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Obeying the Father- Part 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
The Truth Network Radio
January 14, 2021 12:24 pm

Obeying the Father- Part 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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January 14, 2021 12:24 pm

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Please make your donation today at vision.org.au. Welcome to Turning Point. Like every good father, God wants His children to be prosperous and successful, although not necessarily how the world defines those terms. Today, Dr. David Jeremiah considers how this truth was dramatically demonstrated in the life of Joshua. From his series on spiritual growth, The Life God Blesses, here's David to introduce today's message, Obeying the Father.

Well, thank you for joining us today. You know, when I was in seminary, we had a professor who used to say and demonstrate that there is a central passage in the Bible for every important thing. And if that is true, the central passage in the Bible for understanding how you are supposed to respond to the Word of God is before us in these next two days. Joshua chapter 1 is the most incredible outline of what you should do when you read the Bible, how you respond to it. And we're going to talk about that in just a few moments as we open the scripture together to the first chapter of Joshua. If you've just joined us recently, we're in the midst of a series called The Life God Blesses. It's an inspirational series for the new year, and this is one of the building blocks, Obeying the Father. Hearing what he says and then doing what he says, this can happen to make your life a life that is blessed by God.

Well, let's get started with today's lesson. What is it that God expects from you more than anything else? For it seems like wherever you go these days, somebody has a different idea about the number one priority of the Christian life. I have been to conferences where I have been told that it is soul winning, it is witnessing, and that if we are not doing that, we are missing out on the blessing of God. I have gone to Bible conferences where it has been preached that it is the personal study of the Word of God that is the key to your life, and it's the number one priority for Christians. I've even had the chance to give an address at a music conference now and again, and have heard musicians stand up and talk about the priority of the Christian life being having a song in your soul and in your heart.

Depending on who you talk to these days, you can get a different idea about what you need to do more than you need to do anything else in order for you to be successful. Well, when we open the Bible to the first chapter of the book of Joshua, we are at once put on notice that this is a chapter that has something to do with success and prosperity. As far as I know, it is the only place in the Bible where you will find success and prosperity given as descriptions of the walk with God. In the seventh verse, the last phrase says that thou mayest prosper wherever thou goest.

In the eighth verse, it says, and then thou shalt have good success. I don't know any Christians who aren't interested in those two commodities being reproduced in their life. Prosperity and success. I'm not talking about material things. I'm talking about spiritual things.

Spiritually prosperous, spiritually successful. This passage, in my estimation, has the key to that for every Christian. It teaches us what we need to know if we're going to walk in the way of prosperity and success spiritually.

I believe it strips away all of the other priorities of the Christian experience and it gets down to the least common denominator of what's involved in having a prosperous and successful walk with God. The passage of Scripture is a watershed in the life of Joshua, and it's interesting to me because it is a portion of Scripture that gives to us what God said to a man when he was ready to take on a new assignment. It was an address by the Lord to Joshua as he was about to pick up the mantle from Moses and take the children of Israel on into the Promised Land for their inheritance. If you were God, what would you say to Joshua? If you knew that his job would be to take over two million Jews into a land that was inhabited by enemies and possess that land in the name of God, you knew that it was an overwhelming task as we discover when we read this book. What would your instruction to Joshua be? Well, it's interesting to note what God told him. As we build toward the key to this passage, I want to show you along the way how God prepared this man to take on this assignment, which was a challenge and which demanded everything the man had. First of all, I notice as I study the text that God convinced Joshua of past accomplishments.

You say, well, what do you mean by that? Well, in essence, what God did was he gave to Joshua a history course. He took Joshua back through what had happened in the past in his life as he had walked with Moses, and he communicated to him the truth of the blessing of God in the past. One of the things that I noticed as I studied the first chapter was that even though this was an address given to Joshua, Moses' name keeps popping up all the time.

