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Service Archives > Bloodline: Tracing God's Rescue Mission from Eden to Eternity > From House of Shame to Hall of Fame

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From House of Shame to Hall of Fame - Joshua 2

Taught on | Topic: salvation | Keywords: believe, change, faith, genealogy, hear, religion, transformed

Rahab was an Old Testament harlot who ended up being listed in both the genealogy of Jesus Christ and in the great chapter of faith in the New Testament. The reason? An authentic faith that changed her radically. Let’s consider her portrait in a four-sided frame that shows her journey from prostitute to princess as she signifies her faith by hanging a scarlet cord outside her home.

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3/24/2019
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From House of Shame to Hall of Fame
Joshua 2
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Rahab was an Old Testament harlot who ended up being listed in both the genealogy of Jesus Christ and in the great chapter of faith in the New Testament. The reason? An authentic faith that changed her radically. Let’s consider her portrait in a four-sided frame that shows her journey from prostitute to princess as she signifies her faith by hanging a scarlet cord outside her home.
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Bloodline: Tracing God's Rescue Mission from Eden to Eternity

Bloodline: Tracing God's Rescue Mission from Eden to Eternity

The redemption of mankind was planned before the foundations of the world. But the path through Scripture that leads from Eden to eternity is not as straightforward as following a highway. It's more like following a thread in a tapestry and the thread is crimson-red, having been stained with blood. In this series, Skip Heitzig leads you on a unique journey through the Bible along the path of redemption.

Outline

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  1. Her Status—A Working Prostitute

  2. Her Service—A Willing Protector

  3. Her Salvation—A Work in Progress

  4. Her Significance—A Wonderful Paragon

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: March 24, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "From House of Shame to Hall of Fame"
Text: Joshua 2:1-21

Path

Rahab was an Old Testament harlot who ended up being listed in both the genealogy of Jesus Christ and in the great chapter of faith in the New Testament. The reason? An authentic faith that changed her radically. In this teaching, Pastor Skip considered her portrait in a four-sided frame that shows her journey from prostitute to princess as she signifies her faith by hanging a scarlet cord outside her home.
  1. Her Status—A Working Prostitute
  2. Her Service—A Willing Protector
  3. Her Salvation—A Work in Progress
  4. Her Significance—A Wonderful Paragon
Points

Her Status—A Working Prostitute
  • Rahab was a prostitute in a pagan culture but was transformed by God's grace. She went from shame to fame, prostitute to princess, lady of the night to lady of the light. How did she go from harlot to heroine? She believed in God and helped God's people.
  • Joshua wanted to know about Jericho, so he sent two spies. Why two? Because with God, less is more. Why Jericho? It was the first city across the Jordan, and God had business with Rahab. God's love is like a river flowing down a parched land to water one daisy.
  • Although some commentators try to sanitize Rahab in calling her an innkeeper, the Bible calls her a harlot three times. The Greek word for "harlot" is pórnen—a prostitute. Some are uncomfortable with God choosing a prostitute to be part of Jesus' ancestry.
  • Rahab is a picture of the grace which God has extended to all people (see Ephesians 2:11-13). God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).
  • After his conversion, John Newton wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace". God transformed Newton; he went from slave trader to songwriter, but he always remembered that he had been a "wretch", and that he was saved by God's amazing grace. Rahab was dirty and stained, but she was loved by God.
Her Service—A Willing Protector
  • Rahab was a willing protector; she hid the two spies in stalks of flax. A flax roof suggests that Rahab's family may have come from an agricultural trade, growing and selling flax, which was used for making cords, among other things.
  • Rahab's house was on the periphery of the city, inside Jericho's protective wall; because of where it was situated, people could see who entered and left. She showed that she had faith in God and acted on it by protecting the spies. 
  • As Hebrews 11:31 states: "By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace."
Her Salvation—A Work in Progress
  • Rahab was a work in progress. The text shows a three-step process of her progression:
    • First, she heard about God (vv. 10-11). Her customers undoubtedly shared stories about God and His deliverance of the slaves. Rahab understood the difficulty of putting her life on the line for the spies but believed God could also deliver her. Difficulties must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work; nothing is too hard for God.
    • Second, she believed what she heard (v. 8). Notice the words "I know"; she personalized it—she had heard about God, but here she acknowledged Him as Lord. Faith is born in belief (see Romans 10:17). Rahab believed before she saw the wall of Jericho fall.
    • Third, she demonstrated what she believed (vv. 18-19). She acted on her belief by hanging the red cord out her window; it was an outward sign of her inward faith.
  • This narrative is tied to the scarlet cord of redemption. Rahab's scarlet cord meant that death would pass over her house and all who were in it.
  • As Herbert Lockyer states, "Rahab's sins had been scarlet, but the scarlet line, displayed as a token of her safety, typified the red blood of Jesus, whereby the worst of sinners can be saved from sin and hell."
  • By including her family, Rahab was saying it was not enough for her alone to be saved.
Her Significance—A Wonderful Paragon
  • Rahab is mentioned positively in the New Testament three times: Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25-26.
  • Rahab is the great-great-grandmother of King David. As part of David's genealogy, she is in the family lineage of the Messiah. In God's eyes, that makes her a princess. Rahab is a paragon, a model, of God's wonderful grace which He has extended to anyone who would believe in Jesus.
  • As Adrian Rogers said, "Nature may form us, and sin deform us, schools inform us, prisons reform us, the world conforms us, but only Christ can transform us."
  • Christians should not just be nicer people but transformed people.
  • Rahab—like many biblical characters (Matthew the tax collector, and Paul, the former persecutor of the church)—shows us that none are so bad that God can't save them, and none are so good that they don't need to be saved.
  • As John Newton said, there will be three surprises in heaven: who's there, who's not there, and that you're there.1  
Practice

