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How to Arrive at our Destination Without a Map

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2023 4:00 am

How to Arrive at our Destination Without a Map

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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September 20, 2023 4:00 am

In Joshua 3, the children of Israel were approaching the Promised Land of opportunity. To get there, they faced a raging river of difficulty. However, they had with them the Ark of the Covenant, which changed everything. In this message, Adrian Rogers shares what happens when we fix our eyes on Jesus in the face of difficulty.

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Known for his unique ability to simplify profound truth so that it can be applied to everyday life, Adrian Rogers was one of the most effective preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian leaders of our time. Thanks for joining us for this message.

Here's Adrian Rogers. Joshua chapter 3. There's a story of an old boat that was in the sea in a dark and stormy night. It's always a dark and stormy night with these stories. And the boat was chugging along and the waves were very rough. And the passenger on board was somewhat worried. And he knew it was an old boat. And he went to the captain. He said, Captain, are we safe? The captain said, well, let's put it this way. He said, this is a leaky, creaky old boat and we're in very stormy weather. So we may sink. And he said, I'll tell you something else.

The boilers on this old boat are very weak and may explode at any moment. And so he said, we may go down or we may go up, but at any rate, we're going on. Well, friend, we may go down. Some of us may die this coming year.

Is that not true? I mean, those of you who are very healthy, a sudden accident, we may go down or we may go up. Jesus may come in this coming year. We may go up, but whether we go down or whether we go up, friend, we're going on, aren't we?

I mean, we're going on. And what I want to give to you this morning from the Word of God is a formula to reach your destination without a map. How to reach your destination without a map. Now, the story that we're going to study today comes from the Old Testament and God is leading the children of Israel. They come out of the land of Egypt and they're going into their promised land.

Now, their promised land was a land of opportunity, but it was also a land of mystery. As we're going to see, Joshua says to them, you've not come this way before. This is a brand new day. You've never been here before. You are launching out into opportunity and a mystery.

Well, you say, what does that have to do with me? Well, the Bible says concerning those wilderness wanderings of God's ancient people so long ago, all of these things happened to them, for examples, to us. So we can take this Old Testament history and just shout our way all the way through it because there are incredible lessons in these Old Testament stories. Now, Israel was going into the great unknown. Again, they were going into their promised land.

Now, let's see if we can learn some lessons as to how to arrive at our destination without a map. Joshua 3, beginning in verse 3. And they commanded the people saying, when you see, underscore this phrase now, the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priest and the Levites bearing it, then you shall remove from your place and go after it and there shall be a space between you and it about 2000 cubits by measure.

By the way, that'd be about a half a mile. Come not near unto it, that is to the ark. Now watch this. Here's the key that ye may know the way by which ye must go for ye have not passed this way heretofore. That is, it's all new. There's a brand new day.

There's a brand new way and it's a land of mystery. Now keep your eye on the ark and don't move till the ark moves. Now, what is this ark? I said, underscore that phrase, the ark of the covenant of your Lord. It was a piece of furniture that later on had a central place in the Holy of Holies in the temple. The ark was just about two feet by two feet, about four feet, a little piece of furniture.

Inside were the commandments of God, Aaron's rod that budded, a little bit of manna. On top was a slab of solid gold. On one side was the figurine of an angel, a cherub. On the other side of this was a figurine of a cherub with the wings spread out over a particular place. And that was called the mercy seat. And the high priest would come and sprinkle blood upon that slab of gold to make atonement for the sins of the people.

And the Shekinah glory of God just hovered right there. Now, what is all of that about? What does that speak to Adrian about?

What does that tell you? Well, that ark in the Old Testament was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. It symbolized the life of God, the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, the presence of God, the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, all of that, pictures Jesus.

Jesus is the ark of the covenant. Understand that? If you don't understand that, you'll miss it all. That is a picture, a prophecy, a type, an illustration of Jesus in the Old Testament.

Now, keep all of that in mind. And we're going to talk to you about how to arrive at your destination without a map. Now, this is going to be a new day, but there's something that has changed.

What has changed? Go back to Joshua 3, verses 3 and 4. And they command to the people saying, when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priest and the Levites bearing it, then you shall remove from your place and go after it. That is, when the ark moves, you move. And there should be a space between you and it, about 2,000 cubits by measure, come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go, for you've not passed this way before.

Now, what's all of this about? Well, what had changed was this. Up until this time, the ark had been in the midst. It had been in the camp, and when they moved, the ark moved.

