Summary: When it comes to salvation, don’t trust in yourself or even your church - rather put your trust in the Lord.
SERMON: THE SPY IN HALFWAY
Things that people trust in:
Themselves (Proverbs 3:5 – 6)
Their Walls (Jeremiah 7:3 – 6)
Title: The Spy in Halfway
Text: Joshua 2:8 – 14
MP: Salvation is only found when you let the Savior in.
a. Ted Griffith Story
b. Reaction to fear = Trust something to save you
c. Save you = Salvation
d. What do you put your trust in?
2. Most of us put our trust in ourselves
a. Mitten – only as good as her last fight
b. Sunday School for Atheists
3. The People of Jericho put their trust in their walls
a. Just another form of trusting yourself
b. The Temple Sermon
c. The Church vs. Jesus – We’re only as good as what we practice
4. Rahab put her trust in the LORD, and it saved her
Ted Griffith lived in Halfway during WWII. Right after Marvin passed away, she told me the story of the day a stranger came down The Plains Road. It was getting late, he was tired, and he needed a place to stay. Mr. Griffith knew that the Bible was unequivocal about hospitality – you took in the stranger, cared for him and fed him. That’s just what someone who loves Jesus does.
Well, Mrs. Griffith was not so happy about the situation. After all, you never knew who it was knocking on the door. There are bad people out there. There are reasons to be afraid. But Mr. Griffith would have none of it. He opened the doors, gave him dinner, and let him sleep in the barn. He left in the morning: grateful for the hospitality he had been shown.
A few days later, some men from the Department of War came through Halfway as well. They said that a German spy had been passing through and wanted to know all they could. I don’t know what Ted Griffith said, but I can imagine a little bit how he felt. In spite of the war, Ted Griffith had been a faithful witness to his Lord. He had shown compassion and hospitality, traits that his Lord called for, even to his enemies. And in spite of the war, Ted and his family had been kept safe – they had experienced a salvation of sorts.
In our text this morning, we have the story of woman who also took in some spies. Rahab, too, was going to going to experience a salvation of sorts, because she understood that in the end you have to invite someone in. Halfway was never particularly great danger of being overrun by Germans, but Rahab was not in nearly as safe a position. We were an ocean away from the fighting. Rahab was made ten miles from the front line.
Everybody in the city of Jericho was afraid. Our text is clear – they’ve been hearing about these Hebrews and what God has done for them. He split the Red Sea, he killed opposing kings before them, and now they were just a few miles away on the other side of the Jordan River. Now, I’ve been to the Jordan River, and make no mistake – we’d call it a creek. If nothing but a creek stands between you and bunch of people who seem to have a way of, shall we say, upsetting the status quo, I’d feel a bit unsafe too.
But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how close you can see it – we always live in a world that is unsafe. We are no more safe from terrorists than we were on September 10th. Our mortgages and credit cards will always be at the whim of Wall Street. Our families are always at risk. We all live in a world where you should be afraid – as Yoda might say, be very afraid.
But as Christians, because of the person we let into our hearts, we can know that no matter what happens around us, we will be saved. Our bodies may or may not be destroyed, our families may or may not stay together, our pocketbooks may or may not stay full. But who we are will be rescued ultimately from every danger, if we are willing to ultimately stay close to the God who saves us.
That is what salvation means – we will be rescued. We have a ‘Yeshua’ – someone who will save us. Whether we pronounce that word “Yeshua” as “Joshua” as we did in the Old Testament or “Jesus” in the new, we have a conquering general who keep us close. Times and circumstances may not be what we want, but who we are remains unchanged because we belong to the one who will keep us held tight.