Relational Mission - A Way of Life
Relational Mission - a way of life sets out the values and vision of our family of churches from Mike Betts book.
A different spirit
- Now playing
Been looking for the last few weeks at some of the things that attract the presence of God
Getting rid of fear, being hungry, being thankful
This morning we are going to look at Caleb in the Old Testament. He is remarkable for having a different spirit and being as full of vim and vigour at 85 as he was at 40! 3million or so came out of Egypt and he caught God’s eye as someone different.
He was confident that God was with him – which is pretty much the definition of the presence of God.
Back story in case you don’t know it!
God has always wanted a people, the people of God who would be his treasured possesion, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
They are his family on earth, who would act like priest showing people God and would be becoming more and more like God. When Jesus came – the people of God are the church made of Jewish and Gentile believers. Before Jesus Israel was the people of God whose call was to bless the nations. So early on in the history of the Old Testament, the fledgeling people of God, Israel, which was more like an extended family in the days of Joseph ended up in Egypt to escape a famine. Over generations they grew and prospered and began to cause fear among the Egyptians – the age old hate the migrants nonsense. So they were put under slavery over the next 400 years during which time they had largely forgotten about God and were not seeking His presence or help.
Eventually they begin to cry out to God to send a deliverer to rescue them and so God uses Moses to bring them out of slavery in Egypt to freedom and on towards the Promised Land.
They were free physically and spiritually, but mentally and in their thinking they were still slaves – See how this year we are constantly tackling battle for the mind and sonship?!
They kept looking back to the “good old days” which weren’t and thinking things were better then.
As they reached the Red sea they’d rather have been slaves in Egypt than “die” in the wilderness – Ex 14:12 = panic and fear!
When they were hungry, they remembered the meat pits and bread, forgetting the forced labour beatings and oppression Ex 16:3
When they were thirsty, the grumbled again! Ex 17:3
When the reach the border of Canaan – the promised land, Moses arranges to send 12 spies to check it out and bring back reports. He warns them in Numb 13:20 to be of good courage!
40 days later they return, so let’s pick up the story in Numbers 13:25-14:10
Have you noticed the contrast between the fear of the people and the glory of the Lord.
10 of the spies see the good things but are filled with fear. Joshua and Caleb who have a different spirit bask in glory not fear.
In the New Testament we are told that we have not been given a spirit of fear/timidity but a spirit of power, love and self discipline. Critical that we live in the good of that. Listen again to Amie’s sermon for more on that.
It didn’t work out that well for the 10 fearful spies – they all died of the plague! Numbers 14:37-38
What was different about Joshua and Caleb’s spirit that was so attractive to God, that made them men who walked with God and entered into all that God had for them?
Pick up on 4 things
1) Words are important
The 10 brought words that were
Discouraging, brought a bad report, lacked faith – the good is given and then a HOWEVER – they are strong, the cities are fortified and the Anak are there. Anak means long necked and this people group were generally large and formidable and to hear of them was scary
The Israelites expressed grasshopper theology – “We seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers” it’s an interesting wording. They know it’s their fear causing it. But they see themselves as grasshoppers rather than the people of God.
Those kind of words produced four responses
Emotive response v1 – they raised a loud cry and wept all night
Faithless v2 they grumbled and wished they had died in Egypt rather than the wilderness. Both options are death. Would you like death or death?
Ignorant v3 they believe they will all die and become prey
Rebellious v4 – they go against Moses and Aaron leadership and start looking for a leader to take them back to become slaves again.
Negative words rarely produce a positive responses.
Words are important – There’s a nursery rhyme that goes Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me. It’s total nonsense! Words are never neutral. They convey power – power to tear down and power to build up. In ancient times, names were given to people that spoke of their identity and role in life – the baker was called Baker. In the Bible they often carry prophetic significance. On of the meanings of Caleb is “dog”, which is usually derogatory, but in his case referred to the fact he would be faithful and loyal. When he was 85years old he was able to say he was still full of vim and vigour and was therefore one of only two who got to enter the Promised Land!
Just as bad names can hold people in bondage and lead them into destruction, great names can release power into our lives and bring us into our God-given destinies. Many people in the Bible were insignificant until their names were changed. Simon wasn’t an apostle until he was named Peter. Saul was not an apostle until his name was changed to Paul.
The devil loves to use bad words and names people are called to do the opposite of giving hope and destiny. Instead of building hope and faith for a godly destiny, names and words are used for the opposite. Some of you need freedom from names and words spoken over you that have disempowered you and some of you need to stop using them. It’s part of Christian growth. Before I planted my first church, one of the elders in the church I was a youth leader in said “you will never be able to lead a church you are not organised.” there was an atmosphere there that had no faith for me personally and I was dying. I moved to another church, where the leader expressed faith in me despite my insecurities and I began to thrive.
