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"A Settlement Less Than Your Inheritance"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2013 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'I want you to turn with me in the Old testament to Numbers chapter 32, please. I want to preach to you this morning under the heading: 'A Settlement Less Than Your Inheritance'. We're going to read from verse 1 through to verse 19 of Numbers 32:

"Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of livestock; and when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that indeed the region was a place for livestock, the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying, 'Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Shebam, Nebo, and Beon, the country which the LORD defeated before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock'. Therefore they said, 'If we have found favour in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan'. And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: 'Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here? Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD has given them? Thus your fathers did when I sent them away from Kadesh Barnea to see the land. For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them. So the Lord's anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying, 'Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD'. So the Lord's anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone. And look! You have risen in your father's place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the LORD against Israel. For if you turn away from following Him, He will once again leave them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people'. Then they came near to him and said: 'We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, but we ourselves will be armed, ready to go before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place; and our little ones will dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until every one of the children of Israel has received his inheritance. For we will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this eastern side of the Jordan'".

We see from this story this morning that they stopped short of what God had intended as their destiny...

Let me draw your attention to the tragic request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad found in the last statement of verse 5: 'Do not take us over the Jordan'. If you're familiar with Old Testament history, you will know, I'm sure, that the children of Israel were in Egyptian bondage. Of course, the cry of God's people under the taskmasters rose to high heaven, and God took pity on them and He sent a deliverer, Moses. He led them out of Egyptian bondage. You will know about that: how they were shackled in slavery, and then how the God of their salvation had mercy on them. You will also know how the story transpires, that on that Passover evening they were instructed to take a lamb without blemish, without spot, shed its blood, and paint the blood of the lamb on the door posts and on the lintel - and they were to shelter beneath the blood. When the death angel came, it would pass over them, it would see the blood and pass over them - and they were to be saved through the blood of the lamb. Then, that night, they were to flee - and, of course, you know how they reached the Red Sea, there were mountains on either side of them, Pharaoh's armies behind them, and they were hemmed in. It seemed to be an impossible situation. Yet our God is the God of the supernatural, He is the God of the miraculous, and He instructed Moses to lift up his staff into the air, and He sent a strong east wind. You know what happened, that the sea cleaved apart, and these great walls of seawater protected them as they walked through on dry land to the other side.

Then of course they embarked on a pilgrimage through the desert, the wilderness. During that time they saw again the miraculous hand of God, for God sustained them through all their journeys. We read that their clothes nor their shoes were worn out. They were also supernaturally guided by God. They saw a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night, and as it moved they moved, as it stopped they pitched their tents. God led them all the way through. They even ate angel's food - manna from heaven to sustain them!

They stopped short of what God had intended as their destiny. They settled on the wrong side of Jordan...

Now I think we would be accurate enough in saying that the children of Israel truly walked with God, literally. But we see from this story this morning that they stopped short of what God had intended as their destiny - and I'm speaking of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. They settled on the wrong side of Jordan. God had intended them to cross the Jordan, to go west into Canaan land, but Gad and Reuben - who had livestock - decided that the land east of Jordan was better and they would settle there. They stopped short of what God had intended as their destiny. They settled on the wrong side of Jordan.

Now I propose to you today that most Christians do the same. Like Israel, who are a type, I believe, in many respects of God's people today: we have been transferred from bondage, the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of Satan, and we have been placed into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of God's dear Son. We have been redeemed, not with corruptible things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of the Lamb. We have tasted of the heavenly gift, the manna that came down from heaven - 'I am the bread of life', Jesus said, 'You must eat of My flesh and drink of My blood'. We have been fitted for heaven, and we have been sustained by God's providence - and yet many believing New Testament Christians never cross the Jordan. They settle for less than God intended for them.

I have to say that there can even be resentment, or resistance, shown toward anyone who will try to get God's people over the Jordan and into their inheritance. I want everybody to follow what I'm saying here this morning - but to do that, I think I have to knock down a few false, a few misunderstandings of the whole wilderness wanderings and how they apply to us as New Testament believers. It has to be said that a lot of our hymns have misled us regarding this. Often we are given the idea that Canaan land and the Promised Land is heaven - but I have to say to you categorically today that crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land cannot represent passing through physical death and entering heaven. Here's the reason why: because when Israel crossed the Jordan, they embarked on some of the greatest battles of their lives. Unless we're going to be constantly fighting when we get to heaven, Canaan land cannot be compared to Glory Land. There might be certain similarities and spiritual lessons that we can apply there, but we cannot say that this is what is represented in this story of Israel through the wilderness into the Promised Land - rather, Canaan land is a land of spiritual blessings. As it was literally for Israel, it speaks of the land of spiritual blessings that we as the church now know and as individual Christians should experience. A Christian, by faith, has got to fight - that's right - the Christian, by faith, has got to fight to possess his possessions.

