Beautiful grace and saving faith
Strong and Courageous • Sermon • Submitted
0 ratings· 6 views
How do you see the the Christian faith?
Museum - show of best and briughtest - holy than thou. smart dressed
“Don’t stay away from church because there are so many hypocrites. There’s always room for one more.”
Cruise ship - place for the rich and famous or retired or highlife. We come for the experience and for the food. We come for comfort.
For some will feel that Christian faith is not for people like me (elaborate)
For others feel that Christian faith is for for people like them : (elaborate)
Such important question today, as we celebrate together. Relevent today - baptise Lydia, as we recognise her profession of faith and celebrate her being welcomed into God’s family - who is it for?
Today want us to see at heart of Christian faith is:
God’s Gloriuous grace and saving faith
God’s Gloriuous grace and saving faith
To help us - focus in reading is suprising character - Rahab.
Reading - Who is Rahab - if she were here today would she belong in church?
IMAGINE _ EXCITING STORY - LET YOUSELF BE GRIPPED BY TENSION, PUT YOURSELF IN SPIES SHOES, OR RAHABS SHOES
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut. Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.” So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.” “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.” So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window. When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
Series in Joshua - all about God fulfilling his promises to people - but writer takes surprising pause. Leaving this chapter out wouldnt really have impact on rest of book. Why then leave it in?
Structures whole chpater to build tension (elab) to gate shut
Then stops - and have this breath, to hear key conversation btween spies and surprising character of faith. Rahab. Not exactly your sterotypical christian or person of faith.
She was a cananite - pagan. She worshipped other God’s and canannites in particular worshiped involved most horrific activity including human sacrifice, sexual pervesion. She was a women - in society at time, didt have same status or value. And worse she was a shameful women - prostitute.
Here at centre of story - if anyone doesn’t belong in people of God it’s her.
But going to see Glorious grace of God (continue to see through all of Joshua), as we learn from Rahab what saving faith looks like.
Know the LORD
Know the LORD
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
Here is this pagan, Canaanite Harlot who understands the utter supremecy of Yahweh. He is the one true God - of heaven and earth - phrase thats all inclusive - he is God over all.
What brings her to this conclusion - not some feeling - evidence.
How does she make this realisation - she weighs the evidence.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.
falling in love ; always based on evidence, look, talk, act.
falling in love ; always based on evidence, look, talk, act.
How does she know who God is? Evidence. She has heard about mighty acts. As she recalls what he has done for Israel. Here is unbeliever in a foreign land, but God’s fame has spread, such are his mighty acts. She recalls the Exodus, when God parted the sea to rescue his people, and destoryed Pharoah and his army. And she recalls the mighty victory God gave his people over their enemies Og and Sihon, whom in judgement he destroyed. What fuels her faith - not some abstract feeling but facts of what God has done demonstrates truth of claims of who he is
Do you know the LORD.
I wonder what you think of when you think of God? Grumpy school headmaster. Dictator? Distant relative? None are God of bible. God we meet in bible is Creator and Sustainer full of Glory but also grace. See in this section
Why Rahabs house? No indication that anything sexual in visit. possibly a public house or hostel. We don’t get the practical reason, but get the theological reason. That God in his divine purpose and his glorious grace does not just offer salvation to Israel, but to all.
Unknowingly these spies are actually on a rescue mission, to save Rahab and her family from the destruction to come, from judgement of God excercised throuh is people. Rescue For anyone who would recieve them and respond in faith. For Rahab, for her family, but actually there is no reason to rule out others in the city who could have come.
What is God like?
In this true story we meet a God who is almighty and eternal and majetic, but who is also gloriously grace. His undeserved kindness toward the lost and broken, towards sinners
That is what Rahab recognises, as she considers all she has heard and experienced.
How do we know God? it’s as he reveals himself. Through history recorded in scriptures. That is what he did in person of Jesus. God came to show himself to us that we might know him. Do you know Jesus?
Do you know him - Jesus who perfromed mighty acts - signs and wonders. miracles. power of nature and sickness and demons and death.
Do you know him - Jesus who spoke with authority and kindness words of perfect wisdom
Do you know him - Jesus who lived sinless life, who though some hated him could find no cause to accuse him.
Do you know him - Jesus who wen willingly out of love to die on Cross, bearing the sin of the whole world, taking God’s wrath on our behalf as he dies in our place.
Do. you know him - Jesus who in his mighty power rose again deafeats death rising again, to offer us literally a life line.
Do you know him - Jesus who ascends to heaven to sit on his throne, and intercede for us. To offer us a right relationship with God who made us, and a place of belonging in his people and place and under his blessing for ever.
Do you know him - Jesus who sends his Spirit to dwell in hearts of every believer to empower them to live changed lives bold for the Kingdom
Do you know him? He is the LORD. KNOW HIM.
