NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: Joshua 24:14-28
Discussion Questions: What are some things that might keep a person from publicly declaring his or her faith in Christ? Why is a public declaration of one’s faith so important?
Food for Thought:
Some people are secret fans of a sports team. They silently cheer for their team, never letting others know their allegiance. They may live in an area dominated by fans of a rival team, or they don’t want to defend being a fan of a team that loses more than it wins. Some people may wonder if you can call a secret fan a true fan. In their mind, a true fan wears his or her team’s colors in a sea of people wearing the rival colors. The true fan also wears hats and jerseys and has a team logo on his or her smartphone screensaver regardless of team records. These fans made a decision earlier in their lives about what team they would follow, and they are sticking with that decision no matter what.
As Joshua addressed the people of Israel one final time, he challenged them to make a public declaration of their allegiance to God. He had already stated his allegiance and was calling on them to make a public declaration as well. He characterized their public declaration as a witness against themselves (see 24:22). Joshua recorded their commitment in the book of the Law and then set up a stone as a reminder (see 24:26). As such, their own testimony could be used for or against them. They could look back and celebrate that commitment, or they could look back and stand condemned by their own words when they failed to keep that commitment. Either way, their public declaration was significant for their future.
In our world, believers are called on to make a public declaration of their faith in Christ. The early church did this through baptism, and to some degree we still carry on that practice today. Baptism serves as a way to demonstrate one’s faith in Christ as an act of obedience. A public declaration gives the person making the declaration a marker to remember on hard days. They don’t live in the past, but they do live in the realization of their public declaration. This public declaration also makes it possible for others to encourage this person in his or her faith. Some believe religion to be a private matter, but one’s beliefs and faith are never private. The true beliefs of a person are always demonstrated in public ways. Choosing to keep one’s faith private is the ultimate self-deception.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.