Introduction to Judges
Pastor Adrian brings us an introduction to the book of Judges drawing important lessons for us - warnings against compromising with the world, the dangerous of worldly gods and cultural commitments, the importance of multi-generational discipleship, God's faithfulness despite sin, and proclamation of the Gospel.
Morning! The Bible says that we're totally depraved man not mostly good mostly bad all bad question a couple of things before I get into the message this morning uh last weekend we celebrated our anniversary weekend uh and it was essentially celebrating 55 years of of a presence in field and it's a wonderful time and we were blessed to have the some of the representatives from the Kine church here with us last weekend and we part of that service we took up a thank offering just a bit of a a gift uh into the life of this of this ministry here at Kure field um I can't give you an exact figure because we are still receiving some funds for that but I just need to let you know that we receive a wonderful generous gift from the church so thank you for that um but as well as that we receive donation to clear our ceiling deck so the church is now de free uh so thank you to all of those who uh have have sewed into the life of this ministry and uh we want to continue being here for at least another 55 years probably more I Reon um because Jesus is worth it yes we can we can get caught up in K Baptist can get caught up in in how we've done things but the reality is that 55 years is all God's doing yeah um there have been many faithful people over the years but none of that makes any difference if God's not in it and uh so we can be thankful to our gracious God for using Us in the ways in which he has over the last last few years and that's that's a wonderful wonderful Testament to him this morning we're going to begin our series um through the Book of Judges but we're not going to do the entire book we are going to pick out a few of the judges to do but this morning I'm just going to bring a bit of an introduction as to as sort of how this this book rolls around uh so if you've got your Bibles there which you should I wanted to turn to judges chapter 2 Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy and then Joshua Judges Ru I don't know why he does but that's how I remember okay so Joshua chapter 2 and we're got to read the first verse Joshua I do this in my notes too I'm putting get joshu ah head you'll see why hopefully so 2 verse 1 now the angel of the Lord went up from Gil to voke him and he said I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers I said I will never break my Covenant with you and you shall make no Covenant with the inhabitants of this land you shall break down their altars but you have not obeyed my voice what is this you have done so now I say I will not drive them out before you but they shall become thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare to you as soon as the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the people of Israel the people lifted up their voices and wept and they called the name of that place oim and they sacrificed there to the Lord when Joshua dismissed the people the people of Israel went to his inheritance to take possession of the land and the people serve the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel and Joshua the son of nun the servant of the Lord died at the age of 110 years and they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in timna per in the Hill Country of EP north of the Mountain of gash and all that generation also were gathered to their fathers and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel may the Lord add his understanding to his word this morning just want to highlight just the first couple of verses that the angel the Lord and He declares what's happened that God had made this incredible Covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and he had remained faithful to that but he had given the Israelites one simple directive he had said I'm going to go before you into this Promised Land of Canaan but I don't want you to make any treaties do not make any compromises I want you to utterly decimate the people there because I have given this whole land into your hands and and I'm going to go before you and make this happen make this possible and the first sampling that Israel had of that was the story of Jericho remember the story of Jericho it was the first town first city that the Israelites came across when they crossed the the river and and there there God was very very clear about how he wanted Joshua the the general of Israel's Army at the time to undertake that campaign and it was completely opposite to what any fighting man would have thought okay it didn't involve people other than they were to March around the city walls of Jericho that doesn't sound very smart does it it doesn't sound very logical and yet God in his provision and his promise showed the people how he was about to take the entire land of Canaan just as he was going to do in Jericho and we know how the story goes the walls Came Crashing Down at the Cry of the priests and the elders and the people just as God had directed them to and of course even to this day they have not been able to build on the foundations of Jericho because for some unknown reason even with modern engineering the walls keep coming down so they literally have built the city 2 km over that way true story okay so that's what God did and so what God did of the first city he had promised to do for the rest right and so what God had done was this is what I'm going to do I'm going to prove myself to you Israelites do you think God needed to prove himself to the Israelites after everything that he had already done for them and taking them through the Wilderness it was their own fault that they wandered around for 40 years wasn't it MH and Joshua and Caleb if you recall were the the last remaining of that generation and they were among the spies who actually came back and were the only two who gave positive reports saying yes there are giants but our God can do the same Joshua here has now passed away and the angel