CORNER LOT ANNOUNCEMENT
Morning. I’m still David Sorn.
Over the last 3 weeks we have been talking about how God placed in an incredible opportunity in our laps…
…and that is that the corner lot that borders the north end of our property is miraculously now available, and we entered into a Purchase agreement to try and buy that property.
As as you can see on the screen, we had $108,000 left to raise in order to have a large enough down-payment to secure the property.
So last week, we took a special offering at the end of our service.
And I want to tell you the results.
Again, the goal was $108,000.
Here’s what came in:
(Show Corner Lot Special Offering TOTAL slide)
That’s more than double.
Isn’t God good?
It’s pretty amazing.
Listen, we weren’t kidding when we said $108,000 was a stretch.
The most we had ever had come in from a special offering before was $30,000.
SO, I don’t even know what to tell you, but God moved.
So here’s the deal, our down payment needed was $300,000.
We are over that now, over $400,000 in fact.
But remember, the property itself costs 1.3 million.
And so we will use the extra funds that came in and just put it ALL down.
That will save our church a decent amount of money in the long run because it’s that much less interest we’re paying.
And thank you.
Thank you for your generosity.
God’s hand has always been on this church.
There’s never been a moment like this where He hasn’t provided.
When we get to the point of expanding this place, we’re now going to be able to build as many parking spots at that time as we need.
And that’s even more people that can hear the Gospel.
And now, let me thank God!
JOSHUA 2 INTRODUCTION
(Joshua Series Slide)
All right, let’s get into our Bible teaching for the day.
Last week we started our Summer Series on the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament.
If you weren’t here last week, let me quickly summarize where we are at in the Bible.
God has promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites.
They were previously enslaved in Egypt, but God delivered them with 10 plagues, led them through the Red Sea, and they were in the desert of the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years.
But now, their former leader Moses has died and his apprentice, Joshua, is going to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.
Everybody grab a Bible.
Now, once the Israelites cross into the Promised Land, they’re going to have to conquer it.
God has said that judgment has come for these pagan nations who have committed great sin.
And we’ll talk more about that touchy subject as we get into that part of the story more in the middle of the summer.
But the very first city that Joshua and the Israelites are going to come to after they cross the Jordan River, is the mighty city of Jericho.
And Joshua has decided to get some more military intel on that city.
And so we’re going to see his plan for that:
(Joshua 2:1-7) – NIV
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
(Joshua Series Slide)
Okay, let’s stop for a second.
The first question people usually have when they read this section is, “What were the spies doing at the house of prostitute?”
We can’t really know for certain, but most likely, we shouldn’t assume the worst here.
In other places in the Scripture where people go to a prostitute for more than just “conversation,” it doesn’t read like this.
Notice verse 1 again.
What does it say about her?
It says they “entered the HOUSE of a prostitute”
They’re not at a place of business here.
They are at her home.
Perhaps there is family there too.
But why Rabab’s house?
Well, I think in part, it’s because of what God is going to do through her story, but also her house is in a strategic location because it was on the edge of the city wall.
Okay, let’s keep reading
(Joshua 2:8-16) – NIV
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 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 Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”
15 So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall. 16 She said to them, “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.”
(The Scarlet Thread Title Slide)
Okay, so a couple of things worth noticing in this part.
The people of Jericho are scared to death of this massive Israelite Army encamped on the other side of the Jordan River.
They’ve heard of God’s great wonders and mighty deeds.
And Rahab even goes an important step further.
Look at the 2nd half of verse 11:
She says, “For the Lord your God,”
(now remember, she’s a pagan, meaning she believes in other gods, and praying to wooden idols)
But she says, “For the Lord your God, is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
She’s acknowledging that the Israelite God, Yahweh, is the one true God, the only God on earth (and in heaven!)
She wants to trust in Him and be saved by Him!
But how in the world will they actually pull that off?
Let’s keep reading:
(Joshua 2:17-24) – NIV
17 Now the men had said to her, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us 18 unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house. 19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible. As for those who are in the house with you, their blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on them. 20 But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear.”
21 “Agreed,” she replied. “Let it be as you say.”
So she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
22 When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them. 23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
(The Scarlet Thread Title Slide)
So Rahab is told that if she wants to be saved from coming death, she should tie a scarlet (that’s a bright red) cord, or thread in her window.
And then, when the Israelites come, they’ll know to save whoever is in that house.
And the symbolism of the Scarlet thread over her living space is powerful.
Let me show you why.
If we go back 40 years earlier to when the Israelites were still stuck in slavery in Egypt, I mentioned that God sent 10 plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
Well, the final plague was the death of the firstborn sons.
Every firstborn son would die when the angel of death came through, UNLESS they obeyed the following instructions from God
(Exodus 12:21-23) – NIV
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
And not only did that happen, and the Israelites were saved by the scarlet red blood on their doorframes, they were then told to commemorate the Passover every year on its anniversary.
(The Scarlet Thread Title Slide)
And so that important event is fresh on their minds as they tell Rahab to put this scarlet red thread over her window
As a symbol that she will be saved from the coming destruction.
This is actually quite fascinating to me:
If you jump ahead a few chapters in Joshua, we see that the Israelites have crossed the (spoiler alert) Jordan River, and are now camping in the plains of Jericho near the city…and guess what time of year it is…the night before they approach the city (out of all of the days of the whole year?
It’s literally Passover.
Here it is:
(Joshua 5:10) – NIV
10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.
(The Scarlet Thread Title Slide)
And so watch this: As Rahab’s Scarlet Thread is hanging up over her window, as a sign of her salvation from the coming judgment…
The Israelites are just outside the city remembering how the Scarlet Blood of the Lamb up over their doorframes is what saved them from judgment.
