Midweek Gathering on January 25 has been canceled

Sermon Followup - Week 33, 2022

Sermon Follow Up Generic

 

SERMON TEXT

“So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’ ” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day. For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people passed over in haste. And when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the LORD and the priests passed over before the people. The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over armed before the people of Israel, as Moses had told them. About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the LORD for battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life. And the LORD said to Joshua, “Command the priests bearing the ark of the testimony to come up out of the Jordan.” So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.” And when the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD came up from the midst of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up on dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks, as before. The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”” (Joshua 3:14–4:24, ESV)

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MAIN POINT

Just as the memorial stones from the Jordan functioned as a visible reminder to the Israelites of God’s faithfulness to them throughout their generations, our new building can function as a memorial stone that reminds us of God’s kindness to us in our past, his promises to the coming generations, and his purposes for our neighborhood and the nations.

SUBPOINTS

1. This building can function as a memorial stone of God’s kindness to us in the past.

“So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:7, ESV)

When we see this building, I pray that it would remind us of how God started our church as a small bible study almost 15 years ago and has been faithful to build and preserve this church, and that it would cause us to trust his faithfulness to us in years to come.  

2. This building can function as a memorial stone for generations to come

And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over” (Joshua 4:21–23, ESV)

In the months and years to come, I pray that when you look at this building, or when you drive by this building with your family you would be able to say to your children, this is the place where we came to remember the mighty deeds of our God. Some of you may be able to say to your children, this is the place where the Lord brought me from death to life. This is the place where we saw the Lord healed someone of a terminal illness. This is the place where we were married. This is the place where we dedicated you to the Lord. And may it be that our children and our children’s children would hear from us about the mighty deeds that the Lord will do in this place.

3. This building can function as a memorial stone for the neighborhood and the nations.

And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:21–24, ESV)

Joshua here tells the people what the ultimate purpose of these memorial stones – that all the peoples of the earth may come to see the mighty hand of God and stand in fear and awe of the one true and living God. God’s promises to Abraham found a significant fulfillment in the history of Israel but God’s plan from the beginning had always been for the nations. God desired for his name to be exalted among the nations so that peoples from every tribe, tongue, and nation would come to see how powerfully the Lord acts on behalf of his people.  

In the months and years to come, I hope that this building would serve as a lighthouse to our neighborhood. And our prayer is that the Lord would use us and our ministry through this building to make a decisive blow to Satan and the powers of darkness by enjoying, declaring, and displaying the good news of Jesus Christ for the joy of peoples in nations around the world.

CHRISTOLOGICAL FULFILLMENT

Just as God made a way for the people of Israel to cross the Red Sea to escape the wrath of the Egyptians, and just as the Lord parted the Jordan to make way for the people of Israel to enter the promised land, Jesus, through his death and resurrection made a way for us to be reconciled to God and one day experience the fullness of his  blessings in the New Heavens and New Earth.

APPLICATION

We are at the cusp of a new season as a church. This new building does not make us a church, but we can use it as an opportunity to let it function as a visible memorial stone reminding us of God’s kindness to us in the past, his promises to the coming generations, and his purposes for our neighborhood and the nations.

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BUILDING DEDICATION LITURGY (Adapted from the Wesleyan Book of Church Discipline)

Leader: To the glory of God the Father, who has called us by His grace; to the honor of His Son, who loved us and gave Himself for us; to the praise of the Holy Spirit, who illumines and sanctifies us;

Congregation: We dedicate this house.

Leader: For the worship of God in prayer and praise;

Congregation: For the preaching of the everlasting gospel;

Leader: For the celebration of the holy sacraments;

All: We dedicate this house.

Leader: For the comfort of all who mourn;

Congregation: For strength to those who are tempted;

Leader: For light to those who seek the way;

All: We dedicate this house.

Leader: For the blessing of our families;

Congregation: For teaching and guiding our children;

Leader: For the perfecting of the saints;

All: We dedicate this house.

Leader: For the conversion of sinners;

Congregation: For the sanctification of believers;

Leader: For the promotion of righteousness; for the extension of the kingdom of God;

Congregation: For the proclamation of the gospel in our neighborhood and among the nations; till all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ.

All: We dedicate this house.

Leader: In the unity of the faith; in the bond of Christian brotherhood; in charity and goodwill to all;

Congregation: We dedicate this house.

All in Unison: We now, the people of this church and congregation, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, grateful for our heritage, aware of the sacrifice of our fathers in the faith, confessing that apart from us their work cannot be made perfect, do dedicate ourselves anew to the worship and service of our Almighty God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SONG TO ENCOURAGE