November 11, 1984
Faith and waiting go hand in hand—and both are nurtured through obedience to God’s will. When the characters and motivations of Sarai and Abram were tested in Genesis 16, they failed to trust in God’s promises to them. When we are tempted to take matters into our own hands, the result is often chaos as well. Yet Alistair Begg reminds us that in the waiting rooms of our lives, blessings come from doing God’s will, God’s way.
Sermon Transcript: Print
Genesis chapter 16:
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’
“Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
“When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.’
“‘Your servant is in your hands,’ Abram said. ‘Do with her whatever you think best.’ Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’
“‘I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,’ she answered.
“Then the angel of the Lord told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’ The angel added, ‘I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.’
“The angel of the Lord also said to her: ‘You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.’
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
“So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.”
Thanks be to God for his Word.
Now, with our Bibles at Genesis 16, let’s bow just for a moment in prayer together:
And now, our God, we bow before your Holy Word, and we pray that the Holy Spirit may be our teacher, that our hearts may be open and ready to receive the wonderful things that you are able to unfold to those whose hearts are hungry to eat upon the Bread of Life. For we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
If I were to say to you that someone had had a nose job, probably most of you would know what that means. Some of you, like me, wouldn’t know what it meant—or like I didn’t know what it meant up until some time ago. I was unaware of this striking new terminology. In my naivety, I assumed that perhaps the person had been a private investigator or was a perfume sampler from some Parisian area. But I’ve since discovered that it’s a form of slang emerging from the cosmetic age in which we live—an age that has become adept at concealing the true facts. And it is possible for us to rearrange ourselves in all kinds of different ways because we don’t like what we see. And this is not a sermon on cosmetic surgery. I’m unqualified to comment on these things, and no one ought to feel bad because of this very general introduction. It is merely to say that we know what it is to see ugly parts in ourselves and long to do away with them. And anything that might help to that degree, concealing the real truth, we’re perhaps prepared to go for.
In an earlier age (in fact, in about the seventeenth century), one Englishman, unprepared to operate in that way (his name was Oliver Cromwell—an interesting character if you read history at all), when it came time for his portrait to be painted, he instructed the portrait painter to do him “warts and all.” “Don’t,” he said, “conceal the true facts. Let me go down in history the way I really am.”
Now, when you read in the portrait gallery of the Word of God and look at some of the characters that are hanging in there, you will discover that the Holy Spirit, the inspirer of the biblical record, operated in the exact same way. The heroes of faith are in Scripture warts and all. Indeed, one of the external evidences for the veracity, the authenticity, of the Word of God lies in the fact that its heroes are there in their great successes, and they’re also there in their abysmal failures. There is a frankness and an honesty about the biblical record that is not true of many other writings. There is no attempt to conceal the ugly part in an individual’s life and to endorse and enhance the beautiful parts, but rather, both the ugly and the beautiful are set side by side, showing that God is a God of ordinary human beings, so that when we look at the life of this man Abraham, we’re dealing with a man who was just like us. So Abraham has his triumphs recorded but also has his failures plainly stated. Last time, in Genesis 15, we noted the great triumph of Abraham’s faith. This morning, in chapter 16, we have one of his failures revealed to us.
Now, if you have an outline, which you should have received as you arrived, you will find that the title we’re going to look at this chapter under this morning is simply “Faith in the Waiting Room.” “Faith in the Waiting Room.” And as you look at the text, and particularly the early verses of the text, you will notice a number of factors which I’ve outlined for us.
First of all, to notice the problem which Abraham and his wife faced. It was a problem of waiting. A problem of waiting.
