Summary: As long as the church follows God’s leading it will be successful.

Moving Forward

Text: Joshua 3:1-17


1. Illustration: QUESTION: What do an airplane, bicycle and a church have in common?

ANSWER: If either stops moving forward, you’re in trouble!

2. Anyone that has driven up a snowy or icy hill knows that you are all right as long as you keep moving forward, but once you stop you are in trouble.

3. Likewise, the church must keep moving forward. It does so by:

a. Following the Lord

b. Following in Faith

c. Following in Obedience

d. Expecting the Miraculous

4. Read Joshua 3:1-17

Proposition: As long as the church follows the God’s leading it will be successful.

Transition: The first thing we must do is...

I. Follow the Lord (1-4)

A. The Ark of the Covenant

1. From the very first verse of this chapter, we see the heart of Joshua.

a. Joshua had a heart that was passionate in following the Lord.

b. When God told Joshua to move he did.

2. Verse one tells us "Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over."

a. This verse shows that Joshua acted immediately upon the return of the spies.

b. When God opened the opportunity, Joshua acted (Butler, Word Biblical Commentary: Joshua, 44).

c. Some people, when God tells them to do something, respond by saying "Well...I guess I’ll have to pray about it."

d. If God has spoken to your heart the praying has already been done.

e. When God tells you to move, you don’t ask questions, you just do it.

3. Another thing that we should notice about verse one is the phrase "crossing over."

a. Some variation of the word appears 4 times in this chapter.

b. In this case it is a reference to the Israelites making the crossing possible (Butler, 44).

c. In order for God to get them across the Jordan they had to go to the edge of the river.

d. If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat!

4. However, we see something even more important in verse 3, where it says: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it."

a. The ark was precious to the Israelites for two reasons. First because it contained the two tables of the law —International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

b. More importantly, it represented to them the presence of Yahweh Himself.

c. In essence, following the ark was the same as following God.

d. How many would agree that it is easier to move if you know God is leading the way?

5. This is indicated in the next verse, where it says "Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before."

a. We are not always sure which way to go, but with God leading the way we can move with confidence.

b. Because we know that God has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

B. Following God

1. Illustration: The Australian coat of arms pictures two creatures--the emu, a flightless bird, and the kangaroo. The animals were chosen because they share a characteristic that appealed to the Australian citizens. Both the emu and kangaroo can move only forward, not back. The emu’s three-toed foot causes it to fall if it tries to go backwards, and the kangaroo is prevented from moving in reverse by its large tail.

Those who truly choose to follow Jesus become like the emu and kangaroo, moving only forward, never back.

2. When God tells us to move we have a choice.

a. We can move forward and be blessed, or

b. We can stay where we are and become stagnant.

3. Our response when God tells us to move ought to be:

a. Yes, Lord

b. Lead the way Lord

c. Where ever you lead I will follow

4. We must follow:

a. Without hesitation

b. Without reservation

c. Without question

5. If He tells us to:

a. Move we must go

b. Jump we must ask how high?

c. Run we must ask how far?

Transition: We can do this if we...

II. Follow In Faith (5-8)

A. Go and Stand in the River

1. Before the people could move forward with God they had to "consecrate" themselves.

a. The people were to be holy because God is holy, the ark was holy, and the event itself was holy. - Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM

b. If we are going to move forward with God we must be as He is - holy.

c. 1 Pet. 1:16 "Be holy, because I am holy."

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