Hebrews 11 | Vintage Faith | 11:31 | Pastor Duane Smets
This is an exegetical sermon of Hebrews 11:31. It covers the story of Rahab, her life as a prostitute, and the way in which her faith plays a role in leading the Egyptian Jews to God’s Promised Land. Special attention is given to how Jesus is the means by which we can reach the “Promised Land.” This sermon was originally preached on November 13th, 2011 at The Resolved Church in San Diego, CA.
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The Resolved Church
November 13th, 2011
Faith & The Example of Rahab
Pastor Duane Smets | Hebrews 11:31
I. The Pinnacle of Chapter 11: Rahab & The History of Faith
II. The Prostitutes of Scripture: Rahab & The Obedience of Faith
III. The Promise of Land: Rahab & The Commander of Faith
Today is the week in this sermon series I have been looking forward to since we started because we’re looking at Rahab. She’s this seemingly obscure person that’s really part of a side detail of a much bigger story in the Old Testament and she gets picked up and highlighted here in Hebrews 11 as being a central figure of Christian faith and history. There’s just some cool stuff today with her…I think.
Have any of you had the experience where there’s been something so common to you, something you’ve seen a hundred times and so you don’t really notice it and then you do and it changes everything for you? Maybe it’s a restaurant you discover that you walked or driven by a ton of times but never realized it was there…or maybe it’s a landmark and you come to have a whole new appreciation or meaning or what that thing is or represents…or maybe it’s a person like that classic story where the person you fall in love with just happens to be right there under your nose and you didn’t even realize it. Do you guys know what I’m talking about? Where something happens and you realize this thing is actually there and it brings this whole new perspective and excitement about it?
I’m a big Chronicles of Narnia fan, maybe you’re familiar with the books. To me it’s kind of how Narnia is discovered. They’re in an old house, playing hide and go seek and there’s this old wardrobe in one of the bedrooms. Just a common, old school wooden closet that no one really ever thought twice about…it’s just there. Then one day the kids discover that it’s not just any ordinary closet but is a gateway or portal to this whole other world and by going into it brings about these life changing, extraodrinary experiences which change their view of everything.
To me the story of Rahab and Hebrews 11 is kind of like that. So if you’re down, come with me and let’s jump into the wardrobe, go down the rabbit’s hole and see what’s going on with this amazing figure of faith. Just one verse today, so I’ll read it for us, we’ll respond with thanks to God for his Word and then I’ll pray over our study in it today. (Read text and pray).
Alright, so we’re looking at three things today from this text, “The Pinnacle of Chapter 11: Rahab & The History of Faith”, “The Prostitutes of Scripture: Rahab & The Obedience of Faith”, “The Promise of Land: Rahab & The Commander of Faith.”
I. The Pinnacle of Chapter 11: Rahab & The History of Faith
This first point is driven by the context of Hebrews chapter 11, what comes before Rahab and what comes after her. In the chapter, seventeen different individuals are mentioned by name, but only ten of them are specifically highlighted for being ones who “by faith” had the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. And Rahab is the tenth and final one.
Rahab is surprising in this chapter for several reasons.
One, she’s the only other woman besides Sarah to be listed and Sarah really is brought up in light of her husband Abraham, the famous father of the faith.
Two, the people who have been listed are in Hebrews 11 are spiritual heavy weights. I mean everyone mentioned thus far are huge Old Testament heroes…Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. Huge crucial founding father roles in the history of Judeo Christian belief.
Three, Rahab is not even a Jew. She’s a pagan, Gentile, false god worshipping outsider and on top of it she’s not only a woman who were looked down upon, especially if they were not married, but she’s a prostitute. We’ll talk a bunch more about that in our next point. But as you can see here, really it’s like she just doesn’t belong in this list, in this chapter of Hebrews 11.
The English paragraph breaks here don’t help either because they just sort of include her as being part of the same “by faith” section that we talked last week when we talked about the people’s faith as a group when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. But the whole with Rahab happened before the walls fell down and the city was destroyed.
She’s really meant to stand alone, as the final, key, culminating example of faith. After her she’s mentioned, there is just a rapid fire list of list of six more names and some quick general comments and then the chapter ends. She’s the last “by faith” figure.