I was reading the supernatural ways of royalty a week or two ago which contains a section on this very issue and I found myself in tears reflecting on some of the words and names I have used over David at bad moments. I was undone and spent time changing my thinking and confessing to the Lord. Then the presence of God came thick as I was changing. When I got home I grabbed David to ask his forgiveness. I asked him if there are any that have stuck wanting to deal with and pray over them with him, but thankfully he couldn’t think of any. I share that story, because I want you to know we are all works in progress and God wants us all to grow!
If we want to attract more of the presence and glory of God and build a people, our words are important! Let them put courage in -be encouraging and building up Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
2) Attitude of faith
When the people first starting panicking, Caleb quietened the people and said “Let us go up at once and occupy it for we are well able to overcome.”
The people didn’t listen and panic spread, because panic is contagious…
And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh,who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all thecongregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land andgive it to us, sa land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only tdo not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection isremoved from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all thecongregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at thetent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
Joshua and Caleb’s attitude was different to the people – they saw with eyes of faith and dependence on God.
They focused on the positive – it’s a promised land full of milk and honey, not the fact the people are quite large.
Faith pleases God, believing Him for what He has promised is attractive to God – Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
In the dark days of this church when we had shrunk right down, I remember somebody suggesting we move from Gaywood School to the scout hut which was tiny – No! Hold on in faith, not going backwards in defeat – now look at us!
I told the story a few weeks ago on a low Sunday of my journey with the prophetic team in the area of finances. We were having an amazing Spirit of God saturated evening of going through the prophecies over the church, discerning season changing words and culture shaping words. It was amazing – getting blasted with faith by God. We got to a portion from Julian Adams that said this
I just feel like, specifically I feel like God wants to bless you in the area of your finances. All right. I see you worrying in that area and God says I am going to bless you financially. There is going to be favour and an incredible season of anointing and you are not to be fearful it is not going to work out. God says, I do the balancing, not the banks. All right. And there is going to be incredible blessing and favour financially.
I said to the group I have always had to keep going back to God – you said this and it’s not happening.
Then Nick said Does the church tithe? Wow, ouch! As trustees we’d reduced the giving because the books weren’t balancing and I realised that we were balancing the books not letting God. A few weeks before I’d shared about our journey from poverty thinking, saying that whenever I get in a pickle, I realise that I’ve been lax in giving at least 10% of my income and there was I not growing in that area for the whole church.
Faith came and I talked to the trustees and we are tithing 10% of every thing that comes in, laying it at the apostle’s feet
That’s growing in a Caleb different spirit. Challenge to you to do the same!
3) Long term faithful
No mention of Caleb during the 45 years in the wildrerness.
But clearly – he was faithful and carried on the integrity and conquering attitude he had at the age of 40
At the age of 85 he said this – Josh 14:11-14
He fought in the battle, won the territory and was able to give his daughter a legacy and an inheritance in the promised land
Live for the long term and a legacy. Live life so you don’t burn out young.
Joshua and Caleb didn’t given to fear, they didn’t speak negatively, they didn’t spread fear. They were confident in God and encouraged others and stayed faithful for the long term.
I don’t like it when the christian world honours one generation over another – the young over the old say. Our culture doesn’t honour the old. I love it when David Blacklock preaches – he exudes a Caleb spirit and is seeking God for the next adventure! Be like him – young people don’t get sucked into the world and career only. There are exploits and battles for God to be won.
We are one generation -young and old. I love the wide demographic in this church. Under 10s out at kids, Teens say yes, 20s say yes, 30s say yes, 40 say yes, 50s say yes, 60s say yes, 70s say yes, 80s say yes!
Gordon MacDonald wrote a super book called Resilient Life – in it he talks a lot about living for the long haul. Living to finish well. Please buy it and read it, especially over 40s!
4) Awareness of God’s presence
We can’t succeed without it.
Joshua and Caleb’s leader Moses said it in Exodus 33:14 And he said, j“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, nso that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
Caleb spoke out when the people were in fear “And do not fear the people of the land. And do not fear the people of the land for they are bread for us. The protection is removed from them and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
How do we grow in awareness of God’s presence
Time with God – putting yourself in the position of being with God. Worship, prayer, reading the word, journalling your prayers and things that speak to you
Cultivating the attitude of gratitude that David Blacklock talked about.
Learning to live fearlessly that Amie talked about.