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Living by Faith (Vol 35) - Abraham: The Faith of Sarah!

Sunday English Service - 14 APR 19

Transcript

Hebrews 11:11 and 12. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in the sky in multitude— innumerable as the sand, which is by the seashore. From Hebrews chapter 11 we’ve been teaching about living by faith. And since we arrived at verse 8, we've been talking about the faith of Abraham. Most of the space in Hebrews 11 is devoted to Abraham because he's the father of all who are faithful. He is someone through whom faith is taught in the New Testament. His life is used as a great model for faith in the New Testament. Therefore, much space is devoted to him.

If you see those verses 8 to 19, Hebrews 11, where Abraham's faith is spoken of, you can immediately see there are four divisions or four stages in Abraham's faith. The first is the call of God upon his life, where he was in a place and condition where he did not know God, lived in darkness, total ignorance of God. But God came and revealed Himself to him and called him to go to a place where He will show him. That's the call of Abraham. That's the first step in his faith life. Then he goes as God shows him the place to go. And he arrives in the land of Canaan. And there he found that there was famine in the land. There were also enemies in the land. There he learned a very big lesson. The first lesson in faith life is the lesson that God is his source. God is the source of his provision and protection. Everything comes from God. I believe that even in our faith life, that's one of the first things that we need to learn that God meets all our needs, that He provides for us, He takes care of us. He delivers our enemies into our hands and protects us from all evil and so on. So, he learned that first lesson of faith and we saw that.

Now, we are looking at the third stage of faith. For the last three weeks we've been looking at the third stage of faith which is Abraham reaches a point in his life where he's got to believe and receive a miracle in his life. A miracle which nature says is not possible, the world says is not possible. He's 99 years old, his wife is 90 years old. Now, they've got to give birth to a child because God promises. God insists that He will give him a son. And through the son, He will give him descendants. And through those descendants, Jesus will be born on this earth. And through Jesus, so many people will believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and become the children of Abraham. This is the promise. The promise is not just about just one son, it starts with the one son, but it goes to him and his wife being the father of many nations and the mother of many nations. Amazing promise, too much really to believe, too impossible because they are now 99 and 90 years old. And everybody says it's not possible. But Abraham experienced the marvelous, amazing miracle in his life, where he saw God turn everything around, overcome all dictates of nature, and provide him with a son.

This is something that we also in our life, in our faith life, many times, we also learn that God is a God of miracles, and that God can do the impossible. There will be times in our life that we will need a miracle. And I'll tell you, this is something that we need to experience and see and taste and see how great our God is and how faithful He is and so on. So, we've been talking about this God of the impossible. That’s the third thing, third stage, that he learned in his faith life, that God is the God of the impossible. We spoke much about Abraham, last couple of weeks, Abraham's faith.

We went to Romans chapter 4 and I showed you Abraham's faith, what faith is. I told you five things about faith. How faith becomes strong in a person. Last week we looked at it. That Abraham looked not just at the problem, but he also had another thing to look at, God Himself, the giver of the promises. Meditated upon the excellencies of God's nature, His goodness, His righteousness, His truthfulness, His faithfulness. That He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. That nothing is impossible for Him. That He is a good God. That He never lies and He cannot lie. He looked at the excellencies of God's nature, meditated upon them, and glorified God and became strong in faith, we saw.

Now, today I want to talk about Sarah's faith. Now, you hardly hear about Sarah's faith ever. Mostly we talk about Abraham's faith and forget about it, we think that's lesson enough. But Hebrews makes a point to mention Sarah’s faith and expounds upon Sarah’s faith. These two verses that I just read mainly mention Sarah. It says, she also, Sarah herself also. Notice the ‘herself’ and ‘also’. It's important that she also believes. It is important that she also falls in line with God's program and plan and purpose for their life as a couple. It’s a great lesson for married people also how that God joins us together with our life partners and we really become partners in this mission that God has given to us in this world. His purposes are fulfilled in our lives together.