Connect Up:  When confronted with the topic of what makes Christianity unique, C. S. Lewis said, "Oh, that's easy. It's grace."2 Grace is defined as unmerited favor.3 It is God showing mercy to people who don't deserve it. How does grace shine through the story of Rahab? Think of how God showed His grace in the following areas:
  • The spies came to her house,
  • That she hid them, instead of sending them away,
  • That she believed, showing faith,
  • And that God recognized her faith in the New Testament
Connect In: Share stories of God's grace in your life. Do you have a story like Rahab's—from shame to fame? Why is grace important for both individuals and the church?

Connect Out: How would you explain grace to an unbeliever? How would you share how God's grace comes in unexpected places and in unexpected people (such as Rahab)?


1 Grounds, Vernon, "Heaven's Surprises," Our Daily Bread. March 21, 1996, https://odb.org/1996/03/21/heavens-surprises/, accessed 03/25/2019.
2 Bridges, Jerry, "What's So Unique about Christianity? C.S. Lewis Answers," Grace Guy. December 5, 2010, http://www.graceguy.org/blog-posts/whats-so-unique-about-christianity-cs-lewis-answers, accessed 03/25/2019.
3 "Grace," Theopedia. https://www.theopedia.com/grace, accessed 03/25/2019.

Detailed Notes

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"From House of Shame to Hall of Fame"
Joshua 2
  1. Introduction
    1. Joshua 2 is the story of a woman who added up all the facts, and her conclusion led her to the reality of God
      1. Based on what she discovered and what people around her were saying, it made perfect sense for her to believe in God
      2. Some people seem to change, but in actuality, they don't change much
        1. 2 Timothy 3:5
        2. Some people seemingly come to Christ—they have a veneer of faith that is worn away quickly when it's tested (see Matthew 13:1-23)
        3. Some people experience profound change, and it plays out in their life
    2. Rahab's faith resulted in an experience of complete and profound change
      1. Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho who was transformed
      2. She hung a cord of scarlet as a demonstration of her faith
    3. Joshua sent out two spies
      1. Deuteronomy 19:15
      2. Joshua sent two men to gather information about what was on the other side of the Jordan
        1. Why did Joshua send out only two spies when Moses sent twelve spies earlier?
          1. Ten of Moses' spies returned with a bad report; only two of them had a good report
          2. The bad report spread and created doubt and fear among the Israelites
        2. Why Jericho?
          1. Geographically, Jericho was the first city they would come to after crossing the Jordan
          2. There was someone in Jericho who God wanted to reach—Rahab
            1. The Israelites needed to go to Jericho for Rahab's sake
            2. Like how Jesus "needed to go through Samaria" (John 4:4)
  2. Her Status—A Working Prostitute
    1. Rahab was a harlot
      1. Many commentators try to sanitize Rahab, saying that she was only an innkeeper
      2. When Rahab is mentioned in the New Testament, the Greek word used is pórnen—which always and only means a harlot
      3. "Both Jewish and Christian writers have tried to prove that Rahab was a different woman from the one whom the Bible always speaks of as a 'harlot.' To them it was abhorrent that such a disreputable person should be included in our Lord's genealogy" —Herbert Lockyer
    2. The whole point of the story of Rahab, and of most of the biblical record, is God's grace—that God saves undeserving people (see Ephesians 2:8-9)
      1. "Amazing Grace" was written by a former slave trader, John Newton
      2. 1 Corinthians 1:27
  3. Her Service—A Willing Protector
    1. Rahab hid the spies and kept them safe
      1. Rahab lived on the wall of Jericho; because of the location, everyone who came and went would have been seen
      2. This was the one place you could go in Jericho as an outsider and be welcomed, and it was the perfect place for reconnaissance because of the gossip that was probably shared
    2. Rahab's service in hiding the spies was a demonstration of her faith
      1. It was a demonstration that she believed in both their mission and their God
      2. Hebrews 11:31
  4. Her Salvation—A Work in Progress
    1. Rahab heard the stories about a ragtag group of former slaves who had already conquered the standing armies of two nations
      1. Her testimony about what the people of Canaan were thinking was not the report of the ten spies Moses sent out decades earlier—the Canaanites were actually terrified of the Israelites
      2. Difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work; it's all about how you look at things
        1. If you have a big God, you have little enemies
        2. If you have big enemies, you have a little god
    2. Rahab heard about God, then she believed in God
      1. "I know that the LORD has given you the land" (v. 9)
      2. The first step of faith is to hear; the second step of faith is to believe—that is when faith is born
        1. Rahab wasn't there to see the parting of the Red Sea, etc., but still she believed
        2. Many of the Jews who were there and saw the miracles ended up not believing
        3. If your faith depends on visible signs, then when the sign is missing, your faith suffers; true faith is generated by the word of God (see Romans 10:17)
    3. Rahab demonstrated what she believed
      1. She risked her life to hide the spies
      2. She also demonstrated it by hanging the cord as a signal
        1. In verse 19, the idea of blood and the idea of the scarlet cord are tied together
        2. The only way for Rahab to be rescued was for the scarlet cord to be tied in the window—so that God's judgment would pass over her home and those within
      3. She also helped her family
        1. She was concerned for others; salvation is so valuable that once you have received it, you want to share it
        2. James 2:25
      4. Rahab's faith changed her, and it showed
  5. Her Significance—A Wonderful Paragon
    1. Rahab's story didn't end here
    2. She is mentioned three different times in the New Testament as an example—a paragon—of faith
      1. Hebrews 11:31
      2. James 2:25
      3. Matthew 1:5
        1. Rahab was in the genealogy of Jesus Christ Himself
        2. Rahab was part of the royal lineage of David
  6. Conclusion
    1. Nature forms us; sin deforms us; schools inform us; a prison can reform us; the world tries to conform us; but only Jesus Christ can and will transform us
    2. Christians should not just be nicer people—they should be transformed people
      1. Matthew 21:31
      2. None are so bad that they can't be saved, and none are so good that they don't need to be saved
    3. If your religion hasn't changed you, maybe you need to change your religion
Figures referenced: Herbert Lockyer