There can even be resentment, or resistance, shown toward anyone who will try to get God's people over the Jordan...

Jordan does not speak of physical death, but it speaks of death to sin. It speaks of spiritual death to self. It speaks of a crossing over into and coming alive in the life of the Spirit. It speaks of being more and more filled with the Holy Ghost. It speaks of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, God's Son. It speaks of being transformed from glory to glory - that is your destiny as a child of God. Now there is a big debate about predestination - but sadly the debate does not rage around verses like these: Ephesians 1:11, 'In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will'. Whatever predestination means, it certainly means that God has chosen us for an inheritance, for a destiny, for a Promised Land, for a Canaan that is more than Heaven when we die, but in fact is a land of spiritual blessings that is to be realised by faith here and now.

Now let me ask you, believer: where are you? Are you still in Egypt? That probably would mean that you're not a believer at all, you've never been delivered from the world. But you know there are many people who profess Christ, and they haven't been delivered from the world. You know, salvation doesn't generally mean 'salvation from hell', being delivered from hell - it means primarily been delivered from the world, being saved from sin and transferred into God's kingdom. Is that your experience? What about the Red Sea, have you crossed over there, moved from Egypt toward the Promised Land? Maybe you're in the wilderness? Many believers, I think that's where they are, they are in the wilderness - and, like Israel, you're murmuring against God, you're fighting against God and what He wants to do in your life - you're having a dry, arid, barren experience. Or have you entered into the real fight for your inheritance?

You see, you have been saved for something - if you are truly born again. I was reading this week in Deuteronomy 6:23, where it says: 'He brought us out from there', that is, Egypt, 'that He might bring us in'. God has brought us out that He might bring us in. Now you may have been brought out, but have you been brought in? On which side of Jordan are you?

It is a misplaced contentment that settles for less than God has for us. Is that not the case?

Well, Reuben and Gad were content where they were, and they requested not to go on - they wanted to camp at the east side of Jordan. Why? Well, they were comfortable there, they were satisfied, and their livestock were satisfied with what they had already found there. They thought: 'Well, let's not be greedy' - and that might seem to be commendable - 'Let's be content with the things that we have. We'll just let everybody else go on, but we would like to stay here. We know we are meant to cross the Jordan, but we are quite comfortable and satisfied where we've reached'. Now, please don't misunderstand what I'm saying: the Bible does command us to be content with such things as we have, but that's talking about material things - it is a misplaced contentment that settles for less than God has for us. Is that not the case? There is a discontentment that we ought to have, an insatiable satisfaction of being satisfied with what God has given us, but wanting more of Christian experience.

Maybe some of you have made the mistake of Reuben and Gad. You're content with where you are as a Christian. So whenever I hear a Christian say: 'I'm saved, and that's all that matters', or 'I don't really need any more', or 'I got everything God wanted me to have when I was born again' - can I tell you: you are out of the will of God. You're ignorant, and most likely you are demonically deceived, because God intends all His children to cross to the other side of Jordan.

Now, this attitude of Reuben and Gad concerned Moses on several fronts. Let me show you. First of all, Moses realised that this would increase the battle for those who were prepared to cross, while Reuben and Gad would get out of the heat. If you look at verse 6 you see this: 'Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: 'Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?''. You see, by them bailing out, there would be an increasing strain on the battle weary other tribes - but these who were going to opt out, they would get off scot free. You can see the thinking of Moses, there would be increased pressure on the few. Well, it would be the majority still, but these other tribes would get out of the heat of the battle.

Oh, it would be wonderful to have some solidarity and camaraderie with others who would want to go through with God...

