10 June 2000

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report"-Hebrews 11:1,2 As we continue our study in faith's hall of fame, we find that men are not the only ones that God calls upon to exercise faith. Many faithful women have graced the halls of time with their uncompromising love for God. Several we will discover in this chapter of faith. Today, let us consider the faith of Sarah, the wife of Abraham, "Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable"-Hebrews 11:11,12. From Sarah, we will discover the strength of faith. THE STRENGTH OF FAITH Faith is a powerful force. The confirmation of this power is observed in this chapter by many amazing feats performed by otherwise weak vessels. But the power is not found in the person chosen to exercise the faith. The power is in the one who made the promise: God. As we read the story of God's dealings with Sarah, we find a weak vessel. It is from the weak vessel that God gets the glory and the strength of faith is demonstrated. Sarah was weak in many ways. We find her full of unbelief, full of doubts. When God announced to Abraham he would have a son, and Sarah would be the mother, Sarah laughed(Genesis 18:9-15). Sarah behaved as we do most of the time. She looked upon human means to fulfill the promise. Sarah was physically weak. She was "past age". Naturally speaking, she was too old to have a child. Abraham was another weak vessel involved in the miracle. So far as fathering a child, he was "as good as dead". Looking upon her own ability to fulfill the promise she found little hope so "she laughed" when she heard God make the promise to Abraham. At first glance, all she could see were two weak vessels trying to make a miracle. God's promises are not based upon man's ability. If God had chosen a strong young man and a healthy young woman to bear the promised seed they would have needed no faith. Faith is given for the impossible task. It is given to the weak, to the poor of this world, to the needy, to God's children: "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence"-1 Cor 1:26-29. Faith is not given to exalt man. Faith is given to exalt the Lord who made the promise. That is why he uses weak vessels. CONCLUSION Somewhere between the time that Sarah laughed and the time that she "received strength to conceive seed", she must have looked away from self and relied solely upon God. She began to consider the matter. She first considered the one who made the promise who also said to her, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" Then she began to hope for the fulfillment of the promise. Faith is the substance of "things hoped for". If she hoped, she had the substance of it which is faith. Then the strength was given and the promise performed. That is what it says, "She judged him faithful who had promised." The power of faith in found in the childlike trust that God will do what He has promised. When faith attaches itself to God with a childlike trust and looks away from self the power engages; the strength is found to fulfill the task! The Lord willing, we will continue our discussion of "The Faith of Our Fathers' next week. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor