Live Courageously in the Purpose of God

Bible Book: Joshua  1 : 9
Subject: Courage; Christian Living; Purpose of God
Series: Live Courageously

In days of deep discouragement we need eternal encouragement. Courage is a precious commodity! With it, we can do amazing things, without it we can hardly do anything. Dr. Alexander Maclaren warns, “Courage that does not rest on Christ’s presence is audacity rather than courage, and sure to collapse.”[1] Dr. Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) writes, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”[2]

In the words of the last two lines of the Refrain of the Philip P. Bliss (1838-1876) hymn, “Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known.”[3] Several years ago there was a great push for Christian leaders to develop and adopt a purpose statement. This is a good purpose statement used by the Navigators for many years: “To know Christ and to make Him known.”

Joshua 1:9c reads, “do not be afraid nor be dismayed. . .” (Emphasis mine) Joshua 8:1 reads, “Now the Lord said to Joshua: ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai.’”(Emphasis mine) Joshua 11:6 reads, “But the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” (Emphasis mine) No doubt Joshua repeated this instruction many times in the process of accomplishing the purpose of God. For example, we read in Joshua 10:25, “Then Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.’” (Emphasis mine)

Remember there are sins of omission and sins of commission. Most people focus on sins of commission, namely, the things we do that are sin, but how many use the same care dealing with sins of omission, namely, not doing the things we should? Dr. Roy B. Zuck (1932-2013) shares, “A little boy said, ‘Sins of commission are the sins we commit, and the sins of omission are those we meant to commit but forgot.”[4] Sin carries serious consequences.

Horatio Richmond Palmer (1834-1907) penned these words in 1868, “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; Each victory will help you some other to win; Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue, Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.”[5]

We must remember we are in enemy territory. In Joshua and the Land of Promise, Dr. F. B. Meyer (1834-1929) explains, “The Book of Joshua is to the Old Testament what the Epistle to the Ephesians is to the New.”[6] The former refers to conquering and possessing a physical land the latter refers to conquering and possessing a spiritual land. Our spiritual Canaan must be taken from the hands of our enemy to become our own. Possessing our possessions is critically important if we fulfill our God given purpose in life. In Christ, we have all we need. 2 Peter 1:3 reads, “. . . His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” (Emphasis mine)

Dr. Andrew Telford (1895-1997) pastor of Berachah Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, shares the following assurances on “The Saint's Provision for Warfare”:

We Have an Invincible General—‘Christ is our leader,’ [Eph.] 6:10
We Have an Irresistible Weapon—‘Sword of Spirit,’ [Eph.] 6:17
We Have an Impenetrable Protection—‘Whole armour of God,’ [Eph.] 6:13
We Have an Infallible Source of Supply Available—‘Prayer,’ [Eph.] 6:18[7]

The person fulfilling God’s purpose is invincible. Isaiah 54:17 reads, “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,’ Says the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 reads, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” Rev. John G. Butler writes, “Men may think their plots are invincible, but nothing is invincible against God.”[8] Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe shares the following about, “Defeating the Amorites (v. 24-3:11): ‘Sihon and Og were powerful kings in the region of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan, and the Lord had determined to destroy them and their people. God's orders in 2:24-25 and 31 summarize the pattern Israel would follow in their conquest of the Promised Land. God would tell Joshua which city or people to attack; He would assure them of victory; and He would go with them to help them win the battle. Israel's defeat of Sihon and Og was especially important because it would send a message ahead to the nations in Canaan and bring fear to their hearts (11:25). By the time Joshua was ready to enter the land, the news of Israel's invincible march had already gone before them (Josh. 2:8-11; see Ex. 15:14-16). . . . This victory over Sihon gave the Israelites encouragement to confront Og, and they won that battle as well and took over all the land. The fact that the cities had high walls (Deut. 3:5) and that Og was a giant (v. 11) didn't seem to create any of the problems that the older generation had feared (Num. 13:28). God is bigger than the walls and greater than the giants!’”[9]
Live courageously in the purpose of God no matter what happens.

I. Don’t be surprised under fire!

The idiom “under fire” means, “subjected to enemy attack or censure”.[10] “If someone is being attacked and cricitised heavily, they are under fire.”[11] 1 Peter 4:12-16 reads, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 2 Timothy 3:12 reads, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Dr. B. H. Carroll (1843-1914) advised Dr. George W. Truett (1867-1944) in the following way: “Never take counsel of your fears or appearances; do your whole duty, and you may unfearingly leave the results with God.”[12] He spoke those words in 1892 about taking an offering with only a few present.

