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Give Me This Mountain! | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 5, 2023 2:00 am

Give Me This Mountain! | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 5, 2023 2:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie delivers a message on spiritual growth from Joshua 14. He reminds us of Caleb, a man who started and ended his spiritual race well!

Notes:

“What has been the greatest surprise of your life? ‘The brevity of it,”’ said Billy Graham.

Philippians 3:13–14

Keep moving forward spiritually—the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.”

Psalm 16:6

It doesn’t matter if we’ve held first for the first laps; we must finish!

Acts 20:24

Caleb started and finished well, never losing his spiritual edge!

We are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

We are to pray that both Palestinians and Jews will come to Christ.

Joshua 14:11–12

Where did Caleb get this strength, stamina, and longevity?

Read: Joshua 14:7–8

We must wholeheartedly follow the Lord (six times in the Bible we learn that Caleb wholeheartedly followed).

The majority group did not see God for who He is, only problems.

The minority group (Joshua and Caleb) saw God for who He is, and also saw the obstacles and challenges, but they also saw opportunities and great victories if they would attack.

To have spiritual longevity and finish well, you don’t follow the crowd.

Caleb, who wholeheartedly followed the Lord, had principles … being more concerned with God’s approval than mans!

To have spiritual longevity, you must take God at His Word!

Remember that God’s delays are not necessarily His denials.

To have spiritual longevity, you must fight to the very end, as the Christian life is one of constant growth and learning. It is taking on new challenges and looking for new opportunities.

Spiritual battle rages to the end of your life.

“I (Caleb) am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me.”

Joshua 14:11

It was the first love Caleb maintained, causing him to not lose his first strength.

“Give me this mountain!”

Joshua 14:12

Jesus Christ is coming again, so let’s be busy doing the Lord’s work.

We are to remember Jesus at the communion table.

1 Corinthians 11:26

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. That you reign. You're in control. Not only of the events of the world, not only of the leaders of the world, but you're in control of our lives as well. And the circumstances that surround our life. And so Lord, we're so thankful that you love us. You have a plan and a purpose for each of our lives.

And we know that as we're in this race of life, that you want us to run well, and you want us to run to the end, and you want us to win. So speak to us as we open your word and find out more about that. We commit this time of Bible study to you now. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. You can all be seated.

Why don't you grab your Bibles and turn to Joshua chapter 14. And the title of my message is, Give Me This Mountain. While you're turning there, I wanted to mention that we have launched a new streaming platform. It's called Harvest Plus. It's sort of like Harvest meets Netflix. And basically what it is, is it's a place you can go to and find all of the messages that we do here. You can find a radio broadcast. You can find all of our movies.

We have Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, A Rush of Hope, and then our newest film, which is simply called Fame, which is a movie about the pursuit of fame that people engage in to try to fill the void in their life and how ultimately Christ is the answer. It's all there. You can download the app on your television set just like any other app that you would watch. And also you can download it for your phone or your tablet or whatever device you have. So check it out. Harvest Plus. Joshua 14 is our text.

The title again is Give Me This Mountain. So I heard about a couple that were celebrating 25 years of marriage. How many of you have been married for over 25 years? Raise your hand up.

Quite a few of you. Very good. Very good.

Anybody here been married for more than 35 years? Raise up your hand. Okay, wow. How about more than 50 years?

More than 50. Wow, really? Really?

And you guys too. Amazing. Stand up you that have been married over 50 years. I want to see you. Look at that. Yes. God bless you.

You guys over there. Now sorry, notice you stood up. What was your wife with you?

You've been married over... Is that the secret to long marriage? Okay, I understand. We'll talk afterwards.

Okay, so. Well I heard about a couple that were celebrating 25 years of marriage and all their family and friends are gathered and the husband said to the wife, my dear I love you so much. And for our 25th wedding anniversary I'm taking you to Australia.

She was so excited. She said I've always wanted to go to Australia. You know, koala bears, kangaroos, shrimps on the barbie. I've always wanted to go down under. I can't believe that if you're going to take me to Australia for our 25th wedding anniversary, what will you do for our 50th? He said that's when I'll pick you up. Okay, so these are bad jokes or dad jokes.

And dad jokes are basically bad jokes, right? But we're getting ready to celebrate 50 years as a church in November. Isn't that amazing? So I want you to mark a date on your calendar. It's November.

Let's see, I wrote it down here. November 19th. Okay, so November 19th.

