Monday, July 9, 2012


The very last instructions Joshua gave the people of Israel before they marched around Jericho seven times, is found in Joshua 6:18-19, which says, "And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.  But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD."  The next chapter begins with a description of one whose greed got the best of him.  Joshua 7:1 says, "But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.

Notice that by the sin of one man, Achan, the entire nation suffered the loss of God's favor.  In Joshua 7:2-5, God's anger can be seen in Israel's only loss in battle as they attempted to occupy their God-given land.  I am not certain how God narrowed down the list of suspects, but the Word says one tribe was "taken," then one family was "taken," then one man was "taken."  Achan confessed, and he, his family, and his livestock were stoned to death; the bodies and all he possessed were burned. 

This story makes me wonder if the reason so many churches are weak and sick and dead, is that "there is sin in the camp?"  Look around!  There are churches on nearly every corner, and while some of them are well attended, many could be described as was the Church of Laodicea; they are operating with Jesus standing outside trying to get in (Rev. 3:14-22)! 

There are two philosophical approaches to the purpose of the church:  1) It is the place where the lost come to hear the Gospel and get saved;  and 2) It is the place where born again believers gather to become equipped to go into our lost world, and to proclaim the Gospel.  Most churches that have the slightest desire to see people saved, fall under the first category.  The lost are welcome, they need not change their way of life, and as a result, there is always "sin in the camp."  However, the biblical approach to a church's membership is found in Acts 2, where the disciples went to where the lost were and preached the Good News!  The Church's purpose is described in Ephesians 4.  Notice it is a place of preparation for going to do God's work!  Also notice that sin is not acceptable!

God said "Go," but we want the lost to come join us!     

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