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Living by Faith (Vol 57) - Rahab’s Faith

Sunday English Service - 01 DEC 19

Transcript

Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 31. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. Now, I'm reading from the English Standard Version. As you know, we've been teaching on faith from Hebrews chapter 11. It's a great faith chapter. Last week, we talked about how the walls of Jericho fell by faith. And I talked about the essence of what faith is all about because if the walls of Jericho fell by faith, no human force, no machines were used, no weapons were used, if it just fell by faith, I'd like to know what kind of power is this power called faith, and how I can operate it, how it works.

So, we talked about what is the essence of faith? So, we went to 2nd Corinthians 5:7, short, brief verse but full of meaning. Paul says there, “We don't walk by sight, but walk by faith.” I showed you the difference between the two. Walking by sight is walking, living, functioning by our natural eyes, by what we see. Walking by faith is living, operating and functioning by what we believe. That's what walking by faith is. What do you believe? If you operate by what you believe, then you are walking by faith. If you're operating by what you see with your natural eyes, then you are operating by sight. Now, we showed you how on day to day basis, we can practice that. If you always are talking about how you don't have money, and that you are sinking, and how that you're going to fail, then you are walking by sight. But if you're always talking about how God is your source and He supplies all your needs, and He is more than enough, He is El Shaddai, and He is Jehovah Jireh, then you are living by faith because you are now functioning and operating and walking by what you believe.

So, this can be practiced on a day to day basis in all aspects of our life. I'm just giving you example of the financial aspect of our life but it applies to health and healing, it applies to family life and so on. And if you have a negative view based on what you see, that means you're walking by sight. And if you believe the word of God and what it says about your family, about your work of your hands, and all of those things, when you believe what the word of God says, and begin to walk by it, function by it, operate by it, that is what walking by faith is all about. Now, that is very important, because that is the thing that governs all of these examples that are given in Hebrews chapter 11, from Abel to Enoch to Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, and Jacob, Joseph and so on. All examples are based on this fact, they were walking by faith and not by sight. They believed something.

What was available to their eyes was one thing but what they believed was totally opposite. Normally, people can believe only what they see, but these people believed what they cannot see. That's why Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 is very important. It says, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Now, verse 3 says, By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which we see were not made by things that are seen. So, this whole world that we see did not come by what we can see but it came from the unseen world. So, the unseen, literally brought to pass everything that is seen. Therefore, I would even say that the unseen is the parent force, greater than the seen, unseen governs the seen and faith is about focusing on what this eye cannot see, the unseen. Faith is about focusing on what we believe, that is not available to what we see with our natural eyes but we believe these things, we believe the word of God and faith is about focusing on that.

Now, Hebrews chapter 11 is a wonderful chapter. It's like this, in all the countries of the world you'll find they make monuments for their heroes and their kings and their rulers and their leaders, so that their contributions, so that what they've given to that society will not be forgotten tomorrow. So, they build a big pillar or statue or something like that, and write their achievements there, so that it will stay there for generations to come, and they will be remembered by their accomplishments. And Hebrews 11 is something like that. It's a monument of faith. The author of the book of Hebrews is building a monument of faith and he has put all these heroes of faith in there. And among the heroes, we have here Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and so on. And now a very interesting personality, Rahab the prostitute, it says.

Now, as soon as you say Rahab the prostitute, you feel like you're going to turn off everything because, “How can I learn something from a woman who’s been a prostitute? What can she teach me about faith?” People think. But I want to first show you how the New Testament views Rahab. And what kind of respect Rahab gets from the New Testament so we’ll listen better. Sometimes we have a mental block. When it says Rahab the prostitute, you say, “My God, wait a minute, Abraham fine. I'm ready to listen. Even Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, I'm ready to listen, but Rahab the prostitute, what does she have to tell me? How can she teach me? She seems like she needs to be taught. She can’t teach me anything.” But Rahab the prostitute’s story is a wonderful story because all the stories, everyone, all the examples are about how faith overcomes various situations.

You know what all Abraham had to overcome. From childlessness to all kinds of things he had to overcome. Enemies and famine and all, how faith overcomes these things. In the case of Moses, Moses chose to give up the privilege of being called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Now, people say, “How can he do it? How can anybody do it? How can somebody give up an opportunity to be a billionaire in this world?” Because he was looking at something else. He was not looking at what the eyes can see. If you just look at with these eyes, you'll only see Pharaoh and his riches and what he’s got. But if you look at the word of God, you will see that there is a God who put the gold and silver here. Pharaoh’s got some of it. But that is not anything big. There is a God who made all of these things, put all these things. So, which one will you want to go for? The one who made it or the one who's got a few pieces of it?

So, faith is amazing because faith overcomes so many things. He even thought that the opportunity to suffer with the people of God is greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, it says. How can a man think like that? What kind of perspective is that? See, he's not walking by what he sees with these eyes, he's walking by what he believes. He believes that it is better to suffer with the people of God for a short while, so that he can have a long, good life and eternity rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, it says. That's for a short period of time. So, it's always seeing with your eyes and seeing through what you believe.

