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Joshua Chapter 23:1-8

Cross the Bridge / David McGee
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2024 1:00 am

Joshua Chapter 23:1-8

Cross the Bridge / David McGee

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April 20, 2024 1:00 am

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Remember that now they are in a time of peace. Now you would think that they were probably in the most danger when they were in the midst of the battle. But you know what, spiritually speaking, the danger comes in times of peace.

The danger comes in times of prosperity. You are safest when you are in the battle. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. As followers of Jesus, we are safest when we are in the battle. Pastor David explains this today as he continues in the book of Joshua chapter 23. But first, do you ever feel like God is cutting away parts of you like a gardener pruning a tree?

Well, I hope you said yes to this question because it means God is shaping you so that you can bear even more fruit in your life. We want to help you embrace God's pruning in your life by sending you Pastor David McGee's three-part audio series, Abiding in Christ, Keys to a Fruitful Life. It's our way of saying thank you for your gift to help share the truth of scripture with more people around the world through Cross the Bridge. So get your copy of Abiding in Christ when you give today at crossthebridge.com and discover how you can bear more fruit for God's kingdom.

Now here's David McGee with his teaching, You Are Not Alone. We find ourselves in the last two chapters of the book of Joshua and this begins the farewell address of Joshua. It's this chapter and the next are the farewell address and so Joshua 23 verse 1 says, Now it came to pass a long time after the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about that Joshua was old, advanced in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders, for their heads, for their judges, for their officers and said to them, I am old, advanced in age.

You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you for the Lord your God is He who has fought for you. And there's a lot of stuff in those first three verses in there. Now Joshua was leading the people and notice the organizational structure. You know the Lord spoke to Joshua. Joshua led the people and he had leadership in place.

It talks about elders, heads, judges, officers. And so if you reflect back since we've been through the whole book, you can reflect back and think of the things that Joshua said to them in the midst of the battle and in the midst of the wars going on. And it's kind of interesting to me to note that this chapter and the next chapter is very different.

It's very different for a lot of reasons. Remember that now they are in a time of peace. Now you would think that they were probably in the most danger when they were in the midst of the battle. But you know what, spiritually speaking, the danger comes in times of peace. The danger comes in times of prosperity and blessing.

And I think that's true for us. So the first life lesson right off the bat is you're safest when you're in the battle. Because see, we need to be involved in the battle because we're already involved in the war. This is yet another reason why I talk about serving here. Because in that battle, in serving with others, you receive things in those relationships, in those human relationships. You receive fellowship. You receive strength. You receive reassurance.

Now let me ask you a question. Who here needs those three things? Who here needs reassurance and strength and friendships and fellowships? We all need those things. And those things happen whether it's on a work day, working side by side with somebody, or working in the children's ministry together. Those things happen. And we all need those.

And in order to plug in, that's such a necessary part. And what happens is a lot of times we go, well, you know, I don't want to do that yet. I want to grow a little bit more. You want to grow before you start serving. Have you ever considered that you will grow through serving? It happens every time. Every person that steps up to serve, they begin to grow. Why?

Because they're pouring out. Even as we sang tonight, Lord, help me to empty myself of myself so you can fill me. You know, I had a humbling experience years ago. I was praying, and I was, you know, by myself in my prayer closet. And when I say prayer closet, I don't literally mean I was in a closet praying. That's a saying that you kind of go off by yourself and you begin to pray. I don't want, you know, some people might go, prayer closet, what's he talking about?

So let me explain the Christianese. So I was praying by myself with the Lord, and I was praying, Lord, fill me, fill me, Lord. And the Lord very humbly in that still small voice spoke to me, and he said, there's no more room in there.

You pour yourself out, and I'll pour myself in. See, that's what happens when we begin to serve, when we're engaged in the battle. And you know what happens? A lot of times we kind of sit back and go, well, no, I want this to happen.

I don't want that to happen, and I want to grow, and I want to do this, and I want to do that before I start serving. And you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of a man sitting in a cold house with a stack of wood looking at the wood stove going, as soon as you throw off some heat, I'll put some wood in you. Does that make any sense to anybody in here?

No, please say no. Thank you. And notice in verse three, it says, the Lord your God is he who has fought for you. See, when I talk about being in a battle, you need to realize something.

It's not just you. See, God is the one that brought them to the land. God is the one who way back in Egypt gave them the plan to go to this new place. He's the one that led them through the desert. When they got to this promised land, he's the one that led them in battle.

