Lessons from Joshua (Faith in action)
|February 1, 2016||Posted by Pastor Viju Mathai under Evangelism, General, Sermons||
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Joshua 1:1-9 …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.”
Journey from Slave to Leader: Slave –> Servant –> Soldier –> Leader
Commissioned with clear mandate
Joshua 1:1-2 …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.
When Joshua began his ministry he faced a huge task. God knew he faced a huge task. In fact we find recorded (three different times in Joshua 1: 6, 7, 9) where God encouraged Joshua to be courageous. Joshua displayed his courage in a number of ways. He faced a number of trials.
- Following Moses as the leader of the nation (He had big shoes to fill) – Mosses had left him a tall order. How would you feel if you had to fill the shoes of Moses? Each of us has mountains that we must climb. I cannot imagine a greater challenge than having to fill the shoes of a legend. He had set very high standards before he left. His leadership has managed to bring them to the brink of the Promised Land. How much more of a dynamic leadership quality must he have to be able to take them through victory against the 7 kings in the land. It was just a monumental task
- Facing a great task of leading the people:
- He had to overcome his personal feeling of inadequacy.
When Joshua was looking at his weaknesses, God was looking at his potential. Jeremiah saw his weakness, but God saw his potential. Gideon saw his weakness, but God saw his potential
Christ’s commission to go
Mathew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission)… 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
You are not a mistake:
You have been strategically placed
You have a unique God given Mandate/Purpose/Assignment: it means I’m missional in nature. What that means is: I’m a person with a mission, I’m an ambassador for heaven. I’ve got a work that is unique to me, only I can do it. How would your life be different if you believed that you are quite unique, and that you have something unique to give to the people who meet you?
Your are alive for this reason and God has prepared you for that- God has built you accordingly: Which came first, the people or the assignment? I believe the assignment came, because man was created and sent to fulfill the assignment. Think about that.
Ephesians 2:8-10… 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 5:17) to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Joshua 1:3-5, 9 …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. …9 …. for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God gave them clear Promises (V3 & 5)
There are few things we need from God in order to have a successful Christian life:
- God’s Faithfulness (3)
- God’s Promises, (3)
- God’s Protection (5)
- God’s Presence (5 & 9)
- God’s encouragement (9).
Examples from Paul
2 Corinthians 7:5-6…. 5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus
2 Timothy 4:16-18… 16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, ….And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
- Jesus promised: I am with you always, till the very end of ages
- No weapons formed against you will prosper
Isaiah 54:17 …no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord
- Ask of the nations and I will give them to you
Psalm 2:8… Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
- Your labor in the Lord is not in vain
1 Corinthians 15:58… Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Clear Instructions and Warnings
Joshua 1:6-9 …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.”
- Be strong and courageous (3): Lead
- Be careful: Obey his laws and commands
- Do not be terrified
- Do not be discouraged
Christian life is a walk of faith
- Without Faith and obedience you cannot conquer
- All of Gods promises come to past when we walk in faith and obedience
Joshua 21: 43 ….So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45 Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
- God rewards faithfulness
Lessons to learn
Lesson 1: Your Commitment will be tested – Overcome Delays & Difficulties.
One example of this is Abraham. He was offered the promises reasonably early in his life, but it wasn’t until much later that he was given the son through which the promises would be carried out.
Another example is in King David. After the initial anointing and then the defeat of Goliath, it was a long, hard struggle before he finally gained control of the throne of Israel. During the time he was being pursued by Saul, it would have been very tempting for him to give up the ways of God.
Consider also the life of Joseph. In his youth he was given the dreams showing his future importance, but it was a long time after that before he saw success. In the meantime he had to endure slavery, imprisonment and the threat of death.
Consider the life of Ezekiel. Immediately after he was called, God send him of tasks that would look silly (pan on his face), hurting (sleeping 290+40 days on his side), weird (cut his hair and do math), disgusting (cook food on cow dung), questionable (dig a hole in his home wall) and insensitive (not cry when his wife died). All through these he hung in there and God used him
We must constantly check our level of commitment towards God.
Lesson 2: Although Enthusiasm degrades with time, you must remain ENTHUSIASTIC.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Peter was ready to cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, but shortly later he denied even any association with Jesus. The excitement of the original situation had provoked him to fight for Jesus regardless of the cost, but over the subsequent hours his temperament changed. By the morning he was no longer a fighter, but instead chose denial. Regardless of whether Peter was right in his actions or not, it shows that there is a tendency for enthusiasm to degrade with time.
Since there is a tendency for enthusiasm to degrade with time, enthusiasm needs to be sustained.
Lesson 3: Although Questions and Doubts will arise, remain OPTIMESTIC
Your Commitment will be tested – You must remain enthusiastic and optimistic
Lesson 4: God Rewards Faithful Initiative – Perseverance will be rewarded.
God rewards those who faithfully persevere through adversity and are willing to take initiative
The scriptures also show examples that apparently fruitless labor can have its rewards in the long term.
Peter’s calling: Early in his association with Jesus, Simon was shown not to abandon the hope of success.
Luke 5:4-6 – 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
After the fruitless night, Simon expected failure in the final fishing attempt. Despite this, he was rewarded in making the attempt.
The Paralytic and his four friends (Luke 5:17-25): At many times during his ministry, Jesus was greatly sought after to perform miracles. In many cases it was the people who had the faith to persevere who were rewarded.
In order to obtain a cure for their patient, the four bearers had expended effort – took initiative. Apart from the physical work involved, there was a lot of risk involved and only the hope of success. The owner of the house may not have been impressed with a new hole in the roof. Even after a successful entry, there was no guarantee of healing. Nevertheless, the faithful perseverance through adversity was rewarded.
David’s Initiative: He once had a desire to build the house of God and decided to take initiative and God honored him for that:
2 Samuel 7:1-11 (God’s Promise to David) – 1. After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” ..11… “‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:
Example of Obed-Edom – God blessed the house of obed edom. He took initiative to take care of the Arc of Covenant in his house and gave it the most prominent place in his house.
Lesson 5: Success in personal pursuits should be used as motivation in working for God.
There is more to being a son of God than simply enjoying the benefits.
Matthew 6:31-33 – 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Lesson 6: Actions (or Inaction) always have consequences.
You can choose your Actions, but you cannot choose its Consequences.
Lesson 7: God wants us to be aware of His commandments and actively search for application in our lives.
God does not bless our idleness. He expects us to be active in his work
Lesson 8: God will do His part, when we are committed to do our part.
- Sin of rationalization (Half- hearted obedience, Lethargic and Complicent): It’s not the right time, the work is too hard, it is not my job, I have more important things to do.
- The sin of re-ordering their priorities (“Our houses come before God’s houses; our priorities come before God’s priorities.”)
- No more Rationalizing
- No more Misplaced Priorities
- No more Half-Hearted Obedience,
- No more Lethargy or complacency
1 Corinthians 3:6-15 (The Church and Its Leaders) – 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor (faithfulness, motives and attitudes). 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work (our motives, our faithfulness, our unity and attitudes). 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Acts 20:24 (Paul’s farewell for elders in Ephesians) – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Philippians 1:21-23… 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing
John 9:4 ...As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work