So the question is why? Why is she here in this list? I think it would have been clear to any of the original readers of this letter and if you know your Bible pretty well and the major figures of the Old Testament and you’re reading Hebrews 11 I think it clear. Rahab is a surprise. You don’t expect her. She’s shocking. Why would you include and conclude this hall of heroes who lived “by faith” with her?
To try and figure it out, let me tell you the story of Rahab. It starts in Joshua, chapter 2. Hebrews 11 kind of moves through Biblical history, chronologically follow its story. If you remember the story and where things left off last God’s people, Israel was in Egypt where they had multiplied greatly fulfilling God’s command and promise. But after 430 years there they had become slaves. They cried out to God for deliverance and God went to war for Israel against Egypt and used Moses as the human figure to lead them out. After they leave Egypt they wander around in the desert for forty years waiting and looking for this land God had promised them where they would settle and live under God’s blessing.
They finally come to the land and they know it’s the place but there’s this city Jericho standing in the way, blocking the entrance into the land. God confirms it’s the place and promises to crush Jericho so they may enter in. He does so but having them perform what seems like a silly act of faith to show they trusted God to fight for them as he did in Egypt. So he has them march around the city seven times and then the whole place is flattened and supernaturally crumbles to the ground.
Now, before they go march around Jericho, Joshua the successor and leader of Israel after Moses’ time sends some spies into land to look for confirmation that this is God’s place and he also sends them into the city of Jericho to check out what they’re up against. Joshua 2:1 says when they went into the city they went to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stay the night there. That doesn’t sound or look good.
The king of Jericho gets word of it and send a message to Rahab to turn over the men. When he does she lies and says the men came to her for her services but she didn’t know they were spies and that they had already left. And the king buys it. Joshua chapter 2 goes on to tell us what really happened…how she knew they were Israelite spies and that she had heard of the fame of YHWH, the LORD God and what he did to Egypt and confesses belief in him as the LORD God who rules over heaven and earth (Josh 2:11). When the spies hear this from her they promise to save her, her family and friends. And that’s what happens.
Okay…so to tell you the truth I don’t really want to tell you just yet why Rahab is here in Hebrews 11 and why she’s such a big deal. We’ll get to it in few minutes, but I mainly wanted to introduce you to her and set the problem up for you. However, there is an inherent principle in this for us just at a basic level. Rahab is a nobody. And she gets included in this great list of heroes in the history of the faith. It’s a reminder to us of two things.
First, that God is a God who has chosen to work with men…and women…in human history! There is a rich history of faith that gets passed down through generations. Individuals matter, they count and God cares. It’s more than just history because of that. It’s not just backward documentation of things that happened. It’s huge that God, the maker of heaven and earth, who needs nothing and is not required to do anything…chooses to make himself known little tiny insignificant people! And that there is a purpose to that. The history of faith is much much more than the mere recording of events it’s the story of God working in and among and with human beings.
God means for you to be a part of what he is doing in history. We get so wrapped up into our lives and thinking that all about what going on with us right now or this week or whatever and got wants to have a much bigger vision for our lives. In what he doing through individuals and generations of faith.
The second thing she reminds us of is that unexpected nobodies are can become extremely significant to God. Have you ever felt like a nobody? Like you really don’t have that much to offer? Like there is always someone else or other people who are the ones really gifted or in the know or who always seem to do well…but when it comes to you, there’s nothing really special about you. Rahab reminds us that as insignificant as we are we are special and important to God who he sees and means for us to be listed in the hall of faith.
Maybe think of it this way…what would your name look like in the chapter? What would it say about you? Where are you on the plane of God’s working with men and women in history? If you were to die today what would you be remember for? What is he doing and why? What right now, in this season of your life does it seem like God is wanting to teach you or draw out of you?
Well, let’s move on and I’ll give us one more piece to add to the puzzle of why Rahab is significant, “The Prostitutes of Scripture: Rahab & The Obedience of Faith.”
II. The Prostitutes of Scripture: Rahab & The Obedience of Faith
The very first thing our verse says about Rahab is that she is “Rahab the prostitute.” Now back in Rahab’s day there were two kinds of prostitutes, common prostitutes and cult prostitutes. Cult prostitutes were ones people would use to worship fertility gods, like Asherah of Rahab’s day and would normally be employed by the religious temple or place of worship. Common prostitutes were like the ones we have today, whom men would go to for sexual pleasure.