There's me a long time ago. November 19th it will be at Harvest Riverside. It's going to be a very special day, a very special night.

I hope you can all join us. But you know, 50 years, that's a milestone. Something that you celebrate. It reminds us that time has passed so quickly. Billy Graham was once asked, what has been the greatest surprise of your life?

His answer was the brevity of it. How quickly life seems to pass by. And it seems as you get older, it seems like life goes faster.

Right? I remember when I was a young preacher. I started preaching at 19. I started pastoring at 20. And I would be introduced when I would be a guest speaker as this young preacher. This young preacher.

I didn't like it. I thought, no one takes me seriously. It's been a long time since I've been introduced that way. Unless the person is in their 90s.

I'm not the young preacher anymore. And it does seem like life goes faster as you get older, doesn't it? I remember when I was in elementary school, I felt like I was attending school for like 30 years in kid time.

Right? And then high school went a little bit faster. And then years passed so quickly. I mean, I can't believe Christmas is coming.

Can you? The decorations are in the store, so they're already there. Didn't we just have Christmas? And decades start passing. Time is passing. They say one of the reasons it seems as though time passes more quickly when you're older is because you do the same thing over and over again. You have the routine. So you always take a vacation to the same place. You always go out and eat in the same restaurant. You always sit in the same seat in the restaurant.

You always order the same thing off the menu. You even sit in the same place at church every Sunday. And you do. And I know where you all sit. See, I go, oh, we're so-and-so's not here today.

Why aren't they not here? That's how we do it as we get older. We like routine.

We like predictability. There's one place that I go where time slows down for me. The dentist. When I'm sitting in that dental chair, I feel like I'm there for a year, right? Though it may only be for an hour.

So things do seem to pass quickly, but really time is passing at the rate that it passes. I did hear about an older couple that went into a restaurant. They were both 90. And it was a very popular restaurant. It was hard to get in. And so they said, could we get a table?

And the maitre d said, well, I'm sorry. There's like an hour-long wait. And if you can wait an hour, we'll get you a table. And the man said, sir, young man, I'm 90 years old. My wife is 90 years old. We may not live one more hour.

They got a table immediately. So if you're old, you might try that. Hacks for old people.

I don't know if it'll work or not. Yeah, time is passing quickly. We can't control that. But we do control what we will do with that time. What should we do with our time if we're 90 or if we're nine?

Or somewhere in between? Here's the simple answer. We should seek to become more and more like Jesus each and every day. That's the ultimate goal for the Christian, to become more like Christ. And we should seek to grow spiritually. We don't want to rest on our laurels or worse, go backwards spiritually. We want to always be moving forward in the Christian life. This is why Jesus said, remember Lot's wife.

Three words. Remember Lot's wife. Why should I remember Lot's wife? Well, if you remember the story in the book of Genesis, God delivered Lot, his wife, and their family from Sodom and Gomorrah. His judgment was falling on the city and he said to them, don't look back. But they did look back, or at least she did in particular.

She turned into a pillar of Saul. So Jesus says, hey, remember Lot's wife. Because the first step to going back is looking back. So we want to keep our focus on what is in front of us. I read about a sign on an airport runway, a little airport. And the sign said, keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying. That's good advice for a pilot and it's also good advice for the rest of us. Keep moving.

If you stop, you're a danger not only to yourself but others who are flying. There's a man of God from the 1600s, an old Puritan preacher named Richard Baxter. And he wrote these words. Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of. In nothing which you might not pray for the blessing of God. In nothing with which you would not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed. In nothing if death should surprise you in the act. This deals with a lot of those gray areas of life. Is it okay for a Christian to do this or that? Ask yourself the question.

Put that quote back up on the screen again and kind of run it through this list. Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of. In nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God. What you're doing, can you ask God to bless it? If you can ask God to bless it, go for it. If you feel awkward praying about it, maybe you shouldn't be doing it. In nothing which you cannot review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed.

This is the big one. In nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act. I think that's pretty good advice. Now you that are young, listen to this. You are laying a foundation in your life today that you will build on for the rest of your life. You're making decisions today that will affect you next year, the next decade, and all the years to come.

So you want to make the right decisions in life because before you know it, you're well on your way in life. Now as I get older, you know, I wouldn't go back in time if I was given the choice. I would like to have my hair back again though.

