Sunday, 29 November 2020
Pastor Jason Wang & Rev. Daniel Poon
This week is the last week of November, and we only have one more month till the end of 2020. How many goals and wishes are still unfinished? Rev. Daniel encouraged us not to give up, as everything is possible in God. Why should we fear God? Because we believe that God is a God who does miracles.
1. Pastor Jason’s Sermon on Joshua 3 and 4
V1, The Israelites “set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan”. But the Jordan River is too wide, how could they cross it? Everyone was questioning about how to cross the river.
V2, That was three days after three days. For the first three days, they were in Shittim to prepare food, because they would cross the river in three days. For the second three days, spies were sent to spy the city of Jericho. Then they came to the river and wanted to follow the ark, probably because Moses had passed away and there was no pillar of cloud or fire, so the Israelites needed to follow the ark. The distance between them and the ark was 2000 cubits, not too close nor too far.
V5, “…tomorrow God will do wonders among you.” Wonders and miracles are something beyond our imagination. Joshua actually had no clue what the wonders would be. God did not tell him anything. He believed that God would do it, but he didn’t know any details specifically. That is the way to follow God. I do not know what is going to happen but I know my God will lead me. We must believe that God will do miracles and that God will support his chosen leader.
V7-12, the priests had already begun to carry the ark to the Jordan River. God once again reiterated His promise to Joshua, i.e., I would be with you as I was with Moses. God finally spoke. Joshua had been waiting for many days. From the beginning of preparing food, God did not speak to him. When he was nervous, he heard the words from God. So, he told everyone to come over and said God would go ahead of us and destroy all the peoples in Canaan. He said very hastily that each tribe would send one person out.
V8, 13, Joshua said when the priests stood in the Jordan River, the waters would stand as a heap. What God asked the priests to do was just to stand in the river. But Joshua was so excited, and then he announced that when the priest stopped in the middle, the waters would stand up as a wall. There are many ways to cross the Jordan River, for example, walking on the water as Jesus did, or separating the water with a cloak like Elijah, or carried by God to fly across the river. There are thousands of ways to cross the river, but God just told Joshua to stand. Standing up means standing still, which is the same word. Everyone saw that the priests put their feet in the river, but nothing happened.
V14-17, The Bible says that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away. The water rose up as a wall about 30 kilometres away, and then the waters going downstream were cut off. How long did it take to cross the river? If 1,000 people went there together and 2,000 people followed, it would take about 1 hour, plus the priests, about at least 3 hours, not including the time to move the stones. Although God did not say how to cross the river, Joshua did. How did God respond? God decided to support the leader He had chosen and do according to what this leader said. God chose the leader and promised that He would make him great and He would be with him and support him to the end. Therefore, as the priests stopped, and the waters stopped. How we are going to follow God? God is all-powerful, and He will fulfil what He has said to the leaders He has chosen.
V15, Why did God talk to Joshua now? Because the priests were still standing there for at least three hours. The waters of the Jordan River were blocked for three hours and the water wall must have been almost as high as a many-stored building. The waters began to pour down, starting from thirty kilometres away. God felt that it was time to let the priests come up.
V18, “And it came to pass, when the soles of the priests’ feet touched the dry land, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before.” During this thrilling process, you may feel dangerous and terrified due to fear of the falling-down of waters. However, what we see here is everyone being protected, and no priest was swept away by the waters. God has the power to protect us from harm. God is capable of doing great things. You are safe and favoured, and God will protect the entire team. In the process of following God, we will make mistakes. We do not know how to walk an unknown road. But God will fulfil what He has to do. He will do wonders. He will support the leaders, and His power will protect us.
V23, Joshua put the stones in Gilgal to let the Israelites and their children remember what had happened. God parted the Red Sea in Moses’ generation, and in Joshua’s generation He separated the Jordan River. God will do wonders in every generation. So, we may not know how to do it, but God does miracles, and if we want to do this, God will support us to the end with His might.
Our church (611) has experienced God in the same way. Many co-workers did not take good care of their bodies and went to the hospital for surgery. There are the enemy’s attacks, as well as our own problems. We are not very good at communicating with the mass media and being attacked by them. But God has led us to overcome these challenges one after another. God is with us, and we choose to follow Him. We don’t understand many things, such as the pandemic and the politics, but God is here and will protect us. We must trust God with all our hearts and move forward in faith. You are safe and will witness God’s deeds in this generation.
