Neal Garratt (Sun, 16 Jun 2019)
Neal continued our series looking at Joshua. Neal looked at Caleb’s inheritance from Joshua 14 vs 6-15 – The background to this story needs to be understood to get the full picture and that background can be read in Numbers 13 and 14
Numbers 13 vs 18-20 – Caleb sent out to spy the land
Numbers 13 vs 25-33 – The report is brought back with two different opinions
Numbers 14 vs 1-10 - The people rebel
Numbers 14 vs 23-24 – God’s promise to Caleb – which is finally fulfilled in Joshua chapter 14.
Key verse -Numbers 14 vs 24 – But my servant Caleb has a different spirit/attitude than the others – He has remained loyal to me so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.
The promise is fulfilled but its 45 years later!! Caleb is now and old man of 85 but God has not forgotten his promise and neither has Caleb! He has amazing faith and believes God that the promise will be fulfilled no matter how old he is! How good are we at waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives?
God says of Caleb that he has a different spirit – what is that different spirit? Caleb actually means “wholehearted” and it is this wholeheartedness that God loves and its recognised by Joshua as well
14 vs 8 – I wholeheartedly follows the Lord
14 vs 9 – Because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God
14 vs 11 – Because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord
Wholeheartedness is an attribute that God loves in Caleb but he also loves in us – He wants our whole heart and not just part of it – he hates half-heartedness – remember Phil preaching from Revelation chapter 3 a few weeks ago where he talked about the Church in Laodicea who has become luke warm (half-hearted) and bland – God said it was distasteful and undrinkable and would be spat out by him – strong words – but even we don’t like a warm shower and we don’t like half-heartedness either – think of examples with your kids where they can’t be bothered to help – it drives us mad!! God wants us to be wholehearted for him and we need to be careful as many things will crowd in to take his place in our heart – where your treasure is there will be your heart! What is your treasure?
So what can we learn from Caleb?
1. God’s promises are true and will be fulfilled no matter how long you have to wait! If God has promised thins over your life or family in the past – keep trusting him and reminding him – they will be fulfilled.
2. Caleb was a man of faith – he believed God and did not waver – he had as much faith when he was 85 and he did when he was 40! He still wants to take on the giants in the land and knows with God he will conquer them! Lets be people of faith – trusting God.
3. Don’t look at the giants in the land and be frightened by them – Look at the God who made the giants in the first place – 2 Corinthians 5 vs 7 teaches us to “walk by faith and not by sight” and yet so often our experience of life is the exact opposite – we walk by sight and not by faith – Giants look big when you look up at them but they look small when you look down on them and that is God’s perspective!
4. Let’s be men and women of a “different spirit” not following the crowd and living in fear -but trusting God and believing that we can conquer the giants if God is with us!
5. Age is no barrier to God’s blessing and anointing – Caleb was 85 but had incredible faith and believed God – so God could use him for his purposes and he took the giants and beat them! There is no retirement age in God thankfully!
Joshua 15 vs 13-19 - God’s promise fulfilled!!
1. Why do you think wholeheartedness is so important To God?
2. When you think of people that are half-hearted in what they do why is that frustrating – what is underneath that attitude do you think?
3. Caleb waited 45 years for God to answer his promise – that is a long time – How can we keep our faith when nothing seems to be happening?
4. II Corinthians 5 vs 7 – “Walk by faith not by sight” – Why is this so hard for us to do?
God Is In Control
Dave Watmore (Sun, 09 Jun 2019)
Dave continued our series on Joshua, looking at Joshua 11.
Summary and context
In the early years of the Israelites crossing the Jordan into the promised land Joshua sees many victories and also defeats.
Victory when they enquire and are obedient to Him and defeat when they disobey or fail to enquire of the Lord.
1. The supernatural crossing of the Jordan river
2. Victory at Jericho
3. Salvation of Rahab
4. Defeat at Ai
5. Victory at Ai
6. Being deceived by the Gibeonites
7. The salvation of the Gibeonites
8. The Southern armies defeated when the sun stands still.
9. 5 Southern kings defeated.
