FROM SURVIVAL TO ATTACKING THE ENEMY
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The death of Moses marked a tremendous change in the lives of the Israelites. It signified the change from the struggle for survival to the struggle involved in driving the enemy from their land of promise.
So it is true today. For two thousand years the Christian Church has been struggling to survive spiritually. In our day a massive change is taking place. From this time forth our struggle will be that of driving the enemy from our land of promise.
Table of Contents
The Land of Promise
Untroubled Rest in God’s Person and Will
Change in Our Personality
The removal of worldliness, lust, and self-will
The forming of Christ in us
Being filled with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
The Transformation of Our Body
Our flesh and bones shall be raised from the dead
Clothed with a house from Heaven
Inheriting the Nations and the Farthest Reaches of the Earth
Inheriting All That God Makes New in Christ
FROM SURVIVAL TO ATTACKING THE ENEMY
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)
The Land of Promise
As far as I know, the Lord did not give the Israelites a clear definition of the boundaries of the Land of Promise until Moses had died and Joshua was appointed leader.
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. (Joshua 1:4)
During their forty years in the wilderness the Jews did not need to know the boundaries of their land of promise. They were told it was a good place, and this was all they needed to know.
The same is true today. The Christian people have supposed that Heaven is the land of promise, although there is no suggestion in the New Testament or the Old that such is the case. We understand God is leading us to a good place, and we are assuming this place must be the spirit Heaven.
Now that the Moses ministry of Christ is nearing its conclusion, and the Joshua ministry of Christ is at hand, we are learning more about our land of promise.
You know, there is a profound significance in the death of Moses and the installation of Joshua. The significance is as follows.
The sojourn through the wilderness was one long struggle for survival in the Presence of the Lord. The Jews had to learn patience. They had to look to God each day for their manna. They were given the moral law, the Ten Commandments. They were shown how to use animals to make an atonement for their sins. We might refer to this period of survival as internal conquest.
When Moses died, and Joshua took over, the Israelites were camped on the east side of the Jordan River, facing the land of promise. Now they were being prepared to drive out the enemy from their land of promise. The struggle was not for their personal survival. The struggle was for the purpose of driving the enemy from their land of promise.
So it is today. The majority of God’s people are deeply involved with their personal struggles: their indecision concerning taking up their cross and following Christ, their lukewarmness, their accumulation of bitternesses over injustices they have suffered, their frustration over being placed in a box where they can’t have what they want without disobeying God.
But there is a remnant of the entire Church, perhaps mostly young people, who are not hindered by the emotional baggage that is true of the older believers. They are ready to move forward with Christ and drive the enemy from their land of promise.
Moses represents our struggle for survival as a Christian. Joshua represents something new to us, the actual battle against the spiritual enemies who inhabit what God has promised to us.
Let me first set forth the dimensions of our land of promise, and then we will look at the dimensions more in detail.
The first area from which the enemy must be driven is that of untroubled rest in God’s Person and will. It is the Lord’s will that every one of His people be dwelling in His Presence in complete subjection to His will.
The second area of our Canaan is the necessary change in our personality that must occur if we are to have fellowship with our Creator.
Part of that change consists of removing from us every trace of worldliness; every trace of the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul; every trace of self-will and self-centeredness.
Another part of the change is the forming of Christ in us, and then the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in that which has been formed in us.
The third area of our land of promise is the transformation of our body. The transformation of our body includes the raising of our flesh and bones from the dead, and then the clothing of them with our house from Heaven.
The fourth aspect of our land of promise has to do with inheriting the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
The fifth area of our land of promise consists of all that God makes new in Christ.
These are the boundaries of our land of promise. If there are additional areas I am not aware of them. Could you say them from memory?
- Untroubled rest in God’s Person and will.
- Change in our personality.
- The transformation of our body.
- Inheriting the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth
- Inheriting all that God makes new in Christ.
If you don’t think the enemy is solidly entrenched in each of these areas, just wait until you attempt to enter your land of promise.
