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The Days of Lot and Noah

Scripture: Matthew 24:36-44, Luke 17:26-30
Date: 05/18/1996 
The Bible tells us that just before the coming of the Lord it will be like the days of Lot and Noah. Pastor Batchelor explores Bible passages on the signs of Christ's coming that help us to be prepared for that grand event. The end will suddenly come. Will we be ready? Preparation must happen every day.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Sabbath! and tell you how glad we are to have you here worshipping with us at Sacramento Central.

This morning we are going to be learning some lessons from the experience of Lot. You may be wondering why we are doing that ! Because Jesus told us to! As you just heard in the Scripture reading, Christ, in speaking of the last days, points our attention back to the experiences of some of the patriarchs in the Old Testament.

There are some very important comparisons and applications that we can bring to our present day to help you and I prepare for Christ’s coming. The Bible tells us that Lot is an example that we can learn from.

What is the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept.” Do you know what one of the second shortest verses in the Bible is? “Remember Lot’s wife.”

We are going to get to that, but before we do, I’d like to invite you to open your Bibles with me to the book of Genesis chapter 13 verse 5. Permit me to give you a little background before we go any farther.

God called a man named Terah to separate himself from the people in Mesapotamia who had given themselves over to idolatry. Terah had three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran. They began to journey from the east towards the west, following the leading of God’s Spirit.

Back then, because he was a wealthy man when he left—they had great possessions—they had to proceed slowly. It took years.

They settled at one point in a certain area. There one of the sons of Terah by the name of Haran died. They sort of set up a city there, and he named the town after his son Haran who had died.

Haran had a son he left behind, by the name of Lot. Abram decided to sort of adopt his nephew Lot as his son. Through the Bible Lot is sometimes referred to as the brother of Abraham and his nephew—they were from the same family—but in many respects Abraham treated him as his own son.

Then the call came to Abraham to go from that land and proceed further, because they’d not yet reached the Promised Land. Terah and some of the others stayed behind. But Abraham went on and proceeded to the land of Canaan, with Lot who went along with him, with all their possessions and their households and servants. There was a fabulous company in that procession that made its way across the dessert.

Well, a famine hit the land of Canaan and as a desperate resource they went to the land of Egypt. Egypt did not depend on rain as much as Canaan did because it was irrigated by the Nile delta, and there was almost always food in Egypt. Not only in the days of Abraham, but in the days of Isaac and in the days of Jacob, during famines, they went down to Egypt.

Up to this point Lot appears to have been alone. But somewhere after they reached the Promised Land, either in Egypt or in Canaan, Lot found himself a wife. That was different from what Abraham had done, and what Isaac had done, and what Jacob had done.

When Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob went in pursuit of their wives, they went back to their families in Mesapotamia and obtained their wives and brought them back to the Promised Land. I think that is very significant. The Bible tells us the Bride of Christ—the Church—is His wife. In the Old Testament you see God bringing His bride out of Babylon—Mesapotamia—to the Promised Land.

You see Abraham bringing Sarai from Mesapotamia to the Promised Land. Isaac—where did he get his wife?— from Mesapotamia. Where’d he take her? To the Promised Land. Where’d Jacob get his wives? Mesapotamia. Where’d he bring them? To the Promised Land.

Then you read Revelation, and it starts to make more sense. “Come out of her, My people” speaking of fallen Babylon. Not only “Come out of her;” but come to Israel.

This theme runs all the way through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. In the very beginning God’s original plan for man was to be a gardener, did you know that? What did God do with Adam after He made him, before sin? He put him in a garden.

You may be thinking “why would He want to do that?” But back then, the garden wasn’t anything like what they are today. It was a beautiful experience.

I heard a study that was done one time, where a prison warden went through the occupations of the inmates, in a big prison in California somewhere—like 12,000 inmates, to find out what the occupations were. And there was all kinds. There were plumbers; builders; and quite a few lawyers; a few doctors. All kinds of different occupations. In going through that list, he found no horticulturists! No gardeners!

An old friend I knew when I used to live up in the cave told me that man is closest to God when he’s in the garden.

Of the original sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, one of them was a gardener and the other was a shepherd. But they basically lived off the land.

