(READ Joshua 24:1-15)
From the life of this man Joshua, who was 110 years old at the time of this, his final address to the children of Israel, we can observe at least four very important qualities, which recommended him to a long and blessed life of faithful service to his God. These qualities can be summed up in 4 words: Conviction, confession, commitment, and contentment.
1. First, we want to consider the “C” of Conviction
Conviction means a strong belief, confidence, assurance, and sincerity.
Joshua was a man of strong convictions:
He was convicted that God had separated Abraham from His people in Ur of the Chaldees, and blessed him, and made a covenant with him, and gave him an inheritance, and a posterity that would be as the stars of heaven for multitude.
Joshua was sure and confident that it was God who brought Israel out of Egypt, and destroyed Pharaoh and his armies in the Red Sea. Guess what, Joshua was there when it happened.
He knew without the shadow of a doubt that it was God who gave them the victory over all their enemies that they met with in the way.
And that it was God who brought them into their own land, and gave it to them. Joshua had met face to face with the Captain of the Lord’s host; the pre-incarnate Son of God!
He had convictions that God sent the “hornet” before them to drive out the Canaanites. Joshua knew that God has power over all His creation.
In other words, Joshua had convictions that the sovereign God of Heaven chose Israel to be a people, who were not a people, and saved them by His sovereign grace and power, and brought them into their inheritance that He gave them like He promised He would. Joshua knew that salvation was of the Lord and his power, and not man and his weakness.
Beloved, we need to be men and women, and boys and girls with strong convictions. The Bible says in James 1:8 that “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Elijah asked those wavering Israelites “How long halt ye between two opinions. If the Lord be God, then serve Him. If Baal be god, then serve him.”
We need to have convictions about the Word of God. We need to have convictions about God and His glorious nature and attributes. We need to have convictions about the sovereign grace of God in salvation. We need to have convictions about the church that Jesus built, and about the way of service, and the place of worship in the New Testament.
If we are going to be strong, effective, and persevering saints for the glory of God, then we need to have strong spiritual convictions. And where do these convictions come from? Paul said that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
2. The second “C” that we want to see is confession.
Joshua had a strong confession to back his strong convictions:
He wasn’t backward about His beliefs and convictions. He said “regardless what you-all decide to do, me and my house are going to serve, and follow the Lord, and obey Him according to His Word.
There are a lot of believers today, including preachers, who won’t confess what they believe, or where they stand on matters of faith and practice.
Beloved, we need to have a strong confession of who and what our faith is in:
We need not be afraid of men, or of what people will think of us, or that we might lose our friends. If we lose friends our because of our testimony of Jesus, then we didn’t need those friends anyway.
We must not be ashamed of our convictions. If they are worth believing, then we should shout them from the housetops! If our convictions came from the Lord, and from the Holy Spirit, then we should not be ashamed of them.
Now, if our convictions are not from the Bible, then we should throw them out! But if they are from the Bible, then should most willingly confess them before men. Remember what Jesus said in Mark 8:38, that if we are ashamed of Him and His Words, then He will be ashamed of us when comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
May God give us strong convictions, and a strong confession of those convictions.
3. The third “C” that we want to consider is commitment.
Joshua was a man of commitment:
He said “as for you-all I can’t say, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Beloved, herein lies the key to successful, faithful, lifelong service to the Lord!
It is one thing to have a strong confession of strong convictions, but without a strong commitment to serve the Lord for life, then it probably won’t happen! This is why so many today are not stable in their Christian lives.
Beloved, we are living in the age of non-commitment. Very few people will commit to anything long-term today. Consider marriages today as just one example of non-commitment. How many end up in divorce before the first year?
But when it comes to the Lord and His service, we must be committed if we want to please Him with our lives. We need to say that “come what may, we will serve the Lord.” “As long as the Lord gives us the grace, and the health, and the strength, and a sound mind, we are going to serve the Lord.”
Beloved, those of us who are called by His Name, we need to commit ourselves once and for all to serving the Lord faithfully in His House.