Now, when you come to Rahab, it's the same story. And Rahab is a tremendous story of how a woman overcomes her sinful life, overcomes the power of sin and gets delivered from the power of sin and is completely changed, so totally transformed that she becomes an example of faith in the word of God. So, let me just show you before we get into what Rahab’s faith teaches us how the New Testament pays the respect to Rahab. Turn with me to James chapter 2, next door to Hebrews. Here, James is talking about faith and he’s particularly emphasizing the works. He's saying, if you have faith, then show your faith through your works. You can't just talk faith and not show it in your action. Corresponding action is very important. You cannot just talk faith and not show it in your action. If you have real faith is always accompanied by action. So, that's the point he’s trying to make and he used many examples.

One of the great examples he uses is, the example of Abraham. So, look at verse 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? He says, “Look at Abraham. Did he have faith? Where can you see his faith? You can see it in his action. What action? He took his own son and was ready to offer his son as a sacrifice. Trusted and believed in God, had faith in God so much that he was ready to kill his son. You see it in his action.” There was faith. And then he says, You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”— and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. So, it's talking about faith is always accompanied by works.

And look at the next example. For Abraham's example, everybody says amen. You say, “All right. Give it to us. We'll listen to the example of Abraham.” But next example is amazing. And in the same way, verse 25, was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? You could see Abraham's faith when he went and raised his knife to kill his son Isaac because God told him to offer him as sacrifice. If God didn't stop him, he’d have done it. You could see his faith there. He meant business. He would have done it. He had faith. His action showed his faith. Rahab’s faith can be seen in an action. What action? When the two Israeli spies came to Jericho to spy the land, they came and she housed them, protected them. And when the king learned that these men have come spying the land, he sent word to Rahab asking information about the two guys, where did they come from and where they are. She literally lied to the king’s people said, “Well, these people came. I don't know who they are. They went out before it was night. And if you just go right now, you can follow them and you can catch up with them,” and so on. So, she diverts them and puts these two spies on top of her roof, hides them over there that night, and then lets them go the next day and protects them in this way and helps them actually. And it's referring to that. It says that this Rahab the prostitute, was justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way. Rahab here is used as another example of faith is always accompanied by works.

You cannot just talk faith, you got to show it by your actions. She had actions that prove that she had faith. So, that's a lot of respect shown to her to put it alongside of Abraham and talk about faith showing her as an example. But let's go even to Matthew's Gospel chapter 1. Here, you see greater respect is paid to Rahab. Now, in Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus is mentioned. The Jews were very good at keeping a record of births. It was very important whose son you were, and your father was whose son and so on. They could trace back to generations of people. So, the genealogy was very important to determine who you are. So, when Jesus was born, and the Gospel of Matthew is telling the story of Jesus, 1st chapter, Matthew tries to establish the identity of Jesus. Who is he? His point is that, Jesus is the Son of David, who's the son of Abraham. He traces Jesus back to David and then back to Abraham.

So, he starts with Abraham and then how Abraham bore Isaac and so on. Comes down giving the genealogy. At one point in verse 4 it says, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon, now listen, the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. Amazing. This Rahab the prostitute that we think was a nobody because it says that she was a prostitute, she happened to marry a man named Salmon and they say he was from the tribe of Judah and he was a prince in the tribe of Judah from a respectable family. And married Salmon and became the father of this man Boaz that we read about in Ruth's story. Remember, Ruth married him. What a great man he was, what a wonderful character he was, what a godly man he was. And that Boaz gave birth to a man named Obed and Obed was born by Ruth to Boaz, and Obed was the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David.

Now, I think that's a very great respect paid to Rahab. Rahab is an ancestor of Jesus. She was not even a child of Abraham. She was not even from one of the descendants of Abraham. She was a Canaanite woman from a very bad, evil society, and she was a prostitute. She was inducted into the family of God, into the covenant people and their families. And then she marries somebody and she is mentioned and given the honor of being mentioned as one of the ancestors of Jesus. But do you want to see something even more shocking? This is not a direct reference. Turn with me to Matthew's Gospel chapter 21. This is not a direct reference to Rahab, but I think Rahab is also included there. Jesus has in mind Rahab, even though He does not mention Rahab. And it's a very shocking reference. Chapter 21 and verse 31, Which of the two did the will of his father? Jesus just got through telling a story about a man who had two sons and the man went to the first son and said, “Go and work in the vineyard today.” And he answered, “I will not.” The first guy said, “I will not do it.” He’s a rebellious guy. But afterwards he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same and he answered, “I’ll go, sir,” but he did not go.

And then after telling the story, Jesus says, “Which of the two did the will of the father?” They said, “The first.” And Jesus said to them, listen to this, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.” He was addressing the Jews, particularly the Pharisees and so on, and tells the parable of the two sons. He says, “Which of the two did the will of the father? The one who said, ‘I will go,’ but did not go or the one who said ‘I won't go,’ but changed his mind later on, and went? Which of the two did the father’s will?” They said, “The first one who said, ‘I will not go,’ but changed his mind later.” And as soon as they said that, He says, “Truly I say to you,” in other words, He’s saying, “Listen, read the Bible, you will find that tax collectors and prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.”

Now, in those days tax collectors had a very bad name because they collected more tax than they ought to and they were interested in gathering the money for the Roman government, because they got good commission from it. And sometimes they themselves earned a lot from collecting more than they ought to collect. So, tax collectors were synonymous with sinners. Instead of saying sinners, they'll say, “Tax collector,” that means a sinner. That's how the designation of tax collector became so associated with sinners and similarly, prostitutes. He said, “Tax collectors and prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you,” Jesus says. And then He says, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him.” 

Now, you can’t get a holier person than John. In a long time, here is a guy, wonderful prophet, what wrong did he do? He was a man of God. He came and they always had some problem with the preachers. They found fault with the preachers and here this man comes, but they did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him,” He says. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. “You were not even behaving like the guy in the story who said to the father, ‘I will not go,’ but later on changed his mind and went. You said no to John the Baptist, you disbelieved him, you were against him. And even later on, you did not change your mind when there was enough and ample opportunity for you to think over and understand that John the Baptist’s message was true and right. You did not change your mind because you have such a hard heart. Therefore, even though you are religious people, tax collectors and prostitutes enter into the kingdom of God before you,” He says.

He was having in mind, first of all Rahab and many others also. Even in His time, remember the lady that came and broke the ointment and washed His feet and adored Him and worshiped Him. She was a woman who was in the same position as Rahab. He has met prostitutes of His day who turned to Him and repented and changed and were touched by this message that He brought them and so on. So, He says, “Tax collectors and prostitutes are far better than you.” He’s telling the religious people. Now, He’s using them as a great example of how faith changes people, how no matter how bad you are, how far you've gone from God, no matter how hopeless you are in state and condition and sin, God can take you and work with you and restore you and so on. So, the story of Rahab is amazing story of how a person can be taken from a sinful life, from deep sin and be delivered and made anew and completely be changed.

So, let's look at Rahab’s story and look at what Rahab’s faith teaches us. The first thing that it teaches us is that real faith is able to save. Now, if you look at Hebrews chapter 11 verse 31, it says that, By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. That ‘did not perish’ is not just talking about how that she did not die with the rest of the people that day when the Israelites came and took over the city, and they literally burnt the city and burned everything down and everybody down. She and her family escaped it because these men showed favor to her. It's not talking about how she escaped death on that day alone. It is included in it, but it's talking about a greater issue. It is not talking about how she did not perish from the destruction that happened that day. It is talking about how she did not perish eternally. Something more happened than what you see with the eyes. It's not that she escaped death that day, she escaped being eternally banished from the presence of God, she escaped eternal death, she escaped hell in other words. That is what it’s talking about.

So, faith saves a person. Saves a person from sin, saves a person from hell, saves a person from eternity without God. So that that salvation is a great salvation. It's not a salvation of a temporal nature. Well, it's very important that we be saved from some destruction that happens in this world and God is able to help us. And God saved her that day from the destruction that happened to Jericho and its people. But this salvation is greater than that salvation. This is a salvation of the soul of a person. Now, you won't understand how great this is until you understand the value of the soul. Once you understand the value of the soul, then you will understand the value of faith because faith saves you, your soul from destruction. There is nothing that can save your soul from destruction.

Jesus said, “Whatever man gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” In other words, a man may have enough resources to literally go out and purchase the whole world and own the whole world. It’s possible. What if he goes and purchases and owns the whole world but loses his own soul? Actually, what he's trying to say is, a person who's got enough money to buy the whole world and make it his own, still doesn't have enough to purchase his own salvation for his soul. You can buy the whole world with everything that you've got but you cannot buy the salvation for your soul. Salvation for your soul costs much more than what you will pay for the whole world. With everything that you've got, which can purchase the whole world and everything in it, is not enough to purchase the salvation for your soul. That's how valuable your soul is. That's what Jesus is trying to say there.

The value of the soul, the salvation of the soul, is so important because the value of the soul is so great, what can pay the price for the salvation of the soul? What is the price? If you want to determine the price of a property here in this area, you can't just quote like a broker anything that comes to your mind. You got to be real. How are market values determined? They will look at any property that was sold most recently. How much did it sell for per ground or per square feet? How much did it go for? That is then set to be the market value of properties generally in this area.

What is the price that was paid for the soul of man? God sent His eternal Son from heaven. He came and lived on this earth. He suffered at the hands of evil men, and died on the cross becoming accursed for our sakes. Took our sin and the punishment of our sin, died a horrible death, horrendous death and three days He was buried, and He went all the way down to hell, won the victory over sin and Satan and everything and came back alive on the third day. This is the price that God paid for your soul and my soul. Nobody can purchase our salvation. Nobody can get us our salvation. That is why when we celebrate Christmas now, you got to remember why did Jesus come? Why did Jesus have to come? Could not have God done it through somebody, some god man, some great prophets, some godly men? Is there not one man in this whole world that can fix human problem?

No. No government, no king, no man, no god-man, no godly man, no prophet of God, nobody could fix human problem. That is why God had to send His own Son into this world. Christmas is about that. God brought His own son into this world. This is the only way it can be done. So, God brought His Son and He died on the cross. He paid the highest price possible. He paid with His life. Being cursed, He suffered and died there on the cross of Calvary, and God raised Him from the dead. That is the price that was paid for our sin. So, the price is a great price.

Now, in order to understand what kind of salvation this is, the salvation of the soul, you know, it's very difficult to understand it, if you want to understand it, there is no earthly example. What can you talk about? You can give an example of a burning house and a woman and a child caught in the burning house, and a daring guy goes in there, not even minding his own life, not even caring for his own life, gets into the fire-filled house, smoke-filled house, at the risk of losing his own life, goes in there, gets the woman and child and comes out of there successfully. You ask him, “What was the rescue like?” He will tell you, “Oh, my hair is standing up when I think about it.” He will say, “Man, I would have lost my life. I don't know how I did it. I don't know. It's beyond me. I could have been killed. But I did it. It's the most amazing thing that happened.”

We can give an example of a river flood flowing and the waters fiercely flowing and a man caught in that and another guy jumps in there not minding the fact that he may lose his own life. Goes after this guy, rescues that guy from that torrent, from that flowing river that was pulling him away, taking him away, and brings him out. You ask him, “What did it feel like to rescue a man from destruction?” He’ll tell you, “Oh, I can't describe it. It just happened. It's amazing. It's the most amazing thing that I ever did.” But none of these things equal the salvation of our soul. The salvation of our soul is greater than all these things. Who can describe it to us? Only Jesus can tell us. Only the Bible can tell us what great salvation this is, and what it is to be saving the soul of man. All right.

So, Rahab did not perish. That means Rahab was saved, her soul was saved. She got more than just escaping death that day. She became a child of God. She got inducted into the family of God. She's known as the ancestor of Jesus. She had a great future. She had a new life. Literally born again, I would say, and had a new life. And all of this happened. Normally salvation, how does it happen? The Bible says, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” If salvation is supposed to happen, even after Jesus coming and dying on the cross and shedding His blood and doing everything and after the finished work of Christ is there, still someone has to preach the message, and the message has to be heard. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. That is how a person can be saved.

You must be able to hear a message and faith comes for salvation. Not only that, it's not just hearing something. You must hear about the cross, the shed blood of Jesus, and you must put your faith in the shed blood of Jesus, only then salvation can come. Did salvation come in that way to Rahab? Turn with me to Joshua chapter 2 please. That is where the story of Rahab is found. Let me read from verse 1. And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 

But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out. Before the men lay down, now listen to this. You know this story, how she hid them and kind of diverted the king's men and so on. Now, before the men laid down on the roof, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men... Listen to this, very interesting, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Shihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, listen to this, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” 

You want someone to confess God as God? Here it is. Did she have faith? Yeah. How did she have faith? She heard. What did she hear? She has heard about the waters of the Red Sea splitting and them crossing over. The story has spread everywhere. She has heard about the crossing of the Red Sea. Then what else she has heard? She's heard about how they destroyed two kings and totally devoted them to destruction. Two kings with their armies couldn't do anything against the people of Israel who are ordinary people, did not have an army, did not have weapons, and so on. “And when we heard it, our hearts melted within us, no spirit left in any man.” Why? “For the Lord your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” Not only that, in the beginning she says that, “I know that the Lord has given you the land,” verse 9. “I know that the Lord has given you the land.”

The first generation of Israel, God told them, “I've given you the land.” Except two people, nobody believed. That is why they died in the wilderness. They could not believe, that's the problem. To Joshua also, God says, “See, I've given you the king, the city, and the mighty men into your hands.” Now, they're supposed to believe. If they want to possess the land, they have to believe. Now, amazingly this Canaanite woman, a sinful woman, a prostitute says, “I know that the Lord has given you the land.” There's a great commentator, very famous among preachers of all time really, a man who wrote nearly a couple of hundred years ago called Matthew Henry, very simple commentary. It’s a more of a devotional type. And he talks about how she talked about, “The Lord has given you the land.” She said with her mouth, “The Lord has given you the land.” Regarding that, he says, “Rahab the harlot,” listen to this, Matthew Henry, “Rahab the harlot who had only heard of the wonders God wrought, speaks with more assurance of the truth of the promise made to the fathers, the promise that He will give them the land, than all the elders of Israel had done, who were eyewitnesses to those wonders, many of whom perished through unbelief of this promise.”

In other words he’s saying, Rahab the harlot who had not seen the sea split into two, who had not seen the crossing of the Israelites through the Red Sea, who has not seen the miracles God did by bringing manna and water out of rock and all that, pouring manna from heaven and all these miracles, she has not seen any of these things. She has only heard them. And after hearing them, she speaks with more assurance than the elders of Israel. The elders of Israel, heard God say, “I've given you the land,” but they will not open their mouth and say it. How many times God said, “I've given you the land,” they had never said it even once? That's why they died in the wilderness.

But this woman, she has not seen. I want to emphasize that she has not seen. She has not seen, that’s faith. She has only heard. She has not seen it; she has only heard. But hearing was enough for her. Amazing. This sinful woman, having only heard and not seen, speaks with more assurance of the promise of God than the elders of Israel. No wonder Jesus said, “Prostitutes and tax collectors go into the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew Henry says, “This woman is amazing. She speaks with more assurance than the elders of Israelites who are supposed to be very thorough with Moses’ teaching and all of that.” And he says, “That's why they perished through unbelief of this promise. Blessed are those who have not seen,” Matthew Henry says, “and yet have believed. So, Rahab did.” Then he says, “Oh, woman, great is your faith.” Amazing.

Never seen but she has only heard. She's the one that walks not by sight but by faith. She's functioning not by sight but by faith. She's operating not by what this eye sees, but by faith. What is operating by faith? By believing. By believing what God has said. Her eyes are not seeing it, but her faith sees it. She's not living by sight, but by her faith. The Israelites were living by sight. She was living by faith. They lived by sight and they perished. She lived by faith; she did not perish. She was saved from the destruction that day, but she received something more than that, she was saved from perishing eternally. She was saved. Her soul was saved. She became a child of God because she did not walk by sight but walked by faith. I don't know how much I can emphasize that. That's the essence of faith. Amazing. Think about that.

See today, so many people hear, so many people even go to church and hear all kinds of messages. So many people have experienced all kinds of things. They have exposure to all kinds of things. This woman had none of those things. She has only heard, remotely just heard, that there is a true God, there is a living God. This is not a God who you just go and visit somewhere and just worship and come. He is a God who cares for the people. He is a God who has given promises. He's a promise-keeping God. He’s a good God. He’s a powerful God. He takes care of those who trust in Him. And she opens her mouth and confesses in the end. Not only does she say, “The Lord has given this land into your hands,” she says in the end, “The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath, He is God. There is no God other than Him in heaven or earth. He is God,” she says. That's how she got saved. She puts her faith.

Some people may say, “Well, she's a prostitute, brother. Don't forget.” Well, the faith in God overcomes all of that. Yeah, she had a bad past but faith in God was enough to overcome all of that. By putting her faith in God, by refusing to see by sight but walking by faith, she took hold of eternal salvation. But another thing she took hold of and that is, faith in the blood of Jesus, that is able to wash her sins, cleans her and make her whole. Read from verse 12. We read up to verse 11. Now, let's read from verse 12. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you will also deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign. Now, she's getting a promise from these two guys, from the spies. “See, I've treated you kindly. I’ve hid you; I have protected you and have provided accommodation for you, did everything for you. But you treat me kindly also. Give me word. Give me some kind of guarantee, some sure sign,” she says, that you will save alive my father and my mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them. 

Boy, she's asking a lot. Very clever lady. Her father, mother, brothers, sisters, and everything that belongs to them. I think even their cows and donkeys and everything, children, grandchildren, everything. Everything that belongs to them, and deliver our lives from death. She's asking for the salvation of the whole family. She's asking for her whole family to not perish that day, but also to be joined with the people of God. And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord, that is a red rope through which she lowered them through the window to escape. You shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father, your mother, your brothers, and your father's household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied, listen to this, she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

Now, what is this scarlet cord about? When the woman asked for a sign, a sign, a guarantee she wanted, “That you will not destroy me. I will not perish in this and that my household will not perish. Give me a sign. Give me some kind of a guarantee that I will not perish through that.” And as these two guys were getting out, they all of a sudden remembered. I think they saw the red rope, scarlet cord through which she let them down. They saw the red rope and they remembered the Passover. Remember the Passover? Passover happened when the 10th plague came upon Egypt. The 10th plague was this, that every firstborn of animals and people died in the land of Egypt. But in the Israeli houses, nobody died because there was a substitute available. There was a lamb that was killed. God gave this program also. God gave them the teachings. He said, “Kill a lamb, shed its blood and take hyssop,” which is a plant that grows there abundantly. And He said, “Just dip it in the blood and smear your doorposts and your lentils with the blood so that when the Angel of Death comes, he will see the blood on your doorpost and he will know that this is covered by the blood. And you sit inside. Everybody, you and your household, sit inside. Put the blood on the door outside and sit inside that house as the Angel of Death passes over you. That is why it's called Passover. Angel of Death saw the blood-stained lentils and doors, and the Angel of Death passed over, did not kill anybody there.

So, they remembered that. And they said, “All right. Tie this red cord,” because back in Passover, God used the blood on the lentils and doorpost to separate the Egyptians from the Israelites. To separate, to make a difference between Egyptians and Israelites. The red blood was the separation point. He used that. Now, they say, “We'll use the same kind of thing. You tie this rope and let it down so that your house will be marked for protection. That none of us will touch your house. We will not destroy. We will not burn it down. You will not be perishing with this. You will be saved. We guarantee you that. You let down the red cord and we will make sure that you are not destroyed. So that your house can be easily identified, let this red cord down.”

And when they took over Jericho and destroyed everything, they kept God also did and the people of Israel also made sure that she did not perish. Archaeological research says that the wall fell down but there was a small part of that wall that did not fall. And they say that must have been where Rahab’s house stood. Archaeological research says that they have proof that the city was burnt down with fire but she and her household escaped and she became a very important person in the community of the Jews. She became one among them. She became a believer inducted totally and fully into the family of God. So, God put the blood mark on her. The shed blood of the lamb was a mark upon every household that belonged to God, the covenant people, on Passover day, and the scarlet cord was a mark upon this woman and her household. All of their houses did not have it, this house had it.

Now, I believe that God has marked us today. Do you know that? They had the blood of the lamb on their doors and lentils and so on. And Rahab had the scarlet cord. What do we have today? In the New Testament, we have the baptism in water that separates us from the rest of the world. Then we have our partaking of the communion where every time we partake of the wine, we remember the Lord's death. It represents the blood of Jesus that was shed for us. We are a very peculiar people. We are a very special people. We are a marked people. Marked by the shed blood of the lamb. We are marked for salvation. We are marked not for destruction, not to perish but to live throughout all eternity with God. We are a marked people.

So, Rahab was saved. Her salvation was very similar to what will happen in the New Testament. That is why the Old Testament is so important. Last Tuesday, I spoke about the importance of the Old Testament. If you have time you can hear that. It is so important to realize the importance of the Old Testament. When you read the Old Testament in light of the New, you'll understand fully. And when you read the New Testament in light of the Old, you'll understand it fully, becomes complete. There's a lot of value in knowing the Old Testament. So, Rahab’s faith was a saving faith. It saved her. Saved her from eternal destruction. Saved her not just from perishing that day, but saved her from eternal destruction.

Secondly, her faith was able to stand alone when needed. Now, this is very important. What do you mean “stand alone when needed”? See, in the whole city of Jericho, no one else believed, only she believed. And because of her, household believed, but no one else believed. Now, if you want to go with the majority of people around you, which normally people think that way. No, I'm sure that a lot of people came to her and told her, “Look, who believes all this? You think those people are just going to come and just take over? Yeah, we fear some, but it's not going to happen. Our king has an army and we have all the resources, and those people have nothing. Don't be afraid. Don't believe that. We have a tradition. We have thousands of years of history. And we need to just follow this. Why you're going in a new direction? Don't believe all this. Don't believe in this God of Israelites. You don't know anything about this God.” And here she is alone.

Just imagine in that society she's alone, but she's got faith. And faith helps you to stand alone if needed. Sometimes you have to be able to stand alone. Faith gives you the courage to stand alone. Somebody sent me a WhatsApp thing, very interesting thing from a town in America, I think. There's a road, cars are going on that road on both sides. I think, there's some river running on both sides. During rainy days, the river is overflowing and the water is flowing from one side to the other. Very fast, really. Even the cars are slowing down and going. And the water is gushing through the road very speedily. And you see the fish crossing the road from one side to the other. You know how they're crossing? I was amazed. The water is coming from this side to this side. And you would think it's better for the fish to go from this side to this side because it'll just go with the flow. But the water is pushing the fish back, but the fish is surviving the attack. It's not letting the water dominate. It stands there even if it's pushed back. It stands there and makes utmost effort and just works through the water and moves forward, swims against the tide. Then only I realized, dead fish go with the flow. Living fish go where they want to, where they know is best. Dead fish go with the flow.

We are not dead fish. We have life. We have a heart. We have a mind. We have the ability to know and think and understand. We have a revelation of who God is. God reveals Himself to us. We know where we want to go. We don't just go the way everybody goes. We just don’t the way most people go. Sometimes we are alone in our society. Maybe in your family, you're alone. Maybe in your society, in your circles, you are alone. You are the only person who believes the way you do. Sometimes you need to stand alone. Do not be afraid to stand alone. Real faith will help you to stand alone. Nothing is going to happen and you will swim against the stream. Have you ever stood alone? Sometimes many opportunities you will get to stand alone and I have experimented with this. I've stood alone sometimes, and it always worked out better. Always worked. Better not to go with the flow sometimes. Just because everybody's going that way, it's not our business to do that. It is our business to go the right way. So, she was able to stand alone. Faith has that quality. Faith helps you to stand alone. I don't know where you come from, what kind of background you come from, what you face, but I'll tell you, real faith is so wonderful. When you have faith in your heart, you can stand alone no matter what it is. You can stand alone and overcome everything, every obstacle, every problem, everything.

Thirdly, real faith stands firm and endures through all the challenges. Not only does it help you to stand alone, but it also endures. An enduring faith endures through all the troubles, all the challenges. Just imagine what the people of the city of Jericho would have said. They would have said all kinds of things. “These foolish people going around the city seven days. You think it's going to fall just because they’re going around seven days? They're not even opening their mouth saying anything. Don't believe them. Nothing is going to happen. Oh, they're blowing the trumpet. Nothing is going to happen just because they blow the trumpet.” This is the way they would have spoken.

And it's amazing to me that a woman who came from a background of being a prostitute, living a very sinful low life, has such strong faith, such amazing faith. How can that be? That itself is proof that God is at work in her life, that God is causing her to grow. Faith is a divine thing when it happens to you. When faith is given to you, amazing things happen because it's not a human thing, it's a divine thing. It comes from the word of God. And God is working on her. Jesus says in one place in John chapter 15, it says, “My Father is a husbandman.” That means He is a good farmer. How many of you believe God is a good farmer? And your heart is like a good ground. The word of God is the seed. When God is the farmer, when you open your heart to Him to allow Him to plant His seeds in you, allow Him to water your heart, to allow Him to work on your heart, to allow Him to cultivate your heart, strengthen your heart, put something in your heart, I’ll tell you this wonderful husbandman, this wonderful farmer can work in our hearts in such a way that you will be producing very soon wonderful fruit. People with evil hearts, people with very bad hearts all of a sudden you'll find when faith goes in, when you get converted, when you begin to put your faith in Jesus, when you open your heart and allow God to work in your heart, something real and wonderful happens in the heart. Changes come from the heart. Your life is changed it because God is working in your heart. And I think this woman is experiencing that. Great sinner, but experiencing great faith. She's got enduring faith.

Fourthly, this faith brings a lot of boldness to her. Just imagine her acting against the king of the city. They say, Jericho was the first city in the world. And this king must have been a powerful personality there. He had a lot of power, a lot of resources. And she was risking her life by protecting these two men that came from the Israelites. it was not a good idea to keep them and protect them overnight, not a good idea to help them. She could have been killed. She could have lost her life. But she has put her faith in God. She has put her faith in Jesus Christ. She has put her faith in God's salvation. She has put our faith in what? In this living God.

