The Book of Joshua

Chapter Three

Crossing Jordan - Dying To Self

Focus Verse: Joshua 1:9          Lesson Verse: Romans 6:11


I.         Introduction


A.      Israel has left Egypt, and is right at the border of the Promised Land. Loads of people have died along the way because of unbelief. But now, it is time that every believer leaves behind them their old life, doubts, and fears, and faces their enemy head-on, with full confidence in their Lord!

B.       That is just what happens in chapter 3!


II.       Review - Old Testament Types


Bondage in Egypt Bondage to sin and the god of this world
Passover                Salvation from sin's penalty
Exodus from Egypt Beginning of the new life in Christ
Crossing the Red Sea Commitment to God and His way
Mt Sinai Encounter Getting God's Word
Wilderness Wanderings Struggling to believe God's word
Crossing the Jordan River Leaving the Old Man behind


III.     Lesson - Dying to Self - Chapter 3


A.      Israel Faces the Jordan River (3:1-5)


1.        First rested three days (3:1,2):


a         In preparation for the battle ahead - not quite sure what the battle was, but they knew one was coming.

b        In testing of their faith


1)       Waiting - obeying God's current instructions (Josh 1:10,11; Ps 27:14; Isa 40:31)

2)       Looking at the Jordan overflowing its banks - 60 feet wide (2 Cor 5:7). It was an insurmountable obstacle

3)       Listening - waiting for more instructions - searching the Scriptures for the next step. Growth takes place one step at a time, and requires that we constantly are looking for how to take the next step!


2.        Then told to do two things (3:3-5):


a         Follow the ark (3:3)


1)       They used to follow the cloud and fire in the sky looking up

2)       Now they are to look straight ahead at the Ark as it leads - this is the first time the Ark is leading

3)       TYPE: The ark then is going to show us what Christ is like now (Heb 12:2; Rom 8:4,5)

4)       The ark is going to lead the way where they had never been before (right down in the middle of the Jordan, and over to the other side)!


b        Sanctify themselves (3:4,5) - don't get ahead of God, just ready for God to lead you, and show you the way He wants you to go


1)       Realise you need to see the BIG picture - don't try and get so close that you can't see where you are going - you need to learn from this - not just blindly follow.

2)       Sanctify means to cleanse, and stay clean (1 John 1:7; 2 Tim 2:21; Jn 17:17; 1 Thes 4:3,4) so you are ready for any job!


PRINCIPLE: Too many people miss-out on God doing anything in their lives because they are not separated from the filth of the world! (TV, radio, music, filthy conversations, bad friends, etc)


B.       The Crossing of the Jordan - Pictures death of the Christian (3:6-17)


1.        A comparison:


a         Crossing the Red Sea


1)       The children of Israel followed the Lord out of the old life, into the new one that God had for them

2)       They were watching their old life die.

3)       It matches when we get baptized.


b        The crossing of the Jordan is like the Christian stepping into battle for control, by first dying to Self.


1)       Forgetting the past (Phlp 3:13,14)

2)       Forgetting the failures - of parents, and self

3)       Focusing on God's will - the Promised Land

4)       Passing through impossible situations simply because you would allow your own mind to stop you!


2.        The ark goes ahead toward the water (3:6-8) - leads the way, not points the way!


PRINCIPLE: You are not being asked to do anything that Jesus Christ did not already do.


3.        Remember that God's promises are "without fail"! (3:9,10)

4.        The two requirements for the miracle:


a         Stepping-out by faith into the water (3:11-16).


1)       God split the Red Sea since they were immature at that time. But now 40 years have passed, and they need to grow up, so God requires Israel to act first - faith requires obedience!

2)       So, "as" they stepped into the water, the waters moved back and "stood as an heap" on their right hand, and the children of Israel crossed-over on DRY ground. The river backed up about 20 miles, as if a dam had been put into place!


b        Staying in place under a wall of water - the priests stood firm where they were told to stand (3:17) - that is leadership - doing what you are commanded, so that those under you can get safely through each and every battle!


IV.    Conclusion - PRINCIPLES


A.      God says "follow Me" - don't get ahead of Him! Let Him do the leading.

B.       Prepare for battle - What God has for you in this life the Devil is not going to give to you without a fight! Keep Jericho as your target - don't let rivers, and other obstacles hinder you from conquering your enemies:


1.        Like your bad habits

2.        Like your physical enemies (Rom 12:19-21)

3.        Like your bad attitudes

4.        Like your lack of faith and confidence in God


C.       Die to your Self - A good soldier is always ready to die. No one ever WANTS to die, but in battle, a soldier must be ever ready to die. God is looking for some Christian soldiers who are willing to die to themselves:


1.        Reckon yourself to be DEAD unto sin - let the old sins DIE!

2.        Willing to do God's will for your life over your own - crossing Jordan

3.        Willing to make a fool of yourself ("Oh I would just DIE if I did that! I would be so embarrassed!") for Christ (1 Cor 1:18)!


V.      Questions


  1. What was the name of the river that separated them from the Promised Land before they went in? The Jordan River
  2. What was first to go into the river before anybody else? The Ark
  3. What was the miracle that occurred at the Jordan River? That the river would stand on a heap to let Israel pass through it
  4. What did God wait for before performing the miracle? For the feet of the priests to be set out into the water - every step they took, the water backed away.