The Possession of Victory
- Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Part 1 of 10 in the Sign The Journey To Victory Sermon Series.
(Joshua 1:1-9, NASB)
“Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying,2Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory. 5No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do all according to the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8This 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 success. 9Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This message is the first of a series of ten on the life of victory. It is my understanding that most Christians know they are called to a life of victory, but many do not yet experience that victory. It is not fascination, but fact, that God has called us to experience victory every day of our Christian life. It is my prayer that each message will speak to you on a personal and powerful basis, and that your life will be energized, stabilized and revitalized by the preaching of the Word of God. This first message is the key to understanding the remaining messages. It lays the foundation and basis for the life of victory in Canaan that God has prepared for each one.
The book of Joshua is more than mere history, more than a simple record of past results and rewards. It is a revelation of a present reality. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:11, "That all these things happened unto them for examples and they are for our admonition." Oftentimes the Old Testament is illustration while the New Testament is interpretation. If we are going to understand all of God’s Word, we must understand both the illustrations and the interpretations of the Bible.
God has given to every Christian the promised possession of victory, to be able to live the Spirit-filled, overcoming life. It is God’s plan. Now the Word of God talks about the possibility of failure, but it never assumes the necessity of failure. The book of Joshua was written to show us that victory is possible by practicing the principles specifically found in the Book of Joshua.
FIRST, THERE ARE POSSESSIONS TO POSSESS
A) The Conversion Experience—Verses one and two teach us that there are possessions to possess: "Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel." The Israelites were in the wilderness. They had come out of Egypt and were on their way to Canaan, the Promised Land, the place of victory for God’s people. God had said for them to cross over Jordan and possess the land, to take what He had already given them. Notice the implications this story has for you and me.
1) Egypt Represents the State of the Lost—It was there in Egypt that Pharaoh, the cruel task master, came against the nation of Israel. Egypt represents a picture of the world, a picture of the lost person who is bound by sin and broken by Satan.
2) Pharaoh Represents Satan—God came to deliver the nation of Israel from their harsh task master.
3) Passover Lamb Represents the Conversion Experience—The Lord covered the sins of His people and opened the Red Sea for their deliverance from sin and captivity. At one time we too were bound by sin; we were slaves to sin and this world. But, Jesus paid the price of our sins on the Cross and set us free and gave us a new life.
B) The Carnal Experience—However, many Israelites who left Egypt never made it into Canaan. They wandered in the wilderness for the rest of their life. Now, there is a legitimate wilderness experience, but God never intended for His people to live so long in the wilderness. If one lives in the wilderness too long, they become what the Bible calls a carnal Christian. Carnal Christians never really entered into Canaan and experienced all that God has prepared for them. When we first come to know Christ as Savior, the Bible calls us "babes in Christ." It’s okay to be a baby for awhile, but not all our lifetime. There comes a time when we grow up in the things of God, in the principles and the promises of God, and we want the meat to eat and not just the soup to sip. We want to know all the blessings and all the principles of God’s Word for our heart and our life. Too many are content to live in the wilderness.
C) The Canaan Experience—There is a conversion experience, and possibly a carnal experience; but God wants you and me to have the Canaan experience. Canaan represents several pictures.
1) It Represents a Picture of Release—The people of Israel had been in bondage and slavery, but God set them free. God desires for His people to be free from the shackles of sin and to know victory in every area of life. That’s why Paul wrote in Romans 6:14 that "we were once slaves to sin, but we do not have to allow sin to have dominion over us now." The sinner is still bound by Satan and his plans for their life. But for God’s people, Canaan meant release. Not only did it mean release, but it also meant refreshment.
2) It Means Refreshment—For forty years the Israelites in the wilderness ate manna. They had manna every day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, for forty long years. No one ever asked, "What’s for breakfast today?" They knew what it was. They lived every day eating manna. But, Canaan represented refreshment -- a land of variety and plenty. It is okay to eat manna once in a while, but it is God’s plan for you and me to have victory in every area of our life. Do you not want to be refreshed, revived and touched by the power of God in every area of your life? For the nation of Israel, Canaan represented release, but it also represented refreshment.
I am reminded of the story about a pastor who visited a man who had not been to church for quite some time. The man made all kinds of excuses why he had missed like, "The kids have been sick, and it has rained a lot." The pastor responded, "It is always dry in the church." To which the man replied, "Well, that’s another reason I haven’t been coming."
The supernatural power of God is available to touch every fiber of our life and help us live the victorious Christian life. For God’s people, Canaan represents release and refreshment.
3) It Represents Rest—The book of Hebrews calls it the land of rest. This does not mean rest from work, but rest while you work. Jesus said, "Come unto me and I will give you rest." The Israelites had come out of Egypt, but they had no rest. They had wandered around the wilderness, but they had no rest.
Are you tired of going in circles, without purpose in your life? Don’t you want to have the joy of Jesus, the comfort of Christ, and the strength of the Spirit? Are you tired of being confused and defeated? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? If you want His rest, then you must leave the wilderness and go to Canaan.
