Serving Christ and sharing the Gospel

Three Visitors (Gen 18:1-19)

In our sermon series From Adam To Abraham we are at week eight, we have had Cain and Abel, and Phil told us about Abel’s faith, and the also about Cain’s choice, and then there was Noah and Noah being righteous and faithful, we had the flood and the covenant that God made with Noah and in effect mankind, then we had Matthew talk to us about bad choices in the reading about  the tower of babel, then we had Phil tell us about the call of Abram and Abrahams faithfulness to God,

then we had the meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek and last week we had the covenant that God made with Abraham and all people that are connected with Abraham, this week we pick up with Abraham meeting with three visitors and Abraham still waiting for God to for fill his promise of an offspring.

So you might have noticed how big Abraham is in the story of God’s people in the Bible, God did not just pick out anybody to be the father of his people he wanted the right person and a person who was as we saw from Gen 15 v 6 righteous.

A person who was trustworthy Abraham is considered the Father of the Christian faith. He was and is Father of many nations.

God made a covenant with Abraham that affected everyone who came after him.

Aside from Moses, no Old Testament character is mentioned more in the New Testament than Abraham. James refers to Abraham as “God’s friend” (James 2:23), a title not used for anyone else in Scripture. Believers in all generations are called the “children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). Abraham’s importance and impact are clearly seen in the Bible.

The life of Abraham takes up a good portion of the Book of Genesis from his first mention in Genesis 11:26 all the way to his death in Genesis 25:8.

One of the things we learn from Abraham’s life is that faith is not inherited. In Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8, and John 8:39, we learn that it is not enough to be descended from Abraham to be saved. This means  that it is not enough to be raised in a Christian home;

we do not enter into fellowship with God or gain entry into heaven based on someone else’s faith. God is not obliged to save us simply because we have a perfect Christian pedigree, if we think that, then we are fooling no one but ourselves. Paul uses Abraham to illustrate this in Romans 9, where he says not all who descended from Abraham were saved (Romans 9:7). But salvation comes through the same faith that Abraham exercised in his life.

And we also see that James uses the life of Abraham as an illustration that faith without works is dead (James 2:21).

Just agreeing to the truth of the gospel is not enough to save us. Faith must result in good works and showing a living faith. Loving your fellow people, forgiving those you may think are in the wrong, I know it is not easy trust me I know, but it is something we are called to do, to fellow God’s will not our own, to help one another to love one another.

The faith that was enough to justify Abraham and count him as righteous in God’s eyes (Genesis 15) was the very same faith that moved him into action as he obeyed God’s command’s.

Abraham was justified by his faith, and his faith was proved by his works.

Let me give you some background before the text this Morning. Abraham is a righteous man. He lives on his father’s land and has great wealth. He is married to Sarai who cannot have children and is barren. When Abraham is 75 years old.     God calls Abraham to take his wife and leave what he has in Ur. Remember that Ur was in Northern Iraq, and go to a land that He will show him.

FAITH, EXTREME FAITH! I am sure that many of us would stop as soon as God would have told them to give up what they had.

Abraham moves into Canaan and great famine hits and they move toward Egypt. In Egypt, his wife was young and beautiful, Abraham lies and says that Sarai is his sister instead of his wife so that he is not killed by the king of Egypt. Chaos breaks out, disaster hits Egypt and the king figures out that Abraham is lying and sends Abraham and his wife out of the country.

In his calling, God tells Abraham that he will be the father of many nations- yet he has a wife that is barren and unable to have children. He is running into all kinds of problems while he is being faithful to God.

Abraham and his nephew Lot’s herdsmen cannot get along and are always fighting and Abraham and Lot decide to split and go in different directions. His nephew Lot chooses what appears to be the best land and takes land back to Canaan. Abraham goes the other way towards Egypt.

The covenant that God made a covenant with Abraham. God said that he would multiply Abrahams seed and from his seed the nation of Israel would be blessed and become a great nation.

For ten years, Abraham could not understand how God’s covenant with him would come to pass with his wife Sarai being barren. So, Sarai and Abraham decide to speed up the process and that Abraham should sleep with his slave girl Hagar and have the promised seed of God. She immediately becomes pregnant and Abraham is now 85 years old. Hagar and Sarai have issues as Hagar flaunts that she is pregnant, and Sarai sends her packing with her son Ishmael.

The text this mourning is right between Abraham’s impatience with God and having a child with Hagar and Abraham having a son with Sarai his wife as God has promised.

In my life, I have been impatient in waiting on God and done things to hurry the process. I have got to tell you it has never gone well. There has always been big problems. It always felt like pushing a boulder up a hill, on the other hand when I was in line with God all the doors throw open.

So, in our reading from Genesis 18 Abraham was visited by three men, the men turned out to be unusual guests, to say the least, and the visit was life-changing for Abraham and Sarah. Abraham showed immediate hospitality to the three men, inviting them to rest under a tree and preparing a big meal for them (verses 3–8)

Some scholars have suggested that all three of these “men” were angelic beings who appeared to Abraham in the form of men. However, Genesis 18:1 says that it was “the LORD” (and the word used was Yahweh) who appeared to Abraham. It is the LORD who speaks in verses 13.

