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The Red Rope of Rahab

Scripture: Joshua 6:1-27
Date: 01/28/1995 
Would you think first of Rahab as one of the great examples of faith in Scripture? Pastor Batchelor looks at the story of this woman who was in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. God has used people for good that we might look at with question.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

You noticed in our Scripture reading, talking about the relationship between faith and works, two people are mentioned as examples of this. We're not surprised to hear the example of Abraham. But if you were James and you were going to write about the great heroes of the Bible that were examples of faith and Christian deeds, would your second choice have been Rahab the harlot?

Think about that. Only two names are mentioned. Abraham— and a prostitute! Are you aware that when you go through the genealogies of Christ that Rahab was one of the ancestors of Jesus? Matter of fact, she was the great-grandmother of King David.

And you read in the book of Hebrews 11, where it chronicles the heroes of faith, verses 30 and 31: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days; by faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace."

Something else very interesting about this story which we are going to look at more closely: in Hebrews it says Rahab received the spies. When you go to James it says Rahab received the messengers that came from Joshua.

This is a Bible story that James and Paul and Jesus attached great significance to, so it deserves our attention.

Please turn with me to the book of Joshua. It talks about the children of Israel making their conquest of the Promised Land—finally inheriting the promise. Names mean something in the Bible, and I want us to remember the name Joshua is the same as the name Jesus. The Hebrew way to say Jesus is Joshua, and the Greek way to say Joshua is Jesus. They are the same name.

In the Old Testament there are two Joshua's that stand out. One of them, Joshua the son of Nun—nun was one of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet—Joshua the son of Nun was the General, the leader, who brought the children of Israel from the wilderness into the Promised Land. Jesus is our General, right? He brings us into the Promised Land.

The other Joshua in the Old Testament was the High Priest who brought the children of Israel from Babylon to the Promised Land. And Jesus is our High Priest. These two Old Testament characters were symbols of Christ in the New Testament.

Turn with me to Joshua chapter 2.

"Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, especially Jericho."

This is very interesting. Hadn't the children of Israel sent spies into the Promised Land a few years earlier? about 38 years earlier? Who was among those twelve spies that went on the first mission? Joshua.

He didn't go himself the second time—he sent representatives. They're getting ready to enter the Promised Land. Jesus came in person two thousand years ago, didn't He? Does He have messengers He's sending out in the last days before the trumpets blow and Jericho falls and we enter the Promised Land?

Does Revelation talk about seven trumpets blowing just before God's people enter the Promised Land? Very significant story, friends. Joshua is a symbol of who in this story? Jesus.

He sent messengers. Could he have gone himself? Yeah, he was a good spy! But he said, "No, I'm going to go through you—you are going to be my eyes."

And unlike the first spies that were sent out, he didn't say "go look at the whole Promised Land." He said "I just want you to look around Jericho and I don't want you to come back and report to everybody. I want you to come back and report to me."

He knew last time ten of the spies had lost faith and gave a evil report—and that's why they wandered forty years!

Why was Jericho so important? Jericho was the beach head battle for the Promised Land. Are you aware that Jericho still in existence today is probably one of the oldest cities in the world? It's one of the lowest cities in the world. Several hundred feet below sea level. It's been destroyed and rebuilt many, many times. One reason for its existence, it's located by a river and it's irrigated by the spring of Elisha. It's a place where there's an oasis. Another reason Jericho is so important is because God stationed the children of Israel in the Promised Land because geographically at that location they're at the crossroads of four continents. A lot of caravan traffic that went from Europe and Asia and India and Africa made its way through the Jordan Valley and right by the city of Jericho. A very wealthy city, a very strong city.

When Joshua and the 11 spies had looked through the Promised Land 38 years earlier, they noticed the walls of Jericho reached into heaven. A massive city.

Now he sends these spies out. They knew if they could conquer Jericho, they could take the Promised Land. Jericho is located right near the Jordan River—it's about a mile or two away from the river. Right across the Jordan River on the other side were 3 1/2 to 4 million Israelites. Do you think the people in Jericho knew what was happening on the other side of the river? Of course they did!

