Life is a sequence of inevitable moments. An inevitable moment is a specific point in time that must come. Inevitable moments are unavoidable; they must happen. The question is never, "Will the moment come?" The question always is, "When will this moment come?"

We know that life's major transitions always involve an inevitable moment. The moment when we must leave our childhood circumstances and begin an adult life is an inevitable moment. The moment when academic education ends and career begins is an inevitable moment. Death is an inevitable moment.

However, inevitable moments are not confined to major transitions. Inevitable moments constantly occur in our lives.

Perhaps the most common form of inevitable moments is decision. Making a decision of importance and consequence always involves an inevitable moment.

You are in your twenties. You have been in a serious dating relationship for three years. You became friends. You learned about each other's lives and backgrounds. You love each other. You tell each other that you want to marry, want to live your lives as husband and wife. Setting the specific date for the wedding creates an inevitable moment. On that inevitable moment you cease to be single and immediately are married.

You have a career decision to make that involves a job opportunity. You investigated the situation thoroughly. You weighed the pros and cons carefully. You gathered all the available information and evaluated it carefully. You considered how the decision would affect your life and affect each member of your family. Then came the inevitable moment. The inevitable moment is the moment you accept or reject the opportunity.

This morning I want us to consider one of the classic inevitable moments in the Bible. It is found in Joshua 24.

  1. Israel's great leader, Joshua, demanded that Israel make an important, critical decision. He demanded that they face the inevitable moment.
    1. Joshua has never been appreciated as he should be.
      1. As a godly man in a nation of hundreds of thousands of people, he trusted and relied on God when only three people did.
        1. He was one of the twelve spies sent into Canaan to scout the land and people before Israel began its invasion.
        2. The twelve men returned astounded at the country's prosperity.
        3. But they were terrified by the walled cities and capable armies they saw.
        4. Ten of the men said that Israel could not successfully invade and conquer the land.
        5. Two men said that it could be done; they knew it could happen because God said it would happen.
        6. In the entire nation, only Moses agreed with Joshua and Caleb.
        7. Of all the Israelites who left Egypt, Joshua was one of only two adults who left Egypt as adults and entered the land of Canaan.
      2. Joshua was unique in the nation of Israel.
        1. He was selected by God to lead Israel as they invaded and conquered the land of Canaan.
        2. As an adult, Joshua personally witnessed the plagues in Egypt.
        3. As an adult, he personally experienced the escape from Egypt by night.
        4. As an adult, he personally experienced crossing the Red Sea on dry land.
        5. As an adult, he personally experienced all the events that happened in the wilderness over a forty year period.
        6. As an adult, he led Israel into Canaan, and experienced the conquest.
        7. He had seen it all as an adult; he had experienced it all as an adult.
        8. So from the plagues in Egypt to the conquest of the land of Canaan, he had an adult perspective on everything that happened.

  2. Joshua was a very old man when he called Israel together for his last speech--Joshua 24:29 states that he was 110 when he died.
    1. In his last act as the leader of Israel, he called for a national assembly.
      1. All the older men who gave guidance and counsel to each tribe were there.
      2. All the heads of families or clans within each tribe were there.
      3. All the judges who rendered decisions in each tribe were there.
      4. And all the officers within each tribe were there.
    2. Listen to Joshua's last speech to the nation of Israel; the first part is as though God was speaking; the second part he speaks for himself."
      1. "All of you are Abraham's descendants, but Abraham's ancestors lived far from here."
      2. "In fact, in that distant place, his father, Terah, and his other relatives worshipped idols."
      3. "It was I, God, who took Abraham from that distant place over 500 years ago and led him through this very land you are living in today."
      4. "I gave Abraham Isaac for a son; and I gave Isaac Jacob and Esau for sons; and Jacob and his sons moved to Egypt."
      5. "Four hundred years after Jacob moved to Egypt, when his descendants had become hundreds of thousands of slaves, I sent Moses and Aaron to lead them."
      6. "I inflicted the ten plagues on Egypt, and I brought you out of Egypt."
      7. "The Egyptian army, with horses and chariots, chased your fathers and mothers to the Red Sea, but I kept the army from attacking by separating them from you with darkness."
      8. "I opened the Red Sea to let you escape, and I closed the Red Sea upon the army to destroy it."
      9. "You lived in the wilderness for a long time."
        1. "The Amorites tried to destroy you, but I would not allow that to happen."
        2. "Balak tried to use Balaam to curse and destroy you, but I used Balaam to pronounce blessings on you."
      10. "After you lived in the wilderness for forty years, I brought you into this land."
        1. "The wicked people who lived here could not stop you."
        2. "I fought with you and for you--and sometimes I fought for you when you did not even fight."
      11. "The end result was that I gave you a land and country of your own."
        1. "I gave you cities that you did not build."
        2. "I gave you farms that you did not clear or develop."
        3. "I gave you vineyards and orchards that you did not plant."
    3. Joshua then spoke for himself to the nation.
      1. "The inevitable moment has come; the moment of decision is here."
        1. "You have every reason to reverence God and serve Him."
        2. "You have every reason to do it in sincerity and truth."
        3. "You have every reason to destroy your idols an never worship them again."
      2. "You know all that God has done for over 500 years to give you this country."
        1. "You have personally witnessed many of the things God did."
        2. "You saw with your own eyes God at work in the wilderness and God at work in the conquest of this land."
      3. "So it is time to decide."
        1. "Make a choice."
        2. "Either choose to serve the idols that Abraham's ancestors served."
        3. "Or choose to serve the God who brought you out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into this country that you now own."
      4. "Choose one or the other."
        1. "You cannot continue trying to serve both."
        2. "I have made my decision, and my family has made its decision."
        3. "I have seen everything that happened from Egypt to Canaan."
        4. "I know what God has done for us."
        5. "You make your choice, but even if you choose to serve idols, my family and I are going to reverence and serve God."

