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A Worldly Faith Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 24, 2022 1:00 am

A Worldly Faith Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 24, 2022 1:00 am

Even if we say we do not love the world, we can be tempted to violate our consciences. Lot compromised because his faith was too weak to stand against Sodom’s relentless debauchery. He lost his testimony, his family, and his character. In this message, we apply lessons from Lot’s failure. Is God faithful even when we fall hard?  

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Sodom's debauchery was relentless to the end. The brimstone was coming as God mercifully sent two angels to rescue Lot's family before the smoke rose. Today, a story of compromise and of a faith too weak to stand against evil. In short, a worldly faith. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.

We're in a series on strength for the journey, and we've come to Genesis chapter 19. Pastor Lutzer, tell us about Lot's close call. You know, Dave, I find someone like Lot very fascinating. Fascinating because he is such a good indicator of human nature. You make one compromise after another after another until you end up in a place where you thought you would never be. And God rescued Lot and did so because of Abraham's prayers.

But as far as Lot was concerned, the rest of his life was one of debauchery. It's a sad story. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win because whether we are speaking about Abraham or preaching from the Sermon on the Mount or other passages in the New Testament, we are always gospel-driven. So if you have found help as a result of listening to this program, it's because others have also made investments.

Thank you so much in advance for helping us. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? Here's what you do. Go to

When you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now we return to the pulpit of Moody Church where we learn more about Lot and his failing faith. This is a series of messages on the life of Abraham, but today we turn to Lot. I do that because after all, Lot was Abraham's nephew and the Bible gives him an entire chapter, his experience, in addition to other references to him. It would be wrong for us to look at this story as if Lot were some kind of a strange man divorced from the rest of humanity. No, Lot represents you and me. Lot is the quintessential businessman who believes that profit is more important than principle. Lot's heart is our heart if we don't take advantage of the undeserved mercy of God.

I'm going to tell you the story today, and then what we're going to do is to look at some very important applications and transforming lessons that I've been praying will change us forever. You remember how Lot chose the best pasture land, that which was very best. Now he was given the opportunity to do that, and so he availed himself of it, but clearly he was covetous and selfish. He pitches his tent toward Sodom, he lives in Sodom, and by the time the 19th chapter of Genesis opens, which is the passage I want you to turn to, by the time Genesis 19 opens, why indeed a Lot is a judge in Sodom. He's been honored, he achieved all of his goals, and there he is, and later on he is referred to as a judge sitting at the gate. Two angels come to him. These were the angels that Abraham had encountered earlier, you remember, and Abraham prayed to the Lord, and Jesus is not among those two angels. Jesus, the Lord God Jehovah, passes off the scene at this point, at least from the standpoint of the Theophany, and now the two angels come and they come to the gate and Lot invites them in. And then you have that terrible story of how the men of Sodom come and pound against the door because they want Lot's visitors. Lot wants to show hospitality to the visitors, maybe he understands that they are unique, and so he says to the men, you can even have my daughters, my virgin daughters, but don't touch these men, but the men of Sodom in a rage of sexual desire said, bring them out that we might know them. And clearly it is sexual that they have in their mind. That's why the NIV correctly translates it, come, bring them out that we might have sex with them. You say, well, how can Lot offer them his daughters? I don't know, but how can it be that there are countries in the world today where young girls 10, 12 years old are sold into prostitution and the law enforcement agencies turn the other way?

How can they do that? How can wickedness exist and callousness in the human heart? Remember that Lot is a picture of us all. Martin Luther read this story and he said that it caused revulsion in his spirit as well it might, he says, it goes through my whole heart. What a pitiful story. The angels say to Lot, hurry out, but he lingers. He doesn't want to go. He invested heavily in Sodom.

He and Mrs. Lot had a house, they had their wealth there, their friends were there now. Sodom was good to Lot and he didn't want to let go of it. Now mind you, the angels continue to put pressure on him and finally he says to his sons-in-law, hurry up and let's get out of here, up, get out of this place. I'm in verse 14, notice it there in the text, for the Lord is about to destroy the city, but he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. They said you can't be serious. We've never heard any God talk from you before. What a tragedy at the most serious moment of Lot's life when he finally wants to have some moral authority in his family.

It comes across as a joke. Lot tries to bargain with these angels. First of all, he lingers and then he says to them, he says, I don't want to go too far to the hills. He says, I want to go to this little town of Zor.

And the angels say, okay, okay, already you can go to the little town of Zor. And they were told, the four people who left, Lot, his two daughters and his wife, they were told, run from the city and don't look back. But Lot's wife looked back because after all, after all, this was her heart.

