Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 1 "The Church and the City"

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Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 1 "The Church and the City"

Pastor Rollan Fisher

  • The City of God

  • The Church in the City

  • Coming to the Wellspring of Christ

The City of God

The church is where you find the grace of God in the city.

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song.

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush — “This one was born there,” they say. And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. The Lord records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”


-Psalm 87:1-7

The Basis of Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

-Ephesians 2:8-10

“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks' wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?... Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Disciplship

The Church in the City

The church is God’s vehicle through which He dispense grace to the city.

  • The mInistry of presence

  • Psalms 139 vs. temple

“Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent urban problems. To cities filled with the homeless and the impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachments. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fires, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services.”

-Rodney Stark

Article to Freshmen (and newcomers to a city, new season of life - applies to any time of transition).

To quit attending church in college would be like Noah jumping out of the ark, forsaking the chief means God was using to preserve him.

"You need the church because you need to hear God’s Word. You need the church because you need wise and godly mentors. You need the church because you need accountability for your profession of faith. You need the church because you need reminders that your identity rests in Christ crucified. By his death he purchased for you all the power, energy, and motivation you need to invest your life in a local church.”

-From the article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/college-freshman-commit-church/

Coming to the Wellspring of Christ

The church is full of grace because it is built on the wellspring of Christ.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

-John 6:35-40


“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Repent of sin today. Come to the cross of Christ where he, being sinless, paid the price for your forgiveness. He was crucified, but resurrected from the dead not only to give you the opportunity for new/eternal life, but has given you his church so that you might have the encouragement to stand in that new life. Be planted in Christ and his church/body today.

Second City Church - Back to Church Sunday 2019 - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 7

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Part 7

Pastor Rollan Fisher

Taking the City

A Joshua-Type Generation has a heart to impact the city with the love and gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • The Care

  • The Commitment

  • The Commission

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.” And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days. On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord .” So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. “At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.” So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

-Joshua 6:1-27

The Care

We must care about reaching the city because it matters to God, the world and your children’s future.

Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.”

-Joshua 6:1-7

Keep your eyes on Jericho.

The Importance of Cities

The trajectory of our nations are determined in city centers:

“We will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation.”

-John F. Kennedy

The vast majority of provision and societal innovation is produced in city centers:

“Just 10 years ago, cities were seen as vital contributors to the global economy. That’s no longer true. Today, cities are the global economy…the 40 largest cities, or mega-regions, account for two-thirds of the world’s output.”

(Ian Wylie, “Knowledge is Power,” The Guardian, Sept 2008.)

The moral compass of nations are shaped in city centers:

“Even if 80 percent of the population of a country are Christian believers, they will have almost no cultural influence if the Christians do not live in cultural centers and work in culture-forging fields such as academia, publishing, media, entertainment, and the arts. The assumption that society will improve simply by more Christian believers being present is no longer valid.”

Timothy Keller, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City

The apostle Paul understood that city centers export their values to the surrounding towns, villages and provinces. The missiological pattern in Acts was that Paul focused primarily on the city centers of trade, commerce, culture and thought in the establishment of gospel preaching churches and left it to them to reach the surrounding areas that were pagan.

“Early Christianity was primarily an urban movement. The original meaning of the word pagan (paganus) was ‘rural person,’ or more colloquially ‘country hick.’ It came to have religious meaning because after Christianity had triumphed in the cities, most of the rural people remained unconverted.”

-Sociologist Rodney Stark

*God sends us first to the hard place, the high walled up city of Jericho that demands a miracle to reach. Once we take this by faith, the other surrounding areas will be become a metaphorical certainty. “If I can make it in Jericho, I can make it anywhere.”

If God cares about the city, why was there a seeming genocide of the Cannanite people?

The collapse of the walls was a sign of God’s singularity and supremacy over all of the false gods of the Canaanite people.

God’s justice had to be enacted for hundreds of years of reprehensible sins against the divine Law of the Creator (Genesis 15:12-16). In this time, God gave people opportunity to turn. It was a foreshadowing of the final judgment to come.

In a barbaric society, things not dealt with in the city would ultimately come for the faith (syncretism) and life of the Israelite children (i.e. - Haman in the book of Esther was a descendent of those who were ancient enemies of Israel and tried to ethnically cleanse the Israelites. See Esther 3:1; Exodus 17:8-16; I Samuel 15:1-33). You can not escape through relocation or co-habitation (ignoring, but not addressing the enemies of God).

