Jentezen Franklin - Family Heroes
If you have your Bibles, open them with me to the book of Hebrews, chapter 11. And I want you to see with me three different verses that I want to highlight some people that God says are heroes. And I want you to see in Hebrews 11 and verse seven, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, and prepared an ark for the saving of his household," or his family, "by which he condemned the world and became the heir of the righteousness which is according to faith".
And then, in verse 23 of the same chapter, "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months," here's the key to the whole verse, "by his parents..." It's really giving credit to his parents and, "because they saw that he was a beautiful child..." Mom, you saw that when I was born. I was a beautiful child. "...and they were not afraid of the king's command". I was. I was a very pretty child. And then, verse 31, "By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with faith".
Hebrews 11 is God's Hall of Faith. In Hebrews 11, God lifts certain names of people who distinguished themselves in the kingdom of God by the feats that they accomplished. He lifts those names and Hebrews 11 actually becomes heaven's roll call of outstanding winners, outstanding achievers, men like David who slew the giant, and it lists the things that they did; men like Joshua who prayed with such fervency and faith that the sun stood still, men like Samson who defeated 1.000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. And it lists them, these heroes of faith and the amazing accomplishments.
The Bible says that some of them defeated armies and the odds were stacked against them. Some of them took cities. Some of them accomplished things like raising the dead and performing miracles like Elijah when he prayed and rain, after three years of famine, began to pour from heaven at the sound of his prayer and his faith. And yet, in the middle of all of these amazing accomplishments, we see three names that I've highlighted that really seem out of place. They really should not be there in the Hall of Fame, Hebrews 11. They don't fit the hero status except for one thing that they did. The one thing is common in both, in all three of these people, in all three of these groups. And that one thing was the thing in God's eyes that made them notable. And He said, "I want them in My book of heroes", Hebrews 11, is all three of them saved their family.
They didn't have mega miracles. They didn't have megachurches. They didn't have mega faith to take cities or to conquer giants or to defeat odds of thousands of soldiers coming against them like some of the men in Hebrews 11. But these people had faith and they were heroes in God's eyes because their faith caused not only that they would be saved but that their families would be saved. God thinks if you're getting your family saved that you're doing something just as great as Samson, just as great as Gideon, just as great as David, just as great as Abraham.
If you are teaching and winning and bringing and causing your family to know who Jesus is, God says, "You're a family hero in My eyes", and what you're doing is just as great as what all of those people did that I just described. They deserved to be in God's Hall of Fame, right next to people who did big, magnificent things. And all they did was win their families.
First of all, I want us to look at Rahab. It's so shocking to see Rahab. And the Bible says it plain, the harlot; is mentioned in Hebrews 11. She was a harlot. She was a prostitute. She, in our modern times, would be a stripper or a dance, a lap dancer. And that's very plain and rude almost to say that in a public audience. And yet, God put that detail so that He could say to anybody listening to me that there is nothing in your family's background that is more powerful than God's grace and God's mercy, and it doesn't matter where you came from, God can turn you and your family into heroes for His kingdom's sake because Rahab didn't just get in Hebrews 11 as a harlot.
When you find her in Matthew 1 in the genealogy of Jesus, it doesn't say "the harlot Rahab", it just says Rahab. What happened? Grace covered her past and grace took a messed up, dysfunctional family and made them cause Jesus Christ, to play a part in Jesus Christ coming into the earth. You remember the story, the two spies. Everybody say, "Two spies". The two is the number of witnesses. The Bible said in Corinthians that "out of the mouth of two or three witnesses every word must be established", so two has to do with the fact that they were coming to her house and they realized that the king was on to them.
They were spying out the city of Jericho before Joshua and his army took it. And when the king heard that there were strangers in the city, they knew they had to hide and they came to the harlot's house. And they said, "We are here and we need you to hide us in your house". And she said, "Let's make a deal". She said, "I will hide you in my house if you will give me what I ask you". And she could have asked for money, she could have asked for titles, she could have asked for property. She asked for none of those things. When she was able to ask whatever she wanted, notice what she asked for. She said, "I want you to save me and I want you to save all my household". And then she starts naming it in Joshua. She says, "I want you to save my father, my mother, my brothers, my..."