Every time you turn around, his name is there. For instance, the first thing God did as he taught Joshua concerning history was that he told him about the promise that he had made to Moses concerning the land. Notice verse 3, Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, here it is, as I said unto Moses. Joshua, just what I said to Moses, I want you to know that promise is still good. And then notice in verse 5, he mentions Moses' name again.

He said, There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. Now that must have been a great deal to Joshua who, according to the first verse, had been Moses' minister. In other words, he had walked with Moses through many of the experiences where God had demonstrated himself strong in behalf of Moses. And so when the Lord said to Joshua, I'm going to be with you just like I was with Moses, I have an idea that a lot of things begin to play through the mind of that man as he remembered all that God had done for his leader.

And he thought, boy, that's something. God's going to do for me just what he did for Moses. Notice the third time we see Moses' name is in verse 7, Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee. God had given the law to Moses and God would continue to honor and to bless it in the life of Joshua.

Now, by way of preliminary investigation, we learn as we study this passage of Scripture that God is the same God, whether he's the God of Moses or the God of Joshua. And what he's trying to encourage Joshua to understand is that as he enters into this new venture, as he takes on this new responsibility, as this new project becomes his, he can count on the same assistance that God gave to his predecessor. Now, when I read this, I'm reminded of some instruction that was given to me as I started out in the ministry several years ago. I was told by a man of God that I greatly admired that one of the best things I could do to avoid discouragement and to keep my heart alive for God was to read the biographies of the great men of God who had ministered in years past. He said, go out and find the life story of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Find the life story of Finney. Get as many of them as you can and just about all the time be reading what God did for somebody in the past. And so in my study, I have a whole shelf full of those books and almost all the time I'm reading about what God has done in the life of somebody in the past.

And you know, what happens to me when I do that is that there's something that wells up within my heart that's captured in just a very simple question and that question is, why not? Why not? If God did it for him, why not? You know, we have the idea that God had a special blessing for those who were leaders in the past, but somehow God has run out of blessing and we're living now and he doesn't do for us what he did for them. I hear discouraged pastors say all the time, you know, God isn't doing today in the church what he used to do.

I don't believe that. And I personally am naive enough to believe that what God did for somebody back there, he's willing to do for anybody if they'll just lock into his program. And I'd like to encourage those of you who are involved in ministry. When you get discouraged, you grab hold of something that tells about what God did for somebody in the past and read it with the same question in your heart, why not? And a lot of those stories are right here in this book we call the Bible. So God gave Joshua a history course.

Now I would never have thought of that. I never in the world would have thought of sitting down my new leader and saying, now before you take your new assignment, I'd like to give you some history. The second thing that God did as he prepared this man was this. Not only did he convince him of past accomplishments, but he challenged him with some proper attitudes. Throughout the text, we are reminded of the attitudes that God expects from his servants. First of all, he told him that he was to be strong. Notice verse six, be strong. Verse seven, only be thou strong. Verse nine, have not I commanded thee, be strong. And you get the idea that God expected Joshua to be strong. Three times he told him that it was important for him to have strength and firmness of character.

God knew what Joshua would face when the challenges came. He knew that he needed to develop an attitude of resolute determination to accomplish the objective that God had set before him, with strength. Someone reminded me a long time ago that the problem with most Christians is that they do not understand that triumph in the Christian life is made up of try and umph. When you put those two together, you have triumph. Strength, determination.

Notice the second attitude. He said, be courageous. Verse six, be strong and of a good courage. Verse seven, be strong and very courageous. Verse nine, have not I commanded thee, be strong and of a good courage.

Three times, God said to Joshua, don't lose heart. Don't get discouraged. You see, discourage is the lack of courage. Don't let your courage be taken away from you. I don't know about you, but I find many discouraged people today in the church.

