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August 22, 2022 12:00 am
In this message Stephen reminds us that God doesn't just save undeserving people . . . He saves the least deserving!
Here's your Moses sends out 12 spies. Joshua was one of them, but they go out there and they come back in the majority report says will serve were terrified by these people. Now I have 40 years later, says when we crossed the sea. We were terrified of you with anything going to survive in fear for a year because we know your God is much more powerful than any try and evaluate our faith in comparison to the faith of others. That's a common temptation. One thing that unites all believers is the truth that no matter what your situation is, or what circumstances you're facing were all what Stephen calls surprising saints. None of us deserve God's grace. So the fact that any of us are people of faith is a miracle.
Learn more about this today on wisdom for the heart. With this lesson called surprising saints. If you visit the emergency room and you have experienced triage French word literally means sorting out and you know what that means that all powerful nurse in the emergency room sorts out those who really need help and those who really don't and I have always been in the category of they can wait for six hours. They really don't need a lot of help. Let's triage every time I've gone I have waited to miss the next time I just need to say I was scratched by her I couldn't I get an urge to bite somebody and maybe to let me in quicker.
I read in World War II, the allies use the system of triage in makeshift hospitals near the front lines much more serious obviously than what I've experienced and these are life-and-death situations. In fact, many current emergency rooms around here are two, but it was the duty of the triage supervisor to color tag the wounded tag that would place them in one of three categories. One color tag was used for patients who were considered hopeless. That is nothing to be done to save their lives, so they were tagged with a color that represented being hopeless another color tag stood for hopeful.
That meant that the injured soldier would survive. Whether he received medical attention are not in so they were sort of left awaits until more time is available. The third color tag was for patients marked as doubtful. In other words, these soldiers might survive. They might live if they are given immediate treatment. So much of the medical treatment and assistance as you can imagine would be directed toward this color tag. These patients tagged as doubtful since the front lines work typically working with limited staff and limited resources, and certainly limited materials for surgery medical assistance was then given primarily to soldiers were tagged. In this way might live if they were given immediate assistance. I read of one account that was very moving.
One soldier named Lou arrived at one of these makeshift hospitals is badly injured. He had been hit by shrapnel in one of his legs was shattered. He lost a lot of blood triage supervisor who examined him, made his decision and Lou was quietly coded, hopeless is color tag basically communicated to the medical staff that he was to be made as comfortable as possible. But that was all. The nurse assigned to Lou noticed that he was conscious, which was surprising to her and he began to talk.
They struck up a conversation and she discovered they were both from the same area. They were both from Ohio getting to know this man is a is a real person from her home state, not just another wounded soldier. They were hurrying along would lead this nurse to do something. She was forbidden to do, she slipped into that makeshift hospital ward that night, risking her job and future career and she changed his tag from hopeless to doubtful it wasn't but a few hours they realized his color chart and transported him away from the front lines to a better medical facility and months later, minus one leg. Lou recovered and lived a full life, so grateful for the nurse changed his tag and gave him another chance to live.
Let me say something that might sound trite or predictable at this moment but it's true and I want to say Jesus Christ is in the business of changing tax men. When Jesus Christ came in fact I thought of this incident.
In the gospel by Luke when he came and was pressing into the hometown of a greedy, corrupt tax collector named Zakia's. Nobody gave many room or space to see the Lord to climb the tree you remember he climbed the what the sycamore tree for the story Jesus Christ comes under the limbs and entry and he says calls out any calls him. He's exactly as I come to your house today is spies down the going to his house and the crowd outside immediately begins to grumble because he has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner tag to smart, hopeless, after lunch a few hours Jesus Christ comes back out on the front porch standing with this man and he says by way of introduction, I tell you, this man is a son of Abraham.
He changed his tag. What a change it was and what it represented was changed from hopeless to heaven bound.
I couldn't help but wonder what your tag today. What tag do you carry today nephew been with us over these past studies as James has defined living faith you've watched the long as James steadily defines these three different kinds of faith but illustrates them dead faith that was or is words without works is just intellectually sensitive.
True things and taken it can say the creed taken, it can spout out the Lord's prayer, but nothing phones demonic faith acknowledges the truth of Christ, but he refuses our relationship with Christ, then dynamic faith is faith. We found that works and is a faith that works dead faith we learned was only the intellect, demonic faith moves the intellect and emotions they believed and trembled. Dynamic faith moves the mind of the intellect hardly emotions and most important the will. James illustrated for us dynamic faith by pointing our attention to the life of of Abraham not by the time James is writing this letter. Obviously, Abraham is the revered patriarch. He is the founding father of the faithful think of faith in James generation you think immediately of Abraham. He was the epitome of faith and action you get to the end of Abraham's biography and you're certainly struck by the grace of God simply because the tests of faith. He failed.
And there were many of them which are also struck even more so by the tests of faith in which he succeeded by faith he left his father and his homeland.
By faith he believed God's covenant promise by faith he offered up that son of the promise, Isaac to God as a burnt offering.
Only God stayed his hand you might come to the end of that kind of biography and conclude that God will never do anything with you or me.
