Sun, Feb 03, 2019

Joshua 5:2-9 Cut it Out!

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JOSHUA 5:2-9

CUT IT OUT!

            Please turn in your Bibles to Joshua chapter 5 as we continue to study through the book of Joshua and we are looking at the victorious Christian life that Christ has for us as we do.

            A few weeks back we looked at a study in Joshua 3:1-6 called “PREPARATION?” And, as I told you back then, I put a question mark at the end of that word. The reason being is what do we need to do to prepare for this spirit-filled life! A life that is lived out and it is a process of growing and maturing in the faith!

            And that is what we looked at beginning with, PREPARATION FOR A MIRACLE! – Joshua 3:1-2.

            Remember that the children of Israel had come to the Jordan River which was overflowing its banks and the water was rushing by them. By human effort, it would have been impossible for them to move 2 to 3 million people, including women and children, as well as livestock and the rest, through these waters safely.

            Thus, as they were preparing for a miracle, we saw that they had to come to the end of themselves and realize that they were not going to do it on their own.

            That is when the leaders came into the camp and basically told them to, FOCUS ON THE ARK – Joshua 3:3.

            In other words, as we saw, inside the Ark were the tablets of stone that had the Law written on it, and thus, this was also known as the Ark of the Testimony.

            The idea here is that they were no longer going to be guided by visible signs, the Shekinah glory as they were in their wilderness wanderings, but by the Word of God and they needed to keep their eyes on the Lord as He led them by the Word of God!

            And that brought us to, SUBMISSION – Joshua 3:4.

            Yes, God has told us what He desires of us, but we must submit our lives to Him, let Him guide us and not our will be done, but His.

            And then we looked at, CONSECRATION – Joshua 3:5.

            Here we saw that we are to place our lives on the altar of sacrifice and give our lives completely to the Lord. Again, His will not mine.

            And in the end, it all boils down to, OBEDIENCE – Joshua 3:6.

            We have to walk the walk, we have to follow Him according to His Word and not our own ideas or the worlds ideas!

            As we continue on in our study here in Joshua chapter 5, we are going to focus on those last three points once again, SUBMISSION, CONSECRATION, and OBEDIENCE!

            Keep in mind that they have crossed over the Jordan River and now they are in the Promise Land. And they are preparing for their first battle and it is the battle of Jericho. It was a fortified city, with walls and a good army to protect them.

            And as we will see over the next few weeks, God will lead them in three experiences before they are ready to enter into this battle.

            Why is that? Because God is more interested in the heart then our activities folks, and once our heart is right, then it is time to do battle!

            But, again, before they encounter this battle against Jericho, there are some things that they will need to do. They are as follows:

            The first thing we see God instruct them to do is to be circumcised! And we will cover that this morning.

            And believe me, especially you men, I know what you are thinking, “Are you kidding me? Circumcision and then try and do battle against the enemy, I don’t think so!”

            But that is exactly what God was instructing them to do. A RENEWAL OF CIRCUMCISION is the first experience.

            Then they were to celebrate Passover, a picture of their redemption and they were to look back at that first Passover and what God had done for them and see the work He is continuing to do in their lives. CELEBRATING OF PASSOVER is the second experience.

            And lastly, the Manna stopped and now they were to gather the food from the land. They are in the Promise Land, the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey! THE APPROPRIATION OF THE LANDS PRODUCE is the third experience.

            And, like I have said, we will be covering those points over the next few weeks and then we will conclude this chapter by looking at an encounter that Joshua has with the Lord, and the lessons the Lord has for us in that section.

            But this morning I want to focus on this idea of the renewal of circumcision and what that is all about. I have called this study, CUT IT OUT!

            And the reason being is that this is not speaking of cutting away the physical foreskin but the foreskin of our heart you might say. It is the idea of putting off the old man, that old life and putting on Christ!

            And let’s face it, if we truly think we will be victorious in our Christian lives by living in the flesh, you are wrong, you are dead wrong!

            Our victory is in Christ, putting on Christ, living for Him and seeing the victories He will bring to the situations that we face each and every day!

            You can’t win these battles in the flesh, it is a life of walking in the Spirit and that is truly what the book of Joshua is focusing on, a life of the Spirit, being guided and empowered by the Spirit of God!

            Let me illustrate it like this. We are told,

            London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior.

            As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.

            “Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.”

            Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become God’s, the old life is over (2 Cor. 5:17). He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to build.

