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.

Rubber Meets The Road

Gen 13:5-9

Wednesday night we spoke of the renewing of our mind. Pray you take the time, if you haven’t, to listen to it.

  • One of the things I mentioned was this: YOU ARE GOING TO LIVE HOW YOU THINK. Solomon said: Pr 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: …”
    • Even a born again believer who has allowed laziness, worldliness, fear, or superiority to reign in their hearts lose their sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
    • When we don’t understand God’s good purpose for our lives. When our thinking is improper because of allowing other things to reign in our hearts we act, behave improper.
  • When we spend time in God’s word, hanging out with God’s people. Filling our life with things that help us learn and apply the things of God.
    • We learn truth. Lies we believed become corrected. 
  • Joh 8:31-32,  “… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

In this scripture we find two men having to face difficult issues, we are able to see and compare how they respond “where the rubber meets the road”. 

Scripture: Gen 13:5-9

  • Worrying Circumstances.
    • We all have them, sometimes it’s marriage, sometimes it’s sickness, financial, family. Most of the time it’s a combination of these and others. Having issues in life is not always a sign of our failure as it is life.
      • How we go about handling these issues is a different matter.
    • God’s word is full of directives here.
      • Ps 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
      • Mt 6:25, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
      • 1Pe 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
    • God’s word never contradicts itself. This is in no way, shape, or form saying don’t work or provide but is speaking of trusting God. Don’t place priority on these worldly things. It is best expressed when He states:  Mt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
    • Here in our scripture we find a good problem but nonetheless a problem.
      • God had richly blessed these two men and it had become too much for the land to bear.
  • A Carnal Resolve. Both of these men had been blessed. What we see is three things marking Lot’s choice.
    • Weak in his devotions.
      • We are told that Lot had flocks and tents just like Abram, but there was something we read about Abram but not Lot. Ge 13:4, “Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.”
        • There is not a hint that Lot had an altar or that it was important to him.
      • Sadly it is like what we see today where a lot of men leave the God stuff to the women because they have a world to conquer. 
      • Too many of us depend on others to be the Godly one while we coast.
    • Worldly in his desires.
      • We see Lot looking at the well watered plain of Jordan. He wasn’t concerned with the people that would impact his children, the filthy lifestyle that would influence his soul. It was all business. Money to be made. 
      • There are some things more important than a paycheck, some things that last longer and have a greater impact on this world.
      • That is how much of you you invest in your children.
    • Wrong decisions: 
      • A person who is weak in the devotion worldly in their desires is going to be wrong in their decisions. 
        • The next thing we see in Lots life is he set his tent towards Sodom. Very important to see this. He didn’t start off in Sodom just let it occupy his mind. It won’t be long before he is right in the midst of it.
  • A Divine Resolution. A spiritual man’s approach to life.
    • An old cliché’. We most often hear “don’t just stand there, do something.” But when it comes to God’s word we most often see “don’t just do something, stand there.”
      • Abram had been promised by God that this was going to be his land. He could have stood for his rights and demanded that Lot go find his own land.
      • His reaction to the problem at hand was: wait. He had learned all too well what happens when a child of God takes matters in his own hand. A lesson that will be repeated in his life.
      • When confronted with worrying circumstances that seemed to be crying out for immediate action he waited. He was sure God would soon make his way clear.
    • An old sore. Abram made Lot a problem from his own choosing. God had specifically told him to leave his father’s house and kindred. That one thing he held onto that he thought he needed, or thought he was being a help to was now starting to demand attention.
      • They always do.  Abram was now learning how to deal with things God’s way. The first thing we see as a spiritual man, Abram surrenders his personal rights.
    • He deals with spiritual directness.
      • Look at the wording in verse 8: between me and thee. He named himself first as though he was the cause of the trouble.
      • He came directly to the point and called the problem what it was, strife. He wasn’t giving the devil no room to run.  
      • He wasn’t willing to give God a bad name in front of their wicked neighbors.(V.7)
    • He dealt with spiritual discernment.
      • “We are brethren,” the things that unite us are far more important than the things that divide us.
      • Would to God, we as a believer could reach that point in our spiritual journey.
    • He dealt with spiritual dignity:
      • Sovereignly he was the stronger. Socially he was the senior. Spiritually he was the securer.
      • Abram put aside his rights and let Lot choose. He took whatever was left. Why, you ask? Because his confidence was not in a land or an economy but in God.
  • Whose does your thought pattern resemble? The carnal or the spiritual?
    • As born again believers the bible tells us: Ro 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
      • Lot filled his mind with the things of this world. His lifestyle and decisions suffered for it. 
      • God blessed Abram. Where the world would have called him a fool for giving up the good land. God had a better plan.
    •  WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD, YOU ARE GOING TO LIVE HOW YOU THINK/BELIEVE!