Josh 24:1, 14, 15




Shechem is an interesting place.

When Abraham moved to the Promised Land he stopped at Shechem to let his

family rest.


He built an altar, prayed;

And dedicated that place to God.


When Isaac was having trouble with the Philistines he went to Shechem with his family;

Built an altar;



And God promised to bless him.


When Jacob decided to completely turn his life over to God he went to Shechem           with his family;

Built an altar, prayed;


Dug a hole;

And buried his family’s false gods.


So Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all took their family to Shechem.

They all built an altar there and prayed.


In today’s text, Joshua wanted the children of Israel to make an important family decision.

And he wanted them to make it at Shechem.


But Joshua did more than ask the people to make a family decision.

He promised that he and his family would set the example.


And he hoped it would influence others to make the same decision.

Today, I want to discuss some Bible Guidelines For Serving God.


And I want to look at eight groups of people:

          1. Those who are single,

          2. Those who are dating,

          3. Those who are planning to marry,

          4. Husbands and fathers,

          5. Wives and mothers,

          6. Children,

          7. Dealing with neighbors and relatives,

          8. How to maintain a good marriage.


1st---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines for those who are SINGLE.

Most single people want to get married.


But some never do.

And others lose their spouse through abandonment, death or divorce.


As the years pile up, some single people begin to think that something is wrong

with them.

Some wonder if they are incomplete,


Some wonder if they have offended God.

Some get bitter.


Some get depressed.

This is wrong.


Consider Jesus.

He was single.


He wasn’t incomplete.

He never offended God.


God said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Consider Paul.


We think he was single when he wrote the Book of First Corinthians.

He said, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they   

abide even as I” (I Cor. 7:8, 9).


He urged the unmarried and widows to be like him.

And yet, he was one of the greatest men of God who ever lived.


Being single isn’t a flaw.

It might even be a blessing.


One marriage counselor said, “Half the people who come to me have problems

because they’re married.”

“The other half have problems because they’re single.”


It’s a two way street with advantages and disadvantages on both sides.

A good Bible Guideline is “learn to be content in whatsoever state you find yourself in” (Phil. 4:11).


Learn to enjoy life regardless of your marital status.

If you’re single and want to marry, that’s fine.


But if you’re single and don‘t want to marry, that’s fine too.

One man told his marriage counselor, “My wife went from hard-to-get to

hard-to-handle to hard-to-take.”


Rachel and I know a woman who fills out income tax returns.

A farmer took his tax records to this woman and said, “This has been a bad year.”


“My wife left me.”

“My crop was poor.”


“And prices were low.”

The tax lady told her husband about it.


He said, “You should have said it could be worse.”

“Your wife could come back.”


There’s an e-mail joke going around about a woman who picked up a hitchhiker.

After they traveled a short distance, the hitchhiker noticed a brown bag on the seat  

of the car.


“What’s in the bag,” the hitchhiker asked?

“It’s a bottle of wine,” the woman replied.

“I got it for my husband.”

“Good trade,” said the hitchhiker.


Sometimes it’s better to stay single.

2nd---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines for those who are DATING.


Under the proper circumstances dating is fun;

It’s healthy;


It opens the door to life-long relationships.

But under the wrong circumstances dating can bring an unwanted pregnancy,

diseases that kill,


A bad marriage, and life-long sorrow.

Dating is a good thing when the couple knows and follows God’s Guidelines.


But it’s a bad thing when God’s Guidelines are ignored.

The number one thing to remember is that sex outside of marriage is wrong.


The Bible calls that fornication.

God didn’t create us for fornication, but to serve Him (I Cor. 6:13).


It says, God didn’t create us to do the Devil’s work.

He created us to be a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:18-20).


God is not against sex.

He invented it.


But He tells us to wait because He wants us to have a better marriage;

To be protected from deadly diseases;


To be protected from the lack of trust that sometimes results from disobedience.

He wants us to have a better spouse.


And to be better spouse.

Those who date should also remember that two people are two different bodies

with two different spirits (I Thess. 5:23).


This is important because a couple can have their bodies in harmony when their

spirits are not.

This happens when a believer marries an unbeliever.


The new couple has different perspectives on life, church, the hereafter, raising

the children, and other important issues.

This leaves the door wide open for a multitude of problems.


Those who date should recognize this from the very beginning.



Because causal dating can lead to serious dating.

Serious dating can lead to marriage.


And marriage can be the beginning of many problems.

Dr. Billy Graham said, “The believer who marries an unbeliever has the Devil for

a father-in-law.”


He was saying the unbeliever’s spiritual father is the Devil.

It’s a mistake for the believer to be tied to someone who serves the Devil.


The family has two masters.

The family will go in two directions.


The family will probably have problems.

3rd---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines for those who are PLANNING TO



After creating Adam, God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will       

make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18).

Then, God made “a woman and brought her unto the man” (Gen. 2:22).


God was forming a family.

A family is part of His plan.


It’s something He does for our well-being and happiness.

It’s clear that He meant for marriage to be sacred and life long;


That He meant for marriage to be between a man and a woman;

That He meant for marriage to be an institution for raising godly children.


This is one reason why it’s so important for a Christian to marry another Christian.

The spiritual welfare of the children is at stake.


By committing ourselves to doing things God’s way we’re not just ensuring our own well-being.


We’re helping to ensure the well-being of our children.

4th---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines for HUSBANDS AND FATHERS.

One of the most important tasks that God gives to the husband is to love his wife

(Eph. 5:25).


