Monday, June 29, 2020

Living By Faith 1: Faith to Faith Romans 1:16-17

Faith To Faith

Text: Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Introduction:  Joke, Captain on a Navy Destroy. every morning would take a key and unlock a drawer then a box inside the draw read a slip of paper and the carefully replace everything.  In the midst a battle the captain was killed after the funeral the crew ran the drawer and open it. 
Pulled out the sheet of paper.  On it it said, “Port is left, starboard is Right!”

Everyone needs a motto, a theme something that reminds us of who we are and what we're doing.  The apostle Paul had just such a motto its found in our text from Romans today. Romans 1:17 “The just shall live by faith.” That is actually the motto, the creed, the philosophy of every child of God. The just shall live by faith.”

Proud of the Gospel Rom 1:16a

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:

Paul's Pride

Paul says he is not ashamed of the Gospel. This is the way the ancient writers and writers like Paul, here in the New Testament, were actually saying I am proud of the Gospel.

I just learned this is called a Litotes, lī-tō′tēz, n. The negation of something in order to affirm the opposite; or understatement in order to give emphasis. (λιτότης, “simplicity”).

Did any of you know this? If you did, don’t tell me cause I’m so excited about discovering it that I don’t want to think it’s a word everybody already knew. So, Paul says “I am not ashamed, and he uses this figure of speech, a litotes, as an understatement to emphasize, the greatness of the Gospel.
So why would Paul tell the Roman church he was not ashamed of the Gospel?

 At his point in history, the Gospel and Christianity, or the Way as it was first called,  was identified with a poor unknown Jewish carpenter who had been crucified as a criminal. Crucifixion was the lowest form of execution given to the worst or worthless criminals. Anyone associated with someone like that should be ashamed. Rome was a proud city, the capital of the world, but the Gospel, Paul preached, came from Jerusalem, the capital of a small, backward nation that Rome had subjugated. The Christians, themselves were common people and Christianity was a religion that was appealed to common people and even to slaves. Christians considered each other as brothers and sisters, all equal in Christ, which went was directly opposed to the Roman idea of society and classes.
In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul said it this way, “But we preach (proclaim) Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

That is why Paul wrote now to the Romans and said, “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel.”
Now just so we fully understand what Paul was not ashamed of, lets see exactly, what is the Gospel?
The word gospel comes from the Greek word, euaggelion yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on. I’m sure you already know it literally means “good tidings or good news.”

When the apostles and early Christians declared “The Good News” they were proclaiming the story of Jesus Christ. How His death, burial and especially His resurrection, brings salvation. They would tell how when a sinner believes and puts his trust in Jesus, he is cleansed from sin and given eternal life.

Scripture: It is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also ye have received, and in which ye stand;   By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached to you unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Paul was proud to be called to carry and preach such good news to anyone that he could share it with. So should we be proud, unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So are we …

Proud or Bowed?

Are we ashamed of the Gospel? Are we ashamed to tell others the Good News? Though we have much less societal pressure than Paul, we still can fall to what we might call the Trinity of Timidity, or The Troika of Tepidness. (Yes I got carried away with my Thesaurus this week.)
If you are 1, Unwilling to stand up, due to fear, 2, Unable to speak up because of ignorance. Or so Unconcerned that you won’t act up due to apathy, then you are ashamed of the Gospel.

Two Illustrations: The Church at Laodicea and David Livingstone

Jesus give his harshest condemnation to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Contrast to what the great missionary explorer David Livingstone said, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa.  Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay?

Away with such a word, such a view and such a thought! Say rather it is a privilege.  Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then with a fore going of the common convenience and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to wave and sin,: but let this only be for a moment, all these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be here after revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His father’s throne on high to give himself for us.  -David Livingstone

Paul is proud of the Gospel message he write to the Romans about and the next phrase in the verse begins to explain why.

