Rev Bill\’s Sermons

June 22, 2008

Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7

Filed under: Genesis — revbill @ 10:04 pm

Genesis 18:1-15

Genesis 21:1-7

God Is A Promise – Keeper

June 22, 2008

This summer we are spending some time looking at stories from the book of Genesis that make up a valuable part of our faith tradition. These are stories of folks like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph – folks who were called by God and touched by God in certain ways – and – while they were not perfect – were used by God to bring His will and His love into the world.

As we look at these stories I believe we will discover that God is at work in our lives and in our world – and that God can use us – as imperfect as we may be – to do His work and will in the world – if we will let Him use us.

Two weeks ago we looked at the story of Noah in Genesis 6-8 – and saw how he was obedient to God – even when it was costly and messy to be obedient – and discovered a blessing for himself and his family – and all people – because of his obedience to God.

Last week we began the story of Abraham as we looked at Genesis 12:1-9 – and saw how God – many times –

calls us to do new things –

calls us do away with things we may be comfortable with —

calls us to do things we have never done before

or –

calls us to do old things in new and different ways –

and – even though we may not know exactly what will happen when we try doing new things as individuals or as a Church –

or we may not know exactly what will happen when we try – as individuals or a Church — doing old things in new ways –

we need to step out in faith and follow God.

Today we are going to look at 2 passages in Abraham’s life and journey with God – Genesis 18:1-5 – where we will see that God gives Abraham an unbelieveable promise and vision for his future – and Genesis 21:1-7 – where we will see that God keeps that wonderful promise He made.

As we look at these 2 passages we are going to see that God makes – and keeps – promises to us – and calls us to be folks who make – and keep – promises.

Listen to God’s word in Genesis 18:1-5 and Genesis 21:1-7.

Read Scripture

Have you ever had someone tell you something that was so

incredible – so ridiculously silly – that you felt that there was just no way it could be true?

What was your first response?

Did you want to laugh?

Maybe.

Maybe you did laugh.

Someone calls you and says:

“You just won 10 million dollars!”

And you say:

“OK – Quit playing around – who is this? I know its a trick”

Some promises are, indeed, too good to be true.

If you can imagine your reaction to unbelievable news, then maybe you can identify with Sarah and Abraham.

God tells Abraham that Sarah will bear him a son.

God continues to promise Abraham descendants.

Sarah and Abraham will have a son!

It’s incredible news!

It’s unbelievable!

It’s too good to be true!

And Sarah laughs.

“Come on, you’ve got to be kidding” – – she’s probably thinking -

“It can’t be true!”

“No way!”

“Not me – I’m too old.”

But again – God says that it will happen.

God – who had promised Abraham descendents years before – had every intention of keeping that promise.

And what happens?

As ludicrous as it may seem –

As incredible as it appears –

As unbelievable as it may look –

It happens!

Sarah gives birth!

Isaac is born!

And again – Sarah laughs – but this time not incredulously but joyously.

Laughter that something considered impossible has suddenly become possible. Laughter that new life had come from what appeared to be a dead-end.

Laughter that God was keeping His promises.

But — that’s the kind of God they served!

That’s the kind of God we serve!

Friends — the God Abraham and Sarah served —

the God we serve —

was —

and still is —

a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

As impossible as it may seem – -

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

New life is possible!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Joy can come from sorrow!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Hope can come from hopelessness!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Indeed – God kept His promise and Sarah gave birth – new hope and new joy sprang from what had appeared to be a barren, hopeless situation.

A good story – isn’t it?

Yes – a story of hope and joy and new life for Abraham and Sarah – and for us.

God promised new life for Abraham – and it happened – just when it looked as if it would never happen.

God promises new life for us – and guess what?

It happens!

It happens!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

It may seem that new life is impossible – but

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God promises to us — to you — may not be literal new life as it was for Abraham with the birth of Isaac — but His promise to you is just as real and just as powerful.

God can give you new life!

God can give you a new way to live!

You don’t have to live in the old ways of sin – of hatred – ways that inflict pain – ways of hopelessness and despair – the ways that separate you from God and others – ways that will ultimately lead you to hell – but you can live in the ways of love – of understanding – of hope – ways that will ultimately lead to heaven.

God promises this – – and

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God also promises new life for the Church – this particular Church.

God promises that Hopewell can be a Church filled with excitement and enthusiasm – that each of us can be filled with a vision for the ministry God is calling us to do in the world – and can be filled with excitement over doing the ministry God calls us to be doing.

We don’t have to keep doing things in the same old ways — but we can be blessed with new ways to do things and new ways to reach out to others – to reach out to the community – with God’s love.

God promises new life – for us as individual Christians – and for us a Church.

And – God is a promise keeper

God is a promise keeper.

Now – when you hear me saying that you don’t have to live in the ways of sin – of hatred – of pain – of hopelessness and despair –

and that – as a Church – we don’t have to keep doing things the same ways but can be blessed with new ways to do things and new ways to reach out to others – to reach out to the community – with God’s love —

you may want to respond like Sarah.

“Give me a break!” You may want to say.

“I’ve heard that so many times before – but nothing ever changes. Everything remains the same. I’ll never change. This Church will never change.”

Indeed – the idea of changing – of becoming a person of love and hope and understanding instead of hatred and pain – the idea of truly being able to be the person God is calling you to be – the idea of the Church truly becoming the Church God may be calling it to be — may seem a bit ridiculous – or even very ridiculous.

But – then again – it’s not laughing matter – is it?

It wasn’t funny to Sarah that she had not been able to have children.

I’m sure she felt a lot of personal pain because of this.