Cross references: Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 1:5; 13:1-23; 21:31; John 4:4; Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:27; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 3:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25

Greek words: pórnen

Topic: salvation

Keywords: believe, change, faith, genealogy, hear, religion, transformed

Transcript

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From House of Shame to Hall of Fame - Joshua 2 - Skip Heitzig

Well, would you make your way over to the Book of Joshua and find Chapter 2 in your Old Testament Book of Joshua. As you turn to Joshua 2, let me begin by telling you a little story that is true. You know how court reporters are given the task of writing accurately word for word what happens in courtroom proceedings. And what they do is vital to the legal process.

Well, because they are court reporters, they report every thing that goes on. Here is something that was actually said in court, word for word, taken down by a court reporter. Now you just have to picture the scene of an attorney putting a physician on the stand and peppering him with questions. "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?" "No." "Did you check for blood pressure?" "No." "Did you check for breathing?" "No."

"So then, is it possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?" "No." "How can you be so sure, Doctor?" "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar." "But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?" "Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere."

You know, some things just make common sense when you add up all the facts. Right? We have in Chapter 2 of Joshua the story of a woman in Jericho who added up all of the facts and came to the conclusion of the reality of God. Based upon what she discovered, what people around her were saying, it made sense, perfect sense for her to believe in that God.

I have a friend who comes up with all these funny little sayings, and he likes to say people change, but not that much. And unfortunately, with some people, that is true. Seems like they're changing, but not all that much, as time goes on Paul said they have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. Some people seemingly come to Christ. There's a veneer of faith, a thin layer that gets worn away very quickly when trouble hits.

Jesus even gave a parable about the human heart being like soil. It receives the truth, but he said sometimes the soil is shallow like a shallow heart. And the person receives the truth, and there's joy and emotion and tears that are shed, and it seems like there's really something going on. But Jesus said after a while, they fall away because they're shallow, like a shallow heart.

On the other hand, some people experience profound change. It's not just a veneer. It's all the way to the core, and you see it played out in that person's life. Such a person was Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho. She comes out to us in Chapter 2 of the Book of Joshua. She is a harlot in a pagan culture. She's a streetwalker. You could call her the shady lady of Jericho.

But she was changed. She was transformed. She was transformed from the house of shame into God's hall of fame, from prostitute to princess, from harlot to heroine, from somebody who walked in the night to somebody who walked in the light. And all of that was demonstrated, shown by a token she threw out as a demonstration of her faith-- a cord, a rope of scarlet, a scarlet-colored rope out the window.

We're in Genesis 2, and we need to get the story to get the setting. Chapter 2, verse 1, "Now Joshua the Son of-- I prefer saying Nun-- that would be the Hebrew pronunciation-- to say the son of Nun, depending on your background or religious background just doesn't play well. So Joshua the son of Nun set out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly saying, go view the land, especially Jericho."

"So they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho saying, 'Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.' So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab saying, 'Bring out the men who have come to you who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.'"

"Then the woman took the two men and hid them. And so she said, 'Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them,'"

"But she had brought them to the roof and hidden them with the stocks of flax, which she laid in order on the roof. Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate."

"Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, 'I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, that all the inhabitants of the land are faint hearted because of you. For 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 the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan-- Sihon and Og-- whom you utterly destroyed.'"

