On July 31st the Rock will receive the keys to their new building. The first service will be held in the new building on August 26th.
In the month between receiving the keys and opening the doors of the building for the first church service, the building will go through a final inspection. This process is much like buying a house, or like that in the story of Joshua.
As Joshua reached the end of his days he had one last inspection of the people of Israel. Joshua wanted to remind them what it was to have a relationship with God.
All our lives are comprised of a past, present, and future. Our past and future will affect our present and our present and past affect our future. Joshua implores Israel to take their past, present, and future into consideration when it comes to their relationship with God. As Christians we must do the same. We need a right relationship with God. We cannot play the game, vacillating between a life of sin, and a life following after God. We must make a decision as to which way we will go, just as Joshua requested of the Israelites before he died.
When we look at our past, we will undeniably see God's deliverance, sustenance, and protection. We must recognize that it is God who has brought us to the present, and holds in his hands the promises for the future.
Joshua reminded the Israelites all of what God had done for them.
Joshua 24:8-13 states, I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand. Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you-also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.
We cannot begin to count the many times God delivered us, protected us, kept us safe from harm, sustained us during difficult times, let alone created us, giving us life. We owe Him praise for everything.
God has brought us to the present. We must clarify our relationship with God. Joshua reminded the Israelites to serve God in sincerity and in faithfulness. But he pleaded with the Israelites to make a choice in the present whether or not they would serve the God of Israel.
Joshua 24:14-15 states, Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the 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 forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Often times we get stuck just doing the Christian thing. We attend church on Sundays, maybe we are part of our small group, or serve in a ministry, but what is our relationship with God really about? Do we serve Him in all sincerity or are we torn between serving him, and following after our own desires that may not be glorifying to God?
Pastor Miles, who speaks at many youth events, often addresses the issue of purity. He relayed the definition of safe, as being free from harm and danger. To have safe sex is only possible when it is practiced on God's terms, in a monogamous marriage relationship. Condoms don't protect emotions, and don't guarantee safety from diseases, or pregnancy.
There is only one safe choice. We cannot entertain a life of sin and follow God. We are not safe from the consequences of a life of sin. We must choose to follow God at full speed like the Israelites did with Joshua.
When we make the choice to follow after God full speed we must make a covenant to that relationship. When the people of Israel told Joshua that they would follow after God, he had them make a covenant to that relationship.
Joshua 24:22-27 states, Then Joshua said, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD." "Yes, we are witnesses," they replied. "Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel." And the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the LORD our God and obey him." On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he drew up for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD. "See!" he said to all the people. "This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God."
When we make a covenant to our relationship with God we are saying that we will serve God only and put away any other gods that we may have put before the Lord. We are witnesses to the covenant we make to that relationship. The choice affects our future. When we make that choice we can know we are eternally safe with God.