And so, Sarah was not a believing woman all the time. In fact, she's the one that caused a lot of problem leading him into unbelief and leading him to take on another woman and have a child through him and all that. She had all kinds of other solutions because she could not believe in God, that God will provide a child. So, Sarah is not a woman that easily yielded to Abraham's wishes and to Abraham's ways. She had her own way about her. She would not cooperate with Abraham in walking in the call that God had given to Abraham and her. But God needs both of them. They both need to cooperate and work together. That is why in 1 Peter chapter 3, there's a wonderful verse about married couple, it says that we are heirs together of the eternal life. Husband and wives are heirs together. Together they achieve great things. All right.

So, we look at Sarah’s faith. Sarah at a particular point in time she began to believe and began to take her place in the plan and purpose of God and fall in line with God's program. It's wonderful to see that happen. And the Bible says that Sarah herself also received strength. It was important that she also believed, not just Abraham, that she herself believed. And she was not living by the faith of Abraham. That she was a person and she must exercise her faith. That she also must believe. So, that ‘herself’ and ‘also’ are very important words here in verse 11. Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in the sky in multitude— innumerable as the sand, which is by the seashore. It's all comments mostly about Sarah.

In looking at Sarah's life and Sarah’s faith, we need to look at five things about Sarah's faith. I want to say five things basically from these two verses today quickly. One, we need to look at the obstacles to her faith. Her faith was not something that came easily. It's not that she just all of a sudden just started believing. She had her own problems, a lot of obstacles, and we'll talk about them. About the obstacles where she was barren. She was 90 years old, that's the second thing. The third thing is that she had unbelief. All these obstacles, she had to cross and overcome and win over in order to live by faith. And we’ll show how she did it. But the second thing is about Sarah’s faith, the effect of Sarah’s faith, of the power that was in Sarah's faith. What Sarah’s faith did was she received strength to conceive. The power of Sarah's faith resulted in her receiving the strength to conceive in her womb.

Thirdly, the firmness of her faith, that she stood in faith, when she started believing she never gave up. She never quit in the middle. She stood in it and lasted all the way till the end until she bore Isaac and fulfilled that part of God's promise. She was constant in her faith and she was firm in her faith. And that is something that is remarkable. When you look at that you understand how she exercised faith. Fourthly, the foundation of Sarah’s faith. What was the foundation of her faith? What was Sarah's faith built on? That we'll talk about. And fifthly, we'll talk about the fruit of her faith. All right. This is the journey we're going to take quickly.

The first thing, the obstacles to her faith. I said three obstacles were there. One is that she was barren. God came to Abraham when he was 70 years old in the land of Mesopotamia, and spoke to him, appeared to him, Stephen says, and called him. And at that time, Abraham was 70 years old and Sarah must have been around 60 years old. Even at that time, in chapter 11 of Genesis, the last few verses introduce Abraham and Sarah. And even in the very introductory words itself, it is mentioned that she was barren. She's introduced like that. That she didn't have any children. Not only that she didn't have any children, she was barren. So, it was a known fact, established fact, by the time that she was 60 years old, that she was barren and is not able to bear any children.

So, she's mentioned like that. And then again in 16th chapter it mentions that she never had any children. So, she was barren. That is the first obstacle of faith that she had. Just think about that, what it must have been like to be barren and know that you're barren, know that you’ve lived 60 years and was not able to bear a child. That must have weighed heavily on her mind. Just imagine how difficult it would have been for her to believe the promise from God that she will have a son. It must have been very, very difficult. This stood in the way. 60 years she has never had children, known as a barren woman. Now, what would make her believe now that God will give her a child? It's a very real obstacle. Not an easy obstacle to overcome but she's got to overcome it in order to experience this wonderful miracle from God and fulfill God's plan.

Now, we also have similar to that, we also have many obstacles in our lives in your faith’s journey you will see that our life aligns with Abraham's life basically. We are also called by God. We were in a place of ignorance. Did not know God at one time, lived in total ignorance of God. One day, God met us, changed us, transformed us. We left everything and started this new life. See, our life and Abraham’s life are aligned. Faith life is pretty much the same. Then we left and came to live in this promised land in that spiritual life that God has ordained for us. And there we learned that God meets all our needs, and God is the source of our provision and protection and all that. But then we also learn that God is the God of the impossible. There are many times in our lives we need a miracle and we've seen how God does a miracle but we have also seen how sometimes the promises of God are very difficult to believe, because of our lives’ problems.

