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May 14, 2022 7:00 am
Now you know after 35 years of being a pastor is doing to look back and reflect on the things that people over the years have asked me to do a few people have asked me to preach a certain sermon for them even fewer people have asked me to do a good wedding for them, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever asked me to lead a good congregational meeting for them.
Although we try to do that but you know there's one thing that is a pastor. I did ask to do.
I think every single week. Probably multiple times every single week and that is people come up to me and say pastor, please. The pray for me now. Certainly these people are praying for themselves. But I think as followers of Christ. We all recognize the tremendous power that comes from having other people pray for us and that's what were going to talk about today. As we continue our series in the book of Genesis were going to talk about intercessory prayer praying for other people because well that's what our passage is all about today so are you ready are here we go a little bit of review versus make sure were all caught up.
If you remember here in Genesis chapter 18, three men came to visit Abraham while he was living and he brought a little town just south of Jerusalem. You'll see it on the map that we put up to these men.
We learn from the chapter were angels in human form the other.
The third man was Jehovah God himself in a theophany, a theophany is nothing more than a fancy theological word for an appearance of God in human form. And while I had these three men come to see Abraham well they had come number one to announce the pregnancy of Sarah Abraham's wife number two to announce the birth of his son on Isaac so that's what we been in. So let's pick up and see what happens next. Verse 16 then the freemen rose.
The Bible says from launch and looked down towards Sodom and Abraham was walking with them to send them all. Then the Lord said, that is to the two angels shot high from Abraham what I'm about to do for I have chosen him. And so the Lord said to Abraham, the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great in their sin is exceedingly grave I will go down now and see if they have done entirely. According to its outcry, which is come to me and if not, I will know then the two men turned away from there and went towards Sodom while Abraham was still standing before the Lord now Abraham knows that in Sodom. God will indeed find all the sin that's rumored to be there and more and Abraham knows that as a result, God is going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but the problem is Abraham's nephew blocked.
If you remember, and his family.
They live in Sodom.
Remember Genesis 13.
They chose lot did go down and live in the area of Sodom and Gomorrah and lot as a godly man. And lot is someone Abraham loves, and of course if God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is going to end up destroying lot, his family and so Abraham begins to appeal to God asking God to have mercy on the city of Sodom for the sake of lots and for the sake of any other righteous people who live there. Watch verse 23 so Abraham Jr and said to the Lord, will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked, Abraham said.
Suppose there are 50 righteous people within the city, will you indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it.
Abraham says, far be it from you, Lord, to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike.
Far be it from you, Lord, shall not the judge of all the earth do right so the Lord said if I find in Sodom 50 righteous people, then I will spare the whole place on their account that Abraham said now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord. Even though I'm but dust and ashes. Suppose the 50 righteous are lacking five will you destroy the whole city because of the lack of five, you love this coming once Abraham gets God to agree to 50. Now he starts bargaining with God is, they wanted to do that will probably because he knew that there were 50 righteous people in Sodom is always trying to get God down to some reasonable number and the Lord said, I will not destroy the city.
If I find 45 there. And Abraham spoke to the Lord again and said suppose 40 are found there.
And the Lord said, I will not destroy it. On the count of the 40 then Abraham said all may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak again.
Suppose 30 are found there. And the Lord said, I will not do it if I find 30 there and Abraham said I have ventured to speak to the Lord.
Suppose 20 are found there. The Lord said, I will not destroy it on account of the 20 finally, Abraham said, oh, may the Lord not be angry, and I will speak only this one more time. Suppose 10 are found there. And the Lord said, I will not destroy the city, on account of the 10 then as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, the Lord departed and Abraham returned to to his home you say wow wow Abraham got God down from 50 to 10. What a great bargainer will friends. Have you ever met a Jew that wasn't on the let's remember who were dealing with here. I just before we finished the passage.
There is one question that begs to be answered and that question is why did Abraham stop at 10.
We wanted to keep going five or lower. Well, that's a really good question and in the Bible doesn't tell us the answer and I can promise you that I know the answer but I have a theory anyway follow my theory goes like this. Abraham knows that lot was a godly man and his wife live in Sodom so that's two then Genesis 19, eight tells us that lot had to unmarried daughters live in his home and Abraham assumes that lots godliness would've rubbed off on them and they will be godly women. So that's what that's for. Then Genesis chapter 19 verse 14 tells us that lot has two son-in-law's were married, obviously took two of his other daughters, whom Abraham assumes would also be godly women. Now, how many do we have we got a and then I think Abraham figured well after living there for years. Surely lots godly example must've rubbed off on at least two people in the whole city and that gets us to what can in the city is say how said it is that when we get to Genesis 19 were going to discover that not only had lot failed to influence anybody for God in that town, but worse.
He had failed to even influence his own nuclear family, for God meaning we really boil it down. The only godly person in town was locked. What that means friends for Abraham to a safe Sodom. We understand he would have had to negotiate God down, not to 10 people.
