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Sermon #2058[i] Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: FOLLOW THE LORD FULLY
Text: Numbers 14:24
Subject: Consecration to Christ
The title of my message is — Follow The Lord Fully. I have only one thing that I want to show you, one thought that I pray the Spirit of God will set in our hearts, one thing I want us to leave here knowing, desiring, and determined, by the grace of God, to set our hearts upon...
Proposition: It is a blessed thing to follow the Lord fully!
I am calling for consecration to Christ, his church, his kingdom, his cause, and his gospel in this world.
The Lord God declared to Moses that he would destroy all of Israel in the wilderness because of their unbelief, except for Joshua and Caleb. He spent forty years fulfilling his word. But at the end of forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the only two people who left Egypt above twenty-years old who entered the land of Canaan were Joshua and Caleb. Everyone else died in the wilderness because of unbelief!
When God told Moses how he would deal with the nation of evil-doers, one man stood out above all the rest as an example of faith, commitment, and consecration. Read what God says about that man in Numbers 14:24. –— “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereunto he went; and his seed shall possess it!”
The name Caleb, I am told, has two meanings, First, it means “a dog.” Though commonly, when a man is referred to as a dog it is a great offense, that is not the case here. A dog has one admirable feature, one virtue that no other animal possesses. A dog always follows his master. He is the most loyal, faithful animal on the earth. In that sense Caleb was indeed a dog, a loyal, faithful dog. He followed his Master from the day that he left Egypt until the day that he was called home to glory. —— God, make me such a dog!
The name Caleb also means “all heart.” What a name for a man! But it perfectly suited this man. Caleb was all heart. There was nothing half-hearted, lukewarm, or insincere about him. Caleb was all heart. I have known many who had a head to understand but no heart, a hand to work but no heart, and feet to go but no heart. Not Caleb! His head was clear. But he was all heart. His hands were strong. And his feet were both steady and ready. But he was all heart. Whatsoever he did, in word or in deed, he did with all his heart!
Caleb means “a dog.” And Caleb means “all heart.” Put the two together and you have the character of this man. He was faithful to his Master in all things, following the Lord fully with all his heart.
2. Another Spirit
What made Caleb the man he was? There were millions in Israel. But Caleb was different from the rest. What made him so peculiar? What made him different? What caused Caleb to be such a faithful, whole-hearted man?
The Lord tells us plainly – “He had another spirit.” That which distinguished Caleb from all the millions around him was the fact that God had put his Spirit within him. He had been made a new creature in Christ (Ezekiel 36:24-30).
Ezekiel 36:24-30 “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. (25) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (28) And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. (29) I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. (30) And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.”
This is where we must begin. If you and I would follow the Lord fully, if we would be truly consecrated to the Son of God, we must be given a new heart, a new spirit, a new nature. That new heart can be found only at the foot of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, where the Spirit of God works through the bleeding wounds of the crucified Savior (Zechariah 12:10).
Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
Come to Christ. Fall before the crucified Son of God as a guilty sinner. Confess your sin. Sue for mercy. Lay hold upon the Son of God like Jacob of old. Do not let him go until he has given you his Spirit, as he promised he would (John 7:37-39; Ephesians 1:13-14).
John 7:37-39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Ephesians 1:13-14 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
NOTE: I know that you cannot believe unless you have the Spirit of God. Yet I know this too, you cannot have the Spirit of Christ unless you believe!
The Spirit of life and grace is given to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If we would follow the Lord fully, if we would consecrate ourselves to Christ we must be filled with, controlled by, led by, ruled by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18; Romans 8:1-9).
Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
Romans 8:1-9 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Caleb was the man he was “because he had another Spirit with him.” The Spirit of God made him a new spirit.
· A Believing Spirit — Caleb took God at his Word.
· A Meek Spirit — Caleb recognized who and what he was before God.
· A Brave Spirit — Meek men are always courageous men.
· A Loving Spirit — Grace makes men and women loving.
· A Zealous Spirit — Consecrated and committed to God.
· A Heavenly Spirit — Caleb lived on earth with his heart in heaven (Colossians 3:1-3).
Colossians 3:1-3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
“Because he had another Spirit with him,” God says, “he hath followed me fully.”
3. Followed Fully
What does that mean? What is it to follow the Lord fully? Caleb was neither a prophet nor a preacher! He was a man who believed God, no more and no less, a man who believed God and who followed the Lord fully!
I am afraid very few of us follow the Lord fully. At best, most of us are like Peter in the judgment hall, following the Lord afar off. At worst, I fear, some may be like King Saul, following the Lord conveniently. But I pray that God will give us grace to follow our Savior fully, like Caleb did.
Universally — When God says that Caleb followed the Lord fully, he means for us to understand that Caleb followed Christ universally, that he followed the Lord in all things. His obedience to Christ was universal. Whatever his Master told him to do, he did. He did not pick and choose what he would do. He followed the Lord fully. He was not willing to violate the will of God at any point.
Caleb was entirely consecrated to God...
Spurgeon said, “A spirit of partial obedience is a spirit of radical disobedience.”
Illustration: The Prophet killed by the lion at Bethel (1 Kings. 13:24).
Sincerely — Caleb followed the Lord sincerely, without hypocrisy. This man was not a dress soldier. He was no lip service disciple (Matthew 15:8-9).
Matthew 15:8-9 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
His obedience was sincere. And he proved it. One of the surest tests of sincerity is a person’s willingness to suffer for the cause of Christ. When the spies came back from the land, Caleb dared to speak alone for God against the rest (Numbers 13:27-33). Even when they took up stones to kill him, he stood firm (14:6-10). Caleb followed Christ at all hazards!
