Right Before God, Unity with Brethren
This is the yr of sending forth the remnants..your workplace, colleges, schools, families neighbourhoods. no matter what u r feeling now, just let the word of the Lord fill yr hearts as the word of God creates the universe n you!
We r going to finish the book of Joshua n in the last meeting we ended on the story of Caleb where he went to conquered Mt Hebron..he went 4 the best n was the toughest battle but it was the greatest inheritance. Put all your hopes in World Evangelism..don’t be constraint with ur limitations or conditions. if God has given u the promise n when the challenge comes b4 u..think thru the promise ..let ur heart be influence n take the step of faith by the Hs..there r a lot of steps of faith u ve 2 take. Today I m going to give u a fast forward to Chp 22 of Joshua
a short background..Joshua n the israelites ..they ve come to a phase of the war where every one has got their inheritance..the land, and its time to go back home, especially for the 2 n 1/2 tribes on the east side of Jordan, they r the tribe of Reuben,Gad n the half tribe of Mannneseh..they ve been thru battle 4 seven yrs n ve conquered many lands but there r still many lands..many battles to fight. Now Jos said u can happily return home, take the plundered for u n your families. The war took 7 yrs. these 2 n a half tribes is on the east of Jordan river n the 9 n a half tribe is on the west of Jordan river..all is 12 tribes. Right after the eastern tribe (2n 1/2 tribe) went back they built a very great n majestic altar n the 9 n 1/2 tribes was worried n frustrated..and asked..what r they doing , they going to depart fr the Lord so quickly after they went back home! The 9 n 1/2 tribe quickly gather at a place at Shiloh n all the fighting men confronted the 2 n 1/2 tribes n almost went to a war. From this incident we can know that the Israelites are against any intrusion of ideas in worshipping other gods other than the God God Israel becos an altar represents the sacrifices to God n since they rec no instructions fr God to built an altar so what these ppl r doing as what they see is they r worshipping other Gods..then the confrontation happens there at Shiloh. The eastern tribes gave a detail n sound explaination as to why they r setting up this altar n their explanation was satisfactory to the high priest n the 9n 1/2 tribes n eventually they ve peace and thank n praise God that they don’t ve to go to war. So in short the story is like that. A simple story but as u go thru there r a lot of things we can learn. the whole bible dedicated one whole chapter for this story..chp 22. So there must be great lessons we can draw fr here. As Ps V pondered over this ..W. EV..there r a lot of ministries, a lot of demands, as a church there will be a lot of happenings, new ppl, new things 2 b done n then slowly, some how differences will arise..some differences if accumulated n not resolved ..there will be distrust …n when distrust comes it will hinders the work of the HS. we ve to be careful as theses r the things that r happening as we do the work of the Lord..like diff generation..cannot know ur situation..and other differences..distrust. Of course not every differences, conflicts we ve to solve all of them n be petty about it n talk about it..but there r some cases that need to be resolve that is vital 4 the Hs..to resolve certain confrontation..so e need to learn the way of harmony..the way of co working..n the way to resolve certain confrontation in Christ. The worst battle to fight is the battle with yr own brethren. The discord of the heart will stifle the work of the HS n the progress of W EV. So we must rec answers as we go forward in 2014..its the unity of the church ..the unity of the remnants..n how we see things ..n how we deal w each other..expectations..limitations..these r things we need to learn as a whole. Let us turn to..Jos chp 13 first ..
read v1 after the Lord said this to him..he started to distribute the land..the inheritance
Now fast forward to Chp 22
read v1 they r the eastern tribes..n read v 2..for 7 yrs u ve been faithful..listening to the Lord’s instructions
read v3 n 4..they were fighting n now u can cross the river n go back to the eastern side..where yr homeland is
read v 5..be very careful to do it..later we will go thru this
Now a quick understanding. Now Jos has bless them ..now u can go back..but..
