Anne Graham Lotz from today's message, God's Power in Your Life. What has He told you to do? Has He asked for your service? Has He asked for your time? Has He told you to witness to your neighbor?
What has He told you to do? You're listening to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz from the life of Joshua and a visual proof of God's power in our life. Now from Joshua chapter 4, here's Anne. Chapter 4 verse 1, when the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, choose 12 men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priest stood. Carry them over with you.
Put them down at the place where you stay tonight. So as they crossed over, they were to pick up these stones, put them on the riverbank, and the purpose was in verse 6, in the future when your children ask you, what do these stones mean? You tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off and these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. They were like rocks of remembrance. Now I've wondered for weeks what our rocks of remembrance could be. Just a visual proof of God's power in our lives. A visual proof that we've crossed the Jordan and we've surrendered our lives to Christ. I thought back, and I don't know if this is taking it too literally or not, but I mean they were rocks.
They were literal rocks that they picked up from the riverbed and when the waters came back and flowed back over it, you could always point to those rocks and say that came out of the middle of the riverbed when we crossed on dry ground. So it was sort of a visual reminder of the power of God. I think that we crossed the Jordan once and for all as we give God everything and we say God you can have my life. He takes that to a deeper level and we have deeper experiences of that as he says alright you want to surrender your life to me now I want this and I want that. It's easy to say God you can have everything and then when we begin to know what he wants, then you know the choice gets deeper and deeper and deeper. And so I can say God you can have my children and then when one of them calls and says mom I have cancer, then I have the choice to go deeper in my surrender. And right there on the phone with Jonathan I said Jonathan you know your purpose in life is not to be healthy and it's not to be wealthy and problem free and happy. Your purpose in life is to glorify God and you can do that if you have six weeks to live.
You can do that if you have one year to live. You can do that if God extends your life until you live out your normal life span. You just live your life to the glory of God. And right there on the phone Jonathan and I prayed rededicating his life to God's glory.
And God took me deeper in that surrender. It may be somebody here has crossed the Jordan. You've given God everything but now he's come along and he's saying I want. What is it?
Maybe it's something else. Maybe it's a spouse or a parent or your business or your church or your ministry or your opportunities for ministry or your goals, your desires, your dreams. And you say Lord you can have everything and he says alright then I want this. And you cross the Jordan when you give him this.
And he takes you deeper. And they crossed with literal proof. They collected their stones of remembrance. And they crossed with living proof. Their lives were living proof that they had crossed. When they finished crossing they were on the other side of the Jordan and nobody could doubt that they had crossed. Their whole life, where they lived, how they lived, their surroundings, their environment, their lifestyle was totally different. They were no longer on the wilderness side.
They were on the Canaan side. And they were living proof. And the proof in their lives in verse 10, there was no disobedience. Now the priest who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people just as Moses had directed Joshua.
They were totally obedient. Don't tell me that you've crossed the Jordan if you're disobedient to the Lord. What has he told you to do? Has he asked for your service? Has he asked for your time? Has he told you to go off of your forgiveness to that person? Has he told you to witness to your neighbor?
What has he told you to do? You can't say you've crossed the Jordan if you're disobedient. One aspect of the living proof of your life that you've crossed is that there's no deliberate disobedience in your life.
Now I know we all fall into it. But you don't deliberately disobey. There was no disobedience and there was no delay in verse 10. They hurried over.
They were excited. They also knew that Jordan River had parted and they didn't know how long it was going to be parted. And so they rushed through wanting to walk through that door of opportunity while it was open. If you procrastinate, if you say I've got to think about this, I want to go home and see what my family thinks, I want to look at my schedule, and you put it off, that Jordan may flow back and never again will the Jordan River be as open. And your heart's going to be a little hard and you may never surrender to Christ and you may never experience everything God has for you. When God opens that Jordan, you cross and you hurry and you do it before the devil sows all those doubts in your mind and discourages you and puts your focus on the giants in the land and the fortress on the other side.
And that brings me to the third thing. There was no disobedience, no delay. There was no delusion about this. In verse 13, about 40,000 armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war. Didn't I tell you? A promised land is not a bed of roses. A promised land is going to be one battle after another. Right on the other side of the Jordan there was a huge enemy fortress and they were going to have to deal with that before they could even get on to the next battle. But you know something?