Now, let me ask you a question. Out of all the people that you want on your side in the midst of a battle, the one that I would choose is God. God himself, the creator of the universe that spoke the heavens and the earth into existence is offering to go into battle with you. The Lord our God mighty in battle.

And you know, guys, we have battles in our lives, don't we? And you know what this reminds me of, and you're gonna see some parallels, so we might as well mention way back going to the first chapter of Joshua, chapter one, verse seven, we're told, only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid nor be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. I shared with in the staff devotions this morning those verses because those verses are very they're very near and dear to my heart. See because when we started the home bible study the Lord was speaking these verses to my heart.

If you do this, if you meditate in my word day and night, I'll bless you. I'll prosper you. Now God is the one who gets to decide what blessing and what prospering is. Okay we we can get our own vision and our mind. God I want you prospering like that.

Be careful with that. The thing to do is to follow the Lord, meditate in his word, and allow him to show you what blessing and prosperity look like. And more often than not whatever you're thinking is blessing and prosperity is selling God so incredibly short that it's going to blow your mind when he begins to bless you.

Over and over it's an awesome opportunity for me here to to hear story after story of what God's doing in people's lives. Verse 4, see I have divided to you by lot these nations that remain to be an inheritance free of tribes from the Jordan with all the nations that I've cut off as far as the great sea westward. And the Lord your God will expel them before you and drive them out of your sight so you shall possess their land as the Lord your God promised you. Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.

Now we need to notice something and what I'm getting ready to say is going to be politically incorrect and scripturally accurate. God gave Israel the land. God gave it to them. The UN didn't give it to them. England didn't give it to them. They didn't win it necessarily through a war. God gave them the land.

You know I get so tired of hearing the term occupied territories. It's interesting as you see more and more things shape up over there and please be you know as I encourage people often pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim. We need to be praying for the peace of Jerusalem because you know as you pray that you're really praying for Jesus to come back because there's not going to be peace in that city till the Prince of Peace comes. So I think we can all agree to pray that prayer.

Amen. Now we look at this and you have to answer okay we're in the book of Joshua. How does this apply to my life? I understand something and it always breaks my heart to hear some pastor or teacher or preacher to talk about how the Old Testament shouldn't be taught and the Hebrew scriptures need to be left alone. It just it breaks my heart because there's so much wisdom in here. There's so much wisdom in the book of proverbs. I've gone back recently to reading a proverb a day. There's 31 proverbs. If you do that let me guarantee you God will give you wisdom.

Why? Because there's wisdom in there. You can ask for wisdom and you can read a proverb a day and you'll get it but there's so many there's so much wisdom and awesome things here in the Hebrew scriptures. And here is the Lord again speaking through Joshua. Again be courageous and we often think of Joshua as this really brave warrior and I think in part he was but don't think he was like brave and that he was never afraid because over and over and over in scripture he's told to be courageous and be strong. I don't know about you but I don't usually feel the need to encourage somebody to be courageous and be strong if I think they're already courageous and strong.

I'm generally going to say that to somebody that you know maybe they're you know shaking in their shaking in their boots kind of thing. And so here's a word for us to be courageous and it says to keep all that is written. Well praise God we're not under the law.

Wait a minute now be careful. We are not under the law we are under grace. Does that mean that we can tear off two-thirds of this book and throw it away? Absolutely not.

Absolutely not. You see in Isaiah chapter 30 verse 21 it says your ears shall hear a word behind you saying this is the way walk in it whenever you turn to the right hand or whether whenever you turn to the left. We need to understand and it's put forth in this book here and in other places that God has a design and God has a plan for your life. Well if God has a plan and God has a design for your life what needs to happen? Well number one we need to find out what that plan is. Number one we need to find out what that plan is. Number two we need to walk in that plan. We need to walk in that plan. Find out what the plan is and walk in the plan. Because here's what can happen.

Don't stop at number one. I go to church I know what I'm supposed to do. No no no.

Know what you're supposed to do and do it. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's Word in just a moment. But first, what does it mean when God prunes away at parts of your life? Is he angry at you? Have you done something wrong?

Far from it. Jesus teaches in John 15 that God lovingly removes things from your life so that you can grow into the person he created you to be and bear more fruit for Christ. We want to help you do that by sending you Abiding in Christ, Keys to a Fruitful Life. A three-part audio series from Pastor David McGee on what it means to be pruned by God and how you can embrace the process. This encouraging resource is our way of thanking you for your gift to help reach more people with the powerful truth of the gospel through Cross the Bridge.

So go to crossthebridge.com today and request your copy of this series. Now back to today's message. Are you aware of how many people sit home on Sunday morning and if you were to ask them, hey, should you be in church? They go, yeah, I should be. Well, why aren't you?