But the one person now that the stars were going to go in the passage for today because were going to ask our most important questions are you ready alright everybody at Loudoun everybody Prince William are you guys at Bethesda down in the edge around the world.
Internet campus with a lot of people here that need to ask this most important question we ready okay okay here we go. Come on now want to thread a say so, what lawns say is a really interesting story and and you know one thing it does is it tells me if I ever need to bargain for some I know who to go find to help me but other than that, that was funny you to think that was funny. You will find a Jewish person help you need to guess funny okay well anyway I thought it was funny which is why I said okay what are we talking about were talking about how this relates to you and me and what we want to really look at is we want to look at Abraham's prayer his intercessory prayer for the people of Sodom and the city of Sodom because there are some great lessons about prayer for us today in Abraham's prayer. Now the Bible tells us that there are number different kinds of prayer that we can pray, for example, one kind of prayer. We can pray is called adoration, which is all about praising God for who he is another kind of prayer is confession, which is all about admitting to God in prayer the wrongs that we have drawn and seeking his forgiveness. Another kind of prayer is supplication which is all about lifting up our own needs to God in prayer and asking him to help us with our struggle, but the kind of prayer that we see here in Genesis 18 is 1/4 and different kind of prayer. The Bible calls it intercession. Intercession is prayer that lives up to God the needs of other people and we see the Lord Jesus himself carrying on intercessory prayer while he was here on earth. Luke chapter 22. The he says to Peter.
He says Simon Simon, behold, Satan has obtained permission to sift you like wheat. What's the Lord talking about what he's talking about how Peter's going to deny the Lord three times and how it's going to be devastating to Peter for that to happen.
Watch but Jesus says I have prayed for you that your faith may not say friends. This is the essence of intercessory prayer. It's found in those six words of Jesus, but I have prayed for you and here in Genesis chapter 18 Abraham has one of the greatest intercessory prayers in all of the Bible. I mean it. It's intercessory prayer at its best it. He doesn't write and there are three principles in his prayer that I want us to extract and bring forward because we can copy them in our prayer life so that weather were praying for ourselves. Supplication or whether were praying for other people intercession if we build our prayers on these three pillars. We will see God do something in response, just like Abraham so you ready okay here we go. Principle number one is when we pray we must remember that we are approaching a merciful God and that we can be bold because we are approaching a merciful God know what exactly do we mean by mercy, will friends Mercy is kindness or benevolence beyond what might be reasonably expected. It is undeserved to kindness and we see it right from the beginning of the human race without a mini Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden deliberately rebelled against God, and they deserved judgment, they deserved to death, but instead God showed them on deserved kindness undeserved tenderness undeserved forgiveness and how do we explain this very simple my friends are God is a merciful God. Listen to these verses of Scripture. Psalm 103% for God has not dealt with us according to our sins.
Praise Lord that nor has he rewarded us as our iniquities deserved praise the Lord for that to for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his mercy towards those who fear him. Psalm 131st St. if you oh Lord, should mark iniquities. Oh Lord, who could stand, but there is mercy with you. How great is that folks look if you're smart, you will never ask God to give you what you deserve. Do that because if God were to give you and me.
What we deserve. We would all be in effect. The trouble listen we don't want God to be fair with us, we want God to be merciful to us and this is what when we go to prayer.
Whether were praying about our finances or our job or our family or our health or asking for forgiveness or what ever it is when we go to God in prayer. We need to go on this basis.
Lord have mercy on me, Lord. I'm asking you to do this in your mercy, for me, or in your mercy for this other person and let me give you some really good news and that is the Bible tells us that mercy is not something God shows or doesn't show based on how we feeling that day. Mercy is an integral part of who God is. It's an undeniable part of God's character that never changes.
In other words, listen here when we ask God for mercy. Folks, we are not trying to talk God into something that he is not already wanting to do when we ask God for mercy.
We are asking him for something that by his very character and nature. He is already prone to want to do the mercy of God. Psalm 103 is from everlasting to everlasting, who is a God like you, Micah chapter 7 who pardons the sin and what's the next word and delight in mercy while how great is it to have a God who delights in mercy. If we had a God who delighted in judgment out would be horrible but we have a God who delights in mercy.
Psalm 86 verse 50 Lord, you are a one in mercy to what's the next word. What is it all those who call upon you, so this is principle number one of intercessory prayer that we are dealing with a merciful God, and this is why Abraham was so bold in approaching him and asking for mercy for the people of Sodom because Abraham knew that in doing so, he had God's ear instantly and friends when you and I approach God and we ask for mercy. We have God's ear instantly because it's part of who we use number two rental number two of intercessory prayer is that when we pray we must remember that we are approaching a God who loves to answer prayer me over and over and over. The Bible says this. Listen Jeremiah 33 three call unto me and I will answer you. The Lord says, and I will show you great and mighty things that you know not. Psalm 50 verse 15 call on the me in the day of trouble God says and eyes shall rescue you. Psalm 81 verse 10 I love this verse. I am the Lord your God. Open your mouth wide and I will feel it's this is principle number two of intercessory prayer that God loves to answer prayer. He delights in answering prayer and therefore we should have no hesitation ever to take our needs and the needs of other people to God in prayer and we should take them with expectancy and we should take them with confidence just like Abraham did for the people of Sodom because were approaching a God who is inclined to want to answer prayer. Principle number three finally, is it when we pray we need to remember that we are approaching a God who responds to prayers that are prayed in humility. James 46 is God as opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Psalm 138 verse six. Even though the Lord is exalted, and he is yet he regards the humble and finally Isaiah 57 verse 15 for thus says the high and exalted one. I dwell in a high and holy place course you do, Lord, but also God says with a contrite and the humble spirit in order to revive the spirit of the contrite and revive the heart of the humble and you know here in Genesis 18 it is impossible to look at Abraham's prayer, and miss his humility.