The Canaanites would have had the opportunity to turn to God just as those who left Egypt during the plagues (Exodus 12:33-38), just as Rahab and her family had done. They chose not to do so.

If you’d like to learn more on this topic, please reference resources such as Paul Copan’s book Is God A Moral Monster?

The Commitment

We must commit to long-term obedience to God’s instructions with a church community to reach a city.

Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days. On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord .”

-Joshua 6:12-19

God wants to build with those who are stable. God is not flakey like us. We need to stop attaching God’s name to everything we want to do. We need to stop using his voice as a scapegoat every time things get difficult (walking around Jericho seven days continually blowing then trumpets) or we lose interest in something (in our relationships, in our marriages, in our careers, where we choose to live, in our financial plans, in our calling). We need to stop blaming God every time we change our minds. He hasn’t. We need to learn follow-through. Let your yes be yes and your no, no.


THE FIRSTFRUITS MUST CONTINUALLY BELONG TO GOD IN OUR LIVES.

God wanted it in Jericho and for it to remain leveled (Joshua 6:26). GOD SET THIS EXAMPLE BY GIVING US HIS FIRSTBORN AND BEST IN JESUS WHO DIED FOR OUR SINS ON THE CROSS BUT WAS RESURRECTED UNTO EVERLASTING LIFE because of HIS OBEDIENCE. This life, the life that is truly life, is now ours as we turn to God in repentance and faith in Christ’s atoning work.

The Commission

We must embrace our commission to reach specific individuals and families to see the Kingodom of God advance in the city.

But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute and her father's household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

-Joshua 6:22-25

Walls come down so that people can participate in the resurrection life of Christ.

The two spies had an assignment from God to go reach Rahab and her family to ensure that they were saved.

Who (not just what) is your assignment from the Lord?

The mission of the church:

“Winning the lost, making disciples and trianning leaders to establish Christ honoring churches that multiply in the city of Chicago and the nations.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

We advance into the city armed with love and the truth of God’s Word.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

-John 3:16-21


Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 6

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Circumcision

Pastor Rollan Fisher

Making Preparation to Take the City

  • The Cut

  • The Covenant

  • The Commander of the Army of the Lord

The Cut


Before you can help a city, you have to be positively different from those who find themselves trapped within.

As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.

-Joshua 5:1-9

  • What does the reproach of Egypt look like?

  • My identity is not my achievements

  • I will not sacrifice my mental health for some perceived level of success

Midland and Odessa, Texas, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shootings - our hearts break for and we pray for those affected.

An apologist gave a social commentary:

In the 1950s kids lost their innocence.

They were liberated from their parents by well-paying jobs, cars, and lyrics in music that gave rise to a new term ---the generation gap.

In the 1960s, kids lost their authority.

It was a decade of protest---church, state, and parents were all called into question and found wanting. Their authority was rejected, yet nothing ever replaced it.
In the 1970s, kids lost their love.

It was the decade of me-ism dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self. Self-image, Self-esteem, Self-assertion....It made for a lonely world. Kids learned everything there was to know about sex and forgot everything there was to know about love, and no one had the nerve to tell them there was a difference.

In the 1980s, kids lost their hope.

Stripped of innocence, authority and love and plagued by the horror of a nuclear nightmare, large and growing numbers of this generation stopped believing in the future.

In the 1990s kids lost their power to reason.

Less and less were they taught the very basics of language, truth, and logic and they grew up with the irrationality of a postmodern world.

In the new millennium, kids woke up and found out that somewhere in the midst of all this change, they had lost their imagination.

Violence and perversion entertained them till none could talk of killing innocents since none was innocent anymore.”

-Ravi Zacharias, Recapture the Wonder

Grown men getting circumcised vs. getting circumcised on the eighth day:

We resist circumcision because we think too much of ourselves. We are not open to others’ input. Not everyone should have input, but we should be open to everyone if the Lord is speaking (Psalm 141:5; the donkey with Balaam Numbers 22:21-33).

Stop thinking more highly of yourself than you ought. Plant yourself in a place so that issues can be dealt with in your heart, and commit to building with a people for the long term to take the land.

This circumcision is why people must get baptized. It is the outward sign of the inward covenant with God.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

-Colossians 2:8-15

After circumcision, there’s a time of healing before the conquest. Why is circumcision so important? Because Jericho is on the other side.

