The Courage To Follow God

Will You Be Strong And Courageous To God's Assignments?

Ross Sawyers
Aug 13, 2023    54m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
Have you felt God calling you to do something, but fear has prevented you from acting on His promptings? It may seem scary when God gives us assignments, but He also has taught us in His Word how to be strong and courageous to carry them out. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

More From This Message

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] If you would turn in your Bibles to Joshua chapter 1, we'll be in verses 1 through 18. What I'd like to do this morning is heavily anchor into verses 1 and 2, and then spend a decent amount of time in 3 through 9, and I'll give an overview of 10 through 18. I would encourage you to hang out in Joshua this week, and this is where we'll be for the next several weeks in the fall, we're going to do a chapter-by-chapter study of Joshua and just hang out in that part of God's word for a bit and see what God has for us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:36] Sometimes people have wondered why we spend time in the Old Testament, it just seems so long ago, the names are hard, and the places are unfamiliar. Sometimes when we read this chapter after chapter, we think, all right, I just lost track of those kings, I don't understand who follows who, who was good, and who was not; The prophets are hard because I don't understand the historical context, and so we might just tend to bail on the Old Testament. And yet to understand the new requires that we understand what we call the Old Testament.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:1hisaul actually writes in Romans 15:4, and here he says, in the New Testament and he's writing. And he says, "Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Paul says we have all of the Scriptures and what was written in earlier times so that we might be encouraged and that we might have hope. And as we study Joshua together, that will be part of how I'm praying along the way, that we would be encouraged by the Scriptures, these earlier writings, and that our hearts would spring up with hope as a result of what it is that God is saying to us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:58] Now Jesus says the same thing in Luke 24:44-45, he gives the validity and the strength and the power of these earlier writings. In verse 44, and this was after Jesus was resurrected, "He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” So Jesus says that that which is in the law, that which is in the prophets, in the Psalms, it is about him, he said, it's about me. So when we read the Old Testament, we're actually reading about Jesus and it's pointing us to what we read in the Gospels. And then after the Gospels, everything points back to Jesus, Jesus is the center of it all. In Colossians 3, verse 2, it says, "In Christ himself..." and then in verse three, "...are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." And we have that wisdom and knowledge all throughout the Scriptures, Christ is the center, and they're hidden in Him. My prayer will be that we're encouraged, that we find hope, and that our minds, in verse 45, are opened to understand the Scriptures "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." I pray that God would open your mind and open my mind to understand what He's saying, we're dependent on him to understand it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:38] Well, before we get into Joshua 1, I want to give a quick context for where we are in Joshua. It's important that when we study different parts of God's Word, we understand what's happening before it, and we understand what's happening during it, and that we get a grip on what's happening beyond it. We want to understand the context. And just a big overview of the context, Genesis through Deuteronomy, the first five books of the Bible, the Jews refer to as the Torah, it's the books of the law. It's also called the Pentateuch, it's the first five books of the law.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:14] In Genesis, we see the beginnings, we see that God creates and humans then break what God creates. In Genesis 12, there's a really important promise because it's the beginning of God's redemption plan, he makes a promise to a man named Abram, and he says, out of you will come a nation, and then I'll give you a land for that nation, and you'll be a blessing. He promises that to Abraham throughout the rest of Genesis, the nation of Israel is formed and shaped. We enter into Exodus, the second book of the Bible, and we find that this nation has been established, but now they're enslaved to Egypt. God's people for 430 years were enslaved, but God raised up a deliverer, Moses, and the people were set free. And in the rest of Exodus, he sets what is the law and says, this is what it means to be my people and what you're to do to be my people.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:14] Leviticus is usually where we get stalled out when we do those through the Bible in a year plan. It's a descriptor of the sacrificial system as a result of the Israelites' inability to keep the law and God established a way for them to be forgiven when they break the law, and it was through the sacrifices that he established.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:37] We find ourselves in Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible, and it's there that Moses is with them and they're moving towards that promised land that God has given the nation. But there's disobedience among the people, and now God is going to wait out for 40 years, for this generation to pass away that had no faith, and then a new generation will enter into that promised land.