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CANAAN LAND IS JUST IN SIGHT
Intro: In our age, there are many misunderstandings surrounding the Christian life. A trip to the local Bible bookstore bears this out. The shelves are lined with books that claim to be able to teach us how to make the Christian life easier for the believer and the church more acceptable to the world. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing easy or acceptable about the Christian life. It is not always easy to live for Jesus. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will never be acceptable to the world. We are not out for a day in the park! We are not on a playground; we are on a battleground!
We are engaged in warfare with a spiritual enemy who is far more powerful than we are, Eph. 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
In our own strength, we cannot defeat our enemies! The good new is this: our enemies are nowhere near as powerful as our God. 1 John 4:4b, “…because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Thus, even in the midst of our battles, there is always hope for victory. Rom. 8:31, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Rom. 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
In fact, the Bible tells us that we are the recipients of victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” While we are engaged in the battle with evil, there is the expectation that we can and will walk in victory in our lives. For me, this is what the book of Joshua represents.
As this book opens Moses, the great leader of Israel has died and a new leader named Joshua has been appointed to lead the nation of Israel into Canaan. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel is about to take possession of the land God promised Abraham many centuries earlier. Gen. 12:7, “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.”
This book is about the battles Israel faced in order to claim that promise from God. Joshua is a book about warfare, painful defeats, suffering and great victories. It is a book that has much to teach the modern Christian much about obtaining spiritual victory in our lives.
We like to sing songs about Canaan Land and we seem to have the idea that Canaan Land refers to Heaven. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When we get to Heaven, there will be no more wars, there will be no more enemies, there will be no more suffering or death, there will be no more sin. All of these are present in the book of Joshua and are dealt with in its pages. No, Canaan Land is not Heaven. It is a picture of the victorious Christian that is available to every child of God, and every church today! It is a picture of victory in the midst of struggle.
Today, I am beginning a series of sermons that will move us through the book of Joshua. As we journey through this powerful, special book I want to take the time to visit a few mountaintop vistas that we find along the way. I am entitling this series, The Dawning Of A New Day. My goal in preaching it is help you to stop wandering around in the wilderness and to enter into your Canaan Land of spiritual victory. It is my desire to help our church move past the pain and problems of the past into the peace and power of the Lord’s rest. It is my prayer that, through the preaching of the Word of God, we will witness The Dawning Of A New Day in our lives as individuals and in our church.
This first chapter serves as something of an introduction to the book. From these verses, I want to preach on the thought, Canaan Land Is Just In Sight. As I do, I would like for you to listen carefully to what the Lord has to say to Joshua concerning the land of Canaan and about how to claim it. These verses will help us to understand what it takes to go from wandering around in a wilderness of defeat to living in a land of victory. There are some truths here that we need to understand today as we look at the thought, Canaan Land Is Just In Sight.
I. v. 1-9 GOD’S COMMAND
A. v. 1-4 A Call To Claim The Land – In these verses, Joshua is reminded that the Lord has already given the land of Canaan to the children of Israel. Moses, the man of God is dead, but the work of God goes on. Never think for a minute that god can’t make it without you. Joshua is commanded to lead the people into Canaan to claim the land that they had been promised by the Lord.
Ill. The land was given to them back in Gen. 12:7 and the promises were reaffirmed to every succeeding generation of the nation of Israel. The land was indeed their land! There was no need for them to continue wandering around in the wilderness. They had a land; all they had to do was claim it!
Ill. I look around me and I see Christians who are defeated; who struggle with sins; and who for all intents and purposes are wandering around in a spiritual wilderness. It does not have to be that way! God has a place of victory and He has promised us that we can live in that place of peace and blessing.
· “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place,” 2 Cor. 2:14.
· “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” Rom. 8:37.
· “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 15:57.
I believe with all my heart that God did not save you to see you defeated! Most of the time, we are defeated because we refuse to walk in victory! I believe there is a place of conquest for every child of God today that we can claim for our own and these next few verses tell us what we need to remember as we set out to claim our Canaan.
By the way, the land God gave to Israel was about 300,000 square miles. They only claimed about 30,000 square miles of that. Of course, they were not limited to the 300,000. They were given as much as they were willing to claim, v. 3. The extent of their victory was only limited by their faith! The same is true with us!
· Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
· 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
B. v. 5-6, 9 A Call To Have Confidence In The Lord – Joshua is reminded of some very precious promises in these verses. Notice what God promised him:
1. v. 5 The promise of victory over every enemy.
2. v. 5 The promise of the presence and power of God.
3. v. 5 The promise of the faithfulness of God.
4. v. 6 The promise of absolute victory.