The climate that we find in our country economically and internationally and all of that brings to us a tendency to be discouraged. There are many discouraged men in the ministry and I can tell you for a fact it's easy for that to happen. But the best way to keep discouragement from happening is to develop an attitude of courage and with determination to lay hold of the promises God has given you. He said, Joshua, I want you to be strong. I want you to be courageous and then notice the third attitude he gave him in the ninth verse and he said, don't be afraid or dismayed.

Now the word dismayed really is a word which means to lose your orientation. And sometimes that happens in the midst of great challenges. You get overwhelmed with all that you sense God wants you to do and before you know it, you begin to lose your orientation or your direction. And God said to Joshua, don't you be afraid and don't you lose your orientation.

You remember where your strength is and you stay on target. So God gave him a course of history and he told him about the past accomplishments and then he gave him some proper attitudes. Now I want you to notice thirdly that God gave him a particular assignment. You know, there's nothing worse than knowing you're supposed to do something but not knowing for sure exactly what it is.

I think it's a very frustrating thing to be involved in a responsibility where you're not sure what's in your job description. God gave to Joshua a particular assignment. Notice what he said. He said, you are to go over the land and to possess it and every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon that have I given unto you even as I said unto Moses, verse two, now arise, go over and possess. That's simple. God said, Joshua, here's your job. You're to go over to the land, you're to get up first, go over to the land and take possession of that land and every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that's yours.

Joshua, you better get up and get walking. Get that land under tow, that's your property. Your job is to possess the land. Now, you know, Joshua may have wondered, well, Lord, how much of the land can I walk on? And so God is so specific, he gives him the boundaries. In fact, he draws a map for him. He says, Joshua, from the wilderness and this Lebanon, even to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites under the great sea toward the going down of the sun, all of this shall be your border.

Joshua, here's your assignment, here's your land, now do it. You know what I've discovered as I've read the Bible? That there are very few things about which I need to be in doubt. You know, we have the doctrine of the doubtful things and there are certainly some things that may fit into that gray area that we don't have any clear word from God on, but you know, the vast majority of the Christian life is not lived in the doubtful things. The vast majority of the Christian life is lived over here where we have a clear word for God. Now there are a lot of Christians who like to take the clear word of God and move it over into the doubtful things because that makes them more comfortable when they don't do it. But the scripture is so very clear with personal and particular assignments for the children of God.

We don't have to be in doubt. We're not wandering around trying to figure out what it is that God expects of us. If we will study this book, we'll discover that God has given to us a particular assignment. There's not anything that brings more security to the heart than to know what God expects you to do.

And that's what happened. He was given a particular assignment. Now, with his past accomplishments in his mind and with these proper attitudes instilled within his spirit and with this particular assignment down on paper and ready to go, the next thing God gives to Joshua to get him ready is a plan of action. He gives him an action plan that'll help him to accomplish his assignment.

And this is the real core of what I want to share with you. God has given to every Christian, to all of us who are believers, he has given to us a plan of action. And my friends, that plan of action is in this book. It's called Bible.

This is God's plan of action. This is what God has given to us so that we would know what he wants us to do. Now, you say, Pastor, I hope it's not gonna be another one of those situations where I come to church and the preacher stands up and he naively says, Now, if you wanna be blessed of God, just read the Bible. And then I leave with my Bible under my arm and right back to the same kind of discouragement I've known.

Well, I want you to know I'm not gonna let you off the hook that easy. I have some things to share with you from this text that go beyond just a general statement concerning the word of God. It is true that this book is God's plan of action for all of us, but it is also true that it is conditioned upon our response to the word of God as we find it in these verses of scripture. And there are several responses, several responsibilities that God gives to us concerning the Bible that determine whether or not we will be successful and prosperous in our Christian experience. So as we look at the plan of action, notice first of all that this book, if it is to work for us in our lives, we must first of all read it obediently.