But now here's a new day. They're going into a new land. They're coming out of the wilderness. No longer is the ark going to go with them. They're going to go with the ark.

There's a difference. Now the ark is out in front. He says, take the ark from your midst, put it out here in the front.

Keep your eye on it and don't move until it moves. That's going to be the way of victory. That's going to be the way you're going to be guided. Now, when they were in the wilderness, they were not living in victory. But as we're going to see, the ark is about to lead them into victory. Are you ready to come out of the wilderness and into your promised land?

Are you ready to cross over a river of difficulty into your promised land where you're going to have to move with the ark? What is the difference in some Christians? How do some Christians live in victory and other Christians not? Do you think that God plays favorites? Do you think God says eeny, meeny, miny, moe, I'm going to give you victory and none for you? No. What is the difference?

I'll tell you the difference. All Christians have the Lord Jesus Christ. If you don't have Jesus, you're not a Christian. The Holy Spirit is in all of us. But not all Christians are totally following the Lord Jesus Christ. They have Him in the midst, but He's not out in front leading. When Jesus is Lord and leader, when He's out in front and you follow Him, that is what makes the difference. The difference, friend, is not in possession.

It is in position. Now, you have the Lord. The question is, are you following Him? Is He leading you?

Is He out front of you? Is He guiding you into this land of opportunity, this land of mystery through rivers of difficulty, the Jordan that separates the wilderness from the promised land? Now, I'm just setting the stage.

I want to give you three things to do. Now, folks, if you want to arrive at the destination God has for you, and believe me, He has one for you, for every mother's child of you, individual plans, He makes no two snowflakes alike. He has a plan directly, distinctly for you. Now, with all of this in mind, the ark representing the Lord Jesus Christ, a treasure chest of blessing, and God saying, set it out there in the midst and when it moves, move with it. May I give you three principles?

Say yes, yes, okay, thank you. Here's three things that you can do to arrive at your destination without a map. Number one, let Jesus guide you with His presence. Now, notice what He says, and they commanded the people saying, when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priest and the Levites bearing it, that is, they carried it on their shoulders, then ye shall remove from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it about 2,000 cubits by measure, come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go, for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

What an adventure. They've never been there. There's a promised land, they've not seen it. And He says, you are going into unexplored territory.

Now, why don't you need a map? Well, God's will for you is not a roadmap but a relationship. The important thing for you is not to know what the future holds.

The important thing for you is to keep your eye on the Lord Jesus Christ. I have a good neighbor across the street. All my neighbors are good neighbors, I'm blessed. And I have to be careful what I say now. But the neighbor directly across the street, John Falls, and we were talking about Christmas decorations.

Their house is so beautifully decorated. And they were telling us about a particular house and he said, now you need to go here. And he begins to explain it to me.

And it got kind of convoluted. John said, wait a minute, pastor. Just let me get in my car and I'll take you there.

I said, it sounds like a good deal to me. So he got in his car and took me there. Only thing I had to worry about, I didn't have to worry about a street name, a direction, north, south, east, or west, all the only thing concerning me was his taillights, just his taillights. And he moved, I moved. And he said, just keep your eye on me. And he took me right to where I needed to go.

Now this is what he's talking about right now. When the ark moves, you go after it. Let him guide you with his presence.

Now let me say three things about that. Number one, you don't have to know when. You don't have to know when. Listen, he says, when the ark moves, then go after it. Verse three, when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priest and the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place and go after it. In plain English, don't move till the ark moves. With God, timing is far more important than time. Have you ever gotten impatient with the Lord, wondering why God doesn't move sooner?

You know, you can do the right thing in the wrong time. Moses was to deliver the children of Israel and he couldn't wait on God. And he got out there ahead of time, tried to be a missionary, being a murderer, killed an Egyptian, spent 40 years on the backside of the desert, going around in circles because he could not wait on God.

He moved before God moved. Abraham, the same thing. Abraham was promised a son, couldn't wait on God, so he had physical sexual relations with his wife's maid, Hagar, and brought forth a son, Ishmael.

And today, the whole world is still in turmoil because Abraham could not wait on God and the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac are at war today. And Abraham just thought he would hurry God up a little bit, made a mess out of it. Let me tell you about Jesus. Jesus was never in a hurry and Jesus was never late. And at the end of his ministry, he said, what God gave us me to do. Now, a lot of people, I'm sure, were impatient with Jesus. They want to know, Jesus, why aren't you in a bigger rush than you're in? I mean, after all, Jesus spent 30 years in a carpenter shop. Hey, if you're the Messiah, why are you wasting 30 years? You know what he said? They didn't ask him that direct question, but it's implied. He said, my hour has not yet come.

