Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. To be in Christ is to have a freedom that is much more than simply, merely liberation from bondage to the darkness.
It is to have a freedom that is characterized by being an heir in the Promised Land. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Unleashed, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program today, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. You can find out more about it and even receive a copy of your very own for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer at PastorAlan.org. Find out more about it and make your request or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Again our website, PastorAlan.org. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. Okay, are you ready for some good news? To be in Christ is to have a freedom that is much more than simply, merely liberation from bondage to the darkness. It is to have a freedom that is characterized by being an heir in the promised land. In other words, what we're going to see today is that to be free is not a move simply from, okay, I'm no longer stuck in the same old bad habits or addictions or problems.
It's much more than that. Biblically speaking, freedom is being a conqueror in the promised land. We are learning about what it really means to be free. And much of it, beloved, stands in contrast to what might be intuitive or what we hear from the spirit of the age. We are today going to turn to one of the most powerful and important pictures in the whole Bible. It's part of the memory of Israel as we think about not only the move out of Egypt, but into the promised land. So turn with me to Joshua chapter 1. Joshua chapter 1. We have seen in previous messages how God delivered the people out of their slavery via the blood of an innocent lamb so that the Passover story is about a people who came out of bondage by the blood of the lamb.
And that's our story figuratively in Christ. But now we come to a time in which after an unbelieving generation died off in the wilderness, the people are going to be led into the promised land by Joshua. Joshua chapter 1 verse 1. After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, Moses my servant is dead.
Now therefore arise. Go over this Jordan, you and all this people into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites of the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life just as I was with Moses. I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give to them.
It's always cute when kids get a little confused about the pronunciation of big words. And I remember when Abby was a little girl and she had obviously heard the common phrase of saying something is just an optical illusion, but one day she got it a little wrong and she said, oh that's just an obstacle illusion. And I thought how right about so much of life from our perspective the obstacle seems insurmountable, but from God's perspective that's only an illusion. The people of God had been delivered from their slavery by the majestic and powerful grace of God. They came out of Egypt after hundreds of years of slavery and God took them through a wilderness and had them send in 12 spies into the promised land. And 10 of those spies came back with a negative report. They were afraid to move forward.
The obstacles seemed so great. The illusion was we'll be more free if we just don't go into the promised land. But what we're going to see today is that that was no freedom at all. A wilderness is not a place of freedom.
It might be a place of movement, but you're not going anywhere. What we'll see is that freedom is not a simple move out of the oppression of the bondage into some sort of life of inactivity, but instead freedom is something that you experience in Christ in a dynamic way that calls you into the arena of life. And the award winning movie Chariots of Fire, my favorite scene, poignant scene where Eric Liddell's constant rival who is so often defeated by the famous Olympian. Harold Abrams has just run a race that he lost to Liddell and he is seated in the bleachers after his loss and his mind is just replaying over and over seeing Eric Liddell go across the tape first and he is dejected and his girlfriend comes and sits next to him trying to console him, but he's inconsolable and he says, I lost. She said, yes, Harold, you lost, but to a good man and you can win next time. And he said, you don't understand, I lost. And then he said, if I can't win, I won't run. And what a memorable line she responds, Harold, if you don't run, you can't win. If you're not engaged in the battles of the promised land, you're not going to take the territory. Theodore Roosevelt said, it's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who's actually in the arena. His face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds?
Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. It's not sitting in the bleachers on the sideline where it's safe and easy that freedom reigns, but it is, according to the picture of the Scripture, something altogether more daring and risky and adventuresome than that. The picture of what happens historically in the Old Testament, the New Testament says of it was a shadow. So when you see something like the Passover lamb whose blood was shed and the blood was put over the doorposts of the Hebrew home, what the news says of the old is that those were real events, but they were God's way of painting a picture on the landscape of history that is a shadow of what is to come in reality in Jesus. And it's honestly what makes the Bible such a remarkable book is that this book that came through the pens of so many different writers and many different generations over so many centuries is woven together mystically and supernaturally by this ever continually confirmation of who Jesus is, is a fulfillment of what has happened in the old. And so what we see is a drama in which the people of God are brought out by God in an amazing victory.
That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. This is what the Lord says, I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt on her ruins and the palace will stand in its proper place. Those timeless words from Jeremiah 30 reveal the heart of God. He loves to restore. In ancient times, cities would often be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the former city.
