Sermon Notes and Slides
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She Is My Sister
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Abraham’s journeys lead him to Gerar, where he comes under the authority of Abimelech. In an effort to protect their lives, Abraham and Sarah pose as brother and sister, a strategy they have employed once before with embarrassing results. Their half-truth/full-lie is exposed when God appears to Abimelech, warning him not to take Sarah as his wife and instructing him to return her untouched to Abraham. Abimelech’s response is swift as he confronts Abraham, returns Sarah, and blesses them both materially and reputationally. By God’s grace, Abraham and Sarah resume their roles as inheritors of God’s great promises and benefactors of God’s good blessings, thus providing for us today a lesson in the foolishness of repeated sin alongside the richness of God’s grace.
01. Our repeated sins seem reasonable to us but betray our distrust in God; seem personal to us but affect the lives of others; seem subject to us but often have mastery over us.
02. God’s repeated graces are undeserved but freely given; are sufficient to cover our guilt and our shame; are designed to restore us to fellowship and empower us to serve.
03. We who are repeat offenders with regard to sin will do well to become repeat grace-givers to those who sin around us.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. How does Abraham’s life fluctuate between faith and failure in Genesis 12-20? What do these fluctuations suggest about the struggle against sin and the fight for faith in our lives today? In what ways can we encourage one another not to repeat the same sins again and again?
2. If you could talk to Abraham and Sarah before they committed this particular sin, what would you say to them? What reasons could you point out for them to forget their foolish plan and trust the Lord instead? Can you say the same things to yourself to bolster your faith and to forsake your sin?
3. Why did Abraham and Sarah concoct the plan to deceive Abimelech? What clues from the text indicate that they were mostly wrong about his character? Are there any warnings we can take from this text about faulty assumptions we sometimes have of people outside the faith?
4. Notice how differently Abraham and the Lord treat Sarah. Abraham’s actions are couched in “kindness,” but he puts her at risk. The Lord is her protector and ensures that she is unharmed. What does this text suggest about a husband’s ability to lead his wife into sin? How should a wife respond when her husband’s expectations run contrary to God’s commands?
5. Note how Abraham and Sarah’s plan affects the women of Gerar. Why does the Lord close their wombs? What does this suggest about the ramifications of sin with respect to God’s judgment on a society or nation?
For Further Reading: John Stott, Confess Your Sins: The Way of Reconciliation (first published, 1964; Eerdmans, 2017).