PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS

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1 1 PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS Introduction LESSONS FROM THE FALL OF JERICHO--JOSUA 6 Memory Verse: 16 The ancient city of Jericho was a very well-built, walled city. Archaeology tells us that it was surrounded by 2 massive stone walls. The outer wall was 6 feet thick and 20 feet high. The inner wall was 12 feet thick and 30 feet high. There was a 15 foot guarded walkway between these two walls. From a military standpoint, it was practically impenetrable. The walled city of Jericho stood as a physical and psychological obstacle between the people of Israel and them claiming the land God had promised them. Before they could move deeper into Canaan, the walled city of Jericho first had to fall. So the Israelites were faced with 3 choices: 1. Defeat Jericho and pass into the promised land. 2. Join Jericho and be assimilated into their culture. 3. Stay in the wilderness and die. That ancient city that stood between Israel and victory is a picture of those things that are entrenched and rooted in our lives. It represents the things that prevent us from going deeper with God ourselves. Regardless of how pious you may want to think you are, there are things embedded in your life that hinder your walk with God. Today we learn three lessons from this passage. Here s is how we can pull down strongholds in our lives:

2 2 I: LISTEN TO GOD S WORD (V.2) At the end of Chapter 5 Joshua is by Jericho. And the Bible says he looked up. I promise you, you will never find this attack option in any military manuals, but as men & women of God may we learn that we should never Question God s purpose or instructions. It doesn t make sense to tell a lame man to get up & walk It doesn t make sense to put mud on a blind man s eyes, tell him to go wash in a dirty river & expect him to see It doesn t to go to the grave of a dead man who has been dead 4 days & command him to, Come forth? It doesn t make sense that Jesus would the cross for us? II: OBEY GOD S INSTRUCTIONS (V.3-5;15-21) The Principle of Obedience Through Faith Regardless how unusual the plan was or how hard it was to carry out, there was explicit obedience. We read in Hebrews 11:30, by faith the walls of Jericho fell down In spite of the taunts that were perhaps hurled down at them from the walls as they marched silently around Jericho, they were willing to look foolish and simply rest in the Lord. He was their source of strength. If we want to overcome our obstacles and testing, we must submit to God s way by faith: Obedience meant following God s manual (walk round, no word, then shout). Trumpets proclaim the presence of God and his kingdom. "God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets." (Ps 46) Obedience meant destroying everything!

3 3 22 And Samuel said, Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord. He has also rejected you from being king (1 Sam. 15:22-23). III: TRUST GOD S PROMISES (V.16-17) The city walls came down God spared Rahab As Joshua and all the men of war stood looking at those walls around that great city, God had a word of comfort for their hearts! 1. Here, God promises Israel the victory before they ever attack Jericho! 2. He lets them know about the conclusion before they ever enter into their battle! As we face our obstacles, whatever they may be we can do so with confidence, because we have the Lord's promises as banners to march under: 1. We Have His Promise That Our Weapons Are Powerful Through God 2Co 10:4-5: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2. We Have His Promise That Our Battles Have All Been Arranged By The Lord.

4 4 Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 3. We Have His Promise That Our Ability Is Limited Only By Our Faith Php 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us 4. We Have His Promise Of Power In The Day Of Battle Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 5. We Have His Promise Of Ongoing Victory 1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 6. We Have His Promise That We Will Never Fight Alone. Heb 13:5b " God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.." As we face the walled cities in our lives, we need to learn to believe the Lord, to take Him at His Word and trust Him for our victories! Ro 4:21: being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 2Co 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ. And so through him the Amen is spoken by us to the glory of God. Jesus did not save us for us to be defeated! He saved us for the victory and He will be there all the way to help us secure it for His glory! Will there be trials? Yes, but there will also be victory.

5 5 Jericho was an impediment to Israel's inheritance. It was the symbol of the enemy s strength and power. It had a reputation for being indestructible. We each have our Jericho or Ai that stands in the way of our ability to possess our possessions in Christ; virtual strongholds that impede our spiritual progress. It may be a weakness in our character, a physical infirmity, it may be indifference to spiritual things in general or to a specific area we are neglecting. It could be materialism or some life-dominating pattern. It may be a difficulty at one s place of work, in the home, with a particular personality, or it may be a financial burden. Regardless of the nature of our Jericho, we must realize victory always comes through God s plan of deliverance never ours. Conclusion V.26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the LORD is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: "At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates." Joshua's curse was literally fulfilled years later during the reign of King Ahab. We read in 1 Kings 16:34, "In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun." Jericho was a wicked City It had been dedicated to God What kind of walled city are we facing right now? Does it seem that victory is absolutely impossible? We need only to take a lesson from Israel and start handling our Jericho's God's way. Our God is bigger than any stronghold in our lives.

6 6 What is a stronghold? A stronghold is a demonic fortress of thoughts housing evil spirits that: control, dictate, and influence your attitudes and behavior; oppress and discourage you; Anything in us strong enough to keep us from becoming like Christ A demonic stronghold is anything compelling enough to hold you in its power to keep you from receiving God s love and truth. The longer a "stronghold" is allowed to remain, the more difficult it is to deal with. 1. First, we begin to make excuses for it. 2. Then, we begin to justify it. 3. Next, we begin to legalize it 4. Lastly, we begin to defend it. Your situation right now may seem impossible. You may see no way of escape Satan would like nothing more this morning for you to see this Jericho in your life & turn away from it defeated & go right back into the wilderness. But God desires more than anything for you to completely trust in Him & follow Him to day. Here are some strongholds Fear Resentment Bitterness Unforgiveness Apathy Unbelief Depression Anxiety An unhappy marriage Sinful thoughts Lying Drugs Alcohol Pornography Prejudice Materialism Pleasures of the world Selfishness Homosexuality Rebellion Pride Greed Lust

7 7 A Prayer for Deliverance "Lord Jesus Christ, I believe you are the Son of God and the only way to God - that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again so that I might be forgiven and receive eternal life. I renounce any pride and religious selfrighteousness and any dignity that does not come from you. I have no claim on your mercy except that you died in my place. I confess all my sins before You and hold nothing back. I repent of all my sins. I turn away from them and I turn to you, Lord, for mercy and forgiveness. By a decision of my will, I freely forgive all those who ever hurt me or wronged me. I lay down all bitterness, all resentment and all hatred. Specifically, I forgive... I break all contact I have ever had with the satanic worship or with all false religion, or witchcraft. I commit myself to get rid of all objects associated with Satan & false religion." Lord Jesus, I thank you that on the cross you were made a curse, that I might be redeemed from every curse and that I might inherit God's blessing. On that basis I ask you to release me and set me free to receive the deliverance I need." I take my stand with you, Lord, against all Satan & his demons. I submit to you, Lord, and I resist the devil. And now, I speak to any demons that have control over me. In the name of Jesus Christ I bind every evil spirit in or around my life. Demons, I command you to leave me now. In the name of Jesus, I expel you. You spirit of lust, I command you to leave me now. Spirit rejection I command you to leave me now! Spirit of confusion I command you to leave me now! Spirit of addictions, I command you to leave me now. Spirit of unforgiveness, spirit of bitterness, spirit of jealousy-i take my stand against you in the name of Jesus. I no longer submit to you. You have no more place in me. I command you to go! I receive my freedom in Jesus name! Holy Spirit, come in and cleanse me! Drive away every evil spirit. Holy Spirit fill me now. I declare that No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isa. 54:17). I receive my freedom now! IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!

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