You say, isn't that the way everybody reads it? No, in fact, there are two mentions in this text of a principle which the more I understand about it, the more I believe is the most dynamic principle in Bible study that you'll find any place in the scripture. If I had to say there's one principle in the word of God that will open up the scriptures to you more than any other principle, it's right here, and here it is. It's wrapped up in this phrase, observe to do. Observe to do, notice verse seven, only be thou strong and very courageous that thou mayest observe to do.

Verse eight, this book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night that thou mayest observe to do. Read it obediently. Now, what that means, men and women, is that when you open this book and begin to study its contents, you do it with one perspective, with one goal, and that goal is wrapped up in that phrase.

You're observing it to do it. You're reading it to understand it that you might put it into practice in your life. Most Christians read the Bible in order to discover what it says so that they can then decide whether or not they want to do it. And that's why more of the Word of God is not opened up to Christians. You see, the Bible teaches us that God will only give to us that which we implement in our lives. To those who have, He gives more.

To those who have not, He takes away. In other words, if you don't put into practice what God teaches you from this book, your Bible knowledge ends there. That explains why some men of God who have risen to the top in Christianity as leaders, as teachers, as educators, as preachers, many of them have been men without any formal training at all, men who have come up through the method of personal Bible study where they've just opened this book every day and read it and studied it, and whatever they read, they went out and did it. And the more they read and the more they did, the more God revealed to them of His will so that as they walked in the light, they were given more light. And God is saying to Joshua as He says to us that if you want to know the blessing of God in your life, if you want to know what it means to be prosperous and successful, principle number one in your plan of action must be that you read the Word of God with a determination that whatever God says to you as you read it, that's what you're going to do.

No holes barred, no conditions, no hidden agenda. Lord, this is your revelation to me and as I study it and read it and understand it, by your grace, I'm going to do it. Read it obediently.

And then God says, Now Joshua, that's not all. After you understand that, I want to teach you another principle about your plan of action. You not only read it obediently, but number two, you must meditate in it continually. Notice what it says in verse 8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night. Once you understand that you're supposed to do what you understand, then you need to understand more.

And you need to make the book a part of your life. You need to make the Scripture a part of your being. You need to so involve yourself in the Word of God, meditating upon it, reading it, studying it, memorizing it, so that as it becomes a part of your life, it literally takes over.

It becomes the controlling factor in your conduct. That's what it means in the New Testament. It says we're to bring every thought into captivity under Christ. As we let the Word of God so fill our lives and our minds and our spirits, it literally gets into the driver's seat in our being so that every time we face a challenge during the day, every time we have a decision that we have to make, we have so filled our minds with God's Word that God's Word just takes over and makes the decision for us.

We are so saturated with the truth from this book because we have meditated in it day and night. Well, there's no good place to interrupt a message, and yet we have to do that because we don't have time to finish it today. We'll have to wait until after the weekend. When you join us on Monday, we'll conclude our discussion, Obeying the Father. Next week, we're going to talk about bringing spiritual fruit and committing yourself to growth.

Although this is a part of the series, The Life God Blesses, and it's the signature series for 2021. I'm David Jeremiah. Thank you for listening. Our message today originated from Shadow Mountain Community Church and Dr. David Jeremiah, the Senior Pastor. Would you like to tell us how Turning Point ministers to you, please write to us, Turning Point Post Office Box 3838, San Diego, California 92163, or visit our website at davidjeremiah.org forward slash radio. Ask for your copy of Jack Countryman's new book, God's Blessings, just for you. It features 100 inspirational readings and reflections, and it's yours for a gift of any amount. And if you still haven't requested David's new daily devotional for 2021, Strength for Today, there are still copies available. It's a great way to get a dose of biblical truth every day. Ask for your copy when you visit davidjeremiah.org forward slash radio.

I'm Gary Hoopflit. Join us Monday as we continue the series, The Life God Blesses. That's here on Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Thanks for taking time to listen to this audio on demand from Vision Christian Media. To find out more about us, go to vision.org.au
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-04 10:44:50 / 2024-01-04 10:54:28 / 10

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