I do miss my hair. But apart from that, hopefully you've learned a few things and have some things to offer to others as well. But for me, each year has been an adventure walking with Jesus Christ and watching this plan for my life unfold. And there's been a lot of twists and turns in my life, things that didn't make sense at the time. You've heard the expression, my life flashed before my eyes.

Usually that's said by someone who had a near death experience. Well for me, my life flashed before my eyes when they made a movie out of my life called Jesus Revolution. So when I was spending time with John Irwin who was the director and also co-wrote the script with another man named John Gunn. As I was going through things, they asked me all these questions about my childhood. So I had to do a deep dive into the past and think deeply about that time. And then they came back with this script.

They summed my life up. And it was very interesting because that's not the way I would have told my story. But they picked the moments in my life that they thought were significant and wrapped it around the story of Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee and Kathy and all the rest of it. And I said to John, kind of kiddingly but half seriously, I said I like your version of my life better than my version.

You know because some events were brought together, the timelines were changed a little bit. But the arc of my life because when you're going through it, you don't know what it's going to lead to. But I look back on it now and I can see God's hand was on my life from the very beginning. Psalm 16 says, the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.

Indeed I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel in the night. Also my heart instructs me.

I've set the Lord always before me because He is at my right hand and I will not be shaken. For me the lines have fallen in pleasant places. And I can even see that in my childhood as hard as it was, and the movie didn't show nearly how bad it was. But as hard as it was, it's been a tool that can be used to reach other people struggling in their own childhoods. And to say God's going to get you through whatever it is you're going through and my life is an evidence of that. And hopefully this will encourage you. You know it's been said, success builds barriers, but failure builds bridges.

Success builds barriers. You know when you act as though you're all that and a bag of chips, and you're living your perfect little Instagram life, because we only take pictures of the great moments, the great meal. We don't take a photograph of the worst meal we ever ate. That would be an interesting post, would it not? And then a video of you throwing up afterwards.

That would be horrible. But anyway, you know we have all the highlights. Oh look at my beautiful life and all of your images are curated so they all sort of look the same. And here's my great life that I'm living. Don't you wish you were me? Who can relate to that? And the reality is that's not really your complete life, is it?

So then that might build a barrier. I wish I could be like them. Oh they have the greatest life. But failure builds bridges, you know. When you say to someone, hey this is my struggle, or this is my question, or this is my weakness, someone suddenly says, wow you're just like me, aren't you? Yes, we are all the same in so many ways. But so I look back on my life and I can see that God was in control. But I have to say one of the surprises of my Christian life is seeing some people crash and burn spiritually. People that I never thought would fall away, fell away. You know it's funny, you meet certain people and you say I don't know if they're going to make it as a Christian and they end up doing really well through their Christian life. And others you think, oh man they're going to make their mark in the world and change the world and God's going to use them. And they just crash and burn because of bad decisions they made. But then there are others that start and they finish well. That's who we want to be. We want to start this race well, we want to run this race well, and we want to finish this race well.

Because that is the goal. Paul the Apostle wrote in Acts 20 verse 24, he said these words to the elders of Ephesus. We've stood in the very spot where he said these words to them.

He said, none of these things move me, that is the threat of imprisonment. I do not count my life dear to myself, but I want to finish my race with joy. So here's the question, how can I finish this race with joy?

How can we cross the finish line with flying colors? How can we win the race of life? What is the secret to spiritual longevity? We're all interested in longevity these days. It seems like I see so many articles now on how to live longer. If you eat this you'll live longer, if you do that you'll live longer. I actually went to a medical website, they had a list of things you should do if you want to live a longer life physically.

I wrote a few of them down. Number one, eat like an Okinawan. So basically the people of Okinawa, Japan live longer than any other group on earth. So they've done extensive research on this and they discovered they ate vegetables that were green and yellow in color and low in calories. And they lived longer. And also they only ate 80% of the food on their plate. I guess that all depends on how big the plate is though because you get a really big plate and only eat 80%. But then you read that and then you read another article about someone who lived to be 103 and they said the secret was they eat bacon every day. So go figure.

You know, what is the answer? But here's another thing that this medical website said and I found this interesting. One of the secrets to living a long life is go to church. Go to church. They said go to religious services. But go to church. They said in a 12 year study of people over age 65, those who went more than once a week to church had higher levels of a key immune system protein than their peers who didn't. So when you go home from church today and one of your family members didn't come, you could say I'm going to live longer than you. She had to come with me to church today. Number two, and I really like this one, number three rather, forgive.

