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Audacious Faith (a faith unswayed by difficulty)

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Just because God gave you a word doesn’t mean it’ll be fulfilled without struggle

One of the most important roles we have as parent is to help our children not psych themselves out. Zavier, my youngest, would get so frustrated if he could button his shirt. He might even say “I can’t do it” whether verbally or through his temper tantrum. I would then remind him that he can do it, but just be patient.
Its so easy to psych ourselves out. I know I do it on the regular. But sometimes if we are not careful, we can psych ourselves right out of God’s blessing, plan, and inheritance.
Numbers 13:1–2 ESV
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.”
Notice that Jehovah is not unclear about His intentions for the people of Israel...”which I am giving to the people of Israel”. God is so clear about the future He has for them. But just because its clear, doesn’t mean it’ll be easy—doesn’t mean it’ll be without struggle.
So Moses obeyed the voice of the Lord and selected 12 men, not just any men but “chief among” the tribes. The most influential men were sent to spy out the land. There is a pro and con when it comes to sending the most influential people on such a mission—they will either sway the people to believe or sway the people to disbelieve what the Lord Jehovah told them. Lack of faith is contagious especially when folks with tenor, respect, and experience are the ones who are spreading it.
This is so rich with teaching. As faithful a leader Jehovah God was, as good of leaders Moses and Aaron were, if you have the “right” people convinced that something CAN’T be done, the people may just very well believe those unbelievers. Some might come to their defense saying that according to the polls, 83%, were convince this feat, conquering this land of giants, was not possible. The popular vote was to run and not fight. I guess the majority vote is not as important as we think it may be.

All significant things change in 40 days

Numbers 13:25–26 ESV
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
If you look at the Old Testament you see phrase “40 days” carries special significant.
Jehovah God sent rain upon the earth 40 days and 40 nights ()
Moses entered the cloud and was on the mount with God 40 days and 40 nights receiving the words of the Covenant ()
Moses lay prostrate before the Lord because of the sins of the people and the Lord said He would destroy them (, )
The spies were gone on a 40 day trip to spy out the land ()
David rose to the challenge of Goliath the uncircumcised Philistine on the 40’ith day ().
Elijah traveled 40 days and 40 nights to the mount of God as the Angel of the Lord led him there when King Ahab and Jezebel threatened his life ()
The number of days Ezekiel had to lay on his right side showing the house of Judah how many years they would be punished ()
Nineveh repented at hearing “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” ()
Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted 40 days by Satan ()
After Jesus resurrection, Jesus appeared to the apostles during a 40 day period before His accession ()
Flooding, Recording, Interceding, Taughting, Fleeing, Chastising, Warning, Tempting, Persuading, Spying all happened in 40 days periods.
Why do I bring this out?
All of these accounts required Noah, Moses, David, Elijah, Ezekiel, Nineveh, Jesus, the apostles to trust God the Father. The problem was that when 83% of the chief men went through this 40 day period only 17% of them were believing.
So the question bears asking:
if the changes we must go through at Parkway are trying, testing, difficult, challenging, scary…how many of us will still be here believing afterwards?
if the changes we personally must go through to reach our promise land require us to go through pain, suffering, anxiety, doubt, fear, anger, tears will we come out on the other end believing or abandoning?
Listen, we are called to change. We are called to be transformed. Who we are today CANNOT be who we are at the end of our 40 day periods. We are called to suffer. We are called to fight. We are called to do this all together. We have a great challenge before us. To say anything different would be a lie and deceptive. We don’t need to tweak a few things at Parkway, Parkway, including you and I, need a metamorphosis.
Only audacious faith, radical trust, complete reliance on God and His teaching and providence will get us through what we are about to endeavor to do.
Numbers 13:25–26 ESV
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.

Out of the mouth reveals the truth about the heart

What are people’s responses to change or challenge?