5. v. 6 The promise of God to keep His promises.
What did Joshua have to do to make these things happen? Just one thing: Trust God! God was going to give Israel the victory. Joshua was merely the instrument that God had chosen to use to do it. These things were going to happen! For Joshua to be a part of it, all he had to do was have faith in God!
Ill. May I remind you that the same promises God made to Joshua are in still valid for us today? You can still count on the Lord to do everything He promised Joshua He would do!
1. He still gives victory over all our enemies – 1 John 5:4-5.
2. He is still ever-present, Heb. 13:5, and all-powerful – Matt. 28:18.
3. He is still faithful – Matt. 28:20.
4. He still gives absolute victory – 1 Cor. 15:57; Rev. 21:4, 27.
5. He still keeps His promises – Rom. 4:21.
What do we have to do to see these things come to pass in our lives? Just one thing: Trust God! When we can learn to place our faith in God at all times in every situation, and then we will walk in victory in our lives. When everything else fails, faith will ever stand the test, Heb. 11:1! We will fail the Lord, but He will never fail the believer who has their faith in Him!
C. v. 7-8 A Call To Carry Out The Law – The Lord tells Joshua that if he is to lead the people of God to rest in Canaan, then he must take heed to the Law of God. Remembering the Law is an essential step to entering our Canaan as well. Notice what the Lord to Joshua about the Law and how this applies to our lives today.
1. v. 7 He was to keep the Law – He was to do everything the Law said to do, not turning from it the least little bit.
2. v. 8 He was to meditate on the Law – Day and night, his mind was to be occupied with the Law. He was to love it and let it fill his heart and mind. This was in order that his life might be centered in the Law and therefore in the will of God!
3. v. 7, 8 He was to prosper by honoring the Law – God’s promise to Joshua was that if he lived his life around the Law of God, God would prosper him in everything he did and that God would make him very successful.
Ill. There is a lesson in this for us today. I thank the Lord that we are not under the Law today! I praise Him that we are under grace. Having said that, I would like to say that many in our day have concluded that since we are no longer under the Law, that they are free to do anything they please. I want to remind you that such an attitude is dangerous and is guaranteed to bring you to ruin! If you want to live in Christian victory today, you too must develop a love for the Word of God! Just as Joshua was commanded to honor the Law, we are commanded to honor the Book of God!
1. We are to feed on the Bible – 1 Pet. 2:2; Job 23:12.
2. We are to live by the Bible – Psa. 119:11; Psa. 1:1-3; Psa. 37:31; Psa. 119:97; Jer. 15:16. (Ill. Psa. 119:105)
3. We will be blessed when these things are true in our lives – Psa. 1:1-3!
Dear friends, do you have a time set aside each day when you go to the green pastures of the Word of God and feed therein? If not, your spiritual life will be weak and ineffective. If so, you are well on your way to claiming your Canaan and entering into your spiritual victory.
D. v. 6a, 7a, 9a A Call To Courage In Leadership – In the midst of all these things the Lord calls Joshua to do, three times, God Himself, encourages Joshua to be “strong and courageous!” These words carry the idea of “standing firm and strong in the face of opposition.” Joshua would need great courage to face the enemies of Israel and to lead the people to victory in the Promised Land. God’s challenge to Joshua is for him to stand!
Ill. There is just as great a need for people to stand for the Lord now as there was in the days Joshua! All around us, Christians are falling by the wayside. What we need is for God’s children to be moved in the depths of their souls to stand up, renew their commitments to the Lord and say, “By God’s help, I’ll stand and not fall all the days of my life!” We need people today who will take the lead in the churches and make their stand for the Lord. We need to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 15:58. We need to stand, Eph. 6:10-17. It is high time that the church stopped serving as a doormat for the world and the devil. It is time we stood up and made our stand with the people of God and headed God’s call to be brave and strong in these days, Rom. 13:11-14. We need men and women of courage, conviction and integrity.
Ill. Are you standing for the Lord? Or, have you fallen out along the way?
I. God’s Command
CANAAN LAND IS JUST IN SIGHT
Intro To Part Two: The book of Joshua is a book about transitions. It is a book about battles. It is a book about victory. It is a book about the people of God getting their hands on everything the Lord has for them. It speaks to us because it is a book about moving passed the problems of yesterday into the peace and blessings of today.
As the book opens, we are introduced to a new leader in Israel. Moses, the man of God is dead, and God calls Joshua to lead the nation into the Promised Land. The first 9 verses of chapter 1 concern God’s call of Joshua and of His reassurances to the new leader of Israel that God Himself will be with Joshua to lead him, use him and bless him.
