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 Text: Joshua 7:2-12
Title: “Jesus in Joshua: The Victory of Salvation”
Subj: The attempted conquest of Ai.
Purpose: To discover the reason for this failure, and how to correct it.

Introduction: The Nation of Israel is flushed with victory. The first encounter with the heathen city of Jericho, after crossing the Jordan River into the promised land, has resulted in the first tally; the Jews one, the heathen zero! It took the Nation of Israel six days to prepare for this battle; six days of marching around Jericho; six days of silence before the Lord; six days of following the leadership of Joshua; and then the promised results as the walls of Jericho sank out of sight in the earth, and the eighty men of valor smote the city, 'utterly destroying all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and mule, with the edge of the sword." Only Rahab and her father's household escaped alive!

But in the midst of victory is planted the seeds of defeat. In the midst of the celebration, and the gathering of the gold, silver, brass, and iron for the house of the Lord, one of the children of Israel is seen moving in the shadows. Achan, of the tribe of Judah, saw the rich clothing, the silver, the gold; and coveting them, took them and hid them in his tent. The seeds of defeat for an entire nation begin to germinate from within one man's tent.

Text: Joshua 7:2-12 - "Jesus in Joshua: The Victory of Salvation” –prayer

I. THE RECONNAISSANCE OF AI (v2)

Note: Ai, which means 'the ruins', was situated just west of Jericho, and helped control the entrance to the heartland of the land of Caanan. It was situated on a flat surface of a fountain that sloped off into valleys on three sides, and was surrounded by a circular wall. Though its inhabitants were few, perhaps only 12,000, the city had to be defea­ted to continue into Caanan.

It is first mentioned in Gen 12:8 when Abram built an altar in its vicinity on his journey to a land that God would show him. Isaiah mentions its existence during Israel's 70 years of captivity, as do Ezra and Nehemiah in post-exile times. Today its exact location is still not positively known, but for the Nation of Israel in Joshua's day, Ai was the next necessary conquest after Jericho.

A. If We are to Have Victory the Goal Must be Clear
1. The men went up to see the goal
a. They had a vision
Pr 29:18 tells us, "Where there is no vision, the people perish,...”

B. If We as a Church are to Have Victory the Goal of Leading Others to Christ Must be Clear

C. Salvation Must be Our Goal for Others

1. We must visualize people being saved during our Harvest Month (don't we do that?)
2. We must visualize their end in Hell

D. Some Things Must be Seen by the Lost to Allow Us to Reach the Goal of Winning Them to Christ
1. That Jesus is God
2. That Jesus was virgin born
3. That Jesus lived a perfect life
4. That Jesus died a substitutionary death
5. That Jesus death was sufficient for every man & every sin
6. That Jesus was buried and rose again the third day
7. That without placing your faith and trust in Jesus to take you to Heaven, you will die and go to Hell!

THE NATION OF ISRAEL SAW THEIR GOAL!

II. THE RESPONSE TO AI (v3)

A. They Did Not Think Their “All” was Necessary

1. The first time the Nation sent in spies, they returned from spying out the land and cried, "We can't do it!" Therefore they wandered in the wilderness for 40 yrs! (Did not trust God)
2. The second time the Nation sent in spies, they returned from spying out Jericho and cried, "We can do it!”  They destroyed the city! (Did trust God)
3. This time the Nation sent in spies, they returned from Ai and cried, "This is a piece of cake!" They took as few and gave as little as necessary! (Trusted themselves).
a. They misread and misunderstood the consequences of the battle!

B. Victory Requires Our All
1. Victory in our Harvest campaign will require our all
2. Victory in our own lives will require our all
3. Victory in winning others will require our all

C. A Person's Individual Salvation Requires His/Her All
1. God does not accept 1/2 a life
a. But though we gave 100% at salvation, we took it back little by little!
2. God does not accept a 1/2 confession of sin
a. But though we confessed all at salvation, we stopped confessing, little by little!
3. God does not accept a 1/2 commitment to service
a. But though we desired to serve at salvation, we stopped serving, little by little!

