Courage sermon ideas

Courage is strength in the face of trouble, danger, or trials. It is boldness, the ability to stand firm against fear. For believers, the source of courage is found in God's promises. In worship and sermons, we can give thanks for the Bible's exhortations to be courageous and God's promises to be with us and give us strength.

What does the Bible say about courage?

The Bible passages below can be used in sermons, prayers, pastoral care, or worship planning focused on courage.

Encouragement to be courageous

  • Deuteronomy 31:6, be strong and bold; God goes with you and will not fail you or forsake you
  • Joshua 1:9, be strong and courageous for God is with you 
  • Psalm 27:14, be strong and take courage; wait for the Lord
  • Isaiah 12:2, the Lord is our strength and might
  • Isaiah 41:13, don't be afraid because I will help you, God Says
  • John 16:33, you will face trials, but you can have courage because Jesus has conquered the world
  • Romans 8:31, if God is for us, who can oppose us? 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:58, be strong and stand firm, always excelling in the Lord's work
  • Ephesians 6:10-11, be strong and put on the armor of God
  • 2 Timothy 1:7, God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline, not of cowardice

Examples of courage in the Bible

  • Judges 20:22, the Israelites took courage and prepared for battle
  • Psalm 23:4, the psalmist testifies that even in the darkest valley, God provides comfort
  • Psalm 112:7, the righteous are not afraid of bad news; their hearts are secure in the Lord
  • Proverbs 28:1, the righteous are bold like him
  • Luke 22:42, Jesus asks his Father to remove the cup of suffering from him, yet submits himself to the Father's will
  • Philippians 4:13, Paul testifies that he can do all things through Christ, who gives him strength
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:2, we had courage in our God to declare the gospel despite great opposition, Paul says

Sermon ideas about courage

Sermons about courage can focus on a believer's source of courage — the knowledge of God's firm and loving presence. In the Bible, "I am with you" is a bedrock promise. Veteran pastors often tell of an uncanny peace that falls over believers in the face of their death. People of faith testify that they are not afraid to die, that they are in the arms of God, that they have never been surer of God's presence with them. God is their strength and salvation.

Sermons about courage can remind listeners that the same testimony has come from saints and martyrs who sang hymns while their enemies burned them at the stake, from Christian civil rights workers who persisted nonviolently in the face of taunts, spit, blows, and curses, and from persecuted believers in many parts of the world today. People persist because they know God is with them and they can do all things through Christ's strength.

Courage is strength in the face of trouble, and the troubles requiring courage are myriad. Every day people must face disease, injury, loss of loved ones, bullying, cheating, financial failure, and all the other human ills. Persisting through anxiety and depression requires major-league courage. Sermons about courage can reassure listeners that God often gives courage to the suffering, lamenting, fragile people of the world, and this gift is often remarkable enough to look like a miracle.

Think, for example, of some of the victims of racial oppression in South Africa who testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that they had forgiven the men who had horribly abused them. That in the face of the vilest treatment they were enabled to forgive looks for all the world like a God-almighty, Holy Ghost miracle.

Examples of courage

In her small book The Quotidian Mysteries, Kathleen Norris speaks of courage in connection with conception and childbirth, saying that life asks us to make some of our most serious commitments with little idea of what will be required of us. Pregnancy asks

a woman to find the strength not only to give birth and provide daily nurturing, but also to face possible rebellion or rejection by the child and to confront the fact that this child will someday die. There are no promises to reassure us other than the love of God, she writes.

In his novel The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien famously wrote about the courage American soldiers had to muster in Vietnam so as not to dishonor themselves: "They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing — these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight."

Excerpts about courage

Following are sample excerpts from sermon resources about courage:

"But, being filled with the courage and boldness that came with the Holy Spirit's indwelling among them, the apostles continued to heal many and preach publicly." Sermon Preparation from A Plain Account

Worship ideas about courage

Following are sample excerpts from worship resources about courage:

"O Lord, give us courage to confess with honesty and openness. In the name of Jesus, the Wounded One, we pray. Amen." Prayer of Confession by Lois Siemens from Together in Worship

"Courage, my soul! while God is near, what enemy hast thou to fear? How canst thou want a sure defense, whose refuge is Omnipotence?" Song by Isaac Watts from Hymnary

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