It appears Rahab’s the latter kind. She may have even ran a whore house, as some aspects of the story in Joshua allude to. Now, what is striking besides the mere fact that the Bible talks about Rahab being a prostitute is that she is commended, not dejected and she’s commended for her obedience. Do see that next line there, “Rahab…the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient.” So in contrast she was obedient. The prostitute is obedient.
We’ll talk about this obedience in a second but first of all I’d be failing you as a preacher of the Bible if I didn’t tell you that this actually happens to be a repeated and important theme in Scripture…God’s love or favor on prostitutes. They’re called either “prostitutes”, “harlots” or “whores” in the Bible. I’ll give you a brief smattering. I counted 87 references to prostitutes in Scripture. It’s seriously surprising how much they come up.
First, it’s not a good thing. Prostitution, both the offer and use of a person’s body sexually outside of marriage for money is sexual sin. Real clear, 1 Corinthians 6:15 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” Interesting the Greek word in the New Testament that gets translated as prostitute is “pornea” where we get the word pornography. So yes, looking at porn counts as getting a prostitute.
Second, some crazy stuff goes down with prostitutes in Scripture. In the Old Testament, Sarah who was mentioned earlier in Hebrews, gets pimped out by Abraham twice. Tamar dresses up like a prostitute to get Judah, who the name Jew comes from to sleep with her and he does.
In the New Testament, Jesus especially extends his love and forgiveness to prostitutes. In Matthew 21:16 he says to the religious folk who thought they we’re better than others because they worshipped God, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.” And then we read of a couple scenes where this gets demonstrated.
In one, Mary Magadelene, a town prostitute comes to a place were Jesus is eating dinner and she pours a whole bottle of oil, a whole years’ worthy of her harlot’s wages on Jesus feet petitioning him for mercy and salvation and he says to her, “Your sins are forgiven…your faith has saved you; go in peace (Lk 7:48,50).”
Now here is the really crazy thing. No matter what time or era you live in, prostitution has never been looked at a good thing. In the Bible it becomes one of the chief analogies for spiritual adultery, worshipping and serving other gods than the one true God, YHWH, the maker and ruler of all heaven and earth. For example, Deuteronomy 31:16 God says to Moses “This people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them.”
On top of that, all throughout Scripture one of the main ways that God speaks of and describes his relationship with his people is like that of a groom and his bride. God is the husband and the people are his wife. Then comes the book of Hosea. Maybe you’ve read it, maybe you’ve never heard of it? It’s one of the Old Testament books of the Bible, it’s right after Daniel and right before Joel.
Here’s the story of Hosea. Hosea is a prophet of God. God comes to Hosea and he tell him that he wants him to go marry this woman named Gomer. And he tells him ahead of time that Gomer is going to cheat on him, multiple times, have children from other men but each time he does to take her back and take the kids as his own.
Hoeas is obedient to God though. Things start off okay and they have a baby together named Jezreel. But then sure enough Gomer starts sleep around, gets pregnant and gives birth to a daughter. Hosea names her “No Mercy” and takes his wife back. But it’s not long before she cheats on him again and gets pregnant again from another dude. But he takes her back and calls the son “Not My People.” But then she leaves him again and actually ends up being an official whore employed by a pimp. What’s Hosea do? He goes to her pimp and buys back his wife, from the pimp with a bunch of money.
Crazy story right? Here’s the question, “Why did God want Hosea to do that?” The Bible tells us. It says God told Hosea he wanted him to do this because his people had committed “great whoredom by forsaking [him] (Hos 1:2) but despite their whoring he loved them and was going to buy them back and then they would come and “fear to the LORD “ and know “his goodness” all their days (Hos 3:5). God had Hosea do this because it was a picture of his love for his us!
I went through all of this stuff about prostitutes today so that we could come to this point because I think this is the reason why prostitutes come up so much in Scripture and why they have such a special place in the mind and heart of God and probably even a little bit of why Rahab gets included in Hebrews 11…because it is in the nature and the heart of God to love and extends grace to his people even though they are like prostitutes.
