Date written: September 23rd, 2007
Scripture ref: Genesis 18:1-15
SUBJECT: Faith, God's Promises
TITLE: Studies in Genesis – God Promises a Son
PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will study God's promise of a son to Abraham.
OBJECTIVE: To understand that God keeps His promises, but in his own way and time.
1. Read: Genesis 18:1-15
2. About the Text:
1) The book of Genesis tells the story of the beginning of the nation of Israel.
2) That beginning starts with a man named Abram.
3) Here was a faithful man through whom God wanted to build a nation and ultimately fulfill His promise to deal with man's sins (Genesis 3:15).
4) The story of God's fulfilling His promise to Abram teaches us many things about faith in God.
5) Let's look at this story and see what we can learn.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
I. The Promise Implied (Genesis 12:1-3, 7)
1. The call of Abram.
1) When God first called Abram, God made a promise.
2) God told Abram that he would make of him a great nation.
3) Within this promise is implied that Abram would have offspring.
4) This is the first hint that God gives Abram of children.
5) God reveals no details of how this promise was to be fulfilled.
6) He simply expected Abram to believe and obey.
2. The promise given by faith.
1) At this stage, God expected Abram to have faith.
2) Paul tells us that God did this for a reason.
3) Romans 4:13 “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
4) Romans 4:16 “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,”
3. We learn the need for faith in God.
1) Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
2) When we have faith, we don't need to know all the details of God's plan.
3) We can simply believe and obey and trust that God will provide.
II. The Promise Inquired (Genesis 15:1-6)
1. Abram asks questions about God's promise.
1) A few years pass and Abram begins wondering about God's promise.
2) So he asks God some questions.
3) He wonders how God is going to fulfill His promise while he has no heir.
4) God assures Abram that He will keep His promise.
5) God gives Abram some more information.
6) That Abram's heir would come from the seed of his own body.
7) Abram continued to believe God.
2. Do we question God's promises?
1) No child was forthcoming.
2) Abram had a “legitimate” question.
3) Do we ever question doing the right thing?
4) 1 Corinthians 15:58 – Our labor isn't empty if we are doing what is right.
3. How often do we expect God's promises to be fulfilled through our work?
1) Abram had been “trying” to have a child.
2) How many times had he expected something to happen from his work?
3) Some promises are, no doubt, fulfilled through our obedience to God.
4) Others, however, we must wait for God to provide in His own time through His providence.
5) Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
6) Isaiah 40:28-31 “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
III. The Promise Innovated (Genesis 16:1-6)
1. Abram takes things into his own hands.
1) Another several years passed and Abraham wasn't getting any younger.
2) So Sarah says to Abraham, “Go in to my handmaid and conceive a child.”
3) So Abraham, not knowing of any better plan, consents.
4) This would seemingly fulfill God's promise because God had said out of his own body he would have a son, after all.
5) And with the servant Hagar, Abraham brings forth Ishmael.
6) The only problem with this is that this wasn't God's plan.
2. When our faith in God wains, we begin to innovate.
1) How often do we face difficult times, problems, anxieties and wonder where God is?
2) Abraham was likely thinking that if this promise was going to be fulfilled, he needed to do something.
3) So he innovated.
4) But innovation wasn't part of God's plan.
3. When do we innovate?
1) When the world around us seemingly isn't interested in the gospel.
2) When our friends and neighbors start to make fun of us.
3) When we aren't “growing” as we think we ought to be growing.
4) We will try to think of ways that we can do things better than God can do things.
5) So some will compromise on marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
6) Some will compromise on God's plan for worship.
7) Some will compromise on God's plan for salvation.
8) The only problem is that these things aren't God's plan.
9) If we want to have God's results we must work within God's plan.
10) 2 John 1:9 “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
4. What did Abram end up with as a result of innovating?
1) An angry wife.
2) An angry and exiled servant.
3) A child that suffered as a result of disputing parents.
4) Innovation may seem like a solution, but it isn't really.
IV. The Promise Intended (Genesis 18:1-15)
1. God clarifies the promise.
1) At this point, God returns to Abraham and Sarah and tells them what he intended.
2) He says that Sarah herself was going to have a child.
3) So now the promise has been completely clarified.
4) Abraham and Sarah would, together, conceive a child.
5) Nevertheless, Sarah still doubted – she laughed.
2. How many things has God clarified for us in the New Covenant today?
1) Is God's plan for man's salvation clear? It is.
2) Is God's plan for worship clear? It is.
3) Is the hope that we have for heaven clear? It is.
4) Is God's plan for the organization of the church clear? It is.
5) Yet there are many who continue to doubt and disbelieve these things.
3. When God provides clarity, we have no excuse not to obey.
1) Romans 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
2) Hebrews 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
V. The Promise Implemented (Genesis 21:1-8)
1. God keeps His promises.
1) As God promised Abraham and Sarah, she conceived and had a son in his old age.
2) Abraham called his name Isaac.
3) The name Isaac means “laugh” because that is what God made Sarah to do.
4) It took twenty-five years for God to do it, but it was done.
2. In how many years do we expect God's promises to be fulfilled?
1) How soon do we expect God's promises to be fulfilled?
2) A year? Two years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years?
3) What is our job? “Be thou faithful unto death.” (Revelation 2:10)
4) God ultimately keeps His promises and God will do what He has promised to do if we are faithful to him.
5) Let's not forget 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
1. In studying God's promise to Abraham to bring him a son we've seen . . .
1) The promise implied.
2) The promise inquired.
3) The promise innovated.
4) The promise intended.
5) The promise implemented.