Great Apostasies of the Bible

Four Steps To Ruin

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Pr. Stephen Bohr


Series Code: GAB

Program Code: GAB000001

01:11 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:14 Father in heaven, we thank You so much
01:16 for the wonderful privilege of being in Your house.
01:21 We thank You for Your word
01:24 which is a sure guide
01:25 in a world of confusion and rebellion.
01:28 And as we begin this series
01:30 on the "Great Apostasies of the Bible,"
01:33 we ask for the presence of Your Holy Spirit.
01:37 I ask, Father, that You will give us
01:38 clear minds and tender hearts
01:41 so that we might understand and receive Your word.
01:45 And we thank You for hearing our prayer for we ask it
01:48 in the precious name of Jesus, amen.
01:52 The title of our study today is "Four Steps to Ruin."
01:59 Basically we're going to study the story of Achan
02:02 but before we get to the story of Achan,
02:05 I like to say that we are planning today
02:08 to study the story of the pilgrimage of Israel
02:12 from Egypt to Canaan in four different ways
02:17 in which Israel attempted to conquer Canaan.
02:24 In fact we're gonna notice that the whole story
02:26 of the pilgrimage of Israel from Egypt to Canaan
02:29 is a type or an illustration of our pilgrimage
02:33 from this world to heaven.
02:36 Now as we begin I would like to mention
02:38 the four symbols of the story that we are going to deal with.
02:43 First of all we have Egypt, Egypt represents the world.
02:48 And as Israel was baptized in the Red Sea,
02:51 we have cut our connections with the world
02:55 when we were baptized into Jesus.
02:58 Canaan represents heaven where we're marching to.
03:03 In other words, we've left Egypt the world
03:05 and we are on our way to the heavenly Canaan.
03:09 But between Egypt and Canaan,
03:11 there is a sojourn across the wilderness,
03:14 there is a pilgrimage and that represents
03:17 our trek from the world to the heavenly kingdom.
03:22 And finally there's Israel, of course Israel represents us.
03:28 Israel represents God's people.
03:31 Now as I mention we are going to study four ways
03:35 in which Israel attempted to take the Promised Land
03:40 and it's gonna illustrate four ways
03:42 in which people react or which people believe
03:47 they can actually make it to heaven.
03:51 Now I would like to begin by going to the first method
03:56 that-- and maybe I shouldn't even call it a method,
04:00 I should call it the first illustration of the way
04:04 in which one fails in attaining
04:08 the kingdom or an attaining Canaan
04:09 because we're gonna notice
04:10 the three of these methods are actually failures
04:14 and only one of them is successful.
04:17 So let's notice the first example of failure
04:21 in attaining the kingdom.
04:23 Numbers 13:30-33 tells the story of when Israel arrived
04:30 at the borders of Kadesh Barnea,
04:32 the borders of the Promised Land.
04:36 They were about to enter the Promised Land.
04:40 They had left Egypt, they'd crossed the wilderness
04:43 and they were on the threshold of glory.
04:47 But we know the story when they arrive there
04:49 at the borders of the Promised Land,
04:52 twelve spies were sent out,
04:53 one for each tribe and ten of the spies
04:57 brought back an evil report.
05:01 And basically we're gonna read the passage
05:03 where we find the ten spies saying
05:07 that the enemies in Canaan were too powerful for Israel
05:11 and they could not be overcome.
05:15 And so we're gonna notice that everybody
05:17 decided that they would name a leader
05:19 and they would go back to Canaan.
05:22 In other words, they said
05:23 let's give up on the idea of going into Canaan
05:27 because it is too difficult, the enemy is too powerful,
05:31 the cities are walled all the way to the sky.
05:37 Now notice what we find in Numbers 13:30.
05:43 "Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said,
05:48 'Let us go up at once and take possession,
05:51 for we are well able to overcome it.'
05:55 But the men who had gone up with him said--"
05:59 and they were right,
06:01 "'We are not able to go up against the people,
06:06 for they are stronger than we.'
06:08 " By the way they were right.
06:11 The Canaanites were stronger than they were.
06:14 I continue reading.
06:17 "And they gave the children of Israel
06:20 a bad report of the land
06:22 which they had spied out,
06:23 saying, 'The land through which we have gone as spies
06:26 is a land that devours its inhabitants,
06:30 and all the people whom we saw in it
06:33 are men of great stature.
06:36 There we saw the giants
06:38 (the descendants of Anak came from the giants),
06:42 and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight,
06:45 and so we were in their sight.'"
06:50 I must repeat that the people were right.
06:52 They were too weak to overcome the Canaanites.
06:56 The cities were too strong for them
06:58 and the Canaanites were too powerful.
07:01 And yet God had said that He would go with them
07:04 and He would give them the victory.
07:07 In fact, the two spies who gave a good report
07:11 and said that Israel could overcome
07:14 the Promised Land and take it,
07:17 Caleb and Joshua actually tried to encourage the people
07:22 to take the land.
07:23 Let's read Numbers 14:6-10,
07:27 so we can catch the positive attitude
07:30 of Caleb and Joshua, the two spies
07:33 who brought back a good report.
07:36 It says, "But Joshua the son of Nun
07:39 and Caleb the son of Jephunneh,
07:43 who were among those who had spied out the land,
07:46 tore their clothes" This is after the bad report,
07:51 "and they spoke to all the congregation
07:53 of the children of Israel, saying
07:55 'The land we have passed through to spy out
07:58 is an exceedingly good land.
08:01 If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us
08:06 into this land and give it to us,
08:09 'a land which flows with milk and honey.
08:12 Only do not rebel against the Lord,
08:15 nor fear the people of the land,
08:17 for they are our bread,
08:20 their protection has departed from them,
08:23 and the Lord is with us.
08:26 Do not fear them.'"
