Here is this coming Sunday morning’s sermon for January 6th 2008.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 6
Sarah’s Faith – an impossible faith
Last time we looked at Abraham’s faith and we saw that it was an obedient hopeful faith. This week we are going to look at Sarah’s Faith – an impossible faith. Or another way to say it, a faith that believed the impossible.
I guess you could say that in this sermon is where we need to see the rubber meet the road. We say that God can do anything, but do we really believe it. Do we believe that God can really do the impossible.
Let me tell you what impossible is. Impossible is when all during your school years, you were shy and you didn’t like to get up in front of the class and recite a poem, or read and book report. You’d rather get a zero than do that because you were embarrassed to speak in front of the class. Then after you come to Jesus, He calls you to become a preacher. So you have to do each week the thing that still makes you uncomfortable, standing up in front of a crowd and speaking. That person is me. Whether you realize it or not, almost every Sunday and Wednesday I still struggle with this. I want to sometimes lock the door in my office and not come out, no matter what size the crowd is. Why? Because I still have this fear of speaking in front of people. So basically, every Sunday, I have to trust God to give me something that I know is not inside myself to manipulate. And that is His peace and strength to help me speak again in front of others.
Now let me ask you a question this morning? When was the last time that you believed God for Him to do something impossible? Not just in your midst, but literally in you and through you.
This morning we are going to look at our passage from Hebrews 11:11-12 and see what we can learn from the story of Sarah concerning a faith that believes the impossible.
Let’s look and see what God would say to us.
Hebrews 11:11-12 ISV – By faith Sarah, even though she was old and barren, received the strength to conceive, because she was convinced that the one who had made the promise was faithful. (12) Abraham was as good as dead, yet from this one man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
1. Sarah had a faith that believed God for the impossible.
Hebrews 11:11 ISV – By faith Sarah, even though she was old and barren, received the strength to conceive, because she was convinced that the one who had made the promise was faithful.
A. Let’s look at the passages in the O.T. this story comes from.
Genesis 18:1-15 CSB – 1 Then the LORD appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. 2 He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed to the ground. 3 Then he said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please do not go on past your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant’s [way]. Later, you can continue on.” “Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures of fine flour and make bread.” 7 Meanwhile, Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. 8 Then Abraham took curds and milk, and the calf that he had prepared, and set [them] before the men. He served them as they ate under the tree. 9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he answered. 10 The LORD said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?” 13 But the LORD asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the LORD? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.” 15 Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid. But He replied, “No, you did laugh.”
Genesis 21:1-7 CSB – 1 The LORD came to Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what He had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. 3 Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7 She also said, “Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
B. Here we have this interesting story about Sarah.
In Genesis 18 the Lord literally appears to Abraham and tells him that he will have a son with Sarah by next year. Sarah overheard and was shocked by the announcement, and laughed in shock. A year later, the Lord appears and Sarah have given birth to Isaac, which in Hebrew means, “laughter.
C. Now we know that in Genesis 16, Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to birth a son.
But somewhere between Genesis 18 and 21, Sarah comes to believe the Lord’s promise. How do we know this? Because in Hebrews 11:11, it says that, “By Faith Sarah received strength to conceive.”
D. When God calls us to specific tasks and ministries, it always seems impossible.
And our initial reaction may be like Sarah’s – one of shock, surprise, and initially disbelief. But hold on to the promise, put your absolute faith and trust in your amazing God.
E. Do you remember the four-minute mile? They’d been trying to do it since the days of the ancient Greeks. Someone found the old records of how the Greeks tried to accomplish this. They had wild animals chase the runners, hoping that would make them run faster. They tried tiger’s milk: not the stuff you get down at the supermarket, I’m talking about the real thing. Nothing worked, so they decided it was physically impossible for a human being to run a mile in four minutes. Our bone structure was all wrong, the wind resistance was too great, our lung power was inadequate. There were a million reasons. Then one day one human being proved that the doctors, the trainers, and the athletes themselves were all wrong. And, miracle of miracles, the year after Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, three hundred runners broke the four-minute mile!
2. Sarah’s reward – The son of promise as well as countless numbers of descendants.
Hebrews 11:12 ISV – Abraham was as good as dead, yet from this one man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
A. Both Abraham and Sarah became parents of the son of promise, Isaac, because of their faith in God.
B. Yet another son was born out of their faith – and that is the real son of promise, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:1 ISV – This is a record of the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
C. Not only that, all followers of Christ are also the promised descendants and Abraham and Sarah.
Romans 9:6-8 ISV – Now it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, (7) and not all of Abraham’s descendants are his true descendants. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that descendants will be named for you.” (8) That is, it is not the children of natural descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as descendants.
Romans 9:25 ISV – As he says in Hosea, “Those who are not my people I will call my people, and the one who was not loved I will call my loved one.
Romans 9:30 ISV – What can we say, then? Gentiles, who were not pursuing righteousness, have attained righteousness, a righteousness that comes through faith.
D. What we learn here is that God’s promises for us may actually be much bigger and broader than He has initially revealed.
And both the revelation of the promise as well as the promise coming to fruition is all for the glory of God.
How can we apply this to our lives?
• Ask the Lord to specifically reveal His will and promise.
• Write the promise down.
• Search the Scriptures. Not only for confirmation, but seeing how others in Scripture handled the specific promises of God.
• Take a step of faith in obedience to the promise.
• Remember – take baby steps! Follow the Lord’s leading.
Sarah’s faith believed the impossible. God wants to stretch our church to believe the impossible as well. Maybe you are here and God has been speaking to you some impossible things in and of your own power. He wants you to take a step of faith and believe Him. Would you come forward this morning and believe God this morning.
Who will join me up front this morning in believing God for the impossible in your own life, family, and church this morning?
Next time we will look at the Patriarch’s faith – which was a pilgrim’s faith.