We have some difficulties. Sometimes we have great financial challenges, debt and all these things. And everybody says, “You're never going to come out of it. That’s it. You're sunk, you're finished. It's not possible at all.” And then it becomes very easy for us to see as people who live in a fallen world. Ever since the fall, there’s been a tremendous problem. Even though we are redeemed and we are washed from our sins and we have become children of God and so on, believing does not come that easy. To be in unbelief comes very easy. You don't have to take any tuition for that. You don't need any preaching to say, “Don't believe.” It's very difficult to believe, “Don't believe. It won't happen. No, nothing is going to happen.” No, you don't need preaching like that. You already believe that? Very easily, we believe that these promises may not come true and God's promises say this, but it doesn't happen.

A lot of times people will ask me, “What? The Bible says this but look at what's happening.” So, very naturally we believe that it won't happen. Very naturally we lean towards unbelief. Unbelief is a lot easier in this fallen world right now. To learn faith only we come to church. This is like tuition time. We're teaching faith. We're teaching how to believe God. We're teaching how to overcome the obstacles, how to get over the hindrances to faith, how to experience God's miracles, and the impossibilities become possibilities, and so on.

So, just think about that. What a big problem it would have been in her mind that she was barren. And as if that was not enough, the second thing was she was 90 years old. When God called Abraham, she was only 60. But God seemed like wasted a lot of time. He could have done something when she was 60, given her a child. That would have been a lot easier. Little bit easier, I think, to believe at that point than believing at 90 years of age. Now, she has become 90 years of age. “Yeah, things have gone too far. You can forget it now. 90 years of age. I mean, what are you going to do? After all, God hasn't done it? In 30 years, He has not done it? What guarantee you have that it will happen now? And at 90 years of age?” The fact that she was 90 years of age was like a big mountain. Will faith move this mountain? Can this problem be overcome? Can this hindrance be overcome? Can she get over this and believe God for her promise? It's a very challenging thing. Her obstacles were not ordinary.

The third thing was her unbelief. Her unbelief was very pronounced, very clear. If you go to Genesis chapter 18 for a moment, just a glimpse of her unbelief at what level it was. And I want to show you also the turning point. The day that must have been the turning point in her life. When she turned from that unbelief and started her journey towards faith. Chapter 18, let me read to you verse 9. Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” So he said, “Here, in the tent.” And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) See, the person who's come is the Lord Himself. The Lord Himself comes to Abraham appearing to him like a person, like a visitor, and speaking to him. Asks him, “Where is your wife?” And he says, “She's in the tent.” So, she's not there. She's behind the curtain there in the tent. And He says, “I will certainly return to you, according to the time of life.” That means, “I will give you the time to conceive and reach the full stage of pregnancy and 10 months should be gone, then I will come. And when I come back next time, you’ll have a son.” And Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself. See listen to this, “laughed within herself”, didn't laugh out loud, nobody heard her laugh, laughed within herself. See, she was laughing within herself and saying within herself. It’s something happening privately, nobody heard it. “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” Talking about her husband? And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?” The Lord who’s come appeared to Abraham and said, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I bear a child, since I am old?’ So, the Lord knew that she laughed. The Lord knew what she was saying in her heart, because He’s Lord. He is Lord; therefore, He is omniscient. That means He is all knowledgeable. He knows what's going on in your heart. He knows what you're thinking, what you're asking, what you're saying in your heart. He knows that you're laughing. He knows everything. So, He says, “Why did she laugh and why did she say this in her heart? Saying, ‘Shall I bear a child since I'm old?’” “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Again, He says, “I'll come at the appointed time. I will return to you and Sarah shall have a son.”

