To Grow Spiritually We Must Add Virtue to our Faith Virtue – “moral excellence (courage) to stand for what is right against all opposition and every adversity” God “has called us by His...excellence” (2 Peter 1:3) and we are to add to our faith “moral excellence” (1:5) We must have a backbone to stand for the truth! When we are persecuted we are blessed (Mt. 5:10) When we are insulted and falsely accused for the sake of righteousness, we should rejoice because our reward in heaven is great (Mt. 5:11-12). But how do I get that moral courage to stand?
God told Joshua “Be Strong & Courageous” "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. "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. "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. "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” (Joshua 1:6-9).
How was Joshua going to have Success? Meditate on God’s law (Psalms 1:1-2) so that he would be careful to do it and not depart from it. God had promised to be with him! God would fight for him! God would not fail! God would not forsake him! So he did not need to fear or be dismayed. Therefore he could be strong and courageous and have the moral courage to take the promised land over seemingly impossible odds (Joshua 11:23; 21:43ff)!
How will you have Success as a Christian? God has promised to be with you (Matthew 28:20)! God will fight for you (2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:16)! God will not fail (2 Peter 1:3-4)! God will not forsake you (Heb. 13:5)! So do not fear or be dismayed (Heb. 13:6)! Therefore you can have the moral courage to stand up for what is right in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation and go to heaven as we follow the example of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-25)! Conditions Learn to obey what Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:20), practice the Christian graces (2 Pet. 1:5-11), and put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13ff).
Caleb & Joshua had the Moral Courage to Stand Up for God while Israel Followed the Majority Caleb said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it” (Numbers 13:30) Joshua said, “the land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into the land and give it to us – a land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them” (Numbers 14:7-9). Only Joshua and Caleb went into the promised land while those who were 20 and older perished in the wilderness (Numbers 32:11-13)
Christians Must Have the Moral Courage to Stand Up for God’s Word and Not Follow the Majority Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14). The way to heaven is narrow, difficult and unpopular. Just like the Israelites followed the majority back then, many follow the broad way that leads to destruction. Do you have the moral courage to stand up for God’s word and not follow the majority today?
We Must Have the Moral Courage to Stand Up for God’s Word & Not Follow the Majority When anyone says, “All you have to do is accept Christ as your personal Savior and you will be saved” will you have the moral courage to say “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). When others say, “Go to the church of your choice” will you have the moral courage to say that we must go to the church of God’s choice? It was prophesied (Daniel 2:44), built (Matt. 16:18-19), purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28), it was according to God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10-11), of which Christ is the Head (Eph. 1:22-23) and He is the Savior of it (Eph. 5:23), and it is called after His name (Romans 16:16)
Young David had the Moral Courage to Stand Up for God against Goliath While Saul & all the Israelites soldiers cowered with fear when they heard Goliath’s challenge, David said, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26). David had killed a lion and a bear protecting the sheep and he said, “The Lordwho delivered me from the paw of the lion, He will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine”...”that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all the assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into my hands” (1 Sam. 17:37,46-47).
We Must Have the Courage to Stand Up for God’s Word Against the Wisdom of this World “And do not beconformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). “See that no one takes youcaptive through philosophy, and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). We cannot compromise with the giant false doctrines of men including evolution, humanism, abortion, homosexuality, materialism, premillenialism, Islam, and denominationalism.
Queen Esther had the Moral Courage to Risk Her Life to Go Before the King Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman because of his religious beliefs and Haman is so angry that he desires to kill all the Jews of which included Queen Esther (Esther 3). Mordecai tells Esther, "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverancewill arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this" (Esther 4:13-14)? She asks all the Jews to fast for 3 says and says, “If I perish, I perish” (4:16) but eventually she and all the Jews are delivered (9:1ff).
We Must Have the Moral Courage to Give Up Our Lives for Jesus Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. (Matt. 16:24-27) What are you giving up for Jesus?
Have the Moral Courage to Do His Will Are you studying your Bible so that you might have the knowledge & courage to do His will or are you letting evil overtake you (2 Tim. 2:15; Ephesians 5:16-17)? Are you confessing Christ before men as Paul did or denying Him as Peter did (Matthew 10:32-33)? Are you praying for boldness as Peter and John did so that you might have the courage and knowledge to teach unbelievers (Acts 4:29-32; Col. 4:2-6) or are you neglecting to pray? Are you casting down things that are raised up against God’s knowledge or your own (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)?
Have the Moral Courage to Do His Will Are you having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness or exposing them (Ephesians 5:11)? Are you following the difficult and unpopular way that leads to eternal life or the easy and broad path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14)? Are you standing up for God’s promises against the wisdom of this world or compromising with it? (James 4:4) Are you giving up your will for righteousness or give in to unrighteousness (Romans 6:16)?
Conclusion Virtue – “moral excellence (courage) to stand for what is right against all opposition and every adversity” Joshua, Caleb, David, Esther had the moral courage to stand up for what was right even when they faced death and most importantly Jesus did. Will you? God has promised to be with you! God will not fail! God will not forsake you! God will fight for you! So do not fear or be dismayed. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” and you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:10-13).
Conclusion If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, have the moral courage and humility to confess it before this assembly this morning (Acts 8:37) and be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) and the Lord will you add you to His church (v. 47). If you are a Christian who has failed to have that moral courage to do God’s will, repent and pray that God will help you to grow stronger so that you will have the conviction to contend earnestly for the faith. (Acts 8:22-24)