It might be a good idea for you to memorize these, in case someone asks you what our land of promise is. I doubt there is one Christian in 500 who could tell you what the Christian land of promise is. Isn’t that astounding? We don’t know where we are supposed to be going. We don’t know what the goal of salvation is.
Ask a few fervent Christians and see if I am correct.
Untroubled Rest in God’s Person and Will
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
When I left the Marine Corps, at the age of twenty, I had just gotten saved. I didn’t know hardly anything about what it meant to be a Christian.
God had called me to preach while I was in the Corps, and so when I got out I enrolled in Bible school.
You know what I was taught when I left the Corps and began to mingle with Christian people? I was taught that no one could do God’s perfect will. We had to settle for his acceptable will, whatever that is.
I was informed that as long as we are in this world we have to sin.
Both of these comments come from Satan. Every Christian is expected to do God’s will perfectly. No Christian ever at any time is to be practicing known sin.
There is only one will of God for you and me at any point in time. If we are not doing it we are rebelling against God.
It is not difficult to do God’s will. All you have to do is tell God you want to do His perfect will, and ask that He give you the grace to do it. He will hear you and you will receive the grace. Is God some taskmaster whom no one can please? The truth is, Satan is a taskmaster whom no one can please. But God is easy to please.
His commandments are not grievous.
If you are not certain you are doing God’s perfect will, then stop what you are doing and tell God you want to do His perfect will—always, at all times, forever.
Nothing else is acceptable.
The truth is, you probably are doing God’s will and don’t even have the satisfaction and confidence of knowing you are doing it.
This is Satan’s business—to keep us away from God and afraid of God.
Satan regards you, and this present world, as his possession. He is like the Canaanites—entrenched for thousands of years. Satan demands that his will be done. The moment you decide to do God’s will you will find yourself in a fight against Satan. But who cares! Jesus Christ is infinitely greater than Satan.
The people living in the land of promise of the Israelites had been there for hundreds of years. They resisted the Jews with all their might. For this reason, the Israelites compromised with them. Because the Israelites did not finish the job, they have never been at peace in the land from the time of Rehoboam until the present hour.
All that has happened to the Jews has been for our instruction. We never, never, never are to compromise with the enemy. We will do God’s perfect will, and we will keep confessing and gaining victory over all of our sins. And that is that!
It is entirely possible and expected that we do God’s perfect will every moment of our existence. We are His creation and we are not to be rebelling against Him.
It is entirely possible, through the Lord Jesus Christ, to gain victory over sin. Once we determine to do this the Holy Spirit will guide us. No work of darkness can stand before us, for the all-powerful Christ is with us.
Change in Our Personality
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
Man was created to be in the image of God. This does not mean sort of in God’s image, it means exactly in God’s inward and outward image.
Again, once you decide to be changed into God’s image you will come against a determined enemy; a fanatical enemy. Satan wants you in his image. He will fight any intention you have of being in the moral image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You know, our adamic nature cannot imitate Christ successfully. It is well that we try to be like the Lord as much as possible, but we come short, don’t we?
Recently I purchased a clock that is not a clock. It actually is a radio receiver, not having ordinary clockworks in it. The time is broadcast from the United States atomic clock, located outside Boulder, Colorado. Then my receiver-clock picks up that signal and shows the time.
This is so like what is to happen to us. First the receiver, Christ, has to be formed in us. Then we must keep ourselves in the place where we can receive the signal from Heaven. When we do, we reveal Christ perfectly.
According to what I have read, the atomic clock does not lose or gain a second in twenty million years. I can set a regular watch by the atomic clock, but sooner or later I am going to have to set it again because it will gain or lose some seconds or minutes. But if my watch were a receiver that was always being set by the atomic clock, then it would be perfectly accurate
As I said, we should imitate Christ to the best of our ability, setting our life by His example. But we ultimately will fail, until it is Christ in us who is living His Life in our personality.
The removal of worldliness, lust, and self-will.