My hour has not yet come. He's waiting on God. When Lazarus was in the tomb, Mary and Martha said, Jesus, come help. Lazarus is sick. Before he was in the tomb, Lazarus is sick. Jesus just delayed and waited till Lazarus was dead and then he came and raised him. At first, they were pouting.

Secondly, they were praising because the glory of the resurrection was greater than had Jesus come and touched him and healed him. What I'm trying to say is, listen to me, folks. Let the Lord Jesus guide you with his presence. You don't have to know when.

Number two, you don't have to know where. He says, look in verse four, for you have not passed this way heretofore. You don't have to know what God has planned for you this coming year. You don't have to know where you're going to end up.

The only thing you have to do is to keep your eyes on the ark. As a matter of fact, I'm so glad God doesn't tell me the future. It would take the mystique out of it. It would take the joy out of it because I could not be surprised by God's serendipities.

It may put a lot of dread and if I knew that I was going to be in a horrible automobile accident or one of my grandchildren would die or some disease would come, I would live every day dreading, waiting for it to come. Isn't God merciful that we don't know the future? You see, look, we don't have to know when, just when the ark moves, you move. We don't have to know where and you don't have to know why. You don't have to know why. Why is God's question, how is your answer? You don't have to understand.

Listen, the Bible says in verse five, tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. What is a wonder? Wonder is something you don't understand. You see, we don't live by explanations.

We live by promises. Have you ever wanted God to explain things to you? Have you ever argued with God and said, Lord, tell me why? Well, number one, you couldn't understand if he told you because he said, my ways are not your ways.

My thoughts are not your thoughts. Number two, if he did tell you, you'd say, now Lord, here's a better way you could do that. You would try to explain it to God and try to bend God's will to fit your will. In my life, the only way I've known the plan of God is not to look into the future, but to look over my shoulder and just say, hitherto hath the Lord led me. When I was a teen, God called me to preach. How did God call me to preach? Well, that's the last thing I thought I would ever do, be a preacher. I had no notion that God would want me to preach the gospel, but when I got saved, I had a dear pastor who said, God has a plan for everybody's life. I tell you, I wasn't the smartest thing that moved, but I did have enough sense to say this to the Lord, Lord, whatever you want me to do, I want to do it.

Whatever you want me to do, I want to do it. Somehow the germ got in my mind, my heart, that he might want me to preach, and then that conviction got stronger and stronger. I was at Ridgecrest, North Carolina, our Baptist assembly, a teen in high school, and a man preached about God's will for your life. He said, God's probably calling some of you to preach. I don't remember much about the sermon, but I do remember the invitation to him. Wherever he leads, I'll go. Wherever he leads, I'll go. I said, Lord, I know you want me to do this, and I stepped out.

I've never looked back on it from that time as a high school boy. God wanted me to preach. I had a girl that I wanted to marry. That girl was there at that retreat with me. She's my grade school sweetheart, and at our wedding, we kneeled together and prayed and had a solace to sing, Oh, Jesus, we promise to serve thee to the end. Be thou forever nearest, our master and our friend.

We will not fear the battle if thou art by our side, nor wander from the pathway if thou wilt be our guide. And Joyce and I have seen God guide us. We were at Merritt Island, Florida, one of the greatest churches in America, a loving people, a dear fellowship. They loved us, and we loved them. But the Ark of the Covenant just seemed to be moving over here, and Jesus pointed to Memphis, and we wanted to argue with the Lord, but we said, Lord, whatever you want. But when we left Merritt Island, Merritt Island there on the coast of Florida, we drove over the bridge and looked back, and Joyce and I cried like babies leaving our church, our people that we loved. But all of my life, I've been able, by God's grace, and I don't say it self-servingly or braggingly, but thankfully and gratefully that you don't have to know when, you don't have to know where, you don't have to know why, you just keep your eye on the ark.

And whenever it moves, just move. Now, what I'm trying to say is, first of all, let Jesus guide you with His presence. The one thing I want you, my dear precious people, to be certain of this year is that Jesus is a reality to you.

Just as I did not want to lose the taillights of my neighbor, I just wanted to keep that in sight so I would arrive. You just make certain that Jesus is real to you. I'm not talking about the Jesus that Adrian preaches.