But Sarah denied it. She denied that she laughed because the Lord was asking, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say this?” She denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.” I think that verse, verse 15, must have been the turning point in Sarah's life. There she saw something that she has never seen so far. Here the Lord Himself has come; the Lord is speaking. Without her laughing publicly, without her saying anything loudly, all she did was she said something within her and laughed within herself, and the Lord knew it. So, she begins to think now, I think. She began to be serious about the promises of God. She was afraid. That means that she got serious about it. She said, “Well, wait a minute. How did this man know? If this is the Lord and He knew it, that means He is omniscient. That He’s all knowledgeable. If He's omniscient, then He’s omnipresent. If He's omniscient and omnipresent, then He’s omnipotent, that He’s all able also. If He's the Lord who’s promising me, if this is the Lord God Himself who has come to visit me and talk to me, I've done the wrong thing laughing because He knows everything. He knows my heart. He knows what I'm thinking, what I'm saying. The fact I'm laughing all is known to Him. If He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, if He’s all able, He knows what's going on. Then wait a minute. Certainly, He can take a 90-year-old woman.” By this time, she was 90 years old and she started saying within herself, “He can take a 90-year-old woman and still work this great miracle in her life.” It is not impossible for God to do. ‘Is there anything too hard for the Lord?’ is a question that was put forth before her. She began to consider that. If He's the Lord, is there anything difficult for Him? If He's the Lord, will there be anything difficult for Him? See, many lessons ought to be learned from what happened to Sarah. One great lesson is that we all start out basically in unbelief only. We read the Bible, we read the promises of God. Faith doesn't come just like that easily. We don't start believing immediately. We, in a way, laugh. I shared with you about how I laughed. I was in a meeting and one man said, “I will never ever be broke even one day in my life.” I thought, “This guy is an arrogant preacher. How can he say it?” Because they told me in India at that time that, “Today you're okay, tomorrow you can even turn into a beggar.” Christians told me that. “Who knows what's going to happen to you tomorrow? Tomorrow, maybe God wants you to be a beggar. Will take away everything that you have and you become a beggar.” And I believed that kind of thing.

When I heard this preacher say this in a seminar, I had the same experience that Sarah had. I came the same path. I was laughing inside and I said to myself, I didn't say it to the people that were with me because they were all for the preacher, and I was kind of against this. I said, “How can he say this? This must be the most arrogant preacher.” And they let us go for a break for a few minutes and they went out and came back to start the seminar again. He got up the stage again. He said, “I know some of you are thinking that I'm an arrogant person because of what I said.” Just imagine. Just like the Lord speaking to Abraham. I said, “Wait a minute, who told him? I didn't tell him? I didn't tell anybody. How did he know?” Then he said, “I didn't say this out of my arrogance. I told it because the word of God says that.” And I listened carefully because I didn't know where the word of God said such a thing. Because I've read the Bible thoroughly by that time and I've never read anything like that. And he referred to Psalm 23 verse 1 and said, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, means in Texas, I will never ever be broke even one day in my life,” he said. I said, “Boy, I never thought about it like that. This man really believes the Bible. The Lord is my shepherd; therefore, I shall not want. I will never ever be broke. He believes that.”

And today, this is like more than 40 years ago I listened to him in a meeting that he preached. Today, he is doing much better than ever. Very successful, really touching many lives and he's never been broke even one day in his life, just like he said. So, there is nothing to disbelieve him. It is not arrogance; it is faith in God's word. But at that time, I could not understand his faith. I literally laughed at it inside. And it was like a rebuke to me from the Lord when he said, “Some of you think that I’m arrogant because I said that.” It was like God speaking to me directly. And I began to think about it from that time onwards and listened very carefully because I was stunned. The way he interpreted Psalm 23 verse 1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” means exactly that, he said. I said, “Wait a minute. That's what it means if you really think about it.” Bible to me was a religious book. I read it; I knew what it says but I did not know what it meant. A lot of people know what it says, they don't know what it means. And that day, I came to know.

So, that's how we start. So, later on I began to understand that if it was such a big problem for me, I was a person who has read the Bible many times over by the time I went to Bible college and I had such difficulty with faith. Most of the promises were impossible for me to believe in the Bible. How much people will be struggling to believe the promises of God. Because in my more than 40 years of preaching, I've come to understand that no matter how strongly you preach faith, people invariably start with unbelief. They start laughing, they start ridiculing. I challenge you. So many people who have come here, sat here, laughed at what I was preaching, and would have gone out laughing all the way home, saying, “Is this possible? Can this happen to me?” But they come back again next week for some more. Thank God for that. And like a hammer, the word of God is used again and again. If you use the hammer, over a long period of time, it will break down any wall. Something happens to them and they start believing.

And that is how faith starts. And don't feel bad if you are right now unable to believe and the word of God and the promises of God seem like impossible to you. Let God work faith into your heart. Let God do a mighty work inside of you. Don't be discouraged because of that. Because of our fallen nature, because of our orientation in our fallenness, we always start with unbelief. And it can be turned into real faith, powerful faith. That is what we learn from Sarah's life here.

