Share This Episode
Living in the Light Anne Graham Lotz Logo

Just Do It

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2022 3:00 pm

Just Do It

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 181 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
More Than Ink
Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

There's a thrill to the adventure of following Christ just that you might know God, to know His presence and His power. Welcome to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz and today's message from Joshua chapter 3. Anne's encouraging each of us to make it a deliberate act of our will, our intentional choice to follow the living God, to just do it.

Here's Anne. Several years ago on TV there was an ad that's become a classic. It was for Nike shoes. It was one that showed Michael Jordan flies up over the basket and he jams the ball down through the basket. Then the screen went black and three words appear, just do it. In other words, there comes a time to stop talking about what you can do with a basketball and stop practicing and stop bragging and stop thinking about it and stop reading the plays and just do it.

Listen to me. There comes a time to stop thinking about crossing the Jordan and experiencing everything God has for you and stop planning for it and stop going to seminars about it and stop reading about it and stop praying about it and stop discussing it and just do it. Move out of the wilderness and cross over the Jordan and enter into everything that God has for you. Would you open your Bibles to Joshua chapter 3? We're going to look at the Israelites doing just that. They've been in the wilderness a long time. They're going to move out of the wilderness. They're going to cross over the Jordan. They're going to enter into everything that God has for them and in chapter 3 verse 1 I see them moving out of the wilderness eagerly because it says in verse 1, early in the morning, Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and they went to the Jordan where they camped before crossing over and the fact that they got up early in the morning just let me know they were excited. I mean they've been in the wilderness all of their lives and now they're getting ready to experience everything God has for them and they can hardly wait. They crossed deliberately.

It wasn't like you know in history when the Oklahoma Sooners went in that mad land rush and they all lined up their covered wagons and then the gun went off and man they just took off and everybody trying to grab the land before somebody else could grab it and this was not like that. This was a deliberate moving out and crossing over and when you and I seek to experience everything God has for us it's not an emotional rush. It's a deliberate act of our will and we're choosing to do this.

Now there may be some emotions associated with it but our decision to cross is not based on our emotions. It's a deliberate act of our will and you can see this in verse 2, after three days the officers went throughout the camp giving orders to the people. When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God and the priests who are the Levites carrying it, you're to move out. In other words you're to keep your focus on the Ark. In fact the Ark is mentioned 13 times in this chapter. It's the focus really of the chapter and the Ark of the Covenant was a gold box or a box overlaid in gold.

On the top were two cherubim or angels facing each other with their wings outspread. The lid of the Ark was called the mercy seat because when sacrifices were made for sin the priest would sprinkle the blood of the lamb on that mercy seat and that's where God was said to meet man. And inside of the Ark of the Covenant there were three things. There was Aaron's rod that had budded which reminded the people of God's power. There was a jar of manna which reminded people of God's provision and there were the tablets of the law which reminded people of God's precepts and his law that never changes. But really it was the symbol of God's presence in their midst.

God is a spirit. Nobody can see God and live and the Ark of the Covenant was the visible manifestation of his presence in their midst. So the people are told when they're getting ready to move out of the wilderness to keep their focus on the Ark.

Keep your focus on Christ. You know it would be easy I would think to look at the Jordan River. It was at flood stage. Muddy swirling water and the flood waters carrying all the debris and the stuff and it's dangerous and then they can look across that dangerous flood engorged river and see Jericho sitting up there on the hill.

A huge enemy fortress. And it would be easy to keep their focus on the fortress or keep their focus on the flood river or keep their focus maybe on a family member or somebody else who wasn't too excited or you know don't keep your focus on anything other than the Ark. Keep your focus on the Lord when you're getting ready to move out. And not only keep your focus on the Lord but you follow the Lord because it says in the last of verse 3, when you see the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God carrying it you're to move out from your positions and follow it. And you follow the Lord. And the reason we're crossing, the reason we're moving out of the wilderness and crossing over the Jordan and into the Promised Land that's where the Lord is going. And if you want to be with the Lord you've got to cross over. And it says in verse 4 that you're to keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the Ark and don't go near it.

And I wondered was that out of reverence or respect? And then I thought you know there are about two and a half million Israelites getting ready to cross and they asked that they not follow, they leave a length of about the length of three football fields and a little bit more than that in between the Ark and the first person. And I think it's so that everybody could focus on the Ark.

If you got too close to it you could keep or hinder somebody's view of it who was in the back. And so really what he's saying is as you're following the Ark don't hinder anybody else from keeping their focus on it. And when we seek to follow Christ you and I need to be careful that we don't hinder somebody else from following Christ. And we can cross with a self-righteous attitude or a judgmental attitude or a critical spirit or you know something that would keep somebody else from wanting to follow the Ark.

