Notes for a New Year’s sermon from a few years ago
INTRODUCTION NEW YEAR …. feels like one era has just finished and a new era is just about to begin When we encounter Joshua 1 we are encountering a group of people who are standing at the edge of one era and about to begin another one. This change of eras was caused not by the calendar but because they were facing
NEW CIRCUMSTANCES … Moses had died, long time first leader was gone The children of Israel had been freed from Egypt by God and led by Moses but due to their hesitation to enter the land God had promised them they spent 40 years living as nomads in the desert but now we are told things had changed Moses had died and now they were about to cross the Jordan and enter the land God had promised to them
NEW CHALLENGES They faced a whole series of new challenges
NEW LEADER …. Joshua not Moses
NEW WAY OF BEING GOD’S PEOPLE …. From being nomads to being soldiers
NEW WAY OF LIFE …. from nomads to being farmers
NEW WAY TO LIVE AS GOD’S PEOPLE …. from tabernacle worship to? What about us? There is a sense that as individuals and as a church living in Scotland and Europe in 2014 we are facing a new era. Its not just because of a change of calendar either Like Joshua’s Generation of God’s people in Scotland we face a NEW ERA
with NEW CHALLENGES AND NEW CIRCUMSTANCESCHANGE IN CULTURE ….. christendom to post christendom ….. We no longer at the centre of our culture with a privileged position. We need to learn a new way of being God’s people Modernism to Post Modernism …. people don’t think the way they used to so often they don’t understand what the church is saying JOSHUA GENERATION ….. Preachers some times speak of a “Joshua Generation” as a generation of God’s people who rise to the challenges of being GOD’S PEOPLE IN A NEW ERA Time for us to become a JOSHUA GENERATION I think Joshua 1 gives us some hints of how to do that. To rise to the challenge of being God’s people in a new way for a New Era
WE NEED TO BE COMMITTED TO GOD’S MISSION
SHAPED BY GOD’S WORD
AWARE OF GOD’S PRESENCE
1.COMMITTED TO GOD’S MISSION THE BIBLE IS ONE GREAT STORY FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION ….. its the story of God, a God on a mission, to restore creation and humanity back to his original intention. Abraham … He promised to form a people through whom the whole world would be blessed, would eventually experience his original and future intention for humanity Under Moses God gathered a rag tag groups of slaves and sets them free and enters in to a special relationship with them, they will be his people and he will be there God HERE IN JOSHUA ONE WE ARE THE NEXT STAGE IN THIS MISSION ….. God is about to give them their own land The children of Israel going into Canaan was about much more than just them getting a new home. They were joining God in his mission to humanity.
MISSION OF GOD’S PEOPLE IS TO BE MORE LIKE A WITNESS AND HIS TESTIMONY THAN A POSTMAN AND HIS LETTERS We don’t really care if the Postman is cheating on his wife the night before he delivers our letters. He is just the delivery mechanism However in court we are told by the judge to weigh the character of witnesses to decide if what they are saying can be trusted In their new land, in the midst of the nations, the children of Israel were to be a witness, they were to live in such a sway that it added credence to their claim to be in a special relationship to Yahweh the one true and living God. As the people of the surrounding nations watched and interacted with them theyembody to embody God in their national life, in their relationships in the way they treated people, especially the poor, the outcast, their national life was to demonstrate God’s justice, their worship was to demonstrate God’s holiness. The nation of Israel was to be God’s audio visual aid to understanding what He was like and what his intention for humanity was Through Israel God would draw the nations to himself.
MISSIONAL ….. Word is every where but perhaps not understood everywhere. Its about more than being a bit more evangelistic or making our church grow. It means as God’s People we have got to be committed to, and shaped by, God’s mission. We are to live as God’s people in a way that demonstrates his character and ways to those around them OLD TESTAMENT …. emphasis in mission on the gathering and attracting, small emphasis on going and proclaiming Mat 28:18-20 …. Parallels with Joshua 1. Now God’s people have to GO, go not into a land and be a nation, but into the nations and be God’s people as colonies of heaven GATHERING AND GOING …. but emphasis on the going and incarnating This is what we need to be committed to, obeying God and joining Him in his mission. More than a call to attend services or run institutions that suit us “The call to be committed to God’s mission is not a simple or easy task. its a life long calling to serve, to sacrifice, to selflessness and effort. It will be worked out in neighbourhoods, and among people around the world and it will be fuelled and led by the most unlikely of saints” Mike Frost
2. SHAPED BY GOD’S WORDBe careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successfulLAW probably a bad translation for us = reminds us of POLICE AND JUDGES, LAW = better translation would be instruction, or revelation 1st 5 books of the Bible THEY DESCRIBE HOW TO LIVE AS GOD’S PEOPLE The only way that children of Israel could be committed to God’s mission was by living as God’s people and the only way they could live as God’s people was to be shaped by God’s Word
NATIONAL LIFE AND INDIVIDUAL LIFE The object of God’s Word Object is not just to give us information but to bring us transformation and transform us not just so we can be “mature” Christians either, that’s not an end in itself 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
TEACHING …. what to believe REBUKING …. what not to believe
CORRECTING …. how not to behave
TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS ….. how to behave
SO THAT the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work
GOOD WORK …. actions that demonstrate God’s character, that embody and express the kingdom of God, that further and serve God’s Word
SHAPED BY GOD’S WORD …. Its about more than being an expert in the Bible, its about more than just reading it or listening to. Its about knowing and doing god’s word so that it shapes us so that as God’s people we reflect God’s character individually and collectively in who we are and what we do HOW?
READ THROUGH THE BIBLE
3. AWARE OF GOD’S PRESENCE
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ V9
Its’s obvious that Joshua was feeling intimidated, frightened and discouraged as he faced this new challenge of the new era ahead of him and God’s people afraid = afraid of the future and its challenges, new role as leader, power of the Canaanites, new responsibilities discouraged …. Israel had failed many times, refused to go into the promised land, constantly grumbled about God and their leaders
LETS BE HONEST THE MAIN REASON WE DON’T ATTEMPT THINGS AS GOD’S PEOPLE AND AS CHURCHES IS THE SAME AS IT WAS FOR JOSHUA FEAR DISCOURAGEMENT God COMMANDED not suggested to Joshua that he was NOT TO ALLOW FEAR AND DISCOURAGEMENT TO HOLD HIM BACK INSTEAD HE AND WE ARE TO BE STRONG (BOLD) COURAGEOUS If the what we are doing as a church isn’t potentially frightening us or the work discouraging us, its unlikely God is calling us to do it. Church is far too connected to the safe and familiar which induce no fear or discouragement. “The frontiers of the Kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution Oswald Chambers Overcoming fear and discouragement is more than positive thinking. This not just about the “tough getting going when the going gets tough” or “looking for the hero inside yourself” What is to stop us being afraid and instead being courageous discouraged instead to be bold “for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” 4 x times he says he will be with them. It is God’s presence with God’s people which make them courageous and tenacious in the face of whatever they face which means we need to be aware of God’s presence if we are to overcome discouragement and fear. We need to cultivate an awareness of God’s presence to live as God’s people This promise is very much still for us Matthew 28:18-20 New International Version – UK (NIVUK) 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. AND SURELY I AM WITH YOU TILL THE END OF THE AGE.’ We enter this New Era with Christ, its His mission, He will be with us, He will give us the resources we need, the guidance we need, the power we need Let’s be a Joshua generation and cross jordan and with Christ learn to be God’s people in a NEW WAY for A NEW ERA By BEING COMMITTED TO GOD’S MISSION SHAPED BY GOD’S WORD &] AWARE OF GOD’S PRESENCE