III. THE RESULT AT AI (v4-5)
A. 3,000 Went Up, 36 Died, 2964 Fled

B. The Sin of One Man in the Nation of Israel Affected the Whole Nation Toward Their Goal of Victory

1. He robbed the Nation of its purity and holiness that it should reflect before God

C. The Sin of One Person in Our Church Will Affect the Whole Church
1. Just as the pain or inflammation of one part of your body will affect your whole body
a. We are the body of Christ

D. The Sin of Just One Man Affected the Entire Human Race
Rom. 5:12 "Thereby, as by one ma sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
1. The fact you are a lost sinner is your death knoll
Eph 2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins,...”
2. But you can be made alive through Christ
Eph 2:5 "...hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)”

E. Result of One Man's Sin
1. Some died
a. Your sin can cause others to die to spiritual things
b. Your sin can cause your own spiritual death
2. Host fled
a. They retreated, defeated
b. Sin causes retreat in your spiritual walk; it stops your advance to victory
3. All the nation lost heart
a. It’s hard to restart with a sin-filled heart!
b. Lost desire for victory, though they may have still talked about it

IV. THE RESULTS ON THE LEADER (v6-9)
A. Discouragement
(v6)
1. Joshua lost his courage, he went back to the Lord
a. Rent clothes (ripped clothes from outside. Some of us are trying to rip them from the inside!), fall on face, a sign of grief
b. Dust on the head signifies placing the noblest part of man beneath the ground of which he was formed in humiliation
2. The victory seemed so sure, but there was sin in the camp

B. Disillusionment (v7)
1. Joshua lost the vision of what God was doing
a. He blamed God
1) The blame is always in man, never with God
Matt 17:17,20  “Then Jews answered and said, ‘O faith­less generation, ... how long shall I suffer you?... ...for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place) and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
b. He wanted to go back where he came from
1) Where there was no chance of victory, no chance of blessing, only familiar surroundings
2) He did not want to go all the way back to Egypt, but he wanted to head in that direction
a) “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one footstep."

D. Despondency (v8)
1. Cast down in spirit, depressed
a. "What shall I say?"
1) Lost the ability to communicate the victory ahead

E. Disheartenment (v9)
1. To deprive of hope
a. The enemies will hear
b. The enemies will be encouraged through our defeat
c. The enemies will then prevail
d. God's name will be brought to reproach

V. THE REBUKE OF THE LORD (v10)
A. Get Up & Get Busy!

1. There is a time for prayer, and there is a time for performance!
2. This was not the time for prayer, but for purpose
a. The removal of sin from the life!
3. This is not the time to pray about being saved!
2 Cor 6:2 "... Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

VI. THE REPROACH ON THE LORD (v11)
A. The Defeat Caused Joshua to Worry about God's Name
, when in fact Israel's sin was the thing to worry about.
1. God will take care of His own Name!
2. How often a lost person asks about the heathen in Africa.
a. Forget the heathen, & worry about you own soul!

B. The Progression of Sin
1. Sin starts in the mind
2. That sin-thinking is transgression of God's command
3. The thought turns into action ("taken")
4. The taking is based on deceit
5. The thing taken is added to their own stuff (spiritual life)

VII. THE REMEDY OF THE LORD (v12)
A. Destruction of Sin

Matt 21:44  “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whosoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

B. Removal of Sin
1. The removal of the sins of the lost were taken care of at Calvary
2. The removal of the sins of the saved, must be by an act of the will through the power of the indwelling Spirit

Conclusion: Ai fell as soon as the sin of Achan was discovered, confron­ted, confessed, and punished. As soon as sin was removed from the camp of the Nation of Israel, victory was as sure as if they stood on the walls of Ai itself!

Your victory today must be in Jesus Christ! If you are lost in your sins, hell bound and hell deserving; Jesus has already paid the price of your punishment.  All you need do is come this morning, confronting your own sin, confessing your own sin, and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and save you! He will, He promised!

Christian, the victory of Jesus Christ in our life, in our church and during this Harvest Month depends on the removal of sin from your life! With each sin we lose power, with the loss of power comes loss of effective­ness, with the loss of effectiveness can come loss of victory. Do we want to see God do something great in this community? Are we willing to pay the price of destroying and removing all known sins in our lives? 

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