A Little About Lot

(Gen.13:1-8)

The only way a man is ever counted righteous by God is by believing.

(Ro 4:3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Abraham wasn’t righteous because of good name, good deed,s or good looks. God counted him righteous because he took Him at His word. He believed Him.

Look here:

(2Pe 2:7-8) ¶ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(8) (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

Somewhere along the line Lot trusted God. We are not told about this but never the less it is evident according to scripture.

Let’s be honest, in our estimation of what we know about Lot, righteous would probably be the last adjective we would use to describe him. If it were not the fact that the Holy Spirit notes that Lot was righteous, many of us would list him under fan not follower.

Two questions people have to ask themselves:

    Heaven or hell? Once that is settled the next follows.

    Heaven or earth?

The devil attempts to persuade believers the second question does not matter as long as they are saved they can try everything this world offers.

Lot is the example of the enormous cost of choosing to live for worldly gain.

  • Lot’s choice
    • Lot must have been captivated by Uncle Abe’s dynamic faith. His sold-out, all-in commitment to God.
      • He had traveled many miles with God directing each step.
    • God had allowed both to prosper.
      • All was grits and gravy then the dispute.
  • The dispute(V7)
    • Seems to be one of Satan’s favorite ploy. 
      • Distract, divide, destroy.
    • Distracted by materialism.
      • What they had, their possession was not the problem.
        • How they handled them was.
        • They took their eye off God. Fell back to their way of handling things.
    • Division.
      • Now no longer unity with one vision but two.
    • You can almost hear the talk around the campfire.
      • Not sure Abe had their best interest at heart.
      • Been listening far too long to people trying to make them something they’re not.
    • Destruction: look close at (V7)again
      • … and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
      • Two believers living amid a crooked and perverse generation and their testimony for God was being destroyed.
    • We all have “Ites” in our lives.
      • Friends, family, coworkers watching (yes they are watching) to see what now…
    • Abe being a man of integrity did right. 
      • Still, there was a scar.
  • The decision. God had deeded all the land over to Abram. Abram gave Lot the choice. He would take what was leftover. Why did Lot choose the land he did? Here is my thought on it.
    • He was weak in his devotion.
      • (V4)You see where the Holy Spirit recorded that Abram built an altar to God. A place where he came and worshipped.
      • You never see or even catch a drift that Lot desired to build an altar or think of a place to worship.
        • You simply gather that went through life day to day without any personal time with God.
        • You will never make Godly choices if you never learn what God will choose.
      • It’s not a wonder that Lot’s life and the life of the family he leads was a mess.
        • None of us can live the way God desires, demands without spending quality time with Him daily
        • We just continue to race across the sea of life running aground, trying to dodge shipwrecks until we become one.
    • He was worldly in his desires.
      • Lot was heaven-born and heaven-bound but had bought into the world.
      • When Abram spoke to Lot about separation that should have thrown up flags.
        • How many times we miss the flags.
    • He had a religious reason and a real reason for choosing
      • Look at (V10) look like the Garden of Eden.
        • It is so easy to spiritualize things.
      • Reality. It reminded him of sin-soaked Egypt
    • He was wrong in his decisions. 
      • He thought he was stronger in his faith than he was.
        • (1Co 10:12) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
        • An unguarded strength is a double weakness.
      • Notice that the Holy Spirit added a significant comment to Lot’s choice.
        • (V13)But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
      • God had already marked Sodom for judgment.
        • It was the last place Lot should have been.
        • But because he had NO spiritual anchor. NO real discernment. He was drawn into the shallows of Sodom. 
      • Listen! If you are being good and respectful only because of your parents. They won’t always be around.
        • If the only thing keeping you from throwing in the towel is your name in the community, your position, you’re standing. All of these will fade.
        • If you have no spiritual anchor son or later your life will wind up wrecked upon the rocks.
  • Lot’s chains. Lot wanted the world. God let him have it.
    • Lot moved his family to Sodom.
      • His children grew up with the popular Sodomites instead of saints.
      • His wife became influenced by the Sodomites’ customs instead of serving the Savior.
    • Anyone who moves out of the will of God WILL reap what they sow.
      • (Pr 21:16) ¶ The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
      • Lot was no exception.
    • War broke out, Sodom was defeated. Lot and his whole family were taken captive. Marched off to the slave market.
      • This is where we find many church members today.
    • Lot’s chains were a direct result of his choice.
      • How do you think his children felt as they were pushed podded and poked and there was nothing he could do. 
      • His wife was treated as an object at a yard sale.
    • Sadly, some here even, letting the hero attitude kick in. “ better hope I don’t get lose.”
      • But we do little to keep them from being enslaved now.
    • Many of us men enslave them to our shallow attempt of being religious.
      • Showing them God is only important when we need Him.
    • As they say: sin takes you farther than you want to go. Keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay.
      • Lot’s choices impacted his whole family. So does yours.
    • Lot’s choice provided chains, but God provided another chance.
  • Lot’s chance.
    • Abram was told the story. He armed himself, his people and went and taught the outlaws how to lose.
      • Lot’s chains were removed. His family was restored. His life renewed.
      • Imagine if Lot admitted his sin. Believe God had better for him. Confessed before all those wicked people what God had allowed and done. 
      • What could have been the outcome?
    • Lot chose to go back. To take Sodom instead of the Savior.
      • You don’t have to.

