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From Victory to Defeat and Back Again

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Remove the Hidden Things

 

1st Sermon for Licensing

Given at:  New Hope Baptist Church

San Bernardino, CA

November 17, 2002

11:30 a.m.

 

Joshua 7: 10-13

 

I read an article and confirmed with my son who is in an area of law enforcement, a practice called the “Downed Duck Syndrome”.  Let me explain it to you:

            A duck is an employee who is easily manipulated or fooled.  “Downing a duck” is a gradual process that usually takes 8 to 16 months.  The objective is to slowly draw an employee into your friendship and cause him to commit small rule violations to help you out.  After a period of time the rule violations become more and more serious.  At some point the prisoner will ask the employee to do something illegal, such as bring in some drugs.  If the employee resists, the prisoner will bring up past violations and threaten to expose the employee unless he cooperates.

 

This story arrested my interest because it reminded me of something that has caught me up like this before.  Something that has misrepresented itself as user friendly and beneficial.  Something that lured me, seduced me, captivated me.  It reminded me of times when I was in what I thought a strong position and was presented with what seemed like winning opportunities.

 

Sin is defined by many words in the world.  One of the most eloquent words to describe sin is peccadillo, which is just another way of saying offense.  Sin is an indulgence, a failing, a transgression of pleasure, tolerance and lenience.

The Bible, on the other hand, says in Rom 14:23b:  and everything that does not come from faith is sin.  

The area of sin that we will deal with today is un-confessed sin.  Un-confessed sin is like a green light to Satan, as if he needed one.  It tells him to proceed with his process against the believer.  You see, a non-believer has his green light in a stuck position.  Satan is not concerned with them.

But a believer has to yield as it were to the propositions that Satan puts before him or her.  We all fail, but when we fail to confess our sins, and allow sin to remain unchecked in our lives, Satan thinks that he has the green light and he goes full speed ahead.

Sometimes, Satan tries to make a “Downed Duck” out of a believer.  Sometimes, a believer becomes a “Downed Duck” all by themselves.  You buy into something that seems good and not too grievous at the moment.  Something that has all the earmarks of working out for your good, with a little luck.  By the time you realize that you’ve been sucker-punched, you feel you’re in too deep or too long.  You could deal with a little insurrection, so you ask God for forgiveness but before you know it, that situation presents itself again and again.  After a while, you just get tired of asking forgiveness because you have transgressed so many times before that you convince yourself that God is just tired of hearing from you.  So the sin is allowed to remain to fester within you.  You bury it from your consciousness.  This is where it begins.

Sin that is not dealt with, sin that goes un-confessed, sin that is hidden and forgotten, sin in a believers life can have severe consequences, the worst of which is death.  1st Corinthians 11 says that if we fail to judge ourselves God will judge us and for that reason, many are sick and sleep. 

Background on Text

            Joshua 6-7

Today, I want to share three other consequences of un-confessed sin:

Points:

  1. Devastation:

    1. Loss – It begins with overwhelming defeat.  (v. 4)   3000 men went to fight, but they left the battle running.  You take on a project or a task that you have been very successful at in the past.  But now, you just can’t get it done.  Your best efforts seem useless.

    1. Over Confidence – You begin to trust in your own ideals and make decisions on you own thoughts.   (LET THE OTHERS REST, WE CAN HANDLE IT)  Robs God of His due glory.  

c.   Distortions – (PRIDE) you think “it worked before, so it will work again”.  You discount the enemy and think that you can win cheap victory bought with cheap faith. (ONLY 3000 MEN SENT)  David said:  “I will not offer anything to my God that costs me nothing.”

  1. Discouragement:  
    1. Deficiency – God will just let you go ahead with your own thing and withdraw His power in your life.  The tragedy is you won’t know when it’s gone until it’s too late. (v. 5) all of a sudden your enemies have one up on you.  They not only win, but it’s a shameful defeat.

    1. Numbness – When you move away from Him through loss fellowship, His power will move away from you and you might not know it.  Joshua did not know why they were being defeated.  Non-cognizant, lack of sensitivity.  
    2. Unforgiveness – Bitterness. It may be someone’s sin against you that you have not forgiven.  This has become a hardened stone in your heart that is keeping you from full fellowship with God. Where un-forgiveness reigns, Satan rules.

  1. Depression:  
    1. Hopelessness – your countenance will dissipate and your shoulders will droop.  Dampened spirit – You just can’t get your praise on.  You just go through the motions.  You lips move but your heart is frozen. (JOSUAH TORE CLOTHES AND FELL TO GROUND)

    1. Loss of vision – you feel like giving up.  You see no light at the end of the tunnel.  You believe that you are defenseless against the pull into sins den.  Whining and crying – Woe is me.  You just don’t understand.  I don’t know any other way.  What will people say?  (WHAT CAN I DO?, IT’S OVER) (v. 7) Joshua forgot why they were come to the land in the first place.   

