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Do not be Afraid

Recorded on July 11th, 2021

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Transcript of Sermon:

honestly i like to have my bible in my hand i’m not one of those who’s a kindle reader i like the book and so if you would like to follow along our scripture this morning i believe in the pew bible is on page 189 we are going to be in the book of joshua this morning joshua chapter 1. we’re going to read verses 1 and 9. and again if you would like to stand for the reading of the word you are welcome i i like to give folks let the holy spirit lead you as as you um as he would like to for you so joshua chapter 1 verses 1 and 9. after the death of moses the servant of the lord the lord said to joshua son of nun moses is aid moses my servant is dead now then you and all these people get ready to cross into the jordan river into the land i am about to give them to the israelites i will give you every place where you set your foot as i promised moses 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 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 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 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 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 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 the word of god for the people of god thanks be to god so let’s pray merciful father we thank you lord god this morning for your word your mighty word which does not fail which stands forever i ask that you will send your holy spirit in these next few moments come holy spirit minister and speak to us according to your word father god not my word this morning father yours in the name of jesus christ let it be to the glory of your name amen so our message this morning it comes from this first chapter in joshua this this passage marks a point of a lot of transition a major change is happening in the the life or the experience of the israelites up until this time they have lived a certain way they’ve wandered in the desert about 40 years we think they’ve wandered through the desert and then we see that the lord is now leading them into this new season and we have joshua and he’s standing there before the jordan river and the lord is finally ready to lead them into the promised land canaan right and i want us to notice here those words that god uses those first few words that he uses when he’s addressing joshua he says there in verse two he says moses my servant is dead now that seems harsh to me seems like the lord is is being kind of harsh there by and so i wanted to ask that question what is god doing here he’s proclaiming so clearly and so directly to joshua that his servant moses has died well if you’ll bear with me a little bit this morning i want to go back i want to go back a little bit and i want us to remember how we got here how we got to this place here in joshua chapter 1. so we go back all the way to the book of genesis all the way to chapter 12 in the book of genesis we are introduced to a man named abram or abraham as he would be called remember abraham he was a descendant of noah noah was a descendant of adam and eve right we’ve seen the lineage we can see it there in genesis and one day abraham was called by god to leave his father’s family probably remember the story leave the comfort leave your life leave the security of your father’s family and god said just go to a place that i will show you that was it sometimes god doesn’t give us the place he gives us a direction and that’s not bad and so abraham received this and we know you know this is a common occurrence through the scriptures this happens pretty frequently we often see god calling his children to come out from their place of comfort to come out from the life that they have known for so long and to go into the new thing that he is doing right we see it all through the old testament story we see it in the new testament even with the disciples and with paul if you follow the story especially in the book of acts you see god moving them to the next place in the next place and the next place he does not allow us to be still for very long and sometimes when we go into these news places things can feel strange and i’m familiar with this feeling you go into a foreign country and at first it’s kind of exciting and then it starts to just feel foreign nothing works like you think it’s going to work nothing works as it has always worked god frequently calls his children into the next new thing and it can feel very uncomfortable and so god called abraham and we know this was the major key for abraham he was the one who was known to trust god he trusted god and the thing is he didn’t just say that he trusted god but his faith and his trust became evident because he did what god told him to do he left he said okay and he left abraham went out from his home and then god took him to a place called canaan all right we read about this in genesis 12 verses 4 through 7 says so abraham went and the lord told him as the lord told him abram was 75 years old when he set out he took his wife he took his possessions they set out for the land of canaan at that time the canaanites were in the land the lord appeared to abram and said to your offspring i will give this land now there’s the promise the promise back there in genesis 12 back to abraham many generations before moses or joshua even appeared on the scene we had this promise of god a promise that abraham would never see by the way and so he chose to do this thing what was what was god doing like through abraham we have to remember what is god doing that’s the question he’s raising up this people the israelites he’s doing it through abram i’m going to do this thing through abram because abram trusted god he trusted god so that when god called him to move forward abram moved forward he wasn’t afraid to leave behind the comfort and the safety he moved forward and he obeyed god so then abram said abraham excuse me he was later called abraham and sarah they had a son isaac we know these stories then isaac married rebecca they had two sons jacob and esau they had their own issues their own drama we can say and remember that um jacob was later he was given the name israel by god we can read that story in genesis and then eventually jacob had 12 sons right and these became the heads of the 12 tribes of israel the israelites and one of jacob’s sons was joseph right the favorite and we remember the story of joseph