The new city would stand higher with safer walls and a greater perspective. In Pastor Alan Wright's eight message CD album, Out of the Ruins, you'll discover how God can rebuild your life gloriously out of yesterday's disappointments. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. Ten plagues against Egypt, the tenth of which is the death of the firstborn in Egypt wherein finally the Pharaoh himself lets the people go and Egypt has come under the judgment of God. Remember, this is a tyrant and this was an oppressive nation that had been enslaved, oppressed and enslaved and abused the Hebrew people for hundreds of years. And God brought judgment against Egypt.
They came out. They were delivered not only by the Passover land, but through the Red Sea by a miracle, the parting of the sea that swallowed up Pharaoh's army. They had seen demonstrated the grace of God, the power of God, the majesty of God, the holiness of God, the favor of God over and over and over. And God had them send twelve spies into Canaan to see the land that God had promised them, a promise He made way back to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. And the spies were supposed to go in, bring back some of the sweet fruit and show the people so that their faith could be built to go take the land.
But instead, here's what happened in Numbers chapter 13. When they came back, ten of the spies had a negative report and this is what they said. They told them, we came to the land to which you sent us.
It flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of Negeb.
The Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites dwell in the hill country and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the Jordan. It's just all they could see were all of these imposing enemies. Verse 32 of chapter 13. So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they'd spied out saying, the land through which we have gone to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants. And all the people that we saw went at a great height and we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak who comes from a Nephilim.
This is a mythical race of giants. And we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers and so we seemed to them. And the heart of the people melted like wax. Only two people, only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, had any faith.
They said we can take it, but the people didn't listen to them. And what happened at Numbers 14 verse 1, all the congregation raised a loud cry and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. And the whole congregation said to them, would that we had died in the land of Egypt or would that we had died in this wilderness? Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword?
Our wives and our little ones will become prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt? And they said to one another, let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt. So in other words, they were free, but they were clearly not free. You would say they'd been set free from their slavery, but they were not free indeed. They were in their minds so afraid of moving forward that they were just as much slaves to their fear as they'd been slaves in Egypt. So much so that in their minds they saw no difference between that versus just going back to Egypt. And God was incensed at this astounding lack of faith after all that God had demonstrated to them. And in fact, the Lord was ready to strike them down with a plague, but Moses interceded for them. And Moses reminded God of his precious promises about this land and about this people. And God relented, but he said this, to this people, they're not going in the promised land.
And you know what judgment really is? God giving you what you want. You don't want God in the end.
I suppose God says, okay, you can be separated from me. And this people said, we don't want to go into that land. And God said, okay, you just stay here in the wilderness until this generation is over. And so it was that they wandered for 40 years, one day, one year for every day that they'd spied out the land. And it presents for us, therefore, I think a very powerful symbolic picture.
It's helped me over the years to think about what this is painting a portrait of for us in the Christian life. If you envision Egypt where there was all this bondage and then the promised land where God wanted to take them, but what was in between is the wilderness. And the people had made this huge mistake in their thinking. They presumed that the life of freedom was a move from slavery to a life of ease. And therefore the thought of going and fighting all these battles in the promised land seemed like that must not be the promise. But in God's plan, the movement from slavery to freedom is not a move from a life of suffering to a life of ease. It is a move from a life of suffering under the bonds of Egypt to a life of conquest in Canaan. What I'm saying, brothers and sisters, is to be free indeed in Christ is not simply a move to escape from your old bad habits or addictions.
It is to become an heir and a co-heir with Christ who is more than a conqueror by the grace of God. This is the freedom that God has for us. So Egypt was a place where they were actively abused, hurt, whipped, threatened, condemned. And the promised land was going to be a place where they were going to struggle and fight and win. So the wilderness was this in-between place. And what they did essentially in the wilderness, they wandered around the same mountain for 40 years.
See, a wilderness could be in part defined as just moving around but not going anywhere. It's like the old idea that has now been debunked, but it was thought that a goldfish had a memory of only three seconds. Poor goldfish, just swimming around the same bowl.
