The Next Step – Sermon Summary   Leave a comment

Joshua 22:1-6

The conquering of the Promised Land was now complete.  The tribes of Reuben and Gad along with the half-tribe of Manasseh were about to cross back over the Jordan to their promised portions of the kingdom.  It is here that Joshua gives a formula that will help every Christian as we continue to take forward steps into the center of God’s will for our lives and our churches.

#1.  Love God.  As Christians, we must fall deeper in love with the Lord every day.  Obviously, you cannot love God if you do not know God.  The only way to know God is to accept Jesus Christ into your life as Savior and Lord.  Jesus said that loving the Lord our God is the most important commandment there is, and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves.  Forward motion with the Lord is impossible without loving God.

#2. Walk in His Ways.  The will of God is to be desired and targeted at all times.  We cannot expect to live the way God wants us to if we are not close to Him.  Jesus gave us an example of a sinless, perfect life, and we are to strive to live that way.  Even though in our sinful nature this is an impossibility, we are still to do our best to live like Jesus.  How can we do this?  Make right decisions.  Live with a biblical worldview & higher morals, help those in need, and love even those who work against us.

#3. Obey His Commands.  Obedience should be an automatic response for Christians.  Scripture tells us time and time again that we are to be obedient to the Lord.  The story of the Old Testament can almost be summarized as such: God blessed and gave directives.  The people listened for a while then rebelled.  God punished them for their sins.  The people repented.  Then God blessed and gave directives.  Repeat formula again.  Are you living a lifestyle of total obedience to the Lord?

#4. Stay by His Side.  Trials come.  Satan works hard.  Our level of loyalty to the Lord should mirror His loyalty to us!  Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5, NIV.    We must stay close to the Lord because there truly are consequences for our sins when we stray.  How do we remain close to the Lord?  Easy – look at the formula.  Love God.  Walk in His Ways.  Obey His Commands.

#5. Serve Him with All Your Heart & Soul.  This should be the result of all of the above.  Serving the Lord is a privilege and honor.  We should never approach Kingdom work as if it is some kind of drudgery or laborious deed.  Attitude makes all the difference, and a positive one that serves with a smile is precisely what the Lord is looking for in us.

Imagine a church full of people who love God, walk in His ways, obey His commands, stays close to His side, and serves Him with all of their hearts and souls.  What image comes to your mind?  Every church needs to pull together and do all of these things as individuals and on a corporate level.

This is how we as Christians and as churches can take the next step into learning God’s desire for our lives and ministries.  I believe that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 is a perfect thought to enhance these words of Joshua.  Read it and see if you agree.

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