Summary: Part 2 of a series about God moving Christians into a deeper experience of Himself
Possessing the Land - Part 2
Stop But Don’t Stay - Read: Joshua 4:19-24
Let’s recap two important principles from the book of Joshua:
a. Nothing happened until they put their feet into the river (3:15) (Faith starts it all!)
* Leadership is not a title, it’s a characteristic, a lifestyle, and leadership always goes first, not by constraint, i.e. because they are forced, but because that’s God call and will. This is the foundation principle for this or any other church.
b. They’d never been that way before (3:4) (neither have we)
* The children of Israel crossed the Jordan in full view of the enemy stronghold of Jericho (3:16). After they had crossed and were camped at Gilgal, Israel did six things before taking possession of the Promised Land:
1. Their faith put fear in the hearts of the Enemy (2:2-11; 5:1)
2. They stopped but they didn’t stay (4:19-24)
3. They renewed their commitment to the covenant with God (5:2-9)
4. They remembered their roots (5:10)
5. They destroyed the manna mentality (5:12)
6. They worshipped the Lord
They did all these six things, before they fought one battle, before they attacked one city stronghold. All these things were done in full view of the enemy (3:16). These are principles that we need to follow prophetically, in order to let the Lord build His church. And what’s the hallmark of such a group of people? It’s submission to His authority.
Remember, we said that the reason why the devil’s stronghold on your life seems to be getting tighter is because it’s only a matter of time before it falls. The strongholds in your life (read 2 Cor 10:4, note God has given this power to us): finances, personal life, emotions, mind, family, unsaved friends etc.
That stronghold that’s been getting tighter and tighter as you move in more and more faith is good news, because the day is coming very, very soon when the walls of your Jericho are going to fall, and your stronghold is going to be pulled down, in the mighty name of Jesus.
2. They Stopped But They Didn’t Stay
Three things are important for us to consider: (i) re-appraise the meaning of ’the crossing’; (ii) consider ’stopping’ against ’staying’; (iii) the setting up of a memorial.
a. The crossing
The crossing was exciting; the miracle was absolutely astounding. Israel could have crossed over and been content with being just in the Promised Land.
After any success, you’re tempted to say "That’s it, we’ve done so well; God has done all He can." But, the good stops you from reaching the best!
There is always a need to pause, to reflect on:
* What the Lord God has done
* Our growth in faith and ministry - not out of pride, but so we can learn and help each other from our experiences.
We can stop, but we are never to stay. We will never ’arrive’ as Christians. Our life is a constant direction forwards, moving ever nearer to the Lord Jesus:
Heb 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out [by the Lord Jesus] for us."
b. Stopping versus staying
Before we move onto the memorial itself, let’s take time to see why it is right to stop, but wrong to stay.
(At this point, review the account of Terah, in the Appendix)
1) The effect of staying
Please understand that staying:
(i). keeps you in the same place, spiritually
(ii). creates the conditions for a religious spirit, then ’activity’ ends up becoming the wrong measure of ’spirituality’
(iii). stops revival dead ... look at the great revivals in Wales in 1904, England in 1896; the Pentecostal movements as they entered the mid 1900s; none of these lasted even a single decade.
All these revivals turned religious, and made format more important than content and Gifting. For example, look at how the Pentecostal churches selected their leadership. During the great revivals, men lead through their Holy Ghost giftings (e.g. Smith Wigglesworth - uneducated ... c.f. John and the other Apostles in Acts 4:13).
Now, our young, inexperienced (in life) men and women go straight to Bible College with little experience of life and then, usually, go as pastors to other churches. What happened to local churches birthing local leadership with a local vision.
Colleges should serve the local church, helping and training these church-recognised leaders according to the needs of the local church, thus enabling them to function more effectively in their local church environment.
Please note: In the early church it was always the local fellowship (local church) that defined its leaders, not a certificate from a college or university.