of the Lord is saying to the people look I made a promise God made a promise to your to your uh forefathers and he has remained true to that he has delivered you out of Egypt he has brought you into the promised land he has done exactly what he set out that he was going to do but you have not remained faithful you started making treaties you started making compromises where God had very explicitly told them not to do so they were mostly obedient but not all the way obedient can anybody relate okay we don't want to just point the finger of the poal Israelites here okay because the reality is that even in the Christian Life we make compromises don't we we make compromises and that's what this section is really about because Joshua was a great military commander there is no doubt and was a great leader of the people and just like I mentioned earlier he Caleb were the only two of the of the 10 spies that had gone out into that into that um the land of Canan when Moses was around and came back with a positive report but you see that generation Joshua and the elders had now died and it says at the end in verse 10 there arose another generation that did not know the Lord that speaks to discipleship folks that speaks to discipleship you could be a great generation we can have 55 years of Baptist ministry inure Mor but will there arise another generation after us who die by the LA you can be a great leader of people great military commander with great conquests just like Joshua in the elders you can go through great hardships like the 40 years in the wilderness but if you make compromises what does that do to your discipleship you must not compromise with the world it seems like a very very difficult horrendous thing that God had commanded the Israelites to do was to utterly go in and utterly decimate the people that live in that name there's times like that when when God potentially gives us a command or a directive or or a thought and we' go check ourselves and we go God I don't understand why it seems like a horrible thing but I know you and I know you're good and I know you're gracious and I know you're kind but I also know that you are just and if you have told me to do this that who am I disy I wonder if you have courage to say things like that because Joshua didn't the people didn't they they spit off and went to take their inheritances in the land most of the tribes all of the tribes compromised with some of the people that with the land Flash Forward 2023 Israel is in the news those people that remained in the land are still a thorn in the side of Israel can you see why God had told them to clear it out you know we can trace the the the conflict back all the way to the Old Testament the birth of two BO but I'll let you research that compromise it might seem small now it might seem insignificant now but how will that affect your disciple to Future Generations see God know something about the spiritual realm we do not and the gods of this world are a SN to us because they are attractive it says in verse three so now I say I will not drive them out before you this is the Angel of the Lord to the people but they they the people and their culture and their religion and their gods shall become thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare to you they will be a snare to you because you will be attracted by them they're not going to seem horrible to you they're going to seem wonderful to you that's why there snare to you they're going to seem legitimate they're going to seem logical they're going to seem like Good Financial sense they're going to seem like well why wouldn't I do that because that's the culture in which we live in the land of Canaan and that's the culture in which we live in the land of kulture because there are so many gods in this land there are so many influences there are so many things that are competing for our attention would you agree not least of which we had a referendum yesterday but that was very loud in the news but there was also a whole bunch of other things that have been taking place that have been very loud in your ears and in your mind and your heart and it doesn't matter how sick you are it doesn't matter how financially desperate you are you cannot isolate yourself from that kind of noise from the influence of culture and so God in his wisdom knew what the Israelites were going to face in the land of Canaan he also knew that they had just come out of Egypt which was also a different culture full of gods and peoples and religions and other stuff he had just rescued them from that the entire generation died because they were faithless this new generation came through and now they were making very similar mistakes would you agree it was only for God's goodness and only for God's mercy that they even took the land of Canaan but even there even with God's promise and physical proof that he was going to go out before them and fight the battles they still found ways to compromise because the people were friendly because they were good to trade with because they would make good slaves because their culture was attractive because their food was nice what did God say and church that's the that's the question that we as pastors as a leadership of this church have been asking in terms of our vision her vision is not new our vision is simply to return to that first call that passionate Heart for Jesus and it is from that passionate Heart for Jesus that our obedience comes you see I think partly what happened here was people became too familiar with God he became normal every day do I need to go to church this Sunday do I need to read my Bible today God will understand he's he's full of grace and mercy isn't he as they started to compromise on those things long before they compromised on big things like religion and culture and gods they compromised at home they compromised of their discipleship with their children they stopped talking about Yahweh with their kids they stopped being thankful for the food they were about to receive and and reminding the Next Generation that that was a gift from God because you see they saw themselves as conquerors as people who could do stuff they