Sunday, February 19, 2012

Believer, Be Strong! #13 信ずる者、強くあれ

Joshua 1:1-9  ヨシュア 1:1〜9
Be strong and courageous  強く勇ましくあれ Be strong and very courageous  強く勇敢であれ Be strong and courageous  強く勇ましくあれ 
NLT: 1 After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. 
6Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is My commandbe strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 
 New Living Translation(Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserve.

   Here we have Joshua who—40 years before—had been obedient to the Lord’s call to enter the Promised Land but 10 of the other spies gave a bad report and the people listened to the minority and did not listen to the Majority (God) and spent the rest of their lives dying in the sand.  Their shoes did not wear out but they all died.  Aged 20 and up.  Now, they are all gone except Joshua and Caleb.  (Deut 1:36b)
   The Lord speaks very directly to him.  Three times in this short passage with this command: 1. Be strong and courageous.  2. Be strong and very courageous. 3. Be strong and courageous.

   Think there is something in that? Why so many times?  What did Joshua need to enable him to lead? He had the blessing of Moses; He was there on the Mountain with Moses. He was the ‘other’ voice of reason when Israel was put to the test. Yet, even HE needed this kind of encouragement.  Do you think we are any different? Do you need encouragement?
   Many of us have NO IDEA what next year will be like.  In fact, ALL of us have no idea what next year will be like! Here in this passage, we have a group of 60 year olds and younger waiting to move on a promise their Great, great, great, grandparents were given.  They had been told the stories and now it was their turn to move on it.
   One thing was lacking.  They had to have their OWN experience with God.  To make it personal and to make it fresh, it had to happen to them as well.  What had to happen to them! They had to experience God first hand.  God does not have grandchildren. All those who come to Him are his first sons and daughters.  There are no half-brothers or stepsisters or second cousin on the father’s side.   
   The Christian Life was meant to be one generation at a time. We all need to surrender to His Love and admit that we need Him.  We all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.  None of us would make it to Heaven on our own. We need to depend on the only way any man, woman, or child could attain entrance into Heaven. We have to put our trust in Jesus as He died for our sins.  He alone could pay the price to set us free from the guilt of sins’ hold and then, and only then, we are set free.  Our sins are forgiven and He gives us a new heart.  We are new creations. All old ways of thinking will now start to change as we allow His Spirit to control our desires and dreams and that will be OK because He not only died for us, He loves us and wants the best of His Kingdom for us—namely that our sins would be covered and that we could not go to Heaven to be where He is!  So, …

   Point One. 1. Be strong and courageous! 強く勇ましくあれ
   Life has a way of changing our point of view of how things should be.  We might have made certain plans and set our minds and hearts on things going this way or that way.  Has it always been the way you first envisioned things to be? As a child, I thought that I’d marry the girl next door—just like the TV shows I watched.  That didn’t happen.  J___ became a Lesbian. Many years later, I proposed to a young woman I had only known for four months! That was God’s Best for me!
   The Lord was giving Joshua His Word for the many days Joshua would be the military leader the Hebrew People.  God tells him: “for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors” God “will give them.” Would that encourage you? You're the leader.  God looks to you as the leader.  You saw how the people look to Moses as the leader---and that did not look so good!  They rebelled against Moses almost at every turn! They complained and they spread lies and discord among the community.  The people were stiff necked and stubborn.  They had rejected God’s DIRECT Words to them and now, God was giving these same kind of people to Joshua to lead.  What joy! He had seen how it effected his leader and mentor over the years. He was there all the time during the upheavals.  He saw the rebels die by fire, earthquake, the Hand of the Living God and he saw the wonders of many miracles as the Lord, HIS God cared for and supported and corrected, the Hebrew Nation.
   Do you think this new leader needed some encouragement?  You bet he did.  And so many of you who are leading your families, heading up work teams at work, becoming the spokesperson for your class project—You need to hear this same word from God that Joshua heard. 
   Be strong and courageous!
   Based on what?  Wishful thinking? Just because it is written in this passage, can we claim it?  Can we MAKE this verse ours? Is it a proper way to handle Scripture? Yes, on all counts.
   Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.   テモテへの手紙二 / 3 :16-17節聖書はすべて神の霊の導きの下に書かれ、人を教え、戒め、誤りを正し、義に導く訓練をするうえに有益です。こうして、神に仕える人は、どのような善い業をも行うことができるように、十分に整えられるのです。
   That means ALL scripture.  And I would add, not just for men-as this was written to a young pastor named Timothy, but for women as well.  There are certain Biblical ‘rules’ you need to be aware of.  Ask yourself, What was in the mind of the author?  Who was he writing this to?  What kind of message was it? You need to see if the passage is part of a poem, a historical narrative, and pros.   

