The Lord Will Do Wonders
Think about one thing you learned that has been useful all your life since. Did you learn in in a classroom, on the job or through life in general? When did you stop learning? That’s meant to be funny; if we’re still living, we’re still learning. “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed. But skill will bring success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10
5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Consecrate yourselves for the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow. Are you ready? Ready like time to leave ready? Or really ready?
This idea of consecrate is inseparable from sanctify, which is to be set apart for special use by God.
It is uniquely a ‘believer’ or a ‘child of God’ thing. An unsaved person cannot clean himself up. The sin of unbelief cannot be washed off by any effort other than Christ’s work on the cross. So until He has been surrendered to, this is just noise.
People, clothes, items for worship, the altar, fields, animals for offerings, the temple
To consider what it looks like and what it means for us let’s look at both Israel and Jesus.
One of the first uses of the word comes at the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. They were told to wash their garments and be ready. To make the sacrifice and sprinkle the blood on lentil and doorpost. The washing was symbolic of removing sin. The sacrifice was the payment for the sin. The obedience guaranteed their blessing, their exodus. Let’s catch that today. Any who were disobedient, who didnt put the blood of the sacrifice on their doorway, didnt enjoy the blessing of the exodus. They would have mourned the loss of their firstborn in the exodus.
You’ve probably never been taught that the Saturday night bath and the Sunday go to meeting clothes pointed back to this process. Clean yourselves. Put on your best to meet with the Lord. Of course, most shower much more often than Saturday and many have jobs that require similar dress as well.
1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem. 5 And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.
Three elements of consecration:
So the process of consecration goes at least as far back as Genesis, when Jacob prepared his household to go to Bethel he had them put away the foreign gods (rid yourselves of sin), purify yourselves (repent) and CHANGE YOUR GARMENTS (turn your hearts toward God).
Mankind has never been able to ‘turn over a new leaf’ without the power of God enabling it. This is why the Holy Spirit is so important in the life of the believer. HE is the one who enables a heart turned away from sin and toward God. A repentant heart.
We need to recognize the result of faithfully doing this for the house of Jacob. Because they did. Obediently, they followed his instructions.
5 And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.
The result of their obedience was the blessing of safe travel through a set of peoples who would have otherwise done them harm!
Finally, when they got there they worshipped! They built an altar at Bethel and worshipped God who answers in the day of distress and who goes with us wherever we go. Of course the children of Israel worshipped all the way out of Egypt. They were, after all, leaving with the wealth and riches of Egypt in their tbackpacks! But they sang songs about how God was the great deliverer. Hiccup at the Red Sea. Worship erupted on the other side as the song we see in Exodus 15.
How appropriate it is for consecration, preparing ourselves for God to do wonders, ends in worship of the God who does wonders!
Consecration is not only an OT idea. The the word is rarely used in the NT. (In the telling of the story of David and his men eating the consecrated bread, and of Jesus referring to Himself in John.) But the idea persists. It does not save us. It does not get us ready to be saved. It is an act of obedience after salvation!
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.
19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
How would it be possible for Jesus to consecrate Himself? Wouldn’t that require him to repent? And wasn’t He without sin? HE WAS!
Let’s deal with repent first. This word simply means to agree with God about His right-ness. His righteousness. But it means to do so, not just with the mind, but with our whole life. In that same chapter of Luke v.42 tells us Jesus did just that: If there is a way let this cup to pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but yours be done. Do you see the Son agreeing with the Father about the right-ness of His plan? Deferring to it? YES
And in that statement we see the three parts of consecration taken care of.
Rid yourself of sin - for Jesus it was not sin He rid Himself of, but denied Himself of. He could have chosen a different end but that would have been sin.
Repent - He agreed with the Father
Turned your heart toward God - Remember we said a heart turned toward God results in the blessing of obedience? The blessing Jesus received that night was the angel from heaven who came and strengthened him in v.43 of that chapter in Luke.
Consecration of the people always meant a move forward. They never consecrated themselves to go back. Forward out of Egypt. Forward to Bethel. Forward to the cross.
Australian coat of arms: Emu and Kangaroo cant go backwards. Emu falls if it tries and kangaroo cant because of the size and shape of its tail.
And we have the same opportunity today. We too can consecrate ourselves. We can prepare for the Lord to do wonders among us, through us and in us.
Are you willing? Are you willing to put away your sinful habits and hang-ups? Are you willing to agree with God, confessing where you are wrong He is right? Are you willing to turn your heart toward God? There is a blessing waiting for those who are! He wants to do wonders among us!
And when we get there, every time we get there, we will WORSHIP! How will we worship?
With our hearts united because of walking through the same process together these two weeks leading up. That fills up a requirement in scripture!
In song. We will lift up and HEAR each other’s voices fill the room. Havent had that joy in a while!
In giving our offering. We will have the in-gathering to bless the Food Pantry and the clients who benefit from it.
In spirit and in truth. The object of our worship is the One True God and His Word will be the central focus of this regathering.
Are you ready? I dont mean ‘are you looking forward to it’. I mean have you prepared yourself so that you are ready! You can start today.
Food pantry thursday. Drive thru. Dry cereal is the item for this one.
Sunday’s regathering will be mask optional. I will be wearing one all the time except preaching. But no one should think wearing or not wearing is better or worse. We dont judge people here on any of the other clothes we wear and we will not judge each other on this.
It will be for 10:30 worship only.
We will not provide the nursery.
We are asking the only restrooms to be used be the foyer ones so we can make sure they are disinfected after each use.