A) Remember Him the right way
a). Exp Success
Remember u ve to revere God , fear Him as the only God. all of us need to know what is revering God the right way. Now a background of what happen to Israel . First..Israel ..they ve exp success. there was a lot os success..7 yrs of success..other than the city of Ai where they lost ..they ve exp success 4 all the battle. And the next thing is ..there r more land
b) More Lands to conquer
there r more battles to fight..there r more souls to save..there r more churches to be planted..there r more workers 2 b raised up..more n more. Now u understand the background n try to apply it to what we r exp today. You ve exp success n ve more land to conquer..so we must learn right now ..how to revere him..how to trust him..how to look to Him. I was thinking thru about last yr ..all the success that God has given us..all the mission trips..all the reman at conferences..Everyday Emmanuel..the booklets..the churches that ve been planted n encouraged..The J. Bahru ministry..the setting up of EYF..there were a lot of evangelism. .conversion so there were a lot of success. though it was a fruitful yr..I know there r a lot of challenges ahead..there r more land to conquer so..be mindful it was God who protected us ..it was God who prospered us..it is Him who can give us even more beautiful evidences as we go ahead. Some of u graduated last yr, went thru some challenges in yr lives but remember it was God who is faithful to us..so the main subject is God..so the main subject is not how u made it..for ex..I ve made it to enter that uni..so the my main focus now is to pursue that degree, that masters degree..or getting married so every thing is my marriage now..or wife gave birth..so every thing is about my children now..or a new career and everything is about the career now..so that becomes yr main focus ..main priority..in other words ..yr ideal..now! that is not revering God..that is going backwards. God has given u success..beautiful success but there r challenges ahead..more souls to save n u know it is limitless to world Ev. So He is the subject ..He is the one who protect u n He will prosper u further..He will use u even more mightily, n fruitfully this year..more evidence for u so..look 2 him..mindful to trust Him n keep in step w Him. Understand the underlying msgs in the background now..so Jos u r old n is well advanced,,distribute the land but there r more lands to conquer. So this the background n God will lead all of u to a greater inheritance..n for us this yr.
So Jos gave a very careful exhortation to the eastern tribes ..in short he has given them the instruction to continue..
2) Continue to live Set Apart Lives
When we say set apart lives..ppl will give many diff interpretations like go to church..don’t commit sins..serve diligently..these r things Christians have been typically been doing..but r they joyful about their Christian lives..r they excited about God..r they living w this spiritual fervour ..finding the satisfaction fr evangelism..interceding 4 their family members..let us be very clear about ‘Set Apart’ lives…we ve always teach about set apart lives..go to V5
read v 5..Jos took great pains to tell them..be very careful..continue reading..the Lord gave u. Now if u want to live set apart lives..u need the law of the commandments ..that is the Word first
a) Word ( The Promise of life, strength in God)
Jos spoke about the word ..the law of the commandment..exactly the same thing God told him in Chp 1..meditate on the word..on the book of the law day n night becos this is where the conviction of the HS comes..this is where the strength, the comfort comes..the Word! the word 1 st..mind u the word is not legalistic in nature..the word is the promise of life..the promise of strength in God. So meditate on the word day n night n be very careful to do everything written in it as how the HS convicted u thru the word..if u know the truth..i.e the word..the truth gives u..freedom..so meditate on it, find strength in it ..the word , so this must be the content in yr heart..if u truly want to live set apart lives. U r not living set apart lives w yr passion..u need the word first..the word gives u th evasion..once u understood the word..the HS works n gives u the fervour ..the passion ..the willingness to sacrifice n live holy lives, so u need the word of God. So don’t just listen msgs ..meditate on it..alot of ppl just come 4 meetings n listen but the most crucial thing to do is when u go back home in yr quiet time..pray thru the word..read thru the word..read what it says ..convicts u..then..the bible says in Chp 22 verse 5.. to love the Lord yr God, to walk in all His ways. to obey His commands…all yr soul. Now we talk about…
b)… Love the Lord
Now the word is love..How r u going to love..love is the matter of the heart..now the word gives u the content..the heartbeat of God..the will of God..the spirit of God..and now when u ve internalise the word.ht sword becomes the love in u..so its sentiments in nature..right..Love means u have Him as your only love..have Him as yr only trust n reliance..I look to u..find comfort in u..this is about loving the Lord> How r u going to love if u don’t meditate or confirm the word so loving the Lord comes from meditating and confirming the word. What enables me to love my spouse, children , brethren, siblings more n more..if I cannot communicate n get comfort from say for instance my spouse..if I cannot see how she thinks, how we trust each other..how r u going to love yr spouse. the thing about living set apart lives..how do u live it…be careful to know the word..meditate n confirm it..talk to God ..find strength thru it..find the answers in yr problems thru the word..n see how the Lord speak to u thru the word..then the love will arise in u..will develop in u..that kind of thing n with tha love..