The Covenant

Before you can help a city, you have to remember your covenant with God that will anchor your primary identity.

While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

-Joshua 5:10-12

This is why we regularly renew our covenant with the sacrament of communion, celebrating Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, sacrificed at the cross to make way for the forgiveness of our sins.

The Commander of the Army of the Lord

Before you can help a city, you need to know where your help comes from.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

-Joshua 5:13-15

This was on the cusp of the Israelites going in to take the hard, walled up city of Jericho.

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 5

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: The Testimony of Christ

Pastor Rollan Fisher

Whereas in other portions of Scripture you can be tempted to individualize it’s application, you can not do that with the Book of Joshua. The only reason something like the Israelites crossing the Jordan would seem irrelevant to us as Christians is if we forget that in following Christ, God is:

  • Taking us to a Place

  • Taking us With a People

  • Taking us for a Purpose

Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

-Joshua 3:1-17

The Trials that we face are Systemic Challenges. The Temptation is to revert to the Naturalist Modus Operandi. The Testimony of Christ is the only lasting solution.

Making a Move to Take the City

The Trial

The Trials that we face are Systemic Challenges (every year the Jordan was at flood levels during harvest)

  • On a personal level

  • On a Body of Christ level

  • On a Societal level

The Temptation

The Temptation is to revert a Naturalist Modus Operandi (wait for another season, build a dam or don’t cross at all)

  • The temptation is to address issues that need a supernatural solution with natural means.

  • Your plans vs. God’s plans.

If you think that you need to have a season of disobedience to accomplish your goals, then they are not Christ’s goals for your life. God will always lead you in a manner where his commands, his provision and his timing line up. If you have to break the first to accomplish the second two, it is not the Lord.* God continually provides stones of remembrance to show that if he did miracles before, he will lead us into them again. People have been wondering how to respond as Christians to issues found amidst our national landscape.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

-George Santayana (1863—1952)

“We live as Naturalists when we talk about issues incessantly but do not devote ourselves to committed corporate prayer through the church to address these issues. Talking more about what needs to be done is not the answer. Appealing to the God of Heaven consistently to intervene (priests standing in the middle of the Jordan until all cross over) and then planning/taking action out of that place is the key.”

(The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Scribner’s, 1905: 284)

i.e. - The history of the civil rights movement made much of its progress through the impetus of the church.

The Testimony

We need the miracle power of Jesus Christ and his gospel to address the systemic issues of our day. The Testimony of Christ (Red Sea to the Jordan) is the only lasting solution.

At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.

-Joshua 3:2-4

When you follow God long enough, you will need to believe him for miracles to follow Him forward. When making major life’s decisions, you need to follow the ark of the covenant. The goal is that next time you will know the ways of the Lord, which way to go, how to go about doing things. The Ark of the Covenant was the relic in Israel that both symbolized and mediated God’s presence amongst the Hebrews. Its contents included:

  1. The two stone tablets of the Testimony (the Ten Commandments) - God’s Prescriptions for Living

  2. A Golden Urn holding Manna the Israelites were fed with in the desert - God’s Provision

  3. Aaron’s Staff that Had Budded

God’s Person (Delegated authority)

  • On a Personal level - I need consecration. (Christ)

  • On a Body of Christ level - Following the Ark into the Waters

I need to plan to address the challenges that I find (whether familial, financial, health-related, job-related, etc.) and contend for miracles, together with my church community.(Community)

On a Societal Level (Culture) -

The priests were to remain in the MIDDLE OF THE JORDAN where the miracle needed to take place until the people crossed over (we are a Kingdom of Priests - I Peter 2:4,5)

What can we do now (along with prayer and service) to address systemic societal issues?:

A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

-Proverbs 21:22

Changing the Conversation to a Gospel-Centered one with each opportunity.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious (giving people what they don’t deserve), seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

-Colossians 4:2-6

And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

-Joshua 4:5-7

It is only the redeeming work of Jesus Christ at the cross that can save a soul, change a heart and redeem a nation. He is the stone of testimony and the living ark, the very embodiment of God’s presence that creates the miraculous dry ground for us to walk across.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

-Revelation 12:10-11

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy for things to change in the cities/nations in which we live through the gospel.

