Oh The Places You Will Go

Key Text: Joshua 1:6-9

Pastor Luis Socarras - Student Pastor

Community Group Questions:

1) Why do you think it’s so easy to give advice and it can be so difficult to take advice?

2) How tough was it for you to “pretend” and to step out of “the adult world” that Luis talked about?

3) Luis said, “Knowing God is paramount to finding out why He made you and who He means for you to be.” What do you think about that statement?

4) If Jesus asked you the question He asked His disciples in Matthew 16, “Who do you say I am” what would be your reply? Has there been a time in your life where you accepted God’s gift of His Son? (Have you invited Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?)

5) Why are questions about identity and purpose and provision important questions for all of us, regardless of age, to consider and find the answers to?

6) Sometimes we get into situations where, like the Israelites, we can lose sight of who God has called us to be and what God had called us to do and we begin to doubt that we really have what it takes. What are ways that we can overcome those thoughts and remind ourselves of who God has called us to be, and what He called us to do and that we have provision through Him? The following passage may help...

Jer 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jer 29:12  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Jer 29:13  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jer 29:14  I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."


7) In Joshua 1: 7, “God tells Joshua to be careful to obey all the law that Moses gave: don’t turn away from it, and don’t compromise on it.” Would you say that you are careful to obey all the Law of God? If so, what are things you do in order to be successful in those areas? If not,
what are things you can do to become more successful in those areas?

8) In Joshua chapter 1: 8, God tells Joshua to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips [talk about it]; meditate on it day and night [read it and think about it], so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” What are ways that you can apply this to your life today?

 

Full Sermon Notes

Oh The Places You Will Go

Key Text: Joshua 1:6-9

Today I don’t want everyone feeling like their sitting through another graduation ceremony where people get up and give advice to the graduates and you wait for the 15 seconds that you actually care about when the person you’re there to see strolls across the stage to get
that hard earned diploma…

This is the time of year when profound quotes are circulated and repeated and words of wisdom are shared freely…
Graduates get a lot of advice from many different people at this time of year. They’ve got dad or mom telling them what they need to do next. They’ve got friends suggesting where they ought to go. They’ve got guidance counselors and academic advisors helping them get things in order so that they don’t mess it all up at the last minute. They’ve got religious leaders challenging them and community leaders inspiring them at graduation ceremonies.

Ultimately though, after all the advice has been given, graduates: it is your life to live and your choice for how you choose to live it. We can try to tell you about it. We can try to inspire you to live life well. We can try to challenge you to make a difference. But no one can do it for you. You have to make your own choices and live with the results. Graduates stand at a pivotal moment between what was… and what will be (or could be)…They have the blessing and the curse of stepping out into the unknown… charting a new adventure…Stepping out into the great unknown always brings out all kinds of emotions because it forces you to consider the questions that will define your future.

I’d like to ask you all to do something that may be a little foreign to you… but there was a time in your life where this came naturally. You may have even been so good at it that you got in trouble for it when you were younger…I’d like to have everyone in the room pretend with me that we are standing at a moment where we are positioned to set out on an adventure…An adventure the steps out from what was and steps into what could be…As we stand ready to make this uncertain step I want to give us a few questions to wrestle with…

Who has God called me to be at this time in my life?

What has God called me to do at this time in my life?

And do I have what it takes?

These are questions about identity, purpose, and provision, and you won’t always have the freedom or time on your hands to pray and think and dream and talk about your answers to those questions. The grown up world, gets cluttered up with demands, bills, decisions, responsibilities and appointments and before you know it, you get caught in the daily grind that keeps those questions at arm’s length.
The goals that we never pursued end up being the things we look back on and wonder “what if”…or they’re the things we look back on and say “im so glad I didn’t do that!”

If we’re not careful the grown up world can become the place where there’s hardly any time left to dream about the future and what God might be calling you to do. In the grown up world, time is money…So they tell you to quit dreaming and start producing. Maybe that described you a couple of minutes ago. But we’ve stepped out of that world and you have time right now to think about those questions while you’re standing at the boundary line between the old world that you’ve known so far and the new world that is just ahead. Believe it or not, right now is most likely the freest you will ever be to choose your own
adventure.

