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INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In his sermon Rich began a new series titled Ordinary people, Extraordinary God, and began by looking at why people fail. People often fail because they allow sin to pile up and go unchecked until it becomes something that dominates and overtakes them. Others have not full embraced Jesus and are living off of the faith of their parents or others. The bible teaches that the only way out of addiction and compulsive sin is by laying in the arms of Jesus.
In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
•Go around your group and allow people to share the high and the low of their week.
•How would you define perseverance? Who in your life exemplifies perseverance? What have you learned from them?
•What is a time in your life when you felt like you persevered successfully?
Read Joshua 23:1-14
1After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then old and well advanced in years, 2summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am old and well advanced in years. 3You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. 4 Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Great Sea in the west. 5 The Lord your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.
6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
9“The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
12“But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.
14“Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15But just as every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
•v.1-5 What phrase do you notice is repeated in these first five versus? Joshua is at the end of his life and was extremely successful in fulfilling the role that God had for him in regards to the purposes for Israel. Yet, who do you see Joshua trying to put all the attention on? To whom does he attribute the success of Israel? Think about some of the successes you’ve had in your life. Who do you attribute that success to? God, or yourself? How often do you find yourself giving thanks to God regardless of your particular circumstances? In light of Rich’s sermon, how might not recognizing God have consequence in your life?
•v.6-8 What does Joshua command the leaders in these verses? What is similar about the commands?
•Go back to chapter one of Joshua and read v. 1-7. What is similar about those verses and verses 6-8 of chapter 23? What does God tell Joshua will bring him success?
•What our some of the things around you that may make you turn “aside to the right or the left?” What in our culture competes against God for our worship? Please discuss.
•v.11 Why does Joshua say to be careful to love God? Why should we have a reverent fear of God? What does that look like? Discuss what a healthy fear of God should be.
•v.12 – 13 What are the consequences of allying with the other nations? How does this relate to sin in our own lives? What are consequences of sins that may go unchecked in our lives?
•v.14-16 God has brought the people of Israel much success and they have been faithful. But Joshua knows that they must continue in there faithfulness. Discuss how we can continue to choose God daily in the face of temptation? What helps you in your life to persevere when you are tempted to turn from God? Discuss healthy patterns that you have found to help you “hold fast to the Lord.”
Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.
•Sit quietly and wait on the Holy Spirit. Think about the last few years of your life and where you have seen the Lord at work. Offer Him thanks and praises for what He has done.
•Ask the Lord to search you. What is something that the Holy Spirit is highlighting in your life that He wants to “put to death.”
•Pray for healthy rhythms in your life. Pray that you would remain connected to Jesus. Ask the Lord to strengthen you and make you courageous in your daily walk with Him.