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

-Revelation 19:10

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 3

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Your Hiding Place

  • Your Hiding Place

  • The Scarlet Cord Of Christ

Your Hiding Place

Joshua 2:1-24
And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out. 8 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”

View the land, especially Jericho.

HAVE YOUR EYE ON THE HIGH WALLED UP CITY

The people of Jericho heard the reports of all that God had supernaturally done to deliver the Israelites from slavery and win their battles.

The people were scared because of the judgment that would come against those who stood against the God of Heaven and Earth, the God of Israel. The good news, as always, is that this God gave an opportunity for reconciliation with himself through faith and repentance. This is what Rahab would exemplify.

RAHAB CHOSE THE RIGHT SIDE

Rahab put her faith in the one whose power was greater the human forces that she saw in front of her.

Some, however, still resisted.

The enemy will try to stamp out the purposes of God since he knows the work of God that’s been done in people’s lives in times past. He knows that if the people of God rise up, God will deliver again.

In what ways is there resistance to the life of God in us?

We’ve all hidden in the things that we think will give us comfort, security, a sense of belonging and keep us safe. What is that for you?

Rahab had to make a choice of with whom she’d hide.

Have you made your choice?

Some hide in their work. Some hide in their favorite tv programs. Some hide in a relationship. Some hide in their habits or additctions, their forms of escape whether illicit or though cyberspace. Some hide in their objections to faith because of misunderstandings about the faith.

“The older idea of the body being bad and the soul being good - of the emotions (resident in the body) as bad and reason as good - changed under Christianity. And these new views of the importance of the body and the material world laid the foundation for the rise of modern science. The material world was no longer understood as an illusion or simply something to be spiritually transcended. Nor was it just an incomprehensible mystery but, according to the Bible, it was the creation of a personal, rational being. Therefore it could be studied and understood by other personal, rational beings.” - Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (pg. 45)

The coming conquest by the Israelites became good news to Rahab even as the gospel of the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ is good news to us.

Luc Ferry wrote the informative book A Brief History of Thought that helped to illuminate the following realities, which you can imagine would be mind-blowing for an ancient prostitute. These are the things she could have hope in as she put her trust in the God of the Israelites:

“In general, Christianity brought an unprecedented idea of the importance of the individual. “For the Buddhist, the individual is but an illusion, something destined for dissolution and impermanence; for the [Greek] Stoic the individual self is destined to merge into the totality of the cosmos; Christianity on the contrary promises immortality of the individual person: his soul, his body, his face, his beloved voice - as long as he is saved by the grace of God.” It also undermined the elitism of antiquity. “Salvation” for the Greeks had to do with philosophical contemplation, something only people with training and leisure could do. For Christians, however, salvation came through dependent, trusting faith that Jesus had saved them, doing what they could not do. In this sense it was much more egalitarian than other kinds of ancient and classical thought.” - Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (pg. 45-46)

The cross of Jesus is the great equalizer for Dealing with Discrimination

Rahab was a prostitute who would have a community stigma attached to her. However, she cane into the same grace which the Israelites were now standing.

(Racism and Champ Bailey’s Hall of Fame speech - listen to those experiencing something different from you.)

There should be a depolarization in the church.

Why I Love the Church of Jesus Christ

Once given the hope of this salvation, Rahab was taking the action necessary to keep faith alive in the midst of hostile territory? Are you?

A Devotion to The Word of God, Regular Christian Fellowship, The Sacraments, Prayer and a Commitment to Church Involvement are Essentials in this Modern Fight (Acts 2:42-47).

Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Who’s Hiding Who?

Are you hiding Jesus amongst your co-workers, family and friends?

OR

Do you, like Rahab, find yourself hidden in the hope of Christ and his salvation?

Though Rahab did not grow up with the law or covenants of God. Upon her change of allegiance to the God of the Hebrews, she, through faith, became one of four women named in the genealogy of Christ as an heir.

Hebrews 11:31
By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

The Scarlet Cord Of Christ

The Scarlet Cord:

A Looking Back to the Passover Blood

A Looking Ahead to the Shed Blood of Jesus on the Cross for the Forgiveness of Your Sins.

Repent and Bring Your Household into the Household of the Lord, under Christ’s Scarlet Cord so that they might be saved.

Why is it important to stay in church?

*You must remain in the house, underneath the covering of the scarlet cord to avoid the destruction coming on others.

Just as the spies remained three days in the hills to escape their pursuers, so we must remain in the faith, in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for our salvation.