The Jesus that you know is what I'm talking about. Now, I want you to make certain that Jesus Christ will be real to me and He will guide me. He will guide me with His presence. When the ark moves, I'll move. Here's the second thing.

All right, now listen. Not only let Jesus guide you with His presence, but let Jesus gladden you with His promises. Now, look in verse three. And they commanded the people saying, when you see, now here's the phrase, the ark of the covenant. The covenant. What is a covenant? A covenant is a sacred contract. A covenant is a binding agreement. A covenant is an unfailing promise. God had made a covenant with His ancient people and God has made a covenant with me and with you. Several things I want you to see about the covenant, the promises of God.

First of all, they're for all saints. Look in verse seven. And the Lord said unto Joshua, this day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, listen to this, so I will be with thee. Now, the promises are for all saints. Now, Joshua, I made some promises to Moses, but they're just as good for you. As I was with Moses, I'll be with you.

Now, what's the point? The promise did not die with Moses. Moses was dead. And the promises in the Bible did not die with the Bible saints.

Do you know what some of us think? We think they were different than we. But the Bible says Elijah was a man of like passions as we are.

Somehow we think they breathe different air. Somehow we think that God was more powerful or something in that day than in this day. Friend, the promises are for all saints and they're for all seasons. As I was with Moses, I'll be with you. And 2,000 years has not eroded the promises away. Don't you let them keep you from a promise?

And they're for all situations. Now, here's the interesting thing. Moses had failed. Now, is Joshua going to say because Moses failed and Moses died on Mount Nebo and Moses didn't get to lead the children of Israel in, then I guess I'm going to have to fail too?

No. If there are others who do not believe the promises of God, that's no reason that you should not. Friend, listen. Let him guide you with his promises. They're for all saints. They're for all seasons.

They're for all situations. The main thing again, what you have to do is to understand that he's made a promise to you, a covenant. Well, you say that was the covenant to Israel. Yes, he's given us a new covenant, a new covenant in his blood, which the book of Hebrews says is a better covenant and listen to Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2.

Listen to it. We are to be looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. Just as they were looking to the ark, we are to be looking to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now notice, not looking at Jesus, looking unto Jesus. What does it mean to look unto someone? To look unto Jesus. He doesn't mean look at me.

He means depend upon me. That's what the Bible means when it says looking unto Jesus. It doesn't mean looking at Jesus. It means depending upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a word that means to look away from everything else.

It means turning away from one thing to look at another. That's the way I am to live with my covenant keeping God, not looking at circumstances. You look at circumstances, you're going to go down. Simon Peter got out of the boat to walk on water and he was doing just fine as long as he was what? Looking to Jesus.

But then he looked at those mountainous waves and when he saw the waves that they were boisterous, he took his eyes off the Lord Jesus Christ and put his eyes on circumstances and he began to sink. Don't look at other saints. Has somebody disappointed you?

Not yet? Well, just wait. And the best of people will disappoint you. The Bible says, I think about the middle verse in the Bible, it's better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Don't put your confidence in any man. Well, didn't Paul say, you follow me as I follow Christ? He wasn't saying follow me. He said, like I follow Christ, you follow Christ.

That's what he meant. You follow me as I follow Christ, you follow Christ. You are to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Don't look at other people and don't even look at your look. You know how dirty the devil is? The devil will say, yes, sure, you're justified and saved and kept by faith, but your faith is so weak. You haven't got good faith.

That'll sometimes mess you up. I've learned how to use that against the devil. The devil says to me, Adrian, your faith is no good.

I said, well, so what? I'm not putting faith in faith. I'm putting faith in Jesus. Isn't Jesus wonderful? He doesn't know how to handle that.

Friend, listen, don't look at your look. Look to Jesus. He is your ark. Listen, let him guide you with his presence. Let him gladden you with his promise. He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Look to Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith.

What a wonderful thing that is. Now here's a third thing I want you to do. Let Jesus not only guide you with his presence, not only let him gladden you with his promise, but let the Lord Jesus guard you with his power. Notice beginning in verse seven, and the Lord said unto Joshua, this day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. Thou shalt command the priest that they bear the ark of the covenant saying, when ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan. Now Jordan is that river that separated them from the land of promise.

Ye shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, come hither and hear the words of the Lord your God. And Joshua said, hereby shall ye know. Now watch this, that the living God.