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:03] Deuteronomy is the second giving of the law; Moses is reiterating what's already been given there on the east of the Jordan River waiting to cross it into the land that we know today as Israel. And there's a transfer of leadership that starts to happen because Moses will not be the one that will take the people into the land. The first five books of the Bible.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:30] And then that brings us to Joshua, Joshua is the first book of what is called history books in the Bible, and there's about a thousand years of history that starts to unfold with Joshua. But this section is also considered as part of the prophets. When Jesus said in Luke 24 that the law of the prophets and the Psalms that speak of him, Joshua is actually at the forefront of the prophets that speak of Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:01] So how do these things speak of Jesus? Two big ones that we grab hold of. Moses, the deliverer of the people, is a foreshadowing of Christ who will be the ultimate deliverer of people. Joshua will be the one who takes the people into the promised Land. Jesus is the one who will take us into that final promised land, the new heavens, and the new Earth. It points us to Jesus in a big way. That's the overview that gets us to Joshua one.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:39] Now our series is called The Courage to Follow God. Someone said something to me that was a good comment that a lot of our sermon series have had the word courage in them, or standing firm, or something like that. And there's a reason for that, we live in a day, and we've probably always have lived in a day where it requires courage to live and to follow God. And what we'll see in Joshua is a man who is not necessarily the greatest military strategist as much as he was a man who was willing and had the courage to follow what God's strategy was for him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:19] So we want to think about that courage to follow God, and that's what I want to think about this morning as we lock into Joshua one And the first idea, there'd be a number of ways to say this, this is how I chose to say it this week. In verses 1 and 2, if we're going to follow God with courage, then we need to be about preparing others, or being prepared, or both. And I tend to think that for the majority of us, it will usually be both, that God is working in and through us to prepare other people to follow after God courageously, at the same time while we're being prepared to do the same. I think most of the time it's both, sometimes it might be a bit of either or.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:08] Verse 1, "Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant." And then verse 2, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel." Let's go back to verse 1, we're in this transition point, Moses was able to see the Promised Land, but God did not work in and through him to bring the people into it. And this transfer of leadership is happening, Moses has died, he's 120 years old, he's vigorous at the time he dies, and he was still a man of strength in the way he was leading. And. And then he dies, and this is the way Joshua starts after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:02] Now, there's a real honor that happens here in verses 1 and 2, Moses is called the servant of the Lord. Now, I don't know if you consider it an honor to be a servant of someone or not, but in God's working, it is a privilege and an honor to be a servant of His. And God is very personal in speaking about Moses, he said, Moses my servant is dead. Not just say, Moses is a servant of the Lord, like in verse 1, but in verse 2, Moses my servant. Joshua will not hear that distinction until the last chapter of the book of Joshua. At the end of Moses's life, God, says "Moses my servant is dead." What an honor to have lived a life and to have finished it strong so that God says, "Moses my servant is dead." Moses, my servant.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:12] Now, if we can get ourselves in this moment a little bit, I don't know what leaders in your lives have been strategic and important and a really big deal to you. But we need to keep in mind what's happening here, for 40 years, Moses had led the people. He was their deliverer out of Egyptian slavery. He was the one who gave them the law. He was their military leader. He was their judicial leader. He was their cultural leader. He solved conflicts for them. Moses was a leader in every sense of the word for the people for 40 years, that's the bulk of someone's working life, the same leader, now gone.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:00] Now what happens in our culture today when there are really well-known leaders, they do a fantastic job, they lead for years and then they move on, you can do this anywhere and oftentimes the next leader fails, It's really difficult to follow someone who leads so exceptionally. And yet we have this transfer coming, and so often someone has to be kind of the fall guy or the fall woman in that leadership role and they last a little bit, and then people are actually ready to be led again by someone that will really lead them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:42] So that's the scenario, it's like, oh, wait a minute, Moses isn't here anymore, what are we going to do? We're about to go into this land with all these militarily prepared people and take it, but we don't have our leader. Where's our leader? That's what's happening, but there's a transfer, and Joshua is ready. He's being told By God, "My servant Moses is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.", it's your time.