2. Testimony from Shimu
In the past two days, my baby always cried at night. I tried every method to comfort him, but he just kept crying until he fell asleep in tears. I was afraid that he would keep crying again last night, Pastor Daniel asked the Bible school students to pray for him. Last night, he cried again. Then I realized, he would not stop crying whether I held him or not, so I just put him in his cot and let him cry. Suddenly, I recalled some memories of my childhood. I was like my baby crying when I was about three or four years old and my grandpa did not know how to comfort me so he just left me to cry by myself and said I was very annoying. That is exact the same way I am treating my baby now. Then I prayed in tongues and cuddled him, then the Holy Spirit said, in the name of Jesus, cast out the crying spirit from the baby. When I said it, he stopped crying. After stopping for two minutes, he cried again and I prayed again. After about a few minutes, he was completely quiet and he slept very well at night. God taught me that He is a powerful God. We were in front of the Jordan River and saw such a difficult situation. We don’t know how to cross it. I wanted to use my own experience to comfort this baby. When it’s useless, God reminds me that the name of Jesus is powerful. The crying spirit went away and the peace of God filled my baby. Pastor Jason reminded us again what kind of God we trust in. During worship I receives four words, lay down, and follow. Please set aside all your past experiences and thoughts, and walk the road ahead with God in a brand-new relationship.
3. Pastor Daniel’s Sermon on “Crossing Our Jordan”:
What Pastor Jason has shared with us today was related to the first commandment of the Ten Commandments that we learned last week, which is, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” It was God who led the Israelites. From Abraham to Joshua, they were slaves in Egypt for four hundred years, though it seemed that Joseph had been a superstar in Egypt for thirty years. Even now, you don’t think you really need God. Many aspects of your life seem good. I remind everyone today that God is with us and He will not leave us. Towards the end of 2020, I will share with you the photo of the Jordan River. In the past years of your life, you seem to have a lot of burdens, just like the Jordan River. The Israelites saw the Jordan River, which prevented them from entering the city of Jericho. When facing challenging situations, do we give up, or stay where we are?
Joshua 3: 6-7
6 Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. 7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
If you read the book of Joshua, you find the phrase “before the people” many times, because God wanted His people to know that He will go ahead of them. For forty years in the wilderness, Moses was with them. Let us not forget that God has also been with them for forty years.
In Exodus 13:21-22, for forty years, with the pillars of cloud and fire, God led Moses and the Israelites. Joshua 3:7, God said to Joshua, as I was with Moses, I am with you now. In the Gospel of John 5:17, Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” The original context of “working” implies that we can do what the Father has done. Just as God guided Moses, God told Joshua that He would lead him in the same way. My Father is working until now, so I am working, and God is doing things among us. Jesus is walking ahead of us. Perhaps we face the Jordan River in our lives. The pandemic has prevented the world from returning to the way it was before, and the future is also unknown. This is something we have never thought of before. But God knows everything, and He is going before us.
The source of the Jordan River is Mount Hermon. The Bible says that it is not that simple to build a barrier on the Jordan River. When we go to the dam, if the water keeps coming down from the source and stored up here, the dam will burst. How did all the Israelites cross the Jordan River? The water must stop from upstream close to the source. This is impossible for humans. This is different from Moses leading the people across the Red Sea. The Red Sea is standing on both sides, and the Jordan River must be stopped from the upstream. Because the river can only go in one direction and flow down the mountain. Only God can do it. Everything that happens in our lives is in the hands of God. Do you believe in God? Or do you choose an easy way when facing your Jordan? God told us to arise and shine this year, not to hide and run away. God has said that His relationship with you is still here. The enemy lies to us that we have no father and no father’s love, but God says that when we were still in the womb, He already knew us, and He will bless us.
The Holy Spirit is among us. He expects us to restore our relationships with the authority, parents, boss, government, teachers. God says, I want to heal you from the past hurt and restore you. Only in this way can the source of God flow into your life, your blessings, your family, the future family, the family for generations. I believe that the Spirit of God will do wonders among us.
V8, 13, 约书亚说等到祭司站在约旦河里，河水就会立起成垒。神只是说让抬约柜的祭司站在河里。但是约书亚太兴奋了，然后他就宣布，祭司站住的时候，河水就会立起成垒。过约旦河的方法有很多，像耶稣一样走在水面上，或者像以利亚一样用外衣分开水，或者神背他们身上过河。过河方法有千百种，神只是告诉约书亚说，站住。立起和站住，原文是同一个词。你是百姓，你是不是会很兴奋？大家就都看见祭司的脚放在河水里，但其实什么事情都没有发生。
6 约 书 亚 又 吩 咐 祭 司 说 ： 你 们 抬 起 约 柜 ， 在 百 姓 前 头 过 去 。 於 是 他 们 抬 起 约 柜 ， 在 百 姓 前 头 走 。7 耶 和 华 对 约 书 亚 说 ： 从 今 日 起 ， 我 必 使 你 在 以 色 列 众 人 眼 前 尊 大 ， 使 他 们 知 道 我 怎 样 与 摩 西 同 在 ， 也 必 照 样 与 你 同 在 。