Steven Furtick - Losing Sight of Who You Are
This is an excerpt from: Reputation Rehab
I'm concerned that a lot of times we are convinced that our trouble is an indication of the absence of God's presence. When more times than not in the scripture, you can find that trouble accompanies God's presence. He is an ever-present help in the time of trouble. So if you're in trouble, you're in God. Who're you? Who're you? The devil's looking at some of y'all. Who're you? I don't even have to mess with your life. You're doing a good job by yourself. Who're you? Who're you? I don't get paid to argue with you. No. So they go to the house of Rahab, the Prostitute. And y'all, I probably would not preach about a prostitute if she were only mentioned in Joshua 2, because I would figure that's the "Old Testament".
But a funny thing happened in the "Book of Matthew". When the writer started listing the genealogy of Jesus and all of the generations that He came through. It's like 14 generations, and then 14 more, and then 14 more, and this is the stuff that we skip over sometimes when we're reading the "Christmas Story" because it's all these names that we don't recognize. And so and so begat so and so, begat so and so, begat so and so. And really all I want to do is get to verse 18 then King Jesus, but some of the stuff you skip is some of the places where God speaks. I said some of the stuff you skip is some of the stuff God speaks through and Matthew said in Matthew 1:5. I feel like preaching: "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab" Whose mother was Rahab.
Now to get to Jesus in the genealogy, you got to go through Rahab, the prostitute. God works through who He wants to work through. And all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord. Whose mother was Rahab. Stop being so stuck-up. Stop categorizing people and casting them out like you don't have issues. You ought to be glad to see Rahab's name in there. Hope for me, too. If Rehab made it, maybe I can. By faith. Shout it out, "By faith". So then, you get to Hebrews 11 and not just once, but for the second time in the "New Testament", Rahab gets an honorable mention in the Hall of Faith. Where they're inducting all of the Sunday school heroes. All of the classic events on which redemptive history hinged, are mentioned in Hebrews 11:29. "By faith the people pass through the Red Sea on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned".
Side note. God doesn't bring you into deep waters to kill you. He brings you into deep water to drown your enemies. He knows they can't swim. And in deep waters, that's where you deal with your doubts. And in deep waters, that's where you come face-to-face with your dysfunction, and have to lean and rely on the grace of God. So the Egyptians drowned by faith. The walls of Jericho fell, not because they fought so well, but because the faith that they had enabled them to do what made no sense naturally. And by faith the walls of Jericho fell after the Army had marched around them for seven days. And here comes Rahab. By faith, the prostitute, Rahab because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who are disobedient. And what more shall I say?
I don't have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the Prophets. You mean you don't have time to talk about David, the greatest King that Israel ever knew? A man after God's own heart, but you had time to mention Rahab. God says, I don't look at people based on your standard of importance. I don't look at people based on your standard of significance. God doesn't check your followers to see how much favor He gives you. God is looking at your faith. And then James jumps in. And for a third time this harlot is mentioned alongside the heroes of scripture. Hero, harlot. Harlot, hero. And now I can't tell the difference because God calls someone that I call a harlot, a hero.
And I know you don't like it. And I know it doesn't go down easy. And I know we can't eat it with vanilla wafers and put it on a flannel graph because the story of Rahab is R-rated, and it doesn't teach very well in e-kids. But James said, James 2:25: "'In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and Sent them off in a different direction?'" And keep calling her that, Rahab, the prostitute. Keep labeling her. It's crazy, God didn't change her before He used her. You know how we think God can't use me because I currently struggle with... It's not like she was a prostitute and then she became a prophet. She was still a prostitute. This doesn't excuse bad behavior, but it helps me to see that the love of God is not the reward for change. It is the resource by which I am changed.
That revelation of the love of God is so powerful. And you know, I was telling you my son, Graham, he talks a lot more now. And he actually says some really funny stuff. But all my kids have heard so many sermons they come up with funny little questions about the Bible that I never thought of before. But just from a child's mind is so funny. And Graham asked me the other day. He said, "I hear people say all the time, 'When I get to heaven I want to see Jesus.'" And he said, "But have you ever thought about how long the line is gonna be"? And we had just been to Disneyland so he had that in his mind like the, you know. And he said, it's gonna be a long line to see Jesus.
I wonder if you could get somebody to hold your place in line to see Jesus, and then go see some of the other characters in The Bible? So I kind of played it out. And I was thinking, you know, you probably could. There probably some characters in the Bible that no one will want to selfie with. And you could probably just walk right up to him. Like Jonah. Who wants to meet Jonah? He's the most dysfunctional, discouraging prophet in the Bible. He preached and God sent a Revival, and he went outside and wanted to die. So Jonah is available. You could go see Jonah for a few minutes. Few hundred years while you wait to see Jesus. You know, eternities long. And then you could probably go see, you could probably go see Bartholomew.
