Summary: We have decided that we should not limit the glory of the Lord with our unbelief.
This morning I want to continue the emphasis on FAITH. You can find our Key Verse in your bulletin.Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."As a body of believers, we’ve recognized the need for us to begin to allow the Lord to "Increase our faith."The Lord has greater things planned for us to accomplish. God is due all of the glory and praise in everything we say and do.Every moment of our life is filled with meaning and purpose for the Lord.We have decided that we should not limit the glory of the Lord with our unbelief.The Word of God has countless stories of how great men and women and boys and girls have honored the Lord with their acts of faith.One such story is found in the Book of Numbers. It tells how Moses and the children of Israel had been promised the Land of Canaan. God told Moses to chose one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to go in and search out the Land of Canaan. Sidebar – There is no doubt that God wanted everyone to have a part in getting to the land He had promised. I would to God that were the case in all of the churches everywhere. All too often a small portion of God’s people have to do most of everything that God wants done.As it is today, and always has been, God’s people will never live and enjoy the things the Lord promises unless God’s people make the conscious decision to go in and possess the land. Text: Numbers 13:17 thru 20
We all should live life to it’s fullest.And, we always should be expecting to reach new heights for God.Example: Larry Walters always wanted to be a pilot but eyesight only allowed him to be a mechanic in the Air Force. After retirement, he got an idea one day. At the Army Surplus store he bought a tank of helium and forty-five weather balloons. He strapped the balloons to his lawn chair which he had staked to the ground. Larry expected to drift slowly up for a few minutes. When he cut the rope holding him to the ground his chair shot up rapidly, finally leveling off at eleven thousand feet. Eventually a Coast Guard helicopter got a line to him and towed him to the ground and safety. When asked why he did it he said, “A man can’t just sit around all his life.” Our text is taken from a time in Jewish history when the children of God were living in a place called Kadesh Barnea. God had given the children of Israel everything they needed, but now God was getting ready to call them out of their comfort zone, and into Canaan.I. THEY WERE FACED WITH A CHALLENGE God initiated this challenge in verses1 thru16. In these verses, it is plain to see that God’s people were being sent into “the land of Canaan which I am giving to the children of Israel”. We should make note that it was God Who prepared what they would find when they got there. God had already created the blessings (a land that flowed with milk and honey) , as well as, a few problems (giants in the land). Nevertheless, it is obvious that God was in total control of this important step of faith for His children. They needed to only be obedient with their faith.God’s People were sent to investigate this Challenge of Faith (verses 17-25).These representatives, chosen by the leader, Moses, were to investigate three things: 1. What kind of people were they facing? (v.18) 2. What kind of land were they entering? (v.19a) 3. What kind of strongholds did they face? (v.19b). God only asked for a report, not a commentary of what they found.It is apparent that God’s people were obedient at the beginning. God is always in control of the challenges He puts before us. Notice what God said in verse two, the land …I am giving. This is stated in the present tense even though Israel had not yet entered the Promised Land. The ways of God are so simple and yet missed so often. We are often called to do much for God but we sometimes forget that He has already prepared the way for us to do all of those things. All we have to do is to walk in obedience.Not only is God always in control, but God never glosses over the task He has called us to. The Lord sent the spies into the land first so they could see what they were getting into. In what Christ has called us to, Christ will never gloss over the challenges that face us if we chose to follow Him. In Luke 9, Jesus tells us this –·even though we will have “power and authority over all demons”, some people will reject our faith (vs. 1-6).·There will always be work to do in sharing the gospel (vs.10-17).·We will enjoy the benefits of being in the presence of the Lord (vs.27-36).·We will have to humble ourselves and become as children to follow Him (v.23, 46-48).·We will have to leave our comfort zones to follow Him (vv.57-62).Luke 9:5858 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."There are plenty of blessings in the Christian life when it comes to following Christ. But there are also a few challenges. Let us not forget this – Even the challenges (we face) are blessings when we bring them to Christ. As Christ leads us out of our COMFORT ZONE, we will find grace from God.Grace & strength to face the “milk and honey, and the giants in the land.” II. THERE WAS A COMPLICATIONThe Report Came Back (verses 26-29)The people had to be anxious because the spies were gone for forty days. Read verse 27 and 28.You know there are going to be complications when someone throws that little word “but” (NIV) into the conversation.The spies explained the complications they saw in obeying God and going into the Promised Land.1. There were giants in the land. 2. Those giants lived in fortified cities.3. Those giants were everywhere. We also face giants whenever we decide to do what God tells us to do. The problem is some of God’s people don’t ever want to go outside of their comfort zone. They see giants out there! All believers face giants of unbelief, ignorance and apathy. We see that there are -1. People in our lives who will not turn to God. They are not like us. 2. Problems much bigger than we had imagined. 3. Giants (out there) who are deeply entrenched and fortified. We face problems that just won’t go away. Everywhere we turn we run into more giants. We must accept that we can’t run away from the problems of this life. We all must face all of our problems and challenges with the strength of the Lord. How we respond to our giants is the real issue here. Most people respond the same way the Nation of Israel did (in our text). In fear, and not in FAITH. Often our attitude is, “We had rather be comfortable in failure than uncomfortable in victory” Read 14:1-3. When all other excuses fell short, the children of God found it easy to blame their leader.Read 14:4. Joshua and Caleb responded in a different way. They didn’t deny that there were fierce giants to face if they obeyed God. But these two men had their eyes on God rather than on the giants. They had to go in because it was God Who was sending them there. Surely God could be trusted to be faithful to His Word. That is the vision we all must have when faced with any of the challenges of this life. It is our vision of God that determines our response to the challenge.Philippians 4:13"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 2 Chronicles 20:17"You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD…! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you." We all are faced with the weakness of wanting to stay in our COMFORT ZONE.What is God calling you to that would take you out of your COMFORT ZONE? Living in our COMFORT ZONE - Why rock the boat? Life is pretty good. Joshua and Caleb knew that the only safe place in life was where God was taking them.Is this just another daring and challenging story from the Old Testament that happened thousands of years ago? Or, are we faced with the same challenge today?I would suggest that there is a Land of Canaan you are faced with, as well.Let me explain.There are good intentions in some of the old gospel tunes that have misled us. One of them is – “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”The problem with this thinking is that we won’t see “Canaan Land” until we die and go to heaven. This thinking is a “woe is me” way of living in our own “Kadesh Barnea”. That is, our own COMFORT ZONE.Vs. 20 has the answer for us - “Now was…the season of the first grapes.”Some Christians are no different than the Children of Israel in our text. They don’t want to experience the “land that is flowing with milk and honey” because they are told that there are also “giants in the land”. There are those who are enslaved by sin. They have bad habits, wrong desires, and flaws in their personality that they are not willing to give up.They hear how the Lord can deliver them and give them the promise of “Canaan Land”, but the risks are too great. They are too comfortable and set in their ways to want to experience what God has promised them."Now was (no…Now is)…the season of the first grapes."God has told them that the “Land of Canaan” is the land that He has “given them”. It is their land of liberty and promise, but they will have to make the decision to go in and possess that land. No matter the cost!My friend, you have been told this before. You have heard that the land is “flowing with milk and honey” and you have seen the fruit that others have been blessed with.There can be no denying that the “Land of Canaan” is where you belong and must go.Stop listening to the other skeptics, and scoffers, and doubters, and whiners, and complainers. We all must listen to what Caleb told the Nation of Israel that day:"Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it."You may say to yourself, “I have tried before and I have failed.” Then you must say to Jesus what the disciples did, “Increase our faith!”