Even if your choices have placed your heart in chains. God wants to provide you another chance. 

Come to him.

Prepping For Use

Gen. 50:15-19

I have been sharing as of late about moral earthquakes in our lives. Just like physical earthquakes don’t just happen, neither do moral earthquakes just appear overnight.

Earthquakes, though in our eyes seem to come out of the blue, have actually been in the making for some time. As the continental plates shift and slide against each other they become stuck or jammed. When these plates free themselves a major jolt is felt above ground. It rumbles and shakes and tosses and jerks and wreaks havoc on the surface.

These “edges” let’s say, are called fault lines.

In moral earthquakes the scenario is the same. What we visibly see on the outside in someone’s life has been in the works beneath the surface for a while. Secret fault lines.

It is where we get the phrase: no blow outs just small leaks.

When we think of Samson in the bible we often conclude that Delilah was his undoing. As you study scripture you quickly find out his undoing began some twenty years earlier.

Though we have seen where Samson had ignored God’s will, word, and work, we have another man we can look at to see the other side of the coin.

Joseph.

Joseph and Samson had a lot in common.

According to scripture they were both handsome young men. They had great personalities. They both had the Lord with them. They both found themselves away from home in the midst of hostile and heathen environments. They even faced very similar temptations.

What made the difference in the outcome?

We have already labored over Samson and have seen where, though God had gifted him with Godly parents, he chose to ignore their wisdom and substitute the world’s ways instead.

Let’s look at Joseph.

  • The End. Gen. 50:15-19
    • Ending well is important.
      •  It is not always the journey along the way that tells the real story as much as the end of the journey.
    • What we see in this scripture is a man, who in the world’s eyes, has every right to be vengeful, hard, down right tortuous to these men.
      • But what we see is a man full of grace because he had already received it.
      • We cannot give what we haven’t received.

I want to give you three truths in the preparation of God’s man Joseph.

  • His Location Developed His Capacity.
    • In slavery Joseph labored under difficult circumstances. 
      • Never do you read where he thought he deserved better. Where he complained or was ready to throw in the towel.
      • Joseph knew who held his future.
    • Has it ever dawned on you, the difficult place you are in may be the divine hand of God preparing you for a greater use?
      • How many folks have fell out with God because of the places they find themselves in? 
      • What they don’t remember is asking God, whatever it takes God.
    • So as God even uses their blindness, bulliness, and brainlessness to build them. Waiting on them to turn to Him.
      • God may put you in places that seem so wrong, so negative, yet it is here that he is equipping you for a greater use. 
    • In slavery, Joseph’s life was hard and unappreciated. What he did was expected of him. Even if he did more than expected he was still in the place of a slave.
      • It was in and through this miserable time that God developed him for a far greater use.
    • This should be great encouragement for you who are suffering hardship.
      • Rather it is the issue that has arisen from this pandemic, or people you work with or family you live with. Proverbs has a great word for you.
      • Pr 16:3, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established”
    • Don’t act foolishly to adverse circumstances.
      • Don’t blame others for your misery, your ill temperament, your cussing and fussing.
      • Joseph never sought vengeance against his brothers.
      • Remember: Ro 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
      • It doesn’t say “all things are good”.
  • His Lowliness Developed His Character.
    • Joseph worked as a slave. Then he worked as an inmate and worked up to a trustee.
      • The proudest people I’ve met usually came from nothing and act as if they are God’s gift to mankind.
      • Joseph was a favored son. He was a prince in one respect.
      • From favored son to fellow slave. From prince to pauper.
    • Nowhere do you read where he was crying ‘you just don’t know how it used to be”.
      • 1Pe 5:6, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
    • Character is vital for service. 
      • This is what people know you by. Your character.
    • God goes to great lengths to develop character in His chosen.
      • If you are born again, you are His chosen.
    • So often you hear hardships develop character. In truth, hardships reveal character.
      • God has been busy revealing the character of His church.
      • God is far more interested in changing your character than your circumstances.
  • Joseph’s Attitude Developed His Consideration.
    • When Joseph was brought to Potiphar’s house to work, he worked. He served.
      • The fact that he was mistreated and enslaved didn’t affect his work ethic.
      • Because he did good with where he was and what he had, folks took notice.
    • It is easy to say when you feel you’re in the right place and position that you’re doing well.
      • Real testimony of character comes when you’re in the wrong place and position and you’re doing well.
  • Samson and Joseph had a lot of similarities but one major difference.
    • Samson knew God, knew about God, but trusted in himself.
    • Joseph knew God, knew about God, and trusted God.
    • It made a major difference in their outlook and their outcome.