I never really liked to read when I was younger… but there was one type of book that I really liked… Choose Your Own Adventure books. These were the books I would run to during the book fair. They were awesome because you could make decisions for characters and see what happened as a result. You could actually change the ending of a book just by making choices that would affect them; sometimes in a good way and sometimes in bad ways. I loved the fact that I could decide how the story would end up. At the bottom of the page there stood a couple of options for you as a reader to choose… if you choose this go to page 43, if you choose this go to page 11.

In a way you stand ready to choose your own adventure… you stand at a boundary line between the past and the future…

In the Old Testament, Israel found itself precisely in that place; at the boundary line between the past and the future. But they didn’t get there quickly. In some of its earliest history, Israel was enslaved under Pharaoh in Egypt. They had harsh taskmasters to obey, and large quota demands to meet. They had no freedom, no power, no place, and no authority. Some of you might be thinking, “Wow! That sounds like school! Or That sounds like my job!” Maybe…. But this was definitely worse….When God finally rescued them from that situation, they didn’t know who they were or what they were supposed to do with their freedom. People had been telling the Israelites what to do and when to do it for 400-years. Think about it your parents and their parents and their parents lived in a society where they were less than nothing, they had no options, no choices about what they would do… they were told from the earliest time they could remember exactly what they could and couldn’t do and they were clueless now that they had to be responsible for themselves. But God was gracious to them, and He instructed them about who they were to be and what they were to do. And God promised them that they could make it, that they had what it takes. But the people still got tripped up, and they began answering those questions about identity and purpose and provision in all the wrong ways. And they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They had lost sight of who God had called them to be and what God had called them to do. And they began to doubt that they really had what it takes.

It’s similar to what happens to those students who show up on the college campus and don’t know how to respond to their newfound freedom with no one watching over them and telling them what to do. They stay out all night, waste their money on beer and pizza, and fail their classes until finally, they have no choice but to go back where they came from with only a few credit hours and a several thousand dollars of student loan debt. That sounds a bit like wandering in the wilderness if you ask me. And just so you know, that kind of wandering still happens for adults today too. But we don’t call it wandering in the wilderness; we call it a “mid-life crisis.”

Both of those examples are the result of people not knowing their identity, their purpose and their provision. So the questions about identity and purpose and provision shouldn’t be put-off by students or adults because they’re important questions for all of us. Finally, after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, Israel found itself on the edge of the Promised Land, at the boundary line between their past and their future. There was no question about where they were going, but there were many questions about: who they would be and what they would do and if they had what it takes to accomplish the task when they got there. And so they paused there on the banks of the Jordan River to listen to Moses deliver a 30-chapter commencement address about the answers to those questions (it’s known now as the book of Deuteronomy).

The Book of Deuteronomy presents Moses’ address to the new generation of Israelites. In Exodus and Numbers God frequently spoke to Moses; in Deuteronomy, Moses is speaking at God’s command to the Israelites (Dt 1:1–4; 5:1; 29:1). In contrast to the preceding books,
Deuteronomy has a style of exhortation (urging or persuasion) in which Moses admonishes (advises) the new generation about their responsibility in view of the preceding generation’s failures. Whatever repetition occurs in Deuteronomy is carefully selected, with the specific purpose of warning the new generation so that they will not fail to conquer and occupy Canaan. Deuteronomy isn’t primarily retrospective (reviewing the past); it’s outlook is optimistic about the future, offering hope for fulfilling the promises God made to the Israelites in Egypt.
And at the end of that speech, Moses passed the leadership baton to his assistant Joshua, and then Moses passed away. As you can imagine, Joshua is probably a bit overwhelmed by the big expectations that now rest upon his shoulders. He’s about to step out into the great unknown, so he’s probably also feeling some excitement and anxiety, and perhaps a little fear. And God spoke to him there at the boundary line. Just in case you’re a little rusty at this whole pretending thing… I want to remind you to get back in character before we jump in to the text this morning… You have left the comfortable familiarity of what was… and You are standing at the edge of the unknown…

Joshua chapter 1, verses 6 through 9:

“6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore

to their ancestors to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the

law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be

successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it

day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be

prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do

not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you

go” (NIV).

Now, I recognize that things have changed a lot since the days of Joshua some 3,000 years ago. But even though things have changed (and will continue to change), when it comes to crossing over the boundary line – from what has been to what is to come – there are a few things that haven’t changed that I think we can learn from God’s words here to Joshua.

