“Deep & Wide” // Joshua 1:1-9
The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday, June 5, 2022 at our West U Baptist Campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.
Church family, I’m so humbled by this moment in time in the life of our church. 30 Million is an incredible commitment! What an AMAZING STARTING LINE! God is with us! God’s Spirit is working in us and through us! And Now we have to go and take the land.
As I said in our video at the end there, we will use the summer to do two things:
- Allow more time for commitments to come in. Many of you are still wrestling with what God would have you do. You have yet to join in. We understand that and ask you to pray about what commitment you will make and please declare that. It assists our planning.
- The second thing that we are going to do is take some time to PRIORITIZE our Project List and refresh the numbers on the project. OUR PLAN IS TO COME TO YOU IN MID-TO LATE AUGUST WITH OUR ACTION ITEMS FOR YOUR APPROVAL.
Now, some of you may say, “Well, we didn’t hit our number! We fell short. How can we proceed?”
HERE IS MY ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION: THIS IS OUR STARTING POINT, NOT OUR FINISH LINE!
Do you realize that? This moment in the life of our church is our STARTING LINE, not our finish line! You all have STRETCHED, GROWN, SACRIFICED, and DECLARED IN FAITH your heart to go DEEPER that we might reach WIDER!
So, today, we begin the journey to take the land.
I want us to turn in our Bibles to Joshua 1. We will pick up in 1 John next week where we left off, but it’s important for us to understand where we are on this journey of going Deeper that our reach might be Wider!
When we open Joshua 1, we find Joshua and the people of Israel at a STARTING LINE. And it is here that God comes to Joshua and says, “It’s a new day, let’s get ready to move!”
- God, you know the end from the beginning
- You are Sovereign over all things
- Father, we want to thank you for the work you are doing in this place…in our lives!
- We celebrate such faithful giving in the life of this church
- Now, Lord, help us walk in your vision for our lives personally and corporately, we pray.
- In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Look at this new starting line with me in Joshua 1.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Let me begin by asking you a question here…Do you see the starting line?
I. We are just getting started.
I told someone that the other day.
“Yes, we have been here 25 years. And I’ve been pastor 12 years. But, do you know what? It feels like we are just getting started because of the vast vision the Lord has given to us.”
Notice something with me.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise…”
Does Joshua feel like he is just getting started? Maybe so, maybe not.
Remember the context?
- Moses has led the people out of Egypt into the wilderness.
- Cloud by day, fire by night
- Manna from Heaven on a daily basis
- Water from the rocks
- He has lead them to the edge of Canaan.
- He sends 12 spies into the land to spy it out.
- They come back with fruit from the land… “It is a land flowing with milk and honey.”
- “But…there are giants in the land!
- It’s too scary. They will crush us. We can’t do it!”
So, what happens?
God says, “Okay…plans are delayed a bit. You all will wander through the wilderness for 40 years. I can’t win with this group.”
And God waits…He waits for a faith-filled generation to emerge. He allows Joshua and Caleb to remain, but the rest of that generation died off.
Moses, too, was kept from going into the Promise Land. Joshua is made leader. Moses walks into the Mountains, dies, and the people mourn for him for seven days.
This is how the book of Deuteronomy closes.
Now, Joshua finds himself in the lead role. He moved from second chair to the first.
And Joshua is told, RISE UP!
“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise…”
God is saying to Joshua, “Joshua, today is a new day. There is no turning back. We are on the starting line…RISE UP!”
The second thing God says to Joshua that I believe is very applicable to us is this…
II. I’ve already given you VICTORY!
It’s a new day…it’s a starting line.
But more than that, you can be confident, because I have already given you VICTORY…you just have to go and take it.
As followers of Jesus, we have talked about this before — We don’t fight for victory. We fight from a place of victory. Because Christ died for us and rose again, we are victorious already!
Look at this encouragement to Joshua in verse 3.
…go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
God was very clear. Go…I’ve given it to you.
You see, this was God’s vision. He had a reason he wanted them in the land.
His vision was to have a nation from which would come a Messiah — this one who would come from the seed of a woman as promised in Genesis 3.
To have a nation to bring forth a Messiah, he took a man — Abraham…and called him to go to a land He would show him. And He took Abraham to this land. To Abraham he gave Isaac. To Isaac, he gave Jacob…and Jacob was later named Israel after he wrestled with God.
Israel had 12 sons. They were taken to into Egypt through Joseph and they were spared tremendous suffering and famine.
It was there that these 12 tribes of Israel grew strong and mighty and numerous. They grew into a people.
But to be a nation…they had to also possess two other things. They needed a LAW and they needed a LAND.
