Remember God's goodness!
Strong and Courageous • Sermon • Submitted
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What do you think is greatest cause of Christian giving up in Christian walk, either ceasing to grow or falling away?
Number of things might thought of. But I wonder if one of greatest dangers is thing our passage address today - forgetfulness
“The greatest enemy of faith is forgetfulness”
We forget God’s goodness, promises, our power.
We are forgetful aren’t we - some more than others.
Laura had to tell me 4? times the other night where one bit of paper was!
All around nation what do we see, but monuments - to do what but serve as remidners of those who have gone before.
Its why we have diaries and calendars.
Forgetful in our Christian life. Last week writer urges us to press on in God’s power, in wonder at his might and walking in expectancy. As i read that passaghe it gave me a buzz, right lets go. But week later, when the buzz has gone, am I still standing in awe, still living expectantly, or has the business returned and the apthaty.
So much of God’s work in our lives in in the background. He doesn’t part thr water every day. Sometimes feels like prayers go unanswered. And how easily we begin to forget his goodness. The life he offers. The danger of sin.
How easily we fall into disbelief because in our hearts, if not our heads, we forget who God is - and turn from awe and dependence to self reliance.
Simple call this morning.
Keep remembering God’s goodness.
Keep remembering God’s goodness.
How can we know God is with us and before us when we don’t feel it. How can we avoid such forgetfulness,
illustration about elastic band or knott. Associate with something to help you remember.
Last week was all about looking forward - but this week see that starts by looking back.
first spiritual elastic band -
Remember the past
Remember the past
Hopefully picked up central theme running through story, last week 12 men to be picked one from each tribe, now we find out why
and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
- to lift these stones from the Jordan to place at the other side.
Hannah sent this brilliant picture which she said is what she thought of when she thought of these men lifting the stones.
Don’t think needed worlds strongest men, but these aren’t pebbles - but large stones frim the river bed of the jordan. v5 put on shoulders.
take them to camp at Gilgal, where they are to be set as permenant visible memorial.
A reminder for them and generations to come.
How well God know knows his people - and their tendency to forget. Duetermony which really provides the backdrop for Joshua chapter 8, God urges Moses and people not to forget, lest they be destoyed.
Think of the stars who have cabinets full of trophies they’ve won - a memorial of their glory days. Victories and achievements - that people might recognise and remember their greatness.
Here now a new generation, under a new leader. How will they remember who God is, remember his majesty and power, when faced with battles, In the ups and downs, in the busy and the quiet. By looking back to Jordan. By remembering God’s presnece and power to make a path through the water to life.
Detail to love - The date!: Joshua 4:19
On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho.
Why the date. Exodus 12 anyone want to Hazzard a guess. Same day First Passover begun. When God struck down first born of Egypt while passing over the houses wirh frames marked in blood, marking end of slavery under Pharoah, and jouney they now finishing.
Thus passover date in exodus marks Israels departure from the land of death and darkness, and now in Joshua it marks their entrance into the land of promise and life.
As people look at these stones in time to come, they will be able to recall not just journey through the Jordan, but the Exodus, and reflect on all inbetween, and see God working out his promises, for the purpose that they might remember God’s power and presence.
Notice stones are to be taken from - at the feet of where preists are stnading holding the Ark! Not simply the event they are to remember but the one who orchestrated it.
He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
What about us, where are we to look back to that we might not forget God’s presence and power, That the hand of the Lord is powerful, that we might reverently fear him all our days.
We have all of this. Creation, Exodus, Jordan, all OT, but we have something even greater to remember. A permenant memorial. Displayed and worn and seen all around the world today.
It’s at the Cross that we see the culmination of God’s mighty hand. At the cross we see the fulfilment of all his promises. Because its in death and ressurection of Jesus that we see God in flesh showing his power for all to see, and applying the His promises to all who will believe.
It’s at the cross where we are confronted with our sin as we see his pierced hands and feet, that we might be brought from our complacencny and self reliance.
It’s at the cross where we see our sin dealt with once and for all, as he cries it is finished, that we might be free from condemnation
It’s at the cross where we see darkness fall, and judgement that hsould fall on us, fall on him
It’s at Cross as Jesus dies, that across city temple curtain torn in two, that way to God is now open.
It’s at empty tomb that we see that death is defeated and we are safe in his hands
It’s at the empty tomb we realise that there is no other who can offer us the life we were made for - in right relationship forever with God.
It’s at the empty tomb that we see Jesus is who he says he is - King of King, to be revereantly feared and to whom we owe our trust.
Look back at history - our faith stands on historical Jesus, his death and ressurection.
But we also to look back at our lives - as by Spirit, Jesus applies these beautfiful truths.
When we first become a Christian, there is a buzz. excitement. Spirit enters our hearts and opens our eyes for first time. But over time how easily that excitment fades. So it’s important to look back. Remember who you were and what life was like before Jesus. Remember that day you put your trust in Jesus. Remember your baptism when you professed it ti the world and were welcome into God’s family.
Look back at all those times in your life when God has intervened in the every day, from the smallest asnwer prayer to the bringing together of big things.
Remember God’s goodness in the past - revealed in the scripture and experienced in the Spirit.
Like reminising times with friends, or favourite holiday.
Where do you need to reflect on God’s goodness today. Are there moments you need to reminise on? When you tasted that the LORD is good. Spend some time this week reflecting on key moments. Write them down.
Record of baptism 26 baptisms in last 10 years. What a thing to rejoice in! 26 people that the Lord has brought from death to life at Crossway!
How do we keep doing that - maybe our history is foggy.
Remember the person
Remember the person
That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.
Another thing seen - raising up of Joshua, gorwing confidence of his leadership as Moses successor. People recognise in chapter 1 that it’s Joshua who is Moses successor, but its only at Jordan, where is is exalted.
Joshua is confirmed as leader through Jordan experience. This is how God operates through all of OT, raising up leaders. Why is important that God gives people a leader? Joshua is tangeble experession of God’s leadership. It’s he that will keep the people going back to gilgal, where to stones are. It’s he that will lead people in obedience, and they trust him, becuase God has used Jordan as a stamp of authority.
Striking v9 who is it that takes the stones that have been brought from the Jordan and sets them up presumably in pile at Gilglal, makes the memoerial - Joshua.
It’s he who like Moses will bring God’s word to bear, and continually lead the peopel in faith and obedience, to experience God’s promises to Moses fulfilled.
Key for us. We just look back to set of events, and try and guess what God was saying and doing. We too look a person The LORD JESUS. Carries same name, Jeshua, God saves. God himself enters in both to save his people and also remain with his people. He walked this earth, demonstrating God’s power, and was exalted as the true King is his ressurection. And he is still with us by his Spirit.
What are we to do when forgetfulness creeps in, when opening bible is hard. Remember Jesus - the repeated prhase in Joshua, is what Jesus says to us. I am with you always. We don’t just look to past as accademic exercise, but look to the person of Jesus as our refuge and strenght, our comfort and joy, God’s present and powerful Son, dwelling in us by his Spirit and calling us to obedience.
Remember as God’s people
Remember as God’s people
But how do we do that in the depths of despair or trial or temptation or apathy. In spiritual wilderness when God seems distant and unapproachable? How can we experience gospel it in all its fullness?
12 stones - God’s people were divided into 12 tribes - represent Son’s of Abraham - represnts the completeness of God’s people. Totality
This memorial isnt just for some but for all. All God’s people have a stake in what God is doing. No one left out.
In todays world so individualistic, that we can forget that we are one people. It would have been obvious to them. It’s one of the central promises God makes, a people, in a land, under his blessing.
We are made for relationship with God and each other. And I wonder if so often we fall into forgetfullness through isolation.
People are to have the memorial as a conversation piece. to talk about it, with each other and with their children.
Walking past child asks whats that dad - let me tell you Son what God has done!
On my own im forgetful - I need peopel around me to remind me of the important things. My poor wife will tell you. Our staff team will tell you.
But thats true of Spiritual realities isn’t it. Satans greatest tool is to make us forget. Cast doubt on God’s character and goodness - its what he did in garden of Eden. Did God really say?
What are we to do - rememebr together. Let Jesus be on our lips. Let his death and ressurection be at the heart of our conversation. Let his promises and power seen in scripture and as a church be brought to each others ears tht we might continually remember God’s goodness. We are to be encourages - not just nice words, but words that stir hope. Hope found in Jesus.
And we do like the Israeltes have a permanent reminder.
Not a pile of stones but a table.
Jesus himself gave us the perfect memorial. The Lord’s supper. He took something we do every day - eat - and made it a permenant remidner of his goodness, as we remember his sacrifice for us.
Line in 1 Corinthians 11:26
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
so much in this statement. Not just a solemn individual memorial but a statement we make together of truth and statement of hope. He will return. And its his death and ressurection that is the proof.
How are we to regualrly and continually remembers God’s goodness in the past, in the person of Jesus, as a whole people of God, remember that it was God that brought us from death to life. By breaking bread together.
Will we remember. as we look back through the pages of scriptures culminating at the cross.
Will we remember as we look back to to God’s work in our own lives, and in his eveyr day mercy. AS we wake up and go to sleep
Will we remember by looking to Jesus our supreme Saviour and Lord, his power shown in his death and ressurection and his presnece by the Holy Spirit
Will we remember together - will he be on our lips, in our conversation. As we break bread and proclaim his death, will we let our hearts and not ust our heads reflect on his goodness in the gospel.
That our hearts might be stirred to joy and hope and peace, and that we might know courage and strength for eeach day until he returns.