Isn't that something? A prostitute has the audacity to say, "I know my family's messed up, I know I'm bad, I know we have a terrible reputation; but if I take you in, you represent the promise of household salvation and if I hide you in my house, if I hear the word that says me and my house can be saved and I dare take you in and hide you, you've got to promise me that you will save not only me but I want all my family, all of 'em in the house saved". And they said, "You let us out of this window with a rope and tie a scarlet cord on the window that you let us out of," and then, notice what they said, "get your family in the house and make sure they stay in the house". Your job is to fasten the cord. That word fasten means to nail it down. And then, make sure you keep your family in the house.
All she did to be a family hero was got, she got her family in the house. And the house represents church. And God says, "You are raised to hero status if you can get your family in the house", because in the house, there's miracles and in the house, there's protection and in the house, under the blood, the red scarlet cord, there is salvation, there is deliverance, there is freedom, there is all that you need. But you've got to get 'em in the house. Parents, your job is to get 'em in the house.
Church should not be optional. Church is not something you hit, skip, and miss. Church is not something that is the lesser of the priorities. This is life or death. This is talking about your family making it to heaven. What could be more important? Soccer isn't more important. Ball games aren't more important. Nothing the world has to offer is more important. When you know that your family is saved and you are saved, you are a hero and you are a success. No matter what else you don't do, if you do that, you are a success in God's eyes. She was a hero. She saved her family. And all she did was make sure they were in the house. Are your kids in KidPak? Your kids in Youth Group?
Now, let me tell you about another one: Noah. Noah didn't do anything but save eight people his whole life. God gave him a commission when he had 500 candles on his birthday cake, which tells me some of you are sitting out there and saying, "I waited too late, I lived in sin, I didn't bring 'em to church and it's too late". Not it's not. Noah's got a message for you. Noah was 500 when God said, "I need you to build an ark for the saving of your family". His kids were grown. And God said, "It's never too late to save your family". It's never too late to build an ark of safety. It's never too late to see God intervene and cleanse your family of the sins of generations.
And so, he said, "God, what do You want me to do," and God said, "I want you to build an ark for the saving of your family". He had eight family members. And I love the fact that when he started building that ark, your Bible says he made his children get involved in ark building. So the reason, and the great thing that he did, and the reason he was a hero is Rahab got her family in the house, in the church, but he got his family involved in the work of the church, the work of the kingdom. Every one of those children grew up with a little hammer and nail and saw. And while other families were preoccupied with other things, their children were involved in building the church, the ark. They had 'em involved in KidPak. They had 'em involved in Youth Ministry. They had 'em involved in the music. They had 'em involved in the drama. They had 'em running cameras. That's what I'm preaching to you.
One of the keys to seeing your family saved is get 'em involved. Insist on it. Noah was a family hero because God's cause was the center of his family life. When I think about boat-building, I think about the fact that if you're not building that ark of salvation every time you come to church, every time you tithe, every time you worship, every time you prioritize the Lord's Day and you teach by example, your children, we go to church, you're building an ark of safety for your family. By the way, that ark was pitched on the outside with tar and on the inside. Can you imagine?
I love the fact that if it's pitched on the outside, you better have it on the inside; that if you want to see your family saved, what you're pitching publicly better be what you're living privately. And it's not enough to be sealed up on the outside and come one day a week on Sunday and raise your hands. But if those kids don't see you pitched Monday through Saturday and see you read the Bible and see you pray and see you call on Jesus. Are you just pitched public ally or are you pitched privately? And I'm so thankful that when Jesus comes again in judgment and covers this earth, if we do what Noah did, we too will rise. But it won't be just us; it will be our family. And if I can get my family to heaven, I am a success. It means more to me than money. It means more to me than houses and land. It means more to me than cars and material things. It means everything to get my family ready for the coming of the Lord. Clap your hands and say amen, somebody.