Power in the Gospel. Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Power unto Salvation

Paul says I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the Power of God unto salvation. 
Do you see the emphasis Paul places on the Gospel in this verse? He could have said as he does in other places, that God saves us but because the whole book of Romans is going to be about the Gospel, he is emphasizing it here and he says, “the Gospel is the power of God to save us.”
He is saying that the Good News, the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection and our faith in Jesus as our savior, is the means, the channel whereby God opens the floodgates of heaven and fills our souls with the blessing of salvation.

But Paul doesn’t just say hearing the Gospel saves you, he says believing the Gospel is when God unleashes His power to save. “To everyone that believes.”

Scripture: Romans 10:8-13 But what saith it? The word is near thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the scripture saith, Whoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call upon him. For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Power unto My Salvation

Paul says the Gospel is the power of God to save, but only to those that believe. It all hinges or the word believe. Because it is so important and because everything involved with salvation only begins with it, lets take just a moment to examine what it means to believe.

I know you are waiting for this so here it is. The word Believe comes form the Greek word, pisteuo. 239 times in the New Testament it is translated, you guessed it, believe. So far nothing new there but it is the other times that give us the full meaning of what it is to believe.
4 times it is translated “commit unto” and one time each it is translated commit to one’s trust, be committed unto, be put in trust with.

Vines word studies, uses the words “Belief, Believe, Believers, Commit, Commission, Intrust, Trust
The Amplified Bible, which tries to give the nuances of the Greek words, says it this way, “to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance,” I like that.
The Gospel has the power to wash away sin, the power to make you new, the power to give peace, the power to relieve the burden of guilt, the power to give you eternal life, the power to give you joy, but… you must believe.

Illustration Mr. Stokes and the sheet.

When I was a young boy, I was a member of the Royal Ambassadors. It was kind of a Bible club for Southern Baptist Boys, I really enjoyed it. One of our counselors was the dad to a friend of mine. He was just Mr. or Bro. Stokes. One day, he brought a bed sheet to class stood a chair next to it and then asked all of us a question. “How many of you guys believe I could lift you in that sheet while standing on this chair?”

Now Mr. Stokes was a strong man, not to big but his arms bulged with muscles from years of hard labor at the copper mines. Every single boy in that class, we were all about 10 -12 years old at the time, every boy raised his hand and said, I believe you can do it. Then Mr. Stokes stood in the chair, gathered the ends of the sheet making a sling and said, “Okay, who will go first?” Of all the boys and there were at least 15 of us that day, none of us were willing to get in the sheet. Some said, you might fall out of that chair, othes the sheet might tear, Only one boy stepped forward and got into the sheet, my friend and Mr Stokes son, Danny. He sat in the sheet on the floor and then his father flexed his muscles and lifted his son with just one arm. He made the application that real belief means not just saying I believe, but putting our trust in and committing to the one we believe. For us that is Jesus Christ, the might to save.

Now in verse 17 Paul gives us the theme of his letter to the Romans, Faith.

Path of the Gospel. Romans 1:17

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Paul says the Gospel reveals the "rightness" of God.

He gives us his next “For” his next purpose of proposition in his theme of the Gospel. Just for a moment notice the four Fors in vss. 17-18. This is what Paul is going to prove throughout the rest of his epistle.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
We are now at the third proposition, For number 3.
For therein, (in the Gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed.
There are two things that I believe Paul is saying with the phrase the righteousness of God is revealed.

First the Gospel shows me that God is righteous. He is just in the way He has acted to save mankind. God in his holiness must punish sin, but God in his love must pardon the sinner. In the Gospel story I learn how God was righteous in reconciling these seemingly opposite characteristics of his nature.
In the Gospel, First, I see my sin and my inability to deal with that sin. Then I see Jesus who came without sin, lived without sin and rose again showing his power over sin. I see Jesus as my perfect sacrifice for sin. Then I see that I must believe in Jesus as a gift from God to save my soul. Then I see, I understand that God truly is righteousness. He is just in the way he dealt with my sin through His son.

I also think the righteousness of God being revealed through the Gospel means that God makes me righteous. I not only see how God is righteous, but I also experience God’s righteousness as applied to my soul, when I am saved.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

There is so much to deal with here, but lets bring Paul’s theme of the Gospel to a close, with the final phrase in vs. 17. From faith, to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith.