It’s perhaps one of the most vivid pictures of the gospel there is. Numbers 15:39 says “Remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.” The reality and the truth about us, is we in our nature, in our sinful hearts and condition are like whores. And the goodness of the gospel is that God loves us anyways and sent his son to die for us.
In Ephesians 5 one of the most well known illustrations of Jesus’ relationship with the church is that of a bride. Ephesians 5:25 calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Romans 5:8 says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And even after becoming Christians we’re still prone to and inclined to whore ourselves away. In fact 1 John 4:8 says if we say we have no sin we’re liars and the truth is not in us. And we know this, we, on this side of heaven still fail and fall, countless times. And yet, the gospel is not based upon our performance. Jesus knew we were whores when he married us and died for us, just like Hosea.
And what makes the difference, is faith. Embracing the promise and provision of God for us in Christ. In our verse for today, in Hebrews 11:31 it says that Rahab didn’t perish because she was obedient. What essentially happens in the story in Joshua chapter 2 and chapter 6 is God, through the spies offers Rahab and anyone who will listen salvation. If they listened to the word and promise of God, that he was giving Jericho into Israel’s hand and if they obeyed and followed the spies instructions they would be saved. And Rahab and many alongside her do.
Joshua 6:25 says “Rahab the prostitute and all her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshed saved alive.” What we’re hearing and seeing with Rahab is what the book of Romans calls “the obedience of faith.” Romans 1:5 says, “We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.”
Maybe you’ve never thought about faith like that? Like it’s a mater of obeying. But there is almost always an aspect of obedience to faith. We hear the starkness of our condition…we’re sinners who need salvation, we’re whores. Then we hear the good news of God’s plan of salvation that he has provided for and offers. Then there is either obedience in embracing it or disobedience in rejecting it.
In a very real way our response to the gospel and our continual living in and through the gospel is an acknowledging this and embracing all that God has provided for us to save us through Christ. There’s a song we’re gonna sing today during communion that a Christian folk artist named Derek Webb wrote awhile back called “Wedding Dress.”
It captures exactly what we’re talking about today in this point. Let me read you the lyrics and then we’ll move on to our final point for today. So listen for what it looks like for you and I to be those who embrace the gospel like Rahab in the obedience of faith. “Wedding Dress.” It starts out from the perspective of God in the fist two lines and the quickly switches over to ours for the rest of the song.
If you could love me as a wife,
and for my wedding gift, your life…
Should that be all I’d ever need?
Or is there more I’m looking for?
Should I read between the lines?
and look for blessings in disguise?
To make me handsome, rich, and wise?
Is that really what you want?
I am a whore I do confess.
But I put you on just like a wedding dress,
and I run down the aisle, and I run down the aisle.
I’m a prodigal with no way home,
but I put you on just like a ring of gold,
and I run down the aisle to you.
So could you love this bastard child?
Though I don’t trust you to provide?
With one hand in a pot of gold
and with the other in your side?
I am so easily satisfied,
by the call of lovers so less wild.
That I would take a little cash,
over your very flesh and blood.
I am a whore I do confess.
But I put you on just like a wedding dress,
and I run down the aisle, and I run down the aisle.
That song just wrecks me every time I hear it or read it. Look. I know it’s not politically correct to use the word “whore” in church. But man, it’s in the Bible. We got a whole book about it. And I don’t know of a more piercing and and beautiful picture in all of Scripture that depicts the disgusting reality of my sin and yet at the same time the wonderful glorious grace of God for sinners like us.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’ve come from…whatever your story is…the good news of the gospel is that there is forgiveness and salvation in Jesus. Maybe you’ve felt like this… Like you’re two steps forward and then two steps back with God. You love and serve him for awhile but then it drops off as you get caught up into other things. You are not faithful. Know the goodness of the gospel today. God is a God who loves and cares for the cheaters who fail and he invites us in to be welcomed into his graces and to be changed.
May God grant us the humility and the obedience to run down the aisle to be embraced by his loving and forgiving arms…again and again and again. Well, let’s move on to our final point this morning and I’ll finally tell you what I really think about Rahab and why she’s in this chapter. “The Promise of Land: Rahab & The Commander of Faith.”
III. The Promise of Land: Rahab & The Commander of Faith
Alright. So, the first character other God, the first human name to be mentioned in Hebrews 11 is Abel. Abel is one of the sons of Adam and Eve who were driven out of the good land of the garden of Eden because of sin. The stories of all the individuals mentioned in Hebrews 11 from him on is driven by the need for a people of God who worship him in the place of God.
The place of God with his people gets called “the promised land.” In our chapter…Abel gets killed by his brother Cain who soils the ground with his blood. Enoch is taken out of the land. Through Noah the land is cleansed. In Abraham the promise of new land and a people to populate it is given. Through his son and grandon Isaac and Jacob the family grows. With Joseph, the family of God moves away from the land to Egypt. Under Moses, they leave Egypt to go back to the promised land. Moses dies and who do you expect next, who actually takes them into the land? Joshua!
They come to the brink of it, to the city of Jericho and if you know the story who is leading Israel? Joshua. But no Joshua in Hebrews! Instead, who do we have? Rahab, the prostitute. This is shocking. Unreal. It would have sent any Jew who grew up with the Scriptures into a headspin. Rahab is the punch line of the entire chapter because she’s there instead of Joshua!
Now follow me here, because as we’ll see with rest of the chapter next week and our final week in it, I think Rahab is the key that unlocks the entire meaning of Hebrews 11. What’s easy to forget when you’re working through just a chapter like this, is that it is part of an entire book. Hebrews 11 is one chapter among thirteen. So with that I think there are two other passages we have to look at in Hebrews which pull this whole thing together for us.
The first is Hebrews 12: 1-2. The very first verses of the next chapter. What they do is look backward on all of Hebrews 11 and tell us what they’re all about. So here it is, look at it with me, Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (all the people just mentioned in Hebrews 11), let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings to us so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”
Wow! So what Hebrews 12:2 tells us is that the forward looking faith of every character was a faith that was looking to Jesus. True faith is always and only fulfilled in Jesus. And who is he? What does he do? He is a founder of faith. The word “founder” is a construction term. Jesus is a builder. Remember that.
Okay, now the other passage. Hebrews 13:12-14, in some of the concluding and summarizing marks of the entire book, Hebrews 13:12-14, “Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach that he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
This is huge!!! Stay with me. So all the cloud of witnesses, the heroes of Hebrews 11 are looking forward to being a people of God in the place of God, a promised land. All of their future faith is fulfilled in Jesus who is the founder.
But! Rather than taking over the corrupt city of Jerusalem, he allows himself to be crucified outside it’s gates in order to take bring God’s people to the city that is to come. You with me? Okay. One last verse. Back to Joshua. Joshua 6:23 again. I read part of it earlier. I read it in full now. Joshua 6:23 “The young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belong to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp.”
Did you hear that last line? They bring out her and her family and put them outside the camp! They can’t be in the camp because she is a dirty Gentile whore. But she believes in the God of the Bible and his promise to save sinners and thus she becomes the climactical example in Hebrews of what true faith looks like…because it wasn’t Joshua, the commander of the army of the Lord who took God’s people into the land. It was Jesus…because the true land was the place of worship between God and his people and you only enter into that place through faith in him.
Super interesting…Joshua’s name means “YHWH saves.” It’s actually the same name as Jesus. Joshua is just the Hebrew word, Jesus is Greek. In Joshua’s place stands a prostitute because she didn’t trust in the Joshua of ancient Israel, she trusted in YHWY, the God who saves, who is the true and better Joshua, Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Jesus, the sinless savior comes to earth, never whores himself away and instead always loves God and is devoted to him. Then he takes on the sins of his people as if they we’re his very own and he’s crucified outside the camp like a pagan prostitute so that all his family and friends might be saved and brought into the great city of God that is to come.
The beauty of this whole story with Rahab is that she is the culminating figure who pulls everything together and directs it all to Christ! Even in her very bloodline. Rahab ends up marrying a man named Salmon and together they give birth to Boaz and if you follow their family line on down in Matthew 1, you find that it is is this very family who ends up giving birth to Jesus Christ several generations later. Rahab ends up being one of Jesus’ great great grandmothers.
This is such a beautiful story and picture of the gospel. Phenomenal. I’ve just been astounded by all this. But here’s the thing. I was thinking about it all and preparing for today and I realized something that could be a danger for us…
To me, see how carefully crafted this story is and how it is all built and designed to point to Jesus in this incredible way just excites me! That the Bible is this jewel of a book so cleverly composed and that the Bible writers had this Spirit driven ability to take the great stories of the history of God’s people and show how they were all pointing to Jesus…that just gets me going! But here’s the danger for us.
