What to expect

A traditional church that is passionate about loving our community to the gospel.

Joshua 2:1-8



Speaker 1: Amen. Thank you. Take your Bible problem and turn to the book of Joshua. Joshua. Chapter number two is where we're going to be tonight. As you find your place. If you wouldn't mind, join me in standing in honor of reading God's Word. Joshua chapter number two. We're going to begin reading in verse number one. Joshua. Chapter two, verse number one, the Bible says. Joshua, the son of nuns, sent out of shit them to men to spy, secretly saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. They went and came into an harlots house named Rahab and lodged there. It was told the King of Jericho saying, Behold, there came men in hither tonight, the children of Israel to search out the country. The King of Jericho sent under Rahab, saying. Bring forth the men that are come to the which are entered into thine house before they become to search out all the country. The women. The woman took the two men and hid them and said thus there came men under me. But I was not whence they were. And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate when it was dark that the men went out. Whether the men went, I want not pursue after them quickly for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house and hid them with the stalks of flax which she had laid in order upon the roof. The men pursued after them the way to Jordan, under the Fords. And as soon as they which pursued after them were going out, they shut the gate. Let's pray. Lord, I asked you to help us. Now, as we look into your word that you would give me the words you would have me to say, you would help the folks that are here to listen and apply it to hear their lives. Sports in Jesus name, I pray. Amen. Oh, yeah. Think you maybe see them? So far in our series, a new series we started, we look we have looked at two different episodes in the Bible that seemed on the surface to be downright depressing stories of human failure. We've looked at Adam and Eve's sin in the garden, and last week we looked at Joseph's abuse at the hand of his brothers. Within each of the stories, we see that God is not bound by the mistakes of men. God's grace supersedes our faults, and we should all be grateful for that. His love for us is overwhelming. And even in the midst of a story or tragedy such as Adam and Eve's fall or Joseph's abuse, we can find refreshment when we get our eyes off of men and put them on God. We find refreshment in God's ability to bring good from the worst of circumstances. It's one thing to quote Romans 828.

Speaker 2: And we know that all things work together if we're good to them that love, God, love them, who are the called according to his purpose?

Speaker 1: It's another thing to see it play out in real life over and over and over again. And the Old Testament is full of stories that are given to us for our example, for us to learn about how God deals with fallen men. Tonight, we're going to look at another example of someone who found God to be abundantly more generous than they could ever imagine. That person is a woman by the name of rehab. And if you're not familiar with the story of rehab, you are never going to believe all that God overcame in her life and all that God granted her after she came to him. But as we start our our look and I said episodes earlier, you understand that I have in no way indicating or trying to indicate to you that I think these are fairy tales or episodes on Netflix, that we can just binge watch 100 of them and hit next episode until we're just so dazed out of our minds. We don't even know what we're watching anymore. These are real stories with real people. I mean, this this stuff really happened. So, anyways, rehab. Absolutely. 100% real woman living in the real city of Jericho. And as we looked at verses one through seven, if you were listening carefully, you would have noticed that rehab has a lot going against her. But by understanding rehab, we we have to understand what her condition was, what her circumstances were. And the more we know about rehab, the more we will learn about God through this story. And so I'm really excited to help you see these things. But we actually get a small glimpse of God and his character and how it's going to play a role in this story in just the first few statements. In fact, these are statements that have nothing to do with rehab, but they have everything to do with our purpose here tonight. I want you to look back at verse number one with me, if you would, and you'll notice that Joshua sins from the Israelite camp to men to spy, secretly saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. All right. So if you remember the story of the children of Israel, Moses, as he's leading them through the wilderness, the wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan was a really short journey. I mean, we're talking about 2 to 4 weeks to walk from Egypt to Israel. You can look at the back of your Bible and look at the map and see it's not that long of a trip. You say, No, brother. Jerry, you're wrong. It took him 40 years to get there. No, you're wrong, buddy. Okay. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so mean, but they get there, and Moses sends 12 spies into Canaan, and the spies that Moses sends are all well known representatives from every tribe of Israel. In numbers 13. The names of all 12 of these men are listed for us. And you know the story. These men, by and large, brought back an evil report. You're familiar with the story, aren't you? If not, I'll sing you the song. No. For the gym. We sit next to each other in choir. Is it really that bad? 12 men went to spy on Cain and ten were that into were. You guys don't know the song? But they don't. It doesn't seem like they know it. I'm concerned for them that he's not in here. Where did he go? Somebody. Mark it down. We got to sing that song a verse next week so they'll learn it. Okay. So anyways, ten bring back an evil report and those ten well-known representatives, all I'm sure godly men, they sway the people from God's will. They caused the people to even say, You know what, let's just go back to Egypt. Because of that, the nation was sent back into the wilderness by God to wander in the desert for 40 years. When it came time to go back to the land, Joshua, who was one of those 12 original spies, decides to send spies into the land again. But this time he sends two men who will remain anonymous, unnamed throughout the rest of our story. And not only are they unnamed, but they're also young. I mean, who wants to trust a young person, right? Young people are the worst. Say that sarcastically. People aren't the worst. I don't know what was said, but it must have been funny. All right. So in this, we begin to see that God doesn't require societal acceptance or societal notoriety in order to use and bless a person. You don't have to be known in order for God to see you. Nobody on earth could know your name, but God knows your name. You don't have to be successful by the world's standards in order to make a difference. These two guys were completely unknown, and yet they are going to change the course of human history. I don't think that's overstating it. God takes the humble, he takes the unknown, God takes the broken and confounds the world. And this theme remains as we look at the main human player of our count. Verses one through seven tells us four things about this woman named Rahab. Number one, she's living in Jericho, so we know she is a Canaanite to the Jews. If a Jewish person was to look at rehab, they would have immediately seen her ethnicity and they would have known that she was included among the people that were tagged for destruction. Her people were rebels against God. The Canaanites that lived in the land of Canaan were not slated for destruction just because they were occupying territory that God wanted to give to his chosen people. The Canaanites were tagged for judgment because they were wicked. They had rebelled against God. They were sacrificing their own children. They were engaged in all kinds of sin, and God cannot allow sin to continue. And so God is going to use Israel to judge the people of Canaan. But here we see that Rahab was a little different. She knew of God's power, according to verses nine through 11, which we did not read, Rahab says in her own words, I know that the Lord has given you the land and that your terror is falling upon us. And that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. Now look at the universe. Number 11. Listen to this. This declaration she makes about the Israelite God, Yahweh. She says, for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven, above and in earth beneath. That's a pretty powerful statement for a pagan Canaanite woman such as Ray have to have come to that conclusion. That's going to change her life. So, number one, she's a Canaanite. That's a strike against her. Number two, no offense here. I think you should know my heart by now. She's a woman. And in this day and age, there's not much use for her besides what she can offer to men. Socially, she has little value. This is especially true in the pagan culture of the Canaanites. She has no agency of her own. Her future is tied to her usefulness. To the men in her life. And from the next thing we know about her, according to verse number one, she was a harlot. I have some things written down here that I'm not going to go into since we've got such a wide range of ages here tonight. I think we all understand what this is talking about for rehab and, you know, rehab. We're going to see she has an awesome post God testimony after she meets the Lord and begins a relationship with him. Her, her, her life has changed dramatically. So much so that some have tried to whitewash her past, to make it not so distasteful, not so hard for us to accept. There may have been others who tried to do this, but Josephus, the Jewish historians historian, seems to have been one of the first to do this. He said that Rahab was not a harlot. She was simply a hotel owner. Now this is based on an obscure interpretation of the Hebrew word that is used here in verse number one. And in other places, there are certain instances where that word can be used to describe an innkeeper or someone who owns a hotel. And so we might be able to accept that she was not a a woman of ill repute. Maybe she was just a simple inn innkeeper. But when you go to the New Testament, this argument is just really blown out of the water because the New Testament we'll read the verses later. But it uses the word Pawnee two times to describe her. And there is no getting around what that word refers to. So she's a Cain tonight. She's a woman. She's a harlot. We also see she is a liar. This has caused people a lot of consternation. The King sends the messengers to her in verse number three, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee. Of course, she's already hidden them on the roof. So verse number four, she says, Yeah, these men came under to me. But I was not witness. They were. I don't know where they came from. And they came to pass about the time of the shutting the gate, when it was dark