5 Excuses for Not Answering God’s Call (Session 1 – Exodus 3:4-14; 4:13-16)

God could have rescued the Israelites from Egypt without Moses’ help. But He chose to do it through Moses. Appearing to Moses at the burning bush, the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my p…

Source: 5 Excuses for Not Answering God’s Call (Session 1 – Exodus 3:4-14; 4:13-16)

The Joy of a Promise Kept- Genesis 21


The Joy of a Promise Fulfilled (Grace)

Genesis 21:1-21, Galatians 4:21-31


  • Have you ever been promised something and it didn’t come to pass?
  • If you can’t think of a circumstance where that has happened in your life I’ll just give you one word and then you’ll know it has- Politicians!
  • As parents, sometimes our kids take things as promises and you have to be careful because they don’t understand time the way we do.
    • Melana and Cinderella’s castle.  “Dear God, Please let daddy take me to Cinderella’s castle tomorrow.  In Jesus Name, Amen”.  Every day for a week… 🙂


  • We all hate when a promise is made and it isn’t fulfilled.
  • In Genesis 21 we see Abraham and Sarah experiencing the fulfilled promise of God.


Now to review, let’s look at the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-4:

1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:2and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:3and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.4So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4)

Now, check out when the promise was fulfilled:

Genesis 21:1-7
1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.  4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

  • Now, to get a sense of the background of this text you have to understand a couple of things.
  • 1.  This was the fulfillment of God’s Promise.
  • 2.  This was the fulfillment of God’s Promise to Abraham 25 years ago.
    • Imagine believing that you’re about to have a son since 1990.
    • Now imagine living in a culture where you not only have to deal with the emotional pain of not being able to have kids, but the social stigma of being a women in an eastern, ancient culture who has to deal with the shame of not having  a child.
    • Now imagine having told people for 25 years that you’re going to have a child.
    • Also, think about the fact that when you first receive this promise your husband is 75.
    • Born in 1915. Promised in 1990.  Promise fulfilled in 2015.
  • Now, inbetween when the promise was made (1990) and when the promise was fulfilled (2015) Abraham and Sarah got a little impatient.
  • So they tried to help God out- (Hagar and Ishmael).

8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.20And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. (Genesis 21:1-21)

  • Ok- interesting story, Ben- but what does this have to do with my life right now.
  • Check this out:

Now:  Look at Galatians 4:21-31

21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

  • Background of Galatians- Jesus + Law= Grace
  • Jesus + Circumcision etc.etc.
  • So Paul is about to give an illustration, but it’s more than an illustration.  God actually ordained circumstances so that he could later use it to teach us about the law and the promise.

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.27 For it is written,
Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not;
Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not:
For the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Galatians 4:1-31)


Law Promise (Grace)
Hagar (Bondwoman) Sarah (Free-woman)
Old Covenant New Covenant
Mount Sinai Jerusalem
Ishmael- After the Flesh Isaac- Miracle of God
Persecutor Persecuted

Now- Go back to Genesis 21 and let’s look at what the scripture says:
Genesis 21:6

6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

  • Just like Sarah experienced the joy of a son and God keeping his promise, we experience the joy of the Lord through the grace of God in His keeping His salvation promise to us.


  1. There are two ways people try to get to heaven:  By works or by Grace.  The only way you’re going to make it is by the grace of God.
  2. Those of us who know God’s grace through salvation through Jesus Christ should experience the joy of being in Christ.
  3. We should desire for other people to experience God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

Devotional: Dealing With Your Past

Devotion for January 17, 2014

Dealing-with-your-past-headWhat’s your favorite memory? Maybe it was when your kids were born. Maybe it was when you got married? There are some memories in a really good to remember!

Have you ever known someone that lives completely in the past? Maybe you’ve met the 50-year-old high school quarterback who talks about the glory days when they won the championship. We’ve all talked to the person who has becoming bitter because of what happened years ago. Some people live in the past by playing the “what if game” and trying to make it different than what it is.

  • What if I took that job…
  • What if I never would’ve gone on that date…
  • What if we had had more kids…. Or less kids….

This even happens to us our spiritual lives. For some people their best times spiritually are in the rearview mirror and not in front of them..

How does this happen? And what we do about it?

The Bible addresses this topic in such a relevant way and here is why you need to know what it says about dealing with your past:

  1. There is a lot of time that can be wasted by dwelling on the past.
  2. Often we can sacrifice our present and our future because of our focus on the past.

Here Paul gives us the key to making the most of our lives in by dealing with our past.

Philippians 3:4-14

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Here Paul presents his resume before Christ and apart from Christ. Before Paul was saved he really believed that he had something to offer God. If Judaism and keeping the law wsa the way to get right with God, Paul would’ve been the man.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

The word “gain” here speaks of the things that I value and hold up to God as something to be held on to and identified by.

What are some things you value? Money, relationships, technology, hobbies.

Paul says he counts, or accounts, those things as loss- things that should be able to be given up for something better.
● What does Paul say he is willing to give up the things he values?

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

The most valuable thing that you and I have is the opportunity to know and be known by Jesus Christ.

The word count here has this idea of reckoning or accounting or setting a value in one’s heart and mind. Paul says, I have decided to see the difference between the value of the things that I valued outside of Christ and knowing Christ himself.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The reason we live in the past is because we have begun to value something other than knowing and being known by Christ.

The problem is when we think we have arrived. We think that we have somehow finished the race. But if you’re alive you still have something to do somewhere to go in a relationship with Jesus.

At the last house I lived at we had a canal in the back behind our yard.. Usually to see the water you have to go all the way to the edge. Last summer we got so much rain I could stand in my house and see the water. After the water began to recede you could go out to the back of my house see a high watermark-a place where the water got to but no longer is.

