Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr.
Delivered On
January 5, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Central Passage
Joshua 1:6
Subject
A Steadfast Faith
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

A Steadfast Faith

" Be strong and of good courage I will never leave you or forsake you " Joshua 1:6

Christmas of 2013 had passed and,

on the past Wednesday, the New Year 2014 became a reality. At last

the seasonal holidays have ended and the social arena

is returning to its traditional routines. Memories of the

past season along with those of the New Year festivities -

all must be archived to facilitate the transition back to the

world of reality. Thus, it is now time to implement

resolutions, if any were made, and forge ahead into the

New Year. Admittedly, there are concerns, problems, goals,

and worries, like the proverbial shadow on a sunny day, that

will follow us in the New Year. But we must avoid fear

for in the words of the late FDR - The only thing we have

to fear is fear itself. Hence, we must cling to our aspirations,

confront our insecurities, and remain anchored in faith

as we trod on the pathway of 2014. Our sermon, in this

connection, has been entitled - A Steadfast Faith. It will

entail three consideration, namely: the Joshua syndrome,

the nature of faith, and our challenge for 2014 and beyond.

Since the word Steadfast is used to designate a

specific type of faith, it will be defined as used in this

sermon. Accordingly, steadfast denoted the ability to

remain grounded, to reflect optimism, and to withstand

criticism - all while maintaining a feeling of confidence

and experiencing an inner peace. Thus as used in the

sermon, Steadfast Faith refers to one "...that will not shrink:

Tho’ pressed by many a foe, That will not tremble on the

brink Of poverty or woe".

Numerous are the biblical personalities whose lives

exemplified The Steadfast Faith, but Joshua was selected

as a role model for this 1st Sunday Worship in 2014. This

decision leads to the first of the dimensions of the sermon

which is The Joshua Syndrome. The undergirding inquiry is

what is the profile of Joshua that would rank him above

the many others whose faith was impeccable? To answer

this question, it is necessary to take a cursory gleam of

his life. His name denoted prosperity and durable. He is

described by Lockyer as "A man who was a Soldier-Saint".

His life exemplified regular, dependable, honest, and

committed service under the leadership of Moses. God was

aware of Joshua’s dedication and potential for leadership

during the life of Moses. Thus, he summoned Joshua to

assume the mantel of leadership for the Israelites following

the death of Moses. The Bible records that transition as

noted in the following words "...the Lord spake unto Joshua..

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this

Jordan, thou and all this people...". This Bible does not tell

that Joshua had trepidations, doubts, and anxieties about

the awesome tasks; however, it does contain a record of

God’s assurance of divine presence with him during his

leadership. God said unto Joshua, "...as I was with Moses,

so I will be with thee, I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Be strong and of a good courage...".

While many Centuries separate 2014 from the time

of Joshua, it is herein submitted that going out of 2013

and coming into 2014 might well have engendered

feelings comparable with those of Joshua. He had cross

the Nile River on dry ground; similarly, we have come out

of 2013 alive. Joshua, in the text, found himself facing

the task of leading the Israelites across Jordan River; in a

like manner each of us faces the task of crossing the year

2014. As your pastor so frequently quote the words, let us

not "..shutter and grow sick at heart" as we tread further

into 2014; instead, let us recall God’s promise to Joshua and

maintain faith in God to guide and protect us along this

sojourn known as life. The spiritual directive leads to the

second dimension of the sermon which is - The Nature of

Faith. In Hebrews 11:1 faith is defined as"...the substance

of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith

enables humankind to understand that the worlds were

framed by the world of God, so that things which are seen

were not made be things which do appear. Faith is a

requirement to please God as found in Hebrews 11:6 -

"But with faith it is impossible to please him for he that

cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a

rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Faith must

be maintained throughout life as was the commitment

of those listed in Hebrews 11. Therein it is recorded

that they ( the faithful ) "...all died in faith, not having

received the promise, but having seen them afar off, and

embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers

and pilgrims on the earth." That commitment to faith was

reaffirmed Centuries later by Jesus who said, "...be thou

faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life"

(Rev. 2:10). Beloved, these are but a few excerpts on

faith as lifted from the Bible. The somber question that

follows leads to the closing dimension of this sermon -

it is how steadfast is your faith? Of the many levels or

categories of faith, just three of them will be presented

for consideration. The first type is known as Rhetorical; it

is characterized by fluent verbalization of one’s faith. This

type is easy to express because it requires no proof, no

behavioral display, no endurance of hardship, no signs of

growth, and no firm conviction regarding the efficacy of

God’s power. The second type of faith is labeled as

Pragmatic faith. This type is goal oriented and measured

by anticipated outcomes. It is verbalized when one desires,

tells others, and tacitly pray to God for a particular goal,

for example, a job. Should the job seem remote or

improbable, that person’s faith dissipates. The third, and

recommended type is designated as the Unconditional

faith. This type of faith is known for its steadfastness.

It places no time limits on receiving goals uttered in

prayer. Instead, its primary desire is for endurance to

await the realization of the prayer request. Like the

patriarch, Job, the prayer must utter, "all my appointed

days, I will wait until my change comes". Admittedly,

there will be gloomy days, recurring disappointments,

challenges at the work place, misunderstanding even

in the family, and - yes - creeping or lingering health

challenges, but - members of the household of faith -

learn, remember, and utter the conviction of Job who

uttered, "Tho he slays me yet will I trust him". Job’s

faith was steadfast even in the worst of time that

included loss of property, children, health, wife, and

three friends, yet he asserted, "When he hath tried me

I shall come forth as pure gold". Beloved, his faith was

rewarded for he became more prosperous after his

adversities than was he before their onset. In closing,

this sermon on The Steadfast Faith beams challenges to

us for 2014 and beyond. Briefly, they include: Recall God’s

promise to be with and never leave Joshua alone; trust

him to do the same for you. Remember the definition and

use of Faith. Heed the commitment of Job, and Embrace

the call of Jesus to be faithful unto death. God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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