08:29 In other words, the two spies Caleb and Joshua are saying
08:32 we can overcome the giants in the Promised Land
08:36 because God is with us.
08:40 But the people listen to the bad report,
08:42 the report of the majority
08:45 and therefore this open rebellion against God
08:50 and this desire to return back to Canaan
08:52 led God to doom them,
08:56 to go and wander in the wilderness
09:01 for a period of 40 years
09:03 because they wanted to go back to Egypt
09:07 instead of entering Canaan.
09:10 So the first attitude where individuals
09:14 come to the borders of the Promised Land
09:16 and they fail in taking the Promised Land
09:20 is because they've rebelled against God,
09:22 they say the obstacles are too great,
09:24 the enemy is too powerful,
09:27 by the way the enemies here
09:28 represent the devil, represent his angels,
09:31 represent the power of the world.
09:33 In other words, we are too weak to take the Promised Land,
09:37 let's at least go back to Egypt and enjoy ourselves.
09:41 Let's go back to the world and enjoy ourselves.
09:45 But now we must go on to the second attitude.
09:48 First attitude is simply open rebellion against God,
09:52 going back to the world where we left
09:55 and not persevering unto the end.
09:58 The second attitude is illustrated
10:01 by what Israel did after God doomed them to wander
10:05 in the wilderness for 40 years.
10:08 We find the story in Deuteronomy 1:41-46.
10:15 After God told them that they were gonna wander
10:18 in the wilderness for a period of 40 years,
10:21 they decided that they would go
10:23 and they would fight against the Canaanites.
10:27 And the Bible tells us
10:28 that when they went in their own strength,
10:30 God was not with them
10:32 and they suffered a terrible defeat.
10:36 Let's read about this in Deuteronomy 1:41-46.
10:43 "Then you answered and said to me,
10:46 'We have sinned against the Lord,
10:49 we will go up and fight,
10:51 just as the Lord our God commanded us.'
10:54 And when everyone of you
10:56 had girded on his weapons of war,
10:59 you were ready to go up into the mountain.
11:02 And the Lord said to me, 'Tell them,
11:05 "Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you,
11:10 lest you be defeated before your enemies.'"
11:13 'So I spoke to you, yet you would not listen,
11:18 but rebelled against the command of the Lord,
11:22 and presumptuously went up into the mountain.
11:25 And the Amorites who dwelt in that mountain
11:28 came out against you and chased you as bees do,
11:33 and drove you back from Seir to Hormah.
11:36 Then you returned and wept before the Lord,
11:39 but the Lord would not listen
11:40 to your voice nor give ear to you.'
11:45 " So the second attitude is let's take Canaan
11:48 as our possession through our own efforts,
11:51 not necessarily by the help of the Lord
11:54 but through our own strength and through our own power.
11:58 And the Bible tells us that when they thought
12:00 that they could enter Canaan through their own efforts
12:03 and through their own power, they failed miserably
12:07 because God was not with them.
12:09 And so we find illustrated here two different attitudes
12:14 towards entering the land of Canaan
12:16 or entering heaven in our case today.
12:19 Number one, is coming to the borders
12:21 of the Promised Land and saying
12:23 the enemy is too powerful, the world is too strong,
12:27 we can't enter Canaan, it's not any used to even try
12:31 and so we turn around and we go back to Egypt,
12:34 we go back to the world where we came from
12:37 and we live the worldly lifestyle
12:39 because we feel it's too great an effort
12:41 to enter the Promised Land.
12:43 The second method is to try and enter heaven
12:46 or take the Promised Land through our own efforts
12:49 and that also is a terrible failure.
12:54 But there is a third attitude
12:56 towards taking the Promised Land
12:58 and this is the one that I want to dwell on
13:00 especially in our study today.
13:03 And that is that we can overcome the enemy
13:06 and we can take the Promised Land
13:09 or we can enter heaven
13:12 while we cherish our own favorite little sins.
13:19 In other words, we can enter heaven in sin.
13:23 Now here's where we come
13:24 to this very interesting story of Achan.
13:30 It's a story which is recorded in Joshua Chapters 6 and 7.
13:38 And I'd like to say
13:39 first of all before we go into study this story
13:43 that Jesus had met Joshua outside of Jericho,
13:48 this is recorded in Joshua 5:13-15.
13:53 And Joshua had asked
13:55 the Prince of the host of the Lord who is Jesus,
14:00 "Are you with us or are you with our enemies?"
14:03 And the prince of the Lord's host said,
14:05 "No, I am come as the Prince of the Lord's host."
14:08 And then he told Joshua to take his shoes off
14:11 because where he was, was holy ground.
14:15 And the Bible tells us that Joshua
14:17 also knelt before this being.
14:19 So it was Jesus had actually come down to help Israel
14:24 in their fight against Jericho
14:27 so that they could take the Promised Land.
14:30 The Bible tells us that they went against Jericho
14:32 and we know the story.
14:34 Through the power and help of the Lord,
14:38 the city walls crumbled,
14:41 the city fell to the ground and Israel conquered
14:45 this first city of the Promised Land.
14:48 And so they said, wow,
14:50 this is going to be quite easy,
14:53 all we do is march around the city
14:55 and suddenly the walls crumble
14:57 and the city falls to the ground.
15:00 And so they say let's go now and fight the next city.
15:05 And so they went to a city called Ai
15:09 and they suffered a terrible defeat.
15:14 Why had they suffered such a signal victory
15:17 when they had gone into Jericho
15:19 and now they suffered such a terrible defeat
15:22 when they went against Ai?
15:25 The reason is that there was anathema among the people.
15:30 Someone who was cherishing sin
15:33 which made it impossible for Israel
15:36 to enter the Promised Land,
15:38 they could not stand before their enemies.
