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. ***
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 -
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.“
“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."
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
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.
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.
What needs to be cleaned out of your life?
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