All the while, sin is lurking in the background.  Joshua did not know what was wrong, but sin (Achan) was at rest in the camp.  It had been hidden out of sight of even the sinner.  Look at the trouble sin causes:  Achan saw something that he thought he had to have; he coveted what God had forbidden; this ate at him until he finally took the spoils of the battle; then he had to hid what he’d done from the rest of the tribe; he had to work hard at hiding his sin by digging a hole deep under ground and then he set his whole family upon that sin; because he left the sin buried and un-confessed, his whole tribe suffered defeat and his entire family was destroyed.


Just as God offered recovery to Joshua and the people, He offers recovery to you today.  You need to seek not the pardon from an angry judge, but, mercy from a grieved father.

 

God says – Get up!  You need to get rid of some stuff. 

If you are ready to rid yourself of:

·         The devastation

·         The discouragement

·         The depression

If you are ready, get up, stop your belly aching,(rise, Sally, rise, wipe your weeping eyes, put your hands on you hip and let your backbone slip), then you will confess your sins, seek the aid of the Holy Spirit in bringing up old, comfortable and forgotten sins.

Sins committed for so long that they seem spiritual.  Sins like those Achan said were hidden in the ground.  Out of sight and out of mind.  If you are ready, then God says, Get Up!  God said to Joshua, “You will never defeat you enemies until you remove these things.

God says “get up”, because He has a plan for you.  He says there is a tomorrow.  He says in Jeremiah.  “I know the plans I have for you, plans for your good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.

When you find the sins, don’t just reprimand them.  Don’t just acknowledge that they are alive and order them to go away.  Kill them.  Don’t bury them alive, they just might work their way up through the dirt.  Stone them with the truth of the Word of God.

Then, do what God tells you to do.  God told Joshua:  “Don’t be afraid.  Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land”.

He is telling you:

                        Put on the whole armor of God. To protect yourself:

·         Gird your waist with truth – Commit your emotions to believe the truth

·         Breastplate of righteousness – Keep your heart pure through confessions of sin

·         Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace – spreading the gospel of peace and reconciliation

·         The shield of faith – to deflect false accusations , doubt, fear and guilt

·         Helmet of salvation – having assurance of salvation to defend against doubt and insecurity

·         The sword of the spirit – for power, effect and instruction

·         Prayer – for constant communication with God for direction and encouragement

Then, run.

Run from sin like Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife.  Run to Jesus and He will have an ambush waiting for your enemies.

You will be victorious.  God has devised an ambush.  He says in James to resist the devil and he will flee.  You will win. 

How do I know this?

·         If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive (John)

·         There is therefore now no condemnation (Romans)

·         You are no longer slaves to sin, but you have been adopted into God’s family – Abba, Father!

·         If God is for us, who can be against us?

·         Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? 

·         No!  I submit that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love.

·         We are more than conquerors; we have overwhelming victory through Christ who loves us.

·         Nothing – can separate us from the love of God

·         Death can’t and life can’t

·         The angels can’t and the demons can’t

·         Not our fears for today

·         Not our worries about tomorrow

·         Not even the powers of hell can keep God’s love away

·         Whether we are high above the ski or in the deepest ocean

·         Nothing in all of creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed through Jesus Christ our Lord.


 

Get up and trust Him.  You can be victorious again!

If Satan has made a downed duck of you, tell him that the game is over.  There is a new quarterback on the field and He scored the final touch-down over 2000 years ago.  Let him know that you are not down and further more, you’re not really a duck.  You just wondered in the wrong pond for a while.  You are really a child of The King!  The King who:

  • Loved you so much that He gave up His place in Heaven and came down to earth, took on flesh and lived a sinless life among men for more that 33 years. * Loved you so much that He willingly went to the cross and took all of the sins of the whole world upon Himself and died to pay a debt that you could never pay.
  • Loved you so much that he was buried in Joseph’s new tomb for three days and three nights, from Friday to Sunday, but,
  • Who early on Sunday morning, got up from the grave, He rolled the stone away so men could get in to verify that He was no longer there.
  • Who ascended back up into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to look after us until He returns again.

Get up and confess and repent of your sins and trust Jesus.  You are already victorious in Him.

As I close, I want to leave the words of

David with you.  In Psalm 32 he said:

When I refused to confess my sin,

I was weak and miserable,

And I groaned all day long.

Day and night your hand of discipline was

Heavy on me.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you

And stopped trying to hide them.

I said to myself, “I will confess my

Rebellion to the Lord.”

And you forgave me!  All my guilt is

Gone.

Therefore, let all the godly confess their

Rebellion to you while there is time,

That they may not drown in the

Floodwaters of judgment.

For you are my hiding place;

You protect me from trouble,

You surround me with songs of victory.

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