Summary: It is time for the church to leave the land of familiarity and cross over to the promised land.
January 13, 2007
Text: Joshua 3:1-17
Subject: Crossing Over
Title: Instructions for Moving Into New Territory
This has been an eventful week for this church. Sunday night we saw an unprecedented move of God’s Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that to try to get you to come back on Sunday night. Let me explain what happened. The song service was OK. I did not feel like it would have led anyone to the throne room but that was just me. I can say that because I was up here singing. I thought the preaching was just a shade above mediocre (maybe). Little Ethan was so cute as he walked up the aisle to sit with Charlotte. All eyes were on him and I knew no one was paying attention to the sermon. The message was a good one. I spoke about how God desires that we share the gospel but not in word alone – but with demonstration of the Spirit’s power. I was thinking, “It’s going to be a short night tonight.” In spite of all that God moved in a powerful way anointing His people with power and baptizing in the Holy Spirit. He orchestrated the whole night.
On Wednesday night and Thursday we said goodbye to our friend Casey Cassidy. There was much planning and praying that took place for the funeral dinner on Thursday afternoon. There was also much stress that rose to an ugly climax with me on Wednesday afternoon. No details needed. Casey’s funeral was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever been involved with. And the dinner? Well, it came off without a hitch as once more the Holy Spirit was anointing servers and workers and cooks and choreographing the whole event. It was incredible because what look to us as a food shortage as the family began to file in turned out to be a surplus. I’m pretty sure there were about twelve baskets full left over.
Last night Charlotte and I were in O’Fallon, MO for a Prayer Summit. My sister Ruby asked me, “What do you do at a prayer summit?” “Pray”! As we were praying the Lord showed me something wonderful about this church. He has been preparing us for this week and has used it as the final test before He takes us into the land of promise that He has continually shown us and spoken to us about through the gifts of the Spirit. He has determined that we are ready for growth. Isn’t that wonderful? So since He was speaking that to me Friday Night He also gave me this sermon instead of the one that I had already prepared. This is the right one for today. I want to share with you today the story of Israel’s crossing into the promised land and give you what God gave Joshua –
Ten instructions for moving into the promised land.
1. Follow God’s direction. Vs. 3 - 2After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it If we would always wait for God’s direction we will never be led astray. Paul wanted to go and preach in Asia – the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let him go. Then he wanted to go into Bythinia – again the Holy Spirit prevented him. But when he moved where God led him he established a church that helped with financial support for the rest of his ministry. Revelation 7, 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” As a church that seeks to follow God’s will, we will never go in the wrong direction.
2. Set Yourself Apart from the World Vs. 5 - 5Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” As I have been sharing with you the last two weeks God’s wants a people that is totally devoted to Him without the sway of the world in their lives. James 4:8,10, 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded… 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. God will work signs and wonders among those who have set themselves apart from the world. Daniel 11:32, 32Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
3. Let God show Himself through you. Vs. 7, And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. When this church is moving in God’s will we will not have to advertise in the paper what is going on. We won’t have to shout it from the rooftop. People will just simply know that we have been with Jesus. Acts 4:8-13, 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.