CONNECT During my senior year of high school, I had several opportunities to travel and preach to groups in various places in Texas and New Mexico. One weekend, I went back to my home town and preached at the church where I had been dedicated to God as a baby. I was staying out in the country and it had rained. As we started to town for Sunday morning services, we were soon spinning our wheels on the wet dirt roads and going nowhere. One of my friends and I got out to push. We got them going, but made the mistake of pushing right behind the rear tires. We got covered in mud! We had to go to my Grandma’s house in town and wash off with a garden hose before we could even change clothes!
TENSION Some of you may feel like you are stuck or spinning your wheels. How do we get going again? How do we get enough traction to move on into what God has destined for us?
How do we move on as a church? Last week Pastor Galen Woodward challenged and encouraged us to increase our capacity and fulfill the purpose God has called us to and to live out the dream we had 15 years ago.
SOLUTION God gives us a clear key to getting going again!
INSTRUCTION Israel stands ready to go into the land of promise. Moses and Joshua remind them of some things.
1. They had a great history to encourage them.
Moses kept reminding them to remember what God had done; not because he wanted them to live in the past, but to build their faith for what God would do in the future!
Sometimes, I get discouraged because we have not become all I thought we would become. Feelings of failure stick their ugly faces in my business and accuse me. Then I remind myself of all that God had done! I encourage my soul in God! I remember how God led us to begin; how He provided a job for me so we could plant the church; how we got into this property; how God supplied the resources supernaturally; how He provided so we could buy this property and continue to develop it for the Kingdom.
I remember all the lives that have been touched, the marriages healed, the ones who have been physically healed of sickness and disease, the ones who have been saved and baptized, the scattered sheep who have found a home, and all the people who have found hope, who have been restored, refreshed, and rebuilt!
2. They had great mistakes to instruct them.
They worshipped the golden calf; they murmured against God and His anointed leader; they rebelled against God and refused to enter into the Promised Land the first time.
We have made many mistakes of our own; we have not done everything right. But praise God, we have not made any mistakes that were terminal! When we started, we did not know what we were doing and really did everything backwards. We had no help; no sponsors; no core group; no launch plan; just a bunch of people hungry for what God might do.
3. They had great leaders to inspire them.
Moses led them out but Joshua will lead them in. We have had, and continue to have, great staff and leaders to inspire us. We have wonderful volunteers. We have givers that are unselfish with their resources. We have people who are willing to do whatever it takes, whenever it takes, however it takes, to accomplish what God wants!
4. They had the great God to empower them.
The Bible makes it very clear that what Israel would accomplish was because God went before them and gave them the power to do what they did.
Without a doubt, we know that whatever has happened here, it is because God was with us, is with us, and will be with us!
Let’s see how God gets them moving.
TEXT Joshua 3:5 NKJV And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
There it is; can’t be simpler than that…
God says if we will sanctify ourselves, He will do wonders! Now, what does that mean?
Let’s look at some other translations.
Joshua 3:5 NLT Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”
1. Sanctify means “get the sin out”!
A later passage in Joshua makes this clear. Israel would defeat Jericho, a large city with huge walls and military fortifications. God said to not take take anything out of Jericho. All obeyed, except one, Achan. After Jericho, Israel went up against the little town and Ai and were soundly defeated. God told Joshua the problem was hidden sin.
Joshua 7:13 NKJV Get up, sanctify the people, and say, “Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”
Joshua brought all Israel before the Lord by tribe and by family. Achan’s sin was revealed. The punishment? Death… When people are connected, the actions of one will affect all. Think about a sports team. One player not taking care of business can bring defeat for everyone. So, if we are going on, we have to get the hidden sin out of our lives.
The root word for sanctify is ‘holy’. God wants us to be holy.
Luke 1:74-75 NLT We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.
Righteousness is granted to us by grace; holiness is our obedience to God’s will.
Peter says it this way…
1 Peter 1:14-16 NLT So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
Now, how do we get there? I think most of us are like Paul…
Romans 7:17-20 MSG I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
There it is, that think that keeps tripping you up… Something is wrong with us on the inside. We call these things iniquities.
Paul goes on…
Romans 7:24-25 MSG I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.
Romans 8:1-2 MSG With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
You can’t do it by yourself! You cannot meet the holy standards of God! You may think, “I’ll just have a bunch of rules that protect me; I won’t do this; I won’t do that; this will make me change! No, it won’t. When you don’t see it coming, the desires will sneak up on you and take you captive! It’s like trying to keep a balloon under water. It keeps popping up!
Colossians 2:23 NLT These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
You have to depend on Jesus! You must be filled with the Spirit!
Galatians 5:16 NKJV I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Now let’s look at another translation of Joshua 3:5…
Joshua 3:5 AMPC And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves [that is, separate yourselves for a special holy purpose], for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
2. Sanctify means “show up for duty”.
You see, we are saved from sin, but to ministry!
Acts 13:2 NKJV As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Now let’s get down to it in our lives and in our church. If we want God to show up and show off, we must…
1. We must deal with sin individually.
a. What’s in the closet?
i. We already know…
ii. God will expose it!
b. You can’t beat it.
i. Get filled with the Spirit
ii. Get help.
iii. We can help!
2. We must all work collectively.
a. What do you have in your house?
i. What floats your boat, lights your fire, turns you on…
ii. How can you use it here?
iii. Do it!
b. We need you!
INSPIRATION Moses wrote a poem during the events of Numbers 20, a time of great conflict in his life: his sister, Miriam died; his brother, Aaron died; Moses disobeyed God, costing him entrance into the Promised Land, and a journey was beginning that would take the life of all adult Israelites.
Look at what he wrote…
Psalms 90:16-17 NLT Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”
This verse has been on my desk for several years. It is still the cry of my heart. Lord, let our children see your glory! We are doing all this for the children, the next generation.
Psalms 71:17-18 NLT O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.