How life's Battles are Won and Lost!

JOSHUA  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:52
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Consecrate yourself to God, deal with your heart, surrender to God. It is painful and vulnerable dealing with the heart but it opens us up to victory.

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Good Morning!
Three weeks after her wedding day, Joanna called her minister in hysterics. “Pastor,” she cried, “John and I had our first fight. It was awful! What am I going to do?”
“Calm down, Joanna,” her pastor answered, leaning back in his chair. “This isn’t nearly as bad as you think. Every marriage has to have its first fight. It’s natural.”
“I know, I know,” Joanna said impatiently. “But what am I going to do with the body?”
This morning message is entitled, “How life’s Battles are won and lost.”
If we we are honest most of us don’t enjoy conflict and don’t go out looking for a battles to fight… but inevitably the battle comes to us…
These battles take various forms…they come in the form of relational conflicts, financial challenges, health issues.. Spiritual Stagnation, Habits and strongholds..
Warfare is one of the characteristics and realities of the fallen world… Warfare is also a major theme that run through the Bible..
In fact from Genesis 3 (the story of the fall) to Revelation 20, we read of strife and fighting.
In other words only the first two chapters of the Bible (creation) and the last two (re-creation) is there a period of time where there is no human conflict…
The apostle Paul frequently uses the metaphor of a soldier to describe the Christian life.
Paul’s prison experiences had given him ample opportunity to watch Roman soldiers and to meditate on the parallels between the soldier and the Christian
Paul warned Timothy his son in the faith--- As a soldier on duty be careful of distractions of the world… be careful to get entangled in the things of this world…
He reminds Timothy that Faith is a battle.
1 Timothy 6:12
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Paul writes to a Corinthians about a conflict that he was having with a sect called the Judaizers. They were a religious group that was accusing Paul of being bold in his letters and timid when he came in person.. What is interesting is how Paul frames this conflict… He explains that he put no confidence in the flesh.. because we are engaged in battle.
2 Corinthians 10:3–4
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
Paul equated the Christian life to a war.. the war is not against flesh and blood … but against authorities of the unseen world.. The Christian life isnt a battle against flesh and blood… but against authorities and powers of the unseen world…..
The word warfare means “campaign.” Paul was not simply fighting a little skirmish in Corinth; It was much bigger and broader...the attack of the enemy was part of a large satanic campaign.
One of the problems is that we often don’t frame things as spiritual warfare.. this in itself can be a problem..
Richard Lovelace, in his book, Dynamics of the Spiritual Life
“It seems to me that much of the church’s warfare today is fought by blindfolded soldiers who cannot see the forces ranged against them, who are buffeted by invisible opponents and respond by striking one another.” Richard Lovelace
sadly this is what often happens,
Paul tells is that as a Christian our weapons are spiritual in nature.. anything other than spiritual weapons are going to be ineffective...
What are these weapons? Some of our weapons are found in the book of Ephesians 6:10 the Armor of God… helmet of Salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, sword of the spirit, gospel of peace… other weapons are faith, prayer, obedience, dependance on the Hs..
T/S How are Spiritual Battles won and lost..