saw themselves as people who were Mighty who couldn't be opposed and weren't they the ones who took the land of Canan you see compromise does it deludes us into thinking that we can do it more than we truly are and we forget that it's cely by the grace of God that we are here the gods of this world are as near to us to every single one of us I don't care how spiritual you are I don't care how long you've walk with the Lord they are a snare to us and it is a warning the scriptures do not compromise hold fast to what you know who God is and what he has told us to do he has told us not through the law but through the creation of the universe that there is a Sabbath and that we should call that a day of rest to spend time with him how dare we compromise on that and Jesus given us his word not so that we can put it on a shelf and let the book get really dusty and pull it out Christmas and Easter he given us the manual on how to live and how to relate because he knows it's hard he livt it and he died for all of our sins and he said here's a love letter to you reading about all this stuff read about the mistakes and how people constantly went through the cycle learn from their mistakes that you don't have to make them but remember I've got you verse 10 and all that generation also were gathered to their fathers and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel folks this generation didn't just suddenly appear okay want to read this you go oh that happen you know they went through all this stuff and this amazing stuff and all bam this this Generations that came and I had God no didn't happen that generation lived with Joshua and the elders they were there more than likely growing up during the conquests during the the battles and and The Taking of the land but the generation that we celebrate as the conquerors of the land did not conquer because they failed to disciple their children you see compromise didn't just hurt their own walk it hurt future Generations when they compromised at home they failed to teach their children when they compromised at home their children didn't see faith in action all they saw was that going out to war and winning a battle and so it was natural for a child to see that and go well we're a great people we can do this who's this God guy that's a great story it's boring story I heard it once or twice okay can anybody relate this is not to to make all of us feel guilty that's not what this is about see got Jesus died to get rid of that guilt if you're feeling guilty that's not God that's that's your conviction right the reality is we've got to respond and say enough my discipleship my discipleship is not just for me my walk with God my Ministry in this life in this church in this community is not just for me it's for my kids and their kids and their kids it's called an investment we we we we go to work for our kids and we we pay the bills we put food on the table and we give them opportunities at school and and Sport commitments and all sort of things but none of that stuff is going to last beyond this life that's not an investment in your grandkids in future Generations what will invest in your grand kids and future Generations is the love of the Lord Jesus Christ are you raising God fearing men and women in your home because the conquest of Canaan is the conquest in the Christian Life Christian Life is the promised land it's the land flowing with milk and honey not because it's easy see the conquest of Canaan wasn't easy they still had work to do the promised land was not heaven it was the Christian life because In Heaven There is no battles to be fought but in the land of Canaan in the Christian life there are principalities there are powers there are dark es there are fortresses there are towns there are cities that need to be taken but God has said Jesus has said yes tribulation is coming but I am with you just like he said to Joshua in that generation he said there are these places that have been set up do not compromise do not make a deal with the devil cuz I am with you because God is faithful despite our sin isn't he his faithfulness fight us then he made a covenant with Abraham Isaac and Jacob and the angel reminded these people that remember what God had said he did he's continuing to do but you have started pouring yourself you started prostituting yourself to these other gods and you've forgotten who he is not because it suddenly happened but because you started compromising you thought you were something when really it was was was God who was everything he did all the work you couldn't even rescue yourselves out of Egypt you couldn't even find you didn't even know that the promise then existed how many of us knew what the Christian life would be like before we became Christians for those of us who came to Christ later in life I had no idea I knew something of the church and something of the Church community but it was full of Hypocrites it was full of lies and cheats and I didn't want any piece of that I grown up in the church and I'd seen both sides of the story and I thought you know what the world at least is honest with itself the world is honest they're pagans and they know it they they're horrible and they know it okay are they're honest about it that was my view of the church so why would I want anything to do with that but you see that's not that's not God's kingdom is it I'm so glad that God's Kingdom in Heaven is is not the church so we we aren't called to bring people to the church we're called to bring people to Christ it's him we live for and it's because of him we even have life and God is faithful despite our sin so here's the wonderful amazing news even though even though that new generation came through and they didn't know God and they they they worshiped all the other gods and they they did so many wrong things God did not utterly decimate them and kill them because he made a promise and so he sent judges I to call them the original Marvel Superheroes okay CU it seems like that each one of these guys people had a superpower that seem to come and and what happened usually was the people would turn utterly against God they would fall into sin and