Summary: A spirit of distrust can rest upon the body of Christ: inside the church, between churches, across a city. This message explores a challenge to trust Joshua experienced.
Turn to Joshua 22. One chapter. One passage. One story. One point to the message. A few practical steps we can take.
(Touched on the importance of finding the stories in the midst of dry texts: such as geneologies, territory boundaries, etc. For example, Joshua 22.)
- Narrated/Story Told background leading up to, and the story of Joshua 22.
I said there was one point to the message. The point – we have to defeat distrust in the church. There are two sides to this coin. After more than 40 years together, having observed each others behavior, these tribes had pretty good reasons to distrust each other. Let’s face it. They were a wining, conniving, deceitful group of people. And when one person did something wrong, it often carried drastic ramifications for the rest of the nation.
On the flip side of the coin, they have been in battle together. They suffered losses, and victories. They saw family members and friends die as they fought together to take the land. One might ask, what could build greater trust amongst people than that? Putting your life in a neighbor’s hands?
The same can be said of most churches. After years serving together, discovering each others warts and shortcomings. Serving on committees and in ministries together. From the worlds stand point there might be some pretty good reasons to distrust each other.
On the other hand, being the body of Christ, engaging in battle together against the enemy, serving God side-by-side for the kingdom. One might ask, what could build greater trust among people? Who should pastors trust more than other pastors? Who should Christians trust more than other Christians? Who should SWC family members trust more than other SWC family members? Unfortunately, life in the church often looks like life within the 12 tribes.
For example, this week I came across “The Top Ten Ways to Know It’s a Bad Church Meeting.” Kind of directed at pastors, but I think you’ll get the idea.
10. The 60 Minutes film crew shows up.
9. Your picture ends up on a milk carton.
8. People arrive at the meeting clutching copies of books about "spiritual abuse."
7. The little blue-haired lady who’s in charge of the nursery pounds the lectern with her shoe and screams, "We will bury you!"
6. The next day your spouse books a one-way flight to South America and doesn’t invite you to come along.
5. Your neighbors hear about the meeting on their police scanners.
4. A loyal supporter presses a moving company business card into your hands.
3. Another loyal supporter presses Jack Kevorkian’s business card into your hands.
2. You’re asked to try on a pair of bloody gloves.
1. People begin referring to you as "our former pastor."
Those are good signs it’s been a bad church meeting. And good signs that there are some problems of “distrust” in the church.
Now. . .let’s clear one thing up. I’m not preaching this message because I think it relates to what is going on at Porter Memorial Baptist Church. Okay? I’m not having us take a look at issues of trust within the body because I’m concerned about how the church is getting along down the street at Clays Mill Baptist.
God has pressed this passage on my heart because I have had events, conversations, opportunities to observe that there is room for growth in this area, within our own body. (Weekly generic examples)
And for us to move forward as a healthy body, a vibrant body, a successful church body, we are going to have to learn to defeat the spirit of distrust in our midst. So let’s look at a couple practical steps we can take.
1. IGNORE THE WORDS OF “SOMEONE”
Did you see what it said in verse 11? (re-read). Who even knows who said this?
Do you know how many times in my life I have heard someone say, “I heard that. . .”? Or, “Someone suggested. . .” Or, “It seems that someone might be upset about. . .”
Most pastors would tell you that the largest section of their pictorial directory is the “S”s, because there are tons of “someone”s in their church.
This whole event in the life of Joshua’s leadership began because “someone” heard “someone” say.
There was a gentleman who went to an estate sale and noticed that one of the items for sale was a large parrot. He had always wanted a talking bird, so when it comes up for bid he offers $50.
The bidding becomes hot and heavy, with someone always bidding ten dollars more than he until the parrot is finally sold to him for $1,500.
When he goes to get the bird, he asks the auctioneer, "Can the bird talk?"
The auctioneer replied, "Who do you think was bidding against you?"