“ROADMAPS TO SUCCESS”                              By Pastor YAU

Joshua 1:1-9                                                            April 29, 2007.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A Chinese custom: During the Chinese New Year, it is customary for parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, to give Hongbao, small red envelopes containing money, to children to wish them success and prosperity. Knowing that sincere wishes alone are not sufficient, however, they may also remind the children to study hard. Chinese people generally believe that a good education is the key to a successful and prosperous life.

2)   A Divine Roadmap: In Joshua 1, God showed Joshua a roadmap to success more than just sincere wishes Chinese parents give to their children. After the death of Moses, God called Joshua to assume the leadership role to lead the Israelis to the Promised Land. God did more than just give Joshua an order and some good wishes. He assured Joshua great success and smooth paths with a full list of instructions I would call it “Roadmaps of Success.”

 

SUCCESS AND THE BIBLE:

1)   Our God is the God of success: Throughout the Bible from cover to cover, God has portrayed Himself as a God of success. From the beginning of creation of the universe in Genesis to the New Heaven and New Earth in Revelation, whatever God puts His hand on anything and everything, nothing has failed. With all His power and wisdom, God cannot and will not fail. Man and his weakness may delay the plans of God, such as the Exodus story, but God will always find a way to accomplish His plan after all.

2)   God’s men are successful men: With all the human weaknesses in many of God’s people such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, King Solomon, many of the prophets and the apostles, they are all successful people. They succeeded in following God and His plans. They succeeded in proclaiming God’s messages. They succeeded in keeping their faith in times of fear. Men like Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Isaiah, Elijah, Samson, Samuel, Gideon, Nehemiah, Daniel, Peter, John, Paul, Timothy, Barnabas and many others who faithfully carried out the commands of God in their time and space in history and had achieved great success.

3)   God’s Son is a successful Savior: Some had ridiculed the life of Jesus as a failure when He was hang on the cross and died. But that is exactly the turning point for His victory and success as He obeyed God and accomplished His plans of salvation of the world by dying on the cross and then rose from the dead. With all the philosophers of all cultures, nations in history, none has provided a way for man to reach God and be saved.

4)   God’s Church is a great success: I am talking about the Universal Church, the church that encompasses all believers in all nations, colors, ethnic origins and denominations in the 2,000 years of Christian history. From that few thousands of new believers in the city of Jerusalem at the first Pentecost to the hundreds of millions of the faithful all around the world today. From the first 12 disciples who carried the gospel message to Judea and Samaria to hundreds of thousands of modern day missionaries who carry the same gospel message to every corner of the earth that resulted in thousands were baptized each day into the family of God.

 

THE DIVINE ROADMAP: (Joshua 1:1-9) Seven steps to success.

1)    Facing the grim start: (1:1-2) Few people embark on the path of success with a red carpet. Joshua certainly did not. It was the worst situation when he was called to the job. Moses, the mighty warrior and great leader who had been on the job from start for over 40 years had died. Moses was the man whom all people would look to for leadership, decision, guidance and answers. He had established his position and trust among the Israelis for over 40 years as being faithful and able but now he is dead. Nothing could be more devastating than this in the face of Joshua and the people of Israel.

2)    Work with hardheads: (1:2b) God called Joshua to work with “all these people” to get ready to cross the River Jordan. Who are “all these people”? These are the most hardheaded, most rebellious, the most unreliable, the best complainers, the most forgetful and the most immature and ungrateful people ever live on this planet earth. If Moses couldn’t finish the job, how does God think Joshua can? After all, they had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.

3)    Tackle the impossible: (1:3-4) “Crossing into the land I am about to give to them.” “What land?” We may ask. Joshua was there all through the 40 years, saw all the problems and the rebellions of the people. Is there still a hope of crossing into the Promised Land? Oh yes. If it is from God’s word. Success never depends on human visions or desires but on God’s promises. The extent of God’s promise is always much bigger than our faith.

4)    Walk close with God: (1:5) “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” When God takes charge of leading our life, He will “never leave you nor forsake you.” Our job is to make sure we do follow Him, His guidance, His direction and depend on His strength. At no time should we choose our own paths or walk away from Him on our own ways.

5)    Keep your focus clear: After the Israelis had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years without knowing where they should go or stay, God renewed His plan to Joshua to “lead my people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers.” (1:6)This is another pitfall many of us would fall into and that is changing course, look for a different direction. But God wanted Joshua to remember the first reason of their journey: to enter into the Promised Land. Anything else, doesn’t matter how noble you may think if it is not God’s focus, it is not worthy of your pursuit.

6)    Be strong and courageous: (1:7) “Be strong and very courageous,” God said to Joshua.” God never promised Joshua an easy job in conquering the Promised Land. Three times, He asked Joshua to be strong and courageous because He knew there would be fierce battles, setbacks, oppositions, defeats and internal problems with the people. No victory is a real victory if it is easily won. You just can’t stop, can’t quit and can’t give up. Success and surrender just don’t go together.

7)    Never depart from the Guidebook: (1:8) “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God knows every strategy and every step to success, be it conquering the nations in Canaan or building your family or a career, just follow the BOOK God has given you. Don’t even think that you can make it without the Book.

 

WORTHY SUCCESSES: More than worldly successes such as money, fame, power, career or personal gain most people are seeking, Christians have higher goals and standard on this.

1)    A life relationship with God: Among all the worthy successes, a life relationship with God should be on the top of the list. No other success will last longer than our life relationship with God. In Him is the everlasting life way beyond all things on earth. Seeking to know God and accepting the gift of salvation is the best success anyone may achieve. This is what God intends for all people in this world. Without the eternal relationship with God, everything else you may achieve doesn’t mean anything once you take your last breath. Be successful in eternity.

2)    Accomplish God’s purpose of life: God has a purpose for each life He creates. To know His purpose in your life and to accomplish that purpose in all we do is the second most worthy success we all need to pursue. By accomplishing God’s purpose in your life, you make your life meaningful in the overall plans of God to the world. Then your life will not be just a random existence without purpose. Be successful in the purpose of your life.

3)    Advance the Kingdom of God: By advancing the Kingdom of God, I mean spend your time and resources  for the purpose of bringing others to know Him. Participating in kingdom service such as witnessing to the lost and serving the needs of poor and oppressed. Through active participation in mission work, community service and personal care to bring others into God’s Kingdom.

4)    Adhere to commitments: Good and honest people are dependable people. They keep their commitment to their marriage, family, job, business deals, friendship and everything else they commit to keep. There are other commitments Christians made to God, His church and His people. We all are responsible to each other as in a family and we need to honor our commitment to each other to advance the well being of the Body of Christ. It is not about your freedom to break away. It is about your commitment to keep it strong.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Are you determined?  It takes more than a dream to succeed. It takes determination to make it come true. Put all your heart into it and give your best shot to get there. No one with a half-hearted attitude will get anywhere.

2)    What kind of success? Many people pursue the wrong kinds of success with all they have and made it but were left with emptiness and despair of life. Be careful in choosing the kind of success God wants you to pursue that will have lasting and heavenly value and meaning. You live only once. Make the best choice for your life.

3)    If you gain the whole world: These are the words of Jesus: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26) Seek the best success: a life relationship with God in Christ. Confess your sins to Him and accept His gift of eternal life.