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Sarah: The Power of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2021 8:00 am

Sarah: The Power of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 22, 2021 8:00 am

It’s pretty crazy to think we can do anything better than God. But Dr. Tony Evans says that many of us act as if we canespecially when we’re up against a challenge. Find out how the Lord responds when we insist on moving forward without His supernatural help in this lesson.

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One of the reasons we don't see more of the miraculous spiritual presence of God is we keep going to what men say. Dr. Tony Evans says if we insist on moving forward without supernatural help, the Lord will stand back and let us.

Because the promise of God, while real and righteous, will lay dormant. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. It is pretty crazy to think that we can do anything better than God, but Dr. Evans says many of us act as if we can, especially when we're up against a challenge.

Let's join him as he explains what we risk and what we miss when we do that. Today, I want to talk to you about the power of faith. Hebrews chapter 11, verses 11 and 12. By faith, even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore, there was born even of one man and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

We're introduced to a lady named Sarah, the wife of Abraham. God had made a promise that He repeated five times in the book of Genesis from chapters 12 through chapters 21 that Abraham and Sarah were going to have a baby that would lead to the birth of a nation. That's what God said.

That was the word that came out of his mouth. That was the promise. But the promise had a problem. The problem was, number one, Sarah was barren. Her womb was not producing any eggs, and so she couldn't get pregnant. But the promise was, you're going to have a baby.

But the problem was the ability to have a baby. So she decides God has obviously made a mistake. So in Genesis chapter 16, in order to help God out—because obviously God missed this one—chapter 16 said, Now Sarah, Abraham's wife, had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarah said to Abraham, Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children.

Please go in to my maid. Perhaps I will obtain children through her. And Abraham listened to the voice of Sarah, and she conceived.

And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. What a temptation when you've been trusting God for something and God hasn't come through is to retreat to the flesh. The flesh is a human approach to solve a problem different than the way God wants it done. Whenever you jump from God to man—that is, you go outside of God in order to bring about something you want from God—you are getting in the way of God, thus delaying God from doing what He has promised to do based on His Word. You have limited God because without faith it's impossible to please God.

So if your faith lasts, you're not pleasing God, and if you're not pleasing God, you cannot expect the intervention of God. So Abraham goes into Hagar. She has a baby named Ishmael, and them two brothers have been fighting ever since. Hear me now.

There are some facts. She's barren, and I can understand. How can a barren woman have a baby? She's old now.

How can this be? She did what the Bible says don't do, and that's be double-minded. Double-minded means I'm living on God's point of view and man's point of view, and I'm going between the two. So if you and I want to experience the promises of God, the decision you have to make in order to experience that power is to not go to the flesh to help out the Spirit, even when it looks like there's no way the Spirit approach can ever work, because guess what?

The problem is too big. We started the sermon in verse 11 of the book of Hebrews, which says, By faith Sarah gained the ability to conceive. Didn't we read that? But I don't think we've seen any faith yet.

We've seen the flesh, okay? We've seen her laughing at God, not believing His word, because His word sounds too ridiculous to come true. But in Hebrews 11, she gets pregnant by faith. That means something has happened between the time she's laughing and from the time Hagar has given birth to Ishmael and the time Isaac is born in chapter 21. Something has happened in these chapters to spark faith in Sarah that she did not have.

Now watch this. The gap between God's word and His promises and its fulfillment in your life is always tied to your development in faith. So if God sees you don't have the faith, He'll put the promise on hold until you get the faith. There are people here still waiting on God to come through.

He's already got the thing set up. He's just waiting for you to take faith seriously. And He will not move until He sees faith. He must see the movement of faith, not the talk, not the thought, but the walk.

He's got to see you are moving based on what He said. Question is, what happened between chapters 16, 17, and 18, from Hagar to Ishmael to him laughing to her laughing, to all of a sudden, she getting faith to conceive? Something happened.

Two things. If you read the chapters between 18 and 21, two big events take place. The first event is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God rained down fire and brimstone from heaven, and Abraham and Sarah got to see heaven open up, and they got to see the power of God destroy two cities at one time. They looked up and went, whoa! While saving his nephew Lot and his family, they saw the power of God manifested from heaven.

That's the first thing that happened. But then there's the second thing that happened, and it's even deeper. Abraham is a fairly weak man. He goes to Abimelech, and he tells Abimelech Sarah is his sister, because he's scared. He feared that they're going to hurt him, because even at 90 years old, Sarah was a very beautiful woman, and he's so terrified of Abimelech that he says she's my sister. So Abimelech, thinking that Sarah is single, takes Sarah into his harem, and he's going to make him one of either his wife or his concubines, because he thinks his Sarah is single because Abraham has said, she's my sister, not my wife. While he's sleeping, he has a dream, verse 3 of chapter 20, God came to Abimelech in a dream that night and said, behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman which you have taken, for she is married.