I don’t think this is hard to understand, but it is vital that we grasp it, not only as the theme of the Book of Romans but our theme, our motto, our philosophy of life as the children of God.
From faith, speaks of saving faith. The faith we first step out in, the faith that brings us salvation.
To faith, speaks of everything that follows in our path of life, but always stepping and acting in the power of that same faith: 

Paul then gives his favorite scripture from the Old Testament, “As it is written, the just shall live by faith."

Its taken from the minor prophet book of Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

God's righteousness is revealed not only in our salvation but now also in our daily lives, lives empowered and directed by the principle of faith.
The just, (the ones made righteous by the power of God through the Gospel) shall live by faith.”

Walking the Path of Faith

We must see this. We must understand that Paul’s theme here in Romans 1:17 must be the overriding principle of my life. I must move from faith to faith. I can’t dwell in the affects of the day I was saved, I must move from that faith to a daily faith, a growing faith, a progressive faith, a faith that should grow stronger my means of its use day after day after day as I walk the path of faith.
If I am saved, if I have believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then I am one of the just, I have been justified,  I am now righteous in the sight of God because Jesus has taken my sin upon himself and I have been given His righteousness! Now I must go from faith to faith. I am one of the just and I just can’t live any other way.

At the end of the Book of Romans, Paul gives some guidelines for walking the path from faith to faith. Look at what he says, in Romans 12:9-21 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Listen to what Paul is saying about us as the children of God, who must go from faith to faith, and thereby revealing the righteousness of God by the way we live.

“The Just Shall Live By Faith!” That’s your life’s motto, that is our calling, that is our goal until our faith becomes sight when we step in Glory.


Where are you today in your Faith to Faith Journey?  
I wonder if there are any here you have not started this journey?
Have you not yet experienced the power of God through the Gospel, the power to save your soul, to cleanse your sin, to give eternal life?

Every journey must start some where and the journey of faith starts at the foot of the cross as we look up into the face of Jesus who died for us. If you haven’t begun the journey of faith, it starts there and if you are willing it can start for you today.

If you have begun the journey, if you are one of the Just, then are you committed to make Paul’s theme of this book, the theme of your life? Will you live every day, every decision, every difficulty by a living growing faith? From faith to faith: The just shall live by faith.  

Monday, June 22, 2020

Fathers Needed Now! Joshua 24

Fathers Needed Now!

Text: Joshua 24:15

Yesterday my wife and I went to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of my Uncle and Aunt,  Tommy and Janie George. 60 years of marriage is an amazing milestone in this day and age. My uncle is a preacher, he was our pastor for 5 years or so when we were in Bible College and he had a marked influence on both our lives. We joined with his four children, their children and some family friends and we honored them towards the end we all gathered in the living room and my Uncle stood and yes he preached a very simple but very good message about the family and then we sang hymns to celebrate their relationship and the relationship they had with God that made their family last.

I wrote down a couple of quotes while me uncle was speaking. I want to share one with you because it fits with today’s Father’s day message. As he stood and looked out at his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews, nieces and friends, he said with tears in his eyes and a hitch in his voice,“Family is the most important gift God has given us, except Himself. Is it any wonder Satan tries so hard to destroy it?” - Tommy George

In our society today, our nation today Satan is succeeding in his destruction of the family and what you see happening with the riots, the immorality, the violence, the rage is one of the products of Satan’s successful destruction of God’s first institution, the family. Yes it’s a godless society now but it was first a fatherless society. In fact I don’t believe you can have a godly nation without fathers as the leaders of their families.

In Joshua 24 we see the aged war leader of the Children of Israel, acting in his capacity of both leader of the nation and as father of his family.

Joshua 24:1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

Shechem is the place where Abraham stopped and built an altar as he walked west with God. Shechem is where Jacob stopped and took the idols away from his family.  Moses told Joshua after you cross Jordan, go to the valley of Shechem between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizem and put the tribes on the mounts of blessing and cursing and a few thousand years later Jesus would meet the woman at the well in the Valley of Shechem. 