So, she overcame all the obstacles. The obstacle of the fact that she was barren. The obstacle that said she was 90 years old already, “You can forget it now.” That must have been a big hindrance. Thirdly, her unbelief, her laughter, her ridicule, that has formed and set in her heart about this whole idea of having a child at this old age. Very difficult to get rid of these things. But she's got to get rid of these things, get over these things, in order to believe and appropriate the promises of God.

Secondly, the effect of her faith. Look at the power of her faith. And the power of her faith is mentioned in this way. It says that she received strength to conceive seed. Look at the power of the faith, what faith can do. A lot of people don't understand faith. Faith is an amazing power. It transformed her body, did something to her body. Now, this is a very big lesson here. Faith can do something to our body. Faith can heal us. Faith can deliver us from sicknesses. Faith can quicken us and faith can give us health and strength. The faith which is spiritual can deal with this body which is material. It did that exactly in the case of Sarah when she began to believe, when she said on that day, “Wait a minute. The Lord is speaking. I know He's the Lord because He knew that I was laughing. Otherwise He would not have known. And the Lord is saying, ‘Is there anything too hard for the Lord?’” She began to contemplate on that. Like Abraham, she began to look at God who has promised, contemplate on that. And her unbelief now gave way to faith. She was able to move over her unbelief, get rid of it, and begin to believe because the Lord has spoken. He knows everything, He can do it.

And when she started believing, something happened in her body. Her womb that is described in the Bible as dead, now began to receive life in it. 90-year-old woman's womb began to receive new life. The Spirit of God is quickening her womb. God who made the heaven and earth by word created everything, now, God is quickening her womb, making it alive. Something is happening in her body. Some changes are going on. How many of you believe that God can supernaturally make alive a dead womb, a closed womb? How many of you believe that God can take a barren woman and turn her situation around? How many believe that God can do anything? Is there anything too hard for the Lord? I believe in God's miracles. The Bible says that all things are possible with God. With God, nothing shall be impossible. The Bible also says on the other hand, that to him that believeth all things are possible. Nothing is impossible with God. To him that believes all things are possible. When these two things come together, you have explosion of miracles.

God says there is nothing too hard for him if any man will come to a point where he overcomes all the hindrances and obstacles that tell him not to believe that. When he overcomes all the seen obstacles, his unbelief, when he overcomes all this thing that stands in the way of him believing and believes it, I tell you something, an explosion of miracle begins to take place. So, Sarah received strength. They say something about the connection between faith and the body. All these things are recorded for our instruction, for our encouragement, to teach us something, not to just tell us a story. It’s not a religious story.  It is a lesson on faith. It is written for our benefit so that we may learn what faith can do for us. What can faith do for us? Faith can do things in our body right now.

The Bible says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall receive strength and they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” In other words, God can take a person and renew that person's strength and health and give good health and strength that he can live a long time, live a very effective life, fruitful life, run a long race of life without getting tired, without getting weakened. God can strengthen like an eagle who restores her strength. God, by faith can restore our strength also. Faith plays an important role in our health and our strength when it comes to our body. And I believe, we need to believe God for our health and our strength in our body.

See, God says He'll meet all our needs. Some people think it means only spiritual needs but that's not so, He meets every need. God can do anything. Sometimes many things in life, many blessings of God we don't have because the Bible says, “They have not because they ask not.” That's what James says. We ask not because we don't believe. We don’t think God is concerned about our health. We don't believe that God wants us to have new strength. When our strength is depleted, God says, “I can fill you with new strength.” I can have a refill. You can start all over again and be refilled. So, physically something can happen. The connection between faith, the material world and the physical body. Faith affects things here in this realm. Faith is in the spiritual realm and body is in the natural realm. Faith can touch our body in the natural realm and bring changes. But faith also can do something spiritually. It can have spiritual application also.

For example, just like Sarah's womb was dead, many people are in a situation of failure. Sometimes a business has failed, efforts have failed, the career has failed, marriage has failed. Some kind of barrenness, something that others look at and say, “It is impossible, nothing can change it. You're doomed, you are finished, your life is over.

