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Jack Graham - Are You Ready for a Miracle?

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    Jack Graham - Are You Ready for a Miracle?
TOPICS: Forward

There is no person that God cannot save! There is no promise that God will not keep! There is nothing that our God cannot do! But take your Bibles and turn with me to the fifth chapter of Joshua. This is our message series FORWARD, a series on Joshua. And the title of this message is "Are you Ready for a Miracle"? So just to review. You may be wondering why there's a chest here, an Ark of the Covenant. And the Ark of the Covenant went with the children of Israel. This is to half-scale so the Ark of the Covenant was about twice. This is well-done. This is created by a member of our church. I wanted to have some of those kids bring it in but we didn't have time. You see the poles, the cherubs on top and inside the Ark of the Covenant.

So if this weighs a 100 pounds, the original weighed about 200 pounds most likely. And inside were the Tablets of Moses, the Law of God, God's Ten Commandments; the rod that budded, Aaron's rod and the pot of manna that God sustained them supernaturally in the desert. And so this all in the Ark of the Covenant. So you have God's precepts, the commandments; you had God's power in that miracle of the rod that budded, Aaron's rod; and then you have God's provision by the manna. And then most of all with the Ark of the Covenant is the presence of God. So just to pick you up, remember, the children of God have come out of Egypt. They're set free. They've spent 40 years wandering because of unbelief in the wilderness, in the desert; they became desert disciples. But all along, God had promised them a land; God had given them a land.

He said, "flowing with milk and honey". It was a land of bounty, a land of beauty, a land of blessing; it was God's land that He had given His chosen people Israel. And now, having come through the Jordan. We got through the Jordan River. There was another miracle, a powerful miracle. The Ark of the Covenant led the way through. They got on the other side. And now standing in front of them like a huge sign that says 'Keep Out!' are the walls of Jericho and this city of Jericho. Famous for its enormity. It was a large city in the desert area of Israel. You can still go there today.

I've been to Jericho many times. And the ruins of the walls of Jericho, the ancient city of Jericho are being uncovered. And we know this miracle happened and the city existed in antiquity and enormity and in iniquity because it was a vile city in so many ways, full of idolatry and sacrificing of babies and extreme sexual immorality that took place in that city. And they had many opportunities to repent but they did not. So now the children of God, the people of God, Israel are on the brink of this blessing. They are ready to go in but here are these walls. And they've never passed this way before, like through the Jordan. But now these walls stand in front of... what a challenge.

How are they possibly going to get through the walls and into the Promised Land? That had a few skirmishes in the desert, a few battles, but nothing like this! This powerful city, fully protected and now the Israelis are wondering how are we ever going to do this? And General Joshua was feeling the same pressure. He's up early and he prays, and he's looking at this Jericho, this challenge. Maybe you're looking at a challenge in your own life, like the walls of Jericho. Something that's going on in your life as though it was saying 'Keep out!' from the blessing of God. Stopping you from experiencing the abundance that we have in Christ.

Remember, the Promised Land is not heaven; the Promised Land is heaven on earth in Christ. It is the abundant life; it is the Spirit-filled life, it is the victorious life that we've been promised in Him! And God says, "It's yours! Go take it, go take it. Step into it. Every place your feet touch, this is already yours"! But now they're looking at these walls and these enforcements and this army that is in front of us! What a challenge! And you may be looking a t a great challenge in your marriage, in your home, with your kids, with your health. It may be a diagnosis; it may be a darkness in your life. It may be a distraction in your life. I don't know what may be standing in front of you, but like the walls of Jericho, it seems that you are kept out and left out from going in and experiencing the fullness and the fruitfulness and the freshness of this life that you've been promised in Christ. And you need a miracle. You need God to move. You need a miracle in your life. The Bible is full of miracles. And miracles still happen today.

So in chapter 5, verse 13 and 15, before the miracle comes here's what has to happen. Before God moves and the miracle takes place in our lives, here's what has to happen, it's what happened to Joshua at Jericho. "When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, 'Are you for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, 'No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him. 'What does my lord say to his servant?' And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, 'Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so".

Now this is one of the mysteries of the Bible. The next series I'm going to do in The Bible in a Year, I'm going to call it, "Mysteries and Miracles of the Bible". And this is one of those mysteries because his question is who is this person who's standing before Joshua, who startles him before daybreak? With drawn sword in his hand? Who is this one? Well, Joshua first supposed that it was an enemy. "Are you for us or against us"? Could have been an adversary. But this was not a human adversary; this was not a man at all. A human being. So not an adversary, not an aberration. Maybe you might be thinking, "Well, Joshua spent a lot of time in the desert and now he's hallucinating". No, this wasn't an aberration, this wasn't a ghost or a hallucination because there's flesh and blood here. There's a man with a drawn sword here. There is a sense, there is humanity here. It's not an angel.