Now, before any of us are so quick as to say, “What great problem is there in waiting?” let me ask you a question: Do you enjoy waiting? No. Nobody put their hand up to say yes. We don’t like waiting. Even some of us who have had the responsibility, the job description described as a “waiter” or a “waitress,” we’re not even very good at waiting ourselves. Have you ever noticed that? You’ve hardly made the seat warm—in fact, you haven’t made it warm—then somebody descends on you and says, “Are you ready to order yet?” The response, which is nonverbal but communicated, is “How in the world can I be ready to order? You didn’t even give me a menu, and the seat isn’t even warm.” So they leave, they come back in a very short space of time, and this is what they say: seeing your face, they say, “Shall I give you another minute?” “Minute”! And the inference is “Get it moving! We can’t wait while you choose! We can’t wait while you eat! Get in, get eating, get out!”
Now, we ought not feel bad, because we were standing saying, “Why isn’t there a table?” Right? You sit and wait for somebody to reverse out of a parking space, and you learn how good you are at waiting. You stand outside the telephone kiosk waiting for somebody to vacate it as you’ve drummed your quarter on the metal part, hoping that the person inside will hear but won’t think that you’re a very rude person. If they heard, they do think you’re a very rude person. But nevertheless, the problem is just the same.
Last week, early in the week, I was in the bank, and I noticed a lady at a separate counter from myself. She had nobody behind her counter, unlike myself, who had a glittering array of people who were all doing different things with different ones. Meanwhile, the phone rang approximately four times. I counted. And she stood behind this counter on her own. But she discovered a bell. And so she gave it a ding. And then she gave it another ding. And I tell you, she played “Jingle Bells,” “The Bells of St. Mary,” and I think she was waiting on somebody to come right up from underneath the place from nowhere. And eventually, she stalked out of the bank, and nobody dealt with her at all. Now, you say, “Well, she couldn’t wait! She couldn’t wait.”
Now, for those of us—and that’s all of us—who admitted that we don’t like waiting, we have admitted something else: we have a major problem, now, on the pathway of faith. If we find it difficult to wait, we’re going to find it difficult to walk by faith. Because take a concordance, and look in the back of it, and look up the word wait or waiting or waits, and you will discover that one of the most recurring words in relation to faith is that word wait. But we can’t wait. But we must wait. And waiting reveals things about our lives that nothing else will do.
And the same is true in relation to our spiritual pilgrimage. As you read your Bible, you discover that faith is continually told to wait on the promises of God. And interestingly enough, the “great and precious promises” of God referred to in 2 Peter 1:4 are relatively seldom given within any kind of time constraint, so that we are exhorted to wait not until a specific time that is revealed, but we are to wait until a specific event occurs. Now, there’s all the difference in the world. Because most of us find it okay to wait provided we know we’ve just got to wait till Friday, or we’ve just got to wait till eight o’clock. But take away the Friday, take away the eight o’clock, and tell us, “Just wait, and wait with your faith in the foundation of the faithfulness of the one who promises,” and you have a whole different deal.
We want strength. We long for strength in our lives. We turn to the Scriptures to seek for encouragement, and we turn to Isaiah 40, and it says, “They that wait upon the Lord [will] renew their strength.” So wait. In Acts 1, at the birth of the church, the word of Christ to them had been that they should “wait” in Jerusalem until “the promise of the Father.” And so they met together, and they prayed, and they waited. They waited without any timescale, with only the word of God to convince them. By the same token, we wait for the blessed coming and appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us just to wait—to watch, to pray, to look, to be ready—but doesn’t set it within any context save the context of the faithfulness of the promise of God. And so faith demands our waiting.
Now, the interesting thing when you look at the life of Abraham is that if ever a man’s lifestyle was founded upon God’s promise, then it was Abraham’s. Indeed, when we began the study back there at the end of chapter 11 and into the beginning of chapter , we saw that the whole of Abraham’s life hinged upon the promises of God to him. God revolutionized his life, sent him out in a new direction, and then calls him to wait. And all the promises of God to him hinged upon one particular promise, which was that he was going to have a son and heir.