"'And as soon as we heard these things, are hearts melted. Neither did there remain any more courage in any one because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God, in heaven above and on Earth beneath. Now, therefore, I beg you swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness that you will also show kindness to my father's house and give me a true token. And spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have and deliver our lives from death.'"

"So the men answered her, 'Our lives for yours.'" In other words, deal. "'If none of you tell this business of ours-- and it shall be when the Lord has given us the land-- then we will deal kindly and truly with you.' Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall." She dwelt on the wall."

"And she said to them, 'Get to the mountain lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you may go your way.' So the men said to her, 'We will be blameless of this oath of yours, which you have made us swear unless when we come into the land, you bind this lion of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down. And unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home, so it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head. We will be free, or we will be guiltless.'"

"'Whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath, which you made us swear.' And then she said, 'According to your words, so be it.' And she sent them away, and they departed and she bound this scarlet cord in the window."

Joshua sent out two spies. Why? Deuteronomy 19 says, "By the mouth of two witnesses, every word will be established." General Joshua wants to find out what's going on the other side of the Jordan River. So he sends out special ops, two guys who can reconnoiter the area, be reconnaissance, gather information, let Joshua know what's going on.

The question is, why did Joshua send out just two spies when Moses years earlier sent out 12 spies? Well, you know the story, right? He sent out 12 spies. 10 of them had a bad report. Only two of them, Joshua, was one and Caleb, his buddy, had a good report.

The bad reports spread so that the people of Israel did not believe God's promise. So Joshua, 38, 40 years later goes, forget the 10. All I need is-- like the Marines, a few good men, just two good men. You see, with God's economy, sometimes less is more. So he decided instead of 12, I'll just send out two.

Another question, why Jericho? Why is that the first city? Well, if you are poised on the Jordan River, that would be the first city geographically that you would see right in front of you. But I think there is another reason. It's not just because they could see Jericho, but there was somebody in Jericho whom they could not see, but God could see.

God saw her heart. Her name was Rahab, and God wanted to reach that woman, so they needed to go to Jericho for that to happen. Because Rahab will end up in the genealogical record of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So it's sort of like in John 5, Jesus goes north, and it says, but he needed to go through Sumeria If you know the area, you would ask, why does he need to go through Sumeria? Sumeria is dangerous. It's out of the way. It's in the hill country. Why not just go straight up the Jordan River? Because there was a woman in Sumeria who was ready to believe in the Savior.

And so to reach that woman, Jesus went to reach this woman. They go, these two spies. The love of God is like the Amazon River flowing down to water a single daisy, and that daisy is named Rahab.

Now let's consider a few things, shall we, in this chapter. First of all, her status, we know her status. It says in verse 1, she was a harlot. She's a prostitute, streetwalker, woman of the night, a madam. She was a harlot.

Now, I found it interesting that many commentators who write about the Book of Joshua try to sanitize Rahab and say, well, she may not have been an actual prostitute. The word in Hebrew is a little fuzzy. Maybe she was just an innkeeper. She kept a weigh station. All of that, I believe, is true. I think she was an innkeeper, she did keep a weigh station, but it says she's a harlot.

And by the time you get to the New Testament and they use the Greek language, the word is used pornai. That's the Greek word for harlot, pornai. We get our word pornography from it. Pornai always and only means, when it's used in that form, a harlot, a prostitute.

Herbert Lockyer writes on this and says, "Both Jewish and Christian writers have tried to prove that Rahab was a different woman from the one whom the Bible always speaks of as a harlot. To them, it's abhorrent that such a disreputable person could be included in the Lord's genealogy."

But that's the whole point. The whole point of Rahab, in fact, the whole point of most of the biblical record is God's grace, that God saves undeserving people. Ephesians Chapter 2, "By grace, you have been saved. Through faith, not of yourselves. It is a gift of God. Not by works, lest anyone should boast." It's grace.

But let's be honest. Respectable folks are uncomfortable with God choosing a prostitute. Surely, there's better people in Jericho than Rahab. How about the king of the city or the mayor or one of the judges at the gates? Somebody of finer reputation.

Let me ask you something. If God were going to destroy Albuquerque and save only one person, who do you think he'd choose? Some of you might think, well, he'd probably choose somebody like a police chief or fire chief or mayor or benevolent person who's well known in the community, maybe a prominent pastor. But if we follow this story, maybe the one person he would choose would be a crack-addicted prostitute. Somebody on Central, somebody homeless, an ex criminal, or a current criminal.

We sing a song. We know it all. It's called "Amazing Grace." We all know the song. We sing it. We like it. I don't know that we believe it. When we sing the first verse, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me." Oh, we sing the song, but we think, I'm not a wretch. My counselor told me I need better self-esteem. I'm not going to say I'm a wretch. That's bad ju-ju.

So we sing "that saved a wretch like me," but inside, we may be thinking, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like him or her." But you see, that song was written by John Newton. John Newton was a slave trader, a human trafficker in England.

And when he realized that God could turn a slave trader into a songwriter, there was only one word that could capture it-- amazing. That's "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me."