15:42 Let's read in Joshua Chapter 7 and beginning with verse 10
15:46 the story of-- the sad story I might say of what happened.
15:51 It says there in Joshua 7:10,
15:53 "So the Lord said to Joshua 'Get up!
15:58 Why do you lie thus on your face?'"
16:00 Because he was crying, now notice this.
16:03 I-- actually "Israel has sinned,"
16:08 I want you to notice that, "Israel has sinned,
16:12 and they have also transgressed My covenant
16:15 which I commanded them.
16:17 For they have even taken some of the accursed things,
16:22 and have both stolen and deceived,
16:25 and they have also put it among their own stuff.
16:30 Therefore the children of Israel
16:32 could not stand before their enemies,
16:34 but turned their backs before their enemies,
16:37 because they have become doomed to destruction.
16:41 Neither will I be with you anymore,
16:45 unless you destroy the accursed from among you."
16:48 Now I don't know, I don't know
16:49 if you noticed here the number of times
16:52 that God says they, they, they referring to Israel.
16:58 Actually the Bible tells us that it was Achan
17:02 that took these things,
17:03 of course some of his family members knew about it
17:06 but all of Israel had not taken things from Jericho
17:09 'cause God had said don't take anything from Jericho.
17:13 So what is God saying by blaming all of Israel
17:18 for what Achan had done?
17:20 You see, folks, sin is a corporate affair.
17:25 Sin in the church is not an individual thing,
17:30 a little leaven actually causes the whole lump to rise.
17:36 A little sin leavens the totality of the church.
17:39 There is no such thing as individual sin.
17:43 And of course we know when an individual
17:45 develops cancer in his or her body,
17:48 that unless you cut out the cancer,
17:50 the cancer will take over the whole body.
17:53 And that's exactly what would happen with Israel
17:56 if Israel did not take care of this problem,
18:00 of an individual and his family cherishing sin and still think
18:05 that they could take Canaan as their possession,
18:08 that they could enter the land of Canaan.
18:11 Allow me to read you a statement
18:12 that we find in the book "Conflict and Courage" page 120.
18:16 This is a statement from Ellen White
18:19 where she says that sin is a corporate affair.
18:22 When an individual in the church is cherishing sin,
18:25 it leads to the defeat of the total congregation.
18:29 She says this, "The history of Achan
18:32 teaches the solemn lesson that for one man's sin
18:37 the displeasure of God will rest upon a people
18:40 or a nation till the transgression
18:42 is searched out and punished.
18:46 Sin is corrupting in its nature.
18:49 One man infected with its deadly leprosy
18:54 may communicate the taint to thousands.
18:58 Those who occupy responsible positions
19:01 as guardians of the people are false to their trust
19:05 if they do not faithfully search out and reprove sin."
19:11 And so God told Joshua,
19:13 "You must cleanse this evil from Israel."
19:18 Now they were two ways in which this evil could be cleansed
19:21 so that the people could take the Promised Land
19:25 as their possession.
19:26 The first way would be if Achan confessed his sin,
19:32 I believe that God would have forgiven Achan.
19:36 But there was another way
19:37 and that is that if he did confess his sin,
19:40 ultimately his sin would destroy him.
19:44 Notice what we find in Joshua 7:13,
19:48 we're gonna notice the process
19:50 that God followed in this situation with Achan.
19:54 It says there in Joshua 7:13,
19:57 "Get up," God is speaking to Joshua,
20:00 "sanctify the people, and say,
20:02 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow,
20:05 because thus says the Lord God of Israel,
20:08 "There is an accursed thing in your midst,
20:11 O Israel, you cannot stand
20:14 before your enemies until you take away
20:17 the accursed thing from among you."'"
20:22 And as I mentioned there were two ways,
20:23 two possible ways of taking away the accursed thing,
20:26 that would be, number one,
20:28 for him to confess his sin and to repent of his sin
20:31 or the other way is to make sure
20:34 that your sin will find you out.
20:37 Now it's interesting to notice the process that God followed.
20:40 God gave Achan at least six calls.
20:43 God was saying I know where you are at,
20:46 I want you to repent,
20:47 I want you to confess your sin.
20:50 First of all Achan had seen the defeat of Israel
20:55 at the hands of the people of Ai.
20:57 He knew that they'd been defeated
20:58 because of his cherished sin in the congregation.
21:03 Secondly, he had heard the announcement
21:06 that Joshua had made to the congregation
21:08 that the next day the transgressor
21:11 was going to be found among the congregation.
21:14 And yet in neither of these two cases,
21:17 did he step forward and say I am the guilty party?
21:22 God gave him actually four other calls.
21:27 Notice Joshua 7:14, the process that was followed
21:31 in identifying the transgressor.
21:34 It says there in Joshua 7:14, "In the morning
21:39 therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes.
21:44 And it shall be that the tribe
21:45 which the Lord takes shall come according to families,
21:50 and the family which the Lord takes
21:51 shall come by households, and the household
21:55 which the Lord takes shall come man by man."
22:00 Now the question is why did God follow this process
22:03 of choosing the tribe, then choosing the family,
22:06 then choosing the household and then choosing among men.
22:10 The fact is that God was saying to Achan,
22:13 I know which tribe you are in,
22:15 I know which household you are in,
22:18 I know which family you are in,
22:20 and I know who you are
22:22 and I know where you are at.
22:24 And so God through this process
22:26 was actually calling Achan to confess his sin
22:31 and to show sorrow for sin.
22:34 You know God knew where he was,
22:36 God could have told Joshua,
22:38 "Hey, go to Achan's tent,
22:39 he is the one that stole the stuff.
22:41 Go, take him outside the camp and burn him."
22:44 By the way the Bible says that he was stoned
22:46 and then he was burned.
22:47 That's a very interesting judgment
22:51 we will notice a little bit later on.
