sermon preached on Friday 04 -06 - 2010
If you could change something about yourself what would it be? Would you want to be taller, shorter, thinner, lighter, heavier, leaner, more hair, less hair, less freckles etc? Did you know that YHWH does want to change certain things about you? And it is not so much about what is on the outside; it is not the colour of your eyes, or the size of your feet, no – He wants to change what is on the inside. He wants our lives to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in order that we may know His good, pleasing and perfect will amen! He does not want us to be conformed to the pattern of the world – and what typically is that world pattern? It’s all about me! That is not what He wants – it is not all about you, He wants His Word to transform us – to transform our selfishness into selflessness – He wants us to turn our habit of worrying into a routine of trusting! We need to learn how to trust YHWH. Tonight I want us to look at the kind of faith that truly transforms – how faith in the true Living Elohim can bring about huge change. In order to do this I would like us to learn from the story of Rahab, for she certainly represents us who have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of Elohim, yet through faith in Him He works it all out for our good – for us who are called according to His purposes in Messiah, amen! In Joshua 2 we can learn a great deal from the extraordinary faith of Rahab – the kind of faith that got her listed in Hebrews 11 with Abraham and other great men of faith. She was, like Abraham, considered righteous for what she did in exercising her faith in YHWH.
Please turn with me to Joshua 2 and let us read: (Read)
I love the book of Joshua, it is such a great testimony of faith in YHWH that works, and is always an encouraging book to read that certainly stirs one’s faith. Today we are living in perilous times, certainly crime is reaching new levels and increasing daily; moral values have slumped to an all time low – pretty much like the days of Noah – Yahshua said that the end days will be as terrible as in the days of Noah – and I think we can all agree that the days are evil, and people have certainly become lovers of themselves rather than lovers of YHWH. So what does this have to do with the story of Rahab?
Rahab is a great example for us today on what true saving faith brings about, no matter what we face or the trials that may lie ahead.
Joshua is a great book for us to learn from as to how, even in the life of Joshua, YHWH used the pressures of slavery in Egypt, the humility of serving under Moses and the exposure to YHWH personally to mould him into the man who would lead Israel out of the Wilderness into the Promised Land. YHWH does the same with each of us today:
When we go through difficulties and face trials that don’t seem to make sense, we must realise that this is the very time that YHWH is doing His deepest work in us and like James tells us – we ought to rejoice! When it seems like the bottom of your world is falling apart – have reason to rejoice as YHWH is at work. Trials drive us to our knees in prayer as we are reminded of our absolute dependency upon YHWH. No matter what we go through – He can and will work it out for our benefit, even though it is hard to see it at the time. Just think about Joshua – when he was a slave in Egypt – do you think he thought about how YHWH would use this experience in the future?
As we look at the story of Rahab we see a woman who despite knowing what was about to take place – acted completely different than all the others in Jericho – she believed in the Living Elohim! She didn’t know much about YHWH – she certainly would not have known the Torah! Another example that the Torah does not save you, but it is salvation by grace through faith in the Living Elohim! She would have heard stories of what YHWH had done and that was enough to put her trust in Him! We too should learn from this!!! To fear Him is where it all begins!
Her fear and knowledge (although limited at the time) of YHWH, caused her to trust in YHWH, not run from Him!
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
She may not have understood all about YHWH yet she trusted Him enough to submit to Him:
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in YHWH with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, and in all your ways acknowledge Him.”
All too often we see that we only want to trust in YHWH as long as we understand! When we don’t understand we easily distrust and it should not be like that – Rahab shows us that – that even with limited understanding of YHWH – little knowledge of the Holy One can bring us to a place of total trust in Him. Praise YHWH that He has given us His Word that tells us all about Him and by hearing His very Word will produce faith in Him.
Let us look at Rahab’s faith, perhaps better broken down for us into four categories or descriptions of her bold faith:
1 - COURAGEOUS FAITH
Hebrews 11:31 “By faith, Rahab the whore did not perish with those who did not believe, having received the spies with peace.”
James 2:25 “In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them of in a different direction?”
These two verses from the N.T. tell us that Rahab put her faith in YHWH when she welcomed the spies. She demonstrated faith similar, in essence, to the people in Thessalonica that Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, who had turned from serving their own idols to serve the True Living Elohim, unlike the people of Samaria who, centuries later, “feared YHWH and at the same time served their own ‘gods’ (2 Kings 17:33) – Mixed worship or mixing the true with the false is called compromise! Many today are compromising their worship – they say they fear YHWH yet they are still serving their own desires and whims and they want to worship YHWH their way and not His!!! Rahab was not compromised as she certainly displayed courageous faith. It takes great courage today to worship YHWH in Spirit and in Truth.
