Absolute Goal of the Gospel Noble Family – Restoration of the Gospel (11)
Makes God’s Miracles to Continue (Jos 13:1-14)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is “Make God’s Miracles continue”. Jesus said to be alert of Pharisees who wear fancy clothes and are in high positions. Jesus is alerting those who seek power and authority. He knew the true colors of power and authority. There is this old saying that if power and authority is given to someone, you could see their true colors. Stanford did an experiment. They discovered that when power is given to someone, their true character is revealed. The experiment was called the cookie test. There were 3 students. They were given a topic to debate. One was chosen. He was tasked to see whether they were arguing correctly. In the finale debate, a cookie was placed on the table. The student could examine the other 2. That student would grab the cookie and eat it. It’s ok to eat it. The student who’s eating the cookie would eat obnoxiously. Mankind would change with power. Power is borrowed. God has entrusted it to you. You should not think that you received skills and possessions because you’re better than others. God has entrusted that to you because He wants to do something through you. You need to think about what you need to do with it. God has planned something and will fulfill it. It is His covenant. His interest lies in His covenant.
1. Even though God’s hero vanishes, God’s Covenant continues (Js 13:1a)
(1) Even though the leaders are great individuals, God has set a limit on them (Ecc 12:1-7)
(2) Even though other people can ignore you, God’s covenant will definitely be fulfilled (Is 40:8)
(3) Challenge with faith and devote for the fulfillment of God’s covenant (Jn 4:34, Ac 20:24)
We read Joshua 13 today. In verse 1, it talks about how Joshua grew old. God tells him that even though he’s old, there’s still land to be taken over. Joshua received authority from Moses. They don’t reveal his accurate age, but he’s old. He’s a renowned leader. From a young age, Joshua served Moses. To continue something in 1 place, is impossible. However, Joshua fulfilled that. You could say that he didn’t have an average patience or character. After receiving orders from Moses, he goes into Canaan as a spy. He needs to return to report. Majority of the spies has disbelief. However, Joshua and Caleb has faith. You could also say that they possessed faith inside of God. After Moses passed, Joshua had to conquer Canaan. God entrusted him with leadership. God acknowledged Joshua. Joshua is renowned and outstanding. You could say that he was a great leader and had good relationships with others. Many works arose. However, Joshua could not stop time. He was facing his limitations that God had set. There are times you are well off and not. There are times when you will be utilized or old. It is in Ecclesiastes 12. “when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets. Remember him--before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,” Your body will be weak when you grow old. This happens to everyone. This time will come to people. No one can stop time. Joshua was outstanding and became old. He could no longer go out and fight. Today’s scriptures talk about how there is still land that needs to be taken over. Taking over the land of Canaan is God’s will and covenant. In verse 6, God orders them and that He will drive out their enemies. “I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you,” They have not gone to war yet, however, God is ordering them to divide the lands by tribe. Joshua was once called the Lord of War, but now he is old and fable. Why is God doing this? God is doing that so they can have faith. His will be fulfilled. Even though Joshua is old, the war needs to continue. Receiving answers and miracles need to continue. No matter how hard the circumstance is, God will fulfill His plans and will. No matter how much people have unbelief, we need to fulfill God’s covenant. No matter how difficult the circumstance is, we need to fulfill God’s Covenant. The war needs to go on. God’s miracle will continue. His word will be fulfilled. His covenant will be fulfilled. Isaiah confessed that the grass withers and the flowers fall, but God’s word endures. Everything in the world will change, but His word will be fulfilled. "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Paul said that he considered his life worth nothing to him, if only he may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given him--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Jesus said that He would give His life to do God’s will and work. Paul received that commission from God. It’s not the path you will walk but the path you will run into. When you run into that, it’s vital. He will complete the work of God. He said that He would not regret giving His life for the work. In order to fulfill God’s covenant, His miracle will continue. If you do this, God’s miracles will continue and rewards will come from heaven. Your devotion will be recorded in heaven. It will be recorded in church history. To that point, God values the fulfillment of the Covenant. He will bless if you continue His covenant.
