GracePointe Church (SBC)
Sunday, August 8
Proverbs 31August 12, 2021 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AMCome and join the ladies of GracePointe at the next Proverbs 31 gathering.
- Come People Of The Risen King
- New Name Written Down In Glory
- Jesus is mine
- Series: Encouragement: Taking God at His WordTitle: Culture Warriors or Kingdom Ambassadors?Text: Joshua 9Big Idea: Christians must determine whether we are trying to win the culture or lead others to Jesus Christ.IntroductionI read where one person said “Whoever longs for a quiet life has been born in the wrong generation.”That is a true statement!Apparently, the second decade of the 21st century is going to go down as the decade of conflict.Each day seems to be filled with a new conflict. A new challenge.This is the age of cancellation. Fit in or be cancelled. Go along to get along or get out.There are two mistakes that Christians can make during seasons of cultural turmoil.On the one hand, we can be so busy fighting that our anger outshines our witness.Have you ever known that person? “You’re speaking so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”On the other hand, there can be those who desire peace so much that they are willing to compromise the truth.Truth becomes as stable as jell-o. We think we mold it to fit our chosen narrative.As we are continuing to see escalating conflict within our culture, we have got to know how—as Christians—to address the situations that are around us.If we fight in the wrong manner, we may win the battle, but forfeit our witness.If we fail to stand for what’s right, we may join the crowd, and compromise away our witness.In Joshua 9, the nation may be understandably growing weary. 40 years of wandering. Now at least three battles that are recorded in Scripture.They need a friend. They desire some acceptance. Some respect.In their desire for peace—they compromise when they were supposed to conquest.Let’s read Joshua 9:1-8.The World Aligns Itself against the Gospel (1-2)It has often been said that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That is the case that happens in chapter 9 of Joshua.A group of six tribes have heard about Joshua and how the Lord has blessed them, and so they begin to form a coalition against them.They feel threatened. They fear the developing strength of Joshua’s army and the name of the God that is directing them.They have heard of the Hebrews victory over Jericho and over Ai.And now they have erected monuments to God in the territory of the Canaanites. This is a clear statement that the Hebrews have not come into the land to live as Canaanites. They are going to worship their own God. Not the gods of the Canaanites.The Canaanites perceive this as a threat to their way of life. And they form a coalition against the people that God has called to be His own.You and I need to be aware that there is a growing hostility toward Christianity today.Conservatives Christians are being labeled “fundamentalists” on the same level of Islamic Fundamentalists.Rejecting homosexual marriage is now labeled as a “hate crime.”Arguing that there are only two genders engenders responses of hatred and intolerance.This past week the American Medical Association passed a recommendation that birth certificates no longer carry gender of male and female because a child will not know their gender until some discovery later in life.The biblical idea that if a person “does not work he shall not eat” is labeled as “lacking compassion.”Our world is suffering a poverty—not only for the knowledge of the Word of God—but a poverty of wisdom.Right has become wrong and wrong has become right. Up has become down and down has become up.But these things should not surprise us. Jesus has told us for 2,000 years that those who hold to a Christian faith will fall from favor in the eyes of the world.You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.(Matthew 10:22).If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18).There are competing ideologies today that threaten to undermine the Gospel. Many of these ideologies have noble purposes. But they cannot deliver what they promise.The question is not whether Christianity is falling out of favor. The bigger question is how should we deal with it?Though Jesus told us that we will be hated because of His name, He also told us that we are to love our enemies.If we are not careful, we will ruin our opportunity to answer the deepest questions of life because we have become angry and aggressive that our opportunity to speak truth to hurting hearts will be lost.Deception Is the Most Powerful Tool in the Enemy’s Arsenal (3-6)A particular group of Hivites—the Gibeonites—concoct a plan. They go into the camp where Joshua and the Israelites are staying. About 15 miles away from the Gibeonites home.The Gibeonites dress in old ragged clothes and pretend to be weary and hungry travelers.They brag on the Israelites. They speak kindly of God. And then they bait the hook in verse 6: “We have come from a distant land, please make a treaty with us.”The Bible contains many warnings for us to NOT be deceived:The sensible person’s wisdom is to consider his way, but the stupidity of fools deceives them. (Proverbs 14:8)For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them,This is what the Lord says: Don’t deceive yourselves by saying, “The Chaldeans will leave us for good,” for they will not leave (Jeremiah 29:8).Turn to Matthew 24:4-28: There are many movements to deceive Christians today. We must be discerning lest we allow the Deceiver to trick us to look for salvation in the wrong place.Christians Must Act with Wisdom in the Face of Opposition (7-15)To understand the story of Joshua we have to notice a few subtle things, first.The story is not merely about the Jews destroying the non-Jews. Rather, it is about those who are considered to be the true people of God.So far, we have seen that a Canaanite prostitute by the name of Rahab has been brought into the people of God. She was not a Jew by blood. But she became a part of God’s people by faith.Then we saw that there was a Jew by blood by the name of Achan who was cut-off from the people of God because he disobeyed God.We also see that there were some aliens and some foreigners who were brought into the Kingdom of God and they participated in the worship of God in 8:33.So the story of Joshua is surprising—not because there are some Canaanites who opposed the Jews—but also because there are some Canaanites who become a part of the Jews.And the story of Joshua is the story of you and me.The surprising thing is not that there are those who hate us. It is that there are those who hate us who can become part of us if they place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.Unfortunately, Israel responds to difficult situation in the wrong way.Biblical wisdom is not only knowing what needs to be corrected. What needs to be addressed. But it is knowing when and how to address it.The Israelites are immediately skeptical. They reply (7) “Perhaps you live among us. How can we make a treaty with you?”Joshua sought to practice discernment. Things didn’t feel quite right. Yet he apparently couldn’t put his finger on it.Have you ever had that feeling? You know it doesn’t feel right, but you aren’t quite sure?Unfortunately, Joshua makes the same mistake again. He fails to pray. He fails to act with wisdom.Unfortunately, too many of us lack wisdom because we—too—fail to pray.Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord, being double-minded and unstable in all his ways.Prayer doesn’t always give us specific answers to specific situations. But it does give us wisdom.The Bible says that wisdom begins with the fear of God. The greatest expression of the fear of God is that we seek God’s will. His direction.You may be praying for some direction from God. He does not always give you a clear answer. But He gives you wisdom. He lights the way.The Christian life is not so much about living from God-sign to God-sign. It is about the Spirit of God developing within us the Mind of God so that we will know the Will of God.Prayer is not a bunch of requests that come in short bursts. It is a daily conversation that never ends.It is the source and conduit of Wisdom.Christians Must Act with Integrity in the Face of Opposition (16-27)In verse 16—three days after the treaty had been made—Israel discovered that the Gibeonites had deceived them.Now we might think that this would release the Israelites from honoring the treaty.However, they do not break their word, even though the Gibeonites had acted deceitfully.Joshua 9:18 says that the Israelites did not attack them because “the leaders had sworn an oath to them by Lord.”When Israelites discovered what the leaders had done, they grumbled.But the leaders doubled-down. They were intent to honor their word, even though they had been deceived.They understood that the people of God are to “let their yes be yes and their no be no.”Ethics do not change according to the situation. Rightness is not held captive by the unexpected.Integrity is not sold at the altar of inconvenience.They had made a commitment—and it was obligated upon them to keep that commitment.Today, commitments are short-lived.Marriages have become disposable.Church membership has become meaningless.The days of “my word is my bond” are memories of a by-gone era.But Christians must do better. We must honor our commitments. We must fulfill our obligations.That is what it means to live with integrity.There is an interesting thread that runs through these first 9 chapters of Joshua. The thread of deception.Rahab acted in deception. And yet she was brought into the Kingdom of God.Now the Gibeonites act in deception. And they will brought into the Kingdom of God.The third was Achan. He acted in deception. And he was removed from the Kingdom of God.What is the lesson? Those who claim to be a part of God’s Kingdom have a higher standard by which they are to live.Christians do not judge their tactics by how the world acts. Christians are to judge their tactics by the Word of God says.As a believer, you are called to a higher standard.They may deceive. But you do not.They may lie. But you do not.They may cheat and steal. But you do not.You act with integrity. In all situations.Joshua made the near fatal mistake of compromising the integrity of Israel with the deception of the Gibeonites.The compromise that threatens Christians today is not a tribal compromise. It is a philosophical compromise.Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.The problem with vain philosophies is that they make promises that they cannot fulfill.In Jude 1:12 we are told that false teachers and false teachings are like storm clouds that produce no rain.Vain philosophies make promises that they cannot fulfill. They promise peace. They promise prosperity. They promise hope.When they can actually deliver none of these.Sometimes the philosophical compromise is political. We can be tempted to compromise our theological convictions on the altar of political persuasion. This has been the bane of evangelicalism over the past couple of decades. We confuse political power with spiritual revival.Sometimes the philosophical compromise may be cultural.The current trends that promise to solve the cultural and the racial tensions that permeate our society are incapable of doing so.Critical Race Theory may alert us to some needs. But only the Gospel can deliver the serum that brings healing.If Christians compromise the truth—even to maintain peace—then everyone suffers.Christians will lose the message of the Gospel and the lost will not hear the message of the Gospel. Everyone loses.Joshua found himself in a predicament. He had disobeyed God by entering into a covenant under false pretenses.But what should he do now? If he breaks the covenant with the Gibeonites, then he breaks his word and loses his integrity.Remember—one of the key elements of Joshua is not the preservation of national Israel. It is the foreigners—like Rahab—who are brought into the community.If we—as Christians—compromise the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to have a façade of peace, then there is a two-fold consequence. 1) We disobey God and forfeit His favor upon us and 2) our failure to be salt and light leaves countless numbers of people without a witness to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.We may restore some shadow of a biblical morality. But—without a clear witness to Jesus Christ’s work upon the Cross—the people who go to Hell will be more moral. That’s about the best that we can say.Conclusion: The Gospel Alone Has the Power to SaveI have been preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over 20 years now.I have seen God break the hardest of hearts. I have seen Him change the most calloused of attitudes.I have seen drug addicts come to Christ. The hateful turned with love. The enemies of God become the friends of God.I have seen marriages restored, hearts healed, and hope given.If we compromise the Gospel we will trade the message of salvation for a false acceptance.But if we use the Gospel as a political, ideological, or cultural battering ram, we will lose the message of eternal salvation for the expediency of cultural power.The message of the Gospel is not—lets all go along to get along. And its not “we are going to hate you more than you hate us.”The message of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners.He died on the Cross so that you might be forgiven.He gave His life away so that you could receive His life as your own.
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