June 19th, 2016
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Absolute Goal for the Gospel Noble Family – Restoration of the Gospel (16)
God’s Miracle Belongs to the ones who prepare (Jos 18:1-11)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is “God’s miracle belongs to the ones who prepare”. We prepare for worship. Jesus said that you must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an unexpected hour. We must prepare for Jesus’ second coming. Paul was a great model for our faith. In 2 Timothy 2, it talks about how if you cleanse yourself as honorable, you will be able to be of use. Preparation is vital. Once we prepare this with the grace of God, we will receive miracles. That’s why we promised to read chapter 18 of Joshua ahead of time. Did you read it? If you look at it, there are these contents. The Israelites gathered at Shiloh. They set up the Tent of Meeting. Among the 12 tribes, there are 7 that didn’t receive land. They were being hesitant. Joshua tells them to appoint 3 people from each tribe to make a survey of the land and to write a description of and return to him. Then, he would cast lots for them in the presence of the LORD and distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions. They obeyed and received the land. This is the content of Joshua 18. In this chapter, we must hold onto something. First, they set up the Tent of Meeting in verse 1. Second, they were hesitant with the land. Lastly, where was the tribe of Benjamin’s allotted territory? I am trying to explain this. What was the Tent of Meeting they built? Why did they have to hesitate? The allotted territory of the tribe of Benjamin was the work of God.
1. Set your own time and place where you enjoy God’s comfort (Jos 18:1)
(1) Only the one who believes in Christ and became God’s child can only receive the eternal salvation (Jn 5:24)
(2) The evangelists that testify the name of Christ can enjoy the absolute peace and comfort (Ac 4:12, 16:25)
(3) Confess every moment that you are with the Christ who overcame the world (Jos 18:1b)
The Israelites gathered at Shiloh to set up the Tent of Meeting. The word, Shiloh, means rest or comfort. That’s where they built the tent of meeting. That’s where they met God. The Israelites gather to hear to the voice of God. Then God gives the word of the Covenant. There was the Ark of the Covenant in the Tent of Meeting at Shiloh. There’s always been a tent of meeting at Shiloh. Even after Joshua died, the tent of meeting still existed. You know Hannah. There was a priest named Elliot. Even during their time, the tent of meeting existed. Would this be a big deal? It would. It’s known for the place where they had the ark of the Covenant. They know Shiloh as the tent of meeting. They’re in the belly of the land of Canaan. Therefore, it’s a good location for the Israelites to gather. It’s a place for comfort. It’s a place where they received answers to problems. During Moses’ time, the Israelites left Egypt. During the 40 years, they were moving centered on the tabernacle. They lived centered on the tent of meeting. They worship God in there. They had fellowship in there. They received Moses’ laws in there. During the age of Joshua, Shiloh was the place of spiritual center. It was a holy place where God and the Israelites meet. Gathering in this tent of meeting was important to meet God. After they built this tent of meeting, Joshua appears. They have a meeting and pray. They receive God’s blessing. In the New Testament, what is it like for us? We don’t have to go to Israel. This tent of meeting is Jesus Christ. Once we believe in Him, God’s grace will come upon us. In John 14:6, it says that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. This tent of meeting is a shadow and Jesus is the essence of this. If you interpret this, it can mean that you gather toward Jesus. The Israelites gathered at this tent of meeting in Shiloh. They conquered the land of Canaan. So they had to conclude this battle to distribute the land they conquered. Joshua gave a command. He prays a prayer of blessing. When we receive this blessing of tent of meeting, we will be able to conquer my Canaan. We can receive the answers. How must we interpret this part of the Bible? Just like the Israelites went into the tent of meeting to pray, we must also set a time to enter Jesus deeply. Set your own time and place where you enjoy God’s comfort. You must have this time. In other word, you must have a moment of prayer. The tent of meeting is Jesus Christ. Why did God allow us to read this part of the Bible today? It’s not saying that we should travel to Israel. He is telling us to have a time to pray to Jesus in our heart and worship Him. Even if you have problems with your spouse, set your own time to give worship. Even if you are ill or have financial problems, don’t lose this time. I am telling you to pray and receive blessings. The chapter has a lot of content, but the main point is to enter into prayer. God is almighty and