Sermon #15 Series: Pictures of Grace in Genesis
Title: Lot - A Picture of Grace
Text: Genesis 19:15-23
Subject: Grace displayed in Lot’s deliverance out of Sodom
Date: Tuesday Evening - September 17, 1991
The title of my message this evening is - Lot -A Picture of Grace. The Sodomites were a reprobate people, hardened by the perverse practice of grievous, vile sin. In Sodom, homosexuality had become the normal, dominant way of life. Men with men and women with women, leaving the natural use of the body, commonly practiced such wickedness that God determined he would destroy Sodom in his holy wrath.
NOTE: Homosexuality is still an abomination to God. It is the perverse practice of wicked men with perverted hearts and minds, acting in a manner that is against nature. Wherever homosexuality becomes commonly accepted, reprobation is evident. Any society that permits, accepts and condons the practice of homosexuality is under the judgment of God (Rom. 1:24-32).
Sodom was a city under the judgment of God. But there was one righteous man in that city. And God, who will not destroy the righteous with the wicked, would not destroy Sodom until he had delivered righteous Lot from the city. The historical record of that deliverance is found in Genesis 19.
· Two angels came to Sodom to destroy the Sodomites and to deliver Lot and his family (vv. 1-3).
· The men of Sodom, moved by perverted lust, attempted to rape those two men who had come as God’s messengers on the first night they were in town (vv. 4-11).
Lot appealled to those beasts not to do so wickedly. But they paid no attention to him. Up until this time Lot had always managed to get along with the Sodomites by compromise. That is the only way a righteous man can get along with godless men. So Lot, thinking that the prostitution of his daughters would be less vile than the homosexual rape of the men in his house, offered to give his virgin daughters to those vile reprobates! They laughted in his face and started to break into his house. When they did, the two men whom God had sent, pulled Lot inside and struck the men of Sodom with blindness.
· Then those messengers of mercy warned Lot to take his family and flee from the city, saying, “The Lord hath sent us to destroy it” (vv. 12-13).
· Lot, being aroused with fear, went to warn his sons-in-law, but he seemed to them as one who mocked (v. 14).
What a sad, sad story. When Lot spoke for God, when he attempted to convey the message of God to his daughters and sons-in-law, they thought he was trying to pull a joke on them! Having seen his life, they could not hear his words!
Now, I want us to look at verses 15-23. Let me show you four things in these verses. I trust that God the Holy Spirit will be our Teacher as we meditate upon this picture of grace.
1. First, we see The blessed violence of grace (vv. 15-16).
When the angels of God hastened Lot and commanded him to flee from Sodom, “he lingered!” Therefore, the angels took Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand, and brought them out of the city. Grace snatches men and women from destruction (Jude 23; Psa. 65:4; 110:3). Lot hesitated. But grace did not! If God had not been merciful to him, snatching him from the city, Lot’s lingering would have been his ruin. And the same is true of us.
2. Secondly, we have here A word of instruction for all believers (v. 17).
Though he had been delivered from Sodom, Lot was still in danger. He must not rest in the plain. He must escape for his life to the mountain. You and I who have been delivered by God’s almighty grace from the bondage and dominion of sin are here given an urgent word of instruction.
“Escape for thy life!” Ever flee from sin, satan and the world. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Do not ever think that you have apprehended that for which you have been apprehended by Christ, as long as you live in this world.
“Look not behind thee!” Forgetting those things which are behind, reach forth unto those things which are before. Count all things but lost for Christ. Do not hanker after the world. Flee from it.
“Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” “Set your affection on things above.” “Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Having put your hand to the plow, do not look back. It is written, “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
3. Thirdly, we see The weakness of faith (vv. 18-21).
What a sad picture this is. It was a great weakness in Lot that he preferred Zoar, the city of his choosing, to the mountain of God’s choosing. Fearing that he could not make it to the mountain, he desired to dwell in Zoar.
· He recognized God’s grace in his deliverance from Sodom.
· But he did not trust God’s grace to take him all the way up to the mountain.
· Even now, Lot wanted to enjoy the ease and comfort of the world!