This is it; nothing is possible. How can you ever come out of this? It’s too great a problem, too big a problem you cannot come out of it.” Have you had problems like that? All of us go through problems like that in our lives, I think. Maybe in varying degrees. Where we stand not knowing what to do. Everything seems impossible. We stand before a mountain-like problem. Everything and everybody say, “It's impossible, you can't do it. It's not possible.” It's like looking at a barren woman, 90-years-old, and also having unbelief. But I'll tell you, faith can turn it around. Faith can turn the barrenness of our life, the barrenness of our work of our hands, the barrenness of our career, the barrenness of our business, the barrenness of our situation in married life, the barrenness of our life and failures of all kinds in our lives, our disappointments, our defeats, our crushing defeats, where we are level to the floor. But faith can raise us up from that and bring us up again. That's what faith can do.

When I say this, I know that you feel like Sarah when she was told that she's going to bear a son by next year, you feel like, “Oh. Come on preacher. What are you saying? I feel like laughing. I'm going to go out laughing today.” Well, you go out laughing, come back next week again. And if you keep coming back, I'll tell you, you will become a world changer, you will become a problem changer. You will become a mountain mover. And I'll show you exactly how faith works. Been showing again and again. It’s the same thing. Exactly how it works, exactly how it changes things. So, it has applications. She received strength in her body. And I applied that spiritually also. I can apply that spiritually also.

For example, people say, “Well, I'm never able to overcome my sins. I’m never able to overcome temptations. I always live a defeated life spiritually. I am not able to live victoriously. I don't have the power. I am weak, I am not strong in the Lord, and so on. But Paul says, be strong in the Lord, therefore you can be strong in the Lord. Faith is the thing that makes you strong in the Lord. Faith can take a person who is weak and defeated and fall into temptation, sinning again and again, and living a defeated life, faith can take that kind of a person and turn his life around. Faith can take a person who's dead spiritually, who's in a state of failure spiritually, and turn him into a success spiritually so that he can say like Paul, “I can do all things through Christ.” I can win, I can go forward and so on. So, physically and spiritually you can apply that.

Thirdly, the steadfastness of Sarah’s faith, the firmness of Sarah’s faith. That she began to believe and then she held on to her faith until she had a child. After she started believing, she never gave up on that faith. She started believing and kept on believing. And it resulted in delivering a child. Verse 11, says Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child. This is how steadfast she was. She did not quit until the promise was fulfilled. She bore a child, did not give up in the middle. Did not lose hope. She bore a child. She began to see that God is a God who brought water out of a rock, split the sea into two so that they can walk through, He made the hammer to float in the water. He’s the God of the impossible. Things that are impossible can happen. She began to understand that God is an amazing God. The question of how began to disappear from her mind because she began to look at God and how great He is. She became very firm and steady and held on until she gave birth to the child.

The fourth thing, is the most important thing I think out of this all, is the foundation of her faith. What is her faith based on? Her foundation seems to be strong. Why I say that? Because this woman, 90 years old, considered barren from the beginning, from long time ago, she was barren, 90 years old, full of unbelief, now she has believed and received strength to conceive seed. Bore a child when she was past age. How did that happen? What is the basis of her faith? Where is the foundation? What is the foundation? What made her so firm? What is the foundation of her faith? The foundation of her faith is this, it says, she judged Him faithful who had promised. Verse 11, the last line. She judged Him faithful who had promised. Notice those words very carefully. She judged Him faithful who had promised. That means, she was looking at God the promiser, not the promises but the promiser. She was gaining confidence as she looked at not at the promise but at the promiser.

Why the difference is very important? If you look at the promise, you'll get discouraged. Just imagine good if you're Sarah and she was 90 years old barren, full of unbelief already, she’s laughed. And if you tell her to look at the promise, the more she looked at the promise, the more frustrated she will become. Because the problem is too much. Too hard to believe. Unbelievable promise that God will give her a child and through that child the Savior will be born and through that Savior, many nations will call her mother. When is it going to happen, 90 years of age? This is too much. The more you look at the promise because the promise is too great to believe, you'll only get discouraged. To grow in faith, you should not look at promise. You know what you need to look at? The promiser.

