1. Hello, listening friends.
2. It is a delight for us to join you once again.
3. My listening friends, if you are just joining us, we are continuing in our study of the life of Abraham.
4. Today, we are going to focus on the freedom that is found in the truth.
5. I read an article which stated that a poll was taken by a widely circulated magazine.
6. The poll stated that people lie more now than they did 10 years ago.
7. And it says that 7 out of 10 people said that they were dissatisfied with the current standards of honesty.
8. "Lying is an indispensable, socially adaptive virtue. We could not survive without it."
9. An article entitled... "The Truth About Lying" had the following information.
10. In the old view lying, like other issues of morality, was seen only in black and white.
11. Children were taught that all lying was bad, and "deserving of strict punishment."
12. In the new view;
13. “today some lying is considered normal.”
14. “In fact, a child's first few lies are seen as an important step in development of self.”
15. I have found some amazing statistics in the research data in another book.
16. It says that “Most people lie.”
17. “They lie more that we have ever thought possible before the study.”
18. “But they told us the truth about how much they lie."
19. The authors found the following information
20. 91% of people lie regularly.
21. The majority of people find it hard to get through the week without lying.
22. And when it comes to premeditated lies... 1 in 5 can't make it through a single day without lying.
23. They said that men lie more than women
24. And that young men lie more than older men.
25. And that unemployed people lie more than those with jobs.
26. And that the poor lie more than the rich.
27. The most frightening finding of all is that 2 out of 3 of the people in this survey believe there is nothing wrong with lying.
28. How do we as believers in the Word of God face this epidemic...
29. an epidemic which is invading the lives of Christians and entering our churches with incredible speed?
30. First, I want to tell you that lying is a stronghold.
31. It is like an addiction... or lust... or bitterness.
32. It is like... laziness... or fear... and... a host of other strongholds that invade the Christian mind.
33. A stronghold can only be dealt with decisively and ruthlessly...
34. not half-heartedly or by rationalizing it.
35. As we continue in our series of studies from the life of Abraham...
36. we are going to discover that lying was a stronghold in Abraham's life.
37. First of all...
38. we find Abraham and Sarah become supernaturally and miraculously younger again.
39. She becomes younger and very attractive... as she once was.
40. Obviously, this supernatural rejuvenation was given to her by the Lord...
41. so that she may be able to give birth to a child.
42. But as both Sarah and Abraham become younger...
43. the old strongholds become manifest yet once again.
44. Please listen carefully my friend.
45. With every blessing comes a temptation.
46. You get into marital problems... you cry to the Lord...
47. the Lord answers your prayer...
48. the problem is over...
49. God blesses you.
50. But soon after the blessing...
51. you focus on the blessing... and forget the blesser.
52. Or you get into financial trouble...
53. And you cry to the Lord;
54. Lord I have not been faithful in the past.
55. But if you bless me again... I will change.
56. The Lord blesses you again...
57. but before long... you go back to the old ways.
58. Here Abraham and Sarah go toward the Negev for a winter vacation
59. and then they decide to take a side trip to the coast of the Gaza strip to a place called Gerar.
60. There they encounter King Abimelech...
61. and there Abraham falls back to his old nature and lies about Sarah.
62. By now you would have thought that after the great spiritual blessings God had given him,
63. after all of the first hand dealings he had with the Lord,
64. after the lessons he was given in trusting the Lord,
65. after the incredible revelations and seeing the Lord face to face,
66. you would have thought Abraham would have stopped being afraid.
67. Yet... once again here... as in Egypt... years before... Abraham tries to pass Sarah off as his sister.
68. King Abimelech admires Sarah's beauty and takes her to his palace.
69. You can find this in the book of Genesis chapter 20 verse 2.
70. There she was once again stuck in a compromising situation...
71. a married woman captive in the harem of a man who is not her husband.
72. Fortunately again... the Lord bails her out before Abimelech could touch Sarah...
73. the Lord revealed to Abimelech Sarah's true identity.
74. Unlike the earlier time when Abraham lied to pharaoh...
75. this time Abraham has reached such spiritual maturity...
76. that he repents immediately about his lie and even he prays for Abimelech.
77. In chapter 21 we finally see the Lord fulfilling His long expected promise.
78. Let’s read that passage.
79. Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.
80. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
81. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
82. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.
83. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
84. Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me."
85. And she added, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."
(Gen 21:1 7 NIV)
86. My listening friends, I want you to listen very carefully.
87. We get impatient because the Lord does not come through when and how we want him to come through.
88. We get angry with God... because things don't go our way.
89. We wonder off and do our thing... and try to force God to perform a miracle... when we want Him to.
90. But through it all... our faithful God holds our hand... teaches us lessons... watches over us.
91. And on His appointed day... God keeps His promises.
92. Sarah's womb that has long been dead... became alive again.
93. Here God had not only demonstrated His sovereign will...
94. but He is preparing the world for another miraculous birth nearly 2,000 years later...
95. but the later birth will be of a virgin who would deliver the Messiah.
96. In Genesis 21 verses 3 to 7 we see the following.
97. In obedience to the Lord's direction for the sign of the covenant Abraham circumcised Isaac on the 8th day.
98. In verse 8 of chapter 21 we see Isaac grew up...
99. possibly around the age of 5...
1. a big feast was held on the occasion of his weaning.
2. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking,
3. and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."
(Gen 21:9 10 NIV)
4. In verse 9 Sarah notices in the midst of the festivity... past sins came to haunt them.
5. Ishmael had developed a sibling rivalry and he was resenting Isaac.
6. By this time Ishmael was about 17 years of age.
7. Sibling rivalry is part of the original sin.
8. We see it first between Cain and Abel...
9. and it continues today.
10. Abraham had thought that Ishmael was the fulfillment of God's promise
11. but Isaac came along.
12. Ishmael's position became irrevocably different and he doesn't like it.
13. So throwing a huge party for Isaac… made things worse for Ishmael.
14. The conflict between Ishmael and Isaac has very deep spiritual implications.
15. It symbolizes the conflict in the Christian life.
16. And I want to tell you more about this.
17. But because our time is almost over
18. and I want to spend more time in explaining these important truths,
19. I want to encourage you to tune in next time to hear how we deal with these conflicts in life
20. until then, I wish you God’s richest blessing.