Be Strong and Courageous

June 5, 2022

David Sorn

Joshua is told 4 times to be strong and courageous. Learn the reasons why and how you too can develop the same strength and courage.

Be Strong and Courageous

June 5, 2022

David Sorn

Joshua is told 4 times to be strong and courageous. Learn the reasons why and how you too can develop the same strength and courage.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Joshua 1: 1-18


Good morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here.

Before we get started this morning, I want to call Grant Anderson back on stage for just a second.

Many of you know Grant, or at least know of him.

Grant has been working here for a year and a half now as our Youth Pastor, and was leading Worship at one of our church plants for 5 years before that.

I always tell Grant that he is good at everything, and indeed the Lord saw fit to gift him to do just about everything well, but one of the things we know about Grant is that his heart bleeds for worship.

And so we are actually creating a new position here for him, and Grant has now become our Associate Worship Pastor.

He’ll now play a significant role in assisting worship leading on and off stage, and will lead worship about once a month

We have also hired a new Youth Pastor named Matt Lubratt, who is great with students and a gifted Bible Teacher.

Matt is in the process of finishing his ministry degree at Dallas Seminary, and you’ll meet him this summer as well.

But right now, we are excited for Grant, and I want to pray for you now (pray for Grant).


Okay, we are starting our summer series this morning!

Last year, we did a fun and memorable Summer Series on the Life of Elijah, and this summer, we’re going to be walking through the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament.

Here in this first week, I want to take a few minutes and explain where we are in history, so you know when this book takes place.

Centuries before Joshua, in the Book of Genesis (the 1st book of the Bible), God had promised the land of Canaan to a man named Abraham and his descendants.

And that promise then flowed to Abraham’s grandson Jacob, who was also known as Israel.

Well, eventually Jacob, or Israel, and his family (the Israel-ites) journeyed to Egypt to escape a famine.

Several generations and a few Egyptian regime changes later, the Israelites were enslaved.

But God heard their cry, and he raised up Moses as their leader, sent 10 plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea.

The Israelites were then in the desert wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years, during which they received “the law” from God.

A guide on how they should live and interact with God.

The 10 commandments being a major cornerstone of that law.

And just as their 40 years in the desert were ending, Moses, their leader, dies, and his assistant and apprentice, Joshua is now going to take his place and lead the Israelites back into the land God promised Abraham and his descendants.

And that brings us to the book of Joshua!

So everybody grab a Bible!

Joshua 1:1-6

Page 146

We believe and teach that the Bible is a true, historical account, but these Biblical events in the OT also serve brilliantly as a metaphor for God’s truth in the New Testament.

Christians are now God’s people, freed from slavery, and God has guided us through the wilderness and now into a new land.

But the Promised Land in Joshua is not a metaphor for heaven.

Because, as we will see, the Israelites will face lots of trials and opposition in their earthly promised land

But the Promised Land is a metaphor, a picture, of what life can be like when we truly walk with God and let Him lead us.


Okay, let’s start reading:

(Joshua 1:1-6) – NIV

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

(“Be Strong and Courageous” Title Slide)

The main theme you’re going to see in chapter 1 is that not one, not twice, but FOUR times Joshua is told to be strong and courageous!

And here’s the thing, Joshua is not a weakling.

If you read the Bible up to this point, you’ll see that Joshua even previously commanded the army of the Israelites!

Joshua was one of 12 Israelite spies that was sent on a dangerous reconnaissance mission to see what the Promised Land was really like.

10 of the 12 spies were scared out of their mind.

But Caleb & Joshua said, “There is nothing too big for our God!”

And yet, FOUR times, God has told this Joshua, “Be Strong and Courageous!”

In part because even the bravest of God’s people need this reminder, and in part because there are different aspects to why He should be strong and courageous.

In fact, this morning, I want to look at 4 reasons why Joshua could be strong & courageous, and thus why we can be as well.

And we’ll look at one reason for each time Joshua was told to be strong & courageous.

Here’s the first one:

Why We Can Be Strong and Courageous

#1 (verse 6): Because God has called us

Joshua didn’t stumble accidentally into leadership here.

If you read the end of the Book of Deuteronomy (right before Joshua) you’ll see that the Lord has Moses appoint Joshua as the next leader.

God called Joshua into this role.

And if God calls you, that means something!

So what has God called you to?

It may be to start something…or say something.

Maybe He’s leading you to a new place or a new job.

Or to start a family

Maybe He’s calling you to begin fighting against an old nagging sin again…

…to forgive someone

…to trust Him in the middle of a health crisis….

There are a 100 reasons why we each might be living in fear right now, but the truth is God IS indeed calling out to you.

He has a plan for you.

He wants you to bravely walk it out.

(“Be Strong and Courageous” Title Slide)

It this matters for the moments we feel faint

The moments when we feel like, “But this is way too big for me to do!”

You ever feel that way?

Did you know that God kind of likes it when you feel that way?


Because then you’ll have to lean into Him.

And you’ll need to remember, God has called me for this.

He has assigned me TO this…

And so I need to be strong and courageous.

God would not have sent me here if it were not possible.


