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“We have never done it like that before” These words might be found on the epitaph of every dead and dying church. Forty years before their forbears stood here but then capitulated to the desert wilderness. The present generation were not going to make the same mistake. For some background reading in the New Testament read 1 Corinthians 10/6-11; Hebrews 3/1 – 4/15.  These studies are not just to increase our knowledge of events etc. but to increase our experience of God. As they prepared to cross the Jordan and possess the land, there were at least four necessities for journey to be successful.

 

[1] THE NECESSITY OF GOD'S PRESENCE (V.3)

a. In these 17 verses there are 10 references to "the Ark of the Covenant". The Ark was the visible sign of the invisible presence of God. V..10 “ Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out… “  Also read Exodus 33/15,16. 

b. It is God's presence and power that makes possible the fulfilment of His purpose. But we don’t have an Ark today. What is the sign of God's presence in people in our day? Surely it is the Holy Spirit. When the Ark was in the Tabernacle the Glory of God’s presence rested on it. When the Holy Spirit is in the Tabernacle of our lives it is evident in the “fruit of the Spirit” and the “gifts of the Spirit”.

 

[2] THE NECESSITY OF A NEW DIRECTION (v.4)

a. "...you have never been this way before". - totally new situation for everyone – even Joshua!

b. This fact makes God's' presence and activity absolutely critical. There are no precedents or  traditions, customs to fall back on in Canaan – How much like a new Church plant is this situation?

c. Maybe here is a clue as to why some Churches and some Christians settle for less than the best. We reject the unknown, the new, the different and instead stay with the safe, the predictable and the comfortable. i.e.  the way we’ve always done it. But such choices always have consequences

*For the Christian - such a choice is a vote for mediocrity and rejection of growth

*For the Church - refusal to embrace new challenges becomes death sentence – rejecting change.

Principle: “You can have change without growth but you can’t have growth without change.

 

[3] THE NECESSITY OF A CONSECRATED PEOPLE (v.5)

a. "Consecrate", “Purify” = to set apart for exclusive, unique divine purpose - single-minded focus;

This word is usually associated with holiness - separated to God – it involves an  ethical quality of life

b. Such a call has never been popular – because compromise is more attractive than consecration

c. NB: the direct link between people's consecration & God doing ‘amazing things’. We often want the amazing things without the consecration; i.e. we want the benefits without cost.

Sometimes we don't even want the 'amazing things'! – they are too unsettling, disturbing, challenging

And we end up being a compromised people rather than a consecrated people

 

[4] THE NECESSITY OF GODLY LEADERSHIP (v. 7)

a. Israelites recognised the vital importance of godly leadership - Joshua .1 /17; 4/14  - Only God can make a great leader. Such leadership is vital for any people who are going boldly where they have not been

before. . Great leaders don’t try to be great. They just get on with task at hand – God grants

Rest of Joshua would not have been written apart from this consecration

Rivers dried up - walls fell down because of God's power through a consecrated people

 

Reflections on Christian Leaders.

  1. Notice that Joshua has nothing to prove. It is God who is responsible to make or break a Leader in the Church. If we ever get to the stage where, as appointed leaders, we have to appeal to those we lead for their respect or demand their support, we may as well “shut the shop” and go home.

  2. Leadership authority does not automatically come with a title or a position. If we think that being called Pastor, Reverend, chairper0son etc. means we have a right to lead. Someone once observed that if we think we are leading but no one is following, then we are just out for a walk.

  3. Notice the posture that Joshua took. He made it very clear that it was God who was leading the people and it was God who was giving them the land. He repeatedly pointed the people to God.

       “The Lord will do great wonders among you (3/5)

       “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says” (3/9)

       “…….God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites…….(3/10)

       “……the Ark of the Covenant….will lead you across the Jordan River….” (3/11)

  1. Some leaders try to make themselves indispensable to those they seek to lead i.e. they subtly take the credit for what God does.

  2.  Joshua was a self-effacing leader. He had the kind of spirit that John the Baptist had “He must grow greater and greater while I grow less and less” (John 3/27)

  3. “The LORD told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses”.  Joshua 3:7 (NL

  4. Joshua 4:14 (NLT)
    14  That day the LORD made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses.

     

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