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Stepping Into Your Inheritance

There is a very simple parallel between the Old Testament and the New. In the Old Testament, under a leader named Joshua, God brought His people into a Promised Land. In the New Testament, under a leader named Jesus (which in Hebrew is the same name as Joshua), God brings His people into a land of promises. Old Covenanta Promised Land. New Covenanta land of promises. This brings us to our next principle regarding God's abundance: Principle 2: All of God's promises are our inheritance. Our inheritance is what God is bringing us into. Yet even though He has given it to us, we still have to lay claim to it. A LEGAL TRANSACTION I want to illustrate this from the historical example of the Israelites entering into their inheritance, the land of Canaan. Moses brought Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness, but Moses could not bring them into the Promised Land. God raised up another leader, Joshua, and commissioned him, after the death of Moses, to bring Israel into the Promised Land. Let's look for a moment at Scripture and see the basic conditions God gave to Joshua. First God said, "Moses My servant is dead" (Joshua 1:2). I find this very significant. Before we can come into something new, there always has to be a death of something old. The spiritual life, in a certain sense, is like the seasons of the year. There is a continuing, ongoing cycle of seasons. There is summer with its abundance; then fall, a time of withering; winter, the time of death; and then spring, the time of renewal and resurrection. This is a principle that goes through our lives. God only blesses that which has died and been resurrected. The transition from Moses to Joshua represents one that recurs from time to time in the life of every believer.

"Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to themthe children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses." Joshua 1:2-3 Again, it is important to notice the tense of the verbs. In the first verse God says, "I am giving the land" to Israel. In the very next verse He says, "I have given it to you," in the past tense. It is important to see that as soon as God gave the land, the land had been given. Nothing had changed physically; they were still in the same position. The visible ownership of the land had not changed in the least bit. But because Almighty God said, "I am giving you the land," from that moment onward, legally, the land was theirs. It bad been given to them. Just as we saw in the first principlethe promises hold the provisionGod has already given us everything. How? By giving us His promises as our inheritance. STEPPING INTO THE PROMISES The way in which Joshua and Israel entered into their inheritance is a pattern for us. First of all, they had to understand that the land from then on was legally theirs. Second, they had to do something about it. What did they have to do? The Lord said to Joshua, "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you." So, they had to go in on the basis of what God had told them, believing that the land was legally theirs. And they had to assert their ownership by placing their feet on the land that God had promised. God said to them, "As soon as you put your foot on any piece of soil in the land, it is yours legally. It is yours already, but to make it experientially yours, to have it in actual experience, you have to go in and put your foot on it." That is exactly how it is with us as Christians. We have to do just as Israel did. First of all, we have to believe what God has saidthat legally it belongs to us because God has given it to us. Second, we have to act. We have to move in and, as it were, place our feet on every area that God has promised. As soon as we experientially place our feet on that area in faith,

it becomes ours in reality. Israel entering the Promised Land is a pattern for us who are entering the land of promises. Recently I noticed something in Joshua 1:2 that I had never seen before. The Holy Spirit emphasized the word all"all this people." God was not going to leave any of the people behind. In most circles today, we would be satisfied if we could get 90 percent of the people over. But God said, "Everyone is going to go over." I really believe that is how God views our situations today in regard to His promises. Everybody who wants to receive will have to move in "You and all this people." Sometimes when I have talked with believers about being baptized in the Holy Spirit or receiving some further provision of God, they reply, "I got it all when I was saved. There's nothing more to get." My answer to that is usually: "If you got it all, where is it all?" Nevertheless, I do believe in a sense that their statement is correct. Legally, when you come to Christ, you become an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. Thereafter, the whole inheritance is legally yours. But there is a great deal of difference between the legal and the experiential. You may own much legally, but enjoy very little in actual experience. I sometimes illustrate this by the following little parable: If Joshua and the children of Israel had been like some Fundamentalists, they would have lined up on the east bank of the river Jordan, looked across the river, folded their arms and said, "We've got it all!" That would have been legally correct, but experientially incorrect. If they had been like some Pentecostals, they would have crossed the river Jordanwhich I liken to being baptized in the Holy Spiritthen lined up on the west bank, folded their arms and said, "We've got it all!" But, actually, though they would have been one stage further, they would still have been far from their real inheritance. LAYING CLAIM TO OUR PROMISE The interesting fact about the children of Israel taking the Promised Land is that God brought them in by a miracle, and then gave them their first

victory over Jericho by a miracle. But after that, they had to fight for every piece of land they possessed. You and I must not expect to get our inheritance without conflict either! The way they were to gain their inheritance was this: "Every place that you put the sole of your foot upon shall be yours." So it is with us also. Legally, it is all ours right at the moment of conversion. Experientially, however, we have to move in and assert our claim to that which God has given us. We have to put our foot on each promise as we come to it. This is a very vivid picture for our assertion: "God has promised this to me, and I now lay claim to His promise."