that the men went out. Whether the men went I want or not, I don't know. They went out the gates. So pursue after them quickly and catch them. A lot of people like, oh, I guess it's noble to lie in some cases. I don't I don't know. I mean, I have seen seems to to get off just fine without, you know, any judgment. And yet here she is. She's lying. Haven't you ever lied? I mean, do you love God tonight? Okay. Good. I'm glad somebody does. I would imagine that probably most of us in here claim to be followers and disciples of Jesus. We claim to be children of God. Don't you still sin? I do too. So is it not believable that this woman, though she would be later commended for her faith, commended for her actions, that God isn't necessarily commending the fact that she sinned by lying? She was a liar. Of course, the soldiers have no reason to doubt her. They head out of the city to try and track down these spies. We look at rehab and her circumstances, her life situation, and we can make a few inferences about her standing in Canaanite society. There's two parts of this story that clue us in into some facts about her life. The first one is the presence of flax on her roof. Flax on her roof. What is flax? Why is it there? What is she doing with it? Well, flax would have been a poor man's crop. It would have been the kind of thing that would have required drying out, which is why it's on the roof to be baked. Then through a painstaking process, it could be shredded in such a way as to eventually make it into a type of fabric that could be used for a a not all that comfortable garments. You don't have to necessarily turn there. But if you were with us on Mother's Day, you know, we looked at the Proverbs 31 woman and we talked about how she starts off humbly and then she moves on to more luxurious items. But in Proverbs 3113, as the virtuous woman is just getting started in her business. The Bible says she is wool. And what do you think? Flex. Okay, so flex is not the type of crop or the type of work that you're going to be involved in. If you've got it made in the shade, it's just not going to happen. And so business probably isn't too good for for rehab. She's having to find other alternative sources of income in order to support her family. So, number one, we see that she's she's poor. She doesn't have a lot of worldly possessions. But also, I want you to notice the location of Rehabs House. There's a lot of opinions about the significance of her living on the wall. Some would say that it was a position of importance, that she was actually well-to-do in order to live on the wall. Others would say that she literally lives on the outskirts of her own society. She's she's all the way at the edge. You can't be within the city walls and be farther out than on the wall. And that's where Rehabs House is. It's right on the edge of the city. She is not included in the city center among the other residents. She has to live on the fringes of the city. And so what I want us to picture it a woman that has to resort to a less than savory lifestyle in order to make ends meet and eat into a pagan Canaanite culture. They're kind of like, you know, we'd rather not have you right smack dab in the middle of our business. You can go live on the edge. You can go hang out on the fringe, the outskirts of our society. You kind of see how some of these things would be true about her. She's not super accepted, even among harlots. She is the lower level. There was Temple Hala tree in those days and in their religion. And she doesn't even qualify for that. Rehabs in a tough spot. Rehab is not the kind of person that you would necessarily want to associate with. Perhaps that's why two spies that wanted to remain secret went to her house in order to hide. As the soldiers leave her house to go search out for the spies. As the gates of the city are shut in verse number seven, rehab heads up to the roof, in verse number eight and has the most important conversation of her life. Verse number eight begins a conversation that you and I, whether we understand it or realize it or not, benefit from tonight. You've heard of the butterfly effect. Something along the lines of if a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan, there'll be a tornado in Oklahoma. One thing leads to another, leads to another, leads to another. And before you know it, there's a chain of events that produces this. This. You know, events of such a grand magnitude. And you look back at where it started and it all started with this this tiny little decision. Rehab goes up to talk to the spies. We've already read the verses, but we see that rehab starts with a recognition of God. There are there are several parts to her declaration about God. She accepts his authority in verse number nine to give the land to Israel. This is based in verse number ten on the actions of God in delivering his people from the Red Sea as well as the other kings of other nations. Ray had recounts to other spies in verse number 11 how the hearts of her countrymen melted in the face of God's power. She had never seen anything like this. All of these observations lead Rahab to declare that Joué is the God of Heaven and earth. There's a difference here and it's not in my notes. But I want to point this out to you. Everyone in the city had heard about God's power, but we only read of rehab declaring He is the God of heaven and earth. If we were to tag a salvation moment for Rahab, it was when she came to this realization that Yahweh is the one true God. What do you think that that conversation was like when those spies knocked on her door? And