Her heart was in the city. And the Bible says that she turned into a pillar of salt, verse 26. She became a part of the judgment. Was thinking this week, I'd love to preach on the words of Jesus, just three words that he gives to us in the Gospel of Luke. When he's talking about those who begin in the Christian life and then fall away, he said, remember Lot's wife. What a biography, shortest biography I know of in the Bible. Remember Lot's wife.

What a wealth of knowledge and instruction in those three words. She can't let go of Sodom. And she becomes a part of the judgment. How does Lot end? Well, he has two daughters.

He goes into a cave and they get him drunk and he ends in disgrace. He has relations with them and they each bear a child, a child of incest. The Moabites, one was called Moab and the other the Ammonites.

And all that you have to do is to remember your Bible to know that these two groups, these two tribes terrorized and became a stumbling block to the descendants of Abraham ever after. That's the story of Lot. What a story. Want to answer a question. How much did covetousness cost Lot? How costly is sin anyway?

How much you have to pay for it? Very interesting. First of all, it cost Lot his testimony. See, when you've compromised with Sodom, you don't talk to them about Jehovah because they don't want to hear anything about Jehovah. They don't want to hear anything about righteousness. And Lot made enough concessions and Sodom promoted him enough that he had nothing to say to them about the Lord God Jehovah.

That's why when he speaks to his sons-in-law, they think that he's joking. He lost his testimony. He's the person who does not witness at work, people to whom I'm speaking now. Do not share Christ with co-workers because there have been enough compromises in their lives and enough silence in their lives that they have nothing to say to the people with whom they work. Little word of advice, if you're in that position, change that position. Go to a co-worker and say, you know, I'm really sorry. I've never told you about the most important thing that I've ever discovered. Would it be okay if I were to share with you something that somebody once shared with me that changed my life?

And if there are things that you have done at work that make you unable to do that, make them right. Be a witness where God has planted you. Lot lost his witness. He lost his family. What a tragedy. I don't even expect to see his wife in heaven. He probably got her in Sodom and she turns back and she becomes a part of God's judgment. Two daughters, look at how they turned out. Well, look at how dad turned out. He lost also his character. Standing there that day, and I assume that the sun was shining, when Abraham said to him, Lot, you can choose whatever you like of the land and I'll take the opposite.

And he saw the deep lush pasture land of the valley and chose it. He had no idea how much his covetous heart would cost him. You've heard me say it before, but Lot is the excellent example that sin always takes us further than we intended to go, keeps us longer than we intended to stay and costs us more than we ever intended to pay. Imagine, three life changing messages, lessons that I hope that you will have burned in your mind and your consciousness for the rest of your life. First, when we go against conscience, the consequences are out of our hands.

When we go against conscience, the consequences are out of our hands. There's a very interesting commentary on Lot in the New Testament. In a sense, it's a shocking commentary. It can be an encouraging commentary. Three times, Peter in 2 Peter chapter 2 refers to Lot as a righteous man.

Amazing. Lot will be in heaven because thanks to his uncle Abraham, he believed in Jehovah, but this is what it says. And the author is in a series of ifs, ifs, ifs, ifs.

So I'm going to jump right in the middle of it. 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 6. If by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, God condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly, and if he rescued righteous Lot greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked, for as that righteous man lived among them, day after day he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard. His soul was tormented in Sodom. Why didn't he leave? Well, it's just that Sodom was providing so much for him. It was his opportunity. It was his investment.

It was easier to live there than to earn a living on the plain. So he lived with a tormented conscience. When you and I begin to violate our conscience, we are on a trajectory whose end is out of our hands. To go against conscience, says Luther, is neither right nor safe. Have you ever been in a situation where your soul has been vexed?

Vexed by the television program you are watching that you know is sensual, and it vexes your righteous soul and sullies your relationship with God, but you've watched it anyway because there's so much that is so much appealing and appeasing, and so we violate our conscience. You think of the mercy of God toward Lot. Angels come to him to rescue him. You think he'd say, angels, I'm so glad you're here.

I'm out of here. No, Sodom had such a great place in Lot's heart that even after he left Sodom, he did not get the Sodom out of his heart. Sometimes people say, well, you know, the city is full of sin. Yeah, the city is full of sin, so Lot goes to the suburbs and he takes his sin with him. It's because the sin is in the human heart, and Lot was rescued by Abraham, graciously rescued, and he would not leave Sodom.

He would not become a pilgrim even when the brimstone was falling on Sodom and Gomorrah, violating his conscience. Second, God is faithful to his erring people. God is faithful to his erring people.