We might as well not try to exercise dynamic faith, we can never measure up to the father of the faithful. We could never do that. He walked with God for 50 years. No wonder he's the example James. We understand why he's the illustration of dynamic faith. James anticipates his congregation responding that way. So, led by the spirit of God includes his illustration of dynamic faith by giving us an entirely different kind of person you showed us the best life shows the worst of life in James chapter 2 in verse 25.
James provides his final illustration of dynamic faith. Faith that does not save with faith approves salvation has come and that's been the point of James saying we are justified before as it were the eyes of men that we are indeed the notice what he says here in verse 25 in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way for just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James could not give us anybody more apposite to Abraham in every way then Rahab think for a moment of all of the contrasts. Abraham was a man.
Rahab was a woman. I thought I'd start with something really obvious as we talk about Abraham is the original Hebrew Rahab is an idolatrous Gentile Abraham is a great leader. Rahab was a run-of-the-mill citizen. Abraham is at the top of his social order. Rahab is pretty close to the gutter.
Abraham is respectable and I already have is dishonorable, Abraham is the kind of man you'd think wanted everything to do with God.
Rahab is the kind of woman you'd think wanted nothing to do with God.
Assuming you knew nothing about Rahab's biography, you would at least know from what James provides the were talking about. As illustrations of dynamic faith, a patriarch and suddenly it shifts to a prostitute and there is quite a shift to go from the patriarch to prostitute, but that's part of what James has in mind see the grace of God and the genuine demonstration of faith can take place in and through the life of a redeemed Jew and redeem Gentile and honorable man, a dishonorable woman when we meet her. First, they are really both surprising saints. They should be the trouble he is our understanding of redemption is a little skewered.
We think Abraham has a land not he's easy to say Rahab be tough.
Another both their both trophies of grace.
To this day.
Let me encourage you, your faith is not handicapped in any way by your ancestry.
Your your family name doesn't help or hurt you when it comes to demonstrating personal dynamic faith in the living God. God does not look at you and say well it can come from better stock maybe I could do something with you. He is not handicapped by your ancestry pedigree past resume and you might not pick up on that within illustration of Abraham. James knows we will all be struck with the truth by his illustration of Rahab that you better appreciate this illustration of Rahab by James. We need to travel back to the introduction of Rahab by Joshua to take your Bibles and turn back to the book of Joshua page 178 by new American Standard foundations publication Bible you don't have one of these might not be in there.
I don't know.
Check if it is it will be after Genesis, Exodus, a with me. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus numbers Deuteronomy Matthew Mark of the trip you up good New Year's resolution by Peter memorize the books of the Bible. Great thing to do with your kids. By the way, the love, leaving you in the dust. It occurred to me as I assume you're still looking at so it's where the pages are stuck together because I've never asked you to turn the Joshua before have I been the GNU existed. I did a little checking. By the way it has been a long time since I asked this congregation to turn to the book of Joshua check my notes found that I preach through this book of the Bible 19 years ago, back when I had hair and I didn't have glasses. Now I must of must've preached a lot faster back then because we got through this entire book in 12 sermon all 24 chapters is not right.
Well, if you weren't here 19 years ago. If you haven't studied the Bible that book in the Bible on your own give you very quick background. Joshua has taken over the leadership of Moses he's passed Moses as best seen the Israelites because of their disobedience and their lack of faith have been wondering now in the wilderness for 40 years under the care and guidance of God.
But there just long enough for all of those who disbelieve the die. Now the ready to matter the promised land with my doing was promise to Abraham back in Genesis chapter 12 the promised land. However, at this point in time is is inhabited and has been for time but it's it's habited by idolatrous weekends at brutal nations that are too excited about this little promise thing to Abraham they're not impressed. And they're not too convinced about the coming judgment of God that they have heard about now for decades, where you learn nothing from Rahab's own personal testimony, but Joshua decides to begin by sending out two spies to check out the land, they would go to the very first city. There are about to encounter city, prepared by the way, for battle city surrounded by what seems to have been a double set of walls spammed by wouldn't be city by the name of Jericho. We read in Joshua chapter 2, the middle part of verse one of the spies were sent out and go to spy out the land in these two men. Winton came into the house of the harlot whose name was Rahab and log their word for harlot here is the Hebrew word zone which can be translated harlot or innkeeper nurse on the that grabs that and relieve immediately the tension were these men of God to hide. Problem is the word for harlot in reference to Rahab in the New Testament in both passages where she appears as the word porn day which gives us our word fornicator transliterated to give us our word fornication.
It always has an immoral contact.
She was not keeping and in she was running a brothel. Why would these men go there. I believe verse two holes. Some of the answer look there.
It was told the king of Jericho, saying, behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land when these men evidently came across that for near Jericho.
Jordan. They were spotted they were watched. They were followed by the king's secret police.
They know exactly when the men entered the city they knew exactly where the men had gone spies evidently knew they had been spotted.
We are told when they discovered that but they they ran as it were, and they made it to Rahab brothel where they has to be hidden. Where would someone go not be asked any questions, suggest where.