After Cain killed his brother, after he was cursed, the first thing he did— he went east of Eden and he built a city. That was never God’s plan for man in this world to cluster together and live like that.

After the flood, God said “Go forth, be fruitful, fill the earth” and they said “We don’t want to do that!” They all began to congregate there at the valley of Sinar in Mesapotamia. They said “Let’s build a tower and make a name for ourselves.” And they built a city called Babylon, which lasted for thousands of years, but has since been destroyed.

To make a name for themselves. And all through the Bible Babylon represents the city that is in opposition to God and the New Jerusalem. They are diametrically opposites.

God said to Abraham “Leave Babylon and I want you to go live in the land I’m leading you to.”

Abraham was called to a nomadic life. God said “Abraham, look for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

Abraham was not looking to find a city in this life, because cities in this world are concentrations of whatever is in the world. Most people in the world are not converted. The Bible says the human heart is basically wicked and desperately evil. When you get a concentration of people that are basically selfish, you got alot of problems!

Isn’t it also true that the cities are generally the places where you have the highest incidents of crime and drugs and gangs and lawlessness; police shootings? Don’t have that in Covelo, there’s no police up there! I know an old timer up in Covelo in his eighties who caught some teenager breaking into his house. He held him with a six shooter for two hours while he was waiting for the police to show up!

Back to our sermon. Abraham and Lot had been so blessed by the Lord, they had so many possessions it got to be a problem. Somewhere in Canaan or Egypt Lot took a wife. It doesn’t say in the Bible where; but I don’t believe she was a worshipper of the true God, who had come from Mesapotamia.

One reason was because of the age. Abraham was 75 years old at that point. Lot was considerably younger, and he probably married later when they got into the Promised Land.

The Bible tells us that because they had so many possessions—back to Genesis 13:5-8

“Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.’”

Now I think that is commendable. I think that is something for us to memorize. “Let there be no strife between us, for we are brethren.” I think Christians ought to be willing to make almost any sacrifice to avoid strife among ourselves because we are brethren.

Paul speaking to the Corinthians, said “It’s hard to believe. We’re supposed to love our enemies; and you’re suing one another!”

The way that all people know that we are Christ’s disciples is by our patience and our love for one another. And yet the night that Christ was betrayed, the disciples were arguing among themselves which of them was the greatest.

We must strive and concentrate our energies on deliberately loving one another—trying to get along at any cost.

I want you to notice Abraham’s attitude. He’s the first one to say “I don’t want there to be any strife.” Abraham did not like contention. So much so that at one point he had to send away Hagar and Ishmael because it brought contention into the family.

The Bible tells us that Abraham said to Lot (verse 8)

“Please let there be no strife between you and me.” (verse 9)

“Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”

At this point, Abraham was doing something customary in the east, he was being benevolent, he was being generous. God did not give the Promised Land to Lot. He gave it to Abraham. By all rights Abraham should have had first choice. But he was so big-hearted and so generous he said “Lot, I’ll let you choose the best land. If you go this way, I’ll go that way. If you go that way, I’ll go this way.”

A lot of family arguments would be squelched if we would have the attitude of Abraham. Willing to suffer loss rather than have strife in the family. Willing to suffer loss; willing to have a disadvantage; willing to be taken advantage of rather than there be strife.

Lot should’ve said “Abraham, you are my superior because it’s your land. You are my superior by rank and family, by age; you choose.”

But, no he didn’t. I sort of think there was a little family counsel there between Abraham, Sarah, Lot and Mrs. Lot—we don’t know her name. And Mrs. Lot said “Oh good! Let’s take that over there!” I think she encouraged him to seize the opportunity to grab the best for themselves!

The Bible tells us that he that seeks to be first will be last. That’s what happened in this case. Now don’t misunderstand. Lot was a good man. Lot will probably be in the kingdom. But he made some mistakes that many of us are making that we can learn from.

Genesis 13:10—

“And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere” which is what a shepherd wants. You see, a shepherd has to constantly move his flocks from place to place where there is green pasture, but in the valleys that are well watered it is always green.