Some husbands struggle with this.

Some grew up in families where love was not openly expressed.


Some have never been taught to say, “I love you.”

But a husband must love his wife to ensure the strength of his marriage.


A woman stumbled across a frog in a trap.

The frog said, “If you will release me, I will grant you three wishes.”


The woman released the frog.

And the frog said, “I failed to tell you that whatever you wish for, your husband will

get ten times more.”


The woman said, “My first wish is to be the most beautiful woman in the world.”

The frog said, “I’ll grant that, but you know your husband will be the most   

handsome man in the world and all the women will be after him.”


The woman said, “That’s okay.”

And Kazam, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.


The woman said, “My second wish is to be the richest woman in the world.”

The frog said, “I’ll grant that, but you know your husband will have ten times as

much money as you.”


The woman said, “That’s okay.”

And Kazam, she was the richest woman in the world.


The frog asked, “What is your third wish?”

The woman said, “I’d like a mild heart attack.”


Husbands love your wife.

You may want her to love you some day.


Another important task for the husband is to be the head of the house (Eph. 5:23).

This Bible Guideline is often misunderstood.


It doesn’t mean that the husband is his wife’s boss or dictator.

It means that the husband is to take the initiative in many family matters.


As the head of the family the husband should take the initiative in family prayers;

Saying the blessing;


Attending church;

Creating an atmosphere of love in the home.


Too many husbands assume a leadership role over trivial things while neglecting     

their leadership role over important things.

Pastors should be examples.


Let me tell you what I do.

I lay down the law at my home.


My wife Rachel amends the law.

It’s amazing how well that works.


Anyway, the husband is suppose to take the lead in spiritual matters.

Another important task is for the husband to set an example for his children.


Children learn as much from what we do as what we say.

My grandson Ryan was imitating my preaching by the time he was two years old.


I was amazed at what he did.

He picked up on some things that I didn’t even realize I was doing.


Fathers should demonstrate their interest in the Word of God by reading the Bible

in front of their children;

Demonstrate proper language by controlling their tongue;


Demonstrate good manners so their children will learn good manners;

Demonstrate high morals so their children will learn high morals.


The real strength of a father is moral and spiritual not physical.

5th---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines for WIVES AND MOTHERS.


God created the wife to be a help meet for her husband (Gen. 2:18-25).

Not a servant.


The wife is not inferior.

God is no respecter of persons.


The husband and wife are equal in the eyes of God.

But God has given the wife the role of helper in the marriage.


Help him build a godly family.

Help him set a Christian example for the children.


Help him learn to love you.

Help him teach the children good manners and morals.


Support his efforts to initiate family prayers, say the blessing, attend church,

and things like that.

God has also given the wife the role of being a good mother;


That of loving, nurturing, mentoring and caring for the children.

This is an exalted position in the family;


One that should take precedent over all other activities.

A career is important, house work is important, community activities are important,

a job may be necessary,


But caring for the children takes precedent over everything else.

6th---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines for CHILDREN.


Children are a gift from God.

It’s important for them to attend church.


If we want them in heaven when the roll is called up yonder, they need to be in

church when the roll is called down here.

They should also be taught spiritual things at home (Deut. 11:19-21);

Taught to honor both parents (father and mother---Deut. 5:16);

Taught to obey both parents (and their grandparents---Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20;

Psalm 78);


Taught piety at home (I Tim. 5:4);

Taught that it is their responsibility when they grow up to care for their elderly

parents (Prov. 23:22);


Taught good morals, respect for adults, not to fight, not to destroy property, and

things like that.

When my grandson Ryan was one year old, he was anemic.


Our daughter Karen took him to the doctor (6/16/00).

The doctor asked if Ryan drinks milk.


Karen said, “I can’t get him to.”

The doctor asked, “Do you drink milk.”


Karen said, “I don’t like it.”

The doctor replied, “If you will drink milk, he will start drinking it.”


We should never underestimate the importance of setting an example.

7th---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines about NEIGHBORS AND RELATIVES.


Even Jesus had difficulty in this area.

The people in His hometown tried to kill Him (Luke 4:16-20).


They put Him down by referring to Him as just a carpenter.

Some thought He was a heretic.


And sadly, many of His closest relatives didn’t even try to defend or help Him.

My point is that even the best of people can have problems with neighbors and



How did Jesus respond?

He loved everybody.


But He didn’t try to make everybody love Him.

It was enough for Him to go about doing His Father’s work.


No one wants problems with neighbors and relatives.

But the approval of God comes first.


8th---Let’s look at some Bible Guidelines on how to MAINTAIN A GOOD MARRIAGE.

For one thing, both spouses need a strong sense of security.


Security increases when each spouse knows the other is firmly committed to

the marriage.

It’s increased when spouses regularly say, “I love you.”


Increased when spouses are honest and open with each other.

Increased when spouses value each others opinions.


Increased when spouses know they’re married to a committed Christian.

Threats to leave, separate or divorce undermines that sense of security.


And it often undermines the marriage.

That’s a no, no.


For another thing, there needs to be bonding between spouses to strengthen the


Bonding is increased when spouses do things together.


Dating is not for singles only.

Married couples should go places together, spend time together and talk to each



Church is a good way for a family to do things together.

In closing, we have been looking at some Bible Guidelines For Serving God.


Because we believe the Bible is the Word of God, we believe these guidelines are    

the will of God.

Marriages are more likely to succeed and we are more likely to be happy if we

follow them.