Sunday, February 14, 2016

Run from sin, run from Sodom

I was a little concerned about taking notes during this sermon, because it's not politically correct, but that is not the attitude I should have about the Bible. I believe the Bible and I'm not afraid of it.

This week's sermon is on Sodom and Gomorrah --- Genesis 19.

It started when angels came to visit Lot in Sodom, but no one could tell these were angels because they looked just like men.

Lot was at the city gate, which was where city leaders took turns sitting. There they decided who could and could not enter the city. These leaders also settled disputes that were brought to the city gate. So Lot had become a great leader in this wicked city.

Lot invited these angels/men to his house to stay the night because he knew what would happen to them if they stayed in the city square...

All the men of Sodom came to Lot's house and told him to bring his guests out so they could homosexually gang rape these men --- "to know them." And a lot of people have trouble with this, because they don't want to judge homosexuality. Some theologians are saying this passage is literal and means "know them." But passages like Jude 7 refer back to the sexual immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Greek talks about pursuing wrong flesh desire --- men pursuing men and women pursuing women.

God had said he would spare the city if 10 righteous people were found. But every single man in the city showed up to gang rape these angels/men. That is crazy. Every single one.

If the population was 1,000-2,000, then approximately 500-1,000 men were there. Not all them wanted to participate in the gang rape but many probably came to watch. Sexual sin is sin, even if you're just watching and not participating. Strip clubs, pornography --- even if you're not participating, watching is still sin.

Lot offered his daughters to these men instead of his guests. He spent so much time in this city that his morals are slipping. He knew homosexual gang rape is wrong, but he made an exception for heterosexual rape. We all become desensitized from sin when we are around it so often.

The angels protected Lot's family but striking the men of Sodom with blindness --- which in Hebrew means "dazzled by light." They rescued the family even though Lot has not been following God well.

Some people question how God could destroy a city full of people. But God was patient. He waited for the people there to repent. But they didn't, and his patience was worn out. Think of it like cockroaches, if you don't kill them all they will just come back and restart the problem. If anyone from Sodom was left, they would have infected others with their perverseness. So God destroyed the entire place.

So the angels tried to tell Lot to leave the city, but he didn't listen right away. He lingered.

It was then morning.

The angels took Lot and his family literally by the hand, in God's mercy. Lot then complained that he couldn't make it to the hills --- he must not have been athletic --- but he asked to stay in a nearby city. That city, Zoar, was also known for sexual perverseness. He didn't want to completely run away. He just wanted to downsize his sin. We do that too. I shouldn't watch that movie or TV series, so I won't do it as often. That sounds ridiculous --- we should run from sin, but we do this all the time.

So Lot's family ran away, as Sodom and Gomorrah and the entire valley was being destroyed but his wife looked back and she turned into a pillar of salt. The Hebrew says her look was "a look with an intent to aquire." Luke 17 talks about this. It says to leave everything of our former lives behind and not to be like Lot's wife. Maybe it means she wanted to go back to get more things.

There is actually a pillar of salt in that area still that is called Lot's wife.

The entire valley was destroyed. It used to be lush, but even today that area is a desert. It's a lasting reminder.

Abraham saw from a distance the smoke and destruction. God had remembered Abraham and had saved his nephew. It was Abraham's prayer that saved him. Prayer is powerful.

There are so many lessons in the story of Sodom. Don't love the comforts of culture and tolerate sin. It leads to so many problems. Run, run from sin. Run to God.

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