HOW ARE WE TO MOVE FORWARD IN 2015?

moving forwardREAD JOSHUA 1:1-9

After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:

“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

ON THE VERGE OF SOMETHING LONG IN THE MAKING.

–GRADUATION FROM SWBTS—CRAZY RULES—READY TO GRADUATE

MAYBE 2014 WAS LIKE THAT FOR YOU—DO ANYTHING TO GET IT OVER.

ISRAELITES HAD BEEN IN THE DESERT 38 YEARS. 

FROM THIS PASSAGE, HOW ARE WE TO MOVE FORWARD IN 2013?

  1. TREASURE THE PAST BUT DON’T STAY THERE

V2—“MOSES MY SERVANT IS DEAD, NOW THEREFORE ARISE . . .CROSS THIS JORDAN.”

DEUT 34:10-12—NO ONE LIKE MOSES—GREATEST LEADER—A LOT OF GREAT THINGS HAPPENED FOR THE ISRAELITES IN THEIR ESCAPE FROM EGYPT & IN THE DESERT.

MOSES RETURNING FROM THE WILDERNESS HIMSELF AND CONFRONTING PHARAOH, PLAGUES IN EGYPT, CROSSING THE RED SEA & THE DEATH OF THE EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS, TEN COMMANDMENTS, MANNA FROM HEAVEN, FIRE BY NIGHT—CLOUD BY DAY, QUAIL MEAT, VICTORY IN BATTLE, WATER FROM ROCKS THAT MOSES STRUCK & MUCH MORE.  WHAT A LIST THAT MAKES—WHAT A BRAGGING SHEET THEY WOULD HAVE.  CAN YOU IMAGINE THEIR ASSOCIATIONAL REPORT?!

A LOT OF GREAT THINGS DONE THERE BUT LOOK HOW FOCUSED GOD IS ON WHAT HE HAS FOR JOSHUA TO DO IN THE HERE AND NOW.  LOOK HOW QUICKLY GOD IS FOCUSED ON HIS MISSION.

BATTER—NOSTALGIA VS. REMEMBER

GOD IS A MISSIONAL GOD—GOD’S MISSION WAS NOT TO CONTINUE TO RELIVE PAST GLORIES BUT FOR THEM TO CROSS THE JORDAN RIVER.  GOD IS A GOD FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE.

SADLY, TOO OFTEN TIMES WE IN OUR CHURCHES LIVE IN THE PAST.  WE LONG TO GO BACK IN TIME, TO RELIVE OLD GLORIES, AND THAT CAUSES US TO REMAIN IN PLACE AND CREATE A DEPRESSION ABOUT THE FUTURE.

A LOT WE CAN TREASURE ABOUT THE PAST BUT AS LONG AS WE HAVE BREATH IN OUR LUNGS LIKE CALEB, WE NEED TO LOOK AHEAD TO WHAT GOD HAS FOR US.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A RETIRED CHRISTIAN OR A “I ONCE WAS” CHRISTIAN.  WE MUST SEIZE WHAT GOD HAS FOR US TO DO IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE.

Europe’s biggest-ever lottery, Super Enalotto, stood at 66 million euros. Without a winner, the jackpot rolled over for six months. The amount was too much for an Italian man living on his old-age pension to resist. Hoping he would be the long-shot winner, he purchased a ticket outside of Milan.

On the day the winning lottery ticket was revealed, the man was preoccupied with the details of his daughter’s wedding. In the midst of the wedding chaos, the father of the bride forgot to redeem his lottery ticket. According to Italian news agencies, by the time he realized he had guessed the correct six-figure number, the deadline for claiming the jackpot of a lifetime had passed.

He had forfeited a prize never to be repeated. What was in his grasp and reserved for him, passed him by. Feeling faint, the man, who wished to remain anonymous, was hospitalized.

Citation: Reuters News Service (8-19-03); submitted by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois

OUR CHURCH HAS ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IN 2012—BUT BECAUSE GOD IS A FORWARD LOOKING GOD, WE MUST LOOK AHEAD TO SEE WHAT GREAT THINGS GOD HAS FOR US IN 2013

IF THE ISRAELITES HAD REMAINED LIVING IN THE PAST, THEY WOULD HAVE MISSED . . .

A)    INCREDIBLE NEW LEADERSHIP

TOO OFTEN WE FOCUS ON HOW GREAT PAST LEADERS WERE AND

WE ARE MISSING THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP GREAT LEADERS

WHO ARE ALIVE IN OUR MIDST.

