Summary: Sermon I preached on the First Sunday in our new building.
“Greater things are yet to come!”
Joshua 1:1-9; 3:5
Hallelujah, we are here! After two years of planning and working, we are in our new building! This is a time of mixed emotions. Many of you are thrilled, and others may be feeling a little sad because we are leaving a sanctuary which holds so many great memories.
We have built a bigger room, so more people can come and worship and learn about the same Jesus we know and love. Our job is just beginning. I can assure you, just because we are in this new building, we aren’t finished! This is not the end, it’s just the beginning.
It’s going to take several weeks for us to feel “at home” in this room. Like everything new in life, there will be an adjustment period. Right now, I feel like I’m the guest preacher at some church in another city, except I see all my friends in the congregation. Let’s give it time to become our new worship home. And don’t be surprised or upset if you hear someone say, “I miss the old building.” That’s human nature. Frankly, I would feel much more comfortable right now standing over there where I have preached for the past 6 years. It’s going to take me a little while to get used to this pulpit, too. I’ve preached more years in our old building and in that pulpit than any other church I’ve ever served. I’m ready to start making some new memories! For our church, it’s more than just a new building, it’s a new challenge.
On the first Sunday most congregations move into a new building, the pastor usually recognizes all those who have had a part in making a new facility possible. And we will be doing that at the end of the service. But on this first Sunday, I want to recognize and honor only one individual: God the Father because without Him this day wouldn’t be possible.
This morning, we are going to look at a group of people that faced a new challenge just like we are as Crossroads Baptist Church. In the Old Testament book of Joshua, we discover a group of people who survived forty years of desert wandering. They were standing on the border of the Promise Land. They were getting ready to move into a new land and a new adventure. Crossroads is at a similar place, because 2 years after planning and 14 months of building it is finally time to move into our new building. We’ve made it and there is no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be a new but great adventure. (Joshua 1:1-9) Today, I want us to learn three things from this group. First, consider:
I. THE MISTAKE WE MUST AVOID
Let’s put this event in its proper historical context. If you’ve read the book of Exodus, you know the story. For 400 years, the Jews were slaves in Egypt. Moses was called by God to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. After the deadly Passover experience, Pharaoh allowed the Jews to leave and then he chased them into the desert. The Red Sea parted and the Israelites passed through safely to the other side. When Pharaoh followed, the sea crashed down on them and the enemies of Israel were destroyed. But that’s only half the story, because Moses’ job was not only to lead them out of bondage, but to also lead them into the Promised Land. Everything was going great–until they came to a place called Kadesh Barnea. Here’s the problem described in Deuteronomy 1:2-3.
Kadesh Barnea was the staging area to enter into the Promise Land. It should have only taken 11 days from Mt. Horeb to enter the Promise Land, but did you notice it said, “In the fortieth year?” What happened? You can read about it in Numbers 33. Now, I suspect the Jews were really Baptists, because the first thing they did was to elect a committee to scout out the Promised Land. This twelve-member Committee was the first CSI, Canaan Scene Investigators. They slipped into Canaan and got their evidence and then slipped out of Canaan without being noticed.
When they returned, ten committee members said, “Yes, it’s a lush land, but we can’t do it–too many obstacles. It’s going to cost us too much!” Only two of the committee members, Joshua and Caleb said, “Yes, there are obstacles but God can overcome all the obstacles–Let’s go!” So, like any good Baptist church they held a vote. Moses said, “All in favor of going in now say ‘Aye.’” Only Joshua and Caleb responded, “Aye!” Then Moses said, “All opposed to going in say, ‘Nay.’” Hundreds of thousands of voices answer back “NAY!!!!”
Sadly, the only voice that really mattered was not considered. Do you know what God said when these people gave in to fear? In Deuteronomy 1:34: When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore, “Not a man of this evil generation will see the good land I swore to give to your forefathers, except Caleb ... your assistant Joshua, son of Nun will enter it. And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. But as for you, turn around and set toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”