.Where is the evidence - bible All of scripture records history, his mighty acts. Culminating in Jesus, life, death and ressurection. Its in the evidence. Eye witness accounts all record same events. over 500 hundred eyes withness testify to truth of ressurection. Fame of Jesus continues to reach all over the world today, 2000 years later.
Come and get to know him - read. Essentials. spend with his peopel.
Recognise your need
Recognise your need
with knowledge of Lord comes knowledge of her need. comfronted with reality that THIS God not canaanite is true God, Lord of all, she sees her people,melting in fear at coming judgement. she know immediate danger. but more, risks life with own King, what is it she sees - Lord of heaven and earth.
Shes sees danger she faces, and only place where safety is to be found.
Sinking mud. Harbours, stop kids playing in it- story in news children playing got stuck, and as tide came in nearly drowned
Didn’st see danger.
Bible is very clear. There is no one who lives up to God’s perfect standard. We are born into rebellion. We live our lives without reference to him. We live for ourselves instead of him. We look for life and happiness away from him. Like looking for fun in the harbour mud. Might be fun for a while. But doens’t last
Maybe you’ve had that feeling - reality that even greatest experience is short lived. Sense of always longing for more - you were made for a right relationship with God. Life is to be found, and outside of it we only face death and wrath. Like people left melting in fear.
That is why Jesus had to die. But Jesus holds out a lifeline.
Lifeline in the mud
We just need to accept it
Respond in faith
Respond in faith
What does Rahab do, in response to Revelation of who this God is, as she hears of his power, provision, protection, promises, blessings to his people and his total victory over his enemies?
“Here is the evidence of faith. Genuine faith never rests content with being convinced of the reality of God, but presses on to take refuge in God.
Dale Ralph Davis commenatary on Joshua p27
Rahab recognises the reality and responds by finding refuge in God. She makes herself completely dependant on his grace.
We see her faith lived out, as she hides the spies, diverts the Kings men. She turns from her Canaanite identity and culture. She diosbeys a king, to serve the true King God. She shifts her allegience to the God of Israel.
She puts everything on the line, lays her whole life in his hands. No turning back.
The God who she has come to know, the God of Israel, who has rescued and protected and provided for his people time and time again, she knows is the only one who can really save her, so what does she do, relies on his grace. She goes all in.
Do you know Jesus? Do you know your need of him? Daily recognition that as your maker and sustainer, that you are completely dependent on him for everything. That you are dead in your sin without. him. The respond in faith like Rahab. Lay it all down. What does that mean - coming empty handed.
Relying on his grace. But giving all that we are over to him. But is it worth it?
Rahab responds in faith. And what she recieves more than just salvation. > acceptance and belonging.
Would it be worth it? Even if saved from destruction, then what, she has just turned her back on everything she has known. Is it worth it?
Skip. Spoiler - God’s people win at Jericho, and bring God’s judgement. But this is what it says.
But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
Welcomed in to Kingdom. - people of God. into all Gods promises. She becomes member of the family of God. She becomes partaker of everything God has to offer his people. All the promises God had made of land and people and blessing under his protection and provision and power. And more than that, such is God’s grace, that she becomes central in salvation plan. because it was through her descendants that God would sshow is glorious grace to whole world in the person of Jesus. Geneology of Jesus human descent in Matt - guess whose there.
That is what is on offer for anyone who will recieve Jesus as King - all God’s promises fulfilled. His love, protection, provision, peace and blessing. Life forever. Nothing can seperat us from him. What is on offer, acceptance by our creator and welcome into his people, and a role in God’s Kingdom purposes.
That is why Today is truly a day of celebration. because in her batism Lydia has declared publicly that she knows who God is and what he has done in person of Jesus, dying for her sin, and giving her life. She is declaring publicly that she knows her need for Jesus to give her life, and we celebrate that she belongs to Him, and his people, and is under his eternal protection and blessing.
Freinds, Brothers and Sisters, God’s people - we come to faith same we Rahab did. By knowing the LORD Jesus, recognising our need, placing our faith in him, recognising him as King and depending on his grace. And we grow in faith just the same way. Growth in the Chrstian life is about knowing more and more our glorious and gracious King, recognising more and more how utterly dependant on him we are, and responding in fatih. Which affects how we view the Christian faith and church life.
Titanic At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912 ocean cruiser Titanic sank into Atlantic ocean. Those who made it to lifeboats began search for survivers in the water.
Not a cruise ship when we come to just enjoy the show. It’s a lifeboat in a sea of lost people. We arne’t just passaengerd we are alll part of the crew. We are to make space, throw out the life lines - the good news of Jesus, and bring people in, into the safety and protection under the true captain - King Jesus.