Now, in the process of faith waiting, you’ll notice that two things took place and take place. When we’re called upon to wait, we discover in our own lives what Abram and Sarai discovered in theirs: human character is tried. It tries our character to wait. That is why some of us are dreadful to be around: because we’re impatient personalities. We’re fine when all is going great, but as soon as the brakes are on—there’s a pause in the proceedings—we’re bad news.
Now, it’s an interesting thing that from the very beginning of his pilgrimage of faith, far from it introducing him to some kind of vacation-like existence, Abraham and his family were being confronted by challenges all along the way. The very beginning of the call of God to Abraham tested his faith with relation to the ties of nature. He said, “Can your faith overcome the fondness of your family?” In the second half of chapter 12, his faith is tested in relation to the circumstances of life in a famine. In chapter 13, his faith is tested in relation to fighting within the family. In chapter 14, his faith is tested in the rigors of physical warfare. And here at the beginning of chapter 16, we’re at the very heart of the matter. One sentence; it opens the chapter: “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.” Turn back to 15:5 and look at what it says: “He took [Abram] outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” And “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him his righteousness.” Chapter 16, verse 1: Sarah “had borne him no children.” So despite the fact that on that day he believed that it would happen, now, confronted by the waiting process, his character had been tried.
Sarah’s inability to have children predated the call of God. You’ll find that by a careful reading of the end of chapter 11. But when the call of God had come to them as a couple, it had been inherent within it that there would be this promise of offspring coming from them. So to a life that had known what it was to live without children came this special promise. And now, for ten years, presumably on a kind of monthly basis, their hopes had potentially risen and collapsed as they would’ve said to one another, “Perhaps this month, perhaps this year, we will have the child that God has promised.” But with the passing months, and now with the passing years, the change of circumstances, the geography of life, Sarah grows older, she grows sadder, and she grows more impatient.
Now, my friends, this morning, we may not be dealing—probably none of us will be dealing—with the same specific issue. But some of us know what it is to grow sadder, to grow older, and to grow more impatient, and to wrestle with the danger which is about to confront them. Some of us are praying for a loved one who’s never come to faith in Christ. Some of us are facing situations in relation to family life with relationships that we long to be resolved. We find ourselves in faith’s waiting room, and our character is tried.
And also, our reason is tested. Look at the last verse of chapter 16: “Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.” So that meant that Sarai was in her seventies! So don’t let’s diminish this in any way. Here we’ve got this elderly lady—a middle-aged lady, moving beyond middle age… And that’s not to make some of you feel better. That’s within the chronology of the patriarchal narratives. They lived a bit longer, so seventy-six wasn’t exactly old-age pension time, but it certainly was getting a little bit beyond middle age, beyond the childbearing possibility era. And here we have this elderly woman looking into her husband’s eyes every morning, and she’s beginning to say, “It can’t happen. This can’t happen.” What’s happened then? Human reason, unable to bow and submit before the promise of Almighty God, begins to decide that which God is able for and that which he isn’t. So between them, they have a crisis of faith. And it is compounded by the fact that they’re sitting there in the waiting room.
What do they know to be true? “God is real. God is all-powerful. God has promised us a son, but we haven’t got a son.” So the issue that confronted them was this: Would they allow the questions of their heart to overturn their faith, or will they allow their faith to overturn the questions of their heart? Now, that, I would suggest to you, is something that we face every day we live our lives. As we face illness, as we face unemployment, as we face heartache, as we face broken relationships, as we face life as it hits us, the issue is there: Will I walk the path of faith even though I may be in the waiting room, or will I allow this experience now so to test my reason that I move out on my own?
Well, what did they do? They moved out on their own. And here in verse 2, we have the plan, the solution, that they applied, which is the second point also on our outline. The problem that they faced was waiting. The solution that they applied was self-effort. I want you to notice two things.