2. After the Lord won the battle, He has entrusted us for its aftermath
(1) One-heart for my maturity (Heb 6:1-2)
(2) Whole-heart for being considerate to others (1Cor 13:5)
(3) Continuation to shine the light in the field (1Pe 2:9)
In today’s scripture v13, “But the Israelites did not drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.” It means that there were many lands and regions that they had to defeat and take over. Joshua was considered a god, but he is old now. The land of Canaan was mostly taken by Joshua, but he’s now behind the scenes. Who needs to take over the battle? The tribes need to take it over. For example, people remember the Korean War. By the aid of the UN, they helped South Korea. However, the North Koreans hid in the mountains and refused to give up. The South won the war, but needed to clear the North Koreans who resisted. The Israelites were in the same situations. It is the same for church members and saints. By dying on the cross, Jesus had already won. He has finished our eternal problems and sins. Believe that without any effort, you have been guaranteed heaven. You have received identity and authority as a son of God. There is a spiritual fight that we are given. However, the war that is won still needs to be fought. We have been guaranteed victory. We know the end. The saints who received salvation are fighting the fight against themselves. They call this process sanctification. It is similar to the Israelites who passed over the Red Sea. They had to go to the Canaan land. They were being trained in the wild. The eternal spiritual things have been guaranteed. Spiritually, everything is finished. You need to train yourself, physically and emotionally. Your soul and spirit are saved, but you need to train yourself. We listen to the pulpit and realize that is right. This is what it is. You have realized what it is spiritually, however, you cannot discard your thinking. Without you knowing, you are doing other things. People say that they received salvation, but they do something else. God gives you everything and you need to enjoy that. You have been saved spiritually, so you need prepare mentally and physically. Your effort and devotion is required. God’s covenant should be fulfilled. If you just ignore it, it won’t be completed. Possess it. When you don’t possess it, all your blessings will be given to others. They already have won the leadership. God has already guaranteed the Israelites victory. Christ has already finished everything, but left us our portion to do the spiritual fight. Also, God will allow us to be sanctified and have victory for this spiritual fight. It is time to have spiritual fight to be mature for you. God desires us to leave the elementary teachings and go on to maturity. For Hebrews 6, it talks about how you need a taste of receiving blessings regarding word, prayer and evangelism. Once you taste it, you will know. When you are addicted to drugs, you cannot quit. It is impossible. If you quit and top doing it, then it’s a miracle. Another example is marathon-running. They say that if you run over 30 minutes, your body feels light. First, you might be out of breath, but after you might feel refreshed. It’s called the runner’s high. They feel like they won’t get tired. When runners reach that point, it feels like they have been injected with drugs. This is something we need to know. If you regularly exercise and run, it’s good for you. You could decrease chances at diseases. Men in old age are often at risk of heart-attack, but that will go down if you work out. After 30 minutes, your body uses its fat for an energy source. It helps you use body fat when you run. People want to continue to do this. I hope you will taste this. You will be able to taste God’s word, prayer and evangelism. You will experience a spiritual high and you won’t have conflicts. You will be considerate of others. This is not by your own power. This power is given by God. You have the power to be considerate. In 1 Co 13:4, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I bless that you will receive these answers and blessings. It is the same with your ministry. In the beginning of my ministry, I did it for myself. I don’t have the time nor mind to think of others. I need to pour out what I’ve received. You have something important, but if the other person doesn’t want to receive it, you may get angry. After the time pass, you are able to see yourself with others. You can sympathize with others. You would consider yourself and others. Later on, it will naturally take place the ministry for only others. Even if you don’t gain anything, you willbe happy because person receive grace. You are doing your ministry because you like that. You could only do it when you receive God’s strength. At this time, you can become an evangelist to shine the light of Christ in the field. I believe that God will change us.
3. The life journey in this world is the Pilgrim’s Progress towards our true home, heaven
(1) Confirm yourself that you are the eternal sons of God and enjoy (Rom 8:15-16, Eph 1:13)
(2) Experience the greatness of God’s kingdom and testify it (Ac 1:1,3,8)
(3) For God’s will, serve the people and the world (Ac 10:38, Gal 5:13)
This is the covenant you need to hold onto. God has given the land to the tribes as their inheritance. However, in verse 13 and 14, He said to not give the land to the tribe of Levi. In verse 33, it talks about how God was their inheritance and to not give land to them. This was ordered in the time of Moses. It is also recorded in Numbers 18:20. “The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.” This was prophesized. If you look at the first chapter of Numbers, after Exodus, they were taking a census of the tribes. However, according to Moses’ orders, the tribe of Levi wasn’t included. God had already set this before. There is meaning behind this. God is telling them to not worry about secular things. Receive the offerings of the remaining tribes. God needed to raise 1 tribe from Israel. God needed an indication to measure the faith of Israel so He chose 1 tribe. When the Israelites lacked in faith, their devotion will decrease. They would face hardships. If Levites have hardships, they would pray. What would they tell to the Israelites? They would request to restore their faith. God wanted to use them as an indicator. How can we interpret the Levite tribe today? You need to understand the narrow and wide sense. The narrow sense is about the full time minister in the church. What about the broad sense? People who have given up the main work to work at church as saints. According to the faith of saints, the lifestyle of pastors is determined. The pastor’s lifestyle also determines the lifestyle of saints. All church pastors and all saints are the Levites. You will either save or by seized by the world depend on how much you become the salt and the light to the world. You will realize and know how vital the pastor is. You will also be aware of the saints. Today, you need to have confidence. We are your eternal children of God. You need to believe and enjoy this. When you make decisions, do it with this. You will be able to experience things in heaven. You will realize that secular things are temporary. I pray that you will realize that the things of the world are temporary. It is in 1 Chronicles 29:15. “We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.” The things of the world will pass and God is our true hope. Our hope lies with God. In 1 Peter:4, it talks about how our inheritance is kept in heaven and will never fade. You will realize that the things of the world are temporary. You will know the value of heaven. You will know the outstanding things of heaven. You will give a confession. You will have a desire to fulfill God’s desire. In 1 John 2:17, it says, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” You have good things in the heaven, so you are able to serve people in the world. It says that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit so He did good things and healed people. Paul said this in Gal 5:13. ‘You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Just like the Jesus’ saying, saving and healing the world through the Gospel are God’s desire. Just like the Paul’s saying, helping and serving each other in church are God’s desire. I bless that you will live your life like this.
I hope that you can only seek God who is our true hope. Only God’s word is eternal. We need to hold onto that. We need to fight the spiritual fight to remain in God’s plan. You will walk the path of the Pilgrim’s Progress. Then you will go to your true home. Having this great master plan, you will be the family known for the Gospel.
Almighty Father God, I pray before you. Help us to have victory in our remaining spiritual battle. It is to continue to fulfill your covenant. Help us to walk the path of the pilgrim and do your work. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.