Courage, according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary is: “the mean, mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger or hardship”. It implies “firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty”.
Faith as we know from the Bible in Hebrews is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”.
So then ‘courageous faith’ could be described as “Having the mental and moral strength to resist opposition and having firmness of mind and will in the face of extreme difficulties, by being sure of the hope we have in Messiah and the certainty that although we do not see Him He fights for us and He has already won the battle for us and we can claim the victory that is ours.” It is this kind of faith we need in today’s battles.
Rahab displayed courageous faith as the spies divinely land up at her door, letting them in and hiding them. She risked her life and demonstrated her faith in YHWH – her actions were proof that she believed in YHWH! This story is also a remarkable one in which we clearly see how YHWH in His grace can and will use people that we may not necessarily think he would.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 “But Elohim chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; Elohim chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.”
YHWH will use you when you live out your faith courageously for Him, despite your past, despite your position, despite your nationality or status, despite your limited knowledge – he is constantly looking to and fro for hearts that will be courageous in the faith in Him. Will you risk your life in living out courageous faith that does not mix worship and so compromise your faith?
2 – CONFIDENT FAITH
As I have said in the past, faith is only as good as its object. Some people have faith in faith, thinking that just by believing hard enough they can make things happen. Others put their faith in lies, which is simply called superstition. In Jeremiah 16:19 we see how he cries out and says that in the day of distress, speaking of the time of the end, people from all nations will come and say that our fathers have inherited lies. Many are putting their faith in the centuries of lies inherited by our fathers of the past, and we need to repent and return to the true Living Word and put out faith in YHWH and His Word instead of the traditions of men that has twisted the truth of how we live to worship YHWH.
True saving faith involves the ‘whole personality’ of a person: That is that the (1) mind is instructed; (2) the emotions are stirred and (3) the will then acts in obedience to the Torah of YHWH – Obedience to His Instructions. You see keeping His instructions doesn’t save you – it is because we are saved that our confident faith causes us to live in total obedience, yes total obedience!
In Hebrews 11:7 it says that “By Faith Noah, being warned of things not yet seen (his intellect/mind), moved with fear (his emotions) and prepared an ark (his will/actions).
Rahab displayed this kind of faith too – She knew that YHWH was the True Living Elohim (mind); she feared for herself and her family when she heard about the great wonders YHWH had performed (emotions) and she received the spies and pleaded for the salvation of her family (will).
What we must understand is that unless the whole personality is involved, it is not saving faith as Scripture describes!
We must also realise that the mind does not have to be fully instructed in every aspect of Scriptural Truth before a sinner can be saved. If we just look at the woman who was bleeding for 12 years – touching the hem of Yahshua – touching His Tzit-tzit for there is healing in His wings – she simply acted on the little knowledge she had heard of Him and her faith was stirred to action that led to deliverance!
Rahab’s knowledge of YHWH was not much; she would have grown in knowledge as she heard the stories of all who had come and stayed at her inn. She acted on what she knew and YHWH saved her. Rahab showed more faith than the ten spies who, 40 years before, had brought back a negative report to Moses, when she said, “I know that YHWH has given you the land.” Her faith was based on facts and not just on feelings as she had heard of the miracles YHWH had performed starting with the parting of the Red Sea. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Elohim – Rahab had heard the Word of Elohim and believed! She was confident in her faith in YHWH. The report of YHWH had travelled to Canaan and the people were afraid; and this is exactly what Israel expected to happen as YHWH always keeps His Word. He said in Exodus 15:14-16 that the nations would hear and tremble and that Canaan would melt away and terror and dread would fall upon them. YHWH is faithful to His Word! He told Israel in Deuteronomy 2:25 that from that day He would put terror and fear of them under all the nations under heaven. They would hear reports and would tremble! Jericho was certainly trembling. Rahab confirmed this in verse 11 and declares by faith that YHWH alone is Elohim in the heavens above and the earth beneath. This was a great confession by a woman whose life had been imprisoned by pagan idolatry. She believed in the One Elohim and not in the multitudes of false ‘gods’ that was being worshipped. She declared by faith YHWH alone is Elohim. She believed that YHWH was a personal Elohim when she said to the spies, “your Elohim”, and understood that YHWH, a personal Elohim would work on behalf of those who trusted in Him. And so now she too put her trust and faith in the One True Living Elohim – YHWH the Elohim of heaven and earth.
