… A Place to Be Courageous
When Joshua began to lead God’s people, the Lord encouraged Joshua to “be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6). However, God would not unconditionally bless His people. He required obedience, and obedience required diligent study of His Word (Joshua 1:7-9). Only then could Joshua safely trust in God for peace and security. Otherwise, God promised to punish them for their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-68). More than once Israel was punished by God until they repented, and only after their repentance would He help them defeat their enemies (Numbers 25:1-18; 31:1-16; Judges 20:14-28). Is this different for God’s people today? If so, how?
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. 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. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Although Christians are fighting a spiritual battle, if we are to emerge victorious, we must likewise use the armor God has supplied for us in Christ (Romans 8:31-39). Our modern victory is similarly secured only by first purifying ourselves to serve (2 Timothy 2:20-21; 2 Peter 1:2-12). After taking up God’s armor, including the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), we must take our position in the crusade to persuade, teach, and save the lost souls of our generation. As Paul says:
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,
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
The Lord’s people are called to be “volunteers” (Psalm 110:3), so we cannot press anyone into His service. However, we can be “faithful in our generation” like those before us (Acts 13:36; Genesis 6:9) and provide our people the opportunity to be saved. Like one keeping watch on the wall, we can sound the warning (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:2-9). As lights in a darkened, dying world, we must lift high the clarion light of God’s Word, hope, and salvation (Matthew 5:14-16). This will undoubtedly require courage because not everyone wants such light shined on his life (John 3:19-21), and therefore Christians may face persecution (Matthew 5:10-12). However, what has God promised us?
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
At Pepper Road, we have made it our aim to purify ourselves and equip ourselves for the Lord’s work because the need is so great, and yet, great as the need may be, our God is greater. Our aim is to pursue salvation with love in every opportunity given to us (Matthew 13:3-9; 2 Corinthians 8:12), knowing that the apostasy of some will grieve us deeply (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), but the final salvation of others will bring the greatest joy (3 John 4; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). With repentance and forgiveness, whatever the past may be, we must move forward with thoughts and hopes focused only on the present and future (Philippians 3:13-14). The conclusion of all battles always has been and always will be in the Lord's hand and on His shoulders (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8-12). And, no matter what, we are never alone (1 Kings 19:18; 2 Timothy 4:16-17; John 16:32). Will you take courage and stand with us (Revelation 12:10-11)?
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)