"A Sinner Like Me"

17/01/2016 13:33

LISTEN TO THIS MESSAGE

Text:  Joshua 2

Title:  To Save a Poor Sinner Like Me

 

Introduction:  

Charles Butler - "A Sinner Like Me"

 

1.    I was once far away from the Savior,
As vile as a sinner could be,
And I wondered if Christ the Redeemer
Could save a poor sinner like me.

2.    I wandered on in the darkness,
Not a ray of light could I see;
And the thought filled my heart with sadness,
“There’s no hope for a sinner like me.”

3.    And then, in that dark, lonely hour,
A voice sweetly whispered to me
That Christ the Redeemer has power
To save a poor sinner like me.

4.    I listened—and lo! ’twas the Savior
That was speaking so kindly to me;
I cried, “I’m the chief of sinners;
Thou canst save a poor sinner like me!”

5.    I then fully trusted in Jesus;
And, oh, what a joy came to me!
My heart was filled with His praises
For saving a sinner like me.

6.    No longer in darkness I’m walking,
For the light is now shining on me,
And now unto others I’m telling
How He saved a poor sinner like me.

7.    And when life’s journey is over,
And I the dear Savior shall see,
I’ll praise Him forever and ever
For saving a sinner like me.

Our main character today was a well known sinner. In fact, Christian history knows her as, "Rahab, the harlot." A harlot is a prostitute. She was making merchandise of her body and enticing wicked men to sin.

 

1 ¶  And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

 

exp. These men were not entering into the harlots house for sinful pleasure but for safety. Somehow their mission had been discovered and their lives were in danger. Like the story of Esther, the three hebrew children in the fire, or Daniel and the lions den - this true story is gripping.

 

2  And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

3  And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.

4  And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:

5  And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

6  But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

7  And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.(note: now there is no obvious way out of the city.)

8 ¶  And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;

exp. The Holy Spirit clearly indicates through his word that there was no sinful relationship between Rahab and these men. She came to them before they were in bed. The only reason to tell us that is to emphasize that nothing impure is taking place.

 

Praise God, there is a miraculous change that will take place at this point in this woman's life. She like Abraham, comes to faith in God and received his imputed righteousness.

 

question: Does the Bible tell us that she was made righteous by God and saved from @#!*% by this act of faith? Yes it does.

            James declares it when he is defending FAITH that WORKS.

James 2:25  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

exp. True faith is demonstratable. James used the illustration of Abraham's faith which allowed him to put his only son on an altar of sacrifice in obedience to the Lord. The external works which Rahab does in our story show the reality of her INNER FAITH.

app. The result of her true faith was justification.

ill. Like the story I've told of George Mensick a leader in Al Capones maffia gang. After he was saved - he began a prison ministry. The change in his life was so remarkable that his record was publicly burned.

app. Justification is having our record taken away by a judicial declaration.

            The author of Hebrews includes her in the Hall of Faith.

Hebrews 11:31  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

exp. God spared her the judgment upon the unbelieving because of the story we are studying today. What a picture of God's mercy in response to faith.

question: Does our world stand in jeapardy of damnation because of unbelief? ABSOLUTELY.

Revelation 21:8  But the fearful, and UNBELIEVING and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

So, how did such a great sinner come to faith in God? What was her course in life and how did it change?

 

I. She was born away from God.

1 ¶  And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

exp. Like all of us she was born away from God. She didn't have godly parents. She didn't have a godly lifestyle. You didn't have to convince her of the error of her ways. She was a prostitute.  Without the gracious providence of a loving God, she would never have been spared His judgment.

ill. Have you ever seen sheep that have gone astray? Sheep escape in Ireland, we put them back. They were bent on getting out of the place of safety.

Isaiah 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

ill. Michael Landon Jr. Michael Landon, Jr: I grew up in a great home with a loving father and a loving mother and sometimes loving sisters and brothers (laughs), but we were living a moral life without God. And you know, that’s only going to take you so far. So at the age of fifteen, my world was turned upside down. My father had an affair and left my mom. Up to that point my father was my god because he provided all my needs, he loved me, he took care of me, I mean, he was the perfect dad. So I became a rebellious teenager. A confused and rebellious teenager, nothing out of the ordinary, my story is told tens of thousands of times over.
Anyways, during that time, my mother was with her manicurist. Prior to the turmoil in my family, my mother used to pretend to be asleep so she wouldn’t have to talk to her manicurist (laughs), but after all this stuff came up she started asking questions to Lois and Lois started answering these questions and then she started applying these principles and these ideas that Lois was giving her. And then my mom wanted to know the source of her wisdom and it was Christ. She brought my mother to church and thereafter my mom gave her life to the Lord. Then, of course she wants to share the good news with her son who has absolutely no interest whatsoever. So just to get my mom off my back and to appease her, I went to church and I couldn’t tell you what the pastor said that day, I don’t remember, but he did speak to my heart. And then it became just a series of resistance and then going and then resisting and then going back to church until finally I surrendered and gave my life to Christ.

 - Faith Talks.

exp. I read a separate interview where Michael spoke of getting messed up in drugs and cut off by his mom but how God used that to bring him as a sinner to Himself.  PRAISE GOD.