Battle after battle after battle meant also there was victory after victory after victory. You know the devil doesn't bother with people in the wilderness. You know, same old, same old, defeated, discouraged, going in circles, going nowhere with God. They're not attractive. Nobody wants to join them. He just leaves them alone in their misery and their apathy and their complacency and all of their worldliness as they long for Egypt. And the ones he's worried about are the ones who decided to move out of the wilderness and cross over the Jordan because they're the ones that are going to start confronting him. They're the ones who are going to take up their sword and start fighting. They're the ones who are going to have victory over him.
And he doesn't want to give in. And so there'll be battles. Don't let there be any delusion. But you remember? You have the Lord's promise of victory.
You have his presence in your life and you have his power. And so the waters of the Jordan had rolled back. And in verse 18, the priests came up out of the river carrying the Ark of the Covenant. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stages before and there was no going back. Just as soon as the last little child had crossed, the last little bleeding sheep, the last wagon load of stuff, then the Ark came with the priests carrying it and no sooner had their feet stepped up out of the river bed than with a thunderous roar, the Jordan River came back blocking any retreat.
No going back. And I'll tell you something, there's not one person who crossed the Jordan that wanted to go back anyway. When you surrender your life to Christ and you begin to experience everything he has for you, it is so exciting. There is so much peace. There's so much joy. There's so much adventure. Who would go back to the wilderness?
It's boring. And you're thrilled. Even with the thought of conflict and battle and hardship, you know you're going to experience the strength and the power of God in a new fresh way. And after the battles there can come times of peace. You read through Joshua, there were times of rest and peace and facts almost harder to experience everything God had for them when there was peace and prosperity and when there was battle after battle after battle.
Sometimes peace and prosperity can be a dangerous place to be in your Christian life. But they did achieve it after a measure of time. But they were the literal proof when those waters went back, they had the literal proof of the rocks they had taken up from the river bed and they were living proof themselves because they were now on the other side.
And there was also lasting proof. In verse 19, on the 10th day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the 12 stones they had taken out of the Jordan and he said to the Israelites, in the future when your descendants ask their fathers what do these stones mean, tell them Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. And the lasting proof that you've crossed is that you tell people what God has done for you. And you go home, you tell your family and your friends what God has done in your life.
Give them evidence in your own verbal testimony to the power of God to change your heart and to change your life. Tell your children. And it says we tell our children not only just about what we say but the way we live our lives.
You know, we can say it all day long can't we? And our children watch us much more carefully than they listen to us. And we tell our children by the way we live when they see us getting up early for prayer and they see us on our knees in prayer and they see us getting answers to prayer and they see us reading our Bibles and they see us being obedient to our Bibles and they see us serving the Lord and leading a Bible study and getting involved and they get the message. And the message they get is that you've crossed the Jordan. And the reason you've crossed is because of the greatness of God. Verse 23, for the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. And the Lord your God did to the Jordan just as he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. And you tell them about the greatness of God, the same God that delivered you from your sin in Egypt and the same God that's been with you in the wilderness has taken you across the Jordan, filling your life with blessing. And it's for his glory he's done this so that all peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful, that you might always fear the Lord your God.
And people look in your life and your living proof and your lasting proof to the power and the greatness and the glory of the Lord your God. Now believe if there's one thing our world needs to see, it's Christians who are on the other side of the Jordan. Christians who are living in power and victory. You know I think the one thing that I see missing in America, more than anything else, all this mess going on in Washington, all the stuff the talking heads on TV, all the things you read in the newspaper, the one thing that's so absent it's glaring, there is no fear of God.
They talk about what they can get by with, they talk about what the political polls are saying, they talk about what the people will accept and nobody, nobody except maybe faithful pastors in the churches but nobody on a national level is saying anything about what does God say. There's no fear of God and I wonder if there's no fear of God because for so long Christians have lived in the wilderness and the enemy's not afraid of us. It was when they crossed the Jordan and they gave living lasting literal proof to the power of God in their lives. Look at chapter 5 verse 1, that's when the enemy west of the Jordan and the Canaanite kings along the seacoast, they heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over. Their hearts sank. They no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.