They'd heard about the battles that had taken place on the other side of the river where the Israelites had conquered these other pagan kings. They'd heard the stories of how God had parted the sea for them and delivered them from slavery in Egypt. They heard the story how God was daily—even to this very moment—miraculously feeding them with manna from heaven! That at night you could see a glowing pillar of fire rising from the middle of the camp of Israel! They could see this over the walls, across the river! 3 to 4 miles away!

Do you think the people in Jericho were a little uneasy? They knew that the designs of the Israelites was to occupy their land. They were very uneasy!

So everybody was walking on pins and needles in the city of Jericho with great anxiety and these two messengers that afternoon—dressed a little different from the people of Jericho—talking to each other in low tones with a little different accent, little different language—were recognized to be Israelites.

Joshua had told them to go view the land, especially Jericho; "so they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there." Now don't think the wrong thing! Don't think they got distracted from their real mission and went to the red-light district of Jericho!

You have to understand something a little sensitive about Bible times. In Bible times, especially in the pagan cultures—not so much in Israel—but in the pagan cultures, people who had their homes by the city gates—they had these big homes that were built right into the wall, right up to the roof—they were the city inn. They were owned by families.

Rahab owned one of the city inns that was right on the wall where wayfaring travelers would come. And back in Bible times, when they would come they would provide money, and for that money you gave them whatever services they needed—food, provender for the animals, and whatever other services were requested. That's how Rahab got that name. It was just a way of life for people in Bible times, that when you ran an inn to provide for your customers.

Now don't let that stun you. Jesus has some interesting people in His family tree! How many of you remember the story of Tamar? Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah. When her husband, Judah's son died, actually two of Judah's sons died who had been married to Tamar—Judah was going to give his third son to her when he grew up—but he though "She's got bad luck. Two of my sons married her and they're dead now. I'm not sure I want to give my youngest son to her"—which was the Bible custom back then. She knew he was denying her Biblical right to have children. She dressed up like a prostitute—seduced her father-in-law—and ended up giving birth to a set of twins. Which are great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents of Jesus!

Going into the New Testament, who among the New Testament disciples was the most devoted of Christ's followers? Mary Magdalene, who also had a reputation for being a prostitute.

One of the messages of the Bible Jesus tells us that He is in the business of taking people whose lives are dirty and messed up—and purifying them and putting them to work! The story of salvation is the story of how Christ takes somebody like Mary Magdalene and makes them like a virgin!

God can clean your life up!! He did it for Rahab! He did it for Tamar! He did it for Mary! He can do it for you and me! He makes sinners pure! Didn't Jesus say to the religious leaders of His day that the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you? They knew their wretchedness and needed a Saviour; they knew they were sick and needed a physician; whereas a lot of the scribes and Pharisees were trusting in their own righteousness.

So they came to the house of Rahab and lodged there. It was an inn. Now we don't know the names of these two spies, but I think I know the name of one of them. Salmon. Maybe because it's because Pastor Doug is a little bit of a romantic but I'll tell you my reasons later. We don't know the name of the other one—it could've been George. Good Bible name! (I'm kidding!)

"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." Now evidently when these two wayfaring strangers came into Rahab's Inn, some other customers there recognized them and she saw the look in their eye. They made a beeline for the king and she went up to them and provided a way for them to escape. So the king got word.

Now, who does the king of Jericho represent? If Joshua represents Jesus, who is the king of Jericho? The devil! Did he have messengers in Rahab's house? Does the devil have his people who are out spying on God's spies? There's a war going on! and central intelligence is very important.

"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." Satan knows when we come.

"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." Now she knew what was happening. I think she did this just before the messengers arrived from the king.

"And 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 I do not know; pursue them quickly for you may overtake them."

Do you realize that this is one of the acts for which Rahab is immortalized? Rahab lived in Jericho. Rahab was allied with that country. And when the king sent a messenger to her to bring out these spies, by her allying herself with the spies she was laying her life on the line. What made her do that?

