Forward in Faith #28
Joshua 2; 6:25
Rahab: Won By Faith
The Hall of Fame of Faith
Hebrews 11 points us to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ Parents, and Moses. Last week Doc took you to the Faith of Gideon. You learned that God can do mighty things even if our faith is small.
Today we look at a beautiful woman. She is a famous woman. Had her name been Elizabeth, or Rachel, or Sarah, or most anything else, we might look at her differently. But her name is Rahab. She was first famous for being a woman of, shall we say, a poor reputation. She was a woman who had many friends but not in the daytime.
“Ra ‘hab” – her name means Spacious; broad; a wide place – so we have in Rahab a spacious wide place to stand today, because Rahab is going to teach us about the Expanse of the Forgiveness of God in Christ Jesus.
Let’s read her story
Read Joshua 2:1-21; 6:20-25
And what does our writer in Hebrews say of this woman?
Read Hebrews 11:31
Again the determiner “By Faith”- Rahab- what did she do?
“Did not perish with those who were disobedient”
They were “disobedient” the word is apeitheo – disobey, reject belief – it is like our word “apathy” … it means they didn’t do anything, they didn’t do the right thing.
We already know from reading that they all feared Israel, but they didn’t do anything about it
Rahab on the other hand
“Welcomed” – “Received with Peace”
Dechomai – welcome, believe, take hold of,
“With Peace” – eirene – freedom from worry
She wasn’t worried about the King of Jericho, or the people of Jericho … she feared God. What I want you to see today is a woman who many would say had ZERO chance of being in the plan of God
She had ZERO chance of being welcomed into most neighborhood clubs, let alone into the House of God. I don’t know if anyone here can relate to her today.
What chance did she have?
She saw the hand of God, she recognized his power
She knew that she didn’t deserve anything from the God of Israel … but she had
1. Faith in God’s Grace
Back in Joshua 2, the spies had come to her house and it speaks about the unmerited favor of God
V9 I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us.
V10 we have heard how the Lord dried up the Red Sea
V11 our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in Heaven above and on earth below
V12 please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family
She didn’t fear them because they were imposing
She feared them because God had favored them and so he did not favor Jericho.
Why was God against Jericho?
In Genesis 15 God told Abraham about that a time would come when his descendants would leave the land but that they would return. Verse 16 says in the fourth generation your descendants will come back, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure
God was not against Jericho and Canaan because of Random choice or inequitable selection. God was saying to Abraham that the sin of the Amorites had reached his nostrils. He had given them generations of patience
Remember Peter told us that God is not lazy or slow but He is patient wishing that none would perish
- It is our SIN that causes God to be against us, to condemn us.
- But it was Rahab’s faith that changed her from a condemned Amorite to a chosen Child of God!!
John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
- And what is the problem that causes us to fail to believe and remain under condemnation?
It is the same problem that Jericho had. They all knew God was powerful. They knew about the Red Sea 40 years before
John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, we were already condemned, but he also said
God so loved the world that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life!!! John 3:16
Canaan was condemned already
Jericho was condemned already
But Rahab Believed in God’s Grace … and whoever believes shall not perish.
- Praise the Lord there is a Scarlet Thread!
There is a fountain filled with blood;
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flow;
Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged beneath that flow
Lose all their guilty stains
Oh people, hear me today … There should be a scarlet thread hanging from your house
She was saved by the Grace of God
Abraham had the symbol of circumcision
The Children of Israel had the blood on the doorposts at the Passover
Rahab was told to hang a Scarlet Cord from her window in the wall of Jericho. And when it was all said and done and the walls of Jericho came down, her house was the only thing standing of the wall. Showing the Grace of God.
We need a scarlet thread hanging from our homes
When someone asks you why you think you are a special chosen child of God – point them to the cross, the blood of Jesus as the source of salvation’s blessing
If someone says “how can your marriage last 10, 25, 40, 50 years when ½ of all marriages end in divorce?”… don’t say “well, we work at it” or “we’re lucky” … point them to the scarlet Cord. It is JESUS
If they ask you how you say “yes” to righteousness and “no” to other things, don’t say “I have will power” point to Jesus
Take them to Jesus
Tell them to Look to Jesus
Tell them “it can be just as true for you”
The Prostitute Rahab calls to us from Heaven’s Shores and says “if there is room for me, there is room here for you.”
“If there is transformation for me, there is transformation for you”
What makes the difference?
Faith in the Grace of God
Even in Jericho there is a prophesy of the coming Lord whose blood can wash us whiter than snow.
Clement of Rome wrote to the Corinthians
“they gave her a sign … that she should hang forth from her house a scarlet thread. And thus made it manifest that redemption should flow through the blood of the Lord to all them that believe and hope in God. You see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophesy in this woman”
She had faith in the Grace of God and in the coming fulfillment in Christ Jesus
She also had
2. Faith Toward Works
- She believed in the Grace of God and she realigned her life around the faith.
She protected the spies
She let them down the next day
She brought her family in
She put out the scarlet cord
Her faith brought action
- Justin was a man living in the 2nd Century. He was a Roman and desired to be a philosopher. He studied with a Stoic, a Pythagorean, a Platonian, but none of them fulfilled him. In 130AD he met an old man who was a Christian. “A fire was suddenly kindled in my soul. I fell in love with the prophets and these men who loved Christ; I reflected on all their words and found that this philosophy alone was true and profitable. That is how and why I became a philosopher. And I wish that everyone felt the same way that I do.” He became a Christian teacher and wrote two famous apologetic books and First and Second Apologia both were written to reigning emperors … His faith and his profession got him arrested in Rome. He was challenged to denounce his faith. But Faith isn’t faith without action to back it up. He replied “no one who is rightly minded turns from true belief to false”. Then he said If we are punished for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, we hope to be saved” They were taken out and beheaded … and so Justin became known as Justin Martyr
He knew Christ, he knew the cross, he had faith and it required action.