They were afraid of Israel because they had fear of Israel's God. Maybe our world would get back a healthy fear of God if you and I would get out of the wilderness and cross over the Jordan and surrender our lives to him and let, and you know just be available to God. Let him have everything.
Let him use you in any way he wants. Let him fill your life with his Holy Spirit, giving you peace and joy and purpose and meaning and power to impact this world for him. Then the world stands back and takes notice. Now they'll fight against you and these people came against the Israelites and they can attack you but in their hearts there's a respect and there is a fear of your God and God will give you victory. God gave them victory. They had crossed over the Jordan with literal proof. They had their rocks of remembrance.
People would say, what's a pile of rocks over there? And they would say, haven't I told you about the day after we'd been in the wilderness 40 years we'd left Egypt in this titanic demonstration of God's power and we came into the wilderness and went in circles for 40 years, living the same old, same old, going nowhere with God and then Joshua said, it's come time. We're going to break camp and we're going to cross over and God rolled back the waters of the Jordan and did I tell you, they were at flood stage, muddy, swirling waters and they rolled back and we crossed the Jordan on dry ground.
It was easy. We picked up stones from the middle of the river bed and those are the stones, proof that we crossed the Jordan. And look at me.
I'm on the West Bank. I'm living proof and let me tell you what God's done for me and I'll give lasting proof. And the lasting proof really is the next generation, isn't it? What our children see in us. And I can tell you as a child of parents who had crossed the Jordan, it's contagious. And you see your parents cross the Jordan. You see them living a life of surrender and you see them praying and getting answers to prayer and you see them reading their Bible and being obedient. You see them serving the Lord at cost of their lives. You want to cross the Jordan too.
That's our lasting proof, what we pass on to the next generation. So would you choose to experience everything God has for you? Move out of the wilderness, cross over the Jordan, enter into the Promised Land. And the Israelites in chapter 5 enter in and this surprised me because I thought they would enter in with celebration and have a party all night and be so excited they're finally in. Instead when they enter in the first thing they experience is conviction of sin. So don't be surprised if you make the decision to surrender your life to Christ and he says alright.
And he pinpoints something in your life that you need to confess, that you need to correct, something you need to repent of. And so in verse 2, at that time the Lord said to Joshua, now this is the very first order of business in the Promised Land, make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again. So Joshua made flint knives and he circumcised the Israelites and then he goes on to explain why this was necessary. And I want to explain to you, I'll put it in my own words, when God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and said Abraham if you follow me in a life of faith I'll give you descendants like the stars of the sky, I'll give you one descendant through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed, speaking of Jesus, and I'll give you the Promised Land. And Abraham agreed and he followed God in a life of faith and God made a covenant with Abraham.
And from God's point of view it could never be broken, God would never break his covenant with his people. And the sign of the covenant was circumcision, so Abraham was circumcised, all of his promises went to Isaac, he was circumcised, all of his promises went to Jacob, he was circumcised, his 12 sons received the promises, they were circumcised and after that all of the Jewish or the Israelite males were circumcised. It was a sign that God was their God, they were his people, they had entered into this covenant relationship. Now listen to me, when they left Egypt, Moses had them all circumcised, all the men and the boys circumcised, and that was a sign they were claiming and entering into God's covenant. And then God took them to the Promised Land and they rebelled against them and said we don't want to go in, there are giants there. And at Sinai when Moses gave them the law he found them worshipping the golden calf, they didn't want to worship God, they wanted a calf and a god like the Egyptians had. And they went in circles rebelling against God, finally they said take us back to Egypt, we'd rather be under the taskmasters whip, if we could just have the garlic and the leeks, we don't want to be your people, we don't want you to be our God. And they refused for 40 years to circumcise their children.
They refused to give a sign of the covenant. And the fact they had refused to be circumcised was a sign of their rebellion against God. And God says alright, you've come into the Promised Land, it's time to be circumcised. It's time to cut away the rebellion in your heart.