I'll tell you in my understanding of how things developed. When you live by the city gate, and when you operate an inn, and when you entertain the caravans and travelers from the then civilized world, that's just like living next to the CNN News headquarters! back in Bible times. She knew what was going on! And Rahab was listening. And Rahab was really looking for the meaning of life and for truth. She knew about all the different religions of the world. She'd known so many different men and so many different people from so many different countries and so many different religions.

Then word started coming to her from the travelers about the God of Israel. Matter of fact, ever since she was born, she'd been hearing about how these Israelites had been saved from Egypt. How they'd been delivered miraculously. How water came out of a Rock. How they'd had victory in their battles in a miraculous way. How their God spoke to them from the mountain and gave them law written in stone with His own finger. How manna fell from heaven every morning. And all that is happening right across the river!

And in her heart she said "The religion of Jericho is pagan and stupid—sacrificing human lives, worshipping idols. That's the true God! They have the true God! Any God who can do that—who loves His people that much—that's the God I want to serve!"

And she had made a decision. She was looking for an opportunity to change gods. And when these spies came through, she had faith in their God and she began to demonstrate that faith by action. She was ready to lay her life on the line. Do you know what happened in Bible times when you were caught for treason? They didn't put you in jail where there is billiards and televisions and air conditioning. If you were caught for treason against your people in Bible times, they'd pluck out your eyes and cut off your tongue and cut off your hands and drag you half alive through the streets of the city as a traitor! That's what she was risking when she laid her life on the line!

Now you say you have faith? Prove it! Are you ready to lay your life down for Christ and His cause and His people?

When she received the messengers from Joshua into her house she was taking a great risk. When you decide to be a Christian, you are receiving the messengers from Jesus into your life. And it's more than just mental assent that that's the true God. You need to be willing to resist the king that you've been serving.

She had to make a choice— "who am I loyal to?" The king of Jericho is saying, Bring them out. My heart and my faith is saying, Protect them and save them. And she demonstrated what she believed by laying her life on the line.

I do not believe we are saved by works. I believe we are saved solely by grace through faith. That's on the record. But there is a lot of cheap ideas of what salvation is floating around. "All you've got to do is believe." "All you've got to do is say you love Jesus."

But I've got news for you. If you really believe; if you really love Jesus, it will be demonstrated in what you do. That's why James says "show me your faith without your works—I'll show you my faith by my works."

The devils believe and tremble. Even the devil says there is a God. Even the king of Jericho knew the God of Israel was bigger than he was. But he wasn't going to follow Him. That's the difference.

So the woman preserved the two men. I know we all are wondering, How can God bless Rahab—she lied. Did Rahab lie? Yes she did. And this is probably one of those places where you'd say all is fair in love and war. Any of you ever read in the Bible where King David found himself in the middle of a Philistine city, and the King Abimelech started to ask David questions, and David started to drool on his beard and foam at the mouth and crawl and claw against the walls, pretending he was mad? And Abimelech said "Get this crazy man out of here!" That's exactly what David was hoping he'd say!

Do you remember another similar story where Saul was trying to kill David, and he said to his daughter, David's wife Michael, "Bring him to me." She said "He's sick in bed." No he wasn't! Then she put an idol in the bed and covered it with goatskins and let David out the window to save his life!

Now I'm not giving you an excuse to lie. Lying is wrong in any situation. I'm just telling you the Bible record is a faithful record and even records the failings. Rahab was a harlot. She was making progress, right? She had some things to learn. At least she knew who the true God was! So she lied in trying to protect them! At least she was trying to serve the right God!

I've often thought, sometimes we use the wrong methods in trying to do the right thing. It's still better to try to do the right thing than use the right methods and do the wrong thing.

So she sent them out. She said "Where they went I don't know. Pursue them quickly for you'll overtake them." This lady was sharp. She could think on her feet! The guards didn't even search her house—you don't search a bordello! There could be a lot of politicians in there. You don't bother Rahab's house!

They ran out the gates to search, and shut the gates. Now there's no other way out. "But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof."

Now Rahab starts sounding something like that woman in Proverbs 31 who sets her flax in order. Rahab was industrious.

Flax was a plant that grew in Bible time; and the finer parts of the plant was used for making linen, a soft cloth. The coarser parts of the plant were woven together into twine and the twine was made into rope. That's very important to remember.

