Most of us at the Rock are coming, but only once in a while. Or we’re coming, but not consistently. Today’s message is an invitation to accept a challenge. It’s time to take the next step in service to the Lord!
What Marcus has learned more than anything is that if he’s not willing to serve, he misses out on the blessings that God desires to give him.
Pastor Marcus shared the story about how he met his wife and how he liked her for a long time before they actually dated. When they finally married, he was so excited because his wife was beautiful, sweet, smart, athletic, and she loved the Lord. What he didn’t realize until after he married her was the extent of his own selfishness, because she so naturally displayed the heart of a servant. For the last 17 years of marriage, Marcus has had to learn how to serve Tracy and his children, because as Christ followers, we are called to love others and put their needs before our own. What Marcus has learned more than anything is that if he’s not willing to serve, he misses out on the blessings that God desires to give him.
After the death of Moses, the Lord raised up Joshua to serve His people and lead them into the Promised Land. Joshua now has a decision to make: will he be fearful or faithful?
When it comes to serving the Lord, feelings of fear are not from Him. When He has called us to serve, His empowers and encourages us. Here are His words to Joshua:
Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9
1. Serving God rejects fear.
Our enemy is the devil and he hates us. He’s a liar and he does not want us to serve God, so he works to manipulate us and put fear in our hearts. So the first thing we need to do in order to serve God is to reject that fear.
What reasons do you have for not serving God? You don’t have enough time or money? You’re not good enough? Nobody really needs you? These fears are not from God, but from the enemy.
Rather than complete the one-month journey and take possession of the land God had promised them, the Israelites roamed the desert for 40 years complaining. Aren’t we this way sometimes? Maybe God has something miraculous for us, but we’re comfortable where we are; moving beyond that feels scary. We’ve learned to live with the pain, poor health, broken relationships, wrecked finances, misery, or sorrows and we feel we’re all right. But God wants us to be strong and courageous and never to let the devil’s lies dictate our behavior.
As it’s time for the Israelites to cross the Jordan river and take possession of the Promised Land, two spies are sent into Jericho where the first battle will take place. They end up protected in the house of Rahab, who is not a typical heroine, but a prostitute.
So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.”
Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.
Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” Joshua 2:3-13
Can you imagine how fearful Rahab must have felt, with her own king sending word demanding loyalty by giving up the two spies? Yet she rejects this fear in favor of what she knows about God and she places her trust in Him.
2. Serving God reveals faith.
Rahab had faith and she took action.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:25-26
You are not saved by what you do, but if you are saved, you do stuff!
What value is telling someone you love him if you don’t do anything to help him?
What value is it to believe in God and not live for Him?
Pastor Marcus then gave an illustration by using some mylar fish balloons to represent Christians. Some balloons were inflated with helium as a representation of works. Those balloons could fly around and move because there was something inside them to keep them afloat.
But other balloons had no helium, like a Christian with no works. They were flat, limp shells of mylar. What value are they? What joy to they bring?
Which fish are you today? Is your faith blessing other people? Or is it just enough to keep you in church?
3. Serving God remains forever.
But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua 6:22-25
Because of Rahab’s act of faith, she not only saved herself her family and her lineage. As we are told in Matthew 1, Jesus Himself is a direct descendant of Rahab!
Unlike things you do for yourself or earthly things you pursue that pass away, the things you do for the Lord remain forever. Start today and find an opportunity to get plugged in!
Ask yourself - if you are not serving, why not? You are missing out on God’s amazing blessings that he has for you and others. Toys for Joy is coming up soon and is a perfect place to start! God doesn’t need your toys or your cash or your time, but He wants your faithful heart that is willing to serve in any of those ways that arise.