Faithlife Sermons

The Joshua Challenge (6-1-2003)

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 25 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

THE ‘JOSHUA CHALLENGE’

Joshua 1:1-9

Josh 1:1-9

1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

 

 

I am not sure if you noticed, but in the last month, two great, faithful warriors have laid down their weapons and were promoted to Glory. Brother Harold Ray and Brother Orvil Olson, within a couple of weeks, went home to be with the Lord.  Milbre and I have been at Calvary Temple almost 14 years, but this church has a colorful history that goes way back—over 80 years.  The founding generations of this church are passing on and we stand again in a time of transition, prayerfully looking forward to choosing a new Senior Pastor, hopefully, in the not too distant future.  I want to draw on some parallels in Scripture that illustrate the challenge that we face as a church body.

In the course of ministry at Calvary Temple, I was privileged to be able to visit these great men and listen to their testimony and feel their heart. In my visits with Brother Orvil Olson, he didn’t talk about the farm, or politics, or business—he spoke of the great days of ministry in younger years as they traveled the country, singing the songs of faith.  As I visited Brother Harold Ray in the last year or so, what a joy it was to hear him speak of the wonderful remembrances of years gone by at this church.  He spoke often of the old “Glory Barn” downtown, where the power of God would fall and people were filled with the Holy Ghost!  In wistful moments, he longed to see some semblance of what he viewed as great outpourings of God’s power and presence.  He was a prayer warrior that loved this church and prayed for it every day.

I want to state unequivocally that our future is brighter than our past.  How can I make such a statement?  Because of those, like Orvil and Harold and others that have gone on, have invested their lives here.  There will be a return on the word they have sent out. 

Now, as in our text, a new generation at Calvary Temple is poised to receive marching orders.

Can you imagine—the death of Moses was a great trauma for Israel?  His name was synonymous with deliverance.  He spoke face to face with God.  He brought down the Ten Commandments, engraved in stone by the finger of God.  He was a one man National Resource.  He was full of life force one day—and he was gone the next—buried by God on the mountain.

Moses’ death was also a personal shock to Joshua.  Joshua—the loyal Capitan, the devoted follower.  He had taken orders and obeyed them faithfully.  He understood that things would never be the same again. The future loomed threatening and uncertain.  There was a land to conquer and unknown enemies that had to be defeated.

It was in this uncertain time of transition (somewhat like we are experiencing) that God spoke to Joshua and challenged him.  There was the promise of prosperity and success.  But from the first word there was no question: this success must be on God’s terms.  It was going to require faith and courage!

1.   God stated the obvious: “Moses my servant is dead”.

Josh 1:1

1: After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead.

a.                  Joshua had to face reality.  It was the end of an era.  His life and the life of his people had already changed.  The restrictions of listening to Moses and obeying his orders were forever lifted.  But so was the security of leaving the responsibility of final choices to Moses.

a.    Moses was a remarkable leader.  He spent the first 40 years of his life in the household of the Pharaoh of Egypt—learning how to lead men.  God spoke to him and said, “I want you to lead my people, Israel, out of Egypt.”  He thought he was ready, and jumped up and killed an Egyptian. 

b.    Then God sent him into the desert for 40 more years—learning how to lead sheep

c.    And when he was 80 years of age, God spoke again and said, “ I want you to lead my people, Israel, out of Egypt.  What a difference God’s school of training had made in Moses’ life.  Now, he didn’t feel qualified, and asked God for a spokesman.  All the while, God was preparing him for the hardships of the wilderness, the stubbornness and unbelief of the people. 

                                                  i.    So effective was the training, that when God wanted to kill all the first generation of Israelites for their unbelief, Moses stepped in between and said, “If you’re going to kill them, take me also.”  He was a true shepherd!

                                                ii.    Remember this:  God calls men, but he also has a time for them to fulfill that call.

                                               iii.    Jump ahead of God, and suffer defeat.  Follow him, and enjoy great and glorious victories.

b.                  Moses had shown to Joshua, and to all Israel, the power, grace, and salvation of the Lord. 

a.    Moses had obeyed God.  He had marched into Egypt to confront Pharaoh.  In the course of fulfilling that call:

                                                  i.    He had instituted Passover. 

                                                ii.    He had parted the Red Sea.

                                               iii.    He struck the rock and water came forth to quench their thirst.

                                               iv.    He prayed and manna came from heaven to feed them.

                                                v.    He had led his people for forty years.

b.    Moses’ very life spoke of God’s grace and power in deliverance.

c.                  Most of us have some Moses-type influence in our lives. 

a.    We have had authority that has taught us of God’s grace and love. 

                                                  i.    We have learned from Spiritual leaders, the lessons of faith, the grace of God, and the power of the blood of Jesus. 

                                                ii.    Parents, the church, teachers, and leaders—all have shown us the truth and lessons of faith.

                                               iii.    Thank God for those who have blazed the trail ahead of us.

d.                  My thoughts return to the transition time when Pastor Wade Goodall resigned and the Board presented Pastor Jim Filbeck as a candidate to become our Senior Pastor.

a.    God blessed his ministry and under his leadership, our indebtedness of over a million dollars was reduced to zero. 