Do you know there is a battle on? Do you? A spiritual war raging at this moment in unseen realms, and if you have taken the attitude: 'I'm content, I'm settled, I don't need to move on, I don't need to go through with God', you have exempted yourself from the battle. There are those who are fighting in the battle, but the heat of the battle is all the hotter, and the burden of the battle is all the heavier because not everybody is entering in. Remember those signs: 'Uncle Sam Needs You!', with the guy pointing the finger, getting conscriptions to the battle? Your Lord needs you, He needs you to go through with God and be in the battle - and the battle is in Canaan land, it's not in the wilderness, it's in Canaan land. Moses' concern was that if these two tribes opted out, that it would increase the pressure for those who are prepared to go through with God. There are those who are on the frontline of the battle this very day, and they're facing the heat - and oh, it would be wonderful to have some solidarity and camaraderie with others who would want to go through with God.

Here's a second concern that Moses had: this was contagious behaviour that Gad and Reuben were engaging in. Look at verse 7: 'Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD has given them?'. Do you that know the sure way of stopping growing as a Christian is to hang around with those who have found spiritual stagnation? Those who think they have arrived, those who think they have all they need, they are content with the status quo where they are at and what they are doing - complacency is contagious. Moses knew that if the other tribes heard what Reuben and Gad were doing, they would be influenced. In fact, as you read down this chapter, you find out that the half tribe of Manasseh, they also decided to stay put and not move on. So you can see how Reuben and Gad affected and infected Manasseh.

The third concern that Moses had was that this would repeat the mistakes of the past. You've heard the saying: 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'. Here in verse 8 we read that Moses said: 'Thus your fathers did when I sent them away from Kadesh Barnea to see the land'. Thirty-eight years before this event Moses, you remember, sent spies - one from each tribe of Israel - to see what the land was like that they had yet to inhabit, whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many. They came to the Valley of Eschol, which means 'cluster', and they find that great cluster of grapes, and they cut it down and it took two men with a pole to carry it - such fruitfulness was in this land. There were also pomegranates and figs, and they returned back to Moses and Aaron and showed them the fruit of the land - that's what it says. They said, 'It truly flows with milk and honey, this is its fruit!'. They had seen it with their own eyes, they knew that there was more - do you know, that's a statement that I'm encountering as I'm going around various places ministering. Believers, people who have been Christians for years, are telling me: 'David, I always knew there was more. We always thought there was more!'.

Believers, who have been Christians for years, are telling me: 'David, I always knew there was more. We always thought there was more!'...

Aye, but look at how the story goes on with Israel: after witnessing with their own eyes the glory of Canaan land, tasting the fruit, they said to Moses, 'Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; we saw giants!'. Look at verses 10 through to 12 here: 'So the Lord's anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying, 'Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the LORD''. Only two of them! Now why did the rest not go through? What prevented them entering into their inheritance? One word: fear.

We enter our possessions, as New Testament believers, by faith. It is the fight of faith, it's not the strength of the flesh. It's not our own effort, but it is possessing our possessions, that were bought for us at Calvary, by faith. But fear and faith are mutually exclusive - do you understand what that means? It's like the cowboy film where a hard man comes into the town, and maybe there is already a hard man resident in the town - and they face one another in the middle of the street, and there's going to be a pistol fight. One says to the other: 'This town is not big enough for the both of us' - have you seen that one? Well, your heart is not big enough for both fear and faith. They are mutually exclusive, one will win out on the other. It is fear that inhibits us possessing our possessions. 'Fear of what?', you might say. It could be many things we will touch on in a minute, but what I want you to see is that faith won the day! Caleb and Joshua had faith and, in fact, if you read the original account, Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said: 'Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it'. This wasn't just the difference between somebody positive and negative, it wasn't just the difference between an optimist and a pessimist, it was the difference between a man who was filled with faith and men who were filled with fear.

The difference was: Caleb and Joshua walked by faith, not by sight. The rest said: 'We saw giants!'. But now, 38 years later, the tribes of Reuben and Gad are making the same mistake. Look at verse 13: 'So', after this Kadesh Barnea incident originally, 'the Lord's anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone. And look! You', the present-day tribes of Reuben and Gad, 'have risen in your father's place, a brood of sinful men, to increase still more the fierce anger of the LORD against Israel'. You've taken their place! Moses was saying to them: 'You're making the mistakes of the past. History is repeating itself'.

All this Old Testament stuff is for us - why is it that we never seem to learn the lessons?

