Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sermon 9-9-07--Retreating from Victory

The audio of this sermon will have more. Some of this was practically outline.

Imagine if after discovering America in 1492, Christopher Columbus never told anyone about it and never wanted to go back. Would we even know his name? Would we even be here?

Imagine Ben Franklin never doing anything with his experiment with the kite and key, much less telling anyone about it?

Imagine the fighting forces of the Allies in WWII landing on the beaches of Normandy, sacrificing all they had to get a foothold on Europe, then deciding to pack it up and go home.

Imagine for a 16th Birthday a kid receives a brand new Ferrari and after driving it around the block, never getting over 10 miles an hour, he wants to give it back and keep the Yugo he’s had for the last few years.

Imagine you’re a contestant on the Let’s Make a Deal show. Just for showing up you’re given a prize worth $1,000.00. Then the host makes an unusual proposition. “We’re going to skip ahead to the big prize of the night—a $100,000.00 cash prize. It’s behind one of these four doors. Now, here’s the deal—I’m going to tell you which 3 doors the prize is not behind and all you have to do is choose the remaining door. So, do you want to keep your $1,000.00 or do you want to choose the guaranteed $100,000.00?

“I’ll keep the $1,000.00”

Can you imagine walking away from $100,000.00 because you thought $1000.00 was enough?

What in the world would be going on if all of that came to pass?

What kind of reasons would you have to do that?

· Chris Col—it was too hard to get there the first time

· Ben Franklin—I was too shocked by the experience

· WWII—we showed em what we can do—they’ll give up

· Kid with the Ferarri—it gets too bad of gas mileage

· You expect the IRS to take about 99,000.00 of it anyway so you’ll probably end up about even.
You don’t believe the host when he tells you about which doors to avoid
You think the 1000.00 is good enough or all you’ll ever need.
You miss your family and just want to get the show over with as soon as possible?

Over the course of Joshua’s leadership, they had come out of the desert, they had seen the Vision of Victory, they had Crossed Over into the Promised Land, been a part of the Rescue at Jericho, and seen numerous victories.

There is something about where God had brought them--this land—there is something about this territory that God had in mind for Abraham and his descendents. It was so important in the mind of God that He was willing to take a man and his family from southern Iraq north along the course of the Euphrates River into southern Turkey, south approaching the Mediterranean Sea and into the land of Canaan.

This was the land of God’s Promise—the Land of Blessing, the Land where they would fulfill their calling to be a Holy Nation—meant to be a light on the hill for the rest of the world.

And some of the Israelites had no intention of staying in it—they planned on crossing back over the Jordan River, essentially leaving the Promise behind.

To Sum Up—

Joshua 21:43-45

The Land was given to Possess and Settle

The were Given Rest on Every Side

Their Enemies were Defeated

All of the LORD’s Promises were Fulfilled

This is one of those moments that can be summed up by saying—“It doesn’t get any better than this.” After a situation like that—you’d think that everyone would want to stay a part of it.

But that is not what you see. READ 22:6-9

Joshua 22 Eastern Tribes Return Home

Faithfulness in help—they had done a good job—they had seen God do all of this—the blessing of God was before them, any hesitation or uncertainty had been disproved—and they were still going to walk away from it all and go back across the Jordan River. They were willing to walk away from God’s Best and settle for something less

It all stems from their own request while Moses was still alive.

Numbers 32:1-6, 16

They had some good reasons for wanting to stay over on the eastern side—good land for their crops, and their wives and children would be safer.

The Blessing and the Victory was ahead of them, but they were already making plans and excuses to show up late, essentially, show up late, and avoid the Challenge, avoid the

This land is good enough

This far, no farther

We’re satisfied with this

We haven’t been over there for 40 years what if it’s not good enough for our herds.

I know God promised that to us, but it didn’t work out last time, this is already done,

Moses’ Response is Telling, He was concerned about several things. Moses’ biggest fear was that this action, this behavior, was a statement of their trust of God and the effect that it may have on the others, after all, there’s more fighting to be done

You want benefits without the greater sacrifice

Vs. 7 Causing discouragement—just like the 10 spies

If you stop—more will want to stop and we’ll never faithfully follow God

Vs. 10, 14—Don’t make the same mistake they did in the past

Sign of not following the LORD wholeheartedly

Is this the same for you?

Refusing to go into the Promise

Vs. 15 All may suffer as before because of your unwillingness

Good reasons to stay

Good land for livestock

Keep women & Children Safe

But deep down—I believe Moses was right—they just weren’t sure that where they were going was going to be all it was cracked up to be—get what you can when you can.

But can’t we come up with all kinds of reasons why we settle for less than God’s Best?

It’s time to let younger people do it.

I’m pretty comfortable where I am

What can I learn from that?

We’ve never done it that way before.

If new people keep coming, then I won’t know everyone anymore.

We have been promised a life that is abundant and free. We have been promised a Comforter that will give us peace in the storms of life. We have been promised that Fear has been destroyed by the work of Christ. We have been promised that He will be with us wherever we go. We have been promised that in moments of need or persecution or evangelism, we will be given the words to say.

Reluctantly will go with them as a fighting force

We must be warned from Walking away from God’s Victory.

Joshua 22 Warning for Distance—distance creates a tendency to stray—vs. 5

Outside the promise

Miss the full benefits

Forget God’s Blessing and Faithfulness

Resent those in the Land and Second Guess own decision

Follow other gods

Paul Dealt with Going Back from God’s Best in the New Testament

Galatians 4:8-11—“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God--or rather are known by God--how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

They had been delivered into a saving knowledge of God based upon the finished work of Christ and not a Righteousness that they earn or have to work for. Yet they were tempted to go back to a life of legalism, when they were trying only to please God by ritual and not by faith, to go back to an uncertainty of—Have I been good enough?

And a life lived in trying to earn God’s favor is a life of torture—of walking away from the abundant life—of walking away from the throne of Grace that we can approach with confidence and replacing it with only fear.

It is my belief that God is leading us to cross over into Victory and part of that means awakening a heart for Him in the heart of Macomb. He is leading us to victory to better things

God Has Demonstrated Victory Behind Us—Just in the last few months He has brought us visitors whom we have welcomed into our fellowship. Just in the last few weeks we’ve had almost 50 women sign up and actually participate in various Bible studies and book clubs. We’ve got almost 10 men involved in coming to a study at 6:15 AM for the first time in at least several years. And just this past Wednesday, as we were praying about this week’s worship services—we hadn’t been able to find anyone to play or lead the music, and yet I knew that somehow, God would work it out. So in just about 10 minutes, in walked a college student no one had ever met before and this morning, he’s been serving God faithfully, despite being new. God has Demonstrated Victory Behind us.

God Has Promised Victory Before Us—part of the vision God has given me for our congregation is the reality of the walls that are surrounding us, the barriers to faith the exist here in Macomb in the hearts of our neighbors and friends. The apathy, the self-indulgence and entertainment, the comfortability that distracts people from focusing on the spiritual. And we have to be so careful that we don’t get comfortable with those walls—that we walk around the walls so much that we get used to seeing them there, then we begin to not care whether they come down or not. May it never be!

I believe part of the vision from God that He is calling us to is awakening a heart for Him in the heart of Macomb—that He will begin tearing down the walls that surround us and people will be rescued and freed. I believe it has already begun in us and around us—we must not walk away from that.

Let us Not Walk Away from His Promise and His Victory—let us not be satisfied with the Eastern side of the Jordan. Let us press on to the Victory and live in the Promise.

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