(I wish to give thanks to Rev. John C. Maxwell - "Running With The Giants" pg. 45, for the "seeds" of this message)
"WHERE ARE YOU LIVING?"
TEXT: Ex. 1:8-14; -25; -31; 16:2-8 Josh. 1:1-9;
INTRO: There have been the beginnings of a spiritual hunger in our country. Unfortunately, some of this hunger is being satisfied by an upsurge of interests in New Age theology and Eastern religions as well as the occult.
Within the Church there has been a new hunger also for a deeper life with Christ and while all this is good many Christians unfortunately do not understand what a deeper life in Christ looks like. For so many Christians revival means:
Falling down under the power
Maximum number of the gifts in operation
No preaching and hours of worship
Being saturated in the altar by God's presence
A proliferation of great miracles that leave us awestruck
NOTE: These things do happen when God moves, but these things are not the focus of a revival; they are merely expressions of God's goodness and His stirrings in the Church.
Revival means repentance, burdens for the lost, a desire to realign our lives under God's Word, to live as the Word dictates and not as the world dictates. Revival is not about blessings, it is about burden! There is a place for blessings, but blessings without burdens will leave a Church anemic and turned inward God's people are not called by God to live only under blessings but to BE A BLESSING!
We can be so carried away by the unusual that we forget there is a responsibility before God to reach the lost these were Jesus' final marching orders for the Church. Even the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was given not so we can just be blessed but so we can be a powerful witness in the entire world! Too often we can get sidetracked and focus incorrectly!
ILLUS: Whenever the Ethiopian emperor Menelik II was ill, he'd eat a few pages from the Bible. He believed it would restore his health. He died in 1913 after eating the entire book of 2 Kings. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
SENT: The burden of God's heart is
to win the lost, not for us to just enjoy the blessings; we cannot be a
I. LAND OF "NOT ENOUGH" Ex. 1:8-14; -25
A. Anguish! Ex. 1:8-14
a. Their experience in
b. They were now living in a land of "NOT ENOUGH"
(1. Not enough straw to make bricks
(2. Not enough peace or safety
(3. Not enough freedom or power
(4. Not enough rest
(5. Not enough of everything!
c. They cried out to God!
2. Slavery is a terrible existence and not the place God wants us!
a. This slavery was used by God to get them to hunger for their own land and a new relationship with God like their forefathers had had.
b. They cried out to God in their misery.
a. Sin is a form of bondage, and the person who thinks he can go through life without God is only fooling himself; he is a slave to sin!
b. Without Christ in your life you are living in a land of "NOT ENOUGH"
(1. Not enough satisfaction
(2. Not enough meaning to life
(3. Not enough reasons to live unselfishly
(4. Not enough help to deal with tough times
(5. Not enough freedom from the guilt of sin
4. God did not create us to exist in a land of "NOT ENOUGH!"
a. God had plans for
b. God had a future for them, something slaves didn't have.
c. They were not meant to be slaves, they were created for a land of "PLENTY!"
B. Available! Ex. 2:23-25
1. When they cried out to God He heard them!
2. God always hears the cries of those seeking help!
3. God remembered His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob God never forgets His promises and His promise included a place flowing with milk and honey a land of PLENTY rather than a land of NOT ENOUGH or even JUST ENOUGH!
a. God couldnt do anything with them until they hungered for Him and His help!
b. No one can be saved unless they too hunger for God and come to Him in their need.
c. The Bible declares that no one is righteous, not even one therefore we must come to Christ as He tells us in the Scriptures and not by our own ideas.
d. The Word of God is to be believed and obeyed, not just cherished as literature!
4. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God!" Rom
ILLUS: Oceanography owes a great debt to the books of Matthew Fontaine Maury. His discoveries have been of inestimable help to navigators of the high seas. Maury acknowledged his debt to the Bible for some of his scientific findings. One day when he was ill, his son read Psalm 8 to him. When the boy read the eighth verse, his father asked him to repeat it: "The birds of the air and fish of the sea, and all that swim the paths of the seas." When the boy had finished, the great scientist declared, "If there are paths in the sea, I am going to find them." Today the great oceangoing vessels follow the paths marked out by Maury, who believed they were there because the Bible said they were. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
II. LAND OF "JUST ENOUGH" Ex. -31; 16:2-8
A. Answer Ex. 14:29-31
1. When they accepted God and His way of doing things He brought them out of the land of "NOT ENOUGH."
a. God's miraculous powers begin to
work, first through the plagues on
b. They begin to see God's hand at work among them, and what a joy they experienced; they are truly blessed as God's power begins to deliver them and to provide for them!
2. They have now entered the land of "JUST ENOUGH"
a. The desert experience was filled with challenges!
b. It was also filled with great miracles!
(1. Miracle of the passing of the
(2. Miracle of water from rocks and fresh water from bitter sources:
(3. Miracle of the meat:
(4. Miracle of the Manna (Hebrew word for "Manna" means "What is it?")
(5. Miracle of the shoes not wearing out or their clothes:
(a. They weren't always sure what or how God did things, but they liked what they got!
(b. They couldn't always explain the miraculous phenomenon, but they knew it was from God.
3. They were beginning to like this land of "JUST ENOUGH"
a. All their needs were met, but there was no abundance!
b. They got "JUST ENOUGH" bread each morning for just that day (except on the 6th day when they got a 2 day supply so they didn't work on the Sabbath)
c. They did not get a huge wardrobe of clothing, yet the shoes on their feet never wore out nor the clothes on their backs it was always "just enough."
d. They had "just enough" water from place to place
4. They liked all their needs being met miraculously, but God had something even greater for them a place of plenty but where there would be NEW RESPONSIBILITIES a place that when they arrived they would no longer have "JUST ENOUGH," and where they would have to harvest their own food a place of plenty is not to make them lazy as it was to make them responsible!
5. They loved celebrating God's miracles in the desert and hesitated to enter the promise land, it would mean WORK and RESPONSIBILITY!
a. Once in the promise land all the manna would cease, (see Josh. 5:12) they would have to take up arms to fight the enemy, push back the enemies of God, work the land to raise their own food, etc.
b. Sometimes the land of "JUST ENOUGH" is too tempting and too many Christians are satisfied to stay in this land!
(1. The land of "JUST ENOUGH" means having "JUST ENOUGH" of God's blessings to be satisfied.
(2. We like the place of miracles, blessings, our needs met but this is NOT the place God wants us to STAY!
6. It is the cross that should be our focus, not the place of blessings but both the unsaved and sometimes the Christians are offended by the cross the cross represents self-sacrifice, responsibility, death to self and how much more fun blessings and miracles are!
ILLUS: A few years ago, the priest
B. Adequate! Ex. 16:2-8
a. They began to grumble against Moses
these represented God's spiritual call on
b. They wanted more miracles and so
twisted the reality of
(1. They claimed that in
(2. They were not satisfied with God's provisions, they desired more!
c. There can actually be a danger when we want more of God SIMPLY FOR THE BLESSINGS!
2. Revival is NOT about blessings, it is about burdens for the lost and burdens over sin in our own lives!
3. God provides for them "JUST ENOUGH" of what they need and so the MANNA comes each day, JUST ENOUGH for each day's need.
a. Later they grumble about this, they want more!
b. They tire of God's blessing of manna, later they "detested" the bread they want "FLESH"!
c. Here is where danger can come in a revival too when a revival begins, there can be a danger to turn away from the preaching of the Word (God's heavenly Bread) and instead seek for FLESH. This can be real trouble!
4. God's blessings in the desert were meant to only be "JUST ENOUGH" and they were meant to give them the time to prepare for battle, not just sit back and enjoy all the blessings!
a. This was a time of coming together for them as a nation.
b. This was a time of learning to trust God for all their needs
c. This was a time to develop cohesiveness and unity so they were strong.
d. This time was used by God to prepare them for battle!
ILLUS: The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. -- John F. Kennedy -- Vern McLellan, The Complete Book of Practical Proverbs and Wacky Wit (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996).