Now the focus turns from Joshua to the nation as a whole. God is speaking to a people who are ready to receive the land that God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years earlier. Forty years earlier God had delivered the previous generation from bondage in Egypt. God brought them out through a series of miracles and other great demonstrations of His power and glory. It took that generation two years to come to a place called Kadesh-Barnea. They could have made the journey in 11 days, but God lead them through the wilderness so they would not have to face the enemy nations of Canaan too soon.
When Israel arrived at the Jordan River in Kadesh-Barnea, they were commanded to enter the Promised Land. Instead, they begged God to allow them to send spies into Canaan to see what the land was like. God granted their request. So, 12 spies spent 40 days looking over the land. 10 of those spies came back with a negative report, Num. 13:26-29. They told of the glories of Canaan, but their report was based in fear, not faith. They were afraid of the giants who inhabited the land, Num. 13:31-33. Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies, came back with a report based in faith. They spoke of the spies, but they also knew that God was able to give the land to Israel in spite of the obstacles they would face, Num. 13:30. Caleb and Joshua challenged the people to go forward and to claim the land they had been given by the Lord. In chapter 14 the people refused to go forward. They wanted to return to Egypt instead. Because of their refusal to follow Him by faith, God condemned them to wander in the wilderness for 38 more years, until that faithless generation died off.
The generation that came out of Egypt was like many who are living in our day. They became “sanctified obstructionists” who tried to stand in the way of everything God was doing. They are like the Deacon in a certain church who that was against his church’s plans to build a new educational building. In a fit of anger he said, “That building will be built over my dead body,” then he stormed out. Three days later he died of a massive coronary. The church went ahead with the building. It is a dangerous thing to stand in the way of God’s plan and purpose.
Now that the old generation is dead, God is about to lead the new generation into the Promised Land. The only remaining members of the previous generation, Caleb and Joshua are set to lead the people into their inheritance. Before Joshua leads Israel into Canaan, he addresses Israel to challenge them in some very important areas.
What Joshua says to Israel and how they respond to His words have some truths to teach us today. Like Israel, we have been promised victory and blessing, Eph. 1:3. Like Israel, we must be properly prepared before we can claim the victory that is ours. Let’s examine these verses together as we consider again the thought Canaan Land Is Just In Sight. Notice the lessons we find in these verses.
II. v. 10-15 JOSHUA’S CHALLENGE
Ill. After Joshua receives his challenge from the Lord, without hesitation, he goes to the people and tells them that the time has come to take their land. First,
A. v. 10-11 A Challenge To Readiness – Joshua tells the people to get ready to go into Canaan and claim the land. These were the words they had been living for 40 years. However, before they could go in, they had to get ready! God told them to prepare them some food.
The manna was about to stop. God had told them that He would give them manna while they were in the desert, but it would cease when they entered the Promised Land, Ex. 16:35. The manna was desert diet, now they were about to move up to something a whole lot better. They were going to a land flowing with milk and honey. What had worked in the wilderness would not suffice in the land of blessing!
Ill. Before we can enter our Canaan, we have to make the proper preparations. The way we live must change. The things we feed on must change. Our priorities and passions must be brought in line with the will of God. The entire scope of our lives must be altered to adjust to living differently than the world around us!
This is why so many never enjoy the victorious Christian life. They simply refuse to make the necessary changes to adjust to living in spiritual victory. The fact is, if you expect to walk in victory, you will have to learn to walk by an entirely new set of rules. Rom. 6:4, “we also should walk in newness of life.” Col. 3:1-10.
What will you have to do to get ready for Canaan?
B. v. 12-15 A Challenge To Responsibility – Now, Joshua addresses the tribes of Reuben, Gad and that half tribe of Manasseh. These tribes had sought, and gotten, permission from Moses to remain East of the Jordan, just outside the Promised Land.
Why did they make this request? The land east of Jordan was a land that was good for raising cattle, Num. 32:1, 4, 16. Still, Joshua reminds them that they had promised to fight alongside their brethren until the land was conquered, Deut. 3:12-20. These people are challenged to remember their promise and to aid the nation until victory was secured. While these people settled in a land of prosperity, they were also in a land of danger. These tribes were the first to go away into captivity, when the Assyrian army attacked Israel from the East.
Ill. Folks, there is a very powerful lesson for us in these verse. We have legions of Christians who are just like these 2 ½ tribes. They are more concerned about making a living than they are about making a life! The primary thing that motivates them is getting ahead in life. In other words, they are materially minded, not spiritually minded!
These people represent those Christians Warren W. Weirsbe calls “borderline Christians”. These are people who have trusted Jesus for salvation, but that is about as far as they are will to go. They attend church when they want to or when it is convenient. They give and tithe when they feel like they can afford to. They may even fight a battle now and again, but most often they just play around the edges of the spiritual, refusing to put God first in their lives.