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:20] I was listening to Crawford Loritts the other day, he's a pastor in the middle part of the US and he was speaking at a pastor's conference years ago on this passage in Joshua 1:1-9, and John Piper, who many of you know, John Piper, some of you don't, but he would be someone a lot of us just really value in what he teaches. And Piper is sitting right over here, it's his pastor's conference that he's hosting, and Crawford Loritts is preaching through this passage and looks at John Piper, and he said, it's like Piper dies and then God just says next. You see in God's economy of scale, it's just next. Timothy Keller passed away a few months ago, and he's been an incredible leader for decades now, and his legacy and what God's done with him, it will live on for a long time. But in God's scale of economy, next. Timothy Keller was in his spot for the season he needed to be in his spot, next. Moses did his deal for 40 years, next, and Joshua is ready. Now, why was Joshua ready? Because he had been with Moses.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:52] Years ago I read something, and it's just the with me principle. And that's what we see with Joshua, that with me principle, he was actually with Moses in a variety of settings, and he saw the leadership of Moses. And it wasn't that he read a leadership book about Moses, it wasn't that he was just being instructed by Moses, he was with him, and he was able to observe and watch what God did with Moses, and for that reason, he was ready. There doesn't need to be someone between Moses and him for him to succeed, he was with Moses.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:38] Now, I made a commitment when I came back from my sabbatical that I would not badmouth any other colleges. I said I didn't know how long that would last, I'm a flawed human being, but I'm continuing today to do that. I am not submitting to my flaw on this day, it might be another day, but not on this day. But at the University of Alabama, Nick Saban has been the coach, the football coach as we approach college football season, and a number of us are excited about that. And Nick Saban has been wildly successful for a long time, he's in his 70s and there's no sign of slowing down. And I would think most every coach in the nation would love to coach under Nick Saban at the University of Alabama, his coaching tree is phenomenal. They don't want to read about him, they don't want to go to a conference that he leads, they want to be on his staff so they can watch every morning, every afternoon, every night, this is what Nick Saban does, and this is why this program continues to be a successful program, and this is why these coaches continue to be successful when they go off to lead their own, they are with him. They are with him, and they see, and they'll take the things that are good, and they'll delete the things that won't work for them, but for a period of time, they're with him; and Joshua was with Moses.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:19] If I could do this in rapid-fire motion, some of you'll tell me that I go fast sometimes when I do the scripture references. I'm going to own it this morning, I'm going to go fast. I want to give you a picture of Joshua being with Moses, there will be one verse on the screen, I'm not going to read it, I'm going to recap real quick. And if you'd like to study this, just write them down real quick and study everything that's around it. Okay, that would be a way to do it. Don't everybody get your pens ready at once, but here we go, all right, this is it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:48] Exodus chapter 17, verses 9 through 11, is the first time we meet Joshua, he's about to go to battle against the Amalekites. Moses raises his hands, and when he raises his hands, Joshua is winning. When he drops his hands, when he's weary, Joshua loses. Ultimately, they figure out how to keep his hands up and Joshua wins. What does Joshua see at the very outset? That God fights his battles. A whole different way than we ever would. That's going to come in handy in Joshua. In Exodus chapter 24, verse 13, Joshua goes up the mountain with Moses, and Moses receives the Ten Commandments and the other parts of the law. And for 40 days and 40 nights, Moses is in this cloud, and the people down below are just saying they're in awe because they're seeing this consuming fire and the glory of God, and Moses is right in the middle of it, and Joshua was just off to the side watching it. So he was near in proximity to Moses in a deep encounter with God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:02] Exodus 32, verse 17. Joshua and Moses, they're coming down off the mountain, the people had gotten impatient, and they quickly turned-on God, they took their jewelry and all their gold and they threw it into a fire, and out of the fire came a golden calf. Moses says, hey, what happened here? I don't know, we just threw our jewelry in there, and out came this golden calf, and then all of a sudden, we were dancing around it and worshiping it, we have no idea how this just happened. Moses is upset, so Joshua gets to see an upset. Moses. He's so upset that he throws down the tablets that God had just given him with those commands on them, but then he also sees Moses intercede on behalf of the people so that God will not, in his anger, kill them. Joshua gets to see these