Living in the Fullness
November 1, 2017

Living in the Fullness
Joshua 13:33

How are we to live our lives in full possession of the promises of God, or better yet, how are we to live our lives to the fullest?

What I have found in my 40 years of being a Christian and pastor is that I had to stop trying to change the circumstances and begin to learn how to be content within them. This is what looked at the other week when the Apostle Paul said,

“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 NKJV)

For a lot of people their circumstances stink, and they’ve become disillusioned. They’re dealing with issues like illness and constant medical problems. Their marriage hasn’t been all they thought it would be and is on life support. They’ve lost their job and haven’t been able to find work, and either their funds have run dry or they’ve lost their home because of it. Or maybe they’re dealing with one of the many other difficulties or troubles that come with life.

They’ve become disillusioned with not just life, but with God as well.

How can they, or better yet, how can we live life to its fullness and get through to the other side?

To answer this question I think it’s important we get a grip on what it means to have the Lord as our inheritance. What should living in the fullness look like, and what should we be doing? God gives us the perfect picture in the life and possessions of the Levities.

“But to the tribe of Levi Moses had given no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had said to them.” (Josua 13:33 NKJV)

In the book of Numbers, the Lord gave Moses these instructions when it came to the Levites. “The Levites shall be Mine.” (Numbers 3:45)

We often view the tribe of Levi as separate and apart from our Christian lives, but that would be a mistake. Truth is, we’re not much different.

It began with their progenitor, Levi, when his father, Jacob, cursed him. The story is found in Genesis 34.

After the rape of their sister Diana by the king’s son, Jacob and his sons entered into a peace agreement with them. As a condition of peace, the men of Shechem had to undergo the rite of circumcision. On the third day, they were in great pain. That’s when Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, ransacked city and killed all the men.

This forced Jacob to flee the area. As a result he cursed his two sons on his deathbed saying, “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:7 NKJV)

There are several areas that that are similar to our Christian lives.

First, we are also under a curse, one that has been passed down from generation to generation from the progenitor of the human race, Adam. It is the curse called sin.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12 NKJV)

But God is in the restoration business. He never allows the past, once forgiven and repented of, to prevent us, like He did for the Levites, from having that special and unique place of service as God called them to be His priests.

The second likeness is that as God’s priesthood the Levites were not to possess any land of their own, rather they were scattered throughout the land because God was their inheritance.

We are also a priesthood and tribe scattered around the world.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)

Seeing we are a priesthood like the Levites, what does this life look like? This can be seen in what the tribe of Levi was called to be.

Warriors

When we think of the Levites, this is the last picture we’d conjure up. Normally we see them in their priestly garb offering the sacrifices in the Temple, but when God’s honor was at stake, they were warriors.

When Moses came off the mountain with the Ten Commandments the people were caught up worshipping the golden calf. Seeing people fall into the worship of idols, look at what Moses said and who was the first to respond.

“Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side – come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.” (Exodus 32:26 NKJV)

When the challenge was given, notice it says “all” the men of the tribe of Levi came to Moses’ side, or better yet, they came to the side of the Lord, and with swords in hand they executed God’s judgment against those who rebelled. They became warriors for the Lord.

We see this same warrior spirit in Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the high priest. In direct defiance to God’s law, certain men of Israel became involved with the women of Moab and sacrificed to their gods.

One of these men blatantly and defiantly paraded his Moabite wife in front of Moses and the Lord. In his zeal for the Lord, Phinehas picked up a javelin and put them both to death, stopping a plague sent by the Lord because of Israel’s sin.

Please understand that I’m not advocating being a warrior in this same way. As believers in Jesus Christ we aren’t to go around killing people because they don’t believe.

When James and John wanted to wipe out the Samaritans for their not believing, Jesus said, “You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of.” (Luke 9:54 NKJV)

So I don’t believe God’s wants us to go around punching people out because they don’t believe, or because their sin.

The Bible tells us that we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but rather against the spiritual powers that rule this world. To fight this battle God has given us special armament: righteousness, truth, peace, salvation, faith, prayer, and God’s word, Ephesians 6:10-20.

Living in the fullness isn’t about living a life of ease, nor is it sitting back encouraging others to get involved. It’s getting involved in the battle and not allowing Satan to get a foothold in our lives, families, workplaces, and community.

The Bible tells us that Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking to destroy lives. His whole existence is wrapped up in this process. So, if we want to live in the fullness of God, we have to get involved in the battle.

