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June 1, 2008 AM

JUDG 2:6-10

INTRO: I remember so well my mother's reading to my sister and me from Egermeier's Bible Story Book. Mom would have one of us on each side of her as she read. I think the most exciting stories were those taken from the Old Testament book of Judges. And I still think that the book of Judges has some of the most interesting events and personalities found in scripture. Behind those personalities and events (the Bible "stories") there are some facts about Israel which are instructive to God's people in any age. Our Vacation Bible School for this year will be focusing on some of the people and events in Judges. But what I want to do this morning is look closely at the historical material from an instructive point of view. Our emphasis this morning will be the "new" generation.

    1. Joshua - the successor to Moses
      1. Josh 1:1,2 - He had been Moses' "right hand man" for many years
      2. Josh 1:6-9 - notice the emphasis on "the book of the law" and the promise "for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then...success"
      3. his leadership was demonstrated over and again - he lived as he led and led as he lived!
    2. As he neared the end...
      1. Josh 23:1,2,6-8 - he clearly charges his successors re: faithfulness
      2. Josh 23:14 - he reminded them that God is faithful to His promises
      3. Josh 24:15 - the challenge of a great and loved leader
    3. Notice Judg 2:7,8 - The influence of this Godly man!
      1. he constantly reminded the people of God's promises, providence
      2. he knew that the people of the land would ultimately be a serious problem
      3. he could not die without one last warning: Josh 24:20
    4. Consider, too, the value of vivid memories
      1. Judg 2:7b - "...who had seen all th great works of the Lord..."
      2. but Judg 2:10a - "And also all that generation were gathered..."
      3. those who knew Joshua and had vivid memories of all that God had done for Isreal have now died ... and the memories apparently died with them!
    1. Judg 2:10b - A recipe for spiritual disaster!
      1. this new generation "knew not the Lord"
      2. note: "nor yet the works which he had done for Israel" (no vivid memory)
      3. had there been a failure in leadership, in teaching, in families?
    2. A look at the new generation
      1. Judg 2:13 - they turned from the Lord and revealed religion
      2. Judg 2:17a - they refused to listen to the judges
      3. Judg 2:17b - they quickly abandoned obeying God's commandments
      4. Judg 2:19 -they were self centered and stubborn
      5. 1 Sam 8:5 - they finally wanted to be like "all the nations"
      6. this is the danger facing each new generation!
    3. Was God pleased? was He accepting of this behavior?
      1. Judg 2:20 - here is reality - God was angry with Israel (covenant people)
      2. when covenant is violated, God cannot and will not accept such behavior
      3. this has been demonstrated over an again in scripture - and Rom 10:11
    1. Of course, there will always be a new generation
      1. but will that new generation forsake the Lord and His commandments?
      2. the answer to that question depends on the family unit, the local congregation's leadership, the teaching & preaching, the individual's commitment to growth through prayer, study & meditation, etc.
      3. the tugs and pulls of an attractive world will always be present
      4. and we must encourage strong, loving leadership to counter such
    2. The winds of change are blowing ... conflicting with the earlier generation
      1. inspiration/authority of scriptures not open to debate
      2. baptism as necessary to remission of sins was never questioned
      3. instrumental music in worship was not imagined
      4. open fellowship to any/all comers was not an option
      5. cooperation with denominational causes/churches was not undertaken
      6. women were honored, but they did not seek roles God had not given
      7. it was never my church ... always the Lord's church
      8. integrity of marriage and family was virtually absolute
      9. Christians did not claim direct leading of the Holy Spirit
      10. but each of these is now questioned, under attack, disposable by a "new" generation!
    3. The lesson of the book of Judges needs to be reviewed, learned, accepted

CLOSE: Studying the "stories" in this Old Testament book is beneficial. But I see the mistakes of God's covenant people there being replayed in our own time. Those mistakes are still a recipe for spiritual disaster!

Cecil A. Hutson

01 June 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)