So Rahab's status is important. We need to identify what it says she is. She was a harlot. She was a prostitute. She was a streetwalker.

There was a little girl who loved her collection of dolls. She had a complete collection of dolls, and get this, every morning she would make her bed-- first of all, that's amazing-- and then she'd line up all her dolls in a row, nice and pretty. She had this beautiful collection of dolls. She was so proud of it.

One day a visitor came and asked the little girl, of all your dolls, which one is your favorite doll. Little girl said, you want to see my favorite doll? She went to her closet and she took out a doll that they would throw away at Goodwill. It had one eye. Most of its hair was missing. Its neck was dangling by one little sliver of plastic, tattered clothes, one shoe gone, one shoe on one little doll foot. Just a mess.

And the visitor said, and why do you love this doll so much? And the little girl said, because if I didn't, nobody would. That's Rahab. Who would love Rahab? Who would pick Rahab? God. God has chosen the foolish things of this world. So that's her status. She was a working prostitute.

Now, consider her service. Verse 4, 5, and 6 tell us what she did is she took these two men, these spies and hid them from being found out by those who lived in Jericho. She hid them in stocks, it says, of flax.

Her home was on the wall, the periphery of the city. In ancient cities like this, there was not just a wall, there were two walls called the casement wall. And there was a wall and then an inner wall, and it was filled in with rubble to fortify it so it would be an impenetrable, hard to get through.

Not only was rubble put in between the two walls, but sometimes little cross sections of wall were put in for storage rooms or for living quarters. That's where she lived. She would have had a window facing outside the wall. She would have had the main entrance from the inside. Because of where she was situated, everybody in town or those living near her could see who's going in and who's coming out, so they found out a couple men were there.

But that was the one place you could go in Jericho as an outsider and be welcome-- this inn, this weigh station. And what a perfect place for reconnaissance. Because a harlot would hear from all the men every night who came in that city, all about what they thought, all about what their fears are, all the news they've heard. So they could get a lot of information from this woman.

Now just a side note, it mentions flax here. They would harvest this flax. They'd put it on the rooftops to dry by the sun. But this indicates that her family works in the agricultural trade. Not only did she have an inn, not only was she a prostitute, but they worked in the harvesting of flax. Flax is linseed.

So it's a delicate plant with blue flowers from 5,000 BC. All the way that far back, people were harvesting linseed, or flax, and they would extract the oil. They would then weave the fibers of this plant into linen-- that's where linen comes from-- and they would make rope out of it as well. So it was quite useful.

So they would bundle it up after it dried into these bundles, these stocks, which were about three to four-feet tall. And so these two spies were hiding behind the bundles of flax. Nobody could see them. When she hid them, it was a demonstration that she believed so much in their mission and in their God-- we're going to see that in just a minute that she hid them.

In fact, in Hebrews 11, verse 31, we're told by faith the harlot, Rahab, did not perish with those who did not believe when she had received the spies with peace. So that's her status, and that's her service. What I'd like you to think about now is her salvation, and it comes in phases. She is a work in progress.

First of all, I want you to notice she heard about God. Look at verse 10. She says to these men, "'For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you," this is 38, 40 years before, "when you came out of Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted. Neither did there remain any more courage in any one because of you.'"

She heard that. She heard those stories. She heard about the Red Sea. She heard about this ragtag group of ex slaves conquering standing armies of two nations, and they were migrating toward their land. Now they're right across from Jericho two, three million of them barreling down on the Canaanites. She heard that. They heard that. Everybody heard that.

What's interesting is what she says. Her testimony about what they, the people of Canaan were actually thinking, is amazing. She said, we heard that, and we freaked out. I'm paraphrasing. We flipped out. Our hearts melted. There was no more courage in us.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. That is not what the 10 spies said 38 years before. When Moses sent out 12, 10 came back and said, it's a beautiful land, but there's giants in the land, and we're like grasshoppers in their sight and in our sight. Joshua and Caleb quieted the people and said, our god is big. We can take the land. God made us a promise. We can easily take this land.

When they said that, the people of Israel almost killed them, stoned them because they wanted to go in and take the land by faith. Whereas, the 10 talked everybody else into unbelief and wandering for another 38 years.

Now we find out the truth. Yeah, the 10 spies are saying, they're so big, and we're so little, and they're so strong, and we're so weak. The truth is the Canaanites were morbidly afraid of the Israelites. That's what was going on in their minds.

I'm bringing this up because here's the principle. Difficulty, your difficulty that you're facing today, must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work. If it's up to you and you're doing the work and you're fighting the battle alone, it can crush you, it seems so big, it's insurmountable. But you insert God into the equation, it's not difficult.

Difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work. It's all how you look at things. If you look and say, we have big enemies, it's because you have a little God. If you have a big God, your enemies shrink. You have a big God, then you have little enemies. You have a little God, you have big enemies. It all depends on how you look at it.

The Bible indicates that when we see the devil, we're going to go, that's the guy that made the nations tremble? He, that thing, that little mole created that much havoc? I think we're going to be surprised when we see him. Yes, the devil is real. Yes, he has an incredible arrayed army against God's people and working in this world.

