Summary: What I hope to convey to you in this message, and what I hope we will all go away from here with, is an understanding of the destructiveness of sin.
NAVIGATING THE NEW YEAR
Don’t Sink the Ship
When we ended the message last week, we did so with the children of Israel celebrating the Destruction of their Enemy and rejoicing because of the Depth of their Victory. Although they didn’t make much sense to them, the Israelites followed the instructions given to them by Joshua, and just as he had promised, the walls of Jericho fell down flat and "they took the city" (Joshua 6:20). Verse 21 says, "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city..."
This was an outstanding victory for Joshua and his followers. But not only that, it leaves you and I with some excellent insight as to how we can overcome the obstacles that stand in our way and dare to keep us from having God’s best in this new year.
For those who are just joining us this week, we have been involved in a series of messages titled "Navigating the New Year." We’re basing our study on chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the book of Joshua. In chapter 5 we learned that we must properly prepare ourselves if we are going to successfully navigate the previously untraveled waters of the year 2001.
Last week we discovered, as did the Israelites, that whenever we set out to claim what is rightfully ours in the Lord, there are going to be some obstacles to overcome. There are going to be some barriers between us and godly greatness that we must breakthrough. But as we know, victory can be ours if we possess a victorious faith. If we are willing to surrender both our focus and our future to the Lord, and if we are willing to see the impossibility of victory without the Lord’s help and to accept our responsibility to walk, to wait, and to not waver in our faith, we will be victors and not victims, we will be over comers rather than being overcome.
As you join me in the book of Joshua, you will notice that chapter 6 ends with these words, "So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country." "BUT" begins chapter 7, "... the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel."
The subject of today’s message is one that all of us are far too familiar with, and that is the subject of sin. I wish that I could stand before you and tell you that of all the subjects that are covered in the Bible, the subject of sin is one that I’m just not very well versed in. But the truth of the matter is, if there is any subject that I could come close to declaring myself an expert in, it would have to be the subject of sin. I do not say that boastfully by any means, I say that much to my shame.
However, I am thankful that I am not as qualified to be called an expert as someone else in this church. Last night, the Lord revealed to me that there is a greater sinner than myself in this church. Last night I dreamed that I died and went to heaven and upon my arrival there, I was promptly greeted at the gate by St. Peter.
After a brief conversation, Peter ushered me through the pearly gates and began to show me around. One of the first places he took me was a big room with literally thousands of clocks all over the walls. Every clock was ticking at a different speed and each one had someone’s name on it.
I began to look around and sure enough there was a clock for (name several folks), and each one was ticking at a different speed, some slower than others and some faster. Finally I ask St. Peter what the clocks were all about and he said that each clock represented the life of someone still on earth, and every time they sinned, the hands on the clock made a complete revolution.
So I continued to look around and sure enough I spotted more clocks that belonged to people I knew. But as I kept looking at the clocks, I couldn’t seem to find my brother’s clock. Finally I asked Peter were my brother’s clock was and he said, "Oh, you mean Rick? We took his down and moved it to the office. We use it as a fan."
Some may wonder what sin has to do with navigating the New Year, and I would say this, "Nothing will sink the ship of your life faster than unconfessed, unforsaken sin. Nothing will take you from the ‘thrill of victory’ and plunge you headlong into the ‘agony of defeat’ any faster than sin. Sin will take you from ‘hero’ to ‘zero’ in nothing flat." Just ask Joshua.