The Sixth Sola – Serve God Alone! (a sermon based Joshua 24)
“The SIxth Sola –Serve God Alone!”
Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
† I.H.S. †
May the grace and love of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ amaze you to the point where you only serve and worship God.
Three Solas, Five Solas, or is there a 6th?
If you look on the church’s back wall, you will see the early rallying cry of the church. A simple cry, expressed by the word “Solas” or in English, Alone.
We are saved by Grace ALONE, through Faith ALONE, in Jesus Christ ALONE!
Later they would add – as revealed in Scripture alone, to the praise of God ALONE!
That’s a pretty good rallying cry! It is a simple phrase, and people have remembered it and preached on it for 5 centuries.
But I think in today’s Old Testament reading, Tom stumbled across a sixth sola. Or maybe it is a part of the fifth, the one that all the others and everything is to the glory of God ALONE…
What is said over and over in this passage Joshua is to serve or worship God alone.
So the question today… will you take on Joshua’s challenge… and serve and worship God ALONE?
Serve, or WORSHIP?
Just for clarification, the words in English for serve and worship are the same in Hebrew. It has even more profound meaning – to acknowledge that the Lord is God. Therefore our actions are in response and obedience to Him.
What that makes clear is that there is no difference between serving God and worshipping Him. The word is really about that we are His, and we do what He gives us to do.
And we do that because we trust Him.
Luther explained it this way,
The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they may be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but all works are measured before God by faith alone.
The point is simple – serving God and worshipping Him is when we are doing what He’s asked us to do, and we do it because we trust and love Him, and for no other reason…
So if we clean our house to honor our parents, or because we love our wife, that is worship. If we lead worship or preach or teach because we want people to be able to praise God for what He has done and is actually doing, that’s worship. If we, knowing God has called us all to make disciples, ask friends or relatives or even a person we just met to church, praise God.
God calls us to do all those things, and to do them in love is worshipping and serving Him. He is our Lord, and because He loves us, we want to make Him happy.
But will we follow through and do so?
Struggling with worship and serving God.
In the time of Abraham’s father, Terah, people didn’t know about God, so they found other gods to serve and worship. They did not know Him; therefore, they did not know any better.
But the people that walked with Moses and Joshua from Egypt did, and they struggled with false gods – from the golden calf to so many other things they wanted to care for them…, and they serve, and they enslave themselves to other things… false Gods, idols
We do the same thing today, though maybe more or less sophisticated. Who or what do you do when facing stress? What do you do when life just is upside down? When you don’t understand what’s going on…
There is your god, and if it isn’t the Trinity, that god is an idol, and it will become your master. It will enslave you, as it has so many others.
And Joshua is saying, no longer.
Choose today – that idol, whether it be another religion or a version of God that you know contradicts scripture, whether it be a sin-filled coping mechanism, whether it even is another person.
Choose believer; will you trust in God? Will you depend on Him. Will you worship and serve Him alone?
Now is the challenge – its time to put away the idols
The people’s answer was simple – they took stock of what they had seen God do in their midst. Hear their words,We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. 17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. 18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”
Notice that people based their faith on what they knew God had done even before the cross and the resurrection!
He rescued them! He provided for them! He cared for them! And amid pressures, He preserved them.
Even as He did for us at the cross! Now, the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us because of Jesus.
This is what keeps us focused on worshipping and serving God ALONE. The answer is considering what he’s done for us.
Look at the cross… receive His body and blood at the altar. Consider how God is providing for you…
And allow Him to teach you how to live, how to worship, how to minister to those caught in this broken world, and know you dwell in His presence.
Posted on August 15, 2021, in Sermons and tagged Choose you this day! Joshua, Concordia Lutheran Church, faith alone, Sola Christus, Sola Dei Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.