I understand one of the biggest ranches in the world is on the big island of Hawaii, the Parker Ranch. It is because it rains there all the time and there is plenty of grass. It’s an ideal place.

“And he lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.”

It is interesting that here it’s compared to the Garden of Eden. How well did Adam and Eve survive in the Garden of Eden? Didn’t they get in trouble there? And then it says it’s like Egypt. How well did God’s people survive in Egypt?

All through the Bible it seems that God’s people prospered best in adverse situations. They do better in the wilderness than the valleys. It was as that man was going from Jerusalem through the mountain to Jericho that he fell among thieves.

And the Bible says (verse 11)

“Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east.” I want you to notice something. When God called Abram to follow Him, he was going from the east to the west. And now when Lot makes his choice he starts heading back east toward the place God had brought him from. This is a downward course.

“And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.”

His what? His tent. Remember that. If you have the KJV, I’m reading from the NKJV, it says he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Even back then, Sodom had a bad reputation. Verse 13 states that “the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.”

Lot thought “Well, the grass is good here. We don’t have so far to go to do our shopping.” All the major caravans of the world went down through the Jordan valley at that time because there was no Salton Sea, and it was luxurious. And living in Sodom was easy living.

Now when I say to you “the sin of Sodom” the first thing that jumps into a person’s mind is sexual immorality. But that’s not what the Bible says was their principal sin.

Turn to Ezekiel 16:49-50:

“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”

Idleness; pride; fullness of bread; plenty of spare time; leisure; luxury. You know, this is many people’s idea of success. But when Adam sinned, what did God tell Adam he must do? Part of the curse was “In the sweat of your brow you shall till the ground.”

Was that just a curse, or was it a blessing? Is hard work a curse or a blessing? You look at the greatest men of our age and you’ll find they are not men who’ve grown up in the lap of luxury. God designed to keep us out of trouble by keeping us busy. You’ve heard me say before that idleness is the devil’s workshop.

There was so much rain and produce, and the climate was so temperate and moderate year around there in the cities of the plain, —Sodom, Gomorrah and Zoar—that every need was supplied. The fruit hung lush and thick on the vine every day. All the delicacies and treasures of the caravans were constantly flowing through the cities—they had the mall. They had all the modern conveniences. They had plenty of spare time to revel and celebrate. And they kept developing more and more ways to find pleasure—living for the sake of pleasure. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Do you have the picture?

Now Lot said to himself when he went down there “The grass is good; but I would never live in Sodom.” But the problem is he pitched his tent toward Sodom. And as he and Mrs. Lot kept going on these shopping excursions into town, they kept pitching their tent a little closer to avoid the travel distance.

Let’s face it. Lot was very rich. He had an abundance of servants taking care of the flocks. As we move on in the story you’ll see that eventually they moved into the city. They were no longer in a tent, but moved into a house.

Slowly, imperceptibly, they had left the life of the nomad—where they were supposed to be strangers and pilgrims in this life—and they had settled down right in the midst of Sodom.

Now Lot was a good man. But let’s face it. There are some conveniences to city living, do we all agree with that? We’ve got good medical institutions in this city. You don’t have to go near as far if you want to find something. I’ll tell you, if you want to get some component living up in Covelo, you have to travel half way around the world! A couple of hours, anyway, to get to a place where there’s at least a Taco Bell and a K-Mart! Anywhere you know there’s a Taco Bell and a K-Mart you know there’s civilization!

The Bible tells us that God in His love tried to get Lot’s attention. The people in Sodom were conquered by some kings of the north. Four kings of the north. Chedorlaomer was the leader of them north of Damascus.

Genesis 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar rebelled against that king—they wouldn’t pay tribute anymore. So in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mountain of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness. Then they turned back and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), And attacked all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar. And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.

Big battle. Nine kingdoms involved. Verse 10: Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled.

You’ve got to notice something. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their soldiers were pretty soft. They were city dwellers—city slickers! They had it easy! When a battle came, they lost!

The kings from the north didn’t have it so easy. They lived up in the mountains of Lebanon, up by Damascus. They were rough soldiers. When they fought, they won. And they defeated them. And the Bible says, verse 10:

“some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom”— he was already in Sodom now, wasn’t he. At first his tent was by Sodom. When the kings came, he was in Sodom.

