We can learn many lessons from church history. If we are to continue to be the movement of God, we must constantly be willing to learn the lessons from the people of God in the Bible.
Joshua saw an incredible victory in Joshua 6 as the walls of Jericho fell. We too have seen the walls of tradition, apartheid, language, culture, poverty and communism fall. However, in Joshua 7 overconfidence and self reliance led the nation to be discouraged and their "hearts melted." There are always casualties in a war. Sometimes we are surprised even today that people struggle spiritually and even that people fall away. We are in a spiritual war. In this spiritual war, everything in our lives is Known but to God. Achan's sin was known but to God.
1. The Test of Distinctiveness
Perhaps our greatest challenge as a movement is to keep our distinctiveness in the area of holiness. What really makes us stand out better be our holiness in our walk with God. Secret sins are known but to God.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We must continue to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Let us remember these two words conform Vs. transform.
At any point of time we are either conforming to the patterns of this world or transforming by the renewing of our mind.
Let us decide to be distinct by always transforming and not conforming to the patterns of this world.
2. The Test of Faithfulness
In Joshua 9, the Gibeonites tricked the Israelites because they did not inquire of God. Their lack of prayerfulness showed where their relationship with God was. Christianity is not primarily a commitment, it is primarily a relationship with God. The reason we are not being personally effective at helping others to become Christians every year is our lack of relationship with God.
There needs to be tears as we have a deep talk with God and deal with the sins of doubt, cowardice and unbelief (Revelation 21:8) that are keeping us from being fruitful.
How great if God tells the following about us. Mat 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
It would be very sad if God says the following words about us.
26 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
3. The Test of Awesomeness.
Joshua faced 5 armies together in Joshua 10. As the challenges in our life become greater, we need a conviction that we require greater miracles in our life. It's time for us to take the "Never Been Done" challenge. When Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still, that was something that had never been done before. God showed how awesome he was because Joshua was willing to step out and believe that God would do it.
Let us remember the following scriptures...
For nothing is impossible with God.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
He replied, Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God knows everything about us, His Church, His creations... Let us cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us. Let us be holy, faithful and be ambassadors for God.
1 Corinthians 15:57,58
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.