There are sounds of gunfire and screaming coming from outside his window. The man slowly moves the curtain aside to see what’s going on, his kids getting more and more worried. “Dad, what’s that noise? Is somebody hurt?”
The man barks at them, “get back!”
He makes his way to the front door, and with tears the kids start begging, “Dad, don’t go! Stay here with us.”
The dad opens the door slowly and lightly steps out onto the front porch. Hesitating, he turns around, looks his children in the eyes, and sternly says, “Stay in the house!”
The door shuts, and the children don’t see their father anymore. They run to the window and look as bullets fly and their father falls to the ground dead.
And through the crying and tears, they are haunted by the question that they can never answer: Why didn’t daddy stay in the house?
Why would a man tell his children to “stay in the house!”?
Because there is safety in the house. There is security in the house. There is protection in the house. Because there is danger outside. It could cost them their lives to go outside.
In the Bible there was a strict command given to “stay in the house!”
It’s found in Joshua 2. The Israelites—almost 3 million of them—are camped next to the Jordan River. Across the Jordan stands the city of Jericho, surrounded by its two protective walls.
From the top of Jericho’s walls, you can see the Israelite camp, their tents, their campfires, and more people than you’ve ever seen in your life—and they’re about to attack. Then, two of them show up in the city; on the walls; in your house!
Scared for your life, you don’t dare turn them in—you don’t want to anger their God. You quickly hide them on your roof, and when the soldiers come to your door, you send them on a wild-goose chase—because you don’t want to anger the powerful Jehovah of the Israelites. You send the spies out safely, but beg them to spare you and your family when they finally attack.
The spies agree, but give you the stern warning: “stay in the house! ”
If you want to be safe, get in the house!
For Rahab and her family to be safe, they have to get in the house (Joshua 2:18).
The spies said “when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household home unto thee.” Literally, they said, “into your house.”
The only way that anyone in the city of Jericho was going to be saved was if they got in the house. So, Rahab found her family, and brought them into the house with her—because she wanted to be saved, and she wanted her family to be saved too.
To refuse to come into the house was to refuse salvation. To refuse to come into the house was to bring death on themselves.
For anyone today to be saved, they have to “get in the house” (Acts 2:47).
The house of God is the church (I Timothy 3:15 – “the house of God, which is the church”). All saved people are in the church (Acts 2:47)—there are no saved people outside of the church. Christ’s blood is required for salvation, and it only covers those who are in the church (Acts 20:28).
You’re surrounded by enemies who are ready to destroy you—and the only way to be safe is to “get in the house!” Salvation is only found in the church, because it is the house of God, the body of Christ.
To reject the church is to reject salvation! To reject the church is to bring destruction upon yourself!
If you’re not in the house yet, GET IN IT!
And if you are in the house, why aren’t you trying to get other people in it with you? Do you want them to be destroyed? Are you content to think, “Well, I’ll be saved, so it doesn’t really matter about anyone else?”
If you want to be safe, stay in the house!
For Rahab and her family to be safe, they have to stay in the house (Joshua 2:19).
“And it shall be that whosoever shall go out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head and we shall be guiltless.” Basically, the spies said, “If they leave the house, they’re dead. And it’ll be their own fault.”
Rahab and her family get all their belongings, and they all huddle together in the house. They look out the window, scared for their people, but also confident that God would keep His promise. They see hundreds of thousands of soldiers march around their city once a day for six days—and the soldiers don’t say a word. It is eerie, disconcerting, and frightening.
But through it all, they stay in the house because they know that they are only safe if they stay in the house.
For anyone today to be saved, they have to “stay in the house!”
Almost every letter in the New Testament contains warnings about losing your salvation. But this is nowhere more clearly stated than in Revelation.
Jesus walks among the seven golden candlesticks, which are his church (Revelation 1:20). A church who ceases to follow Christ will have its candlestick removed—that is, they will no longer be part of the church (Revelation 2:5). In fact, Jesus describes the process as vomiting them out of His mouth, His body—vomiting them out of the church (Revelation 3:16).
When you leave the church, you leave the protection of the blood of Christ—and you bring it on yourself! Those who returned to the Law of Moses willingly left the church of Jesus Christ—and had “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
You’re surrounded by an enemy that is ready to destroy you. You’re in the one safe place [the church] where they can’t harm you. And then you open the door and walk out—into the destructive hands of the enemy. That’s like being in a storm cellar in the middle of a tornado, and then getting out as it goes right over you. You’re dead!
Instead, stay gathered with your family—your brothers and sisters in Christ—stay safe in the house (the church).
On the seventh day of the siege, the hundreds of thousands of Israelite soldiers marched around the city seven times. The people in Jericho knew something was coming. As they looked out over the wall and through windows, they could see nothing but soldiers—silent soldiers—being led by God Himself.
Then, without warning, trumpets blast and six hundred thousand voices scream all at once. The ground shakes and the walls of the city crash to the ground. And through the dust they see the screaming soldiers running straight into the city with their swords swinging. Blood splatters and pools on the ground and person after person falls lifeless to the ground. Then comes the fire, destroying the city and everything in it.
But one section of the wall never fell. One small section of the wall still stood, with a house sitting on top of it. Inside that house was a woman who wanted to be saved. Inside that house was her family. Inside that house was a group of people who trusted in God’s promise.
What made that house different? Why did it stand when all the others fell?
After all, there were plenty of other houses. There were plenty of other people huddled in other houses. What made this one different? This house had a window. Out of that window hung a cord—a scarlet cord. That cord is what made that house stand out. That cord is what marked that house for salvation. That scarlet cord saved the spies, and now it saved Rahab and her family.
“And Joshua saved Rahab…and her father’s household” (Joshua 6:25).
On the final day, destruction will come upon this entire world. The trumpet will sound and Jesus will shout (I Thessalonians 4:16). No one will be able to stand in the face of His fierce destruction. And then comes the fire—the eternal fire (Mark 9:43-48).
But one house is spared. Inside that house are people who wanted to be saved when destruction came. But what made that house different? What makes this CHURCH different? After all, there’s plenty of other churches out there.
This church is different because of scarlet—the scarlet of Jesus’ blood. It is that blood which sets this church apart. It is that blood that makes this church stand out. The scarlet marks this church—this house—for salvation.
The people in this house are also saved by Joshua—of course, we know this Joshua by His Greek name, Jesus.
Jesus said He would build HIS church (Matthew 16:18). There is only one church that Christ recognizes. There is only one church that God adds to (Acts 2:47). Christ only built one church. Man has built many. Only Christ’s church—the one protected by the scarlet—will be saved.
The question now is this: Are you part of that church?
-Bradley S. Cobb