2014-05-09 - Change
Next, we see that struggles change, but the power does not. Hunger, in-fighting, a couple of skirmishes, thirst, and many other issues had been their concerns for 40 years. Now they were facing war for their promised homeland. There may be different challenges but same champion is still here with us. The same power that led them through the Red Sea, fed them and quenched their thirst, that guided them with pillars of smoke and fire - would now tear down walls and defeat armies, so that God's plan to give his people a homeland would be accomplished.
His was the power that parted the sea. His was the power that provided the manna. His was the power that poured water from rocks.
They could have gone straight in to the Promised Land just days after crossing the Red Sea, but because of disbelief, most of the adults died in the wilderness. Moses should've led them into the Promised Land, but because of sin, Moses could not enter it. As a quick side note: By grace, through Jesus, he did enter in when he appeared to Jesus during the transfiguration.
As the final thing that changes, we see that schedules change, but the promise does not.
Genesis 12:1-2 - Now the Lord said to Abram, Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your fathers house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;"
This was the promise, and in spite of many schedule setbacks, God accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, and his word was kept. In Joshua 1:5, God promised to be with Joshua. He said, "I will never leave you." And now Immanuel, God with us, keeps that promise even today. Through Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, and through godly pastors, he is still keeping that promise today.
We can look back on the legacy that has been passed down to us, and sit on our laurels, reminiscing about the way things were - or we can look to the future. We can gaze back at the legacy left for us, or focus on the future and the legacy we leave for others.
But to look at the future, there are tasks we must do. Let us now consider the tasks that we must do during change. These are recorded in Joshua 1:6-9.
Be strong and courageous is found three times in these verses. So first and foremost, we must be strong.
John 16:33 tells us that Jesus warns that in this world, you will have trouble, but take heart (that is to say, have courage) because he has overcome the world. David Letterman is not a great theologian, as you might have come to expect me to quote, but a day or two after 9/11, on The Late Show, he made this statement: "It's very simple. There's only one requirement of any of us, and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And, I believe - because I've done a little of this myself - pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing."
Next, we are to be obedient. Keep doing the things God has told you to do. Just be surrendered. For this church, we are to continue doing the things we have been called to do. We are pastorless but not fatherless, clueless, or hopeless.
Lastly, we are to be scripture-filled. Meditate on scripture.
Psalm 119:11 (KJV) - Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Our leader has not changed. Our direction has not changed. We will face challenges - but God is still God - and if the work is Gods, it will continue.
So as we close I want you to remember four truths about change. Because the servant staffs of God will change we must be sure of our commander. Because we will stumble in our steps we must strive to be steadfast in our commission. And because in life we will face struggles especially during times of change we have to be strong against our challenges. We can be sure, steadfast, and strong in the midst of changing schedules because by faith we can be secure with our covenant with God.
As I studied, I read the passage over and over from the Bible given to me when I was ordained by this church. Finally, I decided to read the footnotes for this passage. Charles Stanley, in the Life Principles Bible, made a statement that I thought was perfect to close this sermon. "As great as Moses was, he was only a man - one who needed the Savior, just like we do. Always remember it was God who did all the miraculous things through him and He delivered the people of Israel. Only He truly deserves the praise. And He can do astounding things through your life if you will trust and obey Him. It is awesome to see the great things God can do through a person who follows him wholeheartedly. Will you allow him to work through you?"
We have worshiped God today. Will you repent of the sins of your past and this church's past? Will you look to God, and to the future, as we move forward? Will you commit to the task at hand, in these times of change? Will you decide to serve him? Will you join me in prayer, as we dedicate our lives individually and corporately to building his kingdom here in our town?
Worship. Repent. Serve. Will you join me?
All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.