Matthew 21:28-32
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 2

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: A Purpose Greater than Me

  • A Purpose Greater than Me

  • A God Greater than My Purpose

A Purpose Greater than Me

***You are not independent in the body of Christ. Your calling and destiny is wrapped up in others.

You have not ultimately fulfilled your purpose in Christ until you’ve done all that you can to see those to whom he’s connected you come to know Jesus and fulfill their call in him. ***

Joshua 1:10-18
And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’” And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

It starts with the leaders.

The congregation repeats back to Joshua the charge given him by God.

So many Christians live dissatisfied lives because they focus and rejoice in their own achievements and not the success and progress of their brothers and sisters.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

*Your strength is found in how well you help others take their land and walk in the truth of Christ.

As James Earl Jones voices Mufasa in Disney’s the Lion King, we’re also reminded of wisdom from another role he voice-acted -

Darth Vader

Numbers 32:1-22 (NIV)
The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock. So they came to Moses and Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the community, and said, “Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon — the land the Lord subdued before the people of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock. If we have found favor in your eyes,” they said, “let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan. ” Moses said to the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your fellow Israelites go to war while you sit here? Why do you discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land the Lord has given them? This is what your fathers did when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land. After they went up to the Valley of Eshkol and viewed the land, they discouraged the Israelites from entering the land the Lord had given them. The Lord’s anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath: ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’ The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone. “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the Lord even more angry with Israel. If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the wilderness, and you will be the cause of their destruction. ” Then they came up to him and said, “We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. But we will arm ourselves for battle and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until each of the Israelites has received their inheritance. We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan, because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.” Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the Lord for battle and if all of you who are armed cross over the Jordan before the Lord until he has driven his enemies out before him — then when the land is subdued before the Lord, you may return and be free from your obligation to the Lord and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the Lord.

The lesson of Dan, Reuben and the Half-Tribe of Manasseh:

They gravitated to what seemed like calmer pastures, where the battle against the kings of Canaan had already been won. They surely would have asked the question, “What would be the best grazing area for MY flocks?” rather than “What ground has God called me to take with my people?” Moses’ response was clear (Numbers 32).

There is no living out the gospel without some measure of suffering (the battles of Israel; Acts 14:22). We can be too loaded down with the pleasures and comforts of this world to long for the next, which God says will be far sweeter and superior (Colossians 3). It is hard to live for Jesus in this state. (Think about the rich young ruler, Jesus saying it is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom, the explosion of faith in the non-western world, the reality that if you make above $32,400, you are part of the world’s economic 1%).

“So if you’re an accountant, a registered nurse or even an elementary school teacher, congratulations. The average wage for any of these careers falls well within the top 1 percent worldwide.“

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050615/are-you-top-one-percent-world.asp

“Christianity, then, saw the battle for human virtue as no longer one of head versus heart (becoming more rational), nor mind over matter (getting more technical mastery over the world). The battle was over where to direct the supreme love of your heart. Will it be toward God and your neighbor, no matter who your neighbor is? Or will it be toward power and wealth for yourself and your tribe? Augustine was the first to formulate this, drawing in Biblical teaching. Cambridge historian Henry Chadwick argued that Augustine “marks an epoch in the history of human moral consciousness.” For the first time the supreme goal of life was not self-control and rationality but love. Love was required to redirect the human person away from self-centeredness toward serving God and others. Augustine’s Confessions laid the groundwork for what we would call psychology in a way that non-Christian classical thought could not have done.” - Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God (p. 45)

Remember the cross of Jesus Christ.

"When God becomes a Man and lives as a creature among His own creatures in Palestine, then indeed His life is one of supreme self-sacrifice and leads to Calvary."

C.S. Lewis

Do not think you will fulfill the call of God without it coming with great COST to you.

"Those who give much without sacrifice are reckoned as having given little."

- Erwin Lutzer

(Luke 21:1-4)

The problem is we are myopic by nature and easily fall into traps that say as long as I and my family are accomplishing our goals, we’re well provided for and happy then that’s all that matters. We feel like we don’t have time or motivation to take the gospel to the land that God has called us to take with the people with whom he’s called us to take it.

A God Greater than My Purpose

*The only one who can free us to live in such love, free of a selfishly motivated altruism is Jesus Christ.

As we remember this, the fruit of the flesh that we are resisting is rivalry or selfish ambition (Galatians 5:20). The command we are obeying is fighting as one man for the faith of the gospel.