As believers we have an enemy. There is one who opposes God and your fulfillment of His purpose in your life. Rev. George Whitefield (1714-1770) stated, “We are immortal until our work on earth is done.”[13] Dr. Ray Pritchard writes, “We need not fear death because a Christian is immortal until his work on earth is done. You cannot die until God’s appointed time. Until then you are immortal. I do not know how far we have to go until we reach the end of our earthly road, but this I know—that road is paved with God’s love and faithfulness. And we need not be afraid.”[14] Dr. Kenneth Boa writes, “When David Livingstone [1813-1873] was asked if he didn't fear that going into Africa was too difficult and too dangerous, he answered, ‘I am immortal until the will of God for me is accomplished.’”[15] Dr. Robert J. Morgan shares in My All in All: Daily Assurance of God’s Grace: “Someone wrote, ‘God’s man, living in God’s will, is immortal until God’s plan for him on earth is fulfilled.’ That goes for God’s woman too. We never retire from His service. Oh, we might retire from our jobs, our professions, or our specific ministry roles. But retirement is God’s way of releasing us from doing ‘big’ things so we can do ‘little’ things, which are often more significant than the big things.”[16]

Ephesians 6:16 reads, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

II. Don’t be traumatized over foes!

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546) wrote, “Still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe, his craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal . . .”

Martin Luther’s successor in the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin (1509-1564), urged, “We have been forewarned that an enemy relentlessly threatens us, an enemy who is the very embodiment of rash boldness, of military prowess, of crafty wiles, of untiring zeal and haste, of every conceivable weapon and of skill in the science of warfare. We must, then, bend our every effort to this goal: that we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by carelessness or faintheartedness, but, on the contrary, with courage rekindled stand our ground in combat.”[17]

Identify the enemy. Matthew 16:21-23 reads, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’” Jesus clearly identified the enemy as Satan not Simon Peter. Remember, only minutes before, Matthew 16:13-17 records, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’” Ephesians 6:12 reads, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 reads, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Dr. James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) writes, “The apostle Paul noted that we are not ignorant of Satan’s ‘devices’ (2 Cor. 2:11 KJV). The word device means ‘a trick, plot, scheme, contrivance, or stratagem.’ So the point is that Christians know, or should know, about Satan's tricks for seeking to blind people’s minds and secure them for himself.”[18]

Contemplate on the words of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther’s hymn is known as the Battle Hymn of the Reformation:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.[19]

III. Don’t be paralyzed with fear!

General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) shared the following in his Farewell Address to Congress on April 19, 1951: “. . . once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory.”[20]

“General Douglas MacArthur said that one of the most important rules of war is to know your enemy.” Dr. Robert S. McGee explains in The Search for Significance, “If we are unaware of Satan’s schemes and lies, we will be ineffective in spiritual warfare. The purpose of this workbook is twofold: to help you uncover Satan’s deceptions in your thoughts and beliefs and to replace those lies with the powerful Word of God.”[21] Isaiah 41:10 reads, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Dr. Ed Hindson writes, “Even today many people fear surrendering their lives to God. They think they are going to lose out on something or that it’s going to cost them too much. However, such surrender brings life’s greatest victories.”[22] Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) writes, “When we ought to be enjoying victorious, abundant lives…what happens? Fear creeps in and grips us cold. Many of us lose priceless opportunities because of this boa constrictor of fear. When fear dominates, there is no room for Christ Who can comfort us. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’(John 16:33). Worry is the noxious first cousin to fear. Fear and worry will do to you what grit does to machinery — shut you down. But God gives us the victory with His power, His love, and the gift of a sound mind. The Holy Spirit is your Bodyguard. He walks with you. The man who can kneel before God can stand before any man.”[23]

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) explains, “The fundamental basis of the human will deep down is inclined towards God, and prayer works wonders fundamentally. The prayer of the feeblest saint on earth who lives in the Spirit and keeps right with God is a terror to Satan. The very powers of darkness are paralyzed by prayer, no spiritualistic séance can succeed in the presence of a humble praying saint. No wonder Satan tries to keep our minds fussy in active work till we cannot think in prayer. It is a vital necessity for Christians to think along the lines on which they pray. The philosophy of prayer is that prayer is the work!”[24] (Emphasis mine)

“In 1991, Michigan’s Timid Motorist Program assisted 830 drivers across the Mackinac Bridge that is five miles long and 200 feet high. The drivers were so scared of heights that they couldn't drive their own cars. The same year, more than a thousand motorists received assistance at Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge — also 200 feet high and four miles long.

