Sermon #58                                                       Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Sarah’s Faith

     Text:            Hebrews 11:11-12

     Readings:     Buddy Daugherty – Larry Criss

     Subject:       Characteristics of True Faith

     Date:            Tuesday Evening – June 19, 2000

     Tape #         W-46b



All things spiritual are utterly beyond the scope of human reason. The gospel of Christ and all that is revealed in the gospel is irreconcilable to human reason. The things of God are totally contrary what the depraved mind and hearty of man considers common sense.


·        The Trinity

·        The Fall

·        Election

·        Redemption

·        The Incarnation

·        Eternal Punishment


These are things which every heaven born soul sees, believes and rejoices in; but things which no unregenerate man can reconcile in his own mind with “common sense.” Why? The Holy Spirit gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 2. That which is the wisdom of God is hidden from the wise and prudent of this world. It can be known only by divine revelation.


[1 Corinthians 2:7-15]  "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."


     Not only is it true that the gospel itself is beyond the reach of human wisdom, contrary to the depraved mind’s idea of “common sense,” but faith, true faith, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in and by whom alone the triune God reveals himself, is totally contrary to human reason, contrary to it because it is so far above it that reason cannot grasp it.


True, saving faith is a supernatural thing. Faith does the impossible, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and touches the intangible. I am not talking about faith in faith. I am talking about faith in the living God. I fear that the vast majority of those who profess to have faith in Christ have nothing more than faith in their faith. Their faith is all talk, theory and emotion. Not so with true faith! Most religious people have a faith that has been, in one way or another, produced by men. There is nothing at all supernatural about it. True, saving faith, this supernatural faith, faith that believes God without evidence, without proof, without any foundation except God himself, is the gift and operation of God. In other words, no one can or will believe God until and unless God the Holy Spirit gives him faith.


If you and I believe God, if we truly believe God, it is because God has wrought his work of grace in us by the omnipotent power and grace of his Spirit; as Paul puts it, “according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Eph. 1:19-20). This faith is the gift and operation of God (Eph. 2:8; Col. 2:12; Phil. 1:29). It cannot be had or explained in any other way.


Oh, gift of gifts! Oh grace of faith!

My God, how can it be

That You, in free and sov’reign love,

Should give that gift to me?


Sweet grace! -- Into the vilest heart,

It is God’s boast to come,

The glory of His grace to set,

In darkest souls His throne!


Your choice, Father, (Great God of grace!),

I lovingly adore.

Thank You for this great gift of faith,

And grace to long for more!


Our text tonight gives us a striking, instructive example of this faith. Turn with me to Hebrews 11:11-12. Right in the middle of his description and commendation of Abraham’s faith, the Holy Spirit calls our attention to his wife and her faith.


[Hebrews 11:11-12]  "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. [12] Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable."


     Isaac was pre-eminently a child of faith. His birth was a supernatural work of God, a work of grace, for his birth was the foreshadowing of our Savior’s incarnation. But his birth was no less miraculous, no less supernatural, no less the work of God’s grace than the fact that Sarah believed God would do it!


     Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Sarah was 90! Not only was she well past the age of bearing children, she had never given birth to a child. Her womb was dry and barren. It was, as they say, “biologically impossible” for her to give birth to a son; but she did. It was totally contrary to “common sense” for he to bare a child; but she did. It was totally contrary to reason for her to believe that God would do this thing; but she did!


     Hold your Bibles open here, at verses 11 and 12, and let me show you seven instructive things here revealed about fait in this dear lady who is the mother of us all.


I. Sarah believed God. – “Through faith Sarah also herself received strength.


A. Here is a happy, blessed family. – Both Abraham and Sarah believed God!


What a blessing it is when both husband and wife are believers, when both in the same yoke pull together. They were heirs together of the same promises. They lived by the same principles, sought the same things, loved the same things, and sought to avoid the same things, because both believed God. Blessed is that house where both the husband and wife love someone else more than they love each other, their children, or themselves. – Where Christ is loved supremely! Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Abraham and Sarah “were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6).


B. Here is an exemplary woman of faith.


·        Abraham did not and could not believe God for Sarah. Sarah herself believed God.

·        Sarah’s faith is specifically mentioned so that all might understand that in Christ all social distinctions are insignificant (Col. 3:10-11).

·        Sarah is held before us as an example for all to follow, particularly for all women to follow (1 Pet. 3:6).


[1 Peter 3:1-6]  "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; [2] While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. [3] Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; [4] But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. [5] For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: [6] Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: Gen. 18:12 whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."


C. Here is a marvelous display of grace.


     In the Genesis record no mention is made of Sarah’s faith, only of her unbelief. Here no mention is made of her unbelief, but only of her faith. Her unbelief is forgiven and hidden by the inspired writer. Her faith is recorded and honored.


·        How gracious our God is! (Mark 16:7).

·        Let us ever seek to be like him (Eph. 4:32-5:2).


[Ephesians 4:32]  "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."


[Ephesians 5:1-2]  "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; [2] And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."


II. Because she believed God Sarah received strength to conceive. – “Through faith Sarah also herself received strength to conceive seed.


The word “herself” is emphatic Sarah did not receive the strength she need from Abraham, or from Abraham’s faith. She received it from God by the gift of his grace through her own faith.