There are the pesimist

Numbers 13:27–29 ESV
And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
Often what you highlight reveals a lot about you. Are you characterized by explaining all the reasons why something cannot work or won’t work or has failed in the past?
The 83% lead with a great statement “[the land] flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit”
But there follow up is what they emphasized:
“HOWEVER, the people who dwell in the land are STRONG, and the cities are FORTIFIED and VERY LARAGE.
and BESIDES, we saw the decendants of ANAK there. The AMALEKITES dwell in the land of the Negeb. The HITTIES, the JEBUSITES, and the AMORITIES dwell in the hill country.
and the CANAANITES dwell by the sea and along the Jordan.
Numbers 13:31 ESV
Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”
Notice what it does to the congregation we a faithless testimony is given:
Numbers 14:1–4 ESV
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
The end result was: let’s get this Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, and God they serve out of here. Let’s go behind their back and get a petition going and vote these jokers out. Their response was to kill them.
Numbers 14:10 ESV
Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
What did these 83% cost the congregation of Isarel?
Numbers 14:21–24 ESV
But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.
Numbers 14:28–32 ESV
Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness.

Then there are the optimist

Numbers 13:30 ESV
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Notice Caleb didn’t mention all the challenges to the goal.
He shouted “Let us go up at once”. He didn’t want to delay. He wanted to move NOW. Some of you don’t want to move now. Some of you want to drag your feet. But Caleb shouts MOVE NOW. MOVE NOW.
Can you say it?: MOVE NOW, MOVE NOW, MOVE NOW
He believed they could “occupy” the land God gave to them. He believed they were able to overcome it because God said “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, WHICH I AM GIVING TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL”.
Numbers 13:2 ESV
“Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.”
By saying he believed they could overcome the land he was saying the he was
Romans 4:21 ESV
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
How did this audacious faith bless them that possessed it:
Numbers 14:30–31 ESV
not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected.
Only the Caleb, Joshua, and the little ones got to go into the land of promise
All of the EXPERIENCE, AGE, FEARFUL, DOUBTING did not inherit the promise.
The Father doesn’t want your experience, He doesn’t care about your age, He’s looking for us to trust His character. Thus it doesn’t matter how long you have been in the “church” if we don’t trust Him with audacious faith.
If we believe that God can do what He says He can do then we will overcome:
the separation in our congregation and love each other as Jesus loved us. To be one like Jesus prayed we’d become. We will move from INDIVIDUALS TO INSEPARABLE. (, )
Notice our oneness is not by all of our churches following the same pattern of worship or even the same “biblical pattern”, but our oneness is defined by Jesus’ oneness with the Father.
The Father was in Jesus and Jesus was in the Father. Jesus followed the example His Father set for Him. Jesus only spoke what the Father spoke. Our unity in speech comes by only speaking what Jesus and His Spirit spoke.
Notice that disciples oneness was created by their mutual one-ship with Jesus and the Father. If we all are like Jesus and the Father, then we are all one. Our oneness is the product of our individual relationship with Jesus and the Father (, )
1 John 2:6 ESV
whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
sin in our lives and confess them to Jesus and each other that we may be forgiven, purified, and healed. We will be authentic, a praying people, and bear each other’s burdens. We will move from SLAVE to SAVED (, , )
the apathy within us and serve each other with the gifts God has entrusted to us to bring Him honor. We will move from ME to WE ().
the knowledge gaps of God’s truth in our lives and the truth about our current times, community, and generation. We will move from CLOSED to CONVINCED and CONNECTED ()
the stagnation among us and be transformed into the image of His Son. We will be a safe house for the unchurched, marginalized, outcasts, ostracized, the hurt and wounded, the fearful, the heavy laden, and the addicted. We will move from ANXIOUS to AUDACIOUS (showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks) to become all things to all people in hopes that we might save some ().

Age does not exclude you from the invitation

1 Corinthians 9:19–23 ESV
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
A lie we have told ourselves is that I have already put in the sweat, tears, and hard work. Its time for someone else to carry the baton. Or we say I am too young and no one will listen to me—what can I do. Or worst yet, we say your young—what do you know!
Joshua 14:10–12 ESV
And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”
None of us have an excuse. The promise land is before us. Yes there are giants. But don’t focus on the obstacles because I believe Jesus made us a promise:
“Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world”
The world will know the Father sent Jesus if we all act like Jesus.
The world will know we are Jesus disciples if we have love for each other
If we confess He will forgive, purify and if we pray He will heal
If we have fellowship with Him and the Father we will know the truth and that truth will set us free.
Everyone that the Father has drawn will come to Jesus and we will affect the darkness around us for His name and glory.
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