And so we're to focus on the Ark and we're to follow the Ark but in such a way that we remember that there are other people who are following also and we don't want to hinder somebody else's view. And they followed or they moved out sincerely in verse 5. Joshua told the people to consecrate yourself. And consecration is just setting yourself aside for God's purpose and just getting along with God and I think examining their hearts and their motives and their intentions because although there are two and a half million people who are going to go this was still an individual choice. And we can talk about moving out of the wilderness and crossing over the Jordan and you can talk about it amongst yourselves and at lunch time and at supper time and the messages are geared that way and you can sort of get caught up in the flow of it but listen to me.

If you're going to cross over it has to be sincerely in your heart and you make the individual choice. This is your personal individual choice before God and you examine your heart and you examine your motives and you examine your desire. And so each one consecrated themselves as they moved out sincerely. And then I believe they moved out expectantly. In verse 5 the last part of it he says consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. And there was an expectance that they were going to experience the fullness of God's blessing and they were going to experience the fullness of his promise. He had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey and they were going to cross over and experience and begin to experience everything God had been promising them. So they were expecting that God would fulfill this promise that it was going to be good. And the amazing thing that God would do for them of course they were going to come to that Jordan River at flood stage and it was going to roll back. And so they were going to experience also not only God's promise but God's power to move it back. In fact that's what Joshua says in verse 9 he says come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you your enemies.

And then he talks about the Jordan River rolling back. That tomorrow not only did they have an expectancy that God was going to fulfill his promise and carry them over but they were going to feel his power in a way they never had before. They were going to begin to walk in power and victory. They were going to advance in their walk of faith. And they were going to experience his presence again and again. Verse 6, verse 8, verse 11, 13 times the Ark of the Covenant is going before you.

The Ark of the Covenant is going with you. They were going to experience God's presence. Listen they were going to experience God's promise and his presence and his power. They were just going to experience God in a fresh new way.

How long has it been since you've had a fresh experience of the living God? I was doing a study of the life of Abraham and I knew that Abraham knew God in such a personal way that God called Abraham his friend. Now if I told you I knew the Queen of England you'd sort of smirk. But if the Queen of England walked in here and said Anne Lotz is my friend you'd be impressed. And God called Abraham his friend.

That's impressive. And I decided I wanted to know God like that. I wanted to know God like Abraham did. And I thought you know if I don't it's not that something's wrong with God it's that something's wrong with me because God hasn't changed.

He's the same yesterday, today and forever. And if Abraham knew him yesterday why can't I know him today? And I set out on a pilgrimage to know God in a personal living real friendship.

And I can't say I know him as well as I want to or as well as I should but I know him better today than I did years ago. And there is a thrill to the adventure of following Christ just that you might know God. To know his presence and his power and fulfillment of his promise in your life. In fact that's one reason I keep going in this itinerant ministry and traveling around and doing what I do when I'm dog tired and I just as soon stay home because of the adventure of being out there and getting out of my comfort zone and climbing out on a limb and just discovering how big God is and how strong God is and how faithful God is and how true God is and how right God is.

And it's the joy of my life to experience God. And so they were moving out of the wilderness expecting to experience God in a fresh new way. And they moved out actively. There came a time they just had to do it. And they had to stop longing for the promised land and stop looking over the Jordan at the promised land and stop thinking about the promised land and stop expecting and deliberating and consecrating and just do it.

And there comes a time when you've just got to act on what God has already revealed to you and make the decision and just do it. And it was an act of determination. Verse 14, they had to break camp. Think of it, the last day in the wilderness, folding up their tents, packing away their pots and pans, gathering all their animals, dressing their children. Today they broke camp and they were going to move out. And it was an act of determination.

It was a decision they made. And I challenge you today, break camp. You may have to change your schedule. You may have to get up earlier. You may have to set a relationship right.

You may have to sort out some things in your life. I don't know what it means for you to break camp but you do it. It's an act of determination.

You just decide to do it. And it was an act of devotion. Verse 14, the priest carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. Remember they were keeping their focus on the Ark and they were following the Ark.

And it was an act of devotion. The reason they were crossing the Jordan, they wanted to follow the Ark. And God had been with them in the wilderness.

