Summary: Introduction Now, take your Bibles and turn to Joshua.
Now, take your Bibles and turn to Joshua. How did you know that? All right, chapter 17—Joshua chapter 17. We’re on a journey with Joshua, conquering Canaan, and Canaan pictures to us the fullness of the believer’s life, the victory that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Old Testament is God’s book of illustrations of New Testament truths and New Testament victory. The Bible says, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
And, we begin reading now in Joshua 17, verse 12: “Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, but did not utterly drive them out. And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee. And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel. And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only: but the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong” (Joshua 17:12–18).
Now, there are three persons who are sitting in your seat this morning. You say, “I wondered why it was so crowded.” There are three persons sitting in your seat this morning. First of all, there is the person you are at this moment, and then there is the person that you could be for evil. Now, no one, perhaps, realizes just how wicked he could be if he took his eyes off the Lord Jesus. Did you know that there is no sin of the flesh that you’re not capable of committing if you take your eyes off Jesus, even though you’re a Christian? Did you know that? You’d better learn that about you. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9); and, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6), even though you’ve been born again. And, even though you have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in you, if you cease to abide in Him, and you take your eyes off the Lord Jesus Christ, you would be amazed at the potentiality for evil that there is lurking within your heart.
I remember reading in the Bible, in the Old Testament, about a man it was prophesied of him that he would commit all kinds of atrocities—horrible things. And, that man said, “Am I a dog that I would do such a thing?” (2 Kings 8:13). And then, he did it—and then, he did it. There is that person who is capable of much evil who is sitting right in your seat.
And then also, many of us have not begun to imagine how that person who is sitting in our seats could be used for good. Oh, dear friend, the person you could be for God, the person you could be for righteousness, the love that you could show, the faith that you could manifest, the work that you could do, the things that you could achieve for Jesus Christ, you have little dreamt what you could be for God.
There are three persons sitting in your seat this morning. I want to talk about that third person, the person you could be. I want us to think today about “Maximum Living”—“Maximum Living.” And, that’s what we’ll call our message, reaching your potential, living to the capacity, as God wants us to live. So many of us are not maximum Christians, so many of us are not all we could be, all we ought to be, oh, bless God, all we will be, God grant it.
All right, these people of Manasseh are an illustration for us today of some who failed to reach their potential. There are some who fail to maximize their lives, and I want us to see why they failed, and learn a lesson.