Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered July 6, 2002 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Abraham: Punishing the Plain

Genesis 19

My wife and I were on our second honeymoon about two weeks ago. We wanted to go see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, so we were entering one of the cities. We pulled off the freeway and got down onto a local street and the cars were darting just every which way right in front of us. Sometimes crossing over three lanes this way and three lanes that way. I noticed their mirrors were broken off and the bumpers were torn off. I thought, "You know, I don't want to drive with these lunatics. I think we'd better turn around." So we just made a "U-turn" and got right back on the freeway and finally found the Metro Station. We went in to see the sights on the metro. And I noticed... You couldn't help noticing all the graffiti on the walls, on the bridges, as we passed by. If there was a piece of concrete they would have graffiti on it. Fortunately we didn't speak French, so it didn't hurt us. Artistic graffiti was everywhere. It was on the buildings, it was on the board fences, it was on the railroad cars, it was on the ceiling of our coach, it was on the vinyl cushions that we were sitting on. It was everywhere. I thought, "This is a wicked place." There was a gentleman sitting near us and I said, "Do you speak English?" And he did, and I asked, "Who does all this?" He said, "It's all gangs." And I thought, "I don't want to live here. I want to live in Collegedale." I want to live in Heaven, actually. That's where we need to live. I can hardly wait for that day. We were in a bad place.

But I don't think it was as bad as Sodom. But I don't know. I think maybe some of the modern cities might be approaching the conditions of Sodom. I want to get into a sermon on Sodom and Gomorrah here today. I hope you can hang on.

How would you like to live in Sodom? It was not a good place. It is the most wicked city in the entire Bible, Sodom and it's twin city, Gomorrah. Sinful Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed about 4000 years ago. What was their sin? Come to Romans 1 in your Bible. Here Paul describes the sin of Sodom, and the sin of today, I'm afraid. Romans 1:27. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. That's what people are getting today. They're getting AIDS and other things. Not everybody that got AIDS, got it from that, but probably a lot do.

Today the ashes of these two sinful cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, are buried under 10 to 15 feet of salt water in the Southern end of the Dead Sea. My wife and I stood up on Massada in Eastern Palestine back in 1984. I remember our guide pointing to the South. He said, "Look down there. You are looking at the site of Sodom and Gomorrah. That's the lowest place on the face of the earth. There in the southern end of the Dead Sea is a shallow area of water. Right there is where Sodom and Gomorrah are." They are buried under water today. They are destroyed, buried, a reminder of what God will do to all those who continue such acts. These two cities were located at the lowest spot on this earth, 1300 feet below sea level. They had gone to the lowest levels of sin. Somehow scum ends up at the bottom and then settles on down, doesn't it.

Why was this sin so concentrated in the cesspool of Sodom? Where did this iniquitous sodomy come from? Come back to Genesis 9. Genesis 9 is actually the beginning of this sin of Sodom. And I will tell you that it starts with Noah. The ark was evacuated after the flood but soon tragedy arrived.

Genesis 9:20-25. Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside. He said, "Dad is in here." But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Ham!"

Is that what it says here? That's not what it says. For those of you who don't have your Bibles, this is absolutely amazing what the Bible says here. He didn't curse Ham! Who did he curse? He cursed Canaan. That's Ham's fourth son.

What, pray tell, did Ham do wrong? He went in and discovered and he got the situation corrected. I think there is more to it than that. It seems to me that he did much more than simply discover His dad's situation. He Saw. He looked. He stood there. He looked too long. He gazed at his father and this became the seed of his homosexual tendencies. He was the father of the Canaanites. Where did they settle? In Sodom. These are the people of Sodom. And Ham was their father. (See Genesis 10:19,20) These tendencies, had he checked them, had he taken care of that sin, maybe wouldn't have gone on in this family. The sins of the father were passed on and grew in the hearts of the sons until the ugly plant fully bloomed and blossomed.

I want to list for you, seven ways that you can destroy your family, seven ways that people today are destroying their family.

  1. Live with unconquered sin in your life.
  2. Live surrounded by bad people.
  3. Believe that you can handle temptation without Jesus.
  4. Lot's family was destroyed because he had lost his influence.
  5. Put off doing what is right.
  6. Give partial obedience to God.
  7. Take your eyes off God's gaol for your life and keep looking back at the past.

(1). One way to destroy your family is to live with unconquered sin in your life. You've got to get rid of sin, or it will get rid of you. It will. We parents must break the cycle. You might say, "Well, my father was a alcoholic, I can't help it." NO! You've got to break that cycle. You have to do that. Your kids deserve a clean heritage. It's hard enough to battle with environment. don't let them battle with the things they've inherited from you. You've got to break it. With the Lord Jesus Christ, you can! You can overcome that. The best thing a parent can do for their child is be a great Christian, to love Jesus Christ.

