Partial Obedience IS Disobedience

Partial Obedience

Wednesday 01/08/20

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Partial Obedience IS Disobedience

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Joshua 16

Now we, haven’t met on Wednesday night for ‘Thru the Bible’ since December 11 and we ended in Joshua 15 with the statement,

(63) But the descendants of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem. So the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the descendants of Judah to this day.”

I told you at the time that this would NOT be the last time we saw an incomplete occupation. 

Judah was not the only tribe to fail in their duty, and it always cost them at some point.

I read to you from Guzik about this, he said…

“We can understand why Jerusalem was a city hard to conquer. The fact that it was set on a hill made it easy to defend.

Yet, no matter how hard the struggle, with God’s promise, and God’s help, we can triumph – there is really no good excuse for why this city must stay in Canaanite hands until the time of David (2Sam. 5:6-10).”

So tonight we will see more of the same. But my BIG question to you is, what line did I draw between these incomplete occupations of the Promised land and our own lives under the New Covenant?

That OUR Promised Land is our Rest in Jesus. Our ceasing to strive for righteousness and our living OUT our righteousness by faith in both His finished work and His inner work in our hearts.

We are SOLIDLY IN our promised land, but to the degree that Jesus is not ruling supreme – THAT is the degree to which we have let the enemy still live in our hearts and have therefore denied ourselves of our full inheritance in Him.

Joshua 16:1-10, 

“(1)THE ALLOTMENT for the people of Joseph went from the Jordan by Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, into the wilderness, going up from Jericho into the hill country to Bethel;  (2) Then it went from Bethel to Luz and passed on to Ataroth, the border of the Archites. (3) And it went down westward to the territory of the Japhletites as far as the outskirts of Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer, and ended at the sea.  (4) The descendants of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance.  

(5)  The boundary of the Ephraimites according to their families was thus: on the east side their border was Ataroth-addar as far as Upper Beth-horon.  (6) Then the boundary went from there to the sea; on the north was Michmethath; then on the east the boundary went out to Taanath-shiloh, and eastward to Janoah,  (7) Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, touched Jericho, and ended at the Jordan [River].  (8) The border went out from Tappuah westward to the brook Kanah and ended at the [Mediterranean] Sea. This is the inheritance of the Ephraimites by their families,  (9) With the towns set apart for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites, all those towns with their villages. (10) But they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day, and they became slaves required to do forced labor.

Joshua 17:1-18, 

“(1) ALLOTMENT WAS made for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, were allotted Gilead and Bashan because he was a man of war.  (2) Allotment was also made for the other Manassites by their families–for the sons of Abiezer, of Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida, the male offspring of Manasseh son of Joseph by their families.  (3) But Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters; their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. (4) They came before Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and the leaders and said, The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance with our brethren. So according to the Lord’s command, Joshua gave them an inheritance among their father’s brethren.  (5) So there fell ten portions to Manasseh besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is on the other side of the Jordan, (6) Because the [five] daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his [five] sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the other [half] of the Manassites. (7) The territory of Manasseh reached from Asher to Michmethah east of Shechem; and the border went along southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. (8) The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but the town of Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the Ephraimites.  (9) Then the boundary went down to the brook Kanah. The cities south of the brook lying among the cities of Manasseh belonged to Ephraim. But Manasseh’s boundary went on north of the brook and ended at the sea. (10) The land to the south was Ephraim’s and that to the north was Manasseh’s, and the sea was the boundary; on the north Asher was reached, and on the east Issachar.  

(11)  Also Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher [these six towns], their inhabitants and their villages: Beth-shean, Ibleam, Dor, Endor, Taanach, and Megiddo.  (12) Yet the sons of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.  (13) When the Israelites became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor but did not utterly drive them out. 

There will always be whiners

Whiners almost always have THIS attribute. They LOVE to play the victim while at the same time attempting to sound strong.

They will admit JUST ENOUGH weakness to be the victim, but not enough to consider themselves weak people.

