On May 21, 2017, I had the privilege of delivering the sermon at Bethel Community Church near Auburn, NE, pastored by Terry Weible, a friend and high school classmate. God has transformed Terry’s life in a marvelous way, and it was wonderful seeing him again after 40 years.
In my message I asked the question, “Will you experience the perils of compromise, or will you explore the pleasures of communion with God?”
Bethel is a little country church in a quaint old building. It’s like others my family has been to. You have to experience the atmosphere for yourself to appreciate the relaxed, informal nature of such a church and its congregation. You’ll always find a welcome in a church like Bethel.
When I rehearsed my sermon, I knew it was going to last about 40 minutes. And that was after I cut out a couple of things. To my dismay, and perhaps to that of Terry’s congregation, I spoke for about 54 minutes.
I confess, I tried to cram too much teaching into one message. If I were a pastor, I would have preached the first part Sunday morning and the second part Sunday evening.
Terry called me a few days afterward in response to an apologetic letter I’d sent him. He assured me he appreciated my message, and he had heard favorable comments from people in his congregation. So, apparently all is well.
However, if God allows, more preaching opportunities would give me a better feel for timing and audience reactions.
Below is a link where you can listen to my message. The recording was made on my son Nathan’s cell phone. The audio quality isn’t optimal, and you’ll hear background noise from the congregation. But you should be able to hear the message if you listen closely.
Here’s a summary.
Lot Experienced the Perils of Compromise. We’re more like Lot than we realize or want to admit.
Lot’s story is intertwined with Abram’s. It begins in Genesis 11:27-32, where we learn Lot was Abram’s nephew. Lot’s father died, which is the first recorded loss in his life. Perhaps Abram took Lot under his wing and became a father figure who taught him about the Lord.
Genesis 12:4-10 tells us Lot went with Abram to Egypt because of famine where they were. He was with Abram when he left Egypt.
In Genesis 13:1-13 we learn Lot left Egypt with Abram. He was prospering by then. When given the choice, he chose to go to greener pastures in Jordan. Who of us wouldn’t have done the same thing?
We learn in chapter 14 that Lot was captured in a war among kings and was rescued by Abram.
In the second half of Genesis 18 God says He was going to destroy Sodom. Abraham, as he was known by then, bargained with God to save the city if only 10 righteous could be found there. But there weren’t even that many. Lot had to be rescued.
Genesis 19 gives us the rest of Lot’s story.
Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. He was a city leader. He was doing well. Perhaps he thought he could reach the wicked and reform the city.
But when you work within the system, you become attached to it and its people. This can draw us away from God.
Lot was visited by angels. But the wicked men of the city wanted to have homosexual relations with them.
Lot objected to the advances of these perverts , but he bargained with them in an attitude of compromise and offered his virgin daughters.
Sin drives us to say and do the unthinkable.
God was merciful in that the men didn’t want his daughters. And they mocked him as being judgmental.
Then the angels blinded the wicked men. They told Lot to gather up any family members and escape before the city was destroyed.
When Lot tried to persuade the men his daughters were to marry, they thought he was joking. He had no credibility with them because of his compromised testimony. They stayed and were lost to his daughters.
Lot was attached to the world he knew. The angels had to push him out. He recognized God’s mercy, but he bargained with the angels to go only as far as a nearby small city.
Then Sodom and its surroundings were wiped out.
Lot’s wife disobeyed the angel’s command not to look back. But she looked back longingly and died. Another big tragic loss for Lot.
The rest of Genesis 19 is R rated, but the Bible tells it like it is. God’s word doesn’t hold back. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Lot got drunk, and his daughters committed incest with him.
With so much loss, heartache and turmoil, is it any wonder he got drunk? I’m not trying to justify it. But how many of us seek some kind of escape when we’re stressed?
Lot’s daughters gave birth to descendants of the nations of Moab and Ammon who would be a thorn in the side of Israel. These nations would later be judged.
Living a compromised life bears long term consequences.
Yet God is gracious. Consider that Ruth was a Moabite and became part of the genealogy of Jesus.
In spite of Lot’s compromises, we see a shocking viewpoint in 2 Peter 2:4-9. God called Lot just and righteous.
Are we bothered and grieved by the unrighteousness of this world as Lot was vexed by what went on in Sodom and Gomorrah?
Many of us who know Christ are like Lot. We’re counted righteous, but we won’t get the heavenly reward we could have gotten. A compromised life does not offer us God’s best. See Romans 6:1-2.
How can you keep from living out the perils of a compromised life?
You and I cannot successfully be a follower of this world and a follower of Christ. Put on the new man, as Paul exhorts several times.
We must break with the past life and its way of thinking. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us how to do this by applying the Holy Spirit.
We must get into God’s word. How can we love and serve God if we don’t know Him? Know the book to know its Author. We must spend time with Him to know what He wants us to do and what He wants to do in our lives.
Getting into His word will change our outlook in ways we can’t imagine now.
This is part of what it means to abide in Christ. See John 14:15, 23 and 15:4-9.
An Old Testament example sets the pattern for us. It describes Hezekiah, King of Judah, the southern part of Israel. 2 Kings 18:6 says, “For he clave to the LORD…”
See 1 John 2:28 and 3:3 for further motivation to abide in Christ.
The Holy Spirit enables us. Seek more from Him. See Philippians 1:6.
Furthermore, God is worthy. He is worthy of more than anything you and I have ever given Him before, or ever could give. See Isaiah 40:25 and Revelation 4:10-11.
How do we reckon God worthy? As 1 John 2:15-17 puts so plainly, “Love not the world.”
Those who have truly served the Lord have thought him to be worthy. God tells us what he thought of them in Hebrews 11: 38, which contains the phrase, “Of whom the world was not worthy.”
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus extends a touching invitation to have intimate, one on one fellowship with you and me. How humbling!
If you haven’t confessed your sinfulness before God and received Christ as savior, you’re missing out on that. It’s not too late to come to Him.
If you know Christ, explore the pleasures of communion with God and deepen your relationship with Him.
Click here to listen to the message. (Right click to download.)