Sometimes it's pronounced erring, sometimes it's pronounced erring, I guess, depending on where you put the emphasis. But it's his erring people. God is faithful. You know, God could have destroyed Lot. After all, there weren't 10 righteous in the city. He could have just said, you know, I've got this deal with Abraham, but there aren't 10 righteous.

Boom, you get the judgment too. No, God sends angels to rescue him. And the point of 2 Peter is this, that if God is willing to do that for Lot, why then indeed God is willing to do that for us too. God knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, the Bible says, and God is faithful even to those who are violating his commands and sinning because as we learned in a previous message, he cannot deny himself. When God wants to send his judgment, Lot has to be taken out. It says in verse 23 that the angels say, we're destroying this place, but we can't do anything until you're out of here. When God displays his wrath as opposed to just the vicissitudes of life, God's people are rescued. You say, so Lot is going to be in heaven.

I take that to be based on 2 Peter. Now, when he gets there, he's going to be like the people described in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 where the apostle Paul says that there is some people who are going to be saved, but so as by fire. The imagery is they're running out of a house that's burning and it collapses behind them and they leave without anything except themselves. I think that that's the way there are some people who are going to be in heaven, saved but singed.

They'll make it, but have nothing to show for their lives. Unrecognized self-absorption, unrecognized self-absorption stood between them and doing something significant for the glory and the honor of God. But God is faithful to even his children who err. Finally, we should be willing to rescue those who have sold out to Sodom. That was an act of grace.

The fact that God sent these angels. I mean, that was amazing grace. This is what the Bible says in the book of Jude and have mercy on those who doubt save others by snatching them out of the fire to others show mercy with fear, eating even the garments stained by the flesh. Did you know that it is an act of mercy?

When one of our elders or members of the pastoral staff or a fellow Christian comes to you and says, you know, there's something in your life, but I believe is a stumbling block that's hindering you something that you're doing wrong. Don't be offended. That's mercy. The angels came and they snatched lot. He didn't want to go. They had to force him to go.

They almost dragged him out of the city, but that was mercy. You say, well, is there a sin that is greater than the sin of Sodom? Sodom and Gomorrah don't exist today. You know, probably on the southern end of the Dead Sea. God just wiped them right off the map. You say, well, is there a sin greater than the sin of Sodom?

Yes. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 verse 15 is he's giving instructions to his disciples to go house to house. He says, if somebody doesn't receive you, he says, take your shoes, let the dust fall from them, shake the dust off your shoes, and then he says those startling words that should sober us all week for it is going to be more bearable, he says, for Sodom and Gomorrah than it will be for that city in the day of judgment. Jesus is saying is that responsibility and judgment is based on knowledge. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, they didn't know too much. They knew that what they were doing was contrary to natural law and decency. They knew that intuitively because they were created by God. So they should have known better. But how much more judgment to those who have light to those who have the full revelation of Jesus to those who can buy a Bible in virtually any bookstore in America and who can read it for themselves and for those who are listening to this message here in this sanctuary or by the internet or radio or other means.

I mean, wow. Jesus said it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for people who don't respond to what they know in this age of light. Sin is the most expensive thing in the universe. Jesus bore the penalty for those who believe the eternal penalty. We still have consequences of sin in our own lives, but he paid it all when it comes to the penalty. And he paid so much because sin is so expensive.

It costs so much. So he took an eternal suffering for those who believe and compressed it into three hours actually. But he paid a tremendous price. Today, if the voice of the Spirit is speaking to you, listen to that voice.

Listen to the voice even of conscience and say that I'm not going to be a Lot. I'm going to be an Abraham because Abraham fellowshipped with God. Despite his own sins, he fellowshipped with God.

And what a tremendous difference, a tremendous history. Lot dies in an unknown grave. He's gone.

The effects are there. Abraham lives on as a friend of God. My friend today, I cannot think of a greater honor than to be known as a friend of God.

I remember as a boy out in the farm, walking in the night, looking up into the sky, seeing the stars and thinking to myself that walking with God is the greatest privilege that any one of us could ever have. Let me ask you a question. Are you blessed as a result of the ministry of running to win?

Well, recently I was speaking in Nebraska. And before I spoke, a man came to me, asked me to personalize a book that he had in his hand. But he said, I'm an endurance partner. Well, of course, as you might have guessed, I thanked him very much for his support of this media ministry. Now, what is an endurance partner? Well, that is someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

Of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. But here's how you can find out more information. Go to When you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's Click on the endurance partner button or call us right now at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. There are few places in the Bible that draw more tears than the account found in Genesis 22. Next time on Running to Win, don't miss the greatest test God ever gave a man to endure, his command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Don't miss A Tested Faith. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-15 05:19:07 / 2023-04-15 05:27:28 / 8

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