Using her gifts: Jackie Bailey with Mercy Ships

Jackie Bailey was in her 50s before she started volunteering on a regular basis. Her office requires employees to put some hours into the community, so Jackie started serving with Shepherd’s Door, Portland Rescue Mission’s transitional care facility for women. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Jackie felt compelled to go. She went to New Orleans with Forward Edge, and it was there that Jackie’s desire was sparked to keep going and giving what she can in the world.

Since 2005, Jackie has been on numerous short-term mission trips as well as one six-month trip with Mercy Ships in Sierra Leone. On Saturday, Jackie is heading out for another eight months with Mercy Ships, this time to Madagascar!

Jackie glows when she talks about Mercy Ships. She had many highlights to share of her time in Sierra Leone and she expects the same in Madagascar.

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The Mercy Ship is a 16,500-ton, fully-equipped hospital ship. Over 400 people from 40 different countries volunteer their time and expertise to provide free treatment to thousands of patients while in port. Their emphasis is maxillofacial, reconstructive, plastics, orthopedic, ophthalmic and dental surgeries for those who have little or no access to this specialized healthcare.

“The challenge is enormous, but don’t let the statistics numb you. Every number has a name, a face and a story. And they will break your heart,” writes Mercy Ships of the problem. Their solution? For over 30 years, they have “followed the model of Jesus to bring hope and healing to the world’s poor one life, one community and one nation at a time.” Since 1978, Mercy Ships has visited over 70 countries, treating more than 2.5 million people!

Jackie will fly to Capetown, South Africa this coming weekend to meet The Mercy Ship. On this tour, Jackie will assist the Crew Physician and the Screening Team, which means she will be screening potential and incoming patients. Jackie says this is exciting for her because she will have more interaction with the patients as well as the locals who come on board during the day as interpreters, drivers, or other various workers.

There is something to do on-board The Mercy Ship every night of the week. There are Bible studies and worship services as well as ongoing professional training in specialized topics. There is even an accredited K-12 school for volunteer families! Volunteers are encouraged to worship with local churches on land. In Sierra Leone, Mercy Ships partnered with local churches to show the Jesus Film. Other opportunities include observing surgeries, and visiting or praying with recovering patients.

One of my favorite stories Jackie told of Sierra Leone was the weekly Celebration of Sight when people blinded by cataracts danced on The Mercy Ship deck, their sight completely restored by a simple surgery they could never have accessed in their country. I also loved hearing about the Living Blood Bank. Whenever a patient with your blood type is in the operating room, you can be on-call to donate. Later, you can actually meet the man or woman who now shares your blood!

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As we talked about the great needs in the world, Jackie reflected on the huge number of retiring Baby Boomers with health and resources to share. But what are they going to do with these gifts? “There is always enough to go around,” Jackie said. It is the principle of loaves and fishes—God always multiplies the little that we give. What if more Baby Boomers gave their time and resources to help other people? What if all of us did that? There are many opportunities to serve in other countries, but there are also many opportunities to serve in our own neighborhoods.

The great needs of those around us belong to people with names and stories. What if each of us committed to following Jesus in giving what we have to bring hope and restoration to the people he places in our lives? One by one, the people around us would be transformed, and this would spread throughout our community, our nation and our world.

Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your story with us and for inspiring us to each do our part in loving others, changing the world one person at a time! We love you and can’t wait to hear the ways God multiplies what you are about to give in Madagascar!

 

Connecting Through the Details

This weekend we will celebrate 140 years as a church in downtown Portland. We have a rich history of compassionate service among the poor and sick as well as training and outreach for young people in this community. To this day, we continue to love and serve our neighbors in this great city!

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Our beautiful building is now positioned in the heart of downtown Portland, but when it was first built it was surrounded by large, Victorian homes on its quiet, suburban corner of SW 12th & Clay. The freeway wasn’t background noise, and sermons and Bible studies were conducted in German.

Behind the historical records of our church, there are countless personal stories of the people who have crossed the threshold of Grace Bible Church in the last century. Even now, our church continues to fill with people who have stories to tell—and every one of us does.

The chance of any of us meeting in our regular lives is slim. We all live, work, and recreate in different corners of this city, and yet we have crossed paths at Grace Bible Church. On Sunday mornings we stand shoulder to shoulder in those well-worn pews, worshiping God together.

That is what I love about our church. I have friends I would never have met if it weren’t for one Sunday or another at Grace. And imagine—our small church in Portland is just a slice of the great Church that belongs to Christ—across all time and borders!

