Raising The Standard Of Faith


Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

You who are Christians are believers and priests before God. The Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 2:9 “YOU ARE a chosen generation, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD …”. The priests of Joshua’s day TOGETHER held up the Ark of the Covenant.

Joshua 3:17 … And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

You who are Christians are believers and priests before God. The Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 2:9 “YOU ARE a chosen generation, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD …”. The priests of Joshua’s day TOGETHER held up the Ark of the Covenant. They TOGETHER marched to the voice of Jesus Christ our Lord. They TOGETHER did as the Lord told them and the miraculous occurred. O Lord, we need a miracle!

When Israel got to the edge of the Promised Land on this side of the Jordan they saw something discouraging. The Bible says:

Joshua 3:15 … the Jordan OVERFLOWETH all his banks
all the time of harvest

The Jordan River is usually a gentle river, but during the time of harvest rains have caused it to swell. It is absolutely uncrossable! When the Jordan flood the currents reach 40 miles an hour. Besides this, there is brush and debris that has been cast about by the hard flow. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote of the swelling of the Jordan (Jeremiah 12:5). The river is about a mile wide, white water rapids. Yet Joshua tells the people that tomorrow they are going to cross this impossible crossing. How? TOGETHER following the Lord.

Beloved, God is ABLE!

Tonight we’re going to talk about Raising The Standard Of Faith. I looked up the word “Standard” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It is …

a conspicuous object (such as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem”

something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality”

Before the American Christian can make an impact on the darkness that has become our nation we must raise the standard of faith. Before the Israelite can enter into the Promised Land and take the land for the glory of God they had to raise the standard of faith.

We looked at the life of Rahab this morning, and how the Lord saved her soul. The Bible tells us that she hid the two spies from Israel, and sent them back safely to Israel. Rahab believed the Lord. The Bible says:

Joshua 2:21-24 {Rahab} sent {the spies}, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

The Scarlet Line was Rahab’s standard. She obedient raised this Standard, believing that she and all her household would be saved by it. When the two spies got safely back to Israel they told Joshua …

Joshua 2:24 … Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us

The spies returned to Joshua with a faith filled message. Rahab was saved. Her faith and her witness inspired them. Listen Beloved:

You can be a witness to faith,
Or you can be a witness to failure.
You can trust God like Rahab and inspire others,
Or you can be a wet blanket. You choose!

God is in control. God is moving ahead of His people. The spies did not focus on the threat of the enemy seeking their lives, but focused on Rahab and what God did in her life. How does Joshua respond? He looked up, and listened up.

Faith Follows God Not Fear – It MOVES

Joshua 3:1 Joshua rose EARLY in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

Joshua did not hesitate. He got up EARLY in the morning. Joshua then positioned the people physically to obey the Lord. He had Israel move from where they were to the edge of the raging Jordan.

There are times you SIT and SERVE,
But other times you GET Up.

The Bible commands the believer to walk by FAITH and not by SIGHT (2 Corinthians 5:7). W-A-L-K! We are to follow the Lord. We are to position ourselves to do God’s will. The Great Commission that Jesus gave His Church is found in ..

Matthew 28:19-20 GO ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The first part of our Commission is “Go”. We help others to go, and that is great. But God expects us to GO as well. To GO to our neighbors. To GO and share Christ. Unless GO is first done then there is nothing else. We need to position ourselves physically to serve the Lord.

The reason that Joshua is leading the Children of Israel NOW is because Joshua always positioned himself THEN to serve God and support Moses.

Nobody had to chase Joshua to get him to worship the Lord. I’ve told you all before I will not chase anyone to get them in Church. God has not called me to this. I will visit you if you’re sick, pray for you, encourage you. Heck, I’ll even bring you food! But I will not chase and babysit you. If you want to be a WINNER do what God says. Joshua did what God said. Joshua wanted to be on the front pew at the Church. You see this over and over again.

Exodus 33:8-11 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. 11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Joshua is like the little brother that wants to tag along with Moses. You see Moses gets up and goes into the Tabernacle. There goes little Joshua. Moses enters the Tabernacle for a one on One with God. There goes little Joshua. Moses speaks to God, and God speaks to Moses face to face. Where were the people of Israel? They stood in their tent openings. They stayed home that day. They watched Charles Stanley and Adrian Rogers on the television. They listened to that nut from Shepherd’s Chapel. But where was Joshua? Why there’s little Joshua. He’s hiding behind a pew. He’s tagging along. One day Joshua will be GREAT.

Joshua departed NOT out of the Tabernacle.
He wanted what Moses had.
He wanted to be near God.
So Joshua POSITIONED himself near to God.

Do you want to be closer to God? Then position yourself where God is apt to be. Has He not said “where two or more are gathered together in My name, there AM I IN THE MIDST OF THEM” (Matthew 18:20).