And when you put your faith, you totally abandon yourself. Just like Abraham, he was ready to offer his own son as a sacrifice. He didn't care because he knows that this God is a trustworthy God. He will not take you for a ride, He will not disappoint you, He will not destroy you. Faith is like that. It totally abandons itself on God. When a person has faith and if it's real faith, that person completely gives himself to God. And that's what she does, totally abandons herself on the Lord. Now, faith and boldness always go together. They're like Siamese twins. They're attached, literally. When faith is there, boldness will be there. You cannot have faith without boldness. True faith brings boldness. That's why the Bible says that Moses was not afraid of the king but left Egypt. You got to have some boldness to leave. By faith, he was not afraid. When faith comes, fear goes out. He left Egypt. And this woman, she also, by faith only she did what she could do. She was not afraid. Totally given herself to God.

Like that woman who brought the ointment, one year's worth wages. The ointment was worth one year's worth of wages. What is an average man’s wage today in our country? Some lakhs maybe, just a few lakhs, a year’s wage. Have you ever bought perfume, ointment for that kind of price? It's amazing. That woman had it. And when she loved Jesus, she was a similar woman, been a prostitute but she had experienced the transforming love of Jesus. She’s come into contact with Him. And now she loves Him. She believes in Him. She comes to Him. And as He’s seated there, she breaks that bottle of ointment and pours it on Him and anoints Him with it. And everybody's thinking, “My God, how expensive this thing is, and how can Jesus allow her to do it, allow her to touch Him? She's a prostitute. How can she touch Him?” All the Pharisees, they're looking at it from a Pharisee angle.

You know what a Pharisee angle is? They'll always look at what kind of dress you're wearing, how your hairstyle is. Pharisee angle. As they're watching, they'll tell me, “You take off this, you take off that.” They don't know that for them only I'm wearing all this so that God can through it all change them. I can take off anything, no problem. Nobody tells me I got to wear this. I like to wear it because they're objecting to it. Pharisee angle. “Does he not know that she's a prostitute? How can she touch him? Does he not know? If He's a prophet, He will know.” He knows very well and He allows her because her act was an act of love, it was not an evil act. It was an act of love. She loved Him. She was forgiven much therefore she loves Him much. And how much will she give for Jesus? She gave everything she got. This expensive thing. One year’s wages completely broken and poured. Totally abundance, totally given. It's like her saying, “Everything I have belongs to You. I don't hold nothing back. I will even give my life for You Lord. And this woman was like that. She believed totally on Jesus. Though she was a prostitute, she believed so totally on Jesus. And she was ready to give her life if that's what will happen that day. But she believed that God is able to save her.

And fifthly, very interestingly, when you have real faith, it reaches out and draws other people in. That's the way she got all her family in. She has now found salvation. She has found the true and living God. She says, “This God is God in heaven and earth. There is no one else. I found this. But wait a minute, I don't want to leave my father and mother behind. I don't want to leave my brothers and sisters and their families behind. I want to get all of them in.” Have you ever felt like that? True faith always thinks about the family. True faith doesn't say, “Well, I'm saved, but my wife I leave her alone.” True faith says, “I want to get her because I want her to have what I have. I want my husband to have what I have. I want my children to have what I have. I want my brothers and sisters to have what I have.” True faith always reaches out to others and brings them in. If it is true faith, it will do it. If you're not reaching out to those that belong to you, and if you don't have the burden to even pray and to seek salvation for them, and to pray for their salvation, then whether that faith is true faith is a question. You got to have that desire to see the family saved.

Have you heard of George Whitfield? A great preacher who preached in England and America. Brought many people to the Lord. Preached to thousands of people in the days when there was no microphone or anything. That man, he says when he got saved, the very first thing that came to his mind, as soon as he came to know Jesus and found salvation, the very first thing that came to mind, are the friends that he had with whom he used to play cards. He said, “Wow, I got this salvation. I got to go tell these guys, my card-playing friends.” And he made it a point to reach out to them, go to each and every one. Talk to them, persuade them, tell them about Jesus. He says, until he got everyone in, he would not rest. He wanted to somehow go and tell them, pray for them, had a burden to see all of them come to Christ. Do you have that burden?  

When you understand salvation and when you understand the value of the soul, you will not see them as just another person that's out there. You will see them as a lost soul. You will see them without God, you will see them going into eternity without God. You will be burdened about it. You will be praying about it. You will be yearning for their salvation. You will do whatever you can to try to somehow share with them the gospel, somehow bring them to the knowledge of Christ. Now, some people might say, “Well, that's what conversion is all about. You're trying to convert people.” No, no. This is the big thing these days. Anything you say, “Oh, you're trying to convert people.” Now, people are not that easy to convert for your information because everybody in this world is not a fool. Nobody wants to be converted. And I cannot convert anyone, you cannot convert anyone. What am I going to do converting people? I cannot do it. If I can do it, I would have done it long time ago. Nobody can convert anybody.

The Christian view is this. It is not converting people, the Christian view is this, there is a God that loves people and there is a God who reveals Himself to people and I've come to the knowledge of this God. Just like this woman, I've come to find Him, know Him and I know that He’s true and living God. And now, because I love my family and my friends and my people, there is a natural tendency in me to want them to know the same God that I have known. So, I reach out to them. I'm not trying to convert them to anything. I'm trying to reach out to them so that they will believe in this living God, they will receive salvation, their sins will be forgiven, they will receive that joy and peace, they will come into the family of God, that they will enter into an eternity with God, that they will not be lost.

