Summary: Just like Joshua, we are called to lead to a new chapter of completing the mission which God has for us.
Meeting the Challenge
Mission Impossible, but Accomplished!
* For 400 years, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, & Joseph lived in Egypt as slaves of the state. Oppression, expectation, and mistreatment, were the difficulty of that life. The Jewish people needed a deliverer and a messiah to lead them out of captivity and into the land God promised “Father Abraham.” Finally, Moses arrived on the scene, was the obvious choice to be this deliverer, and yet he made a mess out of his first attempt.
* After hiding from Pharaoh for 40 years Moses met God. Speaking from a burning bush, God told Moses to return to Egypt and rescue the Israelites from oppression & lead them into possession of the Promised Land. After making excuses, Moses answered God’s call. At first blush, it would seem highly unlikely that Moses would be able to free over a million slaves from Pharaoh, yet their freedom turned out to be the easy part of the job.
* About three weeks after leaving Egypt, they were in position to claim the land which God had promised Abraham. Leading this group of selfish people was not happening. For this reason, they spent 40 years wondering in the wilderness. At the end of Deuteronomy, we see Moses handing off the mantle of leadership to Joshua. He then died, & being buried by the hand of God. Yet, his death wasn’t the end of the journey, only the end of a chapter. As the book of Joshua opens we see the “Rest of the story.” (TEXT)
* How many remember this? (THEME SONG – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE) The plot of this show was in the name, “Mission Impossible?” Yet, Ethan Hunt and His team always got the job done. It was Mission Impossible but completed.
* Would it be fair to say that ‘Changing our Culture’ seems to rise to be level of being a “Mission Impossible?” If it’s not impossible, it would seem so. Perhaps the reason for this is that we walk in a world of spiritual darkness. Candidly, we do not have to look for darkness, for it finds us every day. We read the paper and there it is, we listen to the radio only to hear it, and we watch the TV and see it. We can walk down the street of our community and we’re confronted with the darkness & sin of this world. We can listen to our scanners & be reminded that the community we once was, we are not any longer.
* It is into just such a world as this that Christ sends His own. Unlike the movie and TV show “Mission Impossible”, this is not our mission should we choose to accept it, this becomes our mission when we accept Him. He says, “Go make disciples, as the Father sent me, and be witnesses.”
* When I consider the Children of Israel’s dilemma and our current cultural issues, without a doubt I know in my spirit, that for God’s people to succeed in our mission, we must be empowered by the Spirit & follow His word.
1. Requires a Death – Make no mistake, any death is difficult. Most of us here have said good-by to someone via the pain of death. Moses had been everything to the Children of Israel for over 40 years (talk about a long-term Pastor or staff person?!?!) While the word “Messiah” is apply given to our Lord Jesus, this word literally means, “expected deliverer.” Jesus was expected because His coming was foretold, but Moses was expected for the same reason. To the Children of Israel Moses delivered them from the hash hand of Pharaoh. He had been used by God to part the waters of the red sea, He had brought water from the rock, been their spokes person when they needed bread & meat, and He had even stood between them & God’s judgment. They had so much history with and dependence on Moses that it would have been easy to say, ‘We can’t go on without him.” However, Moses could never lead them into the land of promise. For them to Cross over Jordan, Moses had to die. To read Deuteronomy 34 is to get a clear understanding of the hurt throughout the Children of Israel at the death of Moses. Verse 8 begins by telling us they mourned for 30 days.
* Death hurts us so badly that we don’t discuss the subject. Yet dying is a part of the ‘process of life.’ (Briefly explain the process of grieving).
* In the words of Jesus (12:24) “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop.” Do you remember the Christian Prayer which is credited to St. Francis of Assisi? The last line says, “It is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.” Unless we die and are reborn, we will never possess eternal life. Unless Moses had died so that Joshua could lead, the Children of Israel would not have been able to possess Canaan. Now, let’s consider what must die among US, if one day we are to hear the words, “Mission Accomplished, Job Well Done.”