c) Serve the Lord
Now serve is the doing part..its the works part..living out . If u love the Lord u will make decisions.u will take steps to live in the way to please him.. u will live in the way..take steps to live ..edify the church..edify ppl whom God loves. this is the real livin. So again left us go thru..how to live set apart lives..be very careful to obey the word..listen ..meditate on it ..confirm it..then the love will come..the oneness of hearts w the Lord ..will be in u to look to Him..n with that..don’t stop here..if u love the Lord the way u live yr life..plan yr life..your time, talents..yr every thing..yr resources will be..to serve Him..in all yr ways. Understand the order of a), b)..and c). I say it again.. Meditate on the word that gives u the love n gives u the willingness to serve. Joshua pleads to them..be very careful to do this..why? Every time u hears this..be very careful to do every thing in the word ..other translations say be diligent. be careful ..means ..there is a FOD that prevents u fr meditating on the word..fr loving God..fr serving Him..evreyday! It could be yr self centered nature ..it could be yr circumstanceces u r facing every day..yr busyness..yr disappointment u ve w ppl..w life or things r not working well..now these r the things that prevents u fr praying, fr looking to God..these r the things that causes u to look into yr problems.n makes u loose strength ..feel inferior…feel weak..feel lousy about yr self..so..be careful..be diligent..what diligent means is set a)..b)..c) as yr main priority..don’t get too busy n forget about the word..don’t be overwhelm by yr failures n yr loss n forget that God can restored every thing that u ve lost..so pray n go back to what He said..live by it n then u will see how He is going to lead u thru ..GO BACK..that is what Jos meant by ..be careful to obey what the word says! So a)..b)..n ..c) is about a lot of praying..confirmation. in this yr of sending forth the remnants to save ..minister..raise ppl ..its is not possible if a)..b)..n c) is not going on in yr lives. the moment u step out into this world ..there r temptations ..there will be obstacles u will face..there r conflict of cultures..the worldly culture is in conflict w the christian culture..it will make u compromise w the world..compromise yr values..compromise yr beliefs..even yr own flesh..yr r tired.. with the expectations n responsibilities ..the way u live.. relying on the human strength..it always go against a)..b)..n c).So be very careful to obey what the Lord says..n love the Lord by looking to Him alone..n serve Him, then u will see how the Lord will prosper u again n again n even more n more than what u ve exp.
Go to Chp 22 v 10
read v10,11,12..so this is a very grave issue..they r going to kill each other..bro against bro becos of perceived idolatry! The Israelites send Phinehas..a very imp figure..read v13
read v 14 why ten? 10 tribes..and the 10 are all imp figures..chiefs of the tribes
read v 17..do u know what is the sin of Peor?.. the sin of Peor happened in the wilderness..remember during the time of Moses..the israelites were seduced by the Moabite women..they ve relationship w them n worship their Gods.n what happen is ..God send a plague to them..n 24K ppl fell dead on that day. and Moses , Joshua, n the Priests..they were all crying b4 the Lord, wearing sack cloth..and then one israelite man went into the tent w a moabite women, and Phinehas ..the grand son of Aaron. saw that n his holy anger burn inside his spirit n he took the spear n killed both of them as they were having sexual relations..n then the anger of the Lord stop! And that is why they send Phinehas, the chief priest to deal with this matter that concerns the idolatry of the israelites
read v 17,18
read v 19..this is what Phinehas said..
read v 20..remember Achan in cup 7..he took the devoted things..n they lost the battle in the city of Ai. These two incidents in Peor n Achan serve to remind the israelites how severe the Lord will deal w them!
read v 21
now listen to what they said in v22..see the way they respond..they were looking to God with an upright n sincere heart..God u know we didn’t do this n continue reading..let israel know..do not spare us this day
read v 23, 24, 25 the 3 tribes ..eastern tribes fear that one day 100 yrs later for ex,,the 10 tribes (western) might forget that the 3 tribes is part of them n will won’t give them the covenant, inheritance
read v28, 29, 30.
read v31..so they ve accepted what they said
read v32, 33, 34
The bible go into the great length of the story..there is a reason becos satan is always out there to create discord among ppl who love the Lord. So if e do not know what is the Lord’s will in dealing..such differences, conflicts n confrontation..we will fall prey 2 it. So we ve to be careful about this.
We will now go to the 2nd part of the msg..n talk about this person called..Phinehas
B) The Phinehas Confrontation
We need to learn how did he confront n settle the conflict with the eastern tribes. earlier we know that he is the best person to settle it..he has the authority of the high priest’ he has the exp in the sin of Peor n saw how the Lord send a plaque against the Israelites ofr worshipping other Gods, and he has seen what happened to Achan n his family..but now very importantly..with what kind of attitude..Phinehas approach the eastern tribes. He..
1) Went with the holiness of God but with the heart to win them back..to salvage the relationship.