Dr. David Jeremiah explains: ‘In spite of their destination being in plain sight and a history of the bridges being safe, the drivers were paralyzed by fear. The same thing happened to the nation of Israel when they were ready to enter the Promised Land. The land was in plain sight, and they had a history of God meeting their needs; but only three people in the entire nation were willing to exercise their faith and enter the land: Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. The rest said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we’ (Numbers 13:31). That generation of Israelites never reached their destination. Instead, their fear paralyzed them in the wilderness where they died.

‘If you can see your destination and have experienced God's faithfulness in the past, don't let fear destroy your freedom.’ (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 9-2-09)” (Emphasis mine)[25]

Joshua 5:13-15 reads, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’

Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua encountered the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joshua’s encounter near Jericho reminds me of these words from the great hymn by William Charles Poole (1875-1949):

Just when I need Him, Jesus is near,
Just when I falter, just when I fear;
Ready to help me, ready to cheer,
Just when I need Him most.[26]


Don’t be surprised under fire, traumatized over foes, or paralyzed with fear, but be mobilized by faith. According to the word of our Commander in Chief the Lord Jesus Christ! Ephesians 6:10-11 reads, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Galatians 2:20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” We need to be mobilized by faith. Faith is taking God at His word. He is faithful and we are to be full of faith. Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth involved the proclamation of truth. John 18:37b reads, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Luke 4:43-44 reads, “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’ And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.” Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth involved the propitiation for sin. 1 John 4:10 reads, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the atoning sacrifice] for our sins.” 1 John 2:2 reads, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” Revelation 13:8b reads, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” 1 Peter 1:18-21 reads, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Ephesians 3:8-13 reads, “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”

Do you know your purpose? Jesus knew His purpose and He lived on purpose. Before you attempt become “purpose driven” make sure you know the purpose given. Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and live courageously in the purpose of God!

[1]Alexander Maclaren, Exposition of Holy Scripture: Genesis, 89. Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

[2]C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, (London: Geoffrey Bles: The Centenary Press, 1942), Chapter 29, Paragraph 6. Accessed: 07/24/15 .

[3]Philip P. Bliss, “Dare to be a Daniel” (1873).

[4]Roy B. Zuck, The Speaker’s Quote Book: Over 4,500 Illustrations and Quotations for All Occasions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 353.

[5]Horatio Richmond Palmer, “Yield Not To Temptation” (1868).

[6]F. B. Meyer, Joshua and the Land of Promise (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1893), 10.

[7]Andrew Telford, Studies in Ephesians: Bible Studies Related to The Church-His Body, “The Saint’s Provision for Warfare” (Ephesians 6:10-18), 144. Database © 2011 WORDsearch Corp.

[8]Bible Biography Series – Mordecai: The Defender of the Jews. Copyright © 1999 by John G. Butler. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[9]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary –Old Testament – Pentateuch, 378.

[10]“Under Fire,“ Accessed: 06/12/15 .

[11]“Under Fire,” Accessed: 06/12/15 .

[12]Keith E. Durso, Thy Will Be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2009), 44.

[13]George Whitefield, Accessed: 06/26/15

[14]Ray Pritchard, He’s God and We’re Not: Seven Laws of the Spiritual Life (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003), Chapter 2.

[15]Kenneth Boa, “Discerning the Will of God” Accessed: 06/12/15 .

[16]Robert J. Morgan, My All in All: Daily Assurance of God’s Grace (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 18.

[17]James Montgomery Boice, “For Still Our Ancient Foe Doth Seek To Work Us Woe” Accessed: 06/13/15 .

[18]James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith: A Comprehensive & Readable Theology, Revised in One Volume (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 172.

[19]Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, (1529) trans. Frederic H. Hedge from German to English in 1853.

[20]General Douglas MacArthur, “Farewell Address to Congress”, delivered April 19, 1951, Accessed: 06/13/15 .

[21]Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2003), 155.

[22]Ed Hindson, Courageous Faith: Life Lessons from Old Testament Heroes (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publications, 2003), 85.

[23]Adrian Rogers, “Overcoming Fear and Worry”.

[24]Oswald Chambers, “Weapon of All Prayer” (Ephesians 6:18).

[25]PreachingNOW Vol. 8, No. 32, Illustrations, “Fear” Accessed: 06/26/15 .

[26]William C. Poole, “Just When I Need Him Most” (1907). Accessed: 06/26/15 .


Sermon 3 of 4 Series: A Profile in Courage


Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on in hardcover, paperback and eBook] & / / (251) 626-6210

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