Philippians 1:27-2:4
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

How do we live this way?

Decluttering Our Lives

We need to daily and intentionally make room for God and his Kingdom Purposes (reconciling the world to himself through the cross/gospel of Jesus Christ) with the people he’s given you (Acts 2:42-47).

Out of his mercy toward us, God will allow anything that we trust in before and besides him to be taken away that our hearts might be freed and our lives ultimately saved.

clutter

(Genesis 22)

What needs to be cleaned out of your life?

Mark 8:34-38
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

It is impossible for us to live faithfully this way without being inwardly redeemed by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Joshua means “the Lord saves”, again foreshadowing his transliterated name Jesus.

Jesus alone is both our establisher and propeller to greater works. His salvific work on the cross brought the means for our forgiveness of sins and establishes us in true righteousness - reconciliation with God through faith in the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Christ. He then calls us to understand that we are “blessed to be a blessing” seeing those around us come into the saving knowledge of the gospel and all of the good news that it brings.

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Joshua Generation - Part 1

joshua generation

Joshua Generation: Advancing in the Promises and Purposes of God

Part 1: Be Strong and Courageous

  • A Land

  • His Word

  • A Command

Joshua 1:1-9
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Human Right

A Land

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.

In life, God will give you the land of your own soul as well as the places that you set your feet to grow the influence of the gospel, spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. (Prayer Walk Plug!)

Personally:

“If you are ready to partake of grace you have not to atone for your sins–you have merely to accept of the atonement. All that you want to do is to cry, “God have mercy upon me,” and you will receive the blessing.” - Dwight L. Moody

Every effort that you make for forward advance in the promises and purposes of God (whether with your marriage, with your child rearing, ministry, finances or career) will be met with demonic resistance that you can not face on your own. Thus you need the cross, Christ paying for your sins and his ever present help in times of need.

5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.

Be strong (Hebrew Word - chazaq): has primitive roots in words including: to fasten upon, hence to seize, repair, fortify, obstinate, conquer, confirm, contend, establish, hold firm, harden, grasp, maintenance, make one stay, become (grow) mighty, overcome, persevere, prevail, recover, resolutely, retain, severe, seize, stand firm, support, be sure, take, urge, be urgent, withstand.

Publicly:

Everywhere you go, because of Christ in you (and the fruit of the Holy Spirit through you), you become the thermostat, rather than the thermometer, in the room.

thermometer

“God doesn’t just give us grace; He gives us Jesus, the Lord of grace.” -Joni Eareckson Tada

His Word:

7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

“If Jesus is the Son of God, his teachings are more than just good ideas from a wise teacher; they are divine insights on which I can confidently build my life.” -Lee Strobel

You are what you eat, even when working out regularly.

Dieters can feel like they’re never getting anywhere - they are in the gym every day but still feeding on Dunkin Donuts.

Picture a barbell in one hand and sweets in the other.

What are you consuming that is short-circuiting your progress?

We need to not just acknowledge God, but give Jesus the reigns of our lives (Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take the Wheel).

“God does not guide those who want to run their own life. He only guides those who admit their need of His direction and rely on His wisdom.” -Winkie Pratney

We all want the blessings. We don’t always want what it takes to get them - allowing Jesus to be Lord of the DECISION-MAKING in our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-12
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

“Individuals could profess to not be secular people, to have religious faith. Yet, at the practical level, the existence of God may have no noticeable impact on their life decisions and conduct. This is because in a secular age even religious people tend to choose lovers and spouses, careers and friendships, and financial options with no higher goal than their own present-time personal happiness. Sacrificing personal peace and affluence for transcendent causes becomes rare, even for people who say they believe in absolute values and eternity. Even if you are not a secular person, the secular age can “thin out” (secularize) faith until it is seen as simply one more choice in life - along with job, recreation, hobbies, politics - rather than as the comprehensive framework that determines all life choices.” -Timothy Keller

Making Sense of God - Timothy Keller

A Command

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

We will all try and fail at some point. So often, our confidence is based on a sense of being able to achieve perfection. However, Jesus alone lived the perfect life and now offers grace and forgiveness to those who would abandon their self sufficiency and fall on the strength of God.

