Defeating Old Sins
INTRODUCTION: As we continue our study of the Book of Joshua, let me repeat something I said in a previous message: "In much of our Christian experience, there is a wide gulf between what we believe and how we live."
What we so desperately need in our Christian lives, in our church and in our homes, is REVIVAL of the VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE, not just in THEORY but also in PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE.
In our study of this book, you will discover after the crossing of the Jordan there were three battle campaigns.
First: There was the CENTRAL campaign, in chapters 6-8, where Joshua defeated the cities of Jericho and Ai.
Second: There was the SOUTHERN campaign in Joshua 10.
Third: There was the NORTHERN campaign found in chapters 11-12.
After Joshua’s defeat of Ai, he is deceived by the Gibeonites in Chapter 9. Regrettably, Joshua made a peace pact with them before He knew their real identity. The result is given in Joshua 10:1, "And how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, AND WERE AMONG THEM."
When you compromise your positions, expect to end up paying a price and having to defend them in order to protect yourself. This is why God has instructed us to remain separate from the world. When you compromise with people in the world system, you not only join them, but you will soon become LIKE them.
Joshua made peace with the enemy and in this chapter he ended up in their affairs.
In this message we turn to Joshua's SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN recorded for us in Chapter 10:1-28,
“Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; (2) That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. (3) Wherefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, (4) Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. (5) Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it. (6) And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. (7) So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. (8) And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. (9) Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. (10) And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. (11) And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Beth-horon, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. (12) Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. (13) And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (14) And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. (15) And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal. (16) But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah. (17) And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. (18) And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: (19) And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand. (20) And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities. (21) And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. (22) Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. (23) And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. (24) And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. (25) And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. (26) And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. (27) And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave's mouth, which remain until this very day. (28) And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.”
Notice verses 40-43, “So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. (41) And Joshua smote them from Kadesh-barnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon. (42) And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. (43) And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.”
Now let me briefly summarize this rather long story.
Joshua's alliance with Gibeon was the catalyst which quickly precipitated a major military action.
Gibeon was one of the Amorites great royal cities. So it was unthinkable that they should side with the Israelis.
As a result these five kings launched an attack of retribution on Gibeon, who immediately sent a call for help to their new ally Joshua.
Assured of God's promise of victory, Joshua came up from Gilgal and defeated the enemy.
Then followed one of the greatest battles of history, in which God deliberately intervened on the behalf of His people. He delayed nightfall and lengthened the day in order that victory should be utterly complete and final.
The five kings were captured and imprisoned.
When the battle was over, Joshua humiliated the five kings, by having his captains put their feet upon the captives’ necks.
Then Joshua facing his army said in verse 25, “…Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.”
Before we focus on a specific point in Joshua 10, let me pause and let’s look at the MIRACLE OF THE SUN STANDING STILL in verses 12-14,
“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. (13) And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (14) And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.
This last miracle recorded in Joshua is questioned by those who deny the reality of miracles and look only to science for truth.
How could God stop the rotation of the earth and extend the length of a day, without creating chaos all over the planet? How do you explain a miracle, any miracle? The simple ANSWER is FAITH. The Lord is God and nothing is too hard for Him.
In Jeremiah 32 verses 17 and 27 we read, "Ah, Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing to heard for thee;" "Behold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?"
In Psalm 74:16 we are told, "Day and night belong unto God, and everything He has made is his servant."
If God cannot perform the miracle described in Joshua 10, then He is imprisoned in His own creation, unable to use or suspend the very laws He built into it. If that is true, then I have difficulty believing in that kind of God.
One scientist, a believing Christian put it this way, "The phrase in verse 13, "Hasted not to go down" indicates a retardation of the movement. The sun and moon didn't stand still permanently and then suddenly go down but were held back so that the day-light was lengthened. God stopped the sun and moon and then retarded the rotation of the planet so that the sun and moon set very slowly. Such a process would not create chaos all over the globe."
I believe there is a lesson we can learn from this; it is the extent to which God will go to favor His people. Because if God could stop the world for Israel, “HOW MUCH MORE SHALL HE CARE FOR YOU, O YE OF LITTLE FAITH?”
Perhaps I am speaking to someone who has lost sight of God's greatness. TAKE COURAGE! He has not wound up the world and left it to run all by itself. His Hand is still upon the creation and upon your life and mine. God still knows and cares for me. In Matthew 6:25-26 we read,
"Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; or yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER FEEDETH THEM. ARE YOU NOT MUCH BETTER THAN THEY?”
