The Cities of Refuge

TEXTJoshua 20:1-9

INTRODUCTION:

A.      CITIES OF REFUGE SET APART TO INSURE JUSTICE FOR THOSE WHO

          KILLED ACCIDENTALLY.

          1.       Perhaps alluded to in Heb. 6:18.  Similar characteristics to the church.

          2.       In the church we find refuge from guilt and punishment of sin.

B.      WE WANT TO SEE IN THIS LESSON THE RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN THE

          CITIES OF REFUGE AND THE CHURCH.

I.      THE NAMES OF THE CITIES REMIND US OF CERTAIN

        FEATURES OF THE CHURCH.

A.      KEDESH - MEANS "HOLY."

          1.       The church is a holy institution( 1 Pet. 2:9 ).

          2.       "ekklesia" called out.  Out of the world, no longer of it( John 15:19 ).

          3.       "Holy" means "set apart"( 2 Cor. 6:17-18 ).

B.      SHECHEM - MEANS "SHOULDER."

          1.       Lifting weights, shoulder supports and is involved in all exercises.

          2.       The church is the support of the Truth( 1 Tim. 3:14-15 ).

          3.       The church lends support to its members( Gal. 6:1;  Rom. 12:15 ).

C.      HEBRON - MEANS "ALLIANCE," "LEAGUE OR CONFEDERACY."

          1.       All of these terms convey the idea of Fellowship.

          2.       Used in three senses:

                   a.       Joint-participation( Phil. 1:3-5 ).

                   b.       Association( Acts 2:42 ).

                   c.       Unity( 1 Cor. 10:16-17 ).

D.      BEZER - MEANS "STRONG" OR "FORTRESS."

          1.       The church is a kingdom which cannot be shaken( Heb. 12:28 ).

          2.       Not even death can destroy this kingdom( Mat. 16:18 ).

          3.       We draw strength from the church( Heb. 3:12;  10:24-25 ).

E.      RAMOTH - MEANS "HEIGHT" OR "ELEVATION."

          1.       The church is given a glorious place( Eph. 3:10-11;  2:4-6 ).

          2.       It is the "Bride of Christ"( Eph. 5:22-24 ).

          3.       It is cleansed from sin( Eph. 5:25-27 ).

          4.       It was bought with his blood( Acts 20:28 ).

F.      GOLAN - MEANS "CIRCLE."

          1.       Circles express completeness; we are complete in Jesus( Col. 2:10 ).

          2.       The fullness of Jesus is the church( Eph. 1:22-23 ).  Therefore, we are made

                             full in the church.

          3.       All spiritual blessings are in Christ( Eph. 1:3 ).

II.     SOME FACTS ABOUT THESE CITIES OF REFUGE.

A.      THE ROAD WAS SMOOTH & PLAIN, ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

          ( Matt. 11:28-30;  Mark 16:15-16 ).

B.      THE WAY WAS CLEARLY MARKED( Rom. 1:16;  James 1:21 ).

C.      THESE CITIES WERE LOCATED ALL OVER;  LIKEWISE, THE GOSPEL

          AND THE CHURCH ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL( Matt. 28:19;  Titus 2:11-12; 

          Rev. 22:17 ).

D.      THESES CITIES WERE FILLED WITH BLESSINGS FOR THE ONE SEEKING

          JUSTICE( Eph. 1:3;  22-23 ).

E.      THE GATES WERE ALWAYS OPEN( John 6:37 ).

          1.       One ought to obey the moment he feels the need( James 4:13-14 ).

          2.       It is urgent then to obey when we have the opportunity.  Realizing this we

                             remind all of the need by offering the invitation at the close of every service. 

                   But that is not the only time we are available to help.

F.      IF A MAN KILLED ACCIDENTALLY AND THEN WAS MURDERED

          HIMSELF, IT WAS HIS FAULT.  HE HAD THE PROTECTION OF THE LAW.

CONCLUSION:

A.      THE ONE WHO DESIRED THE SAFETY OF THE CITY WOULD NOT BE

          SAVED UNLESS HE WAS IN THE CITY( Eph. 5:23 ).

B.      HOW DOES ONE GET INTO THE CITY OF REFUGE TODAY( 1 Cor. 12:13 ).