We all have stories to tell of how we came to this particular church and what God is doing in our lives today. We also have stories we wouldn’t think to tell of our interests and quirks and weekly routines.

Though we often have opportunities to meet new people over coffee or lunch at the church, it takes time, and sometimes guts, to really know others and let ourselves be known. In addition, there is so much noise in the world; it’s easy to think the details don’t matter anyway.

But we believe that the details of our lives matter to God.

Since God cares to know about his children, it stands to reason that we should care, too.

What if our church was made up of people who knew the commonplace as well as extraordinary details about each other? What if we formed relationships of interest in one another that reflected the care God has for each one of his children?

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You probably don’t know that Pastor Ken’s go-to comfort food is warm vanilla pudding, or that I have an aversion to playing board games. I doubt Brian Martin has ever told you about the summer he biked across America, and you probably didn’t know Jackie Bailey is about to embark on her second volunteer tour with Mercy Ships in Africa.

When we learn the background details about each other, we start to form bonds of familiarity that lead to genuine concern for one another. We also catch a glimpse of God’s creativity and his immense love for people! He took time to make us just as we are, and he is actively making something beautiful with the whole story of our lives.

This week I had the great privilege to spend time with Jackie Bailey before she embarks on that second volunteer trip with Mercy Ships. We both shared bits of our stories, and we connected over a common desire to use the resources God has given us to make a difference for others.

On Monday, I will post some of what Jackie shared about her previous experience with Mercy Ships and what she will be doing with them for the next eight months. You are going to love hearing about it! In the meantime, be sure to join us this Sunday as we send Jackie off with our love and prayers, and don’t forget to celebrate with us in the Fellowship Hall–140 years and still going in downtown Portland! I hope to see you there.

We Relapse…He Restores (Gen 20)

Big Idea:  The God who redeemed you from sin is the God who restores you when you sin.

I.  Abraham relapsed into lying to protect himself 1-2

1 Abraham moved away from there into the Negev Desert. He lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar.  2 There Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.” Then Abimelech sent for Sarah and took her. He was the king of Gerar.

II.  God rescued Abimelech’s people and Abraham’s people from ruin. 3-13

A.  God’s rescue of Abimelech and his people 3-7

1.  He intervened in Abimelech’s actions 3

3 God came to Abimelech in a dream one night. He said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken. She is already married.”

2.  He interacted with Abimelech 4-6

4 But Abimelech hadn’t gone near her. So he said, “Lord, will you destroy a nation that hasn’t done anything wrong? 5 Didn’t Abraham say to me, ‘She’s my sister’? And didn’t she also say, ‘He’s my brother’? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. I’m not guilty.” 6 Then God spoke to him in the dream. He said, “Yes, I know you had no idea you were doing anything wrong. So I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.

3.  He instructed Abimelech on what he was to do 7

7 “Now return the man’s wife to him. He is a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will live. But what if you do not return her? Then you can be sure that you and all of your people will die.”

B.  God’s rescue of Abraham and his people 8-13

1.  He confronted Abraham’s sin through Abimelech 8-10

8 Early the next morning Abimelech sent for all of his officials. He told them everything that had happened. They were really afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham in. He said, “What have you done to us? Have I done something wrong to you? Why have you brought so much guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that shouldn’t be done.” 10 Abimelech also asked Abraham, “Why did you do this?”

2.  He compelled Abraham to publically explain his behavior to Abimelech 11-13

11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There isn’t any respect for God in this place at all. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister. She’s the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13 “God had me wander away from my father’s house. So I said to her, ‘Here is how you can show your love to me. Everywhere we go, say about me, “He’s my brother.” ‘ “

III.  God restored Abraham, Sarah, Abimelech and his household…and the world  14-18

A.  …the restoration of Abraham 14-15, 17a

14 Then Abimelech gave Abraham sheep and cattle and male and female slaves. He also returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelech said, “Here is my land. Live anywhere you want to.”  17 Then Abraham prayed to God.

1.  Materially 14-15

2.  Spiritually 17a

B.  …the restoration of Sarah in her marriage and her reputation 16

16 He said to Sarah, “I’m giving your brother 25 pounds of silver. It will take care of the problem we caused you. And all those who are with you will know that you aren’t guilty of doing anything wrong.”

C.  …the restoration of Abimelech and his household 17-18

17 Then Abraham prayed to God. And God healed Abimelech. He also healed his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again. 18 The LORD had kept the women in Abimelech’s house from having children. He had done it because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

Cf. 12:3:  Note, the Abrahamic Covenant remains despite disobedience in God’s people—that is the nature of an unconditional covenant.