Today are you more like Samson or Joseph?

Have you been blessed with the knowledge of the truth but still place your trust in yourself?

Or have you realized, what trusting in yourself has really produced?

These are unique times we are in. God is using them to draw folks to Him. The Way, Truth ,and Life.

He is using them to reveal and build the character of His body.

Sunday School 4/5/2020

April 5, 2020

As we are still “social distancing”….Good Morning (or whenever you are reading this).  Sure hope this stuff ends soon.  I would much rather be in our classroom with all of you. I feel we are doing the right thing by not meeting, but I do miss the interaction, discussion, and laughter with you.  I really appreciate your input so much more now!  As I was telling Bro. Charlie, I have a NEW appreciation for him putting his notes on line for us each week!  Thank you Bro. Charlie and those who help him with this! 

On with the lesson…

So, Jesus leaves the Pharisee’s house and continues on his way to Jerusalem.  Scripture says great multitudes were with him. 

Luke 14: 25-35

  • And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  • If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  • And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  • Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it all that behold it begin to mock him,
  • Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
  • Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  • Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  • So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There is more to following Jesus than just accepting an invitation.  Discipleship costs.  It is not for “sissies” as we have heard many times.

Verse 25-26 says as he was walking along with the multitudes following him, all of a sudden he stops, and turns to them and says:  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Wow, that would be enough right there to make you say, no thanks Jesus, I love you but…..

If you have been involved with the “Not A Fan” lifegroup that Robert has been teaching on Sunday nights, you already know quite a bit about what it takes to truly be a follower and not a fan.  Really enjoying this class, hope we can get back to it soon even though it has been an “ouch” book. 

Hate is a pretty strong word.  Dictionary says:  feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).  Hard to imagine that Jesus wants us to dislike our family.  Scripture says we are to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), husbands are to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25), wives are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and parents love their children (Titus 2:4). John 13:34-35 says:  A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (vs 35 is one of Mrs. Judy Ann’s favorite verses). 

So, how do you hate your family and love them at the same time? 

John MacArthur’s commentary gives this explanation…Anyone who comes to Jesus for salvation must prefer God over his family…To hate one’s family is to prefer God over them by disregarding what they desire if that conflicts with what God requires; it is to love God more and them less. 

David Guzik says:  Jesus used the word hate to show how great the difference must be between our allegiance to Jesus and our allegiance to everyone and everything else. 

The greatest danger of idolatry comes not from what is bad, but from what is good – such as love in family relationships. The greatest threat to the best often comes from second best.

Wow, did you read that last line from David Guzik…The greatest threat to the best often comes from the second best. 

We have to also take into consideration what it meant to the crowds that Jesus was literally talking to.  Following Jesus (being his disciple) would more than likely mean that their family would disown them!  So, Jesus was trying to tell them, hey, this is not an easy road that you will be taking.  Consider the cost.  (more on this later).

And then, Jesus says…and his own life also.   What does he mean, hate your own life also?   Die, flesh, Die (to quote Lynette).  We have to daily die to our flesh and allow Jesus to have full control.  I don’t think we do a very good job of this (or is it just me?)  We must allow Christ to be first in our life, not the top priority on our list of top 10 priorities, He should be the only priority.  Once again, Jesus is making sure that the people know that this is not going to be a bed of roses, no peaches and cream, no cherry on top, no cream in their twinkie (Bro. Charlie), not an easy road.  Remember a few weeks ago we talked about the narrow road.  Unfortunately, at this point, a lot of the multitude probably said, hey, this is not what we signed up for, see ya.

