THEME: Ways to Leave Nothing Undone
This week’s lessons conclude the account of the southern and northern campaigns, and show us the necessity of committed obedience to God in all things.
Yesterday, we listed the first thing we must do if we are to fulfill Joshua 11:15, which is to truly believe on Jesus Christ by following him as a faithful disciple. The second thing is this. In Matthew 28, at the very end of that chapter where we have the Great Commission, we’re told that if we believe on Jesus, then we have an obligation to tell other people about Him. When I think of the Great Commission in terms of this verse in Joshua, what impresses me is the word “all.” What we’re told to do in the Great Commission is to teach them to obey all or everything that Jesus has commanded. That’s the nature of our witness. And, you know, one of the problems of our Christianity today is that we do precisely the opposite of that. We don’t want to come to grapple with the thing in its completeness. And so, we look for simple ways to kind of get a hold of it and think that because we understand a simple principle or two about it, well, we know all there is to know about Christianity, or at least all that we need to know, and we’re content with that minimal knowledge.
We do that with the gospel. Isn’t it true that much of our teaching and evangelism is geared to giving us a simple presentation of the faith? We want to make it so simple that anyone can grasp it. Certainly we want to make the gospel understandable; yet the gospel is greater than that. Jesus said to go into the whole world and teach them everything He has commanded. Our job should be to live and talk about the great themes of Scripture so that people’s minds are staggered at what Christianity consists of, and they want to hear more. It’s not only that we are to believe in Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. Having believed in Him, we’re to make the whole message of the gospel known to those among whom we live and circulate. And to do that, we have to know it. And we have to make it a life-long study. Do you do that? Do you emulate Joshua in that respect?
The third thing I would emphasize if Joshua is to be our model is that we’re to do good works. I think here of Ephesians 2:10. Paul says in verses 8 and 9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” But then immediately after having said that, verse 10 goes on to say, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
So if you’re a Christian, God has ordained good works for you to do. And the question in this context is, are you doing those? And not only are you doing those, are you doing all of those? Or to put it in the words of the book of Joshua, “Are you leaving nothing undone of all those good works that God has commanded you to do?” We don’t have any difficulty knowing what good works there are to do. Our difficulty is that we leave them undone. It’s not even that we don’t intend to do them. We’re going to do them and we’ll get to them someday. As St. Augustine once said about his resolutions to do better, “My ‘soon’ became ‘never’ as the days go on and the opportunities are lost.”
From the lesson, what are three things we must do in order to fully obey God?
What are some ways in which Christians seem to be content with having only a minimal knowledge of theological truth? How is that affecting the church today?
Are there any good works you sense God has been encouraging you to do, but that you have been putting off?
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
For a readable and comprehensive overview of the Christian faith, see James Boice’s Foundations of the Christian Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986).