When Moses went up the Mount at Sinai in obedience to God who was with him? You’ve got it. There goes little brother Joshua!

Exodus 24:13 …And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua

A.W. Tozer, a mighty man of God said “I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion… I want all that God has or I don’t want any.” That’s how Joshua lived his life. He wanted to be near God, and so he was. You will have as much of God as you want in your life. If God seems far from you, it’s because that’s what you want and what you do. Stop it! Follow the Lord!

Faith Follows … Jesus

The Leaders Of The People Raised ONE Standard To Follow. We read:

Joshua 3:2-4 … the officers went through the host; 3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. 4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

The Leaders of Israel did not promote themselves. If you have leaders who promote themselves, they are BAD leaders. When I was in the Air Force I saw several commanders busted down and fired from their jobs. Why? Because they made something else their standard. They stopped standing for the mission of the Air Force and, thank God, they were removed. These leaders were good leaders. They encouraged the people to follow the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant is an Old Testament picture of Jesus Christ. There are three things in the Ark:

Hebrews 9:4 …. ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;..

  1. The Ark contained the Golden Pot with manna in it, a reminder of how God fed His Children – disobedient though they were – in the wilderness. Jesus said …

John 6:32-35; 47-51 … Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. … 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. … 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The Manna in the Golden Pot was a picture of our Jesus Who is pure, without sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22).

  1. The Ark contained Aaron’s Rod that budded (Numbers 17:5). This again is a picture of Christ. Crucified on the Tree of Calvary our Lord rose from the grave. Our Jesus has conquered death, and tells all who will receive Him as Lord and Savior:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (see also John 11:25-26)

  1. The Ark Also Contained The Law On Tablets Of Stone. Our Jesus fulfilled the Law of God, keeping it perfectly for us. He said “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus is the High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 5:10; 6:20) who shed His own blood for the forgiveness of our sins (Hebrews 9:12, 14; 10:10, 19; 13:12, 20). Jesus is the Messiah, the one born of the virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 25), who is the seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18; Matthew 1:1). Jesus was crucified (Psalm 22:1, 11-18; Luke 23:33), and rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10; John 2:19-31; Matthew 28:6-7; Luke 24:6).

The Scripture declares in 2 Corinthians 5:21 For {God the Father} hath made {Jesus Christ} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The Ark Is A Picture Of Christ.
Keep A Space Between The Ark & Yourselves!

Joshua 3:4 … come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore

We are to see the ARK, not OURSELVES or SOMEONE ELSE. Look to Him. Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is

the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE (John 14:6)

Faith Dedicates Itself To God

Joshua positioned the people Spiritually to obey the Lord.

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

The word “sanctify” is the Hebrew קָדַשׁ qâdash, (pronounced kaw-dash’) which means “separate yourself, consecrate yourself, to be hallowed or dedicated to God”. Israel was to be spiritually clean, renouncing all sin, before they could be used of God. God will not work with a sinful and uncommitted people. The Scripture says:

Isaiah 59:2 … your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

1 Peter 1:15-16 … as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all {your way of life}; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

God does not call His people to penance, but to repentance. Turn from your wickedness. Grab hold of the Mercy Seat, and rely upon the Blood of Christ. His Blood will cleanse you from all sin!

If we confess our sin to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us all sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Do not be lukewarm as Laodicea (Revelation 3:15-16). Do not forget Who our first love is as Ephesus did (Revelation 2:4). God wants ALL of us. He wants the WHOLE person dedicated to doing His will for his glory.

Our God Is Faithful

Joshua 3:10-17 Joshua said … Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. 12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. 13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. 14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; 15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) 16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap … and the people passed over right against Jericho. 17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

What a beautiful picture this is! God’s people have their hearts focused upon the Lord. They are where God told them to be. Their hearts are focused on glorifying the Lord. What happens? God’s people cross the uncrossable. Beloved:

To Cross the Uncrossable Lift Up The Cross
Follow Christ in Love and Obedience
Take The Step of Faith
For God is Faithful!

The priests stepped out into the raging waters – and they parted. Somewhere up river the water is stood up like a crystal pillar. The riverbed is not just free of water – it is DRIED. The thunder of the river is replaced with the thunder of God’s people stepping forward in uniform obedience to the Lord. This event was so significant in the life of Israel that the Lord wrote a song about it:

Psalm 114:1-8 When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; 2 Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. 3 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. 5 What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? 6 Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; 8 Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

A turbulent Jordan stretches before this and every Church in America. We live in atheistic times. How can we overcome? We cannot, but God can. We cannot win, but Christ can. God can do the impossible. He has done the impossible before. He can do it again. Will we look to Him or will we, as many other Churches have done, compromised and died? I want to see God part the waters once more. I want to see God do a miracle. I want to see Jesus make a difference in our community. Will you go with me, and look to Him, stepping out in faith? Surrender to Him, and look to Him. He is able!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Joshua, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.