You're a dead man. To make a long story short, Abimelech said, I ain't know. He ain't tell me that. He told me she was her sister.

You can't blame me. He said, I know, but I want to let you know how serious this is. So don't put your hands on him, okay? Don't touch her. And he says, I will deliver you if you keep my word and don't mess with Abraham's wife, who I know he told you is his sister. But now, what's all this got to do with Sarah getting pregnant, verses 17 and 18 of chapter 20? Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids so that they bore children. Now, what's Sarah's problem?

She can't have children. For the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife. Okay, watch this now. You got—see, one of the things you have to learn to make is spiritual connections.

You have to see how one thing connects with another. When Abimelech took Sarah, God closed all the wombs of Abimelech's house and all the wombs of Abimelech's kingdom. Nobody getting pregnant until Sarah is out of here.

When Sarah is out of there, everybody getting pregnant. So he let Abraham and Sarah see his power in Sodom and Gomorrah, in the opening and closing of wombs in Abimelech's kingdom to increase their faith. Okay, watch this now. He let them see what he could do apart from them to grow their faith in what he could do for them, because they didn't believe he could do it for them. So he let them see what he could do outside of them, that if they got the message, he could still do also for them.

That's why you want to see what God is doing over here, so you know he can do it right here. Dr. Evans will have more for us on how God's promise was fulfilled when he continues our message in just a moment. First, I'm excited to tell you about our current featured resource. It's Tony's brand-new book, Kingdom Heroes. It dovetails with the two-volume, 13-part audio series we've been listening to today called Heroes of the Faith.

These two resources explore what it's like to really live out the conviction that God can be trusted as we make the discovery that real faith is more than just a matter of what we believe. And if you contact us right away, we will send you this extended series on CDs or downloadable MP3s, along with one of the first copies of Dr. Evans' latest book as our gift when you make a generous contribution toward Tony's work here on the air. We'll also include as a bonus the Kingdom Heroes Bible study to help you dig even deeper into these stories and their important concepts. Don't miss out. Visit us today at 1-800-800-3222 so we can make the arrangements and send you out all three of these powerful faith resources.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Or visit I'll repeat that information after part two of today's teaching and this. It's beyond a Sunday sermon, a chance to really dig into the Bible and the Kingdom in a new way.

Take your time and anywhere because it's all online. The Tony Evans Training Center, in-depth courses on all kinds of topics, cultural transformation, intro to expository preaching, Jude, John, Hebrews, Old Testament, New Testament, and so much more. These aren't sermons. They're teaching courses to help you engage, understand scripture, and not just to hear about but to explore the Kingdom of God on your own.

Find out more at So, when Hebrews 11 says, by faith, she got pregnant, her faith takes place between 18 and 21, and in chapter 21 of Genesis, that's when Isaac is born. Because it says in chapter 21, then the Lord took note of Sarah, then, then, then when. And after she saw that God controls what happens in the womb, no matter how bad the problem is, then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, because His word didn't change, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised, because His promises are good. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.

Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Guess what Isaac means? Isaac means he laughs. So you know, the adage is, he who laughs, laughs. So God is looking at him, says, name your baby, since y'all in the laughter, why don't you name your baby laughter? Since y'all like laughing, okay, how how that?

Go ahead and grin at that, okay? Every time he cry, laughing is crying. Now Abraham was 120 years old when his son Isaac was born, they keep wanting us to know this, Sarah said, God made laughter for me.

Everyone who hears me will laugh with me, because his name is Laughter. So God gave them a way to remember, I remember y'all laughed in my face, because you let your problem outweigh my promise, because you didn't believe in my power. He received power because a seed could be laid down that accompanied an egg to produce a miracle child. And the miracle child is produced because a promise was made.

God asked her in chapter 18, is there anything too hard for the Lord? Now I know this is out of the realm of your logic. This is out of the realm of your biology. This is out of the realm of anything you can come up with. But you talking to me, not your science teacher.

You talking to me, not your academic coach, you're talking to me. And one of the reasons we don't see more of the miraculous spiritual presence of God is we keep going to what men say, what men think, and what men can do. And let me explain something.

If you hang out with only men, all you'll get is what men can do. That's all you get, because the promise of God while real and right and righteous will lay dormant. It says through one man, verse 12 says, the power to give life came.

Now watch this. Sarah couldn't have children and it says Abraham couldn't have children because he had even gotten too old. Both of them laughed at the face of God. So both of them needed to see God's power so that both of them could come together and have a baby.