MacArthur says…The call to salvation is a call to self-denial; it marks the end of sinners being the reigning authorities in their lives and calls for them instead to submit as slaves to Jesus’ authority as Lord, King, and Master.  That selflessness extends to the point of death, as Jesus’ next statement, Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple, makes clear.  The heavenly treasure is so valuable (Matt 13:44) the pearl of salvation so precious (vs 46), that true disciples are willing to give up their lives, if God so wills, to gain eternal life.  Jesus calls for complete self-abandonment.

David Guzik says…. Bear his cross and come after Me: Here Jesus said to the great multitudes something very similar to what He said privately to all His disciples in Luke 9:23 – that being a follower of Jesus is something like bearing a cross.

This probably horrified His listeners.  As Jesus spoke these words, everybody knew what He meant. In the Roman world, before a man died on a cross, he had to carry his cross (or at least the horizontal beam of the cross) to the place of execution. When the Romans crucified a criminal, they didn’t just hang them on a cross. They first hung a cross on him.  Carrying a cross always led to death on a cross. No one carried a cross for fun. The first hearers of Jesus didn’t need an explanation of the cross; they knew it was an unrelenting instrument of torture, death, and humiliation. If someone took up his cross, he never came back. It was a one-way journey.

Sure hope you were able to watch/listen to Bro. Charlie’s message this past Sunday morning.  His visual of carrying a cross (during the invitation) really brought it home.  I would encourage you to go back and watch (or rewatch) at least that portion of the sermon.  “In order to live, we must die” – daily.

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples of counting the cost – Building and Battles. They both cost more than you ever imagined.   Ever start a building project and your cost exceeds much more than you had originally planned (usually the case!!).  Battles always costs more than planned (lives included).

Jesus was making sure the disciples and multitude of people with him, knew what they were getting into and were prepared to go all the way.  No going half-way and then quitting.  No saying….I didn’t know it involved this!  I’ll have to rethink this.   We must carefully consider the commitment level that it takes to follow Jesus.  Too many people don’t mind signing their name to a commitment card as long as they don’t really have to be committed!  We are so good at starting something and not finishing it… we are like those represented by the rocky and thorny soils in the parable of the sower (Matt 13:20-22). 

Chuck Smith says…Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.

John Stott writes……The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers – the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.  For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.  The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called ‘nominal Christianity’.  In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.  They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable.  Their religion is a great, soft cushion.  It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience.  No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

Verse 33 says, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 

Forsake all that he has – Greek phrase had the idea “to say goodbye to”.

So, does this mean I have to sell everything I have and live in poverty if I am to be a disciple of Jesus.  Probably not, but who knows.  Your willingness to do so says it all.  It says who your priority is.  As Bro. Charlie has said many times, your checking account says a lot about you.  Now, don’t go saying that I said you have to sell everything in order to be a disciple.  That is certainly not the case, but you better be willing to if Jesus were to ask you to.  You can’t take it with you.  All that we have is His anyway. We are stewards of everything and owners of nothing (MacArthur).  If your money, or “things” are more important to you than being a follower of Jesus, then, Houston, we have a problem.  You may be a fan instead of a follower.

The lesson is plain.  Jesus does not want followers who rush into discipleship without thinking of what is involved.  And He is clear about the price.  The man who comes to Him must renounce all that he has…These words condemn all half-heartedness.  Jesus is not of course, discouraging discipleship.  He is warning against an ill-considered, faint-hearted attachment in order that men may know the real thing.  He wants men to count the cost and reckon all lost for His sake so that they can enter the exhilaration of full-blooded discipleship. (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries).

I think that when we are witnessing to people, so many times we make the mistake of not warning them of the costs of discipleship. Salvation is free. But it costs to be a follower.  We are so anxious to get them to commit that we mistakenly mislead them into thinking that their life would be so much easier with Jesus in it. (it actually is easier with Jesus, just not the way they thought it would be).  And then when they do accept Him, immediately they begin to be tested and so many times, they say, no one told me this would happen.  And off they go – off into the wild blue yonder or wherever it is that people disappear to when things get a little rough.   Commitment, it hurts to see such a lack of this vital component of Discipleship.  I can’t imagine how it feels to the LORD.

Verse 34-35

Salt is only useful when it has the nature of salt.  A Christian is only useful when he or she has the nature of Christ. (David Guzik). 

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

  • Listen up
  • Pay attention
  • Embrace the message
  • Listen to me
  • This is important