On the roof these men were hidden in amongst the rope and flax—which was to be made into clothing all over her roof—drying. I think she also did some dyeing up there. We find out later in the story that Rahab had some red rope on the roof. And she hid them there among the ropes. Two messengers hidden among the ropes.

"So the men (guards from Jericho) 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 does it look like there's any way out for the messengers who'd come to Rahab? They're on the roof; they're locked in the city; people are swarming the countryside looking for them now.

To whom must they trust their salvation? These two Israelites have to now trust their deliverance to a former prostitute who believes in their God.

What does a woman represent in the Bible? A church. Rahab in this story is a symbol of God's church. Have there been times in the history of God's church where she has been unfaithful? If you read in the book of Hosea chapter 2: "When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, Go take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord."

God's church, God's bride, unfortunately, has a history of being unfaithful to the Lord at times. If you are a Christian, when you were baptized you were married to Jesus. You make vows when you commit your life to Jesus. Have some of us forgotten our vows? Have some of us sometimes turned from Jesus? If you turn from Jesus and you start following the temptations of the devil deliberately, you are committing a form of spiritual adultery.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I'm trying to let you know that God's church has a record in the Bible—and in the present—of sometimes playing the harlot. You and I have done it. But the good news in this story is God can forgive and change someone like Rahab where she ends up not only being a mother in Israel, but a great great grandmother of Jesus!

Did you realize that while this whole story is taking place that Jesus was in Rahab? The Son of God—His DNA—was hiding somewhere in Rahab while all this was taking place! Kinda gives me chills to think about it!

Also in Salmon, who was one of the young spies that she delivered—who I think she later married. And then she and Salmon had a son whose name was Boaz, who then gave birth to Obed, who then gave birth to Jesse, who then gave birth to King David! That's in the book of Ruth, and also in the genealogies of Matthew.

Back to our story. Verse 8 she brings them up on the roof. Rahab has laid down her life to deliver God's people and she goes up to talk to them and tell them why.

And she says to them, in verse 9, "I know that the Lord has given you the land." Did she have faith in their 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 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 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 anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath."

Right there you have got the reason that Rahab was willing to lay down her life. She had faith in their God! How do we know she had faith? because she said so? or because she did so? Was she just talking the talk or was she walking the walk? She was ready to lay her life down for what she believed.

A faith that is not acted out in the life is no faith at all. If a person tells you they really have faith in your ability to fix their leaky roof, but they just let the roof leak and they never ask you to fix it, you wonder how much faith they have.

Faith is going to be demonstrated in your acting it out. Do you have faith in Jesus? The Bible says the reason Daniel was saved from the lions in the lions' den was because he believed in God. Daniel demonstrated his faith by not shutting his windows and not shutting his mouth, even when he knew he'd die for it. It's because he believed God.

"For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever" —let me say it another way— "that whosoever has faith in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Does that mean just believe that Jesus exists? or does it mean having the kind of faith where you can live it? Do you know what it means to "believe"? It means to be live —to live something. That's what it means to believe.

We are saved by faith which is demonstrated in "be-living" in Him. Not just talking about what you have a mental assent to —the devil believes that way.

She goes on to say, "Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, (not by my god; your God) since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a true token, (some sign) and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death."

We know that this city is going to be destroyed. We know you're going to be victorious. We want to change teams. We know we're on the losing team; we want to join your team.

It's interesting. Rahab did that very thing. She ended up becoming a mother in Israel, and an Israelite for all practical purposes. Was she just concerned with just her salvation? or was Rahab concerned with the salvation of her family and her brothers and her sisters?

This should be the characteristic of God's church. Now we all want to be saved. As soon as you say "Lord save me," the next prayer should be "Lord save my loved ones." In the Lord's prayer, we not only say "Give me this day my daily bread," but we say "Give us this day our daily bread."

A real Christian, a real church, is not just concerned with serving itself; we're concerned with saving the family. We are thinking about the salvation and deliverance of others.

And she said "Give me a sign."