Let's begin studying the story of Sodom's destruction in Genesis 19. I want us to begin here this story. Notice that the Lord was not with them at this time (See Genesis 18:2, 10). There were two Heavenly angels that flew down to the gate of Sodom, and Lot met them there and invited them to his home. Let's pick up the story right after their bland supper.

Genesis 19:4,5. I'm going to read it in the King James Version because I'm ashamed to read it in the NIV. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

(2). A second way to destroy your family is to live surrounded with bad people. You might say, "I can do that and it's not going to affect me." No! Don't you believe that. If you are in the academy and you're surrounded with bad friends, you may say, "Well, I can live above that. They won't influence me. They won't drag me down." No! That's not true. They will drag you down. Lot chose to have filthy friends. Now, you look at Lot's neighbors. Notice who came that night. They were not just the dirty old men. Who does the Bible say came? It was men, old and young! Young men were there as well. They were following the footsteps of their dirty old fathers. All the men of the entire town were there for this sinful night for orgy and vice. Lot's neighbors.

(3). A third way to destroy your family is to believe that you can handle temptations without Jesus. Abraham's nephew, Lot, had come a long way hadn't he? He left Abraham, he was up on the high mountain, he went down and pitched his tent toward Sodom. Then eventually he moved that tent on down probably just outside the walls of Sodom. Then he had a rummage sale and sold the tent. And where is he living now? He's not living in a tent. He's living inside the city. He is living in a townhouse in the heart of sin city. He probably thought, "I can keep pure, I can handle the sin here. This city needs a witness. This city needs somebody that is going to lift them up, that's going to help them. This city needs some light. I'm going to do that. I can handle it. I can keep pure." Have you ever said, "I can handle some alcohol. I can handle drugs. I can do it." No, you can't do it. Lot and his family could not handle sin. It destroyed them.

And that night, a sensual subhuman pack of wolves came and surrounded that house. And it was a house. They had seen two of the most handsome men (Angels) walk into that house and they wanted them. They were attracted by what they saw. What they saw, they wanted. Their only aim was to spend the evil night satisfying their animalistic craze for sinful homosexuality. Actually it is even worse than most animals do.

Lot was well known. He was not some back-street obscure person. Lot sat at the city gate. Those who sat at the gate were the leaders, the town councilmen, the mayor. They all sat at the gate. Lot had become one of the leaders of Sodom. If you look back and see where your people are going you know where you're leaving. Genesis 19:1. Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. Maybe he was a member of the legislature. We don't know what he did. But as a leader of that city, he was under oath to uphold the laws protecting the citizens of Sodom. Thus Sodom became a haven for the most loathsome and sickening sins on earth. You see, sin was protected in Sodom. Obviously there was no law against it.

How do we know that these sins are so bad? Well, look over here in Deuteronomy 29 to find out what God thinks of the sins of Sodom, and other sins of like places. Deuteronomy 29:23 and 24. The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur-- nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger. All the nations will ask: "Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?"

Obviously, In God's sight, Sodomy is one of the very worst sins possible, one of the worst sins that people can have. Perverted sex had become like another god for them. You see, our God is a jealous God. You may think that it is bad to have a jealous husband or a jealous wife. Well, God is a jealous God. The relationship that He wants with us is like that of a husband and wife. Very very close. There is no room in God's sight for a little affair with the devil. There is no room for that. Jesus wants all of us. He loves us with an unconditional love, and wants all of our love in response.

Lot tried to cool the crowd down. Look at Genesis 19:6. Lot went outside to meet the pack of crazed sinners and shut the door behind him. Notice that the chanting mob in his yard are actually his friends (verse 7). He calls them "My friends." These were his friends, his buddies.

Then in verse 8 father Lot does a strange thing; he says, "Look, I have two virgin daughters, take them and do with my two little girls whatever you wish all night long." Imagine Lot saying such a thing. Father Lot! Would you fathers say that to somebody about your daughter? Is this a picture of a loving father? And where was the mother of these two young girls? Why didn't she protest? It shocks me that both girls were still pure. Lot has become like Sodom. He is just as queer as the Sodomites. Lot and his wife are experts at ruining their family. That's what they were good at.

As we get older, we ought to get better. Lot has come a long way, from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the pit. What you keep exposing yourself to, your mind will soon consider. What you consider long enough you will eventually believe. What you believe you will eventually do. So, be careful what you expose yourself to. Don't look at those magazines. Don't watch those programs.

God had to intervene to save Lot's family. Instantly the two angels struck the evil men with blindness. But here is an amazing thing: The KJV says they wearied themselves to find the door. Now, I'd think that if you were struck with blindness you'd try to go home if you could find where home is. But, no, they kept trying to break down the door so they could do their evil deeds. That's how much intent they were on sinning.

Genesis 19:12. The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place."

Obviously the angels could not find even ten righteous people in Sodom because they're going to destroy it, right? By the way, How many righteous were in Sodom? I don't think there were any. Now, I could be wrong, but I don't think there was one righteous person in Sodom. Not even Lot. But God saved Lot out of Sodom, didn't He. God justifies the wicked. -Romans 4:5. God specializes in saving the unsaved.

