Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
(1/12) When it comes to marriage, so many couples are encouraged to invest much time, energy, and money to get the perfect wedding. From the florist, to the caterer, the photographer, the attendants, to the dresses, it is all about having a great first day. And it’s important, because it’s a great gift to have a great first day, but I would like to
suggest to you that the last day is the most important day.
Let me explain. This is the big idea this morning. And it is important because we are all on a spiritual journey, yet we all come from different backgrounds, perspectives, and differing levels of understanding. So our knowledge is important…. and the correct knowledge is even more important…. because there are a lot of magazines on how to have a great
first day, but not on how to have a great last day. Saturday as we concluded the Art of Marriage Conference, I shared how God has placed within us the desire for purpose, meaning, and significance. We pledged to move forward in building a lasting legacy, to drive a stake in the ground, for our family and the generations to follow. And what it is… is planning for the last day.
What will the last day of your life look like?
My wife, Dana and I, had an occurrence in our lives where we were really thinking about our future. The truth is that we did love each other, we loved and served Jesus together, and life wasn’t bad, but suddenly it got very complex. The children, the work, the ministry, and then that dreaded word… the word that nobody wants to hear… cancer was inserted
by the enemy. Now God was faithful and carried us through the operations, the treatments, and complications. We pray that God would give us many, many more years together, but the truth is that we just don’t know. You don’t know… today may be all you have… and you may not even have all of today. The truth is… that the last day is the most important day!
And this is exactly where Joshua found himself. Today we're going to explore that idea in the book of Joshua. The last day is the most important day! And so if you’ve got a Bible or can find one around you turn to Joshua at chapter one. We’re going to read from the book of Joshua to learn what it means to live in the fullness of God's abundance, the
dominion that is ours in Christ, and the promise that remains.
Now Moses had led the people of God out of Egypt, they have been wandering through the desert for 40 years. And this morning we find them camped along the east bank of the Jordan River, at the very edge of the land that God had promised them 4 decades earlier… the Promised Land… a land flowing with milk and honey.
Let’s read together… Joshua chapter one… verses 1-9
"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, 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 Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up 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.
Verse 6, "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers 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 Do not let this Book of the Law
depart from your mouth; 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 terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." NIV
A rocket launch is truly an amazing phenomenon to me. You know like, jet powered funny cars… they intrigue me… they’re incredible… but to think of tons of weight stacked vertically to the sky with thousands of gallons of fuel exploding in a matter of moments. It’s inconceivable… its mindboggling to see and consider the speed with which something like
the space shuttle takes off. You know at full capacity, it weighs millions of pounds. With the rocket boosters, full tanks of fuel, and cargo, the shuttle weighs almost 4 1/2 million lbs. yet soon after the earthshaking rumble subsides the shuttle drops its rocket boosters and moves to the next stage. It has successfully embarked on it’s mission. Those first boosters have one
purpose... and that is to get the rocket to the next stage.
Now Joshua had been known for almost 40 years as "Joshua, servant of Moses." God's plan and purpose for him had required years of selfless service… training in the desert… and tests of faith. Those years were like rocket boosters designed to move Joshua into the next stage of spiritual growth and ultimately into his calling.
Today, you and I, are going to discover how God allows each of us preparation time… times that at first glance appear to be, much too difficult, way too long, and even meaningless… yet these varied experiences are rocket boosters to the next stage of your walk with God. They are what God is using to frame your life for the plans he has for you. These
are times in which he is building a foundation. He is planning and preparing… and without these foundational experiences, the Jordan River could never be crossed… without these foundational experiences we can’t enter the Promised Land. And so today we’re going to learn from Joshua what it means to live in the fullness of God's abundance, the dominion that is ours in Christ,
and the promise that remains for those who believe.
So here we see the people of God preparing to enter the Promised Land and here's what I want you to understand. That just as God promised the people of Israel a land flowing with milk and honey, he has promised you a place of peace, contentment, abundance, and joy... and so today, if you're ready to step out, to make your move, let’s begin to take
possession of the Promised Land.
First of all, to live in the fullness of God's abundance, you need to drive a stake in the ground, and let go of the past. You have got to be willing to move forward… to start fresh… not look behind, but to step out in faith when the time call for it. Listen to what God said, "After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua
son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead…"
Moses the great man of God… Moses who was used by God in many miraculous ways… Moses was saved from the sword of Pharaoh… Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery… Moses was anointed of God and parted the waters of the Red Sea… Moses delivered the Ten Commandments… Moses gave us the first 5 books of the Bible... Moses was a great man… "Moses my
servant is dead..."
God was saying, "Joshua, turn the page. It's time for you to move on." "Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan into the land I am about to give them..." (Joshua 1:2).
For those of you who are still in the desert, God is saying this to you today: "Turn the page. Let go of the past. It's time to move on." You see, the greatest obstacle to experiencing the abundance of God in your life today is your refusal to let go of yesterday. You can't steal second base with your foot still on first. At some point, you've got to
pick up your foot and start running. And it's the same in life. You've got to let go of the past if you want to move into the abundance that God has prepared for you.
"The past should be a springboard and not a hammock" (Edmund Burke). We shouldn't live in the past, but use the past, like rocket boosters, to propel us and move us forward. God said to Joshua, "Moses my servant is dead...it's time for you to move on."