knows everything. He wants us to move towards Him. We already have salvation. He wants us to move towards Him. Having the blessing is one thing and utilizing it is another. Suppose you have a billion dollars in your account. Leaving that money in your account vs using it is another thing. Suppose that an elderly woman passed away. Her body and possessions have to be taken care of. Grandmothers usually hide their money in their house. It’s ridiculous. God finished all problems through Christ. He even completed the Bible. He guarantees the blessing of heaven. People don’t realize it and can’t enjoy it. The angels don’t help out and the evil spirits laugh at this. In verse 1, it says that the country was brought under control. Believe that God has given the land of Canaan. We must move towards it because we have control. We must discover God’s answers. In order to do that, we receive strength and faith in the tent of meeting. That is its blessing of the Tent of Meeting. If you have this blessing, you will have blessings in the field. Let me give a couple of examples. Even Jesus Himself set His time and place to pray. In Mark 1, 6, Jesus had His own place and time for praying. Peter did the same. Acts 4:12 is a popular verse. Only through Christ can we receive salvation. Peter proclaimed this in front of a religious court. He was in court because he was proclaiming Christ. This was the moment when he was about to be sentenced to death. He proclaimed that Jesus Christ is the only way. Miracles took place. Some people said that he was right. They couldn’t oppose it, so they let him out. How was Peter changed from a fearful man to a bold believer? There is the answer in Ac 4:8. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit” He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was able to boldly share this message. Peter was in prison. He prayed and received the filling of the Holy Spirit. That was the blessing of Shiloh and the tent of meeting. He was about to face death but overturned it. What must we prepare to experience the miracle of God? We need to receive the filling of the Holy Spirit by setting our own time. Paul prayed for the girl who was possessed by evil spirits. Others didn’t like it. They beat Paul and threw him in jail. He was unfortunate. At night, he would worship God in prison. He would praise in a loud voice. I purposely praise really loud. My mom knows me. I am tone deaf. I couldn’t sing well when I was young. My grades in music class was always poor. After receiving grace from God, I would proudly praise God. I still praise God out loud. Praise leaders can see everyone. If they see people doing something else, the energy goes away. They aren’t in a position where they can call people in. They have to lead praise. Eunsu Paek used to lead praise. She would confess her struggles to me. She wanted someone else to do it. However, there was no one else, so I had to raise her up. If the congregation doesn’t have a response, then the praise leader would be discouraged. For that reason, I voluntarily sing out loud. May you be the same. It’s the way to save children. If you do something else while praising, your kids will follow you. They might think that it is ok to follow you and that praise isn’t vital. They will lose ahold of vital things. Paul and Silas praised together in the middle of the night. They raised their voices so that people can hear. Even if their physical bodies were ill, they went into deep prayer. Paul was thinking of going to Asia, but Gold told him to go to Macedonia. He met a demon-possessed girl. It’s not that he was rewarded for healing her, he was imprisoned. He wondered about this. He gave thanks to God because he was able to walk the same way of Jesus. Paul said that I was once an enemy that tried to accuse Jesus, however, he is still going on the path of preaching the Gospel. He praises God and receives the filling of the Holy Spirit. Then, an earthquake happened. The prison doors broke open. Everyone escaped. The prison worker and his family received salvation. This is saying that even if you are in a crisis, if you set a time for praying and prepare, God will perform His miracles. Those who testify Christ’s name, especially for evangelists, will receive blessings to be able to enjoy God’s comfort and peace. Prayer moves all beings. It opens everyone’s heart. George Muller received 50,000 prayer answers. Our ancestors of faith all received answers to prayer. May you enjoy individual blessings to prayer. The Early Church received blessings to prayer. The heavenly angels came. The evil spirits are cast away. It is the key to bring the throne of heaven down. May you be an army of prayer. May you meet God first before you meet people. Start praying before you work. Enjoy the secret of prayer at every moment. Wake up in the morning and before go to bed, just pray. It is the way to prepare the God’s miracles. If not, it seems like God will answer you, but you will not receive strength in the field.