But now he was saying he was no longer going to be with them in the wilderness. He was crossing the Jordan. If they wanted to be with him, they had to cross the Jordan too. And God has been with you in the wilderness I'm sure because he's a faithful God. But I believe he would tell you he's crossing the Jordan. And if you want to be with him in fullness and power and joy and peace, you need to break camp. And you need to follow him across the Jordan.

It's an act of devotion. Egypt can look attractive from the wilderness. I was thinking of the Israelites there.

Do you remember when they were complaining? And they said, we just want you to take us back to Egypt. We want the garlic and the leeks of Egypt. And although God's presence had been in their midst and they could see the fiery pillar at night and the cloudy pillar by day and he gave them water from a rock and their shoes never wore out and their clothes never wore out and all of that, somehow the wilderness going around in circles, constantly being defeated, constantly discouraged, constantly struggling, going nowhere, really having no goal in mind, just going round and round, it makes the world look attractive, doesn't it? And I wonder if that's why a lot of Christians have a hard time separating from the world.

And they're still getting their pleasure from the world and their satisfaction from the world and they're involved in worldly pursuits and they've adopted worldly attitudes and values because when you live in the wilderness, Egypt looks good. But I'll tell you something. There's not anybody in the Promised Land who wants to go back to Egypt. And the Lord can be with you in the wilderness and you can be saved, wasting your Christian life, longing for Egypt. But the Lord is saying, that's enough. We've had enough of complacency and apathy and mediocrity and same old, same old. We're going to cross.

Are you coming? And it was an act of devotion. They wanted to know God, not just about him. They wanted to experience God, not just everything he had for him.

They wanted to experience him. So there was an expectancy that was an act of determination, an act of devotion, an act of daring. In verse 15, the Jordan was at flood stage all during harvest, yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water's edge and they had to get their feet wet.

You know, and I wonder, I can just see them carrying the ark of the covenant, leading all of these people and they get ten feet from the water and nothing happens and five feet from the water and nothing happens and one foot from the water and nothing happens and then they put their feet in the water and nothing happens and I wonder if they looked at each other and thought, are we making a fool of ourselves? You know, there's a risk involved, isn't there? You come to cross the Jordan, you come to surrender everything to the Lord. You're going to change your lifestyle, change your goals, change your priorities, change the sources of your satisfaction. There's a risk.

I mean, what if the waters don't roll back? What if I don't have a sense of God's presence or his power? What if he doesn't keep his promise to give me an experience of everything he has for me? I mean, if I give him my marriage, I may have to stay in it. If I give him my children, they may live a life different than the one I've really planned for them. If I give him my time, he may take it and call me into service.

If I give him my ministry, he may prune it back or maybe he'll expand it and scare me to death. You know, when it comes to crossing the Jordan, sometimes you just have to get your feet wet. It's called a step of faith and just by faith, you're going to move out of the wilderness because you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, sick and tired of defeat and discouragement and going nowhere with God and you're going to cross. I want to give you a visual.

I've only done this one other visual one other time in my life, but this is the second time and I started doing it when we did Joshua and it seems to help, but I want to share with you. This is crossing the Jordan. It's just the two simple lines and at the bottom of the cross is salvation and this is where you receive Christ as your Savior and the cross piece, the horizontal line of the cross is the Jordan River and at the top of the cross is the Promised Land. That's where you experience everything God has for you. That's the fullness of God's blessing and many times when somebody is saved and they receive Jesus Christ as Savior, they start at the foot of the cross and they travel along the cross and they're going to Bible studies. They're going to church. They're starting to pray. They have Christian friends. They're beginning to live the Christian life.

They're beginning to experience something of what God has for them. Then they come to the Jordan River where they would cross over and very often it's a crisis that brings us to this point or decision that we're confronted with. Then they come to the Jordan River and rather than cross and surrender that situation to the Lord, you can just have the rest of my life. I want you to use it for your glory. Help me to have your peace and your joy and reach out to others who are hurting like this and maybe it's some other kind of decision you have to make.

Maybe it's a decision about your business and you can really get a tremendous advantage if you would just compromise your integrity and that's a decision. That can be just something that God would give you that would determine whether you're going to cross or not. I had received a call from our son and he said, Mom, I have cancer and right out of the blue, I mean you talk about something that just sends you into orbit, you know, and I had the choice.

I knew I had come to the Jordan and I had a choice and I could say, God, you know, I've been out trying to serve you. I've tried to be a good Christian wife and a Christian mom. I've tried to raise my children to love you and you would let this happen to my son and I could have just done a U-turn and just gone back on him and said, I don't want to do this anymore. If you can't be good to me when I try to be good for you, then I don't want it anymore. Or maybe I wouldn't have done that.

