Saturday, August 25, 2007

Humanity in Sin Part 24 - The End of Following Our Own Ways

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 12th August 2007 in GRIIS. It was preached in Indonesian and I personally translated to English. Newton Life has it preached in Mandarin with English translation.

Genesis 19:23-38

God’s Word is final. We need to listen with fear because what comes from God’s mouth will not return empty. Happy is he who carefully listens and obeys God’s Word, for man lives not on bread alone but on God’s Word.

God did not hide His plan to judge Sodom and Gomorrah from Abraham. Here there is God’s willingness to reveal His heart to Abraham. Lot was raised by Abraham like his own son but Lot was not a thankful person. A person’s mark of spirituality is seen by what he thinks and reacts when those who treat him badly are in trouble. When Lot was in trouble, Abraham always came to help. So great was Abraham’s heart that he prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah so that God would not destroy them if 10 righteous people could be found. In God’s eyes none are righteous, but God still had mercy on Lot and his immediate family. The sons-in-law were not saved. God rained sulphur from heaven and destroyed the cities. The end of a man who loves the world comes to nothing. Material wealth is temporary. At the end of Lot’s life, he was physically poor and lived in caves.

Scripture records a horrifying incident to plainly reveal what happened in history as a mirror of our sin and corruption. If we do not correct ourselves after seeing our reflection we are very foolish. Knowing ourselves is the foundation of all knowledge. What is the use of knowing all else but we do not know our own heart? They are all external, not internal. Socrates said knowing oneself is the beginning of knowledge.

But how do we know ourselves? Calvin said two most important things to know: God and ourselves, and both are interrelated. Further back, Augustine said he only wanted to know two things in life, that is God and his own soul. The reason why the world is so messed up is because men do not know God and themselves. And between God and men, we need revelation. The Scripture records incidents to let us understand how depraved we are after Adam’s fall.

Here Lot’s two daughters slept with Lot. This is a very evil incident. Why did the daughters, especially the elder sister, think to initiate such an evil thing, to get their father drunk and to have sex with him? This is because she was raised up in a wrong environment. Many people, in search for money, move their entire family to places of corruption that are unhealthy for upbringing. This is the investment of Satan to make us feel happy and blessed but step by step we are entering into destruction. Little by little the seeds of corruption grow in our heart.

Many people, thinking of worldly success and other attractive things, send their kids too early to different places, but neglect their spirituality so pay very high price for it. Many are exposed too early to Satan’s temptations. How did Lot’s daughters learn to make their father drunk and to have sex with him? They learnt all these from their environment and friends. Similarly, today we get influenced by our friends and environment too. What movies do we watch? Do not fool around with the torrent of modern society.

The liberals today refuse to be taught by tradition and parental education and think that in that way they have freedom. But true freedom is in the Son of God. Many young people today feel bondaged by tradition of the church and by their parents so they decide to get themselves out of them. They think they are free but later on they destroy their lives in their false concept of freedom.

Lot’s daughters were still virgin then. It means that outwardly Lot had educated them. However, although their bodies were still clean their minds were already full of corruption. Their minds are no longer pure. The investment of Satan had crept in and grown in their hearts.

Lot eventually went to the mountains because he saw God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. But God’s anger was still greater than what he saw with his eyes. Many of us who hear God’s Word are always satisfied with shallow spiritual understanding but never satisfied with the money we have. Our fear of God is too limited. We never follow God step by step at the pace God set for us. If we fall behind, we cannot be God’s witness to bear fruit for Him. We need to synchronize with God’s will. When we get used to falling behind, we become insensitive to all our lack.

The heart of Lot’s wife was tied with the things of this world. She was still thinking of her possessions. She was unwilling to leave the things that were not from God so she was left behind. We lose ourselves when we do not want to part with the things that are not from God. If what we have is from God, He will take care of it. But if what we have is not given by God, no matter how hard we try we cannot keep it. The blessings of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it. (Prov.10:22)

Lot still obeyed and followed the angels’ instructions. But Lot’s wife looked back and judgment fell upon her. God’s judgment started from the household of God. In the midst of escape, the judgment for the unbelieving fell upon those who were supposed to be saved. Jesus said that if we put our hand to the plough and look back, we are not worthy of the Kingdom of God. Whoever follows God needs to be wholehearted.

Lot knew nothing of what his daughters did. His education seemed successful but actually he had failed. He only told them the ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s. Children might say “ok” to these ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s but they can find smarter ways to do other things. Many parents do not realize that the courage of young people far surpasses their imagination. They are too advanced, innovative and smart. Parents are left behind. They think kids will listen to them but they are actually very bored already. Moreover, in many cases kids see through the depravity of all the educators. We should learn to be consistent so that who we are outwardly and who we are inwardly are the same. Our mind and our action should be in line. Many people keep hiding but all will one day be exposed.

Lot was passively played by his daughters and the Bible says that Lot did not know when his daughters slept with him and got up. Perhaps Lot only knew when he saw the babies. It became very confusing. Are they his sons or grandsons? God declared that the Amonites and Moabites could not enter God’s temple for 10 generations. Sons of illegitemacy are still God’s creation however they have confused status. Should we give birth to kids who have to take our sins and blame? Should we be so irresponsible? Do we then find the easy way out through abortion? Do we have the right to do so?

Let men who fear God think of the result before doing anything. One sin can cause many generations to suffer. Let God’s Word bind us in our young age where all our sense are still so alive and vital.


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