“Christ not only supplies the necessities of his people, but he gives them abundant and superabundant joy in the luxuries of his grace. You do not really preach the gospel if you leave Christ out; if he be omitted, it is not the gospel. You may invite men to listen to your message, but you are only inviting them to gaze upon an empty table unless Christ is the very center and substance of all that you set before them.” -Charles Spurgeon

There is no being strong and courageous for the promises and purposes of God without reconciliation with God. Repent of your self sufficiency, come to the cross of Jesus in faith for the forgiveness of your sins and move forward knowing that Immanuel is with you.

Acts 3:17-21
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

Second City Church - Joshua Generation - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Worship In Songland - Part 3

worship in songland

Worship in Songland: Worship in Spirit and Truth

Main Scripture

John 4:1-42

“Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water." Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you seek?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor." Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."”

‭‭John‬ ‭4:1-42‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Point

Those who profess to worship God MUST do so in Spirit and in truth, coming into the light of Christ to do so. These are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.

1) God is spirit, so we must worship in spirit

a) What is not worshipping in spirit?

i) Lip service and ministry won't cut it

(1) “"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”- ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:21-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

ii) Going to the right place at the right time won’t cut it

(1) “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”- ‭‭John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

iii) Circumcision, a Jesus tattoo, or a bumper sticker won’t cut it

(1) “Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”- ‭‭Romans‬ ‭2:27-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

iv) Good deeds won’t cut it

(1) “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”- ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

v) Money won’t cut it

(1) “"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”- ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

vi) Any ole Sacrifice/gift

(1) “"What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. "When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.”- ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭1:11-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

b) What is worshipping in Spirit?

i) The interior life, the “secret life” away from man’s approval

(1) Clean hands and Pure heart

(a) “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah”- ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭24:3-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

(2) Our bodies as a living sacrifice

(a) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”- ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

2) God is truth, so we must worship in truth as revealed through creation, the prophets of the Old Testament, and perfectly in the incarnation of His one and only Son Jesus the Christ.

a) The Samaritan woman was wrong in her understanding of the OT scriptures, wrong about God’s choosing of the Jewish nation to bring forth His Word, His prophets, and all this would lead her to ultimately missing the Messiah (the savior).

i) Because God Loves this woman Jesus had to correct her saying that Salvation comes from the Jews or she would not have recognized him as the savior.

3) God is light, so we must worship in the light

a) 1 John 1:5-10 ESV

i) “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” - 1 John‬ ‭1:5-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

b) Darkness is not a thing, it’s the absence of a thing. It’s the absence of light. Death is not a thing, it’s the absence of life.

c) Jesus brought the Samaritan woman into the light so she could live and worship in Spirit and in truth

i) How did he do this?

(1) His presence just being with her. “The ministry of presence”.

(a) Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

(b) This in itself (Jesus being present) drove out shame because he was willing to associate with her until she was ready to surrender to the light of the truth of who He is and what that means for her as a sinner, as a Samaritan, and becoming a saint.

(2) His prophetic word of knowledge revealing her past and her present so that she can come into Jesus’ future of worship for her

(a) Jesus reveals the secrets of her heart disclosing her past and present so she will know that Father God sees her. She can ‘truthfully’ worship Him as the Son of God declaring that God is among them. This is Jesus ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit as described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 14:24-25 ESV

(i) “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:24-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Quotes

“Missions exists because worship doesn’t” - John Piper

“Don’t forget in the dark what God has shown you in the light”- Dan Staldorf

Application

Are you worshipping the Father in Spirit and truth? Do you have His Spirit in you guiding you into all truth? If not, or you’re not sure, prayer this prayer that King David prayed:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Now, tell your Heavenly Father you’re tired of being in spiritual darkness stumbling through life and that you want to be with Him in the light. Lay your old sinful and deceitful heart open before Him confessing you’ve been in the dark and that you now believe He sent His one and only son Jesus into the world to be the light of the world. Tell him you accept Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross in exchange for your sinful life and that God the Father raised Him from the dead. Tell Him you accept Jesus as Lord of your life moving forward. If you do, He promises to give you a new clean heart and the gift of the Holy Spirit TODAY to live inside of you and help you lead a new life worshipping Him in Spirit and truth.

More scriptures to meditate on

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

https://www.bible.com/59/psa.139.11-12.esv

‭John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."”

https://www.bible.com/59/jhn.8.12.esv

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:3-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

https://www.bible.com/59/2co.4.3-6.esv

Second City Church - Worship In Songland - Pastor Cole Parleir 2019