The first step in getting our “clock” ready is to get rid of our worldliness, our lust, and our self-will. Such deliverance is entirely possible in the present hour.
We are to come out of the world. American Christians are far too involved in the world.
Recently there was an important football game played in San Diego where I live (January 26, 2003). There were many reporters here from around the world.
It is not surprising that unsaved people could be so deluded as to imagine that a football game warranted this much enthusiasm and attention.
The problem is, there are Christians who were wrapped up in this game, giving time and thought to it. How can they press forward into their land of promise when they are worshiping that which God hates? Whoever becomes involved in the world spirit makes himself the enemy of God!
As far as the lusts and passions of the flesh are concerned, America is filled with them. My wife, Audrey, gave a prophecy yesterday, saying God is ready to judge the demon gods of America, just He did the gods of Egypt. This should be good news for us Christians. Every part of our sinful nature serves to hinder our rest in God’s Person. All of it must go. It will go, piece by piece, if we will be faithful in confessing our sins and turning away from them.
Satan is under the impression our flesh is his rightful dwelling place. Are we going to tolerate this, when Jesus Christ is ready to remove Satan from our flesh?
Our worst problem is our self-will. Until we are ready to sacrifice our right to be ourselves so we might be one with Christ in God, we cannot move into the rest of God.
There is only one legitimate will in the universe, the will of God. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth. We absolutely must surrender our will to God so He can reign supreme in our personality.
Any trace of worldliness, lust, or self-will in us will prevent our being in the image of Christ and being in untroubled rest in God’s Person and will.
The forming of Christ in us.
When we first come to Christ, a part of Christ is conceived in us. It is a supernatural seed. It will grow into the image of Christ if we take care of it.
It is up to our adamic nature to faithfully guard itself such that it is put to death and Christ lives in its place. This means living a disciplined, Christian life, including denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following the Lord each day.
We have opportunities each day to turn away from our sinful nature and do the will of Christ. Every time we do this, Christ becomes stronger in us. Without realizing it, we are being fed in the spirit realm with His body and blood. We are becoming an integral part of Him.
This is how the “clock” is formed in us.
Being filled with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Our goal is to be filled with the Fullness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Such indwelling is one of the most important areas of our land of promise.
When the “clock” has been formed, the signal will come from God. We truly will show forth in ourselves the Lord Jesus Christ, which is what all true Christians desire. People come to God when we become a tree of life. We win souls in this manner.
Each human has been constituted with a throne room in his personality. When the human is sitting on that throne, it is not long before Satan is sharing the throne with him. Satan wants each one of us to be filled with our own will, for then he has access to us.
Satan will fight furiously against our wanting to be filled with the fullness of God; yet, we never will find the fulfillment we are looking for until God is on the throne of our life.
The Lord Jesus told us if we would keep His commandments, the Father and He would make Their dwelling with us.
This is why Satan has persuaded the Christian people that God has given us grace so we do not have to keep His commandments. Satan knows that until we keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father and the Son will not make Their abode in us, and Satan can continue to dwell comfortably in us.
The Transformation of Our Body
Although one would never think so, from listening to the preaching of today, the transformation of our body is a central issue of the Divine redemption.
It was immortality in the body that was lost in the Garden of Eden. It is immortality in the body that we gain through the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Christ said God so loved the world He gave His Son that we would not perish but have eternal life, He was speaking primarily of the body. It is true also that through Christ we can possess our soul. But the body is the third part of our personality, and a very important part. We are not fully man until we have regained our body.
I do not know what life is like after we die, when we have no body to dwell in. We probably have some kind of form. But we will find, after we die, that we are waiting for the Day of Resurrection, the time when we regain our body.
Angels and demons do not have physical bodies. Satan does not have a physical body. The only manner in which Satan and his demons can enjoy the physical world is through the body of a human being.
Satan regards our bodies as his personal possession, and I am afraid we are only too ready to give our body to him just as long as our spirit and soul are carried up to Heaven in an unscriptural “rapture.” This is an ignorant attitude. We are ready to give away that which belongs only to man; that which is the temple of God.