In each case it was a valley of decision, a place marked by the call to make a choice and so it is with Joshua in this speech. He is now 110 years old, the last link between Egypt, the Exodus and the Promised Land. His speech ranks with the greatest sermons ever preached. Here he stands as both a father to his family and also a father to his nation. As we listen to Joshua’s challenge that day in Shechem, it makes you realize how much we need more men and fathers like Joshua. We need Fathers like this now.
In this sermon, Joshua will challenge his nation to do three things, Consider, Choose and then Commit. In a very real sense that is what all fathers should do as they lead their own families.

Consider - Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Israel, Do You think it wrong to serve God?

He asks this question even though he already knows the answer. Like a good father he is asking the question as challenge for the great family he leads, to begin the process of examining themselves in light of the question.

They answer immediately in vs 16 “God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods.”

Joshua calls them on their answer in Vs. 19, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgression nor yours. If ye forsake the LORD, ans ser strange god,

Once again the people respond, in vss. 21-22, “And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.  And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.  

Then Joshua hits them with the truth in vs 23, “Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.”
He knew that in spite of everything they had endured in the past 40 years, in spite of the fervent declarations to serve God, they were still carrying the idols of Egypt with them. He knew they had even begun to worship the idols of the Canaanites.

Yet here they stood saying, “We will serve the Lord.” He forces out into the open the reality of their actions and their lives. The way they live, the choices they have been making, point to the reality that they do think it is wrong to serve God or else they wouldn’t be still be worshiping the idols of Egypt.
Now lets apply what Joshua is doing with Israel, to what God is doing with us today? It bring us to the question…

Christian, Do You Think It’s Wrong to serve God?

As we read this passage of scripture Joshua speaks to us through the Holy Spirit as the voice of God and asks us the question, Is it wrong to serve God?
Just like these gathered here in Shechem we would answer, “We will serve Him.” But God wants us to go through the baggage of our lives and consider those things that may deny the reality of our answer. We must consider the hidden things, the secret things, the actions that contradict our service, the idols that draw us away from truly serving the one who has delivered us from bondage.
Paul sounds this same challenge in Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Consider the challenge, examine yourself and prepare yourself fully to serve God.

Illustration: Example of Joey R

One day at a workday here at the church I was talking to a young man who had grown up in this church. He was married now and had two children. He came to church about once or twice a month even though he lived just across the street. We got to talking and he told me why he and his family didn’t attend every Sunday. It seemed he and his wife like go to Baton Rouge, LA and do a little gambling every other weekend. He also said they bought lottery tickets and he didn’t really think there was anything wrong with either of these activities.

I could tell you what I told him but most of you I believe would have been able to give the same answer. He wasn’t convinced and believed that there was no conflict between his family’s gambling and his family’s worship of God.

The family moved off and gradually quit attending. I’m not sure they ever sent for a letter or not but I found out later from a friend of the family what had become of them. It turned out his wife took his kids, his bank accounts and ran away with another man. I’ve always wondered if she met him in church or in the casino.

This young foolish man would have stood in this church and answered the question, “Is it wrong to serve God?” with a strong, “no!” All the time he would be planning his next trip to the casinos of Louisiana.

Choose - Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua Brings the Razor

He is saying to those under his influence, under his authority, “There is no more time for this foolish standing in the middle. Right now, right here, in this place and at this time, CHOOSE!
He tells them they absolutely have a choice, they can worship the gods of the Egyptians, on the other side of the flood of the Jordan river or they can choose to worship the gods of the Amorite on this side of the Jordan flood. You can choose to worship Osiris and Isis, you can choose to worship Baal and Isthar but you can’t choose to worship them and at the same time worship God. You must choose and you must choose today.

God’s Word, The Razor’s Edge of Choice

How long has it been since you really considered what you are doing with your life. What your actions, decisions and life is really saying about your choosing God or this world? How much of our lives are filled with choices that are taking us away from God, and away from serving Him? Putting the lie to the quick answer we may have given when first challenged by God’s word about serving Him.

