• Pastor Bowler

God's Call to Conquer

Leading Israel into Canaan was God’s doing. It was a divine undertaking impossible to man. This pictures the fact that the leading of each Christian into a life of victory, must be recognized as the work of God. Knowing this however, we must also recognize that we are under responsibility to follow Him. This is suggested in the fact that after God made the announcement that Moses was dead, He did not put a period at that point. What He said was, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan” (Joshua 1:2).

God possibly waited 30 days while the nation mourned the death of Moses. Not once during this time did Joshua push himself forward to fill the breach in leadership though he had been duly appointed for this task earlier. He awaited God's orders. This is true in the Christian life also. We must wait on the Lord. Many times we are admonished in the Word to “wait on the Lord,” but this waiting does not mean sitting idly. It means we await His orders, ready to go into action. It is something like a waitress in a restaurant serving a table. She goes into action once she knows what the patrons want.

We must not only wait upon God, but we must also be careful not to go ahead of Him. This is where many of us Christians make a mistake. We decided that a certain direction is the direction we had to go, then we get in a hurry and start out without God. God is never late. The Lord assures us in John 10:4, “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them…”

An heir to a British nobleman was living in poverty and barely eking out an existence. After the nobleman died, they began to look for his heir and when they found him, they told him about his inheritance. A great deal of publicity was made of it. Do you know what that fellow did? He immediately went down to the clothing store and ordered their best suit and then bought a first class ticket to return to England in style. Do you know why? He believed the inheritance was his, and he acted upon it.

When the time came for Joshua to assume full command and lead the people across the Jordan River, he had God’s reassurance back of him. God said, “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5). What greater fortification could a person ask for than this? When God calls us to a task He stands back of us.

God has called all of us to be conquerors over sin. We need to know in this connection that God does not expect us to be conquerors in our own strength. He tells us clearly as He did Joshua that He, the Lord, will be with us. He was with Moses and with Joshua. He will also be with us.

Joshua's commissioning service was conducted by God. This is seen in Joshua 1:1-9. When we examine it, we must keep in mind that the Christian life, when lived as it should be, is God working in us. God leads and we follow. He promises to be with us. We find our strength in the Lord and in the power of His might.

The Lord said this to Joshua: “…arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them…” Joshua was the leader of the people and everything in Canaan was put into his hands as a trustee for the nation. It was Joshua's responsibility to divide the land, assigning to each tribe its particular portion. In this, Joshua is a type of Christ, for all of the spiritual blessings provided for us are in Christ, and He holds them in trust until we claim them for our own. In Ephesians 1:3 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” The heavenly things are in contrast to earthly things. The heavenlies is the sphere of the believers spiritual experience, and Christ is the source of all our blessings in this sphere. Everything became ours in Christ the moment we were born again; but the things to which we are making reference are kept in trust by God until we come and claim them through Christ.

We have life in Him according to Colossians 3:4. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” The verse does not speak of Christ who gives us life, but Christ who is our life. We can never grow in grace and become conquerors over sin, until we recognize that victory is available to us because of our union to Christ.

In service we are united to Him. In John 17:18, our Saviour said to the Father: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” We serve because He sends us to serve, and He is with us while we serve.

We are also partakers with Him in His suffering. This we do not always like and it is not easy for us to take as human beings. Nevertheless, it is another ingredient in the Christian life. This is not necessarily physical suffering only. There are various kinds of suffering. In Philippians 1:29 we read: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

We are also made partakers with Him of an inheritance. Paul wrote in Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” We share with Christ in an inheritance God has provided for us.

We are also partakers in future glory. In Romans 8:18 Paul wrote: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

The believer is a heavenly man and is therefore a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. According to Hebrews 3:1 we are partakers of the heavenly calling. As strangers and pilgrims we are to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). As pilgrims on the earth we are to live in the heavenly spheres, which can only be done as we receive the heavenly blessings through our union with Christ.

“…I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32).

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