- Ian L. Wilson

 

            That is what God wants to do in our lives and as we go through these verses this morning here in Joshua chapter 5, we are going to focus on five main points. They are,

            THE CALL OF GOD – JOSHUA 5:2-3

            A LOOK BACK – JOSHUA 5:4-5

            A LOOK AT THE PRESENT – JOSHUA 5:5-6

            OBEDIENCE – JOSHUA 5:7-8

            DEATH TO THE OLD LIFE – CUT IT OUT – JOSHUA 5:9

            So, with that as our introduction, let’s begin reading in Joshua chapter 5 beginning in verse 2 and let’s see what the Lord has for us as we study through His Word and we look at this topic – CUT IT OUT!

 

JOSHUA 5

VERSES 2-3

            Now, as you read this and think about what they are preparing to do, attack Jericho, this is really not a good idea, circumcising the men.

            And yet, that is exactly what God tells Joshua to do and what we see here is this first experience that we talked about earlier – A RENEWAL OF CIRCUMCISION!

            Now why a renewal of circumcision?

            The reason is simple. You see, some 500 years earlier God made a covenant with Abraham and the sign of that covenant was circumcision.

            Then, during their captivity in Egypt those 400 plus years, they did not circumcise their sons.

            But, as they came out of Egypt, they did circumcise the males and yet, during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness they did not practice this sign of the covenant. That truly shows me the spiritual condition of the people at that time.

            And what we see here is that Joshua is renewing the covenant, the men will be circumcised, which truly speaks of consecration unto God or setting yourself apart from this world and unto the Lord.

            It was a symbolic act of cutting away the flesh, becoming more sensitive to the things of God.

            That is what Moses told them in Deuteronomy 10:16, Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 

            Now, this new generation that has entered into the Promise Land will obey the voice of the Lord and be circumcised as the Lord has said, and once again, this was a sign of consecration unto Him!

            You see, they were moving from a life of the flesh to a life of the Spirit as they cut away the flesh!

            Again, we read these stories and we don’t think much about it. But think about this for a minute.

            Here are these men of war, the soldiers of Israel and they are incapacitated for several days and Jericho is only a few miles away. How could they do this?

            Because they are trusting in the Lord, what the Lord has told them.

            And here is the thing we need to remember. The Lord is not going to tell them to do something and then wipe them out or allow their enemies to wipe them out.

            They are obeying what the Lord has told them to do. They knew the Lord and thus, they were able to trust the Lord.

            That is true for us as well. God is not going to tell us to do something and then, when we obey Him, we get wiped out! But it is easy to lose sight of things and not trust the Lord.

            I remember going through several tough times in the ministry and my wife reminded me, “Joe, the Lord didn’t bring you up here to just leave you here but to do a work!”

            I am thankful for her wise and godly words!

            And the picture that we see here is that God is more concerned with our hearts, that we are surrendered to Him, consecrated unto Him, and then we are ready to fight once the heart is dealt with.

            As I have said, do not go into battle without first consecrating yourself unto the Lord, as Paul said in Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

            And let me say this about covenants that God has made with man. When you look at them, the covenants that God has made with man had an outward symbol that represented it. This symbol showed that the covenant was in effect.

            Look at the covenant that God made with Noah. What was the symbol that God gave to man showing man that this covenant was established?

            It was the rainbow in the sky that showed that God would never destroy the earth again by a flood! We are told in Genesis 9:11-17, Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said: ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.’

            Then there is the covenant that God made with Moses. And what was the sign of that covenant?

            It was the Sabbath day. Remember what the Lord said in Exodus 31:16-17, Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.

            And then there is the covenant that God made with Abraham. And what was the sign of that covenant?

            It was circumcision as we are told in Genesis 17:1-14, When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.’ Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ And God said to Abraham: ‘As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.’

            So, we see here that circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham to give his descendants the land of Canaan and to make them an exceedingly great nation.

            And the idea here is as Phillip Keller tells us, “The rite [of circumcision] represented the unique recognition on man’s part that he was no longer a free-will agent to do as he pleased, but rather ‘a covenant person’ under direction by divine authority.”

            So, with this CALL OF GOD, we see the first thing that God tells Joshua to do after entering into the Promise Land was to circumcise the men of Israel, the second time.

            What does that mean?

            It means that during those forty years in the wilderness they were not circumcised but now, according to the CALL OF GOD, they were going to be obedient to what God has told them as they enter into this Spirit-filled life in the land of Canaan! In a sense, it was a second time that they were circumcised!

            The next point I would like to look at is A LOOK BACK, and as we will see, it is a look back at their disobedience to God for forty years. Look at verse 4 of Joshua chapter 5 and let’s begin reading there.

 

VERSES 4-5

            As we take A LOOK BACK, we see that during their years of bondage in Egypt, they did not keep the covenant of circumcision.