YOUNG MEN THAT NEED TO BE MENTORED TO CARRY

THE MANTLE OF OUR OLDER MEN.  OLDER MEN—THE YOUNGER

MEN WON’T BE READY TO BE LEADERS UNLESS YOU TRAIN THEM.

2 TIM 2:2– 2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

MAYBE THERE ARE SOME WONDERFUL LADIES IN OUR

CONGREGATION TODAY THAT NEED TO BE MENTORED AND

DEVELOPED INTO OUTSTANDING LEADERS.

TITUS 2:3-5  3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

B)    A NEW “DRYLAND” CROSSING

V6—YOU SHALL GIVE THIS PEOPLE . . .

TOO OFTEN WE FOCUS ON GREAT FEATS OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN THE PAST AND YOUNGER GENERATIONS MISS OUT ON SEEING GOD DO A NEW WORK IN THEIR MIDST.

JUDGES 2:7-10– 7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.

WE OWE IT TO THE LATER GENERATIONS TO BE OBEDIENT SO THEY TOO CAN EXPERIENCE GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN THEIR LIFE.

C)    ACHIEVING THE GREAT GOAL OF PAST GENERATIONS

LIKE THE ISRAELITES IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THE PROMISED LAND, TOO OFTEN WE ARE ON THE THRESHOLD OF GOD’S GREAT GOAL FOR US AND WE ARE LOOKING BACKWARD & NOT FORWARD.

HOW OFTEN HAVE WE MISSED GREATNESS BECAUSE WE THINK THE PAST WAS AS GOOD AS IT IS GOING TO GET?

WE MUST OBEDIENTLY FOLLOWED GOD’S LEADERSHIP IN FAITH.

  1. CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES

THERE MAY BE THINGS IN YOUR LIFE THAT SEEM IMPOSSIBLE TO YOU.  IN THIS PASSAGE, THE TASK IS OVERWHELMING.

OLDER GENERATION—DID NOT TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD—DISOBEYED AND WERE AFRAID OF THE PROMISED LAND.  HAD TO WONDER IN THE DESERT UNTIL THEY DIED 38 YEARS.

AGAIN, GOD OFFERS THIS NEW GENERATION A CHANCE TO TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD.

V2 GOD BEGINS WITH TELLING JOSHUA TO CROSS THE JORDAN RIVER.  CROSSING THE JORDAN WAS NO SMALL FEAT—A VERY DEEPRIVER.  THE JORDAN RIVER RUNS THROUGH A DEEP GORGE WHICH MAY BE CALLED THE EARTH’S DEEPEST VALLEY.  THE JORDAN RIVER FLOWS INTO THE DEADSEA, WHICH LIES 1286 FEET BELOW SEA LEVEL.  THE ACTUAL RIVER BOTTOM IS ONE OF 100 FEET OR MORE IN DEPTH.  ALSO, AT THIS TIME OF YEAR THE RIVER WAS SWOLLEN.  ONLY A MIRACLE OF GOD COULD GET THEM ACROSS—ONE THAT GENERATION WOULD NEVER FORGET.

GOD INTENTIONALLY GAVE THEM A TASK BIGGER THAN THEMSELVES SO THEY CAN DEPEND ON HIM IN NEW AND FRESH   WAYS.

V3-4 GOD THEN CLEARLY LAID OUT THE VISION OF WHAT HE HAD FOR JOSHUA AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TO CONQUER.  HE TOLD THEM IN ADVANCE THEIR TERRITORY AND WHAT HE HAD FOR THEM TO DO.

GOD IS A MISSIONAL GOD—HE WANTS US TO BE APART OF HIS MISSION AND FOR US TO BE BOLD IN TRUSTING HIM.

GOD HAS CLEARLY LAID OUT PROMISES TO US.  SPECIFICALLY HE HAS CALLED US TO LAY CLAIM FOR OUR LIVES.

About a year and a half ago, I bought a new navy blazer at Nordstrom. It was one of those cases you may have gone through where you buy an item of clothing and the more you wear it, the more you realize you don’t like it. My blazer wasn’t the right color, and to make matters worse, it attracted lint like it was going out of style. After wearing it pretty regularly for six months or so, I stuck it in my closet and didn’t wear it for a long time.