These are challenging chapters and Peter handled the issues so very well a few weeks ago.
I only wish to add one point here on that subject.
The Lord gave them many demonstrations of who he is. He started the conquest of Canaan from the south, where the main city of Jericho was so the local people could understand that he is God and in control. Rahab and family turned to God as a result.
The Gibeonites were afraid of this God so their way was to trick Joshua. It was still seen by the Lord as an act of faith in Him.
The other tribes in Canaan were incredibly corrupt morally. Worshipped God’s that they thought they could control by sacrifice of children to control nature. God showed that by stopping the sun and killing them with hail, he is the master of the weather and the solar system. They did not turn and worship Him. If they had, would would have been saved.
Romans 1 verse 18 -20.
“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
Romans 1:18-20 NLT
I started my preparation for this passage thinking it would be about dealing ruthlessly with sin but I felt a Holy Spirit rebuke that Jesus has done that and that we live under grace.
Let me qualify that. We must deal with sin. Even put our foot on the neck of sin but we must learn to live in the tension of grace that is becoming more like Christ everyday but acknowledging that we make mistakes. I understood many years ago that knowing Him and loving Him is the best route to becoming less sinful in my day to day life.
An example. My children love me and hate to upset me or offend me. This sometimes stops them doing what they know makes me sad.
If you know your sin would make your Father sad, you wouldn’t do it.... I hope.
I chose the word “understood” carefully. I am still trying to walk that way but through pressures of life, spiritual laziness and other excuses I could come up with I still forget that truth that He loves me immensely.
My word this morning is that God is in control.
Joshua 11:1-23 NLT
Joshua had made mistakes early on in the invasion but he did learn that God was in control.
As a gesture of faith Joshua burnt the chariots that could have given him a big advantage in the natural world but he had learnt that his God was way above that.
He knew God knew everything from the beginning to the end. He is omnipotent, all powerful, omnipresent - everywhere at the same time, omniscient - all knowing.
The enemies of God refused to learn that lesson.
Story of my job and pay rise being in God’s hands.
“The Holy Spirits job is not to control us but to remind us who we are and who He is and what He can do in us. “ Danny Silk.
Let me come back to a prophetic word for this church. One that is close to my heart, Lesley’s and a number of you here this morning.
““The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
Isaiah 41:17-20 NIV
The Israelites had to consecrate themselves (make themselves Holy) at the beginning of the conquest of the promised land.
We are made Holy when we start our journey with Christ, at the cross. We will never be more Holy but we can be more Christ centred and desire to be more Christlike.
As a church do we want to see miracles to glorify Him or make us look good?
For me the lesson of Joshua and the passage of Isaiah 41 v 17-20 is we live in a spiritually dry and barren sinful land, crying out for water. Satisfying this can only come from Him is a miraculous way so that all will see and understand what this means. That it is the Lord that has created this.
1. Do you know that God is in control?
2. Think of an example where He has demonstrated that He is in control of your life and share it with your group.
3. If you know that God is in control, how do you react in your day to day walk with Christ?
4. We often face opposition like the story of my job, support each other in prayer and encourage each other that “whatever will be will be “ is not a stance of faith but of passivity. Carefully and in a graceful way, challenge each other to stand against ungodly control.
5. Isaiah 41 17-20. Pray that as a church we speak boldly of our stories where Jesus is in control and that our activities glorify Him because he is in control.
6. “The Holy Spirits job is not to control us but to remind us who we are and who He is and what He can do in us. “ Danny Silk. Pray this for each other.
A Fire Church - Loving One another Like Jesus Does
Phil Hardy (Sun, 02 Jun 2019)
Building on a prophecy that was brought a couple of weeks ago, saynig that we are a "Fire Church", Phil looked at 1 Corinthians 13 and how the church needed to demonstrate each of these qualities to each other and to the outside world.