                                                  i.    The church also prospered and grew in numbers during this time.

b.    God called Pastor Jim to another congregation and we find ourselves again in that place of decision. 

                                                  i.    I believe our future is brighter than our past!  I believe God has prepared a Joshua to lead us on to the next level. 

c.    But now, for Joshua and Israel the limits of Moses’ leadership had arrived.  Moses was dead. 

                                                  i.    Now there was new challenge!  It was a challenge to find the rest of God’s will, beyond being saved From Something!

                                                ii.    God’s plan from the very first was to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage, and bring them into the land of promise. 

                                               iii.    From the very beginning God had a destination as well as a destiny in mind for the people that bore His Name.

e.                  Forty years wandering the wilderness trails had not been God’s first choice. 

a.    God took Moses up to Mt. Pisgah and let him see the Promised Land from a distance, and then he died. 

b.    It was then that God called Joshua to leave the wilderness and cross over the Jordan into a new and exciting chapter

2.  God said: “Now get ready to cross the Jordan into the land that I will give you.”

Joshua 1:3-4

Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Great Sea on the west.

    1. “Deliverance” is never quite enough! 

                                          i.    Getting out of prison is wonderful—but now there is valid work to do! 

1.    Getting out of debt is marvelous—but where do we go from here?

2.    What is God challenging Calvary Temple to reach for?

                                        ii.    Joshua hears God calling him to go beyond the bounds of what the great man, Moses, had been able to do!

    1. Every generation is called on to break molds and exceed models, even of good and godly fathers and mothers.                                            i.    Every generation needs to reverently stand on the shoulders of all that is good that has gone before.

c.    God said: “I will give you every place you set your foot.” And “no one will be able to stand against you.” (v.3)

                                          i.    “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” (v.5)

                                        ii.    “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

d.    In World War I

                                          i.    A French General was asked, “Which side will win?”

                                        ii.    His reply is worth remembering—

                                       iii.    “THE SIDE THAT ADVANCES”

e.    God seems to be given to extravagant promises, like: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

                                          i.    A key question in the Christian faith is found in Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for God?”

f.     Of course there are dangers in taking God’s promises seriously, in two directions at least:

                                          i.    We can over-simplify what we read, and perhaps even identify OUR will and our perspective of the situation with God’s.

                                        ii.     “Faith does NOT make every desirable thing possible; not everything IS promised.  What IS possible is characterized only as everything promised by God.

                                       iii.    That is, only what corresponds to God’s good purpose is possible. 

                                       iv.    He has promised a future in a new community, but not everything we would seek.”

g.    Jesus prayed: “If it be possible...” then He ended His prayer as we always must: “Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done!”

                                          i.    Another way we can mis-use God’s promises is to over-spiritualize them, until they do not “connect” with the real world of blood, sweat, and tears at all.

                                        ii.    We can explain away all God’s promises until we accept some level of mediocrity as the normal way God intends for us to live here and now, on earth.

                                       iii.    God not only wants us “out of Egypt,” He wants us “into Canaan, the Promised Land!” And that, in God’s promise, is success!

3.   God said: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”

Joshua l:5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

a.    Is there a contradiction? Moses is dead!  But still keep the rules!

a.      But God is not saying, “Keep the rules!” Rather He is saying, “Submit to Divine Authority!

                                                                  i.    Walk humbly before ME!” 

                                                                ii.    There is no success, as God measures success, without obedience to His will.

b.    God says: “Be strong and courageous!  Only be strong and very courageous!  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!”

a.    This is not Disney World.  The crocodiles are REAL!  A man can get KILLED here! 

b.    Disobey—and you will certainly suffer!  The need for courage is very real, or God would not have repeated Himself again and again!

c.    God said: “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

a.    This is a familiar theme, and here we are again at the heart of what faith is all about: a personal walk with God

                                                                  i.    . It is the open secret of the ages. God loves YOU, and wants you to love Him and walk with Him.

4.   Is there a time to “Look Back”?

Josh 14:6-13

6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.'  

 

10 "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance

 

Calvary Temple is blessed with a generous group of Seniors who love the Lord and have invested their lives in this ministry on the “hill”.  They are “out there” serving every week, ministering to others.  Just because they are considered ”Senior Citizens”, doesn’t mean they have lost their usefulness.  They are showing the way for the younger generations.  Just look at me, when I thought I was finished with ministry, God had to send Wade Goodall and Jim Filbeck along to challenge me to get up and get going.  I can tell you affirmatively, that I am enjoying the ministry of the Gospel more now, than at any time in my 40 years of ministry.  In many ways, I am more effective now, than in years gone by.  Why?  Because the same spirit that challenged Joshua and Caleb, challenges us this morning!  It is not enough to rest on the victories of yesterday and dream about glorious days gone by.  Listen to the words of the Wise Preacher as I close.  If we understand God’s plan and His challenge to us—our future is brighter than our past!


 

IS THERE A TIME TO LOOK BACK?

Eccl 7:10

 

10 Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?"

For it is not wise to ask such questions.

The Joshua challenge is our challenge, too!

Related Media
Related Sermons