Numbers describes following the truth and obeying the Lord’s orders. Numbers 9:5 “On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.
                No matter what anyone tells you there is only one way, one path and one life. This will be in accordance with God’s word. We have to be very carefully as to who it is we think we are following. We need to make sure the Jesus you worship, as there are many, is the one described in scripture. Matthew 24:5 “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.” As soon as anyone changes the word of God, by adding or subtracting, they are saying they are now the voice of God, the Messiah. The Jesus of scriptures is the word of God; there is no other way, truth or life. Since there are many misguided paths and empty ways happening, we see the results of deception. Malachi 2:8 “You have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble.” Peter talks about these false teachers and their destruction. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” The truth as we saw last week is nowhere to be found. Sure every Sunday most churches are not admittedly promoting their falseness even though Sunday after Sunday that is exactly what they are doing, yet they do not state it, hence the deception and delusion. The false teacher proclaims shamelessly what they believe to be the truth but nowhere near the words of Jesus. They will stake their lives on those words but unfortunately it will cost them more than just their lives, their deception will take with them those who have followed their teaching. This will lead to an eternity apart from God, eternally dammed.
                This should frighten us greatly and get us to question how do we know who is preaching and teaching the truth? Even though Isaiah spoke the truth when he said truth is nowhere to be found, truth has stumbled in the streets (Isaiah 59.) The answer is to humble ourselves and return to God’s word, the truth would set us free but for some they are so  offended they simply refuse to turn back. For many the journey away from truth had already started as they did not start with truth and they continue in the falseness they learned. When the bus stopped for them, that bus was already headed in the wrong direction. Instead they should have waited for the bus going the other direction, but lack of knowledge leads to their demise. The empty ways handed down from our fathers meant that we were already on the wrong path.  Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Then “14 in his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.”
                These people in Judges had enough sense to realize they were in great distress. Moses on the other hand describes the church today. Deuteronomy 31:28 “They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!” Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Now picture the ones following a generation who refused to neither humble themselves nor realize their need to repent. There is a level of ignorance today that is unprecedented and continues to be perpetuated from generation to generation. Ephesians 4:17 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Living in ignorance is not the life we are to continue in. 1 Peter 1:14 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” The highway is only available to the Holy. But like the two disciples walking away from truth, we must turn around and proclaim it is true, he has risen. Scripture makes it very clear that we are to follow truth. If we really were obeying, we wouldn’t need a revival of truth as we talked about last week but since we have not obeyed, we are no longer walking on the right path so we need to get back to the truth. Isaiah 11:16 “There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.” 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.” It really is a simple matter. We are off track, so get back on track and there is only one way to do that and it means repent. We have been warned over and over to follow the right way. We read in Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Instead we have this warning. Proverbs 7:24 “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” The voice is still calling out to those who will listen. Isaiah 40:3 “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God,” but the response is still, Isaiah 30:11 “Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
                So we have said no more ignorance and thanks be to God for opening our eyes to the end we would have faced; so what are you going to do with it. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. The question is will you walk in truth and continue in it? Psalm 15:1 “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart.” 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
                            There will much opposition to the truth and walking in the plan of God. 2 Timothy 3:8 “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.” There will be opposition also as we turn back to God but do not fear. Be strong and courageous just as Joshua was told as they prepared to cross into the Promised Land. The time had finally come for the Israelites to cross over the Jordon and take the land. Yes there had been opposition because of disobedience and fear but now it was time. Before Moses died, he had commissioned Joshua to lead the people. This means they would do what God had commanded Moses to do. Deuteronomy 31:7 “Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” They were told in Numbers 33:50 “On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” Deuteronomy 31:12 “Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
                There was only one way to take the land and they were told not to turn from it. Deuteronomy 5:32 “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.” When instructions were given to the King, he was told Deuteronomy 17:18 “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” Joshua was told Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 2 Kings 22:2 “Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” Matthew 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” satan has done an astonishing job at deceiving the church into thinking God forgot a plan for the New Testament church. What, no instructions for building the church? One way, don’t be silly, there are many denominations for different types of people. These are all lies from satan to get men and woman to disobey and follow their own ways. Jeremiah said Jeremiah 14:14 “Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” The church has been deceived into thinking all these different ways are okay but if they all lead in different directions with a different end result, how can it be truth. It cannot be said that they
    1 Thessalonians 2:14 “became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.”
                When Moses commissioned Joshua, the power of God came upon him Deuteronomy 34:9 “Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.” God also told Joshua that He would exalt him in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that God was with him as He was with Moses. They would all be going in one direction as one man, not multiple directions under many men. When Saul was anointed King, the men of Jabesh pleaded for help. 1 Samuel 11:6 “When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. 7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out together as one.” When they were told to get ready to cross the Jordon, there was only way to follow. Joshua 3:2 “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” Because God has turned His face from shining on us, the church is going in every direction but the right one, which is not how it is supposed to be. 1 Corinthians 12:4 said “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
                Now if we are to be doing what God has commanded us, it will all look the same since the power will come from the same Spirit. Jesus said, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Just as Moses laid hands on Joshua, Jesus sends us out in power and authority to do all He has commanded. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit will we be able to do that. The deception in the church is that they think they are doing what God has commanded and they are content not finding they are not. Joshua then goes out in the power and defeats Jericho and begins to take the land. Then it comes to a crashing halt, which explains the situation we find ourselves in. Joshua falls on his face before God. Joshua 7:2 “Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water. 6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”
                This same thing has happened to the church as our enemies have routed us. Yes Jesus died and rose again, sent his Spirit to empower us but we must obey. If not and the key word is if, we will be defeated by our enemies even in the Promised Land. God did not break his promise; man disobeyed. Victory is only guaranteed in obedience. Disobedience always leads to defeat. Joshua 7:1 “But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” The deception today is that no one thinks God get’s angry any more. Its fine disobey, God is love, overflowing in grace. Not when we disobey his commands. 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.”
                So this grandiose deception of people thinking they are Christians means they will continue to be defeated and content in doing so. They refuse to remove the devoted things among them. Their defeat is reflected by their lack of submission to God. They do not even know enough to be on their faces like Joshua. Instead they just come up with new teachings and keep surging forward. Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” We have been offered great power to take the land. That was what the early church showed us. They also showed us what happens when we turn away from the truth. 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!.” So we have both examples found in the New Testament. We must follow the truth and not turn from it to the right or the left. Remember the truth is the word of God, not man’s ideas about it which leads to many paths and certain death and destruction.
                So here we are standing on the banks of the Jordon, ready to cross. Joshua 1:1 “the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’” Three days later Joshua 3:2 “After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” This way means God’s way and his way only, his truth and life, otherwise we are destroyed.
                Then the water piled up in a heap, the enemy melted in fear and they took the land. 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. Joshua 4:23 “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.” Joshua 5:12 “that year they ate the produce of Canaan.”
                Just as Joshua was told exactly what to do to defeat their enemies we too are also told. If we obey we defeat if we don’t we are destroyed. As we prepare to live in the land of promise, have faith, believe and persevere. 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.” Joshua 22:5 “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” Revelation 3:3 “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
                As we hold fast to the word of God and persevere in it, I leave you with this warning as satan will rage against you because of it. Revelation 12:17 “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” Before Joshua died he said Joshua 23:14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. 15 But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you,” but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”