• Word from Tim Banfield, Sunday visitor from Wales.
• We are a fire church
• Go and light some fires
Don't know if you have considered what a fire church looks like?
What does that mean?
I have been thinking and praying about it since we had this word. As you we listened to the recording we can get excited about that but what's the reality look like
So what does a fire church look like?
A place where we experience the presence of God?
A place where Gods kingdom breaks into people's lives?
A place where we can expect healing and deliverance to take place?
A place where people are saved?
A church through which God demonstrates his Kingdom rule and reign into every place he has given us influence
As I prayed God led me this one main thing a place where his love in experienced and lived out Jesus said this to his disciples, that means us.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.””
John 13:34-35 NLT
How are you expressing his love to One another?
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul is writing about spiritual gifts, leadership, and the importance of embracing your gifting. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul continues this line of reasoning as he talks about leaders sounding a clear call.
But right in the middle is 1 Corinthians 13, commonly known as “the love chapter.” If you have ever attended a Christian wedding ceremony, you have most likely heard a verse or two quoted. 1 Corinthians 13 is a chapter on how to love one another in the church, not how to be a great husband or wife.
We cannot be effective as a people if we do not know how to love one another.
What If we applied 1 Corinthians 13 to every area of church life, what difference would that make?
The whole point of Jesus coming was that the world would know the love of the Father. The whole point of the church is that through the church the world would get to se and experience this love.
Who's this letter to ?
“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”
1 Corinthians 1:2 ESV
Consider what love is:
• Love is patient.
Am I giving others the same room to make mistakes as I want them to give me?
Do we get exasperated with one another when they don't do what we want them to?
• Love is kind.
Do the people actually like being around you? If you want to know the answer to this question, just ask yourself how much they ask to hang out with you outside of a church meeting.
• Love is not Jealous or boastful or Proud or rude
Are you jealous of someone's gifting or anointing or maybe of who they are and what they have?
Or do you boast or have pride in your heart?
Or are you rude to people, ignoring them even when spoken to? Or brushing them of as though they are nothing?
Do we do want we do out of selfish ambition?
What if you were asked to give up what you do? How would you handle it? Could you do it?
• Love does not demand its own way
Will we only give of ourselves on our terms?
If it's done my way that's ok but if it's not I'm out.
• Love always protects.
Do we have one another's back?
Do we speak well of one another or take opportunity to criticise, moan about them or complain? In the world It’s discouraging and hard to work for someone who demands loyalty but will not extend it.
• Love always trusts.
Do you trust others enough to share your life with them?
Do you trust those who you perhaps serve with in church life to do their part without your input or interference?
• Love always hopes.
Do I always automatically assume the worst or the best about people?
Particularly if you lead in an area It is amazing what can happen when a leaders believes in the people they lead.
Hope and Faith are linked and people of hope and faith lead others into being full of hope and faith.
• Love always perseveres.
Are we quick to give up on people after they make a mistake, or are we willing to help, support, encourage them through it and to learn from it?
• Love never fails.
I guess one test can be how long do people stick around
Do we have a high turnover or a low turnover in the number of people in and out of this church?
If the number is high then maybe it isn’t others but us who are failing.
People will not remember us for what we accomplish. But they will remember how we made them feel and what we helped them to be the people God called and chose them to be. This style of church is guaranteed to see results.
1 Corinthians 13:8 says love will not fail
“Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.””
John 17:24-26 NLT
1. Who have you encouraged lately?
2. What's your experience of being loved in the church?
3. Are you more interested in who people are and becoming or what they are doing?
4. So what does a Fire church look like and do you want to be part of it?
Miracles - God Does Not Break His Promises
Phil Hardy (Sun, 26 May 2019)
Phil continued our series looking at Joshua 10, reminding us that God does not break his promises and that he can use all situations for his glory.
• Last week we looked at the Gibeonite deception
• How Israel did not enquirer of the Lord but make a covenant / Treaty with the Gibeonites that the Lord had commanded can they must not do.