4. Fourthly, we are here shown The cause of God’s longsuffering (vv. 21-23).
God is longsuffering with and preserves the wicked in life for the salvation of his own elect (2 Pet. 3:9). There are some sinners in this world who must and shall be saved.
· God will save his own elect!
· Christ will have his redeemed!
· The Holy Spirit will regenerate and call every sinner chosen by God in eternity and redeemed by Christ at Calvary.
· Until the last of God’s elect are called, he will not destroy this world!
Matthew Henry said, “What care God takes for the preservation of his people. The winds (of judgment) are held till God’s servants are sealed.” (See Revelation 7:1-3).
Now, let me talk to you for a little while about this man Lot. Two words found in verse 16 pretty well summarize the life of this man - “He lingered!” The angels of God were standing before him, calling him to take his family and flee from Sodom. Yet, as God was preparing to rain fire and brimstone upon the city, even then, we are told - “He lingered!”
Those two words are most solemn. They are full of food for thought. They ought to sound like the blasts of a trumpet in our ears. They should cause us all to sit up and pay attention.
If there is any man in all the Bible who, being saved by the grace of God, stands out above the rest as a picture of grace, that man is Lot.
I want to answer five questions about this man Lot. Give me your attention. The things I have to say tonight are far more applicable to you and me than we might think.
1. Who was this man Lot?
2. What did he do?
3. Why did Lot linger in Sodom?
4. What was the result of Lot’s behavior?
5. What are we to learn from this man?
I. WHO WAS THIS MAN LOT?
Many seem to think that Lot was a bad man, a wicked worldling, a child of the devil. But he was not such a person
A. Lot was a man with a very good beginning in the way of faith (12:31).
Very few begin as well as Abraham’s nephew, Lot. He clearly learned much, sacrificed much and showed great promise. If Lot had only continued as he began, we would not question the excellence of his character.
1. He left Chaldea with his godly uncle Abraham.
2. He forsook his youthful companions, believing the promise of God.
3. He worshipped God with Abraham.
a. Whenever Abraham built an altar to the Lord God, Lot worshipped at that altar.
b. Whenever God spoke to Abraham, Lot anxiously and carefully listened as Abraham taught him the word of the Lord.
4. Lot entered into the land of promise with Abraham.
B. Lot was a true believer, a child of God.
He was a converted man, a justified soul, or heir of heaven. Lot was a righteous man. The Holy Spirit places this matter beyond all controversy (2 Pet. 2:7-8). God himself has given us good evidence of his grace in Lot.
1. Lot lived in a wicked place, “seeing and hearing” the evil around him. Yet, he was not a wicked man. Lot had his faults. But he was distinctly different from the men of Sodom.
2. “He vexed his righteous soul with the unlawful deeds” he beheld around him.
He was wounded, grieved, pained, hurt, and angered by the deeds of his neighbors. Lot had the same attitude toward the society in which he lived as David did in his (Psa. 119:136, 158)>
3. Furthermore, Peter tells us that he “vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”
Many of us are shocked by certain acts of evil the first time we see them, but after a while we become accustom to the abomination. Not Lot! He was continually grieved by the wickedness he beheld around him.
NOTE: This is the thing I want you to see. God’s saints in this world have many blemishes. We are sinners still. Do not despise the gold because it is mixed with dross. And do not undervalue the grace of God in a man, because it is accompanied by corruption. Lot suffered much, because of his lingering, and his family even more. But he was a true believer. Though he lingered in Sodom, he is seated today in the blessed circle of the redeemed around the throne of Christ. There he sits…
· Elect, chosen of God, and precious!
· Redeemed, washed and forgiven by the blood of Christ.
· Born again, sanctified and glorified by the Spirit of grace.
· Side by side with and heir of the same glory as Abraham!
Now you know who Lot was - A child of God.
II. Secondly, WHAT DID HE DO?
Moses tells us - “He lingered!” What a short sentence that is to tell us so much about this man. Consider these words in the context in which they are found, and I am sure you will agree that…
A. Lot’s behavior was truly shocking - “He lingered!”
As I looked at this chapter and considered the time and circumstances of it, Lot’s lingering struck me as the most shocking thing revealed about him. His greed and covetousness, his drunkenness, his incest are all less shocking than this - “He lingered!”
