Summary: Breaking old habits
A. INTRODUCTION: BREAKING OLD HABITS
1. Why is it hard to teach old dogs new tricks? Because old dogs go back to old habits. “As a pig returns to it squalor” (2 Peter 2:22, ELT).
Why Old Habits?
• Recessive memory
• Reinforces our values and attitudes
• The old way worked
• We don’t want to change
• More than habit, it’s me
2. Abraham’s half-truth probably worked several times.
3. It was custom of one tribal leader to take a female from another leader as a peace pact. They would live near without fighting.
4. Maybe Abraham thought:
a. Neighbor won’t have sex.
b. God will stop him.
c. If he didn’t send Sarah they would all be killed, then why a baby?
5. Years earlier Abram and Sarai agreed on this diversion to save their lives, old habits came back to haunt them.
6. What made this sin so terrible? Messiah to come through that baby
7. Abraham should have known better. His wife’s new name Sarah, which identified her to become pregnant with Abraham’s child.
“Abraham took his people to the country of Abimelech and introduced Sarah as his sister. So Abimelech took her to his “Harem.” God spoke to Abimelech in a dream, ‘You will die and your people will pass away because of the woman you took from Abraham. She is his wife.’ Abimelech told God he had not touched her, and claimed innocence because Abraham said, ‘She is my sister.’ God knew Abimelech was innocent so He stopped him from sinning against Him. ‘Give her back to Abraham. He is a prophet and will pray for you and you won’t die. If not you and all yours will die’” (Gen. 20:1-6, Amplified).
B. GOD INTERVENES
1. Trading relatives was a desert custom, but God called it sin, “sinning against Me” (v. 6). Everyone’s doing it does not make it right.
2. Why did God intervene?
a. To stop sin.
b. To preserve the Messianic line.
c. To save an innocent man.
d. To deal with an old sinful habit.
3. How had God judged?
a. Stopped impregnation process.
c. Stop births so tribe would die off.
d. Planned to kill immediately.
4. God is not impressed with our rationalizations and devices.
5. God knows our thoughts, words and plans that deal with sex.
6. God plans to use the spiritual gift (prophet), even though the person’s sin blocked his usefulness.
7. Abraham is confronted about his sin, to get back on praying ground.
“Abimelech got up early and called his people together. The men were afraid. He called Abraham and said, ‘What have you done? You have brought sin on my kingdom. Why did you do this to me?’ Abraham answered, ‘I didn’t think you feared God and you would kill me. Sarah is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, so I married her. When we came here, I told her to answer like she did in the past’” (Gen. 20:7-12, Amplified).
8. A double shame for an unsaved to point out your sin.
9. The question “why” gets down to motive. Sin is always about us and not about God. “Why have you done this?” (v. 10).
10. We are not responsible for other people’s motives. “I thought you didn’t fear God” (v. 11).
C. SARAH RESTORED TO ABRAHAM
1. Abimelech gave gifts to appease Abraham (v. 14).
2. God used the incident to give Abraham a place in the Promised Land. “See . . . dwell where it pleases you” (v. 15).
3. The believer must/can pray for the non-believer. “Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech” (v. 17).
4. God uses “healing” to expedite His will. “God healed Abimelech” (v. 17).
D. DEALING WITH OLD SINFUL HABITS
1. Treat them as dead. “Our old man was crucified with Him (Christ) that the body of sin might be done away with” (Rom. 6:6).
2. Don’t experiment with it one more time.
3. Let the power of God help you. “More than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37).
4. Yield your whole life to God. “Yield the physical members of your body to God as an instrument to do right things, and yield your whole body to God as one who is alive from the dead” (Rom. 6:13, ELT).
5. Strength to overcome a habit is in Christ. “Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.