III. THE LAND OF "PLENTY" Josh. 1:1-9;
A. Arrival! Josh. 1:1-6
1. God's place for them was NOT the desert, it was the Promised Land!
a. This was a
b. The land of "JUST ENOUGH" was the
place of GETTING; the
2. All this new responsibility makes some Christians long for the days of blessings rather than responsibility!
a. There were enemies of God to fight
b. There was a land to conquer
c. There was the need to take possession.
d. There was the need to plant crops and harvest them.
ILLUS: A fellow who had been
reared in the city bought a farm and several milk cows. In the feed store one day he complained
his best cow had gone dry. "Aren't
you feeding her right?" asked the store owner. "I'm feeding her what you've been
selling me," said the man. "Are you
milking her everyday?" "Just about,
if I need six or eight ounces of milk for breakfast, I go out and get it. If I
don't need any, I don't get it--I just let her save it up." The feed store owner had to explain it
doesn't work that way. With cow's
milk, like God's presence, you take all that's there, or you eventually have
nothing. Asking for God's power in
six-ounce doses, or asking sporadically only at our convenience, may mean that
for us, the source dries up. -- Don
3. It was time to work!
a. Moses was dead, the old place of "JUST ENOUGH" was now gone!
b. A new leader, "JOSHUA" (which is also "JESUS" meaning "to save") comes on the scene.
4. The Old Testament was the place of "JUST ENOUGH"
a. Just enough blood of bulls and goats to cover sins
b. Just enough of the Holy Spirit for a few to be filled
c. Just enough revelation to keep them looking forward.
5. MOSES IS DEAD the Old Testament era has passed and the land of "JUST ENOUGH" isn't good enough anymore!
a. JESUS or "Joshua" is now leading and the Blood of Christ is MORE THAN ENOUGH to save to the uttermost!
b. The Holy Spirit is not given to "JUST ENOUGH" people anymore, but to all of God's people!
c. This place of "PLENTY" however is not to make us fat and free, it is to make us responsible and triumphant!
6. Those that feared leaving the land of "JUST ENOUGH" stayed there permanently; they died in the desert never having experienced the greater place of the promise land.
a. God has an "abundant life" planned for us not "just enough"
b. God wants us to only travel through the "JUST ENOUGH" stage, not camp there permanently this means more than getting every week a blessing at the altar, it means moving toward responsible Christian living and service.
B. Abundance Josh. 5:12
1. The moment they stepped foot on the
a. NOW they would have to be responsible in getting their own food, God's blessings would still be there, but the normal processes started up again responsibilities returned.
b. No longer could they just take what they needed from God they had to set up home, plow the fields, harvest crops, fight the enemy, etc.
2. Pentecost was not the end, the blessing of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was meant to empower for service it was the means to the end, not the end itself.
3. The Church needs to be careful with all the revival going on, that we are not just thrilled by the reports of gold dust in the air, of people falling on the ground, of supernatural manifestations but that we are moved by God's power to change our lives according to Scripture, to witness to the lost, to be broken for the broken to stay focused!
ILLUS: As the church today gets more and more hip -- more and more need oriented, responding to the buttons that people push in their pews -- I find myself longing for more of a historical faith. I find myself not wanting to have everything explained to me in simple terms. I'm not even sure I want all my needs met as much as I want to meet God, and sometimes I wonder if he's really interested in the noise of our contemporary clamoring. Like my dog that can't seem to get anywhere because he keeps having to stop and scratch his fleas, I wonder if we are so busy scratching where everybody itches that we aren't taking anybody anywhere significant. -- John Fischer in "Longing for Something Old" (Covenant Companion, Oct. 1992). Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 5.
a. God grant us a biblical revival that will alter the landscape of this country!
b. Let is begin in us!
CONCLUSION: Too many Christians are satisfied to live in the land of "JUST ENOUGH" -- the occasional miracle here and there is ok, but God wants us in the land of "PLENTY!" The land of "JUST ENOUGH" is the place of having our needs met, but the land of "PLENTY" meets more than our needs; it enables us to minister to others and their needs. Where are you living?