Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XVII: Overcoming A "Drift" Into Apostasy By God's People Through Alert Leadership
(Joshua 23:1-16)
  1. Introduction
    1. As long as the sin nature resides in the unglorified believer, he runs the risk of "drifting" ever so slowly or imperceptibly into apostasy. This is why Paul warned Timothy to watch himself and his doctrine in 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (with 1 Timothy 4:1-3).
    2. But, there are specific matters needing careful oversight by all in leadership in the church or family institutions, matters that are the initial tell-tale signs of that apostasy "drift," and Joshua details them for us in his f inal address to the leaders of Israel in Joshua 23:1-16.
  2. Overcoming A "Drift" Into Apostasy By God's People Through Alert Leadership, Jos. 23:1-16.
    1. When Joshua was aged and knew he was soon to pass away, he called the leaders of the nation together to admonish them in assuming proper leadership after his death, Jos. 23:1-2.
    2. Just WHAT Joshua told these leaders addressed his concern about Israel's danger of going apostate:
      1. Joshua expressed his concern about Israel's possibly adopting the error of the remaining Canaanites to the extent that God would have to judge the nation, Jos. 23:12-13,15-16.
      2. To this end, he was concerned that Israel enjoy only God's blessing for obedience to Him, 23:14-15a.
    3. Accordingly, we examine the details Joshua addressed that needed vigilance by Israel's leaders to influence Israel away from a "drift" into apostasy:
      1. Step One - Recall that our current welfare is the result of past divine blessings, Joshua 23:3-5.
      2. Step Two - With this fact in mind, resolve to stay courageously, EXACTLY in line with Scripture in our doctrine and administrative decisions no matter what pressure to the contrary we receive even from the subordinates under our care, Josh. 23:6!
      3. Step Three - If we are obeying Scripture this way, we will tend to resist mingling organizationally with those in error, Jos. 23:7a.
      4. Step Four - If we are obeying Scripture this way so that we resist mingling organizationally with those in error, we will also not ADOPT theological error or practice it in our midst, either, Jos. 23:7b!
      5. Step Five - If we obey Scripture this way and resist mingling so that we resist adopting theological error, we will cleave to the Lord as we ought and remain in His blessing, Jos. 23:8-9:
        1. Joshua pointed out that sticking close to Scripture and resisting intermingling organizationally with those in error led not only to remaining doctrinally pure, but in one's cleaving only to God, 23:8.
        2. This cleaving to God would result in divine blessing as past and future blessings are always the result of obedience, Jos. 23:9, 10-11.
      6. Step Six -This cleaving to God would also avoid intermarriage of our youth with errant partners much to our grief and their future theological and spiritual disaster, Jos. 23:12-13!
Lesson: (1) Spiritual apostasy and its woes results from LEADERS tending to (a) forget that current blessings are from God alone, and thus they (b) drift into lax adherence to Scripture with resulting intermingling with errorists, adopting their er ror and finally seeing the next generation slip into apostasy. (2) To avoid apostasy, leaders need to (a) RECALL that any spiritual vitality they or their organization now experiences is due EXCLUSIVELY to God's past blessing! (b) Accordingly, they mus t COURAGEOUSLY stick EXACTLY to Scripture in their thinking and decisions NO MATTER WHAT PRESSURE TO THE CONTRARY COMES UPON THEM! (c) In so doing, they inevitably choose to RESIST MINGLING with questionable groups! (d) In so doing, they end up not ado pting or allowing theological error to exist in their midst. (e) In so doing, they cleave to the Lord for blessing. (f) In doing all of these, they lessen the chances of the next generation marrying those in theological error much to the grief and spiritu al disaster of the whole group's future divine blessing!