Listen to the message
(To download: Right Click, choose “Save Target As…”)
Series: Kingdom of God
Sun am 21 October 2012 – Kobus Swart
1 Cor. 10:1-5, 11; Jude 3-5; (Heb. 10:13); Gen. 17:8; Deut. 32:49; Ex. 3:8; Acts 14:21-22;
Prov. 13:4; Luke 16:16; Josh. 1:2-3; (Rev. 1:5)
Theme: The experiences of the children of Israel crossing the Jordan into the land of Promise, contain valuable keys for the believer who is serious about possessing the kingdom of God. If we are going to possess the kingdom we will experience similar challenges to what the sons of Israel faced as they took possession of the land given to them by God.
The Old Testament is extremely relevant and contains very valuable keys and principles that can only be effectively understood through the eyes of the New Testament. For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-5). Just being a ‘saved’ Christian is not enough; too many Christians have become complacent. After saving a people out of Egypt, God subsequently destroyed all those who did not believe (Jude 5). They had amazing promises when leaving the land of Egypt. The duration of the journey for the Israelites was determined by themselves. They rebelled and tempted God in the wilderness. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Cor. 10:11). We are at the ends of the ages, and how long it will take will depend on the response of the redeemed community. God is waiting for us (Heb. 10:13)!
Before Israel started their journey out of Egypt, God Himself made powerful promises to them. There was nothing lacking in the promises (Gen. 17:8; Deut. 32:49; Ex. 3:8). When God makes a promise, it will soon become history, but somebody has to believe it and appropriate it. God gave us the ability to make choices.
Joshua and Caleb were the only survivors of those who had heard the promises in the first place. All those who did not believe perished in the wilderness, and a new generation had to be circumcised; it was a time of new beginnings.
The Jordan represents a point of transition. Now notice the type and shadow of the Old Testament in this story fulfilled in Jesus. When Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptised, it ushered in a new beginning, a new phase in His ministry. For Israel it was a new day for a new nation and Joshua now had to lead the people to conquer what was promised. What they did not know was that the journey in the wilderness was nothing compared to what they were going to face in the land of Promise. The miraculous provision stopped; they now had to possess the land, and in order to eat, they had to take new territory and remove the Canaanites. This was God preparing a people to rule and govern. God is preparing kings and priests to whom God will entrust the governing of His kingdom.
When Jesus emerged from the waters of baptism in the Jordan, He was entering into a realm called, “behold, the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come.” Link this with Israel and with the commissioning and all the promises. That land “flowing with milk and honey” was for them to possess. We can draw principles of possessing from this history of Israel. All these things are given as examples for us upon whom the end of the ages has come. Too many Christians are waiting for the future, but the future is busy unfolding. The Lord is saying, “The answer is within you.” Everything God wanted to give us has been given to us in Christ; it is our mindset that needs to change. The kingdom of God has come, it is within you.
The word “Canaan” comes from the word “humiliated”. It means to bend the knee, to be subjected, to be brought under pressure; certainly not a type of heaven. This is a land to be conquered. They had everything in their favour given by God Himself.
The kingdom of God is a present reality but it is going to require a certain attitude of heart. Many confuse grace with mercy. Grace is an empowering from God; it is given for us to overcome. Grace does not cover up. Many are taking the grace message into extremes and it is becoming licentiousness (Jude 3-4). A misinterpretation of grace has made Christians passive.
What is it that people are looking for in church? Many do not want to hear that there is an aggressive faith required in the heart of the believer to take and conquer that which God has promised. After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:21-22). Do you understand why you are going through so many hard times? Accepting Christ into your life is easy, but the moment you have to take the next step and take possession of the land of promise, that is when the complaining and murmuring starts. Canaan speaks to us of the realm of the kingdom of God. If we are going to possess the kingdom, we will go through much tribulation or pressure. It means an inward pressure, which does not include sickness nor accidents etc. And do not blame the devil for your tribulations. He has nothing to do with it.
You have to have this mindset: sin consciousness has to be dismantled. Those who will possess the kingdom will long ago have gone past the point where they entertain sin consciousness, where they glorify the devil and magnify him by saying he is so powerful. He is defeated! Hold on to that Godly truth! There is going to be a fight, but it is a fight to overcome the lethargy and laziness. “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it (Luke 16:16). We need to press in to the kingdom which was given.
“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses (Josh. 1:2-3). Notice the tension: “I have given it, but you must take it.” You need that thrust, that pressing in, that hunger and thirst to take what is legally yours. God has spoken, it is yours! In fact, He wants to give us the earth, but He wants to give it to kings and priests who have been released from their sins (Rev. 1:5). Being released from our sins is more than being washed and forgiven; it goes beyond that. Start with basics, take this to heart, “I have been released from the Adamic nature, I am a new creation in Christ. I am not a sinner.” Can we still sin? Yes, but to say that I am a sinner is to nullify the work of grace in my life. We still miss the mark, but we must be instant to repent and move on. The Adamic nature has been dealt with on the cross.
Take these basic truths, deal with lethargy and laziness, then you will make quicker progress. When a first fruits company breaks through it will be the beginning of a massive harvest.