You’re Gonna Have to Get off the Fence

The message was brought by Rev. Derek Cowan.

Joshua 23: 14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

There is a striking similarity between the children of Israel and America.  They enjoyed the good land and were blessed.  We enjoy our nation.  We are blessed.  I’ve seen photos of other places but our little part here can’t be beat.  We have all four seasons.  In the spring the grass turns green and grows; the birds sing.  Summer blesses us with gardens.  In the fall God gets out his crayon box and colors the hillsides with reds, yellows, and oranges.  We had our first frost this morning. I looked out and it looked like God had thrown diamond dust across the yard.  We’re blessed to live a good life in a good land.

Just as sure as God blesses, if you compromise you’ll suffer.  Verse 16 says When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.  Notice it doesn’t say if you transgress; it says “when.”  God will bring evil to the land.  Yes.  We know the world is corrupt with lies and murders.  We know politics is corrupt.  That’s the world.  Compromise has come to the house of God.  People say they are saved but live any old way they want.  Preachers won’t warn people about hell.  Paul told Timothy this day would come.  He said for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Isaiah 58:1 says cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.  I’m to preach the Word.

When the church is compromised, the gospel is not preached. People forsake the Word.  Mark it down.  God will bring judgment.  The Bible tells us that judgment begins at the house of God.  We can’t live on the fence.  In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 the 7 church ages are presented and we see 7 periods of time. The Laodicean church said I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; Jesus said and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.  We’ve got more than any churches ever.  We have padded pews and climate control.  I can remember when there was barely enough light for night services and now we have nice lighting.  It’s time to get out the eye salve.  Because we’re lukewarm, God will spew us out of his mouth.  Get off the fence!  Call sin, sin.  Stand your ground for what’s right.  If you’re a friend of God the world will hate you.  You can’t serve two masters.  You can’t love God and the world.  It’s sad to say that the church rides the fence to live for God and the world.  Matthew 5 says blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  People will lie on you and call you a religious fanatic if you follow the Lord.  But we have to stand by the Word.  If God is for it, I’m for it.  If God is against it, I’m against it.

So what do we do about the compromise?  We need a coming together.  Joshua 24:1 says Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.  Realizing it’s the hour of compromise, it’s time to call God’s people together.  It’s sad when you have to beg Christians to come to church.  If your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you need to be in church.  Hebrews tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.  God’s people ought to be here praying, encouraging each other, helping others.  After Christ commissioned the disciples he told them to wait in Jerusalem.  There were in one place in one accord.  Even if we get together there is not one accord.  There is picking, poking and gouging.  Instead of coming to church looking for a blessing, many come looking for a way to get mad.  This is the time to love each other.  Get off the fence.  It’s not about me.  It’s not about you.  It’s about Jesus Christ.  Lift high the blood-stained banner.  Matthew 5:16 tells us let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  When all we do is divide, it doesn’t show God to the world.

We know there is compromise.  We see the coming together.  Now we see the charge.  Joshua said to the people now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell.  We’re taking up the wickedness of the world around us.  We think we can talk, walk, dress, and go anywhere we want.  Today is the day.  Make the decision.  Are you going on for God or quitting?  It’s going to get harder.  The devil won’t back down.  Ephesians 6 says for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Peter tells us we’re in a fight.  It’s time to take the whole armor of God and stand.  You can leave here sold out to God or not.

Notice Joshua’s choice:  but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  We’ve got to make a choice.  It doesn’t matter what others do.  I’m glad Joshua had courage.  If you wait on someone else to shout before you do, you won’t shout.  If you quit every time someone else quits, you won’t get very far.  I don’t have anything to go back to.  I’m going on with God.  I’m not backing down.

The people decided to go on for God.  After Joshua died, the generation who spoke that day stuck with God.  If we get off the fence and get back to being sold out for God, we can have revival.  People will get right with God.  It’s going to take God’s people getting off the fence.  It’s time for God’s people to gather and seek his blessings and tender mercies.  If I have to preach to the “pew family” I’m going to keep on preaching.  I can’t do it in my own strength.  One verse of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” states prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.  We’ll make it with a surrendered life guided by God.

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