Summary: Trusting our power or God's dependence
BEGINNING AT THE END OF OURSELVES:
(The importance of relying on god’s power)
Joshua 6: 2-5 (p154) September 18, 2011
We in America love to glorify the strongest and smartest….The American Dream is somewhat built on becoming the biggest, richest, best in your field or in your culture.
In America you can do anything and be rewarded according to your ability.
James Truslow Adams who is credited with coining the phrase “American Dream” in 1931 said…”The American Dream is where each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are”
In layman’s language “You can become everything you were meant to be and your community will applaud your success”
Ability! Self-sufficiency! Ingenuity!
With these you can accomplish anything in America.
But the dangerous assumption here is that our greatest asset and our greatest power is in our ability…the American dream prizes what people can accomplish when they believe in themselves and trust in themselves.
But the gospel has different priorities...the Gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in His power.
In the Gospel Jesus confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of eternal value apart from him.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit’ apart from me you can d0 nothing.” (John 15:5)
I GOD HELPS US RECOGNIZE OUR INABILITY
If you’ve spent any time with me you know one of my favorite scriptures…and the theme of my life is 1Cor 1:26 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called, not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth…but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the strong.”
God chose…He chooses to intentionally reveal our weaknesses. He chooses to put us in situations where our inability is apparent and we come face to face with our need for Him.
In the process…His process…He powerfully demonstrates His ability in the face of our inability…At the end it is His Name that is glorified not OURS!
C onsider Joshua’s story” Jericho is a strong city with massive walls surrounding it…Joshua is now the commander and leader of the people of God…It’s his first battle in this role…you can bet he’s anxious. I can only imagine how inadequate he felt as he contemplated the job before him…but suddenly the commander of the Lord’s Army (from heaven) appears…In this moment God promises Joshua victory and He gives Joshua the plans.
Joshua’s got to be thinking’…”what will it be “A frontal attack” “Will we try a flank manuv er”…will we lay siege and stave them out?”
And here’s God’s plan:
[March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for 6 days. Have priests carry ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Ark of the Covenant…on the 7th day march around the city 7 times with the priest’s blowing the trumpets…when you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets have all the people give a loud shout, then the walls of the city will collapse and the people will go up…every man straight in.”]
Let’s be honest…that’s weird…Joshua had to think….”that’s a crazy, stupid plan…it makes no sense..it doesn’t utilize our strengths and abilities at all!
Why did God design this battle plan? Don’t miss what God is doing in this plan to take the first city in the Promised Land.
He is demonstrating an important foundation truth for any of His people who choose to follow Him.
He will get the glory…He will exalt His name…He will deliver.
That’s how God works…He puts His people in positions where they are desperate for His power and then he shows His provisions in ways that display His greatness.
When the people of God stand in the ruble of friends they realize only God could have done this.
The Radical Question we need to address here in America and at Fern Creek Christian Church is….
II ARE WE DEPENDENT UPON OURSELVES OR DESPERATE FOR HIS SPIRIT?
For me this might be the most important single point I’ve ever written down in a sermon. Here in America we have a structure that seems to succeed in the work world…work hard…demonstrate ingenuity and self promotion….align yourself with powerful people, network socially…get noticed, get ahead, faun over important people, use others if necessary and folks, this system will work most of the time in this world’s structure.
But in America, many times we have transferred that worldly structure into the church.
David Platt in the book “Radical writes: This is where I am most convicted as a pastor of a church in the United States of America. I am part of a system that has created a whole host of means and methods, plans and strategies for doing church that require little if any power from God. And it’s not just pastors who are involved in this charade. I am concerned that all of us-pastors and church members in our culture- have blindly embraced an American dream mentality that emphasizes our abilities and exalts our names in the ways we do church.