Sermon on April 3rd , 2022 KaB FKB Volker Aßmann



Whole devotion

( Joshua 23+24)

This sermon is translated from German into English. You can find the original video here

Today we come to the final chapter of the book of Joshua and at the same time to the conclusion of our service series “Strong and Brave”.
It is the story of Joshua, who was still young at the time, who had inherited the leadership role from his predecessor Moses. God had called Joshua to finally lead God’s people, the Israelites, after 40 years in the desert to the promised land of Canaan.
They walked dry-shod through the Jordan, which was flooded at the time.
They experienced miracle after miracle, for example that the actually insurmountable walls of Jericho collapsed. Aside from many wars, they experienced God’s mercy towards disadvantaged strangers, like the prostitute Rahab and her family in Jericho, because of their trust in God.
But they also experienced unexpectedly bitter defeats against a small town of Ai because they did not trust God and tolerated sin in their midst.
Again and again God challenged them to consciously stand on His side, to obey and trust God. This was God’s condition for His people to live and remain safe in this land.
Last Sunday we saw that God bestowed land upon each tribe, expecting each to take their place and their land. It was about gift and responsibility. And we have transferred it to us:
God has given each of you gifts to serve one another. Use them well so that it becomes visible how manifold God’s grace is! (1 Peter 4:10)
The last sermon was actually about us all discovering our gifts and serving God, people and the church.
If you’re worried that today’s sermon will also have an “appeal character” about what you’re doing and where you’re working, then you’re wrong. It’s not about what you should do and where you should work today, but something much bigger and more important!! So you can relax and keep listening and join in this sermon!
It’s about Joshua’s legacy, about what he gave his people, first the leaders and the whole people, and put it on their hearts.
I read excerpts from Joshua 24:
And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. (24.13)
Therefore honor the Lord and serve Him faithfully and continually. Separate yourselves from the idols that your ancestors worshipped…Serve the LORD alone!
If you are not ready to serve the Lord, then decide today who you will serve: the gods your ancestors served across the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live today?
Anyway, I and my family will serve the LORD! (But I and my house will serve the LORD!) (24:15)
The people answered, ‘We will never forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who delivered us and our ancestors from slavery in Egypt and brought us here . Before our eyes, HE performed great miracles.
HE has protected us all along the way that we have gone and protected us from all the peoples through whose territory we have passed… Therefore we also want to serve the LORD, for HE alone is our God. ‘ (24:16- 18)
Thereupon Joshua said to the people: ‘You cannot serve the LORD, for HE is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and sin. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, HE will turn against you and destroy you after HE has been so good to you . ‘ (24:19-20)
But the people answered Joshua: ‘No, we want to serve the LORD!’ (24:21)
Then Joshua said: ‘You testify yourselves that you have decided to serve the LORD.’ They replied: ‘Yes, that’s how it is. ‘
‘Well,’ said Joshua, ‘then destroy the idols among you and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel .’
The people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God. We will obey HIM alone .<
On that day Joshua made a covenant with the LORD for the people in Shechem and gave them commandments and ordinances.
Joshua wrote these things in the book of the law of God. As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and placed it under the big tree by the sanctuary of the LORD.
Joshua said to all the people, ‘This stone will stand as a witness against us, because it heard everything that the Lord said to us. He will appear as a witness against you, so that you do not deceive your God. ‘ (24:22-27)


  1. Life with an undeserved gift ( Joshua 23)

You have seen everything that the LORD your God has done to these peoples for your sake.
Yes, the LORD your God fought for you.” (23:3)
You know in your hearts that every promise of the LORD your God has come true. Not a single one remained unfulfilled.” (23:14)
This is the core and the foundation of the Christian faith: God gives us gifts. He gives us forgiveness and eternal life. He adopts us as his children through Jesus.
None of us have to do anything for it but trust and believe and make the decision to live in a personal relationship with Almighty God.
And we live by God’s promises, which are absolutely reliable.
Despite and through all crises, we can have hope and confidence. And the promise that God will fight for us and be by our side, that’s where the book of Joshua ends and that’s where this sermon and our series ends.
Today’s sermon is about this decision, from which our relationship with God lives. And we will discover that this decision is not a one-time act, but a covenant that is made once (a decision and a promise) and then lived and renewed again and again.
God had made this covenant with Abraham and God stands by this covenant and promise forever and ever.
But God keeps challenging His people to stand by and renew that covenant. He calls upon His people to live in this covenant with God for life and to obey and trust Him.
So the last chapter in the book of Joshua is typically structured and structured as a covenant:
– the preamble (24:1-2): God recalls the original covenant with Abraham
  • God’s story with His people (24:2b-13)
  • Covenant duties on the people and consequences of disobedience (24:14-24)
  • Recording and witnessing of the covenant (24:25-28)


Let us now come to the pitfalls of such a covenant and our decision.