“They also took Lot… and his goods, and departed.”

Now, why do you think Lot chose to move toward Sodom? Don’t you suspect he was thinking “My business will be more prosperous there with all that green grass by the city. I’ll be able to engage in more commerce. I’ll be able to flourish more economically.”

And God was trying to save Lot and get his attention; and this calamity that befell him could’ve been allowed by the Lord simply to get his attention. Also I think it came as a warning to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah to turn from their ways.

You know, God is good isn’t He? Do you realize that before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, He saved Sodom and Gomorrah?? Follow me; you’ll see what I’m saying in just a moment.

The Bible tells us Lot was carried away and all his possessions.

Verse 13: “Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees.”

Now, where did Abram live? By a tree. Not by a city. In a tent. Was Abram rich? Fabulously wealthy! But he knew there would be dangers in that city!

“for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants.”

Abram was a man of faith, wasn’t he? Would you say he was a man of courage too? He’s getting ready to go against four kings who had just defeated five kings—with only 318 men.

But you know what? 318 men and the Lord is a pretty big army!! Two men, Jonathan and his armor bearer and the Lord is an undefeatable force! One person, like David, and the Lord can do great things!

Abram knew that even if he lost his life he had to try to save his brother. Abram is a type of Christ in the Bible. Ready to lay down his life to save his brother.

Now this was the same brother who had taken advantage of him! when he said “Which way do you want to go” and Lot grasped what he though was the best for himself. Abram had no hard feelings. Abram could’ve folded his arms and said “Well, that whippersnapper thought he knew so much, that’ll teach him a lesson! Maybe in a year I’ll come get him!”

Nope. As soon as he needed help he came to him. Aren’t you glad that’s the way the Lord is with you and me? If God constantly left you and I to suffer the consequences of our sins, we’d be in a desperate state continually. But God is merciful.

The Bible says that when Abram heard his brother was taken, he got 318 trained servants who were born in his own house and he went in pursuit of this army as far as Dan. That’s up in the north part of Israel.

Verse 15: “He divided his forces against them by night.” He was a clever general. They all came in from different points simultaneously—sprung upon them while they were rejoicing in their victory—not expecting an assault.

“and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.”

He followed them about 25 miles! Wanted to make sure they weren’t coming back!

“So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, and well as the women and the people.”

Abram was God’s means of saving all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the plain. Now this would’ve been a good time for them to repent. This would’ve been a good time for them to say “You know, maybe there’s something about Abram’s God.”

They always thought that fellow that lived up in the mountains was a little eccentric—worshipped God; always offering sacrifices; praying to his God; strong integrity. And they were worshipping idols down there in the plain.

But them, with four kings, could not defeat five kings when Abram with 318 servants and the Lord could do it!

It would’ve been a good time for the people down there to sit up and pay attention and say “Maybe God’s not with us—and God is with him!”

The Bible tells us that after they came back from that battle, Abraham, as conqueror, had right to not only all of the goods and bounty from the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the valleys, but he had a right to all the bounty of the enemies they had conquered. Indeed, he had a right to proclaim himself king of Israel at that time!

Now, hadn’t God said “This land will all be yours?” Abraham now is riding on top of the world! He and his soldiers had saved the people of the plain. He could’ve put them under tribute, and said “Now you don’t want to pay taxes to them. You’ve been beat by them. I beat the ones that beat you! You pay me taxes.”

Abraham could’ve said “God promised this land to me, and I’m now going to proclaim myself king.”

Did he have that right?

But he didn’t do it. Because he was going to let God do it in His time and His way.

We go on to read that they tried to give the produce, they tried to give the spoils of war to him.

Verse 21: “Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.’”

He had no right to make any deals!

“‘Give me the people, and take the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth…’”

My God owns everything you think you’re giving me!!

… “‘that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’—”

Abraham was saying “I do not want the treasure of Sodom. I’m not trying to get this Promised Land here with its goods, because God has something better in store for me.” He was looking for the Promised Land that God’s people will inherit in the future. And you and I should have the same attitude.

Now we go to the familiar part of the story.