There are many who follow Christ in the sunshine who will not follow him in the storm. And many will follow him in the storm of need who will not follow him in the sunshine of prosperity.
Cheerfully — Caleb followed the Lord cheerfully. Those who serve God with a grumbling heart do not serve God at all. — “Our God requires no slaves to grace his throne. He is the Lord of the empire of love” (Spurgeon). That obedience which is not cheerful obedience is disobedience, “for the Lord looketh on the heart.”
God will not accept legal obedience. He will not receive anything that is not performed from a willing, cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 8:12; 9:7).
2 Corinthians 8:12 “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Perseveringly — And Caleb followed the Lord perseveringly to the end of his days.
Now, I want to camp here a little while. Caleb was forty years old when he went in to spy out the land. Apparently, he was about thirty-five years old when God first crossed his path and revealed himself to him by the Word of Moses.
Then, when he was forty years old, he spied out the land and brought back a true report and a word of faith — “We are well able to overcome it!” For forty-five years after that he lived among an unbelieving people who called themselves the people of God. But all that time Caleb followed the Lord. He stayed with Moses to the end of his days. Then, he followed Joshua, just as he had followed Moses.
Faithfulness to God means faithfulness to his servant and to his people.
Illustration: Charlie Payne and the customer who started to speak ill of Pennco.
When his time came to claim his heritage, at the age of eighty-five, this grand old man, Caleb, was still following the Lord fully! He still had the strength of his youth, the faith of his youth, and the zeal of his youth!
How many there are who fail in this respect! Most people follow the Lord in spurts. Their religion comes in spasms. They leap into the church like fish leap into the air. And they fall back again into the world like the fish fall again into the water. The one thing that is required of stewards is that they be found faithful. But the one thing lacking in these shooting stars is faithfulness! The only thing you can depend upon with them is the fact that you cannot depend upon them! And I know the reason. — They go out from us because they are not of us; for if they had been of us, doubtless they would have continued with us (1 John 2:19).
NOTE: I do not mean they cease to profess to follow the Lord. I mean they cease to follow him!
There are many like Lot’s wife. — They flee out of Sodom for fear, but look back with regret. Lot’s wife was greatly alarmed. Angels laid hold upon her. She heard the words of warning. She fled from the city of destruction. But she perished in the way! How many are like her? While she fled from Sodom, she left everything in the city, even her heart!
Many are like those in John 6. — They follow the Lord for a time. They are called his disciples. They hear the word enthusiastically. But in time they are offended…
Many are like the Galatians. — When Paul first preached to them, they received him, “As an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” They spoke of the blessedness of being in Christ. They rejoiced in God’s great salvation. They so loved Paul that they would gladly have plucked out their eyes and given them to him (Galatians 4:15). But they were soon bewitched by the Judaizers and began to hate Paul because he told them the truth (3:1; 4:16). They clung to their religious profession, but departed from Christ (Galatians 5:2, 4).
Many in time of affliction begin to follow Christ, but do not follow the Lord fully (Psalm 78:34-37).
Psalms 78:34-37 “When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired early after God. (35) And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. (36) Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. (37) For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.”
Hear the parable of the sower and be warned (Matthew 13:20). “All are not Israel which are of Israel.” All that glitters is not gold. If we would follow the Lord fully, we must follow the Lord always! Perseverance is the characteristic of faith. True faith never quits. It never quits believing. It never quits obeying. It never quits following (John 8:31; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 10:35-38). I want, by the grace of God to be like...
This is what God says — “The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger” (Job 17:9). — “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). — “He that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
NOTE: My friends, the most dangerous thing on this earth that you and I have to face is that carnal ease and security that is the forerunner of apostasy — “Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion!” And the first step toward apostasy is the neglect of God’s Word and worship (Hebrews 10:25-26).
Hebrews 10:25-26 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,”
I am calling upon you, more specifically, I am calling upon myself to follow the Lord fully, like Caleb. God, make me be a man whose name is synonymous with “faithful dog” and “all heart.” I want to follow the Lord fully!—”Ye are not your own!”
Do not be like those five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Do not be content with the lamp of profession. Make sure you have the oil of grace!
Where there is life there is growth. — “Grow in grace.” In faith — in love — in consecration to God — Not less and less, not more and less, not less and more, but more and more.
What encouragement do we have to follow the Lord fully? — Perhaps you are thinking, “Don, what you have said is good. What you have said is true. I know I ought to consecrate myself to the Lord fully. But it is not practical to live like that.” Look at Caleb and learn what God meant when he said, “Them that honor me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30).
I am telling you, if you are a believer, the most costly thing on this earth you can do is fail to follow the Lord fully. — Sodom cost Lot everything he had but his soul! And the most practical, most advantageous thing you can possibly do in this world is follow the Lord fully.
Look how God honored Caleb, because he followed the Lord fully!
Illustration: “Son, that’s Caleb. Were it not for Caleb we would never have entered this land. How God has used Caleb!”
Illustration: A train traveling through the fog.
Follow the Lord fully! — That is the secret of a happy life. —Whatever you lose by following Christ, he will reward you in this world a hundredfold in peace of conscience (Matthew 19:27-29).
This is the way to be useful. — “I will bless thee and make thee a blessing.”
This is the way to die happily (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (7) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
“Take thy cross and follow, follow me.”
Refrain: Where He leads me, I will follow,
Where he leads me, I will follow —
Where He leads me, I will follow —
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.
I’ll go with Him through the garden —
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.
I’ll go with Him through the judgment —
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.
He will give me grace and glory —
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way!
[i] Danville — Sunday Evening — March 10, 2003
Wasilla, Alaska — Wednesday — March 13, 2013
Tape # BB-15
Readings: Joshua 14:6-14 & 1 Kings 13:1-34
David Burge and Frank Hall