I don't know. So their knowledge is not leading them to walk in the path. It's got to be an application.

It's got to be walking in it. And in order to do this, you got to be open to what God's plan is. See, here's what we often do. Okay, God, here's my plan.

I need you to bless it. No, wait a minute. That's backwards.

That's backwards. See, we as a church, this is the way we operate. We see, God, what's your plan? What is your plan? Okay, now you've given us the plan. Bless your plan, God. I don't want to spend time going, okay, God, we drafted this 10-year projection on where we're going to do and what we're going to be and all that stuff and I need you to bless it. Bless it now, God.

Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen. No, that's not following the Lord. And even when you think you know what the plan is, give God the freedom to change the plan because chances are good He's going to change your plan. And you can spend your time getting freaked out about that and getting anxious or you can just realize that God steers us to keep us in the middle of the path. Now, how do you go down this path?

It's talking about don't turn to the left or turn to the right. Well, the next life lesson here is walk in the ways of God, follow Jesus. Walk in the ways of God, follow Jesus. We talked Sunday morning about how the disciples, they didn't have a leader. No rabbi had chosen them to say, hey, come follow me. You're the best of the best. I want you to come follow me.

That had happened. So Jesus then goes to these guys who had been left out in the cold, the yeshiva dropouts is what we call them, and they said, hey, you know what? I want you to follow me. I want you to follow me. And that's what Jesus is doing with us now.

Now, how do you do that? Well, let me give you a couple of really practical tips from God's Word. Proverbs chapter 3 verse 5 through 7. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your past. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

Go back to this first time and time and time and time and time again because you know what we do? We tend to lean on our own understanding. That's why we're told in the book of Proverbs, do not lean on your own understanding because we're tempted to lean on that that we understand. When we get in a problem, when we get in a predicament, what do we fall back on? We're supposed to fall back on the Lord, but we fall back on our understanding. Well, I don't understand what's going on.

It doesn't matter. You can know the one who does understand. So, follow the Lord and don't follow yourself. Trust in the Lord.

Now, what's the flip side of that? Don't trust in yourself. Well, Pastor David, that's not very high on the warm, fuzzy content there. I'm telling you from experience, don't trust yourself. Trust God.

See, here's what happens. A lot of Christians get in this habit of trusting themselves because they think, well, I've been redeemed. I've been saved.

Now, I can trust myself. Now, I don't have to depend as much on God. And they live a life of just being disillusioned as a Christian.

They go, well, I don't understand. You know, I'm following God. Where's the joy?

Where's the peace? But they're not really following the Lord. They're following themselves.

They're trusting in themselves. That was the shattering thing that happened to Peter. Peter came to the end of himself with those denials, and he no longer, again, trusted Peter. He trusted God. And look at the difference that it made in his life.

It made all the difference. And if you're following yourself, if you're trusting in your own wisdom, you know what you're really doing. It's like you ever seen a dog chase its tail. That's what you're doing.

If you're leaning into your own understanding, let that sink into your heart and in your mind. Is that what you want to do? Is that what you want to be? Hopefully not.

Hopefully not. But that happens in our lives sometimes. We talk to people here, and you know, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. What are you doing? I'm chasing my tail.

You know, help me, help me, help me, help me. You know, and it's, you stick your foot out and help them stop maybe. Where's that little dog going? He's not going anywhere. He's going in a circle. Now, if I saw a dog doing that, I'm probably going to say something to Mr. Dog just so he won't, he'll quit doing that.

If there's somebody in your life that they're doing that, love them enough to say something. Brother, sister, you're chasing your tail. You're leaning to your own understanding. What's another way we can follow Jesus? Romans 12, 1, and 10 says, I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Your attention, please. I said, don't follow yourself. Follow the Lord.

Let me mention something else. Don't follow the world. Follow the Lord. Don't follow the world. The world has a set system of doing things that's not biblical.

Don't be shocked by that. There's just a reality there. They don't look at things in the same way. They don't look at problems in the same way.

They don't look at solutions in the same way. So be careful about going to somebody in the world for your solution to your problems and what's going on in your life. Don't follow the world. Follow the Lord and let God be the leader of your life.

Let God be the leader of your life. What's that mean? That means you're following Him. So if God's going this way, guess where you're going.

You're going that way. So if God's going that way and you're going this way, you know what you can figure out? You're not following God. So when you get over here and there's a problem or you get lost or whatever, you realize why you're over there.

