Taking the Promised Land

I believe it is not a coincidence that we find ourselves moving to Nambour at this time. It seems that our history has led us to this moment, and the Lord has given us a unique vision to reach our community for Christ.


I talked last week about the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, and showed how these assure the people of the Exodus that they had God’s provision, protection, piloting and, most of all, His presence. Let’s look at the promises that a fledgling leader called Joshua held onto as he was about to possess the Promised Land…

 

Joshua 1:5-9 (ESV)

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

EDGE OF THE PROMISED LAND

 

The pillars of cloud and fire, and also the manna ceased, when the people arrived at the Jordan river and prepared to enter the Promised Land. Was it because God was suddenly not with them? No, it was because they had matured into a different season… He promised He is always with the, just in a different way.

 

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

Actually going into the Promised Land signified the end of the Exodus from Egypt and slavery, but it was the start of the fight to possess the land. Joshua and Co didn’t come to just passively settle in the land, they had to fight for it, starting with Jericho, a city just across the Jordan River.

 

So Joshua sent in some spies, who were protected by the harlot Rahab, and then, as soon as the Ark of the Covenant reached the river, the Jordan ceased to flow in a miracle reminiscent of the Red Sea, and the people, all 3 million of them, crossed to finally set foot in the Promised Land.

 

Joshua 3:17 (ESV)

Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

 

So let’s look at 4 things God was showing them about Himself as they entred the Promised Land, and currently is showing us.

 

1.       GOD’S PROMISE in the PROMISED LAND

 

The people entered the Promised Land armed with God’s promise. There was work to be done, faith to be manifest, but they had God’s Word to them…

 

Joshua 1:7 (ESV)

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

 

God promise Joshua again and again that if he was obedient, and kept the book of the law, the Bible, in his heart, that God would grow his ministry in the Promised Land.

 

2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV)

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

 

God has given us promises in Christ Jesus, to reach our community. To touch it, and to see lives transformed. We are not here to play church, we are not here to build our own Kingdom, we are here to be real people to reach our real, hurting community with the love of our real God! But God’s promises to us are dependent upon obedience… We cannot disobey and expect God’s promises and blessings to come to pass.

 

2.       GOD’S PAST PROVISION

 

Joshua and the Israelites has seen God’s miraculous provision for 40 years. From the plagues of Egypt to the miracle at the Red Sea, from the pillars of cloud and fire to the miraculous provision of manna and quail. Even their sandals didn’t wear out!

 

Joshua 5:11-12 (ESV)

And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

 

And God’s not going to stop providing miracles for us, but they will be different miracles. Let me remind you that we have see incredible provision… $700k given to Lily House to enable them to buy our old property and release us to purchase this one, buying this effectively for half price, $41,000 back from stamp duty, more than $50,000 given by people, and just the other week $70,000 given to Lily House again. We have seen God open to us a position no other church on the Coast has. We are so blessed, and if we cling to the promises and remain obedient to God’s Word, the miracles will continue. If you need a miracle in your own life, this is the place to be!

 

NAMBOUR’S PAST

 

Look at where we’ve moved to! Nambour’s history has also been preparing the way for us. Originally Woombye and Yandina were first settled, because they were Cobb and Co stagecoach station rest stops, but the valley in between them, called Naamba in Aboriginal, started to develop faster, especially when the rail link from Brisbane to Gympie was built in 1891, and the Moreton Sugar Mill opened in 1894.

 

Here’s where it gets exciting for us. A group of non conformist protestants from England’s east, mainly Wesleyans, Methodists, Presbyterian and Quakers, we’re called the Burghers. They suffered religious persecution, and dispersed to several places around the world to find a place they would be free to worship as they chose. They were Bible centred and believed in living holy, pious lives. Some went to Canada, some to Massachusetts, and some came to Australia, specifically Nambour.

 

Long before MacDonald’s, Nambour had Burghers.

 

Families like Whalleys, the Burys, the Lowe’s, the Perrens and later the Lanhams, formed a Wesleyan church in 1884, and these families became the backbone of Nambour’s spiritual, business and social life.

 

Did you get that? The history of Nambour is that is was settled by pilgrims escaping persecution, wanting a safe haven to worship God in purity and love. This town was first established by Christians, for Christianity, it was built on Biblical principles, so it is no coincidence that we are gathered here today. God’s prophetic promise for this city still stands.

 

When Portuguese sailor Cpt Pedro Fernandez de Quiros stumbled over Australia in 1606, he prophetically called our country “Terra Australis Del Spiritu Santo”, the great south and of the Holy spirit. He spoke prophetic words and God’s promise still stands over this nation.

 

Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

 

God’s Word is never revoked, regardless of the circumstances we see around us. Sure, Australia has not yet realised this prophetic word as a nation, but God’s not done with us yet! And in Ignite’s case, the town of Nambour was birthed into a God given destiny by those early families, and His destiny for us remains unchanged… We are a prophetic city in a prophetic nation holding onto a prophetic promise from God. We were destined to be a stronghold for the people of God, so… why can’t revival break out in this beachhead for Jesus?

 

And it is no coincidence that you are here today in our Promised Land. As Esther was told,

 

Esther 4:14 (ESV)

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

Are you in this room, has God led you here, for such a time as this?

