Sermons

Summary: THIS IS A SERMON DELIVERED AT A SERVICE TO HONOR FIVE GRADUATES FROM OUR CHURCH. IT WAS ALSO TO HELP OUR CHURCH FAMILY DEAL WITH SOME VERY DIFFICULT ISSUES, REQUIRING COURAGE.

BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS

JOSHUA 1:1-13

JUNE 16, 2019

EVERYONE, AND EVERYTHING AT TIMES WILL FACE THE CHALLENGE OF CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN. YOU MOUNTAIN COULD BE A PHYSICAL ISSUE. WHEN YOU GRADUATING STUDENTS FINISH YOUR UNIVERSITY TRAINING YOU WILL POSSIBLY FACE A MOUNTAIN OF FINANCIAL DEBT. YOU WILL FACE THE MOUNTAIN OF FINDING A JOB IN THE AREA THAT YOU STUDIED FOR. AS A CHURCH WE FACE THE MOUNTAIN OF OUTSIDE INFLUENCES TRYING TO DESTROY US AND THE WORK THAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE MOUNTAIN IS NOT HOW HIGH IT IS, OR HOW SHEER ITS CLIFFS ARE. THE CHALLENGE OF THE MOUNTAIN IS NOT IN THE MOUNTAIN ITSELF, BUT IN US AS WE ATTEMPT TO OVERCOME IT.

SIR EDMUND HILLARY SAID THIS AFTER AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO SCALE MOUNT EVEREST, “ I WILL BEAT THIS MOUNTAIN, FOR THE MOUNTAIN CANNOT CHANGE, BUT I CAN.”

THIS IS THE CHALLENGE THAT IS FACING YOU AS GRADUATES, AND THE CHURCH AS WE PUSH INTO UNKNOWN FUTURE WATERS. THE CHALLENGES WILL ALWAYS BE THERE. HOW WE DEAL WITH THE CHALLENGES WILL DETERMINE WHO IS VICTORIOUS?

THIS IS THE ISSUE THAT JOSHUA FACED AS HE LOOKED FROM THE JORDAN INTO THE PROMISED LAND. HE KNEW THIS WAS THE LAND THAT GOD HAD PROMISED TO HIS PEOPLE. HE WAS AWARE OF THAT FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS. HE ALSO KNEW THERE WOULD BE CHALLENGES IN CLAIMING THIS PROMISE OF GOD. WHAT IT BOILED DOWN TO WAS A QUESTION OF FAITH. DID JOSHUA AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TRUST IN GOD ENOUGH TO GO AND CLAIM THE LAND THAT HE HAD PROMISED TO THEM? WOULD THEY WALK BY FAITH, OR WOULD THEY BE REALISTIC AND WALK BY SIGHT AS THE GENERATION BEFORE THEM HAD DONE?

WE BEGIN BY LOOKING AT NUMBERS 13. THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL HAD JUST LEFT EGYPT AFTER 400 YEARS OF SLAVERY. BY GOD’S MIRACLE OF PARTING THE WATERS, THEY HAD CROSSED THE RED SEA, AND THE EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS PURSUEING THEM WERE KILLED. THEY WERE PROTECTED BY A HEAVY CLOUD DURING THE DAY AND A PILLAR OF FIRE AT NIGHT. TIME AND TIME AGAIN THEY HAD WITNESSED SIGNS AND WONDERS FROM GOD THAT SHOULD HAVE HELPED THEM BELIEVE THAT GOD WOULD DO WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO. THEY COULD TRUST GOD AND HAVE FAITH IN HIM.

THEY CAME TO THE BORDER OF THE PROMISED LAND AND 12 SPIES WERE SENT IN TO DETERMINE WHAT THEY WOULD FACE. WHEN THEY RETURNED THEY SPOKE OF THE ABUNDANCE OF FRUIT THAT WAS IN THE LAND.

NUMBERS 13:27: THEY GAVE MOSES THIS ACCOUNT: “WE WENT INTO THE LAND TO WHICH YOU SENT US, AND IT DOES FLOW WITH MILK AND HONEY! HERE IS ITS FRUIT.

THEY BROUGHT BACK A HUGE CLUSTER OF GRAPES WITH THEM, SO BIG THAT IT TOOK TWO MEN TO CARRY IT. IT TRULY WAS THE PROMISED LAND. THEY WERE LOOKING WITH EYES OF OPPORTUNITY, THIS WAS WHAT THEY WOULD GAIN.

BUT THEY STOPPED LOOKING AT OPPORTUNITY, AND THEIR EYES SETTLED ON THE NEPHILIM, OR GIANTS THAT WERE IN THE LAND. IT’S KIND OF HOW I FELL WHEN I HAVE TO LOOK UP TO JASON O’HEARN OR RYAN MANN. THESE NEPHILIM COULD BE BETWEEN 8-10 FEET TALL, AND THE ISRAELITES WOULD HAVE TO FIGHT THEM FOR THE LAND. IT WAS A PRELUDE TO DAVID AND GOLIATH.

THE RESULT WAS THAT 10 OF THE 12 SPIES THAT WERE SENT SAID THAT THE LAND WAS GOOD, BUT IT COULD NOT BE TAKEN, AND THE PEOPLE CHOSE TO PICK A NEW LEADER AND GO BACK INTO SLAVERY IN EGYPT. ONLY 2, JOSHUA AND CALEB, SAID THAT THEY SHOULD TRUST GOD AND ENTER THE LAND. THEY SHOULD TRUST GOD TO HELP THEM AS THEY DEALT WITH THE GIANTS.

SOMETIMES ITS HARD TO TRUST GOD. I’VE KNOWN OF PASTORS WHO WHEN STUDYING FOR THE MINISTRY WERE LOOKING AT EMPTY CABINETS, TRUSTING THAT GOD WOULD MEET THEIR NEEDS, AND HE DID. SOMETIMES THEY WOULD PRAY ABOUT WHERE THE RENT MONEY WAS GOING TO COME FROM, AND IT WOULD COME. GOD WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF HIS PEOPLE WHEN HIS PEOPLE ARE WALKING WITH THE LORD. I’VE SEEN IT IN MY LIFE, AND I’M SEEING IT NOW IN THE LIFE OF OUR CHURCH. TRUSTING IN GOD THOUGH IS DIFFICULT AS IT FORCES US TO LOOK BEYOND THE OBSTACLES OF REALITY, WHICH IS OUR MOUNTAIN, AND SEE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD TO DISPLAY HIS MOUNTAIN-MOVING POWER.

THE PEOPLE OF ISREAL CHOSE NOT TO ENTER THE PROMISED LAND AND AS A RESULT, GOD DID NOT ALLOW A SINGLE PERSON OF THAT GENERATION, TWENTY YEARS OR OLDER, TO ENTER THE PROMISED LAND. THEIR CHILDREN COULD, BUT THEY COULD NOT. FOR 40 YEARS THIS GENERATION WANDERED IN THE WILDERNESS, UNTIL EACH ONE OF THAT GENERATION HAD DIED. THEY WANDERED 40 YEARS, TO MAKE AN 11 DAY JOURNEY.

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