Now angels exist as we're going to see in just a moment but we know that this is not an angel, a warrior angel and typically angels are often portrayed in a powerful, warlike witness. And they appear from time to time and yet, angels are not allowed to accept worship. In fact, in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, John sees an angel and bows down to worship at the feet of this angel and this angel said, "John, get up, you're going to get both of us in trouble". Because worship God only. So angels are powerful, spiritual beings, created beings. I've written a book about angels and the study of angels is, again, one of the mysteries of the Bible. It's so very fascinating and angels do exist. But this is not an angel. Because when Joshua fell down and worshiped at the feet of this one then that one accepted the worship that was given.

So there's only one option left, isn't there? Who is this divine stranger? The was God, the Son of God, Jesus, Himself. The commander of the Lord's army. Theologically we call this a theophany. It's an appearance of God, of Christ, a pre-incarnate, appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. That means that this is God in the flesh; God in the flesh; God incarnate. And we know that on several occasions in the Old Testament, Jesus made an appearance. Like in the fiery furnace. One standing there with Shadrach, Meshak and Abednego, "like the Son of Man". He shows up from time to time.

You see, Jesus did not begin to exist a Bethlehem, but He was chosen before the foundation of the world. He is God, the Creator. "In the beginning was the Word, Jesus. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the same as was in the beginning with God". "He was slain", the Lamb of God, "before the foundation of the world". So "Jesus is the same yesterday, today, forever". He's not limited by time or history or heaven or any of that! So God chose to show up in the flesh from time to time. And this is one of those instances. This is Jesus BC in the OT. And He's the commander of the Lord's host. And He shows up in the presence of Joshua. Before the wall would come down, before the miracle would take place, before the miracle takes place in your life, what happened to Joshua must happen to you and me. And you know what that is? Surrender. Before the victory comes the surrender to the commander of the Lord's armies.

Now I like that phrase, the commander of the Lord's armies. Because, back to angels, angels are witnesses. They often come bringing messages from God in the Bible. Angels are worshippers. Their primary role in creation and throughout eternity is to worship God. And the beautiful, powerful angels are great worshipers. They're workers. Let me give you a few scriptures: Psalm 103, verses 20 and 21: "Bless the Lord, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts". Hosts, the heavenly host. It literally means angel armies. And here we discover the Lord of angel armies. He ministers to do His will.

Then Psalm 91. You should know the ninety-first Psalm. In fact, if you're in trouble, just dial 911, and you'll find in the first verse and throughout Psalm 91 incredible comfort. And in verse 11 and 12: "For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. And on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against the stone". So they are present! Angels are all around us right now. Did you know that? Angels are here! They're everywhere. They are embassies for God. They're on errands for God Himself. You need to realize that all around us is a spiritual world, an invisible world, and unseen world that exists, more real than the world we're in right now! And in this world, there are demon forces, fallen angels, Lucifer Himself. Satan is a fallen angel. The forces of hell, fallen. But these angelic beings that God has created, and they are with us and they are around us. And they are serving God and they're serving God's people.

Hebrews 1, verse 14: "Are they not all (these angels) ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who inherited salvation". Have you inherited salvation; do you know Christ? Then angels are present to protect you, to provide for you in ways that you may never even know. But this is not an angel. This is the commander of the angels; this is the Captain of the Lord's host, of these warrior angels. Powerful and present are these angels, but they are commanded by God Himself. Jesus commands them all. Are you ready for a miracle? The message to Joshua was clear. "I am with you".

Joshua is looking at these walls, like you may be looking at some obstacle, some difficulty, some danger, some situation in your life, Joshua was looking at all of that and wondering how the battle would be won, how they would ever get through there. And God shows up. And God says, "I am with you; I am here and I am for you". We need to know that God is near when we face our fears, when we face those foes, when we fight our battles. We need to know that God is present; that He was real. You know, when it's night sometimes your children, if you have small children, they cry out in the night and so, daddy, what do you do? "Hey, mom, the kid's crying". No, I hope you get up, go down the hall and assure your little crying child that you are there for them, mom or dad. It works.

And when we cry out in the night and when it's dark like it was in Joshua's day here, when we cry out, our Father is there to comfort us. The Lord of angel armies who never lost a battle. That's a good place for an Amen! Who never lost a battle is leading you forward in your life. And He will be present in your darkest hour, in your most difficult moment! That's when God shows up in ways we could never imagine. When you're sick and in a hospital room, and you're laying there alone, by yourself, and the Lord of angel armies shows up for you. It could be in the touch and the kindness in the words of a friend who, like an angel, visits you. It could be in Scripture, that God shows up, His presence is real and you're hurting, and yet, in the pain there comes a promise from God's Word that, maybe you learned it long, long ago but the Holy Spirit reminds you of that promise and you then can remind God of His promise.

You know, how about when your children come to you and they say something like, you know, you gave them a call, and then something happens, you don't get it done, you're delaying it. And then your kids say... What do they say? "But you said, but you said". God's children, not arrogantly, but in awe can come to Him and say, "God, but You said in Your word 'We are more than conquerors in Jesus.' You said, 'If God be for us, who can be against us?' You said, God, that 'I know the plans concerning you, plans to give you a future and a hope.' You said, Lord".