22:53 Now notice Joshua 7:15.
22:58 "Then it shall be that he who is taken
23:01 with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire,
23:06 he and all that he has,
23:08 because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord,
23:12 and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel."
23:17 And so then God follows the process
23:20 of identifying the transgressor,
23:23 the one who was hanging on to sin and cherishing sin.
23:27 Do you know that the Spirit of Prophecy says
23:29 that one sin cherish will annul all the power of the gospel
23:33 and it will definitely keep you out of victory over the enemies
23:37 and it will keep you out of heaven.
23:39 That's what God is trying to illustrate here.
23:41 You see it does no good for us
23:44 to rebel against the will of the Lord
23:46 and go back to the world, that's the first attitude.
23:49 It does no good for us to try to enter heaven
23:51 through our own efforts, it's impossible
23:54 but equally as serious is the idea
23:57 that you can enter Canaan and overcome the enemies
24:00 so that you can take over Canaan
24:02 and at the same time cherish your favorite sins.
24:08 Now I want you to notice
24:09 how the process is described in Joshua 7:16
24:14 and we're gonna read through verse 18.
24:17 "So Joshua rose early in the morning
24:19 and brought Israel by their tribes,
24:22 and the tribe of Judah was taken."
24:25 That was Achan's tribe by the way.
24:27 "He brought the clan of Judah,
24:29 and he took the family of the Zarhites,
24:33 and he brought the family of the Zarhites
24:35 man by man, and Zabdi was taken.
24:38 Then he brought his household man by man,
24:43 and Achan the son of Carmi,
24:46 the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah,
24:49 of the tribe of Judah, was taken."
24:55 You see the calls had run out.
24:58 He had seen the defeat of Israel.
25:00 He had heard the announcement that the next day
25:03 the transgressor was gonna be found.
25:05 He had seen the tribe chosen,
25:07 he had seen the family chosen,
25:09 he had seen the household chosen,
25:10 he had seen the men blocked there
25:13 for the transgressor to be chosen
25:15 and yet he chose to hang on to his sin.
25:20 When he has discovered we find that Joshua
25:25 has some very clear and direct counsel for Achan.
25:28 Notice Joshua 7:19, "Now Joshua said to Achan,
25:35 'My son, I beg you,
25:39 give glory to the Lord God of Israel,
25:43 and make confession to Him, and tell me now
25:48 what you have done, do not hide it from me.'"
25:53 And then in the very next verse,
25:54 we find Achan admitting his sin.
25:58 Did you hear the word that I used?
26:01 I did not say that he confessed his sin,
26:05 I said that Achan admitted his sin.
26:09 It's different to confess your sin
26:12 than it is to admit your sin.
26:15 Notice verse 20, "And Achan answered Joshua and said,
26:21 'Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel,
26:27 and this is what I have done.'"
26:29 And then he describes exactly what he had done,
26:32 we're gonna study that in a few moments.
26:35 You know it's kind of like a child
26:37 who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
26:41 You know and then when mom comes
26:43 and discovers that he's had his hand
26:45 in the cookie jar when mama said,
26:46 "Don't you dare eat any of the cookies."
26:48 The child says, "Oh, I'm sorry, mom.
26:51 I'm sorry."
26:53 But he's not really sorry that he disobeyed mom
26:55 and took cookies out of the jar,
26:57 he's sorry because of the punishment
26:59 that he knows is coming.
27:01 And that was the type of repentance
27:03 if you can call it repentance of Achan.
27:06 It was an admission of guilt
27:08 but it was not a confession of guilt.
27:12 Notice how Ellen White describes
27:16 this admission on the part of Achan.
27:20 "Conflict and Courage" page 121.
27:25 She says, "Achan acknowledged his guilt,
27:29 but when it was too late
27:32 for the confession to benefit himself.
27:35 He had seen the armies of Israel return from Ai
27:39 defeated and disheartened,
27:42 yet he did not come forward and confess his sin.
27:46 He had seen Joshua and the elders of Israel
27:49 bowed down to the earth in grief too great for words.
27:54 Had he then made confession,
27:56 he would have given some proof of true penitence,
27:59 but he still kept silence.
28:03 He had listened to the proclamation
28:05 that a great crime had been committed,
28:07 and had even heard its character definitely stated.
28:10 But his lips were sealed.
28:13 Then came the solemn investigation.
28:16 How his soul thrilled with terror
28:19 as he saw his tribe pointed out,
28:22 then his family and his household!
28:26 But still he uttered no confession,
28:29 until the finger of God was placed upon him.
28:32 Then, when his sin could no longer be concealed,
28:36 he admitted the truth.
28:40 How often are similar confessions made.
28:43 There is a vast difference between admitting facts
28:47 after they have been proved
28:49 and confessing sins known only to ourselves and to God."
28:54 That is a remarkable statement.
28:57 Now what I want us to notice is that Achan sin
29:00 followed a four step process.
29:04 And this will teach us a great lesson for us
29:06 because we're also marching to Zion,
29:09 we're marching to Canaan,
29:10 we have enemies to overcome in order to enter Canaan.
29:14 It does no good for us to return to the world
29:16 and rebellion against God, that's not gonna save us.
29:19 It does no good for us
29:21 to try to enter Canaan through our own efforts.
29:23 Israel was defeated in that method.
29:25 It does no good for us to hang on to our cherished sins
29:28 because we will not be able to stand
29:30 before our enemies, we can't take Canaan.
29:33 And when we notice that Achan sin
29:35 followed a four step process,
29:37 we learn many lessons that will be valuable for us.
29:41 Notice Joshua 7:21
29:43 and I hope you'll underline four key words
29:47 that we have here, notice.
29:50 "When I saw" Achan says,
29:52 that's the word I want you to underline,
29:54 "When I saw among the spoils
29:59 a beautiful Babylonian garment,
30:01 two hundred shekels of silver,
30:03 and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels"
30:08 Notice that were told that Achan saw those things.
