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May1SunMay 1, 2016During these last 35 days we have been looking at the power of the Holy Spirit and at how that power is missing in the church today. Many Christians talk of the Holy Spirit but the spirit they speak of is not the same as the Spirit described in scripture. Paul says,1 Corinthians 4:18 “Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” Power is always associated with the Holy Spirit. We have been warned about people who only have a form of godliness but deny its power. That is described as terrible times in the last days. We are in this desolate situation because of our disobedience to the word of God. Like Israel we have forsaken God and have served other gods.Today we want to look at walking in obedience. This means we have our eyes, ears, mind, heart, strength and soul focused on the perfecter of our faith and persevere no matter what. Today we are talking about the waters parting but our focus needs to be on Jesus so that we too can walk on water as Peter did. Matthew 14:28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” We must follow in faith. Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Yes there will be obstacles but with God nothing can stand in your way if you are following God wholeheartedly. This is where there is a catch. Many people think they are following but in reality they are only following something that is man-made with just the form of godliness.” Notice there is a race marked out for you and God knows the course. Remember this passage was given during captivity. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future 2 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” God knows exactly what He is doing but do you believe that he does?Yes we are mixing our metaphors running and walking. Paul even talks about running the race and fighting the good fight, but today we want to focus on walking in obedience and walking faithfully as we run with perseverance. This means our walk is by faith and not by sight. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 27:11 “Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.” Proverbs 2:13 “who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 5 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.” Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 4:11 “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 35:8 “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.” So we need to walk on this highway of holiness and not get off even though the enemy is constantly trying to stop you.As we think about returning to the Promised Land in the Power of the Holy Spirit, there is a river to cross. The good news is we know what happened to that river, so whatever is in front of us that appears to be an obstacle, isn’t with God. God has given us the Land with a promise. No one will stand against us and everywhere you set your foot will be yours. Moses said Deuteronomy 1:35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”It did not matter to Joshua and Caleb that the enemy was strong and the walls were high. The others Deuteronomy 1:27 “grumbled in their tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.” Then Number 14:6 “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Later Caleb said, Joshua 14:7 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” It was only Joshua and Caleb that walked faithfully. They understood that it was the enemies heart who would melt in fear not theirs. So these two men are our examples of how to walk in obedience by faith.So now they are getting ready to cross the Jordon to take the land a second time. But this time is different. The spies are sent in again and they are protected by Rahab who tells them Joshua 2:9 “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” So what do we do if there are obstacles? How do we walk in obedience? Yes we just read God will make straight paths so what happens if there is water involved. We saw one way already, as Peter was able to walk on top of it. As Rahab said, there was water involved and lots of it when they came out of Egypt but it did not matter. Actually water and the army trapped them and there was no where to go, but Moses said. Numbers 14:13 “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” So the news of this travelled to the ears of their enemies whose land they could have taken right away but they did not believe and were turned away. Now the enemy fears them and even more so because the Jordon River was at flood stage during harvest. So not only did they hear about the Red Sea but now they get front row seats for this next wonder from God. This time the spies reported, Joshua 2:24 to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”Now Joshua 3:7 “The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river. 9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap. 14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. 18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.Notice that God gave instructions to follow. He told Moses Numbers 14:6 “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” He told Joshua to tell the priests to stand in the river so the waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap and he simply said to Peter; come! Joshua 3:19 “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. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 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. 24 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.”Now the enemy feared God but do we? Do we believe God will make a way when there appears not to be one? God is looking for us to walk faithfully according to his word. He even says that 2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Isaiah has some good news for us Isaiah 42:4 “For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. 15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. 16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. 17 But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame.”We should know that what ever is in the way God will make a way in his own timing and in His own way but the enemy will know. We need to Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; 6 in all our ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” even if there is an obstacle that looks insurmountable. We must believe that God will lead us “along the right paths for his name’s sake even though I walk through the darkest valley.” We read earlier Isaiah 64 but do we believe that God will actually do what he says he would do. The question is do we trust him enough to honour him as holy.During Lent 2015 we spent forty days talking about a charge to keep. David’s charge to Solomon was this; 1 Kings 2:1 “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.” He also said, “1 Chronicles 22:11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” When God appeared to Solomon He said, 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.” We need to walk faithfully so that God will keep his promise to David and now in the name of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.When you look at Deuteronomy you see what this walk of obedience looks like. If we are going to live in the Promised Land we must walk in obedience. Moses was to teach “them to follow all the commands, decrees and laws in the land I am giving them to possess. 32 So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Just before they crossed into the land Joshua was told, Joshua 1:7 “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Deuteronomy 6:1 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Deuteronomy 11:22 “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” Deuteronomy 28:9 “The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.” Deuteronomy 30:16 “For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”God has given us a choice to live in the land or not. Joshua said Joshua 24:15 “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Moses said, Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Will we choose to walk by faith and not by sight? Will we walk in obedience?In another example by water we see Ezra returning from Babylon. Ezra 8:1 “These are the family heads and those registered with them who came up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artax(z)erxes. 15 I assembled them at the canal that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there three days. 21There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. 31 On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. 32 So we arrived in Jerusalem.”No matter what the obstacle, we have been told to stand firm. Not only did Moses tell the people to stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today, Jehoshaphat was told the the same thing when he heard that a vast army was coming against them. Jehoshaphat had prayed and God answered his prayer. 14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel as he stood in the assembly. 15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it 29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.’” David said to Goliath just before he killed him, 1 Samuel 17:47 “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”This journey isn’t about us but it is about our obedience to the word of God. David said, 2 Samuel 7:25 “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.