On a cold day in November, a special–heavy–delivery arrived in front of Grace Bible Church. With the help of five strong men, and a bit of extra pushing up the steps from the camera-woman, our church welcomed its first baptismal into the sanctuary.
We have had an annual baptism and church picnic in the summer for many years. But we cancelled this event the last couple of years due to heavy rains and a swelling river. With our new system, we won’t have the worry about weather or river safety, and from now on “baptizees” will enjoy the added benefit of heated water! We hope to use the baptismal on a regular basis, and are very excited to have this option available at Grace as people continue to put their trust in Jesus and desire to make a public declaration of their hope!
The baptismal was made in and shipped all the way from Virginia. For the last few months, Brian has been adding coats of stain to the exterior and we now have a beautiful match to the rest of the mahogany-stained wood in our building. THANK YOU, Brian, for everything you have done to get us ready for our first use this coming Sunday.
That’s right! Grace Bible Church’s first in-house, full immersion baptism will happen this Sunday, March 8, as part of our 10 AM worship service. Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour AHEAD so you will make it in time to join the celebration!
If you are interested in learning more about baptism, please talk to any member of our Elder Team. See you Sunday!
We had a wonderful service at Grace yesterday. My kids were thrilled upon entering the sanctuary from 12th Avenue and finding the Christmas tree next to the fireplace, and the whole sanctuary bedecked for the great celebration of the Christ Child! The best part of the service, though, was that we were joined by our wonderful family from New Life International Baptist Church. We enjoyed several musical pieces from our guests. We also had a special visit from the prophetess Anna (think Luke 2)! Thank you to everyone who contributed to decorating the sanctuary and participating in the service yesterday, especially New Life International Baptist Church–we love you!
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.
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
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!
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.
I Description of Covenant Provisions and Promises 1-8
A. Covenant Provisions 1
17:1 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
Restated: Abraham was to live his entire life in deliberate, conscience obedience to God, as a lifestyle.
B. Covenant Promises 2-8
1. Multiplied exceedingly 2
2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”
2. A changed name-legacy 3-5
3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.
3. Fruitfulness, in the near and the distant future 6
6 “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.
4. Reconfirmation of the Covenant 7
7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
5. The land of Canaan possessed by Abraham and his descendants forever 8
8 “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
II. The Sign of God’s Covenant: Circumcision 9-14
A. Every male of Abraham’s household was to be circumcised, whether related by blood or not 9-14
9 God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. 13 “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Note: The sign pointed to the Covenant Faithfulness of God—not to the goodness, performance, etc., of God’s people.
Note: This ritual requirement came 23 years after Abraham was declared “righteous” by God (15:6).
Circumcision: Egyptians, some Canaanites, Hittites. NOT practiced by Chaldeans, Philistines, Greeks, or Romans. To those who practiced it, it ALWAYS indicated some degree of membership in a special class/group.
B. Every male of Abraham’s household who was not circumcised was a covenant-breaker, and would be cut off from God’s people. 14
14 “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
III. The Promise of the Covenant to Sarai 15-22
A. A changed name-legacy 15
15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.
B. Fruitfulness: the bearing of Isaac, the son of promise 16-21
1. A promise regarding Sarah 16
16 “I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
2. Abraham’s response and request 17-18
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!”
Rom 4: 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
3. God’s reply to Abraham’s request 19-20
19 But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”
“…your wife…” = It had always been God’s plan that the child of promise would come through the marriage of Abraham and Sarah.
“Isaac” = “he who laughs”
4. God then departed from Abraham 22
22 When He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
IV. The People of the Covenant: A distinct community created. 23-27
23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
Conclusion: Three Marks, and the People who Bear Them
1. The Mark of Guilt and Fear of Judgment : the mark that all but One bear
A. Cain: Guilt, fear of judgment, divine, temporary reprieve
Gen 4 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! 14 “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. 16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
B. Us: Our private marks of failure, fear, expectation of judgment
Rom 3:10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” 13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; 14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; 15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, 16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, 17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” 18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” …23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
2. The Mark of Adoption, Community, and Hope: the mark some of us bear
A. Abraham, and OT saints: circumcision
Blood = shedding of blood as a token of sacrifice and redemption
Birth = hope of blessing, of Coming Annointed One of God
Community = God’s chosen nation, Israel
B. Believers: baptism replaces circumcision
Col 2 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
3. The Marks of Redemption: Only One bears these marks
A. Christ in Prophecy
Psa 22 16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;
Isa 53 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Zec 12 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
B. Christ in fulfillment
Mat 27 26 Then (Pilate) released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.
John 19 34 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
John 20 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Application: Today, believe in the Man with the Marks on His hands!
John 20 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Keane Collins is pastor of Grace Bible Church, Gresham. Thank you, Pastor Keane, for preaching at Grace last Sunday!
24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
ENDURANCE, despite the certain, often prolonged silence of God.
Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram…
Restated: During the many years of silence between him and God—Abram learned to continue to follow God simply because he believed in God. (Approx. 25 years!)
DEPENDENCE, when we finally stop trying to save ourselves.
…and said to him, “I am God Almighty;
Restated: Rich with examples of his own attempts to achieve his own blessing, apart from God, Abram was brought to a place of trusting in God alone for blessing and power in life.
El Shaddai = first use of this name of God: God, the Almighty over all. This is the name that pops up especially when God is talking to Abraham and his sons and grandsons about keeping His promises to them, to give them a land of their own, and children of their own from wives who were otherwise barren.
“I am God Almighty, and you’re not!” = this is the message that God spends a lot of time trying to get across to us today.
Why do we need to learn to live in dependence on God? Because if we do not learn to trust in God completely to accomplish His will, His desires, His blessings in our lives—we will limit ourselves to obtaining only that which we can secure for ourselves, on our own.
OBEDIENCE, which is the evidence of our love for God.
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
Restated: Those who walk with God increasingly make choices of simply obedience to Him, along with increasingly frequent repentance.
“Walk”: A life lived in His presence, going in His direction, and increasingly holding His hand.
“Be Blameless” = maturity and completion demonstrated in speech and behavior.
Cf: Phi 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on…
Why should we seek a life of increasing obedience to God? Because it is through obedience to the Word of God that we demonstrate our love for Jesus.
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” = in obeying Jesus’ commandments, as found in the Bible, we demonstrate practically our love for Him, and open ourselves up to experience the love of God for us in a deeper way.
BLESSING, which becomes an increasing expectation as we begin to understand the magnificent, relentless grace of God.
2 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”