"So the men answered her, Our lives for yours." Now these were messengers sent from Joshua, and who does Joshua represent? They said "our lives for yours." This is the story of the gospel. This is what Jesus says to you and me— "My life for yours."

I'm going to give My life for yours, the spies were saying to Rahab, because you laid your life down on the line to save us. We're going to go to Joshua in your behalf to save you.

Now did they have authority from Joshua to save anybody in Jericho? Were they putting their necks on the line by making promises to her?

You know why I think they knew they could do that? They knew Joshua, didn't they? They knew he was a just leader; he was merciful.

And so, in his behalf, they said, we will save you.

"Our lives for yours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that 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."

Isn't it interesting, they came in the door of faith, they went out the window of works. They went out a different way than where they came in.

I remember when I was living up in Covelo, we had bear problems at our house. We had a bear coming into the house, came in a window and broke out the window. It was eating all the dog food, chasing the dogs away. They weren't very good watch dogs!

And the old timers were saying, "You'll find something very interesting. A bear never goes out the house the same way they come in." They'll knock down the door, but they always go out a different way! They've got to break something else on the way out!

That doesn't fit into the sermon anywhere, but I knew you'd listen to it!!

"So she let them down by a rope through a 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." They're expecting you to head down to the river— go the opposite direction from where they're looking for you! You've got to out-think the devil, right?

"Head up to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days." How long was Jesus in the tomb? Three days. "Until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you can go your way. Then the men said to her, We will be blameless of this oath of yours that you have made us swear, unless when we come into the land, you bind this line."

What line were they talking about? She had just lowered a red rope out the window—a scarlet cord. It's the same rope we're talking about here. They hold it up to her.

They said, Unless this red line is hanging out of your window when we come, nobody in your house is going to be saved. We'll be blameless. You wanted a token? This will be the token. The rope by which you delivered us will be the same rope that will deliver you.

Now what do you think that red rope might represent? Do you remember in the Bible, there is another story— when the angel of judgment went through the land of Egypt, people needed to take some blood of a lamb and spread it by their door. And only those who were in the house that had the red blood on the door would be delivered. That was the token for the angel.

These messengers used the very same symbol. They said, "The only house that was going to be spared when we come to destroy this city is the house with the red rope. And its got to be in the window."

And only those in that house will be spared. I'm getting ahead. Let me read that to you.

"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 to your own home. So shall it 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."

If they are in the house, we are responsible to protect them. Now they represent the messengers of Jesus which are symbolized as angels. And they were saying "We will protect you in the judgment of Jericho and everybody in your house where the red rope is."

This is the story of salvation, friends.

You know the story. They marched around Jericho thirteen times. One time for six days; seven times on the seventh day. And then they blew the trumpets. And the walls fell.

Do you think there might've been a lot of people hiding out in houses in Jericho when the wall fell? What do you think? Was that enough to save them—to be in some house, somewhere? Or was it important to be in the right house when the walls came down?

Does it matter if we gather in God's house? Does it matter? Is it important to be in the right house at the right time? Absolutely. I suppose there may have been times when Rahab had to leave the house; but when Joshua came, she probably didn't go out the doors!

You know, friends, I'd like to stop here and touch on a very important point. You've heard me deal with this before. It's very important as we approach the end of time that we do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It's very important that you come to church. Did I make that clear?

When the Holy Spirit was poured out, don't you think those apostles were glad they were all in the right house? The Spirit didn't fall on every house in Jerusalem. It was a certain house; and they were gathered together praying when it happened.

Don't you think Thomas was sorry, when Jesus after rising from the dead, met with the apostles, that he decided to stay home that day? And don't you think, when the children of Israel were in Egypt and that angel of judgment went through, that they were glad they were in their homes with the blood on the door?

If you do not have enough faith to get you to church once a week, do you think you have enough faith to get you to heaven? We need to demonstrate a little faith by our works in coming to church. We want to be in the house when it happens. We miss a lot of blessings by not being gathered at the right place at the right time.

Go with me to verse 20: "And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from the oath which you made us swear." She was to hang the rope in the window, and keep it confidential.

