On To Victory Now!

Bible Book: Joshua  1 : 1-4
Subject: Victory in Christ; Christian Living; Victorious Living
Introduction

When he was 88, the late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once found himself on a train. When the conductor came by, Justice Holmes couldn't find his ticket. It terribly upset him. He searched all his pockets and fumbled through his wallet without success. The conductor was sympathetic and said to him, "Don't worry, Mr. Holmes, the Pennsylvania Railroad will be happy to trust you. After you reach your destination you'll probably find your ticket, and you can just mail it to us." Mr. Holmes, still distressed, looked at the conductor and said, "My dear man, my problem is not the whereabouts of my ticket, the problem is, where am I going?"

As we come to the first chapter of Joshua, we see a people who have been wandering around in a desert, a wilderness, for forty years. God had a direction for these people but they had missed it and lost their chance to enter The Promised Land. I want us to see today that it is possible that many of us, hundreds of us in this very room today, may be in the desert in our Christian life instead of dwelling on the milk and honey of Canaan. We may be traveling without knowing where we are going.

We begin this morning a look at the Book of Joshua. This book in the Bible is the first historical book in the Old Testament. The first five books are called Law or Pentateuch. Joshua is called a historical book because it deals with the history of God's people as they enter the Promised Land.

There is something very important about this book we must understand before we can gain the insights from it that the Lord has prepared for us. Joshua is a book about victory in the life of a believer. This book teaches us about the victorious Christian life.

You will recall that the Hebrews had been in Egypt in bondage. The bondage of these people is a symbol of the condition of the sinner - bound by sin. The pharaoh is always a picture of the devil in the Bible. So the people were bound in sin and held by the devil. But God in mercy gave them a way of escape. He told them to apply the blood of a lamb to their doorposts and they would escape a terrible judgment of death upon their firstborn children. The Hebrews applied the blood and escaped death. They also escaped bondage, for they rose up and came out of Egypt. They also escaped the pharaoh. Their escape is a picture of what happens when a person is saved, forgiven and born again. The blood of Jesus shed at Calvary is applied to the life of the bound sinner as he receives Jesus Christ. He escapes death, sin and the devil.

Once the people were out of bondage, they traveled into a wilderness on the way to Canaan, which is called The Promised Land. It only took them a short time to arrive at the border of the Promised Land; however, something terrible happened to these liberated believers. They lacked the faith to go over and take the land which God had promised them. As a result, they wandered in the wilderness of forty years till all but two of them had died. The only two people original people who actually marched out of Egypt as adults and also marched into Canaan were Joshua and Caleb. They were allowed to go in because they had trusted God to take them in the first time but were out voted.

After all those doubting, fearful, timid saints had died, Joshua was called by God to lead their descendants into The Promised Land. Now, please do not miss this next point. Just as Egypt and the Pharaoh had special meaning, so also Canaan and Joshua have special meaning to us. Before I tell you what they mean, let me admit that someone listening to me may think that we are straining somewhat to see Jesus in the Passover Lamb and to see Canaan as representing something for Christians. Let me get you to see two very special Bible verses at this point.

Look at 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, which reads, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.”

You see in this passage that the things that happened to the people during the days of escaping Egypt and living in the wilderness serve as an example to us that we would not make the mistakes that they made. So you can see that there are clear illustrations in these Old Testament incidents that relate directly to us in our walk with God as believers.

Look at another example in 1 Corinthians 10:11-13, "And do not grumble, as some of them did-- and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Furthermore, the Bible clearly states that Jesus is our Passover Lamb, meaning that the blood on the doorposts in Egypt was a pure symbol of the blood of the cross. Look at 1 Corinthians 5:7, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."

All I am trying to show you is that the Old Testament incident we are viewing serves in a symbolic way for you and for me. So, what does Canaan stand for? What is Jericho a symbol of? Who does Joshua picture for us?

Before I share a very brief outline on how you and I are called to go on in our Christian life to victory, and to go on to that victory now, let me briefly explain these emblems.

First, Canaan is a symbol of the victorious Christian life. Most people think that Canaan is a picture of heaven, but nowhere in the Bible is Canaan pictured as heaven. Where did we get the idea that Canaan is heaven? We got that idea from hymns and songs such as, "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" and "Roll Jordan Roll".

Actually, Canaan is a picture of the victorious Christian life. The land portrays the fullness of the Spirit, the holy joy and power that God means for the Christians to have. God did not save you to make you miserable. He saved you to bring you gladness, joy unspeakable, a joy full of glory. Joshua, which is the Hebrew name that is equal to Jesus, speaks of the person in Christ - the person who is saved, obedient, empowered, and who is so near to the Lord that God lives through him.

With these points in mind I want us to take just a few minutes to get introduced to Joshua 1:1-4, and perhaps we will consider more verses if time permits this morning. We are looking at the subject, "On To Victory, Now!"

I. The Discovered Destiny

God had a grand and glorious destiny for His people - not just in the "sweet bye and bye", but here in the "nasty now and now"! The Lord reveals afresh to these people what He has for them. If only God's people could see and grasp the victorious life He means for us to live.

So many Christians point to the giants in the land. They see nothing but clouds and darkness over the land. But God calls on you to look beyond all that and see His plans for you. Look at Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" This prophecy was made to a sinful people, yet God had good, fruitful and noble plans for them. God has good plans for your future! The Hebrew people had wandered in the wilderness so long that they had practically given up on God's great plans for them.

Look up, child of God, discover your destiny - realize that God has more for you to do, to experience and to enjoy that you can imagine. Get your eyes off of the world and its giants and put them on the Lord who leads us ever and always in a triumphant procession of victory!

A. It Is A Destiny Of Liberation

These people had been taken out of Egypt, it was time to get Egypt out of them! You have been freed from the world, and Christian it is time to get the world out of you.

You remember the story of Lazarus. Lazarus was dead and Jesus came to his tomb. Christ called for him to come forth. Lazarus did come forth in a marvelous miracle of resurrected life. Yet, Lazarus still had the grave clothes on himself. Jesus told the disciples to loose him and let him go! You are out of the grave, now get the grave clothes off.

God wanted the Hebrews to be free. He wanted them to be free of Egypt, but He wanted them to also be free of the wilderness. The Christian life can be a difficult life unless you are liberated from legalism, laziness and lethargy. You must be filled with God's Spirit and know that there is more to being a Christian than just being saved.

Stuart Briscoe has stated that the average Christian is like an old, iron bed, strong on both ends but sagging in the middle. By this he means that the average Christian has settled the matter of salvation and knows he is going to heaven - thus, both ends are strong. The problem lies in the middle. Many believers are sagging in the middle, that is, they lack the strength of the Lord in their daily living. We need to get out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land of all that God has promised us.

We need to be liberated from negative thinking. We need to be liberated from the sin that does so easily beset us. We need to be liberated from wrong attitudes. We need to be liberated from being tongue-tied when it comes to speaking up for Jesus. We need to be liberated in our giving to God's work. We need to be liberated in our faith to trust God for great things. Ron Dunn once said, "There is nothing troubling you that a miracle would not cure." We need to be liberated from the ordinary and trust God for the supernatural.

B. It Was A Destiny Of Relaxation

The Hebrew people had been living out in the desert for forty years. It was a rough and difficult life and they could not relax because they were on the move, picking up their tents and going from place to place. They were surrounded by dangers on every side. They had received a promise from God that they could sit under their own olive tree in the new land, but no such place existed in the desert.

Jesus has called us to a place of rest. "Come unto me all of you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." This did not mean that no battles would be fought in the new land of victory; it just meant that such battles would be fought from the ground of blessing rather than from the ground of a curse.

Some of you today need to move into your Canaan rest. God wants you to lay down some burdens today. A woman boarded a bus with a heavy suitcase. She had held it so long that she kept on holding unto it while riding on that bus. A man spoke up and said, "Lady, why don't you sit that suitcase down and let the bus carry it." We need to lay some things on the Lord today. He can help us. "Casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you."

C. It Was A Destiny Of Rejuvenation

There was an excitement in the Camp of Israel. The people began to sense something wonderful was going to happen. They could look over into the land and see the fertile fields. Everything looked so wonderful after all those years in the wilderness. Milk, honey, vegetables, grapes and pomegranates awaited them. They were so tired of Manna. They had eaten the stuff almost three times a day for years. The Bible says at one point they literally loathed the stuff! O Christian, God has choice delights for your soul. You don't have to eat boring spiritual food.

One day a preacher announced at the end of the service there would be a quick meeting of the board. One visitor showed up at the meeting. The preacher asked why he was there. The man said, "You asked for a meeting of the bored, if there is anyone in this church today any more bored than I am, I want to meet him."

Sometimes we are bored because we are not feasting on the right food. We need to be refreshed and rejuvenated with the delicacies of the Lord!

D. It Was A Destiny Of Realization

Most importantly, it was a destiny of realization. For many years the people had heard about the great things God had done in Egypt. They heard about the promise of great things to come one day in Canaan. But to them, it was all a dream. Now they were going from hoping to having and from thinking to taking. They were moving from dreaming to daring.