Maybe I would do like this person. This person starts out at the bottom of the cross. They're saved. They start reading their Bibles, going to church, going to Bible study. Then they come to the Jordan River like this and rather than cross, they just live along the riverbank and it's hard for a person sitting next to them to know that they've not even crossed and I could have come to the Jordan and just lived along the riverbank and I would have kept up a smile and I would have continued speaking and I would have continued sharing the Scriptures and you would never know in my heart that I was angry towards God, that I harbored a rebellious spirit, that I was offended that he'd let that happen to me and so I could fake people out.

You would think I was over here when really I was just living along the riverbank. There are a lot of people who live along the riverbank and you can teach Sunday school. You can pray out loud. You're a Christian mom, a Christian dad, Christian leader.

Maybe you're on the board of deacons in your church. Nobody knows that in your heart you're harboring some rebellion against God or some area of your life you're refusing to surrender to him, some secret habit of sin, some attitude. Maybe it's an unforgiving heart towards somebody who was abusive to you when you were younger or an injustice that you've experienced in your adult age or something that's happened to your children.

Maybe it's a bitterness towards somebody in your family. Maybe it's just a habit, something that you just won't let go of and God says if you want to come over here and experience everything I have for you, you have to go through the Jordan River. Really what this is is just experiencing the cross at a deeper level, isn't it?

It's what we call the crucified life and you take the cross into your life for salvation but then you live it out in your surrender to Jesus Christ and you just give him everything. The Israelites were moving out of the wilderness and they were going to cross over the Jordan River and just experience everything God had for them. And my challenge to you, would you move out that you might cross over the Jordan, whatever it is, give it to the Lord, surrender it.

You'll never experience everything God has for you. You'll never get to the promised land if you don't cross the Jordan. And so the Israelites crossed over because the priests stood quietly in the river getting their feet wet, taking that step of faith. I don't know how long it was, maybe just a moment or two, maybe it was five minutes, maybe it was ten minutes, long enough for everybody to see that the priests were standing there with their feet wet. And then the Jordan River at flood stage parted and the water to the south just drained off and flooded the plain and the water to the right just built up in a great big heap. And instead of there being a muddy river bottom there was dry ground and the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.

Let me tell you something, it was easy to cross the Jordan. The hard part was making the decision to do it. They had struggled with that decision for 40 years. How long have you been struggling with the decision to surrender your life to Christ? All of your Christian life.

Ever since you gave him your life and then he said, I want you to give me that habit and I want you to give me that relationship and I want you to give me that attitude. And you've been wrestling ever since. And the struggle will just wear you out. It's like Jacob in the Jabbok River wrestling with the angel of the Lord, refusing to yield his life, trying to cross over without yielding everything to God. And God finally reached down and just broke him.

Don't take it to that point. God knows how to break his people. And I love Jacob even after he was broken. His arms are around God's neck and he says, God I won't let you go until you bless me. I want everything that you have for me. And boy did God give it to Jacob.

Everything. The fullness of his blessing. And maybe somebody here has already wrestled to the point of brokenness. Some of us are stubborn enough like Jacob just takes God breaking us in some way. And when you're broken, you just yield to the Lord, put your arms around his neck and say, God I just won't let you go until you bless me. I want to cross over that I might be blessed.

And they crossed over and it was easy. There's a relief that comes when you stop wrestling and you just make the decision to do it. Now here's Ann with this final word. It's time you left the wilderness. Stop wandering, going nowhere in your relationship with God. Wandering is emptiness, weariness, and can lead to spiritual despondency, apathy, and in the end, a wasted Christian life.

It can open you up for temptation to look for something more exciting, more fulfilling, more satisfying and worldly selfish pursuits. Because deep down you're looking for blessing, satisfaction, meaning, fulfillment, but you can't get those things through wilderness wandering. When you wander, you're missing the fullness of the blessing God wants to give you. So right now, as you're listening to my voice, stop wrestling with God. Give in to him. Let go of your own pursuits, your own will that is resisting total surrender to his will. Step into the Jordan. Leave behind your own wants, goals, ambitions, dreams. What God has for you is so much more than you could ever think to get for yourself. Just ask Joshua and the children of Israel. Embrace everything God has for you. Just do it. Living in the Light is a weekly study in God's Word with teacher and author Anne Graham Lotz.

Learn to listen to his voice. Then start making the choice to keep on going and believing and trusting who God is. Go to Take advantage of the many helpful free resources to get you started. Join us again for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 23:59:13 / 2023-04-06 00:09:23 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime