Here is the sermon that I will be preaching for Sunday, February 17th 2008.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 12
The faith of a prostitute.
Last time we looked at Israel’s faith, which was a delivering, conquering faith. Today we are going to look at the faith of a prostitute – Rahab. What is so interesting about this week’s sermon and last week’s sermon both is that all the other examples of faith that we have seen so far has taken place before the children of Israel entered the promised land. But last week we started looking at one of the examples of faith that took place in the promised land – Jericho. And now we are going to look at another one, still in Jericho, but one person’s faith and that person being the prostitute, Rahab.
I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful that all the people listed so far in this hall of faith we have been studying are not perfect people. They had problems, difficulties, and even sometimes sin, but though they were not perfect, they served a perfect God. And when they put their faith in this God, He declared them righteous. That means that there is hope for you and me.
You see, none of us are perfect. I will even go a step further, none of us can truly in and of ourselves live above sin. You see, Paul couldn’t do it either, and he was probably the greatest Christian ever and had the most revelation concerning the person and character of God than any other person. Notice what he says in his writings.
Romans 7:14-25 GW – I know that God’s standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin. (15) I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. (16) I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. (17) So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them. (18) I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. (19) I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. (20) Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it. (21) So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. (22) I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. (23) However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. (24) What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? (25a) I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me!
You see, Paul knew that the Law, God’s standards was spiritual and because of this He can’t live them. He can’t fulfill them no matter how hard He tried. You see, Paul was of the flesh, or he had his flesh to contend with. So what was His appeal too? Was it to work harder? No. Was it to the flesh? No. It was to the same person who died and saved him, the Lord Jesus Christ! He knew that it was Jesus who rescued him, not his ability to live a perfect life and keep the Law.
Here we are going to see God using another person who isn’t perfect, Rahab. She puts her faith in God, and is saved from destruction.
Let’s look at our text and see what God would say to us today.
Hebrews 11:31 GW – Faith led the prostitute Rahab to welcome the spies as friends. She was not killed with those who refused to obey God.
1. The background of Rahab.
A. First off, she is not a Hebrew.
She, not being a Hebrew, wasn’t delivered from Egypt, didn’t go through the promise land, and lived in the city of Jericho.
B. Secondly, she is a prostitute.
She is not a woman of moral integrity, but of immorality. So, I’m sure her reputation in the city wasn’t that good.
C. Thirdly, she was a Canaanite, a Gentile.
She was supposed to be conquered and destroyed by the Hebrews. I’m pretty sure that since she was a Canaanite, that she worshiped many of the Canaanite false gods and idols.
D. What can we learn from Rahab’s background?
When God calls someone to follow Him, He doesn’t do it because the background is very appealing, or because that person is a pretty good person. He does it for one reason, because of His shear love for them and for His own pleasure. So if you feel you don’t have much to offer the Lord, you are in the right place. Because all of us that are Christ-followers didn’t have much to offer the Lord when He called us – He just called us because He loves us.
2. Rahab had a faith that believed the God of Israel.
Joshua 2:1-14 CSB – 1 Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two men as spies from Acacia Grove, saying, “Go and scout the land, especially Jericho.” So they left, and they came to the house of a woman, a prostitute named Rahab, and stayed there. 2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelite men have come here tonight to investigate the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent [word] to Rahab and said, “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, for they came to investigate the entire land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 At nightfall, when the gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” 6 But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the road to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as they left to pursue them, the gate was shut. Before the men fell asleep, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that dread of you has fallen on us, and everyone who lives in the land is panicking because of you. 10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings you completely destroyed across the Jordan. 11 When we heard this, we lost heart, and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now please swear to me by the LORD that you will also show kindness to my family, because I showed kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all who belong to them, and save us from death.” 14 The men answered her, “[We will give] our lives for yours. If you don’t report our mission, we will show kindness and faithfulness to you when the LORD gives us the land.”
A. How do we know that she put her faith in the one true God? Let me give you a few reasons from this passage we just read.
She uses God’s covenant name, LORD, or YHWH. She heard the stories of how the Lord worked for the children of Israel (Josh. 2:10). She confessed the LORD’S rule over heaven and earth (Josh. 2:11). Even though she wasn’t a child of promise (Hebrew) she became obedient to the promise (Josh. 2:1-4). She hid and protected the Hebrew spies, thereby obeying the LORD.
3. What was her reward – she was spared because of her faith.
A. She and her family survived the destruction of Jericho.
Joshua 6:22-23 CSB – 22 Joshua said to the two men who had scouted the land, “Go to the prostitute’s house and bring the woman out of there, and all who are with her, just as you promised her.” 23 So the young men who had scouted went in and brought out Rahab and her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and settled them outside the camp of Israel.
B. She also received an even greater blessing – she became an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Matthew1:1&5 CSB – 1 The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 5 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse…
Here this prostitute gets this honor and privilege of being listed amongst the ancestors of Jesus. When we become fully convinced of what the Scriptures say concerning Jesus, and we put our faith, trust, and hope in Him, we become the children of God, no matter what our past is.
What are some application points that we can take home with us and apply to our lives presently?
• God doesn’t call us to Himself because we are perfect, but because we are sinners.
• Rahab didn’t let her past stop her from moving forward; and neither should we.
• If your life is in Christ, you are not what you were before Him.
• Begin living out who you are in Him (match your position with your practice).
Is your past beating you down? Well, don’t let it. God has forgiven you and has forgotten your past, and so should you. If you need to forgive yourself of your past, please come forward.
Also, if you are here and maybe you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, you may be saying to yourself, “I don’t have much to give Him.” It is not what you have to give Him, but what He has to give you. He gives you eternal life, forgiveness of sins, a clean slate, a new start. Come forward and become a follower of His today.
Next time we will look at the heroic faith of the Hebrew 11 believers.