This is one of the great truths about faith. You grow in faith, you become strong in faith just like Abraham. Abraham considered God. Abraham considered how good He is, how truthfully, He is, how righteous He is, how holy He is, how all powerful He is, how all knowing He is, how He's wonderful, can never lie. He began to meditate upon God. Yeah, he looked at the problem. Problem was there. You can't tell him, “Don't look at it.” It's right in front of his eyes. His wife is always standing before him. He can look at that she’s 90 years old. Everybody’s talking about them. He can see the problem, realize the problem. The problem is ever before him. But his meditations are about this God, this wonderful God. Who He is, how great He is, how good He is, how righteous He is, how holy He is. Have you ever meditated upon God's excellencies, God's perfections, His truthfulness, His faithfulness?

Have you gone through the Bible and studied how faithful God is? That He says something one day and 1,000 years later He fulfills it. He never forgets it. 1,000 years later He fulfills it, 500 years later He fulfills it.  Time is no big thing for Him. If He has said it, He will do it. The promises to Abraham were like those kinds of promises, not just promise that just ends with Isaac. But 2,000 years Jesus must be born. That is part of the promise of the seed. And after that, so many people must be added from the Gentiles into Abraham’s family, through faith in Christ. That is happening for the last 2,000 years. I'm not a Jew. You are not a Jew but we are Abraham's children today. We’ve been added into the family of Abraham. The promise is still being fulfilled. It will continue to be fulfilled until the end. You'll never meet a God like this who speaks a promise and consistently fulfills that promise. Hundreds of years later, He's still fulfilling that promise. He’s still going on doing what He has said and never forgets and never forgoes anything. Never has He said anything that He did not do. That kind of a God is our God. This God is our God. Amen.

So, she also came to that conclusion. Look at what she says, because she judged Him faithful. It's not because she judged the promise very possible. It doesn't say that. It is not that she decided that the promise was reasonable that it can happen. No. She did not look at the promise. She looked at the promiser, the one who made the promise. When you look at the one who makes the promise, the question of how He's going to do it will fly away. You know what Luther said? I like what Luther said. Martin Luther, he said, “If you would trust God, you must learn to crucify the question how.” I mean, here is a man, Luther is as strong as you can get. He is very brash and very plain many times. He said, “Do you trust in God? Then don't ask how.” How is God going to do it with a 90-year-old woman, and her husband is 100 years old? That’s even worse. How is He going to take this couple 90 and 100 years old, and produce children through them and produce nations through them? How? Luther says, “If you'll begin to trust God, you will never ask how” Because God has 1,000 ways to do it.

The question of how is forgotten because He judged Him faithful who had promised. She took her eyes off of all the other things, all the difficulties, on the problems, on the hindrances, on the obstacles and all of that. That's not her focus of attention now. She focuses on God to see whether He's a faithful God. Is He a faithful God? Can I trust Him? Can I believe Him? Has He kept His promises? Is He a good person? Is He righteous? He’ll never do anything wrong? Will He lie? Is He holy that He will do everything that He says? She began to consider Him. And she judged Him faithful. She considered Him, meditated upon Him, began to think about Him, began to look at their path of 30 years, this journey, think about it. And she decided, “He's been faithful. He never let us down. He has saved us from all kinds of troubles. He’s a good God. He’s faithful. The one who called us has been with us all this time. He’s faithful. I can never say one thing bad about Him. He’s faithful.” Therefore, she judged Him faithful who had promised.

Now, it is by meditating and believing on the character of God, that faith is fed and strengthened to expect the blessing that is in the promise. As you feed yourself about the goodness of God, the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, the omnipotence of God, the truth about the omnipresence and omniscience, the truth that He is good, as you feed yourself more and more, your meditations are more and more about that, more and more your faith grows. You’re ready to believe anything.

Now, I don't know if you’ve heard of a great preacher named John Owen. Lived back in the 17th century. And his writings are now available. Sometimes it's available the Old English, some of it they have translated into newer English, the modern English. Otherwise, it's very difficult to read because he writes in very old English. He writes about the book of Hebrews and he says this. A great, great, great man. He’s the most profound preacher you'll ever read. And he says this, “The formal object of faith in the divine promises, is not the things promised in the first place, but God Himself in His essential excellencies of truth, or faithfulness and power.”