• They were presumptuous in not enquiring of the Lord
• How that applies to us in our daily life
Chapter 10: 1-15
• The Gibeonites were afraid of the people of God causing them to deceive them
• Now the king of Jerusalem had heard of the victories and that Gibeon had made the covenant and was afraid
• Gibeon on its own was a great city like one of the royal cities and all it's men were warriors
They had cause to fear
• J10 V 5 the 5 kings of the Amorites joined with the other kings.
• In J 2 v 10 2 Amorites kings had already been defeated east of the Jordan
• J 5v1 - fear was already in their hearts
Word sent to Gilgal where Joshua was camping
Gilgal was an important place for Israel
• Gilgal was the place of memorial (Joshua 4:20 - 12 stone from the river Jordan piled up here
• Gilgal was the place of radical obedience (Joshua 5:2-3 - circumcision took place here
• Gilgal was the place where reproach was removed (Joshua 5:9 - Reproach rolled away
• Gilgal was the place of obedience and the remembrance of salvation (Joshua 5:10- celebrated the Passover
• Gilgal was the place where the manna stopped, and they began to live of what the Promised Land provided (Joshua 5:11-12 The first time they tasted of the land flowing with milk and honey.
They leave Gilgal
It is estimated that the route to Gibeon from Gilgal was 20 mile (32km) with a 3,300 ft climb (1000m) and would have taken 8-10hrs through the night.
Do not fear for I have given them into your hands not a man of shall stand before you
• Fear takes away our ability to fight battles. Even in the face of strong enemies, Joshua was command to not fear and needed reminding.
• For Joshua, fear was unbelief – being unwilling to believe what God promised. So it is with us today
• God does His work, but He seeks to draws us into working with Him. Often God waits to see our initiative, our willingness to be a partner with Him, before He does what only He can do.
• This is not the idea that “God helps those who help themselves.”
• That's a lie the end,y would have us believe. Along with positive thinking rather than faith.
• The idea is “God wants to draw His people into partnership with Him in seeing His work done.”
• God honours Joshua for honouring the covenant with the Gibeonites
○ Even though it was against Gods instructions
○ Grace was given to Joshua even though mistakes had been made
• God honours his promise to give them the land
○ Gods promise is true irrespective of us
○ He is faith to his promise even when we are not
○ The Promise to Moses and not to Joshua still stands
○ Not disqualified from the promise
• God not only keeps his promise but he fights for them himself by
a. God threw them into panic
b. Sending a storm of hail stones that killed more than the sword
Joshua prayed this one prayer, simple, short precise
“On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.””
Joshua 10:12 NLT
“So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies. Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day! Then Joshua and the Israelite army returned to their camp at Gilgal.”
Joshua 10:13-15 NLT
• God answered this simple prayer and the victory was certain
In the ESV -
“There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.”
Joshua 10:14 ESV
The right prayer at the right time with the right heart
It's not a desperate prayer, it's a faith prayer, God had already said he would give them into their hands.
A desperate prayer would be pleading with God
A Faith prayer would be as this, a clear request to the only one who could do it.
Joshua had favour with God
David remembers this in Psalm 136 giving thanks. 17 to end.
What can we learn?
Gods faith to his promise,
• if Gods promised it will happen
• We may have to wait for it
Our mistakes do not disqualify us his call and his promise,
• It's how we respond when we have
• God plan for us as it was for Israel that we live a life in victory over our enemies
• The problem is sometimes we find it easier to partner with our enemy than we do with God who has promise us that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37
Romans 8 26 - 30
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
Romans 8:26-30 ESV
“For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.”
Romans 11:29 NLT
How we respond to them is what matters!
1) What does this story tell us about Joshua and his leadership?
2) What does it tell us about God?
3) In what way can does this story relate to you?
4) Is there any response you need to make to God in light of this story. (Have you partnered with your enemy? Have you given in to fear? Have you felt disqualified by your mistakes?)