Let’s keep reading:

Joshua 1:7-8

Page 146

(Joshua 1:7-8) – NIV

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

So we get a second “be strong and courageous,” except this is the only time in the chapter in which Joshua is told to be VERY courageous.

And why this time?

Why We Can Be Strong and Courageous

#1 (verse 6): Because God has called us

#2 (verse 7): Because God’s Word will keep you on the right path

As we read and study the Book of Joshua this summer, you’re going to see that the Israelites will be constantly tempted to stray from God’s path.

They are going to need STRENGTH & COURAGE to stay on God’s path.

He has given them his instructions for living now.

You can read them in Deuteronomy.

They are summed up in the 10 commandments.

God has taught them how to follow Him and how to treat other people.

But temptations to stray to the left and right will be massive.

(“Be Strong and Courageous” Title Slide)

And that’s no different today is it?

I think of John Bunyan’s epic book “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” from which you should read the children’s version “Little pilgrim’s big journey,” but the main character, Christian is told to stay on the path on his journey to the celestial city (heaven).

But he’s always being enticed off of it. Basically the whole book!

Whether by supposed shortcuts, or an “easier way,” or by a town that he could stop journeying and just enjoy pleasures instead.

But we have a mission.

A calling.

God is calling each of you to unique things and to live for Him by a certain code.

Do not veer to the left or the right,” God’s Word says.

Be Strong & Courageous!

But how?

Look at verse 8.

3 Ways to Stay on the Path (verse 8)

1. Keep God’s Word on your lips

2. Meditate on His Word

3. Obey It.

You keep God’s Word (and now we have much more of it than they did!)…

You keep His word on your lips (you read it every day, talk about it every day)

You meditate on it

You pray it, memorize it, think about it while you’re doing your job during the day

And you DO it.

You actually obey it

And doing those 3 things gives you the STRENGTH and COURAGE to stay on the path even when no one else is, or it feels really hard to obey.

Remember, the Book of Joshua is teaching us what life can be like when we truly walk with God and trust Him.

It’s teaching you how to have a successful Christian life.

And don’t put that into an American context.

It’s not teaching you how to be rich.

It’s teaching you how to live a full life…a life where you can deal with anything that comes your way (with strength & courage) because of the promises of God and the presence of God.


Okay, let’s keep reading, but we’re going to skip over verse 9 and come back to it at the end, because it’s the foundational piece to all of this.

Joshua 1:10-15

Page 146

(Joshua 1:10-15) – NIV

10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”

12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

(“Be Strong and Courageous” Title Slide)

Okay, let’s pause for just a second.

A little context: two and half of the 12 tribes of Israel had said back in Numbers 32 that they would stay on the East Side of the Jordan River…they wouldn’t cross it

But Moses had commanded them that they needed to still cross over into the Promised Land, fight with their Israelite brothers first, and then when the promised land was conquered, they could go back to their wives and children on the East Side.

And Joshua is probably a little nervous now that these tribes might renege on their word.

I mean, they’ve basically made it to their “promised land,” so there is definitely a temptation to not go in and fight w/ the rest of the Israelites.

Let’s see how they respond to Joshua:

Joshua 1:16-18

Page 146

(Joshua 1:16-18) – NIV

16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

So the tribe leaders tell Joshua that they will obey him like they obeyed Moses.

And they say to Him, “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS, Joshua!”

Here’s the 3rd reason

Why We Can Be Strong and Courageous

#1 (verse 6): Because God has called us

#2 (verse 7): Because God’s Word will keep you on the right path

#3 (verse 18): Because God’s people are with you

I think one of the main reasons so many American Christians are experiencing more fear and anxiety than usual is because they are isolated.

We are more isolated as Christians than ever before.

And the devil can intimidate you when you are alone.

But together we strengthen one another and bring courage.

Or as we say in our Core Values, “We know our faith thrives in community, but struggles without it.

Listen, Joshua is nervous only a few days from entering the promised land, how strengthening would it have been for him to be doubting these 3 tribes but then to have them say, “We are with you, brother, be strong and courageous!”

I’m sure that would have brought a lot of courage!

Listen, you can’t do this alone.

You can’t.

God created you for other people.

That’s why we talk about House Groups all the time.

It isn’t enough to just come and hear the teaching of the Word.

God designed you to be held up and encouraged and challenged by others.

When it’s time to get in groups again in a few months here, get in one.

If you’re already in a group, and you feel that old foe fear starting to creep up again, “Call up a friend, text a friend, get together for coffee, or a walk, or to go fishing, or whatever, and tell them your fears”

And let them point you again to the King.

And let them say, “Be Strong and Courageous my friend, God is good!”


Okay, let’s go back to verse 9. This is the cornerstone reason for our strength & courage.

Joshua 1:9

Page 146

(Joshua 1:9) – NIV

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This is our 4th reason for why we can be strong and courageous no matter what we’re facing right now:

Why We Can Be Strong and Courageous

#1 (verse 6): Because God has called us

#2 (verse 7): Because God’s Word will keep you on the right path

#3 (verse 18): Because God’s people are with you

#4 (verse 9): Because God is with you

Joshua can be strong and courageous and enter into this land full of enemies…why?