I think about it for a moment if there were anybody alive on the face of the earth. In Genesis 18 who should've felt the rights to approach God. The entitlement to approach God and ask for thing.
It should've been Abraham I mean Abraham was the recipient of the Abraham it covenant Genesis 12 right here in this chapter, God says, I have chosen EM out of all the people in the world and Isaiah 41 says what is God choosing for will, among other things, he chose him to be God's special friend and yet look how Abraham approach God. Verse 27 Genesis 18 Abraham said not behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord. Although I'm but does dust and ashes verse 30 oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak again. Verse 30 20 may the Lord not be angry, and I will speak only one more time. The point, my friends, is that there wasn't even I can't a presumption or entitlement or hubris in Abraham's heart.
Why is Abraham understood that God responds to prayers prayed in humility Cephalon.
This makes no sense.
This makes no sense. On the one hand, you're saying we need to be all we pray and on the other hand, you're saying we need to be humble when we pray this is like a spiritual oxymoron. I mean it's like a complete contradiction in terms know it isn't know it isn't at all. Listen here, look at me carefully listen these things fit together perfectly watch. We pray boldly because we know that we are approaching a merciful God who delights in answering prayer but we pray humbly because we know that the reason God answers any of our prayers is because of who he is, not because of who we are and those two things go together absolutely in tandem.
They didn't Abraham's prayer. They will in your prayers.
I mean, these things are like peanut butter and jelly. These things are like like ham and cheese. These things are like lox and bagels. Just say what I'm saying.
They are perfectly compatible and we approach God boldly and humbly only. That's when we see God really respond, just like he did for Abraham. So let's conclude Hebrews 416 says let us come boldly to the throne of grace boldly to the throne of grace is what Abraham did is we saw in Genesis 18 is what the Lord wants us to do and this is the case, both with intercessory prayer for others and would prayers for ourselves and remember why we can do this. We said a moment ago.
Let's say it again. We can be bold because we have a merciful God, we can be bold because we have a God who is just waiting to answer prayer. We can be humble because we understand that he's not going to do this because of us is going to do it because him. We mix that together perfectly. We will see God do something with our prayers.
Now that's the so what, but I want to close with a now what you say now what yeah inside of your bulletin.
There's a car that says prayer warriors and this is the action item. I've got for you today from all of this we have a team of intercessors here at McLean Bible Church we call them prayer warriors who pray on the back to check areas that you want to be sent once every couple weeks once a month prayer request and that you promise you're going to pray for them as intercessors for the ministry here at McLean Bible church friends. If you're already a prayer warrior. You don't need to do a thing were just gonna let it keep going for you, but if you're not, we want you to join our prayer warrior team. We need your prayers here at this church in order to be able to make the impact for Christ. We want to in order to protect this church from the schemes of the enemy.
We need to be covered by hundreds and hundreds of people. Prayer and if you're not one of them. We want you to be what you do is you either fill out the card and drop it off at the welcome center you go on our website and you can sign up right on the homepage, but I want you to become a prayer warrior for this church intercede for us and let me close by saying I hope you don't misunderstand this that we covet your prayers. I people walk up to me all the time in the lobby and go along. That was great. Who that was awesome. Good as the best sermon tell you the best thing since sliced bread and avocados folks on believe any of that. I know what I made. I'm rotten to the core trust.
That's why need a Savior. You know I'm saying and I don't need complements.
I need prayer because I got feet of clay like anybody else does. And I say to them. Thank you very much. Please pray for me. Thank you very much.
Please pray for me I don't need complements. I need prayer and every body on our staff does in this whole ministry does. You understand what I'm saying to you, so can I count on some of you to join our prayer warrior team.
We do it we go at our thank you so much.
Let's pray heavenly father. Thanks for talking to us today about how to pray effectively and powerfully. Thanks for the example of Abraham and help us to follow his example to emulate the principles that his prayer was based on, and may our prayers become that much more effective and powerful because of what we learned today.
Lord motivate many people to become prayer warriors with us, that we might cover this church with thousands of people praying and that we might as a result of that have the power of Christ operating here to impact this city for you, Lord, thanks again for teaching us today and we pray these things in Jesus name and what is God's people say thank you.
Have a nice day