Baptism commits us to a new purpose and complete victory. The giants of your life will fall because baptism establishes that course to victory. Baptism prepares us to win our battles.
Everyone Wants to Win… But few are willing to begin. We love sermons about victory. We love songs about victory. They encourage us. Yet, when the last amen echoes and the music fades, someone has to actually do something.
Joshua 1:2 (NLT) “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them.
Moses is Dead… It was Moses who stood up to and led the tribal family leaders of Israel. It was Moses who dared to share his God-sized dreams. He stood up to Pharaoh and obeyed God with incredible results. And, he led a group of slaves out of bondage and toward God’s promise. The promises that Moses was leading a nation into were not his own and continue to persist long after his death.
Joshua 1:9 (NLT) This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
The keys to the Kingdom are in Joshua’s Hands Now. The victory promised to Moses was now Joshua’s task.
Leave The Loser
1 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT) Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
A Desert of Dead Slaves. Of the 1.5 million slaves who left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb were left. Only 2 Hebrew slaves BELIEVED that they weren’t slaves anymore. The rest of them never made it to God’s promise. Why? Is it because God is unkind? Or because God sabotages people? Never!
Paul uses their failures to warn us in 1 Corinthians 10:6-11. It is because of THEIR failures, that Christians are taught not to crave evil things, worship Idols, engage in sexual immorality, test Jesus, and to resist grumbling. Then Paul reminds us:
1 Corinthians 10:13-14 (NLT) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.
God has empowered believers for so much more than a life of defeat. God expects us to BELIEVE Him. He expects us to experience victory for His glory.
Follow The Father
Joshua 3:3-4 (NLT) …When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, move out from your positions and follow them. 4 Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you…
The Ark of the Covenant represents the presence of God. Can we learn from Israel that God desires that we live with His presence? For 40 years, every night, God lit the sky with a pillar of fire. Every day, there was a pillar of smoke. And, the camp was built around the tabernacle.
Now, they are walking on new ground. Those kids born in the wilderness had never walked anywhere else. They had never left their “hometown”. But, when God leads you somewhere new, we must follow. If we are to walk in a new way, we must follow the Father.
Joshua 4:10 (NLT) The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the LORD’s commands that Moses had given to Joshua were carried out. Meanwhile, the people hurried across the riverbed.
Standing in the River. Now, imagine those priests. You clock in on Sunday morning and find out you are crossing the river. Little did you know that you would be walking into a flooded river and that you would be standing there all day. But imagine the stories you would tell from that day on.
It’s hard to do what God says. Maybe it’s impossible. For God, the impossible is nothing. Following the Father is nothing more than acting upon His instructions.
Where the Miracles Happen. If you want to live in the victory of God’s promises (where the miracles happen), you’ll need to do the things God asks you to do. There are no miracles in your own plan. Over and over again, impossible circumstances present themselves, and BELIEVERS chose to hold onto God’s promise.
It’s Time for Miracles in our World. It’s time for miracles to happen in our lives and it’s time to take God’s word of our troubles.
Win The Battles
The Battles are Ahead of You. Victory is yours, but the battles are still in front of you. Like Israel, you have God’s promises. But, God’s provision comes when it is needed. God doesn’t work according to our expectations, but according to His wisdom.
Joshua 4:3 (NLT) Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’”
Remember… Rocks from the River. Those poor dudes stood in the river waiting for the rest of the nation to file through. Then, here goes that last little errant child. FINALLY, Joshuas says, “Hold it!” They collect 12 stones to build a memorial altar at camp, and they build one in the river as well. GEESH!This is why baptism is so important. It is your mental memorial altar. Baptism happens so you never forget, “I crossed the river. I am here to claim the promises of God.”