some more drama family dramas all through there right and his brothers were very jealous of him right so they arranged for him to be sold as a slave he was taken to egypt and then we know what happened he became very powerful in egypt and eventually we know that his brothers and his father jacob they ended up coming to egypt living with him in egypt and they were very comfortable there and that’s how the book of genesis ends well then we get into exodus the next book they’re still in egypt right but they’re not comfortable anymore it’s been many many years many generations since uh joseph had been there and the israelites are still there but the egyptians don’t like them as much and so they have for many generations lived as slaves they have been enslaved by the egyptian people um and so then when we get to the book of exodus many generations after joseph we meet moses and we know the story of moses we hear this incredible story right he was born um the pharaoh was threatened by these israelites babies and so he moses was taken and put into a basket in the nile river remember by his mother and he was found he was raised by pharaoh’s daughter and then he got into trouble remember he got into trouble for killing an egyptian man so he had to flee remember these stories and then he was out um tending the flocks for his father-in-law and then the lord appeared to him in a burning bush remember all these childhood stories don’t we and god said to moses you got to go back to egypt why it was time i’m going to lead them out of there i’m going to lead them back out of egypt it is time for them to take the promise that i gave to their forefather abraham it’s time for them to take the promised land you know sometimes when we read these little stories in isolation right we can forget this is a story about god the fullness of this story is about the things that god is doing and so that’s the question what is god doing here so moses goes back to egypt he challenges pharaoh there were many miracles there was the passover there was the parting of the red sea right they walk out on dry land and they are delivered out of slavery and then after some time after about a year or so they’ve been out in the wilderness they’d gone to mount sinai moses had received the ten commandments and the old law had all been given to him and god said okay it’s time it’s time to go to canaan it’s time to take this land it’s time i’m ready to fulfill my promise to do the next thing i’m going to do but there was an issue in canaan we’re still living the canaanites and a lot of other people groups they’ve been there a long time and in order to receive this promised land the israelites were gonna have to face some battles they were going to have to battle they were going to have to face struggles some difficult painful sometimes even dangerous battles to step into the promise of god and to the next thing that he was doing and here’s where joshua comes in the story in the book of numbers chapter 13 it tells us that when god first told moses to prepare to enter canaan he sent some spies first moses sent one spy from each of the twelve tribes to go in to check out the land and check out the people and so they went they were gone a few weeks and they came back and they said to joshua and the israelites this land is amazing it is beautiful right flowing with milk and honey right but the people are huge they are fierce warriors the cities are built so well and 10 of them said we can’t do it no way we will never be victorious in these battles we can’t go so they knew this is what god has called us to do we know this is what he promised are for i mean he had promised it generations before this was the legacy of the israelites they chose not to follow because it was going to be too hard the foreignness we don’t speak their languages they eat different foods we’re going to have to face battles no and they chose the comfort that they had come to know in the wilderness but there were two of the spies two of these twelve caleb was one of them from the tribe of judah and the other was joshua and they said no no no we can do it they said we cannot do it in our strength but it is the god our our almighty god of our forefathers who has called us into this thing it is his promise he will go with us we should go so ultimately they decided the israelites got scared this is too much they didn’t trust god enough they said they trusted god but not enough to follow him see there’s a distinction and so they didn’t go they stayed in the wilderness they felt they stayed there in a place where they knew how things worked it was comfortable it was safe and and so god said to them okay you’ve heard my call i’ve called you you’re not following me you’re not trusting me enough to obey me and so i’m going to give this land to the next generation and it will only be after all of this generation with the exception of joshua has passed only at that time will i lead you into this promised land and so they ended up spending about 40 years wandering the desert with moses never entered him and then we get to our passage today first chapter joshua and we see the lord the first thing he says to joshua moses my servant is dead now god loved moses joshua loved moses he knew that god is not trying to be cruel here but he is affirming to joshua the time of disobedience is over it is time now the season of holding on to what feels familiar and what feels comfortable and safe that’s done now i have made this promise this is my word it is time to step into this next thing that i am doing it is time to move forward why what was god doing here i keep asking that question what is god doing what was the purpose of all this the create the calling of abraham the forming of the israelite nation what was god doing what is all of this for this is all for jesus this was and is always for jesus christ that’s what this was for if we go back even further genesis chapter 3 garden of eden remember the story of the garden of eden adam and eve they had been deceived by the serpent they had trusted god but not enough to obey him they ate the fruit that he had asked them told them not to eat and so they fell into disobedience and remember right after this in genesis chapter 3 verses 14 and 15 the lord god he’s realized what’s happened he’s talking to the serpent what does he say he says because you have done this because you have deceived my children he says to the serpent cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals and then in verse 