1. Lot knew the awful condition of the city in which he lived - “The cry” of its abomination was “great before the face of the Lord” (19:13). Yet, “he lingered!”
2. Lot knew the fearful judgment coming down upon all within the city (19:13). Yet, “he lingered!”
3. Lot knew that God is a God of righteousness, justice, and truth. Yet, “he lingered!”
4. Lot knew and believed that judgment was both real and imminent. He tried to persuade his sons-in-law to flee the wrath of God (19:14). Yet, “he lingered!”
5. Lot saw the angels of God standing by, warning him and his family to flee. Yet, “he lingered!”
6. He heard the command of God by his messengers (19:15). Yet, “he lingered!”
Lot was slow when he should have been fast, backward when he should have been forward, trifling when he should have been hastening, loitering when he should have been hurrying, cold when he should have been hot. This seems incredible. It is shocking beyond imagination. “He lingered!” This shocking behavior of Lot is written in the Scriptures for our learning.
B. You see, there are many in the church of Christ today who are very much like Lot.
I am afraid that we all know far more than we practice. We all linger too much here.
1. We love sound preaching, but care nothing for practical exhortations.
Illustration: John Warburton
“What’s happened to Henry’s preaching?”
2. We say we believe in heaven, but appear to have little desire for it.
3. We say we believe in eternal punishment, but seem to be bothered little by the fact that thousands are going to hell, even many of our own families.
4. We know that “the time is short,” but live as though it was long. How little we “redeem the time”!
5. We know that there is a warfare between light and darkness, but appear to be at peace.
6. We know that there is a race to run, but we seem to be content to sit still.
7. We know that judgment is coming, but we appear to be fast asleep.
We all appear to live as though consecration to Christ is a fanciful dream and burning zeal for his glory is fanaticism. We all shrink from self-denial, personal sacrifice and commitment! Our Lord says, “take your cross and follow me.” He commands us to cut off the right hand that hinders us and pluck out the right eye that is set upon the world. He tells us that the gate is strait and the way is narrow that leads to life everlasting. But we try our best to make the cross lighter, to nourish the hinering hand, salve the worldly eye, widen the gate and broaden the way. Like Lot, “we linger!” We try constantly to hold both the world and Christ. We know what is right. We know the command of Christ. We have heard our Savior say, “Love not the world!” “No man can serve two masters!” Yet, “we linger!”
Do I speak the truth? Don’t be offended. Don’t get angry with me. Perhaps at one time you ran well. But now you linger. Once your heart burned with love for Christ. But now you have left your first love. Like Lot, you linger. Like Peter, you follow the Lord afar off. And your soul is miserable. Linger no more! (Lam. 5:16-21).
III. Thirdly, WHY DID LOT LINGER IN SODOM?
This is an important question. If we would learn and be warned by Lot’s lingering, we must know the cause of it. To know the cause of a problem is the first step to finding its cure. Maybe you have no fear of lingering. Let me refresh your memory with Lot’s history. If you choose Lot’s path you are sure to reap his character.
A. The Scriptures show us several things that led up to Lot’s lingering. Let me mention just two, two things that led to Lot’s lingering in Sodom.
1. Lot made the wrong choice early in life (Gen. 13:9-10).
NOTE: Strife between brethren is often, if not usually, about money, wealth, and earthly possessions. Abraham was a godly man. He chose the way of peace. Lot was a greedy man. He chose the way of prosperity.
a. Lot chose the land near the town of Sodom. The men of Sodom who would be his neighbors were wicked beyond thought. But the pastures were fertile and green.
b. Lot chose by sight, not by faith. Like Eve before and Achan after, he saw, he coveted, and he took. He did not seek the counsel of the Lord. He looked only upon the things of time. He seems to have thought little of eternity. He was concerned for profit, but thought little of the glory of God, the welfare of his soul, and the salvation of his household.
