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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Aug. 25, 2008

  • 2008 Aug 25
  • COMMENTS
 

Learning to Flee the ‘Acceptable Sins’

Sometimes it is the little ‘acceptable sins’ that enslave us!

We have learned that lust in our lives that is allowed to grow unchecked can rob anyone of finishing well and earning Christ's well done. There are three areas that should concern all of us who seek Christ's full rewards in Heaven. He says:

1.    Beware of the sins of old age: At the time when we know most about the Lord, have the least to lose because our lives are nearly over, and when we have the most reason to seek Heaven above all else—we begin to lust for comfort and convenience, get greedy for recognition and grow in our covetousness for security. Don’t waste your life—especially at the end! The sins of old age can erase Christ's well done. Remember Solomon.

2.    Beware of the problem of exceptionism, which make me think my life is an exception to God’s Word. Thus I can excuse myself from doing anything for Heaven because of my past, or my pain, or my poverty, or my poor self-image. The problem of exceptionism can erase Christ's well done. Remember Annanias and Saphira.

3.    Beware of the unmortified pockets of pride. Allowing these pockets to grow and not be dealt with can make me proud of my intellect, or proud of my achievements, or proud of my giftedness, or even proud of my goodness. Pockets of pride in my life can erase Christ's well done. Remember Lot

Now, look again at Genesis 13:10. Look at Lot’s choices to feed his lusts. Lot never restrained his physical eyes from controlling his life. Lot was a believer, but lived with the consequences of his lust instead of the blessings of faith. 

Lot was tempted and didn’t resist. In the end that small choice, as it seemed then, cost Lot everything. The steps to Lot’s fatal choices are clearly written down for us in God's Word.  

In four short verses we see the pathway of tragic consequence that all started with the lusts, the strong unbridled desires of the eyes. 

  • Genesis 13:10-13 “And Lot 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. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 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. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.” 

Thus the contrast—Lot lived for Lot, picked the best for himself, looked at life through the lens of what makes me happy and successful, amassed enough fortune to retire in the big city of wealth and entertainment, and grew cold and distant from God. Gradually any effect that living with Abraham, seeing Abraham’s altars to God, hearing about Abraham’s talks with God—all of that was gone. Lot’s heart was in Sodom long before his body arrived there. 

What was the result of that small choice Lot made? Just trace quickly Lot’s steps after this point:

  • He looked at Sodom from afar (Genesis 13.10-11).
  • Then, he turned his tent towards Sodom (Genesis 13.12).
  • And finally, he moved into Sodom (Genesis 14.12).  

What did Lot’s small choice to follow the lust of his eyes cost him?

  • He lost his fellowship, accountability, and friendship with Abraham when he separated from Abraham and moved into Sodom (Genesis 13.14). That uncle who loved him, shared God with him—was now not as interesting as the glittering lights on the horizon that marked the city of sin and fun.
  • He lost his testimony (Genesis 19.9). The citizens of Sodom mocked him and said that he who lived among them couldn’t comment on their lifestyle choices.
  • He lost half his family who wouldn’t leave and were destroyed with Sodom (Genesis 19.14). His own family mocked him when he warned them of God’s pending destruction of the wickedness of Sodom.
  • He lost his ability to respond to God when he was urged to flee and he lingered so long (Genesis 19.15-16) that the angels had to drag him by the hand out of the cauldron of destruction.
  • He lost his wife when she wanted to stay in Sodom (Genesis 19.26) so God killed her and turned her into a pillar of salt. She had been so blessed by God. She was given the opportunity to live with a man (Lot) who knew God, travel with a man who was God’s friend (Abraham) and undoubtedly hear and see the wonders of God through their lives, see angelic messengers, witness their power to push away the crowd at the door of her home, strike them with blindness, and finally to hold the hand of an angel and be pulled toward the plan of God. And all that was not enough. Her soul longed for the world, her desires were so strong she couldn’t obey the only command they gave her—‘don’t look back’.
  • He lost the rest of his family as his remaining daughters began to act like the people they lived around so long in Sodom (Genesis 19.30-35). They knew the tricks, they had watched the sinful ways of Sodom so long. They just did what they had learned and tricked their dad.
  • He lost his legacy as his children were defiled and their children (Genesis 19.36-38) became the enemies of God.  

Lot was tempted and never seems to have resisted. God allowed him to choose to go up the hill towards Abraham and he said NO, and went down the hill towards Sodom. Look how his life turned out.

  • Lot was drawn toward the wrong things, the things that were against God, not the things that were for God.
  • Lot looked at Sodom (temptation of the lust of the eyes); faced his tent toward Sodom 13.10-13; and lived/moved into Sodom 14.12.
  • Lot seems to have never built an altar (altars seemed to be places where Abraham marked and remembered God’s promises in his life).
  • Lot was a friend of world (James 4.4); conformed to world (Romans 12.2).  

Beware of the lust of the eyes!

So is it possible to say no to lust? Yes. It is possible to have the force of temptations powers lessened as we mortify our flesh by starving our lusts. All of that comes by God’s grace.

“There are few warnings in Scripture more solemn than this. The Lord Jesus Christ says to us, "Remember Lot's wife." 

It is a solemn warning, when we think of the person Jesus names. He does not bid us remember Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or Sarah, or Hannah, or Ruth. No: He singles out one whose soul was lost for ever. He cries to us, "Remember Lot's wife." 

Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17.32). What doesn’t God remember for us - intentionally left out of the record.

  1. Her name, her family, her upbringing, her hobbies, her looks, her talents, her accomplishments, etc.
  2. No record of her parents, we won’t answer for our parents.
  3. No record of where she was from, we won’t answer for our heritage.
  4. No record of even her name, we won’t answer for what is remembered about us.
  5. No record of her family, we won’t answer for our brothers and sisters.
  6. No record of her marriage to Lot, we won’t answer for whether we had a happy or sad marriage.
  7. No record of her schooling, we won’t answer for our academics.
  8. No record of her athletic or artistic achievements, we won’t answer for our talents.

 What do we remember about Lot’s wife? Only what the Lord does - and that is in God's Word.

She was in love with this world, so much so that when God tried to drag her out of the world and away from destruction she wrestled her hand free and turned back and looked with longing upon the city of doom and was joined with its destruction.

It is a solemn warning, when we consider the subject Jesus is upon. He is speaking of His own second coming to judge the world: He is describing the awful state of unreadiness in which many will be found. The last days are on His mind, when He says, "Remember Lot's wife."

It is a solemn warning, when we think of the Person who gives it. The Lord Jesus is full of love, mercy, and compassion: He is One who will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax. He could weep over unbelieving Jerusalem, and pray for the men that crucified Him; yet even He thinks it good to give this solemn warning and remind us of lost souls. Even He says, "Remember Lot's wife."

It is a solemn warning, when we think of the persons to whom it was first given. The Lord Jesus was speaking to His disciples: He was not addressing the Scribes and Pharisees who hated him, but Peter, James, and John, and many others who loved Him: yet even to them He thinks good to address a caution. Even to them He says, "Remember Lot's wife."

It is a solemn warning, when we consider the manner in which it was given. He does not merely say, "Beware of following-take heed of imitating-do not be like Lot's wife." He uses a different word: He says, "Remember" He speaks as if we were all in danger of forgetting the subject; He stirs up our lazy memories; He bids us keep the case before our minds. He cries, "Remember Lot's wife."

 

 

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