This is on a medical website. Forgive because letting go of grudges has surprising physical health benefits. Chronic anger is linked to heart disease, strokes, poor lung health, and other problems. Forgiveness will reduce anxiety, lower your blood pressure, and help you breathe more easily.

Isn't that interesting? Forgive. Another one, they said learn the art of the nap.

I have learned this art. I don't take long naps. But every day I'll take maybe a seven or eight minute nap and it really seems to help me. Those who take a nap each day according to this study are 37% less likely to die from heart disease.

Another one, keep moving. Regular physical activity lowers your chance of getting heart disease, diabetes, and other forms of cancer and depression. You know, sometimes people are maybe in their 40s, they'll say I'm getting old, really old. Yeah, you're also getting fat. And that might have something to do with that. Because literally if you lost 20 pounds you might feel a little bit younger. So there's things to factor in. I know I just offended many of you. But I'm just saying what I think, okay. When you're old you just say whatever you think and that's what I just did. So this is good advice for physical longevity.

But what about some advice for spiritual longevity? Well we find that here in Joshua 14. Before us is the story of a man who both started and finished his race well. He's not as known as well as Joshua but him and Joshua were friends. Joshua and Caleb.

Caleb is the man I want to talk about. Because the scene before us here in Joshua 14 is where the tribes of Israel are now receiving their inheritance that God has given to them. Joshua has fulfilled his divine commission that is taking possession of the land that God gave to the Jewish people.

I would point out to you that the word inheritance is found 50 times in these nine chapters. Reminding us that the Jewish people inherited their land. They did not win it as a spoil of battle or purchase it through a business transaction. They inherited the land. The Lord who owned the land gave it to them. This is very important.

Listen. The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. God gave it to them.

You've got to know that. There's a lot of information going on right now being dispersed, dispensed by people who are very upset about what's happening over in Israel. Now we all know this horrible attack that took place on October 7th. Where 1400 Israeli people were murdered. Women and children were murdered. Babies were beheaded by these bloodthirsty savage terrorists who call themselves Hamas.

We have to understand that. And then a bunch of people were kidnapped as well. 234 people kidnapped and being held somewhere over in Gaza right now. And now the Israelis are going into that territory.

And so we hear a lot of information. We hear that the Israelites or the Jewish people are a colonial state. In other words, they took this land from the Palestinians.

This is simply not true. The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for over 3,000 years. The land that God gave to them. And they took possession of Jerusalem 3,000 years ago. Now they have not ruled their land continuously.

Other empires came in, like Rome, and ruled over them. But there's always been Jewish people living in the land that God gave to them. But on May 14th, 1948, on the heels of World War II and the Holocaust, the Jewish people retained a return to their land and became a nation. But sometimes we hear that Israel is an apartheid state.

That is not true. I've been to Israel many, many times. And I can tell you that the people of Israel want to live in peace. They want to live their lives. They want to raise their children. They want to just live peaceful, quiet lives. Even when they've been attacked in battle and they gained ground as a result, they gave the land back for peace. Because they want peace so desperately, they even gave Gaza to the Palestinian people.

It's all yours. Now, as an example, when we talk about apartheid, that of course became no more from South Africa, where the black population did not have the same rights as the white population. But that's not true in Israel. The Arab people have the same rights as Jewish people. There are even Arab people serving in their Knesset, and their ruling body there in Israel as well. Twenty percent of all citizens of Israel are Arab. In contrast, there's no Jews living under Palestinian rule. And the problem is the Palestinian people did elect Hamas to represent them. And as I've said, make no mistake about this, Hamas is a terrorist organization that is funded by Iran. And they long for the destruction of Israel.

So that's why it's so shocking when we see thousands of people out on our streets protesting like they just were in Union Square in New York City. Thousands of people chanting, long live Hamas. Long live Hamas.

Long live a group of people that murdered other people in cold blood. And we hear about a two-state solution. That's the answer, a two-state solution. The enemies of Israel do not want a two-state solution. They want a final solution. And you understand what I mean by that phrase. That was coined by Hitler and the Nazis, where they wanted to eradicate the Jewish people from the earth, and six million Jews died as a result of that. So when you have the enemies of Israel, including Iran, Hamas, and others, who say we want Israel wiped off the face of the map, how do you negotiate with a person like that? So this is the reality of what's happening in that part of the world. Listen, the Bible tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And the only way that we are ever going to see real, lasting peace in Jerusalem, in the Middle East, is when both Jew and Arab come to put their faith in Jesus Christ.

