From the Wall of Shame to the Hall of Fame

Title: From the Wall of Shame to the Hall of Fame

Bible Book: Joshua 2 : 1-7

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Salvation; Grace; Rahab; Jericho


From The Wall Of Shame To The Hall Of Fame

Dr. J. Mike Minnix

Maybe you heard about the man who was hired to carry out the US census in the hills of east Tennessee. He knocked on a door and a teen age girl came to answer it. The interviewer asked, "Is your mom home?" She said, "No, she ran off last week with a moonshiner." The census taker said, "Oh, I'm sorry. Is your father home?" She replied, “Nah, he pokes his head in once a month to take a bath." The census taker said, "Oh, my soul, I'm so sorry you have to deal with that. Do you happen to have an older sister or brother?" She said, "I have an older brother who is in college at Harvard." The astonished census taker gasped and said, "Harvard? The real Harvard?" She said, "Yes, he's at Harvard University." The census taker said, "Wow, that's great. What's he studying?" The girl said, "He ain’t studying nothing, they're studying' him!"

Today we are going to study a person from the Old Testament that has something to do with the birth of Jesus. One of the great blessings in Bible study is looking into the lives of some of the most interesting people this world has ever known. One such person is a woman named Rahab. In considering the birth of Christ, we discover his genealogy recorded in Matthew, and in chapter 1, verse 5, we find the name Rahab. As we look at her name in this elevated place, we need to discover where she came from and how she got into the family line of the Savior. We are going to see that she went from the wall of shame to the hall of fame. This is a message of hope to everyone, everywhere, and in every circumstance. If Rahab could get into God's hall of fame, so can you.

Man was made for fellowship with God. As a tree was made for the soil, a fish for the sea, and a bird for the air, mankind was made to find life in His creator. Sin removes a person from fellowship with God. Like plucking a tree up by its roots, like throwing a fish on  the dry ground, like casting a bird beneath the water, sin brings death - spiritual death - to people. Ephesians 2:1 is written to Christians. It says, “You were once dead in trespasses and sins…” Sin brings death. “For the wages of sin is death”… (Romans 6:23a).

For a person to be put back into a right relationship with God a radical work is needed; in fact, a miracle was needed. No mere amount of good deeds could appease God or change man’s nature. To be quite honest, a dead man can’t do good deeds. That’s why the Bible says, “Even our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” When we are without salvation, even our good works could do nothing to make us right with God. A person separated from God does not need reformation, the need is transformation. A change of mind is not enough, what is needed is a change of heart. Something must be done that a mere human being cannot do. Turning over a new leaf will not help, for a new life is needed. For this reason, some of the greatest stories in the Bible involve the testimony of people who had a life-changing, soul-saving experience through the awesome power of God. The story of Abraham’s call, Ruth’s conversion, the Disciples Commission, The Ethiopian’s Confession, etc., thrill the Christian reader.

Today we look at just such a story, a story of amazing grace. You will recall that the last message in this series left us with Joshua and the people of God poised on the eastern side of the Jordan waiting for God’s order to go over into Canaan. Their first stop was going to be a city named Jericho. Jericho was a great city surrounded by a tremendous wall. The wall was so thick that mounted riders could travel three or four abreast around the top of it. People actually had their homes in the wall. One such family that lived in the wall of Jericho was the family of a woman named Rahab. It is the story of her amazing conversion that grips our attention today. I want you to see three important things today about how God changes a life.

I. She was Deformed

First, we must note that Rahab was deformed. No, I don't mean that she was physically deformed but was rather morally deformed. So are we all, until we come to accept God's amazing grace. You see, Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho. Her life was a sordid and ungodly one. I want you to notice that there are actually two types of lost people.

A. The Down and Out

We might consider Rahab the first type of person. The down and out person is someone who is living in the dregs of society. A good example in modern time is that of a man named Mel Trotter.

Mel Trotter was an alcoholic by the time he was 19 years old. He had a son that died and after that Mel abandoned his wife. He sunk deeper and deeper into his life of alcohol. One night Mel Trotter was on the cold city street during a blizzard when he heard music and felt the warmth of a gospel mission. He slipped inside to warm himself but while he was there God began to work on his heart. He was strangely drawn to the altar and there he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He became a child of God by grace.

