THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-3-00
LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH ACCEPTS THE EVIDENCE AND MAKES APPLICATION
Let me welcome you this Lord's day morning, to the Living Word Program. As always, it is an honor to have you with us today for this time of offering to God. It will again be our privilege today, to come together on this program and to exalt our almighty God, through participating in those things which bring honor and glory to His name. It is my prayer that we each do our part to make this sacrifice acceptable in His sight. Now let's approach His throne in prayer!
We all have so much to be thankful for in this life. It seems that God just continues to bless us more and more as we strive to do His Will. In our song books, there are many songs that deal with the great blessings which come from God. So, this morning we want to begin with an old hymn, which reminds us of this very thing. At this time, won't you join in and follow along with the words, as we sing together, "When Upon Life's Billows."
(SONG # 1)
It seems like everything in this life that is worthwhile costs something. In fact, almost any store you go in you will find something that you are interested in buying and the items always have a price on them.
However, I would like to remind you this morning that there are some things in this life that are free! Many of these things are not tangible or something we can hold in our hand, but they are just as important because they deal with how we react to others and how they react to us.
When was the last time you went shopping and someone gave you a big smile at the checkout? Now, what was your response to the smile? Most likely you smiled back. Or how many times have you gone somewhere, you are in a good mood and inevitably your smile and happiness has an affect on others you come in contact with?
Isn't it neat how contagious our attitude can be to others. Any of us can go into a place with a happy disposition and we can cause everyone we interact with to feel better or to feel happy about the interaction we had with them.
I know we have all been somewhere before when Mr. or Mrs. Sunshine came in the room and everyone was made better or happy from their positive attitude. I know I have this feeling a lot with my children. After a long, busy or hard day, I can come home and the smiles and the non-sense of my children can put a grin on my face before I realize it.
On the other hand, there is another side to this discussion. In the same way we can have a good and positive effect on others, some choose to have a bad or a negative effect on others. For example, we have all been in situations where we were having a good time or a pretty good day and Mr. or Mrs. Grumpy comes in and spoils the mood. You see, we each play a big part in how others feel in this life and ultimately we are also perceived as being good or bad through the things that we do and say.
I like what is said in Proverbs 12:25, "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. Good words, cheerful thoughts, and kind actions, these are the things which will truly bring happiness and gladness in this life. And remember that God said we must be good, inside and out, because Solomon also said, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If we act like Christ and show a positive and happy disposition in this life, then people will know that is truly who we are inside. However, if we show a negative and ugly attitude all of the time, people will also know who we truly are inside.
So who do you choose to be like, God or man? Will you choose to have a good and positive effect on others in this life? Or will you choose to bring everyone down with you? The choice is yours, will you do it your way or God's?
Today, we will again focus on the great subject - Faith. Our specific topic this morning will be, "A Living Faith Accepts the Evidence and Makes Application." After our next song together, Brother Greely Kirkpatrick - minister for the Sparta Church of Christ - will lead us in this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "Blest Be The Tie That Binds."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Greely Kirkpatrick
Good morning! Joshua, chapter 2, relates a story to us about a woman named Rahab. Perhaps you are familiar with her and with her story, how she lived in the city of Jericho, received the two spies sent out by Joshua, hid them and then later did what they asked her to do and her and her family were saved. You may be familiar with that story but you may not be familiar with the fact that some people don't believe that Rahab was a harlot. One noted Bible scholar, for example, says that the Hebrew word translated harlot can also be translated innkeeper. Let me read a quote from him. "It's most likely that Rahab was a single woman or a widow who got her bread honestly by keeping a house of entertainment for strangers."
Now some people will accept this answer because it makes it easier to explain how Rahab is found to be in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1. We know that she later did marry an Israelite named Salmon and became the mother of Boaz. She's also listed in Hebrews chapter 11, a chapter that some people have called God's hall of fame of faith. Hebrews 11, verse 31 says, By faith, Rahab the harlot was not destroyed with those who did not believe or those who disobeyed, but rather she had received the spies with feasts.
Also James commends Rahab in James 2 and verse 25, saying that she was justified by works, meaning that her faith evidenced itself. It demonstrated itself by doing what those spies had asked her to do. To say that she was a harlot seems too disgraceful for some to believe, and so they distort the story. But conjecture and speculation do not alter facts. Rahab was a harlot. She was saved by the grace of God through faith. And her faith evidenced itself, demonstrated itself in good deeds, in good works by doing what those spies had commanded.