Disobedience like this part of the story and so God would use one of the the Nations around them to bring judgment and suffering to the Israelite people not because he loved hurting them but because he is a just God and sin demands death anyone tried to argue with the laws of physics tried toing out a plan without a parachute and see how that goes for you okay you cannot argue with gravity you cannot argue with sin where there is sin there is death and so that's what God has to do even God has to comply with his own rules okay so where there is sin there is death but God didn't kill them entirely because Israel exists today because he remembered his Covenant with the people you know God came back in the form of a man called Jesus he said I'm going to make a new covenant this one is not contingent upon your obedience it's contingent upon my obedience because the original Covenant said if you are my people in Exodus 19: 3-6 I'm going to set you up as a holy nation a Priestly nation and I'm going to do all these things if you simply obey me all right and that's what the angel of the Lord has say to the folks here say you guys God has been faithful but you haven't done your end of the deal and that could have been an out for God couldn't it but see it wasn't a contract it was a covenant if it was a contract Israel was in breach of the contct contct and God had an out but God didn't make a contract he made a covenant he said regardless of what happens in this document in this promise in this agreement I'm going to do my B despite people's continual rebellion and then they cry out to God God how can you do this to us we we're so persecuted we're so hard done by he would raise up somebody from among them who would have some ability and he would rescue the people out of their hardship and the people would say oh God you're amazing and they would turn back to him and worship him until the next generation and they would turn away from God and rebel and then God would hand a judgment and then they cry out God how can you do this to me does that sound familiar so that's the journey we're going to be on over the next few weeks as we um read about some of these judges and some of the the specifics of what happened but as an overview that's kind of the pattern of the Book of Judges but God is faithful despite Us in church that we have incredible hope but even though we have neglected disip in our homes even though we have made compromises with the culture and the community and with gods of this world God is still faithful despite our sin and I'm so thankful that he is it's the grace of God through the the son Jesus Christ I think you know him he's not just the name we say when we're angry he's not just the word we use in church church if we want to have any sort of ministry if we want to have any sort of Legacy within our own generation or even the generation to come afterwards got to look after our disciple ship at home at home because that's where the compromises begin and so that's been our vision that call for vision has been let's return back to the way we were when we first came to Christ it was simple wasn't it Jesus Is God I am not I will simply obey and I will tell everybody about it not because I want to but because I can't help it I'm deeply passionately in love Jesus I can't help but tell people the first thing every newborn believer wants to do tell people it's interesting that um he's saying John 3:16 the very beginning because that's what I'm going leave you with this morning but we're going to read a few of verses around that John 3:14 and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so must the son of man be up that whoever believes in him may have eternal life for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life for God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him folks We Are We are the world we were the on who have been we didn't do it we didn't conquer the land we didn't take out the principalities of the powers of the cities of the towns God did and he even save me will you obedi and I verse 14 because it links that that Old Testament story of The Exodus and how the people were in the be bitten by snakes poisonous snakes of that and God said to Moses look if you want to be healed and be snakes why don't you cast a bronze Serpent and sck it up in a pole and then every time someone gets bitten they look at this snake and I'll get healed and it blew my mind like why would God tell him to build a snake isn't that the sign of sin and judgment it is but God knew that he was going to bring his son up a pole and down sin in judgment and condemnation to that PO that if we simply look at the cross be church is not too late that's why tell you it's not too late the generation is not lost yet when you turn to Christ in your heart in your own heart and I don't mean in your mind I mean in your heart if you come back to that first love because when you do your kids will ask you questions because they will see something different in you you will not have to say let's have a family meeting because we're going to read the Bible your kids will come to you because they will see you on your knees and pray when things get hard that will see you cry out and that you don't have it you haven't got the answers but that when you pray God did something that's what it keeps need to see would you do that church it's called vulnerability and humility and that's where disip is bring from remember that it's not us that we can't do it don't care and that's what that keep me to see let's stop stay the up of failure and saying look if you do this and do this and do this you got it you got to sort it because when they get to my go that didn't work day Li they failed me and they trying to figure it out that's not disciple give them the help of Heaven that everything else will get sorted amen we pray for you Heavenly Father we thank you that you are a good god despite the hardships and the struggle we know that you are gracious and merciful father we pray for our own generation but also the generations to come your word tells us to pray lead us not into temptation but Deliver Us evil as yours is the Kingdom. Amen.