That's the ultimate answer. A few years ago we had a prophecy conference at Harvest, and we invited different people to speak. Tim LaHaye was there. He's now in heaven with the Lord. Also, Joe Rosenberg spoke, I spoke, others spoke. And we also had General William Boykin.

And General Boykin once commanded the Delta Force. And we also had a speaker named Massab Hassan Yosef. So Massab Hassan Yosef is a Palestinian who is the son of one of the founders of Hamas. He was being trained, groomed, to become the next leader of Hamas. But he defected and instead turned against Hamas because he saw the atrocities that they were doing to their own people, and he became an informant for the Israelis. And his code name was the Green Prince.

So Hamas helped thwart many potential terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. But this was all a result of him coming to faith in Jesus Christ. He became a believer. And so in between sessions, I'm in the back room, and I've got General William Boykin, and I've got Massab Yosef standing there. And I introduced him to the general. And the general looked at him while he shook his hand and said, In another life, I would have been hunting you.

And I thought, wow. This is what the gospel can do, right? To take a man who was being groomed to be a terrorist and a general leading military forces and have them cross over their lines and shake hands as brothers in Jesus Christ.

That's the answer. And we know in the days ahead there is going to be a spiritual awakening in Israel. We know it's sort of like the blinders are going to be taken off the eyes of the Jewish people, and they're going to realize that Jesus is indeed Yeshua HaMashiach, the Messiah. And so we want to pray for that. Romans 11, 25, it says, Blindness imparted has happened to Israel until the full gathering of the Gentiles be come in.

But that's the ultimate answer. And for Arab people to come to Christ, for all people to come to Christ, that's what we want to pray for. So back to our story. Joshua is dispersing portions of the land of the various tribes, and now Caleb speaks up. Now Caleb is 85 years old, and he's been waiting for this day for a long time to get his portion of the land. And in Joshua 14, verse 11, Caleb says, I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me.

Just as my strength was then, so is now my strength for war, for going out and coming in. So give me this mountain. I love this old dude. Probably raising up a bony old arm.

Give me this mountain. They're thinking, this guy's crazy. Oh, he wasn't crazy at all. He really had as much strength in his older years as he did in his younger years.

I remember a while ago we went to the Orange County Fair, our family and the family of Levi Lusko. So we came to one of those high strikers. That's what they call that thing where you hit, you take the big sledgehammer and you try to ring the bell, right? So Levi says, you want to do this?

I say, let's go. So he goes in there, he's young, he's strong, goes to the gym, brings that hammer down, boom. Doesn't hit the bell, doesn't ring the bell. Does it again, doesn't ring the bell. Said, well, it's my turn. I picked up the sledgehammer, brought it down, bing, rang the bell. Brought it down again, rang the bell. Not because I'm so strong, though I am, not really, but I just knew where to put that sledgehammer.

I knew the right spot to hit it at. And then Levi looked at me and said, so what do you think, Levi? He said, old man's strength. I thought, well, old man's strength?

What is that, like an insult? You can have old man's strength, old woman's strength like Caleb had. Why did he have this strength? He gives the answer in Joshua 14, dropped on to verse 7.

I was 40 years old, says Caleb, when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the promised land. I'll underline this. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. Don't miss that. He's giving us a secret.

He's giving us a life hack, if you will. I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. If you want to finish well, if you want spiritual longevity, you must wholeheartedly, not half-heartedly, follow the Lord your God. Look, if you're going to be a Christian, be a Christian.

If you're going to do this, go for it 100%. The problem is we have a lot of half-hearted people, but Caleb was not half-hearted. He was wholehearted. Six times in the Bible, instead of Caleb, he wholeheartedly or wholly followed the Lord his God. Numbers 14, 24, even God says, because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I'll bring him into the land he has entered.

Wow. So Caleb mentions a place called Kedish Barnea. Forty-five years earlier, the people of Israel, delivered from the bondage of Egypt, come to the brink of the promised land.

And the point of entry was this place called Kedish Barnea. Instead of just going in and taking the land that God gave them, they decided to send 12 spies in, 12 spies. And the spies went in and came back with two different reports. We had the majority report, and we had the minority report. They all saw the same thing, but they saw it differently.

