Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

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    New York, NY
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BAC Sermons

Sarah: A “Hall of Faith” Woman

2000-01-01 Hebrews 11:11

Hebrews 11:11  By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

FAITH is not a leap in the dark.  It is an assent to what is said in the Scriptures based on the authority of the asserting source (i.e. God inspired Words) & on the veracity (i.e. truthfulness) of the assertions.


What does God emphasize for the perfect marriage? 

Ephesians: 22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:


1.        One command is not conditional upon the other.

2.        Wives submit in everything; Husbands love in a way that makes her holy & without blemish.


1.        Submission is a command from God for wives.  For singles, submission is to each other.

2.        Submission is an exercise of Faith

3.        Like any exercise that is good for you, it needs to be done regularly (“in everything”)


Genesis 12:  1 ¶ Now 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 2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3  I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."


1.        God makes promises and He has a track record for keeping them.

2.        Faith is making the choice each and every day to go in the direction that God wants us to go, even if we don’t know exactly how things will unfold.

Application Question:  What is an area of your life where God hasn’t given you the full picture, but has commanded you to do something?  How am I doubting his promises and his perfect performance record because it doesn’t fit into my plans?  What can I do to change my perspective and follow him?


Genesis 12: 12  "Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, `This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.  13  "Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you."  Vs.   Gen 12:  2  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

What can Sarai do?  2 Options:  Obey or Disobey Abram & God

(i) Disobey

-   which could have brought about danger to both of them or just to Abraham since Abraham had just told a lie.  The outcome would have been also subject to how Pharoh would take the news.  Does she want to take on the responsibility of the outcome?

(ii) Obey

-    Even if Sarai recalled the promises of God to her husband Abram and submitted, she would have still faced a potentially dangerous outcome: possibly commiting adultery if forced by Pharoh.

-    She had no NT words on wives submitting to their husbands, but she knew this was the right thing to do. 

Outcome of Sarai’s Decision to Submit.

i)         God Protected her through plagues

        Gen. 12:17 But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

ii)       God Blessed Abram & Sarai through Sarai’s Submission

        Gen. 13:2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold

        Gen.14:14  And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.


1.        Even if the husband falters, wives can exercise her faith by honoring God through acts of submission.

2.        There are positive consequences (sometimes on earth, always in heaven) of obeying God’s commands.

Application Questions:

What are some of the half-truths that we tell?  How do we deal with them when our spouses tell them?  Does Sarai’s response suggest a model for responding to husbands?  Is this model the same today given that there may be things the husband is not considering OR given that wives are a lot more informed?   What is the source of a wife’s conviction to submit to her husband?  Elizabeth Hanford in her book, “Me Obey Him”, suggests that God will not put a wife into a situation where the wife is subject to conflicting commands.  Do you believe that?


Genesis 20:2  Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.  11  And Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.

Outcome of Sarai’s act of Submission:

i)      God Protected her by threatening the life of Abimelech

        Genesis 20:3  But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife."

ii)   God Blessed Abraham & Sarah through Sarah’s submission

Genesis 20:14  Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him.  15  And Abimelech said, "See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you."

What if the Husband is not Obedient?

1 Peter 3: 1 ¶ 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. 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:


Reminder to Sarah of Time Passing:

Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"  Genesis 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.  Genesis 23:1 ¶ And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.

God’s Promise to Abram:

Gen.15:5  Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."  Gen.15:18  On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—

Sarai let her own ambitions/desires/wants take over what God wanted for them and from them:

Gen 16:1 ¶ Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.  2  So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

Consequences were:

i)         the child of that union, Ishmael, brought about millenniums of conflict between Arabs and Jews.

Gen 16:10 ¶ Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, "I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude."  12  He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."

ii)       She despised Haggar thus putting her into a base emotional state of anger and jeopardizing her spiritual growth.  She also lost women intimacy with her closest slave Hagar.

Gen 16:4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes

Did Sarai Recover from Sin?

i)         Sarai tried to Change her Perspective of the Situation.

Gen 16:5  Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me."

ii)       Sarai tried to Get Rid of the Evidence of Her Sin.

Gen 16:6  So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please." And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.