people and how quickly they will turn on God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:58] In Exodus 33:11, he is in close proximity to him when Moses meets with him, he comes out and his face has the glory of God all over him, and Moses is right there by the tent next to him. In Numbers 11, verse 28, there are a number of elders that are selected, seventy of them, two of them start to prophesy, and Joshua is jealous of Moses's leadership. He said, hey, you need to restrain them. And Moses says, no, we'd love it if more of that was happening, that there's more than just one leader. We want multiple people getting engaged and getting involved. In Numbers 13:8 and Numbers 14:6,8, and 9, Joshua is chosen as one of twelve to go in and spy on the land that he's about to now take, and ten of those spies come back saying, no, we can't do it the people are too big and too scary, we're not going. Joshua and Caleb look and say, yeah, our confidence is in God, he's given us this, let's go. The people kind of grumble and complain, and they end up spending 40 years in the wilderness waiting for their time. Caleb and Joshua will be the two that are allowed to enter into that promised land. In Deuteronomy 3:28, the transfer of leadership is happening to Joshua. See all those different ways that Joshua is with Moses and what he saw, and that's just what we have recorded, but he was with him. The best way to be prepared is to be with someone that has the courage and is following God. We're either asking for someone to prepare us, or either preparing someone, or it's both ends.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:36] How does that happen at 121 today? On this promotion Sunday, when our kids are moving up, while is an exciting day for some, it's probably scary for others to move from being a fifth grader to now being a middle schooler in sixth grade, or from eighth grade and now becoming a high schooler, or for a pre-K now going into kindergarten, or a kindergartener now going into first grade. And yet it's a fantastic day because these are opportunities, we have to prepare our children, the now generation, in how to be a follower of Jesus. So we have right now, we're not just talking about kids. You know, in our kid's areas, we have over 60 adults that are preparing our students. We have 55 adults that are preparing our children first through fifth grade. We have over 100 that are involved in Creation Land with our preschoolers, they're pouring themselves into them. We have adults that are pouring into single moms, teen moms, young moms, young men, and older men. We have 50 mentors that have been trained and are available right now for one-on-one mentoring and discipling if you have any interest in that. Bev Pinkert is leading a group of fourth-grade girls, I was in the office the other day, and one of the fourth graders came out and she'd just been in Bev's class, their Bible mapping. I didn't know what Bible mapping meant, so I asked the fourth grader. That's when you know it's happening when you ask the one being taught what they're being taught. And this fourth-grade girl just gave such a beautiful description of how they're taking the Bible and they're choosing different words, and then they're studying those words, and then she quoted the verse. You've got to love it, that's just one person pouring into fourth-grade girls. We had several fourth-grade kids go with their parents to Honduras a few weeks ago, and its parents who are mentoring and discipling their kids.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:27] I met with a college student this week, and after freshman year in college, she said, you know what? I need to do something to get myself better equipped. So she left Friday for a two-week summit Worldview Camp in Colorado so that she can be better prepared when she heads back to her college campus this fall. She's willing to be prepared and do what it takes so that she can prepare others. But I think my favorite part of the time with her is when she said, I'm just so grateful for my parents. My mom has always just been full of joy. And my dad is so theologically sound in the way he studies and what he listens to, and he's just helped me so much over time. You see in Deuteronomy 6, that's what God calls us to as parents, and the very best place for this with me idea is in the home. Not everybody has a shot at that. Now, we might have missed that shot, but it doesn't mean it's too late. But if you've got that shot, that's the best spot.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:32] And in Deuteronomy, it says that when our children rise up and when they walk through the day and when they sit down, and when they lie down at night, that we're to be pouring the word into them all day long and all night long. And I said this last week, I'm going to come back and say it again. My son and I were talking about it last night. Israelite children memorized Genesis to Deuteronomy, they didn't memorize small phrases out of certain verses, and they didn't get little storybooks. They got the law, Genesis through Deuteronomy, and they memorized it, and we're just talking again last night, the glory and the good. I've just been trying to ponder why. Well, for one, a kid will never be able to come back and say, you didn't teach me that. No, we work so hard at it in the early stages of your life that you have inside of you, all of this part of God's word, it's in you. And we're just praying God will cause us to rise up and that you cherish it and treasure it and that you want it and that you want to live and obey it. The Spirit of God will bring it alive. But as parents, it's our job, while they're with us, to