This morning, from Joshua chapter 2, I want us to see how a woman could go from the hall of shame to the hall of fame. The wonderful change that we see in Rahab was brought about by the awesome transforming power of God.
Someone has said that, "Nature forms us. Sin deforms us. Prison reforms us. Education informs us. But only God's power can transform us." And that's what I want us to notice this morning as we look at the story, the life of Rahab from Joshua chapter 2.
Let's notice first of all that the providence of God confronted her. I'm going to read from Joshua 2 beginning in verse 1 through verse 7. Now Joshua the son of none sent out two men from Acaciagrove 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. It was told the king of Jericho saying, Behold, men have come 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 so she said yes, the men came to me but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, she said, I do not know. Pursue them quickly for you may overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flacks which she had 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. That's Joshua 1 through 7.
Now let's think about the providence of God that confronted this woman. Here is Joshua and he decides to send out two spies. He wants them to go into the land to check out perhaps the dimensions of the city of Jericho, the inhabitants, and those men end up where? Why, they end up in Rahab's house. Do you think that was a coincidence? Do you think they just ended up there by accident, by happenstance. I don't believe so. I believe it was the providence of God. You see, God intended that these two men find Rahab at her house and they did. Now, would you think that Rahab would be interested in God? Remember, she was a harlot. We would say today, prostitute. And she probably had a certain look about her. Today, sometimes you see in larger cities you see women that are harlots or prostitutes and they are easily recognizable. Perhaps, she had a hard, harsh look, but there was something deep inside Rahab. There was a longing there to know God. There was a yearning for God. And so here was a woman who outwardly might appear not interested but indeed was interested in God. And I appreciate the fact that Rahab had such an attitude.
You see the same God that brought these two spies to Rahab's house was the God that brought the evangelist Phillip to the Ethiopian eunuch. Recall how in Acts chapter 8 that Eunuch had been to Jerusalem, was returning, and the spirit of God speaks with Phillip and he speaks to the eunuch and the Bible says he preached into him, Jesus. And what did this eunuch do? He responded to the truth about Jesus. He rendered obedience to the gospel. And he was transformed by the awesome power of God, saved by the grace of God.
This same God that brought these two men to the house of Rahab also was the one who brought the apostle Peter to the household of Cornelius. Acts chapter 10, the first gentile convert to Christ. Cornelius had a good heart also. And the Bible says that Peter preached the gospel to him and he and his house were saved. They were changed. They were transformed by the power of God.
The same God that brought these two men to the house of Rahab also brought His son Jesus to speak with a woman at Jacob's well, near the city of Samaria. And it's interesting to read John chapter 4 and see this woman's faith as it progresses and finally Jesus tells her that He is the Christ, and she is changed. She's transformed by the power of God.
My friends, God can change you and me. He can transform us. One wonders by the providence of God, how many times He has sent someone into your life or my life trying to lead us to His son, to teach us more about Jesus and the salvation that's in Him.
So first of all, we see the providence of God confronted Rahab. Now second, let's see the evidence that convicted her. And this is Joshua 2, verses 8 through 11. Now therefore, they laid down, and before they laid down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, now 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 are fainthearted 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 Ammorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og whom you utterly destroyed and as soon as we had heard these things our hearts melted. Neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Now we've seen the providence of God that confronted Rahab and now we've seen the evidence that is convicting her. Let me ask you, I wonder why she thought what she thought. Why did she come to the conclusion that her city, Jericho, was doomed? Why did she believe that the Israelites were going to come into her land and take her city? Why did she believe that there was going to be a swift and sure destruction? She had not heard any sermons on that, had she? Obviously not. But the Bible says that because of the mighty acts of God, she believed that her city and her people were doomed. She knew that because of what God had done and she speaks in verse 11 and says, Your God, notice, your God, He's a God of heaven above and of earth beneath. And then she said, Because of what your God has done for you and through you, the hearts of our people melted. Our strength just wasted away when we learned of the things that God had done. You people have something going for you. We do not have.
