“Choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
“And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work he had done...”
Judges 2:10 helps us see that that Christianity is just one generation from being extinct. It reminds us of urgency to go make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Recently Howie Shute said, “If you say you are a disciple, and you are not making disciples, then you are not a disciple.”
Study the Word
As Joshua’s life came to a close he wanted to make sure the people would continue to follow God. He knew how vulnerable they were; how inclined they were to follow other gods. So he called an assembly and gave his final challenge. Read the dialog that takes place between Joshua and the people. (Joshua 24:14-33)
· He assembles the leaders (Joshua 24:1)
· He retells the story of how God worked to bring them into the Promised Land. (Joshua 24:2-12)
· He reminds them of God’s blessing (Joshua 24:13)
· He warns them to serve God alone (Joshua 24:14)
· He tells them to make a public decision (Joshua 24:15)
· He warns them of the consequences of idolatry (Joshua 24:19-21)
· He reminds them of the covenant they have just made (Joshua 24:22)
· He writes down the covenant that was made (Joshua 24:25-27)
· He sets a stone under a large oak tree near the sanctuary as a reminder (Joshua 24:26)
This was a very serious matter, and Joshua wanted to make sure there was no question or doubt. He wanted to leave a legacy of obedience to God. But once Joshua was gone the people quickly turned away from the Lord. At first it was very subtle, and then eventually grew into full rebellion. Read what happened.
· Judges 1:27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 35-36
· Judges 2:10-14
· Judges 2:14-15
What would happen if each of us began to seek God and discover ways we can raise a generation that knows the Lord. Let me give you an example:
The tragic loss of his daughter to the AIDS virus caused Donnie to turn his heart to God. Instead of becoming bitter, he determined to change his life around and begin following the Lord. So he resolved that he would make a difference in his own neighborhood and leave a positive legacy for the next generation.
For the next 17 years Donnie woke up each morning and prayed for every household in his neighborhood. He walked past each home, pointed to it and asked God’s protection and blessing on those living inside. After years of prayer Donnie began to see change. Many came to know Christ. Neighbors started to come together to clean up their streets. The park that was once infested with drug and gang activity slowly became a safer place for families to gather. Young boys started giving up drugs and heading back to school where they became leaders among their peers and in the community. Churches started to work together to make their neighborhood a better place. Today Donnie still wakes early each morning and walks his neighborhood and prays for every household.
If you ever have a chance to meet Donnie you will come to know him as a man of few words. But what he has to say carries a great impact. Donnie likes to remind men and fathers that, “a boy has to see a man to be a man.” He often declares, “I am the man of God around here!” In essence, Donnie is taking the same position as Joshua. “Choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
1. Have members of your group share ways that God is currently using them to “raise a generation that knows the Lord”.
2. Years ago the Church of the Nazarene began to encourage “everyone to win one”. What does that mean?
3. In what ways is the local church involved in raising a generation that knows the Lord?
4. Is God calling you to a particular ministry? What do you need in order to get started? How can the members of this group help you and encourage you?
5. How can Christians combine efforts to impact this generation for Christ?
Have the members of the group sing the following hymn written by William P. Merrill. If you do not know the song, perhaps you can find one that would be appropriate for your group.
1. Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.
2. Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
and end the night of wrong.
3. Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
her strength unequal to her task;
rise up, and make her great!
4. Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where his feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
rise up, O men of God!