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Sermons and Outlines

Joshua 1:1-18

Claiming Your Canaan Series - Sermon #1


Intro: In our day, there are many misunderstandings surrounding the Christian life. A trip to the local Bible book store confirms this accusation. After all, the shelves are lined with books that talk about how to make the Christian life easier and more acceptable to the world. However, the truth of the matter is that we are not out for a day in the park! This thing that we got into when we were saved is a battle! We are engaged in warfare with a spiritual enemy who is far more powerful than we are, Eph. 6:12. In our own strength, we are no match for the devil! The good new is, he is nowhere near as powerful as our God, 1 John 4:4! Therefore, in the midst of the battles, there is always hope for victory, Rom. 8:31, 37. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are the recipients of victory through the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 15:57. While we are engaged in the battle with evil, there is the expectation that we can and will walk in victory in our lives. For me, this is what the book of Joshua represents.

In this book, we find that Moses, the great leader of Israel has died and a new leader named Joshua has been appointed to lead the nation of Israel into Canaan. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel is about to take possession of the land which God promised Abraham centuries earlier, Gen. 12:7. This book is about the battles Israel faced in order to claim that promise from God. Joshua is a book of warfare, suffering and great victories. It is a book that can teach the modern Christian much about obtaining spiritual victory in your life. You see, we sing songs about Canaanland and often we have the idea that Canaan refers to Heaven. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When we get to Heaven, there will be no more wars, there will be no more enemies, there will be no more suffering or death, there will be no more sin. All of these are present in the book of Joshua and are dealt with in its pages. No, Canaan isn't Heaven, but it is a picture of the life of victory that is available to every child of God this morning!

This morning, I begin a new series that will take us through the book of Joshua. As we journey through Joshua, I just want to hit a few high spots in the book. I am entitling this series, "Claiming Your Canaan." My goal in preaching it is help you to stop wandering around in the wilderness and to enter into your Canaanland of spiritual victory. This first chapter serves as something of an introduction to the book and from its verses, I would like to speak for a while this morning on this message, "Canaanland Is Our Land." As I do, I would like for you to listen carefully to what the Lord has to say to Joshua concerning the land of Canaan and about how to claim it. These verses will help us to understand what it takes to go from wandering around in a wilderness of defeat to living in a land of victory. There are 3 truths given here that we need to understand this morning as we look at the thought, "Canaanland Is Our Land!"


A. V. 1-4 A Call To Claim The Land - In these verses, Joshua is reminded that the Lord has already given the land of Canaan to the children of Israel. Joshua is commanded to lead the people into Canaan to claim the land that they had been promised by the Lord. (Ill. The land was given to them back in Gen. 12:7 and the promises was reaffirmed to every succeeding generation of the nation of Israel. The land was indeed their land! There was no need for them to continue their wandering around in the wilderness. They had a land, all they had to was claim it!)

(Ill. I look around me as I go through my weeks and I see Christians who are defeated, who struggle with sins, who, for all intents and purposes are wandering around in a spiritual wilderness. My friends, it does not have to be that way! God has a place of victorious living which He has promised you and I can live in, 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor. 15:57. I believe with all my heart that God did not save you to see you defeated! Most of the time, we are defeated because we refuse to walk in victory! I believe there is a place of conquest for every child of God this morning that we can claim for our own and these next few verses tell us what we need to remember as we set out to claim our Canaan.)

B. V. 5-6, 9 A Call To Have Confidence In The Lord - Joshua is reminded of some very precious promises in these verses. Notice what God promised him:

1. V. 5 The promise of victory over every enemy.

2. V. 5 The promise of the presence and power of God.

3. V. 5 The promise of the faithfulness of God.

4. V. 6 The promise of absolute victory.

5. V. 6 The promise of God to keep His promises.

What did Joshua have to do to make these things happen? Just one thing: Trust God! God was going to give Israel the victory. Joshua was merely the instrument that God had chosen to use to do it. These things were going to happen! For Joshua to be a part of it, all he had to do was have faith in God!

(Ill. May I remind you that the same promises God made to Joshua are in force for you and me this morning? You can still count on the Lord to do everything He promised Joshua He would do!

1. He still gives victory over all our enemies - 1 John 5:4-5.

2. He is still ever-present, Heb. 13:5, and all powerful - Matt. 28:18.

3. He is still faithful - Matt. 28:20.

4. He still gives absolute victory - 1 Cor. 15:57; Rev. 21:4, 27

5. He still keeps His promises - Rom. 4:21.

What do we have to do to see these things come to pass in our lives? Just one thing: Trust God! When we can learn to place our faith in God at all times in every situation, then we will walk in victory in our lives, Heb. 11:6, Rom. 14:23. When everything else fails, faith will ever stand the test! We might let the Lord down, but He will never fail the believer who has their faith in Him!)