So, one of the three “men” must have been God taking on the appearance of a man. Some schoolers have suggested that one of the three may have been Jesus.

Whether God’s appearance to Abraham was as God the Father or as Christ, we don’t know.

But it does seem clear from the context that one of the visitors was God Himself and the other two were the angels.

Abraham’s response to the appearance of the three men also suggests that he instinctively knew that he was in the presence of God. A typical response to visitors in that culture was to rise and wait for them to approach the home. But Abraham ran to meet them and “bowed low to the ground,” a prone position reserved for royalty or deity.

This should remind us that God is aware of what is happening on earth and in our lives, and He is involved. God can interact with us in untold ways. We may not always recognise whom we are speaking with, so we should treat everyone as though they were on an assignment from God.

Hebrews 13:2 reminds us, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Are we hospitable to everyone? Jesus was hospitable our Lord and saviour was and is hospitable.

Then in verse 9 to 15 we read “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. 10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” 13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

It starts out with a lie or exaggeration - we get caught,we have all been there sometimes trying to enforce a point sometimes trying to get our own way sometimes trying to cover up something we are embraced about.

  • I didn’t say that- yes you did
  • I did not do that - yes you did
  • I wasn’t thinking that - yes you were
  • I didn’t mean that - yes you did
  • I did all I could do - no you didn’t
  • It was not my fault – yes it was

God doesn’t have a problem hearing and seeing God does not have a problem listening and understanding- yet we act as if God were stupid and other people are stupid. Is it God’s way or your way.

How do I know what God wants me to do in my life in the big things it is mostly not what I think I want but I have to tell you what God wants has always worked out for the best we can only ever is God’s plan looking back, in the small things I all ways ask the question is it for me and my glory or for God, and sometimes that’s a tough call and we have to look at ourselves very closely, if God ask me to something I would like to do I go to 2 or 3 others to test it out people who are mature Christians people I know who will not say something just to please me.

Abraham, why did you wife laugh? Why wouldn’t she believe that it is possible to have a child at old age? Is anything too hard for God?

God is bigger than what we can imagine, more than what we can see, he has no limitations, no boundaries and certainly none set by us, He can do anything except going against His word. There are some lessons that we can learn from Abraham.

  1. Impatience will cause us to do the wrong thing

Abraham was a man of faith- Abraham had much money and left a lot to follow God. But because he did not wait on God and trust God to bring the promises to pass, He did the wrong thing. Trusted God ten years before Sarai and Abraham agree to have a child with Hagar the slave girl. This was not what God said and Ishmael is not the promised son. This act created problems with the family and repercussions through time. He could not undo the birth of his son. He loved Ishmael. But Ishmael was not the promise. Abraham did it instead of God doing it. When we are restless while waiting on God, we use poor judgment. We start to worship the God of I the god of me.

That is when we blame God for our situations. We imply that God has not been good to us. We blame God, we blame others, we blame everyone but ourselves, if there is no peace in your life it is not God’s fault it is yours, are you going from one problem to another seemly without end look at your life and who is in charge of your life because it is not God,

I know I have been there, get back in line with God and God’s peace will return. We have to realise that God knows what is best for us, and not waiting just causes us to make mistakes we will regret. Abraham had a choice. To settle in where he was, comfort zone, no risk, that would have been easier- or obey God- leaving a place of comfort and going to a place that God would show him.

  1. Put your faith into action!

Hebrews 11.1 says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Abraham had no idea what was ahead of him, but he knew that if he obeyed that God would be there with him. Did he make mistakes- yes! I am glad that God is a God of second, third chances! That He desires us to trust and have faith in him- not in our ability to please him. He gives us help and chances to make things right.

He wants us to learn from our mistakes and move forward.

God’s plan from the beginning was to use Abraham, an ordinary person to do something extra-ordinary because of his dependence on God.

God responds to faith! Even during our failures.

Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

As I close, we should show outrageous hospitality in every way with a smile, with help with food with love for each other.

Impatience will cause us to do the wrong thing- getting ahead of God often causes us to do things in our own ability, which are limited. We cannot see what God is doing behind the scenes, closing doors, waiting on things to fall into place.

God is not working in our time frame but in his time. Time often is our enemy because we can’t wait. We interfere with God’s intended purpose. God often hides from us how He will fulfil his promises in our life. But has revealed that we need to stay within his plan. God has a plan for each of us, we need to listen and enjoy the ride. God responds to faith! Even during our failures. God never tires and does not grow weary- we are weak, but he is strong.

I would much rather do things Gods way and his strength instead of our own limited abilities.

Let’s pray: Lord God thank you that you love us so much that you are willing to walk this life with us send your holy spirit that we may show a greater hospitality to all people, help us through your holy spirit to walk in your time not our own and help us to have the faith of Abraham to wait and serve you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen