Point A to Point B: Victory over Sin
· Read Josh 1.1-9.
· The Bible presents the Christian life as a life of warfare and struggle; one battle is won even as another looms on the horizon.
· The battles fought are fought with confidence because victory is guaranteed. Victory is guaranteed because Christ conquered sin and its power over us.
o “…Our old man was crucified with [Christ], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Rom 6.6).
· The battles are fought daily. We claim daily the victory Christ has won for us.
· We call this daily victory over sin sanctification.
· Galatians 3:3 warns of the foolishness of beginning in the Spirit and seeking to be made perfect by the flesh.
· As PM mentioned this morning, God’s will is our sanctification. He desires daily victory over sin for us. Sanctification is holiness in heart and behavior. We die to sin and live to righteousness.
· When we pray, “Father, help me to be more like Jesus today than I was yesterday”, we are praying for sanctification. We desire that we take another step closer to the image of Christ (progressive sanctification).
· The Book of Joshua has for its theme the idea of victory. God gave the Promised Land to Israel. His faithfulness to His promise assured Israel’s victory. He is faithful to us as well. Ultimately, sin shall not have dominion over you (Rom 6.14).
Possessing the Promised Land (1.2-3, 6, 11)
· God had promised this land to Abraham and his descendants.
· Even though many years had lapsed, God was making good on this promise. God never forgets His promises.
· God promised the fathers (6), Moses (3), and Joshua along with the people (11). They didn’t deserve the land; they certainly didn’t earn it; but the grace of God is the free gift of God.
· The Promised Land is like Heaven in the sense that God extended it as a free gift. The land was certainly Israel’s possession; Heaven is certainly the Christian’s possession.
· The Promised Land is like Victory over Sin in the sense that the land is ours. It belongs to us. When God looks at saved believers, he sees, positionally, those who are as holy as Christ Himself.
· The Promised Land cannot really be like Heaven because battles and warfare followed the crossing of the Jordan. We, too, must fight to have victory over sin and righteous lives.
· Just as Israel had to take the land guaranteed by God, even so we must take for ourselves the victory Christ wrought for us in our lives experientially. Sin has no hold over the believer, but the believer must fight to defeat sin practically. How do we do this? By faith.
Transition: The working of faith is critical in understanding how we come to experience daily victory over sin. We must realize that it takes two critical keys to unlock the door of biblical faith…
1. Key #1: Realize God’s Role in our Victory
God told the people to possess the land. The people obeyed believing that God would make good on His promise. God fulfilled His promise to the people.
· Israel fought and won many battles. Yet the victories they experienced did not mean future battles wouldn’t be fought.
· When we fight sin in one area of our lives, we may win a battle. Yet that doesn’t mean there won’t be future battles to fight. How did God fulfill His role in the book of Joshua? 4 Ways God fulfills His role…
God promised success.
Joshua 1:7 (NKJV)
7Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
When kings gathered to fight Israel, God said to Joshua the day before the battle…
Joshua 11:6 (NKJV)
6“Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”
Application: When we believe Christ, we have the victory.
1 John 5:4-5 (NKJV)
4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Faith’s potency is found in its object - the object of our faith is Christ!
God confounds the enemy.
Joshua 2:9-11 (NKJV)
Rahab said to the spies, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. 10For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Application: God not only prepares us for battle; He prepares the enemy as well. He goes before us and erodes the foundation of the enemy’s attack. As intimidating as the enemy was in Joshua’s day, he was no match for the demonstration of God’s power. As intimidating as sin is, we believe that it has no power over us. Why do we believe it? God revealed it.
God does great and mighty things.
Jericho (Josh 6)
What can be said of the walls of Jericho? They were high and intimidating. They were thick and impregnable. Humanly speaking, Israel could not penetrate them. But God showed that He was able to access what Israel could not. God also showed Israel that in and of themselves, they were the objects of ridicule and mocking (they could only march around Jericho, blow trumpets, and believe God).
The walls fell because God caused them to fall. Note too, that the walls fell only where the army of Israel entered. Rahab’s house on the wall stayed in tact. The rest of the city was trapped inside. God fought for His people.
Sun Standing Still (Josh 10)
What about the sun standing still? Joshua prayed for extra time to finish the fight. God heard and caused the sun to stand still (10.12-14).
Application: The battle cannot be truly won with fleshly tools. We cannot rely upon our ability, will power, determination, or strength. Our enemy is supernatural. He cannot be fought through natural means.
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
God accesses in miraculous ways that which is needed to fight and win against sin!
God is always in control.
The Canaanites banded together in order to defeat Israel (Josh 10.1; 11.1). The alliances were a huge threat to Israel. Israel may have been tempted to fear and discouragement. But God brought these nations together so that Joshua and Israel could wipe them out in two epic battles rather than several smaller ones.
Joshua 10:42 (NKJV)
42All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.
Joshua 11:20 (NKJV)
20For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
God was always in control of the situation. It looked insurmountable to Israel, but God was able. Israel had to trust in God. No matter how bleak the situation, God is in control.
Application: Temptations may prove to be strong. No matter how strong, there is always a way of escape (1 Cor 10.13). God will not permit temptation beyond your ability to endure it! Not if you’re a Christian!
2. Key #2: Realize Man’s Role in our Victory
Just as Israel had to claim the victory God won and fight the Canaanites, we must believe what God has done through Christ. Three ways man fulfills his role…
We must trust.
Strength, courage, fearlessness all operative words in Joshua’s opening chapter (1.6, 7, 9).
Joshua 10:25 (NKJV)
25Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”
Faith enables Israel to obey even in difficult circumstances.
Application: Faith enables us to obey even in the face of great temptation. Without faith, we cannot grow in Christlikeness. When we have true victory over sin, it is because we are taking ground Christ has already won for us. When we fall into sin, it is because we forget the work Christ has done for us.
We must look to Christ every time we face temptation. We cannot look to our own resolve. We cannot determine to do right without Him. Every sin we face has been defeated by Jesus Christ at the cross!
We must obey.
Joshua obeyed (1.7-8); the people obeyed (22.5; 23.6). The Word of God was prominent before the people:
Joshua 8:34-35 (NKJV)
34And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.
We know how to live because of the Word of God. We must study the Word and obey the Word. This is the way to victory!
We must consecrate ourselves.
Joshua 3:5 (NKJV)
5And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”
Joshua 7:13 (NKJV)
13Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”
Sanctify means to set apart. Israel had to separate itself from sin to God in purity. When we trust and obey, it always leads to closer intimacy and greater power.
Application: We act upon what we know to be true. Sin no longer has power over us. Experience should reflect position. If we believe that sin no longer has dominion over us, then we experience that freedom!
Some of us desire to do right, but we grow weary of that well-doing. You cannot make up your mind and determine to not sin. That’s a sure cycle of defeat. Resolve to do the right thing is the product of believing in Christ and His work for us. We must depend upon Him!