First, you must remember who God has called you to be.

Joshua was called to a very specific role in God’s story. Joshua is the one whom God has called to lead the people into the land. That’s who he is. He’s called to be a leader. That means that, just like with other leaders, people will be quick to criticize and second-guess whatever decisions he makes. We’ve gotten so good at “critiquing” and criticizing leaders that we have whole channels devoted to reviewing sports games, and that’s just with sports. Everyone has an opinion about everything, so the words that precede Joshua’s call to be a leader are: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua has to stand with strength and courage in order to remember who God has called him to be. If you jump back to Deuteronomy 31:6-8 you see the command given…

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your

God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Then Moses summoned Joshua

and said to him in the presences of all Israel, “be strong and courageous, for you must go

with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you

must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord Himself goes before you and will be

with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”

Now if I were Joshua at this point I would be thinking…. Ummmm I don’t want this job! These people are crazy and we’re about to get into some rough stuff because God is on repeat talking about “be strong and courageous and don’t be discouraged. Every time He says that all I cant think of is all the problems that are about to happen when I start dividing up peoples inheritance… literally pieces of a country… this is too much! Thankfully Joshua didn’t respond that way because he remembered who God had called him to be. If he forget who God had called him to be, he’d probably given up, or given in, or settled for something less… and Joshua would’ve missed out on God doing some pretty amazing things through him. The same is true for you. God has called each of you… not to an easy life… but to a life that requires strength and courage because there are people – sometimes friends, sometimes advertisers, sometimes even family members – who offer ideas and plans for you that may encourage you to settle for second-best. When you cross the boundary you will have people pulling you in all sorts of directions and offering you all kinds of opportunities or suggestions on what you should do with the life God has given you. But, like Joshua, you must remember who God has called you to be. So as we stand ready to take this step I’d like to ask you… Who Has God Called You To Be? So, you must remember who God has called you to be.

The second thing that hasn’t changed is that you must remember what God has called you to do.

So in verse 7, God tells Joshua to be careful to obey all the law that Moses gave: don’t turn away from it, and don’t compromise on it. And at the heart of remembering what God has called you to do is what verse 8 calls the “Book of the Law,” the Bible. It’s our sacred text that offers the wisdom of people struggling and striving to live in obedience and right relationship to God. It’s the book that God uses, according to...

2 Timothy 3:17, “to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (NLT).

There in Joshua chapter 1, verse 8, God tells Joshua to...

Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips [talk about it]; meditate on it day and night [read it and think about it], so that

you may be careful to do everything written in it.”

Remember means to recall something forgotten, or to keep something in memory or in mind. If you’re going to remember what God has called you to do when you cross the boundary line, then you need to read the book, and think about it, and find some friends that you can talk with about it. And all of that talking about it and thinking about it is aimed at helping you to do what it says. Do you see that? Talk about it, meditate on it, and think about it, “so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” Look at this verse with me for a minute:

“Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.” James 1:22

This is one of my favorite verses because it reminds us not to just accumulate knowledge about God or to hear a bunch of messages or participate in a bunch of bible studies without putting those truths into practice in our own lives. The problem is that there is a cost associated with putting God’s word into practice in our daily lives. Actually doing what the Bible says requires strength and courage because sometimes it means giving up something that isn’t good for us but its something we don’t want to let go of. Or we can face the challenge of having other people being quick to offer their opinion that the Bible is an outdated book with outdated thoughts that has no relevance to our lives today. Statistics tell us that at least half of the graduates we recognize here this morning and Christian graduates who are being recognized at churches across the country will go on to adopt that stance for themselves in the next 4 years. My hope is that that doesn’t happen to you. I want you to summon your strength and courage and KNOW that if holiness and love and grace and truth are outdated and irrelevant today, then that’s a problem with contemporary society. It’s not a problem with the Bible. If you’re going to remember what God has called you to do, you’re going to have to get into the Bible and allow it to get into you.

So remember Who God has called you to be at this time in your life?

remember What God has called you to do at this time in your life?

And the last thing I want to suggest that hasn’t changed for people at the boundary is that you must remember that you have what it takes.

Joshua had what he needed to be who God had called him to be and to do what God had called him to do because he wasn’t setting out on the journey alone: he had the people of God on his side. But even more importantly, he had God on his side.