Our body does not belong to us, it is the temple of God, the dwelling place of God and Christ. Because of this we are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Our flesh and bones shall be raised from the dead.
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice And come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
When the Lord Jesus came forth from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea He was clothed with flesh and bones.
When we come forth from the grave we will be clothed with flesh and bones.
What happens after this is of extreme importance. Those who have done good will rise to live in eternal life in the Presence of God. Those who have done evil will face condemnation, corruption, punishment, destruction.
We teach today that accepting Christ means no matter whether we practice good or evil we will rise to eternal life. This is not true. It is as the Lord Jesus stated: those who do good will rise to eternal life; those who do evil will rise to condemnation.
One of the most needed truths in all of Christendom is the knowledge that how we are living today is determining what we will receive when our flesh and bones are raised from their place of interment.
We will be clothed with our deeds. If we have sown to our sinful nature, our flesh and bones will be clothed with our sinful nature in the Day of Resurrection. If we have sown to the Holy Spirit, walking in fellowship with Him, then our flesh and bones will be clothed with eternal life in the Day of Resurrection.
Clothed with a house from Heaven.
To have our resurrected flesh and bones clothed with incorruptible resurrection life is an important part of our land of promise. Satan will do all in his power to prevent you and me from being clothed with a body of eternal life. His plan is to keep us living in our sinful nature so we will reap destruction in the Day of Resurrection.
We are creating that clothing, that house, that robe today as we sow our present body to the death of the cross.
If we obey the compulsions to sin that dwell in the members of our body, our robe in Heaven will remain stained, revealing the corruption that is in our personality.
If however we wash our robe in the blood of the Lamb by confessing our sins and turning away from them, a robe shining with righteousness will be held for us before the Throne of God, waiting until the day when the Lord Jesus returns and clothes us with our body from Heaven.
Remember, our body is the temple of God. If we are willing to forsake the world, lust, and our self-will, we will be eligible and competent to receive a glorious house from Heaven that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones. Then God and Christ will have a wonderful new vehicle through which God can have fellowship with His creatures. For this purpose we have been elected from the beginning of the world.
Inheriting the Nations and the Farthest Reaches of the Earth
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalms 2:7,8)
We are coheirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we too shall inherit the nations and possess the ends of the earth.
I suppose most of us would enjoy possessing the ends of the earth, that is, if we enjoy the things of nature. But we might not be that certain about inheriting the nations.
Let me tell you something. There is no inheritance that can be compared with inheriting people. But in order for this to be real to you, God must put in your heart His love for some people: it may be a race, a nation, a city, or some other group. Once you experience the love of God in Christ in you for those whom God has chosen to give you, you will no longer doubt that the most valuable gift one can receive, outside of God Himself, is people.
Of course, Satan regards the nations as his possession. He will not surrender them easily. But those who will ride with the Lord Jesus are called, chosen, and then proven faithful through experiences that test every atom of their personality. They have died to the world, sin, and their self-will. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes for there no longer is a lie or guile in them.
The nations will never know justice, or lasting love, joy, and peace, until the Lord returns with His army. This is why we must be so utterly diligent today. If we will choose to press into Christ with all our might, we, the Lord, and other people will profit immeasurably. But if we choose to retain our miserable existence in this world, we, the Lord, and other people will be deprived immeasurably.
The opportunity we have today to grasp the fullness of the inheritance may never have been available previously and may never be available again. Many who are last in time will be first in the Kingdom.
We have all of eternity to satisfy our desires. We have this one chance to take the Kingdom. If we do not, if we keep on playing with the toys of the world, allowing Satan to lead us along, we will have all of eternity to grieve because of our shortsightedness.
Inheriting All That God Makes New in Christ
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)
He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
What is God going to make new? Everything!
Everything must be made new in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God’s intention that Christ be the Center and Circumference of everything in God creation.