First, that they made a wrong decision. Those of you who know anything of the cultural context of this particular era will perhaps know that the custom of the day sanctioned this way of obtaining children. Hagar, as a bondslave, was regarded as the mistress’s personal property, and so any child born to Hagar would belong to Sarai. You’ll see that there in verse 2, in the way that Sarai speaks, because she says, “Go, sleep with my maidservant.” Then she doesn’t say, “Perhaps you’ll get a family through her”; she says, “Perhaps I can build a family through her,” so that it was common practice. The fact that it was common practice and is referred to in Scripture is no indication that Scripture commends it. In point of fact, there are two occurrences that I can think of immediately in Genesis—there’s the one here in chapter 16; there’s the other in chapter 30 in relation to Rachel—where both times you have the same issue, and both times the end result is chaos.
Now, why was it a wrong decision for them to make even though society might have said it was okay? Well, let me give you four reasons as to why it was wrong.
First of all, the decision that they made was wrong because it was based upon expediency. In other words, they didn’t ask the question “What is right?” They asked the question “What will work?” And we live in a pragmatic age where the question is not “What is right?” or “What is wrong?” The question is “What will work?” And we make so many decisions in society based on expediency that to come to a situation like this and say their decision was wrong because it was based on expediency is an eye-opener for us, because it has become part and parcel of so much of what we do. Nevertheless, the Bible makes clear that the end never justifies the means, and that they thought that by taking action in this way it would simplify things, but it didn’t simplify them; it complicated them. And whenever we set faith aside, and we apply self-effort, and essentially what we say to the Lord is “Look, Lord, I’ll take care of this,” thinking that somehow the phone is off the hook, there’s been a computer malfunction, and that now we need to be involved, we won’t simplify it. We will complicate it, and perhaps disastrously, as we’re about to see.
Secondly, their decision was wrong because Abraham listened to the voice of reason, which, although not to be despised, is not to be our guide over against faith. When the crisis is a crisis of reason against faith, go with faith every time. When you come to the Scripture with your questions, go the way of faith—faith seeking understanding. For we come to Christ by faith, we walk by faith and not by sight, we stay on the path by faith, and we’ll quickly be in Bypath Meadow when we take faith and subvert it to reason.
You imagine what would’ve happened when the children of Israel were heading for the Red Sea with Moses up front, and they were about to make what was to them a quite amazing leap of faith. And there were some, you will recall, who, as they made their journey along, were saying, “Why don’t we go back to Egypt? It was dry in Egypt. It was safe in Egypt. It might have been bad, but it can’t be as bad as what we’re looking at right now.” And so the leadership constantly faced that recurring emphasis: “It doesn’t make sense.” But when leadership leads by faith, it learns to bring along with them those people who, by dint of reason, fail to understand what’s happening. And when we don’t do that, and when we succumb to that—if Moses had succumbed to that, where would they have been? Slaughtered before ever they reached Egypt again. So they went forward in that way.
Thirdly, their decision was wrong because Abraham gave in to domestic pressure: “[And] Abram agreed to what Sarai said.” That was a bad mistake. It is not always right to agree with your marriage partner. When the marriage partner suggests that which is contrary to the law and the purposes of God, it is not right. It is also an overturning of the biblical pattern, which we’ll come to again tonight, in terms of the authority which Abraham ought have been exercising within his own home. And Satan will come and use the holiest and the tenderest of our relationships and seek to come within them and to create havoc. And that’s exactly what he did here. Abraham listened to his wife, and he wasn’t faithful to his wife as a result of his paying attention.
And fourthly, it was wrong—and this is inherent in all that we’ve said—because Abram and Sarai believed they could bring about God’s promise by their own action. You remember David as he went before Goliath, and Saul said to him, “Take the armor, and put it on, and get all the gear, and get all the things that everybody says you need in order to defeat a giant.” And David stumbles underneath the armor, and he says, “I can’t go out there with the armor.” The issue was “If you don’t go out there without the armor, he’ll kill you.” Why did he say that? Because human reason said you need armor to fight a giant. David said, “Can the armor. I’ll fight the giant with a sling and with God. And I don’t need all of that to do God’s work, for God’s work done God’s way will bring God’s blessing.”