First there was the majority report. Ten spies said, oh man, we don't want to go into this land. Man, the people that live there, they're gigantic. They're huge, and we will lose. They have massive fortified cities.

There's no way we can take this land. See, their problem was they had a small God, and as a result, they had big problems. But the minority report, two spies that were sent in, named Born and Bond, not really, Joshua and Caleb. Joshua and Caleb saw it differently. They saw the same thing, but they said, oh, we can do this. God will be with us.

We'll conquer this land. That's because they had a big God. When you have a big God, you have relatively small problems. When you have big problems, you have a relatively small God. God is not shrunk. It's your view of God.

It's the way you see God. And so that report was given. Well, the people didn't want to believe the minority report. They didn't want to listen to Joshua and Caleb. They went with what the majority said, and as a result said, none of you people are gonna enter into the Promised Land. Not one of you except Joshua and Caleb. So now fast forward all these years later, that first generation of Israelites, they're gone.

And all that's left are Joshua and Caleb. So Joshua, who has led them into the Promised Land, is now giving up parcels of land to the people, bringing me to point number two, to have spiritual longevity and to finish well, you don't follow the crowd. For 40 years, Caleb had to listen to the complaining of the other people. And he put up with it. And he didn't capitulate.

He didn't keep in. He stood his ground. And if you want to be a strong Christian and have spiritual longevity, you've got to stand your ground. Because people will try to drag you down. People will try to pull you away. You've got to stand on your own two feet, in your own faith, in your relationship with the Lord. Someone sums it up so beautifully. Blessed are happy as the man or the woman that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. Sorry to point to you when I'm saying that, but it just fits all of you, honestly. But his delight, it goes on to say, is in the word of the Lord, and in it does he meditate day and night. I see you on this side much more that way.

I'm joking. But he doesn't do certain things. He doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. But instead, he meditates and he studies. He contemplates God's word.

So he did not capitulate to the crowd. He followed the Lord, not the crowd. Point number three, to have spiritual longevity, you need to take God at his word. You need to take God at his word. You see, Caleb hung on to the promise of God to him for all those years, and five years go by and 10 years go by and another 10 years go by and another 10 years. 40 years, he's still waiting. Have you ever struggled with God's promise to you? You thought, well, God, you promised he sings to me and I don't see them happening. Are you in a storm right now with no end in sight?

Are you in a trial that you're wondering, is this ever going to come to an end? One time, the disciples were going across the Sea of Galilee and a great storm came. And they thought they were gonna die. And suddenly, Jesus comes to them walking on the water. But it's worth noting that Jesus came to them, the Bible says, in the fourth watch. When is the fourth watch? That's the time just before dawn, which means they had been struggling against this storm for nine long hours.

They had probably given up hope. And then who shows up walking on the water but Jesus himself? And he may come to you in the fourth watch. Like, Lord, are you ever gonna come? He says, yeah, I'll come when I'm ready. And when you're ready, maybe when you're completely exhausted.

Maybe when you've stopped struggling. Maybe when you stop fighting with me and you just call out and say, God, if you don't come through for me, I'm gonna drown. The Lord's saying, ah, that's what I was waiting to hear.

Let's go. And he'll be there for you and come through to you or come through for you in your storm. Number four, to have spiritual longevity, you need to fight to the very end. To have spiritual longevity, you need to fight to the very end, as the Christian life is one of constant growth in learning, taking on new challenges, looking for new opportunities.

It's not living in the past but changing the present and preparing for the future. It never stops though. Now, some people say, well, I'm retired.

Okay, that's nice. You no longer do the job you've done for so many years. But you never retire from the spiritual life.

You know that, right? Because the moment you retire is the moment you're gonna start losing. It's the moment you're gonna start being defeated. There was an old man who had been walking with the Lord for many years. So a young man came up to him and said, old man, I have a question for you. He says, yes. And he said, my question is, is there ever a moment that I will reach where I will get past temptation when I will no longer be tempted? The old man said, yes, when you're dead.

Okay, so that's it. It's gonna rage to the last moment of your life on earth. After 45 years of patiently waiting, Caleb makes this statement in verse 11. I am as strong this day as the day that Moses sent me.