D.  …the restoration of hope for the world: the Promised Child would be born to the old couple!

The threat to the paternity (who the father was) of the child that would be born the next year (!) was removed.

Application: How God responds to relapses at Grace Bible Church.

A preliminary observation about Relapse and Recovery: We all are prone relapse into sinful habits and behaviors and patterns.  The bible doesn’t present these stories to tell us to “Be like Abraham,” or, “Don’t be like Abraham,” as if “being like Abraham” could save us.  No, the Bible’s message to me is, “You’re just like Abraham already.  He failed.  You fail.  He got up.  You get up.  He struggled with longstanding issues of disobedience in his life—you struggle with the same.  He found salvation in simply believing in God—you find salvation in simply believing in God.”  My point is—you don’t have to try to be like Abraham—you and I are already like Abraham—that’s our problem!

Rescue from Relapse:  How does our merciful God Father restore us when we’ve relapsed into sinful habits?

He reveals our sin: By many varieties of communication, God confronts our sinful behavior.

He requires that we admit our sin: Though it offends our pride, we are required to “own up” to what we’ve done or said.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Confess = “homo” + “Lego” (to speak)  Confession is agreeing with God about your sin.

Psalm 32:1 A Psalm of David. A Maskil. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!  3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.  5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

He replaces the trust we had in our own efforts with a trust in Him alone to continue to save and bless us.

 

 

The Costs of Spiritual Compromise (Genesis 19)

Big Idea:  The cost of compromising your faith is always too high, and will always demand more than you ever thought you’d have to pay.

I.  The Depravity of the men of Sodom 1-9

A.  Lot hosted the two angelic visitors in his own home 1-3

1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting near the gate of the city. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them. He bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night here. Then you can go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered. “We’ll spend the night in the street.” 3 But Lot wouldn’t give up. So they went with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them. He baked bread without using yeast. And they ate.

B.  The men of Sodom sought to sexually assault the visitors 4-9

4 Before Lot and his guests had gone to bed, all of the men came from every part of the city of Sodom. Young and old men alike surrounded the house. 5 They called out to Lot. They said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us. We want to have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them. He shut the door behind him. 7 He said, “No, my friends. Don’t do such an evil thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters. No man has ever made love to them. I’ll bring them out to you now. Then do to them what you want to. But don’t do anything to these men. I’ve brought them inside so they can be safe.” 9 “Get out of our way!” the men of Sodom replied. They said, “This fellow came here as an outsider. Now he wants to act like a judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept trying to force Lot to open the door. Then they moved forward to break it down.

1.  They surrounded Lot’s house 4

2.  They demanded that Lot hand over his guests to be sexually assaulted. 4

3.  They refused Lot’s offer of his daughters to rape, and moved to forcibly enter Lot’s house. 6-9

II.  The Deliverance of Lot and his family 10-23

A.  The visitors pulled Lot back into the house, and struck the mob with blindness 10-11

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house. They shut the door. 11 Then they made the men who were at the door of the house blind. They blinded young and old men alike. So the men couldn’t find the door.

B.  The visitors ordered Lot and his household to immediately flee the city 12-23

1.  Lot’s son-in-laws thought his warning to them was a joke 12-14

12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here? Do you have sons-in-law, sons or daughters? Does anyone else in the city belong to you? Get them out of here. 13 We are going to destroy this place. There has been a great cry to the LORD against the people of this city. So he has sent us to destroy it.” 14 Then Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law. They had promised to get married to his daughters. He said, “Hurry up! Get out of this place! The LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

2.  When Lot and his family hesitated to flee the city, the visitors forcibly removed them from it 15-16

15 The sun was coming up. So the angels tried to get Lot to leave. They said, “Hurry up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out! If you don’t, you will be swept away when the city is punished.” 16 Lot didn’t move right away. So the men grabbed him by the hand. They also took hold of the hands of his wife and two daughters. They led all of them safely out of the city. The LORD had mercy on them.

3.  When told to flee to the mountains, Lot begged to go to a small town instead 17-23

17 As soon as the angels had brought them out, one of them spoke. He said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere in the valley! Run to the mountains! If you don’t, you will be swept away!” 18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords! Please! 19 You have done me a big favor. You have been very kind to me by sparing my life. But I can’t run to the mountains. This horrible thing that’s going to happen will catch up with me. And then I’ll die. 20 “Look, here’s a town near enough to run to. It’s small. Let me run to it. It’s very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” 21 The LORD said to Lot, “All right. I will also give you what you are asking for. I will not destroy the town you are talking about. 22 But run there quickly. I can’t do anything until you reach it.” The town was named Zoar. Zoar means “small.” 23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land.

