Across the Jordan.

Notes of an address.

Everything we find in Joshua is on the other side of Jordan. The different accounts the Spirit gives are connected with the other side. Numbers speaks of the wanderings of the children of Israel on this side, Joshua of the possessions God had given them, and of the conflict in connection with taking possession on the other side. Jordan represents not Christ dying for our sins, but Christ putting an end to us, as to our history connected with the flesh and introducing us into another place. In the Red Sea we have a type of Christ dying for our sins. Jordan is our dying with Christ, having passed in spirit out of this world as quickened, raised, and seated in Him. In the truth of Jordan we get two different aspects of Christianity; first, the standing of the believer in Christ: in this sense, every believer has passed over, in the other very few have; i.e. practically and consciously passed over. As to standing, if you are a Christian at all, you have passed Jordan, you have died with Christ. Of how many of us is it true as to our state? How can it be, when there is such self-seeking, worldliness, ease, slothfulness, such want of devotedness and affection towards Christ among us? If we have not taken possession of Canaan, Jordan is still rolling practically between us and the land of promise. It is terrible to boast of our standing if our state is low. There is not that conservative power among us, so that it should be said, "I cannot bring in the world there." I do not wish to depress any true heart. If we condemn ourselves, we have exercised consciences about it; the truth has reached us. There is so little divine energy to lay hold of what is ours! Joshua tells us what God has given us; but our feet must tread it, or we have not practically got hold of it. The very fact that it is yours in Christ gives energy and power to take possession, otherwise you are taking something you have no right to. The moment you begin to tread it you will find conflict every step of the way, but the whole power of God is pledged in order to maintain you in the place you have put your foot on. On every side of us Christians are settling down this side Jordan. Take care you do not lower the truth of God to suit yourself. Perhaps you say, "I shall never reach up to it;" then self is before you. If you have communion with God about heavenly things which are yours, you must give up things here. What are you going in for? If for this world and heaven, you will get neither. It is for us to take possession of what God has given us in Christ; then we must turn our back on things here, and seek - set our "mind on things above." Are these the things that command you? I am amazed when I observe how we allow our minds to be occupied with such trifles, and to be troubled about such worthless things as depress many of us, when such a wonderful place and portion is opened out before us. The two and a half tribes did not go over; and in 1 Kings 22 we see the very country they settled in was the very spot that first fell into the hands of the enemy, so they lost everything; and we see the same thing in the history of God's people when it is a question of heavenly things. God never forces any one into them. He, as it were, lets us take our choice. If we go in for them, we shall find they richly compensate for all we may have to abandon.

Observe verses 3 and 4. Knowledge of the boundary is not possession of the territory practically. We have it all in Christ; but it must be made good to us. Nothing is more terrible than trading on heavenly truth. God has given us all on the other side; He has opened it all out to us. Have we practically taken possession of it? There must be energy, dependence, obedience, purpose of heart; not slothfulness, indifference, self-seeking. We shall find we never enter into or enjoy these things except when we begin to practise them. Whatever my circumstances or position, I am to be the exposition of one who has everything in heaven in Christ. The reason why we do not realize it is, because the sole of our foot has not trodden it. If I think of myself when I was a sinner, I remember how I received everything without money and without price; all was free - no toil or labour or tears on my part. But, as a saint, I get nothing as to realization or communion without trouble and practical possession, because heaven is in contrast to everything here: the Father is against the world, and the Holy Ghost against the flesh. If you are thrown that side, you will find all against you this side. Christ is here by the power of the Spirit to lead His people on to victory. This is our encouragement; for the moment you go in for heavenly things you will find opposition from every quarter, not a feeling of your nature but will oppose itself, as well as every thing outside. It will be conflict every step. We often get weary of it. When a person sets out to be practically what is true of them in Christ, all are against them; like the blind man in John 9, Pharisees, parents, neighbours, etc., all were opposed to him.

