Discipleship Community

IDC #2 - Abiding, Confession of Sin and Restoration to Fellowship

Written on 09/16/2018
Frank Meitz

We will start this session with a review of Last Week's Session 1, Living In The Abundant Life.

Print the handout (at the bottom of this article) and watch the videos to follow along.


As a believer, the “default” is to Live In the Abundant Life.  That is the “normal” Christian Life. 

If I find myself wandering in the spiritual desert, that is “abnormal” – which causes huge consequences in my life, the lives of others, and our church. 

 


There is a danger in the Christian community for me to be a “fruit inspector”.  However, the Intentional Discipleship Community is one of encouraging, equipping, mentoring, praying for/with each other, not being judgmental or critical.


SETTING:  Joshua led the 2nd group of Israelites into Canaan (the Promised Land). 

QUESTION:  Why did they spend 40 years in the desert?    UNBELIEF – LACK OF FAITH

God gave them victory over their enemies (the inhabitants of Canaan – which took about 7 years).

QUESTION:  What was the challenge they faced?  LEARNING TO WALK IN DAILY DEPENDENCE ON THE LORD

PREVALENT MISCONCEPTION: I can be yielded/ surrendered to the Holy Spirit in one part of my life AND at the same time consciously allow disobedience in another area.  (as long as I’m “trying my best”).

REALITY:   God interacts with me as a  WHOLE PERSON. 

CAUTION: A troublesome area of defeat in my life will often be the result of an unrelated and less obvious unresolved conflict in another area.   

QUESTION / Example:   Can I be in “fellowship” with my spouse – but having an illicit affair that "doesn’t affect my relationship?"


JOSHUA 7 – A MODEL FOR US

IMPORTANT NOTE: -- In this scripture, corporate Israel represents me as a Christian.

SECTION 1

Joshua 1:1-9  After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses: “Moses My servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites.  I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses.  Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.

 “Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 6:2  The Lord said to Joshua, “Look, I have handed Jericho, its king, and its fighting men over to you."

Question:  God promised victory in the Promised Land to Israel. However, what did Israel need to learn about God’s promise?

Answer:  The guarantee of victory was conditional on their abiding with God.

For Joshua and the Hebrews, it was the Law that God provided and the commandments that Moses taught them.   (Verses 7-8)

For us, it is my personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. 

Question:  Who did God provide to teach me how to abide with Him?

John 14:16-17   And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.  He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you

John 16:13-15  When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything the Fatherhas is Mine. This is why I told you that He takes from what is Mine and will declare it to you.

God has a plan for every day of life and He wants me to learn to obey and follow Him.  He does not expect to follow MY plan, nor should I expect Him to


SECTION 2

Joshua 6:17-19  But the city and everything in it are set apart to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone with her in the house will live, because she hid the men we sent. But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it.  For all the silver and gold, and the articles of bronze and iron, are dedicated to the Lordand must go into the Lord’s treasury.”

Joshua 6:21,24  They completely destroyed everything in the city with the sword—every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep, and donkey.  They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house.

Joshua 6:27  And the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

Is there any way to misinterpret the instructions the Lord gave at Jericho in these verses?

Question:  Who were the instructions given to?

Answer:  The individual, and the nation


SECTION 3

Question:  Based on their tremendous victory at Jericho, what do you think they were feeling? 
How did their emotions affect their approach to the small town of Ai?

Answer:  They seemed to feel quite confident at this time, and there is no indication that they consulted the Lord before proceeding. Evidently they felt they were “on a roll.”   

So what happens in our lives when God gives me a great victory?


SECTION 4

Joshua 7:2-5 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and scout the land.” So the men went up and scouted Ai.

After returning to Joshua they reported to him, “Don’t send all the people, but send about 2,000 or 3,000 men to attack Ai. Since the people of Ai are so few, don’t wear out all our people there.” So about 3,000 men went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about  of them and chased them from outside the gate to the quarries, striking them down on the descent. As a result, the people’s hearts melted and became like water.

They appeared unaware that they were now defenseless, and functioning in their own strength.