Apostle Paul might be unavailable. And John the Disciple, whom Jesus loved. He might have a little wait list. But you can probably see Bartholomew. Jewish legend says that Rahab was one of the most four beautiful women who ever lived. I don't know if that's true. But maybe you want to see for yourself, you know, get to heaven. There's Samson. Walk over to the front desk. There's Peter, got his iPad. And you say, "Hey, I'm in line to see Jesus, I'm number 15.973.223. While I'm waiting. I was kind of strange request. Could I see... Could I see Rahab, the prostitute"? Peter's loud, Rahab the prostitute, let me check. Sounds bad man. Keep it down. Oh, I'm sorry. We do have a Rahab up here, but you said 'Rahab, the prostitute?' There's nobody here by that name. Because up here we don't call people what they were. We don't call people what they did. We don't call people what they were labeled. Up here, she doesn't go by that name.
So you can see Rahab, but make sure you call her by her new name. Up here, we call her Rahab, the righteous. There is a righteousness that comes from God by faith. I said there is a righteousness that is not of works so that no one can boast. And I don't know about you, but I'm grateful for the blood of Jesus that covered my path. I'm not what I did. And I'm not what I was. And I'm not what I think. And I'm not where I'm broken. And I'm not what they said. I got a new name. I got a new name. Not got a new reputation. I am a child of God. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Look at somebody say, "Don't call me that". "You don't know me like that".
Don't call me according to how you memorize me in my past. God is doing a new thing in my life. And when condemnation comes in, you know to remind you of all of those reasons that God can't use you. Remember Rahab. Remember Rahab, who had nothing to offer except faith. And God said, even she was considered righteous. Because that's what church is. It's a place for you to come and leave all of the labels that you've accumulated in your life because of your behaviors. Oh, yeah, some of the stuff people said about you is facts. It's not always that they were lying. It's just that there is a greater truth that supersedes whatever they can say about you and every weakness, is potential straight.
But when I was writing this message, I made a critical mistake. I was typing so fast in my phone, I kept misspelling Rahab's name. And I kept spelling it R-E-H-A-B, because I was writing fast, not because my IQ is low. After writing it down 10 times, I noticed, I keep spelling it Rehab. And God said, "You got it right, because what I want you to tell the people when you preach it, is that I am in the business of rehabilitating". Give my title again on the screen. You did not come to a religious service today. You came to rehab. And the place that starts is not with what others think of you. We spend so much time on that. We fail to realize that, really, the issue is how you see you.
The greatest place my reputation needs repair is within myself, because I've let myself down so many times, and I've made promises to myself and others over and over again. And I'm really gonna have a better attitude this time. And I'm really gonna this time. And I'm really gonna this time. And some of you have a developed a reputation with yourself that does not reflect your reputation with Heaven. God doesn't see you like that. Doesn't see you like that. And the gap between your reality and your reputation with yourself could cost you the opportunity to see God use you in the future, if you don't deal with that. It costs the spies. 10 of the 12 said, "We can't go in".
That's 83.66666% of the people that went into the land came back with the wrong report. And I think 83.66666% of stuff I tell myself, is probably wrong. At least. At least. And if I don't deal with that, I can have a new reality, a new nature. I could be chosen by God. Loved by God. Accepted by God. And He can even have an assignment for me. He can even want to use my house to bring forth the promise. If I don't see myself that way, I'll be like those spies. The reason they didn't go into the land wasn't how they saw God. Was how they saw themselves. And the reason they saw themselves as small is because they had spent 430 years enslaved. And sometimes you carry that with you. The Bible actually says that before they could go into the land, God had to roll away the reproach of Egypt. Their past, their shackles, their former condition.
When you carry forward with you the reproach of different things that you struggled with or currently struggle with, it will always keep you from realizing your righteousness in Christ. Always. Always. When you see your life through the lens of self, it's very small. That's what the spies came back and said. They had totally lost sight of God's reputation, because they were so concerned about their own. Numbers 13:33 says: "That they gave the man of God, Moses this report. They said, 'We saw the Nephilim there...'" The Nephilim were giants. It might represent anything in your life that's too powerful for you and your own strength. It might represent your fear, or your insecurity. That chronic thing keeps creeping into your life, taking you down. Thought pattern. Doesn't have to be a physical giant or a physical enemy.
In fact, the Bible says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood". There's a good chance that your Nephilim has a different name. "'And we saw the Giants. And we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes..".. Wait, why are you comparing yourself to the Giants? You are supposed to be comparing your giants to your God. But you lost sight of that, didn't you? You start thinking what's wrong with me is more powerful than what's right with God. "'We looked like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we look the same to them.'" Because when you don't know who you are, you depend on the rest of the world to tell you. And now you're empty. And now you're projecting. And now you're trying to perfect this reputation. But God brought you here for Rehab. God brought you here for a reminder of who He is.