Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
August 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM
An Early Start
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday August 3, 2014
An Early Start
"And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.” Joshua 3:1.
August is the last full month of the summer; it is the 
month when Congress starts it summer vacation and it is 
the time when schools, colleges, and universities 
commence their new school year. The Congressional 
group takes vacations, meet with constituents, travel to 
foreign countries, campaign for themselves and others, and 
seek photo opportunities maybe along with a few television 
The text has little significance to the congressional 
vacation, but it is filled with relevance within the school 
arena. Hence, the sermon will focus specifically on this 
group that has begun school year 14-15. In this connection, 
the sermon has been entitled, An Early Start. It will be 
anchored by the following three parameters, namely: 
some observations on an early start, biblical teachings on 
getting an early start, and areas in which an early 
start is needed. 
Prior to addressing these parameters, it is deemed 
appropriate to focus some attention on the textual back 
ground. As earlier noted, the text was lifted from the third 
chapter of Joshua. He was God’s choice as successor to 
Moses ( Joshua 1:1-3 ). His challenge was lead the children 
of Israel across Jordan River and navigate the conquest of 
Canaan. Having received the strategy for the conquest from 
God, Joshua and his people arose early to relocate 
themselves nearer to the walls of Jericho. As result of their 
obedience, the Children of Israel were in place when God 
ordered them to march around the walls of Jericho three 
times; the did and God brought down the walls of Jericho. 
Remember, they had earlier arisen to starts God’s plan on 
time. Against, this synopsis of early rising of Joshua and 
his people, the focus will now be directed to the earlier 
specified three concerns, the first of which - some 
observations on an early start. 
The topic of getting an early start has been and 
continues to be a theme of proverbial sayings and poems; 
a few of them include: the early bird gets to catch the worm; 
procrastination is a theft of time never put off for tomorrow 
what could be done today; early to bed and early to rise 
make a person healthy and wise; and early registration for 
events, usually with a discount of fees and, then, there is 
expression ‘early bird’ for a person who arrives before the 
schedule time of a meeting. 
While contemporary times are largely governed by a 
time anchored structure, the focus on time is also a topic 
in the Bible. In Ecclesiastic 12:1 there is reference to time 
in remembering the Creator; the verse states “ Remember 
now thy Creator in the days of thy youth...”. Notice, this 
verse calls for an early start in worshiping the Creator 
instead of later in life. Jesus, in his ministry, emphasized 
the necessity for the early start; it was conveyed in the 
words, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and 
forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God”. ( Mark: 
10:14 ). On another occasion Jesus, speaking of himself, 
showed the urgency of an early start; he said, “I must work 
the works of him that sent me , while it is day for the night 
cometh when no man can work” ( John 9:7 ). Recognizing 
the uncertainty of life, Peter uttered a time warning 
statement which was “ ... the Lord will come as a thief in the 
night... (2nd Peter 3:10 ). In this regard, humankind should 
make an early start on the life way that leads to eternal 
existence with the Heavenly Father. These are a few of the 
biblical teachings that reference the brevity of life and the 
infinity of eternity. 
Beloved these are but a few worldly and biblical 
citations that exemplify the need for an early start in 
numerous facets of life. This facts leads to the concluding 
aspect of the sermon which is - Areas in which on needs to 
get an early start in life. While the value of an early start 
extends across the life cycle, this sermon will be confined 
largely to the school and collegiate aggregate. This 
category embodies several areas in which children and 
adolescents should make an early start. Heading the list is 
that of an early start in the area of health. The Bible gives 
an ideal pattern for growth and development. It is the 
account of Jesus’ early start in life. Luke describes that 
early experience in the following words, “And the child 
grew, and waxed strong in the spirit, filled with wisdom and 
the grace of God was upon him.” The next area is that of 
respecting and obeying parents and others in authority. 
Again, the Bible literally speaks, “Children obey your 
parents, for this is right”. 
Thirdly, the young people should get an early start in the 
acquisition of morality and fair play; this expectation is 
a biblical teaching to do unto others as you have them 
do unto you; added to this expectation is the somber 
warning you are going to reap what you sow. Fourthly, 
is the call of Jesus unto children with the following 
message, “ Suffer little children, and forbid them not to 
come unto me: for such is the kingdom of God”. ( Matt. 
19:14). Although there are numerous other areas in 
which children and adolescents should make an early 
start, the last one - in this pastor’s judgment - is the most 
urgent for ultimate intellectual and ultimate success at 
the market place is that of an early start in the area of 
education. Beloved, we as parents and guardians should 
heed Paul’s message to Timothy which was to “Study to 
shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that 
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of 
truth.” ( 2Tim. 2:15 ). 
In closing, the arena of child rearing is an obligation 
that must not taken casually; it is an ongoing series of 
responsibilities, obligations, monitoring, and motivating. 
The assumption of child rearing must begin at the cradle 
and should never become an outsourced function. Training, 
like charity, begins at home and spreads abroad. In the 
event that there might be some hearers or readers of this 
sermon who follow the hands off policy, neglect to provide 
guidance for their children, place responsibility on the 
school system for training, rely on the legal system as 
an every ready threat, and merely focus on themselves, 
an urgent appeal is herein made for such persons, to 
make an early start in the direction of preserving their 
family because of at least two reasons; first, the child 
not ask to be born, and secondly, God has his eternal 
eye on you and one day you must stand before that 
righteous Judge; hopefully, you will spared of hearing 
the words - in as much as you did it ( neglected the 
child) did ye even so unto me, depart from me for I 
know you not. Should you fall in that category of neglect, 
the glorious news today is that a utterance for forgiveness 
is but a breath away. Remember, the Bible teaches that 
though your sin be as scarlet, you can be made white 
as snow. So in closing, mentally evaluate your action 
toward the children and decided if there is a need for 
purging, if so make an early start for forgiveness and, if 
not, give thanks to God for your good stewardship. Amen!
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