Summary: The 7th in a series of messages from the book of Joshua dealing with living a victorious Christian life.
Sermon by: Dr. Todd Morris
Text: Joshua 8:1-35 (read 1-2)
Title: How To Ambush Your Ai
Date: February 1, 2004
Introduction: Chapter 8 of Joshua finds Israel facing the same city that it faced in chapter 7, the little city of Ai. The first time Israel went to battle with Ai, they lost, and 36 of them were killed. There are many reasons for their loss, but the primary one, we discussed in the last message, they were defeated because there was sin in their midst that had not been dealt with. That sin caused their defeat, but now they are back and it is time for Ai to be faced once again.
Before we move forward through these verses this morning I want to tell you that Ai, in the Bible is a typology of the flesh. The word “Ai” means, “a heap of ruins.” That is a good way to describe the flesh in which we live. The first mention of this city is found in Genesis, when we are told that Abraham pitched his tent, “between Bethel and Hai.” The name Bethel means, “House of God.” Isn’t it interesting that many church members have pitched their tents between the house of God and a heap of ruins? Do you see the connection? You can either live in a place of victory and blessing, or you can live in a place of misery and defeat. You can either have a Bethel kind of life or an Ai kind of life. The choice is up to you.
Just like Israel, we often lose battles with our Ai (the flesh), but through the Lord Jesus Christ we can learn how to ambush our Ai and walk away with the victory in our lives. I don’t know the battles you are fighting with the flesh, but I do know that you can win the victory, and these verses tell us how. Lets look together and learn how to ambush your Ai.
I THE VICTORY PROMISED (1-2)
A. A Word About Winning (1) – God gives Joshua the assurance of winning.
B. A Word About Waiting (2) – This time God says they can have all the spoils, if Achan had just waited on God he could have had far more than he took in disobedience.
II THE VICTORY PURSUED (3-26)
A. They Had God’s Plan (3-17) – God told them exactly how they were to mount the attack.
B. God Has A Plan For Our Victory
1. The Word of God – I Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.”
2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2. Prayer - Luke 18:1 – “And he spake a parable unto them saying that men ought always to pray and not faint.”
3. Church Attendance – Hebrews 10:25 – “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is…”
4. The Fellowship of the saints – 1 Corinthians 12:27 – “Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
None of these things will give us victory in and of themselves, but we need each to strengthen us and help us grow in the Lord. If we neglect any of these areas we will suffer spiritually, and be more prone to follow the flesh.
C. They Had God’s Power (18-23)
1. Israel fought the battle, but God gave the victory!
D. They Had God’s Performance (24-26)
1. Israel trusted the Lord and absolutely prevailed over the enemy. GOD DID WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO!
II THE VICTORY PRESERVED (27-35)
A. Victory is Preserved by Death (27-29)
1. We must die daily to self. Galatians tells us that we are crucified with Christ. Baptism is a picture of the death burial and resurrection of Christ, and our doing the same thing spiritually. Have you ever noticed that when I baptize someone I say as I prepare to take them under the water, “Crucified with Christ, Buried with Christ, and Risen to walk in newness of life in Christ?” Dead men and women don’t commit:
b. Moral purity
Notice they killed everyone! You can’t keep any sins of the flesh hanging around, or you’ll soon find yourself ambushed by them. That’s why we teach you not to listen to secular music, or go to ungodly places or watch unwholesome programs on TV, or put yourself in a place to be tempted.
It all boils down to whether or not you want to please the Lord by the way you live your life!
B. Victory is Preserved by Devotion (30-35)
Conclusion: Who would be honest with the Lord this morning and say, “this message has been for me. I have a terrible battle with the flesh that I need to overcome this morning.” Friend, if that describes you, then there is help in the Lord if you will come to Him today. If you’ve lost the battle and the flesh has whipped you again and again, there is help and forgiveness for you today. Some of you deal with lust, some with anger, some with bitterness, some with materialism, some with some other besetting sin. Some of you know that you’re messing around in dangerous territory this morning. Some of you young people are playing around with sins that will eventually ruin your lives. Some of you parents are looking the other way while the flesh and the devil ambush your children. Some of you adults are so caught up in the world that Christ can’t speak to you, because you have filled your spiritual ears with the world’s garbage. Some of you may be church leaders. May I be honest, if you’re unwilling to clean up and get your spiritual house in order and stop living in the world’s trash heap you ought to have the decency to resign any office you hold in God’s church. Now let me hasten to say, that if you are willing to repent and die to self then you ought do that today and from this day forward give God your all, God is a God of second chances.