Now returning to Joshua 10, let’s learn the lessons from Joshua's action we need to apply to our lives today.
When the battle was over, Joshua commanded his Captains to remove the Kings from the cave and put them into a position of humility verse 24, “…put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.”
Then he was going to slay them and hang them, verse 26, “And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.”
You may ask what was the purpose of all this. I believe we begin to see the purpose in verse 21 where we read, "…none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel." From that time onward, the people of God were firmly established in the Land as a PEOPLE TO BE FEARED.
I believe with all my heart God's purpose for His church today is the same – TO MAKE IT A CHURCH TO BE FEARED. Speaking of the church in terms of a building it should be a place to which people almost fear to come lest they be converted. A church as a fellowship should be composed of people who are:
UNCOMPROMISING in their TESTIMONY, COURAGEOUS in their FAITH and HOLY in their LIVES!
In the church services there should be an AWE and REVERENCE demanded by the PRESENCE of GOD.
Examine the early church in the New Testament as well as the great REVIVAL centers down through the history of the Church, and you will find they were places to be feared. Compare that to the religious world today.
In the past we had worship centers, today the church has become a center of Hollywood entertainment with its music, plays, mini-worship, sermonettes, and there is no FEAR or REVERENCE for a HOLY GOD. Ask yourself who fears the church of the living God or God Himself today?
Does the politician?
Does the average man on the street?
Does the public school system in America?
Does the Hollywood crowd?
Does the average Christian FEAR the church of the living God or even God himself?
The answer to all the above is a resounding NO! Today the church of the living God and the Word of God is made a mockery.
For example, it is as if they are saying that the Bible might call for the sanctity of life but what are you going to do about it, cries the abortion crowd?
The Bible might call adultery sin and sodomy sin, but what are you, the Christian world, going to do about it, cries Hollywood?
Oh to shake the church out of its COMPLIANCY!
Oh to shake the church out of its LETHERAGY! Let’s make it become what it should be – an instrument in God's hands, an instrument of REVERENCE.
Oh that the WORD of GOD would again become a Book of paramount importance in the affairs of men, an instrument to FEAR and RESPECT.
Oh that when the people of God come to church, there might be something about this place that would speak to them of HEAVEN and of the RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE of GOD.
What did Jesus say about this? Over in Matthew 16:18 He said, "… and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church." Jesus is saying the gates of hell would never be able to STAND against the ONSLAUGHT OF A SPIRIT-FILLED COMPANY OF HIS PEOPLE. Too often we run and hide from the devil instead of launching a full-scale offensive in the name of Jesus.
I believe this is God's purpose not only for His church, but also for every truly Born Again man or woman. Your life ought to be lived so as to reflect the LOVE and FEAR of God. As a Christian, you should be a person who is:
RIGHTEOUS in conduct,
UNCOMPROMISING in principles,
PASSIONATE in devotion to Christ,
SACRIFICIAL in His service, and
TRANSPARENT in life.
As a Christian man, woman or young person, your public life and private life should be one and the same. Your life behind closed doors should not include sinful appetites that you would be ashamed of in the company of God's people.
As a Christian man, woman or young person you should bear the closest scrutiny of your strongest critics, from which you will come out UNSCATHED. Your WALK ought to be the same as your TALK. Remember what Christ spoke of in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your goods works and glorify your father which is in Heaven."
Now if this is the purpose of God, how can we achieve this? I believe the answer is found in Joshua's treatment of the five Kings. Observe with me three circumstances in verses 17, 24, 27.
FIRST: The kings "hid in a cave"… verse 17,
“And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah.”
How did they come to hide themselves, since they had GREAT ARMIES and GREAT POWER?
How was Joshua so successful in making them hide in FEAR?
In reading this chapter through, you will discover ONE word occurs FIVE times which is the key to Joshua's VICTORY. It is the word GILGAL in verses 6, 7, 9, 15, and 43.
Joshua came up from Gilgal to meet the enemy.
He was at that place again half way through.
At the end of the battle, when the victory was won, he went there again.
All through this campaign, from beginning to end, he kept open the LINES OF COMMUNICATION with Gilgal. May I remind you Gilgal was a special place to Israel, just as Calvary is to us? In Joshua 4-5 we learned some lessons at Gilgal. Here they are, to refresh your memory.
Gilgal was a place of REMEMBRANCE, where all of God's people went down into DEATH in the Jordan River. Remember the 12 stones in the river bed.
Gilgal was a place of RESURRECTION, where they came up out of the Jordan unto a new land. Remember the 12 stones on the river bank.