30:11 Now let me ask you,
30:12 was it a sin to see those things?
30:16 Of course not, because all Israel
30:18 was seeing those things.
30:20 You see there is a difference between temptation and sin.
30:25 Temptation is when something momentarily crosses our mind,
30:30 sin is when you allow that to lodge in your mind
30:34 and it becomes an obsession and then you take action.
30:39 You know Martin Luther was very wise when he said
30:42 you can't keep the birds from flying over your head
30:46 but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.
30:50 We can't keep temptations from flying through our minds
30:54 but we can keep those temptations
30:56 from lodging in our brain
30:58 and then becoming sin and thought
31:01 and then eventually sin in action.
31:05 So the first step was that Achan saw,
31:09 no sin in seeing but the problem is
31:12 if you continue seeing and you continue looking,
31:16 then you have the second step that leads to ruin.
31:20 Notice Joshua 7:21 continuing after saying that he saw,
31:26 it says there, "I coveted them."
31:33 You know Seventh-day Adventist,
31:34 we emphasize a lot that sin is wrong action.
31:40 But you know that sin
31:41 before it becomes a wrong action,
31:45 it involves wrong thinking.
31:47 In other words, sin has its origin in the mind,
31:51 sin has its origin in the brain
31:54 and then it produces fruit in action.
31:58 And so Achan says I saw these things
32:02 and then I, what?
32:04 I coveted them, that is I desired them.
32:08 Notice that he sinned before he took these things
32:12 because Jesus said that covetousness for example
32:15 is breaking the seventh commandment
32:17 in Matthew Chapter 5.
32:19 In other words, whoever looks upon a woman to cover her
32:21 has already committed adultery in his heart
32:24 Jesus says even before the action.
32:27 And that's the reason why David was very wise
32:31 when the Holy Spirit inspired him
32:33 to write Psalm 119 where he says
32:37 "The law have I hid in mine heart,
32:39 that I might not sin against you."
32:41 You see, we need to build barriers
32:44 against sin in our minds
32:47 because sin does not originate in action,
32:50 sin originates in the mind,
32:53 sin is first of all wrong thinking,
32:57 not wrong acting.
32:59 If you're gonna overcome sin,
33:01 it must be overcome in the level
33:03 of the thinking processes first.
33:07 But now notice the third step of Achan sin.
33:10 Joshua 7:21, I'm just gonna read the phrase.
33:16 He says, "And took them."
33:20 Now do you notice the process here?
33:22 He says I saw these things.
33:26 Then he says I desired or I coveted these things.
33:31 In other words, you know,
33:33 I sinned in my mind is basically what he's saying
33:37 because the tenth commandment says thou shalt not, what?
33:39 Thou shalt not covet.
33:40 And then when he covets these things, what does he do?
33:45 He takes them, action follows thoughts.
33:49 In other words, the wrong thinking
33:51 led to wrong action and as an Adventist,
33:54 we need to emphasize that sin begins in the brain.
33:57 You know we might not even commit the bad acts
33:59 but if we have the wrong thoughts,
34:01 it's still sin according to scripture.
34:04 And then I want you to notice the fourth step.
34:08 Achan continues saying there in verse 21.
34:11 "And there they are, hidden in the earth
34:16 in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it."
34:22 So what is the first step?
34:25 Trying to hide what he had done.
34:28 I saw, I coveted,
34:32 I took and I hid.
34:36 That reminds me of that verse in Proverbs 28:13
34:41 where the wise man Solomon said,
34:44 "He who covers his sins will not prosper,"
34:50 and this is an illustration in the story of Achan,
34:53 "but whoever confesses
34:55 and forsakes them will have" what?
34:58 "Will have mercy."
35:00 By the way do you know what made Achan's sin
35:03 so particularly offensive to God?
35:06 It's simply because Jericho was God's tithe of the land.
35:14 Did you realize that Jericho was God's tithe of the land?
35:19 It was a first city that Israel conquered
35:22 and God said don't you take any of the gold,
35:24 any of the silver, any of the bronze
35:26 that all needs to be dedicated to the sanctuary.
35:32 And so Achan what he did
35:34 was he actually stole God's tithe.
35:39 Notice Joshua 6:19.
35:44 "But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron,
35:48 are consecrated to the Lord,
35:51 they shall come into the treasury of the Lord."
35:55 Notice Joshua 6:24, "But they burned the city
35:59 and all that was in it with fire.
36:02 Only the silver and gold,
36:04 and the vessels of bronze and iron,
36:06 they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord."
36:10 In other words, Achan in a very real sense
36:13 stole the tithe.
36:17 Is that a problem in the church today?
36:20 Would something like that keep us out of the heavenly Canaan?
36:25 It's fruitful thought.
36:28 The Bible says thou shalt not steal,
36:30 it doesn't say thou shalt not steal from man.
36:34 It says thou shalt not steal,
36:35 if it's serious to steal from men,
36:37 how much more serious to steal from God?
36:41 Is it just possible that this is one of those cherished sins
36:44 that does not allow the church to overcome the enemies
36:47 that it might take the heavenly Canaan
36:49 as its possession.
36:51 Allow me to read Ellen White's comment
36:53 on this issue of the tithe
36:56 as it applies to the story of Achan.
36:59 Volume 3 of the Testimonies, page 268,
37:03 "The Captain of the Lord's host had led the armies of heaven.
37:08 The battle was the Lord's, it was He who fought the battle.
37:13 The children of Israel did not strike a blow.
37:16 The victory and glory were the Lord's,
37:19 and the spoils were His.
37:23 He directed all to be consumed except the gold and silver,
37:27 which He reserved for His treasury.
