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The text for this lesson is Genesis 18:1–15; 21:1–7.

Key Point

  • God came to Abraham with the promise of a son. Abraham’s descendant, our Lord Jesus, comes to us in Word and Sacraments, telling us that in Him all things are possible.
  • Law: I sin by doubting God’s Word and promises, thinking He cannot do what He says.
  • Gospel: As God’s child, I have nothing to fear because God is faithful and His Word is true. He has kept His promise to send His Son, Jesus, to be my Savior, and through Him, He gives me the joy of His salvation.

Discussion Points

  1. If forced to choose, which is better: to love our neighbors as ourselves or to believe in God?
  2. God has plenty of experience in dealing with hardened hearts. He did not drown Sarah in a deluge. He had pity on her, confronting her disbelief: “Why did Sarah laugh?” (18:13). Even more, He gave her the Gospel again. “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” God’s patient love poured out upon Sarah even though she could not fulfill the Law completely. She was blessed already because of the speaking of God, which made His promises certain. Her offspring already forgave her and gave her the strength to believe (Hebrews 11:11). How does Sarah illustrate perfectly the Christian faith?
  3. Perhaps the topic of hospitality does not often cross our minds. Read Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 5:10; Hebrews 13:2; and 1 Peter 4:9. Hospitality shapes the contours of the Christian. Abraham in this passage exemplifies the hospitality of the faithful. What extraordinary arrangements did Abraham make for the guests?
  4. Is the fact that three strangers visit Abraham and Sarah a sign of the Trinity right here in Genesis 18? Did the Lord and His angels really eat food? What does this portend in relation to the fact that God is spirit?
  5. Laughing followed thematically from the promise of Isaac until Isaac’s death. First, Abraham laughed for joy at the news (17:17). Next, the boy is named Isaac, which means “he laughs.” Then, Sarah laughed in disbelief (18:12). Ishmael’s laughter at Isaac caused Abraham to expel the boy and his mother from their midst at Sarah’s insistence (21:9). Finally, Abimelech caught Isaac in his lie when he heard Isaac and Rebekah laughing together (26:8). Sarah’s laughing had been rebuked by the Lord, and her eyes were directed to the Gospel of the promised Seed who would be born from Isaac. This word cut her to the heart. How does this episode explain her reaction with regard to Hagar and Ishmael in chapter 21?
  6. While people in other Christian denominations will read the Bible and believe the promises of God concerning faith, this occurs due to a “felicitous inconsistency” with their church’s doctrine. They believe despite the errors that their church teaches that clearly contradict Scripture. While the Gospel permeates every page of the Bible, no place is the Gospel clearer than in John 3:16. Read John 3:16. What is required to be saved?

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