We have a problem. A big one! We have been born into a broken world and into sin. Adam and Eve took the entire human race out of relationship with God and into a world without Him. But thats not the end of the story. God solved our problem so that we might have relationship with Him once again. His solution was in His Son Jesus. Christ died once for all mankind and through His death we received access to relationship with God once more. Not only did we receive relationship, but out of that relationship springs forth life, joy, peace, healing, salvation, forgiveness and freedom. All of that and so much more (life to the full) is ours to have! It is fully bought and paid for!
Yet, when we take a look at our world we dont always see all of those benefits in our everyday life. Sometimes we are sick, depressed, addicted and oppressed. How does this happen to us? We love Jesus, we try to do what He asks, and we do our best to stay away from sin. If we have access to these things, why do we sometimes get stuck in things we should be free of? The answer is that God has given it to us, but we must choose lay hold of it.
1. The Good News
For Israel - Joshua 24:1-13
- God brought Abraham to the Promised Land
- God gave Abraham a son
- God rescued Israel from Egypt
- God brought Israel back to the Promised Land
- God rescued Israel from their enemies
- God gave Israel the land as an inheritance
I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built... (v13)
- Romans 5:10 - We WERE reconciled
- Hebrews 10:10-14 - He WAS sacrificed once for all
- John 19:30 - It is FINISHED.
God had done the work to give Israel the Promised Land, but they still had to take possession of it (Joshua 23:5). God has done the work to give us salvation, eternal life, forgiveness and reconciliation, but we still have to lay hold of it.
2. The Struggle
Ephesians 6:12 - we struggle!
John 16:33 - trouble!
Life isnt easy! The world if full of sin, sickness and death. Everyone around us is broken and in need of a savior. At times we feel as if everything is against us and is even attacking us.
These two truths seem to be in opposition. How can we say God has won and it is finished, and yet we find ourselves struggling to get free from depression, sickness and addictions? We are living in a new age and the Kingdom has come, yet we are still waiting for the fullness of that same Kingdom to arrive.
3. The Response: Choose!
In the face of all this we have a choice to make. We must choose between two mindsets. The first is the mindset of defeat and it sounds like this: Its all too hard! Why wont God help me? I guess I will never be free. The second mindset is that of a conqueror and it says, Regardless of what happens I will trust Jesus and fight to cling on to Him.
We must choose...
Who we will serve - Joshua 24:15
Life or Death - Deuteronomy 30:19
To be a covenant people - Jeremiah 31:33; 1 Peter 2:9-11 (faithfulness)
To walk in the Spirit or the flesh - Galatians 5:16
To cling to Jesus - Joshua 23:8
1 Timothy 6:12 - Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called...
Genesis 33:24-28 - Wrestle like Jacob
Praise God that He did do the work and that it is finished, but we still must lay hold of it. We must fight the good fight of faith like Timothy and wrestle with the tenacity of Jacob. This life is not a passive one, but with ferocity we must lay hold of our promises that we have in Christ.
4. The Encouragement
How do we make all of these choices? How do we persistently choose to be faithful to God and trust that He will be faithful to His promises when we dont see them? How can we have hope to change? Hope to be set free? How can we have a hope that wont leave us disappointed?
What will we choose?
Will we choose to be the victim or the victor?
Will we choose to walk by sight or by faith?
Will we choose to stay stuck or fix our eyes on Jesus and run?