He was a success because he got his family involved in the cause of God. She was a success, Rahab, because she got her family in the house. And lastly, I want to talk about Moses' parents because the Bible said that he had a father and a mother. We're given their names in the book of Exodus. I think the man's name was Amram. That was Moses' father. And his mother was named Jochebed. They were phenomenal parents. Now, listen to me. All they did was when the, Pharaoh put out a decree to kill all the boys, the Bible said that they did not agree like other families to turn their child over, but they hid him. If you want to be a family hero, hide your family. Don't let their innocent little ears and eyes be exposed.
I know you can't hide 'em forever. I know they're going to go off and go to college and all of that, but in the formative years that you have them, you are to hide them. You are to shelter them. You are to guard them. You are to make sure that their eyes and their ears and their mind, their heart, these little bitty children, don't expose them to things that they don't need to see and they don't need to hear and they don't need to know. Keep them. Hide them. Have some convictions. Have something about you that says we're going to have some modesty, we're going to have some purity. Hide them from cussing and filthy language in your home. Hide them in those formative years.
And then she said, at some point, "I can't hide him anymore; I've got to release him into the Egyptian system. But I'm going to make him a little basket out of bulrush". And bulrush is something that alligators are allergic to. And she said, "I'm going to send him down the river into the Egyptian system; but what I build and wrap around in that little basket, my faith, my prayers, my lifestyle, my example is going to so go with him that when he gets down there and they teach him in Egypt there's 800 gods and he ought to worship all of 'em, he's going to be the man that will write, 'In the beginning was God'. He's going to be the man that's going to write in Deuteronomy 6, 'Behold the Lord our God is one Lord'".
He's going to be the one that's going to write Genesis and Exodus and Numbers, the first five books of the Bible was written by Moses and he was educated in Egypt but the basket that his mother built for him, in the time that she hid him, in the time that she mentored him, in the time that she babysat him. And she did and I don't have time to tell that. Read your Bible. But she got to keep him and was paid by Pharaoh's daughter to keep him and feed him. And she wasn't just feeding him milk. She was feeding him and whispering, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus". And it got in that boy; and when he got old enough, he said, "I'd rather have the reproach with God's people than to live in the palace with Pharaoh". Somebody shout right now if you believe there's power inherit in our children.
I preached in South Africa one time, and the pastor took me and Cherise on a safari after we preached the conference. And one thing they tell you about gazelles is they have a secret code to the fawns, their babies, the baby deer; that the adults have little spots or brown places on their ears, on the back of their ears. And the reason that is so is because when they're in high grass and sometimes that grass grows up this high where they feed, that they can just, the parents...
Look at me just a moment. The parents can blend into the atmosphere or the environment so much so that the little fawns can't see their, the mother deer and the father deer. But if they have those marks of distinction, when they lift their head and perk up their ears, they know there's a lion approaching and they will stop and quickly shift directions. And even though it's hard to see them because of the environment they're in, those marks of distinction save the next generation of deer because the parents have marks of distinction. From the lion, they're saved.
Do you, mom and dad, have marks of distinction that the little ones that are following you. Do you have a walk with God? Do you have a sanctified something about you that when it's all said and done, they've seen Jesus and the example that you follow, that flees from evil? Is it being transferred to a new generation? You need marks of distinction that you've been... The Bible said they took note of the disciples. They had been with Jesus.
Whatever the faults are, and there are many in this dad and in this husband, when it's all said and done, nobody who's lived with me — and I'm not bragging on myself, it's the grace of God — but I can honestly say I've done my best to live a life that has marks of distinction that daddy loved God, daddy loved God supremely, daddy lived what he preached, he didn't pitch something public ally and live something different privately. And when I'm dead and gone, my children will have seen marks of distinction on me and on their mother. How 'bout you? How 'bout you? Your starting that being in service right here, right now. And God's looking for family heroes. It just takes one. It just takes one to begin a miracle in a family, and He's calling you to be that one in your family.