            But, as they were preparing to leave Egypt, God called the men to be circumcised before they partook of the first Passover, and then they left Egypt.

            Then another problem for the children of Israel arose, UNBELIEF!

            Yes, God promised them the land of Canaan but because they looked at the numbers of people they would have to defeat, the walls of the cities they would have to break through, and that there were giants in the land, they refused to enter into the land of Canaan, the Promise Land.

            And God told them that this generation, from twenty years old and up, would die in the wilderness. Then, when that entire generation died off, after forty years of wandering in the wilderness, God was ready to bring this new generation into the land of Canaan!

            But another problem we have here and that is yes, the adult males who left Egypt some forty years earlier were circumcised, but they had all died off now.

            And it was their children, during those forty years of wandering in the wilderness who were not circumcised!

             What we see here is that they had forsaken God by not keeping His covenant that He made with them. It was disobedience to God’s Word and yes, they had forsaken God those forty years of wandering in the wilderness, but God did not forsake them!
            How do I know that? Because of what we are told in Genesis 17:7, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

            You see, God’s covenant with them was an everlasting covenant and God was going to honor that!

            Now think about this for a minute. They were not circumcised in the wilderness those forty years, why?

            Because their wilderness wanderings represented the carnal life, or a life lived after the flesh. Yes, those who left Egypt were uncircumcised in the flesh, but the bigger picture shows us that they were uncircumcised in the heart and body! They did not circumcise their children!

            So, as we have seen, A LOOK BACK, shows us the carnal life of the children of Israel as they refused to circumcise the males during those forty years of wandering in the wilderness. It showed a life of disobedience to God and they paid for it!

            It is good to take a look back and see what lessons we can glean from our own lives and as we read the Bible, the lessons that God has for us in regard to failure and success of these men and women. These are lessons that God has for us to learn from!

            But God is not done with them. Let’s move on and take A LOOK AT THE PRESENT. We will pick up in verse 5b of Joshua chapter 5 and read on from there.

 

VERSES 5b-6

            As we take A LOOK AT THEIR PRESENT SITUATION, we see that they are still not circumcised, all those who were wandering in the wilderness those forty years and made it through those wilderness wanderings.

            All those who were born in the wilderness were not circumcised.

            And I am not going to spend a lot of time on this because it is just the facts. This is where they were at in their present situation. But now, as we will see, they will obey the Lord and the males will be circumcised! 

            Look at what we are told in Joshua 5:7-8 as we look at their OBEDIENCE!

 

VERSES 7-8

            This is so important for us to understand. If we truly want to live that victorious Christian life, we MUST be obedient to the Lord.

            Think about that for a minute.

            If we refuse to be obedient to the Lord what we are saying is that we know more than He does and thus, we will do our own thing because we are lord of our life! In a sense, we have replaced God!

            That is a dangerous place to be.

            You see, as you live that kind of life what will be manifested in your life is hate, unforgiveness, lusts, bitterness, anger and-so-on. In other words, you will be living a life of the flesh because you have not surrendered your life to the Lord completely!

            The only way we can walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh is by surrendering our life to the Lord!

            And what we see here with this obedience to God is God is renewing His covenant with this new generation who were going to walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh!

            And the idea here is that of renouncing the old life and recommitting themselves back to God.

            Now the act of circumcision showed their OBEDIENCE to the Lord but that outward action represented a spiritual truth. Let me show you what I mean.

            We are told in Jeremiah 4:4, Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings.

            Also, in Deuteronomy 10:16 we are told, Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.

            You see, circumcision is a picture of cutting away that flesh life, that old life, that self-centered life that was in willful disobedience towards God!

            It is a picture of consecration to God, their commitment to Him!

            What about us, do we need to be circumcised then?

            No, but the principle is there with water baptism. Just as circumcision was a principle for God’s people to follow in the Old Testament, for us in the New Testament, water baptism should be done in obedience to the Lord.

            Paul makes that point in Colossians 2:11-12 as he wrote, In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

            Baptism is a visual picture to people of what God has done in your life, that you have given your life to Him. It identifies us with Christ’s death as we go under the waters, and His burial as we remain under the water, and then with His resurrection, the resurrection life as we are brought up out of the water, the new life we have in Christ. 

            And the evidence for this new life John tells us is as follows, as he contrasts the new life in Christ and a life that is lived after the flesh. John tells us in I John 2:3-11, Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

            In other words, the evidence for your faith is seen in your obedience to the Lord. On the other end of the spectrum, you might say, is a life that is lived after the flesh and it is seen in your disobedience to the Lord!