Always Consult God
Neal Garratt (Sun, 19 May 2019)
Neal continued our series on Joshua, looking at Joshua 9 and the deception of the Gibeonites.
The background to this story is that God has made it very clear to the children of Israel that they were not to enter into any covenants with the people who inhabited the promised land and that they were to destroy them as they worshipped other gods and practised idolatry.
Exodus 23 vs 23-32 Instruction to Moses – Very Clear
Deuteronomy 7 vs 1-6 Repeated Instruction – Very Clear
Joshua 3 vs 9-11 – Joshua repeated God’s plan.
Against this backdrop it was inconceivable that the Joshua and the children of Israel would enter into any covenant with any of the people in the promised land and the people of Gibeon knew this and therefore came up with a cunning plan to deceive them. The pretend they are from a country far far away and make it look like they have travelled far by wearing old clothes, having crusty and mouldy bread in their pockets and repeatedly telling Joshua that they live a long way away- without ever actually saying where!
Joshua and the leaders look at what they see in front of them and make a covenant with them believing that they are from a far off country – but they failed to ask God to help them in that decision?
Key Verse – vs 14 “ So the Israelites examined the food, but they did not consult the Lord” – Big Mistake!
So how does this happen – three reasons
1. Deceived – They were deceived by a lie and a clever plan – everything looked ok but in reality it was not what it seemed. They could have asked God for advice but chose not to. We need to be careful in our own lives that we are not deceived by people or by the enemy as he seeks to tell us that all is ok in our lives – remember his is a liar from the beginning and the master of deception. We have the Holy Spirit that can discern when things are not right and we need to listen to his voice. Three times they asked them where they came from and three times they didn’t tell them – they sense something is wrong but use their own instincts to make a decision.
2. Distraction – They were distracted by what they ‘SAW” or rather what the thought they saw! They used their senses to look at the situation and make a decision – this is what we do all the time!
Phil Moore says ”When we neglect God’s word, we invariably make decisions based on what we see!” How true!
They were distracted by the story – it sounded plausible and looked plausible – we are so easily distracted in our own lives by what we see aren’t we – Just sit down for a time with God and a million things seem to very important all of a sudden! What distracts us?
Social Media – How much time do we spend on social media? Have a look on your phone under screen time and see how much time is wasted? What a distraction!
3. Flattery and pride. – These are dangerous and we need to be aware of their power –
Vs 8 – We are your servants
Vs 9 – We have heard of the might of your God and of all he did in Egypt- we have also heard what he did to the Amorite Kings east of the River – we are your servants, please make a treaty with us.
They began to believe their own publicity – they forgot to give glory to God in the moment and declare the greatness of Jehovah. They make their own decision without reference to God – pride comes in. We need to be careful about this in our own lives – especially if you are in a position of leadership – beware of flattery and beware of the pride of your own heart – God knows what we are like and look what he says to Moses and the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8 vs 10-18 – He only needs to say this because he knows the heart of man!
Pride takes away God’s glory and instead gives it to us which is underserved.
So Joshua makes a covenant with the people and then only three days later they find out that actually the people are Hivites from the next city! The people are angry and want to kill them but Joshua knows that they cannot do that as they have made a covenant with them and that would go against God’s commands. A compromise if finally reached and they become slaves of the Israelites working in the temple cutting wood and bringing the water for the temple. The people of Gibeon have been saved by the children of Israel by their cunning plan but out of a bad decision and situation God brings good and the people served until this very day we are told at the end of the chapter. How true is this of our own situations so often?
Romans 8 vs 28 – All things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose.
After this event we see that the Gibeonite people served the Children of Israel in the temple and there are many mentions of them in the old testament.
1 Chronicles 16 vs 39-40 – The ark was kept in Gibeon during David and Soloman’s reign
1 Chronicles 12 vs 3-4 – At least one of David’s mighty men was from Gibeon
Nehemiah 3 vs 7 and 7 vs 25 – The Gibeonites helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah.