(1.) There was nothing in Sodom to help Lot or his family toward heaven.
· No prophet to minister to his soul!
· No place where God was worshipped!
· No brethren to encourage him or for him to encourage.
(2.) But the move to Sodom was good business!
2. Secondly, Lot mixed with godless, unbelieving men when there was no need for him to do so.
He chose for his companions the men of Sodom. First, we are told that he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Then we see him living in Sodom! Perhaps he moved to Sodom…
· To please his wife.
· To please his daughters.
· To please himself.
We never lack an excuse to do what we are determined to do!
This is the cause of Lot’s lingering. He made the wrong choice early in life. And he chose the companionship of the ungodly. When a child of God does these two things, we are sure to hear unfavorable accounts concering him soul. There is no surer way to danger thant o make the wrong choices in life and to take upon yourself a yoke of companionship with ungodly men and women (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
B. Hear this word of counsel - Remember Lot, and beware of his choices.
1. When you are choosing a companion.
2. When you are choosing a career.
3. When you are deciding where to live.
4. When you are thinking about taking a better position.
NOTE: We have no indication that Lot approved of the Sodomites, or ever participated in their wickedness. He loved the riches of Sodom. And in order to have the riches of Sodom, he was willing to spend his life among the Socomites.
If you lay your head in the lap of the world, you need not be surprised if you awake one day like Samson and discover that your strength is gone, that the Spirit of God has left you!
IV. Now, I want you to briefly consider this sobering question - WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF LOT’S BEHAVIOR?
What does it matter if Lot lingered in Sodom? After all, he was saved, he was justified, he went to heaven when he died. Let me show you the folly of such wicked reasoning.
A. Lot did not good among the inhabitants of Sodom.
1. He lived in Sodom for many years. He had much opportunity for doing good. But he had no influence upon the men of the city for good. No one there had any respect for him. No one respects a man who compromises himself, his principles, and his God for gain!
2. Not one righteous person could be found in Sodom, other than Lot himself. None of his neighbors believed his testimony. None of his friends honored his God. None of his servants feared their master’s God. In short, his life had no influence for good, his words carried no weight, his faith was not followed, his God was not honored.
B. For another thing, Lot did not help any of his family toward heaven. Not one person in his household believed God!
C. Lot brought no honor to Christ, his God and Savior, in his generation.
I cannot find one large-hearted, noble-minded, or self-sacrificing thing he ever did in his entire life!
D. When he died, Lot left nothing behind that would indicate that he ever knew God at all.
If we did not have Peter’s record, if all we read was the account Moses gives of his life, we would be forced to conclude that Lot was a lost man.
E. We should not be surprised that Lot’s life turned out like it did.
Worldly, lingering souls…
· Are never useful instruments for Good!
· Have no influence among men!
· Bring no honor to Christ while they live!
V. WHAT ARE WE TO LEARN FROM THIS MAN LOT?
Lot was a sad character, a frustration and a disappointment. But he was truly a picture of grace.
A. Lot shows us clearly that “salvation is of the Lord!”
1. The only righteousness he had was the righteousness which God, by his grace had given him.
· Grace imputed the righteousness of Christ to him.
· Grace imparted the righteousness of Christ to him.
· Grace preserved righteousness in him.
2. Lot was delivered from divine judgment, not by his free-will, but by God’s free-grace.
3. The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation (2 Pet. 2:10).
B. If you and I are God’s children, be assured, he will have our hearts.
He may break our hearts, but have them he will. He may bring you to earthly ruin, but he will have your heart. He may take away all earthly comfort and joy, but he will have our hearts!
C. Children of God, linger no more (Eph. 5:14-18).
1. For the glory of Christ, linger no more.
2. If you would be useful to Christ, linger no more.
3. Oh, let us now return to our God (Jer. 3:11-14, 22).
Let me urge you who know our God to linger no more in Sodom (19:17). You know the Way of life. Yet, you linger in the City of Destruction. Linger no more!
1. Life does not linger!
2. Death does not linger!
3. Judgment does not linger!
4. Hell does not linger!
5. Christ does not linger! - “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by!”