Summary: The world wants us to think positive. This leads to separation from God and others. God wants us to think positionally. We are seated in Christ Jesus according to His finished work. Joshua and his generals were positive they could take AI. However, t
Intro: An interesting way to begin this morning is to talk about Ai and its meaning. I believe last week I informed you that Ai means heap of stones or heaping ruin. It was first mentioned in Genesis 12.8 and 13.3 in regard to the place that Abraham chose to pitch his tent. We are told that Abraham pitched his tent between Bethel and Hai. Positive thinking will lead us to pitch our tent between the house of God and a heaping ruin. Chapter 7 gives us the example of Positive thinking. Joshua and his leaders did not ask God for His plan they were positive that only a few of the men of war were needed. Their positive thinking led to defeat.
I. The clear instruction of the Lord
A) Go back to the place of defeat (Joshua 8.1 “take the whole military force and attack AI)
Why does God want to send us back to the place of defeat? What does he want us to learn?
1) Defeat is inevitable if we face battles (struggles, sin) in the flesh.
Defeat is walking in the flesh. Victory is walking in the Spirit.
Galatians 5.16 “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.”
If you are born again or born from above you are given the gift and sealing of the Holy Spirit. A new heart or a new direction of desire is created in us. John Piper “The Holy Spirit establishes himself as the new ruling principle of our lives.”
: How do we practically live and positionally thinking. Romans 7:18 “I know that in me, that is my flesh, dwells no good thing.” Remember the flesh is the old nature that does not enjoy the things of God but prefers to get satisfaction from independence, power, recognition, and worldly pleasures. So we walk by the Spirit when the desires of the Spirit are stronger than the desires of the flesh.
1) Acknowledge that you need the power of the Holy Spirit to walk
2) Ask the Holy Spirit (put on the whole Armor of God)
3) Accept – trust Romans 6:14 that sin no longer rules you trust what He says
4) Act – Do what you know to be right (according to God’s will and word)
4) Appreciate – Give thanks to God for His enablement through the Spirit to walk by the Spirit.
2) Defeat is never failure
Defeat only becomes failure when we don’t 1) learn from it and 2) repent of it
Alexander Whyte, “The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.”
We should learn from the failure or break in fellowship with Jesus and not make the same mistake twice. But be thankful that God is gracious to allow us to continue to repeat the lesson until we learn from the mistake.
Make sure when God reveals to you the sin you confess and repent of it. Sin chokes our fellowship with God and each other.
B) Go forward without fear
So how do we go forward with positional thinking?
1) Because God has given His promise (Joshua 8.1,7) I have given you
2) Because God has given His person (Joshua 8.1) “I have”
God did not save you to send you to heaven only. He saved you to transform you!
II. The clean worship of the nation
The key to success as in our social, national, international, financial, relational, emotional, mental, etc problems is spiritual.
President Woodrow Wilson, in his last speech as president said this, "the sum of the whole matter is this: our civilization cannot survive materially unless it is redeemed spiritually."
God didn’t just aim to deliver the nation of Israel He wanted them to be different.
A) A distinct people (altar of stones without human hand work on them)
1) Outward -- Difference between uncut altar and ornate altars of Canaanites.
2) Inward (2 Corinthians 3:3)
B) A dependant people (Mercy or misery)
1) Joshua’s outstretched hand (8.18,26)
In Joshua’s outstretched spear or sword and arm we see obedience to the clear instruction of God. This pose would have left Joshua open to a variety of attacks. Not only is obedience involved but trust.
2) Joshua’s uncut altar
Mt Ebal – The mount of cursing where the altar was – Picture of Christ
According to Galatians 3:10-14 Only a blood sacrifice can save sinners from the curse of the law. The sacrifice is made on an uncut altar. It is all of God’s grace that forgives you and all of His mercy that keeps you.
Mt Gerazim – The mount of blessing
Conclusion: Because Jesus became a curse for us we do not live under the curse of the law. We are neither saved nor sanctified by Keeping the law. However, as we walk in the Spirit we fulfill the righteousness of the Law and experience the Spirits power to change our lives.