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Faithlife

Reality Check

Joshua  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Define the word reality = The quality or state of being actual or true.
Reality is the leading cause of stress among those who are in touch with reality. ~ C. Everett Koop, U.S. surgeon general, U.S. News and World Report, January 9, 1989.
A golfer who had been playing badly went to a psychiatrist who told him to relax by playing a round of golf without a ball. "Do everything you would normally do, but use an imaginary ball," advised the psychiatrist." The golfer tried it the next day. He stepped up on the first tee, imagined he got a 260-yard drive, made a fine approach shot to the green, then putted for a par.
The round went splendidly and as he approached the 18th hole, he met another golfer playing the same way--no ball. The other golfer had seen the same psychiatrist. They decided to play the last hole together and bet $10 on the outcome. The first golfer swung at his imaginary ball and announced that it had gone 280 yards right down the middle of the fairway. The second golfer matched his drive.
The first fellow then took out his 5-iron and after swinging at his imaginary ball, he exclaimed, "Look at that shot! It went right over the pin and the reverse spin on it brought it right back into the hole! I win."
"No you don't," said the second golfer. "You hit my ball." 
Both these guys need a reality check don’t that? In psychology, the term would be their “perceived reality.” Perceived reality is “an individual's subjective experience of reality, in comparison to objective, exterior reality. (Psychology Dictionary)”
“Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match—all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go farther from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.
What is PERCEIVED REALITY? definition of PERCEIVED REALITY (Psychology Dictionary)
Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match—all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go farther from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.
Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed.” ~ Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
We often think we have a situation figured out—that’s our perceived reality, but then it goes a way that we didn’t expect—that’s reality. Sometimes, our family, friends, pastor, help us by giving us a reality check.
What is your perceived reality of the Christian life? What is the reality of the Christian life?
What is the reality of the Christian life?
The Book of Joshua presents us with what the reality of the Christian life is. Let’s establish sound interpretation facts about Joshua.
Crossing the Jordan River is not a picture of death.
When I shall reach that happy place, I’ll be forever blest, For I shall see my Father’s face, And in His bosom rest.
The land of Canaan is not a picture of heaven. Heaven is a place of rest, not warfare.
Canaan is not heaven,
When I shall reach that happy place, I’ll be forever blest, For I shall see my Father’s face, And in His bosom rest.
Joshua pictures the practical living of the Christian life—the battles/defeats/victories we can have in our Christian life.
In your Christian life, you are either wandering wilderness of defeat or living in the land of victory.
How do you know which place you are in—check your reality. These early verses show us 5 perceived realities that reveal if we are in the wilderness of defeat or the land of victory.
The first perceived reality of wandering in the wilderness of defeat is...

I. “I can’t move on.”

Moses my servant is dead
Everyone in this life faces hurts of all shapes and sizes. If you stay long enough in the wilderness of defeat, you’ll say…life is too difficult. This perceived reality can immobilize you.

Loss overwhelms— moving forward without family and friends (; )

“Moses my servant is dead.” — Loss of a leader, counselor, friend, etc.
Moses didn’t look unhealthy
Moses knew he would die, did he tell Joshua?

Grief overwhelms—death of Moses (Joshua 1:2)

Grief is normal, has a purpose, and is temporary.
Moses didn’t look unhealthy
When we allow our grief to overwhelm us, then we find ourselves wandering in the wilderness of defeat.
Moses knew he would die, did he tell Joshua?
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

God is faithful comforts us “in all our tribulation”

God always calls us to continue His work.

“...arise, go...” — God has a purpose for Joshua.
Our sorrow/grief/despair doesn’t have to immobilize us.
Our sorrow/grief/despair can strengthen our ability to serve God and comfort others.
TRANSITION: The first perceived reality of wandering in the wilderness of defeat is...
“I can’t move on.”
Moses didn’t look unhealthy
Moses knew he would die, did he tell Joshua?
Moses my servant is dead. The reality check
...

“I can’t move on.”

II. “I can’t win.”

In the wilderness of defeat, victory seems elusive—even impossible. So you live in defeat because you believe you can’t win. I think we mistaken live the Christian life as a battle that has yet to be determined, but the reality is, for the Christian the battle is already one.
Romans 8:33 KJV 1900
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
Romans 8:36 KJV 1900
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Romans 8:37 KJV 1900
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom :36

Victory is the Lord’s.

1 Samuel 17:47 KJV 1900
47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
Nothing man can create brings sure victory—a bigger sword and spear were not the answer.
David knew the battle was already won—he walked into that battle with great confidence.
We hear that the victory is the Lord’s, but how do we obtain said victory.
Obedience is the key to spiritual victory.

Joshua knew he would win.

Numbers 13:30 KJV 1900
30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
well able to overcome = literally victorious victory.
Joshua 8:1 KJV 1900
1 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
God gives resounding victory—not just barely winning.
God’s word is at stake — “I do give…I have given…I said…shall be yours...”

God gives the victory.

1 John 4:4 KJV 1900
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
TRANSITION: The first perceived reality of wandering in the wilderness of defeat is...
“I can’t move on.”
“I can’t win”
...
...

