Three weeks after her wedding day, Joanna called her minister in hysterics.
“Pastor,” she cried, “John and I had our first fight.
It was awful!
What am I going to do?”
“Calm down, Joanna,” her pastor answered, leaning back in his chair.
“This isn’t nearly as bad as you think.
Every marriage has to have its first fight.
“I know, I know,” Joanna said impatiently.
“But what am I going to do with the body?”
This morning message is entitled, “How life’s Battles are won and lost.”
If we we are honest most of us don’t enjoy conflict and don’t go out looking for a battles to fight… but inevitably the battle comes to us…
These battles take various forms…they come in the form of relational conflicts, financial challenges, health issues.. Spiritual Stagnation, Habits and strongholds..
Warfare is one of the characteristics and realities of the fallen world… Warfare is also a major theme that run through the Bible..
In fact from Genesis 3 (the story of the fall) to Revelation 20, we read of strife and fighting.
In other words only the first two chapters of the Bible (creation) and the last two (re-creation) is there a period of time where there is no human conflict…
The apostle Paul frequently uses the metaphor of a soldier to describe the Christian life.
Paul’s prison experiences had given him ample opportunity to watch Roman soldiers and to meditate on the parallels between the soldier and the Christian
Paul warned Timothy his son in the faith--- As a soldier on duty be careful of distractions of the world… be careful to get entangled in the things of this world…
He reminds Timothy that Faith is a battle.
Paul writes to a Corinthians about a conflict that he was having with a sect called the Judaizers.
They were a religious group that was accusing Paul of being bold in his letters and timid when he came in person.. What is interesting is how Paul frames this conflict… He explains that he put no confidence in the flesh.. because we are engaged in battle.
Paul equated the Christian life to a war.. the war is not against flesh and blood … but against authorities of the unseen world..
The Christian life isnt a battle against flesh and blood… but against authorities and powers of the unseen world…..
The word warfare means “campaign.”
Paul was not simply fighting a little skirmish in Corinth; It was much bigger and broader...the attack of the enemy was part of a large satanic campaign.
One of the problems is that we often don’t frame things as spiritual warfare.. this in itself can be a problem..
Richard Lovelace, in his book, Dynamics of the Spiritual Life
“It seems to me that much of the church’s warfare today is fought by blindfolded soldiers who cannot see the forces ranged against them, who are buffeted by invisible opponents and respond by striking one another.”
sadly this is what often happens,
Paul tells is that as a Christian our weapons are spiritual in nature.. anything other than spiritual weapons are going to be ineffective...
What are these weapons?
Some of our weapons are found in the book of Ephesians 6:10 the Armor of God… helmet of Salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, sword of the spirit, gospel of peace… other weapons are faith, prayer, obedience, dependance on the Hs..
T/S How are Spiritual Battles won and lost..
1. Stop focusing on Problems and Start paying attention to your heart.
The city of Salzburg in Austria is implementing some creative measures to protect public safety from oblivious pedestrians staring at their smartphones.
The city's Board for Traffic Safety (KFV) said that nearly 40 percent of the injured pedestrians involved in accidents were injured because they were distracted by a smartphone device.
Pedestrians are involved in more accidents in the city than anyone else on the streets, including cyclists, moped drivers, and car drivers."
"Smartphone zombies," as they have been referred to, are a common problem in many highly trafficked areas around the world.
Honolulu just signed a law that bans pedestrians from looking at their smartphones while crossing the street, thus becoming the first city in America to pass a law aimed at reducing injuries and deaths associated with distracted walking.
One of the quickest ways to loose a battle is to focus on the wrong things...
The bible is full of stories of battles that Israel fought… and One of their biggest problems is they spent way too much time fixated on problems…
When Israel first came to the edge of the promised land… 10 of the 12 Spies came back with the report that the land was good…flowing with milk and honey… but.. there were Giants in the land…When they did this there imagination ran wild.. we seemed like mere grasshopper in their eyes..
Joshua and Caleb on the other hand came back with a totally different report... “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
10 Spies focused on the problem… Joshua and Caleb saw that the giants were no match for heavens Army.
We must glance at our problems and gaze at Jesus. - Thabiti Anyabwile (pastor author)
One of the major problems with conflict is focussing on the problem.. Instead of the heart.. the heart is the seat of the will.. … everything flows form our hearts… if the heart is off everything is off.. The first thing God commands Joshua to do.. is to consecrate the men…
When you think about the timing — they just set foot across the most protected boarder of Canaan..
