Shortly after being saved, Pat and I began working with children in children's church. I often tell folks that I learned to preach in children's church and nursing homes. If you can focus on preaching in those kinds of situations, you can preach anywhere and not worry about distractions! I learned how to project my voice above a room full of noise, and to be myself and not worry what others may think. Sometimes folks are laughing with me, and at other times they are laughing at me…but either way I just go on! It was also in these ministries that I learned how to sing loud and with enthusiasm. God deliver us from the thinking that you must sing good to sing loud! God's Word tells us that we are to make a joyful noise unto the Lord! I learned a little song that is a favorite among young people. "I'm in the Lord's Ar-my" Well, all of us have been drafted…we have been called to be soldiers for the Lord. As soldiers, we have responsibilities or duties to perform. We read of Joshua's commissioning in this first chapter. Moses was dead, and Joshua was called to 'arise and go'. God was calling him to lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land and possess it. In like manner we are to possess all that God has for us as believers. Let's begin our study this evening and look at chapter one.
Read: Joshua 1:1-5
I. The Duty of Courage and Strength.
A. Joshua is Commissioned for a Test of Faith. v1-5
1. Jordan was in flood stage (cf 3:15)
2. Here was a great host of people (probably nearly 3 million, plus belongings, livestock, etc.).
3. There were no ferries, no bridges, no boats, no wading the river.
4. Before they faced any of the people of the land, they had to cross the Jordan.
5. No hint of how they were supposed to do this, just the command to go.
6. Many times in life, if, we are going to be used of God, we must face undertakings in which we cannot see the way.
7. Faith knows that God will make a way.
8. God knows all, and with His command comes His provision.
B. First Word of Encouragement. v6 'Be strong…'
1. Strength is expected, not ours…but His!
2. The word "strength" comes from a word that means, "twisted together."
3. A rope is strong because it has many strands twisted together.
4. This is the meaning of Ephesians 6:10.... "Be strong in the Lord..."
5. We are twisted together with Him, to live by His strength.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
a. We must let Christ's strength be our strength.
b. Walking by faith, believing Him for His power and strength.
c. "... as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee" v5b
C. Second Word of Encouragement. v6 'Be of Good Courage…'
1. Courage is also a requirement.
2. God is the God of all encouragement.
Ps 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Ps 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Isa 41:6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
II. The Duty of Obedience to the Word. v7?8
A. God gave Joshua the recipe for success.
1. Do we want to prosper?
2. Do we want to have success?
3. God gives the key for such a life.
B. Joshua was prepared to command by first obeying.
1. No person can exercise authority and do it well, until first they are under the authority of another.
2. No person (no matter how many people may be under him, or how much authority he may have) is free from authority over him.
3. We all must submit to authority over us ... and ultimately to God and His Word.
4. God's Law, God's Word is our "marching" orders.
5. Israel was about to march into the land that had been promised so many centuries previously.
6. All was to take place under God's command.
7. God's Word is also our law of conduct and action
a. God's work must be done in God's way, under the direction of God's Word.
b. Too often we don't want to submit to "authority."
c. We reject or resist God given "authority."
Ac 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Joh 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
d. If we want to make spiritual progress in our lives, we must submit to the authority of God's Word.
C. Joshua was prepared to Command by his daily meditation. v8
Ps 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1. The command was to meditate, not just read.
2. By meditation we make it our very own.
3. Mere intellectual acquaintance to the Word of God is not enough; it must be applied in the life.
4. The best obedience comes from the best knowledge and best knowledge comes from meditation and meditation brings wisdom.
III. The Assurance of Victory. v8-9
A. To be saturated with the Word of God is to be assured of victory.
1. No weapon against us can prosper if we are walking, talking, living, acting, and resting in the power of the Word of God.
2. Joshua was very conscious of his own inadequacy and his weakness.
3. He never thought he "could take them in."
4. But God said, "be strong"; "be not afraid"; "neither be thou dismayed "
5. The Lord was promising sure victory on the basis of his obedience.
6. This is our promise today.
B. Why do so many not experience victory in their Christian lives?
1. Often it is because we are too "big" for God to use.
2. We are full of our own schemes, our own way of doing things, and our own selfish, proud ways.
3. God must humble us, break us, and empty us.
4. This comes from submission and obedience.
5. There is no short cut to victory.
6. We are called to be faithful, and obedient.
C. Joshua was about to lead a nation that was not used to warfare into battle.
1. It wouldn't be easy.
2. It would require strength, courage, and obedience.
3. But there was a promise of victory.
4. The same is true for us today.
a. God has called us to 'arise and go over'.
b. We must also do so with courageous faith, His strength, and implicit obedience to His Word.
c. But the victory is ours!
5. We can still count on the Lord to do everything He promised Joshua He would do!
a. He still gives victory over all our enemies:
1Jo 5:4b-5 …And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
b. He is still ever-present and all powerful:
Mt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Mt. 28:20b and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
c. He is still faithful:
Heb 13:5b …For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
d. He still keeps His promises
Ro 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
e. He still gives absolute victory
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What do we have to do to see these things come to pass in our lives? Just one thing: Trust God! When we can learn to place our faith in God at all times in every situation, then we will walk in victory in our lives.
When everything else fails, faith will ever stand the test! We might let the Lord down, but He will never fail the believer who has their faith in Him!