In conclusion – Phil Moore
“Despite their sin and his own foolishness, Joshua acts honourably towards the Gibeonites. As he does so, the Lord transforms his mistake into a great act of mercy. The Lord takes their flawed confession of faith in verses 9-10 at face value, treating their ruse as the equivalent of Rahab’s scarlet cord – a desperate attempt to find salvation in Joshua. As a result he not only rescues them from slaughter, but also makes them servants in his tabernacle and honorary members of the tribe of Benjamin. When verse 26 says that Joshua saves them from the Israelites it acts a prophetic pointer to Jesus saving many pagans. Faith saves the lying town of Gibeon, just as it saved the lying Rahab.
Joshua was too busy for God and it spelt disaster. In this chapter, he warns us not to do the same. He also reassures us that the Lord turns even our mistakes around for good. Let’s marvel at the mercy of God who keeps on giving.
How does the enemy seek to deceive us in our daily lives and what can we do to recognise that deception?
What are we distracted by and do we see this is part of the enemy’s plan to keep us from having relationship with God?
Flattery and Pride are dangerous areas for us in our lives – How do we stay humble and real without being false?
How good was the cunning plan devised by the Gibeonites?
The Open And Closed Doors
Phil Hardy (Sun, 12 May 2019)
Phil spoke from Revelation 3 and 4 about how essential it is for the church not to close the door to God.
• God has been speaking right from the beginning of the year are we cold or Hot ?
• Through Joshua we can see a devoted passionate people taking hold of the promises God gave years previously to Abraham.
• Today I want to remind us of the prophetic as well as challenge us including myself of how we are responding.
Revelation 3 verse 7 & 8
““Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open: “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.”
Revelation 3:7-8 NLT
• There is a door that has been opened that no man can shut only God
• That door has been opened by Jesus
• The work of the cross was to open a door for us to enter into his salvation it was a door that leads us from our darkness into his glorious light
• It is a door that gives us access to all his goodness
• It is a doorway that allows us to taste the riches of his grace on earth
• It is a doorway that leads to righteousness and holiness
• It is a doorway that leads us into the spiritual realm where we can experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
We will see this as we come to the third few verses of scripture.
I spoke from Revelation 3 14 - 22 at the beginning of the year on lukewarmness not realizing what God was upto.
““Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.””
Revelation 3:14-22 NLT
• Those I love I correct and discipline
• In his love he keeps coming to us
• Wanting to change us into his image and to experience all that he has stored up for us
• My experience is that this verse has always been preached as a Gospel message and I can see why
• The context is tho this is an established church that sees itself as successful in a successful city
• The church needed a reality check, that has been deceived by the things of he world and themselves
• Their door had been closed to God, getting on with church life, doing lots of good things, were a wealthy church financially speaking
They were a improvised church though
• So God was standing at their closed door and knocking wanting to come in wanting his church back
• Not as a homeless vagrant but as master of the house. Expecting his people to respond immediately and welcome him in.
• Over the weeks even since Christmas we have has a number of encouragements about what God wants and will do with us as a church
• Last week a visitor called Tim Banfield spoke about how God would use this church in the peaks, Helens dream, Mark Amos Pam's son prophesied about our influence to the poor and needy but also to the business world.
At some point in our history as a church I think we settled for less power and presence of God for good works instead of nurturing both.
• This year I think God wants his church back, the contrast between the Philadelphia church and the laodicean church was humility.
• They knew they had little power but had been faithful in keeping Gods word and did not deny his name. They were a persecuted church. They were situated near a vineyards but I think this church knew how to taste the wine of heaven.
• However the laodicean church knew the wealth of the city but had lost the taste of heaven.
Prophecy from Lesley Watmore
• God is knocking afresh on our door, we do lots of good things both in the eyes of the world and in our own eyes
• But are we seeing clearly
The picture is a white light house in the dark surrounded by thick fog.