She may have felt it was her fault that God’s promise of descendants wasn’t coming true.

She may have felt it was her fault that Abraham still had no children.

But – she had tried!

O — how she had tried!

If she could have willed a child for Abraham it would have been born years ago.

Yes – she laughed at the thought of having a child – but actually it was a subject of pain and not a subject of joy.

You know – the fact that it is so hard for us to live the life God calls us to live – the fact that it is so hard for us to live the new life God promises us – the fact that it is hard for us to make changes as a Church and try new ways of doing things – these are not laughing matters for us, either – are they?

We know haw hard we try to change!

We know how badly we want to be different!

We know how much we want to be loving and caring – and not hurting others but loving them – not saying things that hurt but things that make them feel good – not putting them down but building them up –

We know haw badly we want to do what is right!

We know how badly we want to be the people God has called us to be.

We know how badly we want to be a Church that is trying new things and doing God’s work in the community!

We know how badly we want to be a Church that makes a difference for God in the world!

These things are really not laughing matters – are they?

But – like God was with Sarah – so God is with us!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God keeps lifting us up.

God is a promise – keeper!

`God is a promise – keeper!

God keeps giving us strength.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God keeps changing us.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God keeps making us new people.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God keeps renewing Churches.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Paul writes in Romans about that the wages of sin is death.

Did you catch that?

Death!

Separation!

Hell!

This is where our lives are heading without God’s promises!

It’s not what we want for ourselves – it’s not what God wants for us – but it’s what happens when we fail to live in the new life God calls us to.

But – that is not the end — it is not the end hope for mankind — nor is it the end of Paul’s sentence here in Romans. Paul concludes that sentence in Romans by saying that new life is the promise through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Did you catch that?

New life is the promise through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Friends – God is a promise – keeper.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

God redeems us – through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God gives us new promises through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God renews Churches through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ – God is a promise – keeper.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

New life is possible!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

A new and renewed Church is possible!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

But- only through Jesus Christ.

Bruce Reyes – Chow is a candidate for moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Over the past few months he has fielded many questions about what our denomination needs to do to stem the tide of membership losses and begin a new tide of membership gains. A few weeks ago he posted this response on his blog about whether the Presbyterian Church could change:

if we can center our lives on the transformational nature of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I have no doubt that will be changed. And that gives me hope. I hope it does for you as well.

Sarah could not fulfill God’s promises on her own.

We can not fulfill them on our own - but – with God – they are fulfilled.

God kept his promises to Abraham and Sarah.

God keeps His promises to us.

God keeps His promises to you.

As incredible as it may seem – you can be made new!

Let God do it!

Let God make a difference in your life!

Let God change you!

As incredible as it may sound – we as a Church can be made new!

Let God do it!

Let God make a difference in your life – and that will make a difference in the life of the Church!

Let God change you – and that will change the Church!

Let God make you the person God would have you to be – not living in sin – not living with anger and despair and hopelessness — not heading to hell – but in love -in hope – showing His love to others – heading to heaven.

Let God make us as His Church the Church He wants us to be – a Church filled with excitement and filled with the new plans and new ways for reaching out into the community with God’s love!

God promises that we can be made new!

God promised new life to Abraham and Sarah!

God promises new life to you!

God promises new life to this Church!

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

But — what about you?

What about us?

Do you keep your promises to God?

Do you live up to your end of the bargain?

Do we keep our promises to God?

Do we – as a Church – live up to our end of the bargain?

Are you a promise keeper?

Are you a promise keeper?

Once you realize and claim God’s promises in you life — your response is to make a promise to Him — a promise to live the life God calls you to live — a commitment — a promise — to God –

to His work —

to His will —

whether it be in the area of the church – the community – the world – or wherever God’s call and promises may lead you.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Are you?

Are we – as a Church?

Several years ago a Men’s Movement called the Promise Keepers emerged where men were urged to keep their promises to God — their families — their community — and the world.

I want to encourage each of us today to be promise keepers for God.

God has kept His promises — and has blessed you.

Have you kept your promises to God?

God has kept His promises to us as a Church – and blessed us as a Church.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Are you are a promise – keeper?

Are you a promise – keeper?

God completely changed Abraham and Sarah’s life —

God can completely change you!

God can completely change us – as a Church.

God is a promise – keeper!

God is a promise – keeper!

Let God change you!

Let God change us – as a Church!

We will discover that

God is a promise – keeper!

And – we can be promise – keepers also. Amen.

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5 Comments »

  1. […] You can read the sermon here.  « Update on Bruce Reyes – Chow     […]

    Pingback by Rev Bill » Blog Archive » Sermon: Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7 — June 22, 2008 @ 10:15 pm

  2. […] You can read the sermon here.  « Change Is Never Easy     […]

    Pingback by Rev Bill » Blog Archive » Sermon: Genesis 22:1-18 — June 29, 2008 @ 8:46 pm

  3. […] week we continued to story of Abraham by looking at 2 passages in Abraham’s life and journey with God – Genesis 18:1-5 – where we […]

    Pingback by Genesis 22:1-18 « Rev Bill’s Sermons — July 6, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

  4. […] weeks ago we continued to story of Abraham by looking at 2 passages in Abraham’s life and journey with God – Genesis 18:1-5 – where we saw how God gave Abraham an unbeliveable […]

    Pingback by Genesis 25:19-34 « Rev Bill’s Sermons — July 20, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

  5. […] also seen in Abraham’s story that God keeps His wonderful promises – when we trust in Him – and how at times we have to have faith in God and God’s will for our […]

    Pingback by Genesis 32:22-30 « Rev Bill’s Sermons — August 11, 2008 @ 1:46 pm


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