C. V. 7-8 A Call To Carry Out The Law - The Lord tells Joshua that if he is to lead the people of God to rest in Canaan, then he take heed to the Law of God. Remembering the Law is an essential step to entering our Canaan as well. Notice what the Lord to Joshua about the Law and how this applies to our lives today.

1. V. 7 He was to keep the Law - He was to do everything the Law said to do, not turning from it the least little bit.

2. V. 8 He was to meditate on the Law - Day and night, his mind was to be occupied with the Law. He was to love it and let it fill his heart and mind. This was in order that his life might be centered in the Law and therefore in the will of God!

3. V, 7, 8 He was to prosper by honoring the Law - God's promise to Joshua was that if he lived his life around the Law of God, God would prosper him in everything he did and that God would make him very successful.

(Ill. Is there a lesson in this for us this morning? Well, first I would like to say that I thank the Lord that we are not under the Law this morning! I am glad that we are under grace. Having said that, I would like to say that many in our day have concluded that since we are no longer under the Law, that they are free to do anything they please. I want to remind you that such an attitude is dangerous and is guaranteed to bring you to ruin! If you want to live in Christian victory today, you too must develop a love for the Word of God! Just as Joshua was commanded to honor the Law, we are commanded to honor the Book of God!

1. We are to feed on the Bible - 1 Pet. 2:2; Job 23:12.

2. We are to live by the Bible - Psa. 119:11; Psa. 1:1-3; Psa. 37:31; Psa. 119:97; Jer. 15:16.

3. We will be blessed when these things are true in our lives - Psa. 1:1-3!

Dear friends, do you have a time set aside each day when you go to the green pastures of the Word of God and feed therein? If not, your spiritual life will be weak and ineffective. If so, you are well on your way to claiming your Canaan and entering into your spiritual victory.)

D. V. 6a, 7a, 9a A Call To Courage In Leadership - In the midst of all these things the Lord calls Joshua to do, 3 times, God Himself, encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous! These words carry the idea of "standing firm and strong in the face of opposition." Joshua would need great courage to face the enemies of Israel and to lead the people to victory in the promised land. God's challenge to Joshua is for him to stand!

(Ill. My friends, there is just as great a need for people to stand for the Lord now as there was in the days Joshua! All around us, Christians are falling by the wayside. What we need is for God's children to be moved in the depths of their souls to stand up, renew their commitments to the Lord and say, "By God's help, I'll stand and not fall all the days of my life!" We need people today who will take the lead in the churches and make their stand for the Lord. We need to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 15:58. We need to stand, Eph. 6:10-17. It is high time that the church stopped letting herself be a doormat for the world and the devil. It is time we stood up and made our stand with the people of God and headed God's call to be brave and strong in these days, Rom. 13:11-14.)

(Ill. Are you standing for the Lord? Or, have you fallen out along the way?)

I. The Call From The Lord


(Ill. After Joshua receives his challenge from the Lord, without hesitation, he goes to the people and tells them that the time has come to take their land. First, he challenges the nation as a whole and then he addresses a specific group within the nation of Israel.)

A. V. 10-11 A Challenge To Readiness - Joshua tells the people to get ready to go into Canaan and claim the land. These were the words they had been living for for 40 years. However, before they could go in, they had to get ready! God told them to prepare them some food. You see, the manna was about to stop. God had told them that He would give them manna while they were in the desert, but it would cease when they entered the Promised Land, Ex. 16:35. The manna was desert diet, now they were about to move up to something a whole lot better. They were going to a land flowing with milk and honey. What had worked in the wilderness would not suffice in the land of blessing!

(Ill. The same is true for us today. Before we can enter our Canaan, we have to prepare for that land. The way we live must change. The things we feed on must change. The entire scope of our lives must be altered to adjust to life in Canaan! This is why so many never enjoy the victorious Christian life. They simply refuse to make the necessary changes to adjust to living in spiritual victory. The fact is, if you expect to walk in victory, you will have to learn to walk by an entirely new set of rules, Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:1-10.)

What will you have to do to get ready for Canaan?