There will be a new sky, and it will reflect Christ.
There will be a new earth, and it will reflect Christ.
There will be a new Jerusalem, and it will reflect Christ.
There will be nations of saved people who walk on the new earth, and they will reflect Christ.
When Jesus said “It is finished,” He was referring to the first creation. It is my own opinion that the first creation began when God through Christ created the angels and the other heavenly creatures, and then the physical sky and earth.
When did the new creation begin? It began when the Lord rose from the dead. He is the First of the new creation of God.
When we are willing to place our personality on the cross with Christ, counting our life as finished, we arise, in the water of baptism, to newness of life in Christ. Thus we become part of the new creation.
There will be a thousand-year Kingdom Age. No doubt many at that time will be made new in Christ.
Finally the earth and sky we know now will flee from the face of Christ. The dead will be raised and brought before Christ and His saints in the spirit realm. Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be brought into life on the new earth. In some way they too will be made new in Christ.
And, it may be true that in some manner, different from us humans, all the angels and other creatures will be made new in Christ.
For all the creation must reflect the Lord Jesus Christ. God is making everything new, and He began with His Son as He came forth from the cave two thousand years ago.
Satan will attempt desperately to prevent any part of this Divine promise that he can. But the Father has spoken, and no one can resist the Father.
It is up to you and me to press forward now, in our day, for God is ready to move past the program of survival and attack the enemy who has kept His creation in the darkness of sin, rebellion, and death.
Then Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves before the LORD for battle, And if all of you will go armed over the Jordan before the LORD until he has driven his enemies out before him—Then when the land is subdued before the LORD, you may return and be free from your obligation to the LORD and to Israel. And this land will be your possession before the LORD. But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:20-23)
Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were camped with the rest of the Israelites, on the east bank of the Jordan River, getting ready to cross the Jordan and attack Jericho.
The two and one-half tribes had much cattle, and the plains of Moab seemed to be a good place to set up their ranches. So they asked Moses if they could build their homes and let this be their land of promise.
This appears to be a reasonable request, but Moses was furious. Why?
Moses was furious because he was afraid God would be angry with the Israelites, thinking they were unwilling to enter the land God had promised them.
It was apparent these two and a half tribes had no sense of God. They did not care about God, only about their material possessions.
What a picture this is of today. How many of the older Christians have been saved, filled with the Spirit, and now are ready to spend their time traveling or cooking steak on their barbecue grills (I am speaking now of American Christians.)
The idea that they are not permitted to forget all their spiritual responsibilities and just wait to go to Heaven is not particularly attractive to them.
There is nothing wrong with working until you are sixty-five and then retiring from your job. But you can’t retire from the call of God. The spiritual currents are so powerful you will be forced back into your sinful nature.
While we Americans are worried about obesity, there are people in Afghanistan and other countries who are huddled in caves with very little to eat, not enough clothing, and no medical services.
As far as the rest of the world is concerned, poverty, graft, rape, murder, thievery, abortion, homosexuality, and every other disaster and perversion will continue until the Lord returns with His rulers and sets up His Kingdom.
We now are in the initial stages of the Kingdom of God, as we prepare to fight our way into the land of promise. From our ranks will be taken rulers who will be competent to return with Jesus Christ and remove Satan and all his works from the earth. This is the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Then justice, righteousness, peace, love, and joy will be brought to the nations of the earth.
Are we to settle back, now that we have been saved and filled with God’s Spirit, and not press forward into the redemption of mankind? Will God not be terribly angry with us because of our selfishness?
Yes, He will.
Now is the time to take the Kingdom. Now is the time to prepare ourselves to go across the Jordan River, speaking symbolically of the death to self we must experience if we are to do God’s will perfectly.
We will inherit the riches of God if we follow the Lord Jesus Christ into the battle of the ages.
But if we do not, if we settle back and wait to die and go to Heaven, we can be certain our sin will find us out.
(“From Survival to Attacking the Enemy”, 3588-1)