How To Make Your Walls Fall Down Flat | Study of Joshua

Jericho
The Battle of Jericho

Joshua 6:1-21 Israel has finally crossed the Jordan. They have prepared themselves spiritually and they have, thus far, followed God’s orders to the letter. Now, they are ready to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. They are ready to claim for themselves the land that flowed with milk and honey. However, like most things in life that are worth having, it wouldn’t come cheap!

Now, just for a moment, try to put yourself into the shoes of the average Israelite soldier. For most of these men, Jericho was the first city they had ever seen that was surrounded by huge walls. It must have looked like and absolute impossibility to many. However, they listened to the instructions they were given by the Lord and they saw those massive walls fall down flat.

This morning, many in these services may question the fact that we are preaching from a book that is old and that is all about battles and wars. It is my opinion that the book of Joshua is very relevant to today’s Christians. Folk, we are living in days of battle and spiritual struggle. We need to know how to fight. We need to know that our God is able to give the victory. We need to know how to follow Him to that victory. Joshua teaches us those valuable lessons!

Just as Israel faced the formidable walls of Jericho, you and I face walls and obstacles in our lives as well. We need to know how to overcome them as we march towards the victory. This passage holds that answer for us today. Let’s watch Israel conquer Jericho and as we do, let’s let the Lord teach us How To Make Our Walls Fall Don Flat.

Verse 1 ISRAEL HAD A PROBLEM

Ill. Jericho is known as the oldest city in the world, in Joshua’s day, it was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls. The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high. The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high. Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide. Israel’s problem was that they had a city to conquer, but there were some extremely huge walls in the way.

As we go through life, we have obstacles that we face as well

We must learn not to look upon our obstacles as dead-ends, but as opportunities for the Lord to work in our lives!

(Ill. The great Apostle Paul had such an obstacle – 2 Cor. 12:7-10 – This attitude is foreign to us this morning. Yet, we must come to realize that the power of God is best revealed in and through us when we are unable to handle life. God is more clearly visible when we are totally out of the picture! In a sense, that is what He did with Israel here. As we will see, He completely removed them from the equation! The victory at Jericho was all God!)

Verse 2 ISRAEL HAD A PROMISE

As Joshua and all the men of war stood looking at those walls around that great city, God had a word of comfort for their hearts! Here, God promises Israel the victory before they ever attack Jericho!

He lets them know about the conclusion before they ever enter into their battle!

As we face our obstacles, whatever they may be we can do so with confidence, because we have the Lord’s promises as banners to march under:

1. We Have His Promise That Our Weapons Are Powerful Through God – 2 Cor. 10:4-5.

2. We Have His Promise That all things work together – Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17.

3. We Have His Promise That I can do all things– Phil. 4:13; Eph. 3:20.

4. We Have His Promise to be strong in the Lord and in the power – Eph. 6:10.

5. We Have His Promise that said thank be to God who gives us the victory – 1 Cor. 15:57.

6. We Have His Promise That He will never leave us alone – Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.

7. We Have His Promise That we don’t have to be troubled because He has prepared a place for us – John 14:1-3.

As we face the walled cities in our lives, we need to learn to believe the Lord, to take Him at His Word and trust Him for our victories! (Rom. 4:21; 2 Cor. 1:20)

I. Israel Had A Problem

II. Israel Had A Promise

Verse 3-5 ISRAEL HAD A PRAISE

Ill. The context. Israel marched around the city in obedience to the Lord and they prevailed! (Ill. The absurdity of the command! Can you imagine how the people in Jericho must have reacted? They saw the armies of Israel approaching their city and they probably thought that they were about to be invaded by the enemy. Then, just as Israel came near the city, they turned and began to march around the walls. I can see those inside Jericho as they ran to see where the Israelites would mount their attack. However, instead of attacking, the soldiers, and the priests merely marched around the city one time. All that was heard was the sound of the ram’s horn trumpets and the pounding of the soldier’s feet upon the ground. This was repeated for 6 days. By this time, the people in Jericho were no doubt mocking and jeering the Israelites. Then on the seventh day, they compassed the city seven times. When they had finished that seventh lap, the priests gave a long blast on the trumpets and the people of Israel shouted with a great shout! It wasn’t the shout of an attacking army, it wasn’t a shout of fear, but it was a shout raised in praise to their God Who had promised them the victory. When the people shouted, the walls fell down flat and Israel ran into the city and utterly destroyed it. Theirs was a great victory!)