37:30 Achan understood well the reserve made
37:35 and that the treasures of gold and silver
37:37 which he coveted were the Lord's.
37:40 He stole from God's treasury for his own benefit."
37:46 Powerful statement.
37:48 You know there are other stories in scripture
37:50 that illustrate the same four steps to perdition.
37:54 You have the story of the sin of Eve in the garden of Eden.
38:00 Let's notice Genesis Chapter 3 and verses 6
38:03 and then we'll jump down to verse 8.
38:04 Genesis 3:6 and 8,
38:07 tell me if you find the same four words
38:09 that we notice in the story of Achan.
38:11 It says there in Genesis 3:6,
38:14 "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
38:21 that it was pleasant to the eyes,
38:22 and a tree--" What?
38:24 "desirable" did she desire at first before she took?
38:29 "and a tree desirable to make one wise, she-" What?
38:33 There it is, "She took of its fruit and ate.
38:37 She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."
38:40 And then let's go to verse 8.
38:42 "And they heard the sound of the Lord God
38:44 walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
38:46 and Adam and his wife-" What?
38:49 There it is, "they hid themselves
38:51 from the presence of the Lord God
38:53 among the trees of the garden."
38:57 You could say the same thing about the sin of David.
38:59 I could give you biblical example
39:01 after biblical example of the four step process
39:05 that leads to sin.
39:07 You remember David, the Bible says
39:10 that in 2 Samuel Chapter 11 that it was the time that
39:14 when the kings of Israel should have gone out to war.
39:17 And instead of going out to war,
39:18 instead of being busy,
39:20 the idle mind is the devil's workshop and so David
39:23 instead of being out fighting the battles of the Lord,
39:26 he was nice and comfortable in the palace
39:28 and he walks out one day into the balcony
39:30 and he sees this beautiful woman bathing naked.
39:34 And if you read the story there in 2 Samuel Chapter 11,
39:37 you will discover the very same four words
39:40 as in the story of Achan
39:41 and as in the story of Eve's sin.
39:46 The Bible says that David saw this woman.
39:50 Then the story says that David coveted this woman.
39:53 Let me ask you was it a sin for David to see this woman?
39:56 No, he went on to the balcony,
39:58 you know, he looks out and he sees this woman.
40:00 Listen, you would have to run around,
40:02 you have to walk around with your eyes
40:04 blindfolded in order not to see
40:06 but even then you would have troubles
40:07 because you would have your, the eyes of your brain.
40:11 You know, it didn't help four monks to go into monasteries
40:13 because they took their sinful brain with them.
40:17 but anyway, you know,
40:19 David saw what he should have done,
40:22 see that's why you overcome,
40:23 sin is at the first step at the temptation,
40:26 you should have turn and said, I look no more!
40:29 But instead of doing that,
40:31 it says there in 2 Samuel 11 that he coveted her.
40:37 And then the word took her is used
40:41 and then that he tried to hide his sin,
40:44 he most certainly did
40:46 and he tried to do it by killing-
40:50 imagine that by killing his trusted general
40:53 Uriah the Hittite.
40:55 Unbelievable, the results that sin
40:58 leads to when you cherish sin in your life.
41:03 And so, folks, we cannot enter heaven,
41:06 the heavenly Canaan by our own efforts.
41:11 It does us no good to turn around and say, oh,
41:14 I better go back and enjoy the world anyway
41:17 because it's too difficult to enter heaven,
41:19 it requires too much effort, the enemy is too powerful.
41:23 It does us no good to hang on to sin
41:27 thinking that we can have heaven,
41:29 we can overcome the enemies,
41:30 we can enter the Promised Land
41:32 while we cherish our sins.
41:35 The question is then,
41:36 how can we take Canaan as our possession?
41:43 Well, in the story of the conquest of Jericho,
41:47 we have the secret.
41:51 It was actually a combination
41:53 of divine power and human obedience.
41:58 Divine power combined with human effort.
42:03 God had said to Israel, I want you to go
42:05 and I want you to march around the city of Jericho,
42:09 once a day, seven times on the seventh day
42:12 and I am gonna take care of the rest.
42:14 All you have to do is march around,
42:16 blow your trumpets, shout.
42:20 And the city is gonna fall.
42:22 Now Israel could have said that's the most ridiculous thing
42:25 that we've ever heard in our lives.
42:28 You don't conquer a city by blowing your trumpets
42:31 and by shouting and marching around it,
42:33 in fact, the people inside many of them
42:35 must have thought that the Israelites were fools.
42:39 That's not the way you do battle,
42:40 but God said- you know,
42:41 could God had made that walls of the city
42:44 crumble without Israel marching around
42:47 and blowing the trumpets and shouting?
42:48 Of course He could have,
42:49 but God wanted them to show obedience
42:53 and then He kicked in with His divine power
42:56 and gave them the victory over the enemy.
43:00 In other words, victory over the enemy,
43:02 taking Canaan means trusting in God enough,
43:06 loving God enough to do what God tells us to do
43:11 and He will give us power to overcome the enemies
43:14 and the obstacles no matter how large they are.
43:18 It reminds me of the story of Israel
43:20 next to the Red Sea, in Exodus 14
43:23 the Egyptians were coming with 600 of their chariots,
43:26 with their armies to defeat Israel,
43:29 Israel was caught in, they had no escape,
43:32 the sea was in front of them, mountains on one side,
43:34 desert on the other, the Egyptians behind them.
43:37 It looked like they're gonna be defeated.
43:39 God didn't say, you know, you guys need to--
43:42 you need to go out and you need to fight.
43:45 You know what the Lord said?
43:47 He said be still and see the salvation of the Lord.
43:53 But do you know what Israel had to do?
43:54 To show that they believe in the salvation of the Lord?
43:57 The story tells us that Moses extended his rod
44:00 and the people had to walk into the waters
44:03 actually before the waters open.
