Separated Not Secluded

                                                               

(Genesis 14:13-14)

Balance is the key to living a productive, blessed, exciting life as a follower of the Most High God.

We are; because of the transgression of our grandparents in the garden, given over to a lop-sided mentality.

We find it hard not to lean one way or the other. When it comes to our relationship with God it is no different. You find those who are against everything traditional and those who are against everything new. We find those who are so caught up in the spiritual side of things that they are spooky and those so caught up in the material side of things that they are worldly.

As we have used Abrams life as a reflection of the Christian walk, we have already seen the good the bad and the ugly. As we continue to observe the life of this man of God we see a balance based on, not tradition, morals, or own ideas, but on serving a Holy God.

  • Separated not secluded. (V13)
    • This is one of the hardest practices of the believer. Because of our addictions, our attractions, there might need to be a time period of seclusion. 
      • (Matt.10:16) Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.
    • It is not wise for an alcoholic to go into a place where drinking is prominent. Can they go in and not take part? Yes. Is it smart? No!
      • No different for the druggie, the womanizer, or the glutton. 
    • But as a general rule in our day-in and day-out living, God didn’t expect us to be isolated but insulated.
      • Jesus’ example is He went down into the valleys to teach and reach, then withdrew Himself with His disciples. Too many of us are going into the world with very little time invested in the things of God and find ourselves drowning. 
      • We don’t see the importance of fellowshipping with those whom you joined in a covenant relationship of this congregation, so we don’t gather that strength and support then go out among our old friends who are still enslaved with our old ways and we find ourselves struggling to maintain and often caving in and slipping back into the imprisonment of sin.
    • Abram had made a confederacy with some of the Amorites. He knew of the first raids (V7) and was attune to this last invasion. He had a mass herd of cattle, sheep, and things that invading army’s like to pilfer, so he was concerned.
    • It is the same with Sodom. He knew and detested what they stood for. His separation from their politics, pleasures, and principles, and even people kept him protected from them but he in no way pretended they didn’t exist.
      • He had a heavy heart for them. He had already lost a nephew to their immorality. 
      • When word came to him his nephew was taken captive Abram went into action.
      • Where was Lot his nephew? Living down in Sodom.
  • Deceived and deluded.
    • At last look, we saw Lot taking the good land near the Jordan. We took note that he pitched his tent toward Sodom. He didn’t go to Sodom, at first probably even talked about how wicked they were and looked down upon them in public while in private longed to participate or see what it was really like in this wild and wicked place.
      • When once your heart gets full of the world it isn’t long before your feet follow. 
      • (Pr 4:23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
      • Lot was playing with sin. He thought he could just dabble a little. So has everyone, whom sin has stolen away from their life.
    • Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, looked toward Sodom, and then dwelt in Sodom.
      • You can almost hear the new and improved Lot. I don’t want to be like my stuffy uncle. I feel we cannot; only live around them but live among them. I am not going to make my children go to church, if they don’t want to participate then they don’t have to. On and on.
      • When once we get down in the mire we have to justify our surroundings.
      •  Sin hardens our hearts that we are no longer sensitive to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. It blinds our eyes so that we cannot see its grip on our lives. It deafens our ears that we cannot hear the voice of God warning us, calling us pleading with us not to go.
      • A little later we see where Abram rescues his nephew but instead of seeing where he had fallen to, he goes back to the same ole song.
    • Don’t know if a nagging wife was to blame? Maybe it was the smell of money to be made. Could have been the worldly need of his children.
      • Like Lot, there are a lot of men today who won’t trust God with issues because they don’t want to hear it, don’t want to argue, don’t want the fuss.
      • (Pr 27:15) ¶ A continual dropping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
      • In today’s fallen world where there are many effeminate men, it goes both ways. A wimpy whinny husband is like a dreary nasty day. They both wear on you.
    • One of the greatest travesties of today is watching men succumb to family pressure.
      • They are supposed to be leading them. Not by pushing, shoving, bullying, but by being out in front, helping them see where God is at work and where they are needed.
      • They are the ones who are supposed to be praying and seeking God’s face as to wear to worship and what to get involved in. Praying with and for their children, their wife, being confident because of their relationship with God they are right smack dab in the middle of His will.
    • I pray to God for men who love their wives as Christ loves the church, for daddy’s who love their children enough to face the hard issues of raising devoted, sold out, followers of Jesus, instead of partying, playing, half-hearted, selfish sissies who jump here and there wherever the crowd is greater.  
      • May I ad I am thankful we have many of the right ones here.
  • Tempted but devoted. As in the life of the Christian after every victory, Satan slithers in with something seductive to steal away God’s peace and joy
    • Abram didn’t have an army he had servants. But if God is for us who can be against us. Abram came, saw, and took names. It was an overwhelming victory. Emotions were high, excitement filled the sky. And (V21).
      • In the flesh, Abram could have said “well God is blessing me, I deserve this and more.” But instead, we have (V22-23)
      • He was looking ahead.
    • God had provided Abram with a time of strengthening with the King of Salem.
      • You might say why did he need strengthening he had just won a victory? Because that is when we get self-sufficient, boastful and pride raises its ugly head.
    • (1Co 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
      • God provided for Abram, He will provide for you.  Abram was able to see the provision because his heart, eyes, and ears were attuned to God. He had separated himself from the ways of the world but did not seclude himself so that he could still be used.
    • God is wanting to use you. In the youth group, in the music ministry, on the football field. In the band, at the office, in the board room.
      • If we keep hiding our face we are not impacting but being impacted.

Link to the sermon preached on 7/4/21 via Facebook live.

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