And maybe that's the way that God shows up to you in such a powerful way, it's through Scripture, it's through prayer, supplication. It could be even in this sermon that God will show up and speak to you because you're facing something, you don't know how to get through, you don't know how to get over, and God showed up this morning and even as something is said right now, you know that the Lord is with you, that the Lord is speaking to you and He's giving you hope for your future. This is a promise: "I will be with you". There is no exception. No exception for the child of God.

So Joshua then asks a question. "Are you for us or are you an adversary"? And the answer came. NO! Neither! Because I haven't come here to take sides; I've come here to take over! He's the Captain of the Lord's host! And what matters is not whose side God is on in the end. Now God is on your side. "If God be for us, who can be against us"? But the question at this point is: Are you on the Lord's side? Who's on the Lord's side? That's what God wanted to know! That's what Joshua needed to know. So I'm not for you or against you.

Sometimes people say something like, "Well, you know what? God is my partner in business. God is my partner". God doesn't want to be your partner in your business! No, no, He's not your partner. He's not an equal partner; He's not even a majority partner. He's the Lord of life, the Lord of all. God doesn't need you to be His partner! He can take your business or whatever you're doing and do what only God can do; more than you could possibly do. Sometimes you say, "Well, God's my copilot". God's not going to be your copilot. He's the pilot! What did Carrie Underwood's sing, "Jesus, take the wheel". Quit trying to drive His car and move your life!

This is what is happening to Joshua. And I really believe that was happening to me that dark night. It was a kind of surrender, when I said, "Lord, You have my life; You have all of my life. Whatever it is, Lord, I am Yours; I am on Your side"! And it says when Joshua was by Jericho, look at it again at verse 13: "He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, he saw the Man". The Man, Christ Jesus! So you see what happens before the miracle can take place, before the walls fall, is to get our eyes on Jesus. Stop looking at your Jericho and start looking to Jesus who "is the author and the finisher of your faith". Look to Jesus. Oh, glance at your problems; you got to deal with problems. You can't change something until you confront something, but glance at your problems and gaze at the promises and the Promised One, Jesus Himself.

Don't be looking at Jericho because if you keep looking at your Jericho, you're going to be discouraged and defeated. You start looking to Jesus and that's where the victory is found. It happened to Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas were in jail, in prison for preaching the Gospel and what happened? Were they whining and complaining? No, they were worshiping God at midnight. This is all in Acts chapter 16. They're worshiping God and all the prisoners are listening to them. And as they're worshiping God, the walls began to fall; shake; an earthquake. The walls fell down and the chains fell off, and now they are free. And they tell the jailor about Jesus and his whole family comes to Christ. But I'm just saying that when you find yourself at midnight in a dark place and prison chains are binding you, whatever is going on, lift up your eyes to Jesus.

Get your eyes on Him! Because your Jericho is never going to fall until the commander of the Lord's host takes command of your life and mine. We used to sing an old song, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace". It's true. And so what does this old grizzled general Joshua do? Having seen the Lord, he gets on his face before Him. He takes off his shoes; he knows he's on holy ground. This isn't the desert any longer; this is God's ground; this is holy ground. The presence of the Lord is here and he's worshiping the Lord. He was strong, he was mighty. He came out of Egypt with Moses. He lasted all through the desert and the wilderness. He was one of the spies sent early on that said we could take this land forty years earlier. He had to put up with all the death and the dying in the wilderness because somebody else, a bunch of other people, the majority said we can't go; the giants are too big. And he's put up with all of this.

By now he is a strong and mighty man! But not too strong, not too mighty, not too powerful, not so great, not so old, not so sage, that he would get on his face before God! Can I tell you, you're not strong enough; you're not too strong; you're not too big; you're not too great that you don't need to get on your face before God in your life and worship Him. Which means you give Him your heart. So here's what we're saying today: If you want the walls to fall down and the miracle to take place in your life, then get on your knees. When you are knocked off your feet, get down on your knees and then rise with the victory of Jesus in your heart. But what happened, notice what happens in chapter 6, verse 2, and then we'll close. "And the Lord said to Joshua, 'See, I have given you Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.'"

So the battle was already won; the victory was already won! "I've already given you this victory"! And Christ has given us our victory! So go, and take it! Surrender your life completely to the Lord. Because we share in Christ' victory. He died on the cross for our sins, defeating the powers of sin and death and hell, and He rose again on the third day! And He lives and is coming again! Talk about walls of Jericho falling down! When they blew the trumpet and shouted. There's coming a day another trumpet is going to sound and the shout and the voice of the archangel and Jesus is coming again! And forever we're going to share in His victory then. But it all begins now. You can live in your victory and experience your miracle today! Today!

And the greatest miracle is the miracle of salvation when we are forgiven our sins. I tell you this: there's no person that God cannot save. There's no problem that God cannot save. There's no mountain that God cannot move. There's no sickness that God cannot heal. There is no wall that God cannot crush! There's no addiction that God cannot destroy! There's no habit that God cannot enable you to overcome! There is nothing in your life but that God can do what He promised He would do, and that is to give you victory in your life! You can live the promised land life now by surrendering your life to the Lord, and giving yourself to share in the victory that is ours. He always causes us to triumph, the Bible says, in Jesus Christ! Amen?
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