“(14)  The tribe of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, Why have you given [us] but one lot and one portion as an inheritance when [we] are a great [abundant] people, for until now the Lord has blessed [us]?  (15) Joshua replied, If you are a great people, get up to the forest and clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the Ephraim hill country is too narrow for you.  (16) The Josephites said, The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who dwell in the valley have iron chariots, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and in the Valley of Jezreel.  (17) And Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and to Manasseh, You are a great and numerous people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot (18) But the hill country shall be yours; though it is a forest, you shall clear and possess it to its farthest borders; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”

Joshua’s answer to them is the same as Jesus’ to His churches – This is NOT TOO hard for you!

Joshua 18:1-28,  

“(1) AND THE whole congregation of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there; and the land was subdued before them.  (2) And there remained among the Israelites seven tribes who had not yet divided their inheritance. (3) Joshua asked the Israelites, How long will you be slack to go in and possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?”  

A very good question both for them and for us!

How many of you have an area in your life – just pick one – of weakness. An area where you easily fall?

How long has that been a hurtle?

How long is it going to be before you take that land for Jesus?

You can make the decision TODAY if you will!

ALL sin is a substitution. We are trading intimacy with God and the strength that union affords us for some earthy control or pleasure. Any substance abuse – including normal food, sleep…laziness or avoidance, entertainment to fill up your time and so on, are substitutions. We have an outward form of godliness – but deny its power to deliver and overcome!  

Joshua answered them and said,

“(4)  Provide three men from each tribe, and I will send them to go through the land and write a description of it according to their [tribal] inheritances; then they shall return to me.  (5) And they shall divide it into seven parts. Judah shall remain in its territory on the south and the house of Joseph shall remain in its territory on the north. (6) You shall describe the land in seven divisions, and bring the description here to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.  (7) But the Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance. Gad and Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance east of the Jordan, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them. (8) So the men arose and went, and Joshua charged them saying, Go and walk through the land and describe it and come again to me, and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shiloh.  (9) And the men went and passed through the land and described it by cities in seven portions in a book; and they came again to Joshua to the camp at Shiloh. (10) Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord, and there [he] divided the land to the Israelites, to each [tribe] his portion. (11) And the lot of the Benjamites came up according to their families; and the territory of their lot fell between the tribes of Judah and Joseph.  

(12)  On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan; then it went up to the shoulder of Jericho on the north and up through the hill country westward and ended at the Beth-aven wilderness.  (13) Then the boundary passed over southward toward Luz, to the shoulder of Luz (that is, Bethel); then it went down to Ataroth-addar by the mountain that lies south of Lower Beth-horon.  

(14)  The boundary extended from there, and turning about on the western side southward from the mountain that lies to the south opposite Beth-horon, it ended at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a city of the tribe of Judah. This formed the western side [of Benjamin’s territory].  

(15)  The southern side began at the edge of Kiriath-jearim, and the boundary went on westward to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah.  (16) Then the boundary went down to the edge of the mountain overlooking the Valley of Ben-hinnom [son of Hinnom], which is at the north end of the Valley of Rephaim; and it descended to the Valley of Hinnom, south of the shoulder of the Jebusites, and went on down to En-rogel.  (17) Then it bent toward the north and went on to En-shemesh and on to Geliloth, which was opposite the ascent of Adummim, and went down to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. (18) And it went on to the north of the shoulder [of Beth]-Arabah and down to the Arabah. (19) Then the boundary passed along to the north of the shoulder of Beth-hoglah and ended at the northern bay of the Salt [Dead] Sea, at the south end of the Jordan. This was the southern border.  

(20)  And the Jordan was its boundary on the east side. This was the inheritance of the sons of Benjamin by their boundaries round about, according to their families.  

(21)  Now the cities of the tribe of Benjamin according to [their] families were: Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz,  (22) Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, (23) Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, (24) Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba; twelve cities with their villages;  (25) Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, (26) Mizpah, Chephirah, Mozah, (27) Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, (28) Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite [city]–that is, Jerusalem–Gibeah, and Kiriath-[jearim]; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin according to their families.”


I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!