Remember to keep faith strong | Chapel Hill Online | Gig Harbor
The enemy of faith is forgetting, and keeping faith strong requires remembering. Join Pastor Ellis White as he shares why the Israelites built memorials out of stones, and how they understood the importance of remembering God’s faithfulness to keep their own faith strong. Originally preached on a baptism Sunday, this sermon is a good reminder and lesson of what baptism is, and how we use it as a memorial to God’s faithfulness.
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God doesn’t forget us even when we forget him. When was a season in your life when you would say you forgot the faithfulness of God to you?
Read Joshua 3-4. How did God display his presence to the Israelites through what looked like a hopeless situation?
What are some significant moments in your walk with the Lord that you don’t want to forget? Pick one and share it with your LifeGroup or family.
Last week, my 6-year-old, Ezra, played his first ever game of flag football. He had a great time, but despite mine and the coach’s attempts to explain the game to him, he kept forgetting the rules. This showed up in one moment in particular when he received the ball on offense, and proceeded to turn around and run the wrong direction!
Everyone started shouting at him, “Turn around! Run the other way!” And after going several yards towards his own end zone, he finally got the message and turned the other way. At this point, with the entirety of the other team in front of him, he proceeded to juke and weave his way through every single player, running almost the length of the field to score a touchdown! Yesterday morning he told me it was actually a trick play!
Welcome to Chapel Hill! My name is Ellis and I am one of the pastors. I’m so glad you are joining us on this Baptism Sunday, whether you are in person, or online. We are continuing our journey through the book of Joshua, in a series we are calling: Ready. Set. Go. We are asking the question: how can we be ready for God’s work in the future? And the answer today’s passage gives us is: remember his work in the past.
Many of us have gone through periods of dryness in our faith—times when it feels like our faith is low. And I believe the passage we are going to read today helps us to see that the foe of faith is forgetfulness. Just like Ezra forgot which way to run, we too, so often forget. The thing which most easily causes our faith to waver, is forgetting the mighty works of God in our lives to this point. Remembering God’s performance in the past, is the key to finding faith in the future.
We pick up the story of God’s people over 3200 years ago as they are about the enter the land that God had promised them. But in order to enter the land, they must cross the River Jordan. Two weeks ago, I had someone say to me after the service: “You called the River Jordan a raging river. I’ve been there. And it was definitely more of a trickle!” Well, he was right. At certain times of year. The problem facing the people of Israel was the time of year, as Joshua 3:15 says, “the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest.” (Joshua 3:15b ESV) The snow caps on the mountains are melting and what was previously a 100-foot-wide river, only 3 feet deep at some fords, is now a raging torrent. [SLIDE] Not only that, but the floodplain surrounding the river was packed with tangled bush and jungle growth, meaning that the water they had to cross may have been as much as a mile wide and swamp-like. What faced the people of Israel was an insurmountable obstacle. And, more than that, it’s estimated that more than 2 million people had to cross that river. It seemed impossible.
But the Lord commanded Joshua to send the priests ahead of the people carrying the Ark of the Covenant. And we all know what that is because we’ve seen Indiana Jones. [SLIDE] The Ark of the Covenant was the box in which the stone tablets of the 10 commandments were contained; it was the centerpiece of Israel’s worship, and the place where God dwelt. And Joshua passed on the Lord’s command, saying, “When the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” (Joshua 3:13 ESV) And as the Lord had promised Joshua, so he did…
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