Oh, I love that phrase. The living God is among you. And that he will without fail drive out from before you, the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Gergeshites and the Amorites and the Jebusites.

You can expect them to say in the termites. And behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. Do you know why we don't obey the Lord sometimes? Because we don't trust.

And you know why we don't trust? Is, dear friend, we do not know how great our God is. Knowledge of God equals trust and trust equals obedience and obedience equals blessing. Now let's just tear this verse apart a little bit and find out who the God of our great power is. Notice he's the Lord God in Joshua 3, 9. He speaks, and hear the words of the Lord your God. Is he your Lord? Is he your sovereign?

Are you willing to follow him? You see, listen, he is the Lord your God. And if he commands you to cross Jordan, he will command that Jordan to get out of the way. Now he is the Lord.

I mean, he's the one who created Jordan. He's the one who created you. And don't parade the commands of God past the judgment bar of your understanding as to whether or not it's possible or not with God.

All things are possible. He's the Lord God. He is the living God.

Look in verse 10. And Joshua said, Hereby shall you know that the living God is among you. He is totally sufficient. He's not dead. He is not sick. And every demand upon you is a demand upon the God who lives in you.

I'm telling you that God is alive and well and living in you if you're saved. I read somewhere there are 14.7 pounds of pressure on every square inch of your body. Add that up and it means that there are tons of weight that are pressing down upon you right now. Tons. Well, why aren't you crushed?

Because you have pressure on the inside that keeps you from being crushed. Now there's enormous pressure from this world, but thank God we have Jesus on the inside, don't we? We have the Lord Jesus. He is the living God and He lives in us.

And not only is He the Lord God, not only is He the living God, but He is the liberating God. Now here's the point. Watch this. Begin in verse 11 now. Behold the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you 12 men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every man a tribe. Now watch this.

Don't miss it. And it shall come to pass as soon as the souls of the feet of the priest that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above and they shall stand up in a heap. Now he says, look, I'm the Lord God. I'm the living God.

I'm the liberating God. You keep your eye on the ark. Priest, take that ark and go into the river Jordan. As soon as the feet of those priests touch that river Jordan, something happened. The waters begin to back up and they backed up and this chapter tells us they backed up all the way to the city of Adam.

I don't think that is put there by happenstance. All the way back to the city of Adam just piling up in a heap and here these priests, as soon as they begin to obey, the waters just back up and they come in here with the ark of the covenant right in the middle of Jordan. Do you know what Jordan means? The word Jordan means descent. The word Dan, Jordan, means judgment.

It is descent into judgment. The river Jordan is the river of death flowing down to the Dead Sea. Now the ark of the covenant comes into the river of death and the waters stop all the way back to Adam and the children of Israel just come on through.

Come on through. Friend, Jesus entered the chilly waters of the river of death and is our victory and he stopped death all the way back to Adam and Adam all died but in Christ all will be made alive to let the people of God go through and there is our Lord. There is our cross. There is our Savior.

There is the ark of the covenant. There is our mighty God, the Lord God, the living God, the liberating God to let the people of God go through. What a mighty God we serve. What a mighty God we serve. All the way my Savior leads me.

What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt his tender mercies? Who through life has been my guide, heavenly peace, divinest comfort, hereby faith in him to dwell?

And I know what e'er befall me. Jesus doeth all things well. You let the Lord Jesus Christ guide you with his presence. Let him glad you with his promises. Let him guard you with his power because he is a mighty God. You don't have to know when.

You don't have to know where. You don't have to know why if you know Jesus. Just know Jesus.

Do you know him? If you're not saved, you can get saved right now. I have wonderful news. God wants to save you. He's not willing that any should perish. The Bible says for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Would you pray a prayer like this? Oh God, I am a sinner and I'm lost and I need to be saved. I want to be saved. Jesus, you died to save me. You promised to save me. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me, Lord Jesus.

Take control of my life. Begin now to make me the person you want me to be. Save me, Lord Jesus.

Did you ask him? Then pray this way. Thank you for doing it. I receive it by faith and that settles it. You're now my Lord, my Savior and my God, trusting your promise and living by your power. Amen and amen. If you would like to learn more about how you can know Jesus or deepen your relationship with him, simply click the Discover Jesus link on our website, lwf.org. For a copy of this message or additional resources, visit our online store at lwf.org or call 1-800-274-5683. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-01 01:54:42 / 2024-05-01 02:08:27 / 14

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