Today we need to ask ourselves, "What page in my life needs to be turned? What part of my past am I hanging on to? In what ways have I allowed yesterday to hold me back from experiencing God’s abundance?"
Whatever it is… let it go… turn the page. Learn what it means to live in the fullness of God's abundance. And here's the second thing you need to do, accept the dominion that is ours in Christ.
You see, God made a bold promise to the people of Israel. (v. 3) "I will give you everyplace where you set your foot..." What he means is that "I am giving you dominion" and I want you to know that God is making the same promise to you today. He wants to give you every place where you set your foot. Here's what I mean.
After the Resurrection Jesus came to those who had followed him and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore…" I give it to you, "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I
am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus has given you dominion. He wants to give you ownership of every area of your life. He wants to give you authority and power in every area of your life. And he wants to give you dominion in every area of your life.
The Apostle Paul once said, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37). You see, God made you to win. He made you to succeed. He wants you to thrive and walk in victory.
God doesn't want nor did he ever intend for you to be defeated in your job. He doesn't want you struggling, where you can't perform effectively, and where you never see results. God wants you to thrive in the work place. Remember the words of Solomon: "...to find satisfaction in all his toil, this is the gift of God." (Ecclesiastes 3:13)
Neither does God want you to be defeated at home. He doesn't want your family life to be filled with stress, tension, and resentment. He wants husbands and wives to enjoy each other; he wants children and parents to laugh together. He wants to give you ownership… dominion, in every area.
This applies to your spiritual life as well. For those of you who are struggling with sin, struggling with obedience, struggling in what seems to be a spiritual vacuum, know that God gives you dominion in this area, too. Its called the fruit of the Spirit… You can experience all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control. These are your inheritance; he's waiting for you to take them.
It's time to stake your claim. Look at your life; look at every place you set your foot; and decide today to believe that God wants to give you dominion in each of these areas. And as he promised Joshua, (v. 5) "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life." Does that mean Joshua never lost a battle? Of course not. But it does
mean that he lived his life in the shadow of God's provision. He learned to walk in abundance and in dominion. And third you can too... the promise remains.
God said to Joshua, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you" (v. 5). These words were echoed by Jesus, the last words recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20). And the promise remains.
There is a story of the D-Day Invasion in World War II. It’s June 6, 1944 and the soldiers had been left in the water on the beach in Normandy, France. Many of those soldiers never made it out of the water, many more died on the sand, but those who found a temporary place of safety faced another moment that tested their character. Behind them, on the
beach, the cries of death were everywhere. Ahead, they saw nothing but barbed wire and the flash of the German machine guns safely entrenched in the dunes. And its moments like these, when true leaders step forward, and that's what happened at Omaha Beach.
In one case, a lieutenant and a wounded sergeant scurried forward exposing themselves to gunfire so they could inspect the entanglement of barbed wire.
The lieutenant slithering on his belly back to his men and asked, "Are you going to lie there and get killed or get up and do something about it?" Nobody moved… so the lieutenant and sergeant, still under enemy fire, blew up the barbed wire themselves. History records that this got the men moving... they stepped up to the challenge of the moment... the
allied forces prevailed...and the war was ultimately won.
Today you may feel like you’re losing the battle… maybe you’re looking for that leader to follow forward in the smoke of the battle. Can we rally the troops? You see, whether you realize it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not, you are never out of God's sight. He sees you all the time. And as a blood bought child of God He's with you all the
time. He watches over you all the time. I want you to understand this, accept it, believe it, and claim the promise: God is with you always.
God said to Joshua and the people of Israel ... and he's saying to you: "Every step you take, every place you go, I am with you. In your victories and defeats, in your good times and your bad times, in your dark days and in your bright days, I am with you. You can count on me."
You might say, "But I don't feel his presence." But he says, "I am with you always."
You might want to say, "But I don't deserve his presence right now." But he says, "I am with you always."
You might want to say, "But I'm no Moses or Joshua." But he says, "I am with you always."
In order to make your move into the Promised Land, you have to get in the habit of living your life in the presence of God. But here's what I want you to understand… a little distinction I want you to make. Right now, you already are in the presence of God. He is with you at this moment, as we speak. Day after day, when you wake up, he is there with
you. As you go about your routine, he is nearby. He never leaves you. You don't have to make a long journey to get into God's presence. You're already there believe the promise.
This morning, as we close, if you want to make your move into the Promised Land, then claim the promise of God's presence in your life. "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Acknowledge his presence. Expect it. Live in it. And make your move into the Promised Land.
Now some of you are facing challenges, you have been floundering in the desert for too long, some of you feel like you left the bondage of Egypt long ago, but you’ve never made it to the place of abundance in your spiritual life. You're stuck in a rut, stumbling through life… you're living off manna instead of feasting on God's abundance. You're
wandering through the wilderness instead of inhabiting the holy land. It's time now to receive the abundance God has for you. It's time now to enter the Promised Land.
A place of promise awaits you: a place of contentment, joy, and peace. A place of abundance and satisfaction. It's a land flowing with milk and honey. And God is waiting for you to enter. It's time for you to make your move. This is how you begin to experience the fullness of his promises.
Will you look ahead to the abundance God has placed before you in your life?
By faith will you begin to expect God to give you dominion in every area of your life?
Will you claim the promise of his presence: You're not in this alone, and you never will be. He is with you always.
Are you ready to enter into his abundance? The most important day of your life is the last day. It's time to make your move.
What will the last day of your life look like?
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