(This is a possible New Year’s Sermon but is appropriate any time!)


My friend and prayer partner, Rob, is a seasoned missionary, currently serving on the faculty of a major Christian university. Rob has pioneered putting the Gospel in the native language of a people whose religion is totally opposed to the Christian faith. As a faculty member, he is encouraging his students to consider doing the same. Rob’s favorite words of departure to a fellow believer are, “Be strong and courageous!” I’ve seen Rob live that admonition out in his own life, and I am proud to be his friend.

Of course, Rob has learned these words from Moses’ successor, Joshua. In Joshua 1:1-5 he is commissioned to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. He was told, “Moses, my servant is dead.” He was further told the job of leadership was now his. This was a daunting, dangerous task.

In Joshua 1:5-9, Joshua is told three times to be “strong and courageous”, or “be strong and of good courage.” Every Christian, after being born again, is called upon to live out his life as a follower of Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23-26). In order for us to succeed, we too must be strong in the Lord and courageous (Ephesians 6:10, Colossians 3:17, Psalm 27:14). We would do well to take heed to what God told Joshua in Joshua 1:5-9.


TO BELIEVE GOD! – Joshua 1:5-6

  • God has a plan for your life, as he did for Joshua. The basic plan for every Christian is to become more like Jesus through obedient discipleship. 1 John 3:2-3
  • God will also give you specific directions in how you should live your life in Christ’s service. Romans 12:1-2
  • 5 – Joshua had to believe that God would be with him and not forsake him all of his days. We must believe the promises of Matthew 28:20 and Hebrews 13:5-6, which give us the same promise.
  • 6 – Joshua was told to be strong and courageous because God would enable him to accomplish his God-given task. Joshua had to simply believe God’s Word and act.
  • We too must be strong and courageous enough to believe God will enable us to do what He has called us to do and act on it! Matthew 28:18-20 is one of the key passages every Christian is called upon to act upon!

TO OBEY GOD! – Joshua 1:7-8

  • These verses call upon Joshua and us to obey the “Book of the Law”. For Joshua, that was the first five books of the Bible. For us, we have the completed Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21
  • The very first step of obedience is to trust the Lord Jesus as Savior. Through this decision of a lifetime, we receive the Holy Spirit, who will indwell us and control us as we allow Him. Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1-9
  • The motivation for obedience for Joshua was that as he obeyed, he would have “prosperity” and “good success”.
  • “Prosperity and “good success” for us is not necessarily financial. Prosperity and good success for the Christian is to hear our Savior say to us, “Well done!”. Matthew 25:21, 1 Corinthians 4:4-5, John 14:15


    • We remember and reflect on the words of people we love and respect.
    • Because we are to love our Triune God above all we must remember and reflect on God’s Word.
    • To remember and reflect on God’s Word takes a love commitment that follows the principle of Psalm 1:1-3. We must prioritize God’s Word and be committed to reading it, memorizing it, and meditating on it.
    • Following a reading pattern in the Bible is a good way to start. A good basic commentary might be helpful. Understanding Scripture and learning to apply it to my own life is essential.
    • Memorization is also important. If you have learned verses in the past, begin by relearning them.
    • If you love God enough to want to obey Him, you will make the time for His Word.  John 15:1-7

    TO REST ON GOD’S PROMISES – Joshua 1:9

    • It takes strength and courage to believe God, to obey God, and to remember and reflect on God’s Word.
    • As Joshua did these things, he was told to be strong and courageous and not to fear or be dismayed. The Lord His God was with him! He could rest on His promises.
    • We too are commanded to be strong and courageous and not to fear or be dismayed. As we rest on such promises found in the following verses, we will experience God’s perfect peace. Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:27, Philippians 4:6-7, and Colossians 3:15