And is there somebody here who is harboring rebellion against God, against his authority in your life, against something he's asked you to do, against something he's allowed to come into your life? And he says now that you've made the choice to cross over you've got to cut away that flesh, cut away that self, cut away the rebellion, cut away the pride, cut away the selfishness. And when they cut away the rebellion, God says alright, I'm going to cut away the reproach. In verse 9, the Lord said to Joshua, today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. Let me tell you about the reproach of Egypt. When the Israelites had been in slavery down in Egypt, Moses had come in and told Pharaoh, let my people go. And Pharaoh had laughed and thought it was a joke and then God showed him he was serious and sent all those plagues and forced Pharaoh's hand in that titanic demonstration of power. And finally Pharaoh was broken and he said you can let his people go and get out of Egypt and two million Israelites streamed out of Egypt. And they came to the Red Sea and God opened up the Red Sea and they passed through on dry ground and Pharaoh and his army chased them and went through that Red Sea and then the Red Sea collapsed on them and destroyed Pharaoh and his army and the whole world knew about it. The whole world knew that Israel's God is God and he had sent the plagues and he had forced Pharaoh's hand and he delivered his people from slavery and he took them through the Red Sea to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, to become a nomadic group of Bedouins, no purpose, not going anywhere, defeated, grumbling, complaining.
They were a joke to the world. The world that had been impressed with their God and in fear of their God when he delivered them from Egypt. When the world saw them in the wilderness, they held God's name in reproach. And I'll tell you something, the world today despises a half-hearted Christian, somebody who you know talks but doesn't walk it. Somebody who says they're out of Egypt but they're living in the wilderness, longing for Egypt.
And that's a joke. And so God says, you cut away your rebellion, I'll cut away their reproach. I'll give you back your testimony. I'll give you back your reputation. I'll give you back the respect in the eyes of the world.
I'll give you back your identification with me. And after the conviction of sin, the circumcision of themselves, then came the celebration of their salvation. Verse 10, on the evening of the 14th day of the month while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. And they remembered back in Egypt the lash of the taskmaster. And they remembered their affliction. And they remembered when Moses had come in and told Pharaoh to let God's people go. And they remembered that night when the angel of death swept through Egypt. And they could hear the cries and the screams of the Egyptians as their first born died right up into Pharaoh's household. And they remembered taking the blood of the lamb and smearing it on the doorpost and huddling in the houses under the blood.
And the angel of death passing over. They would escape the judgment of God that fell on Egypt. And they remembered in the middle of the night the excitement and the terror as they packed up their things quickly and they grabbed their bread before it even had a chance to rise. And they took the unleavened bread and all of their animals and their children and their belongings and they streamed out of Egypt. And as the sun rose up over that desert they were leaving Egypt behind. The Red Sea parted and they passed on that dry ground and they remembered their salvation with joy. Do you know they had not celebrated the Passover since that night in Egypt? One other time at Sinai.
And do you know why? Because when you're in the wilderness it's hard to get excited about your salvation. You know you were saved from Egypt for this? And so you can talk about your salvation but really it doesn't mean as much to you.
There's not as much joy in your salvation when you're going in circles nowhere with the Lord. It's when you're in the promised land and you're experiencing the fullness of his blessing and you're entering into everything that he has for you. That's when God I'm so thankful you saved me from Egypt. His purpose is to get you out of Egypt through the wilderness into the promised land. That you might experience everything that he has for you.
Oh do you remember? When you're in the promised land and you look back there is such joy in your salvation. You can celebrate.
How long has it been since you truly celebrated your salvation? You move out of the wilderness. You cross over the Jordan and you enter in to everything God has for you. The joy of your salvation will be back.
Now here's Ann with this final word. So what's keeping you from entering into the promised land? Is it just that you haven't made the decision to do so?
Because you haven't settled in your own heart and mind what you really want in life. For myself I want more than just enough to escape a fiery hell. To be saved from God's wrath. To call myself a Christian. To manage my guilt.
To get a ticket to heaven. I long for more than just the bare minimum God has to offer. I long for more than what the average Christian seems to settle for. I long for everything God wants to give me. I long for God's power in my life. I long for more than enough to bend my will. To awaken my conscience.
To break my heart. To transform my mind. To overcome my prejudices. To soar in my spirit. To be conformed into his glorious image. I long to be saturated in Jesus. You've been listening to Living in the Light and when you go to anngramlots.org there are free resources to help you in your study of God's Word. Ann's desire is that you embrace a God-filled life step by step, choice by choice, living in the light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-31 03:48:10 / 2023-03-31 03:57:56 / 10