III. “I’m on my own.”

Joshua 1:5
In the wilderness of defeat, you always feel alone. Every step you take is taken on your own. Every hardship is endured on your own. Every burden is carried on your own. In the wilderness of defeat, you always feel alone. So many people both Christian and non-Christians alike struggle with loneliness.
Many people struggle with loneliness—from the rich and famous to the poor and unknown. Here's a list of some famous people who have been honest about their loneliness:
Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway confessed, "Loneliness is my least favorite thing about life. The thing that I'm most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me."
Joss Whedon, director of the movie The Avengers, said, "Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there."
Scientist Albert Einstein wrote, "It is strange to be known so universally, and yet to be so lonely."
Writer Ernest Hemingway wrote, "I live in a vacuum that is as lonely as a radio tube when the batteries are dead and there is no current to plug into."
Marilyn Monroe said, "Sometimes I think the only people who stay with me and really listen are people I hire, people I pay."
David Jeremiah, What Are You Afraid Of? (Tyndale, 2013), pp. 117-118

Joshua was never alone. (v. 5)

This was God’s encouragement to Joshua at his commissioning.
God promised His presence just like Moses.
Psalm 139:1–3 KJV 1900
1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, And art acquainted with all my ways.
Take that new step, you start that new project, you begin that new ministry, etc. you’re not allow!
Psalm 139:7–10 KJV 1900
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:4–6 KJV 1900
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, But, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, And laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Psalm 139:7–9 KJV 1900
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Every place Joshua’s foot tread, God was there.

As Joshua was never alone, so the Christian is never alone.

Hebrews 13:5–6 KJV 1900
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Take that new step, you start that new project, you begin that new ministry, etc. you’re not allow!

We do not have to fear ever being alone!
TRANSITION: The first perceived reality of wandering in the wilderness of defeat is...
“I can’t move on.”
“I can’t win.”
“I’m on my own.”
...

“I’m on my own.”

IV. “I’m afraid.”

In the wilderness of defeat, fear is the cold companion that leers around the corner. Every step you take is taken in fear of what may be—the great unknown.

God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous.

to be strong v. — to be or become strong or powerful beyond the average or expected; whether physically or in one’s constitution.
to be courageous v. — to be able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching.

At first, you may think this is all depends on Joshua’s ability to be strong and courageous, but you would be wrong!

Be strong and courageous…because of God’s promises. (v. 6)
Be strong and courageous…because of God’s power. (v. 7)
Be strong and courageous…because of God’s presences. (v. 9)
It’s all God—because it’s always God.

This is incredible to me…God never called Joshua to make great leaps, to win big, to overwhelm the enemy...

God called Joshua to prosper—what does this word mean?
to prosper (thrive—flourish, grow, developed well, etc.) v. — to make steady favorable progress or succeed.
to prosper (thrive) v. — to make steady favorable progress or succeed.
God wants you to move forward—whether you take one step or two—He calls us forward.

We move forward by knowing and thinking on God’s Word.

Joshua only had Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy to read—5 books and he lived victoriously, we have 66…how do we live?
Foolish, foul words depart our mouths, but God’s Word never does.
Wicked thoughts are not meditated on, but God’s Word is meditated on.
What we do is what God’s Word calls us to do.
Jeff — pushing the basketball at your face, only to push it down to dribble.
TRANSITION: The first perceived reality of wandering in the wilderness of defeat is...
“I can’t move on.”
“I can’t win.”
“I can’t win.”
“I’m on my own.”
“I’m on my own.”
“I’m afraid.”
...
...

V. “I’m not strong enough.”

Let’s look at verse 9 one more time. READ
to be dismayed (downhearted) v. — to be made low in spirits; be made downhearted.
On your won, you will never be strong enough—Christian living is not building your strength, but rather building your faith in God.
Don’t look at what you cannot do—look at what God can do thru you.

God never fails.

Deuteronomy 31:8 KJV 1900
8 And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Conclusion

What is your perceived reality of the Christian life? What is the reality of the Christian life? In your Christian life, you are either wandering wilderness of defeat or living in the land of victory. How do you know which place you are in—check your reality. These early verses show us 5 perceived realities that reveal if we are in the wilderness of defeat or the land of victory.
The reality is God’s power overcome
Check your perceived reality.
The Book of Joshua presents us with what the reality of the Christian life is. Let’s establish sound interpretation facts about Joshua.
Crossing the Jordan River is not a picture of death.
Moses knew he would die, did he tell Joshua?
The land of Canaan is not a picture of heaven. Heaven is a place of rest, not warfare.
Moses my servant is dead. The reality check
When I shall reach that happy place, I’ll be forever blest, For I shall see my Father’s face, And in His bosom rest.
Loneliness
Joshua pictures the battles/defeats/victories we can have in our Christian life.
Fear
Overwhelmed
In your Christian life, you are either wandering wilderness of defeat or living in the land of victory.
Dismayed
Weak
How do you know which place you are in—check your reality. These early verses show us 5 perceived realities that reveal if we are in the wilderness of defeat or the land of victory.
FUEL FOR TODAY — Check your reality—God wants you to thrive.
The reality is God wants me to enjoy my life.
God wants you to enjoy the Christian life.
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