Sermon for Sunday, January 28, 2017
Affirm Your Faith
Dictionary definition of affirm: “to state or assert positively; maintain as true.”
 Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Chapters 23 and 24 are about transition. Joshua says “I am old and well advanced in years” (23:2).
Our focus will be on what Joshua says in the last part of verse 15, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
This statement is a challenge to the nation to be faithful to God and follow his example. There is wisdom is saying what he says here and there is much we can learn from this statement about how we can affirm our own faith as well as lead others to faithfulness in a positive way.
Note how this statement should not offend. He offers the possibilities and then says this is what he will do.
The implication is that they are to follow his example.
1 Corinthians 11:
 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV)
Joshua is old and realizes he will soon leave them. He loves the nation and wants them to be saved. This is his farewell speech. In the last part of his last speech, he says, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Perhaps there are people in your life you love and respect and you are worried about the direction of their lives. Many times we cannot persuade others to do the right thing, or convince them why we should not behave as they do.
Our responsibility is to do the right thing and affirm our commitment to do so in the future.
Affirming our commitment to the Lord is a powerful tool we can use in encouraging others.
The point: When all else fails, affirm your commitment to serve the Lord!
1) Affirm your faith to your household.
Joshua was a model of faith in his own house. This indicates all within his household were following his example (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Children are a gift from God and should be loved.
Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Agree to raise your children according to the philosophy of the Bible.
(Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”)
Note that Joshua says, “and my household.” This refers those in his family that he will lead until his death. I am sure he feels confident they will follow him. Joshua does not personal and family control over the nation, but those in his family will be led the right way.
Children, even if unplanned, should be considered a blessing from God, and never as an intrusion to be aborted.
Our children are not really ours—they are a gift from God and one day we will give them back to him and God will hold us accountable how we raised them. Children are to be trained to obey and honor God.
3 John and verse four ought to be a key verse for every Christian parent:
3 John 1:
 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Your primary goal is not to raise an academic scholar, a beauty queen, a star athlete, or a successful stockbroker. Your goal should be to raise children who put their trust in God. You should rejoice when your children are baptized and when you see them taking moral stands that are biblical. And you are fulfilled when you see them adopt a lifestyle that honors God.
Never follow your children into unbelief. Let them know this: As for me I will serve the Lord.
2) Affirm your faith to your culture.
Humankind shapes God’s image by the culture of the day.
When God gave Jeremiah his mission of preaching to Israel, God said to him:
 Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.
The point: People tend to follow culture but you must not follow them. Instead, your preaching should turn them to God.
Note that Paul warns the church about this:
2 Timothy 4:
 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
The gospel message was not bound by culture and many aspects of the message were very counter to the culture of the day.
Much of the gospel is counter to the culture of our day. For example:
1) Many today worship at the altar of abortion.
Today, our culture often discriminates against those who do not believe in abortion.
If you work in health care in some places you will be expected to help with abortions. At work, you may need to affirm, “As for me, I will serve the Lord.”
 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
2) Many today worship at the altar of same sex relationships and marriage.
Do not confuse marriage with sin. Marriage is defined in Scripture:
- a) It is between a man and a woman.
- b) It is a commitment to one another and to God.
Biblical marriage involves a covenant with one another, and adultery is the sin of breaking of that covenant.
1 Corinthians 6:
 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men…
NIV “men who have sex with men”
NASB “nor effeminate, nor homosexuals”
KJV “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”
 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
We can be persecuted by our own government. Protections in our constitution regarding religious freedom are worthless if they are not enforced by the ruling authorities.
When I hear a politician say churches must change their theology about same-sex marriage, I become fearful about persecution.
My message to you is this:
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of our culture, or the god of abortion, or the god our homosexuality. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
3) Affirm your faith to your fellow believers.
1) Regarding the person and work of Jesus, affirm your faith.
2) Regarding the plan of salvation, affirm your faith.
3) Regarding the importance and theology of the Lord’s Supper, affirm your faith.
4) Regarding instructions about how the church is to worship, affirm your faith.
5) Regarding the authority of Scripture, affirm your faith.
6) Regarding the restoration of biblical Christianity, affirm your faith.
7) Regarding God’s law of silence, affirm your faith.
J B Myers