God at one point saved the people of Sodom and Gomorrah through the hands of Abraham. Some people say “Once you’re saved, you can’t be lost.” The Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible says it can happen where a person who has been saved by the Lord, if they do not repent, He’ll withdraw His protection.

Go with me in your Bibles to Genesis 19.

Do you think God was trying to get Lot’s attention? Wouldn’t this have been a good time for Lot to get out of the city?

But no he said “Well, you know, God saved me; He forgave me; maybe He’ll do it again later.”

God is merciful, but you know sometimes we presume upon His mercy; and we keep sinning and expecting Him to forgive us. And then we sin, and we say “He’s merciful” and we expect Him to forgive us. And it’s true God is merciful; but you can wear out His mercy by your own recalcitrance.

It’s a very dangerous thing to assume and presume on God’s grace.

Genesis 19. You remember in chapter 18 the Lord met with Abraham—some messengers are on their way to visit judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah because years had gone by and they still hadn’t changed. Abraham knows he saved Lot once, but God may not help him do it again.

And so thinking about his nephew, he says to the Lord after the two angels go on their journey to Sodom “Lord, You won’t destroy the righteous with the wicked, will you?”

Lot was a good man. He still worshipped the true God. Far be it for the King of the earth to destroy the righteous with the wicked. “If there are fifty righteous people in the city, will You spare the city for fifty?”

God said, “I’ll spare it if there are fifty righteous in the city.”

Abraham said, “Lord, be patient with me, but let me go a little further. If there’s 45, will You spare it for 45?”

God said, “If there’s 45 in the city, I’ll spare it.”

“Let me take it just one step further. If there’s 40…” You’ve always wondered where Jews got their negotiation skills, right!? Now I can say this—I’m half Jewish!

He said, “What if there’s 40 in the city?”

He said, “I’ll spare it for 40.”

He said, “What about 30?”

“I’ll spare the whole city if there’s just 30 righteous people there.”

Now, you’ve got to remember, these cities weren’t little villages. There was tens of thousands of people living in those cities.

“What about 20?”

God said, “I’ll spare the whole city for 20 people.”

“What about 10?”

God said, “I’ll spare the whole city if there’s 10 righteous people there.”

You know why God said that? Because you are the salt of the earth; and a Christian should have an influence for good where ever they are.

If Christians are so thoroughly outnumbered in an evil environment, they lose their influence, you cannot taste the seasoning; and instead of them influencing their environment, their environment influences them.

Instead of Lot converting Sodom, slowly, imperceptibly, Sodom was converting Lot.

Turn with me to a passage of Scripture in 2nd Peter chapter 2, verse 6: “and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.”

What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah are an example through all ages to all people of how God feels about those who persist in ungodly living. Am I right? Isn’t this what the Bible teaches?

Verse 7: “and delivered righteous Lot,”… Was Lot still a righteous man? But he was not doing everything right. …“who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented [vexed] his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).”

Is your soul vexed from day to day as you see and hear lawlessness and sin around you? Or do you get to where you’re accustomed to it? It is a very bad indicator for a Christian to get comfortable in a wicked and lawless situation. Christians ought to be among the people who sigh and cry, when they’re surrounded with abominations, to be delivered.

The prayer of the Christian should be “Deliver me from evil.”

But what do you say about a Christian who deliberately chooses to move into the midst of evil? and surround themselves with it?

Now you wonder where I’m going with this sermon, don’t you. I’m about to say something that is anti-productive for a pastor, but I think I need to say it. I do not believe it’s God’s plan for people to live in cities. I think that cities are especially dangerous for Christians.

Now I know what I’m talking about. I grew up in Manhattan. I lived in Miami. I’ve been in London, Cairo, Mexico City, Boston—many of the big cities of the world. I know about cities. I’m street smart. My wife says it’s made me very suspicious of everybody. I tell her I can’t help it! There was just too many con artists where I used to live. I think we need to be very careful about why we’re living where we’re living.

Remember this. You are, all of us, we are who we are to some extent because of our environment. And we have to ask ourselves why we’re living where we’re living.

You know, I think the day is coming when we are going to have to flee from the cities.

