Beautiful Intercession_Genesis 16 thru 19
ð Do you feel weak and lonely? Need someone to help, lift up, strengthen and spur you on?
There is an Intercessor; an Advocate who will fight on our behalf.
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Jeremiah 15:20 “And I [the Lord] will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord.”
Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and [He] delivers them.”
EXAMINE Beautiful Intercession Genesis 16-18
God has pursued Abram. In the past couple weeks in looking at Abram we have seen one grand theme – grace! Even in Abram’s foolish decision making, God has been faithful. God hasn’t sought Abram’s faithfulness but simply his faith in God’s promise.
Abram “did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness’” (Romans 4:19-22).
Abram’s Intercessor/Advocate was God! But what is intercession? How do understand God’s intercession for us and our response? These chapters will introduce 3 principles of intercession.
Intercession is based on grace (Genesis 16:1-2; 17:1-5, 15-21; 18:1-3)
Understanding Abram’s faith was not always expressed in faithfulness, we are reminded of dependence on God’s grace. Even though Abram & Sarai had God’s promise they still had moments of weakness and doubt.
Abram & Sarai both moved away from God’s promise and went toEgypt(12:10-20). Along the way the picked up Egyptian possessions and people, namely Hagar – a maidservant (16:1).
Sin spirals. Their sin led to more baggage, more sin and long-term consequences.
Sarai (name means “princess” – caution men of women named princess!) is impatient and moves ahead of God’s schedule. She’s barren and knows God has promised her and her husband (Abraham means father of multitude) future offspring. So after 10 years, she persuades Abram to get her maidservant pregnant; the idea was that Abram would obtain his offspring and she would benefit as his wife. However, after her plan comes about she realizes it was a foolish and faithless decision. Though, she blames Abram (admittedly a willing participant) rather than accepting fault.
ð Sarai & Abram had a good desire (children) but the means of achieving such was dishonorable. God must be honored in our desires and methods.
God gives both Abraham & Sarah grace. He comes to Abraham and restores His covenant promise. He changes Abram’s name (exalted father) to Abraham (father of multitude). His new name will be a forever reminder of God’s faithful promise. Likewise, Sarai’s name (princess) is changed as an act of forgiveness. They are assured they will have genuine offspring, starting with a son, Isaac.
All this means that God’s relationship with humanity is based on grace not works. Religion is us accomplishing something for God; Christianity is God accomplishing something for us that we could never do. This is the covenant that God has with Abraham, as well as the new covenant displayed in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. God knew we could never live a perfect life, so He does in our place. He also takes away the eternal consequence of human sin by dying in our place. Therefore, God’s covenant is based on grace through faith.
As Galatians 3:25, 29 “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith… And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”
Intercession leads to generosity (Genesis 18:3-8)
After Abraham experiences God’s gracious intercession, he worships the Lord. He bows in reverence and he brings gifts of water, food and hospitality. Abraham and Sarah take time to make bread cakes, cooked meat and offer milk for their Divine Guest to eat. Abraham stands while they eat, showing his readiness to provide for all needs.
Because Abraham & Sarah had received God’s faithful covenant they in turn gave generously to God. When God’s people understand His grace and what He has done in the gospel, they in turn worship generously.
Love Others: Show Hospitality. Characteristic of early church and core value of SPBC is Others – loving people in Jesus’ name.
What we miss most about living 90 minutes away!
Jesus told a story, “A certain money lender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more. Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose for whom he cancelled the larger debt. Jesus replied, You have judged rightly… Therefore, I tell you, her sins which are many are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:41-43, 47).
God interceded on our behalf lavishly by sending His Son to be sacrificed for us. Our salvation is not works based but a salvation leading to works.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:16-18
ð Generosity is a symbol of having received grace. In areas of time, talent and treasure are you generous or grudging?
Intercession is gutsy faith (Genesis 18:16-32).
After Abraham’s time with the Divine Guest, the Lord notified him of the plan to judge the cities ofSodomandGomorrahfor their sin. God’s justice demanded his destruction. Yet, he allowed Abraham opportunity to make propitiation or intercession for sin. Abraham interceded, requesting God to withhold judgment if he could find – 50 righteous men, – 45, – 40, – 30, – 20, – 10. Abraham’s intercession anticipated God’s forward blessing of all nations. However, none could be found so God destroyed the cities.
Abraham was persistent in prayer. He truly sought to spare his relatives and the city. This shows Abraham’s understanding of grace. If God could spare Abraham, He could spare other sinners.Sodomcould have been a recipient of grace yet their sin was repetitive and unrepentant. The point to note is Abraham’s bold faith to intercede for others.
God takes note of persevering and prayerful faith (ex. Mark 2; Luke 18).
ð Gutsy faith is expressed through interceding for others – prayer, warning, sacrifice and love.
- Are you praying, warning and loving “High 5”? – 4, – 3, – 2, – 1?
ð Is your faith gutsy or weak?
- Allow God’s lavish grace to fuel gutsy faith. If God can save foolish Abraham, He can save others!
ð Intercession & Prayer Services on Wednesdays, starting August 31
Even in God’s judgment He does provide escape and rescue for Abraham’s family. Lotand his children are spared. Lot’s sons-in-law were not spared because they failed to take God’s warning of judgment seriously. Lot’s wife was to be spared but she had difficulty leaving behind the world of her sinful city (Luke 17:32-33 “Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life [for My sake] will keep it.”)
God is “Mighty to Save”. His intercession is powerfully displayed through a cross and an empty tomb.
ð Will you, by grace turn to faith in the God who has made a forever covenant promise to those who believe in Jesus Christ?
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:29