1. Stop focusing on Problems and Start paying attention to your heart.

The city of Salzburg in Austria is implementing some creative measures to protect public safety from oblivious pedestrians staring at their smartphones.
The city's Board for Traffic Safety (KFV) said that nearly 40 percent of the injured pedestrians involved in accidents were injured because they were distracted by a smartphone device. "…
Pedestrians are involved in more accidents in the city than anyone else on the streets, including cyclists, moped drivers, and car drivers."
"Smartphone zombies," as they have been referred to, are a common problem in many highly trafficked areas around the world.
Honolulu just signed a law that bans pedestrians from looking at their smartphones while crossing the street, thus becoming the first city in America to pass a law aimed at reducing injuries and deaths associated with distracted walking.
One of the quickest ways to loose a battle is to focus on the wrong things...
The bible is full of stories of battles that Israel fought… and One of their biggest problems is they spent way too much time fixated on problems…
When Israel first came to the edge of the promised land… 10 of the 12 Spies came back with the report that the land was good…flowing with milk and honey… but.. there were Giants in the land…When they did this there imagination ran wild.. we seemed like mere grasshopper in their eyes..
Joshua and Caleb on the other hand came back with a totally different report... “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
10 Spies focused on the problem… Joshua and Caleb saw that the giants were no match for heavens Army.
We must glance at our problems and gaze at Jesus. - Thabiti Anyabwile (pastor author)
One of the major problems with conflict is focussing on the problem.. Instead of the heart.. the heart is the seat of the will.. … everything flows form our hearts… if the heart is off everything is off.. The first thing God commands Joshua to do.. is to consecrate the men…
Joshua 5:2–5 ESV
2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. 4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. 5 Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised.
When you think about the timing — they just set foot across the most protected boarder of Canaan.. You would think that this was a poor toming. on Joshua’s part… let’s take all the young men and have them circumsized…
As you can imagine this was a painful exercise in itself… it would take days to recover…
Why put yourself at a disadvantage like this?
Circumcision was the mark of the covenant; it signified membership in the covenant people of Israel, just as baptism signifies membership in the covenant community of the church today. It was a divine seal on those whom God had chosen as his people, and it was a human response to the promises of God..
In the NT… Peter tells what consecration looks like..
1 Peter 1:13–16
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Preparing you minds for action — speaks of focus… a literal interpretation is to prepare your mind for learning and thinking. Set your expectation fully on the hope on the Grace that has been provided in Salvation…
When the Bible talks about being Holy --- It is not talking about being perfect…its … not about being good enough… that we have to match up to this standard…or we don’t make it…
Holiness means to separated to a greater purpose.… Let’s say you were doing some research or found a newspaper clipping that you wanted to keep… you cut it out and put it somewhere...
It means to be completely at the disposal of God. It means to put yourself completely in his hands. It means to want that, to want to be used.
This is how God deals with His Covenant people... He longs to remove reproach and disappointments..
The reason we have to consecrate ourselves… is simply the fact the battle isn’t yours… the battle is the Lords.....Before Joshua leads the nation into battle is going to have an important encounter… Joshua is going to be reminded of this important principle...
Joshua 5:13–15
13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
What was Joshua doing next to Jericho?
I think that Joshua was wondering how he is going to lead this motley group of desert wanderers to victory against these heavily fortified cities in Canaan…
Joshua’s thinking, “Alright. we could go Over the wall, under the wall, through the wall, maybe we can send a decoy in, starve them out?”
While God comes down to him
He has this heavenly encounter with a Heavenly Warrior.. Now this is no ordinary encounter… this was not an angelic encounter… this is an encounter with the pre-incarnate Christ… The commander of the Army of the Lord..
Joshua’s asks the figure in front of him... are you for us or against us… The answer is interesting.. No… “but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.”
The heavenly Warrior declared that he had not come merely to assist Israel’s leader, but to control the whole operation.
The responsibility would be completely lifted from Joshua’s shoulders.
He had not come to champion Joshua’s cause; he had come to rout the enemy.
James MacDonald
The battle is not yours, but God’s. You’re not supposed to fix this. You’re supposed to fast, pray, stand, and believe. – James MacDonald.
How do we win battles?
1. Stop focusing on Problems and Start paying attention to your heart.

2. Stop treating Every Battle the same and seek for a God Approach.

The Battle of Jericho is one of the most famous battles in the Bible…It is the ultimate battle where the “underdogs” win the day..
One thing you notice about the battles in the Bible…is that every battle that Israel won was was won differently… the way that Moses defeated the the Egyptians… different from Joshua… defeating the Canaanites… or Davids battle against the Philistines…
Every battle requires a Fresh grace… Every time we want to move forward and make progress… don’t just repeat what what we have done before… We need a fresh vision… Need to a fresh approach
- read our text.
Joshua 6:1–5
1 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”
Joshua and Israel come to the most strategic city in Canaan--
It was the primary fortress of Canaan because of its strategic location adjacent to the Jordan River.
The conquest of Jericho was to be a symbolic victory. If Jericho could fall, then what other city could stand in their way?
God gives Joshua the instructions.. Israel are to March around the city once for 6 days.. then the seventh day were to march around the city seven times… It was to be a procession with the armed men in the front…followed by seven white robed Priests — blowing continually on the Shuefer (rams horn)
then the Ark of the covenant... was in the center of Israel…which represented the Glory or the presence of God... Love this image — God in the middle of His people…
They were to encircle Jericho once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day… Then on the Seventh trip on the seventh day the Priests were to “make a long blast with the rams horn” and that would be the signal for the people to shout with a loud shout....and the walls would fall down flat... the people were then to go and take the city… because the Lord had given them the city…
Now, If you’re Joshua, you’re wanting a second opinion at this point.
You’re going back to an army that’s been training for an entire generation for war, and they’re ready and you’re going to go back to them and say, “We’re turning it over to the music guys today.” No offense to the music guys, but we’re turning it over to the trumpeters...
If you read the story carefully you will notice that Joshua did not tell the people how many times they were going to be required to circle the city or precisely what was going to happen at the end of their seven days’ marching.
The people were given their instructions one day at a time, and at the end of their assignment for that day, having encircled the walls, they were directed back to their camp. And nothing happened! They had obeyed Joshua, who had been obeying God. They had encircled the walls. But when they returned to camp, the walls were still standing, no one had surrendered, and the Jewish armies seemed to be no closer to the final conquest of Canaan than they had been the day before.
So it was after the second day … and the third … and the fourth … and the fifth … and the sixth...
Not only they marched around the walls they had to do it in silence.. I read that there could be up to 6 million Israelites at this point...
Joshua 6:10 ESV
But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.”
F. B. Meyer calls “Silence!” the hardest of all the commandments.
Luis Palau The Argentinian evangelist writes, “What a rare commodity! How difficult this is to achieve. If we’re not speaking verbally, then there are a thousand mental voices inside our thoughts, each vying for the last word. Listen to God? How can he possibly get a word in edgewise? This passage seems to be saying, ‘Hush. Don’t talk so much. Be quiet before the Lord after you’ve poured out your heart to him. Let God speak.’ ”1
From verses 11 to 14, the emphasis is on the Ark of the Lord circling Jericho. This was God’s battle, not Israel’s.
Israel had only to march and observe, then shout and observe, and finally to mop up after God had delivered the city into their hands. We are told that the walls fell down flat..
to fall down v. — literally means to lose an upright position suddenly.
Jericho represents those things that stand in our way of God’s rest and promises… Sometimes Sin stands in the way… Some times it’s simply indifference… if this God thing fits into my agenda I am fine with it… Sometimes its materialism… Have to keep us with everyone… have to look the part… Jericho represents what stands between us and a god preferred future… Here is the problem..
Here is the truth about our Jericho’s — We cannot dislodge the walls of Jericho with own futile attempts… Our Jerichos need the power of God to shift them… If we are facing a Jericho look up and see Christ is the one who conquerers and defeats...
T/S Battles are won and lost..when we...
1. Stop focusing on Problems and Start paying attention to your heart.
2. Stop treating Every Battle the same and seek for a God Approach