You ask why seven times? What’s the significance of seven?

Jacob serving seven years for a bride

Israelites are given over to Midian seven years

Samson’s wife weeping before him seven days

took Solomon seven years to build the temple

just man falleth seven times and riseth up again

seven men appointed to serve the people

In Revelation we find seven angels, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, seven horns, seven candlesticks, seven stars, seven plagues, seven spirits, seven eyes, seven lamps, seven thunders, seven heads, seven crowns, seven mountains, seven kings

Seven “I Am”

6:35 I am the bread of life

8:12 I am the light of the world

10:9 I am the door

10:11 I am the good shepherd

11:25 I am the resurrection and the life

14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life

15:1 I am the true vine

Most of all there were The Seven Statements of Jesus from The Cross.

You’re Not Alone | Perfect Trust


lonelenessI took the opportunity in between appointments at work today to read a little excerpt from 
Charles Swindolls’ book “Perfect Trust.” Here is a great question: “Can you trust God?” There are two ways to look  at that question. Can you trust God? That is, is He dependable in times of need? Will He do what He says? or secondly, we might ask, “Can you trust God? Do you have such a relationship with Him and such confidence in Him that you believe He is with you always even though you do not see the evidence of His presence and His power?  It isn’t easy to trust God in times of adversity.We continually encounter hardships. People disappoint us. We disappoint ourselves. But God is constant and compassionate.

Your not alone……

We are not alone. He cares. Against all reason, the transcendent God loves us so much that He has committed Himself to us.

That’s why Paul could proclaim, “but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created the, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37 – 39).

God has entrusted to us by great deal. He knows that we can do all things by his grace, so He’s trusted in us to trust in Him. Yet He knows our fears as well, otherwise He wouldn’t assure us often of His purpose and His presence.

Your not alone…..

We feel hurt and alone – God assures us He cares.

We feel angry and resentful – God provides wisdom and strength.

We feel ashamed – God grants forgiveness and comfort.

We feel anxious – God promises to supply our needs.

May He give us the ears to hear, hearts to trust, and minds to rest in Him. Our God is uniquely and ultimately trustworthy!

So today!

I Gird Myself Today With The Power of God:

God’s strength to comfort me,

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hands to lead me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me……

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Perfect Trust
Perfect Trust by Charles Swindoll

Moving Forward Not Backward|“Example of Focus”

focus

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:51-62

So much of Jesus’ life and ministry, hinges on what we see in Luke 9:51, which says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up,” That is, returned to heaven. This is after his death, burial, resurrection, ascension that he ultimately would be taken back up to heaven where he had come from as God. “He,” Jesus, “set his face to go toward Jerusalem.”

For Jesus, this is that day. That day is the day when you stake your claim, “This is who I am, this is where I’m going, and this is what I’m doing. I’m resolute in this decision. I cannot be dissuaded. I am committed to see this through to completion.”

And he is going to Jerusalem, and this is for the purpose of his crucifixion. This is Jesus, setting his eyes ultimately toward the cross, where he would go to atone for the sins of the world, dying in our place for our sins as our Savior and God.

Today we’ll see one people group, the Samaritans, and then three individuals, and how they respond and react to Jesus.

So the first thing we learn is there’s a group called the Samaritans, and they have their tribe before Jesus, and it has to be Jesus before tribe.

Luke 9:52  52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

Now let me explain to you Samaria. These people were kind of Jews. They had intermarried with pagans, and they established their own temple, their own Bible, their own religion, their own theology, and their own pastors. And the Jews didn’t know what to do with these people, so what would happen is, as God’s people journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem, they would just walk around Samaria.