get it ingested in them, and for them to see the way we live life. And when we blow it, we ask for forgiveness. But the best place for this is in the home. As I watched Riley's video and what she's doing, I just kind of left with the phrase for myself, that today I just want to be like Riley. I'd love it if we were just a church full of Riley's. That starting young or old, it doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are, that as you're being prepared. You're turning around and preparing others. She was preparing children when she was in early high school, She was preparing middle schoolers. Now she's in college, and she's one of this whole group of girls that's always hanging out with Courtney, who leads our girls in the student area. It's so fun, there's always this pack of girls around Courtney, there with her. There with her. If I had a daughter today, I would want my daughter with Courtney, and they'd be like Riley. What about you? This is not just for some, it's for every person in the room and online. We may need to ask somebody to prepare us, or we need to be preparing others, most of us are capable of preparing someone right now. All right. That's the place I said I would hover.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:38] Let's go a little more quickly here in verses 3 through 5. If we're going to have the courage to follow God, we're going to have to believe in the promises and presence of God. “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. Now, I love that in verse three, because he says to Joshua, I've given it to you. That's in past tense, already done, it's yours. The land is yours; I've secured it for you, all you have to do is step into it. God is a sovereign God, and his plans are perfect, and he'll execute those, and he invites us into them. The question is, will we step into those plans? And so here's the promise that he's made, I have already given it to you, “From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. Again, I apologize, I did not give us a map that would be helpful today, the good news is you can Google it if you're really interested or you can use ChatGPT and it will spit it out to you like that, you don't even have to research it, just put a question in there and it'll do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:47] Verse 5, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you." There's the with me, and now it's God is with us. "So I've been with Moses, you've seen me with him. I'm going to be with you, and I will not fail you nor forsake you." When God has an assignment for us, his promise is, I will be with you, and I will not fail you. The question is, do we believe him? Do we really believe that he is a sovereign God, an unchanging God of love, a holy God in all of who he is? A god of truth, we can trust him and believe him. He promises when he gives us something to do, he will not fail, and he will be with us to do it. The courage to follow God will only happen when we actually believe and trust that God's promises are yes, and that his presence is with us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:13] There's a third piece here, and I was really careful how I wrote this. If we're going to have the courage to follow God, then we anchor ourselves firmly in the detail of God's Word. Anchor ourselves firmly in the detail of God's Word. Verse 6, this is the first of four times that it says to be strong and courageous. In chapter 1, there's something about us that needs to be told again and again, here's Joshua, who has seen so much and been a part of so much, and yet here at the outset of his new mission to take the people across the Jordan River into the promised land, he needs to be told multiple times to be strong and courageous. Now, why would that be? Well, some of it might be that he knows the people he's leading, and he's seen them in action. They just spent 40 years in a wilderness out of disobedience, and they were grumbling and complaining a good part of the time they were out in the wilderness. He watched them turn on God in no time flat when the glory of God was consuming him, they could see it, and while they could see it, they were building an altar and worshiping an idol. There has to be a strength and a courage when you're leading people who will turn on you on a dime. Those of us who are older understand that phrase, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7“Only be strong and very courageous." So it's not just be strong and courageous, it's "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left." Yeah, I did that right, right, and the left, "So she may have success wherever you go." Every detail. Don't look to the left or the right. Don't look at TikTok over here and Instagram over here. Don't look at Facebook here and the advice you get here and the self-help book over here. Don't look at this newsfeed over here and this newsfeed over here. And don't listen to this news station here and this news station here to give you direction in life. Get your eyes off of that, have tunnel vision on the Word of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:41] Now, look here, just immerse in the Word of God, and don't look to the left or right, you want to be in here, if you want to have the most satisfying life. Don't be selective, don't pick and choose, and don't reinterpret to feel better about the cultural moment. This is clear, this is not hard. I know there are some hard names, I know there are some hard rivers to pronounce, I know there are some hard countries to think about, and I know the history is a little bit of a challenge at times, but the overall idea is not difficult. We're working way too hard to try to change it today to make it fit our sinful narrative. Not to the left or right, firmly in the detail, anchored to God's Word, treasure it, cherish it, and honor it. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to the word. Your word, I have treasured in my heart that I might not sin against you, I've treasured it, I cherish it, I honor it. God's word, it's breathed out by him. We are handling today His God-breathed Word, and it's profitable for Teaching and reproof and correction and training in righteousness; it's living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword; it's sweeter than honey and also the drippings of the honeycomb. How might we just cherish it and love it? Don't look to the left or right.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:32] Verse 8, this would be a good theme for the Book of Joshua. A good theme verse if you like to memorize is, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." This is one of the best news verses ever because it simply says, if I will read this, then I'm going to be wealthy, I'm going to be healthy, and I'm going to be prosperous in every way, it says it right here in verse 8. If that did not disturb your spirit, what I just said, then there's a misunderstanding of who God is and what He says in his word. You'll prosper and you'll have success in the assignments that God gives you as long as you keep your eyes on him, immersed in His word. Do not let someone out there use this as a way to say this is how you get wealth, and this is how you get great health. No, if you do this, you might end up dead somewhere because God might have a really hard mission for you for the sake and the glory of His name. So what does he say? “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night."

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:08] When I was in high school, there was a speech teacher who was really pretty, and so I took speech, I thought it was a good move. I was terrible at it, I never got out of the first round of a speech tournament in poetry or prose, it's just horrible to read that stuff. But I did get one little poetic line for us today, "Not left or right, but all day and night." That is why I never advanced out of the first round, by the way, but that is helpful in verses 7 and 8. With God's Word not left or right, but all day and night, I want God's Word rolling through me. He said to meditate on it. The way we'll know God's assignments will be as we meditate on him in his word. The word meditate is the idea of a cow that's chewing its cud, and those who understand that you know what I'm talking about, they chew it, and then they swallow it and then it comes back up and they chew it again, and then they swallow it. I don't know how many iterations there are of that, but that's what they do. And that's what he's saying, to meditate on God's word, to ingest it, to read it, to study it, to hide it, and get it just rolling around in there. And you say, how am I supposed to do that day and night? I have a job to do, or I have an education to get. Absolutely, and the more you study this and meditate on it and memorize it, it will kind of flow through you as you're studying, and it will come through as you're making big business decisions. Like, I can't think of a better thing to be rolling through me as I'm making decisions that impact lots of people; it calls for work to do that, though, to memorize. I believe the best way to do this is to memorize it. So once it's there, then it can roll around, and depending on our age, it does get harder. I memorized quite a bit when I was younger and I started losing stuff a few years ago and I thought, what happened? And I have to work really hard at it, a whole lot harder than I did in the past, but it's worth it because all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ or in his Word, and I just want to meditate and linger in it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:51] The other day I had lunch with Jermaine, and if you just wanted to do it with me, he's our student pastor for those who are new here. And I went and he was sitting at lunch, and when I arrived, he'd already kind of been dialoging with a group of high school students that were sitting in there, and then he'd already built a relationship with the owner of the restaurant. And I'm just kind of watching, and I'm loving it how he just easily says to the guy, hey, yeah, it's been a good summer. He said, I just got back from Uganda three weeks ago, and God used this book called Growing Strong in Discipleship, and this girl trusted Christ at the end of those three days. And then Jermaine told us the other day, this book he's been using to get memory verses so that he has that. So he's been memorizing, and now every guy is discipling, they're memorizing those verses. You see, it's preparing or being prepared, it's hiding in God's word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:42] Now, in verse 9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Here it is again, I'm going to be with you wherever you go. Here's your assignment. Now, practically, let's think about this for a minute, this would be a scary assignment. I'm about to lead this whole load of people, I've got to figure out how I'm getting across this river first, and then we're about to take this land. What scary assignment does God have for you? Maybe you've not quite been willing to step. I don't know what it is, but I know this, in Matthew 28, every one of us who's a Christian has been assigned to be a disciple-maker, "Go and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I'm with you always, I'm with you even to the end of the age."

