Andrew Fountain - God Uses Messed-Up People

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Sermon notes - God Uses Messed-Up People

1. The Story

  • In Genesis 20 we read a rather strange story about Abraham
  • bear in mind that Abraham is supposed to be the“Great man of faith”
  • Read the chapter: Genesis 20

..Genesis 20

  1. Abraham journeyed from there to the Negev region and settled between Kadesh and Shur.
    While he lived as a temporary resident in Gerar, 2Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.”
    So Abi-melech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.
  2. But God appeared to Abi-melech in a dream at night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else’s wife.”
  3. Now Abi-melech had not gone near her. He said, “Lord, would you really slaughter an innocent nation?
  4. Did Abraham not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this with a clear conscience and with innocent hands!”
  5. Then in the dream God replied to him, “Yes, I know that you have done this with a clear conscience. That is why I have kept you from sinning against me and why I did not allow you to touch her.
  6. But now give back the man’s wife. Indeed he is a prophet and he will pray for you; thus you will live. But if you don’t give her back, know that you will surely die along with all who belong to you.”
     
  7. Early in the morning Abi-melech summoned all his servants. When he told them about all these things, they were terrified.
  8. Abi-melech summoned Abraham and said to him,
    “What have you done to us?
    What sin did I commit against you that would cause you to bring such great guilt on me and my kingdom?
    You have done things to me that should not be done!”
     
  9. Then Abi-melech asked Abraham, “What prompted you to do this thing?”
  10. Abraham replied, “Because I thought, ‘Surely no one fears God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’
  11. What’s more, she is indeed my sister, my father’s daughter, but not my mother’s daughter. She became my wife.
  12. When God made me wander from my father’s house, I told her,
    ‘This is what you can do to show your loyalty to me: Every place we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’”
     
  13. So Abi-melech gave sheep, cattle, and male and female servants to Abraham. He also gave his wife Sarah back to him.
  14. Then Abi-melech said, “Look, my land is before you; live wherever you please.”
  15. To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver to your ‘brother.’ This is compensation for you so that you will stand vindicated before all who are with you.”
  16. Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abi-melech, as well as his wife and female servants so that they were able to have children.
  17. For the Lord had caused infertility to strike every woman in the household of Abi-melech because he took Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

based on NET Bible


  • What on earth are we supposed to learn from it?

2. Fitting it into the BIG story

  • Promise to Eve of a descendent who would destroy evil and this of course would be Jesus
  • The history of this world is the history of this battle
  • Satan pictured in Revelation 12 as a huge red dragon
  • He is trying to stop the promised Saviour being born

Red Dragon

Red Dragon

Revelation 12:4–5

  1. …And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.
  2. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron,…
  • Many times in the Bible... Examples?
    • Pharoah
    • Herod
    • Athaliah (& Joash)
  • When we understand the Big Story we can understand the context for what is happening

3. How Abraham fits in

  • Abraham had just had a visit (Gen 18) from two angels
    • Within a year Abraham’s promised son would be born to Sarah
  • If Sarah had got pregnant from Abimelech, it would have broken God’s promise
  • This is an attack of Satan—he puts fear into Abraham
  • But the very next verses are… Genesis 21
  • Do you know what happens in the next chapter?

Genesis 21

  1. The Lord visited Sarah just as he had said he would and did for Sarah what he had promised.
  2. So Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him.
  3. Abraham named his son—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac.
    • God did what he said he would, and kept his promise!
  • And the moral of the story is...
  • The was actually the second time Abraham had done this—it happened when he went down to Egypt.
    • What a “man of faith”

The story teaches us that...

  • God still uses really messed up people
  • Although we may relapse and fail, God is faithful
  • Peter (denied Jesus, but Jesus restored him)
  • King David you want to build me a house, but I will build you a house
  • Samson each time he messed up...
  • Samson had a weakness for women, non-Israelite women
  • This got him into lots of trouble, but God always got him out
  • Eventually he landed himself as a slave with no eyes
  • But at the end, God still heard his prayer

The story of Shawn

The story of Shawn

  • heroine addict
  • saved, but relapsed several times
  • now a church leader

Willam Cowper

Willam Cowper

  • Struggled with depression and suicide

Hymns of Cowper

  • God moves in a mysterious way,
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants his footsteps in the sea,
    And rides upon the storm.
  • There is a fountain fill’d with blood
    Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
    And sinners, plung’d beneath that flood,
    Lose all their guilty stains.
  • Oh! for a closer walk with God,
    A calm and heav’nly frame;
    A light to shine upon the road
    That leads me to the Lamb!
  • A very flawed and damaged person,
    but he wrote some phenominal poetry that has been a strength to countless people.

4. What about You and Me?

  • God still uses really messed up people
  • Two kinds of people: those who know they are messed up, and those who don’t
  • Although we may relapse and fail, God is faithful (of course, this is not an excuse :)
  • Rev 12:17: “So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus.”
  • How is Satan trying to stop you entering into God’s purposes right now?
  • It’s either obvious you are messed up, or you hide it well
    • All of us go back again and again into things we shouldn’t do
    • The enemy is defeated. He is going down, but not without a fight!
    • God is able to pull you out of those jaws every time
  • Rev 12:17 is about us
    • This is why we can draw a direct line between Abraham and us
  • His head has been crushed on the cross
    • He death-twitches
  • What kind of a man of faith are you Abraham?
    • In the long run it didn’t really matter—God carried Abraham to his destiny
  • If you mess up, don’t let Satan discourage you
    • Don’t be frozen by guilt
    • Tell Satan that it happened to Abraham and God still used him!
    • “God has not given up on me…”

Updated on 2015-07-13 by Andrew Fountain