     By believing God, Sarah obtained that which she did not have before and could not get any other way. Her dead womb was given life to conceive. The Lord God did exactly the same thing for Sarah that he did for Abraham. Sarah discovered the answer to the angel’s question for herself. – “Is anything too hard for the Lord?


[Romans 4:17]  "(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."


[Matthew 19:26]  "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."


[Mark 9:23]  "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."


     Sarah waited for God to fulfill his promise for 25 long, long years. In that time, she erred greatly, failed miserably, and brought upon herself and her house great pain and sorrow. Yet, all that time, she believed God and waited. At last, she received the strength she required.


[Psalms 27:13-14]  "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. [14] Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."


[Isaiah 40:31]  "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."


[Lamentations 3:25-26]  "The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. [26] It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."


     Listen to me now, my brother, my sister. – The Lord our God will supply us with everything we need to do his will, in all circumstances and at all times.


·        God has promised to honor those who honor him (1 Sam. 2:30).

·        Nothing honors God like faith.

·        God always honors faith. – His word to us is this: -- “Lay hold of my strength” (Isa. 27:5).


[Job 8:7]  "Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase."


[Ephesians 6:10]  "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."


[Philippians 4:12-13]  "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."


[2 Timothy 2:1]  "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."


III. Because she believed God Sarah “was delivered of a child when she was past age.


Her faith was persevering. This ninety year old woman went into labor with confidence, believing God and gave suck to son like a twenty year old! There was no abortion and no miscarriage! Why? Because Sarah believed God.


[1 Timothy 2:15]  "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."


     Rachel died in giving birth. Phineas’ wife did, too, as have many, many others. The pain and travail of giving birth is but a part of the curse. God has arranged that the birth of a child, perhaps the happiest of all human experiences, have with it a reminder of the curse and the threat of death.


     I am fully aware that most women are delivered from death in child bearing, believers and unbelievers. The one who delivers them is God, whether they know it or not. But believers worship God in all things. We live by faith! Sarah believed God, worshipped him, gave birth to Isaac by faith (worshipping God), and gave thanks to God for the child he gave.


[Proverbs 3:5-6]  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."


     Our text emphasizes the fact that she did this “when she was past age.The Holy Spirit here heightens the sense of the miraculous and the supernatural because he would have us understand that no difficulty, no obstacle, no hindrance, should cause us to not believe our God. The omnipotent God is not limited by nature. He rules nature and alters it as he sees fit! He who brought water out of the Rock, poured Bread from heaven, and caused an axe to swim, has no difficulty with anything. The greater the apparent difficulties are the greater reason we have to believe God. When all the streams of nature are dry, then we should most reasonably expect the waters of God’s grace and goodness to pour out in a flood of mercy! Whatever the difficulties are before us, whatever the obstacles are in our way, let us “be strong in faith” being fully persuaded that “what he has promised he is able to perform.”


IV. Sarah believed God “because she judged him faithful who had promised.


Faith looks to God, not to self. Faith looks to God, not to circumstances. “If we would trust God we must crucify the question, ‘How?’” – (Martin Luther)


Let it never be forgotten that Sarah had the Word of God for what she believed. It was not a whim, a figment of her imagination, or simply something she desired which gave her faith. God made a promise, and she believed the Word God gave.


·        Let us take heed that it is God’s Word and God’s testimony that we believe

·        Let us take heed that we really believe God’s Revelation.

·        Let us take care that we cherish no hope but that which the Word of God promise.

·        If we have the Word of God for the foundation of our faith, then it is impossible for our faith to be too confident or our hope to be too firm. – “Because he is faithful that promised!


A.    He who is our God is a God of promised goodness.


B.    His promises of goodness to his people extend to all things temporal, spiritual and eternal.


C.    His promises are free, unconditional and sure.


D.    God who is faithful, all-wise, immutable, omnipotent and true cannot fail!


[Lamentations 3:22-26]  "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. [24] The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. [25] The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. [26] It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."


     Now, look at Hebrews 11:12 and see the fruit of Sarah’s faith.


[Hebrews 11:12]  "Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable."


V. Because Sarah believed God, God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled.




Sarah’s faith was as essential to the fulfilment of the promise as Abraham’s. Yes, it is God who fulfills the promise. Yes, it is God who gives us faith. But, still, faith, personal faith exercised toward God is essential to receiving the blessing he has promised. – “Thy faith hath saved thee!


VI. Because she believed God Sarah became the mother of a great nation The Church of God.




You and I, like Isaac, are the children of our mother in faith, Sarah!

VII. Because Sarah believed God the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world in the fulness of time to redeem us.




     I cannot conclude this message more appropriately than by giving you A. W. Pink’s comments on verse twelve.


“The opening ‘Therefore’ of verse 12 points the blessed consequence of her relying upon the faithfulness of God in the face of the utmost natural discouragements. From her faith there issued Isaac, and from him, ultimately, Christ Himself. And this is recorded for our instruction. Who can estimate the fruits of faith? Who can tell how many lives may be affected for good, even in generations yet to come,. through your faith and my faith today! Oh how the thought of this should stir us up to cry more earnestly ‘Lord, increase our faith’ to the praise of the glory of Thy grace: Amen.”