And you want to hear something even more fascinating?
For years and years now, theologians and scholars have written on a theme in the Bible which they call “The Scarlet Thread”
And that’s not that there are literal scarlet threads all over the Bible.
No, in theology, the Scarlet Thread the what we call the storyline in the Bible that weaves from beginning to end, about justice & forgiveness and salvation of God…often with the symbolism of blood or even actual blood.
William Evans once said: “Cut the Bible anywhere, and it bleeds.”
Hebrews in the NT says it this way:
(Hebrews 9:22b) – NIV
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
(The Scarlet Thread Title Slide)
So, let me show you this Scarlet Thread:
In the beginning of the Bible, when Adam & Eve sinned, we see the first animal sacrifice for their sins.
Through the scarlet blood of sacrifice, the Lord provides coverings for Adam & Eve
Later in Genesis, the Scarlet Thread weaves front and center again as Isaac, Abraham’s son was supposed to be sacrificed, but the Lord provides a ram in his place.
And this story of justice, forgiveness, and scarlet blood continues to show up again and again.
We see it at Passover.
We see a creative nod to it with the story of Rahab.
We see it in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament…
...where the Jews acknowledged their sin, and sacrificed animals as a symbol of God forgiving their sin and having its consequences go elsewhere.
And the Scarlet Thread reappears in the most important way with Jesus.
John the Baptist says about Jesus, “He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”
Jesus died in our place for our sins.
He is our Scarlet Thread.
We have all sinned against Him.
And we are deserving of condemnation for our sins.
Just like the people of Jericho.
God is a just God.
He does not shrug his shoulders at sin.
But Jesus has given us a way to be saved.
And it’s in his scarlet blood.
He died, He bled, on the cross.
And in doing so he was taking the punishment that we deserved.
And the Bible teaches that when you truly believe He died in your place, and you make Him your savior, this promise is yours:
(Ephesians 1:7) – NIV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Do you see it?
It’s the same Scarlet Thread!
What it’s saying is that it’s only IN Christ that we are redeemed…bought back…made right…saved.
The Scarlet Thread weaving throughout the Bible is always pointing to Jesus.
(The Scarlet Thread Title Slide)
SO, just as the Israelite slaves were saved from the coming judgment because, BY FAITH, they went painted the scarlet blood over their doorframes and went in their houses…
And just as Rahab was saved from the coming judgment because, BY FAITH, she hung the Scarlet Thread over her window and stayed in her house.
So we can we be saved from the judgment we deserve, by believing Jesus died for us, and symbolically putting his blood over ours lives…and hoping in Him alone.
It’s the same Scarlet Thread throughout the Bible.
But hear me: We cannot save ourselves with our good deeds.
The story of the Bible is not “THE THREAD OF GOOD DEEDS”
It’s the Scarlet Thread.
Many of you have hung the Scarlet Thread out of your window a long time ago, saying, “I believe, in faith, only Jesus can save me”
But in all practice, you’ve forgotten that the thread is there, and that it alone is what saves us
Remember Rahab isn’t saved because of her good deeds, it’s her faith.
The same is true for you.
And some of you have forgotten it’s there.
You’ve been stuck in shame, feeling like God doesn’t love you because of what you’ve done lately, or how much you’ve ignored him lately.
Others of you have just gotten back into this mode of thinking your good deeds are what make you right with God.
This is why we study God’s word.
When you cut it, it bleeds.
And what we see over and over again is that it’s not our good deeds or lack of that determines our standing with Him, but it’s our trust in Him.
Listen, when judgment comes for you…at your death…or when Jesus comes back…
Your good deeds will be nothing. They can’t save you.
Rahab can’t say, “Oh yeah, I wasn’t really sure you were coming to save me, so I didn’t put the scarlet thread out, but I did serve a bunch of homeless people meals since you’ve been gone”
Believer, look again to the Scarlett Thread hanging over your life!
It is your faith in God’s grace that saves you.
And that’s it.
And if you don’t know Jesus personally, this is good news I’m holding out to you.
No matter who you are!
That’s why God uses Rahab the prostitute here.
Because some of you have said, “There’s no way God could ever love me and forgive me after what I’ve done”
Let me tell you, God purposefully puts people like Rahab in the Bible to prove this exact point to your heart.
There is NOTHING you can do that is too sinful for God to forgive.
And not only that, God turns Rahab’s life around when she begins to follow Him.
In the New Testament, Rahab is listed in the genealogy of Jesus!
Rahab is listed in the Hall of Faith, the great chapter of those with amazing faith, in Hebrews 11
It says in that chapter: Here are the people with amazing faith that did amazing things for God
Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Rahab the prostitute.
When you hang up the Scarlet Thread, saying, “God, save me! I can’t save myself. I believe you are the one true God!”
And he starts to work in you, move in you, bring change in you.
And He can take someone who used to be a prostitute…and put them in the hall of faith.
That’s what my God can when you start trusting in Him!
In fact, I want to give you an opportunity to do that right now.
So let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes, just for a minute.
If you need to make this decision for the first time today…to hang up the Scarlet Thread over your life…to receive Jesus into your life as your Savior and Leader…
In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to stand up
No one’s going to be looking at you, that’s why we had everyone close their eyes.
But sometimes in life, we just need that moment…to take a first step.
To say, “God I believe. Take my life”
And if you need to do that today, and I bet you already know it on your heart and you can feel it inside right now…
If you need to tell God for the first time today that you do believe, and you want to follow Him and be forgiven.
Then I invite you to stand where you are right now.
The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.
You won’t walk out there alone.
There are many others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you
And I, and our follow-up team, for just a couple of minutes, are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life (and then you can sneak back in the service).
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, I’m going to pray, and you can go as I pray.
Go ahead. Let’s pray
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.