When they confronted the enemy in their own strength they found themselves defeated.

Question:  What’s the application for me?   When I am facing my “battles” in my own strength, do I tend to find victory or defeat in my life? 

Question:  If I am defeated, do I tend to blame God because He didn’t keep His end of the bargain?


SECTION 5

Why did they lose at Ai?

Joshua 7:1   The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of what was set apart, and the Lord’s anger burned against the Israelites.

  • They “assumed” they had obeyed the Lord.   But there was disobedience in the camp because of one person’s actions.
  • The disobedience disrupted their fellowship and removed God’s protection and rendered them defenseless.  
  • However, they were unaware of the disobedience and the break in fellowship and that they were defenseless.  That caused 36 people to die.

Question:  Does my disobedience (not abiding), affect other people?   How?


SECTION 6      So Joshua starts to whine to God:

Joshua 7:7-8 “Oh, Lord God,” Joshua said, “why did You ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back and run from its enemies?

What was God’s response to Joshua’s whining?

Joshua 7:10-12 The Lord then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put the things with their own belongings.  This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs and run from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart.

Who sinned?  (Verse 11)

Who was held accountable and does that seem unfair?

Joshua 22:20 Wasn’t Achan son of Zerah unfaithful regarding what was set apart for destruction, bringing wrath on the entire community of Israel? He was not the only one who perished because of his sin.’”

When I am out of fellowship with the Lord (not abiding), there are steps I should take to restore fellowship.

First, God revealed the offense to Joshua.  

Joshua 7:10-12  The Lord then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put the things with their own belongings.  This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs and run from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart.

1) Acknowledge that God has revealed an unresolved issue to me

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears...

2) Confess:   

Joshua 7:20 Achan replied to Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did:

3) Repent: 

Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels,  and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak.”

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

4) Consequences: 

Joshua 7:25-26 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? Today the Lord will trouble you!” So all Israel stoned them to death. They burned their bodies, threw stones on them,  and raised over him a large pile of rocks that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from His burning anger. Therefore that place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.

5) Restoration: 

Joshua 8:1-2 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the whole military force with you and go attack Ai. Look, I have handed over to you the king of Ai, his people, city, and land. Treat Ai and its king as you did Jericho and its king; you may plunder its spoil and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”


SECTION 7     

What happens when I refuse to acknowledge God’s prompting that there is an unresolved issue (or multiple issues) in my relationship with Him? 

1) I try to “buy back” my relationship with God by doing a whole bunch of stuff.   I try to “balance the scales” and win points.   Typically, that’s service in the church or “doing good for others”.    

  • God gave the Israelites different instructions in regard to the next confrontation.
  • What God deemed to be sin in Jericho was not sin at Ai. If Achan had waited for God’s timing, what he did would not have displeased God. (Even doing a “good” thing at the wrong time may be sin).

Question:  Do I do the same thing with God?  

  •  Do I try to restore fellowship by DOING things “in his name”?

 Question:  And how do we get to know God? 

  • What steps can I take to know God? 
  • If I allow Him to transform my thinking so I think more like Him, will I know Him more deeply, more intimately? 

2) What happens when my fellowship with God is broken and I don’t do anything about it?  If I continue not abiding (walking in the flesh)? 

If I find myself defeated and cannot seem to get victory in an area of my life, perhaps I am struggling with a “symptom”, rather than the “root problem”. I need to ask God for discernment to distinguish the difference.

Question:  How can I know if I’m out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit?  Usually symptoms indicate an ailing body. Similarly look for on-going spiritual symptoms of the sinful nature, such as:

  • stumbling
  • striving
  • anger
  • impatience
  • lack of peace
  • irritability
  • frustration
  • sense of defeat
  • addictive behavior
  • dissatisfaction
  • complaining
  • critical or
    judgmental attitude
  • worry
  • anxiety


 


IDC Session 2 - Abiding Confession of Sin and Restoration to Fellowship Handout.pdf IDC Session 2 - Abiding Confession of Sin and Restoration to Fellowship Handout