Summary: Sin does not necessarily destroy our hopes of a victorious life nor does it disqualify us from receiving the best that God has for us..
NAVIGATING THE NEW YEAR
Getting Back on Course
Three weeks ago, when I started this series on "Navigating the New Year", my purpose was to try and encourage you to get everything out of the year 2001 that the Lord had for you. My desire was not to preach a series of fluffy, feel good, fruitless messages, but to preach some sermons that would help you see, not only the possibility of victory, but also the responsibility of victory.
In these past three weeks I’ve tried to put before you the reality of the Christian life. In the first message we discovered the reality of Preparation. If we’re going to enjoy God’s best during the 365 days of this new year, 27 of which are already behind us, we must Put Away the Curse (forget about past failures), Prepare for Change (learn to deal with the changes God brings our way), Present ourselves before the Lord (that is, we must submit ourselves to His will).
We learned in the second message that the moment we decide we want to go all out for God, we are going to be confronted with some obstacles to overcome and without a victorious faith we are destined for defeat.
Last week our eyes were opened to the destructiveness of sin. The instructions given by God was to abstain f rom the accursed thing. However, an Israelite by the name of Achan, ignored the instructions and brought not only upon himself, but upon his family and his fellow Israelites the chastisement of God. That chastisement came in the form of what amounted to be one of the most humiliating military defeats the Jews ever suffered. Instead of returning victorious in battle, the men of the Israeli army turned tail and ran and returned home with 36 less men than they started with and a less than favorable report for General Joshua.
What we learned last week about sin was that it Diminishes our Confidence in God, it Disrupts our Communion with God, and it Damages the Cause of God. HOWEVER, I want you to know that there is still hope.
The God of heaven is known as the "God of the Second Chance." Therefore, if we are willing to Identify ourselves (that is, if we are willing to present ourselves before the Lord as the sinners we are), Sanctify ourselves (that is, remove ourselves from sin and sin from ourselves), and Fortify ourselves (that is, keep ourselves from or guard ourselves against sin), we can be victorious again.
F. W. Robertson, who taught for several years at Wake Forest University, once made this statement. He said, "Life, like war, is a series of mistakes and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps...but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes, he said. Organize victories out of mistakes."
Henry Ford defined a mistake as "an opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
Now then, I don’t want to run the risk of minimizing sin by calling it a "mistake." Sin is more than a mistake, it is a very grievous act against God that carries with it some very severe penalties if not confessed and forsaken.
But at the same time, sin does not have to spell the end. Sin does not necessarily destroy our hopes of a victorious life nor does it disqualify us from receiving the best that God has for us as we will see in today’s message which I have titled "Getting Back on Course."
At the end of Joshua 7, we read how that Achan’s sin was discovered, Achan himself was destroyed, and God’s "fierceness" was diminished. And in chapter 8, Joshua is given the opportunity to begin again.
Follow with me as I begin to read in verse one.
Read Joshua 8:1-2
Verses 3-29 set forth the Instructions for Victory and the Destruction of the Enemy. We will discuss both of these points in detail in a moment, but for now, I want us to consider the Lord Word’s which were Encouraging.
I. WORDS WHICH WERE ENCOURAGING
How sweet it must have been to Joshua’s ears to once again here the words of the Lord as He said, "fear not, neither be thou dismayed." In essence what the Lord was saying was, "Joshua...
A. Don’t be Defeated by the past
1. How easy it is for us to be defeated by our past.
2. When you and I look back at our past failures and the humiliating defeats we have suffered along the way, how can we help but wonder "Is there any hope? Is there any use in beginning again? Is there any way possible to get back even a portion of what I’ve lost because sin?" And in answer to our wondering, the Lord says "YES!" Jesus says, "Fear not!"