It’s amazing how everything is interpreted as conversion. It is a sincere desire. See, I'm learning a lot from WhatsApp nowadays. One fellow sends a WhatsApp message. He says, “In government day, they're taking people, employment is available for so many thousands of people. Here it is, you got to have a degree, you will get so many thousands of rupees per month as salary and these are the qualifications you must have. You must apply here and the address is given and what all you must send.” Every detail is there. He’s written a long WhatsApp message. And this guy is already well-employed in the government service. He doesn't have to do this. He can sit at home, eat happily and go to sleep. Let everybody take care of themselves if they're interested, let them go and find. He could have just sat there, but he sends a WhatsApp message to everybody. Here's a guy in the world. He wants everybody to find this good news. There're some thousands of jobs available and he's writing to all his friends. “Please send and you send it to your friends,” he says. Somehow, some of our friends will get the job. Some of the people that struggle through getting a job will get a job. What is he trying to do? Is he trying to get people on his side? Is he going to get a commission? Is he going to get something out of it? Somebody's going to give them some money for it? No, he's taking his time, spending the time to give all the message about how to apply, what to do, what is available and where to write and everything, because he simply has a desire to help people find the job like he has found. That's all.

Today, people talk about conversion, “Oh, they're getting something from somewhere.” Something from where? Do we look like we need something from somewhere? Do people here look like they need some handout from somewhere? Everybody's got their own business or jobs. They've got their thing to do. They don't have to mind about others. They can live happily ever after. But they're burdened for others. They have a desire to see people happy. They have a desire to see families blessed. They have a desire to see struggling people, people who are failing, succeed. They have a desire to see people's tears washed away and sins washed away. They have a desire to see people made right, come to God. They have a desire to see that. Is there anything wrong with that? That's the true Christian view.

There is no sinister design behind it. Some evil design trying to do. No, no, no. Simple desire, like the guy who sent the WhatsApp. I want everybody to know that there is a savior, there is a forgiveness available. There is a way that your sins can be washed away. There is a way that you can start a new life. There is a new future available to you. Something wonderful. A wonderful God is there, a God of love is there, and mercy is there. Just sharing that with people. That's all the Christian view is. We're not interested in converting somebody. We are interested in telling people about the love of God, so that they will experience that also.

Finally, faith changes life. And Rahab is the most wonderful example of that. From a life of prostitution, her life has changed. She becomes an ancestor of Jesus. To have a son like Boaz, a wonderful person, a godly person, she must have been a wonderful mother. Life has changed. Did she continue to live the life of a prostitute? Certainly not. She became a very respectable person in that society. She's called Rahab the harlot, not to look down on her through her previous profession, but to look at the grace and the mercy of God that takes a person like that and changes her like that.

Now, I've been doing ministry for a long time. About 40 years now, I've been doing this and I've met people who have come from this kind of background into Christ. I've led some people into Christ and so on. I remember talking to one person who came from such a background like that many, many years ago. And they themselves came and disclosed to me, this is the way they were and now they've come to Christ and they’ve found Christ through coming here and so on. Their life is a sad life. It's very sad that Christian people misunderstand them and keep them away. Some places they can't even find admission in the church because of their past life. She said, it’s a very sad life. Some of them live a very sad life. I said, “How did you ever get into this?” Because she had children and all that. “How did you ever get into this?” She said, “Because my husband is a horrible fellow. He pushed me into this, pastor. He pushed me into this kind of life, forced me into this kind of life and totally destroyed my life. I'm so blessed to find Jesus and His salvation, so that I can start a new life.” They've started a new life, their life has completely changed, everything is totally forgotten and gone and new life has come.

God has not changed. We must change. We must look at people with grace and compassion and love and we must see God at work in the lives of people. God is interested in sinners. Church is for sinners. Hello? Not just for Pharisees. Church is for people from all kinds of backgrounds because we believe that God can take anybody, wash them from their sins, make a new life for them. Church is a place of hope.

There was a man named Celsus. I’ll just say this and close. There was a man named Celsus in early centuries of Christianity who always found fault with Christianity and always attacked Christianity during the days of Origen, the church father. So, he said to Origen about the Christian message, he said, “Every Christian message is useless message. These fellows, all thieves and harlots and murderers, they do all kinds of wicked things in the world. And then they come into the church and the church becomes their refuge. They come and hide in the church under the guise of Jesus forgiving all their sins and now everything is okay. All the old is forgotten. What nonsense is this?” He said, “You do all kinds of things. You murder, you rob, and you do harlotry and then come into the church and hide behind the church from your past sins. Church has become a refuge.”

And Origen is good at answering this question. He answers. These are all on record. Origin answered and said, “Celsus, that is true. Church is a place of refuge because Jesus is our refuge. For the sinner, Jesus is the refuge. Yeah, they will come as harlots, they will come as thieves, they will come as murderers. So, church is a refuge because Christ is the refuge, but church is also a hospital. You get admitted here, spend a few days in intensive care, then you move to the normal ward. They work on you. All the specialist doctors come and visit you and see you. Then very soon you're well, you're able to walk, and go home, and live, and be a good father, a good mother, a good brother, a good sister and be a wonderful person in the society. Your sickness is gone, you’re well again.” So, Origen said, “Yeah, they come in for refuge, they come in to hide because of their sins and they find forgiveness. They’re trying to escape from the punishment. They’ve found out that somebody has taken their punishment already. And they are changed. This hospital heals them and sends them out as useful, productive, fruitful people in society.” That is what Christianity is all about.

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