You would think that this was a poor toming.
on Joshua’s part… let’s take all the young men and have them circumsized…
As you can imagine this was a painful exercise in itself… it would take days to recover…
Why put yourself at a disadvantage like this?
Circumcision was the mark of the covenant; it signified membership in the covenant people of Israel, just as baptism signifies membership in the covenant community of the church today.
It was a divine seal on those whom God had chosen as his people, and it was a human response to the promises of God..
In the NT… Peter tells what consecration looks like..
Preparing you minds for action — speaks of focus… a literal interpretation is to prepare your mind for learning and thinking.
Set your expectation fully on the hope on the Grace that has been provided in Salvation…
When the Bible talks about being Holy --- It is not talking about being perfect…its … not about being good enough… that we have to match up to this standard…or we don’t make it…
Holiness means to separated to a greater purpose.…
Let’s say you were doing some research or found a newspaper clipping that you wanted to keep… you cut it out and put it somewhere...
It means to be completely at the disposal of God.
It means to put yourself completely in his hands.
It means to want that, to want to be used.
This is how God deals with His Covenant people...
He longs to remove reproach and disappointments..
The reason we have to consecrate ourselves… is simply the fact the battle isn’t yours… the battle is the Lords.....Before Joshua leads the nation into battle is going to have an important encounter… Joshua is going to be reminded of this important principle...
What was Joshua doing next to Jericho?
I think that Joshua was wondering how he is going to lead this motley group of desert wanderers to victory against these heavily fortified cities in Canaan…
Joshua’s thinking, “Alright.
we could go Over the wall, under the wall, through the wall, maybe we can send a decoy in, starve them out?”
While God comes down to him
He has this heavenly encounter with a Heavenly Warrior.. Now this is no ordinary encounter… this was not an angelic encounter… this is an encounter with the pre-incarnate Christ… The commander of the Army of the Lord..
Joshua’s asks the figure in front of him... are you for us or against us… The answer is interesting.. No… “but I am the commander of the army of the Lord.
Now I have come.”
The heavenly Warrior declared that he had not come merely to assist Israel’s leader, but to control the whole operation.
The responsibility would be completely lifted from Joshua’s shoulders.
He had not come to champion Joshua’s cause; he had come to rout the enemy.
The battle is not yours, but God’s.
You’re not supposed to fix this.
You’re supposed to fast, pray, stand, and believe.
– James MacDonald.
How do we win battles?
1. Stop focusing on Problems and Start paying attention to your heart.
2. Stop treating Every Battle the same and seek for a God Approach.
The Battle of Jericho is one of the most famous battles in the Bible…It is the ultimate battle where the “underdogs” win the day..
One thing you notice about the battles in the Bible…is that every battle that Israel won was was won differently… the way that Moses defeated the the Egyptians… different from Joshua… defeating the Canaanites… or Davids battle against the Philistines…
Every battle requires a Fresh grace… Every time we want to move forward and make progress… don’t just repeat what what we have done before… We need a fresh vision… Need to a fresh approach
- read our text.
Joshua and Israel come to the most strategic city in Canaan--
It was the primary fortress of Canaan because of its strategic location adjacent to the Jordan River.
The conquest of Jericho was to be a symbolic victory.
If Jericho could fall, then what other city could stand in their way?
God gives Joshua the instructions.. Israel are to March around the city once for 6 days.. then the seventh day were to march around the city seven times… It was to be a procession with the armed men in the front…followed
by seven white robed Priests — blowing continually on the Shuefer (rams horn)
then the Ark of the covenant... was in the center of Israel…which represented the Glory or the presence of God... Love this image — God in the middle of His people…
They were to encircle Jericho once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day… Then on the Seventh trip on the seventh day the Priests were to “make a long blast with the rams horn” and that would be the signal for the people to shout with a loud shout....and the walls would fall down flat... the people were then to go and take the city… because the Lord had given them the city…
Now, If you’re Joshua, you’re wanting a second opinion at this point.