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Look at Lot and then Compare Him to Abraham June 10, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Abraham, Faith, Genesis, Judgment, Lot, Sermons, Worship.
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TRUE WORSHIP FROM AN IMPURE HEART

Genesis 19 with chapters 13-14 and Luke 17:28-33 and 2 Peter 2:6-9

WHAT IS TRUE WORSHIP? 

I believe I should explain my title this morning. I think it is obvious from the text what I mean by an impure heart. Lot chose because of the sinfulness of his heart to love Sodom. He did not necessarily love the sin of Sodom as we will see later but he certainly loved the world as represented by Sodom. That is not what I feel like I need to explain. I think I need to explain the phrase “true worship”. You might ask, when did Lot worship? He did not sing or praise the Lord in passage that we have read this morning. What did he do that could be called worship? The Bible does not give us a definition of worship but one thing is clear, “Worship is an acknowledgement of the Lordship of God. Based on that description, we find that Lot grudgingly but truly worshiped when he fled in obedience from Sodom. This is not a commendable form of worship but worship it truly is.

LET’S LOOK AT LOT. 

The main characters in Genesis 12-24 are Abraham and God. Lot is but a bit player provided to our story to tell Israel from where the Moabites and Ammonites came. For our purposes today that is unimportant but it is very important to the understanding of other passages in the Old Testament. There is another reason though that Lot’s story is told in the midst of the story of Abraham. Abraham’s character and relationship to God is highlighted through the contrast between Abraham and his nephew, Lot.

We meet Lot at the same time that we meet Abram in Genesis 11:27-12:4. Except for Sarai, Abram’s wife, Lot is the only one of Abram’s family who went with him to Canaan. Why would Lot do such a foolish thing? I suspect it was because he believed in God and believed in the promises that God made to Abraham.

Think about it. Your uncle comes to you and says, “I am moving. Want to come?”

“Where are you moving to?”

“Oh, I don’t know. God is going to show me where he wants me to go. He has promised that he would make a great nation from my seed, a nation in which the world would be blessed.”

Now if you are Lot, you have a choice. You can believe the promise of God or you can stay with the rest of the family. Lot’s initial decision was a good one. He chose to believe God’s promise to Abraham.

LOT WAS A TRUE BELIEVER (A RIGHTEOUS MAN). 

We don’t know exactly if this was the way Lot made his decision but we do know that he was a believer. Let me read to you from 2 Peter 2:6-8, “(God) turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)…” So we see, Lot was a believer.

Later, however, Lot made a fatal choice. He chose a close relationship to the world over a close relationship with God (Compare Genesis 13 with Luke 17:28-33). As Abraham and Lot traveled together, God blessed them both. They both became so rich in cattle and sheep that they had to come to a parting of their ways. Abraham gave Lot first choice of the area around them. Lot lifted his eyes toward Sodom and saw a well watered plain there. Lot made his choice and moved towards Sodom. Abraham moved to where we saw him last week at Mamre near Hebron. Lot’s mistake was not when he moved near Sodom. In fact, his mistake was not when he moved to Sodom. His mistake was when he fell in love with prosperity as represented by Sodom. He began to worship the things of this world.

Yet Lot was a righteous man. He believed in God (compare 2 Peter 2:6-9 with Genesis 15:6). According to J.C. Ryle, Peter gives us three indications that Lot was a believer.

  1. “…(H)e lived in a wicked place, ‘seeing and hearing’ evil all around him (2 Peter ii. 8), and yet was not wicked himself. Now to be …a righteous man in Sodom, a man must have the grace of God.”

  2. “…(H)e ‘vexed his soul with the unlawful deeds’ he beheld around him. (2 Peter ii. 8.) He was wounded, grieved, pained, and hurt at the sight of sin…”

  3. “…(H)e ‘vexed his soul from day to day’ with the unlawful deeds he saw (2 Peter ii. 8.) He did not at length become cool and lukewarm about sin, as many do. Familiarity and habit did not take off the fine edge of his feelings, as too often is the case. Many a man is shocked and startled at the first sight of wickedness, and yet becomes at last so accustomed to see it, that he views it with comparative unconcern. This is especially the case with those who live in towns and cities. But it was not so with Lot. And this is a great mark of the reality of his grace.” By the way, being shocked by sin does not mean you are serving God. If you are serving God, you will be shocked by sin but that alone does not mean that your loyalty is to God alone.

LOT WORSHIPED BY HEEDING THE WARNING. 

Another evidence Lot gave of his righteousness is his willingness to submit to God’s warning (verses 12-17). Now you might say, “Of course, he responded to God’s warning. Look at what the angels did to the men of the city, striking them with blindness.” Let me remind you though that as often as not, miracles in the Bible are seen and rejected, not because men had an explanation for them but because they had rejected God.

John 10:24-26, “Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, ‘How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep,’ ”

The final evidence of Lot’s righteousness was the favour (grace) and mercy of God (Genesis 19:17-22). Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations put it this way, “It is of His mercies that we are not consumed; great is His faithfulness.” Peter, speaking of God’s mercy in His deliverance of Lot, wrote, “…–– then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…”

 

You have heard God’s warning today. I do not know if God will deal with you believer as He dealt with Lot. Lot did not deserve to be delivered but God was merciful to Him and Lot responded to that mercy. How will you respond? God in His mercy has pointed out to you this morning how that what you truly worship is not God but the things and the people of this world. Will you repent, Christian? Will you turn to God as Abraham did? Will you trust Him no matter what the circumstances may be or will you look out for your own interests? Will you be a friend of God or a friend of this world? Will your family get closer to God because of their relationship to you or will they die in Sodom because your testimony is not believable?

 

LOT TRIED TO SERVE TWO MASTERS BUT COULD NOT.

Patrick Morley tells about an acquaintance of his. “He wanted to be rich. He also wanted to be a Christian. Bible study interfered with selling time, and church came at a time when he needed to recover from the exhaustion of the week. In the end, rich was more important, and he walked away from God. ‘Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs’ (1 Timothy 6:10).”

 

Some of you, when I pray for you, my prayer is that you would get your eyes off of the world. You may yourself come out okay but your influence on others will be lost. You need to take a stand, evaluate your priorities from the Word of God and decide to serve God. It is easy to think we are okay but the world is subtle. It seems that Lot’s destruction was gradual. He did not lose his family in a day. It started with a relatively little harmless decision that cost every member of his family and perhaps even cost the city of Sodom itself.

 

IN LOT, WE FIND THE MERCY OF GOD AS A COMFORT FOR THE UNSAVED.

Perhaps you are an unbeliever. This sermon should be of great comfort to you. God’s grace and mercy is boundless and eternal. Christ died for you so that you like Lot and like Abraham could become righteous. Does it matter how you live after you trust Christ? Absolutely, but you can only come to God based on His mercy through Jesus Christ. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy, he saved us…” That does not mean that your sin goes unpunished. God’s mercy works like this. You have sinned. Someone must be punished. Jesus took your punishment when He died on the cross. If you will trust Him today, you will be saved from that punishment that you so richly deserve. That is mercy. That is grace. It is only available though by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for your sin.

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Links to Sermons on Lot June 8, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Abraham, Genesis, Jonathan Edwards, Judgment, Lot, Personalities, Sermons.
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I am preaching on Lot this Sunday. Perhaps you would like to see some other sermons about him.

http://www.biblebb.com/files/ryle/remember_lot.htm (J.C. Ryle)

http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/3667.html (Ray Stedman)

http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermons/read_sermon.asp?id=311 (Ray Pritchard)

http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/sodom.htm (Jonathan Edwards)