What did Christ say in the Scripture reading? “When you see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place, let those who be in Judea, a city, flee into the mountains.” Christ said that in context of Lot’s experience. And He said “Don’t even look back. Don’t take anything out of your house.”

Now I would think the ideal would be to not have to make that decision without any warning. Lot did not get any warning, because he just waited and waited. Or maybe he did get some warning from his earlier experiences.

If you are not living in the city because God has you here in some aspect of ministry, then you’re probably better to get out. Because I think it’s going to be the hardest in the near future for those who are in the cities.

I’m not telling you this because I think it’s the best formula for church growth. Obviously I could be preaching myself right out of a job! But I’m telling you this because the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make it very clear that as we approach the end, cities are going to be concentrations of evil. And there’s a danger that as you’re in a place where you are surrounded with the creations of men, that through daily hearing and seeing lawlessness, it’s going to vex your soul and it’s going to damage your relationship with Jesus.

Now, please don’t go from the service today, and tomorrow call the Realtor, and start making plans to head for the hills unless you feel God is telling you to do that. I just want you to think about what the Bible teaching is.

Abraham stayed in the mountains. He stayed out of trouble. Lot went into the city; he got into trouble.

Where did John the Baptist do his preaching? He was in the wilderness. He didn’t go to the city. He said “You come out to me!”

Where did God take His people after they left Egypt? He brought them into the wilderness, to prepare them and to teach them.

Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 19. “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, ‘Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.’”

Lot knew about the city!

“And they said, ‘No, but we will spend the night in the open square.’ But he insisted strongly…” He thought “We got two country bumpkins here. They don’t know about Sodom. You don’t spend the night in the streets.”

“But he insisted strongly…” Out of concern for their welfare, which is a sign that Lot still cared, that they turn in to his house. And they agreed and they entered his home.

“Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”

He said “Come into my house; wash your feet; that you may rise early and go on your way.” Notice that, “wash your feet.” Wash your feet; unleavened bread. Got that?

“Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house.”

Now, you see, when Lot was there at the gate with people coming in and out, and these strangers—somehow I think the two angels stood out in the crowd—maybe a little bigger than everybody else—had a beautiful countenance—everybody was looking. When Lot said “Come to my house” he maybe hoped to take them in discretely to his home, and they said they’d stay in the street, and he was urging them and everyone notices banter going on. And finally everyone noticed these two strangers went to Lot’s house.

The Bible tells us “before they lay down, the men of the city surrounded the house.”

Wasn’t it in the Bible where Jesus ate unleavened bread; they had a foot-washing; and then a mob came for Christ? Isn’t that right? This is a Bible story that gives you a little window into Christ being the Messiah.

The Bible says “And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them.’”

I don’t think I need to elaborate. They didn’t want to get an autograph or shake hands.

“And Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, ‘Please, my brethren…’” He was trying to be conciliatory by referring to them as brothers. “Please my brethren, do not do so wickedly!”

Now I want to you know this before I read the next verses that in the Middle East—still true today in many countries of the world—when you invite a stranger into your home you are to protect them with your very life. You are responsible for their welfare.

And when those strangers; especially since Lot urged them into his house for safety, and now there’s someone at the door wanting them; he figures at all costs—even my own life—I need to protect these men. Lot was sacrificial, wasn’t he?

Verse 8: “See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man;…” Lot still had two girls that he’d tried to raise right. “…please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”

The shadow of my roof means they are here in my care; I’m responsible for their lives. Some of you are thinking right now “What a despicable thing for that man to do to bring his daughters out to this deviant crowd.”

Karen’s always had a problem with that. I’ve got a problem with it too! Part of that might be because he’d spent too much time in Sodom, right? He wasn’t thinking straight.

But let me ask you this. Which do you think would’ve been easier for Lot to say, “Take my life but let these men survive” or “Take my daughters.”

I think when he said “Take my daughters” that would be the hardest thing; but he sincerely thought that was the only thing that was going to turn that crowd away. And he was ready to lay down his life; all he was; all he had to save them.

I’m not trying to justify it. I’m just trying to tell you what I think was happening here.

Notice— they were upset with him.

Verse 9: “And they said, ‘Stand back!’ Then they said, ‘This one came in to sojourn, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.’”

