Summary: This sermon describes steps that we can take to establish our faith on shouting ground.
When Faith Is On Shouting Ground!
(Key verses 5,16,20)
Is your faith on shouting ground? We use the phrase shouting ground to refer to those times when our faith is healthy (as we perceive it). These are the times when everything is going well and we feel as if we are close to God. At times like this we see barriers crumbling before our eyes. These are also the times when we see prayer being answered and fruit being born.
Before getting to the text let me qualify this concept by dispelling two myths.
1. In order for your faith to be healthy it does not have to be filled with emotion. The very title of my message implies a lot of emotion and feeling.
Ill- One of my favorite college basketball coaches is the man known as Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski)at Duke. Coach K does not get real emotional when he coaches. He is usually cool, calm and collected. He is not emotional yet he is a great coach.
2. In order for your faith to be healthy it does not have to be free of trials.
Ill- If you will do a study of the great saints of the faith you will find that most of these individuals were people who faced trials.
For a text we will look at Joshua 6. Let’s get the context. God has brought Israel through forty years of wandering in the dessert. The Israelite people have crossed the Jordan River and entered the promised land. They are facing their first barrier after entering the land. They are standing at the gates of the city of Jericho. God gives them directions as to how they are to overcome Jericho. The climax of His directions involves a shout. God told them to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times. At the conclusion of the seventh trip on the seventh day they were to shout. That shout was the climax of a faith journey. From this we learn some valuable lessons that will build faith. We see the simple steps that brought them to a place where their faith would be on shouting grounds.
Let’s consider the steps they took to be on shouting ground. You and I must take these same steps in order for our faith to be on shouting ground.
I. Yield your will to God . In Joshua 5 we find Joshua on his face before the commander of the Lord’s army. He has given up all of his inhibitions. Joshua is willing to follow the Lord’s plans. The Lord’s commander instructed Joshua to remove his sandals. That was not a very dignified action for the leader of the Israelite armies. However, chapter 5 closes with the words “Joshua did so.” He yielded his will to God. Many times our personal lives and our church lives are hindered by our desire to be in control. We do not want to yield.
Ill-The word “meekness” underscores this principle. The Greek word for meekness literally means “strength under control.” Meekness describes a wild stallion who was tamed and taught to be ridden. That stallion still has all the strength it had when it was wild but now it is strength under control. (Contributed to Sermon Central by: Randy Aly)
What are some things we give up when we yield control to God?
We must give God control of our will. In Mt. 6:10 Jesus instructed us to pray “your kingdom come, your will be done.” Within every human there is a stubborn will. That will must be yielded to God.
Ill- When I was in my early twenties I tried to teach an uncle to water ski. That was an exercise in futility for me. If you were to define ego you could use my uncles’ name. He, like many men, is driven to be in control. When learning to water ski you must be willing to give up self effort and allow the boat to do the work. My uncle had trouble with this concept. He wanted to pull the rope and take control. In water skiing you must give up control and let the boat pull you.
We must give God control of the outcome. The other night my wife and I were talking to a friend and a vivid illustration came to mind. This friend is moving to Tampa to work for a new company. The company is providing a mover to move them to Tampa. This moving company does all the work. They do all of the packing. They do all of the moving. I told our friend this would drive me crazy. Our human nature wants to control outcomes.
II. Keep God at the center of your life . Observe this principle in Joshua 6. In verses 4-13 the ark of God is mentioned nine times (6:4,6,7,8,9,11,12,13). The ark represented the abiding presence of God. God instructed them to always keep the ark before them in their journeys. Thus, in a symbolic way they kept God at the forefront of their lives. They kept God at the center of their lives. If your faith is to be healthy God must always be at the center of your life.