The problem is that many haven’t, therefore their witness for the Lord has been compromised if not nullified. But when we enter into the battle, we have to realize that it isn’t our battle, but the Lord’s, and greater is the Lord within us, than whoever comes against us.

To Timothy Paul twice says,

“Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12; 1:18 NKJV)

Later Paul tells Timothy to follow the example he had set. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV)

The Lord is making the same call to us. He is asking, “Who is on My side?” Understand that the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth looking to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him, 2 Chronicles 16:9.

And so to live in the fullness God is calling us to be warriors.

Worshipers

“At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name.” (Deuteronomy 10:8 NKJV)

God called the tribe of Levi to a life of worship, and He calls us to that same lifestyle. But seeing the way many Christians live, I wonder if we truly understand what that means.

Worship is more than merely singing songs on Sunday. Instead it involves our attitude and how we live. It’s our ongoing response to a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. And when we practice true worship, the power and presence of God will be released in our lives.

The Levites were to be in God’s presence, worshipping His name 24/7, and that’s because God was their inheritance.

God is also our inheritance. To live in the fullness we need to know what it means to worship God.

“Worship” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word, “Worthship.” It means to place a high value or worth onto something or someone. In the Bible it means, “to bow down,” meaning we are bowing down to someone greater than who we are, and who is worthy of our total devotion.

It’s easy to say, “I worship the Lord,” but as the saying goes, “Action speaks louder than words.” Are we living our lives as if we truly do worship God, or are there areas we refuse to turn over to His Lordship?

And so, to worship the Lord is to be wholly devoted to Him.

Notice it says that they stood before the Lord. They fulfilled their calling in His presence, and so as we live this life, as we fulfill our ministry, we are to do so with this perspective, that we are doing it in front of, or in the presence of God.

Everything we do is in the presence of God, therefore, we are to be worshipers of God in everything we do.

Jesus said,

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (John 4:23 NKJV)

There are many who know all about God, who have the right theology and doctrine, but they don’t have the Lord living inside. They’ve never made that step of faith asking Jesus Christ into their lives, thus they don’t have the Holy Spirit.

Within the context of this passage, the woman at the well knew all the right things, but didn’t have that relationship with God. Her worship was dictated by the place, not the Lord who occupied that place.

And so, besides being warriors for God, if we want to live in the fullness we also need to be worshippers as well.

Workers

“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle.” (Numbers 3:6-7 NKJV)

Jesus is our great High Priest, and we serve Him by serving one another. Paul likens it to a body with Jesus as the head with us as His body, each of us serving as God designed, because just as a body cannot function without the other parts, neither can the church function without each of us doing our part.

The Levites also served the needs of the congregation, that is, they were to offer up the people’s sacrifices before the Lord. They were to intercede for the people in God’s presence.

This is what the Apostle Peter is telling us to do.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV)

We are to be that spiritual house, and like the Levites intercede for others in prayer, that is, bringing the needs of others before the throne of God.

This idea of being workers is also seen in the phrase, “the work of the tabernacle.” In the fourth chapter of Numbers, God lays out the work each Levitical family was to do. And then in verse 47 it says, “Everyone who came to do the work of service…in the tabernacle of meeting.”

The Levites were responsible for the upkeep of God’s house. And when everyone did their jobs, the ministry and the people prospered. But when they left the temple and the worship of God unattended, various troubles came Israel’s way.

To live in the fullness we also need to build up the house of God within us and to build up and maintain His church.

Witnesses

“Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities.” (Numbers 35:2 NKJV)

The reason they were given cities and the surrounding lands is because when they weren’t serving in the temple, they would take the presence of God to the people. While they did their service in the sanctuary they brought the people to God, but when they went out into the land they brought God to the people. This is what the church is called to do.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)

As God’s people, we are to proclaim His praises to the world. To do this we need to provide that place for the people to come and seek His presence, but we are also to go to where the people are so that they can hear the good news.

We need to take the good news of God’s salvation out to those who really need to hear it, as Jesus commanded in the Great Commission.

Conclusion

Like the Levites, God is our inheritance, and we are His children, and if we are His children then we are also His heirs. Therefore, all of God’s resources are ours, and as we freely received them we are to freely give them.

God alone is our inheritance, therefore our entire lives are to be centered on service to Him and therefore service to others. This is what it means to live in the fullness.









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