2. The one who receives God’s salvation must learn how to live with faith (Jos 18:2-10)
(1) Draw the greatest vision for world evangelization (Jos 18:4)
(2) Offer your lifelong person contract to God (Jos 18:6)
(3) Entrust everything to God’s absolute sovereignty and pray (Jos 18:8)
The reason why they hesitated was because they didn’t have strength. They didn’t have the strength to conquer and distribute the land. Joshua makes a resolution. Just like the time of Moses, he decided to build a tent of meeting. The people of Joshua gathered. They picked 3 people from each group. They made a survey of the land and to write a description of it. He gave an allotment to give distribution to the land. Joshua gave directions to those who were hesitant to go out the field due to lack of faith and strength. In the next chapter, all of them were distributed land. We must learn something as a covenant and prayer topic. If you lack faith, you must enjoy the blessing of the tent of meeting which is prayer. What must you do if you slack to do? Just like Joshua commanded, we must make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, then we must bring them to God and make an allotment. We must have faith to be appointed just like 3 people in front of God. Draw a picture of the conquest of Canaan and distribution of that land. For the sake of world evangelization, must draw what you want. Hold that as your lifelong prayer topic. It’s the contract that you personally have with God. The Israelites went out from Egypt. They received salvation with their faith. But, the conquest of the Land of Canaan and the distribution of that land were the things that they should challenge with their faith. They learned how to live with faith. Do you believe in this? We call this the battle of faith. That’s why you need the spiritual strength through the blessing of the tent of meeting. In order to receive blessings, we need to have the reason why God has no choice but to bless us. God is telling us that if you bring a picture, He will give it to you. In order word, If you bring a picture through prayer, He will give it to you. If you bring that picture, then God will give the strength to be fit the picture that you brought. You must come forward to God and draw a picture. God has prepared everything, but what if He doesn’t give the answer that you want. It’s His decision and it’s better for you. He has prepared greater things for you. Have forum. Draw a picture. Peter has a lifelong picture. "Feed my lambs." His 12 disciples have a lifelong picture. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Paul has a lifelong picture. “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” You hold onto your lifelong covenant as you draw your picture. Einstein said that imagination is more vital than knowledge. Victor Hugo said that there is nothing like a dream that creates a future. Stevie Wonder said that just because you don’t have sight doesn’t mean you don’t have vision. We Must draw a picture and take that to God. And casting lots means that it is not the method and calculation of mankind. It is the method excluded the motive of mankind. They are entrusting everything to God. You must entrust everything to God with the prayer topic. That’s how they distributed the land according to the absolute God’s sovereignty. You must draw a picture to prepare. Entrust God and believe in His sovereignty. God will never disappoint you. Satan fears those who have faith to believe God’s sovereignty. Once you prepare a picture of faith and skill of faith, then God’s miracles will take place. In order to fulfill world evangelization, may you draw a great picture and may you entrust to God with your prayer. This is the lesson we can learn from the 7 tribes that were hesitant to go out the land.
3. Start from the nearest place where you can enjoy God’s blessing and authority (Jos 18:11)
(1) Be close with the church where you can enjoy worship and prayer (Rom 16:5, 1Cor 16:19, Col 4:15)
(2) Be close with the field where you can do the word movement and evangelism movement (Ac 17:17, 18:7, 19:8)
(3) There is God’s providence in the meetings and places you go, and what you do (Gen 49:27, Deu 33:12)
Start from the nearest place where you can enjoy God’s blessing and authority. The Tribe of Benjamin had this land. Their allotted territory lay between the tribes of Judah and Joseph. If you think about the descendent of Judah, who do you remember? King David and Jesus. The Benjamin tribe was the youngest. Through this allotment, they were positioned next to Judah. When King Saul had mental problems, God established the kingdom of Israel centered on David and Hebron. There were 2 different kingdoms, north and south. The tribe of Benjamin was positioned next to the tribe of Judah, so they were able to cooperate with them and to establish the kingdom. What if they were positioned far north? They wouldn’t survive. Would they have realized that? No, they wouldn’t. However, God knew this and had a detailed plan. Beside the tribe of Judah He positioned each one of them. The tribe of Judah was the tribe of baring the King David and coming Jesus. It symbolizes the authority of God and His blessings. You must be near it. Depending on what you hold onto, that will make your future. Bill Gates always used to be in the library. He became famous. His house is in Seattle. I saw it when I visited Seattle. It looked like a palace. It made me think that if a person like him knew the Gospel and evangelized, then it would overturn the world. A grandmother bought her grandson a camera. He would always take picture. He was Steven Spielberg. There was another person was an innate disease. It was a rare disease that made him frequently go to the hospital. He was Messi. He is always considered the best soccer player. Who and what you’re with will determine your future. The Benjamins were with Judah. Paul was also part of the tribe of Benjamin. You must apply this. You must be in the place where you can receive the grace and blessing of God. It is beneficial for you to be near the church where you can worship and pray. “the church that meets their house” The church of Priscilla and Aquila received this blessing. In Genesis 49, Jacob prays for Benjamin. "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder." He predicted that the tribe of Benjamin would be violent. That prophesy that Jacob predicts took place. In Deuteronomy 33, it says the same thing. "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders." When King Solomon’s kingdom would be separated, they would be a part of Judah to receive blessings from God. Learn where your spiritual position is, that will determine your answer from God. When the Benjamins were allotting their land, they didn’t know their future. All the meetings have been prepared by God. May you be close! That is the family known for the Gospel. Confess to prepare faith. Let us see God’s miracle.
Dear God, I give thanks. May we hold onto the covenant through Your word. May we receive the same answers and blessings from You as the 7 tribes was distributed the land. May we have the vessel to be able to prepare Your miracles. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.