I use that as an illustration to say this:

When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, Are you at a high watermark in your intimacy and relationship with Jesus Christ?

If you are not, what are you valuing more than that?

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:

A Serial Killer’s Argument for The Resurrection

The Resurrection: God Saves
Paul’s Argument for the Resurrection
Easter Lesson 2012-

• Peanut Butter or Jelly?
• Wendy’s or Burger King?
• Branson or Gatlinburg?
• Paper or Plastic?
• PC or Mac
• Is Elvis still alive?
• There are some things that no matter what your position is, it doesn’t really matter.
• There are some events that if they were really happened or not, it doesn’t matter.
• This is not true of what the resurrection of Christ.
• If it did happen it is the most important thing that has ever happened in history.
• If it did not happen, then Jesus isn’t who He says He is and we need to leave right now because we are wasting our time.

• In this series on doctrine…
• Tonight, I want to study the testimony of someone who hated Jesus so much that He was a serial killer of his followers.
• I think this is powerful, because if the most staunch critic of something becomes a fan, then you know there is something to the product…
• So let’s look at this witness to the resurrection…Turn to Acts 26

Let me give you some background here:
Paul’s been on these missionary journeys. He started churches all over the Mediterranean.
Acts 21-
• He starts to head toward Jerusalem, and a man named Agubus warns Paul that if he goes to Jersualem, he’ll be taken captive.
• Paul says, I’m going even if I have to die.
• Paul gets to Jerusalem, and goes to the temple.
• They arrest him.
Acts 22
• Paul gives a defense of the gospel by giving his personal testimony…
• They want to whip him. He says- wait I’m a Roman Citizen…
Acts 23
• Paul is taken before the San Hedrin.
• Some are Pharisees and others are Saducees…
• He gives his testimony and brings up the resurrection. This divides the council
• The Roman guard is so concerned that Paul is going to get killed He takes him out.
• Then there is a plot to kill Paul, and so Paul goes before Felix.
• Eventually He gets accused of Sedition
Acts 24
• Paul is taken before Felix. He gives a defense here.
• The Felix doesn’t know what to do so he just leaves him in jail.
Acts 25
• Festus comes- Come on, what are we supposed to do with you…
• Paul appeals to Ceasar.
• Festus then says- You’re going to Caesar!
• Agrippa comes and is staying with Festus…
• Festus says- Hey you’ve got to hear this prisoner….They are accusing him, and I don’t know what to do. I need your advice on what to do with this guy!
Acts 26
• Paul makes this defense of himself to Agrippa
• Paul we can’t figure out what to charge you with! Tell me, why are you here?

Acts 26:1-28
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
(2) I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: (3) Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
(4) My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; (5) Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
(6) And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: (7) Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (8) Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
(9) I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (10) Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. (11) And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
(12) Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, (13) At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. (14) And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (15) And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. (16) But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (17) Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, (18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
(19) Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: (20) But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
(21) For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. (22) Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
(24) And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
(25) But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. (26) For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. (27) King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
(28) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
Paul’s argument is this: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is means everything or it means nothing.

Here is Paul’s argument:
1. The Prophecy Argument: Christ’s death and resurrection was prophesied by Moses and the prophets. V.6-7, 22

• Gen 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
• Gen 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
• Ps 16:9-11
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
• Ezek 37:25 (Jesus, the ancestor of David would reign forever)
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
• Ezek 37:24-25 (Jesus’ ancestors being used to refer to Him. Only Jesus reigns eternally, this did not Jacob and David do. They died. Jesus died, resurrected and sits at the right (the power hand) hand of God on the throne. This Is not so of Jacob or David)
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
• Job 19:26
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
• Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
• 2 Samuel 7:12, Psalm 132:11, Isaiah 4:2, 7:14, 9:6, 40:10, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:14-16, Ezekiel 34:23, 37:24, Daniel 7:24

2. The Power Argument: If it is possible that God exists and created everything, then it is certainly possible for God to have power over death. V.8
• (8) Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

• I believe that this is why Genesis Chapter 1 is attacked so harshly in our culture.
• If God didn’t have the power to create the world- if it happened by chance and not by cause- then a God who saves by resurrection is a hard thing to believe.
• But if God made the World and everything in it, why is it difficult to believe that He can raise Himself from the dead!

3. The Personal Change Argument: “I wanted to kill Christians and saw them as the enemies of God, but then I met Jesus Christ. He is alive and I have a relationship with Him.” V. 9-21
• By the way, King Agrippa- I know what it’s like to disbelieve in the person of Jesus Christ.
• This is where this argument is so incredibly powerful. I am different.

4. The Public Argument: Paul argued also that the resurrection wasn’t a private thing with no evidence. God did this in public. There are many witnesses of the risen Christ, including Paul. V.25-27

a. Jesus died on the cross publicly.
Matt. 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-48; John 19:28-42
b. Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find.
Matt. 27:57–60
c. Jesus appeared physically alive three days after his death.
John 20:17; John 20:20–28; Luke 24:36–43
d. Jesus’ resurrection was recorded as Scripture shortly after it occurred.
1 Cor. 15:3–4
e. Jesus’ resurrection convinced his family to worship him as God.
Acts 1:14; 12:17; 15:12–21; 21:18; 1 Cor. 15:7, Gal. 2:9; Jm. 1:1; Jude 1
f. Jesus’ resurrection was confirmed by his most bitter enemies, like Paul.
Acts 7:54–60; Acts 9; Phil. 3:4–6

5. The Point Argument: The point of Christ’s resurrection is summed up in v. 18.
a. Paul expands this critical argument in 1 Corinthians 15:12-24-

“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”