Because God is with Him!

This sounds really simple, but I think as Christians who live in America today, we do NOT get this right.

We are swimming way too deep in our own cultural waters to think Biblically on this.

When we talk to our kids today, we say things like, “You can do it! You are brave! You are so strong! You’re the smartest! You can do anything!”

Parents, please do not talk to your kids like that.

Some of you are raising your eyebrows at me right now because that kind of talk sounds very normal.

But it’s that kind of talk that is actually setting some of your kids up for future bouts with depression and anxiety as teens.

Not that this is the only reason for that…far from it.

But we’re watching a generation of teens now (in Gen Z) who have been told that they can do anything and they are strong and smart and brave…

And so what are they to believe about themselves when they aren’t?

Do you remember being a teenager?

I remember being more foolish and dumb than smart and brave.

And so our teens and young adults…when they begin to come face to face with their sinful nature, they chide themselves, and say, “Ugh! What’s wrong with me! I’m not smart after all! I’m not good! I’m not brave. What’s wrong with me?!”

Don’t teach them to believe in themselves, but in Him.

Teach them that from a young age.

That’s Biblical parenting.

And this is just as true for us as adults.

Because we too have a way of being too surprised by our inadequacies.

So surprised that it leads to our own sadness and often depression.

Where if we just understood our frailty, our sinful nature, our inability, in the first place…

A) We wouldn’t be so disappointed.

And B) We wouldn’t be so self-focused.

J.D. Greear says it this way:

“Confidence doesn’t come from looking at what’s inside you; it comes from seeing the One standing beside you.” – JD Greear

Joshua is about to cross the Jordan River (he doesn’t even know how yet) and then attack a heavily fortified Jericho.

And he’s told to be strong & courageous in doing so.

But not by saying, “You the man Joshua! You the man! You got this! Who’s strong? You strong!”

(“Be Strong and Courageous” Title Slide)

What does the Word say? Not the culture! The Word???

Be strong and courageous for “The LORD YOUR GOD will be with you wherever you go!”

Okay now.

Well, if the King of Kings is coming with us, now what do we have to fear?

This is how you bring back strength and courage in your life.

Some of you, your knees have been shaking lately.

You’re drowning in anxiety and fear about what’s in front of you.

And the reason that fear has its grip on you is because you’re looking at what you need to do…and then looking back at yourself…and you’re going, “No way…not going to happen…I’ll never be strong enough.”

To which I say, “AMEN! You can’t. You’re not!

But He is!

So be strong and courageous because He’s coming with!

Too many Christians are still back in the desert…in the wilderness.

Too afraid to seize upon all of the good spiritual growth God has for them if they would step forward.

And they’re afraid mostly because the world has taught them to look at themselves and not God.

Look to Him, and be strong and courageous.

And if you don’t know Jesus, and your life has been filled with a lot of fear.

I’m telling you, he can change this.

He died in your place, for your sins, so you could be forgiven, and so you could know Him and walk with Him.

If you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus, talk to our follow-up team in the front right.


All right, we’re learning about being strong & courageous this morning, and now comes an opportunity for us as a CHURCH to be strong & courageous.

Over the last 3 Sundays, we have been telling you about this amazing opportunity that has come our way.

(Corner Lot slide)

The Corner Lot immediately north of us (where the Shell Gas Station used to be…in purple on the screen) has become available, and we were able to put an offer on it before it went out on the market.

This is HUGE for our church! Absolutely huge.

Parking is a challenge here, especially in the long-term.

Right now we’re projecting we could be up to 100 parking spots short when we expand someday, and this property solves that problem completely!

It’s still pretty mind-blowing to me that we even have this opportunity.

God is CLEARLY on the move here.

But just like God had led Joshua & the Israelites to the Promised Land, now it was their time to be STRONG & COURAGEOUS and move…in faith.

God has placed this opportunity in our lap, and we need to respond.

Our board has entered into a Purchase Agreement with the Seller which will allow us to hopefully close on this property this summer.

The property itself costs 1.3 million, our bank will give us a loan for 1 million, and so we have been attempting to raise $300,000 for a down payment.

I’ve mentioned the last several weeks that our leaders have already given an astounding $192,000 up front to this project.

(Special Offering Slide)

So today, we are taking a special offering to raise the remainder needed for a down payment to secure the land.

And that is $108,000.

This is a lot.

I think the most money we’ve ever seen come in for 1 day in our church’s history was $30,000 for a Special Offering for our work in Haiti.

And so we’re praying for 100% participation.

Whether you can give $50, $500, or $5,000.

As we start our last song, our Ushers are going to come forward and pass the offering cans for this Special Offering.

If you don’t have cash or check on you today, you can give online, and I just encourage you to do so right now actually, as they pass the buckets.

You can do so through our app or website.

But you WILL need to make sure you select “Corner Lot Fund”

Go ahead and get your phone out (if you don’t have cash or check)

You can give through or through our app.

If you weren’t ready to give today, you can still give online through tomorrow.

Last logistical thing: Make checks out to Renovation Church if you write one.

Let me pray.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

JUNE 5, 2022