But when you see him, you're going to be amazed, that guy? Well, why didn't we trust in a big God a lot quicker than being afraid of that guy?

So she heard about God. That's the first step. Second step, she believed what she heard. It's one thing to hear, but she heard report after report, man after man came and said, did you hear what happened to the children of Israel, and the Red Sea opened up, and they kill those nations. And now they're on the other side of the Jordan.

She heard it enough times. She said, that's true. I believe in that God. I want you to look at something. Look at Verse 8. "Now before they laid down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, "I think--" did I read that right?

No.

No. she said, "I hope--" no, she didn't say that. She said, "I--"

Know.

'"--know. I know. I know that the Lord has given you the land." The word Lord here, do you see how it's capitalized in your Bible? That means that's the covenant name of God. That's Yahweh. I know that Yahweh, the Jewish God, your God, "I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land or fainthearted because of you."

Look down a Verse 11 again. "'As soon as we heard these things, are hearts melted, neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you.'" Now, watch this. "'For the Lord Yahweh, your God, He is God. That's the real God. He is God in heaven above, and on Earth beneath.'"

Notice that she doesn't use the collective we, but the personal I. I know. I know that he is God. Others heard about God. Rahab knew. She believed in God. See, the first step of faith is when you hear about God, then if you believe what you hear, faith is born. So she heard of it it, and then she believed it. Fascinating.

She didn't see what happened. She wasn't there at the Red Sea 38 years before. She wasn't even born. 38 years before when the Red Sea opened up, she wasn't around to see it. She just heard about it. She wasn't there to see the defeat of those two kings, she just heard about it. But she believed it.

Now what's interesting is that many of the Jews who were there saw the miracle, but they ended up not believing. I bring this up because if your faith depends on visible signs, then if the sign is missing, your faith gets broke.

People are always looking for a sign. Show me a sign, then I'll believe. Back in 2004, a lady in Florida sold a grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000. Did you hear about this? And it wasn't because it was an awesome-tasting grilled cheese sandwich worth $28,000. She sold the grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000 because people said they could see the Virgin Mary on one side of that grilled cheese sandwich, on that burnt part of the toast.

Ooh, there she is. It's a miracle. Here's 28 grand. I want that grilled cheese sandwich. Miracle monger. Show me a sign, and then I'll believe. What happens when that face gets deformed over time in mold?

If right now you saw a miracle-- let's just guess. Let's just say God levitated me over the congregation right now. So I'm talking all of a sudden, whew. And I just hover over you, then he spins me around a few times. You get out your little phone, go wow. That goes viral.

You know what's going to happen? Next week, we will not have a seat to contain all the people that will come. It will be so packed, we'll have to turn people away. Every single service, we'd have to add services. Am I right? But then if next week, I didn't get levitated, you know what would happen the following week? It's going to go down.

So if your faith is dependent on visible signs, when the signs are not there, your faith suffers. Faith, true faith, is generated by a promise by the word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Rahab heard about God, then Rahab believed in God. And she says, I know that the Lord has given you the land. Imagine that. She had more faith than the 10 spies who saw those miracles 40 years before. She made this statement before the walls of Jericho ever collapsed around her.

So she heard about God. She believed what she heard. Third part of this process of salvation, she demonstrated what she believed. How did she demonstrate it? A few different ways. She hid the spies.

Now, in doing so, she risked her life. She didn't know these guys from Adam. These two strangers show up from the camp of Israel. They could have killed her, so she risked her life. In hiding them, she is risking her life from the Jerichoites who might find out she's hiding two men from Israel. So it was risky business, but she demonstrated her faith. That's the point of the Hebrews 11 passage. She demonstrated it by hiding the spies.

She also demonstrated it by hanging the rope. Now look at something down in verse 18. They say, "'Unless when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household into your own home, so it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head. And we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.'"

Interesting that they tie the idea of blood together with the idea of this scarlet cord. So here's the deal. The only way for you to be rescued from the destruction that's coming to this town is you get everybody in this house and you hang out that red rope, that scarlet rope, and God's judgment that comes to this city is going to pass over this house. That sound familiar? Where did they get that idea from? From the Passover.

Same concept. She didn't have a little lamb to put blood on the lintels and door post. She's a Canaanite, but she did have a scarlet rope, and the idea is the same, that God would pass over in judgment. So it was an outward sign of her inward faith. This prostitute was an ex prostitute.

So she hid the spies, she hung the rope, and then she also helped her family. Notice, she doesn't say, good. Save me from this place. I don't care what happens to mom and dad, brother and sister, just get me out of dodge. She says, no, I want to make sure that my family is also helped. She had a concern for others.

Salvation is so valuable that when a person really discovers it, they're not content to go to heaven alone. They want to bring other people with them. They want to share it. This is why James in the New Testament uses Rahab as an example of faith without works is dead.

He said, the harlot, Rahab, was justified. She showed her faith by her works. She demonstrated it. She didn't say, yeah, I believe. I've got a thin veneer of Christianity. I have a form of godliness. I go to church every now and then, blah, blah, blah. It changed her, and she showed it.