  1. Beware of hasty promises!

All of the Israelites firmly asserted that they would never forsake the Lord. But they did not keep this promise for long (see Richter period). Soon God would reproach them for breaking their covenant with Him (Judges 2:1-3).
Talking is easy. It is easy to say that we will follow God, but what is more important is that we actually do it.
“Israel served the LORD as long as Joshua lived, and the elders who survived him and knew all that the LORD had done for Israel.” (24:31)
But after that, most of them turned away from God and broke their promise, their part of the covenant with God. And what God had announced as a consequence of their breach of the covenant happened.
It is a tragedy of the history of God’s people, of people who chose to trust and obey God and then turned their backs on God and gave up their faith.
And surely you also know people who made a good start with God and then at some point disappeared from the scene of faith, of the church. And maybe you are living in this situation yourself right now.
Jesus said to the people who wanted to trust and follow HIM: “Count the cost and follow me!” (Luke 14:28: “Do not come until you have counted the cost!”)
You too, think beforehand whether you are really willing to give up everything for me and follow me. Otherwise you cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33)
Because it is still like this today; No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other!” (Matthew 6:24)
Joshua 23:11-13: read!!
Our decisions have consequences, both positive and negative.
Therefore, think carefully about the decision you make! You alone are responsible for the consequences.


  1. Decide no matter how others decide (Joshua 24:15)

But if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; either the gods your fathers served…or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell!
But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Being a leader means making decisions without waiting to see how others will decide!
And at the same time advertise and live for the fact that others also make this decision.
It definitely takes MUT!
It is necessary for each individual to decide whether you are a leader or not! Swimming with the mainstream is easy, but not a sign of vitality and courage. So be a live fish and swim against the tide!
“Thou shalt not follow the multitude to evil. And you shall not answer in a dispute by following the majority and thus perverting the law!” (Exodus 23:2)
What decision is God concerned with in His covenant with you and me?
It’s about devotion, about your life decision for a life in trust in God and according to His standards.
Even if it will mean that we then ask: LORD, what do You want me to do with my gifts, it’s not about the doing at first, it’s about our hearts!!

Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
1 Sam.12:24: Honor and fear God and serve HIM!
2 Corinthians 5:15, “He died for all, that those who receive His new life should no longer live for themselves. Rather, they are to live for Christ, who died for them and rose again.”
Romans 14:7-8 We are not our own, whether we live or die. If we live we live to please the Lord, and if we die we die to be with the Lord.”
I pray that your reaction and mine will be what we read in Isaiah:
“Who should I send? who will go for us
Here I am, send me!” (Isa. 6:8)


  1. God fights for you

The book of Joshua is a book of encouragement and with that I will close: With an encouragement from God for you and me!
2 Chron. 32:8: “But we have the LORD our God on our side. HE wants to help us, HE will fight for us.”
We are not about war and fighting people, but about defeat, failure, discouragement, giving up…
“This is our heritage: more victories than defeats, more joy than sadness, more hope than despair.” (Max Lucado )
Hebrews 13:6: God said: ‘I will never leave you and will not forsake you . ‘”
History Max Lucado page 208+209
Make a clear decision today for yourself and the rest of your life, who you want to serve, who your life should belong to!
It is first and foremost about a life decision: I want to follow you and I will not let crises and disappointments and failures dissuade me.
It’s not first about what you want to do for God, but that you want to follow and trust HIM no matter what.
Everyone has to make this decision for themselves and it’s nice when our family goes along with us.
But the question is not: What will the others do? But: What are you going to do?
(To the history of origin: german)
I am determined to follow Jesus
I am determined to follow Jesus
I am determined to follow Jesus.
Never back, never back.
If no one goes with me, yet I will follow,
if nobody goes with me, but I want to follow,
if no one goes with me, yet I will follow.
Never back, never back.
The world is behind me, the cross is in front of me,
the world is behind me, the cross is in front of me,
the world is behind me, the cross is before me.
Never back, never back.
( Sadhoo Sundar Singh), Indian Christian, born 1888)

Time for prayer and blessings!
“You have seen everything that the LORD your God has done to these peoples for your sake.
Yes, the LORD your God fought for you.” (23:3)
“Be careful not to mix with the other races that are left.
Do not worship their gods, do not swear by their names.
Instead, cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.” (23:7-8)
“…for the LORD your God fights for you.” (23:10)
“Therefore, for your own sake, be careful to love the LORD your God.” (23:11)
“They shall be a snare and a snare to you, a constant pain in your side, and a thorn in your eyes, until you are perished from the good land which the LORD your God has given you.” (23: 13)
“You know in your hearts that every promise of the LORD your God has come true. Not a single one remained unfulfilled.” (23:14)
“But just as the Lord your God gave you the good things that He promised you, so also He will bring calamity upon you if you break the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. HE will cut you off from this good land that HE has given you. If you worship other gods and serve them, His anger will flare up against you too.” (23:15-16)