15 genesis 3 13 15 he says i will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers he will crush your head and you will strike his heel genesis 3 15 right after adam and eve had fallen god promised to send a descendant of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent that’s about jesus the first time we see the promise of god to bring one who would deliver us from evil christ the head of the serpent bring us into freedom is genesis chapter 3 verse 15. and so then he promises this savior and then he calls abraham right he creates his vast people the israelites he gives them the land of canaan he raises up the judges and then the kings and the prophets all of this was in the fulfillment of that promise right after the fall the grace of god i will bring one who will save you a deliverer a redeemer all of it was about jesus christ remember what jesus said in john chapter 8 he said he whom the son sets free shall be free indeed so this is the promise the promise of god has never changed freedom right freedom he promised to deliver his people to take them out of their bondage to slavery to bring them into the promised land and his promise for you and me today is the same in jesus christ but our bondage is a bondage to deception and to sin to strongholds right and then our freedom comes as we are able by his grace to put our trust in him to place our faith in him so that we are sanctified right so that we are cleansed from these places of bondage and sin and deception and this is not just about learning to say the words oh yes i trust in him it is about coming to freedom that through our faith when he says to move we move that is the freedom and so as we are stepping together into this new season right looking forward to the things that god is doing i wonder if perhaps today some of us may sense that we’re standing on the edge of our own jordan a little bit right feeling a little discontent you know wondering maybe if there’s this tug to come out of the things that feel familiar to come out of the safety of the way things are and the way we’ve known things and to move into the next new thing that god is doing you know perhaps some of us are being called to leave some of the comfort and the safety behind that we find in in this world and to move into the freedom of following god and i want to be careful not to sugarcoat this thing not to romanticize this thing too much obedience is hard following christ jesus jesus christ who remember he surrendered himself to the humiliation and the suffering of death on a cross following him in this world is hard it is not comfortable it is not easy you know i remember our first year living in russia um our oldest was two i mentioned that you know i was pregnant with our son when we moved and we had prepared for this move for years so we had been preparing we were so excited this is a thing that god is leading us into you know when we finally got there the first few weeks were really exciting and you know new foods and it’s all interesting and oh what is you’re in the grocery store and know what does that word mean i don’t know just buy it and try it you get a few weeks in that excitement wears off i’m just gonna tell you right even the simplest things going to the grocery store mailing a letter getting forms filled out finding a place to deliver a baby things become very hard nothing works the way we thought it should almost never and we were still learning the language we didn’t know what the foods were we didn’t have a car so we get lost a lot walking metro st petersburg’s a big city and a lot of days it felt awful it did a lot of days we stumbled and we struggled and we hurt and we questioned we were a mess those first months and we thought some days what have we done right but standing here with you today you know 12 13 years later and looking at the amazing works of grace and healing and deliverance that god has done not only in the lives that were around us but in my life in my family right the grace he has poured out and that he is continuing to pour out in our lives we can never have earned any of this there’s no way this is not about me i can look now and say this is about him right so throughout the scriptures we see god consistently calling calling his people onward to the new thing that he is doing the next thing is he is doing as he moves he says just come with me right and so we will be called to face battles usually they’re personal spiritual battles discomfort uncomfortable battles as we are being set free sanctified we dare to trust god enough to obey him right and and to follow him and then in his grace he will reveal to us our deceptions he will reveal to us our strongholds he will because he whom the son sets free shall be free but sometimes through this journey each day when it gets really hard we find our assurance in the words that our lord spoke to his servant joshua standing there on the edge of the jordan river he said as i was with moses so i will be with you i will never leave you i will never forsake you be strong and courageous do not be afraid do not be discouraged why for the lord your god will be with you wherever you go as the lord is leading us into this new season perhaps even into new places of ministry or mission or who knows some things may feel foreign may feel a little strange to us right we all know that he’s equipping us to face the battles that come whatever this new season holds wherever he is leading us let us not be afraid today let us know that this thing is not about us it is not about what i can or you can or we cannot do right but this is and has always been about jesus christ our lord he who is still lord today he who is sovereign today he who it calls us into this new thing according to his will and his word to the glory of his name amen let’s pray gracious father we thank you this morning i thank you lord god again father god what grace to be able to gather so freely with brothers and sisters this morning sons and daughters searching for you waiting for you merciful father we do pray lord as you are ministering revealing your holy word to us drawing us ever closer to you that you will reveal to us the places where maybe you’re moving us forward into the next new thing father i pray that you will grant us the assurance of your presence and your love for us god your goodness and just everything that you are that we may follow you trusting in you waiting on you and that we will glorify you and all we do and say in the name of jesus christ,  amen