1.        God delivers on his promises at the best possible time and in a manner He sees fit.

2.        Waiting (Praying, meditating, reading His Word and thus becoming Blessable) is more important than doing. (Re: Secrets of the Vine, Mary & Jesus)

3.        Sin and it’s consequences won’t just go away because we wish it.  We must always take responsibility for our actions, including seeking forgiveness.

Application Question:

How do we let our impatience and desire for control drive our decisions?  What does it mean to wait?  When should we wait?  How should we wait (ie. What should we do while waiting?)?  In what other ways can our desire to achieve results undermine our relationship with God and in turn our emotional and spiritual state?   Are there any parallels between Eve and Sarah in their response to the consequences? 


>  Enter Laughter #1:  THE DOUBTING KIND

Sarah’s laughter is based on her earthly understanding of the physical realities but not of God’s power to bring it about:  Laughter of Doubt

Genesis 18:  11  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

God deals with the Sarah’s lack of faith:  Through Abraham 

Genesis 18:  13  And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  14  Is any thing too hard for the LORD?

Natural response to God’s accusation: Denial

Genesis 18:15  Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

>  Enter Laughter #2:  THE BELIEVING KIND

Hebrews 11:11  By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

God fulfills his promise

Genesis 21:  1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

2  For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

Sarah’s laughter is now of joy from belief (vs. earlier laughter of unbelief)

Genesis 21:  6  And 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.


Sarah’s FAITH GREW as she believed in the promises of God and exercised her faith, so much so, that she could tell her husband to focus on God’s promise of Isaac and his descendents rather than on Hagar and Ishmael. 

Genesis 21:  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.  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.

Sarah’s FAITH allowed us to become BECOME FREE (Ancestor Mother to Jesus)

        Galatians 4:  23  But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24  which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar----  25  for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children----  26  but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.


1.        When we exercise our faith, we become Blessable (ready to be blessed)

2.        We experience Joy & Freedom

3.        We receive more Faith

4.        We obtain a standing before God, husband, peers, etc.


1.  How does a wife’s act of submission parallel Christ’s act of submission?

Mark 14: 36  And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."

2.  Are you willing to call your husband “lord” and mean it?

a)  Definition of “lord”

2962 kuriov kurios koo'-ree-os

from kuros (supremacy); TDNT-3:1039,486; n m

AV-Lord 667, lord 54, master 11, sir 6, Sir 6, misc 4; 748

1) he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord

1a) the possessor and disposer of a thing

1a1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master

1a2) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor

1b) is a title of honor expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master

1c) this title is given to: God, the Messiah

b) Implications of calling your husbands “lord”:


1 Peter 3:

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: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Intimacy (“Belongingness”)

Genesis 18:

12  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?"

3.  Faith of SARAI/H

S = Submit to God by submitting to your husband

A = Accept that husbands can make mistakes, sometimes very foolish ones, but that doesn’t excuse the wife from her role & responsibilities

R = Respect your husband (SEE Definition of Respect: show consideration for, avoid violation of, show appreciation for)

A = Anticipate Opportunities to exercise your Faith

(I) = Intimacy with your husband is the beginning and will grow when you move from “I” to an “H”

H  = Honoring God (thus name change to SARAH from SARAI)

Profile of a Woman who would be the Ancestor Mother of Jesus Christ:

•         Wife to Abraham, the oldest son of Terah (Gen 11:27); more responsibilities than marrying a younger brother

•         Daughter and a Daughter-in-law to Terah; therefore, had dual responsibilities (Gen 20:12)

•         Half-sister to Abraham and his younger brothers, Nahor and Haran (Gen 20:12)

•         Mother of Isaac, the next generation of God’s promise = raising him up knowing and obeying God

•         Aunt to her nephew, Lot, who later got himself into trouble

•         a Gentile before she became the founding ancestor of the nation of Israel and the first Hebrewess who became the joint fountainhead of the Jewish race (Gen 11:29-31; Isaiah 51:2, Gen 14:13)

•         Ancestor to Jesus, our basis of salvation

•         The first of 2 women named in the “Hall of Faith”, the other being Rahab (Hebrews 11:11, 31), both of whom lived by faith and died by faith (Hebrews 11:13)

•         10 years junior in age to Abraham (Gen 17:17)

•         was unusually beautiful as commented by Abraham after their long journey and by the Egyptians (Gen 12:11, 14)