ILL – You may remember seeing on the news earlier this year about a man named Wesley Autrey, a new York city resident and construction worker, who performed a tremendous act of heroism in the NYC subway.
A 19 year old film student suffered a seizure and fell ONTO the subway tracks. Autrey jumped onto the tracks and pulled the student to safety, actually lying on top of him while the train moved past.
Since, he has been awarded the Bronze Medallion, recognized by the President of the United States during the State of the Union address, and listed in Time Magazine’s 2007 100 most influential people.
He said just following the incident “I don’t think I did anything spectacular. I just saw someone who needed help, and did what I thought was right”
Most heroes are just ordinary people, who in the time of trouble, get courageous in a big way.
This morning we’re going to read about a woman who believed God enough, that she stood up against her entire city.
Rahab is one of two women mentioned in Hebrews 11. As the writer of Hebrews chronicled the history of faith, and gave praise to the people of faith…most of those people were men. With the exception of Sarah, the wife of Abraham…Rahab is the only other woman mentioned.
READ Hebrews 11:31
oASSURANCE - She was pursuaded by Truth. She was assured that what she believed was true
(about Abraham) Romans 4:20-21 - Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
DEPENDANCE - She believed that God could provide for her what she needed. Salvation.
It’s a question we all ask, "Can I really trust God?"
In order to be a person of faith, you have to come to grips with that question.
COMMITMENT - It’s not a onetime assumption, it’s a lifelong consistancy in following God.
People say, "I need to be more committed". The problem is not your commitment, it’s your faith. If you really believed, if you were really depending on God for all of your needs…you could not be anything else but committed!
•The question to ask is "What is keeping me from Believing?"
oCould be a lack of knowledge…
Romans 10:17 - Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
ILL - It’s like the man who saw on television that there was a car driving the wrong direction down the interstate. He knew his wife was traveling that road so he called to warn her. “Honey, there is a car driving the wrong direction on the interstate” – she says “ONE CAR! NO THERE ARE HUNDREDS!”
Some people just don’t realize they are going the wrong way.
God’s Truth is revealed in His Word.
oCould be a lack of understanding…
You’ve heard about faith, but you don’t understand what it means to be a believer.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.”
oCould be a lack of desire…
“The prostitute Rahab,”
•Let me ask you a serious question. Does it surprise you see a prostitute listed among Abraham, Moses, and David?
•How many of you are more surprised that I’m preaching about a prostitute on Mother’s day?
•Joshua 2:1 (NLT) - Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove.[a] He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.
•This was the last stage of life in the desert for the Israelites. Moses led the people through the 40 years of wilderness wandering…a whole generation. His replacement…is Joshua. Joshua had trained under Moses most of his life and God told him to choose him as his successor. Moses Led the people out of Egypt…it was Joshua’s task to TAKE the people into Canaan…the Promised land.
•But in order for the Israelites to gain access to the land they had been promised, they would need to Fight for it. Jericho was a large city that was built inside these walls. Inside the wall were people’s houses and the roofs were flat and they could walk out onto the roof and peer either into the city or outside the walls. Rahab’s house was inside those walls.
•Joshua 6 tells us the story of the conquest of Jericho.
oJoshua 6:1-5 - 1Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. 2But the LORD said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. 3You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. 4Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. 5When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”
oAnd that’s exactly what happened.
•Rahab was there. Here house is part of the city wall. She is a "working girl" so to speak. She’s a member of a profession that profits from selling herself for money.
•But yet, right there in the middle of Hebrews 11, the faith hall of fame…is her name.
•I want to preface all this with the statement: "Nobody is perfect when they take their first step of faith." As a matter of fact…we’re really not perfect until we are at home in Heaven with Christ where there is no sin.
•If you want to talk about perfect…dig through your Bibles and read about all the failures of the other people in Hebrews 11.
oWe didn’t read about Abraham going to Egypt, but basically God had promised to take care of him, but when faced with adversity (a drought) he took his wife to Egypt, where he knew there would be food.
oDavid…who we’ll study next Sunday…even though he is considered the most faithful king of israel…committed adultery with another man’s wife and then had the husband murdered.
•What Abraham experienced…what David experienced…What Rahab experienced was God’s GRACE and forgiveness.
•Max Lucado…says that one of the most difficult things he ever learned about God was when he had heard that Jeffrey Dauhmer, who was convicted of some of the most gruesome, heartless murders you could ever image…had made a commitment to follow Christ while he was in prison.
•We look at a person like that…and we WANT them to suffer. We WANT them to get what they deserve! Sometimes we as pompous Christians look at people like that and say "He’s going to have to answer for that some day"…and that’s true.
•But this all shows you the difference between GOD’s heart and our hearts! God has the power to carry out justice any way that he wants to…but when a person turns to him, no matter where they’ve been or what they’ve done…he accepts them and calls them HIS CHILDREN!!!
•And you know what he tells us to do?
oLove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
oForgive those who trespass against you in the same way I have forgiven your trespasses!
•It’s God that has a heart that big!
oAnd do you know that this former prostitute came to faith…married a godly man named Salmon…gave birth to a son who became a Godly man named Boaz….who was the Grandfather of King David… from whose family line would come our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
oAnd in Jesus’ Geneology in Matthew 1…is her name.
oMatthew 1:5 - Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse.
oAnd what a better thing to talk about on Mother’s day than about a woman who was far away from God…giving her life to God’s purpose…raising her children to follow the Lord in such a way that THEY CHANGED HISTORY! Rahab leaves a Legacy!
oAnd it’s all because she chose to believe.
•Here’s more of Rahab’s Story:
o Joshua 2:2-7 (NLT) - But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.” 4 Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” 6 (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) 7 So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut.
“Because she welcomed the spies”
•There are a lot of theories as to WHY the spies went to the house of a prostitute…and I’ll just let you use your imagination there. I honestly don’t know why they went there, But here’s the deal. I think this was a Divine appointment.
•Ever had a divine appointment? When God just seemed to send the right person at the right time to say or do the right thing to help you grow in your faith?
•The people of Jericho already knew about the Israelites…they had heard that the Israelites believed that the land where they lived belonged to them.
•They had heard about the victories God had already given to Israel and they were on guard.
•Now Rahab takes thing a different way.
•Joshua 2:8-11 - 8Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. 9“I know the LORD has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10For we have heard how the LORD made a dry path for you through the Red Sea£ when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed.£ 11No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.
“was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
•Joshua 2:12-21 – 12“Now swear to me by the LORD that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that 13when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.” 14“We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the LORD gives us the land.” 15Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window. 16“Escape to the hill country,” she told them. “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you. Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.” 17Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions. 18When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house. 19If they go out into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the responsibility for their death. 20If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.” 21“I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window.
•Joshua 6:25 – So Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute and her relatives who were with her in the house, because she had hidden the spies Joshua sent to Jericho. And she lives among the Israelites to this day.
•Joshua spared her physically, God saved her spiritually.
•There is so much significance here to our life of faith
o Rahab believed (remember it means Assurance, Dependance, and Commitment)
o Rahab was saved
o Rahab became a part of God’s family.
John 1:12-13 - 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
This morning I’m inviting you to do one thing. Believe.
God wants to show you his purpose for your life
God wants to preserve you for all eternity.
God wants to add you as a part of His family.
And it takes One Step. Believe