44:05 They had to show their faith and trust
44:08 that God was gonna do what He said He was gonna do.
44:10 They actually got their feet wet
44:13 and then God opened the Red Sea.
44:17 We can find the same principle of the combination
44:20 of divine power and human effort
44:22 in the story of David and Goliath.
44:25 In every biblical story you find this.
44:27 Let me ask you, could God have caused Goliath
44:30 to have a heart attack?
44:32 Of course He could.
44:33 Could God had defeated Goliath
44:35 in many ways doing all by himself?
44:39 Of course but He said to David,
44:41 I'm gonna give you the victory over this giant.
44:43 Even though he's about 12 feet tall,
44:48 you know, you're just a little short kid,
44:50 I'm gonna give you the victory.
44:52 So what does David do?
44:53 Said I'm gonna sit down and watch you, Lord.
44:55 That's not what David does.
44:57 David actually goes down and he picks up five stones,
45:01 some people think it's five stones
45:03 because they were five cities in the Philistine Pentapolis,
45:08 other people believe that it was
45:10 because Goliath had five brothers.
45:13 We don't exactly know the reason why,
45:15 but David went and he got five stones
45:18 and he obeyed the Lord.
45:19 He hurled his slingshot and he threw the stone,
45:24 and guess what God did?
45:26 God guided the stone into the only vulnerable place
45:30 that was available, the forehead of Goliath,
45:34 in fact, it says that the stone had so much force
45:38 that it encrusted itself in the forehead of Goliath.
45:42 And by the way when he fell,
45:43 he wasn't dead because the Bible says
45:46 that David then went with his sword
45:48 with Goliath's sword and David killed him.
45:53 So once again the idea of divine power
45:57 combined with human effort,
45:58 the devil cannot defeat God's people
46:01 if they use this wonderful formula.
46:05 It makes me remember the story of the Triple Alliance
46:09 that had come against Israel,
46:11 this story is told in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20
46:15 and Israel was shaking
46:17 and so God gave some counsel to Jehoshaphat.
46:20 Let me read you from 2 Chronicles 20:15 and 16.
46:26 "And he said, 'Listen, all you of Judah,"
46:30 This is a prophet.
46:32 "Listen all you of Judah
46:34 and you inhabitants of Jerusalem,
46:37 and you, King Jehoshaphat!
46:39 Thus says the Lord to you, 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed
46:44 because of this great multitude,
46:46 for the battle is not yours, but God's.'
46:51 " And so what does God tell Israel?
46:52 Sit down and see the salvation of the Lord.
46:56 That's not what He tells them to do.
46:59 Notice what we find in Chapter 20
47:01 and beginning with verse 24.
47:03 "So they rose early in the morning"
47:04 Notice that they obey the Lord,
47:06 "So they rose early in the morning
47:07 and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa,
47:10 and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said,
47:14 'Hear me, O Judah
47:15 and you inhabitants of Jerusalem:
47:18 Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established,
47:21 believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.'"
47:24 And there was a prophet who'd said go out against them,
47:27 and they obeyed the voice of the prophet.
47:30 And now notice verse 21,
47:31 "And when he had consulted with the people,
47:34 he appointed those who should sing to the Lord,
47:39 and who should praise the beauty of holiness,
47:42 as they went out before the army
47:44 and were saying, 'Praise the Lord
47:47 for His mercy endures forever.'
47:49 " See God told them to go on and sing,
47:52 they had something to do.
47:54 We find in verse 22,
47:56 "Now when they began to sing and to praise,
48:00 the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon,
48:04 Moab, and Mount Seir,
48:06 who had come against Judah, and they were defeated.
48:10 For the people of Ammon and Moab
48:12 stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir
48:15 to utterly kill and destroy them.
48:17 And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir,
48:20 they helped to destroy one another.
48:22 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness,
48:25 they looked toward the multitude,
48:27 and there were their dead bodies,
48:29 fallen on the earth.
48:31 No one had escaped."
48:35 See once again this idea, you know,
48:37 we're going to enter the heavenly Canaan
48:40 by cooperating with God.
48:42 It doesn't mean that we work and God saves us,
48:46 it means that God saves us,
48:48 we trust in Him, therefore we obey Him
48:52 and we overcome the enemies.
48:54 Now notice Philippians 2:12-14.
48:59 Philippians Chapter 2 and actually verses 12 and 13.
49:04 Here the Apostle Paul explains this process.
49:07 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed,
49:12 not as in my presence only,
49:15 but now much more in my absence,"
49:18 notice this, "work out your own salvation
49:22 with fear and trembling,"
49:24 who works out the salvation?
49:27 It says, "work out your own salvation
49:30 with fear and trembling."
49:31 You say that's righteousness by works,
49:34 but then you have to read the next verse.
49:35 In the next verse it says,
49:37 "For it is God who works in you both to will
49:45 and to do for His good pleasure."
49:49 Do you see the principle illustrated in this passage?
49:53 Very clearly the Lord tells us work out your salvation
49:59 with fear and trembling
50:01 but then he says it is God who worked,
50:04 it is God who works in you both to will
50:09 and to do His good pleasure.
50:13 You know God had tried to teach Israel this lesson.
50:18 Notice Deuteronomy 3:22.
50:22 Deuteronomy 3:22.
50:26 God had warned Israel
50:27 when they entered the Promised Land
50:28 that they were gonna meet these powerful giants
50:31 and that the cities were gonna be wall to the heavens.
50:34 God had warned them
50:35 but this is what Canaan was gonna be like.
50:38 But God had also told them don't be afraid of them,
50:41 because I am more powerful than they are.
50:44 Notice Deuteronomy 3:22.
50:48 "You must not fear them,
50:53 for the Lord your God Himself fights for you."