4) It is a Place of Reality—Up to this time, the people of Israel had had discussions and descriptions of Canaan, but they had never discovered Canaan. Do you want God’s Word to come alive to your heart and life? Then you must go to Canaan where God’s plan becomes real. I want revival, the supernatural, and to see God’s power in reality. Some have been in the wilderness so long they have come to think that living in the wilderness is normal. When someone gets excited about serving Jesus, and talks about the victorious Christian life, we mark them as abnormal. We say that are fanatical. The wilderness is abnormal; Canaan is normal. The person who is defeated is abnormal; the person who is victorious is normal. It is not God’s plan for us to wander in the wilderness but to camp in Canaan.
Once Moses spoke to the nation of Israel, in Deuteronomy 6:23, and said, "God brought us out from thence that He might bring us in." God did not bring them out of Egypt to leave them in the wilderness. He brought them out of Egypt to bring them into Canaan. God did not save us to leave us defeated. He saved us so we could live victoriously, have abundance, and to see His power.
Some years ago, William Randolph Hurst saw a rare painting in a book and told his agent he must have that painting. After several months of searching throughout the world, the agent told Mr. Hurst that the treasured painting had been in his own warehouse all the time. God has called us to live in Canaan and to possess our possessions.
SECOND, THERE IS A PROMISE TO PURSUE
A) The Walk of Victory—Notice verse three, the walk of victory: "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses." God has given us victory. He said to Joshua, "I have already given this land unto you." All Joshua had to do was go out and take what was his. We too must reach out by faith and received the possessions God says are rightfully ours.
On the cross, Jesus said, "It is finished." It was not doomsday, but deliverance day. He had just purchased deliverance for all who would believe. The devil wants us to live in defeat, in the wilderness, and not experience the blessings found in Canaan.
We do not have to pray for victory because we are praying from victory. We will possess our land of release, rest, refreshment, and reality when we put down our foot in faith on the promises of God. The Lord told Joshua to walk on conquered land. I want you to see the walk of victory, but also the width of victory.
B) The Width of Victory—In verse four the Bible tells us how wide it was: "From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory." God said their possession was to be all they could see from the north, south, east, and the west. There was to be no limit to the victory that God planned for His people. Canaan isn’t heaven—Canaan is now. I am not so concerned about what is going to happen tomorrow as to what is going to happen today. We talk about the happy by and by, but I am concerned about the nasty now and now.
Many years ago, a cold and hungry elderly man walked into a music store in London, England. He asked the owner if he would give him a few dollars for his violin so he could buy something to eat. The owner gave the man five dollars for the violin. After lighting a candle, and studying the violin, he saw the words, "Antonio Stradivarius, 1704." Suddenly, he realized he had possession of a violin that had been missing for more than 100 years, that eventually was purchased for a huge some of money. It had been in the hand of a penniless man, on the verge of starvation, who did not realize its value.
Oftentimes, God’s people often walk into the church with a Bible in hand, never realizing the value of its promises. They live on the brink of starvation instead of experiencing the joys of salvation. God did not plan that we go from salvation to stagnation, but from salvation to victory living in Christ. There are possessions to possess and promises to pursue.
THIRD, THERE IS A PRINCIPLE TO PERCEIVE
A) Conquering Power—Notice verse five: "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life." This represents God’s conquering power. There is power to do everything God has asked us to do. Behind every command of God is the omnipotent power of God to help us fulfill God’s Word. Every command is a promise. Every verse in the Bible is a promise to you and to me.
God said He would be with Joshua, and I suggest that He is saying that He will also be with us to possess our Canaan. Also notice the continuing presence.
B) Continuing Presence—"Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." God’s Word is not outdated. He said he would be with Joshua, and He will be with us also. We often say that God was with Moses, Abraham, Joshua, Daniel, the three Hebrews in the furnace, with Peter, James and John, and Paul—but not with us. God is no respecter of persons. What He did for them, He will do for us. His principles have not changed. He is still in the midst of His people giving victory for every area of life.
A circus strongman would always squeeze a lemon dry and then offer $100 to anyone in the audience who could squeeze more juice from the lemon. One day a man stepped forth and met the challenge. He began to twist the lemon until he got four or five more drops from the already drained lemon. Asked how he could do that, the name explained that he was the treasurer at the local church.
Catch this. Some two thousand years after speaking to Joshua, the writer of Hebrews 13:5 quoted Joshua 1: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." If you and I are to expand the end of that verse, and squeeze all the juice out of it that we can, then this verse will say to us, "For He, God Himself, will not in any way fail you or leave you without support. He will not, will not, will not leave you helpless, or forsake you, or let you down, or relax his hold on you—assuredly not."
A seminarian once shared with his grandmother that the Greek intensive form of this verse in Hebrews was supposed to be repeated three times to say, "I will not. I will not. I will not." In his excitement, he said, "Look, grandma, at this promise.
God is saying, ‘I will not, I will not, I will not leave thee nor forsake thee.’" With a smile on her face she said, "Well, for you seminarians, God may need to say it three times; but for me, once is enough."