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve”!!! In other words, commit yourselves to serving the Lord! Beloved, let us make up our minds once and for all to faithfully serve Christ in His Church.
Let us say to ourselves, and to the Lord, “as of this day I am going to serve the Lord faithfully from here on out.” “I know there are going to be difficult times ahead. There are going to be giants to fight. There are going to be discouragements. There are going to be hard trials. There are going to be heartbreaks. But by your grace Lord, I’m committing my life to your service.”
Someone might say, brother Chris, are you trying to get a decision out of people? Well, I guess I am! It seems that Joshua was, too. But not a half-hearted, insincere commitment that is forgotten tomorrow. But a sincere, Holy Spirit motivated decision to serve the Lord.
And furthermore, Joshua said “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua spoke for His house, or those under His authority and control.
Today, many parents say, “I just can’t get my Johnny to go to church; and after all, Hillary Clinton said that I shouldn’t force him to go.” “I know he’s only 8 years old, but he has a mind of his own.”
Beloved, it doesn’t matter if they are 8 or 18, as long as they are under our authority, we need to see to it that our children are in the House of God.
Beloved, if we are to live out our lives for the glory of God in His service, then we must have a strong commitment to do so.
May God help us to commit ourselves to Him.
4. Fourthly and finally, there is the “C” of contentment.
Joshua was a content man:
That is, he was content with the Lord’s will for His life. He was one of only two men who came up out of Egypt with Moses, who didn’t die in the wilderness. Like his good friend Caleb, he wholly followed the Lord his God. Now he is 110 years old, and he is still content to go on serving the Lord.
Beloved, Joshua went through a lot in his long life time. He saw a lot of things in his life. He saw the mighty power of God like perhaps no other man ever saw. He also saw some of the greatest acts of sin and rebellion that any man ever saw. He saw Israel murmur and complain and rebel until the carcass of every last one them died in the desert wilderness. Forty years he wondered with those rebellious sinners, for sins he did not commit.
Yet, Joshua was content with the will of the Lord through it all. As a result, he was permitted to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. Had he and Caleb been discontent like all the rest, they would have died in that wilderness also.
Beloved, another great key to persevering in the Lord’s service, is contentment. We are living in a very discontented world today. It seems that people are just not happy, or satisfied, or content with anything. Oddly enough, people have more today than ever before, but they are probably less content than ever before.
It is often that way in the Lord’s Churches. I’ve seen it myself. People grow discontent with the preacher, and his preaching. They grow discontent because things aren’t done a certain way. They grow discontent because the church isn’t growing like they think it should.
And when people grow discontent, we get to be like sour grapes. Everything is sour, and everything is wrong, and nothing is ever right. First thing you know our family life, and our work life also grow bitter. And before we know it we are just miserable human beings.
Beloved, that’s a bad way to get in as a believer. Perhaps we’ve all been that way at some time or other in our Christian lives. The truth is, we can probably all relate to that bitter experience of discontentment in our lives. We may still have bitter memories of those times.
I’m not here to make any of us feel bad, but the point is, discontentment is a soul killer. It’s a disease. It’s a cancer! It will destroy our lives. It will leave our carcass in the wilderness.
If we would persevere in the Lord’s service, then let us be content with what we have. Let us be content with what the Lord has given us, and where He has put us.
How are we doing this morning?
Do we have the “C” of conviction? Strong convictions in faith and practice are so important to serving the Lord.
Do we have the “C” of a strong confession? Does our confession backup our convictions? May the Lord help us to boldly proclaim what He has taught us in secret.
Then, how about the “C” of commitment to serving the Lord for the rest of our lives? Just between us and the Lord, have we made a commitment to serve the Lord from here on out? If not, may God help us to do so.
And do we have the “C” of contentment to serve the Lord in the place where He put us? May we learn the secret of contentment, so that we will never fall into the root of bitterness, that has destroyed the lives of many a believer.
Finally, do you have conviction of your sins. Have you ever come to see that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour?
If so, then I have good news for you!