What happened? You quit following God. Now understand that these things happen. There's times, there's hours, there's minutes, there's days, there's weeks, there's years. Sometimes when we get off over here and we're like, oh, I missed the turn back there, didn't I?

But you know what? Praise God. Praise God. He never looks at us and goes, yep, you missed the turn. You're done. It's over. You can't follow me anymore.

He never does that. He goes, yeah, yep. You seem to get off track, but look, here's the way you get back on track.

Isn't that an amazing thing? Any moment, any day, any morning, any night, you can get back on track with God. And you say, Lord, you know what? I need you to lead me. My prayer to God is lead me strongly because that's the kind of man that God made me.

I'd be honest. I need to be led strongly. There's some horses that will just respond with a little pull of the reins and there's some with tough mouths.

I've got kind of a tough mouth, I guess. But God's faithful to lead me strongly. Amen. Verse 7, unless you go among these nations, these who remain among you, you shall not make mention of the name of their gods nor cause anyone to swear by them. You shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God as you have done to this day. He's having to warn them not to follow the gods of the people who lost.

I mean, is it just me or is this a little ironic? I mean, if their gods would have been all that, they would have been winning the battles. Now, I could understand some confusion at that point. My God lost, maybe I should serve your God. That's not what happened. Their God won. Why would they sit there and go, well, your God lost. I think I'll follow him. That doesn't make any sense to me, but you know, such as we are, we need to be reminded to follow the God who wins. Amen.

And what's interesting in this phrase, hold fast, is the word debak. It means to cling or to adhere or to catch by pursuit. I like that, pursuing God. It's not that he's running from you, but that we need to be in pursuit of him and making sure that nothing gets in the way. And when stuff gets in the way, get it out of the way.

Because you know what? And life happens, and as life happens, stuff gets in the way. And we got to remove the stuff out of the way and follow the Lord. That theme is throughout Scripture.

Matthew 6.33 says, but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Now, some people say, well, that's an oversimplification. No, it's not.

No, it's not. My life has been such, when I wasn't seeking first the kingdom of God, everything else was in turmoil. But as I seek God first, everything else somehow seems to get structured and ordered.

You ever notice that? So as you passionately follow the Lord, the New Living Translation puts us first like this. It says, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern.

I like the way that's worded. Make the kingdom of God your primary concern. Brother, sister, what's your primary concern tonight? Well, I've got this problem and I've got that problem. You're not going to settle it. You're not going to fix it. But God makes us a promise here that if we make his kingdom our primary concern, that all this will get in order.

It'll get in place. Now, does that make real sense if you sit down and analyze it? Maybe not, but you know what? It's a supernatural thing. And let me tell you, God is faithful to do just this.

If you follow him and make him your concern, all this gets in order. I firmly believe that the reason that God is blessing this fellowship, it's not because we have contemporary worship. There's other people out there that are doing contemporary worship. It's not the fact that we have casual dressers.

Churches out there that are doing casual dress thing. I believe it is because we are giving reverence to God's word. We are teaching God's word here.

And so many people come here and time after time I hear this, I didn't know how starving I was till I sat in the service here and listened to the word of God. Amen. Praise the Lord. And I am watching God bless this. You know, I think honestly I could just sit up here and read the chapter and say amen and walk off and God would be blessing. Because he blesses, he blesses his word. This is also the easiest and the best way to avoid any type of heresy, any type of apostasy or doctrinal error is to teach the whole counsel of God. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?

You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short simple prayer. Simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him.

Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned. And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you.

All of my days. In Jesus name. Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. So congratulations friend.

You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our first steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Do you feel like you're bearing fruit for Christ, yet God keeps pruning away at your life and you're not sure why? If so, we'd love to send you Pastor David McGee's series, Abiding in Christ, Keys to a Fruitful Life.

This encouraging resource shares from Jesus's own words as found in John 15, where he teaches that God's pruning is a sign that he is pleased with you and wants to prepare you to bear even more fruit for his kingdom. This series is our way of thanking you for your gift today to help share the gospel with thousands around the world who need to hear God's word in clear, straightforward language. So visit crossthebridge.com today to request your copy of a Bible in Christ when you give.

You know each day comes with its share of stresses. So what better way to wake up than with an encouraging word from the Lord? Visit crossthebridge.com and sign up now for David McGee's email devotionals. Each devotion includes scripture and a message from the heart of David McGee. It's easy and it's free. Sign up today at crossthebridge.com and be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge as we continue in the book of Joshua. We'll see you then.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-20 00:11:19 / 2024-04-20 00:22:36 / 11

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