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

app.  Praise God those who are away from God in sin can have hope! Rahab was far away from God but she came to faith.

 

II. She saw a fear of God in the people around her.

9  And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

exp. Interestingly, these unbelievers were afraid of Israel. Among themselves there was a fear of this powerful nation and their ALL POWERFUL GOD.

Proverbs 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

exp. The beginning of wisdom for Rahab was fearing God.

Nigel Farage - In the letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: "The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."

He added: "I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill.

"But he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.

"It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods."

note: That was the 19 of January and those storms continue to pound the UK since Nigel Farage was suspended.

warning: Scotland has just passed the same sex marriage bill despite and unprecedented number of petitioners against it asking for a referendum. God is able to awaken this nation as well.

app. When acts of God begin to be felt in this country, unbelievers woudl be wise to FEAR GOD.

 

III. She knew the stories about God's signs and wonders were true.

10  For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

exp. These people were not reading the Bible they were hearing the live testimony of those who witnessed these events. They knew that the Jordan River was no match for a God who parted the Red Sea. They knew the truth of God's power.

ill.  There was a wonderful debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye this past week. You can link to it on the bottom right of our church home page on our website. Ham points out that Creation is supported by what you can see in science - worldwide flood, animals bringing forth after their kind, one human race, (He didn't mention this but there is life no where else in the universe.)

app. Mankind has closed their eyes to the power of God in an attempt to salve their conscience. Rahab was awakened to the power of God. SHE KNEW THAT IT WAS TRUE.

 

IV. She admitted that God is the true God.

11  And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

·         exp.  The God's of these heathen nations were not the same any more than the god of the Koran and the God of the Bible.

·         Allah is not Jehovah any more than Budah is Jesus Christ.

·         The Jesus of the Jehovah Witness, Mormons and Islam is just a prophet. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS GOD.They are not the SAME Jesus.

ill.  Paul thought Jesus was an imposter. Until one day he wisely asked the question?  Ac 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. exp.  Paul suddenly realized that Jesus of Nazareth was Lord of Lords and paul got saved.

app. The Jesus of God's Holy Word is worshipped, He is the Creator and He has the power of everlasting life. Rahab had come to conviction about the unique deity of the God of Israel.

 

V. She plead for God's mercy upon herself and her family.

12  Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:

13  And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

exp. She is praying for God's mercy.

ill. The publican - Luke 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:

app. Have you sincerely cried out to God for mercy? Rahab was unashamed to plead for her life and the lives of her family.

 

VI. She was guaranteed God's mercy if she obeyed the covenant.

14  And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

15  Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.

16  And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

17  And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.

question: Revelation has now been given to the seeker upon which she hoped.

ill. Like a Syrian refugee who is part of those guaranteed Asylum in the UK. They are pleading for a place of safety, until they receive the guarantee. The guarantee means that they have received that for which they are asking.

Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

app. Friend, you can have the guarantee. The God who can not lie has promised to pardon you because of the death and the resurrection of His Son. You can put your hope in His unfailing Word?

 

VII. She entered into a covenant of mercy.

            A.  Like the ark her home would be a place of safety from God's wrath.

18  Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

19  And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

ill. All were invited into the Ark. Only those inside were saved when God's wrath fell upon the world.

app. The judgment of the world is like that. Only those in Jesus Christ are safe from the wrath of God.

            B. Like Judas, she could not be a hypocrite and be saved.

20  And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.

exp. Judas looked like a disciple of Christ - but he wasn't. These men could not see Rahab's heart to know if she was sincere. So, they warned her. If she was not sincere, she would not be spared and the promise would not take affect.

Ro 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

app. We don't seek to get people to just pray a prayer asking for salvation. We encourage them to pray in faith believing in THEIR HEART because THAT ALONE SAVES.

            C. Like the passover blood, the scarlet line would spare them from God's wrath.

21  And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

exp. Do you think it a coincidence that the line is the same color as our Saviour's blood? That picture of blood would spare this family God's judgment - just like the lamb's blood on the door post of the homes in Egypt spared them the angel's sword.

app. What does God see when he looks at you? If he does not see the blood of the Lord Jesus (scarlet line) then your house will fall in the day of God's wrath.

1Jo 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

 

conclusion: Praise God that a "sinner like me" can be saved. How did a harlot get into the HALL OF FAITH?

 

1.) It wasn't her birth - she was born in sin.

2.) She saw a fear of God in the people around her.

3.) She knew the stories about God's signs and wonders were true

4.)  She admitted that God is the true God.

5.) She plead for God's mercy upon herself and her family.

6.) She was guaranteed God's mercy if she obeyed the covenant.

7.) VII. She entered into a covenant of mercy.

 

8.    I wandered on in the darkness, Not a ray of light could I see;
And the thought filled my heart with sadness, “There’s no hope for a sinner like me.”

9.    And then, in that dark, lonely hour, A voice sweetly whispered to me
That Christ the Redeemer has power To save a poor sinner like me.

10. I listened—and lo! ’twas the Savior That was speaking so kindly to me;
I cried, “I’m the chief of sinners; Thou canst save a poor sinner like me!”

11. I then fully trusted in Jesus; And, oh, what a joy came to me!
My heart was filled with His praises For saving a sinner like me.