And so Jesus doesn’t walk around Samaria, he walks through Samaria, and he sends messengers ahead of him, and here’s why. A lot of these towns are very small, dozens, hundreds of people. And Jesus is with quite a large entourage. It’s him, plus the twelve plus the seventy plus, and been able to find him and come along for the ride. So you’re looking at, I don’t know, eighty, a hundred plus people. And if you’re a village of forty or sixty people, you don’t have a Hotel.

So messengers would be sent in advance, “Hey, Jesus is coming. There are a lot of us. Do you guys have any food to eat or place to sleep, or is there a way we could purchase supplies and take care of the ministry team around Jesus, the apostles (kind of like his pastors), the seventy (kind of like his deacons)?” They’d say, “No, we can’t accommodate that many.” “Okay, then we need to roll into the next town, and we need to figure out where we’re going to lodge, and how we’re going to feed people, and make preparations.”

So they roll into Samaria, “Jesus is coming and here’s what’s going on.” And the Samaritans said, “You know what? We really don’t want Jesus, because if he’s determined to go to Jerusalem, that mean he’s not going to validate our tribe.” See, the Samaritan people were a religious group, a political group, a racial group, a cultural group, a social group. They were a tribe. They were like people who, today, have all of their life and identity wrapped up in some tribe or grouping.

They said, “Well, we’re willing to have Jesus, providing he joins our tribe. He needs to validate our theology. He needs to go to our temple. He needs to support our leaders. He needs to reinforce our theology. He can’t go to Jerusalem. That would show the world that Jerusalem, and not Samaria, is where God wants to begin his redemptive work. That would show that their interpretation of the Bible is right and ours is wrong. Rather than repenting, we’ll reject Jesus.” And what they do is they put their tribe above Jesus. They’re willing to have Jesus, providing he will support them, and he won’t.

Let me ask you, what is your tribe? Who’s your group? What’s your identity? 

And the truth is this is how a lot of people work. They want Jesus in their tribe on their terms, and he comes and says, “No, I’m God. You don’t tell me to follow you, I tell you to follow me. I don’t join your team, you join mine.” You say, “I like Jesus, and I’m totally fine with him, providing he does what I tell him, providing he supports what I already believe.”

But what if Jesus doesn’t support your political party, your cause? 

This is why even religions like to try and stick Jesus on their team.

And when this message gets to the Samaritans, they’re like, “He’s going to Jerusalem, and he wants us to follow him? We have a totally different agenda and ideology. Jesus can either submit to us or leave.” They lose the blessing of enjoying friendship, fellowship with Jesus.

Some of you have done that. You say, “I’m fine with Jesus, as long as he doesn’t act like he’s God, Lord, in charge.”

Please don’t do that. The Samaritans did. God came to earth, walked through Samaria, the place where nobody else wanted to go. He extended a hand of friendship, and they rejected it.

So two of his disciples decide, “Let’s call fire down from heaven,”

Now I’ll tell you what I like about this, these guys don’t lack confidence. They just think, “We can just call down fire from heaven,” which that’s sort of a big assumption. They don’t even tell Jesus, “Hey, we think you should call down fire from heaven.”

Jesus says, essentially, this: “It’s not time.” Right, there is a season, a time for condemnation, but this is a season and time for salvation. Jesus is saying, “Look, I’m going to Jerusalem. I’m going to die on a cross. I’m going to suffer. I’m going to atone for sin. You guys can come back to Samaria,

See, as long as you’re alive, there’s a chance, and yeah, the Samaritans blew their opportunity. They didn’t have a right sense of urgency, but Jesus is not to be dissuaded. 

As he’s continuing his journey, we then see three people come up and have very interesting conversations with Jesus, and like the Samaritans, each has this error of putting someone or something ahead of Jesus, and they’re happy to have Jesus provided he’s in second place. As long as he’s not first priority, as long as he’s not first treasure, first love, first commitment, he’s welcome to be somewhere in the list of priorities, but not in front.

And so we see this with a man who has comfort before Jesus. And the truth is, it’s always Jesus before comfort.

Luke 9:57–58, 57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Before you sign up to follow me, let’s make it clear that it’s not going to be easy. I’m a homeless guy whose flat broke, going to get crucified. You ready to sign up to follow me wherever I go?