Verse 9 says, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I want you to know today that you never need to feel like you’re all alone on the journey because the people of this church are on your side.
But more importantly, I want you to know that you never need to doubt that you have what it takes because God is on your side. He’s with you wherever you go. When you cross the boundary line into the future that God has for you, there will be times when you feel like giving up. There will be times when you don’t know what to do. There will be times when you are pushed to the breaking point.

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Be strong and courageous.

Remember who God has called you to be.

Remember what God has called you to do.

Remember that you have what it takes.

And may you be successful wherever you go, and prosper in whatever you do….

Invitation:

Maybe you’re sitting here today and you don’t know who God has called you to be, or what He has called you to do; maybe you are questioning if you really have what it takes. Or maybe your realizing that you’ve just moved from one thing to the next allowing the
expectations or advice of others to be what guided you. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus is talking with His disciples…Jesus asks the all important question, “who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered..."You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Right there in that moment Peter got it right! Getting this question right is not just about salvation; it’s the starting point for a lifelong journey. You are “saved” when you come to know and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but that is only the beginning of your relationship with Him! It was After Simon correctly identified who Jesus was,… that Jesus identified who Simon was. He said; "I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church." From then on, Simon was known as Rock. That's what petros, or Peter, means in Greek. What changed in that moment wasn't who Peter was but rather his view of who he was. Jesus said he was a rock. Suddenly Peter could see the man he really was. As we stand at this place… this moment in between what was and what could be….

Who do you say Jesus is?

Knowing God is paramount to finding out why He made you and who He means for you to be. God wants to give you a revelation of who you are too. He wants to show you your value now, and He wants to open your eyes to who you can become in Him. If you haven’t ever taken the time to consider the answer to that question I want to give you the opportunity to respond today… or maybe you want to pray with one of the pastors about what God is calling you to be or to do…

I’m going to pray and the band will make its way up to play… this is our time of invitation and I want to invite you to respond to God’s leading in your heart…

Lets pray…



This is additional information not included in the sermon but is good to know.

In fact, track with me for a minute…

When it comes to ancient documents and determining how reliable they are, the number of copies we have makes the strongest case for them. There are people whose whole job is to look at old copies of even older documents and compare them with each other. The fewer inconsistencies they find, the more reliable the document. The more copies they have, the better. So, the best thing you could possible have, historically speaking, is a lot of manuscripts in a high amount of agreement. Even better, is when you have early copies—the older, the better.

You still tracking with me? Hang in there.

The point in all this is, to figure out the reliability of the New Testament, there is a lot at play. Now, using these factors (number of copies, accuracy in the copies, and age of the oldest copies compared to the original) let’s see how the New Testament holds up to other ancient historical sources:

(Communicator Note: It may be valuable to display facts visually.)

PLATO

Number Of Copies: 7

Approximate Time Span Between Original And Copy: 1,200 Years

Accuracy: Too Few To Tell

CAESAR

Number Of Copies: 10

Approximate Time Span Between Original And Copy: 1,000 Years

Accuracy: Too Few To Tell

ARISTOTLE

Number Of Copies: 49

Approximate Time Span Between Original And Copy: 1,400 Years

Accuracy: Too Few To Tell

HOMER (Iliad)

Number Of Copies: 643

Approximate Time Span Between Original And Copy: 500 Years (almost half of others)

Accuracy: 95% Consistency

Homer is looking great compared to the others. Now let’s look at The New Testament.

NEW TESTAMENT

Number Of Copies: 5,600

Approximate Time Span Between Original And Copy: 100 Years

Accuracy: 99.5% Consistency

When compared to other ancient historical accounts, the New Testament is by far the most reliable document we have. Also, the 5,600 copies I mentioned only include the copies we have in Greek. If you include the 19,000 other copies we have in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages, you end up with over 24,000 copies of the New Testament! Basically, the New Testament is more historically accurate than anything we have on Julius Caesar, Plato, Aristotle, and Homer! Maybe you’re hung up on the .5% that doesn’t line up. It’s true that there are copies that have some discrepancies in them. But it’s important to note that of that .5% of the text that disagrees, there isn’t one inconsistency in the documents that brings into question any of the big ideas of our faith. The documents that make up the Bible are reliable. We can count on them.