  3. Joshua said to Israel, "The time has come for you to move up to a higher spiritual level."
    1. "You have been on many lower spiritual levels."
      1. "Spiritually, you were in the basement when you were slaves in Egypt."
        1. "You did not know who the living God is."
        2. "He used the plagues in Egypt to reveal His power and nature to you."
        3. "He was not merely delivering you from slavery; He was moving you to a higher spiritual level."
      2. "You were trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea."
        1. "You immediately forgot God's power--you not only refused to trust God; you were certain that there was nothing God could do to help you."
        2. "You said that God brought you out of Egypt to kill you."
        3. "God open the Red Sea so you could cross, and God destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea."
        4. "He was not merely giving you safety and freedom; He was moving you to a higher spiritual level."
      3. "In the wilderness God repeatedly tried to move you to higher spiritual levels."
        1. "Your mothers and fathers resisted God; they did not want a higher spiritual level."
        2. "Instead, they did things like building a golden calf and calling it their god."
        3. "Because they refused to grow spiritually, they died in the wilderness."
      4. "Now you are in the land that God promised them; it is yours."
        1. "It is yours only because of all that God has done."
        2. "You know what He has done."
        3. "It is time for decision; it is time to move to a higher spiritual level."
    2. When Joshua said, "Choose the God that you will serve," Joshua was saying much more than, "Bring an end to all idol worship."
      1. He was also saying, "God has blessed you more than you can imagine."
      2. "Everything you have is the direct result of what God has done for you."
      3. "You know how God has been at work in this nation and in your lives."
      4. "With all that God has done, with all that you have seen and understand, it is time to move to a higher spiritual level."

  4. It is time for us to move up to a higher spiritual level.
    1. In the history of the world, it is unlikely that any people have ever been as blessed as we are.
      1. We cannot grasp all the ways that God blesses this nation.
      2. We cannot grasp all the ways that God touches and blesses our personal lives.
      3. We cannot grasp all the ways that God blesses this congregation.
    2. But we grasp and understand enough to realize that it is time for us as individuals and as a congregation to move to higher spiritual levels.
      1. January 11 the elders will share with us ways in which they would like for the congregation to grow to new spiritual levels in 1998.
      2. In your own life, isn't it time for you to move to a higher spiritual level?
        1. Do you want to? Would you genuinely like to be more mature in godliness?
        2. What must happen in your life for you to move to the next level of spirituality?

Not just let it happen -- but make it happen.

Do you really mean it when you sing that without Jesus you would be nothing?
Do you really mean that without Jesus you would be lost beyond imagination?
Why were you baptized into Christ? Was it for salvation from sin?

Why were you baptized into Christ from God's perspective? The great desire of God for every single one of us is for us to be all that we can be in Jesus Christ. We will never know all that we could be till after we die and look back at life. May God open your eyes and let you see what you can be. All that God wants you to be is for your own benefit.

Have you had commitment to a new life?
Rise to the next spiritual level.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 28 December 1997

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