Now this is very imp..he is not going there to condemn them..threaten them..He is not doing that. And I will tell u why..alot of times in our relationship w ppl..u see Phinehas is a very righteous person..a holy person..he is a person who burn w holy anger when Israelites departed fr God..for such a person it is very easy for him to be self righteous..it is very easy for him to condemn ppl becos of their weaknesses..becos u r not living up to the standards I m living..u know that kind of thing. so it is easy 4 ppl when u ve holy anger to go overboard in condemning ppl for their weaknesses. But now we need to learn this..the way Phinehas handle such serious confrontation..imagine the whole assembly..the whole army of fighting soldiers already came right to Shiloh..n if any misunderstanding or etc..there will be great blood shed..don’t care if we are bro or not..we r killing them becos we must not let this disease of worshipping idols spread in the whole Israel..they r very serious about anything that causes Israel to fall into idolatry. So now Phinehas is going there..n he is a very holy person n he is going there w a heart to win back ppl..win them back n salvage the relationship. But we must know Phinehas..he is a mere human being also. He didn’t know they r building a altar n suddenly he saw this grand n majestic altar..nad he knows only the Lord jehovah tabernacle should exist n there should be no other altar ..for if u r offering burn offering to other altar means..u r worshipping other Gods. So with that..he said..how can u do this, but his attitude is to win them back first n foremost. This must be the kind of relationship we must ve w one another. and then..as he goes there..the way he approach the situation is.. he
2) Gave them a reminder (Peor, Achan), n not as accusers
He told them do u remember Peor, Achan..remember what happened to us when we departed fr God..didn’t u see that..he reminded them n not going there as an accuser. we need to learn fr this..give reminders to ppl ..let ppl think thru..let ppl change their hearts by the reminders. Ps V as a pastor always give his brethren reminders but he ale recognised that we r all humans n sometimes he may misunderstand them n they need to try to understand his heart n where he is coming from. leaders must not be oppressive..hard handed..or jump into little things without self control..then the brethren will feel they r always wrong..suppressed n they will keep quiet n one day this problem is going to blow up..b4 it blows up..alot of distrust is already there ..so we need to learn from Phinehas ..the way he go about this confrontation..I m coming here to win u over n gave them reminders of what the Lord did in Peor, Achan..n then Phinehas said..this is a very imp point here ..he said if the land is defile..come w all yr ppl 2 live w us. Now this is a very costly matter..we r allowing u to bring yr children, relatives..every thing to share in our land, resources, food..share everything w u..n it is not easy n Phinehas is showing a.. very..
3) Sincere n sacrificial offer
He is not reprimanding them..why r u doing this..but to Phinehas ..he is genuine n sincere by telling them ..don’t do that..build the altar… follow the world..don’t sin…but come n live w us..n share our resources, land, etc. What Phinehas is saying is this this..don’t go to the world, don’t let yr flesh control u ..so it is a very genuine offer..sincere..n Life Churches must see this godly attitude in our relationships. We need to show our sacrificial love not just talk..cos ppl r struggling, suffering in their loss n emotional needs n if we just tell them don’t do this n that..like don’t follow the world ..don’t sin..but we r not sacrificing ourselves..that is not sincere..learn fr what Phinehas is doing..as a leader, or a spiritually matured brethren..learn to sacrifice n be the first to do it..be the 1st one 2 go the extra mile…as Pastor ..as leader..as sg leader n every one of us..to the weak n new brethrens. If u want to truly grow n rec the great grace..u ve to prepare yr self ..sacrifice yr time..yr energy..yr resources..n even yr own emotional needs..sometimes u ve to sacrifice..why..becos of yr love..this is yr prayer for them..let this be yr sincere sacrifice 4 yr brethrens..for yr family members..Sincere n Sacrificial offer!
and then when the eastern tribes explain themselves ..that is not the case ..let us explained. usually the problems beta co workers is as such..even after explanation..there is still suspicion..there is still distrust..like I don’t think he said what he meant..things like this..distrust..suspicion..about each other motives. so we need to learn fr Phinehas.when the 3 tribes (eastern) explained themselves…
4) a) he believed them purely
There is a trust betw brethrens.. there is a trust beta co workers, n u may asked what if I m deceived..but the bible says ..nevermind..suffer loss for the gospel ( 1 Cor 6:7-The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? and many more verses like 1 Peter 2:20-But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.) Other than believing them..it is very imp n..
b) he put himself in their shoes to understand
Now this is a great leader! Great leaders must learn fr Phinehas. Believe them purely..what ever u tell me..I believe purely becos as what we r called to be..the HS in u is genuine. But when u believe someone he is answerable to God. sometimes that person might tell us his difficulty..struggles..I will put myself in yr shoes to understand. Phinehas is a great leader who has put an end to a great conflict..n he brought back a good report to the Israelites n he told them the actual fact that they ve misunderstood the eastern tribes.
