This content is part of a series.
NOTE: This sermon is part 5 and 6 of a 40 part devotional series. Two sermons outlines are included in this download.
Fifth Day (5 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
‘‘On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, ‘We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles.’ But I will tell them, ‘I will have nothing to do with you! Get out o my sight, you evil people!’’’ Matthew 7:22-23
Ouch! These are definitely not the words of Jesus that we expect. We are perhaps too lulled by Jesus as presented in the hymn, Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling to see Jesus in the force of these words. Nonetheless, this is an aspect of Jesus we need to hear. Along with God’s tremendous love poured out for us on the cross of Christ, we must recognize the call to committed discipleship.
We would hardly allow for a marriage partner to assume the goodness of our love would ignore any sense of responsibility and commitment on their part to the relationship. We would think little of one who claimed to love a spouse who consistently neglected and abused them. We would call that an abusive and faulty relationship. Love may be granted with all its tenderness, forgiveness, and willingness to pay a deep price to help the other. That same love, however, demands the sincerity of a commitment in reciprocity.
Sixth Day (6 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
‘‘But if you don’t want to worship Yahweh, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on the land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey Yahweh!’’ Joshua 24:15
Joshua again! This is only one verse later than what we read two days ago. He was pretty emphatic with these people. In the same context, he will tell them that he does not believe they will be faithful, regardless of their cries of fidelity to Yahweh. He knew them too well. They were too enmeshed in their way of life to let God change them in any meaningful way. They knew all the right answers to Joshua’s cry for commitment, but their words were empty.
If we went back, we would find Moses giving the people pretty much the same challenge a generation before. We would have heard about the same response, too - all the right answers, all the declarations of fidelity to Yahweh, and all the same empty content of a people following a tradition of faith without a real commitment to allow that faith to change them from the inside out.