They are mocking Lot for doing the very thing God did not want him to do. “You said you came to Sodom so you could live in the valley; so you could pitch your tent. Now you’ve moved into our city and you’re telling us what to do.”

What is Psalm 1? “Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

“…So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door.”

Now you can tell when a person has grieved away the Holy Spirit. Even after a demonstration of divine power they’re still trying to get into the house to fulfill their perverted desires. When a person has grieved away the Holy Spirit they don’t care about what’s right or wrong; whether God’s with them or not; they just want what they want and that’s all they want to know about.

And they wearied themselves trying to find the door—they just wouldn’t give up.

Verse 12: “Then the men said to Lot, ‘Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.’ So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.”

They couldn’t take him seriously. He’d lost his influence.

Verse 15: “When the morning dawned…” —after Lot spent the night pleading with his sons-in-law and daughters— “…the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, ‘Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.’”

Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere in Revelation—Babylon that great city is fallen, come out of her, my people, lest you receive of her plagues. Primarily, that’s a spiritual application. I think there may be a very literal application as we approach the last days. We want to pray about where we are, because things are going to get hairy and scary in the cities.

Now you’ve heard me say before “My home is not in Sacramento.” Primarily my home’s in heaven. Secondarily, our home is in Covelo. We are here as missionaries.

And if you do not have a ministry in town; if you’re in town—if you’re living in the city—for convenience and ease, you may be doing it at the sacrifice of your own soul and your family’s and your children, because it’s not the best influence.

You don’t expect me to talk like this, do you? Is it true? I mean, we’re all here and we are all condemning ourselves, right? But it’s the truth; it’s the Bible.

The Bible goes on to tell us, verse 16: “And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.”

They literally raptured them; carried them by force. One angel had a hand each, and the other angel had a hand each, and they drug them out of the city. And how did they leave? Empty. All these things that he thought were so important; the very reason he had moved to be by those cities—how much of it did he retain? Lost it all!

How much of it went to God’s cause? Nothing. None of it went to Melchizedek, that’s for sure.

Verse 17: “So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.’ Then Lot said to them, ‘Please, no, my lords!’”

He’d become soft. He’s afraid of the mountains.

“Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die.”

We invited a little girl who’s grown up in New York City to spend the weekend with us up in Covelo, and all she had to do… You know, our house is a mile away from the nearest house. Our boys just happened to mention there were bears. Her eyes got real big. They had fun with that! They tormented her all night long. She could not sleep. She was screaming all night long—every time the dogs barked.

Lot had become like that. Citified!

“See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”

How many times Christians have said to the Lord, “Sure, I’ll give up Sodom— but may I have Zoar? It’s just a little one. I’ll give up this big sin; but can I have this little one?”

It’s like people who’re convicted they can’t control their TV watching and they go from a 29 inch screen to a little one. It’s still spewing forth the same nonsense. Isn’t it a little one??

“Little sin” is a oxymoron.

Verse 21: “And he said to him, ‘See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry!’”

Notice what the angels are saying. “Escape; escape. Hurry; hurry.” Twice. “Hurry, because I cannot do anything until you get out of here because Abraham is praying for you.”

Isn’t that good news? Christ is going to linger as long as He can to save each one of us. That’s good news, isn’t it?

He did everything he could. He waited as long as he could to save Lot. If they’d left when they’d first been told it might not have been so drastic.

Verse 22: “Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”

And it’s still cursed today. It’s the lowest place on the earth. The valley of Sodom has the Dead Sea. Nothing grows there. And there’s evidence in the geography of sulfur all throughout the plain.

Verse 26: “But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Now, evidently what happened, is they went into Zoar. They saw the billows of almost nuclear clouds coming out of Sodom and Gomorrah. And maybe Lot said “It’s not safe here.” And he left Zoar and headed up to the mountains. Finally he thought he better listen to the angel. Look what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities there. And he started heading up into the mountain. And on his way up into the mountain, his wife looked back.

Why did she look back? Because her treasure was not in heaven. She’d spent all those years trying to decorate her home just right there in Sodom. She had all those modern conveniences. And every anniversary and birthday Lot bought her a new appliance. And she had those curtains that matched the carpet just right, and everything was so nice. And her daughters were still back in Sodom.