            So, with circumcision the Lord wanted them to see this special relationship that they had with Him and that relationship was based upon their obedience to Him, showing that they had submitted their lives to the Lord completely!

            Circumcision is meaningless unless we see the outward changes and the same is true for baptism.

            And thus, from a spiritual standpoint, they had to be circumcised as they entered the Promise Land because this was a picture of the Spirit-filled life and to live that kind of life you must cut away those areas of the flesh so that you can live a holy life!

            So, OBEDIENCE is so important.

            As we conclude this morning, I want to focus on one more point and we touched on it a little bit already. And that is, DEATH TO THE OLD LIFE – CUT IT OUT!

            So, let’s look at Joshua 5:9 and focus on how we are to live out our lives as Christians, because, I think we all want to live that victorious Christian life!

 

VERSE 9

            Remember all that the children of Israel had been through. God had brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, destroyed the Egyptian army that was coming after them, provided food and water for them, their shoes did not wear out and yet, their unbelief brought a reproach upon them and upon God.

            And in the end, it was that generation that refused to walk by faith that died in the wilderness.

            I also believe that this is speaking of the reproach they suffered in Egypt, the bondage they were in, as well as their mocking by the Egyptians during their wilderness wanderings!

            And what we see here is that God is rolling that away from their lives, that is what Gilgal means, “the place of rolling.”

            How was this accomplished in their lives?

            By their radical trust in the Lord and their obedience to Him, that is how this was accomplished in their lives. You see, He told them to be circumcised and they obeyed!

            And I want to take some time here and focus on this old life and new life we have in Christ.

            Listen to what Paul tells us in Romans 6:5-11, For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

            Look at the picture that Paul is painting for us. The old man, the old life was placed on the cross with Christ and crucified, and the body of sin is put out of business, it is done away with, we are no longer slaves to it. 

            We love to build up the flesh today and yet, the Bible tells us that the flesh is good for nothing, there is no good thing that dwells in our flesh!

            I know, some of you may not like that, but it is just what the Bible tells us.

            Then what are we to do with this flesh nature that we drag along with us?

            Paul tells us in Galatians 5:24, And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

            We are to put that flesh nature to death; and once you do, don’t allow that flesh nature to be resurrected!

            Now in Romans 6:6, when Paul speaks of the old man many believe that is speaking of the “old nature.”

            Therefore, if that were true, when we come to Christ and that old nature was crucified with Christ, it is dead and gone now! We only have that new nature with us.

            But think about it. Don’t we struggle with the flesh and the Spirit?

            Of course we do, so I don’t think that the old man and “old nature” are the same thing. Let me show you what I mean.

            In Ephesians 4:22 we are told that this term, old man is, your former conduct. Paul put it like this, that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

            First of all, our old nature does not grow corrupt because it is already corrupt!

            And if you read through Ephesians 4:22 you can clearly see that Paul is speaking of our old conduct, the things we did and not the “old nature.”

            And yes, there is a battle that goes on because we still have that “old nature” in us and it tries to resurrect itself.

            Thus, we must take in the Word of God and apply the Word of God to our lives asking that the Holy Spirit work in us and give us the ability to walk according to the high calling by which we have been called! We must be obedient to the Lord for He knows what is best for our lives and if we let the flesh control our lives, like I have said, it is not a good thing.

            And here’s the thing. That old nature, the flesh, will be with us until we go to be with the Lord, until we get out new bodies! So we must learn how to deal with this flesh nature or it will control our lives!

            Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers a helpful illustration of the believer’s relation to his old sinful disposition. He pictures two adjoining fields, one owned by Satan and one owned by God, that are separated by a road. Before salvation, a person lives in Satan’s field and is totally subject to his jurisdiction. After salvation, a person works in the other field, now subject only to God’s jurisdiction. As he plows in the new field, however, the believer is often tempted by his former master, who seeks to entice him back into the old sinful ways. Satan often succeeds in temporarily drawing the believer’s attention away from his new Master and his new way of life. But he is powerless to draw the believer back into the old field of sin and death. (We have been delivered from the tyranny of Satan, but not the temptation of Satan.)

            Now that phrase has been freed from sin in verse 7 can literally be translated, has been justified or declared righteous. 

            That is what God has done for us if we receive the free gift of life that is found in Him!  Don’t be a slave to sin but be free in Christ!

            And in verse 8, this should be translated Since we have died with Christ. not Now if.  Since we have identified ourselves with the death of Christ, knowing also that He was raised from the dead, it gives to us assurance that we too have been raised with Him! 

            It is as Paul said in I Corinthians 15:20-22, But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 

            If death has no dominion over Jesus, we can have assurance it will have no dominion over us! The new man does not just have life, but eternal life, everlasting life!

