The Power of Agreement
Joshua 8:1 “Take all the People with you”
I am working and planning for change, I am expecting changes to my ministry and especially changes to my “Broadcasting Ministry” which I hope to be more far reaching in the days ahead. I can do a lot on my own, but I could do more with your agreement, your partnership, your support. In 33 years of ministry I would have been lost without the help of others who stood and still stand shoulder to shoulder with me in agreement with my ministry.
Today I want to talk with you about
The Power of Agreement. In Deuteronomy 32, and again
in Joshua 23, the Bible talks about the idea that one man could chase 1000, but that two (in agreement) can chase 10,000. (if God be with them). It would seem both natural and rational to conclude that if one can chase 1000, two could chase 2000? Yet it seems that God is saying that by the power of agreement, He can take us from the natural into the supernatural and give us exceptional and extraordinary results.
God does not think like we think, nor does he reason like we reason, and we need to grasp this truth not only in the Church, but in Marriage, in business and in everything we do. God says: “my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are my ways your ways” Isaiah 55.8. We need to understand that when we get together in unity, we are much more able to put the Devil on the run. The Devil hates unity. Unity is not merely about getting together with like minded, passionate people who want what we want and do what we do, and hope for what we are hoping for. Unity is much more about setting personal or individual differences aside and working together with one another for the greater good of all. Some think they are sufficient by themselves, and many on their own have done great work, but no matter how well you are doing on your own, you would do much better if you had someone in agreement with you.
In order to illustrate the Potential and Power of Agreement, I want you to turn with me first of all to the book of Malachi at the end of the Old Testament. Here in Chapter 3 and at verse 10, God gives us a very important agreement principle. This is a gem of Revelation which we ignore at our peril.
Let me read you that verse…
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough
to receive it”.
Here God says that He has a “Blessing” beyond our capacity to receive. We know that this is not merely a personal blessing,
but rather a Corporate Blessing for in Malachi 3, v9 God says:
“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation”. Apparently it was the whole nation that had robbed him in tithes and offerings? I don’t imagine that everyone had robbed God or that everyone had neglected their tithes, but here God was talking about CORPORATE Giving and CORPORATE Blessing. The whole nation was not going as high as it could go.
God has blessings for you as an individual, but he also has a greater blessings for your Church as a body, a group, and a family. Adam was OK on his own in the Garden of Eden, but if he wanted Children, he could not mange it on his own. Eve on her own could not get such a blessing, they needed each other, they needed agreement, they needed unity. Two heads are better than one!
This Malachi 3.10 blessing can be called a “no room” blessing. How many of you have no room? God has blessed you with so
much, that you have no room for any more? How many of our Churches have no room, God has filled your pews, filled your Sunday schools, filled your Mission Boxes, filled your car parks, filled your vacancies for personnel, filled your bank accounts and so on, and you simply have no room for any more blessing?
Surely we have all room for more blessing, and most of us have plenty of room. Yet we know that people have been tithing for 10, 20, maybe 30 years, and this “no room” blessing is still missing… WHY? The answer must be that someone or something is preventing that corporate blessing? Could it be you? We need to understand the importance and power of agreement. The Devil may not easily stop ONE chasing the 1000, but if he can get between the TWO he can stop the corporate blessing that puts 10.000 to flight.
So he works on preventing agreement and unity within Gods family, within Gods Church. The Devil doesn’t mind us gathering together, he doesn’t even mind us singing together, our being together physically doesn’t bother him, … but he hates us coming together spiritually. He hates it when we get together for Prayer, Work or Worship. He hates it when we get into one accord, because there, all things are possible. That’s why he wants to divide your house, your office, your church … the enemy is after your agreement with others. Anything, no matter how petty that we can fall out over, is a barrier that
blocks us from this higher level of blessing.
We read earlier in today’s Service from Joshua Chapter 8.
In the very first verse God says to Joshua, “take ALL the people with you” which shows there is strength in unity.
The Children of Israel are coming towards the promised land to fight battles for which they had no skills; and God lays down the
tithing Principle, the same as Malachi 3.10. God tells them that He has given them all the land to possess it, “but understand that the FIRST city is mine” he says. So ahead of them stands the first obstacle in their way, the city of Jericho. God says: “When you get to Jericho and you march around it ….seven times for seven days (you know the story) … I am going to bring the whole city down. When I do, keep nothing for yourself, but give it ALL to me. If you do, everything else you face and fight, everything you set your hand to, I will give you the victory”.