The confidence that we have as children of the Most High comes from the witness of the Word before us and the witness of His Spirit within us. However, salvation is not simply based on what we know from Scriptures or how we feel in our hearts, but is also based on how we live – for if there is no change in one’s behaviour then they may not be truly born again.
Even the demons believe that He exists – we are to allow the Word change our lives, to transform our thinking and live to please YHWH. Without faith we cannot please Him and anything done without faith is sin and in 1 John 5:17 it says that all unrighteousness is sin. What is sin again? It is ‘missing the mark’ – it is separation from Elohim. Torah is ‘aiming in the right direction and walking in it’ – Walking in Torah is the opposite to walking in sin. Deuteronomy 6:25 it tells us that if we are careful to obey His commands before Him as He has commanded us to, that will be our righteousness. Praise Yahshua that we have become the righteousness of Elohim through Messiah and now as we walk in Him we too walk in righteousness by faith, obey all He commands us to, not to be saved, but because He has saved us, amen!
James 2:14-16 “My brothers, what use is it for anyone to say he has faith but does not have works? This faith is unable to save him. 15 And if a brother or sister is naked and in need of daily food, but one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” 16 but you do not give them bodily needs, what use is it? 17So also faith, if it does not have works, is in itself dead.”
We must possess faith that works, amen! It is not enough to simply say, “Lord, Lord” or “Adonai, Adonai” or “Master, Master” – we must obey what He tells us to do! Many will come and call out to Yahshua by a title, having done all sorts of wonderful things – casting out demons, performing miracles, prophesying etc and He will tell them He does not know them and those who work lawlessness must depart from Him. Our faith must be an obedient faith, obedient to His very Word that stays the same forever!
Rahab’s obedience was evident of a changed life – and this was an act of grace – she was like the rest of Jericho who were destined to die, because Israel was about to destroy them. Rahab was a gentile, one who was outside of the covenant shown to Israel and here by grace through faith she was grafted in and brought near. She didn’t deserve to be saved, but YHWH had mercy on her.
This is a wonderful example to us of the awesome grace and mercy of YHWH toward all who put their faith in Him:
Ephesians 2:11-13 “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) — 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without Elohim in the world. 13 But now in Messiah Yahshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah.”
Rahab truly experienced what Paul writes about in Ephesians 2, being made alive in Messiah and becoming One, being grafted in to the covenants (plural)of promise. Praise YHWH that we may possess and approach Him with confident faith through the blood of Messiah.
3 – CONCERNED FAITH
Rahab wasn’t just looking out for self; she was not only interested in her own welfare; because once she personally experienced the grace and mercy of YHWH she was burdened to rescue her family from what was coming! When you experience YHWH’s grace and mercy, you cannot but help reaching out for others to experience it too. When Andrew met Yahshua he went immediately and called his brother Simon to come and meet Yahshua (John 1:35-42). The leper who was cleansed went home and told everybody he net what Yahshua had done for him (Mark 1:40-45).
Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
Do you have a concerned faith – a faith that is concerned about others coming to the knowledge of our Saviour Messiah Yahshua? Rahab wanted assurance that when the city was taken she would be safe and the two spies gave her the assurance she would be safe by pledging their lives for hers – they became surety for Rahab.
What a wonderful picture here how Yahshua has become our surety – the guarantee of a better covenant. He died for us to take away the punishment for our sins, and now lives that we may live forever – we have eternal surety in Messiah, who is able to save all who come to YHWH through Him, for Yahshua always lives to intercede for us!
Rahab was not permitted to speak to anyone other than her relatives, otherwise the agreement would be cancelled. Today we as believers are to make known to everybody the price that Yahshua has paid – that redemption price –paid with His very own Blood so that all who call on His name shall be saved. In contrast if Rahab talked too much, her life was in danger, whereas today if we do not talk enough, the lives of many around us are in danger of destruction and death! I want to ask you – do you posses concerned faith for others? Or are you happy to save you own butt? We need to proclaim the Good News and tell as many as we come in to contact with. The days are coming when the wrath of Elohim will be poured out and we must tell others to come into the ‘house/family of YHWH’ – the house/family/people that is covered by the Blood Covenant of Messiah Yahshua!