Mel trotter became a preacher in the inner city and led countless men and women to Jesus. He led a mission work to those who had fallen into sin the same way he fallen prior to his conversion. In fact, at one point Mel Trotter led the largest city mission in the United States. He had gone from a drunk who sold his own shoes for a drink of whiskey, to leading a ministry to thousands who needed God’s help. I once heard a recording of his voice and I wept at the compassion he had for the lost. He had been delivered from the pit of hell and he knew it. And he knew that the Lord could do the same for others.

We might consider Rahab such a woman. She was deformed by her society and by her character. She was a prostitute in Jericho.

B. The Up and Out

But think that only people who are down and out are lost, for a second type of lost person is the up and out person. The up and out person is someone who seems to have everything but Jesus. This type of person is often highly educated, financially doing well, and considers himself or herself above the need for God.

A good example an up and out person is the late Charles Colson. In his book "Born Again" Colson tells about his experience of coming to know the Lord. Colson was in the Nixon White House during the early 1970s. He tells in his book what a rush of pride, arrogance, and power swept over him when as a mere 30 year old riding down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington in the Presidential limousine. The flags of the president and the country blew in the wind from the front bumper as they drove along. He sat in the car beside the seat of the most powerful man on earth. But friends, he was lost. He was up in society but he was without God. He had never been born again.

Colson tells in his book how everything came tumbling down with the Watergate fiasco. He was indicted. Gloriously, however, he was saved - thus, the title of his book, "Born Again." Colson went to prison, and there he saw the pain and sorrow of prisoners. He started a Christian ministry for prisoners all over the world. He spent the rest of his life in Christian ministry.

You see, it doesn’t matter whether you are in a Fifth Avenue Penthouse, or a bum on the street, if you are lost you are headed toward an eternity without God. In fact, I am not so sure that Rahab might have been considered a person in the upper crust in her day. Why, you ask? Because, in the Ammonite religion, the temple prostitutes were highly paid and looked up to as religiously superior. Whether she was seen in her day as down and out or as up and in, she was lost and under condemnation. Joshua and his army were days from marching around the city. She was lost and the judgment was coming - the walls of her city were going to collapse on top of her. Friend, understand something today, without Jesus you are lost and unprepared to meet God. Sin has deformed us. Every person God changes has to turn from their deformed life of sin to trust the Lord and Savior. That is exactly what Rahab did. Let’s see how it transpired.

II. She was Informed

For the deformed person to come to salvation, that person must hear - must be informed - about the salvation of the Lord. Mel Trotter heard that message in a gospel mission. Charles Colson heard it from a friend. How did Rahab come to know about the Lord’s salvation?

A. She was Convicted by the Works of God

We saw in our text how Rahab was informed about the coming judgment and the grace of God she could experience. She heard about the things God had done for His people. People need to know what the Lord is doing before they will believe that they need Him or that He is able to make a difference in their lives. We must publish the good things of the Lord. "Go Tell It On The Mountain, Over The Hills And Everywhere!" Indeed, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."

B. She was Convicted by the Witnesses of God

But she needed more than just secondhand accounts, she needed a personal testimony. The two spies gave her that testimony. The Holy Spirit searched the city of Jericho and saw a heart upon which He could work. He will do the same in every heart that will be tender toward God. God led the spies to the woman who was ready to hear the Gospel of God. All over Lilburn, and Atlanta, and the world, the Spirit is at work. We must be ready to share the Gospel with the lost. Look at the Ethiopian eunuch who was lost. Look at Cornelius. God sent Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch, Peter to Cornelius, and Jesus to the woman at the well of Sychar.

God is not only convicting the lost, He is looking for some Christians who are so sensitive to His Spirit  and who are willing to share with those who are convicted. She had seen the work of God in the lives of His people and she was convinced. Many are unsaved today because we as Christians are not walking in the Spirit in a manner that will allow the supernatural, divine power of God to  work through us.

C. She was Convicted by the Word of God

What Rahab received was the Word of God. In the Book of James the two men mentioned as visiting Jericho are called "messengers". They were spokesmen for Almighty God. They were speaking God’s message. You see, real faith is taking God at His Word. Faith is your response to the Word of God. You don’t have faith in faith, you have faith in God and what God says.

III. She was Transformed

In James we are also told that Rahab was justified. What does that mean. Rahab believed the message given to her by God's servants. She was justified by faith - that is how every true believer in the Lord is saved. She was gloriously transformed because of her faith in God and the action which her faith produced. I want you to see what happens to a life that God changes.

A. The Present Danger was Alleviated

Judgment was merely days ahead for Jericho. Everyone living in the wall of Jericho was going to die - everyone except this one woman and those to whom she witnessed. She missed death and hell by a mere span of days. You do not know how near you may be to the judgment, but the moment you come to Jesus all the danger of that day is alleviated.

Let me tell you what was great about her salvation, it was an eternal redemption. It was not just to get her off that wall that was about to fall, it was to get her out of her sin, into the kingdom, and to secure her a home in heaven.

I love the story about the man who went to the barber to get a shave. It seems the barber’s wife, Grace, was working in his place. She shaved the man and charged him $100.00. He started to complain about the price but decided against it. The next day he noticed that he did not need to shave. Then the next day he also did not need a shave. This went on for two weeks. He went back to the barber shop and told the barber the amazing story. The barber said, “Oh, that was Grace who shaved you. Don’t you know that when you’ve been shaved by Grace, it is once shaved, always shaved!”

Well, hallelujah, though a shave may not last forever, the price Jesus paid for your sins does last forever. She had an eternal redemption.

B. The Past Deeds were Eliminated

Her sins were gone. She was forgiven, not because she had turned over a new leaf, but because she had accepted God’s plan for her life. She had trusted what God said, what God did, and what God promised to do specifically for her. She was as clean as the white, driven snow.

C. The Positive Direction was Inaugurated

Her life was turned around. Suddenly she became a blessing.

1. A blessing to those of faith

She blessed the people of God, the spies, the entire camp of Israel.

2. A blessing to those in her family

She blessed her family, for they too were saved.

3. A blessing to those who follow

She blessed those who followed. She is an ancestor to Jesus. Look in Matthew 1:5. She was in the family line of Boaz, Ruth, and was the great-great-grandmother of King David. You see, while Jericho was headed toward Judgment, she was on her way to a wedding. She married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz. Friend, would you rather be headed to a wedding with Lamb of God in heaven, or to judgment when the walls on which you are standing collapse?

Before Rahab heard the message of God she was religious in the false Ammonite faith. But, that faith did not help her. She she was lost. She had a false religion that had no chance of offering her eternal life, but when she placed her faith in the Lord she received something that time cannot steal. Religion will not save you, but a relationship with the Savior will. In fact, in the great roll call of faith in Hebrews, you will find the name of Rahab. Do you realize that she got off the wall of shame and into the hall of fame! Yes, that is what God will do for anyone who will trust Him. She could sing with the songwriter:

“I once was an outcast

Stranger on earth

A sinner by choice

And an alien by birth

But I’ve been adopted

My name’s written down

I’m an heir to a mansion

A robe and a crown

I’m a Child of the King” (Lyrics by Harriett E. Buell)


One of the great stories from the history of California involves a aged silver miner who died. He spent all his life searching for silver in the mountains of the Old West. He had become so obsessed with his search that his wife and children had left him. When he died the handful of people who came to bury him found amog his possessions a note instructing them to bury him under his cabin. As the earth was overturned a lustrous gray material began to appear. It became known as the largest silver vein in California history. The miner had been a millionaire all his life, silver was under his feet in his cabin, but he never knew it.

Someone here today has been searching for the meaning of life. Well, it is right under you nose. It is right under your feet. It is as close as your heart. You will find it in Jesus. Rahab found it. Mel Trotter found it. Charles Colson found it. Thank God, I found it! So can you. Just come to Him today by faith - believe and be saved.

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