B. V. 12-15 A Challenge To Responsibility - Now, Joshua addresses the tribes of Reuben, Gad and that half tribe of Manasseh. These tribes had sought, and gotten, permission from Moses to remain East of the Jordan, just outside the promised land. Their reason in making this request? The land east of Jordan was a land that was good for raising cattle, Num. 32:1, 4, 16. Still, Joshua reminds them that they had promised to fight alongside their brethren until the land was conquered, Deut 3:12-20. These people are challenged to remember their promise and to aid the nation until victory was secured. While these people settled in a land of prosperity, they were also in a land of danger. Years later, when the Assyrian army attacked from the East, these tribes were the first to go away into captivity.

(Ill. Folks, there is a very powerful lesson for us in these verse. We have literal legions of Christians who are just like these 2 tribes. They are more concerned about making a living than they are about making a life! The primary thing that motivates them is getting ahead in life. In other words, they are materially minded instead of spiritually minded! These people represent those Christians I would call "borderline Christians". These are people who have trusted Jesus for salvation, but that is about as far as they are will to go. They will come when they want to, tithe when they feel like they can afford to, fight a battle now and again, but most often, they are seen just playing around the edges, refusing to put God first in their lives. By the way, it is this type of Christian who is usually the first to fall in times of attack and temptation! People who live like this can say anything they want to, but the truth is obvious: they have others gods in their lives to whom they have sold their souls! If you really love God this morning, then how about deciding to cross on over today! Make the decision to leave behind anything that is holding you back from serving God like you should. You can rationalize it all you want to, but the truth still remains, many are choosing gold, and other worldly things, over God! If you refuse to line up with the will of God for your life, then you can be assured of the fact that one day, you will fall. My friends, you cannot play around the edge of this long before you fall out. Ill. Eutychus - Acts 20:9.)

I. The Call From The Lord

II. The Challenge From Joshua


A. V. 16 They Commit Themselves To A Life Of Surrender - These people make their stand with the Lord. They promise absolute obedience and surrender to the will of God.

(Ill. This is the only way spiritual victory will come to any life. There must be total and absolute surrender of every area of life to the will of God and to His divine leadership. Anything less hinders the work of God in your life and mine. What are you holding back from the Lord this morning? Too often, we are like the men described in Luke 9:57-62. God's will is that we surrender our will and follow Him to victory. I challenge you to make a complete surrender to God. Run up the white flag today and get in line to go into Canaan!)

B. V. 17 They Commit Themselves To A Life Of Submission - These men also promised to follow the leadership of God's man. Just as they had followed Moses, they committed themselves to following Joshua!

(Ill. While I believe that there is a certain amount of authority invested in the pastoral office, and that the people of God ought to follow the man of God as he follows God's will for the church, there is a higher authority that every person in this room must acknowledge. We are to submit to the leadership of God! Too often, we rebel against anything that seems like authority in our lives. None of us like to be told what to do! But, may I remind you that every single child of God in this room is a slave! When you got saved, you became the property of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. Therefore, you have no right! You have no privileges! You have no claim to anything that allows you to make decisions for yourself. Your entire duty could be summed up in one word: Submit! If you are ever going to get to Canaan, you will have to submit everything to God. Have you done that? Or, are you holding things back frm the Lord? Canaan is only for those who are subject to the will of God!)

C. V. 18 They Commit Themselves To A Life Of Separation - Finally, the people commit themselves to separating from those in their midst who refused to comply with the commandments of the Lord. And, their separation was so strong that they vowed to put to death anyone who rebelled against the leadership of Joshua. These people knew that allowing rebellion in their midst was a sure way to guarantee defeat.

(Ill. Again, the lesson for us is clear this morning. If we want to walk in victory, we must practice separation in our lives as well. We should separate ourselves from anything that would prevent us from having victory in our lives. Whether it be from certain people, in the way we dress, the way we talk, the things we watch and do, where we work, how we think or in any other area of life. If it is a hindrance to your entering into your Canaan, then it must go. Otherwise, you will always be defeated and in danger. Even as I speak, you already know what it is that is holding you back this morning. You need to get that things settled today!)

Conc: Canaanland is our land! It has been given to us by the Heavenly Father and all we have to do this morning is to march in and claim it for ourselves. However, while it is ours, it isn't cheap! If you really want to walk in spiritual victory and live in Canaanland, then you will have to pay the price.

Christian, what is it going to take to get you into Canaan today? Are you willing to pay the price, whatever it is? Or, are you more willing to stay on the other side of Jordan and be the first to fall in times of trials? It is entirely up to you today!

Others are here this morning and you aren't even saved! If you were to die, you would go to Hell and you don't want that to happen. I would like to invite you to come to the Lord Jesus this morning and receive Him into your heart. He loves you, He died for you and He will save you if you will come to Him today.

I don't know you heart, but I do know there are more Christians east of Jordan than there are in the Promised Land. Why not get in today?

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