4 – COVENANT FAITH
A covenant is an agreement or contract between two or more parties, with conditions laid down for all parties to obey. The Covenants in Scripture were given a sign or token to remind the people of what had been promised. The Covenant with Noah was marked by a rainbow; the Covenant of salvation by grace with Abraham was sealed in circumcision, which today is circumcision of the heart through immersion/baptism into water. At Mount Sinai the Book of the Covenant and the people were sprinkled with blood, and Yahshua at the Passover Meal took the Bread and broke it and took the Cup as tokens or the Renewed Covenant, that through His Blood we have now been brought near to the covenants (plural) of the promise.
Rahab was instructed to hang a scarlet thread or cord/ rope in the window, identifying the ‘house of safety’ when the army of Israel would come attack. Scarlet reminds us of Blood, like the blood on the doorposts of the houses in Egypt that the angel of death would pass over, and here the scarlet cord marked the house that would be protected from destruction. Rahab let the men down by that scarlet cord and left it in her window as the sign of the covenant she asked for by faith. Rahab and her family were saved by faith in YHWH, and the fact that she hung the scarlet cord out of her window proved her faith in YHWH.
She was a woman of courage who had to tell all her relatives about the coming judgement and the promise of salvation for all who accept it. This was a dangerous thing to do, and she certainly put her life on the line for the sake of others.
This should encourage us today to not be ashamed of the Good News, to speak the Truth in Love, without fear of rejection. Some may listen, others may not, but as YHWH told Ezekiel to speak to Israel, whether they hear or whether they refuse, so too must we speak, amen! We have a secure covenant with YHWH in Messiah Yahshua and we have the responsibility to plant and water – to share the Good News.
Rahab was listed in Hebrews 11 in what you could call the ‘Faith hall of fame’. YHWH could use Rahab to great effect. Her life changed – from being a prostitute destined for destruction, by faith she believed in the true living Elohim who heard her cry and she was grafted in to Israel, was married to Salmon from Judah and so became one who was named in the lineage of the Messiah!
The lessons we can learn from Rahab is that she believed the news of YHWH’s wrath – do we believe that a time of tribulation is upon us? Rahab realised that YHWH was the only true and great Elohim – there was no other, and knowledge of her sin in the face of the truth caused her to repent and be saved by faith, and in so doing she interceded for her family. A true believer intercedes and petitions YHWH for others. Rahab obeyed the instructions she received, which marked her faith; we too must obey the very instructions (Torah) of Elohim given to us in His Word, written by His Spirit on the hearts of those who believe. You see, His Word is no longer on stone, but now written on the hearts of all who receive Him as Saviour, having the Spirit come and write on our hearts His Word. She then trusted in the promise given, and so she was given the assurance of her faith, she received deliverance from destruction and death; she received a place amoung the people of Elohim and the honour of being included in the line of Messiah.
We live in perilous times and yes there lies ahead days that will be similar to the days of Noah. The question is, will we be a people that just carries on as normal and ignores living true to the Word or will we be like Noah who faithfully proclaimed righteousness, which is living in obedience to YHWH by faith equipped by His grace?
Will we be like Rahab, who despite our past, accept by faith the joy and freedom of walking in obedience to His instructions and in doing so, tell others that they too may come into the House of Israel covered by the Blood of Yahshua and so escape the destruction that is coming to those who do not believe.
Rahab reminds us that it is what we do that demonstrates the reality of our faith. What are you doing as you daily live to demonstrate your faith in YHWH?
Is your faith courageous, confident, concerned for others and established in His everlasting Covenant?
It is never enough to believe that YHWH exists. That knowledge can terrorize as well as transform. The issue is, what will we do with our knowledge of YHWH our Elohim? Rahab made the right choice: she would turn to Him and trust Him. We need to help others who say “I believe” and see that “believing” is not faith until it becomes a personal commitment.
Be encouraged by the account of Rahab and don’t look back to your past but step in by faith into the promises of YHWH and start proclaiming His Kingdom rule right here right now. Be challenged to bring others into the fullness of the knowledge of YHWH as you hear the Truth, learn the Truth and live the Truth, amen!
Rahab’s faith was marked by scarlet – what about yours? Do people see the testimony of the Blood of Yahshua in your life?
I charge you all to live obediently unto YHWH, for this is love for Him; that we obey His commands and they are not burdensome. Let us be guided by the Yoke of Yahshua, His very Word and be marked by Him in the way we live, the way we love and the way we laugh, as we confidently and courageously declare praise to His name and shine His light in this dark world. I asked at the beginning that if you could change anything about yourself what it would be. May the story of Rahab cause your heart to faithfully be devoted to the Word of YHWH being transformed daily into His image.