So, the decision was wrong, and the disaster which followed was real. The pressure of waiting had produced this kind of approach, and when self-effort takes the place of faith, the consequences will be inevitably unhappy.
When I was a boy in Scotland, I used to go to my piano lessons one night of the week. I’ve forgotten what night it was. I used to take one bus from near my home down to another area, then walk a bit, then get on another bus and go to where the piano teacher taught. And I can remember how I used to stand and despise it, especially on cold winter evenings, standing at the bus stop, saying, “I don’t want to learn to play the lousy piano in any case. And why—I don’t know why I’m here. And why doesn’t the bus come? I mean, why don’t these buses come?” And every so often, frustrated by the waiting, I would walk in between the stops, thinking that I could get to the next stop before the bus would get to the next stop. And so often, of course, the bus passed me in between the stops. And the sense of everything inside of you, you know—you’re just in a dreadful mess, aren’t you? You fail to wait, you employ self-effort, and you’ve got a disaster on your hands. Now it’s another twenty minutes till the next bus comes, so you missed the lesson. Your mother’s going to kill you. And the money that you were trying to save by walking in between the stops is no good to you in any case, ’cause you still have to go on the bus. And so it continues.
Well, they said, “Let’s walk between the stops. That’s all. It stands to reason! The Lord doesn’t want us to stand here in the waiting room! Does he expect us to stand at the bus stop for another fifteen years, Abraham? I mean, for crying out loud, you’re eighty-six, man!”
Now, Abraham should have said yes, but he said no. And he thought if he said no, it would make it easier. But what did it do? Look at the chaos it caused. Disharmony, contempt, unhappiness breaks into the home. And you’ll notice that sin displays itself in each of the three characters in three specific ways.
In verse 4, the result in relation to Hagar’s life is that she now becomes proud. And she has a false pride. Verse 4: “When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.” And so that pride now comes into their trio.
In verse 5, in Sarai’s life, there comes the problem of false blame: “Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering.’” Now, I daren’t say, “Isn’t that just like a lady?” but it’s incredible, isn’t it? She told him what to do! She did. Look! Verse 2: “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant.” Then not only that: verse 3, in case he couldn’t handle it, it says, “[And she] took her Egyptian maidservant … and gave her to her husband to be his wife.” This wasn’t something Abraham struck on somewhere in the middle of the night. This was a preconceived plan. The plan is exercised, Hagar starts to get smart about it, and Sarai starts going around saying, “Whoa! That’s a fine mess you’ve gotten us into this time!”
Now, Abraham, he doesn’t come out of it very good either. Because in verse 6, look what he does: he opts for false neutrality. Do you see what happens when wrong decisions are made? False pride, false blame, false neutrality, unhappiness, discord. “‘Your servant is in your hands,’ Abram said, ‘do with her whatever you think best.’ Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.”
The result of their wrong decision was a real disaster. Hagar had not asked for such a relationship and destiny. Now between the women there is contempt, there is harshness. And Abram and Sarai made mistakes which had lasting repercussions. Depending on how well you know your Bible, you will know that the activity between Abraham and Hagar hits our screens every week. For as a result of the union between Abraham and Hagar came the Arab people, came the Islamic religion, came the war which continues between Isaac and Ishmael.
Let’s not kid ourselves this morning: the mistake of a moment may have ramifications in many people’s lives for many a long day. And we prepare ourselves in the ordinary hours of life for its crises, so that what we are today in relation to faith determines to a great degree how we will be able to respond to the crises of tomorrow. And that is a great challenge to my own heart.
Finally, you will notice—and with this we finish on an encouraging note—that the problem they faced was waiting; the solution they applied was self-effort, was a wrong decision, and it was a real disaster; and the intervention they discovered was the intervention of God’s grace.