He never grew weaker. And what did he do with that strength? We read in Joshua 15, 14, Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak from there, and it identifies their name. He went to an area called Hebron. Hebron was a treacherous area. It was a tough area. And the inhabitants of Hebron were fierce warriors. Effectively, Caleb said, give me the toughest part of the land. That's where I wanna go. Give me this mountain.

I wonder if others laughed, sort of snickered. Give him this mountain. Oh yeah, give him this mountain.

That's exactly what he wanted. You know, we all have mountains to climb in life. And it may vary from person to person. Are we gonna run from it? Or are we gonna run toward it? As people get older, as I said, sometimes they retire.

They start kicking back. But that is not what you want to be doing. You wanna run every day as though it were your last day because one day it will be. We think we'll live to be old. And maybe you will.

And maybe you won't. That's up to God. The Bible says our times are in his hands. My son Christopher went to be with the Lord when he was 33 years old. We never planned for that. We never expected that. It changed our life. It was the hardest moment of our life. God was there for us, is still there for us.

But it was a devastating, devastating loss for our entire family. And it reminded me of when I used to race Christopher. Christopher was a fast runner. He was a long distance runner. I was more of a short distance runner when I was in high school. I could sprint but then I ran out of steam. Christopher could run forever. So sometimes we'd be walking along maybe on the beach and I'd say, Christopher, I'll race you to that rock right there.

I always picked a mark that would favor me. Short sprint, I'm good. But then I tire out. Let's race to the rock. And I would beat him every time and I felt very good about that. I could still beat him in a race.

He's a young man now and I'm still beating him in a race. And one day we're walking down the beach, I said, Christopher, I'll race you to that rock. He said, okay, Dad. And boom we go. And he passes me and he wins.

I was very depressed. He won the race. And he also beat me to heaven. And he's been there for many years now and we'll see him again. And on his tombstone we wrote these words and nobody ever wants to sit down and think about what you're gonna write on the tombstone of your child. But we had to do it. And we wrote the words of Paul where he said, I fought the good fight, I kept the faith, I finished the course. He finished his course.

And he's in heaven. And I bring this up because some who are young think, well, I'll think about this when I'm older, Greg. I don't need to do it, I'm young.

Okay, yeah, you're young. But what if your race ends sooner than you expected? And listen to this. I believe very strongly Jesus Christ is coming back again. What is happening, what is happening in our world is cause for great concern. And Bible students should be careful attention to what is specifically happening in the Middle East. These events could escalate quickly into something far larger. And it could end up being a fulfillment of what the Bible says will happen in the end times. The prophetic events are a lot like dominoes that are closely stacked together.

And once the first domino falls, then the others will fall in rapid succession. So my understanding of Bible prophecy, which is perfect, I'm kidding, but I think it's right, you know, of course. But my understanding of Bible prophecy, I think the next event on the prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church. After that, we have the emergence of antichrist. Sometime after that, perhaps, we have the attack of Magog against Israel. Then we have the tribulation period.

Then we have the abomination of the desolation, the rebuilt temple of the Jews is defiled. Then we have the battle of Armageddon. Then we have the second coming. Then we have the millennium.

All these events kind of tightly placed together. But the first domino has not fallen yet, and it can happen at any moment. And the Lord would call us home. So coming back to that quote from Richard Baxter, let me adapt it to this. Don't be doing anything you would be ashamed to be doing if Christ were to come back.

So whatever you're doing, factor that in. Well, is he okay if we have lunch? He's cool with that. Have lunch, enjoy. Is he okay if we like watch Netflix?

Depends what you watch, I don't know. No, but seriously, think about the Lord as you make your choices in life, and as you make decisions, you're gonna live life, you're gonna enjoy life. But at the same time, you're right with God. Wholeheartedly follow the Lord your God.

That's what I'm saying to you. Don't follow him halfheartedly. I mentioned earlier that one of the signs of the end times, actually, I didn't mention this, so I'll mention it now. One of the signs of the last times, the Bible says, 1 Timothy 4.1, in the last days, some will fall from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of demons. So we talk about all the signs of the times. This is one that is often neglected. There's gonna be an apostasy, which means a falling away. That will be a sign of the times.

And that's one of the things that surprised me, I have to say. People that I have personally known, men and women of God, who fell away. But the good news is, if you fall away, you can still come back home to your Father. You can return to the Lord. The Bible says, seek the Lord while he may be found. Call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked man forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto our God, who will abundantly pardon. You can return to your God. So maybe I'm talking to somebody right now that, well, they haven't been wholeheartedly following the Lord. They used to. Years ago, after they came to Christ, they were all in it.