We can look at a text and take a story like this and sort of look in on it from that outside. Like, “oh look at that, isn’t that nice, how cool…over there…” like we’re looking at a painting or an artifact at a museum or something. And if we do that, we would end up missing how God means for this story and his word to reach us.
Really, the goal of the story is that we too might enter into the promised land through faith in Jesus as Rahab did. For so long the promised land, the place flowing with milk and honey, it was conceived of as a fixed geographical locale in the Middle East, Israel. In John 4 Jesus encounters another prostitute of sorts at a well, a woman who had been doing a bunch of sleeping around with like 7 different men. Jesus tells her he is the messiah and the way he does it is real interesting.
She wasn’t a Jew and because she wasn’t she strikes up a conversation with Jesus basically about the promised land asking him where he thought it was. Jesus answers by saying this. “The hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” She answers by saying she knew one day that would be so when the messiah came and to that Jesus says, “I who speak to you am he (John 4:23,26).”
What Jesus does in that response is take all of the longing and looking for the promised land and centers it upon himself. It’s in him…no longer fixed to one specific geographical local but is found wherever there is the worship of God through belief and redemption in Jesus the Messiah.
For us today, the way that we don’t keep this story sitting over there as a nice artifact is by entering into the promised land as Rahab did, through looking to Jesus the founder of the true and better city, the place where in Spirit and in truth we worship our God. This city, this place, is the place of the redeemed, where instead of milk and honey the body and blood of our Lord nourishes us and enables us to live happily before our God.
So what land are you living in? Do you live in the promised land, where sinners are welcomed into the fellowship of God through Jesus, who lived, died and rose again? Or are you still seeking something different or something better? Who or what are you looking to in order to make you happy? What is the promised land for you? The good life? The answer of Hebrews 11:31 is that it is the place of faith, where we love, worship and trust Jesus Christ the Lord. The danger is thinking anything else but Jesus will satisfy and save.
Well, let’s prepare for the Lord’s Supper. Each week here at The Resolved we do this. We sing about our God. We study our God’s Word. And then we eat our God’s meal. Each week when we come to this portion of the service, we respond to God’s word by coming down one of these aisles to one of the tables to deal with our hearts and to meet with Jesus.
When we tear a piece of bread off and dip it in the wine it’s really a confession. We’re saying Jesus you are enough. Jesus you are what I need. Jesus you are my savior. Jesus you died for me. Jesus I live for you. Jesus I trust you. Jesus I thank you.
1 Corinthians 11:26 says every time we do this we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. The promised land flowing with milk and honey comes through putting faith in the body and blood of Jesus which flows from his side.
The gospel is always a two edged sword. Today, some of you feel beat up, broken, filled with shame, guilt and remorse. Just like a prostitute. And what you need to hear is that Jesus died for you. He loves you and took on your sin as if it were his own and no matter what you’ve done or how many times you’ve failed, that doesn’t change. So if you’re in that place today, look to Jesus and experience the saving power of the gospel.
The other side of the sword is that today, some of you think you’re fine and doing all right but the reality is there isn’t a whole lot of Jesus in your life. You’re living in a different land. You don’t like the thought of being called a sinner, being told your a prostitute and a whore and the reason is deep down you think you’re better than that. And I would just beg and plead of you…if you took an honest look for just one second I’m sure you’d see the duplicity and flippancy of your heart. You need Jesus. Humble yourself and embrace the goodness of the gospel.
The gospel is the great equalizer because under it everyone is in the same boat. We’re all sinners who need a savior and God in his grace has richly provided us with his son who died on the cross and rose again so that we might be forgiven and risen to new life with him.
I asked Sean to play Derek Webb’s song Wedding Dress today for our first song of communion. I know it’s an intense song. But as we sing it and respond to the gospel remember the intensity of the cross and the beauty of what God does for us. As a church we’re dirty, stained and unworthy and yet God puts a white wedding dress and a ring of gold on us and has us as his own. God is a great God who has loved us with a great great love.
Let’s respond to that today as we sing and receive the Lord’s Supper.