3. Stop Doubting and Start Believing in God’s Promises.

The battle of Jericho was one of annihilation.... it was a complete victory for Israel…The Victory of Jericho was a sign that God was removing the years and years of reproach from Israel… The moment that they entered the land… the manna ceased and they started eating of the fruits of the Promise...
Joshua 6:21–23 ESV
21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. 22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel.
The phrase devoted to destruction... speaks of God’s ultimate purpose and that is destroy evil... 1 John 3 for this purpose was the son of God manifest to destroy the works of the evil one... God’s ultimate purpose destroy evil and restore relationship with his people.. Gods holy war is not against people it’s against evil... it’s against the evil one.
For seven days Jericho had ignored the warnings… that God was going to destroy them… rather than surrendering they harden their hearts and just locked up the city… If God was willing to save…Rahab — he certainly would have been willing to save the city… God desires that none perish but all inherit eternal life… but there comes a time and place that God no longer strives with mankind's disobedience… In the middle of all the destruction… is Rahab and here family..
Charles Spurgeon has an interesting commentary on this verse… He says How strange it must have looked with Rehab’s house towering over all the rubble of the other houses…Rehab’s house stood firm..amongst the rubble… Spurgeon says… Faith pulls down.... but faith also hold up… Rehab’s house held up because is faithful to his word
What is incredible is that Rehab is listed in the Geneology of Jesus. This Gentile woman — is part of the Royal blood line of Joseph… The book of Hebrews tells us why Rahab was spared>
Hebrews 11:30–31 ESV
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
In his book on Prayer, Tim Keller writes about the power of words… He tells us that.
Speech-act theory makes a convincing case that our words not only convey information; they get things done.
However, God's words have power infinitely beyond our own. God's words are identical with his actions …
We humans say, "Let there be light in this room," but first we have to make sure the room has been properly wired. Then we have to walk across the room and flick a switch, or go to the cabinet and grab some matches so we can light a candle.
Our words need deeds to back them up and can fail to achieve their purposes.
God's words, however, cannot fail their purposes because, for God, speaking and acting are the same things… What we learn from the battle of Jericho is that God’s Word can be trusted..
The New York times had an article on Scott Hamilton - the headline read.. Scott Hamilton DEMOTED AS AN OLYMPIC BROADCASTER. DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR HIM.
Scott Hamilton was world champion figure Skater in the 1980's then in won the Gold medal at the 1984 Olympics... He then became the Figure skating anchorman for the NBC'S SPORTS NETWORK and his career lasted 25 years.. until last year when he got the News that the network was replacing him by two upcoming stars..
In an interview Scott was asked, how he was dealing with the news. - He said that there was sadness for about 10 minutes... I lamented it being over. I thought, "Oh man, that is such a beautiful part of my life and now it's over.... But change happens even to me."
What an incredible attitude... When corporate America decided that his shelf life had expired... Scott made the conscious decision not be consumed by defeat and failure.. What was Scotts secret?
Scott had learned how to win at life’s battles.. this was not his first battle..
-- For the past 21 years Scott faced stage four Cancer... He had three brain tumors... One every 6 years form 2004 and he is currently living with a brain tumor.. You would think that all these setback would hold him back… but
Scott said that all the lows of his life have fueled an even deeper faith in God and a stronger desire to impact others positively… He believes that, “the Only Disability in Life is a Bad Attitude”
True greatness can only be achieved by a fierce commitment to going after it with everything you’ve got, no matter how many times you’re knocked down. It means rejecting apathy and staying hungry — refusing to settle for less than excellence.
Scott once calculated how many times he fell during his skating career — and it added up to 41,600 times,” he said. “But here’s the funny thing: I got up 41,600 times. That’s the muscle you have to build in your psyche — the one that reminds you to just get up.”
The difference between winning and loosing is whether you stay down or get up off the mat…
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