Pastor James J. Barker

Text: JOSHUA 24:1-15


1.     Joshua 24 is the last chapter in the great book of Joshua.  It records Joshua’s last message to the children of Israel (24:1).  This gathering took place at Shechem (24:1).

2.     But though it was Joshua’s final charge to the people of Israel, it really wasn’t Joshua’s message.  The message was from the LORD (24:2a).   In this message, the LORD outlined His theocratic relationship with the children of Israel.

3.     They were His covenant people.   In fact, they still are God’s covenant people.  That is why 1500 years after Joshua, and 2,000 years after Abraham, the apostle Paul could say, “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew” (Romans 11:1, 2).

4.     However, though the Jews are God’s chosen people, for the most part they are in a state of unbelief and rebellion. 

5.     In this message (and we see this often in the Bible) we get a brief historical review.

·       The call of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to the Promised Land (24:2, 3).

·       The Abrahamic Covenant was extended to Isaac and Jacob (24:3, 4).

·       Esau was given Mt. Seir, but the Israelites went into Egyptian bondage (24:4).

·       The LORD raised up Moses and Aaron and delivered the Israelites out of Egypt (24:5-7).

·       God allowed Israel to defeat the Amorites (24:8).

·       God frustrated Balaam’s evil plan (24:9, 10).

·       God allowed Israel to cross over the Jordan River, and He gave them the city of Jericho.  The LORD delivered all of the various heathen tribes into their hand (24:11).

·       God removed the heathen from the Promised Land and gave it to Israel, though they did not deserve it (24:12, 13).

6.     This being “Father’s Day,” my emphasis will be on the father’s responsibility as the head of the home.  Joshua said, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (24:15).

7.     The Bible teaches that the father is supposed to be the head of the home but too many dads are not even in the home.  And many of the ones that are in the home are slacking off.

8.     Before I go any further, let me stress that we must reject modern society’s attempt to redefine and restructure the family.  It is devilish to teach that the family is anything but a father and mother and children (cf. Col. 3:18-21).

9.     Liberals use words like “diversity” and “tolerance” as smokescreens to deceive people. 

10. A family is not two sodomites with adopted children.  It is not two lesbians with test-tube babies. 

11. A family is not a single or divorced mother and her children living with her boyfriend. 

12. Just yesterday I read a new report from the Institute for American Values. The report says that “boys in a single-parent home are roughly twice as likely to have served jail time by their early 30’s. They are missing a family’s natural disciplinarian. As the report’s main author, University of Virginia professor W. Bradford Wilcox, puts it, ‘Men have a disciplinary advantage over women in terms of their size, strength and even the tone of their voice.’ This advantage extends to the entire community. The research of Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson finds that the percentage of fatherless households is one of the strongest predictors of how much violent crime a neighborhood will experience” (Rich Lowry, “The Father Effect, It can’t be replaced,” June 16, 2006, NRO).

13. A boyfriend is not a proper substitute for a child’s father. Statistics have demonstrated that boyfriends living in the home are more likely to be abusive than a married father.

14. Let us look at the home from a Biblical perspective.



1.     The term “fear the LORD” or “fear of the LORD” is found hundreds of times in the Bible. 

2.     In the old days, if some one said, “He is a God-fearing man,” people knew what was meant.   It was a compliment.

3.     The term denotes true piety and reverence. 

4.     But now we are living in a very irreverent day and age.  And yet it has always been this way.  That is why the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:18,  “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (quoting Psalm 36:1).

5.     So there was no fear of God in Paul’s day and David’s day.  Remember what the repentant thief on the cross said to the other thief?  “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  (Luke 23:40).

6.     When our Lord wanted to indicate the character of the unjust judge in a parable, He did so by saying that he “feared not God, neither regarded man” (Luke 18:2).  That sounds like most people today.

7.     Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”

8.     Acts 9:31 says, the churches “were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”

9.     Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

10. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” 

11. Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

12. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

13. There are hundreds of Scriptures which refer to the fear of the LORD.



1.     If fathers show little interest in serving God, their sons won’t either.   Many dads are poor role models.

2.     Joshua 24:14 says, “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…”

3.     The word “serve” is used 12 times in this passage (24:14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24).

4.     God wants us to serve Him “in sincerity and truth” (24:14).  Let me be frank – most men today do not want to serve God.  With a broken heart, the apostle Paul wrote these words, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things)” (Phil. 3:17-19).

5.     Talk to most pastors and they will tell you that when there is a work-day at the church many men will not show up. 

6.     We need more ladies to come in on Saturday mornings and clean up but most women will not help out.  We need also more help in the nursery. 

7.     Only a small percentage of our membership goes out soulwinning.

8.     W Graham Scroggie said, “The quality of our usefulness will always depend on the state of our heart.  Our compassion for men will be determined by our experience of the love of Christ, and our appropriation of the divine resources” (Joshua in the Light of the NT, p. 84).



1.     Many men will say they are Christian, but they are double-minded.  They tell their wives, “You go to Sunday School with the children.  I’m tired.”   Yet they never seem too tired to watch TV or engage in worldly activities that they enjoy – sports, fishing, etc.

2.     James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

3.     Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (24:15).

4.     Verse 19 should not be understood to mean that God does not forgive sin (24:19).   Joshua is warning that God is not to be treated lightly or presumptuously (cf. Numbers 15:30, 31).

5.     Joshua’s strong words were what these vacillating Israelites needed to hear.   Today many people do not like to hear strong words coming from the pulpit.  They want their ears tickled. 

6.     Many people think they can live as they please and God will accept them, and everything will be just fine.  But this is not what the Bible teaches (24:19).  

7.     Joshua warned the Israelites that God is a holy God and a jealous God and that if they were insincere or if they were playing games God would not forgive their sins (24:19, 20).

8.     The people insisted, “Nay; but we will serve the LORD” (24:21).

9.     Joshua then said, “Now therefore put away…the strange gods which are among you…” (24:23).

10. Let me make an application: if you really mean business with God, then put away all of the idols and all of the wickedness (beer, cigarettes, gambling, bad literature, worldly music, wicked movies and TV, etc.) out of your lives. 



1.     Joshua said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (24:15).

2.     If you dads will serve God then take a stand for God.

3.     If you choose not to serve God than you can just stay seated.

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