Now, Paul tells us in the New Testament that these things in the Old Testament were written beforehand for our learning, upon whom the ends of the age has come. All this Old Testament stuff is for us - why is it that we never seem to learn the lessons? Even as we look at church history, we can see that repeatedly the same mistakes are made. Here's one of them - now watch carefully, both Old, New Testament, and into church history, you will see it up to the very present-day - here's a principal: if you do not go on, you will go under. Now that applies to individual Christians, it applies to churches, it applies to organisations: if you do not go on and go through with God, there is no such a thing as status quo, there is only stagnation and death. The only thing that will move you on is faith, and the thing that will prevent you going on is fear.

Now, I want to ask you individually and corporately as a church: are you settling for less than your inheritance through fear? 'Fear of what? What fear are you talking about?', fear of the unknown, perhaps? All of us are intimidated by what we cannot see or don't know. You remember old Abraham, and he was the father of faith, and he went out not knowing where he was going - and that was faith, if ever there was, because he didn't know. Maybe it's the fear of the unknown that's keeping you back. You know we, in the West in particular, and the more intelligent that some of us are the more we want to know, the more we want to be sure of before we calculate what we think might be a risk - you see, that's not the walk of faith! Faith is the evidence of things not seen, it is the handle on the invisible.

Maybe it's fear of the unknown for you, maybe it's fear of going out of your comfort zone - whatever that is. You remember that Reuben and Gad, well, they were quite happy here east of Jordan at the fertile land, it was good for feeding the cattle and they were satisfied. Maybe it's fear of criticism? There will always be criticism of those who want to go on with God. Maybe it's misunderstanding? People will take you up wrong. Maybe it's spiritual warfare? There is a fight in Canaan land. You see, if you go on with God - the devil isn't really that concerned about stagnant Christians, carnal Christians, but he is concerned about people that want to go on with God, want to go through with God. Then you're in the sights of the enemy, and you feel it - but the wonderful thing is, and this is the whole point of the wilderness wanderings and our New Testament correspondence by faith in Jesus, that everything has been purchased already for us through the blood of Jesus. We possess our possessions not by the strength of our arm, but by faith in the promises. The battle belongs to the Lord, it is God who fights for us, it's His promise, it's our inheritance - all we have to do, like Israel, is to put one foot in front of the other and, by faith, take the steps and own what already belongs to us purchased by the precious blood.

We simply appropriate it by faith, but fear so often prevents us. I want you to beware of something, beware of the lie of Satan - and this is it: that it is safer to be on this side of Jordan. Has he ever told you that? It's safer to stay on the east side of Jordan where you're comfortable, where you're satisfied, where you're content. It might seem more comfortable, but Satan is robbing you of your inheritance.

Service is an idolatrous substitute if your heart is not right with the Lord...

Now let's look at how this matter was resolved. Reuben and Gad tried to address this in three ways: there was service, sincerity, and struggle - but the problem was, there was a shortfall of inheritance nevertheless. Look at verses 16 and 17, this is how they responded to the concerns of Moses: 'Then they came near to him and said: 'We will build sheepfolds here for our livestock, and cities for our little ones, but we ourselves will be armed, ready to go before the children of Israel until we have brought them to their place; and our little ones will dwell in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land''. Don't think for one moment that Reuben and Gad were idle - look at what it says: 'We will build sheepfolds'. They weren't lazy layabouts and, in fact, not only did they serve well, they served not only themselves but they served the other tribes. They decided: 'Well, look, we're not going to find our inheritance West, we want to stay where we are, East. But what we will do is, we will cross the Jordan with you momentarily, and we will help you fight for your inheritance, and then we will return home'.

So they were willing to serve the Lord in some capacity, but I want you to understand - and this is another biblical principle that you need to learn - service is an idolatrous substitute if your heart is not right with the Lord. It will satisfy your flesh that you're doing something for God, but you're as far away from God as any sinner. Do you see how they tried to remedy their choice for not entering their inheritance? They said: 'Right, we will work, we build sheepfolds here for our family, we'll settle them down East; and then we'll cross over with you, ten tribes, and we'll go West and fight for your inheritance, and we'll help you settle down, and then we'll return home' - but they still had a shortfall of their own inheritance. They were sincere, they struggled, they served - but there was a shortfall.