See, some of you, you live under this myth that if you walk with Jesus, everything’s going to be great. However, it’s not always great in the since that its easy but God gives you the peace, strength and grace you need to walk with Him.

Secondly, another man comes to him, and his issue is that he has security before Jesus, and it’s always Jesus before security.

Luke 9:59–60, 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Now these next two guys, they’re going to use the same language. They’re both going to say, “Jesus, I want follow you, but first, let me do this.” What they’re saying is, “Jesus, I want following you to be my second priority.

So what is going on here? Well, let me give you some cultural background that I think the original hearers would have understood the context in a way that we don’t.

In that day, it was very much expected of children to honor their mother and father, based upon the Ten Commandments’ exhortation to do so. And as your parents got older, you’re supposed to look after and care for them. And as they were dying, you were definitely supposed to be there for them. And when they died, there were very strict and orchestrated procedures by which you were to prepare their funeral and their burial, certain music and meals and gatherings and clothing and wailers; and this is a big event. This encompasses the family. This takes days. The whole neighborhood, the whole village is invited. This is a very big deal.

And what I can infer from that is that when he says, “Jesus, I totally want to follow you, but first, let me go bury my dad,” number one, his dad’s not dead or even dying. If his dad were dying, where would he be? With his dad. If his dad were dead, where would he be? At the funeral, overseeing the affairs of the family. Or asking Jesus to heal him.

And for that man, I believe, it is security over Jesus. He wants the approval of his family, and he wants his inheritance more than Jesus. And it has to be Jesus above security.

How about you? See, some of you are like that, you’re like, “I will totally, wholeheartedly, passionately follow Jesus once I’m out of college. And I would ask you, what security is more important for you than Jesus?

Lastly, another guy comes to him, and he wants to have the past in front of Jesus, and it is always Jesus before our past.

Luke 9:61–62, 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Now, in this instance, this man says to Jesus, I want to go home, and I want to talk to my family, and I want to let them know.”

Jesus knows this man’s heart. We’ve seen repeatedly that Jesus knew their thoughts or Jesus knew their heart. He knows what’s going on.

He knows if this guy goes back, he’s never; he’s never going to move forward.

See, some of you are like that, you’re like, “Oh, but before I go forward, I want to go back.” You know, “I want to go back to the frat and finish off my year. I want to go back to my buddies and go do stupid things and drink some more. I want to go back to my old lifestyle. I want to go back to sleeping with those people. I want to go back to those proclivities, back to that spiritual—I want to go back for a little bit, hang out in that lifestyle and, yeah, then I’m going to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus.” “No, don’t go back, you’ll never go forward.”

But Jesus is our Example

Jesus has got his hand on the plow. He’s got his face set toward Jerusalem, that’s what we read, and he is just pressing forward to the cross. He’s not looking back. He’s not saying, “Boy, I remember when my life was easier. I remember when I didn’t get criticized. I remember before I started preaching and teaching publicly and casting out demons, boy, the good ole days.” He doesn’t look back at all. It’s forward to the cross.

And Jesus plows his row in a straight line, and he picks up this analogy and he says, “Your life is like a field, and God has apportioned to you a row to plow. And you need to put your hand on the plow, and you need to set your eyes toward the New Jerusalem that will be coming down out of heaven,” the one the ascended Jesus is preparing for us right now. And just like he plowed a straight line right into Jerusalem, we need to plow a straight line right into the New Jerusalem, and not be looking back.

Eyes forward, hands on the plow, feet always moving, working hard, doing our best till we see him face-to-face. And what he says is, “If you don’t do that, you’ll take your hand off the plow. You’ll stop plowing or you’ll look back.” What he says is, “You can’t plow a straight row looking back, you can’t.” It’s a great analogy.

Moving Forward Not Backward |“What do you have in your hand?”

Moses Staff
Moses Staff

10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.

11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.