(4). Lot's family was destroyed because he had lost his influence with his family. Can you picture Lot sneaking out the back door and using the back alleys to go to the houses of his other sons-in-law and daughters. Risking his life he creeps through the city with a message of doom. But Lot lost his witness. His kids listen with a deaf ear. "Dad, you must be joking. Dad, you've lost your mind. You are crazy. Sodom is safe. We are in a time of peace and safety. Go home and get some sleep."

At dawn the angels got more assertive. "Hurry up Lot, the whole city is about to be swept away. Run." What was Lot's response? He hesitated. I doubt if he himself really believed the angels.

(5). Another way to destroy your family is to put off doing what is right. Put it off. Hesitate. Lot hesitated.

Lot shilly-shallyed. I don't know what that means. He drug his feet.

If I were God, I think this would be a good time to give up on Lot. Did God give up on Lot? Does God give up on you when you are immersed in your sins? No, our dear God is a God of everlasting mercy and unfailing love and He want to save Lot. God's love amazes me. Lot was hardly worth the trouble of saving, but you see, God wants to save as many as possible. In mercy (verse 16) the angels took Lot and his wife and two daughters by the hand and literally dragged them out of the city so they could flee to the Mountains. That's how they got out.

(6.) Another way to destroy your family or your spiritual life is to give partial obedience to God. Did Lot obey totally? Lot was a halfway follower. In verse 18ff, Lot argued with God. "Lord, I can't flee to the mountains. I'll die in the mountains. I can't do what you want me to do. I can't do that, Lord. Please, let me flee to Zoar, it is such a small town. There I won't have to live in a tent. You know how I hate tents." And finally the angel said, "Okay, but just hurry."

Genesis 19:23, 24, the fireworks came. We usually have them at night, don't we. They had them at sunrise. By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the Lord out of the heavens. This was just like a miniature hell. In fact, that's what hell is. Fire falls from heaven, it devours, it destroys, it's eternal destruction but it's not eternal destroying. The destroying doesn't go on forever, but the destruction is total and permanent.

The pitch and asphalt of that place was ignited and a massive conflagration sent smoke and fumes billowing high in the sky. It probably looked like the burning oil wells in Kuwait after Desert Storm. All Lot owned went up in smoke. The only things he had left were God and a remnant of his family. Friends, when the world is on fire, I want Jesus and I want my family and the fruits of my ministry.

(7). A seventh way to destroy your family is to take your eyes off God's goal for your life and keep looking back at the past. Genesis 19:26. But, Lot's wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt. If you take your eyes off of God's goal and turn around and look at the past, you look at the mistakes you made, you look at the evil of the past. Her body had walked out of Sodom, but Sodom had not walked out of her heart. She drug her feet. Finally she stopped and stood gazing and was engulfed in the flames. Her half way religion cost her eternal life. To be almost saved is to be totally lost.

Judgment day is coming today because again the world is rotten to the core. I think we again have reached that point that Sodom and Gomorrah reached. The Bible says that judgment came upon them, and I believe that judgment is soon to fall upon this world, and especially on the wicked cities of this world, cities that are covered with graffiti come from people whose hearts are not covered by Jesus and His blood. We are like Sodom. Romans 1:32 (KJV) Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Here the Bible seems to say that a society that tolerates sin, including the sin of Sodom, is as guilty as Sodom. As a nation, we tolerate homosexuality and even approve it, and we will meet with the same judgment that God poured out on Sodom if we continue in this direction. Jesus said in Luke 17:28-30, ..."As it was in the days of Lot,...thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." Sodom met with total doomsday-like destruction. They had passed the limit that God has set on wickedness. Today we are again at that limit. Judgment is unavoidable. God will have to apologize to the inhabitants of Sodom if He does not take action against the gross public sin of our modern world.

God came to save Lot, and I believe that God will come again to save, and if we don't resist, if we don't hesitate, if we don't drag our feet, we're going to be saved. That's the kind of a God we serve. Are you willing to save your family? Are you willing to give your life to Jesus totally? He wants it all. he doesn't want you to play around with sin. He wants all of you, and He'll save you. This world doesn't have much to offer, I'll tell you that. The older you get, you'll find out this world doesn't have a whole lot to offer. I will tell you that the rewards of God's faithfulness are out of this world. Be faithful to the Lord and He will save you.

Next week we will continue with he story of Abraham. We'll be in Genesis 20, if you want to do some reading ahead.

Sources: 
Seventh-day Adventists Bible Dictionary , Page 1051.
Exploring Genesis by John Phillips
Abraham: The obedience of Faith by F.B. Meyer

Bulletin

Hymn of Praise: #647, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Scripture: Ezekiel 16:49-50
Hymn of Response: #625, Higher Ground

020706#518



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