Ask: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How

   It is rather dangerous to just open the Bible and point to a passage and follow what the Bible says at that point.  One person tried that, as they were looking for direction in their life.  Opening the Bible, and placing their figure on one verse, it read, “And he went out and hung himself…” nervously, he closed the Bible, opened it and it fell open on John 13:27 What you are about to do, do quickly.”  You need to use Godly wisdom. 
   Be strong IN the Lord.  Human wisdom can only deal with human level things.  Some of human wisdom is really silly stuff.  Turn to 1 Corinthians 2:13  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” コリントの信徒への手紙一 / 2 / 13 そして、わたしたちがこれについて語るのも、人の知恵に教えられた言葉によるのではなく、に教えられた言葉によっています。つまり、霊的なものによって霊的なことを説明するのです。 This is a higher-level altogether!
   There is the source of the power of this strength. The power of God by His Spirit.

   2. Be strong and VERY courageous  強く勇敢であれ
   Again, when things are repeated in the Scriptures, it is not because the author forgot what he just wrote—it is for emphasis.  As we read along in this passage, we can see the WHY of this repeat. These instructions came from Moses to Joshua. He is NOT to deviate from them.  Stay straight.  Don’t try and bend the teaching to fit the situation. Don’t try to water the message down because of social pressure.  Don’t set the teaching aside because it is hard to follow.  Depend on this promise as it is from the very Hand of God through the Man of God. 
   A teaching of Paul comes to mind. 1 Thessalonians 4:8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit. テサロニケの信徒への手紙一 / 4 / 8 ですから、これらの警告を拒む者は、人を拒むのではなく、御自分の聖霊をあなたがたの内に与えてくださる神を拒むことになるのです。
   Man is forever looking to the bottom line. Qantas Airline reported this week that they were 84% lower than they wanted to be.  They were only going to have a profit of 45 million.  They plan to lay off 1,000s of workers.  The story of Jack Welch at GE was a boss who did not allow things to stay the same.  His company grew from a $26 billion in revenues to $130 billion and from around $14 billion in market value to over $410 billion—making it the most valuable company in the world at that time.  One of his mantras was: Every year, GE would fire the bottom 10% of the work force.  On one side, we can see that his company became very successful but on the other side, over 100,000 people were laid off during his tenure.   Success, yes—for some but at what cost? Sure he wanted to make his company #1 and he did, so does that make him a successful businessman?  Yes, but the 100,000 workers out of job felt the cutting edge of his corporate knife and yet people call his work successful. That is the workforce. 
   I am not saying we need to fire 10% of our worshipers so we can grow and be successful BUT we all need to carry something—to aid in the development of the Body.  We all have Spiritual Gifts that MUST be used or we will be cut—not by the leadership here at ICCS but by the Lord Himself. One of Harold’s favorite (and I miss him!) verses was from John 15:6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. ヨハネによる福音書 15:6 わたしのうちにとどまらないなら,その者は枝のように投げ出されて枯らされる。そして人々はそれらを集め,火の中に投げ込み,それらは燃やされるWe need to remain IN HIM and only then will we prosper and succeed.
  Here, the Lord points to another side of success. If you follow these instructions Moses gave you, you will be successful in everything you do.  To do that successfully, you NEED be in Him and to study this Book continually.  Meditate on it day and night SO that you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  ONLY THEN will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 

3. Be strong and courageous! 強く勇ましくあれ
   This is not a suggestion.  Like the Ten Commandments, they are not to be taken lightly.  You, Joshua, are going to battle.  You are going to war.  All sorts of killing and fighting will go on around you and you will be in the thick of it all.  You most remember Whom it is that has sent you to do God’s work.  Be strong—you are 80 years of age and you are as strong now as you have ever been!  Fight for Me, Joshua!  Be strong and be courageous! Don’t be afraid of the giants in the land.  There will be walled cities—they are nothing to Me. Don’t be discouraged as you lead these stubborn people. The Lord Himself-who is your God is with you all the way!

  So be strong and courageous!

   In closing, turn to 1 Timothy 6:11-14 11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. 13 And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
テモテへの手紙一 / 6 11-14 しかし、神の人よ、あなたはこれらのことを避けなさい。正義、信心、信仰、愛、忍耐、柔和を追い求めなさい。信仰の戦いを立派に戦い抜き、永遠の命を手に入れなさい。命を得るために、あなたは神から召され、多くの証人の前で立派に信仰を表明したのです。万物に命をお与えになる神の御前で、そして、ポンティオ・ピラトの面前で立派な宣言によって証しをなさったキリスト・イエスの御前で、あなたに命じます。わたしたちの主イエス・キリストが再び来られるときまで、おちどなく、非難されないように、この掟を守りなさい。

   It seems to me that Paul is bookending this teaching—end of Chapter one and here at the end of six.  Timothy-Joshua-or put your name in there-, you are in a war! You’re in a fight that requires vigilance in order to hold onto your faith.  And that is what I want us to realize this morning, to realize this global reality.  You and I are involved in a spiritual war.  We together are involved in a spiritual war, and it involves every single one of us in this room.  Be strong in the Lord and be courageous!

-Thanks goes to David Platt of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama for the closing portion.