No-one can see the light as fog stops it. Once the fog clears the white light house can be seen and stands out and the light can be seen for a massive distance.
Church is the lighthouse.
The Fog is apathy, indifference, passivity and leaves people not knowing what to do so do nothing instead. You Don't know where you are or where you are facing/standing in fog. Can also feel on your own as can't see what is right next to you.
The answer I think is found in the next passage
Revelation 4 v 1
“Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it.”
Revelation 4:1-2 NLT
• This is and must be Gods church's
• God wants us to be a church on fire
• Our Mission to bring change and influence every part of society across the Peak District must come from a place of encounter not in a substitute for it
• There is a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirt to come and it won't be a repeat of what God has done previously.
• Have we an open door for God in our own lives?
• Have you set limits on what you will allow God to do in you and through you?
• Have we set limits on God in this church?
• What's our response going to be?
I know because of Jesus we have an open heaven it's not God or heaven that gets closed
1. What can we learn from these two church in Revelation 3
2. How does it apply to us as a church? Are there any area you think might be closed to God?
3. How does it apply to you personally?
4. Are there an areas of your life where the door is closed to God?
Don't Presume God's Blessing
Peter Williams (Sun, 05 May 2019)
Peter continued our series on Joshua.
Joshua presumed God's blessing, and had been beaten in battle.
You presume it will give you money.
What we forget is that when we treat God like a cash machine, sometimes He says I don't like what you are going to spend the money on, so I am not dispensing any money!
God allows harm to come as his people go outside his will.
The family of achan take the spoils of war despite what God had told them.
Stoning of the whole family is how we finished.
All complicit? Maybe they all at least knew.
This week, Israel return to Ai.
Genocide? Ethnic cleansing?
Norms of society were very different.
Sexual liberty. Multiple wives. Intermarriage within a family. Marriage as a young teen, or even before.
Capital punishment, even for what we would see as minor crime, like stealing.
Views on this passage have changed over the years.
Matthew Henry, died 1714
The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. ie it's fine to plunder those who don't know God.
Oliver Cromwell used Jericho as a justification for persecution of Catholics, and even their death
Spanish Inquisition used the Bible as it's justification.
God has told me to do this......
We believe God speaks and tells us to do things.
Murderers and rapists use this justification.
Plenty of warnings to those rebelling against him.
How could God condone death?
Noah, what about those killed.
Exile Israel, Egyptian army killed.
Sodom and Gomorrah
They are all judgements
God spares the ones he loves......
But doesn't he love all mankind?
Jesus died for all.....
Some things happen in the Bible that weren’t meant to be repeated.
But they repeatedly were, due to sin.
All changed with Jesus. This is the key.
God kept trying to get people to follow him, but they rebelled. After Jesus, they had a real choice....
God is just and loving and cannot do wrong.
It is God's place to judge.
God made us, and can destroy us if he chooses.
God cannot abide sin.
God made a way out for us.
God of vengeance v1. Giving people what they deserve.
V23. God destroys the sinner
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4 NLT
God had a plan, despite knowing what Israel would do, turning away from him again and again.
For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NLT
New covanent, old covanent
Today, do not harden your hearts as they did in the rebellion….. Heb 3:15
Mercy of God?
Salvation for all.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NLT
Have you seen a difference in the enormity of what Christ achieved on the cross when we look at the wrath of God in a passage like this? If so, how.
Dave Watmore (Sun, 28 Apr 2019)
Dave continued our series looking through Joshua, looking at the defeat of the Israelites at Ai following Achan's sin. See Joshua 7.
The Israelites have left Egypt, spent 40 years in the desert. They cross the Jordon into the promised land and consecrate themselves to the Lord. They then win a remarkable victory at Jericho not by their own military might but by the supernatural power of God in spiritual warfare who is in a covenant relationship with them.
Read the chapter
Following the great victory at Jericho they are soundly defeated.
This to me is due to two issues.