Let me ask you this morning as I also ask myself. What is it about you that makes people think that you belong to Him? What is it about your life that cannot be explained outside of the power of God? What is it that would make people say about you or me, I know that God is with him or God is with her? Do you live a transformed life? Christians not only are to preach and teach the truth, but we are to be a part of the evidence of the truth. I believe that some of the greatest sermons preached have not been in pulpits. But rather they have been in the lives of people. Not preached from the pulpit on Sunday, but lived out in the lives of others on Monday.
There's a little poem I like. It says,
You are writing a book,
A chapter a day,
By the deeds you do,
And the words you say.
Men read what you write
whether faithless or true,
Say, what is the gospel
according to you?
What makes a difference in your life? Can people look at you and say, "He or she is living a transformed life? There's something different. There's something distinctive about their life. How do you live at home? How do you live at work? Young people, how do you live at school? How do you live on the playground in recreation times?
Two questions in Acts chapter 2 can help to change our lives. One is the people ask, What does this mean? Recall in Acts chapter 2 that the Holy Spirit had come upon the apostles and He had come, the spirit had come like a mighty rushing wind, that had gotten everybody's attention and He baptized the apostles. There was fire like of cloathen tongues, the Bible says. This was established and broadcast abroad and people came and they wondered, "What does this mean?" That was the first question. And then, Peter tells them about Christ and about Jesus and about what they had done in crucifying Him, how He was both Lord and Christ and they asked another question. Verse 37 of chapter 2, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Here are two questions. First of all, what does this mean? And secondly, what shall we do? I wonder sometimes if we don't get the horse before the cart and we want people to ask, what shall I do before they ask, what does this mean? In other words, when people look at me and you and say, "He's different. She's distinctive. What does this mean?" Because if we can get them to ask first, what does this mean? Then, it won't be too long hopefully that they'll ask what shall I do? And you'll be able to share with them the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, how God loves us and sent His only begotten son to die for us. He was buried, arose from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins.
So we've seen first of all the providence of God that confronted her. And then second, the evidence that convicted her and now third, the faith that converted her. Beginning in verse 12, Now therefore I beg you, swear to me by the Lord since I have shown you kindness that you will also show it to my father's house and give me a true token and spare my father and my mother, my brothers and my sisters and all that they have and deliver our lives from death. So the men answered her and said, Our lives for yours if none of you tell this business of ours and it shall be when the Lord has given us the land that we'll 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 and she dwelt on the wall. And she said to them, get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you, hide there three days until they, 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 that you have made us swear unless when we come to the land, you bind this line of scarlet in the window through which you have let us down, and unless you bring your father, and your mother, your brothers and all your father's household to our own home. So it shall be that whosoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his head and we will be guiltless. Whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on his head if a hand is laid on him.
Here then is the faith that converts Rahab. Hebrews 11 and verse 31, By faith, Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, having received the spies with peace.
There's a scarlet thread, the King James says. The New King James said, a scarlet cord. That same cord that she let the spies down through the window, and I wonder if that scarlet, that color red, brought to mind the Passover and how their people in the past were saved by the blood put over that door from the death angel.
I remember teaching a Bible class one time and I said, "There's a scarlet thread that runs through the Bible." And one of the students started thumbing through their Bible and I said, "What are you doing?" They said they were looking for that scarlet thread. And of course I was speaking figuratively of the blood, red, the blood of Christ, the blood that you read about in Genesis, the blood that you read about in Revelation. There's blood all through the Bible. And that scarlet cord reminds me that Jesus is our Passover, 1 Corinthians 5 and verse 7, that one is saved by the blood of Christ. One must be under Christ's blood. And the Bible teaches that such is possible by faith. When our faith leads us to render obedience to the good news of Jesus, turning from our sins in repentance, trusting of course, wholeheartedly in Jesus and in His blood to save, turning away from sin wholeheartedly in repentance, confessing that we believe that Jesus is the son of God, being united with Him in baptism. What a wonderful way God has for us to save us.
Where do you stand this morning in His sight?
(SONG # 3 - "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary!")
It was great to have you with us today. Thanks again for being with us as we committed this time to God. Let me invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, for the Living Word Program.
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May we all learn to have a greater faith that accepts the realities in this life, and which then reacts appropriately to bring glory to God.