There's a poem that says, "He wasn't much for stirring about. That wasn't his desire. While others worked to serve the Lord, he was just sitting by the fire. Same old story day by day, he never seemed to tire. While others faithfully serve the Lord, he was just sitting by the fire."

"One day, he died, as all must do, some say he went up higher. But if he's doing what he always did, he's still sitting by the fire."

You see, salvation will be shown. It will be demonstrated. People don't have to guess. It won't be a thin veneer. It won't be a form. It will be something that changes substantively, as it did in her life.

So we've seen her status, her service, and her salvation. Let's close with this thought, her significance. Did you know that Rahab-- her story doesn't end here. It continues so that you find her mentioned no less than three different times in the New Testament, as an example, a paragon of faith. First, is Hebrews Chapter 11 in God's hall of fame where it says, by faith, Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, meaning she did believe. They did not, she did.

James, Chapter 2. Rahab was justified, and the third is in Matthew, Chapter 1, the genealogy of Jesus Christ himself. In the pedigree of the Savior of mankind, Rahab's name shows up. Matthew, Chapter 1 begins a record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Verse 5 says, "Salmon, the Father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab."

"Boaz, the Father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed, the Father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David." In other words, a guy named Salmon married Rahab. We don't know who Salmon was. The Bible doesn't say this, but there's Jewish tradition says Salmon was one of the two spies. Be interesting, wouldn't it?

So a guy named Salmon marries Rahab. They have a baby boy named Boaz. Boaz later on, will meet a girl named Ruth in Bethlehem. They'll get married. They'll have a little boy named Obed. Obed will get a wife, have a little boy named Jesse, and Jesse will have sons, and one of them will be Israel's greatest king, King David.

So she shows up in the royal lineage of Jesus Christ and King David, which means in God's book, Rahab is a princess, not a prostitute, a princess. She goes from prostitute to princess, transformation, change, and she is included as an example.

You see, nature forms us. Sin deforms us. Schools inform us. A prison can reform us. the world tries to conform us, but only Jesus Christ can and will transform us. He'll change you from the inside out.

Christians are not just nicer people. In fact, I know some that are not nice at all, which makes you wonder, are they really Christian people. They're not just nicer people, they're transformed people.

Now, some of you might be thinking, well, that's fine for those harlots. They need it. Good. She got saved. They really need that. Well, you know, I'm reminded of what Jesus said to the proud, religious elite in Matthew 21 when he said, the tax collectors and harlots will enter the kingdom of God before you. You see, none are so bad that they can't be saved, and none are so good that they don't need to be saved.

Listen, if your religion hasn't changed you, maybe you better change your religion. I've always said there's going to be three surprises in heaven. You've heard this before. First of all, who's there. You made it? Really? That will be a surprise. Some of us will go, wow. They're here.

Second, who's not there. Wait a minute. Where is so and so. I thought they'd be here. They had the biggest Bible on the block. Third, that you're there. By God's grace, by God's grace alone.

Sunday school teacher asked her class, what do you need to do to be saved? A little boy shot up his hand and said sin. Well, he was right. Right? So we all qualify. Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

And Rahab qualifies. And Rahab qualified, and she did, and she was a sinner, then we all qualify because all have sinned. Father, how thankful we are for your great grace. Lord, that of all of the citizens in that town, there was one whose heart you had been working on in a process of hearing and then believing and then having these two men show up, just the right time.

And for them to hear this woman say, I know your God did this, and I know that he is God in heaven above. He is the real God, not like our false gods and goddesses. And so she is hailed in the New Testament as a woman of great faith and a faith that was productive, that demonstrated itself and works so much so that the Bible says she was justified.

Thank you, Lord, for that simple message over and over and over again that the blood line is our lifeline. And I just simply pray as we close that anybody here who doesn't know you would come to know you, would grab hold of the lifeline, would come back to a relationship with you. Maybe there's some of you here today and you're just thinking about your life, and you do remember a time when you went to church and you heard something or you felt something. And whatever that was, without trying to explain it, here you are today not following the Lord.

You're not in submission to him. You're not living a life in obedience to him. Your life is far from him, and you know it, you feel it. You want something different. Others of you maybe have never been religious at all or spiritual at all or churchgoing at all, but you're here, you're listening to this, and God is trying to get a hold of you. Either way, whether it's the first time or you're coming back home to him, if you want to get right with God and you want to know that the past is gone and a whole new start comes, if you want to experience what only God can do, transform you, change you, well, you need to come to Him and admit you need Him.

You don't get transformed by saying, well, I'm going to become a better person now. You come as you are, the person you know you are, that he knows you are. Come as you are. He'll love you as you are. But he loves you too much to leave you the way you are. He'll change you, if you let him.

If you want that, I want you to slip your hand up in the air. Slip it up. Keep it up for a minute. God bless you and you and you, right up here toward the front, right and left, toward the back in the middle. Anyone else? Just raise that up high. Balcony, just raise your hand up. Back row, God sees you. Anybody at all. Right up here in the front, to my right.