27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

In this scripture God’s people were being chased by Pharaoh’s army and only the Lord new what it would take to deliver His chosen people from slavery. Before them was the Red Sea and behind them came Pharaoh and his army and chariots with bad intentions. Between them and the Egyptians God had placed a hedge of protection through the Angel of the Lord

We see that He protects His people. He did it with the Egyptians, He did it with Job and He also does it with us.  Satan himself said to the Lord ;( Job 1:10) “Has thou not made a hedge about Job and his house and all that he has, on every side?”  Thessalonians 3:3 says that; “The Lord will strengthen and protect us from the evil one.”

Ultimately they got the victory in spite of Pharaoh’s great army and chariots. And there is also a victory for us if we face every day with the attitude that we are going forward and we will not back up or give up, no matter the cost.

Moses told them in verse 13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” But God turned around and said in verse 15 “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”

What does it take to move forward?

First it takes knowing and understanding that we are heading to something better. Where we are now is only temporary. This is not our final destination.  Heaven is our goal not the things that this world has to offer. Jesus said; “I go and prepare a place for you so that where I am you may be also.” We have to learn to move out of your place of comfort. They were comfortable in Egypt, they were used to living as slaves, and they were used to settling for the left over. Verse 12 reads  Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

In the second place Moving forward involves a change of attitude. They had developed a slave mentality. Verse 11 reads Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?
12 “Didn’t’ we tell you in Egypt to leave us alone and let us serve the Egyptians?”  People of God sometimes get accustomed to their worldly surroundings.  We sometimes become accustomed to not receiving the promises of God. We get used to the hand downs even if it’s not the best that the Lord has for us.  God says that; “You are the head and not the tail”, “above and not below”,” Victorious and not the victim”.” Blessed in the city and blessed in the field”, “blessed going in and going out”.

 Finally, Moving forward involves Faith in God and putting to use what He has placed in your hand. Verse 16, God said to Moses; “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the waters so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. Notice that the only thing that Moses had was Faith in what God had promised and a stick. What has He given you to move yourself and lead others to their destiny? Perhaps a talent; singing, playing an instrument, fixing something or trade like carpentry or repairing cars or landscaping. It doesn’t matter what it is but use it for the Glory of the Lord. Perhaps a Spiritual gift such as; teaching or preaching or interceding for others or encouraging others.  Whatever it is, put it to use in the Kingdom of God. It will not only push you forward but others also. Use what you have and add faith to it. We need to put our faith in the word of God not anything else. The Hebrew writer said this:

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Moving Forward Not Backward |“But This One Thing I Do”

imagesBrethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

So often we talk about doing things different. As a matter of fact this month were talking about moving forward and not backwards. But the question remains is what can I do to move forward and not backwards.

Last week Paul reminded us to: Be careful of the company you keep, Put know confidence in the flesh and Realize that you haven’t made it yet.

You see it is one thing to have someone tell you what to do, but it’s another thing for someone tell you what they do from experience not move backwards.

So Paul reiterates that, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:

  • he had not attained to perfect knowledge,
  • was not come to the mark, had not received the prize, or laid hold on eternal life;
  • though he had received so much grace, and such gifts, as had qualified him for an apostle;
  • and he had been so many years in that office, and had so great a knowledge in the mystery of the Gospel,
  • and had labored in it more abundantly than others, and with great success;
  • and even though he had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard unspeakable words, not lawful to be uttered, 2 Corinthians 12:2,
  • yet he had no such opinion of himself, as if he was perfect:

Paul say’s I’m not perfect! Can I tell you something? You’re not either.

But Paul goes on to say “but this one thing I do.” Doesn’t Paul make it simple for us? He say’s I just do one thing. Whatever gifts, graces, or honors I may have received from Jesus Christ, I consider everything as incomplete till I have finished my course, got this crown, and have my body raised and fashioned after his glorious body.

This statement means “EN” in the Greek and is translated one – primary thing. Paul is saying this is the concern, as it is the sole business, of my life. This one thing that I do encompasses three action steps:

Paul stars out by saying the first step is forgetting those things which are behind. Forgetting is a verb – present middle and it means to lose out of mind. We are not talking about precious memories here. We are talking about those past things that would hinder you from moving forward. Paul is saying my conduct is not regulated nor influenced by that of others; I consider my calling, my Master, my work, and my end.