People are more perverted from God through their friends and relations than almost anything. Relationships are God-given relationships; but when they take the place of Christ and Christ's things, nothing is a greater hindrance; the truth of God is often compromised to please them. We see it in Scripture. John Mark left Paul and went to Cyprus, his native place. Jacob's wife and mother were his snare. Those nearest and dearest in the flesh are those we suffer most from; if we are not on our watch, they well know, and best know, where our weak points are, and where to touch us. If the heart be simply set on pleasing Christ, His things and His interests will be before us - everything will be in reference to Christ, and everything will have the mark of Christ upon it. He went down to Nazareth, and was subject to His parents; but when it was a question of interference with the rights of His Father, it is, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" The enjoyment of heavenly things is hindered when our relationships are not taken up in a divine manner.

Verse 5. The assurance God gave to Moses, He renews to Joshua. Christ puts Himself at our head to lead us on. This is a great cheer; none ought to be disheartened with such a Captain and Guide, such an arm to lean on. Before the first conflict He appears as Captain of the Lord's host. What an honour to be following Him. What is wanted is a true heart and a single eye - the single eye which takes in only one object; if you have two objects before you, you have not a single eye. It is gazing only on our mighty, heavenly Joshua, who fills the vision of the soul that we are strong and courageous. In verses 7 and 8 we see what gives strength and courage - we are well commanded, so that we are entitled to have full confidence. What gives confidence to an army is knowing the ability of its general. His skill and power inspires courage and confidence. Obedience follows courage; the reason we do not obey is because we are cowardly; this is the secret of disobedience. Though all were against him, the sense of Who he was come out to, gave the blind man courage, and he says, "Will ye also be His disciples?" Will you throw your lot in with Him? He was not thinking of the relief there was to be got from Him, but will you give yourself to Him? This is one reason of so much weakness among us, the testimony that goes out is so much more on the side of relief, than the Person in whom it is found.

Verse 7. There is nothing so important as simple allegiance to the word of God. The tendency of the day is to judge the word of God, instead of letting it judge you. People have their own thoughts and are opinionated; it is not what we think, but what God says. Has God been at pains to give a revelation, and am I not to be obedient to it? Every one is ready to give their opinion in the present day. What is wanted is the word of God. "Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left." We need to have it more distinctly under our feet, to have divine sanction for everything we do, and put our hand to. Conscience is no guide, but if it is enlightened it is a good witness. Paul could. say, "I have lived before God in all good conscience," etc.; if it is not informed by the word of God, it gives a false witness. If every man's conscience is his guide, it will be chaos over again; it is sure to mislead if it is not guided by the word of God. Conscience is the avenue through which God reaches the soul. The word of Christ rings on the woman's conscience in John 4, "Thou art a prophet;" a prophet is one who brings the soul into the presence of God. the effect of the word is to bring the conscience into the light of God's presence; it is the avenue through which God lets His light into the soul. Verse 8. Implicit obedience leads to prosperity. (Ps. 1:1-2.) How do you read Scripture? Do you meditate? It furnishes us with the mind of God, we need to get the habit of thinking of things as God thinks of them. "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water" etc. No sign of autumn's tint, but ever fresh. Of course Psalm 1 speaks of Christ in His perfection as man down here; we are to follow Him. "Have not I commanded thee?" This imparts courage. If we are not certain that we are doing the will of God, we are like reeds shaken with the wind. It imparts a quiet, steady dignity. I am not to be moved by what people say. I have only to place my character in the right hand of God, and go on in endurance. We must hold, the truth in communion with the Father and the Son. Christ is the truth. All radiates and flows out from Him.

Verse 9. I will be with you, you shall have my, presence. Many seem not to know what the presence of God is. We have His word, and we have Himself, the two things we get in 2 Timothy 3 and 4. The Lord lead our hearts into the full and conscious blessedness of our place in Christ in heaven at the other side of Jordan, in God's own land, on which His eyes continually rest. W. T. Turpin.