Where could he go for shelter and remain anonymous. Those are interesting thoughts, but I believe they miss the greater point. They are obviously led by God to turn that corner and go up that alley and turn it this corner and knock on that door because they are going to arrive at the house where the only woman in the entire city lives, who is ready to believe in the God of Israel will see your testimony moment, which is already believed. She is literally the only person in all of Jericho would be sympathetic to their cause. God knew her heart.
God knew her desire and they appear here so coincidence that the rush into this place of business and hope for the best that are probably surprised to find a woman that only ready to declare her faith in God, ready to demonstrated in the and in the remarkable way that she does James find it remarkable. So much so, that is, he thinks of illustrations under the guidance of the Spirit to talk about regional living faith. He goes back to this event and the woman the right hand look at verse three. The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab saying bring out the men who come to you who entered your house, for they come to search out all the land but the woman had taken the two men and hidden them Artie done that.
She said well yes the men came to me, but I did not know they were from. It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark. The men without, I do not know where the men went pursue them quickly for you will overtake them know you notice in her answer that she's she's lying like arrive right and you might immediately feel some other tension. How does she end up in the hall of faith and he is 11. Again, this is another sidebar will address this very, very quickly, and by the way, I did address either of these passages in my first sermon serves as we got through it. Biblical ethicists talk about the hierarchy of ethics they believe would be demonstrated, hereby Rahab. In other words, there's a time and a higher moral principle is Even if it requires disobedience to lower moral Ethan, it's not is not an ironclad argument. Tension won't go away, but perhaps this is what's happening this way you're living in Holland in 1939 and the Nazis show up at your doorstep and ask you if you're hiding any Jews upstairs in her closet say no. Are you sure Mr. 10 boom, was finished with her a two volume autobiography of Charles Spurgeon, probably one of the most well-known pastors in London during 1801 point in his ministry. And up until his death, his brother James served as his copastor. Spurgeon spent literally half of the year.
Sick recuperating from gout number of other things.
One evening Spurgeon was at his home and the housekeeper wasn't around and Spurgeon happen to be walking by and he opened the front door and in jumped a man brandishing this very large knife any analysis I have come to kill Charles Spurgeon and Charles Sibley's not here, and the man said, well, who are you and he said well on his brother James Ginger's brother didn't appreciate later saying that eventually convinced me was his brother. The man ran back out the door was caught a few blocks later. Now you say well you know Spurgeon should've told the truth knife and broken. Or maybe he was supposed to die it. It doesn't answer all the questions she could have said and I got them upstairs hiding under stalks of flax God could have kept them invisible. So there is tension. She convinces the guards grabbed believing is a higher moral principle at stake. They leave verse nine she goes up on the roof and she says I know that the Lord has given you the land and the terror of you has fallen on send that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you interesting. She chooses the names of God here I know the Lord has given you the land, just more insight than the king verse 10 we heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites were beyond the Jordan is silent on you utterly destroy that it only happened recently, the Red Sea, it happened 40 years earlier, but when we heard it verse 11, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you that listen to her testimony for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven and on earth. Imagine Moses rolling over in his grave to hear this. I couldn't help it stagger and I've never seen this before 40 years earlier.
Moses sends out 12 spies. Joshua was one of them. Joshua and Caleb. The two spies are the only ones who will enter the promised land.
Everybody on because of unbelief and they go out there and they come back in the majority report says will we can survive were terrified by these people. Now I have 40 years later, says when we heard you crossed the sea.
We were terrified of you with anything we survive we been in fear for the year because we know your dog is much more powerful than any of our Rahab effectively says they have been following the exploits of God for the children of Israel they heard how God parted the Red Sea, the Egyptian army and now here it is. 40 years later Rahab is revealing their perspective, our hearts.
40 years ago melted fee.
She not only believed which he acted, for the sake of time you know should she help the spies to escape. She followed their command to hang a scarlet cord out her window. I want us to fall into the trap of a valid arising everything we see, but I did find it interesting that the word in Hebrew language for cord. The normal word is bypassed in Joshua chapter 2 verse 12 and the words chosen is the word most often translated in the Old Testament by the word hope, hope this is your only hope. And she will stake everything upon that hope the cord was called in the same verse of pledge assignment again unusual Hebrew language. It's the same word used in the Passover scene in Exodus, more than 40 years earlier. The death Angels coming.
Those who have the sign the same word sign is used in reference to the blind on the doorpost of those who have assignment anybody in the home survives his words are not coincidences Passover language, something she has yet to fully understand these are these are terms of hope and redemption. This woman saved from death faith. God, she will learn later.
All the redemptive crews the Israelites know that she more than likely doesn't know but she does know that God alone is her God alone is our home that reality is true for each and every one of us. This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen will be back next time to bring you the conclusion to this message. It's called surprising saints, and it comes from Stephen series entitled Faith's in the meantime we've enjoyed hearing from you. Let us know how God uses this program to bless. You can call us today at 86 648 Bible please join us next time for morning wisdom