1. Achan s sin and disobedience
2. Joshua’s presumption on God for the victory.
Achan and his sin
Adam and Eve were initially without sin. They sinned and and not repent of their rebellion from God. Therefore they were driven out of the garden (the promised land).
In Egypt the Israelites are delivered from the destruction of the Lord by the atonement covenant of God at the Passover. This is a shadow of the cross at Easter.
Now the Israelites have been promised the new land the land running with milk and honey. The Promised land.
They have consecrated themselves and therefore atoned for their sin so they can be at one with God. Achan however takes the things that God said were to be devoted to Him.
On the first impression this seems perhaps like a pragmatic, sensible thing to do. It wouldn’t hurt anyone. No one would know it was missing and in Achan tent.
Achan’s sin was not just theft. His eyes had seen something and he coveted the garments and the gold. He was no longer worshipping the Lord but was in idolatry breaking the covenant the Lord made with his people.
It is the complete opposite of Rahab. She left her idols, sinful ways and her own people to follow the Lord. Remember the red cord of hope. The Lord took it as faith and credited it as righteousness. She is now part of the family of God.
Achan however turns to idols (the Babylonian garment and gold) and disobeys the Lord. He therefore opens the door for his destruction.
God however is a God of kindness, love and forgiveness.
Achan had the chance to turn from his sin and own up.
This happens several times. Each time he thinks he can get away with it.
Let’s not forget that God wants to save people and not destroy them in his wrath. The story of Jonah and Nineveh. Nineveh was the most horrendously violent nation ever. God still chose to forgive them when they repented.
Achan didn’t repent and his family were complicit in the rebellion against the Lord.
God uses the word it. An object. Not at this point a person. He wants Achan to repent. Achan, like Ananias and Saphira in Acts hardens his heart.
Hebrews says “ Do not harden your hearts as they did in the desert”.
What conclusion do we draw?
Sin is a serious issue. Jesus has atoned for our sin. That is He has brought us back into a right standing with Him. We could not and can not make ourselves righteousness but Jesus can and has made us right with the Father.
Story of a wet sleeping bag, a leaking hot water bottle. What do we do with it? Kick it out. Go to our parents to clean it up.
Let us be aware of the tactics of Satan. It is to destroy from outside and also from within.
The Canaanites are the outside force of Satan and Achan becomes the inside agent of Satan. He therefore had to be destroyed.
Please don’t be afraid of the wrath of judgement on you. If you are born again judgement has already fallen on Jesus at the cross and he has triumphed over sin and death. Let us not however be complacent about the awfulness of sin in our lives. We however can come to the great high priest , Jesus and ask him to help us. We must also repent of our sins and exercise faith that he has forgiven us. We live under grace not the law.
This is a challenging passage. Discuss how this shows that God has no favourites and wants to see all come to faith.
How does this story show us the cross of Christ? (Do you fully grasp the enormous impact of atonement throughout the bible)
What stories of atonement can you see in the Old Testament?
Apply the analogy of wetting the bed to your own life. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself whether you are living in a soiled bed? Do you need help to clean up your life? Always cooperate with your Father in heaven. We come to a forgiving Father who gives us many chances to deal with these issues but don’t put off the day to deal with sin.
Dave Watmore (Sun, 21 Apr 2019)
Dave spoke at our Easter Sunday baptism service.
Dave used the illustration of the stones to represent each of us in our sinful nature and the punishment of death that we deserve.
Dave then asked Neal to pull the footballs under the surface of the water. They all exploded out of the water representing how Jesus could not be held down by death as He is perfect in righteousness.
He lived the life we should live but died the death we deserve.
Romans 3 v 22-26 in the NLT.
It would be good to reflect on these three points that salvation gives us:
Freedom, Identity, and Hope.
Psalm 23: God's Presence
Colin Baron (Sun, 14 Apr 2019)
Colin outlined how Psalm 23 is all about God's presence.
Further notes and questions may follow in due course.