God did not say partial victory—but victory in every area of our Christian life. The Bible tells us that there is a principle to perceive. Just as God was with Moses, He was with Joshua. And, He will be with you and me.
FOURTH, THERE IS A PLAN TO PERFORM
A) Proclaim the Word of God—Now we read in verse eight: "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth."
We need to proclaim the Word of God, for there is power in speaking the Word of God. Jesus used the Word against Satan and so should we. We need to know it in order to live the victorious life. Not only do we need to proclaim the Word of God, but we need to ponder it as well.
B) Ponder the Word of God—"You shall meditate on it day and night." The Hebrew word for "meditate" is where we get the English word "hum" today. We need to get a song in our heart as it relates to the Word of God. Have you ever had a tune on your mind that stayed there for the longest time? Before long we begin to hum it. That’s the way it is with the Word of God. We need to let it become like a song. You need to hum it, to ponder it, for in it is the victory we need in our life. Not only do we need to proclaim it, not only do we need to ponder it, but we need to practice the Word of God.
C) Practice the Word of God—"So that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it." Proclaiming and pondering the Word of God will cause us to practice the Word of God. We can tell who believes the Word of God, and who doesn’t, by what they do. The person who practices the Word of God is the person who believes the Word of God. But, the person who doesn’t live according to the Word, does not really believe it either. Jesus said in John 14:21, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, He it is that loveth Me. He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father and I will love him and I will manifest Myself to him." Not only do we need to know the commandments, but we must obey them in order to experience His presence and power in our life. Not only do we need to practice the Word, but I believe we can prosper in the Word.
D) Prosper in the Word of God—The Bible says at the end of verse eight, "For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." Do you want to be a successful Christian? Do you want to be a successful believer? Do you want to be prosperous in this world? Then you must practice, you must ponder, you must proclaim the Word of God. If you do that you shall be successful, you shall live victoriously in every area of your life.
E) Proclaim the Word of God—The story goes that a certain husband enjoyed hearing a preacher from a different church more than his own. During one particular service, he heard his favorite preacher tell about man in another church across town that had such a hunger for God’s Word that, while sitting with his wife in their home church, he would listen to the broadcast through the earphone of a pocket radio. Forgetting where he was, the husband suddenly jumped to his feet and said, "Hey, he’s talking about me."
When I hear the principles of the Word of God being shared, I have to exclaim, "Hey, He’s talking about me." When I hear Timothy say that "I do not have the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," I just have to say, "Hey, he’s talking about me." When I hear Peter say, "By His stripes I am healed," I have to say, "Hey, he’s talking about me."
When Jesus says, "Come unto Me, you who are weary and are burdened and I will give you rest," I have to say, "Hey, He’s talking about me." When I read in 1 John 4, where John is saying "that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world,"
I just have to say, "Hey, John is talking to me." When I read a little further, in Philippians 4, where Paul says that "the Lord is going to provide all of my needs according to His riches in glory," I have to say, "Hey, he’s talking about me." When Jesus says, "Every man that hungers and thirsts after righteousness will be filled," I have to say, "Hey, He’s talking about me."
What I want you tell you is that the Word of God is for you. Jesus Christ proclaimed it. The Apostles preached it. Let’s receive it and enjoy the victorious Christian life that God has planned for each of us.
FIFTH, THERE IS A PERSON T O PREPARE
A) Learn to be Basic—Verse six says, "Be strong and courageous." Then the writer goes on to say, "For you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them." Learn to simply trust and believe what God says. So often we get wrapped up in so many different theological ramifications that we lose the point of what God is saying.
Learn to be basic. Learn to be simplistic. Learn to take God at His Word and say, "He has said it and that settles it. I am going to be victorious." Learn not only to be basic, but learn to be balanced.
B) Learn to be Balanced—The Bible says in verse seven, "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do all according to the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go." We need to be balanced believers. We need to be balanced in serving Jesus, and accepting God’s Word for every area of our life. We should also be a bold believer.
C) Learn to be Bold—Look at verse nine: "Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." God hasn’t called us to live in fear, but in faith. He has not called us to be defeated, but to be victorious. We need to learn to be basic, to be balanced, and to be bold. In order to take our Canaan, we must live victoriously. There is nothing to fear, for victory is ours.
On January 6, 1852, a child named Heinrick Schulmanz was born to a pastor and his wife. These parents never thought particularly that their son would grow up to be someone special. At the age of seven, however, the boy saw pictures in a book of the burning city of Troy that would change his life.
At that young age he determined that one day he would find that city.
As he grew, he began looking for the city he had seen in the pictures. Although many people ridiculed his efforts, in 1873, he discovered the city of Troy and became very famous and wealthy. Why? Because, he learned how to see the unseen. He refused to be discouraged by what others thought or said. His sights were set to find the unknown.
We too must set our sites on the unseen. In spite of what others may say or do to thwart our efforts, we must determine that will live victoriously and possess Canaan as God has promised to all who will know and follow Him as believers!
-Dr. James Davis
GPN President & Co-Founder
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