Summary: Following Jesus is more than getting him to cheer for our "team." It is making sure our "team" is on his side.
In April, 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was also a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with several other skydivers and filmed the group as they individually dove out of the plane and opened their parachutes. As the video was being shown of each member of the crew jumping out and then pulling their rip cord so that their parachute opened to the wind, the final skydiver opened his chute and then the picture went berserk.
The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without a parachute. It wasn’t until he reached for the ripcord that he realized he was free falling without a parachute. Up until then, he was enjoying himself and was absorbed in what he was doing. But tragically, he was unprepared for the jump.
It did not matter how many times he had done it before or what skill he had. By forgetting the parachute he made a foolish and deadly mistake. Nothing could save him, because his faith was in a parachute, which he had never taken the trouble to buckle on. No one can wear a parachute for you and you expect to be all right. There is another thing that no one can do for us, no one can make the preparations that we need for the return of the bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
2. The Hebrews were approaching the coming fight in Jericho – preparations had to be made (Joshua 5-6)
a. Partnership with God
. . . we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 1 Thessalonians 3.2
b. Danger of extremes
3. How to be victorious – Joshua 5.13-15
13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
I. Remember the Commander
A. The Lord is in Charge and Wins –
A man told of being in the Washington, D. C. area on business at the Pentagon. He had gotten caught in an endless traffic loop that kept taking him over the Potomac River. Spotting a jogger along the road, he called out, "Which side is the Pentagon on?" Keeping his pace, the jogger answered, "I think they’re on our side."
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8.31-32
B. Joshua is “Second in Command” and Following THE Leader
Back during the Civil War, President Lincoln spoke with a man who expressed the hope that God was on the side of the north in the war. Lincoln replied: “…we know that the Lord is always on the side of right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and the nation should choose to be on the Lord’s side.”