"Then she said, According to your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed." And she bound the scarlet cord in the window as soon as they left. How long did she wait before she tied that rope permanently from her window? Did they leave and she said "Oh I can't wait to tell my family to come into my house?" or did she need to make sure the rope was there for her first before she went to tell other people?

Before you go barking to other people about how saved you are, you want to make sure you've got the red rope in your window! Then go get your family and your friends.

First thing she did, after she'd sent the messengers away, is she tied the rope in her window. And the Bible goes on to tell us

"Then they departed and went into the mountain." Now, I can't prove this from the Bible, but since they spent 3 days holed up in the mountain, I think Rahab made them a lunch before they left. Just gave them a little knapsack, and said "You're going to have to be up there a while" and made them a little lunch and lowered them down by the rope.

And I think in the time she was up on the roof in the twilight, that Salmon had a little twinkle in his eye when he looked at Rahab. I can't prove that! But I know he married Rahab. That's in the Bible. I just think he was one of the spies!

It says he was a young man, probably not married yet. And George, of course, doesn't fit into the story anywhere!

"Then they departed and went into the mountain and stayed there 3 days until the pursuers returned. And the pursuers sought them all along the way but did not find them. So the two men returned. They descended from the mountain and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all that had befallen them. And they said to Joshua, Surely the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us."

Now, here is a very important point. How did these spies know they were going to win the battle? Because the people in Jericho had lost heart. He did not say anything about how big the walls were. The spies did not come back and say anything about their fortifications or their armaments, or how many soldiers they had. They came back and said, "We're going to win! The Lord's going to give it to us because we have faith and they don't! They've lost faith, and they're going to lose!"

God said that once to His own people. He said "If you do not believe you can enter the Promised Land, then you can't, and you'll die in the wilderness."

We are saved by faith. But that faith will then be demonstrated by action. When David went to fight against Goliath, he said to the giant, "You come against me with a sword and a spear and a shield; but I come against you having faith in God!" But did David use a sword? Yeah. Did he use a sling? Sure. Did he have works that accompanied his faith?

If we are going to believe in God, that's important. But then we must demonstrate it. The people of Jericho lost the battle when they lost their heart.

Do you sometimes get discouraged? Do you get fainthearted? It's so important as a Christian that we not only have faith in God to get us to heaven, but we've got to have faith in God to get through the day sometimes. We become discouraged over little things. And when you start losing heart, you lose the battle.

Do not give up on God, no matter how bleak the circumstances may look. Because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Go with me quickly to the last part of the story. Joshua chapter 6, verse 17. They're getting ready to blow the trumpet, the wall is going to fall, everyone's going to be destroyed, but Joshua, who represents Christ, has some final word of counsel for them.

"Now the city shall be doomed (this is talking about when Jesus comes to the world) by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab (who is Rahab? the church) the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Rahab believed the messengers; she hid them in her house. Now do you know who is going to be ready when Jesus comes? When Christ was nailed to the cross, there were ribbons of blood that flowed from His body, just like a rope. And it's only those who are in Christ (the body of Christ) when Jesus comes back that will be spared that final destruction.

I believe we are saved by faith. I also believe we are saved by one work. Do you know what that work is? In your Bibles, John chapter 6 verses 28 and 29: "Then they said to Him (the Jews talking to Jesus), What shall we do that we may work the works of God? And Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom God has sent."

The single most important work that everybody must do. If someone tells you there is no work to do to be saved, they're lying to you. Jesus said Here is the work. You must choose to believe. This the work of God that you believe in the One He sent.

Back in 1937 they made an enormous Zeppelin. It was the Hindenburg, a great big airship. It didn't live very long, because it burned near its port in New Jersey. One time they were getting ready to launch it, and they had about 100 men on the ground with ropes, hanging onto the Zeppelin, trying to maneuver it into its hanger. They don't know exactly what happened. Something changed in the atmosphere, or there was an updraft, or something, but suddenly this enormous thing went up with tremendous force.

Some of the men, as soon as it started going up, said "I'm not going up with it" and they let go of the ropes, dropped to the ground and didn't get hurt. Some of them waited until they were fifty feet off the ground before they let go, and when they fell they broke their ankles and their legs.