So Joshua did what God commanded and the walls of Jericho and the whole system of the city came down! When God brakes a yoke that is holding you or keeping you back, the whole structure that stands between you and the promises of God, will come down. The whole system can be against you, but if God is for you, He can bring that whole system down. They had only permission to bring Rehab the harlot out. God said: “you can bring her out she believed me and I will take her faith for righteousness”.
Jericho was to them what the tithe is to you, holy and separate unto the Lord. So they took the city and all of them except one man followed instructions. Isn’t it funny how often there is always one joker; one failure, one holding you back? God had said that ALL THE SPOILS were to go back to the House of God. But this one brother saw a beautiful Babylonian coat, a bar of gold and some silver, and thought to himself … “they wont know – they wont miss it” and he took it for himself and hid it back in his tent. No one knew anything about it, – but God knew.
Now they approached their second city, the next obstacle in their path. The small and seemingly insignificant city of Ai. So they got ready to take this city too, as they had Jericho. Ai was only a little city so Joshua sent only a few men in to take it down.
To their surprise and horror, Ai beat them like they were runaway slaves, beat them fiercely and furiously, and Joshua throws a fit? That is the appropriate response of a Faith person to defeat, because faith people do not expect to be defeated. Fear people expect to be defected and they get what they expect. But Faith people, when they are defeated they are shocked because they are in it to win it.
30 years ago, they told me “You cant build a new ministry these days and put a Crisis Counselling Centre in Armagh City. Where will you get the money, where will you get the staff, where will you get support, agreement, partnership, where will you get permission, they have those Centres in America but not in Ireland. People go for counselling in the states, local people do not believe in counselling and will not go for help….” But my faith was in the God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or even think. We were just ordinary people but ordinary becomes extraordinary when you come into agreement with God; and 30 years later that Centre is still going, still thriving, and other centres countrywide along with it. Many are happy to survive, but God wants us to thrive. With a handful of ordinary folk, with no money but with a big God, I went forward. Whatever I do, – I don’t expect to fail,
… and neither did Joshua.
So Joshua had a fit, but when he got through, God said to him “get up and sanctify the people, you lost the battle because ONE of you, failed to honour the covenant. If all of you had done what I sent you to do, then all of you could get what I said you could have”. You see they got blessing but they didn’t get corporate blessing.
Some of you are the only person in your house that is saved, and God is blessing you and you are experiencing a level of help and hope that others around you are not. Yet there is a measure of
frustration, in your family relationships, God wants you to
do more that survive, he wants you to succeed, to thrive as
his child. God wants to fill the pot, but there is a crack in it.
So we see Joshua set to find out who stole Gods stuff. Who was stopping them, who was hindering the blessing? Jesus had the same kind of experience when at the last supper he said to the disciples “one of you is a Devil” John 6:70. As Individuals and as a Church, we have to find, to locate the one or ones who are stopping us from breaking into what God has promised us. We have all given our best, given much, given sacrificially, but who is lacking, who is failing down, who is not playing their part, who is holding on to Gods stuff? … could it be you?
Joshua starts with every tribe, every family, then every individual until he found Achan. Joshua asks him: “what is it that you have done”? Why has God allowed us defeat? Achan admits “I have taken the accursed thing. I have held on to what was Gods, and its in my place.” Joshua 7:20 The Bible says “The tabernacles of robbers prosper” Job 12:6. You may have it in the house but if it is not your own you cannot claim that God has prospered you. You cannot rob the supermarket and say God is blessing you. It looked like prosperity; it was in his tent but it was not his.
The psalmist says: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity, God will soon cut them down.” Psalm 37:1
So when they found Achan the one who was stopping them from growth and blessing, they took him and his wife, even his children, cattle, sheep and oxen and stoned them all until they were dead. Josh 7:25 What made them stone them all?
They knew that one persons disobedience was stopping a corporate blessing. We must distance ourselves, cut ourselves free from those who are keeping us back. Is it You?
Are you messing me up, stopping me from getting to where God wants me, is it your rebellion, your disobedience, or your sin? What is stopping me from being the head and not the tail?