said, Hey. We're from the camp of Israel. We know that you're not exactly accepted here in your society. Can we hide here? Just a few moments. Camp of Israel. That's the guy that I've been hearing about. Yes, of course. Come in. I believe this change in relationship with the God of the Hebrews is what motivated her to help and then save the lives of the spies. So in response to her kindness, she now asks them to return the favor. Rahab asks the spies to spare her and her whole house when they overthrow the city. Apparently she does have some. Support structure around her. A family. Mom and dad, maybe some brothers and sisters. Perhaps some children. With no father. The men agree. With the understanding, the condition that she remained discreet regarding her interactions with them. She agrees, saying for her safety would be a scarlet cord hung from her window on the wall. This is a great display of faith. Rehab. But there are some results for that faith. Bore fruit. The Israelites prepared to move on the city. What's your take as a turn to Joshua Chapter six. Several verses that I want to show you in this chapter. Some time has passed from the spies going into Jericho to the time when Israel was actually ready to move against Jericho. Joshua. Chapter number six, verse number 17. Israelites have just finished their seventh trip around the city on the seventh day. Joshua says in verse number 16, Shout for the Lord has given you the city in verse 17, and the city shall be accursed. Even it and all that are there in to the Lord. Only Rahab, the harlot shall live. She and all that are with her in the house because she hid the messengers that we sent. Joshua gives direction to all the people not to lay a finger, not to hurt, harm, or do anything against Rahab, the harlot, and her family. After the walls fell. Look at verse number 22. Says Joshua had said under the two men that spied out the country, go into the harlots house and bring out then the woman and all that she hath as you swear under her. I think that's just. That's just I mean, if it wasn't real that just be good storytelling, you know? The two guys tasked with going and getting rehab out are the two guys that she had protected earlier. Diverse from 25. Or I'm sorry. Virtually three of the young men that were spies went in and brought out Rey having her father and her mother and her brethren all she had. They brought out all her kindred and left them without the camp of Israel. Now, look, the first 25 says in Joshua Saved Rahab, the harlot alive and her father's household and all that she had. And she dwellings in Israel even on to this day because she hid the messengers which Joshua sent spy out Jericho. Joshua. After the battle was over, he goes back to rehab and he welcomes her and her family. Into the number of the children of Israel. This is really cool. She'd already found belonging with the God of Israel. But now, as the children of Israel followed their God, now she has found a family. Among God's children. Whereas before she was a societal reject. Now she becomes a person of honor. Within the people of Israel. She still has the identifier. Ray had the heart lit, but now there's an addendum to that because she is the one who hid and protected and saved the spy's. These are all amazing events. With Ray Ahab's background, wouldn't you agree that it's pretty incredible that she found such acceptance among God, among God's people? I mean she's. Ah, let. Shouldn't she be like on the top of the list of Canaanites that deserved God's judgment? Let me run that by you again, because I don't know if you're following me. She's a. A not good person. God's in Israel to judge all of the not good people. Shouldn't she have been at the top of the list? She's the one that gets saved. She learned the truth about God. And it changed her. Changed her. This change saved her life. In the lives of her family. Salvation from destruction. And inclusion with God's people. Or amazing benefits. But these aren't the only benefits that Ray have received. Take your Bibles and turn to Matthew. Chapter one, verse number five. Matthew. Chapter one, verse number five. The Bible, says Selman. Yet booze of rage cab and booze. Yet oh, bed of Ruth and O bed begat Jesse. Jesse begat David the king and David the King begot Solomon of her. That had been the life of your eyes. You see, she got saved from destruction. She got included into the people of God. But she also got a husband. He doesn't want to marry a guy named Salman. Salmon spelled the same. Wonder if he smelled fishy. Sorry. That was corny. Appreciate the laugh. Think about what she did for a living. You think there were moments where she wondered if any man would ever really love her? And not just use her. Oh, I'm sure. She met God. She let God change her, God changed her future. God changed the people she associated with. And then God gave her an actual family, and then God gave her a son. And not just any son, but a son that would, through his lineage, go on to produce a man by the name of Boaz who would marry Ruth. And then there would be another man named Jesse who would have a son named David. You know, David, you wrote all the songs. Those songs. It was a shepherd. You had a sling with five smooth stones. And the sling went round and round. David wasn't the end, though. David will establish the throne and the line that would later be occupied by none other than Jesus himself. Ray had found herself inserted into the lineage of the Savior. It all started back in verse number eight when she went up to the roof to talk to those two spies. That's pretty impressive. What God did.

Speaker 2: Look, I didn't do it, Ray.

Speaker 1: How did it help? Rehab couldn't have come up with that, even if she was trying. God did this. But Matthew, one isn't even the end of Rahab story. Take your Bibles again, go to Hebrews. Hebrews, Chapter 11. I wish I had some, like some good pubs music like Masterpiece Theater. I'm trying to think of how I could even do it. I don't know if I can. It's like.

Speaker 2: Mama, mama, mama.

Speaker 1: And then, you know, some old stuffy guy comes out. Oh, yes. Welcome to this edition of Masterpiece Theater. Tonight, we are going to be discussing the. The extinct. Extinguished. That's not it. Distinguished people that are included in the very famous Hall of Fame. You know, and it's like, oh, yes, golf club, you know? And you're sitting there with your tea, sitting all proper, like in your living room, and you're watching as this this British guy speaks very intelligently about all of these great heroes of the faith. And, you know, the children are sitting cross-legged on the floor with their nice Sunday best on as you sit and you watch the television together and you're just astounded by the stories that you're you're hearing about. And then it gets down to verse 31. And the guy has been droning on and on and on and you're getting antsy and then this catches your ear. He says you? Yes. And by faith, the harlot Ray have perished. Not with them that believe not when she had received the spies with peace. You're like, honey. He's just say rehab. The Heartland. In the Hall of Fame. Among people like Joshua and David and Gideon. Yes, honey. I believe that's what he said. I mean here. In this collection of Old Testament heroes. We have rehab. That's pretty amazing. Last one, turn to James. Hebrews in the Book of James say it's just one one book over. Chapter two. I don't get nervous. She's talking about faith that produces works, that doesn't produce works as dead, being alone. Okay. Rehab had a faith that produced works. And that's what he's saying here in verse 25. Likewise also, was not rehab the harlot justified by works when she had received the messengers and sent them out another way? Rehab story has been told and retold for thousands of years. She went from an outcast of pagan society to a pivotal player in God's story of redemption, which is all the more powerful. Considering the redemption she experienced, she was spared the death that she deserved. She found acceptance among a people completely foreign to her. She became a part of the lineage of kings and the savior of the world. And then her faith was immortalized in the biblical record. This is a refreshing story. There is refreshment for us in knowing that God is still transforming the characters and futures of people just like Rahab. God didn't stop transforming lives. When the Bible got finished being written. It's been going on for thousands of years. And if we had the time and gave you the opportunity and you had the boldness, there would probably be a bunch of people in here who would give testimony to the change that God has made in your own life. Maybe some of you have struggled in the past to find your place in the world. Everything about you always seemed to be the wrong thing, you know? I mean, you just feel like, you know, shouldn't be this hard to find my spot in society. But you were the wrong height. You were the wrong color. You had the wrong education. You had the wrong experiences. I mean, come on. How many of us remember being a teenager? And you got to apply for the job? And they're like, How old are you? 17. Well, we require 20 years of experience for this job. Okay, well, you know what? Not going to get that one. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It just seems like everything is wrong. You're never good enough. You never fit in. You can never measure up. Anybody else ever felt that way? Because of that. You just. Ever felt like you fit. Everywhere you've ever gone, you felt like an outsider. And society, you're shunned. In your family, you weren't the favorite. In God's plan. You weren't included. That's pretty much how rehab. But God helped Rahab find her place. She found her place within a nation. She found a place in her family. But most importantly, she found her place in God's plan. Rehab is an example to us of the extreme change that God can bring into our lives. It still comes today, just like it came from rehab. When we realize and understand and accept the power and authority that God has. Remember, she had to come to the realization He is the God of heaven and earth. Jesus died for us on the cross to redeem us unto himself. He wants to bring us