Okay, watch this now. The reason why Hebrews 11 and 11 and 12 are put together is because it would take the two of them having faith in order to produce the baby because the baby is dependent upon the two of them coming together. Both of them have issues, so both of them need to learn faith, so both of them get to see the miracle of Sodom and Gomorrah and the miracle of birth in the Bimelech household. The Bible says that Sarah called Abraham Lord, 1 Peter 5, 6. She got a miracle, the birth of Isaac, when she called Abraham Lord.

And it says to the ladies, and you are her daughters if you do likewise. When did she get the miracle? When was the miracle beginning to be put in motion? It says when she called Abraham Lord. She had become Lord of the house, just like Eve had become Lord in the Garden of Eden and flipped the order. But that doesn't get the men off the hook because Abraham went along with her lordship.

So she took over the role as Lord, he went along with her lordship, our hell broke out in their family. First Peter 3, 6 says, like Sarah, who called Abraham Lord. The question is, when did she call Abraham Lord? She called Abraham Lord in chapter 18.

We just read it. She said, shall I have pleasure again from my Lord? That's when she called him Lord. When she took the position that recognized his position, and therefore their family got back in divine order, God was ready to reveal a miracle. When the family got in order, Abraham got well, she got well, a baby was born, okay? That whole thing flipped when everybody got in alignment. One of the reasons we're not seeing miracles today is everybody's out of alignment. The man is being passive, the woman is being the leader, he's going along with the program because he's weak.

She has to be strong sometimes. She takes it out of the will of God and you don't see the miraculous intervention of God. But it says when she called Abraham Lord, God kicked in because the order had been established. And the supernatural could be manifested.

Now let me tell you one more thing. Sarah is the only woman in the Bible where we're told how old she was when she died. It says that a lot about men, but not about women. Isaac is born when she's 90.

She dies at 127. That means Sarah has had 37 years with Isaac. I know some of you have been waiting for God for a long time. You've been trusting God for a while. God is still developing your faith.

The problem was bigger than the promise. But the reason God gives us her age is to let us know that when God finally comes through in giving his promise, he gave her time to enjoy it. He made her wait 90 years, but he kept sister girl rolling for 37 more years.

So even though the wait was long, she had 34 years with her baby boy. So once you get this faith thing right, and once you act in faith, and once God comes through, if it's a promise for you, he'll give you enough time to maximize your enjoyment and participation in it, but he won't do it as long as you keep going to the flesh. Dr. Evans will be back to tell us how strong our faith can grow when we're ready to trust God for the impossible.

Stay with us. First, though, we've been working our way through Tony's collection of messages called Heroes of the Faith. It's a two-volume series exploring the lives of biblical characters who took God at his word and went on to see him change their lives and the world. Don't forget, if you can help us out right now with a generous contribution, we'd like to say thanks by sending you all 13 messages in this series, as well as a copy of Tony's brand-new book and companion Bible study, Kingdom Heroes. This Heroes of the Faith offer is only available for a limited time, so make the arrangements right away at There's a section on the home page that's there just for this special offer. That's

Or let one of our team members assist when you call us at 1-800-800-3222. Well as you've heard, the Urban Alternative is celebrating 40 years of ministry this year, so you know your support is an investment in an organization that's been faithfully carrying the good news to a needy world for some time. Dr. Evans recently reflected on the early ministry call on his life. 1968, our little church became part of an evangelistic crusade in Baltimore led by an evangelist named B. Sam Hart.

His organization was the Grand Old Gospel Fellowship. It was a tent crusade, and I was an 18-year-old working on this crusade with our church. And on the first night he preached, he talked about being fully committed to being used of God. And that night is when I sensed God calling me to serve Him. I really then got more involved in the crusade and got to know Sam Hart. And then he sent me to Guyana, South America, to work on his crusade that was going on there, which of course is where I met Lois. So it was that crusade in 1968 that started the ministry direction for me. Your support of the Urban Alternative makes possible the important work that continues even today. So again, contact us at 1-800-800-3222, and let us say thanks for your help by sending you the Kingdom Heroes and Heroes of the Faith resource package. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222.

Or you can make the arrangements online at Part of being in school is knowing there's always a test right around the corner. Tomorrow Dr. Evans explains that the same is true in the Christian life. Right now, though, he's back with this final thought for today. We don't have time to go there, but if you read Romans chapter 4, verses 16 and in the chapter, it talks about Abraham's faith, how it grew to the place where he believed God could create something out of nothing. We call that in theology ex nihilo. That's what you want.

You want a faith so strong in God that you don't need the raw materials to work with. You don't need to see how he's going to do it, when he's going to do it, who he's going to use to do it, and where's it going to come from, and I can't see how it's going to work. Why did God let them go through this?

Simple. He let them go through it so that when it finally happened, only he could get the credit. Only he could get the glory. Only he could get the praise, because they could not do anything unless there was a miracle that took place. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative, celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 12:28:54 / 2023-08-20 12:37:36 / 9

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