            Thus, this new life that God has given to us we live unto God. 

            Of this Spurgeon said, “If God has given to you and me an entirely new life in Christ, how can that new life spend itself after the fashion of the old life? Shall the spiritual live as carnal? How can you that were the servants of sin, but have been made free by precious blood, go back to your old slavery?” 

            You see, it wouldn’t make sense to go back to the old life. 

            Now, of this new life in Christ Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:17-24, This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 

            Also, in Colossians 3:9-10 Paul tells us, Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. 

            You are a new creation in Christ – not resuscitation but a transformation, thus, live accordingly!

            And keep in mind that when Paul says that Jesus Christ died to sin, it means that He not only died to THE PENALTY OF SIN; but He also died to THE POWER OF SIN!

            And, again, that is what resurrection life is all about, that abundant life we have in Christ, what He has done for us and now we must walk accordingly. Sin should not control our lives, the Lord should!

            For us as Christians, God has taken away our reproach, our dishonor, our shame as we were in rebellion and sin against God and now, through Jesus He has set us free! 

            How is this done? 

            By our radical trust and obedience to God, by obeying Him and surrendering our lives to Jesus!

            Now, here is the problem for many today. The unsaved world looks at a carnal, a half-hearted Christian who claims to love God and yet is still wandering in a spiritual wilderness.

            You can’t live with one foot in the world and one-foot walking with God, it does not work, and it will not work!

            And this is what happens as carnal Christians live out their faith, THE WORLD RIDICULES THEM, MOCKS THEM AND GOD!

            STOP LIVING BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH GOD AND LIVE FOR HIM!

            If you truly want to stop wandering in the wilderness of compromise and carnality, you have to reckon that old life dead and buried and come up new in Christ! Put to death that flesh that is trying to control your life. Feed the Spirit, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh!

            DEATH TO THE OLD LIFE – CUT IT OUT!

            In regard to the verses we have looked at this morning, one writer summed it up like this,

            The physical sign of circumcision was always intended to lead to a circumcised heart marked by obedience to God’s Law. Now in the gospel the Law of God is written on the heart of the believer, and the power of the risen Christ transforms people, liberating them from the downward pull of the sinful nature and empowering them to live in newness of life. The implications of this are further spelled out in Philippians 3:3, where the apostle tells his readers, “We are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” Instead the Christian’s confidence and glory is in the Lord Jesus Christ whom he worships by the indwelling Spirit.

            These then are the essential foundations on which we need to build if we are to enter into all that can potentially be ours through the gospel. If baptism is the outward sign of initiation into the Body of Christ, then such a person is one who has been crucified with Christ, who no longer relies on his own imagined righteousness and who no longer puts any confidence in himself. Yet Christians are confident people. We know our sin and guilt only too well, but we also know, by God’s grace, that every sin and failure has been dealt with, once and for all, in the cross of Christ. As we put our faith in his finished work and draw upon his risen power through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can begin to appropriate in our own lives the benefits of his victory over all the hostile powers.

- David Jackman, Joshua – People of God’s Purpose, p. 62

 

            Amen to that! We have victory in Christ if we are willing to surrender to His will, be obedient to what He has called us to do and go where He has called us to go!

             We have seen some important lessons here this morning, lessons to help us live out that victorious Christian life.

            THE CALL OF GOD – as God calls you to do something, step out in faith and do it!

            A LOOK BACK – it is important to look back and learn, remember those lessons that the Lord has shown us so that we don’t go down the wrong path again!

            A LOOK AT THE PRESENT – we should evaluate our Christian walk and change those things that need to be changed. Otherwise we will become stagnant in our walk with the Lord. Keep falling in love with Him over and over again!

            OBEDIENCE – We may not always like what the Lord is calling for us to do, but we must walk by faith and be obedient to what His Word says, opened up to us by His Spirit.

            DEATH TO THE OLD LIFE-CUT IT OUT – If you try to live a life in the world and in Christ it will never work. The world will win out because Satan is very good at tempting us with all kinds of different things. Crucify the flesh, cut it out you might say, and walk in that newness of life that we have in Christ!

            Let me share with you Joshua 5:9 once again, and I will close with this. The Lord told Joshua, Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.

            In other words, let the Lord lead you into a life of full commitment. Let the Lord perform spiritual heart surgery on you by cutting away the old life of sin and carnality so that you can live in the Spirit.

            I don’t know where you are at this morning, but if you are struggling in this area, surrender to God and experience your own personal Gilgal so you can say, “The Lord has rolled away the reproach of the world from me.”

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