Sermon Outline

Sermon Outline

A Formula for Courage

KEY PASSAGE: Joshua 1:5-9

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Joshua 6 | Proverbs 3:5-6


Where do you turn to for courage? Where do you go to strengthen yourself for everything you must face?

I recall the first time I preached a sermon and how feelings of inadequacy troubled me. My mother could see I was nervous about standing up in front of the church and knew I needed encouragement. So she said to me, “I want to give you a verse of Scripture that God has given me for you.” She then handed me a piece of paper with Joshua 1:9 written on it: “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.”

I tucked that verse of Scripture into my pocket and walked to the church. When I got to the corner across from where the church was located, I pulled out that little slip of paper and read it again. That verse taught me the awesome principle that when you or I need courage, we cannot look to ourselves or our own abilities to find it. Instead, we can go forward with confidence, knowing that the Lord God is with us. He is the One who empowers, equips, and enables us to serve Him.

That day, God filled me with unusual courage as I preached, and afterward I walked away knowing that more happened through that sermon than I could ever have accomplished on my own. The Holy Spirit not only guided my words, but He also opened the ears of the people listening and worked in their hearts. I saw the truth of Joshua 1:9 lived out powerfully. And that verse has become an anchor in my life, helping me to face the opportunities, obstacles, and challenges that have arisen throughout the years.


My question to you is: Do you have Scripture passages you hold on to that remind you of the Source of courage who never fails you? My mother set me on the right path, anchoring me to God’s truth. I’ve faced many difficulties as a pastor, yet through His Word, Jesus has unfailingly and faithfully led me.

Therefore, I would say that the best thing you can do is to focus on how God empowers you, through the Bible, to live for Him. Because when you sink Scripture into your heart and it becomes a way of living, He leads you to the success that is truly worthwhile. That may not mean earthly renown, wealth, or any of that. Rather, it is a victory that pierces much deeper into the heart and soul—one that has lasting and profound value in eternity.

So what does Scripture instruct you to do so you can courageously face whatever happens? How do you overcome fear, inadequacy, and discouragement—three of our worst enemies? You must understand that:

1. Your intimacy with God determines the impact of your life and ministry. It is the time you and I spend getting to know the Father better, interacting with Him through His Word and in prayer, and being transparent before Him that strengthens us. When you spend time discovering who the Lord is—His attributes, character, and love for you, His child—you realize who is truly in control of all things and nothing can stand against Him. But you also recognize the importance of submitting to His commands and His timing.

2. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. Do you respect the Lord enough to wait on His timing? I think of how God directed the people of Israel to take a strange course of action—marching around the enemy city of Jericho for seven days—rather than follow a typical battle offensive. Because the Israelites waited on God, He gave them a stunning and memorable victory (Josh. 6). The same is true for you: Always wait on God.

3. You must fight your battles on your knees. Whenever a problem or hardship arises in your life, your first impulse may be to check your arsenal and come up with a battle plan. But resist that, and make prayer your first response. Ultimately, God is your Commander-in-Chief, and He knows the best strategy for your success. Yes, there will be times when you’re mistreated, circumstances are confusing, and the Lord’s directions don’t make sense. However, Proverbs 3:5–6 promises, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God will lead you to victory in the very best manner.

4. You reap what you sow, more than you sow, later than you sow. The amount of effort you invest in your intimate relationship with God is always revealed when new challenges appear. The more devotion and faith you have sown over time, the greater your courage on the day of battle.

5. Adversity is God’s bridge to a deeper relationship with Him. The challenges and troubles you experience reveal your fears and the ways you rely on yourself rather than Jesus. Through adversity, He reminds you that He is the One who fights for you and provides. And because He is all-powerful, unfathomably wise, and unconditionally loving, you can put your full faith in Him and have unfailing confidence for whatever you may face.

6. Disappointments are inevitable, but discouragement is a choice. You will face setbacks. You will encounter delays, obstacles, and events that appear to throw you off course. What is important is that you do not accept that as the end of your story but continue serving God with faith.


Your courage, friend, grows out of the relationship you have with God. Therefore, cultivate intimacy with Him by embracing Him as He has revealed Himself in Scripture. And as a way of preparing yourself to be fearless for whatever may come, evaluate your walk with Him by asking these questions:

  • Does my lack of courage reveal that I do not know God as intimately as I could?
  • What is my first response when challenges arise? Do I immediately turn to people, my own resources, or other earthly sources to form a combat strategy? Or do I fight my battles on my knees and wait on God?
  • What am I sowing into my life and the lives of my loved ones? Am I clinging to God’s Word, focusing on the Lord, and trusting Him with every trial? Am I keeping an attitude of confidence in Him?
  • What does the adversity I am facing reveal about me? What am I relying on that is failing? Wha Scripture could I claim as an anchor to my faith in Jesus?


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; I will not fail you or forsake you.

6 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; 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, so that you may have success wherever you go.

8 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.

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."

1 Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.

2 The LORD said to Joshua, ``See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.

3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days.

4 Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

5 It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."

6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, ``Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD."

7 Then he said to the people, ``Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the LORD."

8 And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.

9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets.

10 But Joshua commanded the people, saying, ``You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, `Shout!' Then you shall shout!"

11 So he had the ark of the LORD taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.

13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while they continued to blow the trumpets.

14 Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days.

15 Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times.

16 At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ``Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.

17 The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.

18 But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it.

19 But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."

20 So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.

21 They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, ``Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her."

23 So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.

24 They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

25 However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, ``Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates."

27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.