All there is is a little toy treasure chest in there, a little plastic pirate ship, and a bubbly thing. I used to think about those goldfish. I thought, well, maybe it's a good thing their memory is only three seconds because they swim around and they go, toy chest, pirate ship, bubbly thing. And by the time they get back around, it's like it's all new to them. Toy chest, pirate ship, bubbly thing. But unfortunately, I studied up on this this week, and they have discovered a goldfish's memory is much longer than that.
So I feel sorry for them because they're just going around, toy chest, pirate ship, bubbly thing, toy chest, pirate ship, bubbly thing, toy chest, pirate ship, bubbly thing. For 40 years, the people just went, I've seen that mountain. I've seen everything.
I've seen that rock. They didn't go anywhere. This is a picture of a people who, yeah, they weren't in Egypt anymore, but they were not free. Freedom was over in the Promised Land.
If you could envision this like a chart in your mind, like Egypt wilderness Promised Land, here's the deal. In Egypt, it's bondage to Pharaoh. In wilderness, it's bondage to fear. And in the Promised Land, it's freedom.
In Egypt, it's oppression. In the wilderness, it might be ease. But in the Promised Land, it's adventure. In Egypt, it's a people who are defeated. In the wilderness, a place of no battles. But the Promised Land is a place of battles and victories. In Egypt, the people are owned. In the wilderness, there is no ownership.
No one owns them, but they own nothing. And the Promised Land is a place for heirs of a great inheritance. So what this means, beloved, is the Promised Land, you know, we sing about it in the gospel songs, you know, one day, and we get to the Promised Land. I've often, for most of my Christian life, I thought the Promised Land is, that's a picture of heaven. But when I study Joshua, I go, no, the Promised Land was not a picture of heaven.
Heaven is a place where we got no battles at all. Promised Land is a place where there are lots of battles. What it means therefore is that when you are fighting in the Promised Land, it's not in order to acquire a land. It is not in order to gain a land. Instead, you fight because it is your land. What I'm saying is that the spiritual fight is one that you get up and fight in the full armor of God, not in order to somehow win your salvation or deliverance, but instead to stand in it.
That's the command in Ephesians, is to stand. It's the victory that has been won for you and what has been given to you, and now it is yours, so you take it because we do not rule over what we do not believe is ours. Let me give you four lessons that I see from the Joshua and the Promised Land imagery about what freedom really means.
And the first is this. Freedom comes not through earthly forms of security, but often freedom comes through letting go of what you always counted on for your security. It's amazing how much freedom you find on the other side of letting go of something you always counted on for your sense of security. It's such an interesting motivational speech that God gives to Joshua, because Joshua is going to lead the people into battle. And so God comes to him to bring encouragement to him. If you can envision God as like the greatest coach in the world, and he's coming to his quarterback to get him ready for the big game.
And it's an ultimate motivational speech. And so I really studied up on the speech, how does God motivate, and what would God say to Joshua? And you've got to remember this, that Joshua has been through a tough time, because he's in a transition time where Moses is no longer there, and Joshua's going to be the leader. And Joshua has loved Moses with all his heart. Joshua was Moses' assistant. He was his spiritual son.
I mean, Joshua saw Moses at all of the moments of glory and challenge. Alan Wright and today's teaching freedom through taking the promised land. Stick with us. Alan is back in the studio sharing a parting good news thought for the day in our series Unleashed.
We're back in a moment. This is what the Lord says, I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt on her ruins and the palace will stand in its proper place. Those timeless words from Jeremiah 30 reveal the heart of God. He loves to restore. In ancient times, cities would often be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the former city.
The new city would stand higher with safer walls and a greater perspective. In Pastor Alan Wright's eight message CD album, Out of the Ruins, you'll discover how God can rebuild your life gloriously out of yesterday's disappointments. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries today we'll send you Pastor Alan's messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership.
Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. Back here in the studio with Alan's good news thought for the day, our parting thought, and as we put a bookmark here, we're talking about freedom through taking the promised land. The promised land imagery is one of the most important, obviously, in the whole narrative of the Old Testament.
And a lot of people think that the promised land is just a picture of heaven. But in actuality, what we're going to see is that no, the promised land is a place where there are battles to be fought and your promised land is a battleground. And so real freedom is not the place where you have no battles.
We're going to see something different than that. Real freedom is a place where you do have to fight battles, but you do so in the confidence that God has given you the victory. It's a powerful thing when you start understanding what real freedom is. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries.
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