Justin Martyr wrote of Rahab
The sign of the scarlet thread, which the spies gave to Rahbe the harlot, telling her to bind it to the window through which she let them down to escape from their enemies also manifested the symbol of the blood of Christ, by which those who were at one time harlots and unrighteous persons out of all the nations are saved, receiving remission of sins, and continuing no longer in sin.
- Faith in the Grace of God in Christ Jesus not only brings salvation but changes us from the inside out
So we can sing
What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart
I have light in my soul for which long I have sought
Since Jesus came into my heart …
Jesus changes us …
People ask me “Do I have to change or give up anything to come to Jesus?” I say “nope, come as you are … and He will do the changing”
Another church Father, Irenaeus, wrote of Rahab and said “while … guilty of all sins, nevertheless received the 3 spies and hid them in her home; which 3 were doubtless type of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And when they entire city in which she lived fell to ruins at the sounding of the 7 trumpets, Rahab, the harlot was preserved, when all was over, together with all her house, through faith of the scarlet sign.”
The other residents of Jericho had the same testimony, knowing God was favoring Israel, yet they did not choose to believe in the God of Israel
She had faith and it changed her. Faith in the Grace of God is transformational. That is why Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 21:31-32 that “the Tax collectors and sinners are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you. John came to show the way of righteousness and you did not believe him but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.”
Folks, I’d rather have a church full of the dregs of humanity who have been transformed by the Power of God than a church full self righteous, lukewarm, people who have been “good” all their lives but their faith hasn’t resulted in a change toward good works.
Remember that is the whole purpose for us gathering together as a church
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- We are here to spur each other ON to love and good deeds.
It is the byproduct of faith and the fellowship of believers. We don’t point fingers. We don’t knock down. We don’t look down our noses. We pick up, point toward Jesus, relate to our fallenness, and encourage each other to do the right thing. Why, because Jesus is coming again.
Our faith isn’t BY good works, but our good works are BECAUSE of faith.
- Remember Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by Grace through faith. But verse 10 says “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to DO GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Oh beloved saint, God has work for you to do that is why he remade you into a beautiful re-creation in Christ Jesus.
A Vase is made to hold flowers, a plate to hold food, a cup to carry coffee, a vacuum to clean the floor.
God remakes us for a purpose.
God doesn’t make knick-knacks to sit on a shelf and look pretty.
The Church isn’t a Curio Cabinet to display pretty Christians
It is a training facility to train vessels of honor sanctified for the Master’s Use to do the work he has prepared for us to do
She had faith in God’s Grace
Faith toward good works and her
3. Faith Provides a Future
Regardless of the Past
Rahab realized and confessed
1) God’s direction and determination in giving Canaan to Israel
2) God’s hand with Israel while they were in the Wilderness
3) God as being Sovereign over all things in Heaven and Earth
Because she knew these things about God, she knew that there was a future for her despite her past.
Think of who Rahab is associated with through Hebrews 11. She and Sarah are the only women mentioned in here by name.
- Sarah, the woman who was so beautiful, inside and out. Sarah the patient one and the mother of Israel’s promise.
Rahab the prostitute is associated with her
- She is associated with Abraham here and in James 2:21-26 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead
They both were people whose faith was proven by their actions
- Rahab was associated with David just a few generations removed
- Rahab is associated with the Messiah in his genealogy
- She had a future regardless of her past.
She was not that shameful relative with the checkered past that no one speaks of. No! She was the celebrated Jewel in the Crown of Grace showing the power of repentance and the transformation of God’s hand. She was transformed from Pagan Prostitute to Perfected Progenitor of King David and the King of Kings to enter the world.
Praise the Lord our past doesn’t have to determine our future. Our past doesn’t disqualify us for the future
Our past doesn’t deny us the blessings of God
Praise the Lord that Romans 5:20 “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”
Oh we have a “Much More” God
Rahab then became a witness to her family. They had to believe the Word of god through her testimony as well and she saw her whole house saved and stand when the world crumbled around them
Oh how a testimony it must have been when the walls fell down and God’s Promise stood tall!! When God’s Promise stood alone on the perimeter of Jericho.
Oh I’ve read the back of this Bible and when the world crumbles, God’s promises will endure alone. When the governments are no more, the Kingdom of our God and of his Christ will reign forever and ever.
I Peter 1:23; 25 … all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever …
Psalm 119:160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal
Psalm 145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generation. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made
- Rahab through Faith in God’s Grace found that she had a future despite her past
Can you relate to her today?
This woman had a disgraceful occupation
This woman was a commodity of many but a treasure to none
This woman gave attention to others but never knew true love for who she was only what she could provide
God gave her a future, oh what a future
She was welcomed into the people of God
She married Salmon, an Israelite
They had a son, Boaz. Boaz married a Gentile convert named Ruth.
They had a son named Obed
He had a son named Jesse
One of Jesse’s sons was a boy named David who was pretty handy with a sling, talented with Music and became the celebrated King of Israel.
She was the Great Great Grandmother to King David!
Wow, that’s a pretty great future
But God wasn’t finished. David’s line continued to a man named Joseph and a girl named Mary. They gave a home to the incarnation of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ! Oh what a future she had
- God is not interested in your reputation when you come to him. He is interested in your future.
Rahab was a real bad girl
But we have a real big God!
- Folks, Sin is sin … there is no difference,
so if ANY sin can be forgiven by God then any SIN can be forgiven by God
- God is no respecter of persons,
so if he can forgive ANY person, he can forgive any PERSON
Oh how God can take a worn out useless life and transform it into something beautiful when it is placed in his hand
The Touch of the Master’s Hand