December 2017

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?”