III.  The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah 24-29

A.  Sodom and Gomorrah were then destroyed by the LORD 24-25

24 Then the LORD sent down burning sulfur. It came down like rain on Sodom and Gomorrah. It came from the LORD out of the sky. 25 He destroyed those cities and the whole valley. All of the people who were living in the cities were wiped out. So were the plants in the land.

B.  Lot’s wife looked back, and was turned to a pillar of salt 26

26 But Lot’s wife looked back. When she did, she became a pillar made out of salt.

C.  Abraham witnessed the destruction from his home in the mountains above the valley 27-28

27 Early the next morning Abraham got up. He returned to the place where he had stood in front of the LORD. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole valley. He saw thick smoke rising from the land. It looked like smoke from a furnace.

D.  Summary: In response to Abraham’s prayer, God spared Lot from the destruction of the cities where he had lived 29

29 So when God destroyed the cities of the valley, he showed concern for Abraham. He brought Lot out safely when he destroyed the cities where Lot had lived.

IV.  The Degeneracy of Lot’s Daughters 30-38

A.  Afraid of remaining in the town, Lot and his daughters lived in a cave 30

1.  Afraid that their family line was doomed now, the sisters plotted to become pregnant by their father 31-32

2.  The sisters made their father drunk, had intercourse with him, and became pregnant 33-36

3.  The sisters’ sons were the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites 37-38

Application: The Terrible Costs of Spiritual Compromise

1.  The costs to Lot, the believer who lives to gain the riches and respect of the world.

a.  Inner peace: his soul was worn down, twisted

2 Peter 2: 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men  8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),

b.  The trust of those who count on us.

c.  The respect of our community.

2.  The costs to Lot’s wife, the believer whose true love is for the world, not God.

a.  Her life: She was killed as she fell behind, longing for Sodom

b.  Her legacy: She became the symbol of a believer who remains in love with the present world more than heaven.

“Remember Lots wife” = Luke 17:28 “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 “On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 “Remember Lot’s wife. 33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

3.  The costs to Lot’s daughters; A tragic erosion of character and faith.

a.  The immediate effect of their lack of faith in God: they were pessimistic, pragmatic, and perverted:

i.  Pessimism: They could not conceive that the LORD who’d rescued them from destruction would also continue to care for them and bless them with wonderful lives.

ii.  Pragmatism: Having lost all confidence that God would meet their needs in life—they decided to pursue their own selfish, immoral plans to get what they wanted.

iii.  Perversion: Abusing their father, as he had intended on abusing them, they indulged in a base, damaging sin with him.

b.  The lasting effect of their compromised lives: they created enemies of God’s people Israel.

i.  Moabites: became a nation that often was antagonistic to Israel

ii.  Ammonites: became a nation that often was antagonistic to Israel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer in the Face of Coming Judgment (Gen 18:16-33)

I.  The Lord revealed the coming judgment of Sodom 16-21

A.  The men set their faces towards Sodom, Abraham accompanied them 16

16 The men got up to leave. They looked down toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.

B.  Why the LORD revealed His plans to Abraham 17-19

1.  The Lord told Abraham because of the Covenant He’d made with him 17-18

 17 Then the LORD said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?  18 He will certainly become a great and powerful nation. All nations on earth will be blessed because of him.

2.  The Lord told Abraham so that Abraham would train his people to live in righteousness and justice 19

19 “I have chosen him. He must direct his children. He must see that the members of his family after him live the way I want them to. So he must direct them to do what is right and fair. Then I, the LORD, will do for Abraham what I have promised him.”

C.  The Lord told Abraham of the impending judgment of Sodom 20-21

1.  The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah 20

 20 The LORD said, “The cries against Sodom and Gomorrah are very great.

2.  The investigation of God 21

21 Their sin is so bad that I will go down and see for myself. I want to see if what they have done is as bad as the cries that have reached me. If it is not, then I will know.”