We don’t have time to put together all the narrative from verse 7 following, where the Angel of the Lord comes to Hagar in her need—speaks to her, as verses 10–12 make clear, as the Lord himself. What we have here is a theophany, an actual physical appearing of God Almighty. He promises Hagar concerning a son. He prescribes what she’s to do with respect to her mistress; you’ll get that in verse 9. But we might summarize it all by saying that what we have here is the Lord picking up the pieces. Picking up the pieces. Abram and Sarai blunder, and God overrules with wisdom and grace.
How many times has God overruled your blundering, Christian friend? How many times has God come and taken the fractures that I have caused by my failure, and he has come at the point of my emptiness and my brokenness, and he has brought about to his glory events that are unimaginable out of error and rebellion? God is a God, this morning, who comes and who picks up the pieces. And I’m thankful that I know that kind of God.
You look at your children as they play with their Lego, and see them as they have pieces everywhere in your family room, and listen to them as they build a little house or their little garage (guh-raj), as they ignore the plans and create their little deal. And eventually, they’ve got this monstrosity on their hands. It goes all roads. Modern art would give it a place in history, but anyone who’s got any order in their mind will know that it’s a monstrosity. And they come to you, and they say, “Daddy, Mommy, this won’t go right!” You take the little monstrosity (I’m referring now to the bricks), and you take the child, and you say to them, “Where are the plans?” And they produce them from under the couch. And then you take the child and the plans and the pieces and the mess, and you sit down together, and you say, “Let’s take the plans and these broken pieces, and let’s do it right this time.”
Isn’t that the way God treats us? He comes to us in our brokenness, with pieces scattered around, with the plans stuffed somewhere, and he always brings us back to the plans. And on the basis of that, he replaces the pieces.
How do we go forward in the next generation here in this fellowship? On the basis of the plans! Not expediency, not bright ideas, not reason, not faltering, but faith in the God who picks up the pieces. Love that little chorus, goes,
Something beautiful, something good,
All my confusion he understood.
All I had to offer him was brokenness and strife,
[And] he made something beautiful [out] of my life.
Why? Because he is a God who replaces the pieces.
And finally this morning, he is a God who restores his people to the path. We’re going to go on from Genesis 16, and we’re going to learn again that this doesn’t signal the end of Abram and Sarai’s pilgrimage. We’re going to see them discover their spiritual equilibrium, and the reason that they do is because God keeps his covenants. He’s the God in whom Paul believed when he said, “For I know whom I have believed, and [I] am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I … committed [to] him against that day,” because he is a God who puts us back on path.
One final thought. Seems to me that the great lesson of Genesis 16 could be summarized in a sentence: God’s will must be done God’s way. And whenever by our erring from faith and our introducing of self-effort we seek to do for God what God has committed himself to intervene and do for us, we will end up with the kind of chaos described here.
Faith and waiting go hand in hand. We don’t know faith till we learn to wait. Faith and waiting are nurtured in obedience. We don’t know either faith or waiting till we learn to do God’s work God’s way. It is always right to wait upon God, and it is always right to wait for God. And that ought to be an encouragement to some of us this morning, for we find ourselves sitting in the waiting room of our lives.
Let’s pray together:
O God our Father, we pray that we might learn from the lesson of Abram and Sarai this morning. Some of us are so prone to grab things with our own hands and to stumble ahead. We pray that you will help us to learn to wait. We pray that you will teach us to wait upon you in prayer individually and as a fellowship. And we thank you this morning that you come to us, and you pick up the pieces, and you put us back on the path. Teach us your way, so that in joy and in sorrow, in success and in failure, we may always do what is right and never what is wrong, to the glory of your great name. Amen.
 Isaiah 40:31 (KJV).
 Acts 1:4 (KJV).
 See Titus 2:13.
 1 Samuel 17:33, 38–40 (paraphrased).
 Bill Gaither and Gloria Gaither, “Something Beautiful” (1971).
 2 Timothy 1:12 (KJV).
Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.