Just love the Lord, love the word of God, love church, love worship, prayer, sharing their faith, they did it all. And then, as time has passed, they've just kind of, you know, I'm not as intense as I used to be about all that. And now you're kind of half-hearted and you've made some bad decisions and you're probably reaping the results of those bad decisions. You need to come back to the Lord. You need to make a recommitment to him. That's what God will forgive you. But then there might be someone else here who's saying, I've never even done it the first time. I've never asked Jesus to come into my life. You should do that now.

And here's why. We're about to do something together that is called communion or the Lord's Supper. And this is something Jesus himself instituted and said we should specifically do until he returns again. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11, 26, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you're announcing the Lord's death until he comes. When Christ comes again, we won't need to do communion anymore. But until that day he returns, we are to remember him with the bread and the fruit of the vine.

Why? Because he wants us to come back and think about what he did for us on the cross 2,000 years ago. That he shed his blood for each of us and when he was in the upper room with his disciples, he broke bread. And they always broke bread.

They had lots of meals together. But this was different. And Jesus said take and eat.

This is my body which is broken for you. And then he distributed the bread. And then he held up the cup, the chalice, and said drink this. It's a symbol of my blood that will be shed.

But listen to this. Communion is for Christians only. There might be somebody here who's a visitor and they would say well, you know, I know this is some weird ritual you Christians do.

And I'm kind of thinking maybe I'll do this. It'd be good, you know. A little religion would do me some good. You don't need a little religion. You need a lot of Jesus.

Okay? And this little so-called ritual is very important. In fact, you don't want to receive of the bread and the cup if you're not a Christian. You say why? Because the apostle Paul warns us and says don't eat this bread or drink this cup in an unworthy manner because if you do so, you're eating and drinking judgment to yourself.

Whoa, what? See, to receive these elements and not believe in the one they represent is an insult to God. So you don't want to receive the elements of communion if you're not a Christian.

Just let them pass by. Or better yet, ask Christ to come into your life right now and he'll forgive you of all of your sin. And then you can have your first communion with us.

You're a Christian family. So we're gonna pause for a moment and we're gonna pray and I'm going to extend an invitation for anybody here on any of our campuses who has never asked Christ to come into your life to do it now. I'm also going to extend an invitation for anyone that has fallen away and needs to come back again.

It's never too late to come home to your Father who loves you. Your Father in heaven. Let's pray. Now Father, we pray that you will speak to everyone that needs you today. First, for the person who has not believed in Jesus yet I pray that your Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin and convince them of their need for you and that they would come to you now and believe. And maybe there's someone here that has joined us who is not sure if their sin is forgiven. You don't have the hope that you'll go to heaven when you die.

You have a big hole in your heart. You've tried to fill with all the things this world offers and you've come up empty time and time again. Jesus Christ who died on that cross for your sin rose again from the dead and he stands at the door of your life now and he knocks. And he says if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. Listen, if you would like Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you would like him to forgive you of your sin, if you would like to know that you'll go to heaven when you die, wherever you are, I want you to lift your hand up and I'm going to pray for you. Raise your hand up saying I need Jesus today. God bless you. Wherever you are, raise your hand up. Let me pray for you today. God bless you, God bless you. Anybody else? You want Christ to come into your life. This is your moment to get right with God before we receive communion together.

Anybody else? God bless you. God bless you. Now some of you are watching the screen. I can't see you of course, but the Lord sees you. You can raise your hand as well. I need Jesus. Just raise your hand up. God bless you and you. God bless all of you.

Well, I heard this still bowed. Maybe there's someone that would say I've fallen away from the Lord. I haven't been wholeheartedly following him. I've messed up. I've done things I wish I had not done. Okay, God gives second chances, but you must come back to him. You must return to the Lord. If you need to come back to Jesus Christ today, lift your hand up and let me pray for you right now, wherever you are. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you. All of you, God bless.

God bless you all. Now I'm gonna ask that every one of you that just raise your hand, I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Again, as I pray, pray this out loud after me. This is a prayer where you're asking God to forgive you of your sin. Just pray these words.

Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. I turn now from my sin and I choose to follow you wholeheartedly from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen. God bless each one of you that prayed that prayer. God bless you. God bless you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-05 04:17:03 / 2023-11-05 04:37:19 / 20

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