So, during their wilderness wandering, God gave them a law. He gave them the 10 commandments. He gave them rules, regulations, and precepts…think Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers…these laws of how to live in the land, what and when to sacrifice, and how to live in community…laws about how to care for the alien, widow and orphan. Laws on sexuality. Laws about rest, sacrifice, giving and marriage.
The law showed God’s character.
And after He gave them the law, He was now, giving them the land. Because this land was, is, and will be important in His grand story.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that dwells therein.
It was God’s vision to give this people, this land, because He was up to something…to fulfill a promise He made to all of humanity…to bring forth a Messiah who would redeem mankind and rule the nations in a new heaven and a new earth.
You see, if we don’t understand the greater story, this is just some lesson on vision and leadership. But when you understand what is going on in what we have called God’s upper story, you can then make application in our own stories.
God made a promise. This was a next step in that process. THIS WAS JOSHUA’S STARTING LINE.
We are on the other side of the cross. We are the church of our Lord. We exist to share the love of Jesus with our communities…with our city and to take the gospel to the nations.
We entrust God with our resources that He might use them for His glory and for His renown…and we step into these waters of deep faith, that we might walk in the vision He has for us.
If it’s His vision…If it’s His idea…HE will provide.
That’s what PROVISION is. God…being PRO or FOR his Vision.
God says to Joshua, “I’ve already given this to you… Now go and take it!”
Now you may ask, “Why didn’t the Lord just give it all to them right away? Why did they have to take it little by little, town by town?”
That’s a great question. And I think the answer to that question for them is the same answer for us.
III. God’s Plans for them, exceeded their understanding!
Look at verse 4 with me.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.
They can’t even get their minds around this. Joshua can…maybe. But it’s been 40 years since he has been in the land. He scouted it out. And maybe he and Caleb are comparing notes on all of this. But the average person is walking through this for the very first time. God gave them a glimpse of all that He had for them in large terms…from the Wilderness…to Lebanon…to the going down of the sun…
But what does He say… this “SHALL BE YOUR TERRITORY.”
God’s plan for them were greater than they could conceive. As you read through the book of Joshua, you see God going before them to give them cities they did not build to live in. You see him giving them vineyards that they did not plant to eat and drink from.
But you also see moments where in the process of driving out the peoples of various lands, that the resolve of the Israelites fell short. There were moments and places where they stopped short.
Look at Joshua 15:63.
“But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.”
We see this also in chapter 16 verse 10.
“However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor.”
We see this in other places as well. But here is what I want you to see. At some point, they stopped showing up each day to that new starting line that God had for them. They stopped attempting to fulfill God’s vision and they settled for less than He planned for them.
It’s easy to do. It’s easy to stop short. It’s easy to pull up. It’s easy to say, “The conditions aren’t right or ideal. It’s easy to find reasons to not move ahead to God’s best for our lives.”
Friend, it takes resolve, perseverance, endurance — it takes consistency to keep doing the right things that God has laid before us.
What’s that old saying?
It’s not how you start, but how you finish!
And the thing that happens when we let up, is we miss those God-moments along the way. We settle for less than the best because we don’t walk in faith.
With a great start like we have today, we must also have a great resolve to see it to the end. Let’s not begin and let up. Let’s see it through and enjoy those God moments along the way!
And the reason we should expect those God-Moments along the way is because of two P’s — God’s Presence and God’s Promises!
IV. We experience God Moments because of God’s Presence and God’s Promises!
That’s what we see in verse 5. He is the Great Difference Maker! And when He shows up, it’s unmistakable! Look at what it says.
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
The Lord is saying to Joshua…
“You all will have success because of two things — 1. My presence. I’m going with you. Just like I went with Moses, I’m going with you! And 2. My Promises. No one can stand against you Joshua! You’ve got this. You will have some struggles internally and externally. But I am with you and I won’t let others stop you.”
Our Lord is our great difference maker. He has given us this land. He has given us these locations. He has given us the city. And we are to arise and take it.
So, if this is our starting line. How are we to finish? How are we to walk in God’s vision for us now that we have prepared ourselves through giving our hearts to the Lord?
That’s my last principle I want to share with you today.
V. To Finish What We Started Requires Strength, Courage, and Obedience.
That’s what the Lord told Joshua. You are going to places and leading to places where you have not been before. So, go in my strength, my courage, and in obedience to my word. That’s how you will finish. That’s how you will be faithful to what I have put before you.
Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Strength is cultivated by realizing we don’t graduate until the Lord calls us home. And the key to being strong and courageous is staying plugged into God’s word. That’s why we encourage your personal, daily worship. And it’s why we open the Scripture and study it in worship and in our Community Groups. We need to know the Word of God. We need to study the Word of God. We need to then Obey the Word of God.
To finish what our Lord puts on our hearts requires a strength and courage that gets cultivated because we spend time with Him and take His word into our lives. Then we walk in it. We do it! We live it out!