O, it would be wonderful, if God's people who realize that the same God that did great things in bygone days is the same God on the throne today. It is wonderful to read divine history; it is even better to live it! The God who opened the Red Sea can open a door for you. The God who sent water from a rock can supply your need. The God who shut the mouths of lions for Daniel can stop the enemies out to destroy you. The God who sent angels of fire to surround His prophet, can send ministering angels to help and assist you. He has not changed.

But God does not reveal His mighty arm to those who do not trust Him. He will not show His power to those who lack faith to trust Him. We must step out by faith and attempt great things for God and expect great things from God!

II. The Divine Dynamic

Just how can I live victoriously? The secret to this victory is in the divine dynamic. Look at two things with me.

A. The Divine Promise As You Face Your Problems

Now be honest, and I don't mean for you to raise your hands or make any outward indication, how many of us really live in victory? We have friends we wish were saved but we lack to power to bring a strong, mighty witness to them. They are like a walled-in Jericho to us. We have sins that easily beset us. Those sins are like a walled Jericho to us. We fail in our marriages, our parenting, our speech, our prayer life, our Scripture knowledge, and all of it is like a walled Jericho to us. They are strongholds with high walls. Many of these strongholds are right in the middle of our lives and we allow them to remain there.

You will remember that Saul was the first King of Israel. David followed Him to the throne. When David took the throne, he immediately did something which Saul had been too impotent to do. Right in the middle of the nation of Israel was a high place that was occupied by an enemy. David marched right up to that stronghold and routed the enemy and rid the nation of it. Now listen carefully to this. The place where that enemy was located became the City of Jerusalem. Can you image what would have happened to Israel if David had not taken that central place from the enemy?

Many Christians live with the devil in control of some central part of their lives. He has no right there. He has no place there. He has no authority to be there. God wants him out of there and He wants you to have victory; He wants you to have victory NOW! God has promised you victory over the devil and He longs for you to be filled with His Spirit, fruitful in your Christian life, forceful in your godly walk, and fulfilled in your soul. This is God's provision for you as much as His salvation was a provision for you. You and I discredit the grace and goodness of God when we let strongholds exist in our lives, which should be and could be and would be overthrown, if only we would step forward and claim what is ours.

Issac Watts penned:

"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,

Stand dressed in living green,

So to the Jews old Canaan stood,

While Jordan rolled between."

God has made provision for you to live in victory in the green grass of Canaan. Don't stay in the desert wilderness of defeat in any area of your Christian life.

B. The Divine Presence As You Face Your Problems

God promised His presence to His people! What more could we ask for than the glorious presence of our God. He will grant victory to us if we will act in obedience to Him.

1. The Good Cheer Of Cleansing

Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.

2. The Good Cheer Of Comfort

Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid.

3. The Good Cheer of Conquering

Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

A preacher once asked a troubled lady, "If Jesus were just outside that door, would you be so worried?" She answered, "No, I would not." The preacher then said, "Dear lady, as a Christian, Jesus is closer than outside that door - He is right here in this room - He is right here in your heart! Fear not!"

Yes, the presence of the Lord changes everything and He is here with us; however, He does not unveil His mighty arm to a reluctant people who lack faith to trust Him for great things. Believe He is here; more than that, act like He is here right now to grant you victory in every area of your life.

I have heard so many people moaning about the way our country is going and about the evil that seems to be triumphant in the land. Look up, child of God, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His arm is not shortened that He cannot save. Trust Him. Commit to Him. Praise Him. Live for Him. The people in power who hate God's people and are seeking to destroy don't have the power to do so unless we lose the faith to believe that our God reigns. Yes, the powers that exist look like giants, but they don't look like giants to God, the Almighty! Get close to Him and you will get His perspective on things. There is an awesome power in the dynamic of God's presence.

Conclusion

Stanley William McKenna Walker was the son of a wealthy British shipbuilder. At age fifty, he was the heir to a $4 million estate in England. But, this man had become a wino on Chicago's skid row. For many years, he barely survived by eating leftover garbage and sleeping in two-bit hotels.

When his millionaire father died, the authorities searched throughout the saloons and flophouses of Chicago, trying to find him so they could inform him of his new inheritance. When they finally located him, they discovered that he had just died the night before in the doorway of a Chicago rescue mission.

Stanley Walker is a tragic picture of the way that many Christians unnecessarily live and die as spiritual street people, struggling to survive, in bondage to sin, all because they don't know about all the wealth that is available to them in Jesus Christ.