When the enemies of Israel attacked from the East, the tribes who lived East of Jordan were the first to fall. The same is true of those Christians who refuse to go all the way in their commitment to the Lord. They are usually the first to fall in times of attack and temptation!
People who live like this can say anything they want to, but the truth is obvious: they have others gods in their lives to whom they bow! If we really love God, we need to make up our minds to cross on over into the place of victory the Lord has prepared for us! Make the decision today to leave behind anything that is holding you back from serving God like you should. Make Matthew 16:24, which says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” a reality in your life.
Consider also what Jesus said in Luke 14:26-27, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
We can look at it any way we please, but many are choosing gold, and other worldly things, over God! If you refuse to line up with the will of God for your life, then you can be assured of the fact that one day, you will fall. My friends, you cannot play around the edge of this long before you fall out. Ill. Eutychus - Acts 20:9.
I. God’s Command
II. Joshua’s Challenge
III. v. 16-18 ISRAEL’S COMMITTMENT
A. v. 16 They Commit To A Life Of Surrender – These people make their stand with the Lord. They promise absolute obedience and surrender to the will of God.
Ill. This is the only way spiritual victory will come to any life. There must be total and absolute surrender of every area of life to the will of God and to His divine leadership. Anything less hinders the work of God in your life and mine. What are you holding back from the Lord today? Too often, we are like the men described in Luke 9:57-62. God’s will is that we surrender our will and follow Him to victory. I challenge you to make a complete surrender to God. Run up the white flag today and get in line to go into Canaan!
B. v. 17 They Commit To A Life Of Submission – These men also promised to follow the leadership of God’s man. Just as they had followed Moses, they committed themselves to following Joshua!
Ill. While I believe that there is a certain amount of authority invested in the pastoral office, and that the people of God ought to follow the man of God as he follows God’s will for the church, there is a higher authority that every person in this room must acknowledge. We are to submit to the leadership of God! Too often, we rebel against anything that seems like authority in our lives.
None of us like to be told what to do! But, may I remind you that every single child of God in this room is a slave! When you got saved, you became the property of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. Therefore, you have no right! You have no privileges! You have no claim to anything that allows you to make decisions for yourself.
Your entire duty could be summed up in one word: Submit! If you are ever going to get to Canaan, you will have to submit everything to God. Have you done that? Or, are you holding things back from the Lord? Canaan is only for those who are subject to the will of God!
C. v. 18 They Commit To A Life Of Separation – Finally, the people commit themselves to separating from those in their midst who refused to comply with the commandments of the Lord. And, their separation was so strong that they vowed to put to death anyone who rebelled against the leadership of Joshua. These people knew that allowing rebellion in their midst was a sure way to guarantee defeat.
Ill. Again, the lesson for us is clear today. If we want to walk in victory, we must practice separation in our lives as well. We should separate ourselves from anything that would prevent us from achieving victory in our lives. It may be that certain people that have to go. It may be that certain activities have to be cut out of our lives. We may need to consider the way we dress, the way we talk, the things we watch and do, where we work, how we think or in any other area of life. If it is a hindrance to your entering into your Canaan, then it must go, Heb. 12:1. Ill. Paul – Phil. 3:7-11. Otherwise, you will always be defeated and in danger. Even as I speak, you already know what it is that is holding you back today. You need to get that things settled today!
Conc: Canaan Land is just in sight! The Heavenly Father has given to us a place of victory, and all that remains is for us to march in and claim it for ourselves. While it is ours, it is not cheap! If you really want to walk in spiritual victory and live in Canaan Land, then you will have to pay the price.
We do not have to be defeated by sin, by life, by spiritual depression, or by the devices of the devil. We can walk in victory! We can do it today. If we are going to do that, we must make the necessary changes that will allow us to achieve that goal.
If I were going to run in a marathon, many things in my life would have to change. I am not prepared to run that kind of race. If I am going to be victorious as a Christian, I must also examine my life and change everything that hinders me from walking in absolute victory as a child of God.
Christian, what is it going to take to get you into Canaan today? Are you willing to pay the price, whatever it is? Or, would you rather stay on the other side of Jordan and be the first to fall in times of trials? It is entirely up to you!
Some here have never been saved! If you were to die, you would go to Hell and you don’t want that to happen. You do not need victory; you need salvation. I would like to invite you to come to the Lord Jesus today and be saved. He loves you, He died for you and He will save you if you will come to Him today.
I don’t know you heart, but I do know there are more Christians east of Jordan than there are in the Promised Land. Why not get in today?