 

I believe It’s time for us to make a stand for holiness and godliness in our town, and in our despairing nation. God has brought you here for such a time as this!

 

3.       GOD’S PRESENT PRESENCE IN THE PROMISED LAND

 

Last week I talked about God’s presence, and how we all need the mighty presence of God’s  Holy Spirit in our lives to move into our destiny in our Promised Land. Well, the Israelites knew they had a destiny, and as the crossed the Jordan, they were ready to fight for the Promised Land, and all God had for them.

 

But God knew, and Joshua knew, that they needed to be reminded of God’s past blessings in the present. We too need to be constantly reminded of God’s goodness to us.

 

Joshua 4:8 (ESV)

And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there.

 

Joshua 4:21 (ESV)

And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’

 

Ignite is a great place to see the miracles of God, and for us to remind each other of the incredible blessings and destiny God has already done for us.

 

How do we do this? I head back to the passage where God gives Joshua instructions as he is about to take ground… God’s presence is galvanised when you put the Bible in your head!

 

Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

 

We can experience God’s presence every day as we pray, read His Word, write His Word on the tablet of our hearts and as we meet together. Together our faith is multiplied, and we can and will see God’s miracles and experience His presence.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 

You can be a Christian and not go to church, but if you do that you miss an incredible part of your Christian journey… Sharing it with people who love you, and stirring up God’s gift and destiny in you.

 

So many today have been hurt in church and are dislocated.  I have had dislocating shoulders, and a dislocation aptly describes what so many Christians feel like today. You’re still attached, still part of the body of Christ, but you’re in pain, you’re now functioning, you’re not knitted together properly.

 

You may have had a bad experience with church in the past. I know I’ve had it more than a few times, and have wanted to quit church, but Ignite is not like that. This is a place where we encourage you in your faith, walk through tough times together and, if you have a dream, of something in your heart, we do our best to empower and release you to be all you can be in Christ.

 

4.       GOD’S PATHWAY AHEAD

 

When Joshua and the gang entered the Promised Land, they had a vision. God had given them divine promises and a vision of taking the land.

 

The first city they faced was powerful Jericho, and God surprised them by giving odd instructions to take the city…

 

Joshua 6:2-3 (ESV)

And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valour. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.

 

God told Joshua to walk around the city 6 days straight, in silence. On the 7th day they were to shout, and blow trumpets. Now Jericho had a huge, seemingly insurmountable wall. Rather than worrying or strategising around how to breach the city wall, the people obeyed God’s odd instructions. They didn’t rant or comment on FB, they just obeyed…

 

Joshua 6:20 (ESV)

So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.

 

We face walls and barriers here, but we are not here idly wasting time. Ignite is here to win this city and whole area to Jesus Christ. God has give us a vision, He will roll out the right strategies as we go along, and He has given us a vision encapsulated in our motto.

 

Real people, real community and real God.  What does that mean in a practical way?  We, as real people have to love one another, and love the people in our area. We need to form a community, that welcomes the wider community and shows them the love of a real God.

 

Our world right now is a fearful, lonely place for many, and we have a message of hope… That’s our vision. We are not here to take Nambour by force of arms, we are here to shine the light of the gospel to this needy community, and love them into the Kingdom!

 

IT’S TIME TO STAND UP FOR OUR DESTINY

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time we stood up for our destiny, to stand in the gap for our people, and our destiny, promised prophetically so long ago, takes place right here. We’ve just crossed the Jordan river, we’ve entered our promised land, but this is not the end it’s the beginning of the battle!

 

Ephesians 6:12-13 (ESV)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

 

As we stand firm in this place we carry the seeds of rival to this haven, this beachhead for Christianity in our nation, as was promised years ago, and has still not yet been fully realised. We stand on the brink of destiny, you and I, together in this church, believing for the long awaited revival in Australia.

 

1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

 

We will labour here, but we will not labour in vain. I am challenging each of you to rise up into your destiny here at Nambour, the birthplace of Christianity on the coast. Long ago godly men declared this place God’s place, and now, over a century later, I boldly declare that this town is still God’s town, and we are God’s people obediently following God’s promise. So why can’t revival start right here in Nambour?

 

Today we boldly stand shoulder to shoulder and declare

 

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

 

But we also have to realise that we must stand and fight and be in unity to see God’s Kingdom come to Nambour. The Bible declares…

 

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (ESV)

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

 

TERRA AUSTRALIS DEL ESPIRITU SANTO

 

What better way to finish our first service here than for me to challenge you to join us, join with our leadership, join with our people and together let’s declare the hope and the goodness and love of God to a dry, thirsty, sin soaked, depressed people.

 

Esther 4:14 (ESV)

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

His actual words were:

“Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures and all those here present witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in the name of Jesus Christ, hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ’s person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of the human race, on this day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606, I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of Jesus, which from now on shall be called the Southern land of the Holy Spirit and this always and forever to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy, sacred Evangel may be preached zealously and openly.”

 

WHAT IS YOUR DESTINY, YOUR PROMISED LAND? WHAT DOES GOD WANT YOU TO DO IT YOUR LIFE?

 

WORDS HAVE POWER TO CHANGE LIVES, FOR GOOD OR EVIL. WHAT HAS GOS SPOKEN OVER YOUR LIFE? DO YOU BELIEVE IT?

 

 

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