And lastly..we will look at the way the eastern tribes clarify themselves
C) The Eastern Tribes Clarifies/ Explain
How they clarify themselveses in this conflict..learn this in yr hearts, n get it clearly in yr spirit cos if God has given Ps V this msg..it might happen someday in our church. the way the eastern tribes clarify n defended themselves was amazing.. they..
1) First take refuge in God and appealed to God first
Appeal to god 1st n not to man..they appealed to God 1st..they said( “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the Lord, do not spare us this day). They look to God first n we too must learn this deeply! We all need to learn how to live b4 God..becos the typical ppl would not do that..they will be defensive first..feel accused..suppressed and we harbour the wounds n hurts inside us. Now that is not a godly way of facing confrontation n differences becos why? ..we r not facing God. So we need to learn to first take refuge in God n appeal to Him first,,be right b4 God. God is the justice..he is the judge n he will honour u n bless u if not in this ..it will be in another time cos that bro is being deceived n sometimes we need to suffer loss for the kingdom sake..just like what Jesus suffered..the injustice n atonement for our sins. Ps V has also gone thru these kinds of trials n he appeal to God 1st, so do take refuge n appeal to God first..this is something we must learn..if u r right b4 God u will be courageous b4 men, if u r strong b4 God u will humble b4 men..the eastern tribes..they were humble b4 Phinehas.
And the eastern tribes said something very awesome..they said something like that..if we ve been in rebellion or disobedient to God then do not spare us this day n may the Lord himself call us to account…What does this mean..the typical ppl will start to be defensive n even might be angry..but the way they respond is ..God u know..this is the first thing they said..the first reaction, and the 2nd reaction is ..if we ve really done something wrong..we ve sin in rebellion to God ..then do not spare us.i.e kill us..they said that..so what it means is..
2) They recognised the rightness of others in coming against them
Recognise the rightness..this is really a humble act, humble heart which typical ppl don’t do..ppl will usually get defensive, argue ..ppl will try to justify themselves first rather than..ok ..if that is really what u say I did..let the Lord punish me or let the Lord discipline me..but I just want to truly say why I did that ..that is the right attitude! The way u get the favour of ppl..u must know..u look to God first..probably if yr boss is a non christian..so u pray u know Lord..I m upright b4 u..I m doing this w a clear conscience or even pastor didn’t know but u know Lord I look to u ..so this applies to everyone u have a conflict, differences with..U look to God 1st. and the Hs is a spirit of humility n wisdom..especially so in conflicts!..the way u react is not about me..myself and i..instead have this heart that i know u believe i ve wrong u and its the justice u seek..so I understand yr situation i.e u recognise the rightness of others..maybe I really done something wrong or make a wrong decision or said the wrong thine but I recognise that..
This is how the eastern tribees explain themselves ..this is not meant for sacrifice..it was meant to be a witness, a memorial for their descendants becos they live on the eastern side of the jordan river n it is very likely that after many yrs the ppl on the western side won’t give them their inheritance that is see them as don’t belong to the covenant. So they built the altar in explanation that ..it is for..
3) For the good of all and for the good of their descendants..when we say descendants we can also say the future ministry
The future of god’s work, the future of his church..this is a very right way of thinking for the eastern tribes. There is one big shortfall of church ministries..they don’t think about the future generations..they only care about their current revival..what amI going to do now..my generation..how am I going to prosper the work of God right now ..but there is going to come a time when their ministry is going to become stagnant becos they never think about the next generation, they never ve similar Gid fearing ppl raising up to lead ministries. Ps V said whatever he is doing now..preaching 6 msgs a week..he is doing all these things, his hair turning white is just for u young remnants ..just to raise u up for this era..to respond to His calling..to realise yr potential..to rec yr inheritance n don’t let satan deceive u n steal yr precious time n crowns, n souls away. Becos after a few yrs down the road..it will b e yr era. And u need to ve this mindset when u do th ministry of God..if there r ppl for the work of God, must raise them up without any selfish motives. and when our motive is clear even when we ve ppl with different background n personalities..we will ve unity..even when we ve differencs..never mind..the Lord’s help n favour will be there becos we ve the right motives..we r looking for the good of all not the good of myself or my church or my sg or my ministry. It is not yr sg or my sg ..yr ministry or my ministry..but every one is working in synergy..for the kingdom..for the future generation.
And We will end with this verse Ps133:1..I hope this will be our paryer..Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
I pray that all of us learn something from this as we go forward this yr..we might not be perfect b4 God but let us pray that we want to be right b4 God n enjoy the harmony..the co working..the trust with one another.