The connotation is a race and you can’t win a race looking behind you. Looking back is sure to end in going back (Lu 9:62): And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Look at Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:26) But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Because the children of Israel were looking back it took them forty years for a two week trip.

Paul’s second step is reaching forth unto those things which are before. Reaching – verb – present middle and it means to stretch (oneself) forward upon. I stretch with my all untoHebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

I’m reaching to those things – to perfection of knowledge, holiness, and happiness. The metaphor is taken from runners in a race, who did not stop to look behind them, and see what way they have run, and how far they are before others, but look and move forwards, and stretch themselves out to the uttermost, and run with all their might and main to the mark before them; and so the apostle did in a spiritual sense. With hand and foot, like a runner in a race, and the body bent forward. The Christian is always humbled by the contrast between what he is and what he desires to be.

In the last place Paul takes us to step three, he say’s “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul says I press, Can’t no body do this for me. To Press is to pursue something. In Paul’s case it was Christ. He said I am pursuing toward something. Toward gives me the aim.

The aim is Christ because in Him is the prize of the high calling of God. The allusion is to the white line, or mark, which the runners in the Olympic Games made up to, and to which he that came first received the prize; “for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” the incorruptible crown; the crown of life, righteousness, and glory, that fadeth not away, That high calling is the heavenly calling.

We are all running a race to something or from something. The Christian race is running to Christ Jesus in which He receives us with open arms into the place that He has prepared just for us.

Moving Forward Not Backward | “A Self Evaluation”

Forward Backward

We are ending 2013 and moving into 2014. Some of us are still in the same place we started in when the year began. Year after year we face the same thing in the same rut or circle. You wonder what can I do different then what I have been doing.

As we end this year and go into next year maybe I can share a few godly principles during this next month that may help you have a change in your life.

So we want to talk about moving forward not backward. Now sometimes in your life you have to take a step back that’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about a continual cycle of starting the year worst off then you were before spiritually, physically, financially and mentally.

As we look at Philippians 3 Paul encourages us and reminds the Church that he has shared this with them before.

Vs. 1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Paul is writing that it is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Because I’m reminding you to be careful with whom you keep company with.

Vs. 2 (NLT) Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.

Colin Powell said these words “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.
Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the
bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”

The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.”

So Paul writes, Watch for the dogs; Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Then Paul says, Those people who do evil; New Living Translation Psalms 119:115 Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. Finally, he writes, over religious people out of your life; those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. The company you keep will either help you move forward or cause you to move backward.

Secondly, Paul tells the Church I’m reminding you to put know confidence in the flesh. He said in Vs.3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. In other words, we who serve God by his Spirit should boast in Christ Jesus. Verse 4 reads I although I could have confidence in the flesh. If anyone thinks he can place confidence in the flesh, I have more reason to think so.

  • Vs. 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
  • Vs. 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But then Paul makes a genuine argument in Vs.7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. He goes on to say in Vs.8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ Vs.9 I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. Vs. 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Paul is suggesting when you think more highly of yourself then you end up going backward then forward? Why? Lastly Paul is saying in essence I’m reminding you that you haven’t made it yet. Isn’t that wonderful! After all that he has done, even he realizes this simple truth. Look at Vs. 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Vs. 12 not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

What a great lesson when you have too much confidence in your flesh you will start thinking that you have already attained or were already perfect. You say Attain what? Vs. 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. The verb “attain” means to arrive at the end of a journey; it presents the figure of a pilgrimage. Even though I haven’t it made it yet at least I know what direction I’m headed. Some are reading this post right now and don’t know where to turn which direction to go.

Paul said in Vs. 12 but I follow after, But I keep pursuing it, I make every effort to take hold of it. The “it” is Christ. I’m looking to Christ. Why? He goes on to say in vs. 12 which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Another translation reads; because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

Are you glad today that it’s not because you first loved him, But because Christ first loved you. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Christ is saying to you today “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone lets me in I will come in and fellowship with them”