You think, well, that’s normal to look back. God says if any one loves father, mother, son or daughter, husband or wife, more than Me, he’s not worthy of Me.

God saved their lives;— and they looked back.

Now, I ask you. How many righteous people were in Sodom and Gomorrah?

There was one man. Lot did risk his life, didn’t he? He risked his life to invite those two people home. What if he had not shown hospitality to those two men?

You know, sometimes in entertaining strangers you could be saving yourself. In showing mercy and kindness to others, you could be saving yourself. In being Christlike and generous to others, you could be saving yourself.

Lot’s daughters. You might think “Well, they were righteous.” Keep reading the story and you find out they seduced their father and got him drunk. Where do you think they learned that? Watching TV in Sodom, right? They saw it on a soap opera one day. Maybe it was one of the daytime talk shows where they talk about all those deviant things that go on.

If you’re going to get to heaven, friends, the Bible says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” You have to ask yourself, “Am I being influenced by my environment?”

Do you know where I found the Lord? Living in a cave surrounded by the things that God made. I grew up in New York City. I didn’t find Him there, that’s for sure.

You can find the Lord in New York City. You can find the Lord in Sacramento and Los Angeles. And I hope that people find the Lord here.

But we are all victims to some extent of our environment. You have to ask yourself “Why am I where I’m at? Am I here so I can serve God? Does God have me here? Or am I here for convenience and leisure, so I can have idleness and pride; so I can have a nice home and a nice care? that will all get burned up some day!”

Are you where God wants you to be? Are you following Jesus like Abraham did?

Prophecy tells us the day is going to come when we are going to have to turn our back on everything. Jesus said “If you’re in the field when the signal comes, you do not even go back to get your coat. If you’re on the rooftop, you jump off the roof and run for the hills. You do not even go back into the house and get anything.”

A lot of people died on the Titanic because they went back to their cabins to get their treasures, and they drowned.

If you hear Jesus calling you, be willing to follow Him, where ever He leads.

And if that’s your prayer, please turn with me to our closing hymn, “O let me walk with Thee.”

If that’s your desire, friends, then let’s stand together as we sing this song.

O let me walk with Thee, my God

as Enoch walked in days of old.

Place Thou my trembling hand in Thine

and sweet communion with me hold.

E’en though the path I may not see,

yet Jesus let me walk with Thee.

Before we sing the last verse of this song, I’d like to encourage you to be praying in your heart “Lord, am I willing to go where ever You want me to go; to live where ever you want me to live, regardless of the convenience or inconvenience? Just to know that I am where ever You want me to be as we approach the last days. Lord am I pitching my tent too close to Sodom? Am I placing myself daily in a situation where my soul is tormented by hearing and seeing evil? Lord, open the door for me to relocate to an environment where I can grow spiritually.”

If it’s your desire to be where ever God wants you to be, whatever the cost, would you like to lift your hands before Him right now and say “Lord, here am I. I may have just presumed I’m where I’m supposed to be, but I’m opening the door now saying Lord you lead me. I want to be geographically and spiritually where I’m supposed to be.” Let’s sing the last verse together.

If I may rest my hand in Thine

I’ll count the joys of earth but lost

and firmly bravely journey on

I’ll bear the banner of the cross,

Till Zion’s glorious gates I see,

yet Saviour let me walk with Thee.

“Father in heaven, We’ve heard some difficult things today but we know they come from Your word. We can look at the signs around us and see the day of Your return is fast approaching. We do not want the warnings that Jesus gave us to fall on deaf ears. So, Lord, help us to be alert.

Help us to be listening. Help us to be willing to be where ever You want us to be and be whoever You want us to be. Lord, I’m praying Your Spirit will now enter every heart and mind. Help us to hear Your voice. Again as we go from this place of worship, help us to know that You want to live in the temples of our bodies all through the week and always. Bless us now that we can be a shining light in this community. In Christ’s name we pray,

Amen

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Is It Easier to Be Saved or Lost? (PB) by Joe Crews

Is It Easier to Be Saved or Lost? (PB) by Joe Crews
God's Promises




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