I have discovered that I must separate myself as much as possible from those who do not share my vision, or share my burden for souls. If I think you are keeping me back from my destiny in God, I must put an end to your being my partner, my friend. The Bible says, “can two walk together unless they be agreed”? Amos 3:3. You see, Disagreement brings defeat, it the message of Achan. In the Church we have got to distance ourselves from those who may prey on us, and not pray with us?
Jesus says “That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven”. Matthew 18:19
Thus disagreement, disharmony or disunity, blocks our prayers!
In Joshua Chapter 8 they go back to fight for what they lost at Ai. This is the second time round. God said don’t step around your defeats, don’t cover it up, instead, go back to the same spot, for if you repent of your sin, remove the weakness from your midst, then I am going to show that it is not by might or by power, (not by human effort) but by my spirit saith the Lord. Don’t run away from your destiny and from your blessing just because someone has been failing you:- instead tell all of Hell that you are not running this time, and that you demand Victory.
So the Lord tells Joshua, that this time, He is going to give them the STRATEGY for victory. When God gets ready to give you victory don’t look for the money, the power is not in the money, but in the strategy. God will always fund his own ideas. Most of us are trying to get God to fund our ideas, but if the idea was Gods idea in the first place, God will always fund his own ideas. God will give you the strategy and give you the resources to fund it. Remember that these men of Joshua’s are Farmers sons, not soldiers. God says, they are without hope, but since they have fixed the problem, removed the cancer from the camp, now He is going to give them the strategy for success.
The enemy at Ai, thought he had defeated them because last time Ai was the stronger, so God says, next time act like you are afraid, and run away from them. This time Ai pursues the fleeing army but unknown to her, Gods strategy was in place and when Ai looked back, the whole city had gone up in flames.
They did not understand that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” 2 Cor 10:4 . I may be sometimes quiet but I am not stupid. I’ve got a strategy, I’ve got a plan. You cannot negotiate or navigate success without a strategy – without planning without preparation. I am shocked at the number of people who think they can minister without planning and preparation. They are like those sort of people who buy the curtains for a new house, but as yet have not laid the foundations, they have no window or wall for the curtains?
God wants us properly prepared, and has a plan a strategy for us. When Ai had chased them all the way out of the city they turned around and the city was on fire. Now they did not know which way to run, to go on and pursue the fleeing army, or to run back and salvage the city. My dear friends,… I smell smoke:
God has a victory for you and for me. None of us can achieve it on our own, but we can do it together. This time, God needs the whole Church, working, praying and harvesting together.
The Devil might have run us like fools in the past, he may have run us out of what God had for us, but I am running back to take back what is rightfully mine. Take it back with me today. Take back your family, your marriage, your children your reputation, your name, your business, your church, whatever you’ve lost … take it back.
The power is in agreement. Don’t hold me back, either join me or get out of my way. On the Day of Pentecost they were all together, in one place with one accord – and then the Holy Ghost fell. The problem in the Church is not getting people together, but getting them to agree. The power you see is in agreement.
Stop fooling and waiting on those who don’t agree with you, move on, and go on with God. There may be someone stealing from you your dream, a Judas, feasting with you, even at your table, but the one who disagreed at the table brought the curse. Judas had to be removed before Pentecost could come. That’s why Jesus said to him …”What thou doest, Do it quickly” and so telling Judas to get out. Judas was spoiling the chances of corporate blessing in the Church. We need to separate from the disagree’ers. Are you a Judas? They stoned Achan, his wife and his children, because their next victory required that all of them were together, united as one. If we can commit to do something together, then there will be nothing impossible. Agreement is a powerful force, that is why the Devil will sow discord into our relationships, for without unity, there can be
When they took Ai the second time, they could have the spoils
of the city, because since they’d given God the spoils of the first, God had promised “the next one is all yours”. So what does this mean to us?
Jesus taught us to “Seek … first the Kingdom of God…” which simply underscores the message of Malachi 3:10, that if we give God first his 10%, he will give you your 90%. but more than this; “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing”… and you can with agreement get a “no room” blessing. The Bible says in Psalm 133:1 “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity …
there God commands the blessing.”
Lets stand together and work together to bring in the Harvest.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
When I left school, I worked for almost seven years in Insurance, and I very quickly understood that I cannot be covered by a company where I have no policy.
When we bring God the tithe, it is like the premium on a policy. It doesn’t mean that bad things wont happen, but when they do, you can know that God has got you covered.
The Power of Agreement.