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Outliving Our Past

(96)

Sermon shared by John Hamby

December 2001
Summary: Rahap’s faith is a wonderful demonstration of the grace of God.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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a unpromising candidate, then she was even more so because of her moral background. Rahab was not a religious pagan she was a prostitute.
In this most unlikely of places, this pagan and dark city, in this most unlikely of people, true faith was found.

2. FAITH IS BASED ON HEARING AND ACTING UPON THE TRUTH (VV. 9-11)
To understand why Rahab did what see did we need to fast forward to verse nine. Rahab here reveals her faith, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. (10) For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. (11) And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Rahab had heard something of the reports of the mighty works of the God of Israel.”
Because of her profession Rahab was unique situated to have been well informed of events outside of the city of Jericho. She had heard reports of the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army some 40 years earlier. She would have heard news of the more recent conquest by Israel of the two Amorite kings. For most of the citizen of Jericho such news had terrified them, but fright is not faith. She had heard and had concluded what other equally fearful people had missed – that if Israel had enjoyed such miraculous victories, then their god but be the true God.
Rahab had become convinced her mind and in her heart that Israel’s God was the true God. Paul tells us that “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). Rahab perhaps did not have much knowledge but what she heard she considered, believed and acted upon. Rahab is twice held up as a model of faith in the New Testament. First, she appears in the list of heroes and heroines of faith in Hebrews 11:31 where it is said,
“By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.” Then the book of James (2:25) says, “ … was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?”
This should remind us that no one is beyond the reach of God’s saving power. If God could shave someone like Rahab, inspite of her religious ignorance and in spite of baggage of her immoral past, if he could save someone like Rahab, he can save anyone. Isaiah 59:1 says, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.” Rahab reminds us that nothing is impossible with God. Rahab stands with other wonderful trophies of grace that are saved from all kinds of immorality and sin.
The fact that Rahab believed in spite of all her disadvantages and barriers surely is a challenge to those who have heard and in spite of this privilege have never come to faith.

3. FAITH DEMANDS DECISION (vv. 2-8)
“And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” (3) So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who
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