2014 Sermon Series
- May 14, 2014
A Portrait of a Woman’s Persevering Faith.
When you look at a painted portrait of a woman, you often wonder what she was really like. We wonder the same thing with Bible characters. A few verses in Hebrews 11 show us how to interpret Sarah’s story. She was known as a woman of faith.
Sarah is involved differently in all 3 sections of Genesis 18. God’s promises to Sarah and Abraham show what he can do with faithful obedience in simple, singular things.
Sarah’s Heart for Loving Hospitality to Strangers (verses 1-8)
As Abraham sat in the entrance to his huge house-tent, three men appeared out of nowhere. One of these was a pre-incarnate Christ. Abraham joyfully and quickly offered hospitality even before he was aware of the Lord’s presence. The word for “servant” in verses 3 and 5 is the same one used of Christ in the last chapters of Isaiah. Sarah joined Abraham in serving, eager to share their best with strangers. Loving hospitality is a way of life for faithful people.
Sarah’s Willing Endurance Through Trials (verses 9-15)
Sarah expresses wondering doubt when God reaffirms his promise of a son to her. She has been waiting for years for God to fulfill His promise. Though she chuckled, Hebrews tells us she was much more known for her faithful endurance.
How do we endure through doubts, frustration, and wondering?
- Keep worshipping God.
- Keep serving God. Consistent service is always attached to personal devotion.
- Keep enjoying the fellowship of God’s people.
Sarah’s Faithful Follow-ship (verses 16-33)
The end of chapter 18 sets up the events of the next chapter. God talks with Abraham in a private conversation about the future of the wicked city, Sodom. Yahweh is planning justice; Abraham asks for mercy. Both are central to God’s character, and He never pursues one at the expense of the other. His justice is perfectly blended and thorough.
Sarah is not privy to this conversation. She is spared the heartache it would give her. She already knows the agonizing grief of loving relatives who are not walking with God, and not getting to spend much time with them because of their lifestyle. She and Abraham stayed outside of Sodom, while their nephew Lot lived in the city. Sarah trusted and followed Abraham’s spiritual lead even though it gave them both pain.
- Do you show loving hospitality? How do you share God’s blessings to you with others?
- Are you waiting on God to fulfill a promise? How well are you enduring? Look to Sarah’s example and do what she did – worship, serve, and fellowship with God’s people.
- Who is a spiritual leader to you? Are you a faithful follower?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore:
- Luke 16:19-31 – Abraham is the first to welcome the faithful to Paradise and first to minister to the doomed.
- 1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Peter 4:7-9 – The importance of Christian hospitality.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24 – God will bring His promises to pass.
A Hymn to Encourage: “Jesus, I Am Resting”
Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.
Oh, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea:
Oh, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.
Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart,
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings,
Thine is love indeed.
Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.