I read a quote a month or two ago by Oswald Chambers that was profound, in relation to service. Listen to what he says: 'The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. It is never 'do, do' with the Lord, but 'be, be'. He will do through you'. Did you get that? It's never 'do, do' with the Lord, it's 'be, be', and then He will do through you. Now here's a radical statement - he was writing in the 1920s or somewhere thereabout - and this is a radical statement today, listen, he said: 'The only way to keep true to God is by a steady persistent refusal to be interested in Christian work'. Yes, you did hear me right, let me repeat it: 'The only way to keep true to God is by a steady persistent refusal to be interested in Christian work, and to be interested alone in Jesus Christ'.

It will satisfy your flesh that you're doing something for God, but you're as far away from God as any sinner...

Can I say that for some people, their service becomes an idol. That's the mistake Reuben and Gad fell into: they were sincere, they pledged to struggle in battle, to see the cause settled. Oh, they were behind the cause of inheriting the land, but they themselves would live on the border of God's blessing. You might be here today, and you're absolutely submerged with serving the Lord - I know many Christians, and they are tired and they're weary, and to be quite truthful they're fed up with it all! They're disillusioned, and they're behind the cause - but they know that something is missing, because they're still on the border of Canaan land.

Gad and Reuben were not bystanders, but they compromised and they settled for less than their inheritance. I shudder when I read verse 19, look at verse 19, they said, after Moses pleading: 'We will not inherit with them on the other side of the Jordan and beyond, because our inheritance has fallen to us on this eastern side of the Jordan'. Does that not make a shiver go up your spine? Now, in fairness, Reuben and Gad kept their word. They helped the other tribes conquer the land. They fought with them West of Jordan and then they returned, and we do read that they returned with God's blessing for their faithfulness, and they had much spoil for their faithfulness that they brought into their part of the land again. However, when the land was fully conquered west of Jordan, and Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, before they crossed the Jordan they built an altar unto the Lord.

Now, I want you to see this. Turn with me please to Joshua chapter 22. Verse 10 says: 'And when they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan; a great, impressive altar', the English Standard Version says 'an altar of imposing size'. Now, right away, there was a bit of unrest among the twelve tribes, because this was understood by the other tribes as: 'That must be a pagan altar!', because there is only one altar in Shiloh unto the Lord at the Tabernacle. So to erect another altar was tantamount to idolatry, tyranny. So they assumed this must be an altar to the pagan gods in the countryside around Reuben and Gad, this must be a rival to the true altar in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. So the other tribes wanted to go to war over this, this great, imposing altar.

Now Phinehas, the high priest, was chosen as a diplomat, and he was sent on a fact-finding mission. He finds out that, in fact, it was not the intention of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh to erect a rival altar, or to worship pagan foreign gods or sacrifice to them. But listen, this was motivated by the fact that because they were not living in the right place, on the right side of Jordan, they wanted to let people know: 'We belong to Israel! We belong to the living God!'. If you look at verse 34, you will see that they actually called this altar 'Witness': 'For it is a witness between us that the LORD is God'.

If they had just gone over the Jordan and claimed their inheritance, everybody would have known their citizenship...

Do you see what's happening here? They weren't living in the right place, they hadn't inherited their possessions, and because of that they feared that others would not recognise them as the people of God - that they would lose their identity. So they built this humongous altar as a sign of their identity, but wait till you see: if they had just gone over the Jordan and claimed their inheritance, everybody would have known their citizenship. Are you with me? In fact, Phinehas gives them another chance in verse 19, and he invites them: 'Nevertheless, if the land of your possession is unclean, then cross over to the land of the possession of the LORD, where the Lord's tabernacle stands, and take possession among us; but do not rebel against the LORD, nor rebel against us, by building yourselves an altar besides the altar of the LORD our God'.

Now let me ask you a question: what side of Jordan are you? Now listen: if you're on the east side, if you have settled for less than your inheritance, if you have not entered into that land of Canaan blessing as a Christian - you will be a person who needs external signs to show your identity. You'll need objects, religious objects, you'll need religious practices and activities to identify that you're different. Or is it obvious, because of the life, the Canaan life of the Spirit, in you, Christ in you, the hope of glory - is it obvious that you're a citizen of heaven because you have crossed over the Jordan and you're living on a heavenly plane?