The razors edge of a challenge is uncomfortable but the razor’s edge of the consequences of our wrong choices will be much worse.

As Christians, we will stand at the Judgment seat of Christ and all our choices and actions will be laid before us. The life we built, like a memorial, or a statue, or a house will be before us. The razor, in this case a trial by fire, will be put to the edifice of our life and only that which was done for God, only that which was built with eternity in our minds and hearts, will survive the razor’s edge of judgment.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
You can’t have idols in your baggage and hope that life’s work will survive through that judgment.
If you’re not a Christian, not God’s child then you know the choice you need to make. You the lost person, “Choose you this day” is the challenge God is making to your heart and soul. Ignoring it will cost you a lot more than just loss of reward. It will cost you eternity.


Transition: Look one last time at Joshua 24:15 for the last part of the Joshua’s call to his people, commitment.

Commit - Joshua 24:15

 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua commits himself and his family.

Joshua’s challenge to the people of Israel was just with his words but with also with his family. He doesn’t just rhetorically call for a commitment from them, he makes a commitment in front of them and not just of himself but of his whole family.

He could have said, As for me.. and been done with it. Everyone knew Joshua had served the Lord. He was a the war leader of Israel, he had been faithful to Moses, he and Caleb had been the only two faithful spies to come back from their reconnaissance into the Promised Land and said, “We can conquer because God has promised.”

But Joshua doesn’t just says I commit, He says “as for me and my house.” He is making a commitment based up faith in God’s promises and his belief that the choice he had made will result in his family serving the Lord and the Lord blessing his family.

At this stage of life, Joshua making this pledge as a great grandfather not as a young man. He is pledging with the past, for the future. I believe he does this because he has planted the seeds of faithfulness in his sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters and trust those seeds it to grow and reproduce in his family for generations to come. That was great faith, that was great commitment and that was the great man and father Joshua.

Fathers Can You Commit?

I have seen and known men of faith, pastors and missionaries who faithfully served the Lord and committed themselves to God, lose their families and in losing their families lose their calling as well.

One pastor, who was a mentor in my life, once told me, “You take care of the church and God will take care of your family.” Now that sounded pretty good back then, and it still sounds pretty good today, but Is that what the Bible actually says? Do you think Joshua was saying, “I will take care of the nation and God will take care of my family?”

Here is the way it actually works, fathers. If you are going to commit yourself and your family to God, then it requires that you commit yourself to God and you commit yourself to your family. You cannot commit to one and not the other or you will lose both.

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:7 - And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Ephesians 6:44  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Illustration: Joshua’s Memorials

Do you remember the account of Joshua and the children of Israel crossing the Jordan. God sent the priests carrying the ark of the Covenent into the water and when the sole of the foot of the first priest touched the water, the Jordan stood up like it was behind an invisible dam and the rest just flowed on down toward the Dead Sea. God told Joshua to build a memorial of stones taken from the riverbed where the priest stood. It was to be built in the camp that night. But what is so interesting is that Joshua built another memorial right there in the middle of the river, one that would not be seen and one they he was not explicitly told to build. I think it was his personal memorial, a symbol of his relationship and commitment to the Captain of the Lord’s host he served. Then in Joshua 4:21, he gives the purpose of this memorial and all memorials, and it still applies today, maybe more today when so many memorials are being desecrated, torn down and destroyed.

Joshua 4:21-24  And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
Let me make this application to fathers today. Just as Joshua built two memorials that day, you must make two commitments, one to the God you serve and one to the family he has put in your care. They are not equal commitments anymore than the two memorials were equal, but they are both vital commitments. You cannot ignore the lesser commitment to your family unless you are willing to risk your service to God.


Joshua is such a powerful example of what it means to be a leader and a father. He understood the necessity self-examination, of seeing and making the right choices and then committing himself and his family to those right choices.

I wonder if we as fathers, as parents, as Christians, can we be as bold and faithful today. Choose you this day whom you will serve. Then commit yourself and your family to that choice by committing yourself to God and to your family.