Summary: Most said, we have absolutely no chance of possessing this Promised Land. But where they saw only giants, the ’minority report’ of Joshua and Caleb saw God! Link inc. to formatted text, audio & video, PowerPoint.
Claiming Our Canaan
We’ve come “Out of Africa” now into the wilderness. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt is a picture of our salvation. We were slaves, in bondage to sin, the toughest master you’ll ever serve. Sin takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and costs us far more than we want to pay.
Now they are at the edge of the Promised Land. Moses sends 12 spies into the land. They return and 10 of them give a discouraging report that went something like this: It’s great, beautiful, and everything God said it was. It is luscious, and would be very nice, but we have absolutely no chance of possessing this land. It is already occupied by heathen, and they are huge. They look like Hulk Hogan, and we’re like little runts, grasshoppers next to them. Their cities are walled around with walls so wide you could drive a chariot atop them.
Then there were the other 2 spies, the ‘minority report.’ They said, you may see the giants, but we see God! And if He wants us to have that land then it won’t be a problem. Joshua and Caleb were their names.
But the people decided to follow the naysayers. And where will that get them? Nowhere! They wander in the wilderness for 40 years, meandering in circles. They turned an 11 day journey into 40 years!
2 (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.) 3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year...
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Just as being freed from slavery in Egypt pictures our salvation, so wandering in the wilderness pictures the carnal Christian life, going nowhere! Saved? Yes. Living in victory? No! Not maturing, just coasting thru life w/ their fire insurance policy in hand. Perpetual babies they are, never graduating from milk to meat, only crying out to ‘dada’ when something is wrong and they need something, and never coming of age spiritually to the place of real faithfulness and responsibility.
40 years later when that rebellious generation died off the new generation marched into the Promised Land and possessed it. This land was called Canaan. They were claiming their Canaan!
Canaan is a picture of the victorious Christian life. It’s not heaven...this promised land, no! Moses couldn’t enter this land because He disobeyed, but you’ll see Moses in heaven someday! The life of victory isn’t a life of perfection, but of growth. Growing in grace, maturing, taking higher ground, gaining victories in life, over sin, over the world, over our own flesh, and over the devil.
Every person here today is in one of these 3 locations:
• In Egypt, still in slavery to sin, and you need to be saved.
• In the wilderness, saved, but going nowhere other than in circles. Been saved for years but you still aren’t really digging into your Bible, still not really praying, still not tithing consistently, still not making commitments to be faithful and to serve. Been saved for years but never led a soul to Christ! You’re not much closer to God than you were the day you got saved.
• In Canaan, excited, growing, having the joy of the Lord. They’re not a wilderness wanderer, but a giant conqueror!
And there are 3 kinds of churches:
• Egypt churches which don’t preach salvation by grace. The blind are leading the blind. They are more of a social club than a church.
• Wilderness churches with saved people going nowhere but in circles...going thru the motions. They rarely see anyone get saved, people at the altar making decisions, or the Spirit of God moving mightily amongst them...but that’s ok, because the offerings are good and we’ve been able to make a lot of improvements to the building...and someday we’ll go to heaven! Sure there’s sin in the church, nobody’s perfect, and I hate to think what’s going on in the privacy of many member’s homes, but let’s not talk about that, let’s dress up and shake hands and have parties and eat and thank God we’re saved and not like this world that’s going to hell in a hand basket!
• Canaan churches where you walk in the door and you can feel the spirit of excitement, the joy, the expectancy in the air. The church is growing, decisions are many, it’s a pleasure to serve, to give, to work together as a team, to hold accountable and be glad to be held accountable! They’re not only encouraged but also challenged, convicted, and humble enough to confess and make things right...going forward, climbing uphill, swimming upstream, against the course of this world, often maligned, but proud to wear the badge of being Biblical, striving for something better, seeking the Promised Land of the victorious Christian life!