This is the crisis, I believe, in Western Christianity today: we have lost our supernatural identity. We have lost our identity as children of God because of the life that's in us, so we have to build big altars, we have to do religious things, we have to serve the Lord in various ways - but, you see, we've got a problem, because the Bible says the kingdom of God is not in word, but it's in power. The Bible says that in the last days there will be a form of godliness that denies the power. You see, these tribes, Gad and Reuben, were afraid - they actually said that their descendants would grow up and they would challenge their identity because they were on the wrong side of Jordan, and they would be assimilated with the pagan people. Wait till I tell you: that's what churches do today! They devise constitutions for later generations, or a basis of belief, or trustees - and do you know why they put these things in writing, and even in law? This is why: so generations to come know who they are, what they believe, and that they are not shifting from it. But can I tell you something: all that is no good if you're on the wrong side of Jordan! In fact, all of that becomes an idol. It might seem to be a witness, but if you haven't entered into your spiritual inheritance it becomes idolatry. What generations to come need from us is to see the abundant life of Canaan land in our souls! Are you with me?

This is the crisis, I believe, in Western Christianity today: we have lost our supernatural identity...

Because the two and a half tribes did not have the protection of the Jordan River - you picture it, they are on the east side, then there is Jordan, then there's West, what we know as Israel, the land of Israel today. Because they were on the east side, they hadn't the protection of the Jordan River, so they were exposed to enemy attacks. If you're not in Canaan land this morning, you will be exposed to enemy attack. We read in the history of Israel that Reuben, Gad and Manasseh were the first to be conquered in later years when Israel was again carried into captivity, because they were only living on the border of God's blessing - they hadn't entered in. Have you?

Hebrews chapter 4, and I'm finished, Hebrews chapter 4 - you don't need to turn to it - it's all about Israel, claiming the inheritance in the Promised Land. The writer uses it there as an illustration, just as I have done, of the different ways that believers today relate to the will of God and the inheritance that He has for us now in Jesus. The writer there says, listen: some were like the older generation that perished, wandering in the wilderness, and never entered the land - what a tragedy! To be delivered from bondage, to go through the Red Sea, salvation by the blood of the lamb, but never enter into your possessions, never get out of the wilderness. He also goes on to say that there were others who, like the ten spies, they visited the land, they saw the fruit, the wealth, they even tasted of the heavenly gift - but they went back and failed to enter in.

I know that most of you are on the right side of the Red Sea, but what side of Jordan are you? Or have you settled for less than your inheritance? Let us pray. Edgar Stites in 1876 wrote a hymn:

'I've reached the land of corn and wine,
And all its riches freely mine;
Here shines undimmed one blissful day,
For all my night has passed away.

My Saviour comes and walks with me,
And sweet communion here have we;
He gently leads me by His hand,
For this is Heaven's border land'.

Is there anyone here this morning who will say to the Lord: 'Lord, I know there's something more'?

Are you living in Heaven's border land? That's your inheritance now as a child of God. Is there anyone here this morning who will say to the Lord: 'Lord, I know there's something more'? Maybe you're slaving away for the Lord, and He doesn't want any of it - can I say that to you? He doesn't want any of it, He wants you. He called the disciples to be with Him, then He sent them out. If you don't know how to be, you'll never know how to do. Maybe you'll come to the Lord and say: 'Lord, I confess, I'm still in the wilderness, I've never crossed over the Jordan'. Maybe you'll ask Him to help - will you? Will you say: 'Lord, please, if this is my inheritance by the blood of the Lamb, I want to enter in, I want to go through with You, I want everything that You have for me. I want people to know who I am not by an external things' - though external things are inevitable, don't misunderstand me, we as Christians have practices, we have things that we do rightly - but that's not how we're meant to be known, we are meant to be known by the life of God in us. They recognised the early apostles, that they had been with Jesus.

Father, we pray that You will minister now to hearts with a lasting work of grace that will bring much fruit for Your honour in lives and hearts that are circumcised, completely devoted to You. I pray that there will be people here this morning that will go through with You, Father - no matter how many years they are saved, that they will throw off the status quo, individually and corporately, and they will say: 'Christ for me! I will go in and possess my possessions and never look back!'. Hear us, Lord, we pray, Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
December 2012
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at the Iron Hall Evangelical Church, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "A Settlement Less Than Your Inheritance" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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