The sins that the Bible tells us of Sodom are:

  • Encouragement of sexual violence, rape, and general depravity (Gen 19)
  • The open display and vaunting against God. Isaiah 3:9 The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
  • Adultery, deceitful living, encouragement of those who do evil, refusal to give up sin. Jeremiah 23:14 “Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
  • Arrogance, indifference to the needs of the poor and needy in her community, haughtiness (pride), and depravity. Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 “Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”
  • The toleration of sexual decadence. Jude 1:7 …they in the same way as these(citizens of Sodom) indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

II.  Abraham’s intercession for the city of Sodom. 22-33

A.  Abraham was left alone with the Lord 22

22 The men turned away. They went toward Sodom. But Abraham remained standing in front of the LORD.

B.  “Will the Lord sweep away the righteous along with the wicked?” No!   23

 23 Then Abraham came up to him. He said, “Will you sweep away godly people along with those who are evil?

C.  Abraham’s Scenarios 24-32

1.  What if there are 50 godly people found? 24-26

24 What if there are 50 godly people in the city? Will you really sweep it away? Won’t you spare the place because of the 50 godly people in it? 25 “You would never kill godly people along with those who are evil, would you? You wouldn’t treat godly and evil people alike. You would never do anything like that! Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is right?”  26 The LORD said, “If I find 50 godly people in the city of Sodom, I will save it. I will spare the whole place because of them.”

2.  What if there are 45 godly people found? 27-28

27 Then Abraham spoke up again. He said, “I have been very bold to speak to the Lord. After all, I’m only dust and ashes.  28 What if the number of godly people is five less than 50? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?” “If I find 45 there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

3.  What if there are 40 godly people found? 29

 29 Once again Abraham spoke to him. He asked, “What if only 40 are found there?” He said, “If there are 40, I will not do it.”

4.  What if there are 30 godly people found? 30

 30 Then Abraham said, “Lord, don’t let your anger burn against me. Let me speak. What if only 30 can be found there?” He answered, “If there are 30, I will not do it.”

5.  What if there are 20 godly people found? 31

 31 Abraham said, “I have been very bold to speak to the Lord. What if only 20 are found there?” He said, “If there are 20, I will not destroy it.”

6.  What if there are 10 godly people found? 32

32 Then he said, “Lord, don’t let your anger burn against me. Let me speak just one more time. What if only ten are found there?” He answered, “If there are ten, I will not destroy it.”

III.  The Lord departed, and Abram returned to his home 33

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left. And Abraham returned home.

Conclusion:  Prayer in the Face of Coming Judgment

Acts 17:31 …(God) has set a day when he will judge the world fairly. He has appointed a man to be its judge. God has proved this to all people by raising that man from the dead.”

We must build a close friendship with God.

Restated: Abraham had become a friend of God.  Before you can plead that others would be spared God’s judgment, you should be sure that you have been spared.

We must appreciate the wickedness of sin.

Restated: Abraham agreed that the people of Sodom were wicked, and outnumbered those who were righteous and godly.  You should understand WHY God judges sin before you begin to ask Him NOT to judge sin.

We must trust that God is righteous, and so will always do right.

Restated: Abraham did not argue for God to be unfair, or to not punish sin, but trusted that God would do the exact right thing—always, and all the time.  We must trust that everything God is does is an expression of His perfect righteousness.

We must pray that more would become righteous in the eyes of God.

Restated:  Abraham prayed with the hope that God would find many righteous people in Sodom.  If being righteous in the eyes of God is the only thing that can save a person—pray that more people will become righteous!

The Big Point:  The righteousness that saves is the righteousness that is granted to all who simply trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation!  Pray and live to the end that more people would escape judgment through gaining the righteousness of Christ!

God on the Porch (Genesis 18:1-15)

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Big Idea:  God’s People Never Leave God Standing on the Front Porch of their Lives.

I  The LORD Appeared to Abraham 1-2

1 Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth,

II  Abraham Invited the LORD to stay 3-8

3 and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by. 4 “Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; 5 and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.” 7 Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it. 8 He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.

III.  The LORD spoke to Abraham and Sarah 9-15

A.  The Lord promised that in one year, Sarah would have a son 9-10a

9 Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10 He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.”

B.  Being past the age of childbearing, Sarah laughed at this promise. 10b-12

And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. 12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

C.  The Lord confronted Sarah for laughing, and repeated His promise. 13-15

13 And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ 14 “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

Application:  How Do God’s People Welcome God into their Lives?

1.  INVITE: We must invite Him into our lives. While we are forever saved from sin simply by trusting in God for eternal life–we are challenged daily to invite Him to be the Lord over every part of our lives.

2.  SERVE: We must see ourselves as servants of God.

John 13 12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  13 “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.  14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

3.  TRUST: We must choose to trust God’s promises to us, even when we are tempted to doubt Him.

Rom 4:19 Without becoming weak in his faith, Abraham accepted the fact that he was past the time when he could have children. At that time he was about 100 years old. He also realized that Sarah was too old to have children. 20 But he kept believing in God’s promise. He became strong in his faith. He gave glory to God.  21 He was absolutely sure that God had the power to do what he had promised.