God's Way To Victory
God's Way To Victory
Reading Joshua 5.13-20
God expects His people to be victorious. The Bible records many victories for God's people, both as individuals and corporately as a body of believers.
Listen to these scriptures on Victorious Living made possible by God. I am going to read from four familiar scriptures...reading them together without stopping, from Psalms 98.1, 2 Corinthians 10.3-5, Ephesians 6.10-17 and 1 John 5.4.
- Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked our salvation.
- For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has over come the world, even our faith.
How does faith enable us to gain the victory in the great warfare that is before us all? I believe a brief study of the victory of Joshua over Jericho will help us all here tonight to know how to have the victory God's way.
FIRST, JOSHUA WAS READY TO LISTEN TO THE WORD OF GOD.
Look at verse 13 beginning, Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
In our Wednesday evening study of angels, we learned that this Captain of the Lord's host was probably none other than the preincarnate Jesus.
One of the reasons we know this is the fact that He allowed Joshua to bow down and worship Him. Ordinary angels are not worthy of such worship. Notice now Joshua's question, What saith my lord unto his servant? Having been assured that it was the Lord's voice, he listened intently.
Church, we must know tonight that Joshua was victorious at Jericho and we will be victorious in Jesus today ONLY if we are willing to listen intently to God's voice through His word.
John tells us that faith is the victory that overcomes the world.
Paul tells us in Romans 10.17 that faith comes by hearing the word of God.
You see, victorious faith comes from WHERE? God's Word....not man's word. Again, listen to these scriptures that bear out this fact:
- Jeremiah 10.23, I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; for it is not within man to direct his own steps.
- Matthew 4.4, Jesus said, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
- In Matthew 15. 9 Jesus said, In vain do they worship me teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.
- Acts 5.29 says, We must obey God rather than men!
- 2 John 1.9, Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
- Paul admonished us when he wrote, Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We have a real problem tonight, if we are trying to live victoriously, yet are not willing to hear what God says about how to live. Truth is, it just can't be done....The two are mutually exclusive. If we will live victoriously, we must listen to God, not man.
SECONDLY, JOSHUA LEARNED THAT VICTORY HAS TWO PARTS
In chapter 6 verse 2, This angel of the Lord tells Joshua God has given you Jericho. This is God's part....God's grace gift to Joshua and the Israelites was the city of Jericho. Then in verse three, He begins telling Joshua what he must do to conquer the city. This is man's part. We must know that our spiritual victory in Jesus today also has two parts.
Listen to Paul as he describes our salvational victory in two part terms, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no-one can boast.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- We are saved by GRACE. It is a free gift of God. Grace is God's part of our victory.
- Saved by grace through FAITH.
We are not saved by works, but we are created to do the works God commands through His word...Those He prepared in advance for us to do. Faith is man's part of this victory. James tells us that faith without works is dead, being alone.
We must know tonight, that like Joshua, our victory has two parts....God's grace gift and our faith.
NUMBER THREE, VICTORY DEMANDS OBEDIENCE WITHOUT MURMURING.
Joshua's faith had to lead him to obey God before the city of Jericho was his.
- He had to cross the Jordan.
- He would take the city by: Marching around the city once each day in a certain fashion for six days. Then seven times on the seventh day. They were to then blow the ram's horns and shout loudly. Then they were to enter the city and take it.
Question! What if Joshua, had not by faith obeyed God, would the walls have fallen? Would the city have been given to them?
I believe the Hebrews writer gives us the answer in his great chapter on faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Note now what faith caused these great men of old to do:
- It was by faith that Able offered a more excellent sacrifice than did Cain.
- It was by faith that Enoch walked with God.
- By faith Noah built an ark to save his family.
- By faith Abraham left his homeland and followed God, not knowing where he was going.
- By faith Abraham offered Isaac believing that somehow God would bring about His promise in spite of the death of Isaac.
- By faith Moses refused to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
- By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea.
- By faith the walls of Jericho fell.
Likewise today, our faith must bring us to obedience to God's word in our daily lives. We too cannot expect the victory without obedience. I want you to note here that Joshua and these people probably didn't understand the why of these commands. I mean, what a strange way to conquer a city. Who ever heard of waging a war in such a strange fashion? But they never questioned, never murmured...They just accepted God at His word and obeyed.
How about us tonight?
Do you understand the why of New Testament baptism, immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins....I don't. We don't have to understand it or explain it; Just accept it, Obey it, And enjoy the victory.
How about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit?
Do you understand why He lives in us? How he lives in us? Can we explain what all the Spirit does for us?...No! We don't have to. Just accept the fact and enjoy the victory.
Sometimes we are guilty of saying, Well; I don't understand why we have to not forsake the assembly, or why we must give generously, or why we must turn the other cheek when we are mistreated and persecuted. Don't murmur, just do it and enjoy the promised rewards....enjoy the victory.
Victory is bestowed on those willing to serve others. I want you to notice verse 17. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent.
Church, why was Rahab saved? Because she assisted the spies when they came visiting Jericho in Joshua chapter two. Rahab was SAVED BY SERVICE.
This reminds us of Jesus' narrative of the great sheep and goat judgement in Matthew chapter 25, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10.39-42 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
Joshua and Jesus are teaching us that living victoriously is living a life of service to others.
NUMBER 5, VICTORY DEMANDS CONTROLLING OUR DESIRES.
Read verse 18 with me, But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.
One translations says, Stay away from the from their idols, so that you will not covet them and take them to your destruction.
In the very next chapter we see what can happen when we covet the things of this world. Do you know what Joshua chapter 7 is about? ACAN... and his coveting the Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold.
Church, living victoriously means that some things are off limits.
Joshua said, leave them alone because they will corrupt you.
Paul tells us in Colossians 2.21 that there are some things that we as Christians must not touch, taste or handle.
How many people do we know that: Are not happy, Are not living victoriously, because they have ruined their lives by involving themselves in the things of this world?
Paul's warning rings in our ears, Do not be misled: evil company corrupts good character.
- You can't grow oranges in Alaska.
- You don't go to the University of Leningrad to learn democracy.
- We can't grow spiritually by loving this world and the things of this world.
Scripture tells us, we are in the world.....BUT WHAT?....must not be of the world. Living victoriously means that some things in this world are off limits to us.
THEN FINALLY, WE MUST EXPECT THE VICTORY.
Israel expected the victory, because they had God's word on it. Verse 20 says, When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.
Do you think Joshua and the children of Israel were surprised when God gave them this victory? NOT AT ALL! Because God has promised. Folk, Faith is joyful trust co-joined with obedience. Faith and obedience lead us into God's promised reward, whether it is Jericho or heaven.
Paul says, I have fought the fight, run the race, finished the course, kept the faith; and I know there is a crown of righteousness awaiting me. But not for me only, but for all those who love His coming.
Victorious living is knowing what we are, whose we are, and where we're going.
Church, if you are a child of God tonight, then expect the victory!
If you are not a child of God, you can be by: Faith, Repentance and New Testament baptism, Immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins.
Enjoy the victory that is available in Christ.