in and make us a part of his family. He wants to make us citizens of his kingdom. He wants to give us a mission to fulfill. We have to come to the realization that he is God. We've sinned against him. Yet he has made it possible through his death on the cross for him to take our place so that we can be inserted into a family, into a kingdom where we were once strangers and foreigners. God has done that for many of us. But if there's someone here who has not been made a part of God's family. We would invite you to let him transform your life. The way he transformed rehabs life. I mean, look at rehab. How do you have any excuses? Pastor. You don't know what I've done. Rahab was a harlot. Is it is it pretty reasonable to assume that probably most of us in here have accepted Jesus as our savior? I mean, it's Wednesday night. And there's no children's ministry. Your brought your kids. You crazy people sitting in the church with your kids. What's wrong with you? I'm kidding. Kids are great. You're the best. Glad you're here. Let's say most of us already are a part of God's family. Most of us received our heavenly green card many years ago. Right. We have immigrated into his kingdom. You think? Maybe. We can learn a lesson. From Yeshua. In the way he accepted. Rehab. Into the the nation of Israel. Yeah, sure. You know, as a double meaning there. Yeah. Josh? Joshua was there. Yeshua is also Jesus. We learn a lesson from the way that Yeshua takes sinners and incorporates them into his family. It's impossible for us to. Grow in our ability to receive people that come to God in faith. Integrate them into the family and into the work of the kingdom. Can we learn something here? Not everybody that gets saved at our church will be, nor should they all be. Just children. Love it when our kids get sick. The percentage of people that get saved that are children, it's very high. It's the greatest opportunity we have to reach people with the gospel when they're children. That's why next week it's so important for you to be praying for kids to get saved. What about when an adult comes? With a past and a history. That maybe isn't quite so cute. As the kids who get saved. Today's June 1st. You know what that means. It's the start of Pride Month. People involved in same sex relationships. Need to get saved. Does it need to find a community of other believers that will incorporate them? Into the family. Don't they need to find a support group, a a fellowship of other believers who will befriend them and love them and help them as they grow in their relationship with the Lord. You know what that means? It means you might not be able to make the same jokes. Right. I mean, here comes rehab. Don't you think people probably felt a little awkward around her? Don't you think people probably said some things that were a little insensitive to her? They had to learn. Not everybody is going to be plug and play when they come in. Some people are going to require a little more investment. Somebody comes in with an addiction. We willing to get close to that person? Or do we maintain our distance? Because. I don't know a lot about their lifestyle and it's scary and icky to me, so I'll just let somebody else do that. It's interesting. Rehab went from outside the camp to in the camp because Joshua led the way. Winning some. Yes, she was. That will lead the way in incorporating those who are outside and bringing them in. Because there's a lot of rehabs out there. And there is a God that is still capable of transforming their life. They need to find a family in a church like this. That will love them, support them. And include them. That new chapter of their life. There is so much here in real life for us to learn and to be refreshed by. A refreshing refreshment of our understanding of what God is capable of doing. A refreshment of our focus and attention. And an emphasis. On getting people plugged in and God's family here at this church. This evening. However God has spoken to you. I hope you'll take these things home with you and apply them to your lives. Let's pray their only father. Thank you for this day. Thank you for the time we've been able to spend looking at the life of rehab and the change that you made in her. How she went from a. A reject in her own society to a welcomed included valuable member. Of your family. Your kingdom. God, I pray that we would all be convinced tonight of your ability and of our responsibility to welcome those that you send to us. Or we love you so much. Thank you for this time. Thank you for all that you've done. It's in Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Latest Sermon

Isaiah 1:10-17