51:00 There you have in a nutshell,
51:01 the principle that I'm trying to share with you.
51:04 The secret of victory over the enemies
51:07 so that we can enter the heavenly Canaan.
51:11 It means trusting in the Lord and allowing the Lord
51:14 to fight our battles through us.
51:18 Notice what the Apostle Paul has to say in Philippians 4:13.
51:25 Philippians 4:13.
51:32 There the Apostle Paul says this
51:34 and you've heard this verse before.
51:36 He says, I can do most things
51:38 through Christ who strengthens me.
51:43 Oh, that's not what it says,
51:44 that's the Steve Bohr 21st century version.
51:49 Okay, let's try again.
51:51 I can do some things through Christ
51:55 who strengthens me.
51:57 That's not what the text says.
51:59 The text says I can do all things,
52:03 except overcome sin,
52:06 through Christ who strengthens me.
52:09 That's not what the text says.
52:11 You know when people say it's impossible to overcome sin
52:14 because you have a sinful nature
52:17 and the sinful nature is too powerful
52:19 and you're gonna be sinning all the way
52:21 into the heavenly Canaan.
52:23 When they say that they're really saying
52:25 that the flesh is more powerful than God is.
52:28 They don't think of it this way
52:30 but if you say that it's impossible to overcome sin
52:33 before we enter heaven, you're saying
52:35 that it is impossible for God
52:37 that God is not powerful enough
52:39 to give us the victory of over sin
52:41 that the flesh and the world and the devil
52:44 are more powerful than God is.
52:47 Let's not limit the power of God.
52:51 Now I'd like to read a statement as we draw this to a close,
52:54 this is a marvelous statement.
52:56 It's found in "Christ's Object Lessons"
52:58 pages 3-- actually page 333,
53:03 page 333 of "Christ's Object Lessons."
53:07 And actually you know it would be good
53:09 if you read pages 331 to 333,
53:13 there's a lot of material that comes before this statement
53:16 but I'm only gonna read this excerpt from page 333.
53:20 That should be easy to remember, right?
53:22 333, half of the number of the beast.
53:25 How about that? You will never forget it now.
53:28 "Christ's Object Lessons" 333,
53:30 this is what Ellen White has to say,
53:33 "As the will of man
53:37 cooperates with the will of God,
53:42 it becomes omnipotent."
53:46 What does omnipotent mean?
53:49 It means that you can do everything.
53:51 It means you can do all.
53:53 What happens when the will of man
53:54 cooperates with the will of God?
53:56 The will of man becomes, what?
53:59 Omnipotent.
54:02 She continues saying,
54:03 "Whatever is to be done at His command
54:08 may be accomplished in His strength."
54:11 I love that.
54:12 Once again, "Whatever is to be done at His command
54:16 may be accomplished in His strength."
54:18 In other words God tells us what to do
54:22 and then He gives the strength to do it.
54:25 She ends the statement by saying,
54:27 "All His biddings are enablings."
54:32 In other words, everything that He bids us to do,
54:35 He also gives us the resources to do.
54:39 You know coming back to the issue of the tithe,
54:41 some people say, "Pastor, you know,
54:42 I can't return the tithe.
54:45 I just don't have enough money.
54:47 You know, after I pay all of my bills
54:49 there's nothing left."
54:51 You know I can give you a formula
54:53 where you'll always have enough money to pay your tithe,
54:56 that is pay it first or return it first.
54:59 You'll always have enough if you return it first.
55:01 "Oh, but then I've the creditors come
55:03 and foreclose my home."
55:05 Well, let me ask you,
55:06 what will be better to have your home foreclosed
55:08 or to steal from God?
55:11 Probably it'd be best for us
55:13 not to get into debt on our credit cards
55:16 and have good stewardship principles.
55:19 Then we wouldn't have troubles
55:21 taking the tithe and giving the tithe
55:23 and also paying the rest of our bills.
55:26 What I'm saying is that when God tells us,
55:28 you know, return a faithful tithe,
55:31 he's gonna make it possible for us
55:32 to return a faithful tithe.
55:34 When God says keep the Sabbath, you know, people say,
55:39 "Well, but what I'm gonna do, I have to work on Sabbaths.
55:42 They're not gonna give me Sabbath off at my job."
55:45 So what are you saying is God is telling you to do something
55:48 and He's not gonna give you the resources to accomplish it.
55:51 The fact is God says in His word,
55:53 He says if you love Me,
55:55 trust Me enough to keep My Sabbath.
55:58 And if you keep My Sabbath,
56:00 I'm not gonna leave you out to dry.
56:03 I'm gonna come
56:04 and I'm going to either allow you to keep your job
56:08 or else I am going to make it possible for you to find a job
56:11 that is better than the one that you have.
56:13 But we have to step out in faith
56:16 and we have to obey God because we love God.
56:20 So we find in our study today
56:23 four ways of approaching Canaan, heaven.
56:29 We have left Egypt.
56:31 We're on our pilgrimage across the desert of this world
56:35 to the heavenly Canaan.
56:37 The enemies are the devil and his angels,
56:39 the world, the flesh, they're powerful
56:43 and there are four ways in which we can approach this,
56:45 we can either, one,
56:47 say that enemies are too powerful, I give up,
56:50 I'm gonna go back and have fun in the world.
56:53 The second one, the second way of approaching to the same,
56:57 hey, I can take Canaan by my own efforts,
57:00 by my own works I can make it to heaven,
57:02 it's an impossibility.
57:04 The third is by reaching the borders of Canaan
57:08 and thinking that we can enter Canaan
57:10 and take possession of the Promised Land
57:12 by cherishing sin in our lives.
57:17 And the fourth is the true and only way
57:20 and that is by cooperating with divine power
57:26 to overcome the enemy in our lives.


Revised 2014-12-17