Tucked away in the back of my mind all the while was that famous Nordstrom unconditional-return policy. I thought, I’ve had this thing for a year and a half. I’ve worn it lots of times, and there’s just no way they’re going to take it back. About two weeks ago I decided I had nothing to lose. I pulled the blazer out, threw a lot of lint on it to make it look bad, and took it down to Nordstrom’s men’s department. I walked in, and immediately I felt nervous. I felt like I was about to pull a scam of some sort, but I played it straight. I walked right up to the first salesman I saw and gave this little prepared speech. I said, “I am about to put your famous unconditional-return policy to its ultimate test. I have here a blazer. I’ve worn it lots. I’ve had it for a year and a half. I don’t like it. It’s the wrong color, and it attracts lint like it’s going out of style. But I want to return this blazer for another blazer that I like.” Then I stood there.

I couldn’t believe it. This guy with a big handlebar mustache just looked at me and shook his head. He said, “For heaven’s sake, what took you so long? Let’s go find you a blazer.” Ten minutes later I walked out with another blazer that was marked seventy-five dollars more than I paid for the one that I brought in. It was perfect for me. Didn’t cost me a penny. God is like Nordstrom.

God makes all sorts of outlandish promises that we cannot bring ourselves to believe. Can we? When we get up enough courage or we’re desperate enough, we finally take him at his word. He looks at us and he shakes his head. “For heaven’s sake,” he says, “what took you so long?”

Citation: Vic Pentz, “A Twinge of Nostalgia,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 88

WE MUST CLAIM HIS PROMISES.

WE MUST BE BOLD IN CLAIMING HIS PROMISES.

STRONGHOLDS IN OUR LIVES MUST BE DEMOLISHED.  NO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.

PRAYER & GOD’S WORD IS LIKE DYNAMITE—DUNAMIS.  THINK HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT OUR SITUATIONS—PRAY GOD’S WORD—CLAIM IT—RENEW OUR MIND—FOCUSED HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES.

2 COR. 10:3-5– 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

THE GREAT THING IS WE KNOW GOD’S WILL THROUGH HIS WORD.  WE DON’T NEED TO PRAY ABOUT WHETHER IT IS TRUE OR VOTEON IT AT BUSINESS MEETING—WE KNOW THAT IT IS GOD’S WILL.  NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.  WE HAVE NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF.  FOR THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE IN ALL THE WORLD IS IN THE CENTER OF GOD’S WILL.

DOES GOD WANT YOU TO HAVE A GREAT MARRIAGE?  YES!!!  HE CREATED MARRIAGE AND HATES DIVORCE.

DOES GOD WANT YOU TO BREAK FREE FROM THE SIN THAT SO EASILY ENTANGLES YOU?  YES!!!!

DOES GOD WANT RECONCILIATION IN YOUR FAMILY?  YES!!!!

DOES GOD WANT YOUR LOVED ONE TO BE SAVED?  YES!!!  HE WANTS NONE TO PERISH BUT ALL TO COME TO ETERNAL LIFE.

DOES GOD WANT OUR CHURCH TO GROW?  YES!!!!

DOES GOD WANT YOU TO SHARE THE GOSPEL??  YES!!!!

ACTS IS THE JOSHUA OF THE NT.  JOSHUA SHOWED THAT GOD WAS FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES AND THAT NOTHING—EXCEPT DISOBEDIENCE—COULD HINDER THE INTENT FOR GOD’S PEOPLE.

LUKE IN ACTS is trying to convey TO HIS FIRST READERS that nothing can hinder God’s intent for the church—neither the Sanhedrin nor synagogue, dissension nor narrow-mindedness, prison nor plot. 

TOO OFTEN, WE ARE NOT SENSITIVE TO THE LEADING OF GOD’S SPIRIT TO TAKE THE LAND HE HAS LAID OUT FOR US.

  1. MOVE FORWARD

JOSHUA 1:11—“IN THREE DAYS, WE ARE MOVING FORWARD.”  BUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO DO IT?  DON’T KNOW BUT IT IS TIME TO MOVE FORWARD.

TIME FOR YOU TO STEP OUT IN FAITH.  GET OFF THE SIDELINES.

TIME FOR YOU TO BE OBEDIENT TO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO.

ESTHER 4:14—FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.

TIME FOR YOU TO SEEK RECONCILIATION WITH YOUR LOVED ONE.  START IT WITH YOU.

TIME FOR YOU TO SHARE YOUR FAITH—BE BOLD—WITH YOUR LOVED ONE.

CONCLUSION

MAN BEING BURIED WITH DIAMOND– man bought diamond to propose to his girlfriend but never had the courage to ask her.  when he died of old age, he was buried with the ring.

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