the passages we looked at this morning, your heart is somewhere but it is not fully devoted to the Lord. God’s Word says it is impossible to serve two masters. Take a moment to search your heart. If you have been devoting your life to lust for or the attainment of money, repent this morning.

 

2. Giving reveals in whom or what we are trusting and loving. I had an ethics professor in seminary that was brutally honest on this point. He would say, “Let me look at your checkbook, and in five minutes I’ll know whether you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.“ The righteous are givers. Where our hearts are, our dollars flow.

 

3. There are great and eternal rewards for secretly giving. Please do not miss a key truth tucked in each of these passages. The reason why covetousness and hoarding earthly treasures are so maligned is because they are horrible investments! They rot and rust and burn up. Humbly and secretly giving of your time, talent and resources builds an eternal portfolio of heavenly riches that never burn, rust or rot. Listen to how Paul told his disciple Timothy to teach these issues to the wealthy in his congregation. 1 Timothy 6:17–19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. Why should we share and be generous? Because it builds the foundation for our eternal future, treasures and rewards that are the true and abundant life that Jesus promised.

 

Final Challenge: So, Calvary, let us set our hearts against covetousness and seeking earthly pleasures and instead seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated on the throne of glory. Let us give and serve and love in ways that store up treasures that will never rot nor rust. As a church, let us be known for our compassion, generosity and willingness to sacrifice for those in need.

The Church of Today

My experience in children’s and youth ministry, not just memorizing and meditating on the Word but the people who served and built into my life and showed me how to follow Jesus Christ in real life, are a very significant reason why I am standing here in front of you this morning, getting ready to preach the Word of God.

I don’t remember much from the lessons and sermons (sorry Sarge and Pastor Michael!) we had, but I do remember the impact of the people.

1 Timothy 4:12 NLT Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

The challenge of this message for those under 30 is to ASK for HELP. How can we ask?

  • Allow others in — this might be the hardest part to do, especially when we’re talking about letting older adults in. You might think they won’t understand, won’t get it, will make fun, will judge, will just give advice… but give them a chance. Allow others in. It can change everything.
  • Set an example — the decisions you make today matter because the decisions you make today will determine who you become tomorrow. What you watch and listen to today will impact your tomorrow. Who you choose as friends will impact and form who you become tomorrow. Set an example in the way you love like Christ, the way you speak, the way you act, the way you are trustworthy. Set an example.
  • Keep moving forward — You are going to mess up and you are going to fail. Life will be hard. Sometimes it will get easier, sometimes it will get harder. People will come and go in your life. Keep moving forward, persevere, and don’t give up. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep moving forward and don’t give up.

 

Those over the age of 30, if we are encouraging those under 30 to ASK, your challenge is to HELP. The influence of adults in the lives of young people is something we often overlook, but the impact reverberates across eternity. How can you HELP?

  • Hold on — It’s going to be a bumpy, twisting, turning ride; we are talking about teenagers and emerging adults after all. Life changes quickly and unexpectedly. Hold on. I didn’t mention at the beginning that through children’s and youth ministry I was not the easiest kid to teach. I was the mischievous one who was always getting into trouble. But my leaders loved me, cared about me, and held on even when I wasn’t the easiest to lead. They didn’t give up on me. Even the disciples were difficult to deal with sometimes. They didn’t always understand, didn’t get it, and failed decently often. Hold on.
  • Enter in — Do life with young people and let them know you care. Don’t just be on the outskirts talking about or complaining about the younger generations, but invest and enter in to their lives. Go to games and competitions, invite over for holidays, celebrate birthdays.
  • Love unconditionally — Once you enter in, nothing should move you out. Love unconditionally. I was a difficult kid and I needed people who unconditionally loved and pursued me. This means when someone younger you’re doing life with messes up, you don’t smack them upside the head and remind them that was a stupid decision. You lovingly walk alongside them through it. Maybe that means you’re only listening, maybe giving advice when asked, but always praying. Always praying. Always praying. Love unconditionally and be consistent to show up. There are enough people moving in and out of young people’s lives and being unreliable; don’t let that be you.
  • Point upward — Jesus Christ must be the center of it all. We have to point up to Him always. We can’t love others unconditionally without first pursuing Jesus ourselves and experience His unconditional love for us. We can’t hold on or enter in until we understand how Jesus held on and entered in for us. As we do life with young people, we need to show Jesus Christ through in our responses, advice, listening, interactions, and purpose behind HELPing. Always point toward Jesus Christ.

 

Mustard Seed Family

Dan Seaborn, from Winning at Home, joins us for this sermon and preaches a message from Matthew 17:20. It doesn't matter if you are single, married, dating, an adult, a young person, or a child, there is something in this message for you. Our hope and prayer is that this message would impact your life and transform you and your family.

What mustard seeds do you need to plant today?