As the famed Puritan, Matthew Henry, begins his commentary on Joshua 13:1, he writes, “We are not to skip over these chapters of hard names as useless and not to be regarded.” Why? Because “ where God has a mouth to speak and a hand to write we should find an ear to hear and an eye to read.”
This is a good reminder as we venture into seven chapters composed of lists, boundary markers, and land distributions. In comparison to the exciting action of Israel’s military conquests in Joshua 1–12, Joshua 13–19 seems, well, . . . dull. But its dullness depends entirely on our inability to appreciate what these chapters meant to Israel.
For centuries, Israel had waited to receive its long-promised inheritance. And now, that the gift of the land had come, Joshua 13–19 tells the contents of this treasure and the placement of God’s people in the land. What was once promised to Abraham, is now coming to fulfillment in the days of Joshua.
For us today, this passage is equally exciting when we consider the inheritance promised to us in Christ—an inheritance we still look for in the new heavens and the new earth. Thus, these chapters should not bore us with their detail; they should stir excitement in our own hope of heaven—i.e., a heaven on earth when Christ returns.
Indeed, this is how I pursued these chapters in Sunday’s sermon. Rather than taking a microscope to each verse, we looked at them as a whole. Instead of devoting a sermon to each chapter we looked at Joshua 13–19 as a ’treasure map’ to better understand our inheritance in Christ.
You can listen to this sermon online. Discussion questions can be found below.
On Sunday we finished the book of 1 Timothy. Since February, we have enjoyed learning about what it means to be a church made alive by Christ and directed by his Spirit. As we finished the series, we reminded ourselves what this whole letter was about and why Paul finished his words with one last word to the rich (6:17–19) and one final admonition to Timothy (6:20–21).
Whether you consider yourself rich or not, and whether you are in ministry or not, these final words of 1 Timothy give great wisdom on how to store up your treasure in heaven and guard the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You can listen to the sermon online. Response questions can be found below, as well as a list of all the sermons preached in this series.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds Continue reading
This summer our church looked at Jesus’s words concerning giving. In Sunday School, we studied Randy Alcorn’s helpful little book called The Treasure Principle. You can listen to the series here. And in our series on the Sermon on the Mount, we have looked at Jesus words about giving in Matthew 6:1–4, treasure in Matthew 6:19–24, and trusting God with our material needs in Matthew 6:25–34. You can listen to those sermons here:
Still, giving is not just something that Jesus talked about. It is something that goes back to the beginning of corporate worship. For in Exodus, when God redeemed his people from Egypt, he led them to contribute to the construction of the tabernacle. With the gifts God provided for Israel through the “plundering of the Egyptians,” God’s people gladly gave to the construction of God’s dwelling place.
Today, as the church has become the temple of the Holy Spirit, God’s people continue to give to its upbuilding, as the Lord moves our hearts. Jesus’s words about storing up treasure in heaven, and not on earth may even refer directly to this temple-directed giving (see Nicholas Perrin, Jesus the Temple), However, throughout the Bible there is a theme of God’s people giving to the upbuilding of God’s dwelling place because of the work of grace in their lives.
This is first seen in Exodus and continues until today. Accordingly, we can learn much by seeing the relationship between grace and giving, and how gospel-motivated giving is both similar and different from all other forms of philanthropy. Continue reading
What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?
This is Tertullian’s famous question contrasting the difference between divine truth and man-made philosophy. And it highlights the challenge of living in this world with our eyes fixed upon another.
In a similar fashion, we might ask the same question about our rewards: What hath dollars to do with eternal destinies?
Indeed, in a world where money motivates, secures, comforts, and corrupts, we are painfully aware of the problems that money (and its lack) bring. Yet, as Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:19–24, our earthly riches also provide an important avenue for discipleship and increasing our eternal joy. The question is how!
With that in mind, Sunday’s sermon considered Jesus’s teaching about earthly and heavenly reward. You can listen to that sermon online. Discussion questions and additional resources can be found below.