Gilgal was a place of RENUNCIATION, where they cast off the carnal existence of the wilderness, by the ritual of CIRCUMCISION.
Gilgal was a place of RESTORATION, where they once again came into fellowship with the Lord for the first time in 40 years, as they observed the PASSOVER.
Gilgal was a place of REALIZATION, where the wilderness MANNA ceased, and they began to taste of the food of the new land.
Gilgal was a place of REVELATION, for Joshua because he met the Captain of the Lord's Host, the Lord Jesus Himself.
Joshua and the nation had their roots at Gilgal. The Christian has its roots firmly embedded in a place called Calvary.
Calvary is where we DIED with Christ.
Calvary is where we have met the Captain of our Salvation, Jesus.
Gilgal was a meeting place where a presence was maintained throughout the campaign. The lines of communication were always there at Gilgal.
Let me ask you; is the line of communication between your life and the throne in heaven open today? Look Christianity is not just a SINGLE ACT. Perhaps you thought that being “Born Again” was all there was to being a Christian.
Yes, it is an act of FAITH, but in order for us to realize our life in Christ and to experience the day by day VICTORY we must keep on coming back to the victory at CALVARY.
We must keep on LOOKING UP into the face of the CRUCIFIED RISEN Lord. We must keep on relying upon the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Once we learn the lesson to consistently return to the throne of God and to the place of our source of strength in the Lord, it is here the devil and the world's crowd will realize there is something to our Christian lives.
SECOND: The kings were in a HUMILIATED position, verse 24,
“And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.”
These kings were humiliated before all God's people in order that Israel might know it was the Lord, who had brought the victory. Notice: "This shall the Lord do to all your enemies."
My friend, the Lord Jesus Christ fought for you and me at Calvary and He won. It was there He put His feet on Satan and humiliated the Devil. In Colossians 2:15 we read, "… having spoiled principalities and powers He (that is Christ) made a show of them openly, triumphing over them …"
Thank God the Christian life is a life of faith. But it is also a life where there will be no real victory in the name of Jesus until you declare TOTAL WAR against everything in your life that is SINFUL.
You and I must have our feet on the neck of jealousy, of pride, of a critical spirit, of a harsh tongue. We must have our feet on the neck of every sin in our Christian life.
Every gain you make in the Christian life will be RESISTED by the devil. And there will be no personal experience or real VICTORY until you declare war on sin in your life.
Let me ask you – have you declared such a war on PRIDE, SELF, CRITICAL TONGUE, and EVIL MIND?There must be a placing of our feet on the neck of each and every sin, if we are to maintain VICTORY.
THIRD: The five slain kings were hung on a tree, verse 27,
“And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave's mouth, which remain until this very day.”
Poor fellows, hiding in a cave out of fear, were humiliated by being pulled out, forced to lie on the ground, and now they were killed and hung.
Why not just let them stay holed-up in the cave? Hold it, did not God command the people to drive out all the seven Canaanite nations? God had given these nations 430 years to repent; they had refused. Now NOTHING must stand in the way of a COMPLETE VICTORY, even these five kings.
Oh, may God the Holy Spirit burn this lesson on the tablet of your heart. In each of us there is an OLD SIN NATURE, which is incapable of HOLINESS. However there is also in us a NEW NATURE. I have received this new nature by Faith in the Lord Jesus. I DARE NOT LEAVE SIN of the OLD NATURE REMAIN HIDDEN AND STILL UNJUDGED.
Have you wondered, why your testimony is not radiant, or effective? Perhaps lurking within you is:
a tongue which is critical about other people,
a tongue that has never been put to death,
a pride that has never been crucified,
a lust that has never been confessed to God, or
a selfish desire that is still alive in the cave of your body.
You know from your own experience from time to time, the thing inside that cave of your life WILL SUDDENLY DASH OUT, and before you realize what has happened, you will have been UNKIND and UNJUST, and CRITICAL and BAD-TEMPERED. My friends every inch of the Christian life will be challenged by SATAN, the WORLD, and your OLD SIN NATURE.
Maybe today you need to go back to CALVARY and take a fresh look.
Maybe today you need to CLAIM VICTORY, by putting your feet on that sin and humiliating it before the world.
Maybe today you need to bring out something in your life that ought not be there and crucify it.
Whatever it is, may it be done so that the world will begin to FEAR our God!
Whatever it is, may it be done that you will have an understanding in your soul of a Victorious Christian Life!
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “Defeating Old Sins” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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