Some of the men panicked and tightened their grip and kept going up with it until soon they couldn't hang on any more, let go; and some of them died. And it was really a tragedy, because as it went up, soon it began to hover and drift with the breeze, several hundred feet up. And the people on the ground saw those men who had hung on too long couldn't stay on and dropping off and dying.

Except for one man, who kept hanging on and hanging on and hanging on. And they kept wondering how much longer can he go. They chased the airship for awhile, and it began to cool off and naturally got lower and lower. They found that the man was tied to the rope. They said "How did you survive for so long?" He said "Once it took off, I tightened my grip. It kept going up higher and I kept hanging on tighter. Then I realized I can't hold on forever." He had strong arms and evidently held on with one arm while he took his free arm and wrapped the rope around him and tied a primitive knot. He said "For the last three hours I was just hanging up there trusting the rope and enjoying the scenery!"

Rahab's red rope is a symbol of faith. That red rope is a symbol of the blood of Christ. And when they were lowered from that window, do you think they had to trust that red rope?

You and I can't get to heaven trusting in what we've done. We've got to have faith in the rope—the blood of Christ that saves us and lowers us to safety. This is the one thing that's going to make the difference for everybody here. We've got to receive the messengers that come from Joshua, like Rahab. We've got to tie the rope in our window. We've got to tell our friends and family to get into the house, because Joshua is coming back with an army and we want to have the rope in our window when He comes.

If that's your prayer, then turn with me to our closing hymn "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood."

There is a fountain filled with blood

drawn from Emmanuel's veins

and sinners plunged beneath the flood

lose all their guilty stains.

Before we sing the third verse, I'd like to just ask you if some of you have recognized the importance of gathering in Rahab's house. Rahab's house must have been a place with a lot of different things going on. Lot of strange people coming in and out. But that was going to be a house of salvation. It's a symbol of the church. Not everybody in the church is perfect, but we need to be in the right place at the right time when Joshua comes.

And if you recognize the importance of being committed, not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and all the more as we see that day approaching, would you lift your hands right now and say "Lord, help me to be faithful in coming to church."

The dying Lamb, Thy precious blood

shall never lose its power

till all the ransomed church of God

are saved to sin no more.

Before we sing our final verse together, I always like to offer a moment for people to respond to Jesus. That red rope represents the blood of Christ that's poured out that you and I might be delivered.

If you've never made a decision to accept Jesus as your Lord, don't worry about what you're going to do tomorrow—you've got to start where you are and say "Lord, I want to give you my life. Help me know what to do."

If you want to make that decision, to ask Him to forgive your sins, to prepare you for His coming, then we want to pray with you at the end of this service. I'd like to encourage you to come to the front while we are singing the last verse. If there's some of you maybe who made that decision once but you've lost your commitment—you've lost your first love, and you want to renew that, I invite you to come too, as we sing our final verse together.

There is a nobler, sweeter song

I'll sing Thy power to save

when this poor lisping stammering tongue

is ransomed from the grave.

I want to praise the Lord for His presence here today. Let's bow our heads together.

Father in heaven,

Lord this is such a wonderful story in Your Word.

The story of Rahab, the story of faith that's demonstrated

by laying our lives on the line.

Help us to have this kind of faith.

Help us Lord to believe that you are the God who is coming soon

and make preparation by having that red rope in our window

representing that we are accepting the sacrifice of Jesus.

I pray Lord, like Rahab, we'll receive the messengers

who come from Joshua into our hearts and into our homes

and we'll act upon that message.

I also pray Lord that You'll pour Your Spirit out on this church.

That we will be a people who will be motivated

to share the good news with our friends.

Not only to be committed to church attendance

but bringing our friends into Your house to hear Your Word.

Please bless those who responded this morning.

Fill their hearts with Your Spirit and help them know they can be

accepted and forgiven and ready when Jesus comes and the trumpets blow.

Please meet with us now.

Fill our hearts with Your Spirit and as we go from this place

we pray that we'll always know that You are always with us

as You promised.

In Jesus' name we ask

Amen.

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