Father, thank you. We pray, Lord, that you're just going to love on these people, shower them with your grace, your graciousness, your mercy so that they feel a part of your work here on the earth, part of your great kingdom. You're calling them out from whoever they are, whatever they've done, wherever they've been. All of us qualify in that we all need you. They've identified it. They've been honest enough to raise a hand. I pray, Father, you would bring genuine life change in Jesus' name. Amen.

Let's stand your feet. We're going to sing a final song. If you raised your hand, I'm going to ask those of you who did, as we sing this just to get up from where you're standing. You might be in the middle of a row. All you've got to say to the person next to you is excuse me. We know what to do. We've done this before. You will part the Red Sea in your aisle.

People will get out of your way, maybe stand with you, encourage you. But you get up and come. If you raised the hand, you're in the middle, the front, the sides, the back, come up. I'm going to lead you in a prayer in a minute when you come to receive Christ as Savior and Lord, I'm going to lead you in that prayer. So good. Come on. Give them a hand. Come on. Encourage them as they come. Yeah. Nice to see you. Thank you. Hey, buddy. Come on up.

You bring me to my knees. You'll stay, never ending. Just a glimpse is enough for me.

I got to tell you something. It's going to feel really good. When you just release it, step out of the shadows, into the light, say, I'm going to make a clean break. I'm going to come up forward. I'm going to lead. I'm going to get led in a prayer. I'm going to give my life to Christ.

Jesus called people publicly. We don't do this to embarrass anyone. We don't do this to score points or keep track of anything. We do this to encourage those so they know on this day at this time, I gave my life to Christ, and I know, like she said, I know that this God lives, and he changes lives, and he changed my life.

So get up and come, if you raise your hand or even if you didn't. Doesn't matter where you're seated. You might be in the balcony or in the family room or outside. You come and experience the change of heart that only God can give you. Let's sing that through.

Because you're greater, you're stronger. Yes, you bring me to my knees. My faith is never ending. Just a glimpse is enough for me. Oh, just a glimpse is enough for me, enough for me.

Hey, those of you who are up-- where are you? Up here. You're kind of on this side. Come on over here. Come on over here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I'm going to ask you to say these words out loud after me. Say them from your heart. Prayer is just talking to God, so let's pray.

Say, Lord, I give you my life.

Lord, I give you my life.

I know I'm a sinner.

I know I'm a sinner.

Please, forgive me.

Please, forgive me.

I turn from my past.

I turn from my past.

I repent of it.

I repent of it.

I turn to Jesus.

I turn to Jesus.

I believe he died on a cross.

I believe he died on a cross.

And I believe he rose from the dead.

And I believe he rose from the dead.

Help me to live a life--

Help me to live a life--

--that is pleasing to you.

--that is pleasing to you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

In Jesus' name.

In Jesus' name.

Amen. Amen.

We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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3/3/2019
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The Cure for the Curse
Genesis 3:15
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Welcome to this new series Bloodline, leading up to Easter. There is a scarlet thread woven throughout the fabric of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation that anticipates Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross. We Christians have become far too familiar with the idea that Jesus died for our sins so the impact is largely lost. In the next few weeks we will consider how God’s rescue mission is revealed from Eden to eternity. Today let’s peek at the first hint of the gospel.
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3/10/2019
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On a Hill Far Away!
Genesis 22
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Abraham and his son Isaac’s journey to Mount Moriah marked the most difficult time in their lives to that point. An unusual command from God would both challenge their faith and solidify their confidence in God’s promises. What did it all mean? Why was God requiring this? And how does this sacrifice foreshadow another sacrifice that would come much later on? As we continue to follow the bloodline from Eden to eternity, we pause to consider this story in four phases.
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3/17/2019
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Getting Passed Over
Exodus 12
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Message Summary
No one ever likes being disregarded, ignored, or overlooked by people. Such rejection cowers our spirit and burdens our sensitivities. But being “passed over” in judgment is a welcome exception. When God established the yearly memorial of the Passover, He wanted His people to remember that they could’ve died were it not for His powerful intervention. This familiar story tells us four poignant truths.
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4/7/2019
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God’s Astonishing Servant
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
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Message Summary
Isaiah has been called the messianic prophet because of the number of his predictions about the coming Messiah. Of all the Old Testament writings that foretell Christ, Isaiah 52 and 53 are the pinnacle. They capture the person and work of Christ and atoning sacrifice with precision and clarity like no other text. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, His death was announced and detailed. Here Isaiah calls us to look on this servant and be astonished for six reasons.
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4/14/2019
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Cross Culture
Psalm 22
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Message Summary
We have already noticed how much the Bible speaks about blood and points to the cross of Christ. The apostle Paul even said, “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14). It’s as though the cross of Jesus Christ defines the very culture of Christianity itself. In Psalm 22, David points forward to Messiah’s great suffering and widespread rejection—and then His ultimate accomplishment.
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4/21/2019
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Bloodline
Skip Heitzig
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There are 6 additional messages in this series.