Let me expound a little bit on that. The formal object of faith, that means what you must put your faith on, what is the object of your faith? What do you believe? What you believe, is not the things that are promised in the first place. You don't start by believing the things that are promised. The object of your faith is not the promises in the first place. In the first place, the object of your faith is the promiser, the one who has promised. This has been taken by many, many great preachers like Spurgeon and others, and they've taken it to the ultimate and they’ve understood something from what this man has said. And in the succeeding centuries, they have preached on it and expounded upon it. And they've said, this is the thing that brings faith. What is it that makes a faithless person have faith in something? How can unbelief be turned into faith? The meditation upon who God is.

He says, “The focus of your faith in the first place, it's not in the promises or the things promised, it is in the one who has promised. If the one who has promised is no good, the things they’ve promised mean nothing. If the one who has promised can never fail, then you are going to see the reality of those things coming through. So, the object of our faith is not the things promised but the one who promised those things, that is God Himself. Then he says, “What about God? What do you look into about God? His excellencies.” That means the perfections of His nature. There are some basic attributes and natures of God, character of God. That God is love, that God is holy, that God is truth. These are basic natures. That God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. That God is righteous, that God is good. All of these things are basic natures, essential attributes of God. “Essential excellencies,” he says.

He mentions truth, faithfulness, power. Is He powerful? Meditate on that. Meditate on His power. Is he truthful? Meditate on that. When you read the Bible, look at God's truthfulness. Is He faithful? “Meditate on that,” he says. And when you meditate on that, then you will have no problem believing the promises because you're sure about Him. Therefore, you're sure about the promises because He's the one that is going to bring about the promises to reality. So, I tell you, my friend, let's meditate on God, His excellencies, His goodness, His faithfulness, His greatness, His power, that nothing is impossible. What a great question. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? Meditate on that. Is there anything too hard? Can you truly say that anything is too hard for the Lord? Meditate on that, on His power, His goodness, righteousness, His holiness, His truthfulness, faithfulness and so on.

And what happened when she meditated of that? By meditating on God and His excellencies, and His nature, she was able to produce descendants like the stars of the sky, innumerable, and sand by the seashore. Look at Abraham's children today. You're all gathered in a great crowd today. We are all children of Abraham. Following the faith of Abraham. Look at who you're talking about, faith of Abraham we’re talking about. Abraham is our father. I have preached about Abraham for 40 years and every time I finished preaching, I said, “That's it. I've covered everything about Abraham.” But I start all over again. It never ends. Abraham, Abraham, the blessing of Abraham, the faith of Abraham is our subject. It's what we learn from. Such a great generation has been produced.

Finally, God’s reward for Sarah’s faith. How was her faith rewarded? In verse 12, we read, Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in the sky in multitude— innumerable as the sand, which is by the seashore. There is one giving birth and there is one through whom these descendants come to pass. The one through whom this happens is an old man, 100 years old, who's as good as dead, it says. And the one who literally bears the child and starts this generation, descendants, is 90 years old, barren woman, full of unbelief. God took the man who was as good as dead and the woman whose womb was dead and started with zero and made them heroes. Started with nothing. They had nothing. They could produce nothing. A dead man with a woman who possesses a dead womb can produce nothing. They're incapable of producing anything. Even one life they’re incapable of producing. But look what God has produced, as the stars of the sky and the sands by the seashore. That's the reward.

Now, I think about our faith. When we begin to believe God, God's will and God's plan for our lives, just imagine what God can produce through one man? One you, one person who seems so weak today maybe in your eyes? You think I'm a failure, I'm weak, I'm no good and I can't do anything. But if you will only learn faith and if you will only understand God's plan and purpose of your life, what God has called you for, what God wants to do through you, and if you will begin to believe God, I'll tell you something, there’re results. What God did in Abraham and Sarah did not end with their life. It's still going on after hundreds of years and thousands of years later. And your life and my life will have the same kind of results. It will not be over in one lifetime. It will continue from generation to generation for many generations to come. If you will only understand God's promises, understand Him and focus on who He is and how faithful He is and learn to walk by faith and shed your unbelief, throw away all those hindrances that stand in the way, and begin to walk by faith, what your future will be is unimaginable. It's beyond your wildest imaginations. God will bless you and make you a great blessing.

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