Summary: We REMEMBER Calvary and don't RECOGNIZE ourselves or others after Christ comes into our lives and we become RECONCILED to God.
The 3 “R”’s of our Spiritual Life
Luke 15:1-3, and 11-32
In the passage in Joshua, why does God make it a point to specifically mention where the Israelites camped?
Gilgal is located in the same region where Abram first received the promise that the land would belong to his family and where he built his first altar unto the Lord.
They have come full circle now and God wants them to remember that He has fulfilled his promise.
The meaning of the word Gilgal is “rolled away.”
Our scripture passage this morning takes place right after Joshua had reinstituted the practice of circumcision.
For the 40 yrs while they had wandered in the desert they had not been obedient to this instruction and there was now a whole generation which did not know God’s commands.
So it is fitting that the name of this place means “rolled away” and symbolizes their obedience and God’s intention to roll their sins away based upon the shedding of His own blood.
Even today we sing, “At the cross at the cross where I
first saw the light, and the burden of my sin “rolled away.”
The children of Israel are in the land of promise.
A new place. No more wilderness wandering.
The reproach of the old life is rolled away.
It was a new beginning for them.
It is the same for us when our sins are rolled away.
Jesus through the cross has led us into our inheritance.
We can take possession of our “Promised Land.”
Notice that Israel celebrates the Passover for the first time in their new land. It was their thanksgiving celebration.
We read in verse 10 of today’s reading:
“So the children of Israel put up their tents in Gilgal; and they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, in the lowlands of Jericho. And on the day after the Passover, they had for their food the produce of the land.”
Passover celebrates the feast of redemption, when the firstborn died if there was no blood sprinkled on the doorposts.
I want you to see the parallel of our Christian experience.
It was after the Passover when they took possession of the first things from that land and they started to experience the blessings.
Passover is the reminder of what God did for us on the cross.
After the penalty for our sin was paid in full, we could experience the blessings of our inheritance in Christ.
V12 says, “The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land.”
The manna was a daily reminder that God was looking after all their needs; that it was God, their Father, who was always watching, caring, loving, forgiving, providing all their needs, etc.
It pointed again to the New Testament truth that, Jesus said that He is the bread that came from heaven. (John 6:31-35).
In Him all the promises of God are yea and amen.
We can cast our cares upon Him because He cares us.
So our first “R” stands for REMEMBER.
Remember the reproach of your sin has been rolled away and redemption has been provided.
Remember the promises of God and His provision and protection.
Remember He sprinkled His blood on the cross beam so that you would not die.
Now look at our passage from II Corinthians….
Listen to what Paul says in verse 16.
“So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now!”
Paul has learned a big lesson. He can’t evaluate others by their external appearance or their reputation.
He was guilty of thinking Christ was only the son of a carpenter, a mere man and a religious fanatic.
He made it his goal to kill Christians and try to stamp out this movement.
Then when Paul had his Damascus road conversion the tables were suddenly turned on him and folks didn’t believe he had become a Christian.
They suspected him of trying to infiltrate the ranks and find more Christians to kill.
How could he expect them to believe his goals had been so radically reversed and his heart changed?
He wasn’t even recognizable as the same man!
That is our problem when “public sinners” accept Christ.
We continue to think of them as bad people.
We resist bringing them into our fellowship.
The drug addict matters to God!
The Wall Street investment broker matters to God!
The prostitute matters to God!
The IRS agent matters to God!
The classroom teacher matters to God!
The homemaker matters to God!
Every person has worth and infinite value in the eyes of God and that is why He allowed Jesus to die for us!