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:02] Who does God want you discipling, preparing to be more of a follower of his and the courage to do it? Who does he want you to ask to disciple you so that you can continue to have the courage to follow God? Can you be doing both at the same time? Is God calling anyone to something global? You've been afraid to let it go. You might be in something right now where you're making a load of money and you're absolutely miserable because you haven't been immersed in God's Word, and you took on an assignment that really wasn't the assignment God had for you. Crawford Loritts, the other day, he said this. He goes, I'm weary today of how you're wired, your Enneagram, your personality test, your StrengthsFinder results, God is bigger than those. He may want to take the introvert and do the most extroverted thing that's ever been done, see Moses in Exodus. I'm not saying those things are not helpful, but if those things have become the end all of what we do in following God, they're off. God may have some really scary assignments that don't fit your personality, don't fit your Enneagram 4 or 7 or 8 or 10 or however it works, or fit your StrengthsFinder today. He might want to work through your weakness today so that he gets the glory for it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:52] As a matter of fact, that's what he says in Corinthians, he takes the weak and base things of the world and that's what he works for. Let's not let the psychologists of the world dictate what God's assignments are. Ten through 18, last thought, a big wrap, get everyone involved. Joshua goes to his officers, he goes to two and a half tribes that are on the east side of the Jordan, that's where their land will be. And he says to them, hey, you're going to help us go across the river and conquer this land, we're all in this together. It's not like the nine-and-a-half tribes are going to go take care of this, all twelve tribes, we're doing this together. And that's what God has called us to do today, he's called us as a church for everyone to get involved, everyone, that's his design. Every person is a part of the body, and we all go across that river together to walk in whatever it is that he's calling us to walk in. What is that for you today?

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:05] Let's pray. Father, thank you for your word, we love it. And God, I pray that personally, that I would cherish it and treasure it and honor it. And Father, I pray as I do that that others will be drawn to do the same, so I ask your help. And Father, I pray we would be a church that just loves you and that we're preparing others and being prepared or both all of the time. So God, will you spark that in people today? Will you help us to take those scary assignments? And scary for us might be just even writing my story and giving it to somebody. Or scary might be, I've never worked with students before, but I know they'll help me, so I'm going to do it, or with kids, or preschoolers, or maybe I'll host a group of young adults and have an impact on them. Or maybe I'm 70, and I need somebody to disciple me, I've never had that happen before, and I want to finish my days well in making disciples, and so I'll step out in that. Or maybe God's calling somebody, and you just had no idea to somewhere globally and really uncomfortable and you're thinking, oh, no. And yet, God, that'll be the very best place for them to be. So, Father, I pray that we would have the courage to follow you, and we'd not be silent in these days, that we not waver or shrink back, but God, that we would have our eyes fixed on you, immersed in your word, not to the left or the right, but all day and night, God. I pray that your word would fill us, flood our hearts, and God that we know your assignments day to day as we keep our eyes on you. And I pray in Jesus' name. If we could just be quiet for a moment, and then Eric will come and wrap us up. And in the quiet, what is God saying today that you want to step into obedience to?



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
Read More

Next in this Series

View all in this series
121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213